Regulation

Campaign Finance and the Problem of Big Government

A response to Jacob Sullum

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Editor's Note: On November 17, Reason published Jacob Sullum's "The Guy Who Proposed Amending the Constitution to Overturn Citizens United Faults Senators for Trying to Do That," which criticized Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig's proposal for a campaign finance system of "not just finance limits, but also finance support." Reason invited Lessig to comment and we're happy to continue the discussion by running his response.

Jacob Sullum thinks me inconsistent. Surprise, surprise, I think not. He finds my "disdain for a solution [I] endorsed not long ago…a bit startling." Indeed it would be, if indeed I was "disdaining" the "solution" at issue.

But in my op-ed for The New York Times yesterday, I said this (this time with some emphasis added):

But at some point, Congress has got to muster the courage to say what every sane reformer recognizes: that we won't solve the problem of "big money donors" until Congress begins to say yes. Not just finance limits, but also finance support. Not just ways to restrict, but also ways to enable.

The point is that I am not criticizing the substance of the amendment because I disagree with the idea of limits. I am criticizing the idea of an amendment that only has limits. This isn't "disdain" for limits. It's disdain for the idea that limits alone could work.

Now, as Sullum recognizes, the substance of the limits that I had supported is different from the limits in the amendment recently introduced. I believe that Congress should have the power to limit, but not to ban, independent expenditures. That doesn't mean, as Sullum writes, that my "amendment would authorize Congress to reinstate the restrictions on 'electioneering communications' imposed by…McCain-Feingold." McCain-Feingold banned those expenditures. I believe they should at most be limited. And as I've said again and again, properly interpreted, certainly the non-profit Citizens United should have been entitled to spend as it wanted to spend. That spending has nothing to do with the only justification Congress could have for restricting speech in this context—i.e., corruption, properly interpreted.

Finally, Sullum is kind to grant me "credit for coming up with ever more creative ways of dodging the central problem, which is that big government attracts big money because it has so many favors to dole out." But I think the "dodging" here is from the libertarian right, not from me. You can't simply assume a libertarian government. You have to show how we can get there. The argument at the core of my book, Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress and a Plan to Stop It, is that so long as elections are financed by large dollar contributions or independent expenditures, Congress will have an interest in maximizing its "favors to dole out." For if you eliminate the favors, then you weaken the ability to raise campaign funds.

So I get that it feels nice to point to the Epsteinian utopia (for those on the libertarian right) of a world where rent-seeking has been abolished. But even Richard Epstein gets that you can't simply assume that state. You have to describe a strategy for getting to it. That's why Epstein was willing to agree that we need a form of public funding for elections. Without it, the thumb will always be on the scale of bigger, and more intrusive government.

Lawrence Lessig is a professor at Harvard Law School and director of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics.

Bonus Reason.tv Video: "Nick Gillespie and Lawrence Lessig Talk About the Citizens United Case on Bill Moyers Journal."

NEXT: Dems and Reps Agree: Let's Spend Tons More on Defense!

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  1. ADVERTIZING!!!!!!!! ? In Ekonomic hard times

    [Day’s of Wine and Rose’s are gone]

    Now, we grew up in an era of when things such as purchasing on layaway was almost if not the accepted method of purchasing those items that one could not possibly afford if not purchased by the layaway method, the concept of credit cards and high interest rates was not even in the cards and a housewife had a budget provided by the husband and heaven held her if she could not make the household work within that budget. Well, we are now seeing that the concept of the layaway programs are now returning in the modern world wide economic downturn, but much more has to be done by the media to generate sales of their products. The Day’s of Wine and Rose’s are over, the economic good times have ended, and if companies continue to advertise as if the good times are still in vogue many will join those that have already gone into bankruptcy.

    [Selling it]

    It is time to revisit the days of yesteryear, what goes around comes around, things that were done in the past have a way of once again becoming the new waves of the future or present but with a twist, such as cargo pants, cut at the knees are nothing more than the [1950’s] [G.I.] Government Issue Cargo Pants of the American [G.I.]. So, what has this got to do with advertizing, it is time for the actors and so called stars have too start hawking products not only in commercials, during their own shows but within the shows themselves, in economic hard times it is suicide not to hard sell the products that support programming. Products must have their labels front and center, both visually and verbally by those who are getting paid by companies to support their living. It should not be just get me a coffee, it should be get me a Starbuck’s, it should not be left up to the viewer to look a vehicle and just happen to see its make and model, as an actor points out the options that make it better or have a value added feature, the make and model must be verbally said. Actors, Writers, Producers, within the industry have to get off their high horses and start getting down with the new reality, they must understand that they are going to have to become pitch men, get out their and sell it baby, it’s no longer going to sell itself. These are hard times and it take a hard sell to overcome the competition, and beyond just the product a method that will allow the public to purchase it beyond high interest credit, buy now go bankrupt later.

    It’s all Basic Ekonomics, 101.

    HERCULE TRIATHLON SAVINIEN

  2. Alternative Lessig: “I’m rubber, you’re glue! Bounce off me, stick to you! Nana nana booboo!”

    *runs away like a girl*

  3. I see that nowhere in his rebuttal did he discuss his terrifyingly tiny face and monstrous forehead. How did they get so malformed? Is he some kind of supervillain? Did he have some sort of accident with toxic waste in his lair of evil? I’m just asking questions here.

    1. Here you go. It explains everything.

      1. Well, I mean, obviously he’s a hideous mutant. What I want to know is, is he a supervillain too? And why is he allowed to remain on the surface without a pass?

        1. Well obviously a hideaous mutant Harvard Law professor would be a supervillan. That should go without saying.

          1. He doesn’t have to be a supervillain. He could be a henchman, couldn’t he?

            1. No, then he’d be at Dartmouth.

    2. Don’t ever stop being your glib self, Wart.

      1. Why doesn’t anyone take libertarians seriously?

        1. Because we point out the obvious things that some people were politely ignoring and some people were just too fucking stupid to even notice.

  4. But the basic problem he brings up is an important one. He just hasn’t shown that the weight of the solution he proposes will balance the thumb rather than landing in the same pan as the thumb. Maybe his book shows how.

    1. Free speech isn’t subject to balancing except in matters of BASIC public safety (ie excluding threats) and BASIC functioning of the justice system (ie excluding perjury).

  5. Here’s how we get there:

    Constitutional reform.

    The only settled issues or near settled issues in American politics revolve around words like “Congress shall make no law…”

    If the Constitution were slightly more clearly worded in a relative handful of areas nearly all of our problems with the regulatory state, rent seeking, and congressional corruption would go away – simply because the Congress and Executive would be neutered.

    1. The only settled issues or near settled issues in American politics revolve around words like “Congress shall make no law…”
      ————
      Roflmfao lol

  6. I have a document that we could use to establish a limited government.

    1. It clearly failed to achieve the type of government you think it should. Somewhere along the way, the system established by the constitution is too weak to ensure its adherence to constitutionality. If you can point to how making government weaker on all fronts will improve that situation, you’ll have something.

      1. Lessig is a shit for brains lib as is, of course, the host.

    2. Please, that is so Enlightenment. How about one line: Congress shall the authority do whatever it wants for the General Welfare?

      1. I do think the Constitution could use some modifications to keep it from straying towards authoritarianism, but just reverting back to its limits would be helpful.

        1. absolutely.

          look at some of the state constitutions.

          our constitution (federal) does not even mention privacy

          that’s a bug.

          many state constitutions do… and because of that, state LEO’s are more restricted in search/seizure etc. which is generally a good thing.

          a federal constitution with a right to privacy would be … better

    3. Thats true, but I think Fluffy has a good point that it could be a lot clearer on a few points. A bit more on what “general welfare” and “interstate commerce” are supposed to mean woudl help (may seem obvious to us, but apparently not obvious enough for most people). Also, if the 14th amendment is supposed to make the bill of rights apply to the states, why didn’t they just put that in the text? What is all of this vague “privileges and immunities” crap supposed to mean? They made it vague enough that the courts could just ignore the intended meaning.

