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"Occupy Wall Street" Movement

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makes me curious as to why OWS steers away from protesting the other half of the mess, i.e., the governments role in all of it...no one was holding a gun to their head to accept the corporate influence...or be the largest purchaser of subprime MBS

 

I agree.  A truly bipartisan group (which OWS is not) should be protesting both.  Rather, I think they're just an antithesis to the Tea Party (who blames government for everything).

 

This country doesn't seem to know what bipartisanship is anymore, though.  I'm not sure you could rally support around a cause that's centrist.

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I like this quote (article by Brent Budowski):

 

There are commonalities between Lech Walesa and Solidarity (which supports Occupy Wall Street and rights for workers) and the young men and women still standing courageously in Tahrir Square. There are commonalities between those who carried the Statue of Liberty in Beijing and those battling for freedom in Damascus. There are commonalities between those opposing financial corruption in the Occupied movement and at least some of the Tea Party grass roots.

There are commonalities between women in literally every corner of the world who seek equality, and all who seek equality and justice in their own lives, no matter who they are, no matter where they are.

 

There are even commonalities, though they might not yet fully know it, between hundreds of thousands of people in Tahrir Square and hundreds of thousands of people marching in Israel for a fairer and better life, in a world where hope and opportunity can someday mobilize resources now wasted on war and death and hatred.

 

There is not yet a unity to this, but there is a growing unified spirit.

What Ron Paul, Occupy Wall Street, Lech Walesa, Tahrir Square, Tiananmen Square and Many Tea Party People Have in Common

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brent-budowsky/what-ron-paul-occupy-wall_b_1131039.html

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I like this quote (article by Brent Budowski):

What Ron Paul, Occupy Wall Street, Lech Walesa, Tahrir Square, Tiananmen Square and Many Tea Party People Have in Common

Obama campaigned for change but did not deliver it, which is the major reason his poll numbers are very far down.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brent-budowsky/what-ron-paul-occupy-wall_b_1131039.html

Budowsky is writing a bridge between the paragraphs of his editorial.  He missed.

 

President Obama delivered change.  Our country is being run profoundly differently than it was three years ago.  Remember the militarism, divisiveness and, crony capitalism under Bush?

 

Bush gave us fake terror warnings, six years of Rumsfeld and unending wars.

President Obama ended the Iraq War and brought us Osama's head on a plate.

 

As for Congressman Paul, his commercials indicate that he would dismantle the safety net that has kept social order for 70 years.  Policies like unemployment compensation keep families in their homes and prevent street violence.  When the US had to manage Europe after WW2, we put in social policies to restore society.  The programs worked so well that the Europeans decided to keep those programs in place.

 

 

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^I agree that it's tough to imagine a world without SS and Medicare, but China does not provide these benefits to its population and therefore is at a *huge* competitive advantage.  So those patriotic retired folks who say they'd die for this nation should hurry up and do it.  But sometime in the next 30 years, if China is to truly take a position as a world leader, it will either enact similar benefits or will be forced to by a large-scale revolt. 

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IIRC, there are demonstrations in the street almost every day in China.  They protest against stupid local "government" administration, pollution, flooding,...

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I like this quote (article by Brent Budowski):

What Ron Paul, Occupy Wall Street, Lech Walesa, Tahrir Square, Tiananmen Square and Many Tea Party People Have in Common

Obama campaigned for change but did not deliver it, which is the major reason his poll numbers are very far down.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brent-budowsky/what-ron-paul-occupy-wall_b_1131039.html

Budowsky is writing a bridge between the paragraphs of his editorial.  He missed.

 

President Obama delivered change.  Our country is being run profoundly differently than it was three years ago.  Remember the militarism, divisiveness and, crony capitalism under Bush?

 

Bush gave us fake terror warnings, six years of Rumsfeld and unending wars.

President Obama ended the Iraq War and brought us Osama's head on a plate.

 

As for Congressman Paul, his commercials indicate that he would dismantle the safety net that has kept social order for 70 years.  Policies like unemployment compensation keep families in their homes and prevent street violence.  When the US had to manage Europe after WW2, we put in social policies to restore society.  The programs worked so well that the Europeans decided to keep those programs in place.

