Cash Rules Everything – Dolla Dolla Bill y’all

Yeah reminds me of the Lil Wayne/Akon/Wycleaf Jean Song – Sweetest Girl – “Cause I’mma tell you, like Wu told me, Cash Rules Everything Around Me….singing dolla dolla bill y’all”

I am not for one to take my cue from a rap song especially from one that that has a controversial subject like the “Sweetest Girl” song. But somehow this chorus line kept ringing in my head recently after the Supreme Court decision on campaign finance.has left a LOT of citizens shaking their heads.

“The government may no more restrict how many candidates or causes a donor may support than it may tell a newspaper how many candidates it may endorse,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote in the majority opinionn.

This is illustrated below from the NY Daily article

So this is basically become a PAY & PLAY democracy. The Supreme Court’s decision was based on ensuring the protection of the First Amendment i.e. Free Speech. But as described by this article  there is strong reason to believe that the judges are out of touch with reality.

Even though this ruling will affect a few HNW (high net worth) donors, here are specific reasons why this is really really bad for our democratic process:

a) The Golden Rule – the man with the Gold makes the rules. Agree this is a bit of an oversimplification but as the above article quoted, the person with the most money gets to “buy the most free speech that is often enough to drown the opposition”.
Exhibit A – All GOP candidates flying to Las Vegas a few days ago to court Sheldon Addleson (including the apology of one Mr. Christie).
From Jon Stewart Friday April 04th Episode: I would respectfully like to approach the bench, and remind the Court that when the media refers to Sheldon Adelson as a super-donor, they’re not talking sperm. 

b) More money means more lengthy primary cycles. As much money can be given to campaigns that much will be taken by them. With no more limits there there is a possibility of a huge list of candidates who could all be potentially well financed and drag the primary out.

c) Refer to my previous post on One Percenters. This ruling has a lot of unintended consequences. A major one being the impact to income and wealth distribution. More money buys more speech which in turn buys more money and the wealth continues to get concentrated within a small slice of society.

It is going to be very interesting to see how the 2016 elections play out especially from a spending perspective. How much super PAC and lobbyist money will be  spent and how will that influence the electoral process remains to be seen.
Maybe the answer is with how our Supreme Court works?
– Why do Judges have to be partisan? and if that is the case why aren’t Libertarian or Progressive judges ever nominated.
– Why do we need appointments for life which results in these judges who are not in step with the times? (yeah yeah I am aware of the obvious reasons).Obviously none of that is going to change anytime soon.
As stated in the same Jon Stewart episode……..

JEFFREY TOOBIN (4/2/2014): Basically, it gives people who have a lot of money at their disposal the chance to spread their influence even more widely.  If you have a million dollars now, think how many chunks of $5,200 that makes.  It’s a lot.  You could write a lot of checks.

Yep!  Lots and lots of $5,200 checks.  The last great hope of preserving our democracy from the corrupting influence of money is carpal tunnel syndrome.

Maybe like the Legislative section our Judicial section also needs a reboot.  I for one am hoping to win the lottery cause I badly need the “speech” to stop the idiots from teaching intelligent design in our school curriculum.

Advertisements

The Right to Arm Bears

Jon Stewart had a segment on his show this detailing why the Republicans were blocking the confirmation of Dr. Vivek Murthy for the post of Surgeon General.- Daily Show – America Stands it’s Ground. The source of the issue came from the NRA and Senator Rand Paul who started a campaign against the confirmation of Dr. Murthy.

The crux of this is NRA’s apprehension that Dr. Murthy’s outspoken views on “sensible” gun control which in fact are not that radical and in line with what most Americans want, from a reform perspective. So then why IS the NRA worried about this specific nomination to the point that their campaigning has caused the White House to put a halt on the nomination till the elections are completed?

The answer as “control”. The NRA has been very successful in advancing the “fear” propaganda. Guns are safe,  there are a myriad of unseen terrors lurking that can get us and being armed is the best recourse for our personal safety. In addition they have been very successful suppressing data on gun violence.

The Second Amendment provides the right to bear arms and this has been debated ad nauseum regarding the historical relevance of the Amendment. If our forefathers had the “fore”sight that a person, 225 years later would be able to go on the web and buy an AR-15 maybe they would have done a double take on the “right to bear arms” amendment. I get that you need guns to hunt but c’mon semi automatic and sophisticated handguns? These are the same nut jobs that need to buy a Hummer – since the terrain from the gated community to the super market is like Fallujah.

Almost every other advanced country have either no gun ownership or some form of restricted gun ownership and that has had obvious positive impacts on gun related violence. So why is this hard for our country to grasp? What is the fetish with gun ownership that lets our brains go through a cognitive dissonance every time we see a mass shooting in the news? It is always the same three points:

a) It is protected by the constitution – Fine. No argument there.

b) Guns don’t kill, People do – really? that is a viable argument? So if the gunman in the Newtown, CT killings had a bunch of knives (and killer ninja stars) he would be able to kill those poor innocent children at the speed, that he did?

c) I am a law abiding gun owner and I should have the freedom to own the guns I want – That is circular logic. If it has been proven via data and polling that there are certain types of guns (if regulated) will greatly reduce the number of violent gun crimes, isn’t a little bit of sensible regulation good?

Source: http://ksmleadership.com/gun-control/

So what is the solution. It is not attacking the NRA as the boogieman. The NRA is a non profit organization and lobbyist. It is protected by the First Amendment and should be commended for their effectiveness in driving the gun ownership agenda in this country with a maniacal focus.

The obvious answer then becomes our elected representatives doesn’t it?. Here is Obama’s proposed Gun Control measures that were put together post the Connecticut Mass Shootings.Universal Background checks and Assault Weapon Bans are really items that the Congress can do to positively influence gun crime. But that is not happening anytime soon.

And that brings us back to our circle jerk. As Jon Stewart states in his segment, Dr. Murthy is standing for the nomination of Surgeon General – best he can do is put warning labels on bullets!

Lobbyists will lobby that is what they do. There must be a greater conviction amongst our elected officials to be pragmatic, rational and logical. Else we are doomed. We can’t let the rhetoric crackpots influence elected officials.

You know the folks that traverse this arc on a minute by minute basis – Freedom->Guns->Greatest Country->Liberty->God (I know I am missing a few more from the Fringe Bingo Card).

Would taking the “obvious” baseball bat and hitting our elected officials on the head, result in them:

– Appointing or Not Appointing Dr. Murthy based on his experience and qualifications for the position – not because of his views on gun control?
– Passing sensible gun control regulations like background checks and assault weapon ban?

I don’t know…time will tell. Common sense is not so common these days!