I’ve got an idea….

Let’s break from partisan squabbling for a moment and consider a few things we may be able to reach some sort of consensus on:

First: Money in politics. Is it fair to say that the cost of campaiging and maintaining a high profile political career makes it impossible for a true ground-up democracy to thrive? Spending limits are clearly not enough. If there is money in the budget to deploy the military at a moment’s notice, isn’t there enough to fund national campaigns? Local campaigns? It’s gotta be cheaper than bailing out Wall Street.

Second: Voter registration. Why do we have to register to vote? All citizens should be allowed (and encouraged) to vote. The Europeans think we’re nuts for this one. Voter registration is some kind of weird scam. It should go.

Third: The two party system is a snarling half-dead corpse of an excuse for an electoral process. We can’t fairly ban parties (though I’ve fantasized), so how do we encourage a multi-partied electorate? The dissolution of of the two party system would remove some of the moneyed pillars of power that support our corrupt fascistic tendencies.

Any takers?


36 Responses to “I’ve got an idea….”

  1. The money thing is a diffult one. We already have a public funding of presidental elections that either canidate can choose to partake of after the primaries. I think McFucknuccle, pardon me Senitor McCain, (being possitive in this situation is difficult) has choosen to use only public funding. I think Senitor Oboma has choosen not to take public money. I know this one is unpopular, but it would make a third and/or fourth party more quickly viable, is to let the money flow unimpeded. There are hundreds of lovable, wacky, very rich internet folk who would put there money into other political orginazations if given the chance. They spending it now on going into space and other things. They need to be rallied to help fix our one of a kind political system.
    Is voter registration a constitutional deal? If it is, the Europians sound as if they are jelous. It’s irronic seeing as they decided to follow the same constitual government path after centuries of being made up of independant states.
    I really think opening up the money taps off sets the “moneyed pillars of power that support our corrupt fascistic tendencies”. Thats my take, but I am with you on the overall goal. It’s so nice just to talk.

  2. Another thought. The alternative parties also should consider rebranding, changing leadership by drafting like minded, but new to politics, folk. The SP, Libertarian, and frankly the other two, parties have been so branded and there leadership so known that it makes it easy for their opponents to marginalize them. New name, new office location, new leadership and staff, new rephrased platforms, so that they have the advantage of being unknown to the press and the opponents. Tie in removal of all funding limitations and reporting criteria and the ball field is to a degree leveled. It’s a pipe dream but it has to start somewhere and advertising does cost money. Or you make broadcasters have to offer free political advertising for a quarter of each hour they broadcast. 3 paid spots one freebee. And no, the fairness doctrine is a completely different notion which does not promote the general welfare; it ends up as a local free for all not a national forum. At least that sound resonable to me.

  3. Indeed.
    I don’t like the idea of no spending limits, fearing the “free market” would just screw us on that one, too. (They’re already doing a damn fine job.) The richest voice often appears to be loudest. That’s the problem with our current system.

    But an optional election buy-in doesn’t work either. We need some kind of budget mandated for elections. This is it, this is all you get.

    I think the FCC forcing station owners to relinquish part of the publicly owned airwaves for campaign and debate purposes is a fantastic idea. (you suppose the Murdochs of this world will waste any time throwing a huge budget behind stopping it?)

  4. Just don’t do it the way the fairness doctrune was set up. If the public is going to fund the election machanics anyway, we should fund the whole damn thing. How bought not letting the canidate do any but public fund ads. All other ads should be privatly funded. No money to the canidates but public. Those how can buy air time will not have much of it due to corporate needs and public payed for and mandate ads.

  5. Sorry, fuckin spell check dyslexia boy.

    Just don’t do it the way the fairness doctrine was set up. If the public is going to fund the election mechanics anyway, we should fund the whole damn thing. How bought not letting the candidate do any but public fund ads. All other ads should be privately funded. No money to the candidates but public. Those how can buy air time will not have much of it due to corporate needs and public paid for and mandate ads.

