meet cory gardner, Republican ~~ running against Mark Udall, Democratic Party


GOPred

As a national leader on energy policy, Cory has championed a bipartisan effort on liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports that recently passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He also introduced two major pieces of legislation that passed the House with bipartisan support and would increase domestic production while creating thousands of jobs here at home. In addition to his work with traditional resources, Cory has promoted legislation to streamline the permitting process for renewable technologies on federal lands and supports a paid-for extension of the wind production tax credit (PTC). He also co-wrote the legislation that established Colorado’s Clean Energy Development Authority while serving in the Colorado General Assembly.

Cory is a leading voice on energy efficiency and co-founded a bipartisan caucus dedicated to promoting efficiency initiatives that are good for the environment and the taxpayer. More than fifty cosponsors from both sides of the aisle have signed on to Cory’s energy efficiency legislation and the Energy and Commerce Committee recently passed the bill unanimously.

Cory has a record that reflects his desire to rein in out-of-control spending and build consensus on issues where he can find common ground with his colleagues. Whether it is promoting agriculture or reforming telecommunications policy, Cory’s record is one of forging solutions to our nation’s greatest problems.

Throughout his time in Congress, Cory has voiced his strong opposition to Obamacare and the premium increases, thousands of pages in new regulations, and burdensome mandates it creates. Cory chose to reject federal health benefits when first elected to Congress, and his family was among the 335,000 Coloradans who received health care cancellation notices as a result of Obamacare. He supports legislation that repeals this misguided law and replaces it with a solution that allows the purchase of insurance across state lines, bolsters state high-risk pools to provide for those with pre-existing conditions, and enacts badly needed tort reform to reduce medical costs, among other ideas.

Cory is dedicated to fiscal responsibility and government reform. He introduced legislation that requires Congress to review programs targeted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) as wasteful and duplicative. In an effort to make Congress work, he voted in favor of a bill that requires lawmakers to pass a budget or face having their pay withheld. He has also been a consistent voice for improving transparency through simplifying complicated government regulations and improving permit processes.

Cory believes that the next generation must be prepared to lead. He has supported efforts to entrust parents and educators with improving curriculum in their communities. Cory has also introduced legislation that helps students save more for college in a time of rising tuition costs. With two young children of his own, Cory knows that a quality education is invaluable to helping our youth meet the challenges of the future.

Resource: his website

We all know that the best way to find out about any candidate is to do your research. I went to gardner’s website and while he said some good things about birth control he is also in favour of repealing #ACA which would put reproductive rights at risk.  I also noticed that his website has a lot of information about what Mark Udall is for, but not a lot of his own solutions in my opinion and if elected he might say one thing and do another but I am cynical given how many Republicans in Congress continue to do so.  Cory might call himself an energy champion but he also believes the KeyStone pipeline is a must do … and I got the impression he is all for more deregulation … why are so many willing to forget the BP disaster the Massey Mining debacle and all the others before after and in between? ~~ Nativegrl77

meet david perdue, a Georgia Republican


Running against Michelle Nunn, Democratic Party.

I actually searched his website for information that would provide reasons to vote for him. I found his background, seemingly doing business with folks for folks and by folks overseas a bit scary! I could be wrong, but I can see American jobs being subjected to lower wages and or going overseas where we all know a living wage just does not seem to exist.  I am willing to be corrected, but this person seems bad for trade for jobs and again, do your research. I say that I am not a one-issue voter, but any candidate that advocates a right to life definitely chooses to ignore mothers from all backgrounds, their need to control their lives and engage in family planning. David Perdue definitely is a Republican that should stay a businessperson, though if you go to his website, jobs Women and a safer country all seem at risk in his hands in my opinion

Defending Our Values

There are principles I share with a majority of Georgians. I believe that we should promote a culture that values life and protects the innocent, especially the unborn. I also believe that we must protect traditional marriage, keeping it clearly defined as between one man and one woman. Being pro-life and believing in the sanctity of marriage are my deeply held personal convictions. I will not waver in defending them if I have the privilege of serving you in the U.S Senate.
See David’s response to National Right to Life

The National Debt

The crushing national debt has surpassed $17 trillion. We must act now to rein it in before it becomes unsustainable. Of course we have to cut wasteful spending and unnecessary bureaucracy. We have to eliminate the billions of dollars in failed government programs and redundant agencies. However, the best way to begin getting the debt under control is to grow the economy without a tax increase.

