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Declaration of Independence

Our politicians are bought. Everyone knows it. Conservatives know it just as much as liberals do. And libertarians have probably known it all along. The Democrats are bought and the Republicans even more so. They don't represent us. They represent their donors. We have taxation without representation. Our democracy is in serious trouble.

We must regain our ability to make a difference, to have our votes count. Right now, corporate interests and special interests dominate our politics because they can spend unlimited money. Unfortunately, in this current system money speaks louder than words. The pen might be mightier than the sword, but the checkbook is far mightier than the pen. In the congressional races in 2008, the candidate who had more money won more than 93% of the time. Our representatives don't serve us; they serve the people who pay them -- their corporate funders.

So, how can we change that? Well, we can build an army of American citizens willing to fight back against the corporate machines. We can also fight money with money. But we have to concentrate all of our resources into one single attack -- making sure we take corporate money out of politics. Now, you can never stop rich people from spending their own money on their political ideology. But that has happened throughout our history and we have survived that. What has changed in the last 30 years is the power of corporate money, which is nearly unlimited.

Starting in 1978, the Supreme Court opened the spigot to corporate spending in politics. Since then, the average American has seen their wages stagnate and their share of taxes rise significantly, while corporations have seen their tax burden shrink and the top 1% has literally tripled their income. There has been a massive redistribution of wealth in this country. And it's going straight to the top.

There is one answer though. It is the one thing that is above Congress and the Supreme Court -- a constitutional amendment. We must pass an amendment saying that corporations are not people and they do not have the right to spend money to buy our politicians. Corporations have no soul. They are profit-making robots. They are not endowed by their creator with inalienable rights. They are legally created fictions that are charged with maximizing profit without any concern for morality. They can and they must be stopped before they destroy our democracy.

We are not against the existence of corporations, we are only against their ability to buy and control our government. Robots can be useful, but that doesn't mean we should let them run our democracy. We must not allow multinational corporations to infringe upon American sovereignty. This is supposed to be a democracy run by citizens, not by international, unaccountable business and financial interests.

The objective of Wolf Pac will be to raise money and raise an army for the sole purpose of passing this amendment. We need a constitutional revolution. Please join us and help retake our democracy.

28th Amendment

Corporations are not people. They have none of the constitutional rights of human beings. Corporations are not allowed to give money to any politician, directly or indirectly. No politician can raise over $100 from any person or entity. All elections must be publicly financed.

Join the Fight

Now, in order to make this amendment a reality, we must take a series of concrete steps. The objective of Wolf Pac is not theory, it is results. We will pass the amendment and we will regain our democracy. Here is how we're going to do it.

We must gather up an a fighting force. We need programmers and organizers and lawyers and leaders. We need this movement to be in all 50 states. So, first we are doing a call for generals in this army. Please write into us and tell us what your expertise is and how you can help. If you can volunteer, great; if you can contribute, great. But we need you no matter what. There is no secret money behind this. There is no profit in it other than for our democracy. That's why this movement must be people powered.

Unfortunately it appears that our Congress is completely infected with the virus. So proposing an amendment through Congress seems hopeless. But luckily there is another way. We can do this purely at the state level. The states can call for a constitutional convention and they can ratify an amendment that comes out of one. And there is nothing our corrupt federal government can do about it.

We are hoping that the first wave of volunteers help us organize at the state level. Let's go occupy the states! Can you imagine all 50 state houses occupied until the people get what they want -- their democracy back! It can happen. You can make it happen. Joint the fight. Now, it's our time. Get up, it's time to get them back.

Join Wolf PAC Here.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Confusing? (5+ / 0-)
    No politician can raise over $100 from any person or entity. All elections must be publicly financed.

    If the Constitutional amendment calls for public finance of campaigns, then why is it necessary to have a clause which limits the amount of money that can be raised from a person or entity? Also, after 100 years, a $100 will be worth like 10 cents.

    In fact, it seems if all elections are to be publicly financed, you don't need ANY of the other text.