  6. don’t bother reposting, scoobs, we all suck at spelling

  7. barndoor cowlegs Says:

    I have noticed a lot of third parties advocating public financing of campaigns, the huge amounts spent by the two parties make it extremely hard for alternate parties to gain ballot access and get their message out. Not sure how the Libertatarians feel about that, but it would probably work to their advantage.
    Ross Perot made a huge dent in the two party system, mainly because he had the cash to compete with Clinton and Bush.
    I think, also, that public financing might open up the major parties a bit, and keep large contributors from influencing policy once in office.
    I think that campign financing addresses the 1st and 3rd issues that Cripsy brings up. The debates and ballot access laws are completely controlled by the two parties, the Debate Comission(or whatever it’s called) is run by both parties, and ballot access laws are made by the two parties in power, the two go hand in hand, as in, if you aren’t on the ballot in enough states you can’t participate in the debate. A double whammy. I would think that the courts are really the only way to confront those issues, some successes have been made in the judicial arena on this, mainly the Socialist and Libertarian parties working together to sue for greater ballot access.
    As for issue 2, I hadn’t thought about the voter registration thing before, curious now why we even have registration except that maybe it’s a holdover from Jim Crow, or even goes back to the “good” old days when you had to be white, landowning male to vote. I suppose the support of registration today may still have some racial and/or class overtones to it.
    INSTANT RUNOFF ELECTION seems like a great idea to me, you get two choices, in order, if noone has a majority it goes to a runoff, only instead of coming back weeks later, a la Britain, it all happens right then and there, I think we would all be surprised how responsive politicians would be to the population when people are given the chance to vote their consciences instead of for the lesser of two evils.
    A lot of the ideas you guys are talking about are quite popular, however they pose a threat to the politicians wishing to stay in power. One thing that might work is in states that allow voter initiatives if the people came up with a proposition supporting, say, public financing for state elections, or instant run-off elections in that state, if the proposition passed and was shown to work well, more candidates for congress from other states might support it and thus try to implement it through the national process. Instant run-off would require changes to the constitution I believe?

  8. Wouldn’t it be nice for someone who makes under $100k a year to get the chance to see what they can do?!? I would be interested to see how the American public react to one of their own being up for election. That being said, statistics will state that the more intelligent an individual is, the more money they will have, so we are cutting out some of the more intelligent everyday citizens if we take the money aspect out of it.


  9. cripsyduck Says:

    Ever read Gulliver’s Travels? The Lilliputians believe that a stupid leader is preferable to a smart one. He can get you into less trouble!

    Oh yeah, George Bush disproved that one.

  10. cripsyduck Says:

    And he was RICH AS GOD.

  11. Term limits, full public financing of elections- state and national, But I am concerned about doing away with voter registration. Is it ok to let non-citizens to vote in our elections? The “lets fuck with ’em” factor comes to mind. People are people after all and it opens up a new area of abuse if the other change are put in place.

  12. cripsyduck Says:

    Pardon? The assertion was that only citizens can vote. That’s the case in most (all) countries.

  13. Thats what I thought but, I may be wrong, isn’t that the original intent of voter registration? I understand the abuses of registration requirement when left to the states. Would a federally mandated registration process work or would state driving licensing document be enough?

  14. barndoor cowlegs Says:

    Certainly great gains could be made in the voter registration method, I’d say showing up to vote in the precinct where you live should be sufficient. It can’t be that hard to prove citizenship, or that someone isn’t voting twice. How does it work in other countries?
    I think, however, that the other two points raised by Cripsy probably would have greater effect towards the common good and encouraging real democracy- reducing the influence of money and reducing the grip of the two party system (in my view, currently, it’s really two parties supporting the one party system, the Corporate Party).
    As for money and intelligence, plenty of local elected officials nationwide make less than $100,000 a year, but seem to be pretty smart, sometimes good sometimes bad. It is my belief that local politics are a place where citizens can really influence the government, and a good starting point for any reforms.
    Here is a snippet from Eugene Debs’s famous Canton, Ohio speech in 1918, it seems relevant to the intelligence/income comment. There is more in the speech relevant to this topic, but figured that’d be too much quote for this page-
    The capitalist system affects to have great regard and reward for intellect, and the capitalists give themselves full credit for having superior brains. When we have ventured to say that the time would come when the working class would rule they have bluntly answered “Never! it requires brains to rule.” The workers of course have none. And they certainly try hard to prove it by proudly supporting the political parties of their masters under whose administration they are kept in poverty and servitude.

    good ol’ Debs the whole speech is quite relevant to today’s events, you can find it http://www.vlib.us/amdocs/index.

  15. barndoor cowlegs Says:

    my post wouldn’t post, tried again but got error message that it was a duplicate, still didn’t post- que pasa?

