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I wanted to mention to you that I have recently introduced a constitutional amendment, the Saving American Democracy Act, to undo the damage being caused by the disastrous 5-4 Citizens United Supreme Court decision.

In my view, this Supreme Court decision is one of the worst in the history of our country. Together, we have got to do everything we can to repeal it.  A  good place to start would be signing the attached petition and becoming a citizen co-sponsor of this resolution.

Click here to see Bernie discuss his Saving American Democracy Amendment with Rev. Al Sharpton, then sign on as a citizen co-sponsor!

Let me be very clear.  Despite what 5 members of the U.S. Supreme Court may believe, a corporation is not a person.  A corporation does not have First Amendment rights to spend as much money as it wants, without disclosure, on a political campaign.  Corporations should not be able to go into their treasuries and withdraw unlimited sums of money in order to buy elections.  That’s not what American democracy is supposed to be about.

This horrendous Supreme Court ruling has radically changed the nature of our democracy.  It has further tilted the balance of power in our country towards the rich and the powerful and against the needs of the middle class and working families.  

Today, when corporations have more than $2 trillion in cash in their bank accounts and are making record-breaking profits, the American people are outraged when the Supreme Court says that these corporations have a constitutionally-protected right to spend shareholders’ money to dominate an election.  If we do not reverse this decision, there will be no end to the impact that corporate interests can have on our campaigns and our democracy.

According to an October 10, 2011, article in Politico, “the billionaire industrialist brothers David and Charles Koch plan to steer more than $200 million – potentially much more – to conservative groups ahead of Election Day 2012.”  Others are doing the same thing.

Does anybody really believe that that is what American democracy is supposed to be about?

Click here to become a citizen co-sponsor of the Saving American Democracy Amendment!

Think about the consequences of the Citizens United decision in Congress.  When legislation comes up that negatively impacts Wall Street or some other powerful special interest, what will senators be thinking about when they decide how to vote?  Every member of the Senate, every member of the House, in the back of their minds will be wondering if the vote they cast will unleash a tsunami of corporate TV and radio ads against them.  Is that how we should be deciding legislation?

It’s not just taking on Wall Street.  Maybe it’s standing up to the drug companies, or the insurance companies or the military-industrial complex.  Whatever powerful and wealthy special interests members of Congress are prepared to take on – on behalf of the interest of the middle class and working families of this country – they will know in the back of their minds that there may be unlimited sums of money coming into their state if they cast the right vote.

When the Supreme Court says that for purposes of the First Amendment, corporations are people, that writing checks from the company’s bank account is constitutionally-protected speech and that attempts by the federal government and states to impose reasonable restrictions on campaign ads are unconstitutional, when that occurs, our democracy is in grave danger.  And we have got to fight back!

I am a proud sponsor of a number of bills that would respond to Citizens United and begin to get a handle on the problem.  But more needs to be done, something more fundamental and indisputable, something that cannot be turned on its head by a Supreme Court decision.  That is why I proposed the Saving American Democracy constitutional amendment in the Senate.  A companion measure has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Ted Deutch.

Together, we have got to do everything we can to gather grass-roots support for the long fight in front of us.  Passing a constitutional amendment is not easy and will not be done tomorrow.  Like the other great struggles in modern American history - women’s rights, civil rights, protecting our environment – getting corporate money out of politics will require a strong and sustained effort.  But it must be done.  Corporations are not people with equal constitutional rights.  Corporations are subject to regulation by the people.  Corporations may not make campaign contributions – the law of the land for the last century.  And Congress and states have the power to regulate campaign finances.

Please join me in Saving American Democracy.

Click here to become a citizen co-sponsor of the Saving American Democracy Amendment today!