    Maybe I'm missing something.

  •  When I Lived in England (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pat bunny, Major Tom, Chi, NonnyO, antirove, fcvaguy

    ... in grad school in the mid-1990's, I remember that candidates spent about $20,000 pounds each on their races.  I'm not sure but that may have been the legal limit.

    There are other differences in the British and American systems and, yes, each House of Commons member has a constituency of about 90,000 (as compared to 700,00+ on average for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives) but, still, it was refreshing to see that money is not the only factor in determining who wins.

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam - A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma

    by JekyllnHyde on Wed Oct 19, 2011 at 08:41:05 PM PDT

    •  Election season... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      conniptionfit, Texnance

      ... is only some 60 (or is it 90?) days long, too..., not any f##king two++bloody Years, during which we have people getting their knickers in a knot over the stupidest things possible (e.g. the flag lapel pins, religion, and other nonsense).  With only some two months or so to discuss genuine issues, they have to get down to brass tacks and discuss issues only.  Years of electoral politics is also why we're bored senseless and don't give a damn by election day, and therefore most people do not turn out in droves to actually vote.

      I'd feel more comfortable with having electoral process politics rise to the top of the pond scum only some two months before election day.  That makes more sense.

      I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

      by NonnyO on Wed Oct 19, 2011 at 10:30:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Cenk, it's a great idea, but... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mahakali overdrive, roseeriter

    Isn't Dylan Ratigan calling for the same thing that you are now calling for? Also, doesn't he already have over 200,000 signatures in support thereof? Therefore, at some point, you should consider teaming up with his movement. I'm just suggesting.

  •  What a horrible idea (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    katiec

    This won't work, it won't get the consensus we need, and it misses the whole point.

    It's really simple. Until we remove Wall Street's grip from our government, nothing will matter and no reform will be possible.

    And we cannot remove Wall Street's grip until we get the money 100% out of the political process.

    Didn't we learn anything from the health care debate and the financial reform efforts?

    Did we think Dick Durbin was using hyperbole when he said the banks "frankly own the place?"

    Nothing we attempt, from climate change to health care to poverty to fair trade, will ever get fixed until we ELIMINATE the corruption of our campaign finance system.

    Hopefully, in the future, they will look back on this time when we allowed our politicians, even our judges, to be bribed with cash, the way we look back on the days when women couldn't vote or people were kept as slaves.

    That's  how absurd our campaign finance system is. How completely dense does one have to be to ever think we can fix anything without fixing this first?

    Name me any serious problem facing us today and I will trace its roots to money buying our politicians off.

    What OWS needs to do, is keep it simple and stick to the top priorities: Our #1 demand should be to COMPLETELY remove money from politics. That is the root of our problems. And all other problems stem from it.

    It will possibly take a constitutional amendment. So be it. We've done it before on issues that didn't have as much public support as getting money out of politics does. Prohibition anyone?

    If we could succeed at getting the money out of politics, that would be no less than a 2nd American Revolution. Imagine, in 20 years, we would have politicians in office who had to win on the merit of their ideas instead of how much money they could raise.

    Then, and only then, will we be able to tack our very serious problems.

    •  Rocklawyer (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      martini, outragedinSF

      I believe what you are saying is what Cenk is actually proposing: Getting the money COMPLETELY out of politics. Indeed, there is no other way to do it. So I agree with you there.

      •  Is he? It seems to me he is only proposing taking (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Major Tom

        the 'corporate money' out of politics.  That seems like a half measure.

        •  Yes (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Major Tom, katiec
          So, how can we change that? Well, we can build an army of American citizens willing to fight back against the corporate machines. We can also fight money with money. But we have to concentrate all of our resources into one single attack -- making sure we take corporate money out of politics. Now, you can never stop rich people from spending their own money on their political ideology. But that has happened throughout our history and we have survived that. What has changed in the last 30 years is the power of corporate money, which is nearly unlimited.

          I'm sorry, but this entire paragraph is just dumb.