Comprehensive Tax Reform

In the midst of a terrible economy, this would be the worst possible time to raise taxes on anyone. Too many families and too many businesses are struggling to get by. I will not support a tax increase of any kind. Furthermore, the federal tax code is too complicated and misaligned. It should be completely overhauled as a means to promote growth and encourage more domestic economic investment. My preference is the Fair Tax.

Term Limits

I have never run for public office before, which in my opinion is a good thing. Just look at the results we have gotten from career politicians. They have created a crisis in Washington. We can’t expect them to fix it. That’s why I support term limits: a maximum three terms in the House, two terms in the Senate. I’ll stick to that commitment myself. Until we get term limits in place, we should enforce them at the ballot box by voting the career politicians out of office.
See David’s term limit pledge

Balanced Budget Amendment

Every Georgia family understands that you can’t perpetually spend more than you take in without going bankrupt. The problem is that the professional politicians in Washington won’t make a tough decision. I would absolutely vote for a balanced budget amendment. However, we need immediate tax and regulatory reforms along with appropriate spending cuts so that we have a right-sized, responsible budget sooner rather than later.

Repeal ObamaCare

ObamaCare is an overreaching federal program that will actually reduce the quality of health care and increase costs. I am one of the millions of Americans that had my personal policy cancelled after being told I could keep it. To make matters worse, Obamacare is discouraging full-time job creation. The consequences of politicians passing a massive bill without reading it continue to emerge. We need to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with more affordable free market solutions.

Revitalizing American Manufacturing

I believe that we are on the verge of revitalizing American manufacturing. The private sector is primed to create quality jobs by manufacturing innovative products that require a skilled workforce and high-tech facilities. These products are needed for domestic consumption and more importantly for exports to foreign markets. But the manufacturing industry’s renewal can be stunted if we don’t correct bad energy policies, the lack of infrastructure, failures in education, and the punitive tax code.

Increasing American Exports

The best opportunity for long-term economic growth is to boost our exports to emerging economies worldwide. In fact, I have started my own exporting business where we ship American-made products overseas. They have an increasing demand for American goods, both quality manufactured products as well as other needs such as agriculture products. Increasing exports requires elected leaders who understand global trends and how to remove barriers to growth. If so, we can create a new age of American prosperity.

Local Control of Education

I grew up the son of two teachers. I married a teacher. I have seen firsthand that parents and local educators make the best decisions on how to meet the unique needs of students. For example, my mother started a program for gifted students that is still a model for schools across Georgia to this day. True innovation starts at the local level, not in Washington. We should dismantle unnecessary federal bureaucracy, including the push for Common Core, and get that funding into the classrooms.

Energy Independence

Decades after an oil embargo led to gas rationing and long lines at the pump, we still don’t have a plan for energy independence. Instead, our own government limits our options by being overtly hostile towards domestic energy producers. In the process, they force us to rely on energy resources from countries that wish to do us harm. With the right leadership, we can finally have a domestic energy policy that is environmentally responsible in the long-term while meeting our current needs.

Secure Our Borders

Securing our borders is a matter of national security. The debate in Washington over illegal immigration has become unnecessarily complicated. Out-of-touch politicians have created another massive bill, like ObamaCare. Simply put, we need to strictly enforce current laws and any new laws should be straightforward, focusing on true border security. Until the federal government gets serious about immigration security and enforcement, discussing anything else is pointless.

The Right to Bear Arms

Growing up in Middle Georgia, I have been hunting since I was young, but I understand the 2nd Amendment is not only about hunting. It is hard for me to question the wisdom of the Founders. They crafted a Constitution that has only been amended 27 times in over 225 years. Ten amendments were their own, designed to explicitly protect certain rights. The 2nd Amendment is clear. We have ample gun laws on the books now, and I believe we should focus on enforcing them.
See David’s response to the National Rifle Association

Resource: His website

Brown V Board of Education ~~ Equality & Opportunity ~~ 60yrs


 

Photo of mother and daughter on steps of the Supreme Court building on May 18, 1954.
Mother (Nettie Hunt) and daughter (Nickie) sit on steps of the Supreme Court building on May 18, 1954, the dayfollowing the Court’s historic decision in Brown v. Board of Education.Nettie is holding a newspaper with the headline “High Court Bans Segregation in Public Schools.”Reproduction courtesy of Corbis Images

Brown v. Board of Education (1954)
PBS.org


Brown v. Board of Education (1954), now acknowledged as one of the greatest Supreme Court decisions of the 20th century, unanimously held that the racial segregation of children in public schools violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Although the decision did not succeed in fully desegregating public education in the United States, it put the Constitution on the side of racial equality and galvanized the nascent civil rights movement into a full revolution.