Sincerely,

Bernie
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (202+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Blue Boy Red State, nannyboz, h bridges, Setsuna Mudo, angry marmot, donnamarie, Radical def, Polly Syllabic, reginahny, Gooserock, tardis10, Azazello, Athenian, googie, eightlivesleft, pioneer111, RichM, kharma, Ginger1, Shockwave, Vayle, Ashaman, Actbriniel, hazey, Siri, DarkestHour, Matt Z, im a plugger, Cory Bantic, Fe, John DiFool, praenomen, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, eeff, kestrel9000, Joieau, jfromga, businessdem, greenbastard, no way lack of brain, gooderservice, 4Freedom, husl piper 11, Leo in NJ, bnasley, kurious, artisan, FogCityJohn, jamess, koNko, NMRed, ChemBob, TomP, Xapulin, jrooth, grannycarol, Cedwyn, shaharazade, sleipner, bronte17, elwior, MaryCh, Damnit Janet, Hector Solon, robizio, hyperstation, maryabein, lineatus, tgypsy, millwood, TexasTwister, DRo, TriangleNC, adversus, blueoregon, Mislead, coolbreeze, number nine dream, mookins, wagdog, yuriwho, dakinishir, shesaid, profundo, sherlyle, Boris49, Calamity Jean, Cronesense, Betty Pinson, kurt, CupofTea, Evolutionary, dzog, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, Angie in WA State, dalfireplug, Azubia, hester, bluebelle7, Johnny Q, anyname, Bob B, EquityRoy, sostos, profh, JekyllnHyde, Williston Barrett, Gowrie Gal, trumpeter, rhutcheson, mrhelper, sb, whenwego, cybersaur, Prof Haley, emperor nobody, SoCalSal, Brown Thrasher, bewareofme, monkeybrainpolitics, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, asym, unspeakable, Themistoclea, CA Nana, Involuntary Exile, Heart n Mind, greengemini, DavidHeart, ManhattanMan, timewarp, El Zmuenga, smokem2271, Meteor Blades, bythesea, KateCrashes, markthshark, ZhenRen, Flint, Danno11, aliasalias, Ozzie, ATFILLINOIS, zerone, offred, absolute beginner, navajo, viet vet, Kristina40, Larry Bailey, Nag, Zinman, denise b, Randtntx, catly, Dianna, Timmethy, rlharry, lastlegslaststand, DixieDishrag, DawnN, BYw, mrfleas, Blue Iris, blueoasis, poliwrangler, Mogolori, mm201, geebeebee, ajr111240, Miss Jones, foolknot, Ellinorianne, shopkeeper, LSmith, ewmorr, allergywoman, Bob Guyer, Situational Lefty, GrumpyOldGeek, 417els, bsmechanic, cookseytalbott, barkingcat, LaFeminista, lostinamerica, agincour, BusyinCA, Egalitare, Rex Freedom, missLotus, Its the Supreme Court Stupid, molunkusmol, CitizenOfEarth, MuskokaGord, ruleoflaw, Thereforeiam, deepsouthdoug, Mindmover, terabytes, Eric Nelson, greeseyparrot
    •  what nannyboz said n/t (8+ / 0-)

      * * *
      I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization
      * * *
      "A great democracy must be progressive or it will soon cease to be a great democracy."
      THEODORE ROOSEVELT

      by Angie in WA State on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 12:35:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The esteemed senator is spot on here... (5+ / 0-)

        With as many challenges facing this country right now, this issue ranks above all others. In fact, unlimited spending in elections facilitates most if not all other problems in our government.

        My wife thinks term limits is the number one problem facing our political system, and she makes quite the compelling argument for it.

        But I keep trying to tell her that without limits on what monied interests are allowed to spend on elections, term limits by themselves won't make that much of a difference.

        If there are no limits on spending, what's to stop corporations from lining up a succession of bought-off candidates who are patiently waiting in the wings, ready to step right into office after the preceding [bought-off] candidate's term is up?

        And, as we are all so painfully aware of, the U.S. Congress can and has done much damage in a single two-year term.

        •  I want public-financed-elections ONLY and I (4+ / 0-)

          want it because it will free our elected representatives to Congress from their indebted slavery to the monied benefactors who pay for the bulk of their election and more importantly, their re-election campaigns...

          in addition, and because the Public Airwaves are owned by thee and me, and because the vast majority of election spending is on - wait for it - Television advertising, I want free TV time for any candidate who can submit sufficient numbers of verifiable signatures on a petition to name them a candidate in the race by a certain date,  to be accepted as an official candidate.

          For all of them.

