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Thumbnail image for Orca Profiles in Captivity: The San Diego 10

Orca Profiles in Captivity: The San Diego 10

by Source 04.19.2014 Activism

Activists Gear Up for Easter Protest at SeaWorld

By Cara Wilson-Granat / OB Rag

Dame Jane Goodall (famed British primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, and UN Messenger of Peace) was asked a question. “Why did she do what she did for the chimps she has advocated for all her life?” She answered by sharing a true story.

A captive lab chimp had never lived outside a cage his entire life. Now freed by Jane and her team of researchers and scientists, the frightened primate sat and watched the other chimps in a large zoo compound—free of cages and offering grassy, rocky, chimp-appealing offerings, including the sight and sound of others like him. He was terrified by such a contrast—from darkness to light.

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Thumbnail image for The Marshians Have Arrived – Eco-Activist-Art in Pacific Beach

The Marshians Have Arrived – Eco-Activist-Art in Pacific Beach

by Source 04.19.2014 Activism

Update Given on Release of 7 Clapper Rails Last Year

By Mic Porte/ OBRag

The Kendall-Frost UCSD Marsh research facility at the corner of Mission Bay was host to a Marshian Art encounter of the first kind, Saturday evening, April 12, Marshian Day.

Inaugurating her mural, Celeste Byers, UCSD student and art muralist, and friends and supporters of The Marsh, joined in art and music to celebrate. Some 40 people attended and enjoyed the musical event. The photos document the completed mural on Saturday and Celeste Byers, after she signed the mural on Monday.

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Thumbnail image for Poem of the Day: “PTSD” by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

Poem of the Day: “PTSD” by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

by Source 04.18.2014 Arts

As part of the ongoing SDFP column Geo-Poetic Spaces

Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

Sun’s shell exploding
swimming pools
displacing water’s reflections
with electro-convulsive
flashes of dendrites in chlorine

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Thumbnail image for Sex, Power and Politics in San Diego – Grassroots vs Astroturf

Sex, Power and Politics in San Diego – Grassroots vs Astroturf

by Source 04.18.2014 Editor's Picks

Part 5: The Battle for Progressive Hearts and Minds 

Editors Note: Former Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña has an up close and personal story to tell about her dealings with former Mayor Bob Filner and the Democratic party establishment. This is the end of a five part series running this week at San Diego Free Press. Part one covers her early encounters with Filner, Part two describes the indifference she met when she tried to alert Democratic Party leadership, Part three talks about the pressures brought about to gain her endorsement of the Filner mayoral candidacy. Part four is about keeping the biggest secret.

By Lori Saldaña

As voters look ahead to the next campaign cycle, we increasingly hear of battles over how to fund these elections. These range from discussions over local races to arguments before the US Supreme Court over campaign financing.

The discussions range from proposals for setting up public financing for elections, to arguments in favor of allowing unlimited private contributions from the wealthiest 0.1% of people in the country.

If money is speech, a lot of people have no chance of ever being heard.

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Thumbnail image for Bacon Is Not a Vegetable

Bacon Is Not a Vegetable

by Source 04.18.2014 Activism

You can’t encourage other people to eat a diet that’s better for them and the planet by getting all vegangelical on them.

By Jill Richardson / Other Words

As a vegetarian, I have to walk a fine line.

Really, I’m not judging you. But I often find it necessary to establish myself as “not a threat” to meat eaters. I also occasionally bump up against militant vegans.

Consider this collision I had the other day with a devout vegangelical. While at a potluck among an omnivorous group that included a woman who raises and slaughters chickens and turkeys for meat, I tried to politely excuse myself for not partaking in most of the food.

“I’m vegetarian,” I said. “Well, mostly vegetarian.”

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Thumbnail image for Sex, Power and Politics in San Diego – Hating the Sin While Supporting the Sinner

Sex, Power and Politics in San Diego – Hating the Sin While Supporting the Sinner

by Source 04.17.2014 Gender

Part 4: The Aftermath

Editors Note: Former Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña has an up close and personal story to tell about her dealings with former Mayor Bob Filner and the Democratic party establishment. This is part three of a five part series running this week at San Diego Free Press. Part one covers her early encounters with Filner, Part two describes the indifference she met when she tried to alert Democratic Party leadership, Part three talks about the pressures brought about to gain her endorsement of the Filner mayoral candidacy.

By Lori Saldaña

On Election Day, I trailed Peters on the first ballot announcement by less than 200 votes. I eventually lost by 700 votes, after being outspent 4:1. Most of his funds were family money.

Dollar for dollar, we ran the most cost efficient Congressional campaign in the state, if not the country. But in the end, personal wealth and internecine party warfare trumped our efforts.

