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A Partial Solution to Bribery and Lobbying

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posted on Mar, 13 2012 @ 11:19 PM
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I have to decided to post this thread in the "Political Madness" forum because I think that money is the root of most every political decision we might consider "Madness". Though I can't prove that any given politician has sold a vote, I can say that corporations like Monsanto and Haliburton wouldn't donate millions of dollars in "campaign funds" to various politicians if the corporations weren't guaranteed something in return; handouts are not copacetic with Corporatism - well, not giving them out anyhow. Anyways, I'm not here to discuss whether or not it is happening, I'm here to discuss a solution.

So then, this is my two cents. First off, we have to really make politicians afraid of being caught taking any sort of bribe. We do this by passing a bill that makes the taking of a bribe whilst in public office, and the bribing of a public official, treason. We all know what the punishment for treason is. Now, you may say that there are plenty of ways to "legally" bribe a public official that we can never get rid of, and that proving they are bribes would take lengthy court proceedings that were bound to fail, but that's fine. The point is to makes all contributions of large sums or contributions by corporations suspect. The cost of hiring a lawyer to defend said corporations with each donation they make would be a tiresome burden in itself.

Secondly, I believe that abolishing corporate person hood would be a logical step in the hypothetical situation that the bill described above were passed. Thanks to the recent decision by the supreme court, stating that corporations may donate unlimited funds to any candidate because "Corporate Personhood" gave each corporation based in America all the rights of a living, breathing human-being That means getting rid of the legal concept would due away with the rights for faceless corporations to buy politicians in plain sight. Instead, single individuals would have to make enormous donations, or pay several individuals to make small donations. Which leads to the final part of my solution.

This paragraph is actually a continuation of the bill described in the first, but I felt it would be easier to appreciate after the bit about corporate person hood. In regards to investigating whether or not a "donation" would count as a bribe, well, as I said, that would be near impossible to prove, and probably more so to simply define. So, I propose that we limit all political contributions to an ineffectual amount so that individuals can't possibly sway a decision with their contributions.

Admittedly, so far as how we would investigate whether or not politicians were still taking bribes in some form, without infringing on their right to privacy, is beyond me. But, that's why we come here, to ATS, is it not? To get differing opinions that serve to flesh out, refine or forsake an idea?

Please, have at it.

edit on 13-3-2012 by RatoAstuto because: (no reason given)




posted on Mar, 14 2012 @ 12:18 AM
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Interesting idea. I like the idea of making bribery of a public official an act of treason. I also like the idea of abolishing corporate personhood. My concern, as you pointed out, is the time and taxpayer expense incurred to determine the legality of a donation.

My solution would be to make all donations go to a common campaign fund to be divided equally among all candidates. I don't mean just Democrat and Republican. I mean any and all candidates. This money is all they are allowed to spend. No personal money and no direct contributions. Anyone would be allowed to contribute as much as they want. Even foreign nationals. It won't matter. As the candidate field narrows, all unused campaign money would be returned to the fund and redistributed among the remaining candidates.

Of course, this is just a rough draft of an idea. Maybe we can get some ATSers together(off site, of course) and work up a viable solution.



posted on Mar, 14 2012 @ 07:40 PM
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reply to post by N3k9Ni
 


Yes, your idea about a common fund for all candidates is an idea that I have pondered over myself after my grandfather made almost the same suggestion. It seems like sense to me, but as you said, its still rough.

And indeed, we should get together and really hash this idea out. But why outside of ATS? I've looked over the rules and I don't think it is a violation to discuss it here, but I may be wrong.



posted on Mar, 14 2012 @ 09:16 PM
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reply to post by RatoAstuto
 


I'm not sure if this would fall under this section or not.


15e.) Recruitment/Solicitation:

i) You will not use your membership in the Websites for any type of recruitment to any causes whatsoever. You will not Post, use the chat feature, use videos, or use the private message system to disseminate advertisements, chain letters, petitions, pyramid schemes, or any kind of solicitation for political action, social action, letter campaigns, or related online and/or offline coordinated actions of any kind.



posted on Mar, 14 2012 @ 10:06 PM
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reply to post by N3k9Ni
 


That's what I figured you were referring to. This discussion, so long as it remains a hypothetical, is not against the rules.



posted on Mar, 14 2012 @ 10:28 PM
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reply to post by RatoAstuto
 


OK. I'm game. Now how do we get some other people in here?



posted on Mar, 14 2012 @ 10:37 PM
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reply to post by RatoAstuto
 


Where exactly are you drawing the line between what equates as a bribe and what equates as a campaign donation?



posted on Mar, 14 2012 @ 10:50 PM
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reply to post by METACOMET
 


As I said in the OP, that is where vision grows hazy, and why I brought the idea here to ATS



posted on Mar, 14 2012 @ 11:30 PM
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Originally posted by METACOMET
reply to post by RatoAstuto
 


Where exactly are you drawing the line between what equates as a bribe and what equates as a campaign donation?


That's a good question. Maybe disallow contributions to a candidate from any group that has lobbied them in the prior 12 months.

Not trying to be snide, but, since you asked, do you have any suggestions?



posted on Mar, 15 2012 @ 12:02 AM
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reply to post by N3k9Ni
 


Well, like I said, setting campaign donations to an ineffectual amount would do away with the need to investigate in many situations. Other than that, my only ideas involved investigating any high ranking politician with close relationships with high ranking individuals in the corporate world, but that is obviously an invasion of privacy, and not a price I'm willing to pay to cripple bribery.

