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Historic Debate: Senate Advances Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

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posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 04:15 AM
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The backdrop of today's story begins with the 2010 Citizens United and 2014 McCutcheon rulings which struck down restrictions barring corporations and unions from spending monies from their general treasury's in support of, or in opposition to political candidates, and, as well as striking aggregate limits on individual contributions, respectively.

Now ...

Atop Capital Hill deep within *the* Democratic Caucus ...
Historic Debate: Senate Advances Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) "We are here to fight back against a Supreme Court that says there is no difference between free speech and billions of dollars spent by the privileged few to swing elections and buy off legislators," Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said September 8, as the U.S. Senate kicked off a historic debate over a proposal to amend the constitution to limit the role of money in politics in the wake of Supreme Court decisions such as Citizens United.

"There are times when action is required to defend our great democracy against those who would see it perverted into one more rigged game where the rich and the powerful always win," she said. "This is the time to amend the constitution."

Late Monday night, the Senate voted to advance the amendment 72-18, meaning it will be debated in the coming days before a vote later this week. Many Republicans voted to advance the bill, highlighting the sensitivity of an issue that has widespread support among grassroots Democrats and Republicans during an election year.

This week's vote marks a new milestone for the grassroots democracy movement that began in 2010 after a slim majority of U.S. Supreme Court justices voted to eviscerate legislatively-enacted limits on corporate political spending in the Citizens United decision -- and tied the hands of Congress to enact most new laws. The Court piled-on in the McCutcheon decision earlier this year, when it struck down limits on aggregate contribution limits.

Thanks to grassroots organizing and campaigning by Public Citizen, Common Cause, People for the American Way, and many others, elected officials in Washington, DC have responded.


Meanwhile a Grand Old Party commences a celebration with the 'Good Ol' Boys' in recognition that the more things change, the more they stay the same ...
Senate moves forward with amendment to the Constitution on elections

Republicans are likely to vote against the amendment when it comes up for a final vote, but, by allowing it to proceed, ensured it would tie up the Senate for most of the week.

More than 20 Republicans joined Democrats in the 79-18 vote advancing the amendment, well over the 60 votes that were needed.
*****
Republicans have offered support for the Supreme Court’s decisions in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and McCutcheon v. FEC. They say campaign spending is a form of free speech and that the decisions removing certain limits on spending protected First Amendment rights.


As we briefly go 'back to life, back to reality' amongst everyday Americans ...

The years after Citizens United have led to an astronomical increase in outside spending from just a handful of wealthy donors. More than $300 million in undisclosed "dark money" was spent in 2012, and secret electoral spending could top $1 billion by the end of 2014.
*****
In 2012, just 32 donors gave more to Super PACs than 3.7 million Americans of average means who gave under $200 to Romney or Obama.

Demonstrating further that America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic

America is no longer a democracy — never mind the democratic republic envisioned by Founding Fathers.

Rather, it has taken a turn down elitist lane and become a country led by a small dominant class comprised of powerful members who exert total control over the general population — an oligarchy, said a n ew study jointly conducted by Princeton and Northwestern universities.

One finding in the study: The U.S. government now represents the rich and powerful, not the average citizen, United Press International reported.


We are quickly snapped back into 'The Game'

The amendment is almost certain to fail, as it would need to win two-thirds support to pass the Senate, and then would still need to move through the House and be ratified by two-thirds of the states.


Support for a democracy amendment has backing from almost half of the Senate, plus 16 states and over 500 cities that have passed resolutions calling for an amendment, including New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Over 3 million people have signed petitions calling for overturning Citizens United, and polls show overwhelming support for an amendment from across the political spectrum.

In Congress, support for an amendment splits along party lines, with most Democrats supporting the measure and most Republicans opposing it.

Yet the Republican base splits with leadership: when provided with a short description of the amendment, Republican voters support it by a roughly 2-to-1 margin, and widely reject arguments against the amendment, according to a recent Democracy Corps poll conducted by both Republican and Democratic polling firms.

The Democracy Corps survey found "overwhelming cross-partisan support (73 percent) for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United that can translate into added support for Democratic candidates who support the amendment and damage Republicans who oppose it.” Plus, the polling shows the issue moves voters including that critical independent vote, a fact that may now be sinking in with Republican incumbents facing challengers this fall.