      1. Like I said yesterday, trying to make the Constitution so airtight as to prevent any willful, unforeseen misinterpretation would have been a game of Whac-a-Mole.

        FDR wanted the New Deal to stand, Congress wanted the New Deal to go forward, and by and large the population wanted the New Deal to go forward, so a way was found to shoehorn it into the constitution. If it weren’t the commerce clause (which is fairly explicit IMHO) that was exploited it would have been the power to coin money or something.

        Also, there’s the fact that the BOR was not written with police powers in mind; it was only supposed to apply to the federal government which did not have police powers outside DC and a few forts and naval yards. I mean, getting the first amendment to apply to the states requires some un-textual leaps of logic already, since on the first amendment explicitly only applies to Congressional action (unlike the other BoR amendments, which leave the affected govt unspecified).

    4. Lincoln and the 39th congress threw that away. Essentially they told those that had elected to have the federal operate as their agent in certain specified areas that it was actually the other way around, the federal government would delegate to the states what authority they could use, not the states delegating power to the federal government.

      1. Yea…this “states’ rights” bullshit has to go. Are you really claiming that it would have been better to allow millions to live in slavery? Let’s not forget that states have their own domain of monopoly on force. No better to have the states violating basic human rights than the federal government.

  7. the libertarian right
    the libertarian right

    OH DIP JAKE U GOT PALINS ON YOU

    Twice. Just in case.

    Seriously, what’s with the apparently endless libertarian obligation to ass-kiss this particular standard-issue White People establishment cog (with a horrifically disfiguring hormonal disorder)?

    He’s not talking to you (which is good, because it’s bad luck when a hunchback talks to you).

    Let it go.

    (it)

    1. Bad luck for the hunchback?

  8. I’m glad this topic came back up, because I had an idea regarding Lessig’s Democracy Voucher idea.

    Basically, I would run for president on the platform that if you send me your $50 Democracy Voucher, I will send you a check for $45.

    1. Oooh this is teh awesome. Except I think it only gets you a billion, max.

  9. Lessig is correct to observe that realizing a libertarian rent-free government will be difficult to achieve given the momentum of the extant system, but I don’t see why public funding of elections is necessarily the only or best way to address this difficulty. I guess I’ll have to read the damn book.

    1. Look, the cycle is very simple:

      STEP ONE: Politician needs $1.00 to campaign.

      STEP TWO: Politician promises campaign donor — “give me one dollar now, and after I get elected I will give you ten dollars worth government contracts/tax breaks/regulatory favors (collectively, ‘public expenditures’).”

      STEP THREE: rinse, repeat.

      The way to break the cycle is to let that politician get that dollar for campaigning from somebody other than a rent-seeking constituent. It would be a lot cheaper for the taxpayer to give over the one dollar directly, rather than having to “facilitiate” the private donation with ten dollars worth of targeted public expenditures.

      1. In other words, the problems the government created by violating the constitution can be fixed by further violating the constitution. Good idea!

        1. If you think that campaign-finance-related political corruption has even a tenuous connection to the loss of the so-called “constitution in exile,” you are equally ignorant of law, history, and politics.

          The 19th Century was rife with odious political corruption, and there was no income tax, no “substantial effects” interpretation of the commerce clause, and no direct election of Senators. The incentives to trade taxpayer dollars for campaign pennies would remain at least equal to today under a distilled Scalia/Thomas interpretation of the Constitution.

          1. “If you think that campaign-finance-related political corruption has even a tenuous connection to the loss of the so-called “constitution in exile,” you are equally ignorant of law, history, and politics.”

            If you think fixing it requires further violation of it, you must be as ignorant as There is no “we”

            1. Public financing does not run afoul of the First Amendment. Indeed, public financing is the more constitutionally-sound alternative to spending limits.

              1. “Public financing does not run afoul of the First Amendment”

                Hey, I’ll bet you got a million of ’em!
                THAT is among the most ignorant statement I’ve *ever* read.

              2. How the fuck do you decide which of two unconstitutional courses of action is more unconstitutional?

                What’s the unit of measurement for that sensor? I vote we call it a Roosevelt.

                Example: No, the AWB is at least 10 Roosevelts more unconstitutional then HillaryCare.

              3. “Public financing does not run afoul of the First Amendment.”

                I doubt seriously if you’re capable of understanding the argument, but in the hopes:
                Using my (taxpayer) money to support a political view which does not reflect my view is *absolutely* a denial of my political speech.
                While the SCOTUS has blown many calls, they agree with this one.

      2. STEP ONE: Politician needs $1.00 to campaign.

        STEP TWO: Politician simply awards himself taxpayer money.

        Hey, it cuts out the middle-man!

        1. I think you missed a step in there. The voting public has to approve a public finance scheme.

          By the way, sevo, what did the ob/gyn do with the umbilical cord he cut off of your neck just a few seconds too late?

          1. “I think you missed a step in there. The voting public has to approve a public finance scheme.”

            Ah, yes, just get the electorate to turn over the key!
            By the way, shithead, when did they suck your brains out?

            1. Oh, come on. I’m supposed to say “last night, your mom, through my dick,” right? But I’m better than that, so I won’t.

              1. “I’m supposed to say “last night, your mom, through my dick,” right? But I’m better than that, so I won’t.”

                Since you just did, I’m sure your 1st-grade classmates are just howling!

          2. Saved it for stem cells to grow a new brain.

      3. STEP ONE: Politician needs $1.00 to campaign.

        STEP TWO: Politician tells donor “that sure is a nice business you have there … would be tragic if anything bad happened to it“.

        STEP THREE: Donor pays protection money.

        STEP FOUR: Politician insures donor’s business is profitable for repeating step one at next election cycle.

        1. Yeah, that, too.

      4. But doesn’t this assume that the politician only gives away government money in order to get contributions? It seems to me that this doesn’t stop politicians giving away public money just because they can, or in order to set up cushy retirement situations. AND, don’t forget, a lot of (mainly) Democrats give away a lot of money to “the poor” whose only gift to them is to vote for them en masse.

        1. Yes, there are other problems in the system, and there is no single magic-bullet solution. But that does not necessarily make campaign-finance reform futile. (And certainly nothing is more futile than inveighing against human nature.)

          1. I don’t know, I’ve spent many a happy hour sipping single malt and bitching about human nature.

            But your first sentence is well taken.

  10. Police: 2 Georgia Caregivers Waterboard 89-Year-Old Woman

    Police charge two caregivers at a Jonesboro facility with waterboarding an 89-year-old woman.

    Clayton County police said Jermeller Steed and Cicely Reed held down Anna Foley after an argument that started over ice cream.

    They’re said to have allegedly held down Foley in a locked shower room, flooding her face with the hand-hold shower nozzle in 2008.

    http://atlanta.cbslocal.com/20…..old-woman/

    1. “The technique slowly drowns subjects by blocking the air passages with flowing water while the subject is immobilized.”

      First time I have ever read an accurate characterization of it anywhere in the mainstream media ever. Guess this news story was far enough below the radar to escape censorship by euphemism.

      1. That’s not waterboarding, as the subject was actually in danger of drowning. In waterboarding air passages are left open, while there is only the perception of being in danger of drowning.

  11. You have to show how we can get there.

    How about our elected officials actually respect their oaths of office? How about the justices of the Supreme Court actually respect the concepts of enumerated powers and limited government rather than hiding behind the skirt of stare decisis?