In 1954, large portions of the United States had racially segregated schools, made legal by Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), which held that segregated public facilities were constitutional so long as the black and white facilities were equal to each other. However, by the mid-twentieth century, civil rights groups set up legal and political, challenges to racial segregation. In the early 1950s, NAACP lawyers brought class action lawsuits on behalf of black schoolchildren and their families in Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware, seeking court orders to compel school districts to let black students attend white public schools.

One of these class actions, Brown v. Board of Education was filed against the Topeka, Kansas school board by representative-plaintiff Oliver Brown, parent of one of the children denied access to Topeka’s white schools. Brown claimed that Topeka’s racial segregation violated the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause because the city’s black and white schools were not equal to each other and never could be. The federal district court dismissed his claim, ruling that the segregated public schools were “substantially” equal enough to be constitutional under the Plessy doctrine. Brown appealed to the Supreme Court, which consolidated and then reviewed all the school segregation actions together. Thurgood Marshall, who would in 1967 be appointed the first black justice of the Court, was chief counsel for the plaintiffs.

Thanks to the astute leadership of Chief Justice Earl Warren, the Court spoke in a unanimous decision written by Warren himself. The decision held that racial segregation of children in public schools violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which states that “no state shall make or enforce any law which shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The Court noted that Congress, when drafting the Fourteenth Amendment in the 1860s, did not expressly intend to require integration of public schools. On the other hand, that Amendment did not prohibit integration. In any case, the Court asserted that the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees equal education today. Public education in the 20th century, said the Court, had become an essential component of a citizen’s public life, forming the basis of democratic citizenship, normal socialization, and professional training. In this context, any child denied a good education would be unlikely to succeed in life. Where a state, therefore, has undertaken to provide universal education, such education becomes a right that must be afforded equally to both blacks and whites.

Were the black and white schools “substantially” equal to each other, as the lower courts had found? After reviewing psychological studies showing black girls in segregated schools had low racial self-esteem, the Court concluded that separating children on the basis of race creates dangerous inferiority complexes that may adversely affect black children’s ability to learn. The Court concluded that, even if the tangible facilities were equal between the black and white schools, racial segregation in schools is “inherently unequal” and is thus always unconstitutional. At least in the context of public schools, Plessy v. Ferguson was overruled. In the Brown II case a decided year later, the Court ordered the states to integrate their schools “with all deliberate speed.”

Opposition to Brown I and II reached an apex in Cooper v. Aaron (1958), when the Court ruled that states were constitutionally required to implement the Supreme Court’s integration orders. Widespread racial integration of the South was achieved by the late 1960s and 1970s. In the meantime, the equal protection ruling in Brown spilled over into other areas of the law and into the political arena as well. Scholars now point out that Brown v. Board was not the beginning of the modern civil rights movement, but there is no doubt that it constituted a watershed moment in the struggle for racial equality in America.

History of Brown v. Board of Education

UScourts.gov

The Plessy Decision ~~ Separate but Equal?

Although the Declaration of Independence stated that “All men are created equal,” due to the institution of slavery, this statement was not to be grounded in law in the United States until after the Civil War (and, arguably, not completely fulfilled for many years thereafter). In 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified and finally put an end to slavery. Moreover, the Fourteenth Amendment (1868) strengthened the legal rights of newly freed slaves by stating, among other things, that no state shall deprive anyone of either “due process of law” or of the “equal protection of the law.” Finally, the Fifteenth Amendment (1870) further strengthened the legal rights of newly freed slaves by prohibiting states from denying anyone the right to vote due to race.

