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Showing posts from November, 2015

How to rig an election

How to rig an election "Just as a controlling political party may not use public funds to pay its campaign expenses, it is also quite wrong to use public power for the sole purpose of enhancing the political strength of the majority party." ~ Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens If you were planning to steal an election, you would first need to choose between two different approaches. Our long history of rigging the popular vote can help you there. First, you could try controlling who counts the votes, or how those votes get counted. It's the most direct and effective way of defeating democracy when those votes are cast, counted and stored by electronic machines. There's a better method, one that is easier and legal, but not quite as reliable. It's done right out in the open by people we elected who redraw lines on maps to create unnatural voter districts for political purposes. Commonly known as "gerrymandering", it's a great way of gaining…

Don’t Sell Your Vote

Don’t Sell Your VoteI’m against very wealthy people attempting to or influencing elections, but as long as it’s doable, I’m going to do it.” – Billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson.
The difference between a campaign contribution and a bribe is simply this: a bribe goes directly into someone’s pocket while a contribution gets deposited into a bank account. The degree of influence remains pretty much the same in either case. But if we want to adhere to the Constitution, then we shouldn't try to stop corporations or really rich folks from investing millions of dollars in support of a candidate they like. The Supreme Court has so ruled, and they are right. On the other hand, Justice Anthony Kennedy offered this strange comment in support of the Court's decision: "We now conclude that independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption." From where I sit out here in the woods, the amount of mo…

The Rise of the Independents

The Rise of the Independents "I don't want everybody to vote. Our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down." – American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) co-founder Paul Weyrich, 1983A true democracy may be the least efficient form of government, but that's because it includes more freedom than any social construction ever devised. You need consensus for it to work well; you need to seek solutions on common ground, and you need mass participation by engaged and informed citizens. Those are hard things to find in 21st Century America. Just like every other country on the planet, we have a diverse population with multiple points of view regarding how a citizen-owned government should operate. Our electoral system, however, is dominated by two political parties that aren't nearly as different from each other as they want voters to believe. Flash back to 1952 when Dwight Eisenhower was elected president, then jump forward to 20…

How to own your government

How to own your government

"The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism – ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power." – "
Franklin D. Roosevelt, in a message to Congress in 1938
The American people own and operate the United States government. That's the underlying truth of our democracy, even when the reality is something quite different. Just about everyone agrees that the current state of our government is ugly and dysfunctional, while everyone blames someone else for the mess. But it's all our fault – yours, mine, and the folks next door, too. We let special interest groups pay lobbyists to bribeentertain members of Congress with lavish gifts, and we allow politicians to accept bribescontributions almost without limit. Those elected representatives of the peopl…