Monday, March 19, 2012

As boring as it may be, America will never recover fully without campaign finance reform

It is my fervent belief that the biggest problem facing America today has nothing to to with the economy, nor the environment.  It it not social issues, as most elected republicans and those who hope to be elected are telling us with the laws that they're passing in the states and the rhetoric they use on the campaign trail.  It's not education nor the fact that the United States of America has a broken educational system.  It's not even Wall Street or greedy CEOs who have stolen the futures, dreams and hopes of so many in this country.  Americans have to look more deeply into the source that allows all of these tragedies to occur.

While all of these things do present severe problems that we, as a nation, must overcome before we can consider ourselves on the mend from the greatest recession since the Great Depression, the truth of the matter is that we need to look past them all to get to the root.  We have to stop arguing about oil subsidies versus those for clean energy research and development.  America must let go of the issues that are so divisive as to have no clear end in site:  There will always be those who are against abortion and those who are for abortion.  The answer about evolution or creationism will never be settled in some people's mind, because faith cannot be shaken just as those things that fall within the realm of faith cannot be proven false to the true believers.

So, to solve all of these problems, or more accurately, all of these symptoms to the one REAL problem that we face, we must come to a consensus as to what is the actual cause of America's woes.  Personally, I believe that I know what this problem is and will share my belief shortly, but first, I'd like to point out a few things that will hopefully help many of you out there to come to the same conclusion as I have.

First, the World is getting worse in general and America seems to be following suit.  Actually, America seems to be leading the way in this pursuit to reach bottom.  We have become a nation that prides itself in war, not as a means of defense, but as a means to impose our values across the Globe.  Point in fact, the man I consider a war criminal, George W. Bush, led America into a war based on shoddy intelligence.  Never has any evidence been presented that would lead anyone to the conclusion that Saddam Hussein, nor the country of Iraq was fabricating weapons of mass destruction. . . . NOTHING.  Yet Colin Powell stood in front of the Nation and presented satellite images of semi-trucks with tarps over their beds and cross sectional renderings of semi-trucks with missiles loaded on the flatbed:  Renderings people, that's one step above a cartoon.  So, America went to war based on a picture of a truck and a cartoon image of a truck.  We were at war for eight years, yet no one was held accountable for this apparent miscalculation.  At least one person in Bush's administration (Richard Clark) inferred that Bush directed him to find a connection between Saddam and 911, but no one in that administration has been charged with anything, at least not in America.

While we're on the topic of accountability, let's look at what Wall Street and corporations have done and continue to do to this country.  Wall Street has basically drained away everyone's pension, except for those at the top.  There are numerous offenses that Wall Street is guilty for, including unleashing the TEA Party, a contradictory organization:  "Keep your hands off my Medicare", because we want less Government intervention?  TEA partiers actually need to be saved from themselves.  Now, I'm not implying that Wall Street actually created the TEA Party, but that jackass Rick Santelli did and he's still on the air.  He should be in the same dust bin that Rush Limbaugh is heading for, because it is the nonsense such as his and other purveyors of verbal filth and misdirection that is causing such great harm to the people and reputation of this great nation.

As for corporations.  Well, they just keep getting bigger and bigger.  It's dog eat dog out there, as I was made oh so aware of as I walked through my neighborhood's Block Buster on its last day as a brick and mortar location.  While I don't have any special place in my heart for this once proud and gigantic company, it does seem problematic that such large entities can be taken out:  Tossed aside like a Mom and Pop store, Block Buster is going the way of the Buffalo, which is exactly what was supposed to have happened to so many of the Too Big To Fail Banks in recent times.  In retrospect, it might have been that the banks had to be saved at the time, but why are they now bigger than ever and why are they allowed to take people's homes away.  Here's some comparisons and contrasts for everyone to ponder:

The banks got into trouble.  Homeowners got into trouble
The banks froze their credit.  Homeowners lost their jobs in droves
The banks that gambled with our money got bailed out.  Most homeowners got nothing or got kicked out
The banks have recovered due to the bail out.  Homeowners are still waiting for relief.

