Baucus is only the Symptom of a much more Chronic Condition

( – promoted by mishima)

Did you Vote for Change?

for Accountability; for leveling the playing field; for National Health Care?

Well, your vote apparently doesn’t carry as much weight as it use to.

Here’s one of the main reasons why:

U.S. Democracy Under Siege — Senate Debate Excerpts

Excerpts from the Congressional Record of the October 14, 1999 Senate debate.

The following is a tabulation, for clarity, of the figures cited by Mr. Feingold:

1980 1992 1996
Total soft money contributions to parties ($millions) under 20 86 about 250
# of donors giving over $200,000 52 219
# of donors giving over $300,000 20 120
# of donors giving over $400,000 13 79
# of donors giving over $500,000 9 50
# of companies giving over $150,000 to each of the political parties (“double givers”) 7 43

 (emphasis added)

http://urielw.com/campfin.htm

There has been a tidal wave taking place, that threatens to swamp our fragile system of Democracy.  Indeed it probably already has …

Special Interests, Corporate Influence, Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Play Fair, these are all Symptoms, of a Democratic system headed towards “Life Support”.

We only need to look at the way Corporations and their Lobbyists, manage to coerce OUR elected Officials, year after year, decade after decade, to see the real trouble OUR Democracy is in.

In America today, it seems the only Speech that matters, is that “Speech” with a Dollar Sign attached …

Max Baucus, Democrat (Elected 1978), Montana Senate

Committee membership: Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry; Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works; Senate Committee on Finance (Chairman)

Phone 202-224-2651

Total Campaign Contributions Received: $10,849,648

Showing contributions Jan 2003 – Dec 2008

Interest Contributions
Securities & Investment $838,418
Lawyers/Law Firms $667,754
Insurance $592,185
Health Professionals $537,141
Pharmaceuticals/Health Products $524,813
Real Estate $401,279
Lobbyists $384,246
Health Services/HMOs $364,500
Hospitals/Nursing Homes $332,826
Banks and Credit $293,129

Contributions from political parties and from other candidates are not included in top 10 lists.

(emphasis added)

http://maplight.org/map/us/leg…

It doesn’t matter that you Voted for Change. It doesn’t matter that you worked to elect Candidates that PROMISED Change, it doesn’t matter that about 3/4 of Americans want as minimum, a “Public Option” at an important part of Health Care Reform  — ALL that matters is that the “Status Quo” Corporate Interests, GET THEIR WAY!  

That is what our Democracy has devolved into.  A Govt of, by, and FOR the Corporations!

Oh sure they still LET us Vote — BUT DO they listen to what WE the People Want?

Just like they let the People of Iran, Demonstrate — BUT did their “Status Quo” Leaders actually Let “Real Change”, seep in?  HARDLY!

(Do our “Leaders”, heed OUR daily concerns?  Or our annual recurring fears? … LOL Hardly! — Where’s the profit in that?)

Legalized Bribery

Campaign contributions to candidates from those who get political favors have been called “legalized bribery,” yet for more than 100 years Americans have struggled with and been unable to adequately restrict the influence of campaign contribution money in political decision making. Until now there were only three ways to stop this type of corruption – bribery laws, conflict of interest laws, and campaign finance reform laws. All three have major problems or loopholes.  

[…]

Campaign finance laws are fundamentally handicapped by constitutional free speech provisions. In 1976 the US Supreme Court declared that campaign contributions are almost as privileged as any other political speech. This is the infamous “money equals speech” decision in Buckley v. Vallejo. Until this is corrected, or at least significantly improved, campaign contribution limits can not lowered below that which is known to influence politicians.

(emphasis added)

http://www.1hope.org/cleandec.htm

  

In 1976, the floodgates where opened by the Supreme Court, which equated “Money with Free Speech”.  This ruling has effectively “drowned out” the Voices of Regular Folks — because sadly most of us don’t have that much “disposal income” to use to “influence” OUR elected representatives.  Even though many legal scholars disagree with that $$$$ Ruling, it still remains the Law Loophole of the Land:

The Flaw in Buckley v. Valeo

February 8, 2000

“Money is property; it is not speech.” So wrote Justice John Paul Stevens late last month, using his concurring opinion in a campaign finance case from Missouri to attack the basic equation of money-equals-speech that was the analytical basis for the Supreme Court’s 1976 Buckley v. Valeo decision. In the helpful part of the Buckley decision, the court upheld the constitutionality of campaign contribution caps, a position wisely reaffirmed in the Missouri case. But it prohibited spending limits on spurious free-speech grounds. Any effective campaign finance law must address both contributions and spending. Justice Stevens’ observation signals that the court may be getting ready to take another look at the question of spending limits.

