legal bribery

Justice Democrats - Democrats That Represent People, Not Corporations

Operation Democratic Backbone.

It’s time to face the facts: the Democratic Party is broken and the corporate, establishment wing of the party is responsible. Republicans now hold most state legislatures, most governorships, the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the presidency. So in 2018, hundreds of Justice Democrats will run a unified campaign to replace every corporate-backed member of Congress and rebuild the party from scratch. This is our plan:

Pass a constitutional amendment to put an end to Washington corruption and bring about election reform. Super PACs should be banned, private donations to politicians and campaigns should be banned, and a clean public financing system should be implemented to end the takeover of our government by corporations and billionaires. Americans deserve free and fair elections – free from the corruption of big money donors. The Supreme Court has effectively legalized bribery. It’s time for an Article 5 convention to take our democracy back from the brink of oligarchy. Prior to passing this amendment, all members of the Justice Party should reject billionaire and corporate donations when running for office to show the American people we don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk. Ranked choice voting should also be implemented to make smaller parties a viable option. All provisions of the voting rights act should be reinstated, and gerrymandering for partisan gain should be banned.

Re-regulate Wall Street and hold white-collar criminals accountable. Despite engaging in systemic fraud and causing a subprime mortgage meltdown and the great recession, you can count the people from Wall Street who are in prison for their crimes on one hand. It’s time to prosecute the criminals, bring back Glass-Steagall, and re-regulate Wall Street to prevent another crash. Prison is not just for the poor and the middle class anymore. We will have cops on Wall Street, not just Main Street.

End billionaire and corporate tax dodging, fix the system to benefit middle-class and poor people. Corporations dodge $450 billion a year in taxes by using offshore tax havens. We should end this injustice, as well as chain the capital gains tax to the income tax, increase the estate tax, and implement the Buffet rule so that no millionaire CEO pays less in taxes than his or her secretary. It’s time for a tax system that benefits the middle-class and the poor, and makes the top 1% and multinational corporations pay their fair share.

Defend free speech and expression. We support the right to express unpopular opinions without fear of censorship. We support free speech on college campuses. The marketplace of ideas should be embraced. A vibrant debate is healthy for democracy, and we should cherish our first amendment. We also support net neutrality for a free and open internet.

Oppose bigotry. We must speak out against racism, sexism, xenophobia, and all forms of bigotry. Non-discrimination protections that currently apply to race, religion, and gender should be expanded to include the LGBTQ community and the atheist community. Making all Americans equal is not asking for special privileges, it’s asking for the rule of law – justice and equality for all as outlined in the United States Constitution.

Make the minimum wage a living wage and tie it to inflation. This is about justice and basic human decency. If you work hard and you work full time you shouldn’t live in poverty.

Ensure universal healthcare as a right. The United States should catch up to every other modern nation and implement a single-payer, medicare-for-all system. There’s no reason we can’t be #1 in the world instead of #37. It’s time to end the destruction of American healthcare by rapacious, price gouging, for-profit, private health insurance middlemen.

Ensure universal education as a right. Educating the citizenry of a nation pays dividends in the long run, with the economy getting back much more than is initially put in. Crushing student debt for higher education would no longer burden young men and women trying to improve their lives through hard work. We should strive to have the best education system in the world.

End unnecessary wars and nation building. The United States maintains 800 military bases worldwide at a cost of $100 billion a year, this is money that can be spent at home creating jobs, rebuilding infrastructure, and investing in the future of the people. The disastrous war in Iraq cost trillions, the war in Afghanistan is 15 years in with no end in sight, and we’re currently bombing 7 different countries. We spend more on our military than the next 8 countries combined. Despite countless lives lost and destroyed, terrorism has only gotten worse. It’s time to end the wars and the perverse monetary-incentive structure that makes politicians flippant about sending young men and women to die. Unilateral U.S. military force should only be used as a last resort to defend the nation. The current budget could be cut drastically if we used our department of defense for what it was intended – defending us, instead of waging interventionist wars.

End the failed war on drugs. The goal is legalization, taxation, and regulation. Prohibition only makes drug cartels more powerful, increases crime, and makes drugs more dangerous due to lack of enforced safety standards. What you put in your body is your own business, and your right. A free society should allow individuals to make their own choices about their bodies. While most users are recreational and moderate, rehabilitation and treatment should be available for people struggling with addiction. Additionally, those serving time for non-violent drug offenses should be pardoned.

Create the new new deal. Our infrastructure gets a grade of D from the Society of Civil Engineers. The government should invest billions in rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, schools, levees, airports etc. There’s no reason why we can’t have the world’s #1 infrastructure.

Create the renewable energy revolution. Scientists are sounding the alarm on climate change. In order to avoid the worst case scenario and a dystopian future we need a massive green revolution. It’s time to drastically and immediately move away from fossil fuels and develop the technologies of the future. This will be a giant boon to both the private and public sector, as well as a necessary response to a global crisis. We can and we must be #1 in sustainable energy production in the world.

