Opinion | Mind Over Money: Defending Democracy in the Wake of McCutcheon

first_img Pasadena’s ‘626 Day’ Aims to Celebrate City, Boost Local Economy Community News Community News Subscribe 9 recommended0 commentsShareShareTweetSharePin it Get our daily Pasadena newspaper in your email box. Free.Get all the latest Pasadena news, more than 10 fresh stories daily, 7 days a week at 7 a.m. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * One of the countless prescient scenes in Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 finds the hero, Montag, struggling to memorize a simple Bible verse as a toothpaste commercial blares over the radio on a commuter train. Living in Bradbury’s imagined America in which substantive reading and critical thinking are illegal has accustomed Montag to superficial, lazy communication. Incapable of focusing his thoughts, he is quickly overwhelmed by the aggressive, simplistic sales pitch invading his ears.Bradbury wrote that scene as a nightmare. But for the corporate and political champions of recent campaign spending cases, that dark moment in Fahrenheit may read like a dream come true. To agenda-driven individuals and groups, the Supreme Court’s invalidation of campaign contribution limits is a green light to deluge the public with torrents of political ads intended to overwhelm us through relentless sloganeering. Fortunately, we don’t have to fall for it.Building on its controversial Citizens United ruling (which struck down campaign giving limits on corporations, organizations and unions), the Supreme Court’s recent 5–4 decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Elections Commission clears the way for unrestricted political contributions by individuals, further empowering that small group of deep-pocketed donors who already flex disproportionate influence over candidates and political parties through their anonymous support of PACs. Congresswoman Judy Chu was right when she warned that these high court rulings, which equate campaign spending with free speech, could “effectively drown out the voices of average Americans and replace them with special interests who can afford to fund entire campaigns on their own.”In order to protect our democracy, voters will have to become more critical and discerning. We’ll have to study issues and candidates carefully and resist the persuasive power of superficial, sensory-assaulting media advertising – especially TV ads — that the combined power of McCutcheon and Citizens United will certainly unleash. In short, We The People will have to use our minds to overcome their money.Relying primarily on political commercials has never been a smart way to make voting decisions. Ads are intended to persuade — even manipulate — but not to inform. Reading credible newspapers and magazines (be they in print or online) is still the best way to gain understanding of the issues. Supplementing that with study of candidate and party web pages, reading fact-checking watchdog sites and watching candidates’ speeches in their entirety online helps round out the picture. Yes, that’s kind of a lot of work. But democracy doesn’t function properly unless We The People do our part.The good news is that political advertising isn’t as effective as many would-be influencers of power may think. Multiple studies of Presidential and Congressional elections over the last ten years indicate that TV ads have a limited impact on election outcomes. After comparing previous research with his own analysis of the 2012 presidential race, Dan Hopkins of Georgetown University concluded in the Washington Post that, “In all likelihood, even major shifts in advertising would have produced only minor shifts toward the candidate benefiting from those shifts.”So, while Citizens United and McCutcheon give a large and unfair advantage to a small group of wealthy political contributors, it may be a stretch to say that our system has been put up for sale. We The People still have the power to resist the media onslaught and to think, analyze, draw conclusions and make decisions.As the Clarence Darrow-esque lawyer Henry Drummond declares in the play Inherit the Wind, the ability to think is the one virtue that sets humans above the other creatures of the Earth. And this ability to think is both our shield and sword against those who would turn us into a nation of malleable Montags. Exercising our ability to think is how We The People will protect and preserve our democracy. The focused power of our minds will win out over the avalanche of their money.Thank you for listening. I’m Cameron Turner and that’s my two cents. Opinion & Columnists Opinion | Mind Over Money: Defending Democracy in the Wake of McCutcheon By CAMERON TURNER Published on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 | 8:37 pm First Heatwave Expected Next Week Business Newscenter_img More Cool Stuff EVENTS & ENTERTAINMENT | FOOD & DRINK | THE ARTS | REAL ESTATE | HOME & GARDEN | WELLNESS | SOCIAL SCENE | GETAWAYS | PARENTS & KIDS Pasadena Will Allow Vaccinated People to Go Without Masks in Most Settings Starting on Tuesday Make a comment Top of the News HerbeautyYou Can’t Go Past Our Healthy Quick RecipesHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyA Mental Health Chatbot Which Helps People With DepressionHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyWant To Seriously Cut On Sugar? 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Jeffrey Hannon’s murder 10 years ago still haunts family

first_imgPredictions on the future of learning discussed at Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival WhatsApp Previous articleMongoose / PowPigNext articleAll American story from Ard Scoil Rís Staff Reporterhttp://www.limerickpost.ie RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Limerick’s National Camogie League double header to be streamed live WATCH: “Everyone is fighting so hard to get on” – Pat Ryan on competitive camogie squads Linkedin NewsCrime & CourtLimerickJeffrey Hannon’s murder 10 years ago still haunts familyBy Staff Reporter – November 15, 2017 3057 Email Facebookcenter_img Limerick Artist ‘Willzee’ releases new Music Video – “A Dream of Peace” TAGSAlan Hannonjeffrey hannonlimerickmurder Print Limerick Ladies National Football League opener to be streamed live THE father of a Limerick man murdered just yards from his home has renewed his appeal for information that will lead to solving the case of his son’s killing.On November 22, 2007, Jeffrey Hannon (19) was bludgeoned to death in a area just yards from his home in O’Malley Park, Southill.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up Over the last ten years, Jeffrey’s father Alan has campaigned for justice to be served over his son’s murder and despite several arrests, questionings and lines of investigations followed, a prosecution has not arisen.Last year, two more men, aged in their 20s and 40s, were arrested and detained at Roxboro Road Garda Station but were later released without charge.Earlier this year, a potential witness came forward and offered information to gardai pertaining to the murder.Alan Hannon told the Limerick Post that this witness gave an account to garda as to what allegedly happened on the night Jeffrey was killed.“This haunts me every year and we thought something new was developing with this witness. A file was prepared for the Director of Prosecutions, but I later received a letter to say that they would not be proceeding with the prosecution,” Mr Hannon said ahead of the 10th anniversary of his son’s brutal killing.“I appealed this, well i wrote to the DPP and asked them for the reasons, but I was effectively told that there wasn’t enough evidence to advance the case or lead to a prosecution.“This time of the years is so hard for us and Jeffrey’s two children are always asking what questions.”A murder investigation was launched when Mr Hannon’s body was found in the early hours of November 22, 2007 and to date, 20 people have been arrested and questioned but no charges were ever made.Mr Hannon’s family have constantly appealed to the public for information in connection with the death of Jeffrey.Detectives at Roxboro Garda Station have described the case as being a “complex and detailed inquiry”.On the sixth anniversary of his son’s death, Alan Hannan took to Limerick‘s streets with over 1,000 posters to advertise a march and public protest over the lack of progress in bringing his son’s killer to justice. He says that the time since Jeffrey’s death has been a “complete nightmare” for his family.Jeffrey Hannan had only returned home from England and was out socialising on the night he was violently beaten to death.Alan Hannon says that people know what happened that night and they are out there just too afraid to say.“I am appealing, as Jeffrey’s 10th anniversary approaches, for anyone with anything to come forward.See more Limerick news here Twitter Billy Lee names strong Limerick side to take on Wicklow in crucial Division 3 clash Advertisementlast_img read more