Roll Call Votes

What say you ATS? I am undeniably against both Citizens United and McCutcheon, and am all about having an amendment to curb these rulings; however, I sense dirty trickery about. An obvious Democratically led amendment, they no doubt fear a great loss in 2016 when put up against the Republicans money powerhouse base supporters. At the same time, you have a congress that, we the public, view as the worst in their lifetime with an approval rating at 14% looking to show the public they care, listen and hear us, and will act on our behalf. All the while, they are likely playing the same ol' 'behind the door' game of 'we all want that money, lets make it look like we are doing at least something, one thing right.
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posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 05:01 AM
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I have always found it shockingly odd the level of cognitive dissonance that exists among the average person you raise the issue of Citizen United to. Also what it says about the "Supreme Court"

It is the very definition of Fascism. To an extremem level that boggles the mind as far as how people simply change the channel and still belive America to be a democracy!

I too have a feeling that this is nothing, but lipservice to continue causing the divid between Demonazi's/Republifascists, they seem to be doing quite the job of championing Warren to be the next Obama like figure, now that they played the race card, time to play the gender card.

The approval rating Congress is very telling, for change to occur there has to be a massive shift to thrid parties. This would need a grassroots movement to sweep across this nation and send a clear message to that 14% lining their pockets off corrupt lobbying. That being that we are done with it and your job is quite literally on the line. Get some real representation and we might even see some justice come to those who have taken the corporate financing to oppress all of us
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posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 05:16 AM
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originally posted by: elementalgrove
I have always found it shockingly odd the level of cognitive dissonance that exists among the average person you raise the issue of Citizen United to. Also what it says about the "Supreme Court"

A funny thing isn't it? I was in a class one day and we were discussing wealthy endowments to Ivy League University's and the admission of children by the endowment provider. A girl was against such a matter for obvious reasons, but several moments later when Citizens United came about, she was all for it because it was "speech." At the end of the lecture, she understood though.


It is the very definition of Fascims. To an extremem level that boggles the mind as far as how people simply change the channel and still belive America to be a democracy!

Indeed, perhaps more precisely corporatism as I've heard before.


The approval rating Congress is very telling, for change to occur there has to be a massive shift to thrid parties. This would need a grassroots movement to sweep across this nation and send a clear message to that 14% lining their pockets off corrupt lobbying. That being that we are done with it and your job is quite literally on the line. Get some real representation and we might even see some justice come to those who have taken the corporate financing to oppress all of us.

I do wonder who that 14% is. No doubt much of the wealthy who happen to get their say and way. How many disillusioned though is a good question, if any at all?
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posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 05:29 AM
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originally posted by: AllSourceIntel


I do wonder who that 14% is. No doubt much of the wealthy who happen to get their say and way. How many disillusioned though is a good question, if any at all?


This is a very good question indeed. I have a feeling that we are going to see the silent ones, who have remained on the sideline waiting for the right moment, to speak up against the status quo.

I tend to be quite optimistic in the face this well coordinated system of corruption that we have permeating our society! The reason for this optimism rests with my belief structure. I think that these people who have been committing these abuses upon the many have served a very necessary part in our collective evolution. That being the need to find our power, work in cooperation, transcend the petty issues they place before us and unite in the face of overwhelming power.

I think the disillusioned are primed and ready, we will see more whistleblowing, more peaceful demonstration, and the inevitable tide will change, who knows perhaps it will happen amongst the younger politicians in the two party system.

I have always enjoyed the saying, if you want to make god laugh have a plan. I think the shadowy elite are beginning to realize this now that they have gotten so close to getting what they have yearned for!




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posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 05:41 AM
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originally posted by: elementalgrove
I tend to be quite optimistic in the face this well coordinated system of corruption that we have permeating our society! The reason for this optimism rests with my belief structure. I think that these people who have been committing these abuses upon the many have served a very necessary part in our collective evolution. That being the need to find our power, work in cooperation, transcend the petty issues they place before us and unite in the face of overwhelming power.

I think the disillusioned are primed and ready, we will see more whistleblowing, more peaceful demonstration, and the inevitable tide will change, who knows perhaps it will happen amongst the younger politicians in the two party system.


