Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Lawrence Lessig Answers Your Questions About His Mayday PAC (Video)

Roblimo posted about 2 months ago | from the it's-the-next-best-thing-to-asking-him-live-and-in-person dept.

Politics 148

We've mentioned this interesting PAC more than once, including when Steve Wozniak endorsed it. The original Mayday PAC goal was to raise $1 million. Now Larry is working on a second -- and more ambitious -- goal: To raise $5 million by July 4. We called for your questions on June 23, and got a bunch of them. This time, instead of asking via email, we used Google Hangout to ask via video. Here's a quote from the Mayday website:'We are a crowdfunded Super PAC to end all Super PACs. Ironic? Yes. Embrace the irony. We’re kickstarting a Super PAC big enough to make it possible to win a Congress committed to fundamental reform by 2016. We set fundraising goals and then crowdfund those goals." Check the Mayday About page and you'll see that a whole bunch of Internet and coding luminaries are on board. You may also notice that they span the political spectrum; this is totally not a partisan effort. | Another quote from the website: "Wealthy funders are holding our democracy hostage. We want to pay the ransom and get it back." Is this an achievable goal? We'll never know if we don't try. | This is Part 1 of a 2-part video. (Alternate Video Link) Update: 07/02 23:42 GMT by T : Here's a link to part 2 of the video, too.

cancel ×

148 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

The question to me seems to be... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47353191)

What difference does any of these efforts make if the 9-robe court thinks corporate donations and an individual's right to free speech are essentially exactly the same?

What process defeats an over-arching fail condition like that?

Re:The question to me seems to be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47353291)

^do not does + CAPTCHA : atones.

Re:The question to me seems to be... (3, Interesting)

RavenLrD20k (311488) | about 2 months ago | (#47353297)

That's the legislative check and balance to the court. If a congress can be bribed to make an amendment to the constitution that specifies that money, resources, or commodities cannot be equated to speech, then the verdict of the Supreme Court is nullified by the voices that represent the will of the people. The real trick is getting a congress in office that would agree on passing the amendment.

Re:The question to me seems to be... (2)

jratcliffe (208809) | about 2 months ago | (#47353523)

That's the legislative check and balance to the court. If a congress can be bribed to make an amendment to the constitution that specifies that money, resources, or commodities cannot be equated to speech, then the verdict of the Supreme Court is nullified by the voices that represent the will of the people. The real trick is getting a congress in office that would agree on passing the amendment.

Actually, you need 2/3 of both the House and the Senate, plus 3/4 of the state legislatures. Amending the Constitution ain't easy (intentionally so).

Bribery represents the will of the people? (1)

westlake (615356) | about 2 months ago | (#47354151)

Actually, you need 2/3 of both the House and the Senate, plus 3/4 of the state legislatures. Amending the Constitution ain't easy (intentionally so).

Freedom of assembly. Freedom of speech.

How do you tell a small businessman that others can organize and raise funds to win an election and he can't? How do you make that argument to the NRA or the NAACP? The teacher's union or the EFF?

If a congress can be bribed to make an amendment to the constitution that specifies that money, resources, or commodities cannot be equated to speech, then the verdict of the Supreme Court is nullified by the voices that represent the will of the people.

This is as blatantly corrupt a political argument as I have ever heard expressed.

I don't care whether the voice comes from the right or the left.

I do care when the reformer starts to think that because he has the money and the power, he alone has heard the voice of God --- and that anything he does is perfectly all right.

Re:Bribery represents the will of the people? (1)

Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) | about 2 months ago | (#47354959)

Actually 3/4 of the states can call for a Convention. Congress has no option to oppose that. Its not entirely clear what their 'calling' function entails, but if there were a clear unequivocal 3/4 of the States passing a single uniformly worded call for a Convention within a stated expiry period then LONG before it got to all 37 required states Congress would pass the desired amendment to avoid the spectre of an open Convention running the country virtually as a de-facto parliament. Honestly a Convention is sort of a 'nuclear option' anyway because NOBODY knows how corrupt (or not) such a body would be as we don't even have rules for its constituence. IMHO it would just be a repeat of the House without a constitution to reign it in. The threat is still potent however and its worked at least twice before.

Re:Bribery represents the will of the people? (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 2 months ago | (#47355045)

Actually 3/4 of the states can call for a Convention.

2/3 of the States can call a Constitutional Convention.

Which bypasses the need for Congress to act, but leaves in place the need for 3/4 of the States to ratify any proposed Amendments.

Re:Bribery represents the will of the people? (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | about 2 months ago | (#47355173)

"Runaway Convention" is a boogey man used by those in favor of the current corrupt big government to scare unthinking people into opposition. It didn't take a Constitutional Convention to create the horrid 16th and 17th amendments.

Re:The question to me seems to be... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47353327)

Our only chance is to hope Obama can replace one of the Bush appointees with someone rational.

Re:The question to me seems to be... (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 2 months ago | (#47353731)

you still believe obama can do something rational?? how cute

Re:The question to me seems to be... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47353759)

The last vestiges our or liberty have been hanging by a thread on one seat for so long now. Scalia and Kennedy will both be at or beyond 80 in 2016. The average age of retirement has been 78, so they're both due now.

Just one and you can have all your dreams. Gulags for the rich, gun owners and whitey. Outlaw energy, meat and the rest.

Should be fun.

Re:The question to me seems to be... (1)

fche (36607) | about 2 months ago | (#47355599)

"Should be fun."

Should be a "fun" instant civil war.

confidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47354677)

What difference does any of these efforts make if the 9-robe court thinks corporate donations and an individual's right to free speech are essentially exactly the same?

If we talk about correcting SCOTUS' decision in 2014 using an constitutional amendment, everyone will agree that it can't be done. That's because every single person, whether right or left, has a history of always losing every election they've ever participated in. You might be a conservative, but then even when you "win" you find out you ended up being represented be a Republican (eww!!). You might be a progressive, but then even your sweetest memories are the horrific bitterness of the time that some Democrat ended up representing you. You have never in your life known victory, and even grandparents sound a little evasive and unhappy when they talk about the good old days, when their guy won an election in nineteen sixty-whatever.

But if you had a PAC to make your speech come with some money, you just might win your first election. Maybe you voted on the single issue of campaign reform, and you lost a little ground on some other things, but it's not like you really had a chance of winning ground on those other things. Here you are, with the first kill painted on the side of your plane, and now your grandparents are looking at you with .. what is that? ENVY?!

Suppose you go into 2015 or 2017 which a really "holy shit, we can actually do this" memory fresh in your mind. Is amending the constitution still unwinnable, or might you finally have some confidence and therefore actually TRY? Because I sure don't see anyone trying right now, and I totally understand why no one does. The prison is in our minds, but it's nevertheless real, too. This is a way out.