Despite these Amendments, African Americans were often treated differently than whites in many parts of the country, especially in the South. In fact, many state legislatures enacted laws that led to the legally mandated segregation of the races. In other words, the laws of many states decreed that blacks and whites could not use the same public facilities, ride the same buses, attend the same schools, etc. These laws came to be known as Jim Crow laws. Although  many people felt that these laws were unjust, it was not until the 1890s that they were directly challenged in court. In 1892, an African-American man named Homer Plessy refused to give up his seat to a white man on a train in New Orleans, as he was required to do by Louisiana state law. For this action he was arrested. Plessy, contending that the Louisiana law separating blacks from whites on trains violated the “equal protection clause” of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, decided to fight his arrest in court. By 1896, his case had made it all the way to the United States Supreme Court. By a vote of 8-1, the Supreme Court ruled against Plessy. In the case of Plessy v. Ferguson, Justice Henry Billings Brown, writing the majority opinion, stated that:

“The object of the [Fourteenth] amendment was undoubtedly to enforce the equality of the two races before the law, but in the nature of things it could not have been intended to abolish distinctions based upon color, or to endorse social, as distinguished from political, equality. . . If one race be inferior to the other socially, the Constitution of the United States cannot put them upon the same plane.”

The lone dissenter, Justice John Marshal Harlan, interpreting the Fourteenth Amendment another way, stated, “Our Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens.” Justice Harlan’s dissent would become a rallying cry for those in later generations that wished to declare segregation unconstitutional.

Sadly, as a result of the Plessy decision, in the early twentieth century the Supreme Court continued to uphold the legality of Jim Crow laws and other forms of racial discrimination. In the case of Cumming v. Richmond (Ga.) County Board of Education (1899), for instance, the Court refused to issue an injunction preventing a school board from spending tax money on a white high school when the same school board voted to close down a black high school for financial reasons. Moreover, in Gong Lum v. Rice (1927), the Court upheld a school’s decision to bar a person of Chinese descent from a “white” school.

The Road to Brown

(Note: Some of the case information is from Patterson, James T. Brown v. Board of Education: A Civil Rights Milestone and Its Troubled Legacy. Oxford University Press; New York, 2001.)

Early Cases

Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling in Plessy and similar cases, many people continued to press for the abolition of Jim Crow and other racially discriminatory laws. One particular organization that fought for racial equality was the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) founded in 1909. For about the first 20 years of its existence, it tried to persuade Congress and other legislative bodies to enact laws that would protect African Americans from lynchings and other racist actions. Beginning in the 1930s, though, the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Education Fund began to turn to the courts to try to make progress in overcoming legally sanctioned discrimination. From 1935 to 1938, the legal arm of the NAACP was headed by Charles Hamilton Houston. Houston, together with Thurgood Marshall, devised a strategy to attack Jim Crow laws by striking at them where they were perhaps weakest—in the field of education. Although Marshall played a crucial role in all of the cases listed below, Houston was the head of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund while Murray v. Maryland and Missouri ex rel Gaines v. Canada were decided. After Houston returned to private practice in 1938, Marshall became head of the Fund and used it to argue the cases of Sweat v. Painter and McLaurin v. Oklahoma Board of Regents of Higher Education.

Murray v. Maryland (1936)

Disappointed that the University of Maryland School of Law was rejecting black applicants solely because of their race, beginning in 1933 Thurgood Marshall (who was himself rejected from this law school because of its racial acceptance policies) decided to challenge this practice in the Maryland court system. Before a Baltimore City Court in 1935, Marshall argued that Donald Gaines Murray was just as qualified as white applicants to attend the University of Maryland’s School of Law and that it was solely due to his race that he was rejected. Furthermore, he argued that since the “black” law schools which Murray would otherwise have to attend were nowhere near the same academic caliber as the University’s law school, the University was violating the principle of “separate but equal.” Moreover, Marshall argued that the disparities between the “white” and “black” law schools were so great that the only remedy would be to allow students like Murray to attend the University’s law school. The Baltimore City Court agreed and the University then appealed to the Maryland Court of Appeals. In 1936, the Court of Appeals also ruled in favor of Murray and ordered the law school to admit him. Two years later, Murray graduated.

Missouri ex rel Gaines v. Canada (1938)

Beginning in 1936, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund decided to take on the case of Lloyd Gaines, a graduate student of Lincoln University (an all-black college) who applied to the University of Missouri Law School but was denied because of his race. The State of Missouri gave Gaines the option of either attending an all-black law school that it would build (Missouri did not have any all-black law schools at this time) or having Missouri help to pay for him to attend a law school in a neighboring state. Gaines rejected both of these options, and, employing the services of Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, he decided to sue the state in order to attend the University of Missouri’s law school. By 1938, his case reached the U.S. Supreme Court, and, in December of that year, the Court sided with him. The six-member majority stated that since a “black” law school did not currently exist in the State of Missouri, the “equal protection clause” required the state to provide, within its boundaries, a legal education for Gaines. In other words, since the state provided legal education for white students, it could not send black students, like Gaines, to school in another state.

