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Money and Speech are not the Same

This is a reblogged article Posted on  by Joshua Schwitzerlett

11Yesterday, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Elections Commission (McCutcheon) and decided to strike down the aggregate limits on campaign finance contributions. The reasoning, according to Justice John Roberts, who delivered the Court’s opinion along with Justices Scalia, Kennedy, and Alito, is that the right to spend money on elections is the same as the freedom to speak.

Justice Roberts is either naive or misguided and neither option is becoming of the nation’s highest legal authority.

The political landslide that has been won in the Court started with Citizens United, a case that, in the view of the nation, was horribly unpopular. This decision put the nation on a crash-course with the devastation that awaits unbridled and unchecked spending by corporations and private interests in our national discussions and elections.

In the words of the dissenting opinion in McCutcheon, delivered by Justice Breyer, along with Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan, “Taken together with Citizens United…, today’s decision eviscerates our Nation’s campaign finance laws, leaving a remnant incapable of dealing with the grave problems of democratic legitimacy that those laws were intended to resolve.”

But what does a world in which money is equitable with speech look like? It looks like billionaires being able to squelch out public opinion by flooding debates and elections in a never-ending escalation of rhetorical arms. It looks like a society where the right of the lowest and poorest to speak must be earned by hard labor, as are their meager wages. That’s the world Justice Roberts has set us on track to meet.

To get us there, he is also ignoring a history of corruption that led to the need for these campaign finance laws in the first place. Roberts seems to be persuaded that we live in a world where the corruption that is likely to occur involves massive transactions to single candidates in return for political favors and that the possibility of something more pervasive and sinister is improbable.

The problem, which Dahlia Lithwick hits on the head, is that the removal of aggregate limits may now make it where billionaires and corporations are capable of making every politician beholden to them, leaving no room for the common man to speak.

All credit to Joshua a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.


America Is No Longer For Sale: It’s Been Sold

11It used to be thought that America was for sale. Well, as a result of the Supreme Court ruling last week; what we see is that America has been sold. The “Citizens United” decision was one of the worst court decision rendered by any Supreme Court since the Dread Scott Decision. Make no mistake, when the ruling allows the richest people in America and in fact the world to spend unlimited amounts of money to fund a political candidate means – they can buy the government!

The Citizens United Supreme ruling says that corporations are viewed as people and have the right to contribute like a person. This ruling was unconscionable because it is a fact that corporations have far more resources to fund a candidate to support their interests than an individual. Oh, what they are saying is that a corporation is an individual! This was surely a huge gift for the Republicans because their souls rest with big business and their interests. Whereas, the fact is most people and individuals of the country cannot and are frozen out of the system and virtually silenced.

The recent McCutien court’s decision accomplishes exactly what the chief justice claims to abhor: it enhances the free speech rights of the wealthy and restricts the free speech rights of the many who cannot afford to donate millions. It gives clearance by law for a single person to give as much money as the want to anyone and how many candidates they want. For example, in the 2012 election cycle just about 600 people were able to give more money to candidates than 4.4 million of the rest of Americans.

This takes America back to the days of the Robber Barons of the beginning of the twentieth century when the richest people in America owned America. Laws were passed then to correct the inequities.  Accepting for the sake of argument that money is a form of free speech, the court ignored that our political representatives have only a finite amount of time and resources to respond to those of us who require their attention. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was wrong when he characterized the purpose of campaign finance laws as “to restrict the political participation of some in order to enhance the relative influence of others.”

Roberts’ view of the laws was enacted not to enhance the influence of some but to maintain the ability of the many to have their voices heard. What he is saying here is that a few can in influence the many with the power of the money in this age of media.

I’ll just say now we know what they mean when they say, “We the people” the people are talking about is the rich, and they create the means for them to get richer! The effects of what this court is doing will be devastating!!! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


The Urban Leagues State Of Black America 2014 Report

11WASHINGTON (AP) this article was taken from Huffpost speaking to the state of African-Americans and Latinos saying they are losing economic ground when compared with whites in the areas of employment and income as the United States pulls itself out of the Great Recession, the latest State of Black America report from the National Urban League says.

The annual report, called “One Nation Underemployed: Jobs Rebuild America,” noted that the underemployment rate for African-American workers was 20.5 percent, compared with 18.4 percent for Hispanic workers and 11.8 percent for white workers. Underemployment is defined as those who are jobless or working part-time jobs but desiring full-time work.

The report also said African-Americans are twice as likely as whites to be unemployed. The unemployment rate for blacks was 12 percent in February, compared with 5.8 percent for whites.

“Many Americans are being left behind, and that includes African-Americans and Latinos who are being disproportionately left behind by the job creation that we see,” National Urban League President Marc Morial said.

Despite the dismal numbers, an analysis by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found African-Americans significantly more optimistic about their future standard of living than whites, regardless of income level, education or partisanship. Overall, 71 percent of blacks surveyed in the 2012 General Social Survey agreed that they have a good chance of improving their standard of living, outpacing the share among whites by 25 percentage points.

The survey found high optimism even among blacks who say racism is a cause for economic inequality.

Such findings illustrate “a level of optimism in the African-American community and it’s important to lift that up,” said La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which released similar findings this week in separate research.

The National Urban League is pushing for several economic measures, including an increase in the minimum wage, an issue being debated in Congress. Democrats backed by President Barack Obama want to force election-year votes on gradually increasing today’s minimum to $10.10 by 2016, an effort that seems likely to fail in Congress. Republicans generally oppose the proposal, saying it would cost too many jobs.

“More must be done in post-recession America to try to help people and help communities close these gaps,” Morial said.

