Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when
we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.
Breakfast News — The Supreme Court, It’s the Stupid Edition
Citizens United: Round 2
Yesterday’s Common Dreams reports, In ‘Blow to Democracy,’ SCOTUS Strikes Down Campaign Contribution Limits
“This is truly a decision establishing plutocrat rights,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, slamming the ruling as a “devastating blow at the very foundation of our democracy.”
The 5 to 4 ruling written by Chief Justice John Roberts follows the widely criticized Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling in 2010 that allows corporations to independently spend unlimited amounts of money to influence politics.
On CommonDreams, Abby Zimet quotes Sen. Bernie Sanders in Buying the U.S. Government:
“Freedom of speech, in my view, does not mean the freedom to buy the United States government…What world are the five conservative Supreme Court justices living in? To equate the ability of billionaires to buy elections with ‘freedom of speech’ is totally absurd. The Supreme Court is paving the way toward an oligarchic form of society in which a handful of billionaires like the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson will control our political process.”
Amy Davidson in The New Yorker, Justice Roberts Defends the Embattled Rich in McCutcheon:
(Photograph: Larry Downing/Pool/AP)
Chief Justice John Roberts’s majority opinion in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, in which the Supreme Court struck down aggregate limits on campaign donations, offers a novel twist in the conservative contemplation of what Nazis have to do with the way the rich are viewed in America. In January, Tom Perkins, the Silicon Valley venture capitalist, worried about a progressive Kristallnacht; Kenneth Langone, the founder of Home Depot, said, of economic populism, “If you go back to 1933, with different words, this is what Hitler was saying in Germany. You don’t survive as a society if you encourage and thrive on envy or jealousy.” Roberts, to his credit, avoided claiming the mantle of Hitler’s victims for wealthy campaign donors. He suggests, though, that the rich are, likewise, outcasts: “Money in politics may at times seem repugnant to some, but so too does much of what the First Amendment vigorously protects,” he writes:
If the First Amendment protects flag burning, funeral protests, and Nazi parades-despite the profound offense such spectacles cause-it surely protects political campaign speech despite popular opposition.
John Nichols on CommonDreams: With McCutcheon Ruling, An Activist Court Opts for Full-On Plutocracy
The think-tank Demos says the high court’s ruling has “overturned nearly forty years of campaign finance law,” which is certainly true. But the court has done much more than that. By going to the next extreme when it comes to questions of money in politics, the justices who make up the court’s activist majority have opted for full-on plutocracy-and it is unimaginable that this week’s ruling will be the last assault by the justices who make up that majority upon the underpinnings of democracy.
Joshua Miller on the Boston Globe’s Metro page writes, Supreme Court decision on fund-raising limits will affect state rules
Individuals are still prohibited from giving more than $500 per year to any one state candidate or their political committee. But, should they choose, donors would now be allowed to give, for example, to every candidate running for every office. Before today, they would have been limited to giving the $500 maximum to 25 candidates each year.
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Opponents of the decision decried a ruling they said would give the wealthy increased – and outsized – influence in politics.
“This decision will dramatically increase the corrupting influence of big money, here in Massachusetts and across the country,” Pam Wilmot, the executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts, said in a statement.
Ana Radelet in the CT Mirror: Court invalidates aggregate limits on federal contributions
“Today’s decision in McCutcheon v. FEC is Citizens United round two, further opening the floodgates for the nation’s wealthiest few to drown out the voices of the rest of us,” said Miles Rapoport, the former Connecticut secretary of the state who recently became president of Common Cause.
“Here in America, things are rapidly falling apart. The center cannot hold much longer. Anarchy is about to be loosed upon the world.” ~ Charles R. Larson
From Counterpunch: It’s Still All White Males: The Last Gasp of White Privilege in America
All of these ageing white male supremacists have aligned themselves with the other pillars of white privilege in the United States, beginning with the five conservatives on the Supreme Court. Yes, I know, Clarence Thomas looks dark if you see him under a certain light, but I don’t know a single black person who believes that Thomas is African American. He shares the arrogance and the assumptions of privilege that taint all of the others. And the Supreme Court’s continued decisions about campaign financing, voting rights, and affirmative action are nothing more than the last gasps of rich, white men frightened to death that they and their aged supporters at some time are going to have to stand on an equal playing field. Delay that day as long as possible! Three cheers for Citizens United!
And in other news …
Another gunman goes off the rails in America.
Officials at Ft. Hood said they have received an initial report that a shooter at the base was dead. But McCaul said the shooter was among four who are dead. In an interview with CNN, he described the shooting as “soldier on soldier” and said terrorism was not suspected.
Russia could have several potential objectives, including pushing beyond Crimea to Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Odessa or even threatening to connect to Transdniestria, the mainly Russian-speaking, separatist region of Moldova that lies to the west of Ukraine.
“We are going to have to look at how our alliance now is prepared for a different paradigm, a different rule set… We will need to rethink our force posture, our force positioning, our force provisioning, readiness, etc,” he added.
In the “Thanks Goddess it’s Not as Bad as We Thought” Department:
SANTIAGO, Chile – Chilean President Michelle Bachelet toured northern Chile on Wednesday, finding that damage from a magnitude 8.2 earthquake the night before was far less severe than feared.
Six people died – three of heart attacks, two in collapsed buildings and one in a traffic accident – and 972,457 were temporarily evacuated as the quake triggered waves that smashed boats and docks, according to Ricardo Toro, director of the National Emergency Office. Three highways in the north were closed because of large fissures.
Bachelet praised the “exemplary” job done by local officials in Iquique, a city of 182,000 about 915 miles north of Santiago, the capital.
Must Read Blog Posts
The Unequal Divide at Counterpunch by John K. White
The Daily Wiki
Rather than include a totally irrelevant and random Wiki like poligirl does (ooooh, snap!), in light of yesterday’s SCOTUS decision, I thought a remedial review of the concept was worth revisiting.
In Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt by Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco, inverted totalitarianism is described as a system where corporations have corrupted and subverted democracy and where economics trumps politics. In inverted totalitarianism, every natural resource and every living being is commodified and exploited to collapse and the citizenry are lulled and manipulated into surrendering their liberties and their participation in their government by excess consumerism and sensationalism.
Meme of the Day
And speaking of rebels … Happy birthday Marlon Brando!
Did you say …. breakfast?
How about a delicious veggie breakfast strata? <— Hint: clicking the hyperlink will take you to the recipe!
LaEscapee’s Stupid Shit from Last Week: His Mind Does Strange Things!
I was talking to a buddy of mine, we were having a discussion.
I mentioned something to him and he said something else
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.
From the Saving the Best for Last Department
That Group is pleased to announce that our very own DeadHead has graduated from Prospect Level Minion to Grasshopper Level Minion. This means he will now be able to participate as a junior member of That Group; although, until he finds his own replacement, he still has to fetch coffee and clean the toilets.