 

 

 

Boreas I agree I'd favor Obama over Bush/Cheney, and most of the republican field. But the President's approval rating polls low:

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/obama_administration/daily_presidential_tracking_poll

 

The larger message I took from the article was the universal search for "justice." Even if the definition isn't exactly a shared one. I seldom agree with OWS but I think by and large they are benefiting all of us by bringing vital issues to the forefront.

 

I couldn't disagree with you more re: necessity of the safety net you mention. I don't want the U.S. to end up like Europe. That doesn't mean I don't think the both us should discuss and share our ideas on issues like how to care for seniors, health care, unemployment, etc.

 

Discourse doesn't have to be negative.

 

 

 

 

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Five Occupy Dayton Members Arressted

 

Five members of the Occupy Dayton movement were arrested by police Wednesday for trespassing on property they claim is on the city’s nuisance list....

 

 

....The protesters were arrested one day after they voluntarily dismantled their small encampment in Dave Hall Plaza and after the nationwide Occupy movement declared a war on the foreclosure crisis.

 

More at the link.

 

As you can guess I know a bit more about this than what is in the story.  This was not really intended to be some sort of "sit in" type of occupation.  What really happened is they did indeed take down their camp and were putting up the tents in the yard of a guy who is part of Occupy but not an occupier.  He lived next door to that vacant property and was actually maintaining the property to some degree, cutting the grass and weeds.  When they pitched the tents (to air them out,  mostly, before packing them away) they put one or part of one on the vacant property, and that is what caused the cops to bust them.

 

Sort of a good question as to who called the cops...either a neighbor or one of the conservative stalkers they have, who has been trailing them, or someone who opposes (either civilian or undercover LEO) and is working as a mole or undercover.

 

The people who were arrested have been bailed out except one, who apparently had a prior offense of some sort and was on parole.  So since this is a parole violation he is still in.

 

Despite this the Occupy Dayton group is continuing on...the campers were just a part of a larger circle of people.

 

What is really interesting is that a "Food Working Group" has formed and I am a member.  The idea here is not so much to feed campers since there is no camping, but to work on food justice and food supply issues.  We are probably going to work with Feed Dayton and the Miami Valley Sustainability Center (something I had no idea about until I joined this working group).....as well as maybe do independent things and direct actions (some sort of action directed at 2nd Street Market re them no accepting food stamps was discussed, but pretty much nixed). 

 

This has the promise of doing something constructive, doing some community building as well as addressing food supply and recycling issues. 

 

 

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IIRC, there are demonstrations in the street almost every day in China.  They protest against stupid local "government" administration, pollution, flooding,...

 

Perhaps, but whenever they threaten to have an impact, there are troops in the streets....

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as well as maybe do independent things and direct actions (some sort of action directed at 2nd Street Market re them no accepting food stamps was discussed, but pretty much nixed). 

 

This has the promise of doing something constructive, doing some community building as well as addressing food supply and recycling issues. 

 

I realize you nixed this, but I looked at their website and it looks like the (Cleveland) West Side Market, with a bunch of independent vendors.  Each would make their own decision vis a vis "food stamps",  which actually now work like debit cards (it's called the "Ohio Direction Card").  My guess is the stores that don't take them also don't take credit cards.

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From the Washington Post: Occupy Wall Street leaders, heady with momentum, plan to continue blockades, similar protests

 

OAKLAND, Calif. — Heady with their successful attempts to block trucks and curb business at busy ports up and down the West Coast, some Occupy Wall Street protesters plan to continue their blockades and keep staging similar protests.

 

Thousands of demonstrators forced shipping terminals in Oakland, Calif., Portland, Ore., and Longview, Wash., to halt parts of their operations Monday and some intend to keep their blockade attempts ramped up overnight.

 

I'm sort of suprised they were able to pull this off a second time. 

 

Here is a good think-piece from the New Critereon looking at the Paris Commune of 1871 as precursor to OWS:

 

Commune Plus One

 

Occupy Wall Street is but the latest revival of a spectacle that has been performed many times before—not necessarily in the Arab Spring, which saw regimes toppled through political means, but in certain incarnations of idealistic vision that emerged out of a seventy-two-day experiment in Paris nearly a century and a half ago. Before there were the Tompkins Square Park riots, the student takeovers of 1968, or Occupy Wall Street, there was the Paris Commune of 1871.