          But only a certain number of minutes per week or month or for the primary and then for the general portion of the campaign.

          And most importantly - only starting on January 1 of the year of the actual election.

          It would restrain the campaign season to Jan-Nov of the election year, it would take a substantial amount of money out of the race necessary to get elected to any office (I want it for races as far down the ladder as City Council and on local Network stations).

          It would provide long-term distance between the candidates, the elected officeholders and the big money folks. Because our Congressmen and women would no longer have to spend 2-3 days a week, every week, out doing nothing more than begging for money from every source they and their campaign staff can find.

          It's disgraceful, and no decent system by which to elect our government officials. Legalized bribery, no more, no less. Shameful.

          * * *
          I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization
          * * *
          "A great democracy must be progressive or it will soon cease to be a great democracy."
          THEODORE ROOSEVELT

          by Angie in WA State on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 10:13:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for all you do Sen. Sanders (31+ / 0-)

    I was just thinking this morning that we could use some more progressive leadership in Congress like we see from you. And there you are!

    We have got to get money out of politics. Nothing is going to change until we get that done. So, yes, I'm in for Saving American Democracy!

    "Respect for the rights of others is peace." -- Benito Juarez, president of Mexico

    by Blue Boy Red State on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 07:10:21 AM PST

  •  Hmm. (17+ / 0-)

    Text of the Amendment:

    SECTION 1. The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons and do not extend to for-profit corporations, limited liability companies, or other private entities established for business purposes or to promote business interests under the laws of any state, the United States, or any foreign state.
    Can a corporation's property be seized via eminent domain for public purposes without just compensation? Can they be subject to unreasonable searches and seizures? Do they have any due process rights at all?
    ‘SECTION 2. Such corporate and other private entities established under law are subject to regulation by the people through the legislative process so long as such regulations are consistent with the powers of Congress and the States and do not limit the freedom of the press.
    Good.
    SECTION 3. Such corporate and other private entities shall be prohibited from making contributions or expenditures in any election of any candidate for public office or the vote upon any ballot measure submitted to the people.
    But if nonprofits (like Citizens United) are exempt, and private corporations can fund such nonprofits, then what's the point? What does " to promote business interests" mean?
    SECTION 4. Congress and the States shall have the power to regulate and set limits on all election contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own spending, and to authorize the establishment of political committees to receive, spend, and publicly disclose the sources of those contributions and expenditures.
    Limiting political expenditures is so anathema to the First Amendment that I don't quite know what to say.  
  •  I wish you were my Senator (5+ / 0-)

    but I'm a New Englander, so I'll claim you anyway.  I agree that this may be the most destructive Supreme Court ruling ever and will do anything I can do to help over-turn this.

    Occupy is not fighting for the rights of a few to sleep outdoors, but for the right of millions to sleep indoors. (VanJones - I think from a tweet).

    by Actbriniel on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 07:47:10 AM PST

  •  The better proposal is comprehensive legislation (4+ / 0-)

    passed by Congress under Art. 1 Sec 5 and Art. 3 Sec 2  powers to establish a public election financing system. The Supreme Court cannot prevent this. Rather, Congress can restrict the Court's jurisdiction.

  •  I remember a dairy form Armando vaguely (5+ / 0-)

    and now from you, who are critical about the critics of Citizens Uniited decision.

    I find it disappointing that none of the lawyer-ish kossacks here have written convincing, non-condenscending or intellectually non-elitist diaries to explain as best as they can, in language comprehensible to non-lawyerish readers, of why they don't give the critics more support and why they won't support initiatives like the one from Bernie Sanders. If you don't support this, what DO you support and where can a reader find action diaries in support of YOUR ideas?

    Is the subject so difficult to understand that lawyers who have an opinion and the knowledge give up to write about it for "legally under-educated folks"?

    •  I assume you're referring to me. (4+ / 0-)

      I wrote this on January 28, 2010. I hope it addresses your concerns; I don't think anything I've written has been incomprehensible on the topic.

      •  no, I referred to something back in the times (0+ / 0-)

        from Armando and have no inclination or time to search for it. I have to admit that I found his treatment of readers ... well, I swallow my words.

