Corporate Personhood and Fair Elections

Voting12345_RMuch is made of the need to limit campaign spending for federal and state offices. But what gets lost in all the wail and hue over how the rich are unfairly advantaged in the current system is the more serious destruction of democracy perpetrated by incorporated entities. The fatal blow to our democratic republic occurs when enormous sums of money are gathered to defame and smear any candidate that would stand against corporate oligarchy, plutocracy, or fascism.  And this money does not come from direct contributions to candidates, but from corporate structures DESIGNED to insulate the perpetrators/contributors from identification and/or prosecution. As such the supporters of corpotocracy, plutocracy,  or fascism can contribute huge amounts for the purpose of negative campaigning efforts and not be the least concerned about personal suits for slander and liable. Nor does the incorporated group need to pay any heed to campaign finance restrictions placed on candidates.  Since all of the money is being spent to advertise AGAINST a candidate, then the negative campaign can never said to be “coordinated” with any candidate’s positive campaign funding.  Nor is there any money left in the corporate treasury of “Americans for apple pie and Puppy Dogs” to be awarded the libelled plaintiff in a civil suit against the corporate entity.  All of the contributed funds will have been spent on the smear campaign.  Those who hate representative government love “corporate personhood”. Continue reading Corporate Personhood and Fair Elections

WAmend, Occupy, and Move to Amend

The WAmend coalition is a group of organizations working in concert to Amend the United States Constitution. Their primary thrust is to CLARIFY two very important issues: The first of these issues is referred to as corporate personshood, the point being that corporations are not people and as such are not entitled to constitutional rights. The other issue is that with regard to political campaigning, money is not synonymous with “free speech”, and therefore campaign spending can be regulated by congress on behalf of the people. One of the members of the WAmend coalition is the national Move to Amend organization who has joined with the national Occupy movement in presenting the following video: Continue reading WAmend, Occupy, and Move to Amend

Connecting With Other Occupy Groups

debtmonsterI have been receiving and enjoy the articles posted in this group from Washington DC. The address is: PopularResistance.org . I don’t have to go onto their website, it comes to me weekly, which is terrific. I also want to post about an Occupy Wall Street action that is terrific! Resistance is fertile!

FANTASTIC ARTICLE FROM ALTERNET! READ AND ENJOY!

A group of Occupy Wall Street activists has bought almost $15m of Americans’ personal debt over the last year as part of the Rolling Jubilee project to help people pay off their outstanding credit. Continue reading Connecting With Other Occupy Groups

The Promise of General Assembly

General Assembly was (and still is) a major part of the “Occupy” movement. And the promise of that idea was that it would grant equal opportunity and status to all persons in regard to the direction of government. Mostly it was aimed at the overthrow of government of by and for the 1%.  In the opinion of this author,  the idea morphed into a government of, by, and for the rule makers and governors of the general assembly process. Many people seeking to “do good” in the name of the 99% took control of the general assemblies and thus destroyed the egalitarian nature of the promise.

For some inspiration click here and play the video
Continue reading The Promise of General Assembly

Social Democracy Correlates With Representation

Because titles are limited to 55 characters in the Assembly Tacoma system, and because the phrase “Social Meritocracy” is not defined in the wikipedia, I had to leave it out of the title of this article. But as I am committed to the concept of Social Meritocracy and a very strong believer in the concept of representative democracy it seems fitting to draw the very real similarities between what is called “Social Democracy”, “Welfare Capitalism”, and what I want “Social Meritocracy” to be.

I am of the opinion that the primary signifying link that binds all of these ideas is the degree of representation the people have in their government. So I have endeavoured to produce a table that illustrates the number of people sharing one vote in the law making body of each government. My position is that the smaller the number of people forced to share one vote, the more “socialized” the nation will be. The nations with the strongest “safety nets” or higher degree of what most would call “socialism” seem to be the nations in which the 99% have a very loud voice in their law making bodies.