 

Seeing as the NC is neocon the artcile makes the connection with marxism/leninism, which is incorrect as anarchism is more the underlying ideology.  But the observation that this is just another romatically doomed lost cause is a good one.  If anyone reads Howard Zinn you will see that litany of noble but failed strikes, protests, aborted revolts, lost cause political movements, etc.

 

"Beautiful Losers" and all that. 

 

The ironic thing about Zinn is the movement he barely mentions, lesbian/gay rights, was the most sucessful (so far).

 

So much for the left, huh?

 

@@@

 

For my part the Occupation may take a different turn. 

 

First, let me direct yr attention to the following thread from a few years ago:

 

Older South Park/Lower South Park

 

...turns out a lady who either lives or owns property in the neighborhood discussed in the thread is involved with Occupy Dayton.  This came out in passing re a discussion on the local power structure...she was sort of "radicalized" through her dealings with local governemnt & how they are subservient to orgs like Miaimi Valley Hospital (MVH).

 

I e-mailed her for more detal and she gave me a history of her involvement and fight with MVH.  Turns out the neighborhood is now its own community group with a new name, "Hope Enclave" (dont like that name, but no-matter). 

 

So I offered to help her on her and her neighborhoods fight against MVH, urbanblight, and also to work on proposing infill alternatives..possibly as a studio project for an architectureal school in the region (and if anyone is reading this who has connections to an architecture program & can help with this PM me).

 

I am thinking of also hooking her up with the local urban ag effort or what the Food Working Group is trying to do.

 

Im going to talk with her in person in the near future, then maybe bring a proposal to Occupy Dayton.

 

If there isn't any support from the local Occupy I'm going to limit my involvment with them and work with this lady and her neighbrhood as a one-man volunteer effort.

 

So some of the research skills I developed here at UO might be put to a constructive use!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sounds like the Tea Party message of opposing big government is more resonant with the public, per recent Gallup polling:

 

Is Occupy Wall Street late to the game?

 

 

The poll shows 64 percent of Americans say “big government” is the biggest threat to the country, while just 26 percent say it’s “big business” and 8 percent say it’s “big labor.”

 

That figure for big business is about as low as it was before the economy collapsed in 2008, and those who say big government is the biggest threat is near a historic high.

 

Which suggests that the tea party might well have beaten Occupy Wall Street to the punch after the economic collapse, and that Occupy Wall Street might have missed its best chance to really catch fire.

 

...whats interesting is how low labor scores.  This probably tracks with the very low % of private sector workers who belong to unions.  Most people see unions as irrelevant, something that is fading into history, something that was part of their parents or grandparents lives, not theirs.

 

The labor movement isn't really relevant to the national discussion anymore.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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From the Washington Post: Occupy Wall Street leaders, heady with momentum, plan to continue blockades, similar protests

 

OAKLAND, Calif. Heady with their successful attempts to block trucks and curb business at busy ports up and down the West Coast, some Occupy Wall Street protesters plan to continue their blockades and keep staging similar protests.

 

Thousands of demonstrators forced shipping terminals in Oakland, Calif., Portland, Ore., and Longview, Wash., to halt parts of their operations Monday and some intend to keep their blockade attempts ramped up overnight.

 

I'm sort of suprised they were able to pull this off a second time. 

 

Here is a good think-piece from the New Critereon looking at the Paris Commune of 1871 as precursor to OWS:

 

Commune Plus One

 

Occupy Wall Street is but the latest revival of a spectacle that has been performed many times beforenot necessarily in the Arab Spring, which saw regimes toppled through political means, but in certain incarnations of idealistic vision that emerged out of a seventy-two-day experiment in Paris nearly a century and a half ago. Before there were the Tompkins Square Park riots, the student takeovers of 1968, or Occupy Wall Street, there was the Paris Commune of 1871.

 

Seeing as the NC is neocon the artcile makes the connection with marxism/leninism, which is incorrect as anarchism is more the underlying ideology.  But the observation that this is just another romatically doomed lost cause is a good one.  If anyone reads Howard Zinn you will see that litany of noble but failed strikes, protests, aborted revolts, lost cause political movements, etc.

