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18 October 2011

Comments

Todd Juvinall

I am not optimistic a Amendment would make it out of the Congress. Remember, they have to start it all. Kind of like California. If you want a Constitutional Convention the Legislature has to vote it out first. Never gonna happen.

George Rebane

ToddJ - Hard to argue with that. But then, other than wiping out ignorance in the electorate (subsidized smart pills?) before it's too late, what then do you see as the best way to corral our electeds?

bill tozer

Agree with Todd.....Can't imagine Congress being forced to be under the sexual harassment laws or paying interns minimum wage or overtime. Well, if they do fall under the health care rule, maybe they can make a call to Health and Human Resources and get an exemption.

Todd Juvinall

The answer is a intense education every year of the high school years on the Constitution (maybe college too) and what it means (rights and responsibilities) and perhaps the next generation would then straighten things out. As a baby boomer generation fellow, I am really ashamed of my fellow Americans who live and practice the liberal ideology. That has been the problem. All this coddeling for goodness sakes. Down to Jerry Brown signing numerous laws last week on bullying! We just kicked the bullies ass and he was no longer a problem. Our wimpish left now wants a bully cop on every campus. That is just one stupid set of laws. More to come.

Ben Emery

You are talking about a symptom of the problem not the problem itself. What we are seeing over the last decade is the American people connecting these dots. Governments behavior is a problem but not the root cause. We have a two party system that is owned by big business interests and as the corruption of our entire body politic grows so do our national, state, regional, and social ills. We are about to see it collapse onto itself in the next few years. Hold on tight because it is going to be a bumpy ride.

George Rebane

BenE - Agreed about your "symptom" observation. Do you see unions also "owning" any interests in the political parties (note that Obama outspent McCain by $665M in 2008)? What kind of bumps do you see us having to suffer in the ride ahead?

Todd Juvinall

I ran for the state Assembly in 1992. I learned a whole lot about money in politics. What was evident on its face is the left has the most money. Why the Emery's never list the Trial Lawyers associations, Teachers and Nurses unions, the thousands of special interests that are not corporations is beyond me. When I looked at the donors lists on the FPPC or FEC lists, you will see things like a PAC formed by retired federal workers, Optometrists, Chiropractors or Disabled organizations. So all this BS about corporations running things is just that, BS. All BenE and his ilk need to do is a little research but that would destroy their worldview about who ships the money to whom. BTW, there are PACs formed by the CEO's of the grant seeking non profits!

bill tozer

Imagine Congress being forced to comply with the Americans w/Disabilities Act or The Fair Hiring/ Equal Opportunity Acts. Turn the page.

Todd Juvinall

Or International Flatulence Levels!

Ben Emery

George,
I do see the unions as being part of the special interest that need to be extracted out of our elections/ campaigns. Only until we remove the influence of all special interests will we get a government that represents the people needs over special interests. The people need to control the salaries and money in campaigns for our public officials, when this happens it will be very difficult for the entire body politic to be corrupted one way or the other. There will be a few that will be corrupted but I believe a majority of current politicians are out of necessity rather than desire.

From 1976 to 1992 the increase in spending to run for President of the United States of America increased around 10%. From 1992 to 2008 the increase was 400%.

http://www.opensecrets.org/bigpicture/index.php
Midterm elections of all expenditures
1998 $1.6 billion
2010 $3.6 billion

Presidential Election years
2000 $3.1 billion
2008 $5.3 billion
2012 projected $8 billion

These numbers are not from people struggling to make ends meet.


Todd Juvinall

I don't care how much money it takes or is spent. Instant disclosure is the answer. Not more regulation. Let free speech prevail. What I find interesting about liberals whining about money in politics is they think the USA has elections in a vacuum. Look at Europe . They have the tightest rules yet their countries are in the crapper. So, how is that possible BenE? Please explain how more regulations will make us freer.

Greg Goodknight

Todd is dead on with instant disclosure rules.

The left-liberals among us think salvation lies in letting politicians vote themselves campaign funding from public coffers. I can't think of a worse idea.

George Rebane

I think we all agree that people will seek like-minded people to give their shared voice some volume in the public square. And those so gathered will voice the special interest that called them together. Does that not make the electorate a polyglot of special interests wherein people can belong to more than one special interest group? For example, among the many special interests we support are the NRA and US English, we do it for reasons obvious from these pages. BenE, how would you have the "people control" our participation in such special interest groups?

