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Petition statement to be delivered to President Donald Trump, The New York State House, The New York State Senate, Governor Andrew Cuomo, The United States House of Representatives, and The United States Senate

Ban Private Campaign Finance in America (Sign your full name, or don't sign, please.)

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Ban Private Campaign Finance in America (Sign your full name, or don't sign, please.)

To be delivered to President Donald Trump, The New York State House, The New York State Senate, Governor Andrew Cuomo, The United States House of Representatives, and The United States Senate

Petition Statement

The United States of America has an election system that undermines equal representation, fosters and maintains an auctioneering environment, and puts the power of politics squarely and unequivocally in the hands of the wealthy and corrupt--at the expense of the vast majority of the electorate. We demand a constitutional convention and amendment to the constitution to halt this at breakneck speed:

1. We want publicly-funded, equal-time candidate presentations and debates.

2. We want privately-financed campaigns and campaign contributions banned. Wealth buying influence is not free-speech, it's corruption. That's common sense. If elections were publicly funded, they would be cheap, and no one could command more influence than another--except in reason, honor, and integrity--the way it should be.

3. We want a nationwide standardized election system.

4. We want on-line polling options. The internet is good enough for opinion polls, university education, driver-license acquisition, healthcare enlistment, and credit-card purchases, so it's perfect for elections.
There are currently 576 signatures. NEW goal - We need 750 signatures!

Petition Background

It's Our Country, Our Nation, but Only if We Safeguard its Principles of Egalitarian Democracy....

I. THE PREMISE:
The United States of America has an election system that undermines equal representation, fostering and maintaining an auctioneering environment, which puts the power of politics squarely and unequivocally in the hands of the wealthy and corrupt--at the expense of the vast majority of the us--we, the electorate.

We therefore demand a constitutional convention and amendment to the constitution to halt this at breakneck speed, but first...

II. THE GENERAL FACTS:
When it comes to corporate issues and the economy, right wing and left wing candidates do not differ very much on the issues. They appear to be different because of taxes, social philosophy and foreign policy stances--and both usually take huge contributions from both ends of the political spectrum in the corporate sector; most top companies give money to both major parties and the two primary candidates running for office, which is why all the other issues connected to the economy (environmental protection, labor, education, health, energy and foreign policy) generally get compromised once candidates reach office. They will talk more about flash-point topics, which distract us from the issues they will likely vote the same way or similarly on (despite campaign promises often to the contrary), such as on abortion, LGBT rights, free or partially free education, immigration and far-flung international issues--all important in their own right, but which usually take a back seat to economy and staying in office--once they are in office.

Politicians have to start raising money for their next election as soon as they sit down at their desks upon taking office for the first time; they have to compromise their principles to take that money from otherwise hitherto ideologically political "enemies." Money thus hamstrings our best intentions in this country and that is especially true for the well-intentioned politicians--most especially the good ones.

As touched on before, the top sixty corporations generally donate to both parties. That makes you and I a complete back-seat concern, unless we are wealthy corporate officers who can have lobbyists rewrite the laws for us. This is how many laws are eritten now, anyway: prepaired by Political Action Committiees and corporate lawyers or legal experts; or representatives just sign them. Why not disallow this? What are we? Are we slaves and second-class citizens? That is exactly what we are--under the present money-dominated system that WE allow.

American environmental, economic and national security policies have real international challenges. The climate, health, education, and social policies are at critical emergency levels in many cases--now, more than ever. Can we afford to let the system be hamstrung as it is, working for the 1% and not all of us?

We, the average American citizens, must wrest control of our national direction and take public policy influence and power away from the clutches of corporate and wealth-driven greed. It is essential to our survival as a nation and a species.

III. WHAT WE WANT:
1. We want publicly-funded, equal-time candidate presentations and real debates--because that is how we would drastically cut down on the bombardment we suffer from relentless stumping, which is not debating. Debating is when you and your opponent get into the issues and argue without moderation or polite agreements about what can and can't be mentioned. Right now, this is what is done: Candidates agree before-hand what can be talked about and they do not deviate from that. They also do not have substabtive discussions or arguments. They just talk past one anothet. Are in kindergarten? Worse, are we? We allow and support this.

