Sunday, February 19, 2017

We Can Fix America’s Corrupt Political System

We Can Fix America’s Corrupt Political System 

Just about any person you talk to today feels that our government is corrupt. That’s right, the most powerful nation on earth is eat up with corruption. More and more Americans feel our democracy is completely broken.

If you have half a brain, it's obvious why? Lobbyist write our laws. Politicians are bought and paid for corruption touches every single issue in our governance. 

What is sad is that huge segments of people in America have disenfranchised themselves from the political process thinking there's nothing we can do about it. [corruption]

This thinking is one of the biggest cancers we have in our American democracy today! When you put this corruption under the microscope it's not that politicians are breaking the laws, in fact, there are no laws in place for them to break. There are some exceptions but not many or enough. 

Right Now, Corruption Is Legal in America

This factoid is something we can fix. For example, right now it's perfectly legal for "special interest groups" to hand over humongous checks to members of Congress who regulate and write laws. There is nothing to stop these members of Congress from passing laws that favor these groups even if said laws are a detriment to our society. 

Often, we see these same politicians accepting comfy jobs with these lobbying firms. This example is just one in a million we could use. 

We Must Make Corruption Illegal!

That's why the House of Public Discourse supports the "American Anti-Corruption Act." 

The American Anti-Corruption Act (commonly referred to as the "AACA" or "Anti-Corruption Act") is a piece of model legislation designed to limit the influence of money in American politics by overhauling lobbying, transparency, and campaign finance laws. ... Stopping political bribery by overhauling lobbying and ethics laws. [Wikipedia]
The "AACA" introduces a stringent set of ethical standards. For example, if you're a senator on the Banking Committee you can't take money or gifts from banking lobbyist. 
Stand With Standing Rock!!! $20.00 
Also, the "AACA" mandates full transparency so " We the People" know exactly who is paying what to whom. The "AACA" changes how elections are funded. The "AACA" achieves these things without taking away anyone's right to free speech. The bi-partisan constitutional scholars who authored this act wrote it in a way to withstand any legal scrutiny.

What About Citizens United?

While a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United would help corral those shadowy groups like "Americans for Freedom and Jobs and More Freedom." It would not fix any of the previously-mentioned problems. We could overturn Citizens United tomorrow and bribery, extortion, conflicts of interest, all of it would still be legal.

However, this corruption does pose an opportunity for those of us who desire to see it end. We can solve these problems with one comprehensive law. Which begs the question, but how?

How do we get such a law passed? Asking Congress to do so would be like asking a " Fox to put a lock on the Henhouse." However, not all is a loss here. We can go around Congress by using the " Ballot Initiative Process." This process allows citizens to pass laws ourselves. No politicians required. All we must do is gather enough signatures that would put the "AACA" up for a public vote and we can start fixing this out of control corrupt system we know as American Democracy.

Here's the Plan

    We need a law and our research here in the House of Public Discourse finds the "American Anti-Corruption Act" a great comprehensive and common sense law to put up for a vote.
    We need to bring all Progressives, Independents, and Conservatives together and get organized for this endeavor which in fact is one of the few political issues in modern politics that has bi-partisan appeal among the electorate. This is the only way to combat both the Global and National Oligarchs that control our two-party system in the present. For example, in 2014 both the " Tea-Party," and "Progressives" teamed up to pass the first anti-corruption act. In November 2014, a bipartisan coalition of Represent.Us members in Tallahassee, Florida, put America’s first municipal Anti-Corruption Act on the ballot – and they won. Since then, voters have passed initiatives for sweeping anti-corruption reforms in more than a dozen cities and states across America. In 2016, for the first time ever, comprehensive statewide anti-corruption legislation passed in South Dakota. [See Source]

    Using the Ballot Initiative process proclaims there are some 22,000 cities across the country that we could pass locally tailored anti-corruption legislation. We have always felt here in the House of Public Discourse that solid positive change within our political system always starts from the local level.

    By starting from the local levels our efforts affect the communities we live in by protecting our schools, healthcare, resources, environment, and jobs from being sold out to special interest. Local politics matter! Also, starting at the local level builds momentum for passing legislation at the state level. 

    State Acts not only would clean up statewide corruption it would change how elections are funded. In doing so, "We the People" get clean politicians, not one's like in the present who are in the hip pocket of special interest groups. State Acts would affect federal candidates as well. Once these state laws are passed we can truly "drain the swamp," by sending a new wave of clean politicians to Washington. 

    By taking this fight against corruption to the local and state levels we can win this struggle against political corruption from the outside. And, once we have elected these fair-minded ethical politicians on the federal level we can then pass the "AACA" at the federal level.

    Some may say this is a loss cause that it's pie in the sky thinking and isn't practical.  Our response here in the House of Public Discourse to these claims is quite simple.