Honestly, the idea of each candidate taking equally from the same pot seems more and more like the best solution to me. Especially if we stipulate that no personal funds may be used. Still, this would do nothing to guarntee that politicians would not be bought with personal favors and "gifts" from "friends" in various industries



posted on Mar, 15 2012 @ 12:33 AM
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reply to post by RatoAstuto
 


Certainly nothing will guarantee some politicians will not accept gifts or favors. Giving and/or accepting those gifts and favors in return for political favoritism is the definition of bribery. By eliminating the facade of campaign contributions, those bribes would be made more apparent.

I do like the common fund idea, but what would be the incentive to donate to the fund? Could it be tax deductible?



posted on Mar, 15 2012 @ 12:41 AM
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reply to post by N3k9Ni
 


In regards to the bribery becoming more clear when it takes the form of gifts and favors, I'm of a differing opinion. I think that is the easiest way to get away with bribery, so long as the criminals in question put on the facade of friendship, or worse yet, are truly friends. Friends give gifts and and perorm favors all the time.

In regards to the incentive to do contribute to a "campaign pool", well, let's pay for it with a piece of our taxes. We'll just shave away some of the military budget since we're playing hypothetical. With this tax money we fund televised debates and Q&A's with state and federal candidates, and town hall meetings for local. That seems the cheapest and most effective way to me.



posted on Mar, 15 2012 @ 08:55 AM
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Originally posted by N3k9Ni
Not trying to be snide, but, since you asked, do you have any suggestions?


Sure.

First, it is important to understand corporate personhood since it seems everybody is utterly confused by it.

The supreme court DID NOT rule that corporations are persons. The supreme court ruled that political donations are protected under the first amendment. The difference is fundamental.

The fact is that the legislature and the president, through the US code, gave 14th amendment rights to corporations (corporate personhood). It is not a very difficult concept and I will try to present it in the easiest way possible so it should be easy to understand.

Amendment XIV to the United States Constitution: Section 1.


No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.


U.S. Code Title 1, Chapter 1, Subsection 1


In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, unless the context indicates otherwise— the words “person” and “whoever” include corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals


The legislature wrote and passed this clause into the US code. The president signed it into law. The corporations did not (directly) write this into law. The supreme court did not write this into law. Just to be perfectly clear, THE LEGISLATURE wrote and passed the law that corporations are persons, and it required a PRESIDENTIAL signature. The supreme court simply ruled that political donations are free speech. Blaming the supreme court for corporate personhood is incorrect and foolish. The political pundits and congress and the executive marked the supreme court as the guilty party in all this to incite public hatred as a strategy to conceal their own abuses. Is that clear?

So my solution would be to, #1...
amend U.S. Code Title 1, Chapter 1, Subsection 1. If people understood that the legislature and the president could amend it, and not the supreme court, then maybe we could get somewhere on the issue.

#2...
Don't vote for politicians who take money from corporations and "investment" banks. It is really that simple. The government solution to this problem would be to appoint an unelected campaign finance CZAR with unlimited powers and no accountability to the people whatsoever. This will not fix anything.



posted on Mar, 15 2012 @ 09:14 AM
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Personally, I think that everyone who works for the government or is an elected official (and their spouses) should not have the right to own any possessions or wealth and everything they need is provided for them. This eliminates greed and bribery and ensures that as long as they hold office, they shouldn't have much other concern than doing what is good for the people. Also, there is no incentive for the greedy or the rich to pursue a seat in government.

One way or another, having such a position requires a personal sacrifice, not perks and a private jet. We need to know for sure that the people in office are there because they want to be, not because its profitable.



posted on Mar, 15 2012 @ 09:24 AM
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reply to post by RSF77
 


Seriously? Your solution would be not to allow elected officials to own anything? Don't you agree that is more than a little unrealistic? You think we have big government now...

I'm not putting you down, bro. It's just a suggestion, I understand. But think about it for a minute.



posted on Mar, 15 2012 @ 10:56 AM
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reply to post by METACOMET
 


All very true, but the supreme did indeed base their decision that corporations can donate all the "free speech" they want because corporations are considered legal persons, hence they should receive all the same rights as a person.

Now, I like the concept of corporate personhood as it originally existed, acted simply as a safety net to keep entrepreneurs from losing everything by allowing lawsuits to be brought against the company instead of the individuals behind the company. Unfortunately, the concept is now gaining to much power and giving corporations far to much freedom. Yes, if you start a corporation you should not have to worry that a lawsuit from an angry customer (let's say a woman who spilled your companies hot coffee into her lap) will bankrupt you when the customer comes for your personal assets, but you should not be able to throw around your corporations "free speech" and make it rain in the house of congress.



posted on Mar, 15 2012 @ 11:02 AM
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reply to post by RSF77
 


A wonderful post and a better idea. The one problem I see with the idea is this, "Who would decide what each official 'needs', and how would they get it?"

For example, let's say that the vice president gets a flat tire one day and ends up riding on his rim for quite a distance, thus ruining the axel on his ride. Now, who decides whether to pay for repairs, or buy him a new ride? And if the decision is to get him a new car, how do we decide on what type of car? Do we want to get him an economy model to save tax dollars, or should we spring for something with a little class, seeing as how this is a world leader we're talking about?



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