One way to make politics so much more exciting... (4, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 2 months ago | (#47353223)

Would be to put it all in youtube videos, right?
WRONG.

Sure, videos have their purpose but just give me a damned transcript. I can read a transcript in much less time than it takes to watch some old guy babble, and I can search the text of it as well.

Re:One way to make politics so much more exciting. (1)

RavenLrD20k (311488) | about 2 months ago | (#47353309)

I second that motion!

Re:One way to make politics so much more exciting. (3, Informative)

Roblimo (357) | about 2 months ago | (#47353555)

The transcript for this video was a little late, but it's up now.

Re:One way to make politics so much more exciting. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47353315)

There's this site somewhere; out there on the internet. It's very weird, but you can just go there and post more or less anything you want. Even rants about youtube videos. They don't delete almost anything, but sometimes things get hidden ("modded down"). If you could just find out where it is then maybe you could watch the video and post a transcript so everybody else could just search it. Shame I can't remember the name.

Or perhaps you already donated a few hundred thousand to the PAC to pay for this. In which case I apologize; I am sure your transcript will be ready soon.

Re:One way to make politics so much more exciting. (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 2 months ago | (#47353573)

There's a Hide/Show transcript button just below the video.

Re:One way to make politics so much more exciting. (0)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 2 months ago | (#47353665)

There's a Hide/Show transcript button just below the video.

That is not particularly useful, though. The Hide/Show transcript button displays the transcript in real-time, with the video. I can't search the text of it, and I can't go through it more quickly with my own eyes than the speed that the people in the video are speaking.

In other words, it is mostly a waste of time. It takes the same amount of time to watch a video with transcript as it does without.

Re:One way to make politics so much more exciting. (5, Informative)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 2 months ago | (#47353773)

That is not particularly useful, though. The Hide/Show transcript button displays the transcript in real-time, with the video

No it doesn't. It displays this:

  Tim: Larry, one of our readers has asked: What do you think if you reach all the goals that you have right now for the Mayday PAC, what will prevent lawmakers from finding other loopholes in laws that do something that’s similar but not quite the same as campaign contributions. We’ve seen it with FISA and DMCA that people can’t necessarily get some sort of legislative advantage—they’ll try it again and try it again the next year. So if you get rid of all corporate money in government, do you think that’s the only avenue for undue influence? What is the answer to someone who says that this isn’t enough to really remove that sort of influence in government?

Larry: So there is an idea good enough for government work that I think we need to embrace and understand. It is a standard way below the standard of typical technologists. It is a standard that’s hard for, I think, technologists to accept—but here’s the idea: If we change the way elections are funded, we will give Congress a chance to actually think of something other than what the big funders care about, when they make a decision. Now they could still make the wrong decision—they could still make a stupid decision. They can still make a completely biased or ill-informed decision. There is no guarantee that this creates good government. But what it does do is give them the freedom, ‘the freedom to lead’, as Buddy Roemer used to say. Because they are no longer focused on what this tiny tiny fraction of the 1% care about. So nothing we are offering is about perfection. We are offering the first necessary step. To get us out of the pathology that we are in right now.

Tim: Okay. So another critical and this one is a slightly different type of critical questions that a lot of our readers have, and I think this is also widespread, is they object to the idea of regulating the money that can be given to a political campaign, and they say that that is equivalent to speech; one reader asks, and I am going to say that this is somewhat facetiously, that aren’t you in that way, also calling for a prohibition of documentaries of the political bench, or books written by politicians who are in favor of a particular candidate? Distinguish the way money per se as a campaign contribution in that form is different from other forms of material support, and why it is that it is okay to limit contributions to a certain dollar amount for a person or group as opposed to other ways that people influence political campaigns themselves.

Larry: Great question. So the Mayday PAC is aiming at changing the way elections are funded. And the proposals that we pointed to don’t necessarily do anything directly about limiting people’s capacity to spend their money to speak.

Tim: But then we already have such restrictions anyhow with campaign contribution limits.

Larry: Right. But we are not focused on restrictions—we are focused on increasing the range of people who participate in the funding of elections. So there are two basic models that we’ve got: One is the voucher program—you can see it at reform.to—a voucher proposal, where every voter is given a voucher that they use to fund small dollar elections. The other is matching grant where you give a small contribution—it’s matched up to 9:1—that’s John Sarbanes’ proposal. Those two proposals don’t restrict anybody’s ability to contribute anything. Or don’t restrict people’s ability to spend their money speaking at all. All this is doing is making it, so candidates don’t spend all of their time literally 30% to 70% of their time, focused on the tiniest fraction of the 1%. So there are lots of people out there who are talking about much more radical changes—limiting the ability of people to contribute at all, stopping corporations from their ability to speak. We are not talking about that as the first steps of reform. We say, let’s change the way elections are funded. That is the first step. And that is the step that Mayday PAC will push into Congress.

Tim: Now that is obviously, a large and first step. Is there a 30-year plan for the Mayday PAC? What do you envision? Does a candidate it doesn’t seem like so much of a candidate-based idea as it does surely financial and organizational based. Will you organize a slate of approved candidates that are your recommendations? Or is it entirely at the policy level of who and how money is distributed?

Larry: Yeah. So God forbid, this is a 30-year project! We don’t have 30 years to fix this problem. The first step is getting our Congress to pass this fundamental reform. And we are going to make that step in two stages: The first stage in 2014 is to create the idea in people’s mind, it is kind of a Roger Bannister moment, it is like, “We can actually do this”, “We can actually elect candidates on the basis of this issue.” Because nobody in Washington believes you can. Nobody in Washington believes people care about this issue. So we are going to break the four-minute mile marker. We are going to elect people on the basis of this. Then in 2016 we are going to elect the majority of Congress focused on this issue. And then they pass this reform. Then Step 4 of our plan is, once we have a Congress that has been elected through this clean money like technique, then that Congress needs to begin to focus on the constitutional reforms necessary to preserve this independence that has been created by the statutory reform that we want to pass. Now, there are lots of reforms Congress needs. There are lots of reforms our political system needs. We are not saying this is the only—it might not even be the most important—but it is the first one. It is the reform that has got to happen before anything else can happen. Because it is the one reform that breaks the power of money to steer or control the way political policymakers function.

Tim: It’s a dependency for a lot of other things?

Larry: Absolutely. It is the first dependency for a whole bunch of other reforms.

Tim: Larry, one of our readers says: “I really like the idea of this PAC, I want to contribute, but I don’t want to undermine my other causes,” and as an example, he says, “Politician A is wrong on every issue but campaign finance reform—Politician B is right on all the other issues.” So he asks then specifically, will this PAC be promoting both liberal and conservative politicians who advocate on this one very important issue. The Mayday site says that five races will be targeted—what races and why those particular ones?

