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Introduced Constitutional Amendment Says: 'Democracy for People, Not Corporations'

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: abuse, americans, congress, constitution, corruption, democrats, dishonesty, elections, ethics, Govtfearmongering, lies, media, military, obama, politics, propaganda, republicans, socialsecurity )

- 1897 days ago -
New law designed to 'stop corporations and their front groups from using their profits and dark money donations to influence our elections'

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Kit B (276)
Wednesday March 13, 2013, 10:30 am
Image Credit: Common Dreams

Introduced Constitutional Amendment says: 'Democracy for People, Not Corporations'

New law designed to 'stop corporations and their front groups from using their profits and dark money donations to influence our elections'

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) introduced a joint resolution on Tuesday calling for a constitutional amendment that would undo the damage they say was caused by a Supreme Court ruling that allows "unrestricted, secret campaign spending by corporations and billionaires."

In response to the 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission—which critics say has greatly undermined democracy in the US by "opening the campaign spending floodgates"— a national grassroots movement has blossomed around the idea that only through a constitutional amendment can corporations be properly stripped of the court's determination that 'corporate speech' in the form of outsized financial giving is the same as the 'free speech' of individuals.

“What the Supreme Court did in Citizens United," said Sanders, "is to tell billionaires like the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson, ‘You own and control Wall Street. You own and control coal companies. You own and control oil companies. Now, for a very small percentage of your wealth, we're going to give you the opportunity to own and control the United States government.’ That is the essence of what Citizens United is all about. That is why this disastrous decision must be reversed.”

Called the 'Democracy is for People' Amendment, the new law, according to a statement, "bars all corporate entities from spending their general treasury funds in our elections by clarifying that the right to vote, and thus the ability to influence elections, belongs solely to actual people. At the same time, the Democracy is for People Amendment codifies into the Constitution the right of the American people to pass laws protecting fairness in our elections, limiting the corrupting influence of private wealth in our elections, and ensuring that elected officials are accountable to voters."

A legislative summary and a legal analysis of the amendment were both made available online.

“Any constitutional amendment that simply gives Congress the option of regulating campaign finance fails to immediately achieve what the American people want, and that is a complete reversal of Citizens United and other Supreme Court decisions that have allowed corporations and the wealthy few to drown out the voices of everyday voters,” said Congressman Deutch. “The Democracy is for People Amendment will stop corporations and their front groups from using their profits and dark money donations to influence our elections while reaffirming the right of the American people to elections that are fair and representatives that are accountable.”

Passing such amendment is not easy, however. Though it may originate in Congress, an addition to the Constitution must be approved by a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate in order to be submitted for consideration by the states. Ratification by three-fourths of the states is required to amend the Constitution.

Since the Citizens United decision was announced, nine states and more than 300 individual cities and towns have passed resolutions calling for the ruling to be overturned. Grassroots activists who have helped organize that push welcomed Tuesday's news.

"This amendment establishes the common sense proposition that the American people have the power to protect the integrity of our democracy in the wake of the most expensive election in U.S. history, with more dark money raised from secret sources than ever before," said Lisa Graves, executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy and a former Deputy Assistant Attorney General. "The Democracy is for People Amendment represents a bold and thoughtful effort to undo the damage done by activist judges on the Supreme Court and to recognize the political equality of each American voter by limiting the undue influence of those who tried to super-size their votes in the 2012 elections by spending unprecedented sums on SuperPACs and stealthy groups that are exempt from taxes."

And Robert Weissman, president of the advocacy group Public Citizen said the legislation would “eliminate unaccountable corporate spending in our elections and restore governmental authority over campaign spending to the people.”

“Democracy is rule by the people, after all, not rule by Goldman Sachs, Walmart and the US Chamber of Commerce,” he said.

