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posted by martyb on Friday December 11 2015, @05:50AM   Printer-friendly
from the pandora's-box dept.

The U.S. Constitution has 27 amendments; each was proposed by Congress and ratified by the states.

However, the Constitution sets forth another procedure, never before used, for amending the Constitution. At the request of two thirds of the states, a constitutional convention would be held, at which amendments could be proposed. Any proposals would become part of the Constitution if three fourths of the states ratified them, either at state conventions or in the state legislatures.

Currently, 27 of the needed 34 states have petitioned Congress for a constitutional convention, for the ostensible purpose of writing a balanced-budget amendment (BBA). However, the convention might propose other changes in addition or instead of a BBA—even a total rewrite of the Constitution—if 38 states agreed, the changes would become law.

In November, legislators from 30 states met in Salt Lake City to discuss the matter.

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  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday December 11 2015, @04:59PM

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 11 2015, @04:59PM (#275024) Journal

    No matter what anyone says corporations are not people and do not share the same rights as people. Let us not forget that corporations get special rights that people do not get.

    Two things to note. First, corporations are treated legally like people, never as people. Second, corporations don't get special rights.

    Campaign finance reform does not "gut" the First Amendment. It simply returns the First Amendment to the people where it belongs.

    Except that it does when it's deliberately biased against particular groups of people as the McCain-Feingold Act was. No exception is made for corporations in the First Amendment. And petitioning for redress of grievances clearly includes donation to election campaigns and lobbying. There are a variety of considerations here. First, speech visible to the public costs money and always will. You don't have freedom of speech, if you aren't allowed to speak anywhere where someone can hear you.

    This is a rich people complaint too. There is nothing magical about corporate money that makes it worse than all the other means that rich people have to bend the ears of politicians.

    What I think particularly silly about complaints of corporate personhood, especially in the wake of the Citizens United ruling, is that they either devolve to imaginary corporate rights or generic whining about rich people and money. Both happen here.

  • (Score: 2) by naubol on Friday December 11 2015, @05:37PM

    by naubol (1918) on Friday December 11 2015, @05:37PM (#275052)

    Would you not agree that those with money are able to buy significantly more representation? There are other activities which would support a candidate and would be deemed illegal, such as systematically calling known opposition voters on election day to tell them their loved ones are hospitalized, but this is more obviously speech. The idea behind speech was to enable people to have a marketplace of ideas where hopefully it caused the ideas to improve by a metric that was seen as for the common good. Do you contend that unlimited campaign finance doesn't have a deleterious affect by shifting the metric for quality of ideas much more to being about which idea benefits an oligarchic minority in the short term?

    Money is not speech, because it has the power to capture actual honest to god speech. On some level, agitprop is a clear and present danger and we must deal with it, and campaign finance reform is one attempt at doing that without trying to identify propaganda speech or severely curtail corporate media. Our political system was designed before entities and people could wield so much social and political power due to technological advances. We must find a way to adapt to this new reality. We may not have the language, ... unlimited campaign donations are weapons of intense power in a war over the distribution of resources. Agitprop works and it is not going to magically stop working. We must talk about this issue on that level first, as campaign finance restrictions are merely one attempt at a solution. Do you not agree that there is a problem? What would your solution be?

    As an amusing aside, is it not the height of irony that the textual originalist found speech == money? I don't see that in my dictionary and I'm pretty positive that wasn't what Madison intended.

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday December 11 2015, @06:56PM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 11 2015, @06:56PM (#275097) Journal

      Do you contend that unlimited campaign finance doesn't have a deleterious affect by shifting the metric for quality of ideas much more to being about which idea benefits an oligarchic minority in the short term?

      Sure, but the effect is less significant than advertised. First, it's quite easy legally to create such things in the complete absence of money via passing laws/regulations for votes. For example, labor unions, large groups of people with common interests (farmers, gun owners), and high employment businesses with political interests. Then there are the illegal means of bribing politicians which would work moderately better (since limited or no cash means politicians have a lower price tag as a whole by this means).

      Second, even in the presence of the First Amendment and corporate personhood, there are a number of constitutional ways to limit the otherwise unlimited such as making all such donations public knowledge, capping the donation size, restricting movement of government employees from decision making positions in government to parties affected by those decisions, and imposing and enforcing harsher criminal and civil punishments for corruption and election/voting misconduct/gross incompetence.

  • (Score: 2) by J053 on Friday December 11 2015, @08:26PM

    by J053 (3532) <{dakine} {at} {}> on Friday December 11 2015, @08:26PM (#275133) Homepage
    OK - as an individual, I am limited to $2700 in donations to any candidate for election in each of the primary election and general election cycles. I can give as much as I want to a political party (or several parties, if I so desire). I suggest all organizations be subject to the same limits.

    Now, that doesn't stop me, as an individual, on my own account, from spending as much as I want to advocate for a particular candidate or position - as long as such advocacy is not coordinated with the candidate's campaign organization in any way. This was the core of Citizens United and, while I don't like what has resulted, that was arguably a correct ruling.

    What needs to be done is a revision of the rules that apply to tax-exempt organizations - go back to the original intent and forbid any political activity from a tax-exempt entity. If corporations or unions or any other organization want to be politically active, they can damn well pay income tax on their contributions. Oh, and do away with these anonymous contribution PACs, too.