The National Urban League derives its numbers from an “equality index” that is based on nationally collected data from federal agencies including the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Center for Education Statistics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

With full equality with whites in economics, health, education, social justice and civic engagement set at 100 percent, the National Urban League said this year’s equality index for blacks stands at 71.2 percent, a slight improvement over last year’s index of 71.0 percent. However, the economic portion of the index dropped from 56.3 percent to 55.5 percent.

The equality index for Hispanics improved to 75.8 percent, compared with 74.6 percent last year, while the Hispanic economics index declined from 60.8 percent to 60.6 percent.

The report for the first time ranked large American cities from most equal to least equal when it comes to income equality and unemployment equality.

Memphis, Tenn., ranked the most equal for Hispanics when it came to unemployment equality, because in that city the Latino unemployment rate was only 3.8 percent, compared with a 6.5 percent unemployment rate for whites. For blacks, the Augusta-Richmond County, Ga., metropolitan area was most equal, with a 13.3 percent unemployment rate for blacks and an 8.5 percent unemployment rate for whites.

When it came to income, the most equal city for blacks was Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif., where the median black household income was $44,572, while the median white household brought in $57,252. For Hispanics, Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla., was most equal, with median Hispanic income of $39,434 and median white income of $44,014.

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Follow Jesse J. Holland on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/jessejholland

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AP-NORC Center report on the public mood:http://www.apnorc.org/projects/Pages/the-public-mood-white-malaise-but-optimism-among-blacks-hispanics.aspx

National Urban League: http://www.nul.org


The Misguided

th0I wrote a piece yesterday about the latest black face to evolves as, in my view, insane. I was simply shocked by some of the African American views of the reported and video statements made by this guy. One said, “why are you [meaning me] attach this man because he thinks differently?” Let me be clear that my article was only regurgitating what was said, which was Obama was turning America into “Nazi Germany”. Actually, I think any sane person would have to view this as insane. Ok, I digress!!!

Every so often some fool of color is found by the oppressor who is, frankly offensive, to wave the flag for their agenda. In fact, these people are a disgrace to all people of color. We know there have been many overtime and in most cases they cloaked themselves in the guise of a Reverend. The list is long misguided include the likes of Ward Connelly, Allen West, Allen Keys, Herman Cain, Clearance Thomas, and unfortunately the latest Ben Carson.

Not long ago this man Jesse Lee Peterson who is president and founder of The Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny (BOND), which is an American religious nonprofit organization dedicated to a conservative agenda. He is a Tea Party darling, which means he is a black man who’s sold his sold to the devil, which means – misguided. He has hosted a cable TV program and a syndicated radio talk show.

I had not heard of him and don’t usually pay much attention to folks of his ilk but after listening to him I was simply floored and embarrassed. Listening to him spew his venom had absolutely nothing to do with God or a ministry of any kind. But then the KKK burns crosses suggesting that their bigotry has something to do with God’s grace. It could be that his ministry is little more than a cult rather than a church. He gives credence to the term a sheep in wolves clothing.

I am going to be direct and to the point. For a black man in his middle sixties to have known segregation and racism to say he thanks “God and white people” for slavery. Adding, if it weren’t for the slave trade, blacks might have never made it to the promise land and described slave ships as akin to “being on a crowded airplane”. This is beyond insanity!!!

Another statement made is as troubling. He says women should not be allowed to vote:

“Women cannot handle power. It’s not in them to handle power in the right way. […] I think that one of the greatest mistakes America made was to allow women the opportunity to vote. We should’ve never turned this over to women. […] It was a big mistake. […] And these women are voting in the wrong people. They’re voting in people who are evil who agrees[sic] with them who’re gonna take us down this pathway of destruction. And this probably was the reason they didn’t allow women to vote when men were men. Because men in the good old days understood the nature of the woman. They were not afraid to deal with it. And they understood that, you let them take over, this is what would happen.”

Peterson once established an annual “National Day of Repudiation of Jesse Jackson” event that was held on a street corner outside his offices in Los Angeles, which received no public attention outside of conservative media. On September 21, 2005, Peterson penned a column for WorldNetDaily, in which he suggested the majority of the African American people stranded in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina were “welfare-pampered”, “lazy” and “immoral”. Peterson also criticized New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin for blaming President George W. Bush for his lack of response to the crisis, stating that “responsibility to perform legally and practically fell first on the Mayor of New Orleans.

On February 28, 2006, as a member of a student panel discussion at the UC Irvine on a Muslim cartoon controversy, Peterson described Islam as an “evil religion”, and stated extremist Muslims “hate us [America] because we are a Christian nation and we support Israel”.

In January 2010, Peterson issued a statement calling for the resignation of Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele, saying “Michael Steele is a weak leader and he needs to resign or be fired. We need someone who’s not afraid to boldly promote strong conservative Republican ideas. The only reason Steele is still RNC Chair is because he’s black and the party is terrified of the implications of firing him.”

He has claimed, “Barack Obama hates white people, especially white men” and “Barack Obama is Jeremiah Wright Jr. He is the NAACP and the Congressional Black Caucus! He embodies the aspirations of every left-wing black group that wants to tear down this country and take power away from the “oppressive” white man. He’s not an obvious race hustler like Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson; but Obama is a smooth pathological liar with a wicked heart”. WOW!!!

I can’t conjure any speech that would allow me to share my opinion of such people, because my mother taught me that if you can’t say anything good about someone – say nothing at all and saying nothing here speaks volumes.

I won’t go as far as Brother Malcolm and call him a “House N-Word” but he does remind me of my Uncle whose name is “Tom”. Now, we have a new addition to the long list. What a shame! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


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