View the full text of the 'Democracy Is For People Amendment' and associated documents below: (See VISIT SITE)

By: Jon Queally, staff writer | Common Dreams |

Kit B (276)
Wednesday March 13, 2013, 10:34 am

This all sounds great, maybe too good to be true. If the people do not begin to get active in taking back our democratic process from the Corporate MONEY, to the people. Than all the attempts to do it for your will be so much effort wasted. It's YOUR Democracy, YOUR government, either you want a democracy, with clean elections, or you really don't care. Your choice.

Jae A (316)
Wednesday March 13, 2013, 11:01 am
I certainly agree Kit. I think that it not only sounds great but is possible...but as you've pointed will take all our efforts. Those who are just interesting in 'win' regardless of their parties plateform and more so of the actions afterward must let go of the 'anything to win ' attitude . End corporate free for all in buying our poliitcans..end life time positions for Supreme Court Justices and for those in Congress.
Admendments like this can put us on the direct path to returning our Deomcracy .... Either the people win or the Corporates do and of course if they do, all Democracy will be ended...pretty clear and my opinion.

Yvonne White (229)
Wednesday March 13, 2013, 2:28 pm
Oh, that'll Never fly..too many RepubliCONs & Corporate Democrats to block actual democracy. 'Democracy for People, Not Corporations'
Kit, in southern Illinois I can't even find Democratic Party headquarters, almost NO signage in election years...we get what the Parties Decide we get as choices for election. And if those choices happen to benefit US, THEY get prosecuted (God I miss Rod B.!;)

lee e (114)
Wednesday March 13, 2013, 2:42 pm
I heard about this bill this morning - it does sound a bit to "idealistic" in an age where cynicism reigns supreme! Do the "people" have the energy to wage war to gain their "rights", or are they too busy watching ineffectual government (deliberately created by the Republicans, to make Obama's Presidency a dismal failure, and to feed the coffers of their wealthy oligarchs)!
You and I will do our utmost to bring about a Sander's bill, but will the "down-trodden"? - which sadly includes the very constituents, the sheeple who brought them to office and who have been propaganized to buying the garbage they're selling!

Theodore Shayne (56)
Wednesday March 13, 2013, 5:54 pm
Pretty hard to do when the corporations own the government for the most part anyway. Gotta love Bernie and all the rest of the independents. To affect real change though you have to overhaul the system.

pam w (139)
Wednesday March 13, 2013, 6:05 pm
Do you have ANY idea how difficult it would be to get this past the Republicans?

Kit B (276)
Wednesday March 13, 2013, 6:07 pm

Very difficult, but if all democrats are on board and republicans get enough pressure, things can happen.

Angelika R (143)
Wednesday March 13, 2013, 6:09 pm
Bernie is just soo adorable, he never gives up-it will hurt to see him crushed with that bill that will likely never pass. How would Americans elect their future presidents WITHOUT corporate cash? Will they learn to do without all the ads ? We have no such campaigns as you do but the US is too big to be campaigning without those PACs I guess. And people are too broke to be a powerful grassroots including the necessary funding.

Lin Penrose (92)
Wednesday March 13, 2013, 6:54 pm
Thanks Kit. Guess "Corporations" are business owners of people, individual citizens, who somehow make up an entity that entitles the "Corporations" to vote for the individuals count. A scent of slavery is on the air in this, and not a new one. The noxious smell is everywhere in this and other countries throughout the human populated world.

Robert B (60)
Wednesday March 13, 2013, 7:21 pm
Unfortunately there is just too much complacency in the population for this to go through. I don't see a massive effort to pressure republican congressmen to get this passed.

Dorothy N (63)
Wednesday March 13, 2013, 11:23 pm
Even if this doesn't go through, if enough publicity is raised on this, at least some people will start reconsidering their complacency and wonder why what they've been told is 'the greatest democracy' or even 'the only real democracy' smells so much like a corporate-run banana republic that a bill like that can't pass Congress.

Of, by and for the people - to specifically EXCLUDE corporations/self-interests taking over the country, the greatest fear of America's far-seeing Founders...

Scott haakon (4)
Wednesday March 13, 2013, 11:32 pm
finally some sense! returning the political process to the citizens.