          We can stop rich people from bribing our politicians. And that is what we have to do. And no, we haven't "survived" rich people from spending their own money on their political ideology. America, as it was conceived, no longer even exists. It has been bought, sold, and stolen from us.

          We no longer even have control over our currency - and that is about 90% of our economic problem right there. We have to pay banksters compound interests just to print the money we need to finance the cost of running the country. When people awaken to the insanity of that alone, they will revolt.

          And as for fighting money with money? Trust me. I used to be a lobbyist (for the good guys). We don't have enough to compete. Not even close.

          Don't listen to fools. The #1 method of controlling the system is with campaign cash. No reform of anything will be possible until we remove that method of control.

          It ain't rocket science.

          And I'll tell you something else. This is the potential demand the plutocrats fear the most. And they will fight to the death top preserve this system.

          Because they know, if politicians no longer had to raise money to get elected, and were able to vote their best judgment, accountable only to voters, it would be nothing less than the second American revolution.

          Imagine, no more little idiot psychos like G W Bush or Rick Perry whose only qualification for public office is knowing what hands not to bite.

          The second American revolution in one simple bill to criminalize bribing politicians with campaign cash.

          Then, and only then, if we can pull that off, we can move to the plutocrats #2 method of control: #occupythemedia.

          •  Rocklawyer (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            katiec, rocklawyer

            Your following language does sum it up precisely:

            Because they know, if politicians no longer had to raise money to get elected, and were able to vote their best judgment, accountable only to voters, it would be nothing less than the second American revolution.
        •  Kindofblue (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kindofblue

          The diaryists says the following:

          No politician can raise over $100 from any person or entity. All elections must be publicly financed.

          Thus, he is not just talking about corporations. However, as has been rightly pointed out by Rocklawyer and yourself, all non-public monies must be taken out of the system entirely. That way we'll know an actionable bribe when any amount of money is given to a politician. Also, under this system, both the politician and the money giver should be prosecuted to the full limit of the law. By the way, we've had these laws on the books in the past, and they worked.  

  •  More of this, please (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Major Tom
    The states can call for a constitutional convention and they can ratify an amendment that comes out of one.

    It may be ugly, and it may be an uphill battle--and there will be plenty coming here to tell you just exactly how wrong you are, in an effort to discourage as many as possible--but this is a battle we must not shrink from. It is a battle that we must find a way to fight.

    It is, IMO, exactly right to frame this as "losing our sovereignty completely to corporation". And real flesh-and-blood Persons of the United States are the only ones who can try and stop it.

    REPEAL the Telecomm Act & REVIEW this decision. NO journalist should be fired because their boss can't have the truth told.

    by lunachickie on Wed Oct 19, 2011 at 09:00:09 PM PDT

  •  Cenk (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    martini, mahakali overdrive

    I do not see a place to insert the requisite telephone number on your enlistment form. You might want to remedy that.

  •  This Won't Really Fix the Problem: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kindofblue, Pluto

    More money is being spent now independently of campaigns than donations. Cenk and Ratigan won't change that.

    It's a deeper more basic problem than the proposers of these patches grasp. The problem is the 1st Amendment itself. The underlying idea is right on, but the way the expression of it actually works is almost opposite to its intentions.

    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 Wed Oct 19, 2011 at 09:27:48 PM PDT

    •  Is the problem REALLY with the 1st Amendment? (3+ / 0-)

      When you can get arrested for holding a poster on the steps of the Supreme Court (Cornel West), something is sure screwed up.  Or the mom arrested for reciting the 4th Amendment to the airport TSA.  Or Naomi Wolf getting arrested for walking on a public sidewalk outside a Gov. Cuomo event.  Or Cindy Sheehan getting arrested for openly wearing a T-shirt with a significant four-digit number on it when she was a guest at the State of the Union address.  Or the teachers kicked out and threatened with arrest for wearing the "Protect Our Civil Liberties" T-shirts at the George Bush campaign event.   Or being required to sign a loyalty oath before attending a public campaign rally where Cheney spoke.

