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Ketchup king H.J. Heinz Co. announced last week that it’s working with Ford to convert tomato waste into auto parts.Now that’s an innovative Fusion!

In addition, it is further proof that Americans can do anything. They sent a man to the moon and a rover to Mars. They discovered a way to inoculate against the scourge of polio. They invented the slinky and the Internet, jazz and baseball. They overcame a civil war and the Great Depression.

Americans have proved over two and a half centuries that they can do anything when imbued with the exhilaration of self-determination. Americans fought a revolution to secure this self-empowerment. They would control their own destinies, not some arbitrary king. That, however, is all threatened because right wingers on the Supreme Court gave a minority – the wealthy – legal sanction to buy the government. Now, democracy-loving Americans are demanding a constitutional amendment to return governing to the majority.  

In a series of decisions, conservatives on the Supreme Court took power from the people and gave it to corporations and the rich. This began, oddly, in the U.S. Bicentennial year with the Buckley v. Valeo decision that asserted money was speech. Then in 2010, the court decided in the Citizens United case that corporations were people and could spend as much money on political campaigns as they wanted.

Finally, earlier this year, in the McCutcheon case, the court lifted campaign donation limits so that now the uber-wealthy may spend virtually as much as they want to influence the election of not just their own representatives in city halls and state legislatures and Congress, but also the politicians who are supposed to represent other people.

All of this has so emboldened billionaires that one of them, Tom Perkins, said earlier this year that citizens should get one vote for each tax dollar they pay. No more one person one vote. Perkins thinks the rich have the right to buy government.

His plan would kill American democracy. A Perkins Plutocracy is not what Americans sacrificed their lives and limbs for during the Revolutionary War. But Perkins doesn’t care about all that. He believes his billions entitle him to sovereignty.

Though billionaires’ tax dollars can’t buy them thrones yet, they’re using the Supreme Court decisions to secure control. For example, the billionaire Koch Brothers have promised to spend at least $125 million to purchase right wing supplicants of their choice nationwide.  And that’s just the 2014 Koch budget for purchasing government.

While the conservatives on the Supreme Court contended that gifts to politicians of $125 million are fine and dandy, the majority of Americans disagree. And for good cause. They have watched as their so-called representatives pass legislation that makes it crystal clear they really represent someone else – wealthy donors and corporations.

The majority of Americans want the minimum wage raised, unemployment insurance extended, Social Security protected, and infrastructure like highways improved, but that’s not what Congress is doing. Instead, it is slashing the budget in ways that the majority hates, including cutting food stamps and preserving tax breaks for corporations.

Princeton University professor Martin Gilens writes about this phenomenon in his new book, “Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America.” After studying thousands of proposed policy changes, he determined that the rich get the legislation they want, whether the majority agrees or not. But the reverse is not true. The majority does not get what it wants if the wealthy object. 

That’s not how a real democracy works. In a real democracy, all citizens, regardless of wealth or title, celebrity or status, beauty or brawn, have equal access to government officials and equal influence on government policy. Democracy is majority rule; not minority reign.

To restore democracy, America needs a constitutional amendment. One has been proposed to overturn Valeo and Citizens United and McCutcheon, to limit campaign spending by corporations and the wealthy and to return power to the people. A vote on the amendment by the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled for early next month. 

Amending the Constitution sounds audacious. Particularly when a proposed amendment to guarantee women equal rights failed. But it can be done. It has been done. Recently too.

The 27th Amendment passed in 1992. Before that, the 26th Amendment was proposed in March of 1971, and four months later, 18 year olds received the right to vote. That set the record for quick approval.

Working to get this done are groups like Move to Amend, People for the American Way, Common Cause and Public Citizen. They are joined by U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

They’ve got 43 co-signers in the Senate, more than 2 million names on petitions, and the endorsement of 16 states, 500 communities and retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

And more. They’ve even got the backing of some rich people. On May 1, Lawrence Lessig, director of the Edmond J. Safra Center on Ethics at Harvard, launched the Mayday PAC, which is a super PAC to end all super PACs.

