By now the majority of people are aware that the US Supreme Court made some changes on how money can be utilized during elections and by whom. Here is what transpired and how important it is to you as a US Citizen.
According to the Citizen United ruling released in 2010, the high court allowed various organizations and unions to spend as much as they need to convince voters to elect candidates of their choice. Note that the court ruling did not affect contribution. However, it is still against the law for firms and labor union to provide funds to candidates for federal office. The high court suggested that since these funds were not used to fund the campaigns. For this reason, the funds did not increase the rate of corruption.
Since the decision was based on spending, much has been written concerning the eight-figure contributions from individuals like casino magnet and Sheldon Adelson. To understand the logic behind it, you need to look at another court case. The Citizen United case was used as a precedent when the court ruled that restrictions on donations to the organizations that make independent expenditure was are unconstitutional.
Note that this resulted in the foundation of Super PACs that acts as shadow political parties. The PACs accepts unlimited contributions from tycoons, unions, and corporation. The Supreme Court kept restriction on disclosure in place, and the PACs must report on who their financiers are frequently. Note that it is not possible to implement the same rules on social welfare organization and other non-profits such as business leagues.
These organizations can play the same roles as super PACs given that they don’t take election exercises as they main activity. However, unlike the super PACs, nonprofit organizations are not required to report who finances them.
The Citizen United resolution was unexpectedly offered the sensitivity concerning the corporate and union funds being utilized to effect a federal election. In 1907, the Congress banned the organization from financing federal campaigns. In 1971, the Congress changed their mind and passed the Federal Election Campaign Act. The Campaign Act required a comprehensive report on campaign donations and expenditures.
In the run up to the Brexit vote on 23rd June 2016, successful hedge fund billionaire George Soros warned of a Black Friday and that is exactly what happened in the aftermath. According a Forbes report published on June 28, 2016 the passage of the Brexit vote triggered unimaginable sell-off in the global markets. The UK pound fell to its lowest level in 30-years while leading European banks bore the biggest brunt in stock trading. Soros built a reputation as a legendary trader, when he made $1 billion in the 90’s when he famously bet against the British pound. The latest positions to earn him impress include $100 million bet against Deutsche Bank and large defensive holding in SPDR Gold Trust ETF and Barrick Gold.
Soros also scored with his huge put options against the S&P 500 Index. On his Deutsche Bank bet, filings released by the Bundesanzieger, the German regulatory authority indicate that Soros Fund Management shorted the Deutsche Bank shares to the tune of 0.51% or about 7 million from June 24, 2016. The position closed as leading European stocks took in the Brexit shock. Aside from Soros, the other prominent hedge funds that joined in the frenzy by betting against German listed companies include Blue Ridge Capital and Polygon Global Partners. In the UK, data released by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) indicate that most of the companies shorted by hedge funds were in the financial, property and retail sectors.
The companies include Aberdeen Asset Management, Intu Properties and WM Morrison Supermarkets. In spite of the torrid events leading to the Brexit vote and thereafter, Soros remains one of the biggest supporters of the European Union and economic integration. In the US, he is one of the biggest donors to the Democratic Party. In an excerpt published in Politico on July 2016, Soros made headlines by committing to support Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid along with that of other candidates seeking elective position through the Democratic Party. Soros offered over $25 million to support the party and various causes.
The decision follows a lull in Soros campaign funding following the record breaking $27 million that he offered to support John Kerry’s unsuccessful bid to defeat George W. Bush in the 2004. The other efforts funded by Soros in the last election cycle include $5 million to support Immigrant Voter’s Win, a SuperPAC that targets to bring Latino voters to the polls and $5 million to fight vote stifling efforts by conservatives. George Soros strongly cares about civil rights and the empowerment immigrant and minority communities. The organizations he supports in this line of thinking, according to Wikipedia include; Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International Ireland and the Center for Constitutional Rights.
Follow George Soros on Twitter.
End Citizens United, a Political Action Committee (PAC), is a group that was started in March 1st, 2015. Its main aim is to fight the Citizen United group by funding democratic candidates running in Senate and competitive houses. The group which is funded by grassroots donors feels that it is the high time to bring to a stop the billionaires who are trying to buy the elections and stop the corrupt political system. The group believes that this way, it will enhance building of a broad coalition that will pressure law makers into taking the required measures. They have three main aims: The first one is to elect pro-reform candidates; the second one is to ensure that the money in politics is made a national priority, and the final one is to demonstrate their political power concerning money in politics by using grassroots membership.
It had therefore started a petition demanding the congress to enforce the legislation, and had received over 325,000 signatures from supporters by August 2015. They have hopes of receiving more signatures as a result of partnering with “Ready for Hillary” and also intend to rent their email list out to reach other potential liberal supporters. They had also raised 2 million dollars by this time, with their aim being to raise that figure to 25 million dollars or 30 million dollars.