 

"Beautiful Losers" and all that. 

 

The ironic thing about Zinn is the movement he barely mentions, lesbian/gay rights, was the most sucessful (so far).

 

So much for the left, huh?

 

 

I'm not surprised.  The governing left is a bit schizophrenic when dealing with what could be called the movement left.  They get pushed to the point that they feel out of control, then when they react they lash out and overreact.  They catch hell for overreacting, they back off, and they back off too far. 

 

As for Zinn not mentioning lesbian/gay rights....that might have something to do with you all not being that closely tied into the left.  The fact is that leftist/communist states were way more oppressive towards homosexuality than the western democracies, while the idea of "just leave us alone" strikes home with at least the libertarian wing of the conservative movement (ask Patty Davis about how nonjudgemental her father was vis a vis Rock Hudson).  Also, there were a number of gay men who were influential in the conservative movement, and they neither became leftists nor lost their behind the scenes influence when they were outed.

 

Perhaps most critically and unlike other "left" movements, you're pretty much focused on your own cause and tolerant about deviations on unrelated issues.  I don't think GOProud is thought of among gays the way Clarence Thomas, Herman Cain, Allen West, Ken Blackwell, et al are by some "movement" blacks:  as traitors to the group as a whole

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...whats interesting is how low labor scores.  This probably tracks with the very low % of private sector workers who belong to unions.  Most people see unions as irrelevant, something that is fading into history, something that was part of their parents or grandparents lives, not theirs.

 

The labor movement isn't really relevant to the national discussion anymore.

 

When 44% of union members voted for Reagan in 1980, the leadership should have seen the writing on the wall.

 

Labor *is* relevant, when they are directly impacted.  Look at SB5, or their repeal of workman's comp reform during the 1990s.

 

The problem is labor *leaders* aren't relevant to what their members want.  Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO actively campaigned against the Arizona immigration law while most of his members want something like this in their states.  He and other leaders keep being shills for Obama, while the Administration didn't do anything about card check and pushed to let in Mexican trucks.

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The fact is that leftist/communist states were way more oppressive towards homosexuality than the western democracies

 

...and Zinn is or was a Communist, active in the CPUSA.  Back when he would have been active the CPUSA kicked out Harry Hay for being gay, and Hay went on to found a very early gay group using the CPUSA "cell" concept in order to ensure secrecy of membership (back when being gay was illegal). Thus, Communist homophobia indirectly influenced the early US gay movement.

 

So, I figure Zinn is or was homophobic to start with as he came out of that era and mileau.  This probably influenced his editorial decision to minimize the LGBT movement.

 

 

@@@@

 

I think SB5 was sort of like the initial support for Occupy Wall Street.  Sort of a protest vote against things not getting better w. the economy & jobs situation.

 

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The fact is that leftist/communist states were way more oppressive towards homosexuality than the western democracies

 

...and Zinn is or was a Communist, active in the CPUSA.  Back when he would have been active the CPUSA kicked out Harry Hay for being gay, and Hay went on to found a very early gay group using the CPUSA "cell" concept in order to ensure secrecy of membership (back when being gay was illegal). Thus, Communist homophobia indirectly influenced the early US gay movement.

 

So, I figure Zinn is or was homophobic to start with as he came out of that era and mileau.  This probably influenced his editorial decision to minimize the LGBT movement.

 

The membership of the CPSU wouldn't change their underwear without Soviet approval (remember that one of their top officers was an FBI mole and all this was well documented), so it most certainly would have.  Even in the era of glasnost, gays were sentenced to labor camps.  Of course, Mao and Castro weren't any more tolerant.

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I'm really hoping that the OWS crowd will put their weight behind this 28th amendment movement to, at the very least, get money out of politics, and perhaps more ambitiously, end corporate personhood.  I think this would be a great use of their energies.

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We absolutely should not end corporate personhood.  That would have devastating effects.  We just need to place some limitations on how far 'pro business' judges can extend that term into the realm of real personhood.

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We absolutely should not end corporate personhood.  That would have devastating effects.  We just need to place some limitations on how far 'pro business' judges can extend that term into the realm of real personhood.

