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
I am sorry, but, I don't get it. Why would Democrats sit out the special election in FL#13 and not elect Alex Sink? There was only a 39% voter turnout and nearly 9000 voted for the Libertarian candidate. Jolly only won by 2 points. If only 3500 people, Dems or Libertarians, had voted for Sink, she would have beaten Jolly. This is just ridiculous. It is unacceptable! What kind of dummy tries to send a message by voting 3rd party? You might as well fill out your ballot and throw it in the garbage can. The only way we are going to change the direction of the country is to get people to vote the Democratic candidate into office. It really doesn't matter who wins the Presidency in 2016 if we still have a Congress controlled by the GOP and Tea Party. So, please, tell all your friends and relatives to be sure they are registered and have the correct ID's and then vote this year.
What will happen in 2014? Will the Tea Party finally gasp its last breath in the midterm elections? Will the GOP find its conscious? Will President Obama be vindicated in health care reform and other policies and positions? What will the next wave of big stories be? Really, I don’t know, but here are my best guesses:
Firstly, I think the midterm elections will be a Saturday night-Sunday morning moment for the GOP. Hung over and still slightly drunk from the intoxication of hatred and fear served up by the Tea Party for five years, the GOP will swear off the hard stuff. The county I live in happens to be an eerily accurate reflection of the national political mood, being deeply purple, and in 2013 our off year elections showed a renewed interest in the middle way. The local Tea Party lost a noticeable amount of ground in city and county races. I think in 2014, we will see this trend out nationally. Read more
A year that began with a bold Inauguration following a clear re-election and talk of mandate was mired in revelations of government spying, a stalled Washington agenda and a faulty website.
A year that started with the GOP vowing to reform and rebrand after defeat saw them kill gun control & immigration laws, shut down the government and lose popularity.
A year unfolding in the wake of Sandy & Newtown brought further disasters and more massacres, Syria distractions, serial distortions & silly diversions where stalemates were success & progress a pipe dream.
Congress moved as slow as Healthcare.gov, instead of fiscal cliffs, we crashed into fiscal walls, the NSA revelations made Big Government a reality and legislators acted like obstructionism was a good thing.
Overall, it was a year of slowdowns and showdowns, of Snowden, and feeling snowed in by a blizzard of hypocrisy and self-interest.
That said, we also avoided an unnecessary war, expanded affordable healthcare and saw the spread of marriage equality. So there's something to toast in the year gone by. Read more
The Federal Reserve said that it arranged the choice of more economic easing following the release of August's poor jobs report. Those efforts have been formulated, and were publicized on Thurs. Article resource: Fed Economic Stimuls
Drive down borrowing expenses
The Federal Reserve has decided it is necessary to drive down borrowing expenses even more after a two-day meeting with the policy committee. The Federal Reserve explained that it will spend $40 each month on mortgage backed securities to do this. This will be a 3rd round of “quantitative reason.”
Short term interest rates will stay at historic lows for six months longer than they used to until the end of 2015. The Federal bank has publicized this change in policy.
In 2013 and 2014, the Federal Reserve lowered its growth outlook for 2012 from 2.4 percent to 2 percent. By 2014, the unemployment rate is anticipated to decrease from 8.1 percent to 6.7 percent too.
Stock market rallies following announcement Read more
The Republican party today is so ideologically driven, they completely dismiss the Constitution of the United States when they try to implement Legislation, or they disagree with the rights of the American people. Today's GOP seems to disagree with every main stream social view that most Americans agreed upon in the 2012 election which the U. S. Constitution upholds.
Much of the obstruction we see from the Republican< party today is a correlation of hatred for a President of color, and the fact that American voters won't support their many out of touch ideas that prove again and again to be wrong for the country by a large margin of American's. Voting or otherwise.
Democrats have always been mostly bipartisan and keeping inline with the U. S. Constitution when they're the minority in Congress so the people's business can go on. The Democratic party is ardent about this.
We don't see this kind of reasoning with the Republican party today. The Media has a responsibility to call out these Republicans who inconceivably ignore the U. S. Constitution for their ideological purposes, but at the same time say they're standing on U. S. Constitution principals.
President Obama, Senator Reid and Representative Nancy Pelosi pulled off an epic victory for the American people this week when they held strong against the Tea Party’s best efforts to sabotage our government. After fifteen long days of the government shutdown, it was the strong-minded determination of our Democratic leadership that caused House Republicans to blink. The take-away is simple: good wins out in the end.