While I share that optimism, my reason is different. I don't think they served a purpose for our collective evolution though they undoubtedly are serving its growth unintentionally. I think people are becoming aware they need to depend on themselves, family, and friends first, then 'thy neighbour' and community, and working on out from there. This, I believe and agree that would "being the need to find our power, work in cooperation, transcend the petty issues they place before us and unite in the face of overwhelming power" as you put.

Yes, I think the vast majority of the public is primed and read, willing to be peaceful in protest and revolution. We are definitely going to get more whistleblowers. One young politician I really like, Justin Amash.
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posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 05:53 AM
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I think it is good that there are plans to thwart the Citizen's United ruling. I thought that after the Supreme Court ruled on it, the case was closed and our country was screwed.

Think of it this way. If around 30 people donate more than everyone else combined, are you part of those 30 people? Probably not. I bet none of them are registered on ATS.



posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 05:59 AM
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a reply to: AllSourceIntel

It is good to be optimistic is it not!

It is defninitely an unitended consequence of their actions, I did not mean to make them out to be benevolent at all. I just see them as representing the negative aspect of human nature. The whole can not have good without bad thing.

Looking forward to seeing their mechanisms of control come crumbling down!
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posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 06:03 AM
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The senate voted to push the discussion through Monday and I'm amazed how little it's been talked about in the media. I deliberately didn't make a thread about it just to see how long it took. Overturning citizens united is critical, it absolutely has to be done but the proposed amendment as it stands isn't good and could do more harm than citizens united did, its crucial that Americans start talking about this. I suggest reading the ACLU's opposition to the amendment, I'd link but I'm on my phone. Basically they're concerned that the scope is too broad and treads in freedom of the press, there's a lot more to it than that but... I can see their position. Engage your congress America. What we need is a very simple amendment that installs a limit to funding of campaigns to just public but doesn't touch speech.



posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 06:03 AM
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a reply to: darkbake

In order for us to get back on the right track you are absolutely spot on! There is no way for us to have a voice, which is the only thing that keeps this corruption in check, when money outweighs the people. It has been a slippery slope ever since they added the definition of person to corporation in their complex legalese!

It will be huge when the day comes that this is no longer the law of the land! I also have wondered since the passing of Citizen's United how difficult it would be for foreign interests to dictate our policy. I mean have someone move to America, fund them to create a company and then use that company to fund elections, I am sure it would be a little more complicated than that, but still is that not feasible.



posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 06:15 AM
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a reply to: darkbake
I am with you as noted, just weary of the timing and ulterior motives. Ha, no, none of them would be on ATS unless SkepticOverlord has something going on we do not know about.



posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 06:18 AM
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a reply to: elementalgrove
It is. I know what you mean, I just wanted to clarify where we agreed and where we had differing thought on the same principle. Either way, you are right, their desire of control is their downfall, their corruption, our awakening.



posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 06:33 AM
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a reply to: elementalgrove

In order for us to get back on the right track you are absolutely spot on! There is no way for us to have a voice, which is the only thing that keeps this corruption in check, when money outweighs the people. It has been a slippery slope ever since they added the definition of person to corporation in their complex legalese!

I completely agree with you here. And no, we do not have a voice as demonstrated in the study linked in my OP.


It will be huge when the day comes that this is no longer the law of the land! I also have wondered since the passing of Citizen's United how difficult it would be for foreign interests to dictate our policy. I mean have someone move to America, fund them to create a company and then use that company to fund elections, I am sure it would be a little more complicated than that, but still is that not feasible.

That is a scary thought, though not exactly as you hypothesize, you might be interested in another post I authored ... Foreign Powers Buy Influence at Think Tanks

All that said, we still yield power and can shout. We must remember, they are only wealthy because we buy their products.
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posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 06:49 AM
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originally posted by: Kali74
The senate voted to push the discussion through Monday and I'm amazed how little it's been talked about in the media. I deliberately didn't make a thread about it just to see how long it took. Overturning citizens united is critical, it absolutely has to be done but the proposed amendment as it stands isn't good and could do more harm than citizens united did, its crucial that Americans start talking about this. I suggest reading the ACLU's opposition to the amendment, I'd link but I'm on my phone. Basically they're concerned that the scope is too broad and treads in freedom of the press, there's a lot more to it than that but... I can see their position. Engage your congress America. What we need is a very simple amendment that installs a limit to funding of campaigns to just public but doesn't touch speech.