In ancient Greece, a man was not considered a man unless he could advance a substantive argument. Are we adults or children?

2. We want privately-financed campaigns and campaign contributions banned. Wealth buying influence is not free-speech, it's corruption; that's common sense: if elections were publicly funded, they would be cheap, and no one could command more influence than another--except in reason, honor, and integrity--the way it should be.

3. We want a nationwide standardized election system--because we are one nation. It's not the seventeen-hundreds anymore. What they do in Texas affects us in New York--on the whole planet, actually.

4. We want on-line polling options. The internet is good enough for opinion polls, university education, driver-license acquisition, healthcare enlistment, and credit-card purchases, so it's perfect for elections.
_____________________________
IV. SOME BACKGROUND (An Essay):

Let's Go Deeper, because you want to know what you're talking about when you get into an argument with your conservative friend or your uncle at Thanksgiving--and you want to know whether I do or not) This is long. Get a cup of coffee and sit at your kitchen table or Starbuck's on a Sunday morning and read it all, please:

Why America Needs a Publicly Funded Electoral System
by Carl Charles Atteniese Jr.
Dear Fellow American Citizen, Dear Human Being:
Everyone is saying it and it was revealed by scholars in the UK several years ago: A study conducted in Britain found that the United States of America is an oligarchy--by virtue of the fact that statistics show the majority of the laws passed here favor the rich and their corporations. It is no longer a left-wing mantra; it's a fact: We don't have a democracy any more. This is because of our election laws and party finance laws.
Think about it: right now, health, happiness, and security in this country is decided largely by whoever has the most financial influence over a select few candidates able to afford the ad campaigns necessary to run for office. They decide what laws are passed. As it has been accurately said before, 'that's an auction' for political power. Is that what we want?
When it comes to elections, we usually have so few candidates that we have to funnel money to candidates who are usually not our first choice (because fewer candidates means less chance for a broader-based discussion in more sensible political platforms), so we are left with the choice of voting for the lesser of two evils--or three, or five. For example, most people do not want Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump for President.
Thomas Jefferson, who wrote our Declaration of Independence and who was an enlightenment thinker, said two things are necessary for democracy to thrive:
1. An educated electorate (the citizen voters and petitioners of government)
2. A free press (the media)
That's all we really need. However, we have:
A. A "dumbed-down" and disenfranchised electorate and (because of:)
B. A largely private press, which means the press (the media) is often influenced by who owns it. (If you want to get more for your mind about the news, check out Utne Reader, The Nation, Mother Jones, Politico, NPR)
3. In addition, and most destructively, we allow money to control our politicians by allowing it to be funneled into campaigns and parties--from corporations and wealthy private citizens, who then expect their bidding to be done in office--and it is--to the detriment of truth, our health and happiness, the environment, education, infrastructure and our security.
Moneyed institutions and banks narrow the size of the political arena and the depth of the national debate by making it near impossible for average, intelligent, and moral citizens to enter politics--unless they can compete with the financial saturation of their opponents. This is why we face the terrifying prospect of having Donald trump as President--not because he is a constitutional law professor, like Obama, or because he is a theoretical physicist or lawyer--or because he has distinguished himself in diplomacy, rhetoric, logic or compassion, but because he is a poorly educated bully with money--whom we should pity and have concern for (the poor guy).
___ . _____________
This is precisely how Thomas Jefferson said the American Revolution and its Democracy would fail and end. He said it would happen when our government fell under the control of banks and moneyed institutions. This is precisely what has happened.
___ . _____________
According to Lawrence Lessig, a former Yale and now Harvard Law Professor, thirty to seventy percent of a congressperson's time is spent raising money for re-election. Moreover, 0.5% of the population supplies 60% of the funds necessary to put people in government. This one-half of one percent of the people decides with their money who is going to be on the ballot (Donald Trump put himself on it.) This means a large part of a politician's time is not spent on us, but on themselves. We are to blame; we allow it.
Maybe we have allowed money in politics because we haven’t imagined a more fair system being possible? Maybe we privately feel this wealthy, small percentage of the population (and the political action committees and lobby groups they finance)--who choose our candidates for us, along with the Electoral College, are the only ones qualified for the job? I am not afraid of these things. Are you?
___ . ___
IT ASTOUNDS ME how Americans appear to think they are so strong, free and courageous; when I look at our political system, I think we are weak, slaves and cowardly--for allowing this. This is why they laugh at us in every country. We not only owe it to ourselves to straighten out our electoral and campaign finance system; we owe it to the world, as we are the most capable nation of moral leadership. Or, we used to be. How can we help the world when we have some of the worst statistics in how we run our nation and society? I teach educated men from a nation we tore apart in rescuing it in the nineteen-fifties. They say that if we default on our strategic and economic promises to their nation, they may have to turn to China.
___ . ___
Imagine if money weren't such a factor in candidacy; there would likely be a multitude of candidates--probably so many that we wouldn't have to worry so much about one or the other getting elected. The more candidates, the more congruent their views would tend to become in sensible areas of thought--because a broader base of the population would be represented by them--instead of the usual rich, intellectual left, and the active portions of the poor who can actually afford to be involved; we, the people would not be settling and bending to their views (and those of their benefactors) so much as they would be bending to ours. And so, it follows that we wouldn't have to worry so much about which one or the other a takes office. Instead, we and whole world are terrified--rightly so.
The way things are now, candidates pretend to have vastly different views to strike the illusion of contrast on controversial issues--to differentiate themselves from one another, when in reality, they are not much different at all (usually; this time around we have an apparent liar, a crazy man and a saint running for President; Bernie Sanders is a New Deal Democrat, according to Noam Chomsky, nor a Socialist, and he took no money from corporations for his campaign.).