Non-rich democracy lovers gave $1 million to the Mayday PAC by the middle of May. Wealthy democracy lovers matched that. Among those rich donors were conservatives, like PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, and liberals, like LinkedIn CEO Reid Hoffman.

Now Lessig is raising more, seeking $5 million in contributions of $10,000 or less from Americans who cherish a republic of one person, one vote. Again, the plan is for this to be matched by wealthy donors who believe in a government of the people, by the people, for the people that won’t be conquered by cash.

That Lessig raised $1 million in small donations for the Mayday PAC in the first two weeks shows Americans strongly support this idea.

Americans can do anything. They certainly can amend their constitution and preserve their democracy.

Poll

You are right: Americans can do anything -- if they're rich Americans, that is.

62%67 votes
37%41 votes

| 108 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  I think the one dollar = one vote is wonderfull , (0+ / 0-)

    as long as the rule about the
    voter who votes twice has both votes voided stays .

    "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

    by indycam on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 08:34:00 AM PDT

  •  I think we need some electoral victories to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    begin with.
      It would help if we could hold the Senate and take back the house (if not this year, then in 2016).
       And it'd help immensely to have an economic populist in the White House, like Elizabeth Warren.
     

    "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

    by elwior on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 08:37:07 AM PDT

  •  By the way Mr. Gerard, it's an honor to have you (4+ / 0-)

    posting diaries here!
      Thank you.

    "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

    by elwior on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 08:56:08 AM PDT

  •  Hey I Did Anything. Just About as Good a Story (0+ / 0-)

    as turning ketchup into automobiles for that matter.

    But in this free trade and giant corp economy, I had to find a niche that is too complicated to interest the 3rd world and too small a market to interest mass producers. It's a living, if you have a pension and can work from home without having to support any employees.

    There are a couple areas I have the preparation to expand into but the 3rd world is there, able to sell to my customers at child labor prices while I must pay a tariff to compete with them for their customers. It sure would be nice to have enough of a labor leveler at the border that the two of us were at least competing head to head.

    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 Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 09:09:24 AM PDT

  •  reminds me of Henry Ford's Soybean Car (0+ / 0-)

    Built out of plastic (mounted on a tube steel frame - not unlike modern cars) made from agricultural waste and flex-fueled by oil or ethanol also derived from plants.

    Soybean Car

    Vested interests are the enemy of progress.

    Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

    by Visceral on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 10:13:53 AM PDT

  •  We The People Are A Republic (0+ / 0-)

    The non-violent revolution begins July 5.
    Celebrate the 4th like its the last one ever. Then … Saturday and Sunday, you stay home.
    No gas station, no supermarket, no spending…..NONE.

    Corporations are designed to make money off us…. the GOVERNMENT became an ‘inc.’ in 1871….
    TO ABOLISH THE ACT OF 1871 Where Democracy was born , we the do won’t a democratic repubic of 1776
    not a Democracy
    From this point forward… we all must push for the abolishing of the corporation which is literally a MONOPOLY.