        Your diary is very clearly written. I still need to study it.
        Behind the technicalities of legal arguments I need to be able to make a moral judgement to know what my own view points would be.

        I am not educated enough to make those by just reading your article once. That's the problem. I will reread it again and again, one day... I should get there and know where I should stand on this.

    •  Citizen's United and 4 other recent decisions (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      4Freedom, FogCityJohn, elwior, aliasalias

      lock plutocracy into place by immersing our elections in special interest money. This is permitted because in 1976 in Buckley v. Valeo a Nixonian court held that money=free speech as a Constitutional issue. This devolved into casino elections, creeping Reaganism and the past 35 years of growing income inequality and falling Congressional approval rates. Sen. Sanders is absolutely right that democracy itself is at stake. However, the issue is now one of strategy. The Court has usurped much of Congress's role to legislate on elections. Congress either responds or it lapses into irrelevance. The most direct strategy is for voters to require the next Congress to fight back with comprehensive game-changing legislation (on the scale of civil rights legislation in the 60's) to set up public election finanacing. Lawyers know that the Supreme Court could be taken out of the picture on this issue given how the Consitution is written for example at Art. 3 Sec. 2. But there also are lawyers inside the beltway who are afraid of being disrespectful to the Court as it could jeopardize the beneficial decisions it has made, and they would prefer a Constitutional amendment process. But this would permanently give the Supreme Court a final say - because elections issues would be in the Constitution as an amendment. In this one anomalous instance only, Congress is not so much overruling the Court on a Constitutional issue but defending its powers. It would not start us down a slippery slope, we're already at the bottom.  

      •  Agree. Buckley v. Valeo was a disaster. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, Musial, Loge

        That's the decision that started this whole mess.  IIRC, Byron White dissented from that decision because he refused to equate money and speech.  I often disagreed with White (see, e.g., Bowers v. Hardwick), but he sure as hell was right about that one.

        "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

        by FogCityJohn on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 09:29:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  See also fn 6 Foucha v. Louisiana (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FogCityJohn, aliasalias

          where White says that Thomas's support of unlimited preventive detention "is not consistent with our present system of justice."

        •  i'm for going right after that one (0+ / 0-)

          in an amendment.  the holding was defensible at the time as a legal matter, but if amended, the source of law is different.  on policy grounds, Buckley was a disaster.  Although before Buckley, you had slush funds and what have you.  Still, the SCOTUS imprimatur on massive campaign donations and soft money had an effect -- it could be seen as patriotic, not scuzzy.

          "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

          by Loge on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 03:59:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Here are some examples... (0+ / 0-)

      ...of how this Amendment might backfire.


      SECTION 4. Congress and the States shall have the power to regulate and set limits on all election contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own spending, and to authorize the establishment of political committees to receive, spend, and publicly disclose the sources of those contributions and expenditures.

      It's 1992. Pretend this Amendment is in effect. Ross Perot declares that he will run for President and spend $100 million of his own money to do so. But Congress sets the limit at $5,000. Ross can't run. (Since Perot split much of Bush's vote, Clinton would not have been President under this law).

      It's 2008. Tina Fey does a brutal parody of Sarah Palin. She's a famous actress and her time is valuable -- much more valuable than $5,000. Her skit is an "expenditure" that helps Obama and she's not allowed to produce it.

      In 2012, Markos Moulitsas launches a new upgrade to dKos. He pays computer programmers more than $5,000 to do the coding. Since the site is explicitly political, this spending exceeds the limit and is illegal.

      Limiting individual expenditures is a bad idea. It can be abused. The right thing to do is to publicly finance campaigns.

      I'm OK with banning corporate expenditures and requiring disclosure of funding sources, though.

  •  If I still believed our elecetd leaders would (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Musial, TexasTwister

    respect their oaths to uphold the Constitution, I would be all for an amendment.

    But look at the Patriot Act and all the ensuing Unconstitutional practices that have ensued.
    An now, Indefinite detention and and  endless domestic battlefield.

    All blatantly Unconstitutional - But who is following the Constitution anymore??

    SO what good would another , to be fully ignored, amendment  do us?