Undoubtedly, the Tea party will try to regroup and spin the narrative in their favor, but when the January and February due dates approach to revisit the budget and debt ceiling my bet is on bipartisan communication averting anymore drama. Polling indicates most American voters hate what the Tea Party did. Career politicians like GOP Rep. Herrera Beutler are finding their way to the middle, and hard core Tea Party leaders will be booking tickets home in 2014. When the American people make up their minds on something, it takes decades to change it, and they have now decided good governance makes their lives better. Read more
The UN General Assembly meetings this week offer President Obama a chance to capitalize on recent diplomatic developments with Syria and to extend a hand to new Iranian president Hassan Rouhani in the hopes of launching renewed negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program. In an op-ed in the Washington Post last week, Rouhani urged other leaders “to respond genuinely to my government’s efforts to engage in constructive dialogue.” It is critical for Obama to show that his administration is willing to answer Iranian concessions with some relief of sanctions that Rouhani can bring to the Iranian people.
Iran is Ready for Talks
A prominent adviser to the Iranian leadership, Amir Mohebbian, explains that Iran’s leaders see the next six months represent the best opportunity to reach an agreement, before campaigning for parliamentary elections begins in March. This is a window the US cannot afford to miss. It is time for the US to offer a reasonable deal that would signal to the Iranian people that the West is willing to work towards a larger agreement. Read more
Michael Stinnett - 9/03/2013: Legal rulings such as Citizens United and lax campaign financing laws have undermined the democratic process allowing wealthy donors to buy elections; so-called Super PACs are a pernicious influence on society and should be abolished. A Super PAC, or independent expenditure-only committee, “may raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations and individuals, then spend unlimited sums to overtly advocate for or against political candidates. Super PACs must, however, report their donors to the Federal Election Commission on a monthly or quarterly basis – the Super PAC's choice – as a traditional PAC would. Unlike traditional PACs, Super PACs are prohibited from donating money directly to political candidates” (Super PACs). The recent ruling protects political spending by corporations in candidate elections, citing the First Amendment's protection of freedom of speech. In justifying the ruling, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote that “'If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech'” (The New York Times). 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
The subject of Father Scott's homily on Sunday was "tunnel vision," something our local parish priest knows a lot about since it was not until he was in his twenties and well out of high school that Father Scott finally got his driver's license. "Tunnel vision," said the state trooper who flunked him. "Stop focusing on the straight lines in front of you and see everything around you."
But it wasn't to whine about being the only kid in his senior class who still rode a bike to school that Father Scott brought up the subject of "tunnel vision." Instead, it was as a prod to urge the rest of us to stop fixating on the bright lines defining our own narrow prejudices, or tribes, or self-imposed prisons so that we might see the larger world around us.
That is because, as Father Scott explained, "God colors outside the lines."
Mine is a parish, as I have mentioned before, that lies on the outskirts (and mostly under the radar screen) of the larger Boston Archdiocese. It's a town that is predominantly Jewish but which has a protestant church on three of the town square's four corners and also a mosque all our own. Read more
When Justice Sandra Day O'Connor retired from the Supreme Court in January of 2006, one of the issues she felt very strongly about was the increasingly common call for federal judges, and state judges, to be elected as opposed to appointed. She was decidedly against the idea, and has put a great deal of her time, outside of hearing cases on various federal courts of appeal and encouraging greater civics education, to fighting efforts in various states to turn to an elective system of placing judges on the bench. A number of states already have an elective system in place, or variants of it, but at the Federal level the Constitution in Article 3 creates the appointive process of nomination by the President and confirmation by the Senate. The question I have been pondering more and more lately is whether it is really desirable to have elected judges. I will attempt to answer that question with this article. 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
From Egypt's Arab Spring to Morsi's sudden fall, peaceful possibility turned to clash & confrontation as democratic dreams are dashed by death & devastation.
Momentum on immigration reform hit a stalemate, talks of job creation turned to threats of a shutdown & while Obamacare rolls out to boost health coverage, the GOP continues to vote to repeal it.
Post-election promises of cross-partisan collaboration turned to divisive legislation from Texas to North Carolina curbing voting rights, reproductive rights & workers rights.
We started this season with summer hopes, but are reminded again that some are hopeless.
Raise your spirits as your raise a pint, with seasoned conversation on a summer night at your local progressive social club.
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