Darren Woolsey (218)
Thursday March 14, 2013, 2:25 am
Couldn't agree more with this guy's statement.... “Democracy is rule by the people, after all, not rule by Goldman Sachs, Walmart and the US Chamber of Commerce.” – Robert Weissman, Public Citizen

Ro H (0)
Thursday March 14, 2013, 5:02 am

Craig Pittman (52)
Thursday March 14, 2013, 5:25 am
Let's follow the progress of this proposed Amendment and note who votes for and against its passage.
I wish it well.
Thank you Kit.

Daniel Partlow (179)
Thursday March 14, 2013, 5:30 am
Lets hope this passes. I agreee with Jae and Lee!

Marcel E (347)
Thursday March 14, 2013, 5:35 am
Thank you

paul m (93)
Thursday March 14, 2013, 7:16 am

Fine words,," Democracy for people " Corparations are to lose their hold on Governments ,,I think not.

Arielle S (313)
Thursday March 14, 2013, 8:05 am
Just because it's difficult, doesn't meant we shouldn't give it our all - remember the ant with the rubber tree plant!

Kit B (276)
Thursday March 14, 2013, 8:14 am

Right Arielle because it is difficult does not mean we can not make it happen. We must put aside the negative thoughts and start calling and writing letters to Congress. Call you District Representative in the House, and both of your Senators, call every day and push - push - push! If you are worried about long distance charges call their local offices. Write your local paper, keep it short and share your thoughts on local blogs.

Sheryl G (363)
Thursday March 14, 2013, 10:52 am
If it makes sense you can mostly find Bernie Sanders in the mix in some way or another. They need to make a big statue to the man as a reminder of "common sense". A thank you to Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) as well on this.

Beverly T (82)
Thursday March 14, 2013, 11:14 am
Everyone here is "right on the money" LoL

What I see is an ignorant population. Especially in the gerry mandered districts and states. Somehow I believe that if people ACTUALLY KNEW the FACTS about what is being done to them, they would change their vote. Yes even the sheepled Republicans within those districts/states.
They need to see and UNDERSTAND that if this can be done, blocking votes, uncontested lies in campaigns, etc. etc., that THEY could be NEXT. We need to bring the results of this behaviour HOME TO THEIR HEARTS AND LIVES !!!!!
Educate educate EDUCATE !!!!!!! the public.
I see this as the great failure of the Dem Party. They need to get the TRUTH OUT THERE no matter the cost because it will pay in votes and freedom (well as much as is left) for EVERYONE !!!!!

I found this great article on the history and "thinking" of the Supreme Court at the the time they passed this GREAT FIASCO !!!!!. And.....I am not really sure about we need to go through all this to get a NEW amendment INTO the constitution or do we just need to have a new judge and then REVERSE this ruling ???
I can and do dream :-)

I warn you that this article also points out that the situation could get much MUCH WORSE !!!!!

Dorothy N (63)
Thursday March 14, 2013, 2:22 pm
Too many great comments to list, but regarding Beverly T's perceptive post - Republican obstructionism maintains judicial problems.

Tell Harry Reid: Re-open filibuster reform in light of continued Republican obstructionism

Since Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell compromised by agreeing to a watered-down version of filibuster reform, Senate Republicans are gleefully taking their obstructionism of President Obama's nominees to unprecedented heights.

Harry Reid stated that if Republicans continued to abuse the filibuster, he might re-open the process to change Senate rules.

Please sign our petition urging Harry Reid to re-open the process of filibuster reform in the Senate. We must remain vigilant and build the case for filibuster reform every time Republican obstructionism prevents the Senate from functioning as it should.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid–

In light of continued Republican obstructionism, we urge you to re-open the process of changing filibuster rules to ensure a functioning Senate.

Yes, many of us can agree on hating the drone assignations, but since when does the GOP fall in with our line of thinking, at least when killing occurs under Republican orders?

