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Old 06-23-2014, 09:18 PM   #1
Hotwheelz
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Default California Becomes 2nd State to Call for a Constitutional Convention

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When Calif. Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) introduced AJR 1 in December 2012, he was the first legislator in the United States to employ a unique procedure in the U.S. Constitution that allows state legislatures to command Congressional action. Specifically, AJR 1 would require Congress to call a convention to amend the Constitution, to address the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Today, good-government advocates are celebrating after AJR 1 passed the California State Senate by a vote of 23-11. AJR 1 has already prompted Vermont to pass a resolution modeled after it, and in Illinois a similar resolution is currently making its way through its legislature.

“Most Americans are fed up with the notion that money is speech and that moneyed interests can drown out the speech of average citizens,” said Gatto.

This burgeoning movement to limit the effect of financial influence in the political system continues to grow. Earlier Monday morning, the California Highway Patrol arrested fourteen protestors outside the State Capitol who marched more than 450 miles from Los Angeles to rally to get money out of politics and in support of AJR 1. Two days earlier, The San Francisco Chronicle editorialized in favor of a convention, calling the Resolution “the most significant step in a fledging revolution” to obtain campaign-finance reform.
http://californianewswire.com/2014/0...tizens-united/

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Old 06-23-2014, 09:55 PM   #2
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As I've said before, if you want to eliminate the influence of money in politics, don't bother with campaign finance reform. Pass a national initiative ammendment to the Constitution. Let the voters override Congress directly when needed.
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Old 06-23-2014, 10:34 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by The Lone Bolt View Post
As I've said before, if you want to eliminate the influence of money in politics, don't bother with campaign finance reform. Pass a national initiative ammendment to the Constitution. Let the voters override Congress directly when needed.
Overriding congress is exactly what we're doing. 32 more states and they're constitutionally obligated to have a constitutional convention (with delegates from the states).

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Old 06-23-2014, 10:55 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by The Lone Bolt View Post
As I've said before, if you want to eliminate the influence of money in politics, don't bother with campaign finance reform. Pass a national initiative ammendment to the Constitution. Let the voters override Congress directly when needed.
Completely agree with this. This is the best solution I've heard yet.
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Old 06-24-2014, 02:26 AM   #5
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I have been following this since Cenk started trying to get Vermont. I said no way!! Well, now maybe it can be done. It will take awhile but I think it will snowball leading up to and following the 2016 election.

Here is Cenk after Vermont passed their initiative.

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Old 06-24-2014, 05:37 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by The Lone Bolt View Post
As I've said before, if you want to eliminate the influence of money in politics, don't bother with campaign finance reform. Pass a national initiative ammendment to the Constitution. Let the voters override Congress directly when needed.
That's the only way it will ever happen.
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Old 06-24-2014, 07:47 AM   #7
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Can't wait for the times of

"Citizen, is that a microphone?"

"Uh, yeah."

"Did you buy that with money?"

"Sure?"