  16. barndoor cowlegs Says:

    Certainly great gains could be made in the voter registration method, I’d say showing up to vote in the precinct where you live should be sufficient. It can’t be that hard to prove citizenship, or that someone isn’t voting twice. How does it work in other countries?
    I think, however, that the other two points raised by Cripsy probably would have greater effect towards the common good and encouraging real democracy- reducing the influence of money and reducing the grip of the two party system (in my view, currently, it’s really two parties supporting the one party system, the Corporate Party).
    As for money and intelligence, plenty of local elected officials nationwide make less than $100,000 a year, but seem to be pretty smart, sometimes good sometimes bad. It is my belief that local politics are a place where citizens can really influence the government, and a good starting point for any reforms.
    Wnderin’ if my original post wouldn’t work becuase i pasted in a part of a Eugene Debs speech pertinent to the intelligence/income/leadership question. Oh well.

  17. barndoor cowlegs Says:

    All right, I got around to checking out registration issues. It seems a lot of countries have compulsory registration, whereby it is the governments duty to have you on the voter rolls, a citizen generally keeps the government posted as to where they live.
    I like the idea of same day registration, you show up where you wanna vote and bingo! 7 states in the U$ have that.
    North Dakota has no registration! not sure how that works exactly, but sounds good to me.
    Most experts agree that requiring folks to register in advance encourages low voter turnout, especially among young and low income citizens.
    Denmark(I love me some Denmark) has a system where you have a number that applies to where you vote, universal healthcare and a host of other stuff. You have to be a citizen of Denmark to vote in national elections, but- even long term residents CAN VOTE IN LOCAL ELECTIONS!Norway has a similar system.
    So there you have it, pretty much straight from wikipedia….

  18. I think that there needs to be a mixture of intelligence and experience, but that does not mean they must be extremely rich. There are many people in this country who could gain experience in a short period of time and not have to have the great amounts of money these candidates have. Until the American public actually pushes this, I do not foresee it happening.


  19. We already assign SS#’s to new born’s but there is some evidence that ” you can get what ever you want at Alice’s’ Restaurant”, so that could be problematic. But the same, I guess, could be said of driver’s licenses. I like the local walk-in’ deal, would be fine here in “Mayberry” But NYC?
    Me thinks the only way to reduce the influence of money is federal funding of national and state funding of local elections that includes candidate advertizing dictated to broadcasters by the FCC. That way anyone who wanted to buy advertising for their candidate would have to settle for what ever slots they could afford and it would be hard to get prime spots when the feds dictate these spots for candidates, corps fighting and pushing the cost up for the rest of the prime spots, the left over going to those willing to spend a lot on spots not likely to be in prime viewing time. It does give me shivers putting even more responsibility to those who can’t handle it but to change things …it may be worth it.
    The political class is on a bender of who can do what to make sure they keep their job. Although it’s a good idea, mental health reform in a finance bill is just wrong. I like tax cuts but they don’t belong in this “critical for our financial survival” thing. I don’t know, how ’bout letting all these finance houses go in the shitter like Eastern Airlines? I’m speakin’ crazy, because of the toll on the workers at these places, but that kind of thing has got to hit a lot of rich people in the nuts to some extent. It may make for less money to buy pols with.
    I know their is the issue of folks loosin’ their homes but is there some personal reasonability when you buy into “NO MONEY DOWN, NO PAYMENTS TILL NEXT YEAR,NO INTREST FOR 90 DAYS” kinda come ons that they used to sell the adjustable rate mortgages that are at the heart of this issue? Is there is a lot of responsibility on the part of the guy down at “CRAZY FREDDIE’S SHOWROOM OF HOMES- DO YOU HAVE A JOB? DO YOU HAVE $99? BAD CREDIT, LAZY CREDIT, NO CREDIT, NO PROBLEM!” who wrote the loan? Or is he just a guy who makes his living doing that? I know we all know someone who worked as a mortgage broker. They where the ones who lost their jobs first when the housing market started to tank. Corporate greed + politicians = 😦 .
    If I hit the SUPAMEGABALL LOTO for $100 mill and I put that money to work in the market, does that make me bad? I do have a history of sharing what I have and I would continue to share but I can’t put the $50 mill in a box in the closet. Can I?
    Sorry about being all over the map.