They are the same, our candidates--usually--except for perhaps in the areas of infrastructure development (largely depending on what and who is in a politician's district and who is dumping donations into his or her coffers--rather than depending on what we need as a nation)... and on social policy and war-making.
We keep supporting a system of elections, party, and political action-committee financing that survives on bribery, which is why we don't have the foreign or domestic policy that the majority of us want--nor the energy, education, civic or the environmental policies we need.
These days, candidates say they'll advocate a particular policy before being elected--and later, as elected representatives, they advocate the opposite. They may believe in the original views they had espoused and which had gotten them elected, but if money is not behind those ideas, they have to be abandoned, along with the values behind them. This happens on both sides of the aisle. And by the way, we should be thoroughly embarrassed that there are only two major political parties in this country.
Our representatives consistently have to severely weaken their positions and propose policies supporting the money--instead of what's best for the nation, and/or what is righteous, just, and reasonable.
People against publicly-funded elections say money is free speech. It isn't. Robert Reich, Bernie Sanders, and all the people against Citizens United & say it isn't, either, but corporate manipulators like the Koch Brothers say it is--or reflect that.
In politics, money is wealth--either enough or not enough--to influence people unnaturally. And that's bribery when it is coming from a few billionaires and corporations, who actually often write the bills that become the laws—along with political action committees. The reason they get away with this is they pay off the politicians. It's legal corruption, plain and simple. That's not democracy. That's plain chicanery. That’s oligarchy—rule by the rich.
Dr. Noam Chomsky calls what we have "polyarchy", because it is not rule by one family but by many rulers who are not representative of the majority.
Unnatural political influence (money) also creates ads in the media, and phony scientific studies. It’s hiring pundits, lawyers, and broadcasters, to say something over and over again, which we could hear ONCE in a public service announcement (but probably wouldn't believe, anyway).
It drums ideas into our heads more frequently and more loudly--to bombard us and inculcate us (to program us) -- and usually it is skewed messages, outright lies, or irrelevant information designed to distract us. And it is all possible because of private money. It is an insult to our intelligence and to those who have fought for this country and build it, too. It is un-American. It's advertising--which is for commercial sales, not the running of a nation.
CORE IDEAS AND BENEFITS of PUBLIC CAMPAIGN FINANCE:
Let none of the money generated by the tax-based electoral system we advocate--in any way--come into contact with candidates or their parties in such a way that it corrupts them or their values. Let is only contribute to air-time and a few debates.
See what happens if we were to make elections publicly funded: I suggest that after a short time (shorter than it took to get all members of Congress to obey the law on the Affordable Care Act), no one would take the ad campaigns of the then past system of electoral advertising seriously... over the new public service system of our proposed election and campaign process.
In the system we advocate, there would be an allowance given and press time provided for a set number of introductions to a candidate. So, the funds required for a few necessary public appearances by candidates would come from a couple cents on the dollar. That's it.