    If these people are unwilling to do these things then there are plenty of trees that need to be watered.

    1. If you could trust people to do the right thing in the face of extreme pressure not to, we wouldn’t need a government in the first place.

      1. If you could trust people to do the right thing in the face of extreme pressure not to, we wouldn’t need a government in the first place.

        As usual H.L. Mencken has it right:

        The only good bureaucrat is one with a pistol at his head. Put it in his hand and it’s good-bye to the Bill of Rights.

        Every once in a while Jesus Quintana got it right too:

        I’ll take it away from you, stick it up your ass and pull the fucking trigger ’til it goes “click.”

        1. 8-year olds, Dude…

          1. That fucking Quintana can roll…

      2. So what you’re saying is: because we can’t rely on government not to cave under pressure, we have a government that can cave under pressure in the first place.

        I just love these logical circles made by proponents of government.

        Kind of like: People can be evil, that’s why we need to give them guns and monopoly on force and call them government.

        P.S. Who says we need government in the first place?

  12. Lessig demonstrates his ignorance of the Iron Law:

    Money and power will always find each other.

    Only a tiny part of the corrupting money comes from campaign donations in any event. Its the revolving door and all the other flavors of regulatory capture and cooption that’s the real problem.

    The only way to reduce the corruption of money and power finding each other is to reduce the power side of the equation.

    And the debasement of Congress doesn’t just come from the private sector (God knows). It also comes from the massive power structure itself. Giving that power structure control over campaign money strikes me as a very odd way to get Congress to focus on its Constitutional duties.

    1. PROBLEM: government regulations work in the interest of big business at the expense of others.
      SOLUTION: more government regulations.

      What are you, RC, racist or something?

    2. The only way to reduce the corruption of money and power finding each other is to reduce the power side of the equation.

      Which is why this article, and the principle espoused, is epic failure. Lessig takes reducing the incentive for rent-seeking out of the equation at the very beginning saying it can’t be done. After that he is simply re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

    3. Don’t touch money but reduce power. How does that work? You do understand that by “find each other” you mean money=power don’t you?

  13. “You have to describe a strategy for getting to it. ”

    Here’s a hint: It doesn’t involve corrupted politicians passing a law that limits their access to graft.

  14. “Congress needs the power to protect it’s own independence.”

    That mistakenly assumes they want to keep their independence. If they really wanted to be independent, they could be by simply rejecting money.

    He and all the others in opposition are also completely conflating the right to spend money and speak with the right to vote.

    1. If a Congressperson turns corporate money down, the corporate money will go to their opponents. The Darwinian dialectic thus points toward corporate domination.

      Corporate money is like a loaded, cocked sniper rifle held against Congress’s head.

      1. “Corporate money is like a loaded, cocked sniper rifle held against Congress’s head.”

        Uh, did you ace the course in “Stupid”?

        1. Did you ace the course in “Ad Hominem”? Of course you did.

          1. Some comments are worth a response; others cry out for nothing other than pointing out the stupidity.
            Congratulations!

      2. Yeah, it’s almost EXACTLY like a sniper rifle. Two Three things:

        1) FUCK you are stupid

        2) You hold PISTOLS against heads. Rifles – ESPECIALLY SNIPER RIFLES – primarily are used for shooting over distances/.

        3) Are you related to UrineOhioO3DerpLOL? Cause you sound like it, only minus the kthxbailoltxt splng.

        OK, a fourth thing: The Darwinian dialectic – seriously? Was that the Big Wurdsz for this weekend from Engrish Crass? Take it back to Miss Othmar on Monday and don’t ever bring that weakass shit here again.

        Now run along, schoolboy/girl.

        1. I bow to your expertise in the best firearms to hold to your victim’s head as opposed to threatening them from afar. But my point remains standing, since you failed to address it’s meat.

          1. “But my point remains standing, since you failed to address it’s meat.”

            Meat missing, stupidity abundant.
            You seem to have a problem with logic; those who gain (congress-critters) are not threatened by that gain, they’re thrilled!
            Now that you have some basic knowledge to consider, go away and come back after you’ve learned not to presume the effect is the cause.
            But then, if you’re a lefty, that probably isn’t going to happen.

      3. “Corporate money is like a loaded, cocked sniper rifle held against Congress’s head.”

        How is that? It was and continues to be illegal for corporations to donate money directly to a politician’s campaign. Yet somehow the perception is that Congress has been bought by corporations. Perhaps there are other factors involved?

        1. “directly”

          You know what that word means? Or what it doesn’t mean, more aptly?

  15. Shooting the fuckers in power is a time-honored strategy. Did that really need to be stated? Is Lessig that dense?

    1. While fun at the time, that particular path often does not work out in the long-haul. Trust me on this.

    2. Yeah, but then new fuckers get the same power and you have to shoot them too. It’s shootings all the way down.

      1. Just don’t melt the barrel.

  16. BIBLE-ZIONIST FABLE CALLED CAPITALISM

    A TRUTH CALLED POVERTY

    The legend of capitalism and markets says work prevents poverty. The myth says that life supporting money income is derived from jobs. No job no income is the mantra. This saga says that jobs creates capital and money. They say it is good for investment, too. General universal economic well being is prices rising in eternal economic growth, YIKES! My quill pen fibulates at the grotesque impossibility of these statements. More people have been working yet investment is down and poverty increases and unemployment is everywhere. Double YIKES!! What is wrong with this picture?

    The Montreal Market Medium shouts his opinion “All money is created by loans. Jobs follow,” he blurts. The popular mantra of jobs, jobs, jobs, is really a psychological diversion to conceal that permanent unemployment is the unavoidable outcome of free market globalism. The mantra of corporatism is failing its grip on the public mind. Work is now tentative and wages are always lower in any new job. It is called a new normal, the medium growls.

    This policy invention called new normal is just living in poverty while working. The psychology of new normal conceals what can be called the religion of money. It is from the Bible Temple Milcom, for Moloch, God of perpetual debt, money at interest and stock exchange “swindle” finance. This religion, that masquerades as western Christian-Zionist capitalism, begins with the Bible mention of The Vow. The Vow is Second Temple in Jerusalem code name for money loan. It says so in the book, MONEY: The 12th and FINAL RELIGION, bellows the Medium.

    Willard, just arrived, corrects the Medium to say “TV Protestant Christain-Zionist capitalism.” It is unkind and incomplete to link all Christianity with the TV Protestant-Zionist credo of Israel and its NEOCON wars, declares Willard of Kazabazua. He is close with Emma, known here as Loco Lola. Willard, a man of thousands of Masses and decades of Rosary beyond count, a lifetime observer for Nazi war criminals, is sensitive about having his tradition impugned by reckless associations, he says.

    The Medium continues. Unless wages and working terms are negotiated and protected by a bargaining unit, incomes are arbitrary amounts. They are always tending to be more for the insider free trader and be continually less for others, “especially those working for wages,” reports the Montreal Market Medium, self recognized authority on money, finance and investments. He says the idea of free trade is based upon a deliberate lie. It is a deliberate fallacy of composition. It is the mind of that first Great merchant mentality of the Abram who comes from the other side of the flood. This Abramic advertising culture creates the fallacy that guides the public mind. It teaches consumers to believe what might be true for one is universally good for all. The Great merchants say lower retail price is an individual consumer benefit regardless of production facilities closing and wage declines and unemployment in the greater community.

    The medium is silent on the contradiction between the mantra of lower consumer prices while expecting to have an ever increasing GNP. He is outspoken on the need that a people and nation can only survive with trade and manufacture conducted in guarded self interest. Without guarded bi-lateral trade the citizens become mere merchandise to exist as commodity for great merchants profits, he advises

    The deliberate lie of free trader great merchants comes from the epiphany of Abram meeting Melchezedek to become Abraham reported in the Bible. This advent of God Moloch into human thought causes one to subordinate life choices and career quality to product price. It turns the person into a commodity to be manipulated by money price. “It’s demonic. Satan lives in central banks,” he says. I think that living in his car, answering his motorola car phone with a phony Pakistani accent and moving frequently to avoid the repo man is affecting the medium’s outlook on our free market capitalism. He would probably feel better if Lehman Brothers would pay him his short sale profits from the 2008 crash.

    The truth is that free trade globalism has no concern about living wage, working conditions, secure family and career or about how money is created. All that matters is that people believe a key element of nonsense. They must continue to believe according to the God Moloch that money unlike anything else on the planet can grow merely with the passing of earth time. Unlike anything else on the planet, Money has no need for air, earth, water or sunlight in order to grow. Capitalism further conceals this nonsense belief behind a popular folly called stock markets. It’s in the book.

    The nonsense is further concealed by deception. They say the nation that authorizes creation of money in the first place must pay interest to use its own money. “Could free market capitalism be a form of mass insanity or is it just arrogance of the few preying on the gullible many?” The Montreal Market Medium ponders. He is thinking aloud about Biblical subjects such as the Great Merchant Abram becoming Abraham after meeting Melchzedek. Read the book, he says.

    I sense something to be wrong. It must an intellectual accident based upon misunderstanding. I hope that such impossible Congressional gibberish as paying of the national debt is merely a prank by the few to bamboozle the many. All Congress knows the national debt is in fact the money supply. Less debt equals less money at a time when forty percent of the population has immediate need for more money. YIKES again!! The recorded existence of national debt is merely evidence of past money created. Interest paid on that public debt is in fact a tithe to Moloch, God of perpetual debt, money at interest and stock exchange swindle finance, offers Willard. Now in his tenth decade of Rosary for the day.

    If such a fallacious construct as national debt with interest rate and global capitalism is deliberate lie, a great crime is being committed against all and everything, comes to my mind. I am saved from further thought by a gentle scent of Chanel #5. She is not far distant. The Prof CMore Books pretends not to notice and stays tight with his desk, focused with his pages. Loco Lola pauses at the door to whisper about a new arrival. The word describing our new visitor sounded like it began with an “A” and ended with “hole”.

    BIZWOG KNOWS ALL
    The prof C.More Books immediately clears his desk. His books are back on the shelf, he assumes executive poise. Feet are on a corner of the desk. His fingers templed mid chest over his freshly buttoned vest. The arrival of master secret agent LeJohn Billy-Bob Boot, PhD, top US civil servant could indicate danger. The prof readies himself to feign a warm welcome.

    High stakes could be at risk in dealing with the only American seconded to BIZWOG (British-Israel Zionist World Occupation Government). Dr. Boot directs security on the reconstruction of the Third Temple in Jerusalem. A multi tasker, Dr.Boot is also vying to be in charge of the secret “Pres Buckwheat” project for the Gaza-ification of the US population. Great stainless steel trains are already on sidings across the US to ship people to camps and designated districts as the orders are given. The BIZWOG experience in “policing” Northern Ireland and Israeli control of Gaza has perfected the protocols for managing the unemployed.

    Americans refuse to believe their government is a form of caliphate under direct occupation control by their so-called allies Israel and the UK. Loco Lola has often called the US the worlds first perfected electronic concentration camp. Worried that Jack Boot might see it, the prof moves quickly to hide the book, of THE AMERICAN CALIPHATE of BIZWOG: The Final World Order.

    The BIZWOG (British-Israel Zionist World Occupation Government) master plan is for the Third Temple to rule the world with a new money. This new currency is to based upon a ratio/index related to the filth of carbon emissions. This is more practical than most can imagine. LeeJohn Billy Bob Boot, he likes to be called Jack, was instrumental in demonstrating how petroleum based money can be replaced by computer generated carbon emission credits derived from real and imaginary carbon emissions. These can be traded like securities on stock exchanges as the usual supply of securities becomes less and less marketable to the public and pension funds, Jack has said.

    Jack Boot is an all around ‘merikan’ boy. A genius, born to wealth and private school followed by the premier Universities in the US, Jack is a devoted civil servant with maximum pension eligibility. Orders are paramount. Exterminate by burning alive 99 infants and adults at Waco, the head shot of a nursing mother at Ruby Ridge, putting Iraq “fuzzy wuzzies” in the animal act in front of their children, got Jack a personal “high five” from Dick Cheney, he says. The prof would never rise to question Jack Boot about his exploits. Jack Boot is a US national security warrior. He is untroubled by civil service to Israel and loyalty to BIZWOG. No one dares call Jack a psychopath. Some unfamiliar with the breed might consider Jack insane.

    While waiting for Jack, the prof cautions us on how to understand the Jack Boots of the world. The Jack Boot cohort uses national security as cover. The purpose of all secret agents is to protect the interest of the great merchants. The overall defining characteristic is described in the Bible book of Revelation where the economic man first exists as a commercial entity. Utterly devoid of moral and spiritual stance, the merchants mentality is captured in the imagery of the whore of Babylon.

    The daily practice of the great merchant is guided by money price, profits, merchandise turn-over and market share revenue. Driven by the psychic fire of usury, the moral human can become the amoral Biblical beast signified by the number 666, says the prof. Gifted people, trained in Universities infected by usury of the God Moloch, rise to command great corporations. The schools of commerce should include teratology, the study of monstrosities. This study should be buttressed by theronistics, the creation and maintenace of monsters, he adds, equally unkind to both great merchants and secret agents. The prof says to read the book, THE AMERICAN CALIPHATE of BIZWOG: The Final World Order.

    1. Someone at reason needs to weild the banhammer.

    2. You are boring. If you can’t even be a fun sort of lunatic, what good are you?

      1. Vermin shit in new clothes remains vermin shit.

      2. +1 I stopped reading when his first sentence was both wrong and boring.

        1. Do you know who else hated Zionism and capitalism?

          1. Well, there’s Stalin…

          2. Michael Moore?

    3. Maybe you should start a religion. Moronism.

  17. “You can’t simply assume a libertarian government. You have to show how we can get there.”

    You could say the same for a non-corrupted government. If Congress is bought-off, giving them the power to punish themselves for being so terrible and waiting for it to happen is a non-starter.

    Hypothetical scenario: The first amendment just covered speech and the press, no establishment clause.

    Hypothetical problem: Society is awash in sectarian strife brought on by the fact that politicians promote certain religions and punish others, motivated less by sincere belief and more by the political benefit conferred when religious leaders support them in the pulpit.

    Which hypothetical solution is better: An amendment promoting separation of church and state, or an amendment limiting political speech by the religious?

    1. Libertarians all want a libertarian government, but part of the libertarian philosophy is that we can’t just use any means necessary to get there. We have to reach freedom through convincing others that we are right.

      Breaking our own central tenent about not forcing others, in order to impose a government that would hopefully not impose on others is a hypocritical, and we won’t do it.

  18. “a judge has to recuse himself if he is involved with any of the parties in the lawsuit”

    This brings up a good point: People in congress should be required to recuse themselves if they’re involved with any of the parties affected by a bill.

  19. Lessig is against free speech because he feels people are too stupid to understand their government is controlled by the people. He is correct most people are too stupid to wipe their ass, but the answer is not to eliminate free speech. The answer is to not let idiots vote or educate the public.

    1. Maybe we should print graphic instructions on toilet paper.

  20. Fuck the days when republicanism was supreme, and democratic elements of government were subject stringent limitations as to their effect and scope of operation! DEMOCRACY FOR EVERYBODY, MOTHER-FUCKERS!!

