[EM] Democracy

Juho Laatu juho4880 at yahoo.co.uk
Fri Mar 27 16:16:56 PDT 2009

Yes, direct dependency on money and
the donors to become elected may be
one of the key problems here. (Other
interesting areas areas of study
could be e.g. human interests and
weaknesses.) There are many approaches
and tricks one could use to reduce the
money related dependencies but maybe
there is plenty of money available for
promoting viewpoints and candidates
that do not promote such viewpoints
:-). It is also true that in general
representatives (or officials) often
do not promote changes to rules that
lifted them to where they are today.
Awareness of the weaknesses of the
system (and the better future) may
however lead to improvements one day,
so keep up building the understanding
and awareness..


--- On Fri, 27/3/09, Don & Cathy Hoffard <dchoffard at verizon.net> wrote:

> The first amendment includes freedom
> of speech and freedom to assemble and
> are very important components in a democratic society.
> The Supreme Court has defined freedom of assemble to mean
> (or include)
> freedom of association and is the right of individuals to
> form a group or
> organization and to allow them to promote their common
> interest.  How does
> this relate to democracy?  This freedom includes the
> right of individuals to
> form political parties. Thus the constitution did
> indirectly addressed the
> existence of political parties. Political parties have a
> right under the
> U.S. Constitution to form an association, to assemble
> (conventions), to
> select a candidate, and to promote that person for public
> office (assuming
> that public office is elected).  You cannot take that
> right away from them.
> You may not like political parties or "partisan politics"
> but I would hope
> that you would support a person's individual freedom as
> defined under the
> first amendment.  They are called "political party"
> but really what they are
> is a group of individuals supporting and promoting a common
> interest.   I
> strongly support an individual's first amendment right to
> assemble. That
> includes the Communist Party, Socialist Party, and the
> Worker's Party. That
> being said, there are some operational things (not their
> actual existence)
> that I do not like about political parties (perhaps, too
> numerous to go into
> here).
> Interest groups are also protected under the first
> amendment. They also have
> a right to organize and to promote their common
> interest.  I think everyone
> would agree that they are included under the freedom of
> association (well at
> least the U.S. Supreme Court does).  Let me say,
> first, something nice about
> interest groups.  Most Congressmen (or Congresswomen)
> are lawyers, which is
> an ok profession for a person making laws. But some of
> those laws relate to,
> for example, nation healthcare, which most congressperson
> don't know squat
> about.  Before passing a law, I would hope my
> congressman would seek the
> advice of those knowing something about the healthcare
> industry.  For
> example, nurses, doctors, hospital administrators,
> insurance companies, etc.
> and even those receive health care.  I would hope that
> he (in my case) would
> listen to all interested parties ("Interest Groups") and
> then make the law
> in the best interest of the nation.  I think interest
> groups do provide a
> value service in our democracy and they do have a right to
> promote their
> common interest as defined under the first amendment.
> The next democratic principle include free speech. 
> Political campaigning is
> a form of speech and is thus protected under the first
> amendment.  A
> candidate is free to speak in support of his/her election
> and free to
> criticize his/her opponent. The courts have been "freer" in
> this type of
> free speech than other types of speech (even allowing half
> truths, lying
> about yourself, lying about your opponent).  There is,
> perhaps, a good
> reason for this "freer speech", because you do not want the
> courts deciding
> (campaigning) in behalf of one candidate over other. In
> general the general
> public has not wanted political speech filtered and have
> concluded that it
> should be left up to the voters to judge the truthfulness
> of the candidates.
> If you think it should be filtered then who do you think
> should do the
> filtering?
> I have no problem with political parties, interest groups
> (or even
> campaigning). Most entities (and candidates) get their
> "Political Power"
> primarily from money. Entities do get some of their "Power"
> based on their
> expertise, which I think is clearly appropriate.  Do
> you think that the
> National Rifle Association would have any clout if they
> could not make
> contributions to candidates?  I think our democracy is
> really up for sale to
> the highest bidder. The problem we have is that the U.S.
> Supreme Court has,
> in general, said that "money is a form of free
> speech".  There is clearly a
> trade-off between free speech (money) and voting rights
> (the concept of one
> man-one vote). (see articles below). I come down on the
> side of voting
> rights and that money is not really free speech.  For
> example let us say we
> have an auditorium filled with 10,000 people and we say
> that anyone is free
> to speak their mind from the floor at anytime. But there
> are a few who can
> afford a microphone with a load speaker and are given
> access to the stage.
> The question I would ask, is that really "free speech" for
> everyone? In
> effect if you have the money you have a lot more free
> speech and can be
> heard, but if you do not have the money you can speak all
> you want but no
> one will be able to hear you.  Also, if you make a
> 5,000 dollars
> contribution to a candidate you are in effect voting 51
> times (assuming you
> actually did vote).  You could do a statistical
> analyses to determine how
> many additional votes 5,000 dollars would generate.. 
> (I am assuming $100 = 1
> vote).  I'm sure most interest groups have a good idea
> on how many votes
> their money will buy.  Money clearly buys votes, i.e.
> you can vote as many
> times as you can afford. It is clearly not right that
> someone would have 51
> votes and others only 1 vote. I thought that the concept of
> "One man-One
> vote" was the foundation of our democracy.
> Don Hoffard
> "So Much for Free Speech" by Robert J. Samuelson
> http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A30280-2004Aug24.html
> "We've arrived at this juncture because it's logically
> impossible both to
> honor the First Amendment and to regulate campaign finance
> effectively. We
> can do one or the other -- but not both." But the court has
> rejected limits
> on overall campaign spending by candidates, parties or
> groups. Limiting
> spending, the court says, would violate free speech."
> Claremont Institute - by Tom West
> http://www.claremont.org/publications/pubid..323/pub_detail.asp
> On the subject of Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002.
> "Imagine the shock of the Founders if they were here to see
> that government
> was heavily into the business of banning private citizens
> from pooling their
> fortunes to publicize their opinions about candidates for
> elections"
> National Voting Rights Institute - by John Bonifaz
> http://www.nvri.org/updates/winter_2003/newsletter_winter03_message.html
> "...we will continue to press forward with our work across
> the country
> challenging the current campaign finance system as a
> barrier to our
> democracy..."
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