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12 Essential Elements of Strategy to Get Money Outta Politics (MOP)

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opednews.com Headlined to H2 12/10/12

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    This article condenses the essential elements of an evidence-based strategy to get Money Outta Politics (MOP) into the following 12 precepts. This is a bare-bones skeleton on which hangs the much fuller analysis largely fleshed out in the linked material.  Discussion is invited on the proposition that omission or distortion of any of these 12 elements would cripple any strategy to get money out of politics. The proposal of any additional strategic element considered more essential than these 12 is welcome.
  1. The starting premise of the MOP strategy derives from the work of of many acute observers of US politics showing that investments in politicians, lobbyists and propaganda have over several decades bought policies enriching an oligarchic minority. These policies have caused, among other interrelated problems, widening inequality - with its many associated social consequences, financialization and globalization of the economy, 'demand-side" unemployment, militarization, global warming/climate change, costly health care, environmental deterioration, war on drugs-prison industry, decline of civil liberties, and loss of democracy. http://tinyurl.com/MOP10DD Nearly all decline in such socio-economic and political indicators since the 1970's can be traced to money in politics, not to convenient excuses such as political partisanship -- itself a result of competition over the money in politics. http://tinyurl.com/MOP1LL-EK Traditional democratic organizing on any other issue among the victims of these distorted policies is a waste of time since "affluent Americans exert substantial influence over the policies adopted by the federal government, and less well off Americans exert virtually none." Martin Gilens, Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America (2012) (research shows that on issues important to those "affluent Americans" whose money lubricates politicians, "support or opposition of the poor or the middle class has no impact on a policy's prospects of being adopted"). Clearly, the first priority for reversing the indicators of dysfunctional policy is a strategy that will restore to the majority of voters decisive influence over government, This would redeem the Declaration of Independence's promised "consent of the governed," which a large majority of voters recognize is lacking today, and the Founders considered the path for pusuit of happiness.

  2. The goal: overturn the Supreme Court's entire "jurisprudence of plutocracy." The modern problem of money in politics started in 1976 when a US Supreme Court bench dominated by Nixon appointees legitimized his notoriously corrupt politics in Buckley v. Valeo.  The Court's legalization of political corruption under the guise that it is protected speech developed over the following three decades, and then since 2006 sharply expanded in six decisions by the Roberts Court which completed the Court's "jurisprudence of plutocracy." The solution for the loss of democracy requires over-turning this entire jurisprudence, not just one of these decisions, Citizens United . http://tinyurl.com/MOP1RCU; http://tinyurl.com/SC-Ariz11

  3. Ignore the Corporate Personhood slogan, and its propagators. None of the Court's jurisprudence of plutocracy depends on the hoary legal principle of "corporate personhood." The soundbite "corporations are not people" is irrelevant to overturning any of the Court's jurisprudence of plutocracy, solving the problems caused by money in politics, or even corporate power in general. The currency of this slogan is a symptom of the model of politics based on fundraising organizations that prioritize marketing and money over effective political change. http://tinyurl.com/MOPCP    

  4. Change the Court's powers, not the Constitution . The Court's jurisprudence of plutocracy is based on a distorted interpretation of the First Amendment that was created for the purpose of undermining democracy in 1976, and had no basis in the Court's earlier First Amendment jurisprudence. http://tinyurl.com/MOPCP The Court's jurisprudence of plutocracy also violates the venerable "political question doctrine" which until 1976 prohibited the Court from deciding most cases involving elections. The Constitution (Art. I, Sec's. 4&5) commits the conduct of elections to Congress and state legislatures, provided only that this power is not used to entrench minority rule contrary to the principle of one person, one vote. http://tinyurl.com/MOP10DD. Since the problem of money in politics is rooted not in the Constitution, which duly separated the legislative from judicial power in matters of elections and politics, but rather in the unconstitutional jurisprudence of plutocracy created since 1976 by a majority of judges on the Court, a constitutional amendment is not the solution. Advocating an amendment distracts attention from credible strategy to an impossible and unnecessary task. http://tinyurl.com/MOP1CA5

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  5. Jurisdiction Stripping . The Constitution already contains the complete solution for the jurisprudence of plutocracy in its Exceptions Clause, which allows Congress to repair the breached separation of legislative and judicial powers by enacting a law stripping the Court of powers it usurped over state and federal election integrity legislation. Such a law would restore the political question doctrine and preclude the Court from hearing any case invoking the premise that the Constitution intended to corrupt politics with money as mandated by the spurious jurisprudence of five politicized judges. http://tinyurl.com/MOP1RCU