Larry: Yeah. What we know is this issue cannot be won unless we get those Democrats and Republicans to support it. So absolutely, by 2016, we’ve got to have a significant number of Republicans joining a very significant majority of Democrats, if we are going to win. And we are desperately finding and looking at candidates in the Republican Party who believe in this issue. There is a guy running for Senate in New Hampshire against Scott Brown—a guy named Jim Rubens—who has openly embraced the idea of vouchers as a way to fund elections. That’s the kind of Republican we are looking for. Now, I think I understand people looking at it and saying, “Well, this is just one issue, and I’ve got my other issues. Like I care about global warming, and so I care about global warming, and should not be worried about that issue first.” And I think that made sense for much of the 1990s and maybe the beginning part of this century. But the thing people have to recognize now is no matter what the issue is, you are not going to get sensible reform of that issue—until we fix this issue first. So the idea is not that I want to weigh this as more important than anything else. Again it is the dependency. It is: This has got to be fixed if you are going to get climate change or Wall Street reform, or simpler taxes, or deal with the debt, or student debt—all of these issues depend upon fixing this issue first. So if we fix this issue, then lots of different policies can flourish. If Republicans win or Libertarians win, then what they want to do is going to be easier once we have this change than it is right now. And the same thing with the people on the left. This is just enabling democracy to work. And then once it is enabled to work, then people will actually care enough to show up and do something in the democratic process.

Tim: When is it that people will know precisely which races are the ones that your PAC is going to choose to actually focus on?

Larry: Yeah. We have to first figure what the resources are before we pick. We can’t pick in advance. Because you don’t announce troop movements before the troops are ready to move. Like if we said, these are the five races and we want that to be engaged, then those five races will find a million reasons a million ways to attack what we are trying to do. So I get that that creates a little bit of anxiety and uncertainty. This is the only thing I can offer in response to that anxiety and uncertainty: We are in this for a long-term objective. We don’t care about winning. Five races won’t make it so that we get the legislation we want—it is not going to change anything really in Congress. Except break the four-minute mile barrier. Break the idea that this is impossible. So we want to do this in a way that it builds a movement that, in 2016, will be back with us so that we can win many many more races. So if we screw it up this year, if we pick the wrong kind of candidates, if we pick candidates that are only Liberal Democrats, or we kick out a bunch of Democrats in the name of crazy nonresponsive Republicans, we won’t be able to rally these people back with us when we get to 2016. So it is a hard choice—we’ve got about 15 people we are looking at right now. And a million dimensions to be considering. But the ultimate objective is clear—we want fundamental reform passed in 2016. And we want to be able to enable the movement to do that.

Tim: Now you’ve certainly been involved in things that are very political in nature before. You can think of the Creative Commons as having a lot of political implications. You’ve also described “law as code”—where does this fit in? I think you’ve called this “trying to change the operating system.” Can you explain a little bit about where the analogy falls when you talk about how much this sort of change affects everything else?

Larry: Yeah. I mean, I was pushed to do this, by Aaron, by Aaron Swartz. Seven years ago he came to me and he said, “How are you going to make any progress on the internet issues, or the corporate issues until we fix this corruption?” So what I recognized at that point was: All these other issues that as passionately as I cared about them, they were not going to get solved or addressed until we solved this issue. So this is fundamental. In the sense, it is the operating system. Because this democracy depends upon this operating system functioning in a way that is reliable and encourages people to participate in it. Now once you begin to think about that analogy, there is a lot that connects to the internet community. There is a great piece by Noam Scheiber in ‘The New Republic’ that basically says why Silicon Valley should care about this issue. He makes the point this is both metaphorically and actually the network neutrality debate. It is actually a network neutrality debate, because what we realize is: Unless we can deal with the money in politics problem, we are never going to have enough resources to step up and take on the cable companies and things like that. That is not the interesting point. The interesting point is: What we need is a democracy on the same model as a neutral network, right? We want a democracy that is in some sense is end to end—it is allowing people, all the people to participate in selecting the things they want. It is trying to disable the kind of entities in the middle that have the capacity to block or control how things are developing. And so, in that sense, I think that this project is fundamental to, is analogous to the work that I have always been doing in the context of internet politics. But even if it weren’t, the thing that is absolute is that: People have got to recognize that if we don’t fix this, we don’t fix anything. And we’ve got a whole slew of things that have to be fixed.

Tim: Are there any countries in the world right now that have a system that is, in your mind, close to what you are proposing? I don’t know of any countries that for instance use a voucher system to let people express what they believe in that way—I am wondering: Is there any place or country or two that actually does something like this?

Larry: Well, most other mature democracies are different in two really important ways: 1) They are parliaments. 2) They don’t have a First Amendment the way we do. Because they are parliaments, elections are not regular. So there is not a permanent campaign, there is a time when they govern, and the majority party actually can govern, and then there is an election. The election could be six weeks or two months or something like that. That’s a really important difference. And number two, no other country has interpreted their free speech provision to be as restrictive as our Supreme Court has interpreted ours. So what those two constraints mean is there won’t be any country that has something precisely analogous to what we have. But here’s the thing that every other successful democracy has, that we need—the members of parliament, or the members of those congresses do not spend 30% to 70% of their time raising money from the tiniest fraction of the 1% in those countries. In parliaments, I spoke in the Swedish parliament about Creative Commons, but I also talked about this issue. A member of parliament came up to me—in fact, he was a geek, he was a free software coder, he worked on the GNU Linux kernel, the Linux kernel, and he said to me, “In my eight years in parliament, I’ve never, literally never once asked anybody for money. Never. That’s just not what we do.” It kind of struck me, as a shocking idea. Imagine a congress filled with people who are not constantly thinking, “What does that rich fat cat want me to do so that he or she is going to fund my campaign so that I can get back into getting into power?” It seems impossible to Americans to imagine a different system. But the reality is no other democracy comes close to the craziness of this system. And it is completely trivially possible to create this alternative. If we had a voucher system, that would cost $3 to $4 billion a year. Now the Cato Institute the libertarian think tank estimates that last year the amount of corporate welfare the United States government spent was $100 billion. So if we could spend $3 to $4 billion a year, and cut that corporate welfare by 10%, we would have paid for it two to three times over, right? So this is a trivial problem to solve from a financial perspective. But it would radically change the incentives of our government to be answering to these crazy extreme crony capitalist like demands or to the bailout demands. Whatever your complaint is, it would refuse, it would remove those kinds of crazy constraints.

Tim: I think a lot of people might object in the same way that they do that they fail to check the boxes as they contribute to the electoral campaign on taxes, and say, “I will support it if I want, but I don’t want to be required to give money to anyone else’s campaign systematically. I don’t want to be part of it.”

