This past week saw activists from around the world converge on the nation’s capital to support the fight against HIV/AIDS. Twenty-seven years since the first International AIDS conference in Atlanta, the world has witnessed tremendous change. Today, the face of the fight has changed. Scientists, health workers and the community of people living with HIV have provided ways to manage the disease and effectively prevent its transmission. A cure for all, however, remains just outside our grasp. So the conferences continue. Billions of dollars have been funneled into combating HIV/AIDS by various national, international, and private groups. At its core, however, the problem remains the same—fighting discrimination, increasing awareness and coordination, and intensifying political and financial commitments to eradicate AIDS.
Archive for August 1st, 2012
By Neil Heckman
Who funds our elections these days? If you go by the numbers, once again, it’s the 1 percent.
At a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this past Tuesday titled, “Taking Back Our Democracy: Responding to Citizens United and the Rise of Super PACs,” former governor of Louisiana and recent presidential candidate Charles “Buddy” Roemer made this very point during his testimony before the committee. According to the figures he provided, fewer than 1 percent of American citizens give 99 percent of total political campaign contributions made.
Those who’ve been experiencing the sweltering 100-degree days in Washington, D.C., this summer might attribute the heat to D.C.’s swampy nature, or even to climate change. But it’s entirely possible that it’s the unchecked campaign spending like this by corporations and the 1 percent that we’re seeing this election season that is making people’s temperatures rise, if not making their blood boil.
It’s a campaign that is ablaze with grassroots energy, as last Tuesday’s hearing demonstrated.
At the hearing, Public Citizen and its allies presented 1.98 million petition signatures calling for an amendment. The signatures were collected by a wide range of groups from people in every state. The movement for a constitutional amendment has built remarkable momentum, with the passage of resolutions calling for an amendment in 288 cities, towns and localities, and seven state legislatures. It has gained the support of at least 119 members of Congress.