A short while ago I was asked my opinion of Citizen’s United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 US 310 (2010), and some of the new cases coming before the Supreme Court regarding campaign finance laws. While this article is short, it will encapsulate some of my thinking on the issue, and how I answered the question. It doesn’t purport to be a scholarly reply, as I am writing for a more general audience, but I hope that the comments contained herein provides some food for thought.
At its heart is the initial question of whether monetary contributions by individual citizens to political candidates is in fact speech. That question was answered affirmatively in the 1976 case of Buckley v. Valeo, 424 US 1 (1976), which struck down the 1974 amendments to the campaign finance laws pertaining to candidate expenditure, while upholding limits on individual campaign contributions. The central holding that is in fierce debate, namely that campaign contribution limitations are constitutional, has come into some question with the Citizen’s United decision, as well as some slightly older decisions during the first decade of the 21st Century. Read more
Popular topics for political discussions all revolve the question of choice. People are happier when given more options in their decision making but laws still have to be set in order to prevent people from harming each other. The price, however, of living in a nation that allows the beliefs of different cultures and religions to exist is that we often have clashes over what we believe is best and lawful for our citizens. Recently, my home state of Texas signed into law a bill that prevents a woman from having an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Whenever I was asked the question whether I approve of that law my only response was “I don’t know.” Unfortunately, my response when it comes to whether abortion should be legal or not is still being formed. Read more
Many commemorated the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington protest, one of the defining moments of the civil rights movement. The hopes, dreams and aspirations of Martin Luther King Jr. and many others striving for equality were celebrated. Some might argue that much progress has been made, and civil rights are no longer a partisan issue. However, this may not be the case. Frank James pointed out that “The parties have seldom seemed so far apart as they did Wednesday, on the 50th anniversary of King's speech and the March on Washington. Not a single Republican elected official spoke at the ‘Let Freedom Ring’ event at the Lincoln Memorial, site of King's 1963 speech, though some were invited.” http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2013/08/28/216580613/something-w...
This could be due to mere coincidence, yet there is some reason to believe otherwise. Read more
There has been some ongoing debate about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and some comments she made about constitution making in countries that are endeavoring to rewrite, or develop whole new constitutions. I would like to examine whether she is being unfairly attacked in these debates. Read more
Ok. Snowden is on the run.
“It’s espionage!” “He’s a traitor!!”.
Yeegads. All for telling us that our government is listening to us and wants to listen to the globe.
“We have warrants!” shouts Obama,
And then in a whisper “from that secret FISA Court” that nobody knows anything about because it’s a secret. National security you know.
Google moved today for a declaratory judgement in Federal Court (the REAL court!) to be allowed to disclose the warrants it received from the NSA through the FISA Court (not to be taken as an admission that there are any warrants of course - they are secret), arguing that it’s business has been irreparably damaged.
Now suppose the security state can’t catch Snowden? Suppose he gets asylum? How would you feel if Obama put him on the drone list over a Tuesday afternoon coffee at the White House?
Nah. Of course he wouldn’t. Would he? He can. Maybe after getting a secret warrant from FISA Court so it’s all nice and legal. Read more
Justice Scalia finally made us proud.
In common with the vast majority of progressives I have considered our two Italian - American Justices to be running dogs of right wing conservatives / corporatists; borderline demi-fascists.
Scalia was on the side of Citizens United; against Obamacare; consistently voting with the other four right wing Justices. Obamacare passed Court muster only because John Roberts pulled a Becket, shocking his political allies.
Justice Scalia, on the other hand, has written several opinions in 4th Amendment cases which progressives should be cheering. His greatest opinions have involved his passionate defense of the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures. It was Scalia who held, for a majority of the Court, that police need a valid warrant before they can use thermal imaging devices on a suspect’s home, or track his movements 24/7 for a month using a GPS device. Scalia has also written memorable dissents in defense of privacy, including his denunciation of warrantless drug testing for customs employees as “a kind of immolation of privacy and human dignity in symbolic opposition to drug use.” Read more
When a senator or senators from our United States Senate decide to oppose a bill from being voted on by blocking it with a filibuster, then that senator or senators should have to provide a strong defense on why they oppose it and why it should not be put to a vote, on the floor of the Senate.
