Citizens United did not do damage, it ended what was a blatantly anti-free speech law. The original purpose of so-called "campaign finance reform" was to restrict the ability of the National Rifle Association to run ads critical of politicians during campaigns. That was the stated goal, because Democrats then saw it as a way to get gun control-oriented politicians elected without the NRA being able to run ads critical of them.
What everyone forgets is that corporations are not just big companies, but a legal structure that is also used by a great deal of non-profits, such as the NRA. The NRA is a grassroots organization (it is not a front for gun manufacturers as many like to claim), and is a way for ordinary citizens to fight to protect their 2nd Amendment rights.
Thus, the idea that corporate political speech could be limited by laws was really a way to limit the free speech of regular citizens. The only way regular citizens can engage in speech on the same level as big companies is through forming organizations, often structured as corporations, that can raise money to spend on ads and fighting for the cause. The NRA does this regarding gun rights.
When Citizens United happened, many said that the Supreme Court may well have handed the presidency permanently over to the Republican party. We saw how well that went in 2012.
I am unsure regarding this current decision, and I don't believe there shouldn't be any laws regarding control of money in politics (for example unlimited donations to individual politicians), but not all legislation meant to control money in politics has been good, and if anything has been shown to do the opposite (such as the limitations placed via McCain-Feingold which Citizens United struck down which limited organizations like the NRA in terms of their ability to engage in political speech during campaigns).
For those that don't like the NRA, keep in mind it's the principle that is important, i.e. the ability of people, via grassroots organizations, to fight for causes and rights that they consider important. Other such issues can be LGBTQ rights, environmental issues, abortion rights, privacy rights, etc...
As someone wisely said: "If you can afford to buy an election, you can afford to pay higher taxes."
Rev. Richard S. Gilbert
The New York Times Company, WMT Publications, Inc., and the thousands of for-profit corporations that we call the lamestream media have always been able to make unlimited in-kind political contributions. These contributions are completely unaccountable, so the value is unknown, but surely they amount to many billions of dollars every election cycle. I'll leave it to the reader to figure out which political party benefits almost exclusively from these unaccountable contributions.
The lamestream media hates the idea of sharing the First Amendment with the rest of us, simply because it hates the inexorable erosion of its own power and influence.
If you lobby for tax loopholes for your own pet special interests (say, solar energy), you can't very well complain when other citizens exercise the same right. The fact is, if you're honestly concerned about political corruption, the only rational response would be to limit government to its legitimate functions. The smaller the footprint, the less opportunity for favoritism and graft. That's an editorial that would make sense.
Positive news rarely sells papers.
My lengthy post below --- should not have read "this morning's Huffington Post ." City Newspaper's website is apparently configured in such a manner that if comments are not edited within a specified amount of time, apparently it's not possible to edit after the specified time. The article was actually written in 2011, but I am certain, based on conversations with friends in Raleigh --- fundamentally nothing has changed since 2011.
Theoretically, "... a metro district with integrated schools" sounds good. Realistically, it's a very old "dog" that just won't hunt, especially in thoroughly segregated Monroe County. It's merely a pipe-dream, and we absolutely cannot afford to chase pie-dreams. In fact, even the Raleigh NC. experiment is dead. Check the article out, from this morning's Huffington Post (at the following link):
DON'T FORGET TO CHECK-OUT THE ACCOMPANYING VIDEO
It's NEVER going to work, and here's why:
Please see below, an essay, which I first penned more than 12 years ago. It is absolutely amazing that (12 years later) the content is more relevant today than it was at the time when I originally wrote the essay. If you have the interest and time to study it --- I'd be glad to discuss the content with you and / or others who may be interested.
The Struggle Continues...