    July 5th (saturday), July 6th (sunday).
    ————————-
    Since 1871 the United States president and the United States Congress has been playing politics under a different set of rules and policies.  The American people do not know that there are two Constitutions in the United States.  The first penned by the leaders of the newly independent states of the United States in 1776.  On July 4, 1776, the people claimed their independence from Britain and DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC was born.  And for 95 years the United States people were free and independent.  That freedom ended in 1871 when the original “Constitution for the united states for America” was changed to the “THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA”.
    The Congress realized that the country was in dire financial straits, so they made  a financial deal with the devil – international bankers — (in those days, the Rothschilds of London ) thereby incurring a DEBT to said bankers.  The conniving international bankers were not about to lend the floundering nation any money without some serious stipulations. So, they devised a way of taking back control of the United States and thus, the Act of 1871 was passed.  With no constitutional authority to do so, Congress created a separate form of government for the District of Columbia.
    With the passage of  “the Act of 1871” a city state (a state within a state) called the District of Columbia located on 10 sq miles of land in the heart of Washington was formed with its own flag and its own independent constitution – the United States’ secret second constitution.
    The flag of Washington’s District of Columbia has 3 red stars, each symbolizing a city state within the three city empire. The three city empire consists of Washington D.C., London, and Vatican City. London is the corporate center of the three city states and controls the world economically. Washington’s District of Columbia city state is in charge of the military, and the Vatican controls it all under the guise of spiritual guidance.  Although geographically separate, the city states of London, the Vatican and the District of  Columbia are one interlocking empire called “Empire of the City”
    The constitution for the District of Columbia operates under tyrannical Vatican law known as “Lex Fori” (local law). When congress passed the act of 1871 it created a separate corporation known as THE UNITED STATES and corporate government for the District of Columbia. This treasonous act has unlawfully allowed the District of Columbia to operate as a corporation outside the original constitution of the United States and in total disregard of the best interests of the American citizens.
    POTUS Obama at the Vatican Corporate headquarters
    POTUS is the Chief Executive (president) of the Corporation of the United States operating as any other CEO of the corporation — governs w/a Board of Directors (cabinet officials) and managers (Senators/Congress) Obama as others before him is POTUS — operating as “vassal king” taking orders once again from “The City of London” through the RIIA (Royal Institute of Intl Affairs).  The Illuminati (founded by the The Society of Jesus or Jesuits, the largest Roman Catholic Religious Military Order headed by the Black Pope) created the Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA) in 1919. The American equivalent to the RIIA is the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR). The RIIA and CFR set up Round Table Groups (based on the King Arthur myths).
    What did the Act of 1871 achieve?  The ACT of 1871 put the United States back under British rule (which is under Vatican rule).  The United States people lost their independence in 1871.
    THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is the constitution of the incorporated UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. It operates in an economic capacity and has been used to fool the People into thinking it governs the Republic. It does not! Capitalization is NOT insignificant when one is referring to a legal document. This seemingly “minor” alteration has had a major impact on every subsequent generation of Americans. What Congress did by passing the Act of 1871 was create an entirely new document, a constitution for the government of the District of Columbia, an INCORPORATED government.
    Instead of having absolute and unalienable rights guaranteed under the organic Constitution, we the people now have “relative” rights or privileges. One example is the Sovereign’s right to travel, which has now been transformed (under corporate government policy) into a “privilege” that requires citizens to be licensed – driver’s licenses and Passports. By passing the Act of 1871, Congress committed TREASON against the People who were Sovereign under the grants and decrees of the Declaration of Independence and the organic Constitution.  The Act of 1871 became the FOUNDATION of all the treason since committed by government officials.
    As of 1871 the United States isn’t a Country; It’s a Corporation! In preparation for stealing America, the puppets of Britain’s banking cabal had already created a second government, a Shadow Government designed to manage what “the people” believed was a DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC , but what really was an incorporated UNITED STATES. Together this chimera, this two-headed monster, disallowed “the people” all rights of sui juris. [you, in your sovereignty]
    The U.S.A. is a Crown Colony. The U.S. has always been and remains a British Crown colony. King James I, is not just famous for translating the Bible into “The King James Version”, but for signing the “First Charter of Virginia” in 1606 — which granted America’s British forefathers license to settle and colonize America. The charter guaranteed future Kings/Queens of England would have sovereign authority over all citizens and colonized land in America.
    After America declared independence from Great Britain, the Treaty of Paris, signed on September 3, 1783 was signed.  That treaty identifies the King of England as prince of U.S. “Prince George the Third, by the grace of God, king of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, defender of the faith, duke of Brunswick and Lunebourg, arch- treasurer and prince elector of the Holy Roman Empire etc., and of the United States of America“– completely contradicting premise that America won The War of Independence.