Sovereignty Population Legislative Seats People per Vote
India 1.2B 810 1.5M
USA 319M 535 596K
Japan 127M 722 176K
Canada 35M 413 84K
UK 64M 1430 45K
Denmark 5.5M 179 31K
Norway 5.1M 169 30K
Sweden 9.7M 349 28K
Finland 5.2M 200 26K
Iceland .3M 63 5K

(Numbers for the table above are from “The World Factbook – CIA”)

The people of the United States are not well represented in their government. There is much history to this, and several reasons why we have regressed to this degree of plutocracy. But I believe that the original representation of one representative for every 30K was adequate. I also believe that the major obstacle to increasing the number of seats in the legislature to more adequately represent the people has been the two major political parties. The Supreme Court continues to rule that the Constitution gives the prerogative of determining the number of seats in our House of Representatives to these political parties. To me that is no different than the plumbing companies or the electrical companies deciding the number of licensed plumbers or electricians there will be, or the taxicab companies deciding how many taxi cab permits will be issued. By limiting the number of seats, the parties and their members become more and more powerful and the people become peons hustled by the big money ad campaigns and the gerrymandering.

“These are _*MY*_ opinions and _*YOU*_ can’t have em. But I’ll rent em cheap.” — Bart Simpson

Neglected Resource for Economic Justice

A SERIOUSLY NEGLECTED FORCE FOR ECONOMIC JUSTICE

Addressing Today’s Grossly Unjust Distribution of Wealth

Part 1

Vince Hart

December 2013

“THIS IS A CHRISTIAN NATION!” a great many of the wealthy and “Conservative” members of United States society like to declaim. Some of the most influential members of the Congress on “the right” also make that claim as they defend the taxation and spending policies they vigorously advocate. We often hear the same claim of implementing “Christian values” when we encounter almost worshipful attitudes toward the “free market” or the very negative views of the “welfare state.” Continue reading Neglected Resource for Economic Justice

The Critical Urgency of Informed Dissent

I watched the emerging of the Occupy movement from afar for ten months, wondering if it might have any such success in toppling entrenched centers of power, control and exploitation as had been happening in the “Arab Spring.” My interest was driven, above all, by my awareness that the 2012 Election was not addressing with any focus or seriousness the fundamental issue identified in the “1% and 99%” cry of the “occupiers.” Behind that awareness was one further source of my interest and concern: years of serious Bible study as a United Methodist pastor. Continue reading The Critical Urgency of Informed Dissent

It Was Government Stimulus, not WWII, Stupid!!!

Government stimulus, not WWII, got us out of the Great Depression

 

 

Economic Betterment versus Growth

After reading this  article about economic growth in the Washington Post, my reaction was as follows:

You can’t just say “grow the economy” because that does not specify what you want to grow. If “grow” means “let’s all use more energy”, which is typically what it has meant for the last 100 years, then that is not such a good idea.

But if it means to work to:

  1. make new sustainable technologies,
  2. reduce our consumption creating more and more lifestyles that consume much less energy than what is typical for an American household today, and
  3. create a society of transparency so that these above behaviors will be maintained through social pressures

then we can grow that.

Until we make that kind of paradigm shift, “growing” will not do anything but exacerbate our situation. That is why when you see the economy go up too much right now, people start filling up the freeway, and then a few weeks later it again takes a nosedive. That is also why places like Switzerland are looking at paying people not to work, because if your job, in the net, causes you and the society to increase energy consumption, then the society may find it a better move to pay you to stay home, not work, and use less.

 

The Future of Occupy Tacoma

The Future of Occupy Tacoma
Reflections by Vince Hart

Looking Forward

Does OCCUPY TACOMA have a future? That depends almost entirely upon the kind of future that is wanted and upon the willingness of those concerned to accept the essential conditions for attaining such a future and constraining themselves to live and function under those conditions.

I express this view of the situation after fifteen months of almost weekly participation in the now tiny General Assembly (GA) at the First United Methodist Church in Tacoma (probably 56 out of about 60 meetings in that period). I was a late-comer to Occupy Tacoma, having observed it from afar from its first emerging in October of 2011. Out of curiosity I sat in on one of the early GA meetings at the church, where I am a retired clergy member (more on that in a moment); it was a meeting that almost filled the sanctuary (about 150 seats) and went on and on and on. I was little interested in such a thing. Only five to six months later did my own personal journey stir my interest enough to get me to “go see what was going on.” I believe it was the evening of Mothers Day 2012. I found probably no more than ten people present in a fairly large meeting space downstairs. In the words of the classic 60s song: “Where have all the people gone?” Continue reading The Future of Occupy Tacoma