"Sorry, we'll have to confiscate that. Free speech doesn't involve money. Just contribute to our campaign if you want your own truth to get out. We'll see what we can do with whatever you can spare."
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Old 06-24-2014, 08:46 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by The Lone Bolt View Post
As I've said before, if you want to eliminate the influence of money in politics, don't bother with campaign finance reform. Pass a national initiative ammendment to the Constitution. Let the voters override Congress directly when needed.
Actually, I jumped too quickly in agreeing with this statement. I agree with the OP, that citizens should call a Constitutional Convention to write in an amendment that states the basic principle that money is not speech and specifically overturns McCutcheon, Citizens United and Santa Clara v Southern Pacific. However, I'm opposed to a broad spectrum of citizens simply overriding Congress at will. Why bother having a republic in that case? Same with term limits. Direct democracy is sometimes necessary to overturn a corrupt government and put it back on the right track, but as a long standing practice it is, like Ben Franklin said, "Two lions and one lamb voting on what is for lunch."
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Old 06-24-2014, 08:54 AM   #9
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Actually, I jumped too quickly in agreeing with this statement. I agree with the OP, that citizens should call a Constitutional Convention to write in an amendment that states the basic principle that money is not speech and specifically overturns McCutcheon, Citizens United and Santa Clara v Southern Pacific. However, I'm opposed to a broad spectrum of citizens simply overriding Congress at will. Why bother having a republic in that case? Same with term limits. Direct democracy is sometimes necessary to overturn a corrupt government and put it back on the right track, but as a long standing practice it is, like Ben Franklin said, "Two lions and one lamb voting on what is for lunch."
Good point. Plus submitting federal issues to direct democracy is a recipe for dissolution of the Union. The Constitutional contract was designed to balance the interests of the rural and urban. Putting a direct democracy layer overriding that destroys any reason Nebraska would ever want to sit under the same union as California.
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Old 06-24-2014, 08:59 AM   #10
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Thats hella cool.
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Old 06-24-2014, 04:32 PM   #11
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Actually, I jumped too quickly in agreeing with this statement. I agree with the OP, that citizens should call a Constitutional Convention to write in an amendment that states the basic principle that money is not speech and specifically overturns McCutcheon, Citizens United and Santa Clara v Southern Pacific. However, I'm opposed to a broad spectrum of citizens simply overriding Congress at will. Why bother having a republic in that case? Same with term limits. Direct democracy is sometimes necessary to overturn a corrupt government and put it back on the right track, but as a long standing practice it is, like Ben Franklin said, "Two lions and one lamb voting on what is for lunch."
A) The initiative process has proven to work, as a long-standing practice, on the State level. No reason to believe it won't work on a national level.

B) Initiative overrides of Congress would not be commonplace. Just like on the State level, they would require a lot of support just to make the ballot. Only important issues would get that far.
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Old 06-24-2014, 04:35 PM   #12
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Overriding congress is exactly what we're doing. 32 more states and they're constitutionally obligated to have a constitutional convention (with delegates from the states).
Only this one time. I would like to see a permanent mechanism to override Congress by direct vote when needed. This would pretty much kill the corrupting influence of Big Money.
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Old 06-24-2014, 04:37 PM   #13
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Good point. Plus submitting federal issues to direct democracy is a recipe for dissolution of the Union. The Constitutional contract was designed to balance the interests of the rural and urban. Putting a direct democracy layer overriding that destroys any reason Nebraska would ever want to sit under the same union as California.
There are both rural and urban environments in every State, but it doesn't seem to be a problem with States that have an initiative process.
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Old 06-25-2014, 03:10 AM   #14
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Can't wait for the times of

"Citizen, is that a microphone?"

"Uh, yeah."

"Did you buy that with money?"

"Sure?"

"Sorry, we'll have to confiscate that. Free speech doesn't involve money. Just contribute to our campaign if you want your own truth to get out. We'll see what we can do with whatever you can spare."
I think you're misunderstanding the aim here. We want EVERYONE to have an equal voice. Having more money shouldn't give a louder microphone. Can you imagine if, at a presidential debate, the volume of a candidate's microphone correlated with how much money they raised? That sounds preposterous, right? But that's exactly what's happening. It's not our government anymore. We're trying to get a publicly financed system so anyone can run, regardless of wealth or status. You think you have the best ideas, Beavis? You'll be more than welcome to run against your representative and you'll have an equal platform to make your case. And should you win, you'll represent your voters because those are the only people who'll have ANY power over you.
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Old 06-25-2014, 07:16 AM   #15
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There are both rural and urban environments in every State, but it doesn't seem to be a problem with States that have an initiative process.
Yeah. Great. Looks Swell.

http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/diaz/a...ss-2327530.php

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The notion of direct democracy as a way for the citizenry to rise up against an unresponsive state government has become quaint and naive in an era when a cottage industry of paid signature gatherers has evolved to the point where some firms actually guarantee placement on the ballot - for a price.

