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The Almighty Buck Politics

Lessig Launches a Super PAC To End All Super PACs 465

An anonymous reader writes "Lawrence Lessig has announced plans to kickstart a SuperPAC big enough to make it possible to win a Congress committed to fundamental reform by 2016. From the article: 'If you can’t beat them, join them. Then take them down from the inside. That’s the basic idea behind a super PAC launching Thursday that wants to destroy super PACs for good. The Mayday PAC, as it’s called, seeks to raise enough money to sway five House elections in 2014 and elect representatives who have committed to pressing for serious reform of the campaign finance system. If that endeavor—a sort of test case—is successful, the PAC will then try to raise an enormous amount of money for the 2016 cycle—enough, PAC organizers hope, to buy Congress."
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Lessig Launches a Super PAC To End All Super PACs

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  • by houstonbofh ( 602064 ) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @07:08PM (#46894929)
    What about all of the other things they will do? Unfortunately, everyone involved will have different ideas about what else is important. Just saying the word "abortion" will split most of the people who might contribute.
  • I signed up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whistlingtony ( 691548 ) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @07:11PM (#46894955)

    Lessig is amazing. I signed up. The question is, will all of you? Everyone here likes to complain about politics and politicians. Everyone agrees there's a problem. Here's a guy we know isn't bought trying to fix it. Put your money where your mouth is, or never open it again.

    It's really easy to complain and do nothing. It's really not that difficult to actually do something...

  • Re:what a waste (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Manfre ( 631065 ) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @07:12PM (#46894957) Homepage Journal

    Elections are bought. The general public doesn't have the same cash appeal as single, large sources of money. When properly bribed with campaign contributions, politicians will do what they were paid to do.

  • by whistlingtony ( 691548 ) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @07:13PM (#46894979)
    And here's a man trying to BUY THEM BACK. Get off your asses and HELP HIM.
  • by sir_eccles ( 1235902 ) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @07:14PM (#46894995)

    I'm not sure people realize how much money is needed.

  • by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @07:17PM (#46895039) Homepage

    Thatâ(TM)s the basic idea behind a super PAC launching Thursday that wants to destroy super PACs for good. The Mayday PAC, as itâ(TM)s called, seeks to raise enough money to sway five House elections in 2014 and elect representatives who have committed to pressing for serious reform of the campaign finance system.

    Is that the only issue that they will press for? Or will they also be required to support Lawrence's position on gun regulation, or any of his other issues? I am all for campaign finance reform and would happily give large to the cause, but I don't support everything Mr. Lessig does, and I'm not sure I believe he has the self-discipline to keep his other issues out of his PAC. I'd love to see five campaign finance reformers elected, but despite my respect for him, I would not want five Lawrence Lessig clones.

  • Soo... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by the_skywise ( 189793 ) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @07:18PM (#46895051)

    He's going to use the, so-called, corrupt system to change the laws to prevent himself from ever doing this again?

    I dunno... why not kickstart a super-PAC that would buy candidates that does something productive? Like hire candidates who will restore our rights per the 4th amendment, stop the drug war, stop punitive taxation...yadda, yadda...

    No no... gotta use the loophole to close the loophole..

  • by grimJester ( 890090 ) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @07:19PM (#46895061)
    Yes, the wealthy love their country more then the poor do, exactly proportionally to the wealth they have. One dollar, one vote!
  • by taustin ( 171655 ) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @07:20PM (#46895079) Homepage Journal

    Anybody who wants to ban corporate political speech needs to carefully study similar reforms in India, where about 1/3 of national political candidates are under criminal indictment (and 3% of sitting members of their congress) for campaign finance crimes. Despite what some will claim here, that is notand improvement.

    The problem isn't corporate money in campaign finances, the problem is stupid, lazy voters who can't be bothered to find out what or what they're voting for, and just doing what the Magic Box in their living room tells them to. And no amount of campaign finance reform will ever fix that.

  • by houstonbofh ( 602064 ) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @07:24PM (#46895119)

    The ONLY way to have serious reform that sticks is to...

    1) Make sure Clinton gets into office in 2016, ...