  21. You can’t simply assume a libertarian government.

    says the guy who apparently assumes the people who enter government service do not act out of self-interest.

  22. For some reason, the page is showing me a spanish-language ad for an Olay body ointment – apparently an ad aimed at women. Did I become Latina recently without knowing it?

    1. Now it’s gone. I would have made a very wise Latina.

  23. So Lessig thinks taking power away from govt is unlikely to happen? OK.

    You know what’s even more unlikely to happen? Congress voting to limit their own access to campaign donations and other favors, or voting for anything that lessens the incumbency advantage.

    So if the “libertarian right” is tilting at windmills, Lessig is even more so.

  24. <i>You can’t simply assume a libertarian government. You have to show how we can get there….</i>

    Why not?  That’s how they handle healthcare

  25. Epstein is a big deal to law professors because for a while he was basically the only prominent libertarian in the legal academy. But to libertarians generally, he’s a respected but much less dominant force. Certainly not a big enough influence that you can easily paint libertarians generally as “Epsteinian” and then point out that they violate some view of Epstein’s.

  26. I hold that the solution is to return control, as expressed through campaign contributions, to the people. here’s the detail:
    TOM BEEBE’S AMENDMENT

    (Commentary in {..}, not part of proposed Amendment}

    No candidate for the Presidency or either house of Congress shall accept contributions in cash or in kind from any organization or group of persons for expenses incurred in a campaign for that office. All such contributions shall be made only by individual citizens who shall attest that the funds or other items of value are from their own resources and that they have not received, nor have they been promised, offsetting items of value from any other party in exchange for their contribution. The identity and extent of contributors to such campaigns shall be made public for a period of thirty days from receipt before being employed or used as collateral for a loan by such campaigns. Organizations of any type, {i.e. corporations, unions, gun rights advocates, environmental protection groups, even “Susie’s Flower Shop”, a theoretical small business cited in the Citizen’s United Case,} may, without restriction, expend money to advocate a position on any issue before or likely to come before the electorate insofar as no candidate’s name or description is included in their expressions of advocacy.

    {The intent of the above is to bring “transparency” to campaign financing by removing any group from the process whereby that group may conceal the identity of an individual contributor as well as limiting the influence of such groups or “special interests”. It further prevents an organization from making such contributions when an individual within that organization, such as a union member or corporation stockholder, may oppose the candidate. Considering the large equity position in certain corporations that the federal government has recently taken in response to the economic crises, this is particularly important in excluding such influence. The money from “special interest” groups will then go to promote that for which they exist, their “special interest”. The media will be directed to expositions on the issues facing the electorate, thus enhancing discussion and hopefully understanding of issues, bereft of personalities.}

  27. I hold that the solution is to return control, as expressed through campaign contributions, to the people. here’s the detail:
    TOM BEEBE’S AMENDMENT

    (Commentary in {..}, not part of proposed Amendment}

    No candidate for the Presidency or either house of Congress shall accept contributions in cash or in kind from any organization or group of persons for expenses incurred in a campaign for that office. All such contributions shall be made only by individual citizens who shall attest that the funds or other items of value are from their own resources and that they have not received, nor have they been promised, offsetting items of value from any other party in exchange for their contribution. The identity and extent of contributors to such campaigns shall be made public for a period of thirty days from receipt before being employed or used as collateral for a loan by such campaigns. Organizations of any type, {i.e. corporations, unions, gun rights advocates, environmental protection groups, even “Susie’s Flower Shop”, a theoretical small business cited in the Citizen’s United Case,} may, without restriction, expend money to advocate a position on any issue before or likely to come before the electorate insofar as no candidate’s name or description is included in their expressions of advocacy.

    {The intent of the above is to bring “transparency” to campaign financing by removing any group from the process whereby that group may conceal the identity of an individual contributor as well as limiting the influence of such groups or “special interests”. It further prevents an organization from making such contributions when an individual within that organization, such as a union member or corporation stockholder, may oppose the candidate. Considering the large equity position in certain corporations that the federal government has recently taken in response to the economic crises, this is particularly important in excluding such influence. The money from “special interest” groups will then go to promote that for which they exist, their “special interest”. The media will be directed to expositions on the issues facing the electorate, thus enhancing discussion and hopefully understanding of issues, bereft of personalities.}

  28. I hold that the solution is to return control, as expressed through campaign contributions, to the people. here’s the detail:
    TOM BEEBE’S AMENDMENT

    (Commentary in {..}, not part of proposed Amendment}

    No candidate for the Presidency or either house of Congress shall accept contributions in cash or in kind from any organization or group of persons for expenses incurred in a campaign for that office. All such contributions shall be made only by individual citizens who shall attest that the funds or other items of value are from their own resources and that they have not received, nor have they been promised, offsetting items of value from any other party in exchange for their contribution. The identity and extent of contributors to such campaigns shall be made public for a period of thirty days from receipt before being employed or used as collateral for a loan by such campaigns. Organizations of any type, {i.e. corporations, unions, gun rights advocates, environmental protection groups, even “Susie’s Flower Shop”, a theoretical small business cited in the Citizen’s United Case,} may, without restriction, expend money to advocate a position on any issue before or likely to come before the electorate insofar as no candidate’s name or description is included in their expressions of advocacy.

    {The intent of the above is to bring “transparency” to campaign financing by removing any group from the process whereby that group may conceal the identity of an individual contributor as well as limiting the influence of such groups or “special interests”. It further prevents an organization from making such contributions when an individual within that organization, such as a union member or corporation stockholder, may oppose the candidate. Considering the large equity position in certain corporations that the federal government has recently taken in response to the economic crises, this is particularly important in excluding such influence. The money from “special interest” groups will then go to promote that for which they exist, their “special interest”. The media will be directed to expositions on the issues facing the electorate, thus enhancing discussion and hopefully understanding of issues, bereft of personalities.}

    1. “removing any group from the process whereby that group may conceal the identity of an individual contributor ”

      A1 fail.
      *Requiring* me to put my name on something is every bit as much a limit on my speech as prohibiting me from doing so.
      Unconstitutional.

      1. The word “responsibility” comes to mind. Yes, a measure of courage and acceptance of consequences for one;s actions is required for the defence of individual lberty. The old phrase “Freedom isn’t free” still applies. If you fear to speak out you have already lost the right to do so.

    2. Someone please hold a sniper rifle to tom beebe st louis’ head and pull the trigger. Feel free to melt the barrel.

  29. I hold that the solution is to return control, as expressed through campaign contributions, to the people. here’s the detail:
    TOM BEEBE’S AMENDMENT

    (Commentary in {..}, not part of proposed Amendment}

    No candidate for the Presidency or either house of Congress shall accept contributions in cash or in kind from any organization or group of persons for expenses incurred in a campaign for that office. All such contributions shall be made only by individual citizens who shall attest that the funds or other items of value are from their own resources and that they have not received, nor have they been promised, offsetting items of value from any other party in exchange for their contribution. The identity and extent of contributors to such campaigns shall be made public for a period of thirty days from receipt before being employed or used as collateral for a loan by such campaigns. Organizations of any type, {i.e. corporations, unions, gun rights advocates, environmental protection groups, even “Susie’s Flower Shop”, a theoretical small business cited in the Citizen’s United Case,} may, without restriction, expend money to advocate a position on any issue before or likely to come before the electorate insofar as no candidate’s name or description is included in their expressions of advocacy.