The Myth Of Dismantling Racial Segregation Within
the U.S. Public School System: Chasing Pipe Dreams
By Howard J. Eagle
This slightly revised article (2004, on the 50th anniversary of the historic Brown v. Board of Education Case) was originally inspired in part by the work of several other authors, which I had read in Education Week during January and February of 2002, including a very lengthy, but limited analysis by a professor named Richard M. Merelman. The central theme of the above referenced authors is a mythical abstraction that they referred to as "resegregation" in public education. In my response, I had argued and maintain that --- although it had emerged (during the early months of 2002) as a topic of "scholarly" debate within some education circles --- there was and is no such thing as "resegregation" within the U.S. public school system. The plain, simple truth is that, despite the U.S. Supreme Court's Decision in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Case; thousands of citizens' protests, marches, and demonstrations in the streets; massive busing efforts; federal enforcement efforts, including the use of soldiers in numerous cases; sit-ins, teach-ins, and love-ins on the part of liberals, militants, and "revolutionaries" of every stripe, especially during the 1960's and 70's --- the U.S. never even came remotely close to achieving full (defacto, as opposed to dejure) desegregation within the vast majority of its public schools. In addition to numerous court cases, such as the Brown Case and many others, (some of which date back to the 1930's and 40's) the types of street action described above were clearly, largely responsible for helping to produce a relatively small degree of progress (considering the price that was paid) toward equal, public, educational opportunity for all U.S. citizens. However, in the main, such efforts failed to the extent that the exact same, ongoing, fundamental issue of inequitable resource distribution between predominantly white, middle and upper class, suburban, public school students vis-a-vis predominantly black and brown, poor and working class, urban, public school students, is as real and serious in 2004 --- as it was in 1954. This failure can be contributed to numerous factors. One of the most critical and outstanding factors is that accommodations were made for expansion of the black middle class in particular. Many of those who benefited most from accommodations and expansion --- had been former leaders, activists, and participants in the types of street actions referenced above. Amazingly, many of the same people became willing "victims" of calculated, cooptation. Thus, due largely to a great vacuum in leadership, caused by desertion on the part of people who had once lent their skills to organizing and fighting so fervently for justice and equality, (apparently only for themselves), sociopolitical movements that had been effective --- died.
Another part of the hard, cold, simple truth is that throughout the history of this nation --- the overwhelming majority of wealthy and middle class, white parents in particular --- have always made it clear that they are not willing to allow their children to attend schools with large numbers of poor, black and brown children. In fact, wealthy and middle class people of color have also generally chosen to educate their children separately from the poor, black masses.
It is probably important to pause at this point and remind readers of the fact that, with regard to public education, and specifically as it relates to academic achievement, ongoing discussions regarding the potential worth or value of desegregation and integration, are usually fueled by the underlying reality that (decades after the 1954 Brown Decision, and other types of actions mentioned above) generally, so-called "minority" students attending public schools, lag behind their white counter parts by leaps and bounds. Numerous scholars and others continue to insist that desegregation and integration represent important aspects of the solution that will eliminate this so-called achievement "gap."
The idea of desegregation and racial integration representing a remedy relative to effectively addressing the widening achievement "gap" between white students and students of color (anytime soon), is totally unrealistic. This vitally important issue is much too urgent for us to give serious consideration to theories that are seemingly based primarily on peoples' romantic wishes, dreams, hopes and prayers --- as opposed to some type of scientific approach and/or evidence. It is time to stop pretending and romanticizing about this life and death issue, and come to grips with the total reality that surrounds continued, pervasive, racial segregation within the U.S. public school system(s).
Clearly, an important part of the reality is that, while integration may be desirable for some --- there are far more people, especially middle and upper class whites --- who do not, never have, and probably never will support racial integration of public schools. Although this reality applies to considerably more white people, particularly parents, than any other racial group --- it is not (exclusively) a white phenomenon. For example, in addition to hundreds of thousands of white educators, there are many blacks and other parents of color who make their livings by working in predominantly black and brown urban schools, but would never consider sending their own children to the same school systems in which they work (even if there were no residency laws preventing them from doing so). More often than not, urban educators (both white and those of color) live in suburban areas. Although it hinges on sick thinking --- I am thoroughly convinced that it is not far-fetched to believe that many people of color who reside in suburban areas, would oppose full, racial integration of public schools.