Sweat v. Painter (1950)

Encouraged by their victory in Gaines’ case, the NAACP continued to attack legally sanctioned racial discrimination in higher education. In 1946, an African American man named Heman Sweat applied to the University of Texas’ “white” law school. Hoping that it would not have to admit Sweat to the “white” law school if a “black” school already existed, elsewhere on the University’s campus, the state hastily set up an underfunded “black” law school. At this point, Sweat employed the services of Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and sued to be admitted to the University’s “white” law school. He argued that the education that he was receiving in the “black” law school was not of the same academic caliber as the education that he would be receiving if he attended the “white” law school. When the case reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 1950, the Court unanimously agreed with him, citing as its reason the blatant inequalities between the University’s law school (the school for whites) and the hastily erected school for blacks. In other words, the “black” law school was “separate,” but not “equal.” Like the Murray case, the Court found the only appropriate remedy for this situation was to admit Sweat to the University’s law school.

McLaurin v. Oklahoma Board of Regents of Higher Education (1950)

In 1949, the University of Oklahoma admitted George McLaurin, an African American, to its doctoral program. However, it required him to sit apart from the rest of his class, eat at a separate time and table from white students, etc. McLaurin, stating that these actions were both unusual and resulting in adverse effects on his academic pursuits, sued to put an end to these practices. McLaurin employed Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund to argue his case, a case which eventually went to the U.S. Supreme Court. In an opinion delivered on the same day as the decision in Sweat, the Court stated that the University’s actions concerning McLaurin were adversely affecting his ability to learn and ordered that they cease immediately.

Brown v. Board of Education (1954, 1955)

The case that came to be known as Brown v. Board of Education was actually the name given to five separate cases that were heard by the U.S. Supreme Court concerning the issue of segregation in public schools. These cases were Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Briggs v. Elliot, Davis v. Board of Education of Prince Edward County (VA.), Boiling v. Sharpe, and Gebhart v. Ethel. While the facts of each case are different, the main issue in each was the constitutionality of state-sponsored segregation in public schools. Once again, Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund handled these cases.

Although it acknowledged some of the plaintiffs’/plaintiffs claims, a three-judge panel at the U.S. District Court that heard the cases ruled in favor of the school boards. The plaintiffs then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

When the cases came before the Supreme Court in 1952, the Court consolidated all five cases under the name of Brown v. Board of Education. Marshall personally argued the case before the Court. Although he raised a variety of legal issues on appeal, the most common one was that separate school systems for blacks and whites were inherently unequal, and thus violate the “equal protection clause” of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Furthermore, relying on sociological tests, such as the one performed by social scientist Kenneth Clark, and other data, he also argued that segregated school systems had a tendency to make black children feel inferior to white children, and thus such a system should not be legally permissible.

Meeting to decide the case, the Justices of the Supreme Court realized that they were deeply divided over the issues raised. While most wanted to reverse Plessy and declare segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional, they had various reasons for doing so. Unable to come to a solution by June 1953 (the end of the Court’s 1952-1953 term), the Court decided to rehear the case in December 1953. During the intervening months, however, Chief Justice Fred Vinson died and was replaced by Gov. Earl Warren of California. After the case was reheard in 1953, Chief Justice Warren was able to do something that his predecessor had not—i.e. bring all of the Justices to agree to support a unanimous decision declaring segregation in public schools unconstitutional. On May 14, 1954, he delivered the opinion of the Court, stating that “We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. . .”

Expecting opposition to its ruling, especially in the southern states, the Supreme Court did not immediately try to give direction for the implementation of its ruling. Rather, it asked the attorney generals of all states with laws permitting segregation in their public schools to submit plans for how to proceed with desegregation. After still more hearings before the Court concerning the matter of desegregation, on May 31, 1955, the Justices handed down a plan for how it was to proceed; desegregation was to proceed with “all deliberate speed.” Although it would be many years before all segregated school systems were to be desegregated, Brown and Brown II (as the Courts plan for how to desegregate schools came to be called) were responsible for getting the process underway.