    If you really believe this is the answer, you are deluded. She is a machine politician all the way. Note that saw was Romney and McCane, so this is not partisan...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 01, 2014 @07:27PM (#46895151)

    Right, and HIS idea was the stupid one...

  • by houstonbofh ( 602064 ) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @07:28PM (#46895157)
    None, and that is his point. The majority can outspend them. Sam Walton got rich from lots of small contributions from the middle class.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 01, 2014 @07:35PM (#46895215)
    Sam Walton got rich because everybody's gotta buy toilet paper. You won't be able to tap that same reservoir of cash for political purposes. Billionaires are different, because when they finish buying toilet paper, they still have billions of dollars to buy a Congress.
  • by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 ) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @07:37PM (#46895235) Journal

    Right, and HIS idea was the stupid one...

    So what, you can work for money to give to people who screw you over at every turn, but you can't work to meet your needs directly without involving middle men? You can work for money to pay taxes to maintain the infrastructure you rely on, but you can't go work on that infrastructure without the guarantee of cash in your pocket, simply because it's important?

    You ever think maybe if you spent less time thinking about all the things that you're entitled to have delivered to you on a silver platter... ...and more time thinking about your natural right to get off your ass and go address the problems in your life directly without middle men barring the way... ... maybe, just maybe, you might be better off?

  • by machineghost ( 622031 ) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @07:48PM (#46895333)

    Then work on that problem: make people less gullible (if that's what you think all those proles really are).

    Of all the many stupid ideas that have been suggested in this discussion, that has to be the stupidest. Until we can engineer a massive virus that alters the DNA of everyone on the planet (or at least in the USA) good luck changing human nature.

  • by xevioso ( 598654 ) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @07:50PM (#46895357)

    She's gonna be president. Deal with it. She's going to slaughter any Democrat stupid enough to enter the primaries against her, and the teatard party is preparing to send out idiots like Rick "Hipster-Glasses" Perry and Rand Paul against her. Or maybe they might do something even sillier like have Jeb Bush run. That will be amusing.

    No, our next president is almost certainly going to be Clinton.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 01, 2014 @08:00PM (#46895433)

    it's long past time to give the Alternative Parties the same chance we've give the R&Ds for decades.

  • by pepty ( 1976012 ) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @08:30PM (#46895645)

    And here's a man trying to BUY THEM BACK. Get off your asses and HELP HIM.

    Problem is, it's only cheap to buy a congressman when there is no one opposing your point of view; the more opposition, the more expensive it gets. If they raise enough money to seriously threaten, say, 100 seats in congress, then the usual suspects will easily raise and spend twice as much to maintain the status quo.

  • by Todd Palin ( 1402501 ) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @08:35PM (#46895675)

    Imagine this: A poor person goes to an auction where they sell something that some rich people really want with the sole intent of taking it away from the rich people. The poor person claims to not really want the item, but only wants it so the rich people won't have it. What do you suppose will happen?

    What will happen is, the rich people will bid as much as they have to, knowing that the poor people just don't have enough money to win the auction.

    Who will win here? The congressional whores will be rolling in money, the poor will be poorer, and the rich will have exactly what they have always had.

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @08:47PM (#46895743)
    Primaries are virtually ignored. A few dollars in the right primary at the right time could screw everything up for the Koch's of the world. They're not Gods you know? The wealthy have screwed up before, and been turned on by their own before. That's how Roosevelt got his reforms through. It happened before, and It can happen again.
  • by TsuruchiBrian ( 2731979 ) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @08:50PM (#46895773)

    Yes Hillary Clinton is a liar.... But Benghazi? seriously? If ever there was an example of republicans trying to make a controversy out of essentially nothing, this is it.

    One of the most corrupt administrations in US history? You must have a very short attention span.

    I'm sure by the time we have another democrat president, that administration will be the most corrupt in US history. Have you ever heard of "The boy who cried wolf". These claims that the current administration is the most X in US history start to get pretty old especially when they are obviously false to anyone who has any sense of history.

    And I will state for the record that I am not a democrat.

  • by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 ) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @09:14PM (#46895933) Journal

    and I wish people would stop deluding themselves that it does. A bunch of untrained or moderately guys with AR-15s don't stand a chance against a modern military. That's sorta why we didn't lose in Iraq.