My own preference agrees with that voiced by ToddJ and GregG - 'Take the monies from where you will, but instantly disclose the amount, source, and terms under which it was contributed.'

Martin

Maybe we really need King George III back again. He wasn't really so bad.

bill tozer

Occupy Wall Street is having a local rally Wednesday @ 4pm in Nevada City. I think it is time we quit talking and go protest Congress on the streets. I am busy making signs at this very moment inspired by the attached site. Imitation is the highest form of flattery. See ya on the news http://www.funnyhub.com/pictures/pages/we-are-idiots.html

Ben Emery

Here is the problem with your position, somebody worth a few billion dollars or even multimillion dollars can fund a candidates in any district in any state. They aren't going out getting the $20 to $200 contributors to fund their campaigns they are depending on the PAC's, bundles, and outside spending to get them elected. In the house members of congress spend up to 2/3 of their time fund raising for their next campaign, which leaves little time to research and construct legislation. No problem, let the lobbyists write the legislation.

In 2009 and 2010 despite having a 20% decrease in profits since 2006 the top 35 banks in the US gave themselves $140 billion in bonuses in each one of these years. Spend 10% of those bonuses over a two year period and the banks will have $28 billion spending on candidates/ parties every two years. Compare this number with the numbers in previous comment. This almost guarantees a super majority. If they crash and threaten to fail the masters will order their wholly owned subsidiaries, democratic and republican parties, to bail them out. They don't have to live in any of the districts/ states just fund candidates that will pass legislation in their favor.

If we funded the campaigns the only people holding the strings are the American people.

Elections not special interests should control the members of our government. Special interests are not accountable to the people but our elected officials are supposed to be. Our public officials are not due to all the special interest money they and their parties receive. The argument is made that those special interests are made up of people but certain groups of people for many reasons would have the ability to consolidate/ accumulate much more money/ wealth/ influence than others. Social Security advocates/ lobbyists will have a drastic disadvantage against financial sector lobbyists.

Todd is sounding like a democrat with his disclosure proposal. The democratic controlled house passed the Disclose Act 2010 and the republicans forced a 60 vote majority to pass it in the senate. It went down party lines. It is much more in the republicans interest to hide their donors. The NRA opposed the bill as well.
http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2010/09/senate-republicans-again-block.html

Todd Juvinall

BenE, I and many free speech advocates have had the position I spoke of long before you were in politics. It got codified to a degree with "Citizen's United". No government money for a candidate is needed if someone can organize his campaign good enough. If he can't raise the dough then in our system he won't win. Raising money forces a candidate to go out into the community. If you would get the lamestream media to donate all the time for a candidates spewing of rhetoric, more power to you. Unfortunately the lamestream media and their love for liberals falls short of their love of the dollar.So, if you want to run for anything, get out there and start raising the dough to get the advertising.

Ben Emery

Todd,
As usual you are missing the point. If the ends justify the means then I would go to the Goldman Sachs, Monsanto, United Health, BofA, and extremely wealthy businesswomen/ men to get easy huge amounts of campaign support. There is always something in return for their financial or advertising support. How does that help represent the people and small businesses in the district? Our campaigns/ elections should be based on ideas not money. Here is an excerpt from our campaign that speaks truth to power.

"Nothing in our Constitution addresses political parties or partisanship. However, over the past 30 years, political parties have presented partisanship as the only operating paradigm. Our government has become less representative because that’s what BOTH parties want. They fight for campaign dollars instead of votes, then use those dollars to manipulate opinion in an effort to frighten voters to take their side. This was not what the founders envisioned for our grand republic."

The second point is we are then limited to the two largest unaccountable institutions in the US, the Republican and Democratic Party. Both of these parties have been at the controls since the civil war. The infrastructure and connections all lie within these institutions. The bigger the institution the less accountable they become. You have made the point that I am a cop out for not compromising myself and joining one of the big two, once again you are missing the point. I am trying to change the paradigm that we as Americans have grown complacent with and depend on. The point is that I talked about issues neither the big two will touch because they are both responsible.

Ben Emery

Bill,
Why is sabotage a major strategy of those on the right? I am sure it exists on the left but no where near the levels that it does on the right.

Organize your own rally stating Yes to the Status Quo, Yes to the Big Banks, Yes to Income Inequality, and Yes to Special Interests. It is like countering Peace Rallies.