60 years and the struggle for Equity and Opportunity continues! In this 21st Century we still have folks pushing separate Nativegrl77

david young, republican


running against staci appel, Democratic Party

 

As Chief of Staff for Senator Grassley, David worked day in and day out on behalf of Iowans. He listened to their concerns, developed solutions, and navigated the federal bureaucracy to get results.

 

Like his friend and mentor, Chuck Grassley, David believes in a government that works for people.  Public service is about helping your fellow man.

David Young has already set his sights on ending Social Security’s promise, saying that the Ryan budget didn’t go far enough and that benefit cuts, increasing taxes on benefits and increasing the retirement age are all on the table. Our seniors can’t afford David Young, we must respond now!

David Young is so extreme that 85% of his own party’s primary voters rejected him just a few weeks ago. With the Tea Party once again flexing its muscle in Iowa’s primary contests, our response is critical.

  • Zero Based Budgeting – this solution simply means that each year, the funding level for all government programs and agencies will begin at $0.  This is a better budgeting practice than giving every program the same amount as last year, plus a raise.
  • Sunset Legislation – attaching a sunset clause to every law enacted by Congress means policies will no longer outlive their usefulness.  When the sunset date arrives, Congress will examine the program anew and determine if it should continue for another finite period of time.
  • Full Federal Audit – the budget of every government department and agency should undergo a thorough outside audit to ensure taxpayer funds are being used in the most effective manner possible.
  • Flatter, Fairer, Simpler Tax Code – the current U.S. tax code is 74,000 pages long.  Giving a percentage of your income to fund the government should not require us to hire professional assistance.  Additionally, the longer the code the more loopholes exist and the more opportunity there is to skirt the system and engage in fraudulent activity.
  • Balanced Budget Amendment – it is often said states are the test tubes of democracy.  The concept here is simple:  never spend more money than you have revenue.  In Iowa, this concept is just common sense.
  • Full Repeal of Obamacare – The disastrous rollout of government run Obamacare is the prophetic announcement of the real mess to come.  Trying to fix our health care system via a top-down approach, will never improve a broken system.  All Americans deserve the benefits of lower health care prices, better access to providers, and less government spending.

 

 

Resource: his website , internet

 

Net neutrality under attack – by Black members of Congress?


Big cable and phone companies have spent millions to influence the Congressional Black Caucus.

Black Congressmen Gregory Meeks, Bobby Rush, and G.K. Butterfield

Now some Black representatives are attacking Internet freedom with deceptive arguments.

Join us in demanding they stop:

Join Us

UPDATE:

Ten Black members of Congress are helping big telecom companies like Time Warner and AT&T attack Internet freedom, after taking thousands in campaign contributions.

The big phone and cable companies want to destroy net neutrality, the principle that keeps the Internet diverse and open, and gives Black people and businesses an equal chance online. These companies have spent millions to influence members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Now ten CBC members are fighting for big telecom’s agenda instead of protecting Internet freedom for their constituents, Black people, and everyone.

Join us in demanding they stop doing AT&T’s dirty work and support net neutrality.

Below is the email we sent recently that explains how some CBC members are helping the phone and cable companies attack Internet freedom.

Thanks and Peace,

Rashad

===================================

Big phone and cable companies are attacking the free and open Internet – and some Black members of Congress are helping them do it.

Ten members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) recently signed a letter to the FCC attacking net neutrality, the principle that prevents Internet service providers from discriminating online. All of these members have taken thousands in campaign contributions from the telecom industry.

We’ve seen this before – but this summer is a crucial time when the FCC will choose to either protect Internet freedom, or allow phone and cable companies to take unprecedented control over what we see, do, and say online.

We need to hold these representatives accountable, and make sure the FCC and other members of Congress know they don’t speak for Black people on this issue.

Join us in calling out the Black members of Congress doing big telecom’s dirty work.

What’s at stake

Net neutrality has made the Internet a level playing field for all voices, allowing Black bloggers, activists, and entrepreneurs to flourish online despite being blocked out of ownership and participation in traditional media. Now, these CBC members are using deceptive arguments to help giant corporations attack net neutrality, and claiming that they speak for Black America.