Larry: Yeah. That’s a great great concern. And that’s why I really personally favor vouchers. The presidential campaign fund is basically a system where the federal government decides how much money each candidate gets and then writes them a check. And people aren't happy with this, right? We say, “Hey, why is my money being used to subsidize speech I don’t believe in?” And, “why does the federal government get to decide how much people get to spend on a political campaign? It seems just wrong.” Now the voucher system is fundamentally different. What a voucher system says is we are going to rebate the first, in my proposal, $50 of your taxes in the form of a voucher. And then you can use that voucher—either tear it up if you want—but you can use that voucher to find candidates who agree to fund their campaigns with small dollar vouchers and maybe contributions up to $100.

Tim: They are not using the Federal Election Commission as a sort of intermediary in that way, like the current checkoff vote?

Larry: Exactly. You, the individual, are choosing who gets the money. And it is your money you are giving to them, right? Well, people say, “No, no it is tax money you are getting back.” Now you got to embrace your inner tea party—“What do you mean tax money? It is my money. The government had it, it is giving it back to me. And I’m taking that money and I’m giving it to the candidate I care about.” And everybody else is doing the same thing. So nobody is subsidizing anything. There is no government bureaucrat who is deciding how much anybody gets. There is no equality norm that says everybody gets the same amount—it is just like voting. But instead of my resource being a ballot, my resource is a voucher. It is exactly the same idea but now extended to the funding of campaigns as well as to the selecting of a candidate.

Tim: Let me ask one more question that may also be about people’s inner tea party here: The biggest comparison people have drawn in our comments is, they say there is this effort called the Wolf PAC, and that is aiming for constitutional as opposed to legislative reform. Can you briefly distinguish why it is that you are going for something slightly different? They also have in mind fairness of elections, and fairness of the way they are paid for, but you’ve decided that constitutional reform directly is not the way to start.

Larry: So I love Wolf PAC. I work with Wolf PAC. I flung myself to every corner to the country to testify on Wolf PAC’s behalf in favor of the call that Wolf PAC is making for state legislators to vote to demand Congress created Article 5 convention—I am all for that. But we’ve got to move on a number of different fronts at the same time. Even if we got a constitutional change tomorrow that said that Congress had the power to limit the amount of money that was given to Super PACs or something like that, we still would need to pass a law to change the way elections are funded. The Supreme Court has no doubt made this problem much worse. But even if the Court had gotten every decision right, we still would have a system where the tiniest fraction of the 1% funds campaigns. So nothing we are doing is against Wolf PAC. I support Wolf PAC. But we’ve got to both change the statutory regime that makes it possible for us to have citizen funded elections where everybody is funding elections, not just the tiniest fraction of the 1%, and also back-stop that change with whatever constitutional reform as necessary. That’s why the plan that we’ve set up is four steps. The fourth step is: After we’ve got a Congress that is elected under the right way, pass the kind of constitutional reforms that is necessary to preserve the changes that we had enacted through legislation.

Tim: Do you see any irony in a Super PAC with the stated goal of removing the sort of influence that Super PACs have had?

Larry: Yeah. It’s ironic. Our slogan is “Embrace the Irony.” But it is not anything more than ironic. Because if you think of the history of reforms that have made this a more just democracy, you know there was a time when only white males could vote. And a bunch of people thought, “That’s unjust.” So they brought about an amendment that in theory at least (it took a hundred years before this was relevant) but in theory at least, that blacks could vote too. Of course, it was only black males. But there it was—blacks could vote too. Now when they did that, they used an unjust system to produce a more just system. If somebody had said, “Why do you want to use this unjust system to give blacks the right to vote?” I would have said, “Oh yeah, why not? Let’s use whatever we can to get a more just system.” The same thing when women did not have the right to vote. And then men, pushed on by women of course, but men said, “Okay, let’s change the law to give women the right to vote.” That was an unjust system being used to create a more unjust system. So too here. My view is: A system that allows people to contribute unlimited amounts of money to Super PACs is an unjust system—we need to change it. But we are going to change it using the system that exists. We are going to use whatever legal means we can to bring about a more just system. And when we get to that more just system, people will be able to create PACs, independent PACs too—they just won’t be able to contribute unlimited amounts to these PACs. Because that system produces a world like what we saw in 2012, where 132 people contributed 60% of the money spent by these Super PACs. So we need to create changes. We are going to do that in every legal way we can, including by employing this unjust device to produce a more just system.

Re:One way to make politics so much more exciting. (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 2 months ago | (#47353985)

Thank you! I must have hit the wrong button, or perhaps it doesn't work correctly on my browser.

Re:One way to make politics so much more exciting. (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 2 months ago | (#47354077)

You are welcome. Are you using Slashdot Beta? I am on the old one. I tried it in IN, FF, and Chrome and it did the same thing. But somehow it always serves me the old-skool design even though I am not logged-in on 2 of those 3 browsers.

Re:One way to make politics so much more exciting. (1)

Roblimo (357) | about 2 months ago | (#47354497)

For those who don't know: At the bottom of every page there's a link from "Beta" to the real Slashdot site.

No Thank You (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47353229)

Written answers are higher quality than spoken. I'm not interested in watching a video. (I thought we'd already covered this? Does anyone really like videos on /. ?)

Fundamental reform? (-1)

mi (197448) | about 2 months ago | (#47353241)

We’re kickstarting a Super PAC big enough to make it possible to win a Congress committed to fundamental reform by 2016.

Haven't these same people already elected a President committed to fundamental transformation [politifact.com] of America? Has it not proven to be a disaster both inside and outside the country?

Now they ask for your money to put more of the same people into Congress — because "this time it will be different"?

And how will that help their lesser goal — that of altering the First Amendment [virginia.edu] ?

Re:Fundamental reform? (1)

Wizardess (888790) | about 2 months ago | (#47353373)

It would be nice if "fundamental reform" was defined, wouldn't it? I basically do not trust vague platitudes such as "fundamental reform". They must tell me specifically what they plan. Is it more government to "protect me" or is it "get the friggin' government out of my face?"

I've rather had it up to here with oppressively huge government. Let's try small government for a change. It worked when we did it that way. It's better than "more of the same old same old" we've been doing of late, R and D both.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

{^_^}

Re:Fundamental reform? (0)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 months ago | (#47353455)

It would be nice if "fundamental reform" was defined, wouldn't it? I basically do not trust vague platitudes such as "fundamental reform".

The way I see it, if you're trusting anything anyone in a political arena says, you're doing it wrong.

Actions, as always, speak louder.