    {The intent of the above is to bring “transparency” to campaign financing by removing any group from the process whereby that group may conceal the identity of an individual contributor as well as limiting the influence of such groups or “special interests”. It further prevents an organization from making such contributions when an individual within that organization, such as a union member or corporation stockholder, may oppose the candidate. Considering the large equity position in certain corporations that the federal government has recently taken in response to the economic crises, this is particularly important in excluding such influence. The money from “special interest” groups will then go to promote that for which they exist, their “special interest”. The media will be directed to expositions on the issues facing the electorate, thus enhancing discussion and hopefully understanding of issues, bereft of personalities.}

  30. I hold that the solution is to return control, as expressed through campaign contributions, to the people. here’s the detail:
    TOM BEEBE’S AMENDMENT

    (Commentary in {..}, not part of proposed Amendment}

    No candidate for the Presidency or either house of Congress shall accept contributions in cash or in kind from any organization or group of persons for expenses incurred in a campaign for that office. All such contributions shall be made only by individual citizens who shall attest that the funds or other items of value are from their own resources and that they have not received, nor have they been promised, offsetting items of value from any other party in exchange for their contribution. The identity and extent of contributors to such campaigns shall be made public for a period of thirty days from receipt before being employed or used as collateral for a loan by such campaigns. Organizations of any type, {i.e. corporations, unions, gun rights advocates, environmental protection groups, even “Susie’s Flower Shop”, a theoretical small business cited in the Citizen’s United Case,} may, without restriction, expend money to advocate a position on any issue before or likely to come before the electorate insofar as no candidate’s name or description is included in their expressions of advocacy.

    {The intent of the above is to bring “transparency” to campaign financing by removing any group from the process whereby that group may conceal the identity of an individual contributor as well as limiting the influence of such groups or “special interests”. It further prevents an organization from making such contributions when an individual within that organization, such as a union member or corporation stockholder, may oppose the candidate. Considering the large equity position in certain corporations that the federal government has recently taken in response to the economic crises, this is particularly important in excluding such influence. The money from “special interest” groups will then go to promote that for which they exist, their “special interest”. The media will be directed to expositions on the issues facing the electorate, thus enhancing discussion and hopefully understanding of issues, bereft of personalities.}

  31. I hold that the solution is to return control, as expressed through campaign contributions, to the people. here’s the detail:
    TOM BEEBE’S AMENDMENT

    (Commentary in {..}, not part of proposed Amendment}

    No candidate for the Presidency or either house of Congress shall accept contributions in cash or in kind from any organization or group of persons for expenses incurred in a campaign for that office. All such contributions shall be made only by individual citizens who shall attest that the funds or other items of value are from their own resources and that they have not received, nor have they been promised, offsetting items of value from any other party in exchange for their contribution. The identity and extent of contributors to such campaigns shall be made public for a period of thirty days from receipt before being employed or used as collateral for a loan by such campaigns. Organizations of any type, {i.e. corporations, unions, gun rights advocates, environmental protection groups, even “Susie’s Flower Shop”, a theoretical small business cited in the Citizen’s United Case,} may, without restriction, expend money to advocate a position on any issue before or likely to come before the electorate insofar as no candidate’s name or description is included in their expressions of advocacy.

    {The intent of the above is to bring “transparency” to campaign financing by removing any group from the process whereby that group may conceal the identity of an individual contributor as well as limiting the influence of such groups or “special interests”. It further prevents an organization from making such contributions when an individual within that organization, such as a union member or corporation stockholder, may oppose the candidate. Considering the large equity position in certain corporations that the federal government has recently taken in response to the economic crises, this is particularly important in excluding such influence. The money from “special interest” groups will then go to promote that for which they exist, their “special interest”. The media will be directed to expositions on the issues facing the electorate, thus enhancing discussion and hopefully understanding of issues, bereft of personalities.}

  32. I hold that the solution is to return control, as expressed through campaign contributions, to the people. here’s the detail:
    TOM BEEBE’S AMENDMENT

    (Commentary in {..}, not part of proposed Amendment}

    No candidate for the Presidency or either house of Congress shall accept contributions in cash or in kind from any organization or group of persons for expenses incurred in a campaign for that office. All such contributions shall be made only by individual citizens who shall attest that the funds or other items of value are from their own resources and that they have not received, nor have they been promised, offsetting items of value from any other party in exchange for their contribution. The identity and extent of contributors to such campaigns shall be made public for a period of thirty days from receipt before being employed or used as collateral for a loan by such campaigns. Organizations of any type, {i.e. corporations, unions, gun rights advocates, environmental protection groups, even “Susie’s Flower Shop”, a theoretical small business cited in the Citizen’s United Case,} may, without restriction, expend money to advocate a position on any issue before or likely to come before the electorate insofar as no candidate’s name or description is included in their expressions of advocacy.

    {The intent of the above is to bring “transparency” to campaign financing by removing any group from the process whereby that group may conceal the identity of an individual contributor as well as limiting the influence of such groups or “special interests”. It further prevents an organization from making such contributions when an individual within that organization, such as a union member or corporation stockholder, may oppose the candidate. Considering the large equity position in certain corporations that the federal government has recently taken in response to the economic crises, this is particularly important in excluding such influence. The money from “special interest” groups will then go to promote that for which they exist, their “special interest”. The media will be directed to expositions on the issues facing the electorate, thus enhancing discussion and hopefully understanding of issues, bereft of personalities.}

  33. I hold that the solution is to return control, as expressed through campaign contributions, to the people. here’s the detail:
    TOM BEEBE’S AMENDMENT

    (Commentary in {..}, not part of proposed Amendment}

    No candidate for the Presidency or either house of Congress shall accept contributions in cash or in kind from any organization or group of persons for expenses incurred in a campaign for that office. All such contributions shall be made only by individual citizens who shall attest that the funds or other items of value are from their own resources and that they have not received, nor have they been promised, offsetting items of value from any other party in exchange for their contribution. The identity and extent of contributors to such campaigns shall be made public for a period of thirty days from receipt before being employed or used as collateral for a loan by such campaigns. Organizations of any type, {i.e. corporations, unions, gun rights advocates, environmental protection groups, even “Susie’s Flower Shop”, a theoretical small business cited in the Citizen’s United Case,} may, without restriction, expend money to advocate a position on any issue before or likely to come before the electorate insofar as no candidate’s name or description is included in their expressions of advocacy.

    {The intent of the above is to bring “transparency” to campaign financing by removing any group from the process whereby that group may conceal the identity of an individual contributor as well as limiting the influence of such groups or “special interests”. It further prevents an organization from making such contributions when an individual within that organization, such as a union member or corporation stockholder, may oppose the candidate. Considering the large equity position in certain corporations that the federal government has recently taken in response to the economic crises, this is particularly important in excluding such influence. The money from “special interest” groups will then go to promote that for which they exist, their “special interest”. The media will be directed to expositions on the issues facing the electorate, thus enhancing discussion and hopefully understanding of issues, bereft of personalities.}

  34. I hold that the solution is to return control, as expressed through campaign contributions, to the people. here’s the detail:
    TOM BEEBE’S AMENDMENT

    (Commentary in {..}, not part of proposed Amendment}

    No candidate for the Presidency or either house of Congress shall accept contributions in cash or in kind from any organization or group of persons for expenses incurred in a campaign for that office. All such contributions shall be made only by individual citizens who shall attest that the funds or other items of value are from their own resources and that they have not received, nor have they been promised, offsetting items of value from any other party in exchange for their contribution. The identity and extent of contributors to such campaigns shall be made public for a period of thirty days from receipt before being employed or used as collateral for a loan by such campaigns. Organizations of any type, {i.e. corporations, unions, gun rights advocates, environmental protection groups, even “Susie’s Flower Shop”, a theoretical small business cited in the Citizen’s United Case,} may, without restriction, expend money to advocate a position on any issue before or likely to come before the electorate insofar as no candidate’s name or description is included in their expressions of advocacy.

