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During the General Assembly at OccupySJ a couple of nights ago we talked about what is that we need to do  to change the direction of this country. And I got to thinking, what we have now is unbridled corporate collusion that has completely destroyed the party of Lincoln and uses its vast wealth to corrupt the party of FDR. Our voice and votes are being collectively diminished. Something has got to change and it needs to be done systematically on the Federal Level.  First, we need to establish term limits for the do nothings that inhabit the US congress.    Second,  we need to cut off the ability of the 21st Century Trusts to buy off the system like was done in with Citizens United Supreme Court Decision.   Third we need to limit campaign contributions to that of the constituency of the elected reps that serve us.   Proposed 28th Amendment below the fold.

Proposed 28th Amendment to United States Constitution

"Within their lifetime, no person may be elected to US Senate for more than two six year terms regardless of state.  

Within their lifetime, no person may be elected to hold office of US Congress more than five two year terms regardless of district and state.

All candidates for federal elected office inclusive of President are limited to receiving campaign financing only from persons who are registered voters of the United States whose residency is within the United States for President, their State for United States Senate, and within their district for United States Congress.  Residency location is determined by the person's voter registration address.

Corporations are not considered person's and may not make campaign finance contributions to holders or those seeking federal elected offices  for the President of United States, the United States Senate or the United States Congress.

Congress will establish decennial limits for personal contributions of federal elected offices in the same cycle as established census years."

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This amendment will resolve many things.  We first and foremost need to limit time served in our US Senate and Congress.  No office should be a job for life.  Given most politician's start at local level and work their way up the ladder to state offices and on to federal offices 10 years in Congress and 12 years in the Senate with previous lower level offices served gives a person ample time for a reasonable career. The system is broken due to the unfair advantage  incumbents design in for themselves.  I have talked to many conservative, independent and liberal people who agree that turnover is a good thing. Although there are many good politicians who have served longer than limits proposed, the harm done by long serving corrupt politician's gaming the system will minimized by requiring them to be termed out.

We all can see that the amount of money required to campaign for federal offices has exponentially risen election year after election year.  The internet has allowed special interest groups to pile more money into the system which ultimately feeds the Media Trusts voracious appetite to produce political adds.  This in turn has created this bipolar system where each major party pander's to the extremes of their base in order to whip up further campaign contributions, many coming from outside district.  Our effective voice with our elected representatives is being greatly diminished by contributions from outside district.  It's a very simple solution that will level the playing field by requiring our elected representatives to do what we pay them to do, represent their constituencies within their district.

The Citizens United Supreme court decision enshrining corporate person-hood ranks as the epitome of allowing the 1% unlimited influence. If allowed to stand it will institutionalize fascism in America.  As Robert Reich noted several days ago at Occupy San Francisco, "I will believe a corporation is a person when Georgia or Texas executes one."  By clearly defining that corporations can not make campaign finance contributions we reduce their ability to buyout all sides in a given election giving power back to the people.

By requiring Congress to set the limits to campaign contributions every 10 years it will allow for reasonable adjustments to be made in keeping with the economy of the times.

The reason I propose this bundle is that is that history has shown it is not easy to amend the constitution and that all constitutional amendments so far have been proposed through US congress and then pushed back to the states for ratification.   The alternative method which has never been done is to call conventions with the states legislatures.  This was of course before the internet and social networking.  It would be possible for "We the People" to use these tools to rise up and force our political system to work for us again by enacting this proposed amendment to require Term Limits for US Senate and Congress, Limit campaign contributions to voters within district, and scrap the abomination done to our Democracy of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision allowing Corporate Person-hood.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I think that OWS could lead to amending (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Herse182, katiec, Floande, cordgrass

    the Constitution. I won't argue with your notion of a bundle, but I think the essence of what is needed to turn things around is a disenfranchisement of corporations from the political process.
    Perhaps an offering of several amendments might work, but I'd hate to see a splintering over details. It will be hard for anyone argue for corporations in the current political environment.

    "Our answer is more democracy, more openness, more humanity." ~Norwegian PM Jens Stoltenberg

    by Andhakari on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 03:53:50 AM PDT

  •  I would add (0+ / 0-)

    a total amount of 24 years as a federal elected official maximum. That way a person needs to prove themselves in their jobs as Representative and Senator if they want to be President. Of course this would lead to more governors being elected POTUS but I'm sure someone smarter than I could come up with some sort of solution for that.