George Rebane

If elections were based on the merits of the candidates, then in today's world of the internet and mobile devices there would be no problem to get ALL the appropriate information out to the voters for sums that the poorest of candidates can afford. But both the government (Bureau of Educational Statistics) and private sector (see any TV ad) substantiate that we American adults populate mainly both sides of the moronic border. The written word, poly-syllabic speeches of more than two minutes, and any tools derived from the broad category of numeracy are inaccessible. That leaves high-production value circuses and their frequent repetition as the ONLY alternative communication mode with which politicians can establish some 'contact' with voters.

So how does surmounting the two party system (not that I'm defending it) lead to overcoming the more systemic tragedy of a terminally ignorant and/or indifferent electorate? After all, when it comes to election day, they all have their rights.

George Rebane

BenE 230pm - It has been rampant capitalism that has liberated mankind from the status quo and given us a whirlwind ride into the highest levels of prosperity, health, and quality of life. And that advance continues, borne on the shoulders of free enterprise and individual liberty, its pace determined only by how much of the two are permitted by the governments. And excessive collectivism has been and continues to be the anchor. Your framings of "Big Banks", "Income Inequality", and "Special Interests" as the objectives of conservatives does not advance your argument.

Todd Juvinall

As usual BenE misses the point. He complains and complains yet makes excuse for his failures as a candidate and for his party, the Greens, while he has been given quite a number of ways to overcome his inadequacies in the political world. Every loser in a campaign race cry's about their lack of money raising. BenE says he won't go to Monsanto or corporations etc. etc. etc. I simply recommended he go into his district and ask Joe and Jane, his neighbors and the little people to donate to him. Well, if he did and couldn't raise any money then maybe the people don't care for him or his ideas. BenE is that the real problem? You can't raise money because people don't care for your philosophy? If it is too difficult for people like BenE to go into the community they want to represent and raise campaign money I would suggest bowing out. Your ideas are kaput.

Dixon Cruickshank

Good post Todd

Ben Emery

Todd,

Our campaign was extremely successful.

Unlike yourself we went against the machine while you became a piece of it. You believed that you wanted to be a politician and didn't succeed. I didn't join the must join groups, didn't pad my resume, didn't go after powerless titles, and ran against the corrupted failed system not the opposing candidates. All the things insiders believe are a must for a "successful" politician are the very problems with the system.

I was a person who never ran for public office, our campaign coordinators were 14 and over hundred volunteers who never worked on a campaign before, we had no party infrastructure in place, and I am not independently wealthy. We received the second highest third party vote total out of 665 candidates nationwide, we were in the top 5 in raising funds, and in the top 10 in %. We participated in over 40 events (Modoc, Lassen, Butte, Sierra, El Dorado, Plumas, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento Counties) many of them multiple days such as fairs and festivals. Working, coaching basketball and softball in our local public schools, raising kids, and being a conservator to a elderly family friend had me going 18 hours a day for months. So please keep your preaching to yourself about going out and meeting the people in district.

Ben Emery

George,
I would argue it has been the evolution of democracy that has allowed highest levels of prosperity, health, and quality of life. Unfortunately is has been distorted into something unsustainable and actually detrimental to this fragile system that allows human beings to live. When a population of 5% consumes/ creates 25% of the worlds resources/ pollution there is an inequity and wasteful lifestyle problem. What we are seeing play out is the collapse of crony/ predatory capitalism. It is eating itself like a cancer. Hopefully a more balanced form of economics will rise from the ashes, whether it be capitalism or something entirely new.

Ben Emery

I kind of jumped from government to economic systems. Different forms of democracy allowing people have more control over their lives. Our economic system shifted back to a predatory crony capitalism repeating itself many times throughout our history. These times were filled with boom and bust cycles that created progressive movements that steered the ship back on course. We are at another one of those times.

http://www.fourthturning.com/html/fourth_turning.html

George Rebane

BenE - I'm familiar with your interpretation of the causal corrections to the business cycles. However, they are not needed to explain why business cycles occur; the correction of built up excesses come about quite naturally. The cycles themselves are an emergent property of how marginally controlled complex dynamic systems behave. Excesses usually occur in business cycles when certain parts of the system begin to over-dominate - i.e. control and knowledge become concentrated. The collectivist hubris is to attempt over-domination in the opposite direction, and when successful the predictable disaster occurs.

Today many liberals point to the long-lived road to socialism that Europe has been peacefully on as a counter to the above. That is a folly that has survived instability only because the US has served its role as defender and economic anchor to the gaggle known as the EU. And it is now predictably coming unglued as pensions, productivity, and security realities come home to roost. Nevertheless, the socialist's solution is always more socialism, as is the capitalist's solution more free-market capitalism.