    Do you think members of the US military will follow orders to shoot their countrymen?

    The US government doesn't. That's why they made a treaty with Canada, that if Canada has a revolution, American solders will be sent to quell it, and if America has a revolution, Canadian solders will be sent to quell it.

    With the right indoctrination, you can teach a man that his enemy is not human. But most people don't like shooting their neighbours, and will go AWOL if you try to make them.

  • by thoth ( 7907 ) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @10:15PM (#46896221) Journal

    You are basically advocating violent overthrown of the government, a.k.a. treason - "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them..." which is NOT going to convince a lot of people to join your side. Sure, you'll get the retards but having them in charge after the overthrow, assuming it all works out, would be even worse.

    For all the flag-waving Constitution spouting anti-current-government rhetorical BS that gets thrown around here, you fundamentally can't have it both ways. You can't declare the Constitution perfect and the Founding Fathers all geniuses and things would be so much better if we'd just follow it to the letter, and ignore the fact that lobbyists and the money in politics and even political parties themselves were STUFF THEY DIDN'T FORSEE that is currently screwing things up. And the ugly truth is lobbyists have a first amendment right to advocate for their position - the fact they are better funded and more organized than a bunch of keyboard online ranting jihadists in their mom's basement isn't a fault of the system. The 1st Amendment says (paraphased) "Congress shall make no law abridging the right of the people to petition the government". Not "except the ones you don't agree with" or "except the ones with more money and organization" or "but not the people who do it professionally a.k.a. get paid a.k.a. lobbyists" or "not when their point of view makes me butthurt".

    Think of it this way, gun nuts: what if lobbyists defended their right to petition the government as much as gun-tards defend their 2nd Amendment right to bear arms?

    That is the ongoing clusterfuck of money in politics.

    So man up and organize, exactly like Lessig is trying to do. That's working WITH the system, which again so many radical-Republitardian-free-market-gun-flag-waving-freedom-liberty-self-reliance-antitax ooze out of their pores constantly. Except when they don't agree, THEN its OK to throw the whole thing out amirite? You get everything you want OR violent overthrow? Democracy ONLY serves your interests? Fuck you.

  • by stevedog ( 1867864 ) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @10:39PM (#46896355)
    Actually, the founding fathers did foresee this. The idea, per the Federalist Papers, was to maximize the involvement of special interests so that no one group would be able to gain dominance. This was one of the reasons why Washington opposed a 2-party system: he felt that it essentially consolidated everything down to a set of 2 special interests rather than a wide spread, which defeated the purpose. Presumably, though, that consolidation is the same thing that happens with super PACs vs. individual contributions, so while several founding fathers probably would've been in favor of super PACs too (given the power that comes along with them), that probably would not have included Washington, likely the most fair and certainly least power-seeking along them.
  • by houstonbofh ( 602064 ) on Friday May 02, 2014 @12:18AM (#46896731)
    She is what every she needs to be to get elected. Like far too many politicians.
  • by TotallyAmazed ( 556084 ) on Friday May 02, 2014 @12:46AM (#46896845)

    That's not what happens. Obviously you weren't in the military. Would soldiers be brought in to "quell rioting"? Sure, look at Katrina.

    Do you think many civilians would shoot at their own soldiers? I don't.

    What do you think would happen if american civilians fired on US soldiers?

    Here's a hint. Go look at ogrish. Anyone who was over there (Iraq, Afghanistan) knows we didn't fuck with anyone unless they shot at us first. (I was Army, not Blackwater.)

    Sure we'd probably extract to avoid a massacre. But you'd best believe if a squad member got hit the entire area will be "secured/suppressed" while we did CASEVAC.

  • by Burz ( 138833 ) on Friday May 02, 2014 @01:22AM (#46896975) Homepage Journal

    The wealthy will remain perfectly Free to shout from the street corner like everyone else. Giving huge sums of money to OTHER people for political speech is poisoning the political process.

    The public does not owe the wealthy large chunks of spectrum, airtime or even billboard space just because they have a lot of money on offer.

There's no future in time travel.