    NO, it is too late. The entire system needs to be Recast from the ground up.

    •  You're forgetting that the system was designed (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shaharazade, katiec, CupofTea

      by revolutionaries. They understood that a democracy is a rough and tumble ongoing revolution and counter-revolution. Any alternative would put us back to square one with what they faced against the British. The Constitution is something you have to defend. If it has been recently messed up, it's your obligation to get it fixed. The framers of the Constitution gave you that power. It's your time to keep the faith, as previous generations handed it down to you.

      •  I wish I could share your optimism. (0+ / 0-)

        But our own Government ,both parties , our leaders  are committed to a National Security State that is extra-constitutional, and will never be subject to the Citizen's power, so what is left to defend?

        describing the  ascent of the MIC over civil liberty as a "rough and tumble" sorely understates the actual outcomes we suffer.

        And what we faced with the British as a Society   is similar to what our own middle class society now faces in ruthlessness by the American Oligarchy.  Yet we already have a constitution, So again, what is left to defend?

        I fear it is already game over on America's constitutional ideal.   I don't believe "previous  generations" actually guarded it that well, it turns out.

  •  Thank you, Senator. I urge you to also put (8+ / 0-)

    the spotlight on the NDAA that will soon reach the Presiden't desk, and which he has stated he will not veto.  This means that it will soon be legal for American citizens to be disappeared to Guantanamo or other such facility, with no Due Process, for the rest of their lives, without charge.  Please raise the alarm on this issue, as it is the most egregious assault on the Constitution since the McCarthy era, where this very same law was rejected by the President.  

    Republicans...What a nice club that is. A club of liars, cheaters, adulterers, exaggerators, hypocrites and ignoramuses. Der Spiegel

    by CanyonWren on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 08:43:51 AM PST

    •  your use of the future tense (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CanyonWren

      is incorrect.  and it would mean, perhaps, 'congressionally authorized' but not legal.  existing statutes can be read to permit this already, which means that if he vetoed the bill, the president might still be able to detain someone as before. other than reasonable 5th amendment defenses, i don't think the "not authorized ex ante" argument would even work if there's a veto, so the notion that this bill is a bridge to far doesn't quite work.  it's not "will soon" be legal, it's "will soon be more explicitly authorized," and perhaps, still illegal.  (courts haven't yet had to decide the question -- i don't know enough to say it would always be unconstitutional -- probably matters where the citizen is detained.)

      relatedly, it is also not clear from the text whether an American citizen captured in the United States could be held indefinitely without some form of trial or habeas rights, as well -- the MCA would seem to preclude that.  it's arguable whether a person captured in the united states could be transferred to military custody at all, but consistent with how I read the AUMF above, if the government can reasonably interpret it as such, it's within the scope of the statute.

      "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

      by Loge on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 04:07:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  what's your response to this explanation? (0+ / 0-)

        "The Three myths about the detention Bill"

        http://www.salon.com/...

        without the ants the rainforest dies

        by aliasalias on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 04:39:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  well, i would say (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CanyonWren

          point one is a strawman and misses the mark.  i think it most likely codifies it, as i explained, but that if it does it's already because the power is justifiably assertable, which means for practical purposes it exists.  Greenwald goes on to imply it applies wherever, whenever, but i don't think it supports that.    

          point two, yeah, i think the bill is too broad.   i think existing law is too broad.  but it's not at all clear to me that "substnatially supported" is too different from aided, and further that he's reading the 2001 AUMF not to permit "successor liability."  he argues that it doesn't cover those who later-join Al Qaeda, but I think it can fairly be read to do so, by use of the term "organizations."  

          as to myth three, it's more complex, but he misreads the disclaimer clause in 10[3]1.  there, u.s. citizens is set off by commas and 'lawfully within the united states' is not, so i don't see that as modifying u.s. citizens at all.  so, it restates existing law.  as far as 1032 goes, i don't see how it can be broader than 1031 since it's subordinate to it.  i believe it does allow for some detention of u.s. citizens, but only to the extent the statutes referred to in 1031(c) would permit it (so, not unbounded).  there's a decent argument that it might not apply at all to citizens, since the term "requirement" seemingly would leave it optional, but since the term "requirement" is used in the section heading, maybe the whole 1032 statute doesn't apply.  I don't think a court would buy that.  (The ACLU by the way, was a bit foolish to argue for the interpretation the government might want to use in arguing against the bill -- they might find themselves wanting to argue 1032 is super narrow.)  Clearly, that language solved the objection that Obama raised in the veto threat.