Ben Emery

George,
I would have to say the EU problems mirror our own. In your list banks, especially central banks creating money/ debt out of thin air are missing. The nations with the most regulations on their banks are doing just fine. Look at our neighbor to the north, not one banking failure in this whole financial meltdown. Why? They heavily regulate their banks.

This gradual move towards free market capitalism is this predator objectivism that justifies excess with the facade of shareholders interests instead of what it really is, greed. Growth for the sake of growth is not healthy within any system. Unfortunately the US economists and the Chicago School of Economics have done their job too well and convinced this type of capitalism is both manageable and sustainable to much of the world. Neither is true. As for markets correcting themselves, people, animals, and ecosystems have to get hurt before the market corrects itself violating our natural and legal rights along the way. What is the result? People die/ suffer and big business pays a fine that is factored into their costs of doing business. If the failure is big enough and will affect enough people the government will step in and bail them out.

I will give you a perfect quote that sums up your last statement.
"Capitalism will never fail because socialism will always be there to bail it out"

Todd Juvinall

What should be explained better to BenE and his ilk about their love of socialism/communism is this. Even with the USA defending them with our military, their )EU etc.)socialist governments are a flop economically. The only one making good on our defense of them seems to be South Korea, a very capitalist country. Even Japan has been a no growth country since 1990. I remember they were always touting cradle to grave jobs with their Toyota's and Nissan's. Well, heck they are even a homogenous racial country and socialism doesn't work there either. We have people from all around the planet coming here, (there are 4 million apparently waiting legally) because they want a chance to be part of our capitalism. How the left in their own minds somehow turn that desire of the immigrants (legal ones) into a desire for socialism shows me they are just unable to read logic or even the words from the mouths of those people. BenE is a dinosaur on human motivation.

George Rebane

Re BenE 1139pm and ToddJ 833am - My views on bank regulation are a matter of record on these pages - investment banking should be separated from 'trust banking', and monies rendered for savings and trust should never be co-mingled with investment monies. However, regarding the hubris that socialists have in their ability to manage individuals and societies, I'm afraid that will be an eternal schism between the capitalist and socialist.

It is true that unbridled capitalism will sooner or later embrace government's bayonet for its further (oligopolistic, monopolistic) growth, but therein comes the art of liberal government - how to fashion the bridle so as not to make it into a hobble. Because of socialism's tragically wrong view of human nature, people are soon offered the choice between politically correct altruism or the gulag. Pointing to existing socialist states nurtured in America's shadow just brings this discussion around the barn one more time.

Steve Enos

I fully agree 100% with George's position that... "investment banking should be separated from 'trust banking', and monies rendered for savings and trust should never be co-mingled with investment monies".

Ben Emery

George,
I am in agreement with you. The real debate is where the balance lies.

As for US military and its global interventions, that is a sign of an empire that has set up its existence based on strategic resources outside of its borders. No empire has ever survived when more and more money is spent outside of their nation to sustain military dominance. We have somewhere in the ball park 800 foreign military bases in 140 nations and who knows how many nations we are actively using military weaponry in today. We spend more on "defense" than all other nations combined on the planet. I think Eisenhower who knew more about the military and global affairs than all of us put together said it best.

Hanging from a Cross of Iron
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGQ-wgPGTp8

Ben Emery

Todd,
I encourage you to look up the history of Toyota and how it became a auto superpower. I will give you a hint, protectionism.

Todd Juvinall

Glass-Steagal should be re-introduced to reign in what I have always said was a conflict of interest. Who threw it out? Oh, yeah. Anyway, I also agree we need to bring our troops home from all the bases around the world except of course from the embassies.

Regarding Toyota, my point was the Japanese society gave you a job for your lifetime. Remember that BenE? Well, we now get to see how that promise was kept don't we? Please explain BenE why the Japanese economy has been on hold since 1990, right after the bought Pebble Beach.

George Rebane

BenE - Progress. Please don't take my citing of America's contribution to world stability and growth through our military strength as also requiring belief that America (or any nation) seeking to maintain its position as the world's sheriff is either sustainable or stable - it is not. Our ability to do and be that is diminishing daily. A suggested more profitable discussion is 'how do we step down from our global role as hegemon without immediately inviting a new hegemon to take our place and, in the process, igniting destabilizing regional (real) wars?'