The degree and depth of resistance represents the main reason why racial integration is not a timely, practical, nor realistic solution for addressing the hard core, entrenched, massive, educational failure experienced in economically poor, predominantly black and Hispanic, urban school districts throughout the United States. It is precisely due to the fact that large numbers of people, especially people of color, have come to realize and understand the depth and pervasiveness of resistance, that many are no longer willing to spend another 50 or 100 years fighting and struggling to achieve the unlikely and unrealistic goal of public school integration.
For decades, many African Americans have viewed the idea of integration as being a matter of chasing pipe dreams, or a waste of precious time and energy that would be better spent on attempts to improve their public schools now (regardless of the socioeconomic and racial compositions of the student bodies). The latter point represents a major reason why (as pointed out by professor Richard M. Merelman), organizations such as ... "the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which designed and executed the arduous legal strategy that [theoretically] won school desegregation in the courts, now has difficulty maintaining a public posture favorable to it against an indifferent and sometimes hostile membership" (Education Week, Feb. 6, 2002, p. 52). It is not likely that the majority of rank and file NAACP members are "indifferent" to the serious, deep-seated, widespread failure, and/or other problems that exist in poverty stricken, urban schools. On the contrary --- they are probably quite concerned. Yet, there is no denying that many of them are absolutely "indifferent and sometimes hostile" relative to the idea of continuing to pursue public school integration as a possible, immediate, or near-future solution. They have undoubtedly joined the ranks of millions who are very, very tired of chasing pipe dreams.
Indeed, there is a need to carefully consider what will happen to the generations of predominantly black and brown children who are currently left with no choices, except attending segregated, underfunded, relatively poor, urban public schools. One thing is certain: If their academic well being and progress is dependent upon the unlikely advent of racial integration --- such students will not become beneficiaries of significantly improved educational opportunities. Once again, it is impossible to overemphasize the fact that this unlikelihood is based on thoroughly pervasive, organized resistance --- fueled by irrational racist and classist values and belief systems, especially, but not exclusively, on the part of middle and upper class, wealthy, white parents.
For those who are convinced that integration is, in part, or totally, the solution that will 'fix' the urban education crisis --- current and long range strategy is the key, pivotal issue. This is the most notable area in which staunch supporters and advocates of public school integration fall short. With regard to addressing the crisis, some scholars and others insist that the solution, or at least a significant part of it, lies within the need to "break up concentrated poverty," which is another way of saying, there is a need to integrate public schools. Yet, these same advocates and supporters of integration are lacking, and in fact, totally deficient relative to development and/or implementation of practical, effective strategies and tactics that can be utilized to bring their proposed solution into fruition --- without having to wait another two or three hundred years, which is the worst possible thing that people who are most in need of change can afford to do.
In addition to those referenced above, there are many other people who continue to advocate and fight for urban, educational improvement, but for the most part (understandably so) --- in the face of widespread, predominantly white, well organized, and well financed resistance --- have given up on racial integration as a potential solution. This does not necessarily mean that such people are pro-segregation or pro-"resegregation" (if there is such a thing relative to public education in the U.S., which I maintain --- there is not). In order for something to be reinstated or reinstituted --- it necessarily has to exist first. Since desegregation, and certainly integration, has never occurred on any substantial level within the U.S. public school system, it is not really possible, nor is it historically accurate or intellectually honest to engage in serious dialogue or discussion about so-called "resegregation." Many people who clearly understand the desperate need for fundamental change and academic improvement within urban schools throughout the nation, but do not accept racial integration as a realistic or viable solution, often support the following, or similar position(s): As it relates to urban, public schools in the main, (vis-a-vis overwhelmingly, predominantly white, suburban schools, in which children are generally doing well academically and otherwise) the reality that massive numbers of socioeconomically poor, African American and Hispanic children in particular, are flunking out, dropping out, dying out, and/or being imprisoned at younger ages than ever before --- dictates the necessity of providing major amounts of additional, financial resources, human energy and commitment in order to produce significant, fundamental change and improvement within urban, public schools now! Those who support this or similar positions, often argue that we can worry about integration later --- if at all. They also often insist (correctly so) that it is mainly white Americans (as opposed to people of color) who need to be convinced of the morality, importance, and value of integration. Urban students, as well as all students --- don't necessarily need integration or segregation: What they need is adequate and appropriate education!
