Jimmy Carter calls Citizens United campaign finance ruling “legalised bribery”


No outside dollar$ needed to run BITD

Former American president Jimmy Carter has warned that US politics has been corrupted by billions of dollars of campaign financing following a supreme court ruling that he said legalised “bribery”.

He described the landmark 2010 Citizens United court decision, which equated campaign spending with free speech, as an “erroneous ruling”.

Speaking after the Iowa caucuses, in which Republican candidates spent $43m on TV advertising and Democratic candidates spent $16.8m, Carter said the domination of money in politics represented the biggest change since he was elected president in 1976.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I didn’t have any money. Now there is a massive infusion of hundreds of millions of dollars into campaigns for all the candidates. Some candidates like Trump can put in his own money but others have to be able to raise a $100m to $200m just to get the Republican or Democratic nomination. That’s the biggest change in America…”

Carter said: “The erroneous ruling of the supreme court, where millionaires, billionaires, can put in unlimited amounts of money, give legal bribery the chance to prevail, because all the candidates, whether they are honest or not, or whether they are Democratic or Republican, depend on these massive infusions of money from very rich people in order to have money to campaign…”

“As the rich people finance the campaigns, when candidates get in office they do what the rich people want. And that’s to let the rich people get richer and richer and the middle class get left out. All the statistics show that the middle class are stagnant or going down in their income for the work that they do.”

He added: “When I ran against Gerald Ford, or later Ronald Reagan, we didn’t raise a single penny to finance our campaign against each other … nowadays you have to have hundreds of millions of dollars to prevail.”

There is so much about American elections that is corrupt – and corrupting – it’s difficult choosing where to start. The primary process ties you to the 2-party choice. Limits you to choosing from a pool of candidates who believe either of the two parties best represents the future of this nation.

The buying and selling of campaigns at the primary and national electoral level is already well documented. Along with gerrymandering just another election trick – for both parties.

Conservative packing of federal courts combined with states rights folderol allows for the wave of laws and regulations moving backwards the individual right to vote by decades. All the way up to the Supreme Court – so far.

Pick and choose where you want to start, folks. I’m supporting activists here in New Mexico fighting for open primaries. These can easily be regulated down to one person, one vote, at primary time. Our courts are passing the buck to the state legislature – which is about as chickenshit as any other in the nation. So, expect nothing but nothing.

Poisonally, I’d like more of a Euro-style opportunity, an open primary with any number of candidates from all avenues – followed by a runoff if no one exceeds 50% in the popular vote. The California model comes closest.

Limited campaign time, limited campaign expenses.

Watch out for shoulder-surfing at the checkout counter

A man who cashed $300,000 worth of counterfeit checks using personal information stolen by peeking over the shoulders of hundreds of Wal-Mart customers was sentenced to prison Thursday.

Robert MacVittie and his wife lined up behind customers trying to cash payroll checks at “dozens and dozens” of Wal-Mart stores in 20 states and recorded them providing their Social Security numbers, Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Melucci said at the hearing where MacVittie received a 34-month sentence. The couple would then use the victims’ identities to create counterfeit checks, which they cashed at other Wal-Marts.

Melucci called MacVittie, 35, and his wife Jennifer, 32, “the Bonnie and Clyde of counterfeit checks…”

More than 400 people had their identities used on the successfully cashed counterfeit checks, Melucci said.

In all, the MacVitties stole or attempted to steal the identities of more than 900 people, Melucci said. They failed to cash more than $600,000 in other counterfeit checks…

The fraud started in October 2013 and the couple was finally arrested at a Nevada casino in November 2014, Melucci said…

MacVittie was also ordered to repay Wal-Mart for the check losses. Half of his menial prison salary will go toward that debt, as well as 10 percent of any wages he earns after his release from prison.

ApplePay and similar electronic means of checkout absolutely rule. We prefer the former because encryption is guaranteed. The checker doesn’t even get your name.

Legal marijuana sales reach $5.4 Billion in 2015

Grow the economy

This week two marijuana analysis and investment firms released a summary of a report that appeared to confirm that the industry has become a gold rush. National legal sales of cannabis grew to $5.4 billion in 2015, up from $4.6 billion in 2014, according to the firms, the ArcView Group, based in San Francisco, and New Frontier, based in Washington.

Demand is expected to remain strong this year, with a forecast of $6.7 billion in legal sales…

The promises and headwinds of the industry are potentially far-reaching and attracting notice on Wall Street. As more states legalize marijuana sales, analysts are weighing the stock market benefits of new businesses as cannabis goes corporate. Funds are considering the ethics of investing in marijuana. Parents are even debating whether to allow their children to buy the stocks.

And say goodbye to the common resealable bags and heat lamps in the closet. Lucrative legal side businesses are spinning off, like the climate systems for growers built by a company in Boulder, Colo., and the FunkSac odor-proof and child-resistant marijuana bags produced in Denver…

The report summary said that by 2020, legal market sales were forecast to be $21.8 billion…

Four states and the District of Columbia allow full adult use, and this year, seven more will vote on allowing it: California, Nevada, Arizona, Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Twenty-three states already permit medical cannabis use, and four others — Florida, Ohio, Missouri and Pennsylvania — are positioned to advance medical laws…

Legalization is also a hot topic of national debate, making the industry vulnerable in an election year.

Given that the ranking indoor sport in the United States is hypocrisy – followed by ignorance – that’s an understatement.

I live in one of the states with medical marijuana regs. They’ve functioned well until we acquired a Republican governor. Governor Susana does her “best” to screw medical consumers of weed. Our state legislature is in session doing their level best to ignore public polls which show support for legal weed in the 60-70% range. I sincerely doubt if any legislation allowing a state referendum on legal weed will somehow squeeze through.

And then there’s Congress, Congressional Republicans – and Congressional Democrats often as cowardly on questions like these as Republicans are backwards.

Keep on rocking in the Free World, folks.

Cartoon of the day

Thanks, gocomics,org

There are some sharper cartoons around, today, that might fit the edges of this blog better. But, I just couldn’t pass this one up.

My favorite bumper sticker, here in New Mexico, says, “Hey, man, I’ve been this way since 1969.”

Actually, I’ve been this way since about 1955. 🙂