 

I know there are some good arguments as to why it might be necessary, but I'm just sick of the abuses as this point.  How is the issue addressed in other Western countries?

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We absolutely should not end corporate personhood.  That would have devastating effects.  We just need to place some limitations on how far 'pro business' judges can extend that term into the realm of real personhood.

 

I know there are some good arguments as to why it might be necessary, but I'm just sick of the abuses as this point.  How is the issue addressed in other Western countries?

 

Perhaps some other countries have accepted Justice Stevens' view that money is not speech, even when the money is used to facilitate speech.  (I've never been comfortable with Stevens on this because I don't see the limiting principle.  Could the government ostensibly say that I have the right to the freedom of the press, but not the right to spend money buying paper and ink?  Or that I have the right to practice my religion, but not to donate money to my church?)

 

In fact, though, I really don't know how much different America even is from other countries on this point.

 

As for ending corporate personhood, Hts is absolutely correct.  In law, mere "personhood" just means legally recognized existence.  The U.S. constitution then gives all persons (including corporate persons, under current jurisprudence) certain rights, or more accurately, restrains the government from taking certain actions against the interests of persons, but personhood itself is simply legally recognized existence.  Most government agencies, the U.S. government and its state governments, nonprofit corporations (including schools, advocacy groups, religious institutions, etc.), for-profit corporations, partnerships, labor unions, etc. are all "persons" within the legal meaning of that term.

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We absolutely should not end corporate personhood.  That would have devastating effects.  We just need to place some limitations on how far 'pro business' judges can extend that term into the realm of real personhood.

 

I know there are some good arguments as to why it might be necessary, but I'm just sick of the abuses as this point.  How is the issue addressed in other Western countries?

 

Perhaps some other countries have accepted Justice Stevens' view that money is not speech, even when the money is used to facilitate speech.  (I've never been comfortable with Stevens on this because I don't see the limiting principle.  Could the government ostensibly say that I have the right to the freedom of the press, but not the right to spend money buying paper and ink?  Or that I have the right to practice my religion, but not to donate money to my church?)

 

In fact, though, I really don't know how much different America even is from other countries on this point.

 

As for ending corporate personhood, Hts is absolutely correct.  In law, mere "personhood" just means legally recognized existence.  The U.S. constitution then gives all persons (including corporate persons, under current jurisprudence) certain rights, or more accurately, restrains the government from taking certain actions against the interests of persons, but personhood itself is simply legally recognized existence.  Most government agencies, the U.S. government and its state governments, nonprofit corporations (including schools, advocacy groups, religious institutions, etc.), for-profit corporations, partnerships, labor unions, etc. are all "persons" within the legal meaning of that term.

 

Corporate personhood is the only real way I can see to protect the rights of the persons who own said corporations.

 

As for money in politics, I really don't see any way you can limit the ability to spend money without severely limiting speech.  Public financing?  That means government financing, and the existing government has just as much interest in the results of elections as any special interest. 

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Corporate personhood is the only real way I can see to protect the rights of the persons who own said corporations.

 

As for money in politics, I really don't see any way you can limit the ability to spend money without severely limiting speech.  Public financing?  That means government financing, and the existing government has just as much interest in the results of elections as any special interest. 

I have limited money to spend. Is my speech limited because of my modest income? Having more money should not entitle anybody to more speech in the democratic process.

 

The persons who own corporations have the same rights as anyone else. They do not need extra rights granted to their corporations.

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McCain-Feingold was a nice, well-reasoned, bi-partisan solution to a problem that obviously exists.

 

Corporations do not have unlimited inalienable rights.  As a matter of fact, I would argue that they don't have "inalienable" rights or they would be guaranteed the most important one.... the right to life.  There are several limitations including anti-trust laws  These limitations must be defined within the context of political influence.  If the only way to do it is to enact rules directed at political candidates (not necessarily their donors) then so be it.  This is a problem and it needs to be addressed.  I'm sure the "pro-business" crowd will understand once a candidate is elected on the back of donations and advertisements from "Jihadists for a New America, Inc."