Now, here is an analogy I would make in relation to the banks:

The banks are like loan sharks who loan you money to buy a business then break your legs so you can't pay it back, all while demanding repayment after burning down your new business.  Think about it.  They gave money to homeowners, then caused the economy to collapse (breaking of the legs for so many who became unemployed), then they caused the housing market to crash (sub-prime loans).  Please differentiate, if you can.

And, if one looks past the plight of homeowners, their are the rest of us (which includes homeowners).  It seems quite odd to me that U.S. corporation were allowed to move their operations overseas, but still benefit from being a U.S. corporation.  Tax breaks awaited those who could store their profits anywhere but the United States.  And these companies just kept making money, while America fell apart.  Where's the love?  Where's the loyalty?  Should corporations that do more for the economies of other countries (relatively) still be considered U.S. companies?

And now, that American workers are willing to take at least a 50% pay cut:  I use 50% because this is always the figure that comes up whenever I hear some story about how manufacturing is coming back to America.  So, now that Americans are willing to take this pay cut, these corporations come back home.  It's funny, but I missed the memo that said everyone's bills were going to be cut in half to match the across the manufacturing board cuts.  If someone has a copy, please forward it to me.  But, I digress.

Now, in other news, there are people (some politicians) who were telling us that Climate Change is real, but it would too expense to do anything to fix it.  We've got corporations that want to privatize prisons and schools and whatever else they can get privatized.  And given the influence of money in our current political system, this push will most likely continue to happen to the detriment of the public sector specifically and the public in general. . .  And this point leads to what I believe is the biggest problem this country faces.

All of the issues mentioned above happened and will happen, because most of our elected officials are beholden to the wealthy:  They need money for their campaigns and re-elections.  Most of these things will happen because far too many people are focusing on the symptoms:  Abortion, the Economy, the Environment, Education, WAR.  None of these issues will be resolved in a manner that benefits the majority of the population UNTIL OUR POLITICIANS ARE NO LONGER BEHOLDEN TO THE WEALTHY. 
Whether individuals, businesses, special interest groups or lobbyists, these entities hold too much sway over our elected officials with their endowments to candidates, so that few laws passed will truly benefit the masses.  Not until the masses gain control over the process by which laws are created here will the citizens of the United States of America be the true beneficiaries of our laws.

And this is why America needs to get money out of politics.  It is a moral imperative to free our legislators from the influence of money, if we are ever to be an example for the world.  Those on Capital Hill are only there to help those who got them there to get more money, so they can stay on Capital Hill and make money for themselves in turn.  Everyone has their opinions on abortion, the economy, BP oil, Fracking or whatever, but realize this.  None of that matters unless your opinions can actually persuade our leaders to act on our behave and represent the interests of the majority.

Following is a list of organizations that seek to do exactly what I know needs to happen to save our democracy.  They all hope to figure out how to wrest control away from the wealthy and put it back into the hands of the masses, for without this one crucial change, we will continue down the path that has led us to where we are today.

Websites with dedicated resources to campaign finance reform: - lots and lots of information on campaign finance reform

My goal now is to get all of these organizations working together instead of repeating the works that others might have already done.

Articles with historical information regarding campaign finance laws:

Creating Political Equality: American Elections as a Public Good, by Jay R. Mandle, April, 2010, Academica Press, LLC

Organizations regarding clean elections in other states:

Here is one of the sites that I have visited where they are struggling for fair elections

These are sites that could be helpful towards getting fair elections:

A really good sources of information is,  I get a daily email about articles from this website.  They seem to have really good investigative reporting.

As for books that can educate, here is the list of books that I have read and recommend:  - This book will open up the eyes of people from both parties, because it points out how both parties allowed the wealthy to take control of our government and steal trillions of dollars from the American people. - You know about this one - Eye opening book that shows why our elected officials are so out of touch with their constituents. - I would only recommend that people view the sample provided.  They do not need to buy this one, because it is very repetitive.  What they should get from it however is that an Independent (Bernie Sanders) is standing up for what he knows is the will of the people.  He is not beholden to any wealth donors, so he can actually fight on the people's behave.  I would vote for him as president over anyone else in Washington (including Obama) in a heartbeat.
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