Two really disturbing developments on two fronts, environmental and political, in American Democracy’s losing battle against moneyed interests:
With today’s McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court knocked down the two-year limits on donations by individuals to political parties, PACs and congressional and presidential candidates. Why shouldn’t the wealthiest ensure the election of those who protect their interests? After all, everyone has the right to vote in one’s own best interest, but giving more weight to the interests of individuals like the Koch Brothers by increasing the role of money in politics is anything but democratic.
The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision changed the political landscape in 2010 by ruling that money is the equivalent of speech protected by the First Amendment and that corporations have the same right as people do to express themselves. Corporations speak with money, money spent to influence elections by supporting the candidates who will legislate in their favor (or denouncing their opponents). The sluice gates that previously held back the flow of money into political campaigns, i.e., the buying of elections by the deepest pockets, opened wide to allow the flow of the billions of dollars that have since been spent on candidates and political parties.
On environmental side, the AP reports that
Duke Energy is asking a judge to prevent citizens groups from taking part in any action that would make it clean up nearly three dozen coal ash pits in the state.
Not only does the polluter refuse to take action, it refuses to tolerate any negative publicity− why should the people whose health is at stake be allowed to demand the polluters clean up their own toxic waste?