The GOP have consistently shown themselves to have no respect for the lives and rights of others, for their country, for the jobs they're sworn to do, for truth and, indeed, reality itself, and time and again, Rand has demonstrated these qualities.

Yup, sure enough, Rand filibustered to prevent his President making an important appointment, in much the same manner in which the GOP has worked at obstructing President Obama every step of the way since the group GOP vow to do so was taken at his first election as President of the United States, regardless of damage done to America and the American people - Rand raising the drones-against-Americans-on-American-soil issue as a straw man to create political hay and, apparently, to raise more than a little cash.
Filibuster delays CIA nominee vote
Rand Paul mounted a filibuster against President Obama’s pick to lead the spy agency and demanded that the administration clarify its drone policy. ...

It Turns Out Rand Paul’s Filibuster Was a Pre-Planned Scam for Cash

By: Jason Easley Mar. 8th, 2013

It turns out Rand Paul’s filibuster was big scam. Sen. Paul has wasted little time implementing the second part of his planned filibuster. He is now trying to cash in with a fundraising letter.

The true story behind Rand Paul’s filibuster is starting to come out. According to the National Journal, Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans knew the filibuster was coming, “But the day wasn’t entirely unplanned. Paul, often accused of being a lone wolf on Capitol Hill, had laid some of the groundwork to win over the GOP establishment. McConnell and Co. knew the filibuster was coming, even if they did not know when precisely or what exactly it would look like.”

This fact contradicts the myth that Paul floated that he decided to come to the Senate floor and start speaking. Sen. Paul has been suggesting that everybody just showed up...

(Article link)

Inside the Rand Paul Filibuster

By Shane Goldmacher and Beth Reinhard
Updated: March 7, 2013
Eleven days before he spent nearly 13 hours filibustering on the Senate floor, Sen. Rand Paul floated his idea to block the president’s pick for CIA director to one of Sen. Mitch McConnell’s top political strategists over a Saturday night dinner of lasagna and red wine at his home in Bowling Green, Ky. ...

... Paul had personally informed some Republican senators that he planned to mount the talking filibuster the day before over lunch, said Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., a member of the GOP leadership. “The day before, he said that he was going to start talking until he couldn’t talk anymore,” Barrasso said. McConnell, meanwhile, put out the word to the conference that he was supportive of Paul’s efforts. ...

... Paul’s fundraising letter is flat out false and wrong.

Sen. Paul invents a response from Attorney General Holder that bears no resemblance to what he actually said. Paul didn’t force a change in policy. Holder’s second letter was a two sentence smack down that repeated the original point that the AG made to the Kentucky senator in his first letter.

After making a complete fool out of himself by filibustering against something that won’t ever happen, Rand Paul threw his arms up in the air and declared victory. Now, Rand Paul wants money for his raging fail.

After successfully duping his marks, it’s time to get paid. Getting paid and raising his profile for 2016 is what this filibuster was all about. Since his father retired Rand Paul is now in charge of the family business, which he apparently intends to use to separate fools from their money.

Sen. Paul pulled of a giant con, and got the country to buy into his first filibuster for cash stunt. Despite these facts conservatives everywhere will be emptying their pockets, and readying themselves for Rand’s next big con.

Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 08:50 AM PDT
False equivalency takes another hit

by litho

In its lead article today, in what promises to be the first of a series, the Boston Globe calls out GOP obstructionism in the Senate, with particular emphasis on the broken judicial nomination process. Focusing in particular on the DC Court of Appeals, reporter Matt Viser points to a series of recent decisions by that court that have both broken precedent and restricted President Obama's ability to implement the laws and carry out his agenda. Viser insists the problem goes beyond partisan infighting and leads to very real negative consequences for the country:

The partisan gridlock in Washington — largely fueled by the determination of Republican legislators to block Obama’s agenda by any means — manifests itself in almost everything Washington tries to do these days. It is most visible in the ongoing budget stalement and the drama that nearly took the nation right over the so-called fiscal cliff, but the impact on the federal court system, while less obvious to the public, is no less damaging.