Re:Fundamental reform? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 months ago | (#47353935)

Let's try small government for a change. It worked when we did it that way.

:-) When was that? I must have slept through that time...

Re:Fundamental reform? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47354665)

It was during the Articles of Confederation period (1781-1789), except it didn't really work out [wikipedia.org] . Instead, the government had to put down a rebellion [wikipedia.org] that very likely influenced our decision as a nation to have a strong central government.

Re:Fundamental reform? (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | about 2 months ago | (#47355831)

The Whiskey Rebellion in 1791 came after the new Constitution. Apparently bigger government wasn't the solution.

It occurs to me that having a government murderous enough to quash all rebellions is worse than having rebellions.

Ugh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47353403)

I'd like to debate you here, but frankly, I just looked at their actual site.

Zero information.

Blah blah blah - vague idea - blah blah blah, "fundamental reform". The hell does that mean?

No, I'm not watching a bunch of YouTube videos from talking heads to find out. So I'm just going to have to assume you're correct. Here's a bunch of fools who want to keep doing the same broken stuff that they've been trying over the past eight years.

"People won't be late for work though, because the governor lady said, "I'm sending in more trains!" (Another train crashes into the wreckage causing a massive explosion)

Thanks, but no thanks.

Re:Fundamental reform? (2)

iggymanz (596061) | about 2 months ago | (#47353693)

this issue has nothing to do with who is president, nor can any president solve the problem. remember Douglas Adam's words, the purpose of a president is not to wield power but merely to distract attention from those who do.

Re:Fundamental reform? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47353847)

Are we talking about the same guy who said today that if congress won't change immigration laws, he will do it alone?
But when the NSA is reading our email...well there's nothing he can do about that.
Every president for the last century has grabbed more power than the one before him, this one is no exception. Fortunately he's probably going to be gone after the next election cycle, depending on how many rules he can change before then.

Re:Fundamental reform? (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 2 months ago | (#47355033)

yes, talking about same guy. he can start enforcing existing law in all kinds of ways if he really wanted to do something, but Obama is all talk

Re:Fundamental reform? (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | about 2 months ago | (#47355881)

Every president for the last century has grabbed more power than the one before him

Sorry, you're off by 15 years. Harding and Coolidge reduced the power of the government; not until Hoover in 1929 did the relentless trend to tyranny begin.

Re:Fundamental reform? (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | about 2 months ago | (#47355911)

Douglas Adams was an absurdist more interested in jokes than political reality; relying on him for accurate observations is an error.
The president is powerful enough to roll over the opposition of any single person. Wise enough, not necessarily, but surely powerful enough.

Re:Fundamental reform? (1)

mjm1231 (751545) | about 2 months ago | (#47353955)

the First Amendment [virginia.edu] ?

"This freedom is widely acknowledged—except by the case’s critics—to be at the very core of the First Amendment. If the First Amendment protects anything, it protects freedom to engage in political speech. And when speech is protected by the First Amendment, so is spending money to speak."

While I believe the first two sentences of this argument are be true, I see no logical reason to infer the final sentence, which I think is false. This being the case, I find entire line of reasoning invalid.

Re:Fundamental reform? (1)

mi (197448) | about 2 months ago | (#47354015)

This being the case, I find entire line of reasoning invalid.

I too found the page to be rather hard to process. The reason I linked to it was to illustrate, that the issue discussed is, indeed, directly connected to the First Amendment and that those unhappy with it would have to modify the Amendment itself.

Re:Fundamental reform? (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 2 months ago | (#47355143)

While I believe the first two sentences of this argument are be true, I see no logical reason to infer the final sentence, which I think is false. This being the case, I find entire line of reasoning invalid.

So, you believe that the First Amendment is limited to speech with no artificial aids, eh?

Note that that would allow newspapers and news broadcasts to control information flow during a political campaign. Unless you intend to restrict Freedom of the Press as well.

Note that neither newscasters nor newspapermen are unbiased, and allowing them to decide what you are allowed to know about a particular candidate is at least as bad as the current situation.

Note also that the incumbent has an enormous advantage even if the news people are paragons of virtue to the last man - all an incumbent has to do to get press attention is propose a law. His challenger(s) get no such instant attention.

So, your ideal solution guts the Freedom of Speech, the Freedom of the Press, OR it gives incumbents an enormously LARGER advantage....

Re:Fundamental reform? (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about 2 months ago | (#47355721)

"newspapers and news broadcasts... newspapermen..." Now don't go getting all rational and bringing up the good parts of Citizens United, you might confuse the feeble minded.

Re:Fundamental reform? (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about 2 months ago | (#47355707)

"And when speech is protected by the First Amendment, so is spending money to speak." Maybe because the 1st Amendment guarantees far more than the right to chat with your neighbor over the fence and utilize modern equivalents to printing and passing pamphlets like was done in the run up to the American Revolution and the disseminating of the Federalist Papers in the push to have the constitution ratified? Hell, even doing the same thing as was done back then costs money.

hook trash (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47353263)

Wtf is next, floating download buttons that auto load malware?

wealthy funders can't be eliminated that way (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 2 months ago | (#47353269)

the mega-corporations (banking cartel, big oil, defense, etc.) that have our government in their pockets won't be stopped or hindered by this well-intentioned idea. something more drastic would be needed, constitutional amendment using path of national convention and ratifying states

Re:wealthy funders can't be eliminated that way (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 2 months ago | (#47353519)

something more drastic would be needed, constitutional amendment using path of national convention and ratifying states

You should be very careful in calling for a constitutional convention. You should be aware that a call to remove the 1st Amendment (in an attempt at limiting who can speak on certain topics) opens the door to a removal of the 4th and 5th, just for starters. You may want to limit the debate to one specific topic, but you can be sure there will be others who will not.

You should also accept that a constitution that provides protection to people in general is better than one that picks and chooses who and what it will protect, even if there are outliers that stretch the coverage. And that the 1st Amendment was created specifically to protect those outliers, not the "generally accepted appropriate speech".

Perhaps it is best to accept that protections for your rights also protect others.

Re:wealthy funders can't be eliminated that way (2)

iggymanz (596061) | about 2 months ago | (#47353639)

who said anything about revoking the First Amendment? This is not an issue of freedom of religion, speech, assembly or petition.

We are talking of corruption, of money controlling our lawmakers and executive branch. We are talking of cutting out control by large corporations who have circumvented the democratic process.

Re:wealthy funders can't be eliminated that way (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 months ago | (#47353801)

I'm sure they will come up with some equal double speak when they shut you down as well.

Just because you don't like someone doesn't mean they don't get to spend their money as they see fit. No different then 100 losers volunteering their time.

Changing the situation requires rewriting the 1st amendment. At least to clarify what 'speech like things' you don't consider speech.