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The underlying, unflattering assumption of that is that if you have enough money, you can get anyone elected and anything passed.  That's simply not true.  Money certainly matters, but even if you had a trillion dollars to spend, you wouldn't have been able to elect Osama bin Laden president.

 

I see that belief most starkly on the political extremes.  Hardcore rightist and leftist partisans both believe that they're so completely right that the only reason that the entire country doesn't agree with them is that they're subject to big-budget brainwashing campaigns by the other side.

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Who ever said that money can get you anything you want?  All I was saying is that it influences politics in DC as well as the voting base..... significantly.  Money corrupts and, without McCain Feingold, the floodgates are now open.  You can't honestly deny that.  You may accept it as a necessary evil, but you can't deny it.  If McCain Feingold was unconstitutional, we either need to amend the constitution or we need to enact a new law that resolves any constitutional concerns but still has the same effect.

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We absolutely should not end corporate personhood.  That would have devastating effects.  We just need to place some limitations on how far 'pro business' judges can extend that term into the realm of real personhood.

 

I know there are some good arguments as to why it might be necessary, but I'm just sick of the abuses as this point.  How is the issue addressed in other Western countries?

 

Perhaps some other countries have accepted Justice Stevens' view that money is not speech, even when the money is used to facilitate speech.  (I've never been comfortable with Stevens on this because I don't see the limiting principle.  Could the government ostensibly say that I have the right to the freedom of the press, but not the right to spend money buying paper and ink?  Or that I have the right to practice my religion, but not to donate money to my church?)

 

In fact, though, I really don't know how much different America even is from other countries on this point.

 

As for ending corporate personhood, Hts is absolutely correct.  In law, mere "personhood" just means legally recognized existence.  The U.S. constitution then gives all persons (including corporate persons, under current jurisprudence) certain rights, or more accurately, restrains the government from taking certain actions against the interests of persons, but personhood itself is simply legally recognized existence.  Most government agencies, the U.S. government and its state governments, nonprofit corporations (including schools, advocacy groups, religious institutions, etc.), for-profit corporations, partnerships, labor unions, etc. are all "persons" within the legal meaning of that term.

 

Corporate personhood is the only real way I can see to protect the rights of the persons who own said corporations.

 

As for money in politics, I really don't see any way you can limit the ability to spend money without severely limiting speech.  Public financing?  That means government financing, and the existing government has just as much interest in the results of elections as any special interest.

 

So the status quo of the buying of OUR representatives is acceptable?  I don't think so.

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Don’t Tax the Rich. Tax Inequality Itself.

 

THE progressive reformer and eminent jurist Louis D. Brandeis once said, “We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.” Brandeis lived at a time when enormous disparities between the rich and the poor led to violent labor unrest and ultimately to a reform movement.

 

Over the last three decades, income inequality has again soared to the sort of levels that alarmed Brandeis. In 1980, the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans made 9.1 percent of our nation’s pre-tax income; by 2006 that share had risen to 18.8 percent — slightly higher than when Brandeis joined the Supreme Court in 1916.

 

Congress might have countered this increased concentration but, instead, tax changes have exacerbated the trend: in after-tax dollars, our wealthiest 1 percent over this same period went from receiving 7.7 percent to 16.3 percent of our nation’s income.

 

What we call the Brandeis Ratio — the ratio of the average income of the nation’s richest 1 percent to the median household income — has skyrocketed since Ronald Reagan took office. In 1980 the average 1-percenter made 12.5 times the median income, but in 2006 (the latest year for which data is available) the average income of our richest 1 percent was a whopping 36 times greater than that of the median household.

 

Brandeis understood that at some point the concentration of economic power could undermine the democratic requisite of dispersed political power. This concern looms large in today’s America, where billionaires are allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money on their own campaigns or expressly advocating the election of others...

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/19/opinion/dont-tax-the-rich-tax-inequality-itself.html

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So the status quo of the buying of OUR representatives is acceptable?  I don't think so.

 

Mark Twain once observed that as long as the legislature controls buying and selling, the first things bought and sold are legislators.  While he was referring to corruption rather than campaigns, clearly it's not something new.

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Then, clearly, it is time for a change.  Wouldn't you agree?