(I don't consider our military adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan as real wars which for us ended with Vietnam in 1973.)

Paul Emery

George

What is your definition of a "real war" ? It seems that invading a sovereign nation with the intent of deposing their leader is an act of war by any accepted defination.

Todd

At last we agree on something. Yes, let's close our bases and bring our troops home.

George Rebane

PaulE - you are, of course, right in the formal definition. My more pragmatic and informal definition involves logistical and human costs wherein we lost, say, more people and materiel in one week than we have in ten years of fighting. 'Real wars' put a crimp on a nation's economy and lifestyle, one where the human hurt is still negligible (except to those who must directly suffer), and one that a nation cannot simply borrow itself out of to delay the pain.

Paul Emery

So the likely 2 trillion spend in Afghanistan and Iraq is insignificant? Also it's estimated over 100,000 Iraq's died as a result of our invasion. Do you consider that insignificant enough to not call that a war?

Ben Emery

Todd,

Gramm Leach Bliley removed the wall called Glass Steagall.

Links to the vote in Congress and we know conservative/ corporate/ dlc democrat Bill Clinton signed it into law much like CFMA 2000. These two modifications in our financial sector came after a $5 billion lobbying effort and are largely responsible for the financial crisis.

Vote GLBA 1999
Senate
Yea 52 republican 1 democrat
Nay 44 democrats 0 republican
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/vote.xpd?vote=s1999-105

House Vote
Yea 207 republican 144 democrat
Nay 50 democrat 6 republican
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/vote.xpd?vote=h1999-570

Todd Juvinall

Sounds like Bill Clinton, the first black President and harbinger of bi-partisanship should have vetoed the bill. What was the Green's position at the time?

George Rebane

PaulE 1040am - I think you confuse the distinction in this thread when you omit my definition of 'real war' and use just 'war' in your pointed question. Of course, the military actions in the mid-east come under the aegis of 'war', but they are of the 'guns and butter' type which was my distinction.

Ben Emery

Todd,
It was a republican bill. So are you going to join us next wednesday in GV holding the republican congress and president clinton accountable? Bill Clinton was opposed by most Greens on his economic, welfare, labor, and trade policies to name a few. The two parties are the problem. No matter what policy we oppose there are only two parties involved passing such legislation who have both been taken over by special interest money and influence.

I was having to type it out so I stopped and gave the link.

Ralph Nader Green Party Candidate in 2000

The Insurance Lobby
10/27/2000

The industry’s campaign for deregulation follows the passage of the GLBA, which allows insurers, banks, and securities firms to merge into the money trusts of the past. The insurance lobby perversely calls this process “financial services modernization”

There is, however, nothing modern about the GLBA. The act is a piece of special interest legislation repealing New Deal reform legislation that kept financial sectors such as banking, insurance, and securities separate because the combined economic and political power of these industries threatened to undermine competitive enterprise and democratic government.


http://books.google.com/books?id=ZrsDlmkfgaIC&pg=PA254&lpg=PA254&dq=Nader+In+Pursuit+of+Justice+GLBA&source=bl&ots=q2FcdU3B6r&sig=05xHFOMfmu4WzI-dhp5QS8wuZ5I&hl=en&ei=itWgTqDKA4bZiQL1k-Ex&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&sqi=2&ved=0CBoQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

Todd Juvinall

With the wisp of his pen, Bill Clinton, the first black President, who held equal power with 535 Congressmen and Senators, could have vetoed the bill.

Ben Emery

Todd,
You asked about where Greens stood on the issue when it was passed. I gave you some information on where the Greens stood and how we didn't really like the Clinton administration on many issues. Your response, it was Clinton's fault. Republicans who wrote the bill and almost unanimously voted for it have no responsibility. Interesting. Why do you even pay attention if your going to vote straight (R) every election no matter what?

Ben Emery

Here is a perfect example why Public Financing is a must.

Since the pharmaceutical industry lobby's funds our politicians, the politicians then turn a blind eye to the crimes of the hand that feeds while appointing people from the very industries to regulate themselves.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsX6D_NqGMo

Ben Emery

Another example of how outside money influences local, regional, and state politics. It isn't from Ohioans but from special interests.
Public Financing of Campaigns

http://www.alternet.org/story/152862/out-of-state_corporate_money_floods_ohio_battle_over_anti-collective_bargaining_bill?akid=7775.282701.n2Vt2r&rd=1&t=30

Todd Juvinall

Public financing will lead to candidates only approved by the financing authority.

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