With regard to professor Merelman's above referenced Education Week Commentary, the essential argument that the scholar attempts (unconvincingly) to advance is that equitable, educational opportunities and significant academic improvement for economically poor, urban, public school children is totally dependent upon the wealth and deeds of white, suburban parents. He argues that... "white parents have more money than black parents to pay for schools, public or private. Parents are mainly interested in good schools for their own children, not for the children of others. It follows that whites will only support black students who happen to be in school with white children. Thus, only if they are sitting next to white children will black children benefit educationally" (p. 37). This is an incredibly shallow assertion, which seems to hinge upon acceptance of institutionalized racism. The argument completely ignores the fact that U.S. States are bound by their Constitutions to provide equitable educational opportunities for all children --- regardless of race, socioeconomic status, or any other variable. Perhaps the intended point that the author was attempting to make is that --- since predominantly white, suburban parents and communities (vis-a-vis predominantly African American and Hispanic, urban parents and communities) are generally far more wealthy and economically stable, as well as, a lot more organized politically --- the former group exercises considerably more clout and control over local, state, and federal legislative bodies, which are responsible for allocating resources to public schools. Herein lies one of the most critical factors embodied within institutionalized discrimination and injustice, which helps perpetuate the shameful, national, urban education crisis. That is to say, as it relates to resource allocation, nearly every state legislature in the Union has devised indecipherable financial aid "formulas," (usually based largely on property tax) which clearly favor predominantly white, politically well organized, parents and children from wealthy suburban school districts --- while blatantly discriminating against predominantly African Americans and Hispanics, as well as other parents and children from less organized, economically poor, urban school districts. Such legally sophisticated, institutionalized racism and classism has always been an inherent part of the U.S. economic and political systems. With regard to providing equitable (not equal, but equitable) funding and equal, public, educational opportunities --- the overall situation is literally a classic example of "robin-hood-in-reverse," i.e., literally taking from the poor, and giving to the rich.
Until and unless decisive, and probably mass action is taken --- professor Merelman is absolutely correct regarding his contention that... "poor black parents, underfunded [so-called] minority school districts, and low-tax-base, largely black cities [will] continue their losing struggle to come up with educational money they don't have." As noted at the outset of this treatise, U.S. history bears witness to the fact that the only type of action that is likely to be effective relative to helping to secure additional, much needed, and much deserved resources for economically poor, urban school districts is community organizing and civil disobedience, including, if necessary --- protesting in the halls of local, state, and federal governments --- as well as, in the streets. There is absolutely no question about the fact that the cause (demand for equitable public education funding, and equality regarding educational opportunities for all children now) is a just one! The cause is in fact the same one in 2004 that produced the well intentioned, but largely ineffective Brown Decision of 1954. As it relates to prospects for change and improvement, a critical missing element, which existed 50 years earlier, is the lack of bold, committed, courageous, political leadership, particularly within the nation's most depressed and oppressed communities. It is totally amazing that those who are considered and/or have been appointed as part of the official and unofficial, elected and non-elected leadership and "representatives" of urban constituencies --- have been able for as long as they have, (without a firestorm of public criticism and disownership by those whom they claim to represent) to get away with not initiating decisive and indeed radical actions --- designed to effectively produce significant, widespread improvement relative to the scandalous, national, urban education crisis.
Lastly, the remote possibility of racial integration representing part of the solution relative to the crisis in urban, public education, is an issue and question that is largely dependent upon the commitment of its advocates, especially white persons. For those who are serious about their belief in the morality and value of racial integration, and truly committed to bringing it into existence, huge numbers of white people in particular, must necessarily be willing to confront the deep-seated, irrational, racism harbored in the hearts and minds of their mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, neighbors and colleagues. It is important to consider that, historically speaking, (in the main) people of color have not been guilty of establishment and maintenance of pervasive, organized, resistance to racial integration within the U.S. On the contrary, there is probably no example in the history of the world in which people have surpassed the efforts of African Americans and other people of color to integrate into a society that has repeatedly rejected them as equals. It would not be morally or ethically right, nor would it be logical to now blame African Americans and/or other people of color for being sick and tired of chasing that which certainly appears to be a pipe dream.