    {The intent of the above is to bring “transparency” to campaign financing by removing any group from the process whereby that group may conceal the identity of an individual contributor as well as limiting the influence of such groups or “special interests”. It further prevents an organization from making such contributions when an individual within that organization, such as a union member or corporation stockholder, may oppose the candidate. Considering the large equity position in certain corporations that the federal government has recently taken in response to the economic crises, this is particularly important in excluding such influence. The money from “special interest” groups will then go to promote that for which they exist, their “special interest”. The media will be directed to expositions on the issues facing the electorate, thus enhancing discussion and hopefully understanding of issues, bereft of personalities.}

  35. I hold that the solution is to return control, as expressed through campaign contributions, to the people. here’s the detail:
    TOM BEEBE’S AMENDMENT

    (Commentary in {..}, not part of proposed Amendment}

    No candidate for the Presidency or either house of Congress shall accept contributions in cash or in kind from any organization or group of persons for expenses incurred in a campaign for that office. All such contributions shall be made only by individual citizens who shall attest that the funds or other items of value are from their own resources and that they have not received, nor have they been promised, offsetting items of value from any other party in exchange for their contribution. The identity and extent of contributors to such campaigns shall be made public for a period of thirty days from receipt before being employed or used as collateral for a loan by such campaigns. Organizations of any type, {i.e. corporations, unions, gun rights advocates, environmental protection groups, even “Susie’s Flower Shop”, a theoretical small business cited in the Citizen’s United Case,} may, without restriction, expend money to advocate a position on any issue before or likely to come before the electorate insofar as no candidate’s name or description is included in their expressions of advocacy.

    {The intent of the above is to bring “transparency” to campaign financing by removing any group from the process whereby that group may conceal the identity of an individual contributor as well as limiting the influence of such groups or “special interests”. It further prevents an organization from making such contributions when an individual within that organization, such as a union member or corporation stockholder, may oppose the candidate. Considering the large equity position in certain corporations that the federal government has recently taken in response to the economic crises, this is particularly important in excluding such influence. The money from “special interest” groups will then go to promote that for which they exist, their “special interest”. The media will be directed to expositions on the issues facing the electorate, thus enhancing discussion and hopefully understanding of issues, bereft of personalities.}

  36. I hold that the solution is to return control, as expressed through campaign contributions, to the people. here’s the detail:
    TOM BEEBE’S AMENDMENT

    (Commentary in {..}, not part of proposed Amendment}

    No candidate for the Presidency or either house of Congress shall accept contributions in cash or in kind from any organization or group of persons for expenses incurred in a campaign for that office. All such contributions shall be made only by individual citizens who shall attest that the funds or other items of value are from their own resources and that they have not received, nor have they been promised, offsetting items of value from any other party in exchange for their contribution. The identity and extent of contributors to such campaigns shall be made public for a period of thirty days from receipt before being employed or used as collateral for a loan by such campaigns. Organizations of any type, {i.e. corporations, unions, gun rights advocates, environmental protection groups, even “Susie’s Flower Shop”, a theoretical small business cited in the Citizen’s United Case,} may, without restriction, expend money to advocate a position on any issue before or likely to come before the electorate insofar as no candidate’s name or description is included in their expressions of advocacy.

    {The intent of the above is to bring “transparency” to campaign financing by removing any group from the process whereby that group may conceal the identity of an individual contributor as well as limiting the influence of such groups or “special interests”. It further prevents an organization from making such contributions when an individual within that organization, such as a union member or corporation stockholder, may oppose the candidate. Considering the large equity position in certain corporations that the federal government has recently taken in response to the economic crises, this is particularly important in excluding such influence. The money from “special interest” groups will then go to promote that for which they exist, their “special interest”. The media will be directed to expositions on the issues facing the electorate, thus enhancing discussion and hopefully understanding of issues, bereft of personalities.}

  37. I hold that the solution is to return control, as expressed through campaign contributions, to the people. here’s the detail:
    TOM BEEBE’S AMENDMENT

    (Commentary in {..}, not part of proposed Amendment}

    No candidate for the Presidency or either house of Congress shall accept contributions in cash or in kind from any organization or group of persons for expenses incurred in a campaign for that office. All such contributions shall be made only by individual citizens who shall attest that the funds or other items of value are from their own resources and that they have not received, nor have they been promised, offsetting items of value from any other party in exchange for their contribution. The identity and extent of contributors to such campaigns shall be made public for a period of thirty days from receipt before being employed or used as collateral for a loan by such campaigns. Organizations of any type, {i.e. corporations, unions, gun rights advocates, environmental protection groups, even “Susie’s Flower Shop”, a theoretical small business cited in the Citizen’s United Case,} may, without restriction, expend money to advocate a position on any issue before or likely to come before the electorate insofar as no candidate’s name or description is included in their expressions of advocacy.

    {The intent of the above is to bring “transparency” to campaign financing by removing any group from the process whereby that group may conceal the identity of an individual contributor as well as limiting the influence of such groups or “special interests”. It further prevents an organization from making such contributions when an individual within that organization, such as a union member or corporation stockholder, may oppose the candidate. Considering the large equity position in certain corporations that the federal government has recently taken in response to the economic crises, this is particularly important in excluding such influence. The money from “special interest” groups will then go to promote that for which they exist, their “special interest”. The media will be directed to expositions on the issues facing the electorate, thus enhancing discussion and hopefully understanding of issues, bereft of personalities.}

  38. I hold that the solution is to return control, as expressed through campaign contributions, to the people. here’s the detail:
    TOM BEEBE’S AMENDMENT

    (Commentary in {..}, not part of proposed Amendment}

    No candidate for the Presidency or either house of Congress shall accept contributions in cash or in kind from any organization or group of persons for expenses incurred in a campaign for that office. All such contributions shall be made only by individual citizens who shall attest that the funds or other items of value are from their own resources and that they have not received, nor have they been promised, offsetting items of value from any other party in exchange for their contribution. The identity and extent of contributors to such campaigns shall be made public for a period of thirty days from receipt before being employed or used as collateral for a loan by such campaigns. Organizations of any type, {i.e. corporations, unions, gun rights advocates, environmental protection groups, even “Susie’s Flower Shop”, a theoretical small business cited in the Citizen’s United Case,} may, without restriction, expend money to advocate a position on any issue before or likely to come before the electorate insofar as no candidate’s name or description is included in their expressions of advocacy.

    {The intent of the above is to bring “transparency” to campaign financing by removing any group from the process whereby that group may conceal the identity of an individual contributor as well as limiting the influence of such groups or “special interests”. It further prevents an organization from making such contributions when an individual within that organization, such as a union member or corporation stockholder, may oppose the candidate. Considering the large equity position in certain corporations that the federal government has recently taken in response to the economic crises, this is particularly important in excluding such influence. The money from “special interest” groups will then go to promote that for which they exist, their “special interest”. The media will be directed to expositions on the issues facing the electorate, thus enhancing discussion and hopefully understanding of issues, bereft of personalities.}

  39. I apologize for the multiple posts. I have no ideaa how they happened.

    1. The squirrels must fucking HATE you. 13 unintentionals could be a record, if they were truly unintentional.

      1. mea culpa, but some glitch prevented my computer to indicate my comment had been posted, so I kept on re=posting. Wjat squirrels

  40. The squirrels must fucking HATE you. 13 unintentionals could be a record, if they were truly unintentional.Nike Air Max 90 running shoes

  41. No candidate for the Presidency or either house of Congress shall accept contributions in cash or in kind from any organization or group of persons for expenses incurred in a campaign for that office. All such contributions shall be made only by individual citizens who shall attest that the funds or other items of value are from their own resources and that they have not received, nor have they been promised, offsetting items of value from any other party in exchange for their contribution.
    Nike Air Max running shoes

  42. The hush-hush of politics is controlling a segment of people without those people recognizing they are being managed.