"If you have $2 million, you're on the ballot," said Robert Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies in Los Angeles.

Progressive-era Gov. Hiram Johnson certainly never envisioned that his concept of direct democracy would morph into an opportunity for PG&E or Mercury Insurance to pour tens of millions of dollars into campaigns to stifle competition, as they did in last year's Props. 16 and 17.

The last California initiative to qualify as an all-volunteer effort was the English-only measure (Prop. 63) of 1986.
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Old 06-25-2014, 07:23 AM   #16
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I think you're misunderstanding the aim here. We want EVERYONE to have an equal voice. Having more money shouldn't give a louder microphone. Can you imagine if, at a presidential debate, the volume of a candidate's microphone correlated with how much money they raised?
The point you're missing is that, debates aside (so long as you're on the guest list) this is exactly how political campaigns work.

Money equals Commercials. Radio. Campaign stops. Media exposure. The right friends.

In a media-driven world, money buys you a bigger microphone. If you build a system that doesn't understand that, you're effectively saying "Sure guy, you have free speech. Just step into this sound-proof room first. Then say whatever you like."
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Old 06-25-2014, 07:48 AM   #17
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The point you're missing is that, debates aside (so long as you're on the guest list) this is exactly how political campaigns work.

Money equals Commercials. Radio. Campaign stops. Media exposure. The right friends.

In a media-driven world, money buys you a bigger microphone. If you build a system that doesn't understand that, you're effectively saying "Sure guy, you have free speech. Just step into this sound-proof room first. Then say whatever you like."
And here comes BB with his heartfelt defense of the status quo.
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Old 06-25-2014, 08:00 AM   #18
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And here comes BB with his heartfelt defense of the status quo.
Changey Change is Changey.

http://www.theonion.com/articles/joh...-by-2011,2235/

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Old 06-25-2014, 10:24 AM   #19
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The author is proposing reforms to California's initiative process, not suggesting that it's a bad idea.
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Old 06-25-2014, 12:30 PM   #20
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I'm not really sure this country could survive a constitutional convention at this moment in history. I think you'd see what we typically see - the coastal populated areas having their way and imposing their will on the rural states. I think you'd then see the rise of seccessionist movements in rural states gaining actual momentum. The fracturing would start with a state like Texas, and then another collection of states, and then another...

Or maybe not. I guess that's the thing about constitutional conventions - they're completely unpredictable.
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Old 06-25-2014, 12:30 PM   #21
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The author is proposing reforms to California's initiative process, not suggesting that it's a bad idea.
Ah yes. We need to reform with reforms that need reforms.

All in an effort to repeal reality.

Warren Buffett has a bigger voice than I do. He knows it. I know it. The process it would realistically take to mute that plain fact would render our political system unrecognizable.

I'd rather live with tuning him out than the trouble that comes with silencing him.
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Old 06-25-2014, 12:41 PM   #22
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As far as the question of money in politics goes, the science actually says it's not as big a deal as people would be led to believe.

Sean Trende at Real Clear Politics wrote an article last November which essentially showed that the impact of money in politics is not actually so pronounced.
A challenger who raises between $200,001 and $300,000 once again gets about 36 percent of the vote. The next $100,000 improves the challenger’s vote share by only two points. The next $100,000 results in only a point’s worth of improvement. Getting into the $500,000 to $1 million club? That’s only another point’s improvement, on average. Beyond that, we’re talking about needing extra millions of dollars to get the types of improvements that the first $100,000 brought about...

...a less fancy way to put this is that somewhere around $200,000, a challenger hits a point of diminishing returns. once you get to $20,000, you really are raising some money, and may have even bought some yard signs. By $100,000, you’re on radio, have an office, and have attracted volunteers. By $200,000, you’ve done a decent TV buy in a mid-sized market.

You’re then faced with the question: What’s next? You can put out more yard signs, but you’re already cluttering the major intersections. You can put an office in some smaller towns in the district, but you’ve already covered the major metropolitan area. You can buy more TV time, but most people have seen your advertisements.