Re:wealthy funders can't be eliminated that way (2)

iggymanz (596061) | about 2 months ago | (#47353863)

nonsense, you invent a straw man "Changing the situatio requires rewriting the first amendment"

no, it doesn't.

a corporation can be stripped of any and all rights, even to exist as legal entity, just for example, and individual liberty remains.

Re:wealthy funders can't be eliminated that way (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 2 months ago | (#47354577)

a corporation can be stripped of any and all rights, even to exist as legal entity, just for example, and individual liberty remains.

If you think this is about removing the right of corporations to exist as legal entities, you are woefully naive.

If you remove the right of corporations to exist because they might be created as an association of like-minded people who want to pool their money to pay for political speech, that is, indeed, a restriction on both the right to free association and the right to free speech -- the very basis of the 1st Amendment. To remove those rights requires a stripping of the 1st Amendment right, and you're doing it because the people who are exercising their rights are saying something you don't like. Know how I can tell? Because you are supporting THIS PAC when they do exactly what they seek to prohibit others from doing.

And no matter how hard you argue to the contrary, the people who make up corporations cannot be stripped of their right to free speech without you being stripped of the same right.

Re:wealthy funders can't be eliminated that way (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 2 months ago | (#47354879)

I only give as example, one of many possible scenarios

we can certainly do anything to a corporation, strip anything from it, by law, without impact on individual liberties

Re:wealthy funders can't be eliminated that way (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about 2 months ago | (#47355749)

Not if that corporation was formed "as an association of like-minded people who want to pool their money to pay for political speech" This whole movement was started as a way to "repeal" the one decision that pointed out that this absolutely was a first amendment right. The right to associate is an individual liberty that can only be exercised in conjunction with others.

Re:wealthy funders can't be eliminated that way (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 months ago | (#47354611)

Lol.. And as long as the corporations are not dissolved, they have the same or similar liberty as individuals do for the most part.

And yes, you would have to dissolve all corporations because that is what the court already said, you cannot strip the right of political speech from a corporation, association, or labor union. They also said over 25 years ago in Buckley v. Valeo that spending money is political speech.

So as long as corporations exist, you either have to change the first amendment to have a constitutional exception or get rid of corporations. I don't think it would be possible to get rid of associations or labor unions so we are back to the constitution.

Re:wealthy funders can't be eliminated that way (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 2 months ago | (#47354915)

wrong, a corporation can be deprived of any wealth or liberty or freedom by law, since they only have existence by mere law. they are very different from humans in that regard. They could be demoted to a kind of businesss not much different than mom and pop shop

Re:wealthy funders can't be eliminated that way (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 2 months ago | (#47355069)

Yes, they could.

And the owners could still spend their money on politics.

Note that stripping corporation status from a business does NOT remove its money. It just changes (possibly) who is in control of the money. And the (hypothetical) new owners of the money can still spend it on politics....

Re:wealthy funders can't be eliminated that way (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 2 months ago | (#47355213)

such people become more limited in what they can do without corporation and corporate rights. and there is more that can be done to individuals to fight corruption

Re:wealthy funders can't be eliminated that way (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 months ago | (#47355245)

They cannot be deprived of wealth of liberty or freedom by law. They can be dissolved- corporate status can be removed, but not deprived of wealth without just compensation as the constitution says and not deprived or liberty or freedom without due process unless everyone one is because everyone enjoys equal protection under the law.

You are assuming that corporations have no constitutional rights. You are wrong as the supreme court already pointed out. Now, it is true that corporations can be regulated in ways people cannot but that is only because they stretched the interstate commerce clause to include everything but the kitchen sink. Most all corporations are incorporated under a state statute which means that the feds cannot really do much to their corporation status either without stretching the constitution.

So you remove corporate status somehow, they are still an association and can still function like a corporation and still enjoy political speech rights just like the court said. All a corporation does is allow the owners of a company to separate themselves from actions of the company they did not participate in and set a standard for a board to government the company in the interests of the company. There is nothing magical about a corporation other than people can own it who may not even know what it does. A corporation gives a company a level of autonomy and little more.

Re:wealthy funders can't be eliminated that way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47353851)

who said anything about revoking the First Amendment? This is not an issue of freedom of religion, speech, assembly or petition.

Nobody did, but that's the risk you take.

Car Analogy: If you're getting crappy mileage, legislation is like going to the gas station. Maybe you fill up on premium, maybe regular, you might get somewhere between 10-85% ethanol in it, and if it's a gasoline-powered vehicle, you hope you don't get diesel. A constitutional convention is like dumping your car into a shredder and walking onto a used car lot. All that can be said is that you'll drive home in something between a Prius and a Hummer, depending on what the dealer has in stock that day.

Re:wealthy funders can't be eliminated that way (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 months ago | (#47353885)

Money only has control over those who give up their own self control willingly. There is no force, no coercion outside the person who takes the money. You all have this exactly backwards. The true evil is in the desire. This is about revoking the 1st Amendment, overtly, and it sets an extremely dangerous precedent.

Re:wealthy funders can't be eliminated that way (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 2 months ago | (#47355061)

nonsense, not about revoking first amendment, corporations were created by law and thus can be altered or destroyed (for example, by demoting to merely type of business) by law or amendment

money being used to corrupt government is the issue, we can take away the feeding tube for evil desire by those in government, we can attract a different kind of person to be in government

you are being a shill for corporate fascism, somehow equating a corporation with a person. they are not humans, they are not born with inalienable rights and liberties. we can keep the bill of rights, and deny it to corporations

Re:wealthy funders can't be eliminated that way (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about 2 months ago | (#47355735)

Yes, it is a speech issue because the talk is all about limiting the people who can speak and the avenues they can use to speak,

Re:wealthy funders can't be eliminated that way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47353769)

Nobody associated with MayDay is calling for removing the first amendment.

"accept that a constitution that provides protection to people in general is better than one that picks and chooses who and what it will protect"
The people part of that sentence is precisely the point.
IMHO, "picking and chosing" actual human people and excluding corporate 'people' is totally appropriate.

Re:wealthy funders can't be eliminated that way (0)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 months ago | (#47353781)

If money == speech (or access to speech, or however you want to characterize it), then it logically follows that more money == more speech. But the Constitution guarantees all persons equal rights under law, so the idea that people with more money have more of a right to be heard runs contrary to that tenement.

Fact is, there have been a lot of decisions made on a federal level recently, that directly contradict both the spirit and often, letter of the Constitution.

IMO, what these Mayday people are trying to do is akin to trying to curb NSA spying by installing unsecured IP cameras in their own houses.

Re:wealthy funders can't be eliminated that way (1)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | about 2 months ago | (#47354267)

But the Constitution guarantees all persons equal rights under law, so the idea that people with more money have more of a right to be heard runs contrary to that tenement.