 

One of my cheif concerns is not corporate influence, per se, but rather foreign influence masked through corporate donations and advertising.  Like it or not, countless foreign interests have a lot to gain and lose with our elections.  Those foreign interests don't have the right to vote (neither do corporations), but apparently according to SCOTUS, our constitution places no limits (in fact, it prohibits ANY limits) on the money they can pump into our elections.  That is a legitimate concern and it needs to be addressed. 

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Then, clearly, it is time for a change.  Wouldn't you agree?

 

One of my cheif concerns is not corporate influence, per se, but rather foreign influence masked through corporate donations and advertising.  Like it or not, countless foreign interests have a lot to gain and lose with our elections.  Those foreign interests don't have the right to vote (neither do corporations), but apparently according to SCOTUS, our constitution places no limits (in fact, it prohibits ANY limits) on the money they can pump into our elections.  That is a legitimate concern and it needs to be addressed. 

 

I'm not about "change" unless I know what it is.  Such got us into trouble in 2008.

 

Outside of complete  "laissz faire", the actions of government are going to impact businesses, and even if we had it the possibility of losing it would cause an economic interest in elections.  I'm not sure what the answer is, but I know that limiting speech (which is what limiting spending on same is) is a cure worse than the disease.  Said limits have to be a function of government, and government has just as much vested interest as any business or organization.

 

As for foreign attempts at influence, that's probably the price of being a superpower with a free society.  Voters and the media just have to be vigilant.  Money alone can't make a cause respectable, let alone victorious.  Look at all the money the Soviets pumped into the CPUSA. 

 

 

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Then, clearly, it is time for a change.  Wouldn't you agree?

 

One of my cheif concerns is not corporate influence, per se, but rather foreign influence masked through corporate donations and advertising.  Like it or not, countless foreign interests have a lot to gain and lose with our elections.  Those foreign interests don't have the right to vote (neither do corporations), but apparently according to SCOTUS, our constitution places no limits (in fact, it prohibits ANY limits) on the money they can pump into our elections.  That is a legitimate concern and it needs to be addressed.

 

I believe there are already laws on that topic on the book.  I don't know how vigorously they are enforced, but I honestly don't see too much evidence of foreign interference with American elections.  What foreign countries or corporations are we talking about here?  Israel?  Saudi Arabia?  China?  BP?

 

As for institutional changes, I have already noted the one radical change that I would make to dilute the power of lobbyists, though it would not necessarily dilute the power of corporations, i.e., increasing the size of the House of Representatives to its constitutional maximum, forcing lobbyists to spread their resources far more thinly and allowing House campaigns to be run on less staggering budgets.  (Senate and presidential elections would still be expensive, of course, but there's little that can be done about that.)

 

And, of course, if we get the government back under control so that it can do little to either help or hurt free, competitive actors, then there will be less cause for corporations to invest so much in political influence.  When a single administrative agency action can have such a dramatic effect on entire industries, however, and when the government is shown to be able and willing to throw nine, eleven, or even thirteen figures into saving favored industries, it suddenly becomes a very wise investment to pay a few tens of millions to curry favor with those in power.

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^^That's odd.  I thought the "trouble" began way before 2008.  But I suppose there is no use in trying to convince the Spanish Inquisition that the world isn't flat, so I will move on...

 

I understand your urge to side with anything and everything on the corporate giants' wish list.... even if doing so would put you in direct contradiction with yourself depending on the context and specifics..... but you simply can't say that spending money is free speech and it can't be limited.  Free speech certainly can be limited if the limitations pass the applicable judicial scrutiny.  I can't buy cocaine and then claim free speech rights when I am prosecuted.  I can't pay the judge trying my case to throw out the charges.  The examples are countless.

 

We need to protect the election process.  If that process is allowed to be perverted through and controlled by the influence of "people" who have no right to vote, then we will have lost who we are.

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I believe there are already laws on that topic on the book.  I don't know how vigorously they are enforced, but I honestly don't see too much evidence of foreign interference with American elections.  What foreign countries or corporations are we talking about here?  Israel?  Saudi Arabia?  China?  BP?