          but in any event, none of the three so-called 'myths' are that germane to the argument, as Greenwald concedes in point 1 -- it simply isn't the case that there was a clear statutory prohibition on (a) indefinite military detention, (b) military detention of U.S. Citizens in certain circumstances, or (c) military detention of people captured within the U.S. jurisdiction.  That doesn't mean, however, there was no law at all.  So, i stand by the "future tense" argument.

          "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

          by Loge on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 04:57:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  You might want to ask Fred Korematsu (0+ / 0-)

        about that (if he were still alive, that is).

        There is no saving throw against stupid.

        by Throw The Bums Out on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 08:26:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  About which aspect? (0+ / 0-)

          the degree to which ndaa amends existing statutes?  The definition of individuals against which military force is authorized? (very different from the blanket racial categorization behind his i ternment, btw)?  The importance of judicial oversight?  (a bit of irony there -- he lost.). It's not good enough to make the comparison without spelling it out, nor to act as though im not taking the risks seriously.  The statutory interpretation question is logically prior to he polemics over it, and im trying to pin that down.  If it doesnt go as far as the analogy assumes it does, then the analogy isnt terribly interesting.  Are you saying you speak for all those interned?  I dont assume theyd read thing into it that arent there, and if they did, thats what theyd be doing.  

          "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

          by Loge on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 11:06:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I really enjoy your comments (0+ / 0-)

        Thanks for replying.  First, you are quite correct that the indefinite detention provision of the NDAA "will soon be more explicitly authorized" (along with the Patriot Act, EO's, and MCA, I presume) and not necessarily legal; the question of American citizen indefinite detention has not been fully addressed by the US Supreme Court.

        Your opening line in the second paragraph is what is being debated, as the bill is very vague (as you said).  According to the ACLU, new language within the NDAA would allow that, ie, expanding the "battlefield" to US soil, per Senator Graham.

        And, as we know, Obama's veto threat was never about the Constitutionality of indefinite detention of American citizens, it has always been about holding on to Executive power to label people enemy combatants or terrorists, and to call the shots on whether or not to detain.  He fell in line with Bush/Cheney in expanding Executive power, and didn't want Congress to have that power.  

        As Marcy Wheeler stated, half dozen of one, six of the other: do we have a Republican/Tea Bagger Congress in charge of detaining American citizens, or do we have one person, perhaps a dictator with that power?  That we are even discussing the legality of habeas corpus seems, well, tragic.  

        Republicans...What a nice club that is. A club of liars, cheaters, adulterers, exaggerators, hypocrites and ignoramuses. Der Spiegel

        by CanyonWren on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 10:30:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Any chance that this will pass, Senator? (nt) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo

    I support torturous regimes! Also, I kick puppies.

    by eataTREE on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 08:48:03 AM PST

  •  As a constituent, I can't tell you how highly I (5+ / 0-)

    respect Bernie. Just yesterday I had a call from his office on an issue I had emailed about.

    My business had an open back tax situation. We were working on a solution, when the IRS seized all our personal and business accounts. The IRS was able to seize personal assets as well because the business is a sole proprietorship LLC. I emailed Bernie's office in alarm. We had thought there had been a workout arranged.

    It turned out that we were dealing with an overly zealous agent who eventually got a wrist-slap for the action. I was able to undo the levy without too much inconvenience, but until it was undone it was a hellish week.

    Ultimately, we didn't need Bernie's assistance. However, it certainly was great to know it was there if it had been needed. I had a very good conversation with the knowledgeable staffer who phoned. He was competent and caring, just what I have come to expect from Bernie's office.

    Bernie is one exemplary human being, and I'll be happy to be campaigning for his re-election in 2012.