The group intends to channel the money raised to Democratic candidates vying for Senate and Competitive house. This money will be used in initiatives such as television advertisements, polling and direct mailers which will give them an upper hand during their campaign. They also named eleven Democrat candidates whom they endorsed, one of them being Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado. Their reason for supporting democrats is because they are leading in the fight against the Supreme Court’s Citizen United decision and have also suffered immensely as a result of the dark money in politics. The group’s financial information is available on Open Secrets.
One of the group founders says that End Citizens United derives its unique qualities from the fact that it fills the gap present by addressing political issues and ensuring election of people who will bring change to existing laws. Campaign finance experts however feel that the group’s main objective of bringing constitutional amendment is quite a hurdle. These doubts are brought out by the fact that for one to achieve a constitutional amendment there must be consent from two-thirds of the Senate and the House and an additional approval by three-fourths of states. End United Citizens have made their Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings available to the public for the purpose of promoting democracy in the country and intend to continue doing so. Visit their page on Facebook.
The classical libertarian billionaire has recently stated in news something that was never thought to have been said. Charles Koch agrees with Bernie Sanders. Though Bernie Sanders is constantly criticizing Charles Koch and his brother David, Charles Koch replies in agreement and states that The United States government is truthfully run by the privileged few and that this must end. Mr. Koch is in agreement with Mr. Sanders that the country’s economic, political, as well as criminal justice system all need reform.
Though Charles Koch agrees with Bernie Sanders action of giving a voice to the millions of struggling Americans, Mr. Koch disagrees with Mr. Sanders’ solution to the problem. Bernie Sanders has the solution to increase government intervention which is exactly what has already built so many barriers to opportunity or to the American dream in the first place.
Charles Koch and his brother, David Koch, are well know anti-government supporters. The Koch brothers have spent billions of dollars in donations to think tanks, free market institutions, and even Universities. One example of the Koch brothers’ large influence is their campaign for Mitt Romney. For Mr. Romney’s 2012 Presidential election campaign, the Koch brothers helped to raise over $400 million for his campaign.
Mr. Koch is a firm believer that the problem does not lie with the vast wealth accumulated, but instead has arisen in accordance with the combination of selfish political power and vast wealth. In order to show their support for a new Republican candidate, the Koch brothers have raised over $900 million in funds for the upcoming 2016 election. What the Koch brothers desire is for the new presidential candidate to cut social security, medicare, federal aid to education, as well as environmental programs. Mr. Koch believes that what is actually harming these topics is not the non-intervention practice, but instead is the government’s policies.
Charles Koch believes that change is much needed though in a different manner. Mr. Koch believes that instead of assisting individuals live the bare minimum, the government assists individuals to live to their potential. The only obstacle in the way of the Koch brothers’ dream of a free market is Donald Trump. Donald Trump is a self funded candidate who has the initiative and motivation to disregard the desired policies of the Koch brothers. Donald Trump and the Koch brothers disagree on several topics including trade, foreign policy, as well as taxation.
This article recapped https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-koch-this-is-the-one-issue-where-bernie-sanders-is-right/2016/02/18/cdd2c228-d5c1-11e5-be55-2cc3c1e4b76b_story.html
Democrats and Republican rivals are increasing the pressure on potential Presidential nominee Jeb Bush as he remains an undeclared candidate for the GOP nomination. The campaign of Bush has been criticized as his rivals have alleged his campaign should have been declared in the past months as he has raised money without officially entering the race for the GOP nomination. CNN reports the former Governor of Florida has continued to build his campaign team by hiring former communications expert to Mitt Romney and John McCain Danny Diaz as his campaign manager.
Bruce Levenson knows that the appointment of Diaz comes as something of a surprise as the campaign management role was expected to be given to Bush’s close ally David Kochel. Instead, Kochel has been given an advisory role to assist in preparing the strategy for the initial campaign battlegrounds that will be the first to vote on the Republican nomination. Both Diaz and Kochel have been members of Bush’s Super Pac since February and were both expected to be given key roles in the campaign when bush finally announces his candidacy on June 15th.
Before a friendly crowd of pro-Israeli Republicans, Senator Ted Cruz and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie both took turns lambasting President Obama’s Israeli foreign policy. It is certain that Tea Part darling Ted Cruz and the moderate Republican governor from a deep blue state will not agree on all of the issues facing the nation. That said, the two firebrands found common ground when it came to criticizing the president’s treatment of Israel in his Middle East foreign policies. Keith Mann knows that both Cruz and Christie were sure to utter pleasing words to big GOP donor Sheldon Adelson. The pro-Israeli donor has not made up his mind as to which candidate he will back during the GOP primary. However, it is certain that whoever can secure Adelson’s support will enjoy a substantial stream of campaign donations.