It is obvious that our legislative process is being held up sometimes by the objections of just one senator, and without even a proper explanation and defense of their objections to the American public.
I am not one for completely removing the filibuster rule in the Senate but I do think that when the rule is used just to stop all or most legislation to go through, to bring discredit to one’s opponents, the rule obviously needs some amendments. Read more
Extremism: The holding of extreme political or religious views or the taking of extreme actions on the basis of those views. (Encarta Dictionary)
There are various types of extremist, in every country on the globe. Every society has their kooks, you might say. As far as I’m concerned, anyone or any group has a right to believe however they wish to believe when it comes to religion or politics, as long as they don’t try forcing those beliefs on me or the rest of the populace.
The problem with some extremist though, just having their own differences with the rest of society is not enough, they must also work to see that the rest of us either believe the way they do or at least are forced to accept laws and edicts they would have us to follow. Read more
Coming from a small town and growing up in the 70s and around a lot of people who had problems with those who were different, I kept my homosexuality to myself. I knew that if the fact I was gay came out my life would never be the same; I’d be ostracized, ridiculed and possibly even face great danger.
I also had to listen to the jokes and snide remarks about not only gay people but African-Americans, Hispanics or anyone that was different. Being defensive in those days could get you deep in trouble too so it was best to just keep your mouth shut. Read more
Logging the Onset of The Bottleneck YearsThis weekly posting is brought to you courtesy of H. E. Taylor. Happy reading, I hope you enjoy this week’s Global Warming news roundup Read more
Since Republicans were given back the reins to the U.S. House of Representatives along with governor seats and state houses back in 2010, they’ve used those seats to push a certain agenda, which include anti-abortion legislation, bills and state constitutional amendments to block same-sex marriage and Voter ID laws and even voter purges, such as the voter purge efforts being pushed by Florida Governor Rick Scott. Read more
I am certain that over the course of America’s history there have been many visionaries, those who could look into the future of this great land and see the bustling growth of a nation and the opportunities and possibilities that it presented.
I am also most assured that many of those visionaries saw something deeper than the threads of industry and the stretching forth of infrastructure and commerce. Some surely saw a land that men and women could live free from the shackles of tyranny and the religious edicts of others. A land where anyone could set their own path and fulfill their own dreams, a land of hope for everyone, not just the few, this is what America could be, one undoubtedly envisioned. Read more
Republicans took back the House of Representatives back in 2010, along with control of state houses and governor’s seats across this country on a platform to create jobs for the recovery of the nation’s economic system. Instead they’ve done everything but create jobs. They’re instead consistently asking President Obama “Where are the jobs?” We should be asking them that same question; where are the jobs they promised to work on. What about the promises that they used to persuade the American people to allow them to again take charge of our government?
Let’s take a look at what Republican lawmakers have been working on instead of jobs: Read more
If you can’t win elections fairly, why not just steal them. This seems to be Republicans new strategy to try winning the White House and any other seat they can pick up for Congress and state houses across the nation. With Voter ID laws and even Republican controlled states trying to kick President Obama off of the ballot in November, Republicans are on the attack. They’re not just attacking women, gays, blacks, Hispanics, Muslims or any other minority that doesn’t fit into what they consider American, but they’re also attacking democracy. Read more
I’m pinching myself to be sure I’m actually not dreaming as I watch the Republican Party hand over the 2012 election to us Democrats.
Back in 2010, Republicans took over the U.S. House of Representatives and state houses across the country. They did this on a platform of providing jobs and opposition to the new law on the books; the Affordable Care Act. But nowhere was there any talk about social issues, such as abortion and especially not contraception. Yet here we are; Republicans are introducing and passing laws all across the country to block abortions and funding for contraception for women – it would seem they had a secret agenda that they predetermined wouldn’t help them get elected. Read more