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Above: Lake Geneva, Switzerland. At Montreux.

Fodderize v.t. 1. To break down individual components; to make fungible; to disregard difference; to render one easily substituted for another 2. To impose sub-quality goods or services upon, with little recourse 3. To cap role choices, hinder access to resources regardless of merit, and so avoid competition 4. To manage perception by propaganda-spin techniques, while concealing dispositive facts 5. To manipulate, lure, exploit, deceive

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Explore Election Finance: If You Can Vote, You Can Give. Humans Only.

Dear Supreme Court:
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Re: Campaign Finance, First Amendment, and Corporations.
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Approach from a different angle.
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Make Qualification to Vote (being Human)
the Qualification to Contribute.
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Period.
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Only humans can vote, only humans can contribute.
Corporations have no standing.
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Campaign finance laws are again at the fore. Who can contribute, and how much. Corporations as "legal persons" want in. Here come the robots wanting a place at the table. What would Lincoln, the simplifier, do?


1. Why not reframe and simplify the issue.

Provide that only those who are qualified to vote can contribute to campaigns. Period. New rule.

Only human people can vote:  not "legal persons" (corporations) who have no need to breathe, for healthcare, for shelter, for clothing, for transportation to employment, for food (except cash), for education. They just have a want - for profit.

Humans, therefore, who have those needs, and who are therefore qualified to vote, can give all they want from their own war-chests. Children also are human. Let them participate. Needs now, vote later. Still qualified.
  • Named individuals, not "corporations." This builds in helpful accountability, and transparency about where the money is coming from, what interests are revved up, while preserving each qualified human's first amendment rights. If more money is contributed than the person declared as income, the IRS will be happy to investigate.
  • "Humans". That is what governments and governing is supposed to be about. Humans with needs and feelings, pursuit of happiness in mind. Without that humans-only provision, if corporations can give directly on their own behalf, imagine the tax-fogged dollars to be unleashed for persuasion purposes for their profit only. Off-shore accounts, man your battle stations. A tsunami of propaganda and ads from sources unknown, and opinion churning, all now to displace even more of our endangered fact-challenged ersatz news. Let the entertainment begin and the barbs fly. And get that emotional commitment from the base by the most effective PR techniques, before the information can get out in a neutral way. We have too much of that already.

At least, if vast amounts are to fly, let us see whose individual interest is footing the bill; how much; and since the campaign contribution will not be not tax-deductible, it is from the after-tax income of the contributor.

Money is inherently dangerous, thus requiring strict scrutiny as to its disposition.
    2. Add more.
    • Contributions are gifts for tax purposes. Add that the gift tax laws apply to all campaign contributions. It is a gift, after all. That way, there are limits to the amount that can be gifted, before other consequences are triggered. Fine. The gift must be complete in order to be "contributed" - no loans to self. No loans. No returns. FN 2
    • The gift must be a gift. Add that the donor has to complete the gift, out of his or her power of disposition, complete transfer no strings, no getting it back, as of the election day itself. To be worked out. 
    • Time, place and manner. There are time, place and manner restrictions available to any first amendment issue. Here, the manner of the speech - campaign contribution money - is to be off limits to corporations as a matter of public policy. 
    • The value of gifts (services, things) to campaigns - to be worked out - same as cash? rule it out? Or tax those gifts as gifts. Income to recipient once certain threshhold is passed. What is that now - $12,000? Debate at next Town Hall. Ideas welcome, shouters not. Another "manner" restriction applies there.
    3. Review: Blood in your veins? Human? Pay all you like.

    No blood in your veins? Talk through individuals willing to front you.  The robot's manner of speech shall not be cash, however. What if the CEO pays for an ad personally? Fine.

    Work with us here. We are scheduling Town Halls.  No one source has all the answers.  List what you like and what you don't, state your facts, and we can discuss. Now, that's community organizing.