That’s not to say you don’t get any benefit from going further. You just don’t get as much benefit as you received from your initial investment. You get returns, but they’ve begun to diminish.

Incumbents are almost always past the point of diminishing returns...The truth is, the extra super PAC cash flowing to incumbents won’t help them that much, because incumbents are already at the point where an extra million dollars provides marginal benefits.

We analysts spend an awful lot of time talking about fundraising, but the truth is that candidates who raise a few hundred thousand dollars have what it takes to mount credible congressional campaigns, and the difference between a $2 million campaign and a $3 million campaign isn’t that great.

Read more: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/art...#ixzz35gKae51x
Follow us: @RCP_Articles on Twitter


According to the science, this isn't even a real problem... The real problem is the amount of power these politicians have over our lives and economy once they get to DC.

Last edited by Taco John; 06-25-2014 at 12:44 PM..
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Old 06-25-2014, 12:48 PM   #23
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There are both rural and urban environments in every State, but it doesn't seem to be a problem with States that have an initiative process.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...-stick-around/

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With every precinct reporting, Del Norte County residents voted against seceding from California by 59 percent to 41 percent. Voters in Siskiyou County voted against [pdf] Measure C by a 56 percent to 44 percent margin; that measure would have established the Jefferson Republic, one step toward creating a new state.

But voters in Tehama County went the other way. Their advisory ballot initiative, Measure A, passed by 56 percent to 44 percent.

Boards of supervisors in several other Northern California counties, including Glenn, Modoc and Yuba, have already voted to explore secession. Butte County supervisors have a vote scheduled for next week.
Looks like that balance is going swimmingly, BTW
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Old 06-26-2014, 09:41 PM   #24
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I feel like some of you are understanding but also not understanding at the same time. By passing campaign finance reform, we're not saying that candidates can't spend money. We know that you need money to run a campaign, that's not what we're trying to change. We're trying to change the source of the money from private interests to the public. We, the taxpayers, would pay money into a pool where every candidate can draw equally from. You might scoff at the idea of more taxes, but the financial benefit we would gain would far outweigh the cost. It also doesn't matter how much you shrink government. Congress will always have the power to levy taxes, make war, and regulate commerce. Likewise, there will always be private interests that will try to influence them to rig the rules in their favor. As long as there is a profit motive, private interests will try to corrupt. The only way to fight against that is by making sure that they're only dependent on us to get elected.
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Old 06-27-2014, 07:46 AM   #25
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I feel like some of you are understanding but also not understanding at the same time. By passing campaign finance reform, we're not saying that candidates can't spend money. We know that you need money to run a campaign, that's not what we're trying to change. We're trying to change the source of the money from private interests to the public. We, the taxpayers, would pay money into a pool where every candidate can draw equally from. You might scoff at the idea of more taxes, but the financial benefit we would gain would far outweigh the cost. It also doesn't matter how much you shrink government. Congress will always have the power to levy taxes, make war, and regulate commerce. Likewise, there will always be private interests that will try to influence them to rig the rules in their favor. As long as there is a profit motive, private interests will try to corrupt. The only way to fight against that is by making sure that they're only dependent on us to get elected.
I understand your motivation. You're just missing the key problem. The political hierarchy that would administer such a program would be no less corrupt than the evil "private" interests you're trying to silence. And now completely unchecked by any outside interest, they would become even more corrupt than what you see today.

The founders built the entire system around these separations of power. Not because they trusted any single one of those powers in any way. But because they knew competing interests would protect the people better than any unified interest.

If we could trust the powers that be to speak truth, there would be no need for the 1st Amendment in the first place. The founders wrote the 1st Amendment because they understood political corruption as an immutable truth. We've seen nothing since that undermines that.

"We'll give the politicians all the money and force everyone else to remain silent in the corner." is not a recipe for limiting corruption. It's a recipe for absolute corruption.
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