The FCC is now considering reclassifying Internet service as a public utility, which would give it strong authority to enforce net neutrality for the public good.1 Thankfully, some Black members of Congress are fighting to protect net neutrality — Rep. Keith Ellison co-authored a letter to the FCC supporting reclassification, and it was signed by Reps. Barbara Lee, John Lewis, John Conyers, Donna Edwards, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Charlie Rangel, Bobby Scott, and Andre Carson.2

But the phone and cable companies are fighting this tooth and nail, calling in favors from organizations and members of Congress they’ve supported financially for years. Sadly, some civil rights organizations and Black members of Congress are attacking net neutrality with dishonest and deceptive arguments handed to them by the telecom lobby. Ten members of the CBC recently signed Rep. Gene Green’s letter to the FCC attacking reclassification (Reps. Bobby Rush, G.K. Butterfield, Sanford Bishop, Corrine Brown, Lacy Clay, Alcee Hastings, Gregory Meeks, David Scott, Bennie Thompson, and Marc Veasey).3 The letter claims to support Internet freedom while doing everything it can to undermine it.

Dishonest and deceptive arguments against net neutrality

The telecom lobby, echoed by some Black members of Congress and civil rights organizations, has argued that net neutrality rules could limit minority access to the Internet and widen the digital divide. They say that unless we allow Internet service providers to make bigger profits by acting as gatekeepers online, they won’t expand Internet access in under-served communities. In other words, if Comcast — whose broadband Internet business was recently earning 80 percent profit margins4 — can increase its profits under a system without net neutrality, then it will all of a sudden invest in expanding Internet access in our communities.


This argument has been debunked5, 6 — it doesn’t make any sense from a business or economic perspective, and it doesn’t reflect history. Expanding access to high speed Internet is an extremely important goal, and we are fully in support of it. But allowing the phone and cable companies to make more money by acting as toll-takers on the Internet has nothing to do with reaching that goal. Businesses invest where they can maximize their profits, period. Internet service providers are already making huge profits,7 and if they believed that investing in low-income communities made good business sense, they would already be doing it. The idea that making even more money is suddenly going to make them care about our communities is ridiculous.

The truth is that reclassifying Internet service as a public utility would actually help the FCC close the digital divide by allowing it to subsidize Internet access for low-income Americans.8

Buying the support of Black members of Congress

All of the CBC members attacking net neutrality have taken large amounts of campaign money from the telecom industry, with some taking tens of thousands of dollars in just the last two elections.

And it’s not just campaign money — since just 2008 the telecom lobby has spent millions on donations to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute (CBCI), nonprofit organizations associated with the CBC.9,10 These organizations claim that their purpose is to provide scholarships, educate the public, and develop new leaders. But the corporate money also funds lavish galas to honor members of the CBC,11 and top lobbyists from the telecom industry sit on the boards and committees of the CBCF and CBCI.12

This year, the CBCF “honored” Comcast with its “Distinguished Corporation Award”;13 last year, it was Time Warner.14 Comcast touted its award to Congress earlier this year while seeking approval for its merger with Time Warner.15

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen CBC members carry water for big telecom corporations. Many of the CBC members who signed Rep. Green’s recent letter to the FCC have signed similar letters before, and cast votes against net neutrality. And many of these members have been loyal allies to the industry on other issues as well.

  • In October 2009, Congressman Gregory Meeks collected 70 signatures from his colleagues on an industry-backed letter designed to weaken support for Internet freedom.16
  • In 2011, Congressman G.K. Butterfield worked with Congressman Gene Green to organize Democratic support for AT&T’s merger with T-Mobile.17
  • Congressman Bobby Rush has attacked net neutrality many times, since at least 2006.18 And in addition to campaign contributions, Rush has taken more than $1.7 million from the telecom lobby through his charitable organizations.19 $1 million of that money came from AT&T and was supposed to support a technology center in Rush’s district. Rush has recently come under scrutiny because that money is now gone, with no tech center to show for it, and Rush unable to explain where the money went.20

These are just a few of many examples.

We’ve called out these members for their attacks on Internet freedom. In 2010 we ran a similar campaign demanding that CBC members stop attacking net neutrality. And we’ve made progress — fewer Black representatives are now carrying water for the telecoms.

In 2011, thousands of ColorOfChange.org members signed petitions and made phone calls asking House Democratic leadership to prevent Congressman Rush from securing a key committee position that would have allowed him to do even more damage to net neutrality.21 Because of our actions, Rush didn’t get the position.22

Nevertheless, Rush and other Black representatives have continued to use their status as members of the Congressional Black Caucus — which is supposed to advocate for the interests of Black America — to attack net neutrality. It’s unacceptable and dangerous: not only does this kind of influence peddling threaten the Internet as a medium where Black voices and ventures have an equal shot; it also undermines the credibility and power of the Congressional Black Caucus, which has historically been a critically important voice for Black America.