    If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. ~ George Washington

    by 4Freedom on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 09:06:50 AM PST

  •  Thank you Senator Sanders (4+ / 0-)

    Please keep doing what you do.  Our nation desperately needs your principled liberal voice.

    With all this manure around, there must be a pony in here somewhere. - Count Piotr Vorkosigan

    by jrooth on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 09:19:49 AM PST

  •  Here's an alternative amendment... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Musial, CupofTea

    This thread is very thought provoking. Thanks to all here who have contributed.

    Seems there are a few amendments being introduced to address this abomination of a decision by the Supreme Court, along with reform of financing political campaigns. But I wonder why folks in the House and Senate don't use their resources to work together to craft a single document? Perhaps this is common? I am new to all this.

    Although I am definitely clear the CU decision (so blatantly unconstitutional imvho) must be addressed in order to save our democracy, and am also a fan of Senator Sanders, I too wonder about the language of this and every amendment introduced.

    Back in mid November, I got an email from a friend asking me to support this amendment.

    The People's Rights Amendment, H.J. Res 88, was introduced in the House by Rep. McGovern, to both eliminate corporate personhood and "overturn" the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling.  Here's the language:

           Section 1.  We the people who ordain and establish this Constitution intend the rights protected by this Constitution to be the rights of natural persons.

           Section 2.  The words people, person, or citizen as used in this Constitution do not include corporations, limited liability companies or other corporate entities established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state, and such corporate entities are subject to such regulation as the people, through their elected State and Federal representatives, deem reasonable and are otherwise consistent with the powers of Congress and the States under this Constitution.

           Section 3.  Nothing contained herein shall be construed to limit the people's rights of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, free exercise of religion, freedom of association and all such other rights of the people, which rights are inalienable.

    A link to this can be found here.

    So, I'd love to know your thoughts on this amendment, and if you have a link to the actual language of Senator Sanders' amendment, I'd appreciate that too.

    Thanks for any help in advance and happy Friday.

    •  Sorry (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      water willow

      I'll just say this and then shut up. A Constitutional Amendment is nice because it is in simple language. But that is why it's also bad- because the Supreme Court is much smarter and more powerful than you or me. You don't want to put any amendment in their hands on this issue-not ever.  Remember who started this war, you don't want to give them the last word. Instead you pass legislation, and if the unelected Court doesn't like it, Congress uses its inherent powers to tell the court too bad. Congress resorts to this tactic on trivial issues like flag burning. There will be some law professors who will get their feathers ruffled. This is either going to be a democracy as the Constitution was designed or something the framers clearly warned us it shouldn't be. This issue will be decided by the electorate if it holds Congress accountable, and the electorate and Congress are both in a dangerously weakened position right now. Finally, the notion of corporate speech is beside the point, as Adam B spelled out last year in an excellent diary he links to in a comment above.

      •  please don't "shut up" (0+ / 0-)

        I really appreciate your reply. I guess I was under the impression that an amendment would have more staying power than legislation, because in my mind laws can be overturned by the courts, but the constitution can not.  (Thanks for the heads up on Adam B.'s diary)

  •  I'm not sure I'm prepared to comment, but.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CupofTea, DawnN

    Thanks Bernie.  The rest of my comment relates to some of the comments I've read here.  I may get into trouble since I have not read them all.

    It bothers me.  Going into the finer points of law so that it can seem reasonable to define money as free speech.  
    Yeah and I can yell fire in a crowded theatre too.

    Look.  We have a very big problem here. As Al Gore once said..  
    The consent of the governed has become a commodity.

    Influence can be peddled for immense profit.  Just ask Tom Delay.  

    Elections have become more of an auction than anything else.  Whoever has the most money has the most air time, the most influence and can buy their candidate.  
    Free speech or not, this is not good democracy.

    Our economy has crashed because these same people, the very rich have won the monopoly game.  Unfortunately, we cannot fold up the game board and go on to some greater reality.  We must keep playing.  
    I don't think the Parker brothers had even thought of a followup,  but I think it would be called neo-feudalism, or maybe revolution.

    Elections should be short, publicly financed and somehow, all of these swiftboat style 30 second ads have to be limited,  even if it means both sides have to give them up.
    Just give me the facts on where the candidates stand.
    End the 2 year long, endless, repetitive, annoying, counterproductive, mind numbing media circus.

