Moyers & Company

Elections for Sale

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Get an early look at this week's Moyers & Company, in which Bill Moyers and Trevor Potter discuss how American elections are bought and sold, who covers the cost, and how the rest of us pay the price. A former chairman of the Federal Election Commission and founding president of the Campaign Legal Center, Potter was Stephen Colbert's chief advisor when Colbert formed his own super PAC and 501 (c)(4) in a clever effort to expose the potential for chicanery behind each.

"I can assure you that if someone is spending millions of dollars to elect the candidate, the candidate knows where that money is coming from. There's nothing illegal about telling them, but the voters aren't going to know that," Potter tells Bill on the program. "We're creating opportunities for corruption and candidates being beholden to specific private interests because of funding, yet there's no disclosure to the rest of us."

Also on the show, a Bill Moyers Essay on the bags of money that campaigns drop on consultants and TV ads to alter your point of view.

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This submission is in two parts. Here is part 1.

Here is an idea from outside: (President Obama has said he needs input from outside Congress in order to move our Country forward.)

First let me say that we citizens are disgusted with the performance of our Congress. Why? Because our government is broken! Almost no legislation has been passed this year. We citizens are ripe for a change to an effective form of government where filibusters play no part!

Some Politicians, and the wealthy in the United States, have vested interests in keeping United States citizens from knowing these many truths about Canada: Canada has a balanced economy, universal health care, an excellent educational system, low unemployment, a housing market that is booming, an infrastructure that is in good hands, and Canada’s legislators are not bought by money. Contrary to Americans, Canadians are proud of their government. We can have a government like Canada’s if we make the transition to a parliamentarian form of government!

Countries we helped get back on their feet after WWII chose to be governed as parliamentary democracies, rather than constitutional democracies--and they all govern effectively. Our founding fathers were involved in an experiment when they set up our democracy; what they wanted foremost was to avoid ever again suffering the abuses they had received from crazy King George III. So they set up our Constitutional Democracy where the power in our government would be balanced among the different branches. When they set up the checks and balances, they had not anticipated that our government would become controlled by those who can write the biggest checks because they have the largest bank balances! We, ourselves, cannot anticipate how the needs of citizens may change over the next 200 years. The best we can give those future citizens is the ability to change their government so they can meet the challenges they face. In like fashion, let us go about acquiring a form of government which will allow us to meet our own needs. Buggy whip legislation won’t do it then and it does not do it now!

We can make a peaceful transition to a parliamentary form of government. We can keep our Bill of Right and our Laws. The big change would be forming the Parliament from our House of Representatives and our Senate. We have a precedent for the form of our parliament. Our Electoral College, which actually decides who will become our President, consists of 435 representatives equal to the number of seats in our House of Representatives, plus 100 representatives equal to the number of seats in our Senate. There are three additional seats to represent the population in the District of Columbia—538 seats total. Each State at the present time has its own number of legislators in the two houses of Congress; each state can divide itself along natural lines into that same number of voting districts.

See Part 2


Part 2

This is how the Parliament is chosen in Canada: Within each voting district, candidates from various parties campaign for the district’s one seat in Parliament. The candidate who receives the largest number of votes takes the district’s one seat in the Parliament. The leader of the party with the most seats in Parliament becomes the Prime Minister. The other large change is the composition of the Prime Minister’s Cabinet. In Canada, members of the Cabinet are chosen from among the members voted into Parliament. This creates the situation where the Cabinet is responsible to the citizens. At the instant the transition takes place, persons employed by our government would continue in their jobs. (To learn more about Canada’s parliamentary system, and why we need this transition, consult the easy to read book Liberation for the Nation, by Myrna Shreve, published through Amazon Kindle; just 99 cents.)

To bring about a parliamentarian form of government for the United States, it will be necessary to vote an Amendment into Law. The Amendment I propose is this: Henceforth the United States of America shall be governed as the American Parliamentary Democracy. Legislators in the House and in the Senate would introduce a bill in each of their houses of Congress. Passage of the bills by 2/3rds of the members of each of the houses creates the Proposed Amendment. Wording for the Proposed Amendment then is submitted to each of the 50 States. Each State places a Proposition for Ratification upon its ballot. 50% of the persons, plus one additional person, voting yea passes ratification into the state’s laws. Thirty eight states voting ratification, gives passage of the Amendment.

You say, “Our Congressional legislators are not going to rally behind this transition in our government.” It is my belief they will, and this is why: We citizens will COMMAND this change!

Our Legislators will jump upon our bandwagon BEFORE the Presidential election because they see the ‘writing on the wall.’ They will pass the Bill because

• They believe the transition will be beneficial for our Country; they can see that it will become possible for needed legislation to be passed.
• They believe the transition has sufficient support. They will not want to jeopardize their careers by having their negative vote upon the Bill.
• They can see that if the Bill does not pass on the first try, citizens will continue pressing until it is passed.
• Maybe they do not wish for the Bill to pass, but they recognize that voting for the Bill is the right thing to do.

“Most of all, our legislators (and each of us as well), will vote for the Amendment, because they (and we) want to be able to congratulate themselves (ourselves) and proclaim

“The transition of our government to the American Parliamentary Democracy took place on my watch!”

“The transition took place on my watch!”

Respectfully submitted by
Myrna L. Shreve
Author of Liberation for the Nation

PS: Of course, the Prime Minister must be a person concerned with the welfare of the Nation and its citizens in order for corrections to be made to the political landscape. Roosevelt did not become Roosevelt until he was made to carry out the will of the people. Let us do the same for Obama. With Obama we can acquire the government we desire! With this one change to our Constitution we can soon reap the other changes we want, such as passage of the Jobs Bill and renewal of our infrastructure, removal of money from control of the political system, reform of the tax code, public option in health care, etc. We must COMMAND the changes we want!
Sincerely, Myrna Shreve