Now is the time to raise our voices again and make it clear that these representatives don’t speak for us on this issue. If enough of us speak out, we can make sure that all Black representatives know there will be a price to pay for betraying Internet freedom — and that if they fight for net neutrality, they’ll have our support. And by speaking out now, we can make sure the FCC knows how important net neutrality is to Black America.

Join us in calling out the CBC members attacking Internet freedom.

Thanks and Peace,

–Rashad, Arisha, Matt, Aimée, Dallas and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
July 1st, 2014

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References

1. “Net Neutrality and Reclassification: A Fact Sheet,” Voices for Internet Freedom, 2014
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3594?t=7&akid=3446.1689899.8f77lb

2. “Ellison, Grijalva Lead Letter to FCC Chairman Demanding Net Neutrality,” Press Release from Office of Rep. Keith Ellison, 5-14-2014
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3595?t=9&akid=3446.1689899.8f77lb

3. “Green letter warns against destructive consequences of a Title II reclassification,” The Citizen, 5-14-2014
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3596?t=11&akid=3446.1689899.8f77lb

4. “When Is the Cable ‘Buy’ Set to Come?” Wall Street Journal, 4-3-2008
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3631?t=13&akid=3446.1689899.8f77lb

5. “Why Consumers Demand Internet Freedom,” Free Press, 5-2006
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/181?akid=1422.539090.Ickxtj&t=33&t=15&akid=3446.1689899.8f77lb

6. “Finding the Bottom Line: The Truth About Network Neutrality & Investment,” Free Press, 10-2009
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/182?akid=1422.539090.Ickxtj&t=35&t=17&akid=3446.1689899.8f77lb

7. “AT&T’s Earnings Rise 26%, Driven by Wireless,” New York Times, 1-29-2010
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/183?akid=1422.539090.Ickxtj&t=37&t=19&akid=3446.1689899.8f77lb

8. “The Truth About the Third Way: Separating Fact from Fiction in the FCC Reclassification Debate,”
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3597?t=21&akid=3446.1689899.8f77lb

9. “Telecom Giants Paid Millions To ‘Honor’ Minority Lawmakers Before The Merger,” Huffington Post, 2-22-2014
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3598?t=23&akid=3446.1689899.8f77lb

10. “AT&T enriches lawmakers’ pet charities,” Politico, 6-1-11
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3599?t=25&akid=3446.1689899.8f77lb

11. “In Black Caucus, a Fund-Raising Powerhouse,” New York Times, 2-13-2010
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3600?t=27&akid=3446.1689899.8f77lb

12. See reference 10.

13. “CBCF Honors Rep. Eva Clayton, Comcast NBCUniversal and LBJ Library,” Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, 2-26-2014
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3601?t=29&akid=3446.1689899.8f77lb

14. “Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Honors Time Warner,” Time Warner, 3-1-2013
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3602?t=31&akid=3446.1689899.8f77lb

15. Comcast and Time Warner Joint Statement to the Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, 5-8-2014
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3603?t=33&akid=3446.1689899.8f77lb

16. Rep. Gregory Meeks’ 2009 Letter to FCC, 8-15-2009
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3604?t=35&akid=3446.1689899.8f77lb

17. “Did AT&T Lie to Your Representative?,” Free Press, 8-23-2011
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/950?t=37&akid=3446.1689899.8f77lb

18. “Buying Bobby Rush,” Republic of T, 9-21-2006
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3605?t=39&akid=3446.1689899.8f77lb

19. “The Utility Man,” Better Government Association, 12-12-2013
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3606?t=41&akid=3446.1689899.8f77lb

20. “The Million Dollar Question,” Better Government Association, 12-12-2013
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3607?t=43&akid=3446.1689899.8f77lb

21. “Net Neutrality Group Slaps Back at AT&T-Funded Lawmaker,” Wired, 11-22-2010
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3608?t=45&akid=3446.1689899.8f77lb

22. “Accountability: Who Else Will Go the Way of Congressman Bobby Rush?” ColorOfChange.org Founder James Rucker in Huffington Post, 1-26-2011
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3609?t=47&akid=3446.1689899.8f77lb