    We like:  Names names in donor lists, so that other voters can see what is being bought, or seeking to purchase.

    Must there be a limit on what an individual can contribute? So far, we think not. The funds contributed would not be tax deductible, and subject to gift tax, so what is the problem. The person can give to the limit of the annual gift exclusion, of course, without problem.

    Harry X contributes 6 million, that is Harry's decision. Voters see it, and call out loudly, "Vote buying!" And many Americans would see that as unsavory, but legal, and vote their own way.

    4. The case is Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission is scheduled for argument before the Supreme Court on September 9, 2009. See overview at the nonpartisan Democracy 21, at ://www.democracy21.org/index.asp?Type=B_PR&SEC={91FCB139-CC82-4DDD-AE4E-3A81E6427C7F}&DE={4EE9C146-F0EA-4DF7-9D32-33721209523C}/

    The issue has been up before, with different focus points:
    • In 1990, the Supreme Court agreed that a state can bar a corporation from buying ads to support a candidate. The "immense wealth" of the corporation was noted.
    • In 2003, it upheld the McCain Feingold Act banning corporate or union ads that endorse or attack a candidate. Start with background at http://www.brennancenter.org/content/resource/still_awash_in_cash/, an article from NYU's Brennan Center for Justice, Still Awash in Cash.
    Does this get us out of the woods? FN 1

    Work with us on this. We are scheduling Town Meetings. Ask, and we'll talk. No one source has all the answers. If you like something, we'll list it.  If you don't, we'll list it also. We can work with your ideas. That is what community organizers do, and very well.
    ...........................................

    FN 1 "Soto" means grove, forest, in Spanish. See ://genealogy.about.com/library/surnames/s/bl_name-SOTO.htm/ Sotomayor would mean a big forest.

    Somebody, then, who lived near or in such grove. Now, The Bronx comes from the one Jonas Bronck's homestead, past where the Indians forded the river (Fordham), and the Dutch authorities and the Native Americans entered into a treaty for the safety of the area, and we know this area as The Bronx. His nationality is subject to various interpretations, from German to Swedish, to Faroe Islands, see Brian G. Andersson at ://genealogy.about.com/library/surnames/s/bl_name-SOTO.htm/ Melting pot. All this is to show that she can indeed show us through the woods because she is also a melting pot. As are we all. And Greenwich, of course, sets the standard for time. It is time.

    Can she lead us out of the woods on this one? Knock on....

    Gavel. Right to contribute depends on right to vote - Only humans need apply.

    Next case?

    ........................................
    Links: Plank: Standing Requirement; further option - Campaign Contributions by Donor to Campaign of Donor to be Taxed as Gift; Loans by Donor to Campaign of Donor to be Taxed as Gifts

    Thursday, August 6, 2009

    Political Disruptive Behavior Disorder: Chronic Child-like Patterns of Breaking Rules

    Oppositional Behavior -
    Learned Tantrums and Scripts on the Hustings.
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    Seen:  Disruption of mass gatherings.  Free speech asserted by one group, impinges on the free speech of others. What does the Constitution require as to behavior fostering a democracy, or trashing it. Anything?   A nation of Tantrumic Adults, acting in ways they never let their children do, and who are those who set them in motion. Or is one person's Obstructionism another's mere Demonstration
    .
    Coping with disruptive behavior is part of any parenting. But when does an entire culture have to have parenting. Our culture applies the concept of measuring pathological disruption readily to children. Time to apply it to adults.

    But who will  bell the destructive cats, and would we get the right ones.

    Reread a familiar tale about that. See Migratory Patterns of  Cultural Tales: Who Will Bell the Cat - Piers Plowman.

    Is it best, as Piers Plowman's wise mouse advised, to let the destructive cats run their course, better to live with it and absorb the damage. Better that, than risk the consequences of a forced stop by new laws. Limiting behavior with new laws sets the stage for limiting our own, and for the law of unintended consequences. See ://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/UnintendedConsequences.html. It's a bet.  Will truth out, and in time. What is whose truth and why. So, no focusing on content; focus on behavior.