  20. barndoor cowlegs Says:

    I like the walk-in and vote thing too, might increase participation, but the effect it would have on expanding our democracy would be small compared to greater ballot access including public financing of campaigns. However, letting private groups spend lots of money to advocate for a candidate could put things back to where we started, big money influencing elections. So no idea how you might deal with that, the other thing is who gets the financing and why, those details could hinder small parties and independent candidates just as much as the current system. Overall, though, public financing sounds like a really good idea.
    As for the finance bill, I think most folks in this country see how fucked it is for the little guys to pay for the big guys’s mistakes but see no other way to minimize the effect on regular american workers and mortgage holders. Surely a weeks worth of honest thought on this would produce a better way of dealing with the situation rather than cutting a check to the assholes who made this happen in a hurry.
    There is a bit of personal responsibility in the cheap loan area, but if you are poor and have the chance to own a home, your gonna go for it, and try your hardest to keep your home.
    The traditional way made sense, you default, the bank takes your house, they would also check out how you were to payback the loan, how long you have had your job, and if you were trustworthy enough to get the loan. The problem now stems from the splitting up of loans, then bundling them back together with the solid loans mixed up with the risky loans, then selling and trading those bundles like commodities, except commodities have real value, gold etc. Loans only have value when they are paid back. The guys left holding the bag have no idea how to piece the defaulted loans back together and it amounts to an old fashioned run on the banks. If that system wasn’t allowed massive defaults wouldn’t have near the same effect on the banks. I would venture to say that a whole lot less risky loans would be given in the first place.
    There is whole lot more involved in this, my feeble mind can only grasp so much, and verbalize even less. The point is, the system of turning loans into something that can be traded has a lot more to do with this mess than folks receiving risky loans. Plus, responsibility doesn’t seem to be an issue in bailing out Wall Street, why is it an issue when talking about bailing out Main Street or bailing out 10th Street, Dice Street, Avon Street or Skid Row?

  21. I agree, the commoditization of loans is foolish. Is it a side effect of free markets or Wall Streeters looking for a new craps table to play? I too am having a hard time wrapping my brain around this stuff. I fear that these kinds of bailout have the unintended consequence of re-entrenching the pols who are supposed to say whoa when the gamblers go nuts. There is an endorphin aspect in compulsive gambling; throw in some antidepressants, pain meds, and pricey single malt and whee! Didn’t I say something about a giant space rock a while back?
    The money thing related to advertizing that I was hypothesizing about only works if the whole campaign, from top to bottom, is publicly financed. The greater ballot access you suggest I’m thinking means lowering the voting age. To what? State age of getting a drivers license or some other number? I would think that a federally mandated age would off set any state by state inconsistency that could open holes that may allow for mitigating the impact of greater ballot access.
    If the concept of responsibility is going to be applied to any it has to be applied to all equally. If Wall Street gets a pass than so should Dice st.
    Just read this am that Wachovia was forced to sell itself by the FDIC. I have a personal family history with that organization and I think, with the way it has been run for the last 20 years, my great-grandfather, the found of the bank, would have rather seen it fail than see its absorption add to the consolidation of the banking system. He never to a paycheck, just stock, and the bank was founded to help poor blacks and whites that were not thriving in the post reconstruction south. The bank was one of only two banks in the country, this is the family lore so it may not be completely accurate, that grew between 1930 and 1936. Another trashed legacy and dismissal of how things should work by a bunch of we know better b-school types. You know, the ones that thought bundling is cool.

  22. barndoor cowlegs Says:

    I actually meant greater ballot access for minor parties, most states make it really tough for third parties and independents to get on the ballot.

  23. Then I would think any fed funding sceme would have to allow for free access to ballots. That would be the only fair way to do it. I would think that fed controll of elections would be met with heavy resentment and resistance. But we’re not proposing anything thats going to come easily. A lot of hard work and time would be required to educate the population on how truely single party things have become. We need to recuite monied folk willing to spend their fortunes on restructuring the purversion that the system has degenerated into. They need to be from all points of view and understand that real compition is not a choice between to ideals that in essence support each others contrived notion that they are the only paths for the american people.

  24. cripsyduck Says:

    Speaking of elections, I heard Stephen Spoonamore on Thom Hartmann this afternoon, and it was chilling. Spoonamore is a long-time conservative and a systems security guru. He’s the architect of point-of-purchase credit card sales.

    He’s convinced Ohio was stolen in ’04. Long story short, right-to-lifers got to a guy named Connell and he caved to “save the babies.”

