Though the manifold problems of money pouring into our campaigns have become a source of daily news and mounting public backlash, the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission is an opportunity to review how this transformative decision was reached – the perfect storm of politicized jurisprudence, corporate entitlement, and a narrowly tilted bench.
As Chief Justice, John Roberts has expressed such concern over corporate rights, one might think he was found as a boy abandoned, taken in, and raised by some corporations. It was Roberts who directed the narrow issue of FEC penalties over ads for Hillary: The Movie to be rewritten and re-argued as a much broader debate over the right for corporations to spend money freely on third party advertisements.
The murky reasoning in the 5-4 decision is a swirl of citations to numerous codes that apparently somehow offer sufficient paradox that a century of laws passed by lawmakers over generations of Congress that restrictions on the federal and state level had to be knocked down, leaving almost no sense of legal authority on the subject.
How has this decision stood, two years later? Well, people have literally been taking to the streets across the country in outrage over this decision and corporate influence on public policy. In fact, this decidedly undemocratic ruling — five opinions against American law and overwhelming public opinion — has been such a galvanizing injection into the populace, Citizens United vs. FEC may prove to be the birth to an era of reform. Read More
This year during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, amongst the corporate carpet bombing of branded swag up and down Main Street, there will be a venue for voices other than studio buzz machines, celebrity side projects, and gossip columnists. While the exclusivity of the Sundance Film Festival has long fostered start-up film fests to showcase other independent films alongside the star-studded lineup, this year brings a new kind of screening event to the cinephile maelstrom.
Filmmaker Donn “D.J.” Viola was struck by the odds of inclusion in the coveted landmark independent film festival: Out of 11,700 entries, only 180 were chosen, 1.538%. Parallel to the Occupy Movement’s empowering the bottom 99%, Viola sought to provide some kind of platform for the approximately 32 films made every day of the last year.
Going further, such a context could allow for more political films than might usually be included in the crop of Sundance selections. While Sundance has long been a strong supporter of environmental topics, the timeliness of a film festival is a unique challenge — where the transformative Occupy Wall Street movement sprung up in October and swept the national discourse, the deadline for submissions to Sundance was in September. Read More
Sunday, Jan. 8, will be the final day of Mr. Brainwash’s Art Show 2011, an exhibition which has drawn thousands each day to behold the childlike imagination of Thierry Guetta. This abandoned industrial space also happens to be adorned with a significant contribution from the street art community of Los Angeles, after Brainwash allowed 20,000 square feet of the ground floor to be entirely covered with other people’s posters, paintings, stickers and spray paint.
This mammoth art show will not be viewable somewhere else down the line. In fact, after this last day of viewing, the building is reportedly slated to be demolished. Street art is not intended to last, and here it won’t even last inside an empty building. Read More