    Are we ready to confront on behavior of our peers. When do we open our eyes that we may see, and apply the disruption pathology syndrome to the parents and grandparents, any adults. Did they tolerate it in their kids. Should we tolerate it in them, particularly adults acting out in the political arena in ways that destroy a process - not just against routine rules of home and school. Were they raised so strictly that they are only now finding fun and socializing in rebellion and fostering violence in the less hinged, like gangs. Gang mentality in our seniors, our "mature" adults..

    CHUCKY!

    NO! NO!

    Enter, Hollywood. Is this getting like Chucky. Child's Play. See ://www.reelfilm.com/chldplay.htm/ All grown up.

    Ordinary (but all pale) looking people, turning (or turned?) ugly and against anyone in their way. Our grandparents, for heaven's sake. If we would not permit children to act this way, why do we tolerate it in their parents and grandparents? Are they responding to emotional lures as though they were children,or does the technique advance democracy's ideals? What is so? Analyze along.
    • At issue here: First, the discussion of the disorder, usually applicable to children. Look up DSM IV Conduct Disorder at ://www.behavenet.com/capsules/disorders/cndctd.htm; and DSM-IV Oppositional Defiant Disorder at http://www.behavenet.com/capsules/disorders/odd.htm/ Diagnostic Statistical Manual.
    • Second, its current spread among adults. Is teaching and fostering this disruption now the mode of non-discourse of choice, for an entire political party. Skip democracy, think they We just might not win for ourselves if other people are allowed to think.
    What got us started: The trigger: We see nightly film and coverage of disruptive behavior by busloads of seniors (it looks like). How complete is the information they are acting upon? Why the rudeness, the frenzy, the joy in doing "it" - breaking every rule of social decent behavior they were probably once taught. Is the behavior fostered by organizers feeding selective and emotion-hooking viewpoints to them, instructing as to the behaviors desired, and busing them places (they pay their way, we believe, just get the organizer convenience of what bus to take where and when) and turning them loose.
    .
    Our conclusion will be something like this, probably, but possibly not::
    .
    That adult political disruptive behavior may be either

    a) a genuine reaction against perceived threat to wellbeing, to status, to care. Or, it may be

    b) orchestrated so the reaction methodology is taught. And the perception falsely implanted, without the facts supporting it as a total picture.

    Is the disruption instigated in those ways, by intentional organizers, whose goal is to disrupt, and not discuss or merely demonstrate; and have they found a vulnerable group, willing to follow a frenzy.

    This adult behavior, by instigators or followers showing tantrum-like behavior in public, acting like unruly children even, has risen in this "democracy" to the level of a disorder. Can we examine the childhood disorder and learn from it as to the adults it now afflicts. How about the organizers. This activity is mustering "mob" behavior, not "support." It is tantrum time in the political supermarket.
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    What coping mechanisms can affect the disorder positively, so discussion can resume. Anything? In adults, perhaps nothing.
    .
    .
    Is this hopeless? Are we too far gone in disrespect, in dissing, in allowing our democracy to be highjacked by the loud, the repetitive, and applauding it and rewarding it with media coverage. Too much money to be made in showing the entertainment of it all, using it to create issues. Show tolerance of it and promote it by giving it air time. So, Probably.
    .
    It works. Media, congratulations. You play a part. Your coverage without analyzing who these folks are, what their understandings are, who told them so, who taught them, leads us on. Politicos, ditto. Your distortive talking points, carefully taught with the skills to disrupt so ordinary old people hop on buses and do it, works. The vulnerable, led by the devious? Or voters, acting on their own?
    ...................................................................
    .
    I. The Behavior Disorder
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    A. In the child - the usual frame of reference

