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View Diary: Absolute Corruption is the Rule in America (33 comments)

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  •  This is my problem with representative democracy (0+ / 0-)

    The very fact of having "representatives" running the government on behalf of the people just serves to focus all the influence peddling.  Why bother convincing 100,000 people of something when you can just buy off the one person who allegedly speaks for them?

    There is no goal in the "War on Drugs" that couldn't be more effectively met by legalization & regulation.

    by EthrDemon on Fri Nov 06, 2009 at 10:33:55 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  very good point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      EthrDemon

      and clearly the system is not working for us as is.

    •  OK (0+ / 0-)

      What's the alternative? Direct democracy? Lord help us...

      Sean Parnell
      President
      Center for Competitive Politics

      Congress shall make no law...

      by Sean Parnell on Fri Nov 06, 2009 at 10:52:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  as a first start I think... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        EthrDemon

        we have to get the money out of politics, including corporate lobbying and elections.  

      •  Well, yes (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sean Parnell

        The problem is direct democracy is only manageable on a very small scale.  My first thought is that the US should be split into about 6 independent nations, therefore preventing the concentration of power into a few hands so easily bribed.

        There is no goal in the "War on Drugs" that couldn't be more effectively met by legalization & regulation.

        by EthrDemon on Fri Nov 06, 2009 at 11:17:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  And (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gustogirl

        The website you linked makes me think we will never, ever agree on this...

        There is no goal in the "War on Drugs" that couldn't be more effectively met by legalization & regulation.

        by EthrDemon on Fri Nov 06, 2009 at 11:19:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  no, we are in agreement (0+ / 0-)

          I am for complete legalization, including regulation and taxing if applicable.

          •  ? (0+ / 0-)

            That comment wasn't aimed at you, David.  (Nor was it about drug policy, which your response would seem to indicate.)

            There is no goal in the "War on Drugs" that couldn't be more effectively met by legalization & regulation.

            by EthrDemon on Fri Nov 06, 2009 at 03:07:26 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  See above (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          EthrDemon

          See also, me suggesting exactly this several weeks ago: http://www.dailykos.com/...

          An excerpt:

          ...I'm more and more coming to the conclusion that large-scale democracy doesn't really work over the long haul. I vaguely recall the Athenians had the notion that beyond 5,000 citizens or so (and let's set aside for the moment that they had some serious issues regarding who was and was not a "citizen") democracy couldn't work. I'm not saying we return to the city-state, not by a long shot, but I'm growing concerned about a system where 65 million citizens vote one way and bind to their wishes another 235 million citizens who voted the other way or didn't vote at all. Return government to a smaller scale, where the citizens of Massachusetts for the most part or even Boston decide most of how their government is to operate, and leave alone the citizens of Providence to find their own way. If Boston messes up, people move to Providence, or at least look at what Providence is doing right and emulate them.

          I am curious why you think the web site of my organization suggests we're opposed to what you're speculating on. Perhaps you're confusing your interpretation of the ultimate implications of our position, with our motivations? Probably a mistake to do so.

          Sean Parnell
          President
          Center for Competitive Politics

          Congress shall make no law...

          by Sean Parnell on Fri Nov 06, 2009 at 12:24:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Perhaps I was too hasty (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Gustogirl

            We may be more in agreement than I thought.  A casual browsing of the site seemed to convey a "speech as a commodity" tone which I found disturbing.  I am very much for the public financing of elections (a step I see as necessary to break the current "permanent campaign" paradigm,) while your organization seems to propose the opposite.

            Hearing you explain your views more, I'm interested in why you think less regulation of spending with regards to political speech is a good thing.

            There is no goal in the "War on Drugs" that couldn't be more effectively met by legalization & regulation.

            by EthrDemon on Fri Nov 06, 2009 at 03:06:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sure (0+ / 0-)

              You're right - we are opposed to taxpayer funded campaigns, and pretty much any and all restrictions on citizens' right to contribute to support or oppose the candidates and causes of their choice.

              As you might imagine, we've got lots of different arguments. ;-> I'll just briefly touch a few of the more significant ones:

              1. The First Amendment begins "Congress shall make no law..." We regard limits and regulations on spending in politics as limits and restrictions on political speech. The simple fact is, if you want to speak about politics to anybody outside of your immediate circle of acquaintances, you're probably going to have to spend money. The average member of Congress represents something like 670,000 people, I think. If you're going to run for office, you're going to have to spend a lot of money reaching those voters - bumper stickers, campaign ads, mailers, rallies, travel, staff, etc. Limiting the money they can spend is tantamount to limiting the quantity of speech they can engage in.
              1. It doesn't work. Simply put, the history of "reform" is the history of people finding ways around whatever restrictions are put in place. And because of the First Amendment, there are always going to be lots of "loopholes" in campaign finance - union endorsements, issue ads from business, newspaper editorials, etc. Generally, it's going to be the wealthy and powerful that are able to afford campaign finance attorneys to find these "loopholes," while it's the citizen of average means that's locked out and stifled. Classic example, a group of neighbors in a small Colorado subdivision pooled about $1,400 to oppose annexation by the neighboring town. Yard signs, some fliers, an internet chat room, pizzas for the group meetings, etc. Citizens activism, great stuff, huh? Except it was illegal, because they spent more than $200 opposing a ballot issue and failed to file the appropriate reports with the government. Imagine, having to register with the government in order to speak out in politics!
              1. Taxpayer financed campaigns really don't work. I mean, are Arizona and Maine really any different than the other 48 states? The whole idea is that getting private money out of campaigns frees up legislators to vote "in the people's interest" or some such thing. If that's true, wouldn't you expect the two states with 10 years' experience with these programs to be leading the way on public policy issues? We should be hearing about the "Maine Model" of health care reform, or the "Arizona Way" on education, or some other issues. We aren't, because legislators in those two states still vote pretty much the same way they did before - Republicans still say things like "we need to cut taxes and balance the budget, and lets give school vouchers a look-see" while Democrats still say things like "the wealthy need to pay their fair share in taxes, and we should protect the right to organize unions."
              1. Finally, money in politics just pays for speech. Seriously, what's the harm to the Republic if Goldman Sachs runs ads saying "Good Gosh Almighty, don't vote for Obama because he's a socialist" or some such thing? In a democratic Republic such as ours, sovereignty rests with the people. How can you have a sovereign people while at the same time shielding citizens from certain political speech because you fear they might believe it, or act unwisely upon hearing it, or it might influence their political views? That's the whole purpose of the First Amendment, to allow anybody to say anything to whomever they chose, without government interference, and then let the sovereign citizens decide what they believe, how much weight to give it, and how to respond in terms of their own votes.

              Needless to say, there's a lot more I could say. If you're interested in more, I suggest you check in on our site from time to time, we generally have something up each day that lays out at least in part our thinking and reasoning. If you have more questions I'd be happy to answer them as I can, my only request would be that you keep it to one question at a time just so I can better respond.

              Best,

              Sean Parnell
              President
              Center for Competitive Politics

               

              Congress shall make no law...

              by Sean Parnell on Sat Nov 07, 2009 at 07:50:55 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

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