    Also,  the idea that corporations are people..  Only slightly off point, but I have to ask.  If 5 people get together and form a corporation, and they're all sitting in a room.. How many people are there?

    Prove me wrong and I'll change my mind.

    by willbjett on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 11:38:57 AM PST

  •  Done! Thank you for the visit, Senator. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DawnN

    Please come back.  You are always wecome to stay and chat.

  •  I'll sign it out of respect for you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DawnN

    But does it matter anymore after the passage of NDAA?

    The indefinite detention clause thrashes our constitutional rights so badly, is there a real point to amending anything until that is fixed?

  •  Corporations can't have inalienable rights (0+ / 0-)

    they are made by man.  

    no entitlement cuts. period.

    by The Clevelander on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 01:02:03 PM PST

  •  The 99% need 99 more senators like you! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aliasalias, DawnN, Situational Lefty

    Thank you.  I'll do everything I can to help get this thing passed.

  •  As pessimistic as I am, it's good knowing there's (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    El Zmuenga, DawnN, Situational Lefty

    as least one person in the Senate worth his salt.

    Thanks for fighting for us.

    NOW SHOWING
    Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
    Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

    by The Dead Man on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 01:15:01 PM PST

  •  signed, but the SAD Amendment? (0+ / 0-)

    It's exactly what we need, so it needs better initials.

    Walker, your pink slip is coming, unless the orange jumpsuit gets you first.

    by non acquiescer on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 01:33:24 PM PST

  •  If we take the money out of politics by publicly (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    katiec, DawnN, Situational Lefty

    financing elections and taking back the people's airwaves, we will go a long way toward fixing our democracy.

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam> "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." Edna St.V. Millay

    by slouching on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 01:36:49 PM PST

    •  And getting rid of the filibuster (0+ / 0-)

      which distorts the democratic process, making it unclear who is responsible for legislation, and works against progressive change. There is no filibuster in other democratic countries and they have not descended into a tyranny of the majority.

      Conservatism = greed, hate, fear and ignorance

      by Joe B on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 04:50:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  How about unions? (0+ / 0-)

    Should they be able to make unlimited anonymous political contributions?  If you set limits on "non-persons", you have to be willing to apply it to unions as well.  I agree that the money has to be taken out of politics, but caps on contributions are only part of it.  The sure answer is term limits.  Our form of government will not function with professional legislators-for-life;  corruption is virtually assured.  Are you on board with term limits, Bernie?

  •  lol @ "Whatever powerful and wealthy special (0+ / 0-)

    interests members of Congress are prepared to take on"

    Our Congress is so corrupt that a constitutional amendment will need to go through the states at this point (Article V).

    I respect Sen. Sanders, but the only reason he is even possible is that he represents a predominantly rural state of only 500,000.  Almost all of our other Senators and Reps are hopeless.

  •  Please stop appearing with Al Sharpton. (0+ / 0-)

    Reverand Sharpton has agreed to never criticize this President or his network.  MSNBC, is responsible for laying off Markos Moulitsas and Keith Olbermann.

    MSNBC is clearly in the pocket of the Obama campaign and won't stand any criticism of our government generated from the Left wing of the American political spectrum.

    We need a proud progressive like you on a teevvee station that stands up for the American People.

    Peace On!

    -9.50/-7.59 - "Why are the missiles called peace-keepers when they're aimed to kill?" -Tracy Chapman

    by Situational Lefty on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 12:03:13 AM PST

  •  Doesn't go far enough, there should be no (0+ / 0-)

    private money in elections, whether corporate or individual donations. Only by a comprehensive system of public financing can the democratic process be saved from the 1%.

    Conservatism = greed, hate, fear and ignorance

    by Joe B on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 04:47:53 AM PST

  •  Ain't it the truth. (0+ / 0-)
    Passing a constitutional amendment is not easy and will not be done tomorrow.

    It's a marathon, not a sprint.

    I started with nothing and still have most of it left. - xxdr zombiexx

    by ruleoflaw on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 07:19:36 AM PST

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