 

If you read Citizens United broadly enough (which corporations, foreign and domestic, will surely do) I believe any and all laws on that topic have been declared unconstitutional.  That is what is so troubling about that decision.... it opens the floodgates to influences many people never really even considered.  As for the specifics, probably all of the above and then some..... worse yet, they could funnel monies through such complex corporate webs full of shell games so that it would be nearly (if not totally) impossible to trace the source.

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Even if that's true (and I'm not 100% sure it is ... it's been a while since I read the decision), I'd still repeat my earlier question: which foreign corporations are we talking about here?

 

Do you really see the invisible hand of state-owned corporations of China and the UAE at work in Washington, even through nonprofit front groups?  What are they doing with rights protected by Citizens United that you would otherwise abrogate that they aren't doing openly through their embassies?  We killed the Dubai Ports World deal and another deal by the Chinese state-owned oil company to acquire assets in the U.S. not so long ago, if nothing else.  Do you see Chinese influence behind any groups trying to manipulate American elections to elect politicians who will look the other way at China's currency manipulation, for example?  Or to squelch the rise of politicians who might be more concerned with China's human rights violations and environmental degradations than with its money?  (I'm trying to come up with scenarios that could be plausible here--I could see China wanting to do both of those things--but I still don't see that it's actually doing such things, at least not in ways that would be illegal but for Citizens United.)

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I usually find that the best approach is to try to anticipate and pre-emptively eliminate problems, not deal with them as they manifest in real time.  Regardless, my concern was that we would never really have any answers to your questions because any improper influences would be masked under the guise of "free speech"

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I blame the invisible hand of state-owned corporations of China for everything. Remember Sam Sweet?

 

Cable Guy - Asian

 

I would say that unrestricted donations from corporations don't succeed 100% of the time in advancing whatever nefarious schemes it is that they are plotting. However, I will say that money influences who can run as a candidate (see the millions one has to raise these days to run for national office), and that money does not come without strings. I can contact my congressperson, but someone with that type of access is going to get the inside track, which is an unfair advantage when the decisions made by that congressperson affects the entire district, or the entire country they represent. The system is rigged, and I for one would appreciate a leveling of the playing field.

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I usually find that the best approach is to try to anticipate and pre-emptively eliminate problems, not deal with them as they manifest in real time.  Regardless, my concern was that we would never really have any answers to your questions because any improper influences would be masked under the guise of "free speech"

 

Free speech is not a "mask."

 

I'm all for preemptively eliminating problems, too, but not at the expense of constitutional rights.  Sometimes the fix is worse than the problem.  Moreover, as long as elections are so consequential because of the staggering power that they put into the hands of an extremely small group of people, there will be attempts to influence both elections themselves and then to influence the winners.

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Which is why we need to define what is and what is not proper influence..... or at least we need to close the floodgates that Citizens United opened.  And, personally, I don't place the purported constittuional rights of ficticious people ahead of the integrity of our political process.  I find ample justification to disturb those claimed rights in such circumstances.

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I can contact my congressperson, but someone with that type of access is going to get the inside track, which is an unfair advantage when the decisions made by that congressperson affects the entire district, or the entire country they represent. The system is rigged, and I for one would appreciate a leveling of the playing field.

 

Not only that, but odds are good that YOUR congressman will spend more time listening to a lobbyist from a company that is located outside of your district than actually listening to you and other people that he/she is supposed to be representing in his/her district.

 

I'm interested by the expanding the House to Constitutional limits idea.  There's something we rarely hear talked about, though it's not as cut and dry as it might seem:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apportionment_paradox

 

Bringing this all back around to the OWS discussion, I'm hoping that these folks can really get their message simplified/clarified and work on re-organizing the movement when the weather gets better in the Spring.  Their best bet may well be to attack the corporate influence angle and if they look to the work of what folks like Dylan Ratigan are doing, they've already got a head start.

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Clevelander17: The apportionment paradox is at its worst when the number of items (e.g., seats) to apportion is low and almost a non-issue when the number of items to apportion is high.  Note that the formula there only ever results in a quantity of one leftover seat increasing one state's representation somewhat.  A state that gets an extra seat because of the apportionment formula and has its delegation increased from 100 to 101 is not getting the kind of advantage a state gets if its representation is increased from 7 to 8 in a smaller House.

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