    .
    Take the child, age two or three. Please. Or the adolescent, in early teens and older. Disruptive. Oppositional. Gainsay. Quaint. Normal, to a degree, in the young, where the syndrome is most studied. We smile indulgently at the "terrible two's".
    .
    When the child or youth oppositional behavior becomes a pattern, however, it can signify a mental disorder. See Disruptive Behavior Disorder at ://www.mhawestchester.org/diagnosechild/cbehavior.asp/. The disorders come in three flavors - 1) the familiar ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder/; then 2) the Oppositional Defiant Disorder; then 3) the Conduct Disorder. Go to the site, click on them, and read.
    .
    B. The types
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    1. ADHD - this one already has plenty of publicity through school and child development research, so we are not focusing on it here. It may have relevance to political acting out, but perhaps not. Go to the Diagnose Child site and click
    .
    2. Oppositional Defiant Disorder
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    You defy the authority of parent, school, other in charge. Argue. Refuse to obey. Basic rules are out there for decent, constructive behavior. You ignore them all and do the opposite. Take no responsibility for your own mistakes or even your bad behavior. You resent, resent, resent, and look for revenge. You have tantrums. Regularly.
    .
    3. Conduct Disorder
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    You defy the rules of the society. You are aggressive to the degree that you threaten, or even harm, people or animals. You destroy property by your behavior. You bully. Lie. You even steal. Your violations of rules are serious.
    .
    As to children, there are named clinical possible causes of these syndromes. Neglect, rejection, all that. Many possibles. Neurological perhaps in many. The diagnoses is not just in the United States. See Britain's overview at ://www.psychnet-uk.com/dsm_iv/disruptive_behavior_disorder.htm/ The focus remains on school-age children, however, see ://childparenting.about.com/cs/disorders/a/disruptivebehav.htm/
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    4. Coping strategies. What do simple folk do?

    .
    Think of the tantrum-ridden child or teen. What to do. See How to Handle Your Child, at ://childparenting.about.com/od/disruptivebehaviorproblem/a/disruptivebehav.htmt/ Rats. It takes ongoing supervision by someone who establishes a relationship with the child. No fast answers.
    .
    But the supervision doesn't have to be the parent 24/7, "These kids enjoy making you mad and they are good at it." Says the article. Adults: "maintain an emotionally neutral stance when giving instructions or consequences." Obama in the living room? Things escalate, can even get violent, if the parent or other adult cannot control their own emotions. Find something good to say about the child - some inroad to some positive aspect of the relationship.
    .
    And have outlets. You will need it. Tantrums anywhere are a nightmare, and people do cave in.
    The role of discipline? Be careful here. No heavy hand. Give effective consequences. No willy-nilly slap-down. Click and see how at the site. See Discipline Tips for Parents, at ://childparenting.about.com/od/disciplinetipsandadvice/Discipline_Tips_for_Parents.htm/ Then be sure your instructions are clear and also effective - and how to do that - see ://childparenting.about.com/od/disciplinetipsandadvice/ht/htinstructkids.htm

    Now - how to address the tantrumic adults on the loose. Does any of this stuff as to coping with kids apply to grandma amok?
    .
    B. The Adult Behaviorally Disordered

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    .
    1. Will any of that work with the political mobs disrupting people's speech and stopping it, not just demonstrating their own view in reasonable turn.

    We have always had time, place and manner restrictions that constitutionally apply to first amendment free speech rights - what can be fashioned here so everyone can talk, in turn.