    • Was it pie in the sky for a band of thirteen colonies with no standing army to win a war against the strongest military power of its time?
    • Was it thought practical that slavery would be abolished?
    • Or, that woman and blacks would be allowed to vote.
    • Was it unpragmatic to think that Same Sex Marriage would be a reality in American society?
    • How many people said there would never be a person of color in the White House?

    Corruption of Influence - The History of Campaign Finance

    Written By: Johnny Hill

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

    America's Flight From Reason

    America's Flight From Reason

    What has America's flight from reason cost us as a nation? Does any political candidate out there right or left have the intestinal fortitude to talk about ignorance as a political issue? These issues range from scientific research on Global Warming to the issues of war and peace. 

    In this ever-growing age of unreason, people seem to be focused on small personal facts as opposed to big issues. But even more than that lack of knowledge and unreason affects the way candidates speak about everything.  

    A good example is the healthcare situation in this country. It's a very important issue. All the candidate’s say it is. But, if people are not knowledgeable about how healthcare is handled in other countries how can they make a reasoned decision about how to solve our nation’s healthcare issues. If you don't have a base of knowledge to be able to compare facts about this issue how can one make an informed choice?

    How can people have a reasonable discussion about how things ought to be if they have no real knowledge of the facts?

    Our political culture reflects our general culture. In many ways, our political culture is shaped by our general culture. Our research here in the House of Public Discourse has led us to the conclusion what America really needs is an " Educator in Chief" than a " Commander in Chief." There is no quick dose of change in today's culture. Our politicians of today including Obama have failed miserably in educating the people before such changes are proposed. Cognitive Dissonance is alive and well in America. " Critical Thinking" is at a loss.

    Many American's Can't Stand or Tolerate Contradictory Opinions. Why?

    This in part is why our countries population is becoming dumber by the day. When one creates a vacuum for themselves and shuts off any evidence, facts, or contradictions from their minds the less informed they become about the issues. Studies have shown that people's attention spans, in general, have grown shorter and shorter over the years. Time Magazine reported in 2015 that people have shorter attention spans than a Goldfish.

    A great example how American citizens are controlled by their own cognitive dissonance is the outcry from the Christian Right and their orderly followers to have " Creationism" taught in Public School ignoring the detailed science and empirical evidence of evolution.

    In fact, only 30% of Americans in a recent poll believe every word of the Bible is true. [See Source] Which begs the question is America really a Christian nation? 

    What we are getting at here is there has been a huge failure of education in America and it's getting worse by the day. Betty DeVos ring a bell. Therefore, we support free College education for all in America no matter the cost. Because " America's Flight from Reason" is being fueled and exploited by those who not only prey on the uneducated but depend on them as well. 

    Written By: Johnny Hill

    Tuesday, February 14, 2017

    Donald Trump Agent Orange Shirt (Assorted Colors) $20.00

    Click Here To Order

    Michael Flynn " You're Fired."

    Photo Credit: CNN. Com
    Breaking news indicates that in late January, then Acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates warned Donald Trump that top national security aide Michael Flynn had misrepresented his conversations with Russian officials and could be vulnerable to blackmail by Russiaposing a significant national security risk.

    Today, in the wake of Flynn's resignation amid a growing scandal, we're forced to ask: Why didn't Trump act on that information immediately? Sign the petition to call for an immediate investigation of Donald Trump.

    The American people deserve a thorough accounting of what Trump and Mike Pence knew about Flynn's dangerous interactions, when they knew it, and how else they and other administration officials are connected to Russian president Vladimir Putin, the Russian government, and Russian intelligence agencies.

    In the past few days, we also have learned that the U.S. Army has mounted its own investigation into whether Flynn accepted money from the Russian government. If he did, it would be a possible breach of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution—which Trump himself may also be violating, according to constitutional scholars and government ethicist.

    The Emoluments Clause Explained!

    Rep. Nadler's resolution of inquiry looks almost prescient in light of the current revelations, as it specifically demands that the Department of Justice provide information related to "any criminal or counterintelligence investigation targeting President Donald J. Trump, National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Carter Page, Roger Stone, or any employee of the Executive Office of the President."

    Listen to our first House Podcast that touches on this issue and others.

    Back Tulsi Gabbard Bill to Pressure Saudi Arabia on Ties to Al Qaeda in Yemen

    Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
    Hawaii Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard's bipartisan bill H.R. 608, the Stop Arming Terrorists Act, would prohibit the use of U.S. funds to provide assistance to Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly al-Nusra, that is, Al Qaeda), and to countries supporting those organizations. The bill would require the Director of National Intelligence to make a periodic determination of whether Saudi Arabia is supporting Al Qaeda and report to Congress about it. [1] The bill's co-sponsors include Reps. Barbara Lee, Peter Welch, Walter Jones, Thomas Massie, and Ted Yoho.