    The only reason I suggest a max federal office limit is because under this proposed amendment someone can still be a federal office holder for 40 years (20 Congress, 12 Senate, 8 President.)

    When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace. - Jimi Hendrix

    by Herse182 on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 04:01:59 AM PDT

  •  term limits are a garbage (14+ / 0-)

    right-wing ploy to ensure Senators and Congressmen have no governing skills, resulting in a government that is inept, which feeds their "government is the problem" rhetoric.

    Terrible idea.

    •  Agreed heineken, then the lobbyists (6+ / 0-)

      and their masters write the legislation and still own our govt from DC to local school boards..

      Always sounds like a good and of course the evil R's have found a way around it so that they can have a permanent job somewhere.

      How about can't lobby or work in the industry that they ha a committee assignment for 10 years after leaving office, let 'em get a real job.

      Reced.

      The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

      by a2nite on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 04:51:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The problem with term limits (7+ / 0-)

        The problem is you have a finite number of good leaders.  If you limit them you're effectively shooting yourself in the foot.  I understand limiting the president and infact support limiting the Supreme Court (or diluting their power by adding more judges) but only because you're talking about a small group of people with alot of power.  When you're 1 out of 100 or 1 out of 435, your power is limited to begin with.  The hances of getting someone good in that 435 is very rare.  By forcing them out in 10 years you're forcing a good leader out and replacing them with someone who may not be good.

        The problem isn't the people but the ones influencing them.  You take the money out of the system and you won't have as corrupt a system.  If you make it easier to vote and easier to replace politicians if they suck, then you take care of the problem if entrenched bad politicians.

        This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

        by DisNoir36 on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 05:18:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Term Limits suck. (9+ / 0-)

      We have them here in California. Ever since they were implemented, the state legislature has become even more dysfunctional than it was before. Hard core Republicans block any tax increases, they have no desire to let government function because after 6 years in the State House or 8 in the State Senate, they're out. Lawmakers have no desire to do anything constructive, all they have their minds on is which office they will run for next.

  •  Term Limits Limit my Right to Choose. (9+ / 0-)

    Notice: This Comment © 2011 ROGNM

    by ROGNM on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 04:56:07 AM PDT

  •  Election reform (9+ / 0-)

    Term limits are all fine and good even though I think they're very limiting on getting quality and retaining quality leaders.  

    Limits on campaign finance is all fine and good but it doesn't do the trick because there will always be loopholes.

    Eliminating corporate personhood is great.

    But you're overlooking the obvious one.  Election reform

    -First do away with the electoral college.  It's outdated.  Many states have adopted an idea of awarding all electoral votes to popular vote winner.  It should be like that for all states.

    -Second Public Financing of Campaigns.  With public financing there would be no worry about corporate financing.  Free ad time for both candidates would eliminate major expense.  It's the people's airwaves after all.  We should be entitled to it.

    -Third Instant Runoff Voting and third parties.  With IRV third parties would grow as a vote for Nader will not affect the outcome of the election.  People will be free to vote their conscience secure in the fact that they're not throwing a vote away.  Our two party system does not work and leads to partisanship.  With more parties biparisanship woudl be a requirement to achieve a majority.  With more than 2 options to try and reach a compromise the possibility of one is greater.    

    -Fourth establish minimum voting regulations so there isn't this bullshit in state after state limiting voters rights.  If you have a social security number you should be allowed to vote.  PERIOD.  Enough with limiting elderly, minorities or younger voters.  Anyoen who tries to do so should be punished.

    This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

    by DisNoir36 on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 05:04:35 AM PDT

  •  This won't limit supposed "free speech" ads (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    enhydra lutris, ColoTim

    and other expenditures by supposedly "independent" entities, whether corporate or otherwise. You said

    we need to cut off the ability of the 21st Century Trusts to buy off the system like was done in with Citizens United Supreme Court Decision

    but your proposal will do just the opposite. It will let the moneyed class spend independently but starve candidates of the needed resources to fight back with.

    Direct campaign contributions are not even the majority of spending these days and your proposal does nothing to limit that.

  •  A 28th Amendment (0+ / 0-)

    should eliminate the possibility of former office-holders taking positions as lobbyists, and also put some limits on how many lobbyists are allowed to be used by any particular interest.