    Article 5 of that treaty gave all British estates, rights and properties back to Britain.
    It is agreed that Congress shall earnestly recommend it to the legislatures of the respective states to provide for the restitution of all estates, rights, and properties, which have been confiscated belonging to real British subjects; and also of the estates, rights, and properties of persons resident in districts in the possession on his Majesty’s arms and who have not borne arms against the said United States. And that persons of any other decription shall have free liberty to go to any part or parts of any of the thirteen United States and therein to remain twelve months unmolested in their endeavors to obtain the restitution of such of their estates, rights, and properties as may have been confiscated; and that Congress shall also earnestly recommend to the several states a reconsideration and revision of all acts or laws regarding the premises, so as to render the said laws or acts perfectly consistent not only with justice and equity but with that spirit of conciliation which on the return of the blessings of peace should universally prevail. And that Congress shall also earnestly recommend to the several states that the estates, rights, and properties, of such last mentioned persons shall be restored to them, they refunding to any persons who may be now in possession the bona fide price (where any has been given) which such persons may have paid on purchasing any of the said lands, rights, or properties since the confiscation.
    And it is agreed that all persons who have any interest in confiscated lands, either by debts, marriage settlements, or otherwise, shall meet with no lawful impediment in the prosecution of their just rights.
    It is becoming increasingly apparent to American citizens that government is no longer being conducted in accordance with the U.S. Constitution, or, within states, according to state constitutions. While people have recognized for more than 150 years that the rich and powerful often corrupt individual officials, or exert undue influence to get legislation passed that favors their interests, most Americans still cling to the naive belief that such corruption is exceptional, and that most of the institutions of society, the courts, the press, and law enforcement agencies, still largely comply with the Constitution and the law in important matters. They expect that these corrupting forces are disunited and in competition with one another, so that they tend to balance one another.
    Mounting evidence makes it clear that the situation is far worse than most people think, that during the last several decades the U.S. Constitution has been effectively overthrown, and that it is now observed only as a façade to deceive and placate the masses. What has replaced it is what many call the Shadow Government – created with the illegal passing of the Act of 1871. It still, for the most part, operates in secret, because its control is not secure. The exposure of this regime and its operations must now become a primary duty of citizens who still believe in the Rule of Law and in the freedoms which this country is supposed to represent.
    When the president takes the oath of office he is swearing to defend the Constitution of the District of Columbia, the INCORPORATED government. He isn’t promising to preserve, protect and defend the original Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776. See for yourself – “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” It doesn’t state – “Constitution for the United States of America” which was drafted for “We the People of the United States”.
    It is for this reason that Obama never got a declaration of war from Congress for Libya. He didn’t need one. Under the corporation constitution, the Constitution of the United States, Obama is the CEO and master of his corporate domain called the United States. His loyalty is to the District of Columbia, an INCORPORATED government which is financially controlled by London and their Federal Reserve bankers, which is controlled by the Vatican. Obama is president of corporate America – looking out for its corporate interests.
    When the International bankers (London) wanted more money they had their banks Goldmen Sachs and Bank of America (taken over by Bank of Italy in the 1920s) falsely declare $billions in  losses. The first ever GAO(Government Accountability Office) audit of the Federal Reserve revealed that London has received more than $16 trillion in U.S. funds under the guise of government bailouts. $16 trillion had been secretly given out to US banks and corporate interests and international bankers everywhere from Germany, Italy, France, Sweden, the UK, and Scotland. From the period between December 2007 and September 2011, the Federal Reserve had secretly laundered out over $16 trillion to international banks, corporations, and on the take governments.
    If the American people want to know where their money went take a look at the Vatican. The Vatican bank is where most of that $16 trillion went to. Their vaults hold secret numbered accounts (Roman numerals of course) for George W Bush, Bill and Hillary Clinton, George HW Bush, Barack Hussein Obama, Timothy Geithner, Henry Paulson, Tony Blair, David Cameron, Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel (born Angela Dorothea Kasner). Look also at Citigroup – that bank is used to money launder $billions to the CIA (Knights of the Holy See) for arms dealing, drug trafficking and covert terrorist operations against the United States people – CIA code named al Qaeda. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner ignored President Barack Obama’s order to consider dissolving Citigroup because it is the CIA’s financial pipeline.

  •  the poll (0+ / 0-)

    is it just me, or is the poll confusing? i agree with what's said for option A, and i agree with the last line of option B:

    "If the minority rich seize power and rule, all bets are off."
    All bets are off if the rich seize power and rule. Am I missing something?

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