Worse, after the June 2012 primary election, I continued to hear reports regarding Filner’s behavior towards women, including at campaign fundraising events. I did not personally witness these activities, since I had withdrawn from political activity. But they became common knowledge throughout the political community and were discussed by volunteers and others at events, who apparently decided to “hate the sin, but support the sinner.”

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Thumbnail image for “We Are More Than Just Workers — We’re People.”

“We Are More Than Just Workers — We’re People.”

by Source 04.17.2014 Activism

By Lisa Maldonado Robinson/ Escondido Democratic Club

It takes an hourly wage of $13.09 and a full-time job to be able “to make ends meet” in San Diego County, according to Lisa Maldonado Robinson of the Interfaith Center for Worker Justice (ICWJ). Robinson spoke to Escondido Democrats at their April 12 meeting about the ICWJ’s ongoing program in San Diego County in which religious leaders strive “to lift workers out of poverty.” The program has a North County component and Robinson described efforts to organize workers at Casino Pauma and Northgate Markets.

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Thumbnail image for Sex, Power and Politics in San Diego – A Double Standard for Party Endorsements

Sex, Power and Politics in San Diego – A Double Standard for Party Endorsements

by Source 04.16.2014 Gender

Editors Note: Former Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña has an up close and personal story to tell about her dealings with former Mayor Bob Filner and the Democratic party establishment. This is part three of a five part series running this week at San Diego Free Press. Part one covers her early encounters with Filner, Part two describes the indifference she met when she tried to alert Democratic Party leadership.

Part 3: Endorsement Roulette

By Lori Saldaña

By early 2012 I was campaigning full time, struggling to raise money, and trying to earn the Democratic Party endorsement. The grassroots, progressive delegates were with me, but the more moderate Democratic faction did all they could to block my State Party endorsement.

A short time after I had shared my concerns about Filner he announced his engagement. Privately, I suspected this was done to counter my allegations. When I encountered Filner at campaign events we kept our distance, and I was never introduced to his fiancee.

Still, knowing what I knew about his personal behavior, I refused to give his campaign an endorsement.

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Thumbnail image for Sex, Power, and Politics in San Diego – Trying to Blow the Whistle on Bob Filner

Sex, Power, and Politics in San Diego – Trying to Blow the Whistle on Bob Filner

by Source 04.15.2014 Gender

Editors Note: Former Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña has an up close and personal story to tell about her dealings with former Mayor Bob Filner and the Democratic party establishment. This is part two of a five part series running this week at San Diego Free Press. Part one covers her early encounters with Filner.

PART TWO: Party Politics

By Lori Saldaña

I first contacted Durfee in August 2011. I recounted the Filner actions and allegations, and urged him to meet with Filner to determine if these were accurate accounts, and, if so, to take action to ensure the behavior would stop.

I reported Bob Filner’s bad behavior to the San Diego County Democratic Party Chairman for pretty simple reasons: I believe women deserve to be treated with respect. I also feared he would ultimately be “outed” with disastrous impacts on others.

I also expressed concern over what this would mean for Democrats and the Mayor’s campaign if these stories became public.

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Thumbnail image for Desmond Tutu: Climate Crisis Demands ‘Anti-Apartheid-Style Boycott’ of Fossil Fuel Industry

Desmond Tutu: Climate Crisis Demands ‘Anti-Apartheid-Style Boycott’ of Fossil Fuel Industry

by Source 04.15.2014 Activism

Nobel laureate says ‘people of conscience’ must break ties with oil and gas companies that are destroying planet’s future.

By Jon Queally / Common Dreams

Archbishop of South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu is saying their is no longer any excuse for not doing everything humanly possible to fight climate change and called on Thursday for an international “anti-apartheid-style boycott” against the fossil fuel industry.

In a striking essay and call to action in the Guardian newspaper, Tutu writes: “People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change.”

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Thumbnail image for Sex, Power, and Politics in San Diego – Run Up to the 2012 Election

Sex, Power, and Politics in San Diego – Run Up to the 2012 Election

by Source 04.14.2014 Gender

Editors Note: Former Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña has an up close and personal story to tell about her dealings with former Mayor Bob Filner and the Democratic party establishment. This is part one of a five part series running this week at San Diego Free Press. 

PART ONE:  Filner Clears the Field

By Lori Saldaña

In December 2010  I termed out of the California Assembly after serving 6 years; 3 terms were then the maximum allowed. In the summer of 2011 I prepared to teach a class in the Women’s Studies Department at San Diego State University on “Sex, Power and Politics,” and, as redistricting was concluded, decided to run  for Congress in the 52nd district in California. As I began preparing to teach and run for Congress, I  began hearing stories from women who told me they had been harassed by then-US Representative Bob Filner, who appeared to be the only Democratic candidate for Mayor of San Diego.

Filner did a good job of clearing the field.  He received support and promises of help from people who coveted his open seat, and saw in his retirement the opportunity for a “domino effect” to lead to additional openings and special elections in the California Senate and Assembly.

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Thumbnail image for The Drug War Fuels Mass Deportation of Nonviolent Migrants

The Drug War Fuels Mass Deportation of Nonviolent Migrants

by Source 04.13.2014 Government

250,000 people have been deported for drug offenses in the last 6 years.

By Daniel Robelo / AlterNet

The drug war has increasingly become a war against migrant communities. It fuels racial profiling, border militarization, violence against immigrants, intrusive government surveillance and, especially, widespread detentions and deportations. 

Media and politicians have tried to convince us that everyone who gets deported is a violent criminal, a terrorist or a drug kingpin. But a newly released, first-of-its-kind report shatters that notion, showing instead that the majority (some two-thirds) of those deported last year were guilty of minor, nonviolent offenses – including thousands deported for nothing more than possessing small quantities of drugs, typically marijuana.

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Thumbnail image for Poem of the Day:  “Guantanamo” by Shadab Zeest Hashmi

Poem of the Day: “Guantanamo” by Shadab Zeest Hashmi

by Source 04.13.2014 Books & Poetry

By Shadab Zeest Hashmi/ UniVerse

A guard forces you to urinate on yourself
Another barks out louder than his dog
the names of your sisters
who live in the delicate nest
of a ruby-throated hummingbird
Each will be a skeleton he says

Was there someone who gave you
seven almonds for memory,
a teaspoon of honey every morning?

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Thumbnail image for How Hatred of Islam Creates Strange Bedfellows of Christians and Atheists

How Hatred of Islam Creates Strange Bedfellows of Christians and Atheists

by Source 04.12.2014 Politics

Atheists shouldn’t be singing from the same song sheet as the Christian Right.

By CJ Werleman / Alternet

Politics is a funny game, for wedge issues often make for strange bedfellows. NSA overreach unites the far left with the far right. Libertarianism unites neo-confederates with black evangelicals. If you’re looking for an even stranger ideological matrimony, try this one on for size: mention the Middle East peace talks, and voila, you have atheists singing from the same song sheet as the Christian Right.

Despite the Palestinians making a sudden about turn to the United Nations, who can blame them, Secretary of State John Kerry is to be applauded for his efforts to bring the peace process back into focus. Not only has he dragged both sides to the negotiating table, he has also attained crucial concessions from both the Palestinians and the Israelis. But any further progress is made difficult while Americans remain in the dark about what is really taking place in the Occupied Territories. The most ignorant include the corporate-owned media, the Christian Right and movement atheism. This ignorance results in a lack of political pressure on the White House, Republican or Democrat, to seek a much-needed two-state solution.

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Thumbnail image for Poem of the Day: “Chiaroscuro” by Karen Kenyon

Poem of the Day: “Chiaroscuro” by Karen Kenyon

by Source 04.12.2014 Books & Poetry

The spaces inside that poetry fills

By Karen Kenyon

Why I Write

My mother was a pianist, so I grew up surrounded by music and lyrics. In addition,my blind grandfather wrote poems all the time, so writing poetry and being creative seemed a natural thing to do.

During college years I was an Art Major at UNM in Albuquerque (until I married after 3 years). But it was really after something difficult happened that poetry really entered my life full force.

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Thumbnail image for OSHA Wins Case Against SeaWorld Involving Death of Orca Trainer

OSHA Wins Case Against SeaWorld Involving Death of Orca Trainer

by Source 04.12.2014 Activism

From OH&S / Apr 11, 2014 Re-posted from OBRag

OSHA has won the appellate case involving its enforcement case against SeaWorld of Florida LLC following the death of killer whale trainer Dawn Brancheau on Feb. 24, 2010. A 2-1 decision issued April 11 by a panel of three judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit found that SeaWorld “recognized its precautions were inadequate to prevent serious bodily harm or even death to its trainers and that the residual hazard was preventable.”

“The remedy imposed for SeaWorld’s violations does not change the essential nature of its business,” the majority opinion written by Judge Judith W. Rogers states. “There will still be human interactions and performances with killer whales; the remedy will simply require that they continue with increased safety measures.”

This is a high-profile case that was argued Nov. 12, 2013, at the Georgetown University Law Center, with SeaWorld’s legal team including Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s Eugene Scalia, son of U.S. Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia.

