Fair Elections - Up With America-SCOTT

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Fair Elections & Campaign Finance Reform

If Term Limits have become a mandatory reform necessary to begin reeling in the power and influence of money, special interest groups and individuals, Campaign and Election Reform runs a close second.  We must never fail to remember that, as long as America remains a democratic republic, it is the people who ultimately make the laws through our legislatures and through Congress - not the Courts and most certainly not the Executive Branch.

Recent court decisions at just about every level - especially the US Supreme Court - by reaching for the broadest interpretation of the Constitution, have taken the power of the ballot away from the individual rather than securing it for the individual. Most egregious among them?  In a nutshell, the January, 2010 decision in the case of Citizens United vs. The United States, to quote The Center for Public Integrity, The Supreme Court’s “5-4 decision said that it is OK for corporations and labor unions to spend as much as they want to convince people to vote for or against a candidate.”

UpWithAmerica believes that even interpretations of the Constitution which suggest that spending is simply free speech regardless of who is doing the spending, most certainly does NOT convey to corporations and other shadowy organizations who’s spending is specifically intended to directly affect the outcome of “public” elections.  As long as they are able to exist and flourish, the entire concept of one-man/one-vote is in serious jeopardy.

Voting:  The Process is Precious

Perhaps the most bizarre outcome of the ascendance of power and money over ideas and ideals is the effect of technology on the actual voting or election process. Using computer programs and the Internet, candidates, campaigns and especially well-funded special interest groups no more about the voting habits and personal behavior of the electorate than do the voters themselves.  And while this technology and the information it accumulates can be used to achieve great things - it can also be used to manipulate the selection of candidates and the outcome of elections.

UpWithAmerica believes that the practice of one-man/one-vote is essential to preserving the American system of government and way of life.  It is so essential that for decades, we have sent knowledgeable emissaries to remote spots around the world to monitor THEIR elections to ensure fairness and out fraud.  Yet right here at home, efforts to change when, where and

how we vote - and highly-organized efforts to resist accurate methods of identification - have combined to increase the likelihood that our own elections will fall prey to nefarious characters and organizations.

Millions of our finest men and women have given their lives to protect our right to vote - and we refuse to accept anything other than protecting and assuring integrity and fairness throughout the process.  We favor strong but fair and equitable Voter ID programs, severe restrictions on extending voting beyond “election day,” and a careful monitoring and triple check of voting machines and equipment.

It is our contention that those who submit that this “Smart Solution” to cure some of America’s ills is based on racism or bigotry or some other form of sinister ulterior motive are themselves involved in a sinister refusal to accept the facts.  The absolute truth today is that incumbency is a runaway freight train fueled by unscrupulous characters and vast untold amounts of money that are corrupting the very system we seek to rebuild.

Understanding that it is the right of any and every individual to support, contribute to and vote for any other individual running to hold public office, we acknowledge that in over-interpreting the Constitution, we have encouraged millions of voters to stay home.  As of 2012, America ranks 129th in the world in voter participation - and THAT is a recipe for disaster.

For comprehensive information on this critical American issue, you may wish to contact The Center for Public Integrity (http://www.PublicIntegrity.org).

Another powerful related report titled Why 40 percent of Americans won’t vote was presented by Tia Ghose, Staff Writer at Science at NBC News from January 5, 2012.

Open Secrets Reports on Massive Campaign Financing System (click to OpenSecrets.org)

A US Supreme Court ruling in January of 2010 (Citizens United vs. USA) fundamentally eliminated the last barrier to sanity in campaign financing - saying, in essence, that the huge Political Action Committee or any corporation, is basically a person - and since voting and giving money to candidates is "free speech" for humans, the same must be true of PACs, Unions, Corporations and the like.  Really?  Exit sanity.  Exit John Q. Public.  Enter Permanent Incumbency.  Care to see who spends the most money and does most of it go to the right or the left?  The situation is so bad, it really doesn't matter whether hundreds of millions of dollars are raised or spent on behalf of Democrats or Republicans or Whigs, for that matter.  But it will may surprise you to see this accurate report of the last 25 Years just published by OpenSecrets.org.

The Top 25 Donors Over The Last 25 Years
(and you still think you're little contribution counts?)

Rank

Organization

Total '89 - '12

Dem %

Repub %

1

ActBlue

$97,192,340

99%

0%

2

AFSC Municipal Employees

$60,667,379

81%

1%

3

AT&T Inc

$56,449,317

41%

57%

4

National Education Assn

$53,594,488

61%

4%

5

National Assn of Realtors

$51,207,902

44%

47%

6

Goldman Sachs

$44,847,951

53%

44%

7

IB of Electrical Workers

$44,478,789

92%

1%

8

United Auto Workers

$41,667,858

71%

0%

9

Carpenters & Joiners Union

$39,260,371

74%

9%

10

Service Employees Int’l Union

$38,395,690

84%

2%

11

Laborers Union

$37,494,010

85%

7%

12

Amer. Federation of Teachers

$36,713,325

89%

0%

13

Communications Workers

$36,188,135

86%

0%

14

Teamsters Union

$36,123,209

88%

5%

15

JPMorgan Chase & Co

$34,527,277

48%

51%

16

Food/Commercial Workers Union

$33,756,550

86%

0%

17

United Parcel Service

$32,214,128

35%

64%

18

Citigroup Inc

$32,198,122

48%

50%

19

National Auto Dealers Assn

$31,818,910

31%

68%

20

Machinists & Aerospace Union

$31,313,097

98%

1%

21

EMILY's List

$31,267,654

98%

0%

22

American Bankers Assn

$31,135,202

36%

63%

23

AFL-CIO

$30,938,977

61%

3%

24

American Medical Assn

$29,990,879

40%

59%

25

Microsoft Corp

$29,245,015

55%

43%

Keep Track of Money & Ethics in Politics!


Here are a few links that may help you get and stay informed about this crisis in America.  At UpWithAmerica, we want to make it clear that we totally believe in the Constitution and the rights granted us therein, including the freedom of speech in it's broadest interpretation.  We do not, however, agree with some recent US Supreme Court rulings that ignore the truth - and the truth is that EVERY penny contributed to EVERY candidate and EVERY party and EVERY issue MUST be accounted for and attributed to!  That is hardly too much to ask!

The National Institute on Money in State Politics


http://followthemoney.org/index.phtml

The Center for Responsive Politics


http://www.opensecrets.org

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