    Probably nothing. Look at the people breaking civilization's most basic rules for communities that need to live with one another. Have they resorted to killing off the opposition, in a sense. Have they chosen to allow themselves to be taught the behaviors; but, to be fair, their emotions were engaged by the persuaders before they were allowed the facts, so they are victims in that narrow sense. They are being used as tools. Is that so?
    .
    It is noticeable that these are elders out there - at least on my TV. Somebody else look into that. How representative are they - and do they realize that their medicare is, well, another topic.
    .
    So, ask: What about adults displaying Oppositional Defiant Disorder as to the place where they are - blooming where you are planted. The community. What about adults displaying Conduct Disorder. In the society at large, not just the community where they live. Are they just the disordered kids grown big? That doesn't sound reasonable.
    .
    So, have they been taught? By whom? And why were they so susceptible to learning how, and doing the totally disruptive, oppositional behaviors, simply seeking to stop someone else, not address an issue as a problem to be solved where they may have had some helplful input. How were their heads highjacked into kamikaze mode.
    .
    People can be carefully taught. Look up all the propaganda techniques out there, see as a start, ://www.propagandacritic.com/. Since the earliest 1900's, even before, the persuasion machines have been honing their skills.
    .
    2. Obstructionism vs. Demonstration.
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    How is a group mustered specifically for mob-behavior activity, to disrupt and even stop the other side from presenting its case, different from a group mustered to demonstrate its position, even obtrusively, but allowing the other side to present its case.
    .
    Night and day.
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    A group mustered for support is a group educated by facts about various viewpoints, so the group can and does positively show its choice. It does not focus on simply stopping whatever the other side is saying. It is fear-based. Lash to the masts. We dare not listen lest the siren call prevail and we be dashed.
    .
    A group mustered for mob is persuaded by emotion-laden propaganda, selective information, so the group will disrupt anything in the way of it. It is not hard to muster a mob. Propaganda and PR have done this for over a century as a business. But it is hard to stop. Rev people into action from a highjacked emotional core, without laying out the facts for them first for their own free choice, and weapons are loosed. Persuasion, propaganda, all technique.  See Communications, Persuasion, Propaganda.
    .
    Are those so?

    ,
    Philosophically, look to song. There is an old folksong that has, in its lyrics, as I recall, this line: The world is turning toward the morning. Here is your neighbor singing it: ://video.google.com/videosearch?q=turning+toward+the+morning&hl=en&emb=0&aq=0&oq=turning+toward#

    Is it? Have to look back at it in an hour or so. Right now, it looks turned inside out. Is that Gordon Bok? Will check. Lots of song references here.Yes - it is Gordon Bok, see http://sniff.numachi.com/pages/tiTURNMORN%3BttTURNMORN.html/ We like the Dallas Cline arrangements, ://www.folkcraft.com/1310035.html/ Singing. Now, that is civil discourse. Shall we require that all political commentary be in song, sung solo, one singer at a time?

    Now, back to how to deal with instructions....://childparenting.about.com/od/disciplinetipsandadvice/ht/htinstructkids.htm


    • Check out the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual DSM-IV as to Instigator, and Follower types.
    • Disruptive behavior. The techniques, the reasons. Town halls. Those who dream up how to stop the process. Roll out the tumbrels. Recreate Willie Horton and the preoccupation with one event as though it typifies a sinister whole.
    • Disorder. What is politics, and what is exploiting, even creating a mental disorder. We are used to current politics with the old propaganda, the old swiftboating (take one element of something and blow up and twist it until it looks like one of those animal balloon things, and say that is the truth of the element), but now we have it with mob rule at legislator discussions. Thought up, wound up and loosed by industry-political operatives, see that link explored at ://mediamatters.org/mmtv/200908040051. by Rachel Maddow. Later links, many other sources, but the point is not the tactic, but what the behavior says about the behavioror. This is a behavioral disorder, not a mere means of expression.  Seeing it legitimized on TV draws more disorderors to it. Is that so?
    When does disruption cross the line from normal, even useful and expected, behavior in limited situations (stop playing around and get off the tracks now), to a pattern, a bona fide disorder. There is a time and place for any "disruption." Look at context, rationality.  For any instigators, is this just a way to make a buck.  Is there commitment behind it.  For the followers, is this the way to approach community differences. Maybe so.

    Roots of disagreements.  Monstrous in the acting out.