Thank you for your REALISM. You are absolutely CORRECT, and I wish potentially dangerous , super-liberals, like Ms. Towler, would stop attempting to convince people to continue chasing pipe-dreams.
Maybe Maggie Brooks will help Lovely Warren break up the concentration of poverty. That ain't gonna happen.
How about we hold parents accountable for neglect..lack of support or interest in THEIR child's education. Parents that don't respond to calls..letters or attempted visits from school staff..parents who don't check their child homework much less bother to look in their bookbagd with weeks or months worth of work and notices..parents that care more about fashion and cool gear rather than the fact that their child cannot read or do math at grade level..parents that refuse to accept that they have raised disrespectful..spoiled..lazy children that they can hardly handle yet expect teachers to turn classrooms full of them into geniuses...and let's not speak of those that will never miss a chance to scream obscenities at their child's pop warner football game yet will not show their face at a meeting for their child..THAT IS THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM..you wonder why other programs and districts work?? Its not then money or lack of...its thay when you hold parents and children accountable first..all others will follow.
How about a metro district with integrated schools?
Works in Raleigh NC.
It is interesting that you note PreK is a potential positive and it will be if the program focuses on building the social, emotional and basic developmentally appropriate academic skills but the name of the game in the district now is Core Knowledge and NYEngage curriculum. Couple these two with the pressure of Common Core and we will likely see PreK students being taught using methods that would more closely resemble Catholic schools 50 years ago. Get it or get out. Nothing the district seems to do lately makes any sense so more resources may not mean a thing.
East as brick and mortar may not be the problem but the people in it as well as everyone who works for the district and the whole community are the problem. We all know how bad the schools are and yet no one is marching or banging on district doors. The people in East could have told their story but they are justifiably afraid of losing their jobs. Unfortunately fear driven complacency in the face of injustice is not acceptable. It is immoral and everyday the citizens of this community turn the page or look the other way we are condoning the injustice.
The district has the power and resources to make all of their schools better. They may not become the Harley School or compete with the best suburban schools but every Rochester City school could be dramatically better. There are well known organizational best practices that are found all around the world that we can implement but this is not done. Why not? Because innovation often requires autonomy and with this freedom comes confidence. School staff might wake up one day and ask themselves why they need a central office or union at all. This scares the hell out those currently in command.
There is no good reason at all that the district does not have a portfolio of alternative schools like Boston's Pilot schools. Leaders do not promote these because schools that have unique and more successful programs (SOTA, School of Inquiry, School Without Walls and others) also have engaged parents who are likely to hold teachers and administrators accountable. This is the other fear. Great schools often encourage and develop strong parents and nothing is more powerful than a few hundred angry parents.
You want to fix East? You want to make other schools better? Put an ad in the paper that challenges people in the community to take over schools but promise them there would be no ties to the unions and central office. They could pick and choose their support systems and the kinds of relations they have with other groups. The line would be from here to Buffalo. To fix the schools we need to remove all of the dirty cooks who currently control the kitchen.
This Thomas Jefferson quote pretty much sums up how I feel about this issue: "When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."
Facebook doesn't allow anonymity. A trend (growing?) in online comment sections is for Facebook to verify a person's identity. The result that I've seen, is that the contents of the comments are so watered down, they are meaningless. And the name and photo of a person is pretty much useless since practically nobody knows who they are anyway. The reader gets to participate, but fear, via the Facebook connection stifles any real discourse.
I'm not on Facebook, but if it's causing people to be afraid to freely express themselves, then I don't understand how this is good for liberty.
I seldom comment anonymously. I am retired and cannot be harmed by possible repercussions that way. I reconsider what I write before I post because I know I will attach my name to it, usually. I argued with MATowler about moderating the comments until I looked at unmoderated comments sections which permitted anonymous posting, ugh!
I post in many forums under the handle "xctraveler" but anyone interested can go to the profile section and learn my name. The options as I see it are to ban anonymous posting in which case many people will create pseudonym accounts or to moderate the postings. In either event only the publisher has freedom of speech and that is as it should be and as the constitution intended. Anyone can begin their own publication if they want unmuzzled freedom to rant on.