As for the substance of their talks, Christie pointed out that President Obama is unwilling to stand up to the mullahs of Iran or anyone else for that fact. There was one notable exception and that is in regards to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu. For his part, Cruz stated that he believes Iran will have nuclear weapons by the year 2017, 1.5 years away. As president, Cruz would give Iran a simple ultimatum: stop your military nuclear development program or we’ll (forcibly) stop you ourselves. The talk is tough, but at the same time it raises the specter that a GOP president may well engage the nation in another Middle East war.
On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell admonished the senate body against making plans to leave town for the Memorial Day weekend. The holiday is amongst the most traveled in the nation. It is a holiday marked by cookouts & barbeques. Naturally, senators are eager to return to their home states and spend the long weekend with their loved ones. However, there is work to be done on three contentious bills: the highway funding extension, extension of the Patriot Act, and Trade Promotion Authority (TPA).
In short, the Senate’s majority leader has made it clear he will use the “homeward bound” sentiment of his fellow senators as a means of prodding them into action before letting the senate go into recess. The first priority the majority leader sees is securing fast-track authority (Trade Promotion Authority) for President Obama. Keith Mann has learned that the bill, currently being filibustered by Democrats, is seen as vital towards ultimately securing passage of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. Democrats, who are distrustful of the free trade agreement, want to see a companion set of bills designed to address the treaty’s short-comings get voted on before relenting on TPA.
The highway funding extension would allow current infrastructure priorities to move forward for the next 60 days. Thus far, the Senate has approved 32 extensions. It is quite likely Democrats will relent on their opposition to yet another extension. The Patriot Act is a divisive bill. The GOP is split with McConnell and others wanting to extend the bill as-is. Other Republicans and many Democrats want to make substantial changes to the program to address privacy concerns. This bill seems the least likely to get resolved before the holiday weekend.
Obama to Reluctantly Back Clinton Campaign
Hilary Clinton deciding to run for president in 2016 came as a surprise to absolutely no one. What may be a real surprise is who will back her for the campaign.
Along with running for president, Clinton has also made it known that she is also running a campaing in bracing president Barack Obama, who is also going to back Clinton. Though Obama will do his best to get another Democrat elected to office, it isn’t as high on his priority list. Essentially, the support he does offer will not be smooth.
What is high on Obama’s priority list is dealing with Iran, China and climate change issues while fending off critics from both Democrats and Republicans at the same time. The year so far hasn’t been incredibly stressful for Obama but Clinton is not his biggest focus at the moment. However, both Obama and Clinton are doing their best to put up with any differences they may have.
Clinton has already hired staff members who are close with the White House for her campaign, including communication directors and campaign chairs who have served in the White House from previous administrations. Meanwhile, Obama will take time to aide Clinton in fundraising campaigns and appealing to voter populations in swing states. Mark Ahn has learned that, interestingly enough, Obama has never been a big fan of the fundraising aspects, which is a priority here.
The world is experiencing a new kind of war. We call it the War on Terror, but it is actually a War on Beliefs. Both sides represent terror to the other side. When family members are killed on either side, the terror that ensues from those despicable acts creates a level of terror that is hard to contain or control.
The CIA director recently said the War on Terror may continue for years. Even with all the power behind the United States and its allies there is no real defense for terror. Terror is a state of mind created by a heightened level of fear. Igor Cornelsen (spring.me) knows that all the guns, bombs, armed drones and other weapons can’t stop terror. They only fuel and add more life to it.
We fight for peace, but war is not the catalyst for peace or the solution to the eradication of terror. Terror must be treated like a disease. It must be identified for what it is before we can erase it. When we collectively begin to understand the power within our known and unknown beliefs, and respect the diversity that exists in that belief structures, we will begin the process of erasing terror. Erasing terror comes with understanding fear not fighting wars.
With all of the controversy surrounding Indiana’s Religious Freedom Law, an Indiana pizza shop owner is not helping the situation. Owners of a small Indiana pizza shop were the first to publically confirm that they would have no issue denying service to those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT).
The pizza shop owners were interviewed as part of a segment for the local news stated Jason Halepn. However the Real Deal
said, once the segment aired, it took only a matter of seconds for internet users nationwide to unleash their rage against the small business. The online community of activists took to the popular review site Yelp to slam the local pizza shop.
The firestorm began when Indiana Governor, Mike Pence confirmed that he wanted to introduce a bill that would give business the right to deny services to LGBT couples. Ever since Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law, people have demonstrated grave concerns surrounding the bill’s intent. Many believe this is a discriminatory action plainly against LGBT people.
Ever since Pence’s statement, there have been many businesses, sports teams and other supporters around the country who have voiced disgust and extreme concern. Pence has since argued that people are misconstruing the true intent behind the bill. He also established that the law, as it stands, would not permit businesses to discriminate against LGBT people. Rather, people are texting the intent of the bill completely out of context.