    Politically, lobbyists are the biggest part of the problem. As long as, say, the oil industry can send two dozen lobbyists to Congress with huge "donation" (bribe) offers, elected officials will almost always take the money and vote against the best interests of the American people.

    There are two types of Republicans: millionaires and suckers.

    by Phil T Duck on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 05:48:36 AM PDT

  •  Rightwing Dream Come True, Congratulations. (5+ / 0-)

    Term limits mean that the only people in town with experience and institutional memory are the lobbyists.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 06:13:45 AM PDT

  •  no, no, no (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    enhydra lutris, ColoTim
    All candidates for federal elected office inclusive of President are limited to receiving campaign financing only from persons who are registered voters of the United States whose residency is within the United States for President, their State for United States Senate, and within their district for United States Congress.  Residency location is determined by the person's voter registration address.

    if i want to donate to al franken's re-election, i'm bloody well going to.

    My goal is to make the world safe for anarchy. - 4Freedom

    by Cedwyn on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 06:40:20 AM PDT

  •  Corporations are NOT people (0+ / 0-)

    I'd be happy with just that.

    I know which side I am on: the one that does the math.

    by Grassroots Mom on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 08:15:15 AM PDT

  •  This is a veritable cornucopia of bad ideas. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    N in Seattle, Prof Haley, ColoTim

    Term limits suck for all the reasons already presented above, limiting the pool of experienced and capable  people and ensuring perpetual amateur hour in the worst sense of the phrase.

    Geographic restrictions on campaign contributions is absolute crap. Legislators routinely make decisions effecting everybody, so everybody should be able to work for those legislators least likely to do them harm.

    You need to reign in your "corporations are not persons" language and make it specific to the political contribution and lobbying arena if you wish to be able to ever sue one or limit its behavioral excesses by law and regulation.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 08:24:42 AM PDT

  •  Corporate personhood is useful: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Prof Haley, ColoTim

    All it means is that we will pretend as a society that a given imaginary entity exists as such, and that it can therefore not only own things and do things in its own right, but also that it can be regulated, taxed, sued, etc.  And term limits are just a bad idea: there are a few good Senators and Congresspeople and we want to keep electing them as long as possible.

    Restoring American democracy will take a couple of well-considered amendments, though.  There's one that's been introduced (in the House, I think--can't remember by whom) that affirms that Congress can regulate corporate political spending.  I'd go further and say that no corporation organized for profit has the right to participate, directly or indirectly, in the political process, but language like that would be pretty vague, I'll admit.

    And it's high time we put an amendment in the Constitution guaranteeing everyone the right to vote in all elections for their state, district, and relevant municipalities, whenever they're not actually incarcerated at the time.  That would put an end to this voter suppression business in a hurry.

  •  I like half of it (0+ / 0-)

    I really like the idea of codifying corporate personhood - if they have the rights of people they ought to have the responsibilities of people, including jail time and the death penalty.

    On the surface of it I like the idea of term limits, but then I think of all the truly great career politicians who I've seen just in my lifetime.  Remember Byrd's speech before the Iraq war, the masterful way he had with Robert's Rules of Order?  Remember Ted Kennedy's tireless crusades for education and health care?  And how long was Joe Biden a Senator, how long was he fighting for public transportation and for worker's rights?

    The Senate and House function best when there is some sort of institutional memory that doesn't get seduced by the lure of good-sounding easy fixes.  Part of the problem with wave elections is that many of those voices of sanity get washed out.

    Sure, you also have the Strom Thurmonds of the world, politicians who calcify rather than mature.  

    If someone feels a calling to public service and a drive to fight for the people, the last thing we should do is put a limit on their willingness to serve.   What we need to limit is the time-servers and corporate lackeys.  I don't think putting a revolving door on the House and Senate is going to do that.

  •  Rec'd for discussion (0+ / 0-)

    though I can't go along with your proposal. Term limits are anti-government; the solution to entrenched power is campaign finance reform that eliminates the advantage of incumbents, or rather eliminates the advantage that incumbents' fundraising capacity gives them at the ballot box. Corporate personhood is convenient for taxing them and suing them, but they shouldn't have civil rights - the issue needs a more detailed treatment than provided here.

    We need a uniform standard ensuring everyone entitled to vote, gets to vote - but I'm not sure how that's worded.

    into the blue again, after the money's gone

    by Prof Haley on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 11:19:01 AM PDT

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