Commenting anonymously, or with a pseudonym, is an ancient tradition that will outlive City, and maybe even the internet. Anyone challenging gender, race, religious, or economic power status quos may do it at great personal cost. In a different time or place, they could have even been in danger of their lives for speaking truth to power. City and its comment readers will never know if a pseudonym is being used, so the paper won't be able to enforce the naming requirement. Graffiti is known to proliferate in proportion to the degree of repression present in a society. Increase in the amounts of anonymous commenting might be a related phenomenon. If a comment has some truth to it, it shouldn't matter how it is signed, and probably shouldn't be ignored.
I'm sorry I responded to you the way I did. I thought your comment was very well written, the best. Believe me, I have my own mental health issues so I can empathize. I would actually like to continue this discussion with you in private, but I don't exactly know how to do it. Ask Ms. Towler for my email address, if you want. I'm on Twitter @earlrize_mike, but I'm not sure how much personal information I should be revealing.
Again, I'd really like to hear more from you on this, but in private.
"If it is worth saying, it is worth signing." I respectfully disagree. Let me give you an example. I have bipolar disorder. This is no secret and it's not something I'm ashamed of. I will come out on internet forums about my illness, but it's not something I want published on City's Letters to the Editors page. People have prejudices about the mentally ill and the poor (thus my 'poverty' comment upthread). As a freelance writer, I would not want potential clients to have the wrong perception. So when City did an article on the mental health system a while back, I had great insight into the system, but I chose to remain silent. I didn't know I could post anonymously, so I didn't contribute to the discussion, By insisting that people use their names, we are effectively silencing others who DO have something worthwhile to say, but for whatever reason, need their privacy protected.
My mentioning "poverty" was not to imply that it's a "shameful condition". That was poor wording and lazy writing on my part. I simply meant that people who are perhaps not comfortable talking about their lives, for whatever reason, often have the greatest insight into a problem. Perhaps I should have posted that anonymously, because always on the internet, someone will misconstrue your good intentions! Frankly, I feel this argument is a tad elitist. Only people who are willing to go public get to air their views? Yes, the internet is a public forum, which is precisely why some people wish to protect their privacy. There are many legitimate reasons why people prefer to remain anonymous. And putting up with obnoxious posts, which will be moderated anyway, is the price of internet democracy.
I find it troubling that someone would think of poverty as a shameful condition. A super rich CEO escaping a nosediving company with a golden parachute is someone I would expect to be wanting to hide under a rock.
Furthermore, victims that need real help are not going to be able to get it by going online with their story while remaining anonymous. They should be emboldened enough to contact the police or some other agency with all the information, INCLUDING their name.
I am concerned that some people are erroneously assuming that the anonymous contributors are downtrodden in some way. I suspect that it's the opposite that is true. Wouldn't it be more appropriate for someone with a well-known name to use a psyeudonym.
I think the conversation on unions would have been badly one-sided without the psyeudonym using regulars. I do understand how unfair it seems for one side to be able to speak with impunity while the others always must consider their reputation.
This is a complicated and important issue. It would be wise to spend more time on it.
Often, the people who need to remain anonymous are the ones we need to hear from most. For example, a person who is mentally ill and has great insight into the mental health system, but doesn't want their workplace to know of their illness. Or someone who works in a political office, but doesn't want to jeopardize their job. Or someone who was a former addict, or who was in an abusive relationship, or who live s in poverty. It's not who said it that's important, it's what's being said. If we are only to hear only from the people who sign their name, then we are potentially shutting out voices that need to be heard. To ignore them is akin to censorship, and is the very opposite of what the internet is all about.
I am always drawn toward comment sections to know what people are thinking and to read other points of view. Just as often I am repulsed by them when comments descend into personal attacks or wild flights of illogic or ideologue.
But experience has shown me that neither helpful discussion, nor useless rant and drivel are exclusive to either the anonymous or to the public contributor.
Therefore, and for the added reason that contributors can fear retribution, job threat, etc., I accept the annoyances (or worse) that allowing anonymous commenters poses, in trade for the great value that anonymous contributors sometimes add.
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