      Is the problem REALLY with the First Amendment, or with the courts and the officials sworn to protect and defend it?

      •  thatvisionthing (0+ / 0-)

        Everything you've mentioned is illegal and unconstitutional. However, victims need to take the cops and other authorities to court to enforce their rights and get clarity. They should also sue the cops (and perhaps mayors) for substantial damages based upon the violation of their civil rights under U.S.C.A. 42, section 983 et. seq.

    •  Well, we could limit (0+ / 0-)

      that kind of independent and indirect political advocacy to small dollar amounts, say $100. Yes, that language could be put in a Constitutional Amendment. Otherwise, why don't we just throw our hands up in the air and surrender now? You can, but not me!

  •  Corporations are persons, not people (0+ / 0-)

    I hate to sound pedantic, but that's a real, sometimes important, distinction. Slaves were referred to as "persons" or "other persons" in the original US Constitution. When the Vth Amendment says "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury," that included slaves. Nat Turner had a lawyer provided by the state of Virginia because (as a slave) he couldn't afford one. He didn't have the right to keep and bear arms, or to assemble to petition the government for a redress of grievances because (again as a slave) he wasn't part of "We the people" of the United States.

    The 19th century Supreme Court found corporations to be persons, not people. Remember, corporations cannot vote when they become 18 years old. Again, this may sound pedantic, but it's a real, sometimes significant, legal distinction.

  •  How is this different than Ratigan or Lessig's (0+ / 0-)

    movements, and why do we need another?

  •  That is, I think I disagree (2+ / 0-)

    Cenk, I think you and Dylan may be off on the wrong track.

    Earlier this year, in reply to a comment proposing another version of a corporate unpersonhooding amendment (How about this one...), I said:

    Like closing the barn door after fake horse left

    There was no horse!  There is no spoon!  Corporations were never persons and the Constitution never said they were, and it was never legislated -- it's only the Supreme Court fucking up that makes them so.

    It all comes from Santa Clara 1886, and a motivated clerk's insertion into a headnote which was never deliberated or decided on by the court.  It's fake.  Everything built on fake is fake, even when the Supreme Court is the fake-up.

    It shouldn't even take a LAW by Congress to undo this.

    And the more you try to define it, the more you're just chasing cans on a car.  You'll never catch up, and the guys in the car are just laughing at you.

    Tell you what, I wish corporations would all get arrested under the 14th amendment -- for owning and selling other "persons" of their own kind.  But they can't get arrested, they're... limited liability "persons," something that can't exist under any sane reading of a Bill of Rights.  But if they can't get arrested, they're not persons... just saying, I've seen this episode of Star Trek, the robot blows his mind.

    Congress never legislated corporate personhood in the first place at all; it's entirely a judicial fiction.  I think the trick is to laugh at the empire's new clothes.  I mean, it's ridiculous on its face.

    Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property.
    Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person.

    •  Before and After / Sane and Insane: The Table (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Major Tom

      See it:

      Table below snagged from Thom Hartmann's old website a ways back.   Hartmann wrote the book Unequal Protection (serialized on Truthout) and I think we all have him to thank for pursuing the story of the 1886 clerk headnote error that corporate personhood "legality" is based on.


    •  thatvisionthing (0+ / 0-)

      You're absolutely right. So how about including within the new Amendment a right to recall any Supreme Court Justice by a national vote?

      You know what? Why don't we just create a Constitutional Amendment directing that any and all changes to the U.S. Constitution can be effectuated by a straight national vote of say 60% of all voters? Because societies have been changing so fast, our static Constitution no longer works for us, or is far too slow to work for us properly. Actually, that's the way it should have been done.    

      Gosh, why shouldn't we be more like the direct plebecite country of Switzerland.

      •  No new amendment! New justices! (0+ / 0-)

        And what election result do you trust isn't able to be hacked now?  NOOO.

