Supreme Court won’t review decision that found N.C. voting law discriminates against African Americans – The Washington Post

<Ben says>

This is a follow up to my posting back on Sept 6th of last year looking into efforts by North Carolina’s Republican legislature to suppress the minority vote. Because the Supreme Court will NOT review the lower court’s decision, this clearly racist and undemocratic act is officially dead. We can breathe a sigh of relief now. But know that even though Rethuglicans have lost the governorship in NC, they still control both houses of the legislature and they are not going to stop trying to keep minorities from showing up at the polls.

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Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. cited the state’s changed political scene in the order and noted the justices’ did not address the merits of the case.

Source: Supreme Court won’t review decision that found N.C. voting law discriminates against African Americans – The Washington Post

Hillary Makes History

July 26, 2016

There I was, in my living room, TV tray and all, watching Hillary make history. My bachelor’s feast of hot dogs–all beef, of course–and chips was well-suited for the occasion. My party–the Democratic Party of the United States–had just nominated Hillary Clinton to face Donald Drumpf in November. And although it’s true that Hill and Bill are actually one-percenters, they well understand that we cannot move forward with corporations and their buddies in the upper brackets always getting the lion’s share of everything.

There’s so much to like about Hillary and about the Democratic platform in this election. One of the planks of the platform that I am 100% behind is the move to do something about the Citizens United SCOTUS decision. That’s got to happen. Getting the money–dark money, in particular–out of American politics should be priority one. So there I was, parked in front of the tube with my working man’s dinner, watching my fellow Dems officially nominate Hillary to run.

It was a watershed moment; it’s not about the first woman President as much as it is about ordinary Americans having a leader who will have their back. Yes, I know Mrs. Clinton has had a cozy relationship with Wall Street. But what was true about Barack Obama is true of her as well; they’re not leaving for work each day with their brown bag lunch, but they “get” working people and will fight to make sure they’re not left behind.

Of course, getting anything accomplished that actually benefits working people will not be easy. It’s that Mission Impossible kind of stuff, particularly when you consider how hard Republican pols work to thwart any move that would benefit the 99%. It’s not hard to see how thoroughly-committed they are to tilting the proverbial playing field. Their steadfast opposition to raising the Federal minimum wage is a case in point. That certainly could be the subject of another post. But not tonight…

Continuing on this path of funneling all the good stuff to those who need it least is not a good strategy. That trickle-down bullshit has been discredited again and again. Didn’t work in the eighties when David Stockman and King Ronnie first foisted it on the American people, didn’t work when George W. Bush was President and will not work now. But I’m certain that Hillary is going to give it her best shot. It’s quite possible that, if elected, she will face the same level of obstruction that has plagued President Obama from day one; I’m not hopeful about ultimate success, but I’m sure she’s ready for that fight.

There is so much one could say as we reflect upon this historic moment; journos and pundits are laboring mightily at that task now as the Convention winds down and we hurtle headlong into the really gritty part of this election. For my part, I just want to remember that as I watch events unfold in this, my twelfth Presidential election, we could be taking in a singular event in our shared history. I fervently hope that Hillary will be our first woman President; I think we’re going to make it happen. It may well be that others will follow in her footsteps. But whether that’s how it unfolds or not, I’m certain that the election of 2016 will have moments–many moments–the like of which we’ll never see again.

No more convention-watching and blogging for me tonight. For a more in-depth look at the story of Hillary’s ground-breaking nomination, follow this link.

The Citizens United Case and Political Speech

Note: Because the Citizens United decision was only one subject out of many in the preceding post, I’m going to examine it again in more detail here.

 

July 4, 2016

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that a lot of money gets thrown around each time we have an election, often in completely unrestricted amounts and often with ordinary citizens having no idea what the source of the money is.

The Citizens United case is the main reason this has become the new normal American elections. The full name of this game-changing decision from the Supreme Court is Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission and I can say with absolute confidence that our elections have not been the same since that decision came down. It was issued on January 21, 2010; the vote was 5-4.

If you’d like to get up to speed on this infamous decision, this article on the site for the Center for Public Integrity is quite helpful; it was published two years after Citizens  forever changed the electoral landscape and is clear and concise and still very relevant.

I ran across an excellent feature which ran in the New York Time magazine back in 2012 which is very useful at seeing how this nightmare–sprung from the mind of Antonin Scalia–has affected our elections on a practical level. It was written in the run-up to the last Presidential election but is still very good at helping the non attorneys or casual observers among us get up to speed on the ramifications of Citizens United.

There is a well-organized effort to get Citizens United reversed. Amending the Constitution is one possible route; it’s also possible that the decision could be re-visited in the future by anyone bringing legal action on a case which touches on the issue of money in American politics, money from Corporations in particular. That would not be hard to do. It’s one more reason why the up-coming Presidential election is a really big deal.

Because the issue of unlimited campaign contibutions–dark money, especially–gets me so riled up, I’m going to wrap up this post and have my second cup of coffee. The bottom line is that this case was a disaster for our democracy and that nothing will change unless ordinary citizens compel our elected leaders and the oligarchs who now have their collective boot on our collective throat to let us up.

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile