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Big money, dark money: The threat posed to our democracy by media consolidation and secretly-funded elections

Featuring the former Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Dr. Michael Copps.

Co-sponsored by Common Cause North Carolina.

Few developments in modern America pose a greater threat to the health of our democracy than the rapid consolidation of media corporations and the equally speedy demise of voter-funded elections. Increasingly, control of both our telecommunications infrastructure and our political campaigns rest in the hands of a comparatively tiny (and sometimes-overlapping) group of super-wealthy individuals and corporations.

For decades, Michael Copps has been battling these destructive trends and advancing common sense solutions – first as a longtime staff person in the U.S. Senate, then as Assistant Secretary of Commerce, and, from 2001 to 2009, as one of five commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission.

Don’t miss this important opportunity to hear from this incredibly knowledgeable voice of reason on these critically important subjects.

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A couple of powerful stories at The Nation deserve your attention this morning.

In the first, Rick Perlstein examines a 1981 recorded interview with the late Lee Atwater (now released publicly for the first time as part of the article) in which the old conservative henchman for the Reagan-Bush administrations explained the evolution of white southern racism in some rather disturbing terms. The conclusion: Atwater’s clumsy and offensive attempts to deny the persistence of racism only confirmed its still-powerful grip on white southerners.

In the second, Ari Berman explains the folly of the Supreme Court’s current flirtation (explained here by Sharon McCloskey earlier this morning) with doing away with section 5 of the Voting Rights Act — a law reauthorized by Congress by overwhelming margins just six years ago.  To quote:

“Indeed, only a Supreme Court wholly divorced from reality would review the record on voting rights since Congress reauthorized the Voting Rights Act in 2006 and conclude that a key pillar of the law was no longer needed.”

 

From the good people at Democracy North Carolina:

Operators of the national Election Protection hotline — (866-OUR-VOTE) ; Spanish, 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (1-888-839-8682); Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Vietnamese and Thai, 1-888-API-VOTE (1-888-274-8683) — say they received over 600 calls fromNorth Carolina voters during the Early Voting period on a wide range of issues, including discriminatory treatment of curbside voters, confusion over ID requirements, illegal electioneering at the polls, broken machines, and false information about voting by phone.

“We could feel the emotional intensity of this election as we answered these calls,” said Bob Hall, executive director of Democracy North Carolina, a nonpartisan election watchdog organization that operated the hotline call center during the Early Voting period. “People were anxious to vote and suspicious of perceived barriers. There were many cases where we helped voters overcome problems in order to vote, including mistakes by poll workers that higher level officials eventually fixed.” Read More

As the following press release explains, the good government people at Democracy NC are asking folks to spread the word about an outstanding nonpartisan organization that can help with voter problems and querstions.  

For Release Thursday, October 18, 2012                                           
Contact: Bob Hall, 919-489-1931

Confusion Over ID Rules, New Districts & Possible Challenges: Fuels Need for “Election Protection” Hotline and Special Website

 As North Carolinabegins its early voting period today, Election Protection, the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition, has launched a toll-free hotline to help voters address problems and answer questions: 866-OUR-VOTE.  Read More

Tuesday’s presidential town hall debate at Hofstra University brings with it some added pressure for President Obama. After a lackluster performance in the first debate October 3rd, Obama finds himself now trailing in some key battleground states.

The latest numbers from Public Policy Polling show Mitt Romney with a two-point lead (49-47) over Obama in North Carolina, helped largely by white voters and independents.

Public Policy Polling Director Tom Jensen notes that Obama still has his customary lead with women at 50-46. But the latest poll shows that’s getting drowned out by the 53-43 one Romney has with men.

Jensen joined us over the weekend on News & Views to discuss the presidential race as well as the gubernatorial contest and NC Council of State races.

To hear an excerpt of his interview with Chris Fitzsimon, click below. To hear the full segment, visit the Radio Interview section of the NC Policy Watch website:

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