        Why don't we just create a Constitutional Amendment directing that any and all changes to the U.S. Constitution can be effectuated by a straight national vote of say 60% of all voters?

        And I don't look to the Constitution as the problem for not changing fast enough to keep up with the world -- it's a boat that's meant to sail any seas -- I look to the sneaky backroom unconstutional laws and the termites that are supposed to be preserving and defending the Constitution and instead are NOT.

  •  A constitutional amendment about corporations (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Major Tom, Mrs M

    ... and campaign finance isn't going to change anything for the American people. It's not even coming close to the systemic flaw in the system that allows wealth inequality and vast influence over the political process -- via indirect means.

    Our entire economic system is the culprit. Albert Einstein explains it here:

    Private capital tends to become concentrated in fewer hands....

    As a result, an oligarchy of private capital forms -- the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society. This is true because the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, which are largely financed... by private capitalists.

    For all practical purposes, the electorate is entirely separated from the legislature. As a consequence, the representatives of the people do not sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population.

    Moreover, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult -- and indeed in most cases quite impossible -- for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights.

    Under our system of predatory capitalism:

    The worker is constantly in fear of losing his job. Since unemployed and poorly paid workers do not provide a profitable market, the production of consumers’ goods is restricted, and great hardship is the consequence.

    Technological progress results in more unemployment rather than in an easing of the burden of work for all.

    The profit motive... is responsible for an instability in the accumulation and utilization of capital, which leads to increasingly severe depressions. Unlimited competition [for jobs] leads to a huge waste of labor, and to the crippling of the social consciousness of individuals....

    This crippling of social consciousness in individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism.

    The American people are Colonists.

    It doesn't matter how many Amendments we tack on to the Constitution. The American people have no share in the commonwealth of the nation. Thus, they do not have the means to control its destiny -- or their own.

    They never did.

    http://www.dailykos.com/...


    Immerse yourself the humanity and humor of this Community at Personal Storytellers.

    by Pluto on Wed Oct 19, 2011 at 10:59:10 PM PDT

  •  YES! (0+ / 0-)

    Gasoline made from the tar sands gives a Toyota Prius the same impact on climate as a Hummer using gasoline made from oil. ~ Al Gore

    by Lefty Coaster on Wed Oct 19, 2011 at 11:01:12 PM PDT

  •  there's no other way, there's no other way (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Major Tom

    Apologies to Blur, but unfortunately Cenk is right.  No, the problem isn't with any of the amendments, even though freedom of speech has been interpreted by the courts to include spending obscene amounts of money to support political ideas.  It's with the courts themselves, because Citizens United was an egregious violation of the idea of judicial restraint.  

    Congress won't do anything about this unless we have at least 65% of each house, with no Blue Dogs involved.  We know that McCain-Finegold passed so there's no real proof that incumbency corrupts absolutely, but the playing field won't be leveled soon enough.  It's better than doing squat, and the worst that can happen will be we're stuck with the status quo for a while.

    Honestly, I'm surprised you're all being so cautious here.  What on earth will caution buy you?

    All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Wed Oct 19, 2011 at 11:18:44 PM PDT

  •  First two sentences only (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FightersFate

    Corporations are not people. They have none of the constitutional rights of human beings.

    Pass this without campaign finance legislation and we can then pass finance regulation legislation. Keep it simple.

    •  Yes - keep it simple. Get pledges to act. (0+ / 0-)

      Take out the campaign finance text. Sure, that is your motivation, but the incy person fiction is a multi-headed hydra. Attack the cause not the symptoms.

      For the same reason, I oppose a convention. Action by Congress is focused. A convention will go off the rails on day one.

      How to get Congress to act? Time for some PLEDGES.

      I want anyone running for Congress to pledge to vote for nothing else before voting on a resolution of amendment on this issue.

      Get candidates to step up to this issue.

      I will not be giving any more money to a candidate who will not agree to this.

      The only winning move is not to play. - Joshua

      by FightersFate on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 08:48:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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