Equal rights, yes, but not equal outcomes. Everyone has an equal right to speak. That doesn't mean anyone has the right to demand free access to someone else's platform, or to make others listen. Those are things you have to negotiate for on your own, and money is one perfectly legitimate way to do that.

Free speech is really just one aspect of the more fundamental principle of self-ownership, which includes not only the right to speak freely but also the right to dispose of your own property as you see fit. The focus on free speech, while important, is far too narrow. You should be able to legally donate your own money to the individuals and/or organizations of your choice even when it has nothing to do with freedom of speech.

The real problem here is that people are easily influenced on things which do not immediately impact them, and yet are encouraged to vote on such issues anyway. Instead, people should have an absolute veto in regards to exactly those issues which negatively impact their rights—where they have both legitimate standing and a direct stake in the outcome. In other words, Unanimous Consent. That way, people don't need to be experts on everything, just those things which concern them. It would mean that politicians would need to work much harder at gaining consensus from everyone affected, rather than mere numerical superiority within a select group of so-called "representatives" who are rarely personally impacted by the bills they pass.

Re:wealthy funders can't be eliminated that way (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 2 months ago | (#47355085)

contrary to that tenement.

Not sure where slums fit into your argument, so I'm assuming you meant "tenet"....

Re:wealthy funders can't be eliminated that way (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about 2 months ago | (#47355785)

Well, the constitution guarantees equality and it is far easier for everyone to live in a tenement than a mansion.

Transcript Please (5, Insightful)

TheNastyInThePasty (2382648) | about 2 months ago | (#47353283)

Come on, guys. Post the damn transcript instead of a stupid video.

Re:Transcript Please (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | about 2 months ago | (#47353593)

I found instructions on how to get a transcript from the automatic closed captioning of YouTube videos. Unfortunately, the instructions are in a YouTube video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com]

Of course, I have no idea what they're using for the video hosting -- I just see 'Missing Plug-in'. The 'alternate link' tells me that I have to install Flash ... like hell I will.

Re:Transcript Please (2)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 2 months ago | (#47353789)

Below the video is a button that it says "Hide/Show Transcript." Clicking on that shows me the transcript. Thinking it was something Firefoxy, I just tried it in Chrome and IE too.

Re:Transcript Please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47354065)

That link wasn't there initially. It was added a few minutes after the article was posted to the front page.

One Question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47353347)

Why should we expect you to be any different than all the other politicians?

Outspend the mega-corps? (1)

captaindomon (870655) | about 2 months ago | (#47353351)

So we're going to win against the mega-corporations by outspending them? The top five companies in the US alone bring in 1.4 trillion USD/year in revenue. It would take them less than two minutes to match this new, larger goal.

Re:Outspend the mega-corps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47353825)

It's true this appears to be a David vs Goliath situation, in terms of spending.
However, MayDay intend to be highly focused on electing candidates that support the constitutional amendment.
They're flying the x-wing fighter over the exhaust chute and dropping the warhead on a vulnerability of the current scheme of things. Difficult, but not impossible.

SlashTube? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47353383)

I don't come to /. to watch videos.

Hilarious Irony (0)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 months ago | (#47353543)

The front page of Mayday's site says in big, bold print:

Help us reduce the influence of money in politics!

Right above a big, red GIMMEMONIES! button.

That's funny.

What's hilarious are the 2 possible motivations I see: 1) they're actually trying to 'reduce the influence of money in poltiics...' by introducing a shit-ton of money into politics, or 2) they're fleecing suckers under false pretenses.

Maybe I just have a weird sense of humor.

Re:Hilarious Irony (4, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 months ago | (#47353643)

Why is it ironic? The whole point here is that money has undue influence in politics, so in order to effect political change (including the reduction of that influence!) you need money. It's trying to beat the system with the tools that are empowered by that system.

Re:Hilarious Irony (0)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 months ago | (#47353727)

It's ironic because their position seems deliberately contrary, and I find the result amusing.

It's trying to beat the system with the tools that are empowered by that system.

Colloquially known as "fighting fire with fire."

Which is also ironic.

Re:Hilarious Irony (3, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 months ago | (#47354007)

Not really. If you want to force someone to lay down their weapon, you'll have to use weapon yourself. If the one that they use happens to be the most efficient in the circumstances, then you'd do well to pick the same. It's not really ironic, it's just the way the world works.

Re:Hilarious Irony (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 months ago | (#47354139)

Yes, it is ironic.

Go to Google and search for "Define ironic"

Then read the, I think it was the second, definition.

It's almost verbatim the rationale I posted (better be, I C&P'd most of it).

You're entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts. Now please stop arguing about it, as you've succeeded in ruining the humor.

Re:Hilarious Irony (1)

Jahava (946858) | about 2 months ago | (#47355445)

Why is it ironic? The whole point here is that money has undue influence in politics, so in order to effect political change (including the reduction of that influence!) you need money. It's trying to beat the system with the tools that are empowered by that system.

This reminds me of Richard Stallman leveraging copyright law to essentially enforce restrictions on liberties traditionally associated with it (Copyleft [wikipedia.org] ).

It's the strength of a vested established system that is also its weakness: it's so strong that only thing that can defeat it is itself.

Re:Hilarious Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47355129)

Hence:

We are a crowdfunded Super PAC to end all Super PACs.
Ironic? Yes. Embrace the irony.

It isn't irony (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 2 months ago | (#47353557)

I would not call it ironic. I would say it recognizes the fact that money is necessary for effective speech (not money==speech as many misquote the decision to mean) and this PAC is trying to do the same thing that Citizens United did -- get a bunch of people together to pool their money for effective political speech.

I would call the attempt at stripping the rights of people to that freedom of association and speech using such a group to be hypocritical, not ironic. And I say the same thing about Move To Amend, where the specific goal is to remove the right to free speech from people they disagree with using the same tactics they allegedly disagree with.

Re:It isn't irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47353907)

Five million bucks is FAR from a shit-ton of money in a context where over a billion was spent on the last presidential election.
And, in fact, if their goals are reached they would obsolete themselves, and that's just fine with them.

It's not ironic at all, and while it recognizes that apparently Big money is necessary for effective speech _in_the_current_system_ they want to change that.

Elections in the U.K., while not perfectly democratic are starkly different because of serious limits on who can spend how much on elections.

Democracy, remember? That's what this is about. One person, one vote.
Eliminate corporate influence. The people who run corporations deserve no more vote than anyone else.

Re:It isn't irony (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 2 months ago | (#47354519)

Eliminate corporate influence. The people who run corporations deserve no more vote than anyone else.