We don't need to worry about whether the police department is staffed with unskilled law enforcement professionals when we dial 911. That's because we have a plethora of officers whose candidacy for a public service position on the police force is not determined by or predicated on vested wealth-based private interests. Police officers are hired after a test, a background check, and an interview.... That's precisely how it should be for the most important jobs in the land: political jobs and the running of our nation! So, We would be confident people are in the running, because they deserved and earned their places there.
The closer we bring the electoral system to an interview and job selection scenario and further away from its being an 'auction and popularity contest', the sooner we won't have to be intent on one of two (or several) candidates we don't totally agree with, and the sooner we will have more options in policy, greater commonality in sensible views, a deeper, more meaningful national debate, and astronomically less corruption.
The Bottom Line: We The Majority of The People Would be Running Our Nation, Not the Wealthy Few.
___ . ____________________________
Here are recent bills that were introduced in the House and Senate, supporting public campaign finance and the politicians and celebrated public figures who have championed the cause of publicly funded elections (from Wikipedia):
US, SB 752, the Fair Elections Now Act, called for publicly funded elections in U.S. Senate campaigns. It was sponsored in the 111th Congress (2009–10) by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Arlen Specter (D-PA).
A companion bill, H.R. 1826, was introduced in the House, sponsored by John Larson (D-CT), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), and Walter Jones (R-NC). Neither bill moved out of Committee.
Barack Obama, as an Illinois senator, was the first co-sponsor of the 2007 version of the Durbin–Specter bill. (Obama chose not to participate in the public financing system in 2008)
John Bonifaz, founder of the National Voting Rights Institute
Bill Bradley (D-NJ), former U.S. Senator
John Edwards (D-NC), former U.S. Presidential Candidate and Senator
Adonal Foyle, NBA player, and founder of Democracy Matters
Cecil Heftel (D-HI), former U.S. Representative
Ned Lamont (D-CT), former U.S. Senate candidate
John McCain (R-AZ), U.S. Presidential Candidate and Senator (McCain has also expressed opposition to a national version of the system and has not endorsed or co-sponsored the bills introduced in the U.S. Senate.)
Ralph Nader of Connecticut, U.S. Presidential Candidate
Janet Napolitano (D-AZ), former Governor, former Secretary of Homeland Security
Bill Richardson (D-NM), U.S. Presidential Candidate and Governor
Eliot Spitzer (D-NY), former Governor
John Eder, Green Party leader who utilized Maine's public financing to win office to the Maine State Legislature
Thank you,
And Peace, Love, Joy, and Prosperity to You and Yours,
Carl Charles Atteniese Jr., AKA "Mando," A Dharma Name
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Join us on Facebook, at:
(Short Link) http://goo.gl/maFyff
Or at:
(Actual Link) https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ban-Private-Campaign-Finance/691017934250442
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LINKS:
Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xzVBe3hmOk
Link: http://www.moneyoutvotersin.org/

this petition is also at MoveOn (I put it here because things don't move very fast at MoveOn, where in two years, I gathered only 520 signatures):
http://pac.petitions.moveon.org/sign/establish-a-state-of-2

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