  6. The Eleventh Amendment of the Constitution stripped the Court of jurisdiction to hear any private suit against a state which undermines state sovereignty, such as by the Court's decisions overturning state laws against corrupt elections. An act of Congress can compel the Court to honor the states' 11 th Amendment immunity from any suit challenging their election integrity laws. http://tinyurl.com/EI-Am2 pp.8-18; http://tinyurl.com/EAM-amicus. State election integrity laws protected by the 11th Amendment from federal judicial interference are a large part of the solution since all elections are conducted at the state level. Such a law would also be easier to enact and defend than either a fully effective comprehensive federal law or an ineffective constitutional amendment. http://tinyurl.com/MOP2StL

  7. Decline the slippery-slope fallacy. The Exceptions Clause and Eleventh Amendment solutions have been neglected and even rejected by supporters of less effective approaches on the basis of "slippery-slope" reasoning: "if we use this tactic others will use it too, but for bad purposes." This logical fallacy is no reason to ignore the Constitution's own solutions for separation of power and dual sovereignty conflicts. No legislative reform will succeed which fails to take every available constitutional step to strip the federal judiciary of jurisdiction to review the constitutionality of state or federal legislation outlawing money in politics. http://tinyurl.com/MOP2SlSl 

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  8. Comprehensive legislation can effectively remove money from politics. But in a systematically corrupt system like the US, piecemeal and incremental reform fails, and also commonly risks unintended counterproductive results. Republicans credibly raise this objection, based on experience, to justify their opposition to the Democrats' perpetually ineffective campaign finance reform proposals. Romney reflected this view when he said "I'm not in favor of McCain-Feingold. The campaign finance reform provisions didn't do what they were intended to do. There's more money in politics and it's more hidden, not more open." Phil Riske,"Interview," 11/17/06. This may sound like the perfect as enemy of the good, but piecemeal reforms are not even good when dealing with systemic corruption.  

  9. Wiki-law. Comprehensive legislation should be drafted through a bottom-up wiki approach - not left to politicians, professional activists or even experts, though the assistance of experts in many fields will be useful. A single publicly vetted bill will include all provisions necessary for enforcement of a money-free electoral system that can equally and accurately record the informed choices of all citizens. See Appendix I Separate components have been suggested from different quarters. This task includes compiling these separate pieces into a single bill. 

  10. Leaderless movement. "[T]he way to change a complex, highly interconnected system, [is] not top-down management," but: "Self-organized, nonviolent action by the many, consulting all those affected." Carne Ross, http://theleaderlessrevolution.com/ . Organizations led by professional activists, disorganized and scattered in their separate silos, each in priority pursuit of narrow constituencies to meet its own fundraising needs, will not succeed in creating the required fundamental change. A transparent, digital, trans-partisan, single issue movement can succeed with a "heterarchy" organizational structure where authority is based on knowledge and function, not on the hierarchical control of money achieved through competitive niche marketing strategies. Appendix II. The quality of a movement's strategy determines its capacity for success.

  11. Single Issue Voting. Comprehensive legislation can be successfully demanded of Congress if pursued as the single issue for which even a relatively small minority of citizens disaffected from the two parties will pledge their vote - irrespective of parties or candidates.  If sufficient voters (equal to the margin separating the two parties in any incumbent's electoral district) pledge to swing their votes away from uncooperative incumbents of either party, enactment of the comprehensive legislation will become the sole litmus test of whether incumbents will retain their seats in the next election. Appendix II (6) . Politicians tend to respond when the job to be lost is their own.

  12. Digital Democracy United. Voters' pledges can be most efficiently organized in a single data base on a transparent but highly secure digital democracy website. Appendix I I (5); http://tinyurl.com/MOP-Pledge. The building, protection and marketing of that website is the principal task of a movement. The word need circulate: "Join the Union of Voters; sign up at the website! No dues: your pledge is your union card. Struggle against corruption with your vote." Other tactics commonly recommended by activists devoid of a credible strategy for change, emerge more from nostalgia for bygone movements: calls to stand up, speak out, pay for broadcasts, go to the streets, sign petitions, write politicians and the press, meet, lobby for ineffective local resolutions, or even a futile powerless revolt. These tactics are useful only to the extent they can effectively help organize a single issue voting union through digital democracy solidarity. El pueblo unido jama's sera' vencido;el pueblo votante unido nunca jama's sera' vencido.


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12 Essential Elements of Strategy to Get Money Outta Politics (MOP)