    Urge your Representative to co-sponsor Rep. Gabbard's bill by signing our petition at MoveOn. 

    President Trump is threatening to escalate U.S. support for the catastrophic Saudi war against the Houthis in Yemen. To stop this war, we must undermine Republican support for it. The biggest political vulnerability of the Saudi war in Yemen for Republicans is the fact that the war is strengthening Al Qaeda. Thus, the Saudi war in Yemen is directly threatening the security of the U.S. homeland. [3] Moreover, Saudi forces have fought alongside Al Qaeda in Yemen against the Houthis, [4] and working with al Qaeda has been an integral part of Saudi strategy in Yemen. [5] Building support for Rep. Gabbard's bill will help us raise the issue of Saudi support for Al Qaeda, and that will help us undermine U.S. support for the catastrophic Saudi war in Yemen. 

    See Source

    Sunday, February 12, 2017

    True Progressive Protest Talking Points

    1. Beginning before his inauguration as president, Donald Trump has been the focus of protest.

    2. He has not had a honeymoon and has record-high disapproval rates for a new president. 

    3. A president whose party controls both houses of Congress should be having an easy time putting forward his agenda.

    4. Some of the early protests focused on protesting the Democrats for not being tough enough on Trump. These protests gave elected Democrats some backbone and they began to challenge him.

    5. Less than half of Trump’s cabinet has been confirmed. Confirmation is usually relatively routine as politicians believe the President should get to pick the executive branch he wants. 

    6. In the end, Trump will get his nominees but they are being weakened as they go through a slow process.

    7. One of the most controversial nominees, Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education, had the unprecedented experience of having to be confirmed by a divided Senate, which required the Vice President to break the tie. 

    8. The Attorney General and Department of Homeland Security should expect similar treatment as Trump escalates deportations. There are already protests escalating over the issue and we expect to see more as people fight deportations by any means. Too many lives are being unfairly destroyed by Trump’s broad net of deportation.

    9. The biggest victory of the protest movement has been stopping the restrictions on travel to the United States from seven predominantly-Muslim countries. There were mass protests at airports across the country by thousands of people, which made airport operations difficult if not impossible. 

    10. On appeal, not only did the Ninth Circuit rule 3-0 against Trump, but they also chided him for his lack of understanding of the checks and balances of the Constitution.

    The Challenge for the Movement

    1. It is easy to be unified against Trump, but can the movement for social, racial and economic justice be unified in favor of new policies? Can it be unified when it is opposing the Democratic Party? Can people in the movement explain to their Democratic friends and relatives that it is time to stand against the corporate Democratic Party, which doesn’t even support the views of most Democratic voters?

    2. For example, protests opposing the repeal of Obamacare are being organized by groups that are allied with the Democratic Party and do not support Medicare for All, although 80% of Democratic voters do.

    3. The longer-term resistance movement knows we must be independent of the Democratic Party in order to put in place the laws and policies that are needed. 

    4. The reason neither corporate party will put forward the only effective solution, Medicare for All, is because it requires them to end corporate control of healthcare.

    5. Both parties are stuck because their donors from the insurance and pharmaceutical corporations as well as investors in for-profit healthcare want healthcare to be a profit center, not a public good. 

    6. So, the challenge ahead will be to push the Democratic Party-aligned groups to stand for what is right even if the Democratic Party leadership is on the wrong side of the issue. The challenge for these groups will be that their constituency will be with us, e.g. 80% of Democrats support National Improved Medicare for All but the Democratic Party leadership refuses to consider it. Who do these Democratic Party-aligned groups stand with, the party or Democratic voters? Will they realize their party will continue to lose elections by turning their voting base off if they ignored Democratic voter’s necessities?

    More Opportunities Ahead for the Resistance Movement

    7. opportunities for the mass movement to join in stopping the worst proposals as well as beginning to fill the void left by a dysfunctional government. The Democrats are likely to continue to stay focused on blocking Trump rather than putting forth a positive agenda. It is up to the people to put forward a people’s agenda supported by a majority of people in the United States.  

    8. More big protest issues are ahead. The decision to allow the Keystone Pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline is generating more protests, divestiture from banks and will generate more litigation. This will continue to escalate and become more fierce, as even Trump supporters see the reality of climate change.

    9. People are recognizing that they have the power to protest in a lot of areas. Some see the potential for a protest at work, such as the resistance and non-cooperation among federal workers. And, many are planning on building toward a general strike, something unheard of in US history. State officials are even talking about protesting by not paying federal taxes.

    10. Early in the Trump era, protest is working and the potential ahead is for an even larger resistance movement. The dysfunctional nature of government will add to protest movements, making the country ungovernable. We can defeat the oligarchy, as currently represented by Trump, but which began long before him, by remaining independent of the corporate parties and fighting for the changes we need.