(emphasis added)

http://www.nytimes.com/2000/02…

  

Too bad Justice Stevens’ hopes for a second look at this controversial Buckley v Valeo Ruling were dashed in yet another 2006 Supreme Court ruling, by reaffirming the Valeo decision. In the latest 2006 case, the Supreme Court overruled State Rights to set limits on its own internal Campaign Financing Laws:

Justices Block Vermont Campaign Finance Law

By NEIL A. LEWIS – June 26, 2006

WASHINGTON, June 26 – The Supreme Court ruled today that a Vermont law restricting campaign donations and expenditures was unconstitutional. The court said that the law’s limits on how much a candidate could spend violated a landmark 30-year-old ruling equating such spending with free speech and that its limits on donations to a campaign were far too stringent.

The 6-to-3 ruling was the court’s latest effort to deal with the vexing question of whether – in the name of reducing the role of money in the political arena – legislatures may impose limits on the amount of money candidates may spend and raise.

The court offered in a 1976 case, Buckley v. Valeo, what has turned out to be an enduring if controversial framework for those issues. The justices said that some limits on donations were constitutional as part of an effort to control the influence of money in politics. But the court said that the money a candidate spent in an election was equivalent to free speech and any limit on that would be an unconstitutional infringement on that right.

(emphasis added)

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06…

Funny, how Polls find that MOST People strongly favor Campaign Finance Reform.

But Shhhh, Don’t tell anyone …” otherwise they might have to actually change the “Pay to Play” system, that the Corporate Media always SO conveniently ignores.

(Where’s the Campaign Ad Revenue, for the Media, in covering THAT Story!)

Defending Vermont’s Campaign Finance Reforms

As a recent poll commissioned by NVRI (National Voting Rights Institute) revealed, many agree the current system is unfair and chronically flawed. A remarkable 87% of voters support caps on campaign spending as a way of improving the fairness, honesty and integrity of elections.

(emphasis added)

http://www.nvri.org/campaignsp…

Funny, how Polls find that MOST People strongly favor Campaign Finance Reform — SO WHY does it never Happen?  Could it be there really “ARE Two Americas”?

Those who Make the Rules and Make the Profits, and Those who always get Taken advantage of!

Money equals Free Speech, in modern day America, or so the cynics have ruled.  This ensures that those with the Gold, will continue to make the Rules.  Those without, well you’re on your own!

You know that old saying seems to have some new legs, Money Talks, while the Voters Walk!

It’s not that some Leaders won’t Stand on Principle, just listen to Senator Barbara Boxer argue for the urgent need to put the brakes on the “Money Equals Speech” principle. (It’s a damn shame however that OUR Congress — would rather just be “paid to procrastinate” {and to “pontificate”}, instead of Acting, though!)

U.S. Democracy Under Siege — Senate Debate Excerpts

Excerpts from the Congressional Record of the October 14, 1999 Senate debate.

Senator Barbara BOXER:

It is fair to ask: Why is Senator Boxer in favor of the most far-reaching campaign finance reform we can get? I can sum it up with three main reasons.

[…]

First, the system is bad for ordinary people. Let me tell you why. Ordinary people feel disenfranchised. Ordinary people who cannot afford to make contributions to campaigns feel left out.

Secondly, the system has the appearance of corruption. Let me talk about the fight I waged on oil royalties. I do not know anyone who stood up in that debate who did not believe big oil companies were not paying their fair share of royalties.

[…]

And the third reason: The system is stealing precious time from elected officials. Look, let’s be honest. A person who comes from California, who takes the oath of office, would have to raise $10,000 a day, 7 days a week, for 6 years, in order to have the resources to run for reelection.

[…]

The Supreme Court was divided 5 to 4 on the issue of free speech. I tell you, they are wrong because when you say money equals speech, you are demeaning the Constitution; you are demeaning this democracy.

How is it free speech if candidate A is a billionaire and can buy up every inch of time on the TV and the radio and the other candidate, candidate Y, is a poor candidate and has to go raise money? By the time he gets the money, he goes to the TV stations and the radio stations, and they say: Oh, sorry, candidate Y. There is no time left for you to buy. That is an infringement on his speech.



