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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: Restore Democracy to The Republic

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Ban Private Campaign Finance in America: Restore Democracy to The Republic

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 615 signatures. NEW goal - We need 750 signatures!

Petition Background

B A C K G R O U N D
1. Who's Paying Whom?
When it comes to corporate issues and the economy, right wing and left wing candidates don't differ much on the issues. They appear to be different because of their stances taxes, social philosophy and foreign policy--and both Democrats and Republicans usually take huge contributions from both ends of the political spectrum in the corporate sector; the top 60 or so companies give money to both parties and the two primary candidates running for office, which is why all the other issues connected to the economy (infrastructure, environmental protection, labor, education, health, energy and foreign policy) generally get compromised once a candidate is elected and takes office. So Money is the over-riding issue.

2. Why is Money Top Dog?
Campaigns --American Style--cost a lot of money. 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 (This is why every time an politician writes you about an issue, they also ask for a donation.); 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-intention-ed politicians--most especially the good ones.

3. Are There Exceptions?
Unless a politician is an Elizabeth Warren or a Bernie Sanders, generally they will talk more about flash-point topics on the campaign trail--which distract us from the issues they will likely vote the same way or similarly on (despite their campaign promises often to the contrary). They talk about abortion, LGBT rights, free- or partially-free- education, immigration and far-flung international issues--all important in their own right, but usually taking a back seat to economy and staying in office. Money causes this.

4. Who Makes It So?
As touched on before, the top sixty corporations generally donate to both parties. That makes you and I an almost complete-back-seat-concern (even when that is not what a politician desires)--unless we are wealthy corporate officers who can have share-holders and lobbyists rewrite the laws for us. This is how many laws are written now; they are prepared by Political Action Committees and corporate lawyers or legal experts and representatives just sign them.

5. Is There A Solution? Where Do We Stand In This?
Why not disallow all 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.

6. The Terrible Consequences of Not Changing The System
American environmental, economic and national security policies have real domestic and foreign consequences. The climate, health, welfare, education, infrastructure immigration, domestic and international security are at critical emergency levels in many cases--especially 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--not for our posterity?

7. What Kind of Government Do We Have Anyway?
The Government Is Intended And Designed to Be For Us
We, American Citizens, must wrest control of our national direction--not by violence, but by a revolution of volition in decision--and we must take public policy influence & power away from the clutches of only corporate and wealth-driven greed.that is where it rests right now, and no serious intellectual or Constitutional authority thinks otherwise; is a political fact: we have an oligarchy, now, with the trappings of representative democracy. It is essential to our survival as a nation and a species that we turn it back into a democracy.

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8. A New System, by A Small But Significant Degree
We need:

A. Publicly-funded Campaigns And Elections
Explanation of Point A: This is to level the electoral playing field, so that the wealthy individuals and corporations controlling our politics and law making with money no longer can. 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.

B. Equal-time Candidate Presentation
Explanation of Point B: This is to stop the bombardment we now experience of issues politicians distract us with, so we can demand they talk about what we are concerned with--for equal amounts of time.

C. Real Debates
Explanation of Point C: We need real debates because that is how we would drastically cut down on the bombardment we suffer from relentless stumping, pontificating and lying--which is not political discussion. Debate is an intellectual situation wherein one and his or her opponent propose points of view about conditions and offer substantive solutions to the problems the conditions present. We need to witness candidate arguments without outside moderation and polite agreements about what can and can't be mentioned--beforehand. 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 substantive discussions or arguments. They just talk past one another. Are they in kindergarten? Worse, are we? We allow and support this. We must stop. In ancient Greece, a man was not considered a man unless he could advance a substantive argument. Are we adults or children?

D. A Nationwide Standardized Election System
Explanation of Point D: It's not the seventeen-hundreds anymore: We are one nation. What they do in Texas affects us in New York--and vice versa; 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.
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9. The Coup de Grace
Thomas Jefferson, who wrote much of 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) and...

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 the ownership of a largely private press, increasingly owned by fewer and fewer people and corporations--which means the press (the media) is often influenced by who owns it.

B. 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 unqualified individuals serve as President.

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.

10. Conclusion: A Recapping, In case You've Gotten Lost
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.).

How Are they Different?
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.

Who Is Paying Now? Who is Responsible?
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.

Lies They Have to Tell? Or Back-pedaling They Have to Do?
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.

Lip-service
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.

Money Is Free Speech? So More Money is More Freedom?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.

Money Is Corruption in Politics
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.

NOT An Oligarchy?
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.

How The Money Twists And Stops Speech: True Speech
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.

The Buck Stops
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.

What Would Happen?
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.

What We'd Pay For
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.

It's Supposed to be A Job Interview
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

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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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More Reading on the Subject:

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xzVBe3hmOk

Link: http://www.moneyoutvotersin.org/

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