    In 1789 The Constitution and Bill of Rights are established as the law of the land.

    For 97 years it was understood that 1st Amendment freedoms of speech, press and assembly were the sole rights of flesh and blood citizens. Corporations had no rights. Newspapers had the right to print because they employed people and not the other way around.

    “The 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy; the growth of corporate power; and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.” -Alex Carey, Australian social scientist who pioneered the investigation of corporate propaganda (see Taking the Risk Out Of Democracy, Univ of New South Wales, 1995)

    In 1886 footnotes to the Santa Clara Railroad case, written by a Supreme Court Clerk who was previously a railroad executive, became the basis for corporations claiming the same rights as flesh and blood people.

    Following reports of serious financial abuses in the 1972 Presidential campaign, Congress amended the FECA in 1974 to set limits on contributions by individuals, political parties and PACs. But politicians exempted the commercial press, because the 1st Amendment prohibits abridging their freedom of speech and the press.

    2 USC 431 (9) (B) (i) The term “expenditure” does not include any news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication, unless such facilities are owned or controlled by any political party, political committee, or candidate;

    But we cannot rely on the commercial press to be unbiased and provide the information we need to remain free. Both Republicans and Democrats agree the press is biased and only differ on which networks and newspapers are the culprits:

    A newspaper must at all times antagonize the selfish interests of that very class which furnishes the larger part of a newspaper’s income… The press in this country is dominated by the wealthy few…that it cannot be depended upon to give the great mass of the people that correct information concerning political, economical and social subjects which it is necessary that the mass of people Shall have in order that they vote…in the best way to protect themselves from the brutal force and chicanery of the ruling and employing classes. (E.W. Scripps).

    In my opinion the idea of media being objective was a marketing ploy to sell newspapers:

    “It was not until the 1920s that you really get the notion of professional journalists, the way we think about them today,” says Michael Delli Carpini, dean of the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. “A lot of different schools of journalism started, codes of ethics were developed, the whole notion of the journalist as objective came into play …. of standing outside the story, telling both sides, of being factual rather than opinionated.”

    If the United States Supreme Court defined freedom of religion using the same logic that campaign laws use to define a free press only the church or synagogue “as an institution” would enjoy freedom of religion, not its parishioners!

    This law divides participation in America’s political process into two categories: The regulated majority, every living U.S. Citizen, candidate for office, political party and political organization and the unregulated commercial media.

    To restore equal protection under law, the “press exemption”, 2 USC 431 (9) (B) (i), should be modified to read: “The term expenditure does not include any news story, commentary, or editorial distributed by any citizen, citizens group, broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication.”

    Every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add… artificial distinctio?ns, to grant titles, gratuities?, and exclusive privileges?, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society–t?he farmers, mechanics, and laborers–?who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves?, have a right to complain of the injustice of their government?. President Andrew Jackson.

    The 1st Amendment does not guarantee our freedoms but it does prohibit Congress from writing laws that would abridge them. The 1st Amendment was added to the Constitution because some State representatives to the Constitutional Convention feared the power of an over reaching Central Government. State Constitutions are where protections of our freedoms of speech, press and assembly are found. The 14th Amendment attempts to extend Federal protection to the Bill of Rights and in this instance is misconstrued. Only Congress can violate the 1st Amendment and the Federal Campaign Act and the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act violate the prohibitions of the 1st Amendment. Federal Campaign laws abridge freedoms of speech, press by limiting how much money individual citizens and citizens groups can donate to their candidates and issues, and they abridge freedom of assembly by declaring it a crime for candidates, political parties and grass roots organizations to coordinate their advertising campaigns.

    The solution to limiting corporate influence and restoring flesh and blood citizen’s control of politics is not limiting how much individuals and grass roots organizations can spend communicating. There is no Constitutional basis for making political coordination a crime? Does a candidate for office have the responsibility or authority to tell a citizen or citizens group they cannot simultaneously put out campaign materials from the candidate and a grass roots organization that supports the candidate? Where in the Constitution does participating in politics require a candidate or citizen to give up 1st Amendment freedoms of assembly and association?

    UNITED STATES v. ASSOCIATED PRESS – Decided June 18, 1945
    It would be strange indeed however if the grave concern for freedom of the press which prompted adoption of the First Amendment should be read as a command that the government was without power to protect that freedom. That Amendment rests on the assumption that the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the public, that a free press is a condition of a free society. Surely a command that the government itself shall not impede the free flow of ideas does not afford non-governmental combinations a refuge if they impose restraints upon that constitutionally guaranteed freedom. Freedom to publish means freedom for all and not for some. Freedom to publish is guaranteed by the Constitution, but freedom to combine to keep others from publishing is not. Freedom of the press from governmental interference under the First Amendment does not sanction repression of that freedom by private interests.

    But corporate media can be part of the solution if they walk their talk:

    The commercial press is the most well-known promoter of campaign reforms to get money out of politics. Among reasons given is the need to level the playing field for challengers.

    Since the only thing campaigns produce is information for public distribution and the cost of distribution is the origin of much of the need for money in politics, why don’t the commercial media offer to publish and broadcast candidate and issue ads for free?

    Not likely: there is speculation Obama may raise a billion dollars and Republicans 750 million. Campaign season is Christmas for media corporations.

    1. “why don’t the commercial media offer to publish and broadcast candidate and issue ads for free?”

      Because it costs money to publish *anything*, and by offering free ads for any candidate, you’ll suddenly find thousands of ‘candidates’.

    2. how about some anti-trust action in the media? AP = target #1

  43. By and large, LEssig doesn’t refer to realities of corruption, only “the public’s perception” of corruption associated with fundraising.

    Maybe the right answer is telling people that the elections aren’t the problem, the Crony Capitalism that happens after the election is the problem.

    Milton Friedman had it right, as usual. The answer isn’t to get “the right guys” in – it’s to set up a system where the wrong guys will do the right thing.

  44. The only thing that will properly incentivize pols is tar & feathers and the occasional hanging from a lamp post. The rest of it is all tilting at windmills.

  45. May I suggest that collabrative interest is the threat to individual lberty? The former would be as well represented by government financing as by funding by each group we recognize as a special “interest”. Here’s another approach: TOM BEEBE’S AMENDMENT

    (Commentary in {..}, not part of proposed Amendment}

    No candidate for the Presidency or either house of Congress shall accept contributions in cash or in kind from any organization or group of persons for expenses incurred in a campaign for that office. All such contributions shall be made only by individual citizens who shall attest that the funds or other items of value are from their own resources and that they have not received, nor have they been promised, offsetting items of value from any other party in exchange for their contribution. The identity and extent of contributors to such campaigns shall be made public for a period of thirty days from receipt before being employed or used as collateral for a loan by such campaigns. Organizations of any type, {i.e. corporations, unions, gun rights advocates, environmental protection groups, even “Susie’s Flower Shop”, a theoretical small business cited in the Citizen’s United Case,} may, without restriction, expend money to advocate a position on any issue before or likely to come before the electorate insofar as no candidate’s name or description is included in their expressions of advocacy.

    {The intent of the above is to bring “transparency” to campaign financing by removing any group from the process whereby that group may conceal the identity of an individual contributor as well as limiting the influence of such groups or “special interests”. It further prevents an organization from making such contributions when an individual within that organization, such as a union member or corporation stockholder, may oppose the candidate. Considering the large equity position in certain corporations that the federal government has recently taken in response to the economic crises, this is particularly important in excluding such influence. The money from “special interest” groups will then go to promote that for which they exist, their “special interest”. The media will be directed to expositions on the issues facing the electorate, thus enhancing discussion and hopefully understanding of issues, bereft of personalities.}

  46. Nothing will corrupt the Federal State more than further regulation of political speech.

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