So how do you say that money equals speech if one candidate has it; the other one has a harder time getting it, and they cannot get the prime time? This speech argument is a debasement of everything that I believe in. I believe that our Founders would roll over in their graves if they knew that when they fought and died for free speech, it now means money, and you cannot tell a wealthy candidate you can only put X into your campaign, because it is a violation of free speech. But what about the poor candidate? He does not have the money. What about his speech?

So this argument on speech, to me, is nonsensical. I am one of these people who believe the Supreme Court ought to take another look at that Buckley v. Valeo because I think it is off the wall.

 (emphasis added)

http://urielw.com/campfin.htm

Like I said, it’s not that some Leaders won’t Stand on Principle, it’s just that the pragmatic and logistical demands regarding Re-election ($10,000 a day), ALWAYS will get in the way … WHAT do our spineless Leaders need, more than anything, to get Re-Elected?  

They need $$$$$$$ — and lots of it! (apparently SOME Speech is more Equal than other Speech, in their America, which is beholden to all those “Soft Money” donors.)

Here’s some wisdom from a Senior Citizen, who’s probably seen it all. It looks like Mr Kaiser is an equal-opportunity critic, of our 2-tiered system of Representation:

POLITICIANS NEED INTERVENTION NOW — By Frank Kaiser

(A cry in the wilderness to take the money

out of politics and save our democracy)

By 49 to 40, these masters of hypocrisy voted for American consumers to continue paying the highest prices in the world for brand-name prescription drugs.

Proving that even our wealthiest politicians are susceptible to the Greed Disease that has all but strangled democracy in this country, 15 Democratic senators, led by Ted Kennedy (who, for example, received $225,150 from Big Pharma in 2006), John Kerry, and Jay Rockefeller voted in favor of an amendment to protect Big Pharma’s Kingdom.



[…]

I [as a prospective Senator] too would opt to receive public financing.

Soon everyone would. Also, we could:

  1) Restrict active campaigning to two or three months before Election Day;

  2) Force media to provide free radio and TV time to candidates (who could buy more time if they wished), in exchange for their licenses to broadcast on the public airwaves;

  3) Compel candidates to debate each other, to move from sound bites to ideas, and to use fewer attack ads, all under federal regulations of broadcast media; and

  4) Encourage registration and voting in any way possible including holding elections on holidays.

Copyright © 2007 – Frank Kaiser

(emphasis added)

http://www.suddenlysenior.com/…

Point 2 has the potential to short circuit the entire Money-driven ride — cut em off at the pass!  In exchange for FREE USE of the airways, the FCC used to make the Media “play by the rules” to help Society — NOT to Exploit it!  

Hmmm … Encouraging such “Public Service” seems like an important goal for any healthy and FREE Society.  Hey, Media it’s time for some PSA’s, for underpaid Public Servants, again!

(Psst! They can afford it.)

Here’s some wise, parting words from a political Statesman, who for some reason (?) dropped out of the Political “Big Leagues”, way too soon. (Perhaps he knew the system was “rigged” against any Real Change???)

“Money is to politics what acid is to cloth – it eats away at the fabric of democracy.

Democracy doesn’t have to be a commodity that is bought and sold. Most politicians enter politics to do good, not to ask for donations.

“There’s no reason we can’t have a political process in which everyone’s voice can be heard, in which dissent is respected and in which candidates run on the strength of their ideas, not the weight of their wallets.”

Bill Bradley, former US Senator

(emphasis added)

http://www.1hope.org/cfr.htm

Did you Vote for Change?

for Accountability; for leveling the playing field; for National Health Care?

When will OUR Representatives actually start Representing OUR Interests, instead of their own?  (It’s called “Public Service” afterall, NOT Private enrichment!  IF Congress people just want to pursue Power and Influence — they should just STAY in the Private Sector!)

Fix things for the People FIRST, Or get out of the way, and let someone else Stand up, for what the People want and NEED.  (That’s what Representation is SUPPOSED to be all about!)

We the People, are VERY OUTRAGED about OUR Voices NOT being Heard!  


Someday soon, this Silencing of OUR America, MUST end.

(Or we risk America itself being outsourced to the highest bidder.)

3 comments

    • jamess on June 21, 2009 at 5:23 am
      Author

    I’m mad as hell at how Congress caters to everyone,

    except US!

    • jamess on June 21, 2009 at 5:50 pm
      Author

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/

    thx!

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