    Anyway, Spoonamore’s contention is that there is only one unhackable election method: PAPER BALLOTS. It is the only way. This seems too wise to ignore.

  25. cripsyduck Says:

    Here’s Spoonamore’s website:

  26. Paper worked for a long time before electronics. Va used to use mechanical lever machines before the eletronic machines. I don’t know how they worked I don’t remember any questioning Va voting out comes. Just gotta take the human error aspect out of the deal some how. A big blk sharpie and slots to mark thru or some thing like that.

  27. cripsyduck Says:

    Spoonamore recommended paper and pen.

  28. barndoor cowlegs Says:

    from what I’ve read, it seems most experts think paper ballot is the ONLY reliable way of conducting an election, now they are trying to get states to revert back after the failed experiment with electronics.

  29. This is something I can support. http://flickr.com/photos/30825491@N05/
    Have a great weekend all.

  30. If accurate, these stories are very disturbing.



    I think its crutial to what we have been discussing here that more people vote but these type of abuses must be some how addressed. Or is this just a simptom of two party domination and these issues would be mitigated if there was more choice for the voter?

  31. cripsyduck Says:

    Not this ACORN thing again. The only reason there’s a fuss is that a certain political group keeps trying to reduce the voter roles. If we had no registration, there would be no problem.

    The potential “hundreds” of fake voters do not nearly offset the thousands being wrongly rejected by conservative state election officials.

    Greg Palast is already a leg up on this one.

  32. As we have been discussing on this thread, it would reason that if one party is suppressing than the other is inflating. Which supports our hypothisis that the twoparties are winking and noding at if other over “Hey we can keep our jobs if we both just keep doin’ what were doin'”. Ay least thats where I am at on the two perminate parties. But I wonder, if we were ever to achive opening up the election process to more parties, if in the heat of compatition human nature and the need to survive/win takes over and anyone would fall prey to trying to manipulatate the voting process to win?

  33. cripsyduck Says:

    That reasoning doesn’t necessarily follow. If Acorn is getting a “few hundred” potential fraudulent voters (nobody has yet to produce one of these people), and the other side is dumping thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of legal voters, well, let’s just say the equation is not balanced.

  34. I follow you. I can’t tell from the articals, a local tv station write up, an AP piece, and a NY Post piece, what the real numbers are. They ranged from a few hundred dead people, to to 20 some thousand questionable. Too bad the real deal will problably never come out.

    Just got off the phone with Kasha, who has been doing student voter registrations at Hampton U. The issue of students from out of state reg. in Va has caused to some concern as it impacts your student loan if you get that money from your home state. If you register to votwe out of state then your residancy changes and you become inelegable for student aid. She went to ask the Obama office folk accross from campas for some clairifications. She, an Obama supporter, was shocked that they were more intrested in her just getting the registrations than the impact on students ablity to fund thier education. She’s been telling folks from out of state that they should check with their parents first so they don’t risk their aid. She also says that the system needs to be easier, it was difficult to figure out the absantee ballot form for Va when she was in college in Ohio. Just some info for thought from the front lines of voter registration.

  35. alexhiggins732 Says:

    Regardless of who Chris Daggett hurts, Daggett is not a spoiler and he can win.

    Daggett has broken 20 percent and can win. The Washington Post says at 20% there is a path for Daggett to win and political analysts say with 25% in the polls Daggett can win.

    Now its a matter of getting that last 100,000 votes to get Daggett in a position to win.

    To do that we are reaching out to voters that want to Vote for Daggett but are afraid a vote for Daggett is a wasted vote. So…

    The I’ll vote for Daggett Pledge:

    “I want to vote for Chris Daggett, but only if he has a real chance of winning. He needs pledges from 100,000 people like me. I don’t want to wait til Election Day to find out that those votes existed, but we were all afraid to cast them. So, I’m signing my name below, with my address to prove that I’m real, and pledging that if 100,000 people like me sign up, I will vote for Daggett.”

    Click Here To Take the I’ll Vote For Daggett Pledge

    Spread the word about this pledge, so we can bring an end to politics as usual.

    The broken and corrupt two party system threatens us all, event if we are not from NJ. Take a stand.

  36. barndoor cowlegs Says:

    Greg pason is another alternative for New Jersey, socialist candidate, listed as “independent” on the ballot

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