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Thumbnail image for Carl DeMaio’s À la Carte Campaign

Carl DeMaio’s À la Carte Campaign

by Source 04.11.2014 Editor's Picks

By Lucas O’Connor

Carl DeMaio is running for Congress. You may have heard. And even though he’s had the misfortune of writing down and voting on major issues for more than a decade, so far his campaign is predicated on hoping that nobody notices in spite of article after article after article after article chronicling his career.

The attempts to fake a newfound moderation on social issues have been well chronicled, but if you don’t believe him, don’t ask him… He refuses to talk about civil rights issues even as the Republican leadership Carl’s running to empower continues going along with Tea Party extremists and holding votes on exactly those issues. It’s not clear if anyone’s really sat down yet and explained to Carl that you can’t actually be an à la carte Congressman, but he seems committed to trying anyhow.

But just for today, let’s give him a break on all the issues that are apparently beneath him. Instead, let’s jump in the wayback machine, back to when Carl DeMaio was publicly telling us that he would “owe” the people who pay for his campaigns. He voted several times to provide tax dollars to his donors, and then voted to give the mayor’s office near impunity to distribute government contracts that his donors were competing for.

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Thumbnail image for The Shopping Mall’s Socialist Pre-History

The Shopping Mall’s Socialist Pre-History

by Source 04.11.2014 Economy

The inventor of the American suburban shopping mall was a socialist. Could his creation have been saved?

By  / Jacobin Magazine

The American landscape is littered with hundreds of dead shopping malls. In places like the vast Buckingham Square Mall in Aurora, Colo., which has stood empty since 2007, the indoor fountains have stopped running, but the prosthetic plants inside remain eerily green. More will join them. It’s said that 15% of American malls will close in the next ten years.

The biggest shopping mall in the world, the New South China Mall in Dongguan, is also a dead mall. Opening in 2005, it boasted seven zones, each based on major international cities and featuring including a replica Arc de Triumph and a Venetian canal complete with gondolas. However, the mall has remained 99% vacant since its opening. Aside from a cluster of fast food restaurants near its entrance, the mall is a network of vast, empty atria and mothballed cinemas and roller coasters.

Unable to compete with online shopping, declining consumer affluence, rising oil prices, and a volatile property market, shopping malls are dropping like flies.

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Thumbnail image for Poem of the Day: “The Spruce Street Bridge” by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

Poem of the Day: “The Spruce Street Bridge” by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

by Source 04.10.2014 Books & Poetry

From the ongoing SDFP column Geo-Poetic Spaces

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

Editor’s Note: San Diego Free Press contributor and poet Karen Kenyon has introduced readers to a number of San Diego poets. One of the iron-clad rules of poetry is that one poet always leads to another. Ish, as we know him, is one of those poets. Since SDFP’s launch in 2012 he has contributed both poems and essays. A few months ago he attended one of our contributor and editor meetings and told us that he has been combining videos with his poetry. The ongoing SDFP series Geo-Poetic Spaces arose from that meeting.

As part of our National Poetry Month coverage, we have asked San Diego poets who contribute to SDFP to provide some insight into why they write poetry. Ish responded: Poetry is breathing. I write because I can’t hold my breath for long without exhaling words. I have to create. For me art is not just a way of living it is life.

The Spruce Street Bridge

Wind strumming up chords
Strolling over Spruce Street bridge
Nasturtiums swaying
Canyon suspending sound’s scent
A suite for strings struck in steel

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Thumbnail image for “RED” at the San Diego Repertory Theatre

“RED” at the San Diego Repertory Theatre

by Source 04.10.2014 Culture

“Stop the heart and think… How fine are we?”

By Alejandra Enciso Guzmán

San Diego Repertory Theatre is staging its final production of its thirty-eighth season with RED by John Logan. It is a wonderful and –colorful- end to an eclectic and very well rounded season.

RED is a play with two actors and no intermission. John Vickery plays Mark Rothko, short for Marcus Yakovlevich Rothkowitz, an American painter of Russian Jewish descent. Jason Maddy is Ken, Rothko’s young assistant, aspiring painter and apprentice. San Diego Free Press had the opportunity to chat with the actors about their roles in RED.

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Thumbnail image for #NotABugSplat — Art At Its Most Powerful

#NotABugSplat — Art At Its Most Powerful

by Source 04.10.2014 Activism

By pajoly/ DailyKos

The image above is not a Photoshopped jpeg. It is an image massively blown up and staked into the ground to shame the American military drone pilots — and now indeed all of us — as their death from above ply the skies above Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region. It is an art project named #NotABugSplat, co-opting in graphic relief the slang drone operators callously and cavalierly give their victims.