Block the TPP and all outsourcing deals that will further damage the middle-class. As a result of NAFTA, CAFTA, PNTR with China and the WTO, Americans have lost millions of decent paying jobs. It’s time to end the race to the bottom and renegotiate these rigged deals that only benefit elites. We should not sacrifice our sovereignty, the only people who are allowed to make laws for the United States should be the American people, not multinational corporations.

End Constitutional overreaches. Ban the NSA from bulk data-collection and warrantless spying. Shut down Guantanamo Bay and all extrajudicial prisons. Prosecute torturers and those who violated the Geneva Conventions, Nuremberg Tribunal, International law and US law. Return habeas corpus and due process. Pardon whistleblowers like Edward Snowden. We shouldn’t be leading from behind on human rights, we must be the home of liberty. We should practice the values we preach.

Ban arming human rights violators. We recently gave Saudi Arabia billions in weapons and watched the civilian death toll in their vicious bombing campaign in Yemen tick up. We continue sending Egypt arms as they violently crack down on peaceful protesters. Israel received $38 billion in aid and promptly announced new settlements. The first step to peace is not enabling nations who regularly violate international law. We must be bold enough to stand up to human rights violators who aren’t just our enemies, but our allies. We don’t weaken our allies by holding them accountable, we strengthen them.

Enact common-sense gun regulation. 92% of Americans want expanded background checks, 54% want a ban on assault weapons, and 54% want a ban on high capacity magazines. This should be implemented along with a federal gun buyback program to cut down on the 300+ million firearms in circulation. Over 30,000 Americans die every year from gun violence, including over 10,000 homicides. The time to act is now to address this public health crisis.

Ensure paid vacation time, sick time, maternity leave, childcare. The United States is one of just three countries in the world that doesn’t offer paid maternity leave, the others being Oman and Papua New Guinea. We are the only industrialized nation that doesn’t offer paid vacation time. This should be changed immediately.

Abolish the death penalty. Humans are fallible, we’ll never get the right answer 100% of the time. 4% of the people on death row are not guilty of a crime and have been wrongly convicted. A system that puts innocent people to death is indefensible and should be reformed. We want justice for the American people but killing innocent people on death row is the exact opposite.

Defend and protect women’s rights. We support the Paycheck Fairness Act. We oppose Republican cuts to Planned Parenthood and women’s health clinics all across the country. In 2016 alone, 60 TRAP laws targeting abortion were passed in 19 states. We will vigorously oppose all efforts to dismantle reproductive rights.

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If campaign ads were honest.

Actually if you think about it, its just the opposite. It means fewer people would be on insurance actually, if…in the end…if there were…more people there they’d be under Medicaid. It’s not a, for us, it has no decision one way or the other.
—  Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s incomprehensible wordslaw response to allegations that he rejected federal Medicaid funding to benefit donors in the insurance industry.
DNC Overturns Obama’s Ban on Big-Money PAC Donations

It has come to light in recent days that the Democratic National Committee has reversed a policy Obama implemented as the party’s nominee in 2008, which banned federal lobbyists and political action committees (PACs) from donating to the DNC. The change was made months ago in relative secrecy. Not only are they open to accepting these big-money donations, they have hired a finance director specifically to seek this money out.

Mark Paustenbach, deputy communications director for the DNC, said that the change was made in order to fund the 2016 election.

“The DNC’s recent change in guidelines will ensure that we continue to have the resources and infrastructure in place to best support whoever emerges as our eventual nominee. […] Electing a Democrat to the White House is vital to building on the progress we’ve made over the last seven years…”

The Republican National Committee does not restrict lobbyist or PAC donations, but the narrative that Democrats would like people to believe is that there is a difference between the parties when it comes to campaign finance and the corrupting influence of big money in politics. This has been a major topic in the debates between Hillary Clinton, who welcomes large donations from Super-PACs, and Bernie Sanders, who expressly does not.

This policy reversal from the DNC demonstrates that the Democratic party is just as willing as the Republicans to accept what many consider to be legal bribery, though this is not news. There is a stark difference, however, in how DNC money has been benefitting the Democratic candidates.

“Clinton…has set up a joint fundraising committee with the DNC called the Hillary Victory Fund, which raised $26.9 million through the end of 2015. Sanders has set up a similar joint fundraising committee but Federal Election Commission records show it has not been active, raising a total of just $1,000.”

It seems like remarkably bad timing, considering how big of a topic this is, both generally and between the candidates themselves, that this policy change would be made now. While Clinton will clearly benefit from the funds in the short term, it seems likely that Bernie will benefit in the long run by further being able to demonstrate the differences between their campaign fundraising methods and the political implications involved.

Even without Super-PAC money, Bernie out-fundraised Hillary in January by $5,000,000. In the 24-hours after his landslide win in the New Hampshire primary, Bernie raised $6,400,000 with an average contribution of $34. He will have no problem raising money throughout this campaign by relying on average, individual voters who believe in the goal and principle of getting big money out of politics.