Critical and imperative. Did I post in decent amount of time? I don't think you will see much talk about it in the media, after all, they are one of the industries that supported these rulings and stand to benefit from them, any mention will likely be in their favor.

ACLU letters (PDF):
ACLU Urges NO Vote on SJ Res. 19, a Constitutional Amendmen
ACLU Opposes the Udall Amendment

Yes, the text, forgot to add that, thank you ...
S.J.Res.19 - A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relating to contributions and expenditures intended to affect elections.

Sponsor: Sen. Udall, Tom [D-NM] (Introduced 06/18/2013)
Committees: Senate - Judiciary; Rules and Administration
Committee Reports: S. Rept. 113-223
Latest Action: 09/09/2014 Motion to proceed to measure considered in Sente.


That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States:

“article —

SECTION 1.To advance democratic self-government and political equality, and to protect the integrity of government and the electoral process, Congress and the States may regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections.

SECTION 2.Congress and the States shall have power to implement and enforce this article by appropriate legislation, and may distinguish between natural persons and corporations or other artificial entities created by law, including by prohibiting such entities from spending money to influence elections.

SECTION 3.Nothing in this article shall be construed to grant Congress or the States the power to abridge the freedom of the press.”.

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posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 07:32 AM
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Unfortunately (or fortunately) the vast majority of amendment efforts fail.

I love the idea behind this one but do not hold much hope. But does it really take Constitutional tinkering to fix the issue?

Most Americans are clueless. As such, they do not care. What if it wasn't so? Would it make a difference?



posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 08:52 AM
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a reply to: ABNARTY

Very true. Reading the ACLU letters Kali alerted us to most definetly makes me want it to fail or be re-worded, clarified, and better defined.



posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 01:45 PM
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a reply to: AllSourceIntel

Well it doesn't need to fail necessarily, its been voted through for discussion that means we need to get on the horn with our senators and make sure its not trying the cure isn't worse than the disease. If it doesn't evolve into something better then we need to tell them to vote it down, which sucks because I'm afraid they will take it as a message that Americans aren't interested in doing away with citizens united.



posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 03:54 PM
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a reply to: Kali74

You bring up a great point.

Make the cure worse than the illness and people will complain. Well then, the people have spoken. They like the illness. Alas, we tried as humble public servants.



posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 04:03 PM
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a reply to: Kali74

I actually have an email semi drafted to my congressmen where I am living and my home state. Started on it earlier and need to finish it tonight, nothing long, but a short little note that gets to the point.



posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 04:56 PM
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so correct me if im wrong but to add an amendment to the constitution requires the following

ratified by 2/3rds of the senate to pass ( possible i guess)

then be ratified by 2/3rds of the house (not to likely)

then be ratified by 3/4ths of the states?(37.5 so i guess 38 states)

www.govtrack.us... if any one wants to track the bill i think this is how to do it to see if it passes or fails

www.wnd.com... wnd take on the matter

blogforarizona.net... a blog from Arizona for counter point
www.dailykos.com... daily kaos says republicans did not filibuster it and that the vote will be tomorrow


www.reddit.com... few interesting posts here but its redit so take it for what its worth



posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 05:17 PM
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originally posted by: ABNARTY
Unfortunately (or fortunately) the vast majority of amendment efforts fail.

I love the idea behind this one but do not hold much hope. But does it really take Constitutional tinkering to fix the issue?

Most Americans are clueless. As such, they do not care. What if it wasn't so? Would it make a difference?



There's a sting in my chest from that, Abnarty. Because the
body politic of this country, even if it had a fully charged head
and brain, may be so physically paralyzed that the violent ones
running the country no longer care whether or not WE care.

Back to the thread, if it requires a Constitutional Amendment
for the government to be forced to simply do the right thing in
just this one case;
all we strove for and in so many areas is visibly slipping away.
I fear for the desperation of too little scope of change, too late.



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