Let that sink in. Bug Splat. Our society is fond of creating colorful euphemisms that are byproducts of truly shitty and shameful public policy. “Collateral damage” is one we all know; it’s clinically distant and sounds so much nicer in print and at a press briefing than “innocent dead bystanders.” (“Medical tourism” is another cheery one that seems almost bucolic instead of being actually a pathetic and desperate consequence of our pay-to-play healthcare regime.)

But, nothing so grossly illustrates our abandonment of any pretense of moral high ground like labeling exploded human beings as bug splats.

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Thumbnail image for Legalization is a Human Rights Issue: Latin America Steps Up Resolve to End the Drug Wars

Legalization is a Human Rights Issue: Latin America Steps Up Resolve to End the Drug Wars

by Source 04.10.2014 Activism

By Wendy Call/ Yes!
Seattle’s South Park neighborhood has seen its share of drug-related crime and violence. Many of its residents are recent immigrants from Mexico; some came north fleeing the drug cartel violence that has ravaged their home communities. So the South Park Community Center was a poignant venue for Mexican poet, writer, and activist Javier Sicilia to speak about his campaign to end the drug war in his home country. He began the evening with a moment of silence for all the lives lost – somewhere between 60,000 and 100,000 – since the Mexican government stepped up the war against drug cartels in 2006. Then, his commanding voice heavy with grief, Sicilia read a poem:

All absence is cruel
and nonetheless, remains like a space that comes from the dead,
from the bleached roots of the past.
Where might we turn?

Sicilia wrote this poem, “The Survivor,” in 2009. Two years later, he became a survivor of heartbreaking absence himself, when his 24-year-old son was murdered, with six of his friends, by drug traffickers in Cuernavaca, Mexico. With the cruel loss of his son, Sicilia did not know where to turn. He wrote a final poem dedicated to his son, Juan Francisco, and then renounced writing poetry.

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Thumbnail image for Politicians Who Oppose Marijuana Legalization Are On the Wrong Side of History

Politicians Who Oppose Marijuana Legalization Are On the Wrong Side of History

by Source 04.09.2014 Government

A majority of Americans support marijuana legalization.

By Tony Newman via AlterNet

A majority of Americans support marijuana legalization – yet not one sitting governor or U.S. Senator supports it, according to a New York Times piece.  

Marijuana prohibition is a disastrous failure. 43 years after President Nixon launched the “war on drugs,” the U.S. arrests 650,000 people a year for marijuana possession – yet marijuana and other illegal drugs are as available as ever. Thanks to the drug war, the U.S. has less than five percent of the world’s population, yet nearly 25 percent of its prisoners.

Colorado and Washington made history in 2012 becoming the first states – and the first two political jurisdictions anywhere in the world – to legally regulate the production and distribution of marijuana, and many states are looking to follow soon. National polls showing majority support for marijuana legalization have been confirmed in states across the country – and not just in states you’d expect but even in Florida, Louisiana, Indiana, Ohio and Texas.

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Thumbnail image for The Night I Decided to Stop Going to Sea World

The Night I Decided to Stop Going to Sea World

by Source 04.09.2014 Activism

By Lori Saldaña

I was born in San Diego, and my family began attending Sea World back in the 60s when it had a Japanese Garden and pearl divers (I still have a pearl ring, a birthday gift one year).

Then, it was a very different place than it is today: quieter, smaller scale, and more about Pacific Rim culture than theme park shows. We went often, and not just as casual visitors. Since my father was a journalist, and Sea World knew the value of cultivating relationships with the media, we would often attend special events throughout the year, including a lavish annual kick-off party that marked the start of their summer season, complete with a preview of the newest Shamu show.

I enjoyed going early, before the dinners and presentations, and wandering around the park after the daytime visitors departed. I especially enjoyed being able to enter the exhibits and watch the animals without the usual crowds around.

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Thumbnail image for McCutcheon, the Majority, and the Challenge of Our Time

McCutcheon, the Majority, and the Challenge of Our Time

by Source 04.08.2014 Courts, Justice

The McCutcheon ruling points us to the defining struggle of today’s generation.

Richard Eskow / AlterNet

The Supreme Court’s McCutcheon ruling will be remembered as a decisive battle in a determined and wealthy minority’s war against the popular will. It is not the first such battle, nor will it be the last. And the people will continue to lose — unless and until the rules of engagement are changed.

One compelling way to look at this ruling is by contrasting its immediate and long-term effects with the American people’s aspirations for their government. They are at cross purposes. Even before this ruling, 64 percent of those polled believed that our country’s economic rules unfairly favor the rich. This ruling will rig the game even further.

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