In a long piece (the .pdf of the article runs 14 pages), Viser seeks to analyze both the depth of the current problem (a 10% vacancy rate in the federal courts), the current obstacles which contribute to making the problem worse, and the historical antecedents which got us to this point. Some highlights on the flip.

While detailing other courts around the country which have been unable to fill vacancies in the recent period, leading to 87 vacant seats out of 874 total seats, most of the piece focuses on the DC Court of Appeals. This court, one of the most powerful in the country, is currently lacking four of its full slate of eleven justices, and of the seven who do serve only three were appointed by Democratic presidents. There have been no new additions to the Court since 2006, when John Roberts left to become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

The DC Court overwhelmingly hears cases related to the scope of federal power, and in recent years its rulings have restricted the power of the EPA to enforce the Clean Air Act and completely rewritten the presidential recess appointment power. Both cases were decided by three judge panels in which Republican nominees were in the majority. On the recess appointment case, in fact, all three judges were Republican nominees. Viser quotes Victor Williams, a Catholic University law professor who had filed an amicus brief in favor of the presidential recess power:

“Just imagine a bingo wheel... If you have seven balls to spit out to fill up the three-judge panel instead of 11, there is a real possibility there would have been a more reasoned judge on that panel. It really is a classic example that it does matter if we keep our benches full or not.”

“It is more than just dysfunctional,” he added of the confirmation process. “It genuinely is broken.”

How and why is it broken? Essentially due to Republican obstructionism. Viser cites the case of Robert Bacharach, whom Obama had appointed to fill a judicial vacancy in Oklahoma. Even though the appointment had been negotiated with senior OK senator Tom Coburn -- in fact, Coburn had initially suggested Bacharach's name to the president -- when the nomination came to the consideration of the Senate Coburn put a hold on it. Though he eventually dropped his hold last July, Senate Republicans filibustered the nomination on the grounds that it was too close to a presidential election. Last month, more than a year after he had been nominated, Bacharach got a floor vote -- and was approved 93-0.

The point is that there was no real objection to his qualifications as a judge. The Republicans are simply trying to delay the implementation of justice.

Viser finishes off the article relating the filibustering last week of Caitlin Halligan's appointment to the DC Court of Appeals. Halligan was nominated to take the seat previously held by John Roberts, and her appointment would finally restore balance between Democratic and Republican nominees on that court. However, as most readers here already know, the Senate GOP successfully blocked a vote on her appointment. The Court of Appeals remains in Republican hands, ideally situated to continue to obstruct the president's agenda.

Viser does discuss Democratic obstruction in past administrations, including the successful blocking of right-wing ideologue Miguel Estrada from the DC Court in 2003. Nevertheless, he makes it clear that the degree of dysfunction is far worse today than it has ever been, and the reason for that dysfunction is the absolute refusal by the GOP to allow President Obama to govern.

Dorothy N (63)
Thursday March 14, 2013, 2:25 pm
Lol, just noticed that using 'correct' on the typoed mess I'd made of 'assassinations' altered it to 'assignations' - wish we had an 'edit' function for those of us who are digitally challenged...

Kit B (276)
Thursday March 14, 2013, 2:28 pm

Petition signed, tweeted and posted on facebook - Thanks Dorothy.

Robert K (31)
Thursday March 14, 2013, 2:54 pm
Rotsa ruck with that. I see billions spent to fight it if it even passed congress and went to the states. The best hope is a plague of locusts eating the 4 most corrupt Supremes in history.

Debra Van Way (12)
Thursday March 14, 2013, 3:57 pm
It would be nice if the idiot judge's decision to allow corporations to be considered people could be reversed. I think Bernie Sanders will have a fight on his hands but I would love to see that whole mess the judge created undone. I would also like to see the judge investigated at the very least for that ruling that created this nightmare.

Lois Jordan (63)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 4:57 pm
Noted w/thanks, Kit. And, thanks to Dorothy N....petition signed. is taking this fight on, too. Check their website for info. and petitions.
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