They don't get "no more vote" than anyone else. And you're right, it isn't irony. I said that in the Subject.

WTFAYAWSIC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47353659)

who the fuck are you and why should i care?

Not encouraging (1)

DriedClexler (814907) | about 2 months ago | (#47353707)

So, not only did he dodge the hard questions (about the difficulty of getting money out of politics without silencing people who want to spread a message), he did it in the least accessible way!

Transcript?

Wealthy funders are holding our democracy hostage. (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 months ago | (#47353739)

Absolute nonsense! The voters voluntarily hand it to them on a silver platter. The power to render the money useless lies in your votes, not in legislation that will inevitably be corrupted by the same politicians that are owned. From their point of view, there is no reason to change anything. The present system has its rewards, and the voters are the only ones that can change that, but only if they desire it. Legislation is not a slippery slope, it's a cliff, and the lemmings are heading right for it.

5million? pocket change (2)

awoodby (118690) | about 2 months ago | (#47353777)

I don't see how their $5 million is even a drop in the bucket compared to the couple billion the big money donors will bring to field in the election. We can't fight them with money.

Re:5million? pocket change (1)

Roblimo (357) | about 2 months ago | (#47354573)

Yes, pocket change in a national election. But as Larry said, they're only trying to influence a few Congressional races this year, and more of them in 2016.

Why would Congressmen vote to end being bribed? (2)

maroberts (15852) | about 2 months ago | (#47353783)

It would be like turkeys voting for Thanksgiving.

The only way to end "big money" politics (3, Insightful)

netsavior (627338) | about 2 months ago | (#47353899)

The only way to stop Koch brothers and various BribeLaunderingPacs from throwng hundreds of millions of dollars at elections is for it to cease to be cost-effective to do so. The first time money doesn't make a difference, it will no longer be an issue. Free flow of information is a significant step.

300 million "average" people each donating as much as they possibly can afford, cannot even hope to match the BribePac power of a single Walton or Koch.

It is 100% fruitless to attempt to fight them on this arena, the only thing we can hope to do is defeat them with unlimited free press (via the internet)... which is a huge longshot, but at least it isn't mathematically impossible,

Re:The only way to end "big money" politics (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 2 months ago | (#47354055)

About 120M people will turn out to the polls in 2016.

With the Koch brothers combining for about .4BN in political contributions, each voter would have to pony up $3.50 or so to match them.

Re:The only way to end "big money" politics (0)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 months ago | (#47354847)

Unless you discount those voters who would already agree with the Koch brothers and not participate. that's likely 45% or better considering the divide in the country.

Plus, May Day is the wrong name for this. It reminds me of the communist celebration marking the start of first red scare in the US with the bloody Chicago strikes in which most communist countries parade around and celebrate. It took me a long while to figure out these guys weren't reliving the glory days of the Soviet Union. Not too many other people with half a clue would give them that much time or effort before dismissing them as some fringe communist platform worthy of being ignored until it appears they are doing something significant then actively fighting again.

These aren't stupid people so I'm wondering why they picked a name that could be (mis)interpreted like that.

Re:The only way to end "big money" politics (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about 2 months ago | (#47355181)

The name isn't "May Day", it's Mayday [wikipedia.org] .

Re:The only way to end "big money" politics (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 months ago | (#47355473)

Potato patahto. Tomato Tomahto.

People often say if it walks like duck, sounds like a duck, it might be a rabbit. Seriously, even if they spelled it Maeday, it would still stoke the similarities and memories. They would have been better off calling it the SOS PAC or something.

Here is another.. what is the difference between a lesbos and lesbian? [wikipedia.org] One is an island and the other is the people from that island. Yeah, even if you didn't, most people thought something else first.

Re:The only way to end "big money" politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47355891)

Their direct contributions are only a tiny fraction of their power. They wield cashflows and assets far larger than that, and have for decades, and can promise to continue to do so for decades. They can make or break the labor market in a major city in a Senator's home state. They can send millions in contracts to firms in the home state of another. They can alter global markets to influence people's opinions and emotions in favor of legislative agendas. The $400 million is just the tip of the iceberg.

Re:The only way to end "big money" politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47354741)

Fruitless? Maybe, but you got a better idea or should we just sit around and wait for things to change for us.

I donated money. I am doubtful of its effectiveness but if we don't try we'll never find out. Other than a fruitless attempt and some financial losses I don't see that much of a downside. Certainly a lot better than an armed revolution.

Re:The only way to end "big money" politics (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 2 months ago | (#47355103)

Interesting that you don't mention Bloomberg or any other of the left-leaning billionaires who are throwing money at politics....

Mayday.us Needs A Civics Lesson (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 months ago | (#47354001)

If these celebrities and other chuckleheads really want to fix the government, they should probably start by retaking freshman Civics and learning what sort of government the Constitution sets forth.

To wit - the word "democracy" appears at least 4 times on the main page, but the word "republic" doesn't even appear once.

Wow, what a misdirection. Thanks, Slashdot. (1)

macraig (621737) | about 2 months ago | (#47354617)

The title of this post was, "Lawrence Lessig Answers Your Questions...", but what we got in response was a trendy video interview with generalized responses, not the promised (or at least implied by past history) direct responses.

Is this all we can expect from this sort of post in the future? One more nail in Slashdot's coffin.

Did Larry Mis-speak? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47354815)

Discussing problems/differences for the US versus other governments in the world Larry says:

"Larry: Well, most other mature democracies are different in two really important ways: 1) They are parliaments. 2) They don’t have a First Amendment the way we do. Because they are parliaments, elections are not regular. So there is not a permanent campaign, there is a time when they govern, and the majority party actually can govern, and then there is an election. The election could be six weeks or two months or something like that. That’s a really important difference. And number two, no other country has interpreted their free speech provision to be as restrictive as our Supreme Court has interpreted ours." ....

The key part being: "...no other country has interpreted their free speech provision to be as restrictive as our Supreme Court has interpreted ours."...

I don't think the SCOTUS has taken a restrictive 1st amendment view, it seems more expansive that most other countries.

I am intrigued by the voucher idea. I'll need to think about it some more before I decided to commit. I like the thinking of getting the FEC out of how the money is spent and moving it directly to the people to decide where it goes. That part makes some sense to me as result, and is the type of innovative thinking with a market push on it.

The campaign all the time didn't always exist in the US. I'm 54 and can remember when candidates didn't run start running 2 years or more before an election. This chagne started with Jimmy Carter's run for the president where he started early, and is fueled by 24 hour news cycles among others. The money has gotten worse because government is so big, everybody is fighting over what it spends money on and how it regulates everything. It used to be government wasn't so big so that if they messed up they mostly left you alone, not you cannot escape so no wonder we are fighting about everything all the time.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>