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07.19 Some Americans Do Love Their Health Care (They're Expats)

07.19 Polluted air 'poisoning thousands' across north of England, warns report

07.19 Mercedes recalls 3m diesel cars over emissions concerns

07.19 Climate denial is like The Matrix; more Republicans are choosing the red pill [4:26 video]

07.16 Major Cities Like NYC and Oakland Will Face Massive Flooding if We Don’t Act

07.16 Temer Signs Law That Could See Millions of Acres Lost in the Amazon [similar to Trump's privatization of US federal public/park land]

07.16 Trump regrets 'bizarre mistake' of Paris climate pullout, Branson claims [just hearsay? would a Republican ever dis the Koch brothers?]

07.15 Verily Robot Will Raise 20 Million Sterile Mosquitoes for Release in California

07.15 The Uninhabitable Earth

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07.18 How liars create the ‘illusion of truth’

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07.20 What It Means to Be on the Left [what a shame that America denies such thoughtful discussion in mainstream media...]

07.20 H.R. 1628, Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act of 2017 [a pattern of willfull immoral conduct by Republicans in Congress: a small increase in taxing the very-rich or on burning fossil fuels would solved many problems more equitably]

07.20 Hillary Clinton is more unpopular than Donald Trump. Let that sink in

07.20 No water for poor people: the nine Americans who risked jail to seek justice [a pattern of willfull immoral conduct in Gov. Rick Snyder's Michigan, where a small increase in taxing the very-rich or for gasoline would have solved many problems without hurting a desperately poor population]

07.19 Resistance Not Enough: Progressive Groups Push Democrats to Back #PeoplesPlatform

07.19 To My Fellow Plutocrats: You Can Cure Trumpism

07.19 Why Republicans Want the 2020 Census to Fail

07.19 Democrats Are Trying to Win the 2018 Midterms in All the Wrong Ways

07.19 Six ways Trump is 'dismantling' the US after six months in office

07.18 GOP's repeal-only plan quickly collapses in Senate

07.18 The Real Voter Fraud

07.18 This Billionaire Mega-Donor Gets It: The Democrats Need Bernie Sanders [We need to catch-up with changes smarter & fairer countries did 70 years ago]

07.18 Decaying infrastructure taking a toll on America [can we outsource for better government?]

07.18 Senate will vote to repeal Obamacare without replacement, after new healthcare bill stumbles [unfair, illogical and immoral government fails again because of "traitors"]

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07.20 Asia's coal-fired power boom 'bankrolled by foreign governments and banks' [after being warned by the World Bank against building new coal burning coal power plants—as their use may soon become illegal, will the public be forced to pay-off such stupid loans?]

07.19 Steps to Starting a Cooperative [1:32:17 video]

07.19 End of the 'rip-off': all charges for paying by card to be banned [a possiblity in the more corrupt U.S.?]

07.19 A despot in disguise: one man’s mission to rip up democracy [treason is much too kind a word for this]

07.17 JP Morgan chief blasts US dysfunction: 'It's almost an embarrassment being American' [enabled by the Citizens United Ruling, Birchers—founded and funded by the Koch bros. network—ruthlessly pursue personal profits, destroying America and its public as byproducts]

07.17 Trump's tax proposal would push US below Greece on inequality index [disgusting]

07.17 The Guardian view on the 1%: all gain, no pain

International & Futurism

07.20 Why Canada Is Able to Do Things Better [they avoid childish reasoning]

07.20 U.S. Lawmakers Seek to Criminally Outlaw Support for Boycott Campaign Against Israel [Israel is quilty of war crimes over decades against Palestinians, but let's just ignore that...]

07.20 Bernie Sanders on how to avoid war with North Korea

07.20 Crime rise is biggest in a decade, ONS figures show [how does this correlate with rising inequality and poverty, we don't wonder]

07.19 EU Commission concerned about living standards for future generations

07.19 “It’s like millions of ants are biting my bones” – fighting sickle cell disease in Nigeria

07.19 Mexico leaders' pledges fall short as graft remains 'heart of the political system'

07.19 Walk, work, win: hi-tech knees to get young amputees back on their feet

07.18 The Fourth Industrial Revolution is about empowering people, not the rise of the machines

07.18 The Burden of Taxation in the United States and Germany [interesting and clearly written]

07.17 Governments have to invest in the fourth industrial revolution

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  Print view: Dollar Dreams from 'Dollar Bill' Bradley
BOOK REVIEW:

Dollar Dreams from 'Dollar Bill' Bradley

by Gerald E. Scorse
Bradley’s book, We Can All Do Better, has an early chapter, "Uprooting the Root of All Evil," that examines the corruption of politics by checkbooks.

Dollars deliver messages in a new book by “Dollar Bill” Bradley, and the former Rhodes scholar, NBA star, U.S. Senator and presidential candidate has no doubt where the dollars should and shouldn’t be going. They should be pouring FDR-style into job creation, and they shouldn’t be donated to politicians, especially dollars from corporations.

Bradley’s book, We Can All Do Better, has an early chapter, "Uprooting the Root of All Evil," that examines the corruption of politics by checkbooks. “At the core of the Washington culture is money,” the chapter begins. “It burdens politicians with the need to raise it. And when they’ve raised it, it compromises them.”

Bradley writes that he spent $1.68 million running for the Senate in 1978. In 2000, running for the same New Jersey seat, Jon Corzine spent more than $62 million, “most of it his own." While Bradley is scalding about Citizens United, he says the Supreme Court’s wrong-headedness on political donations actually took root in Buckley vs. Valeo in 1976. In that decision “the Court said that the money spent by an individual on his or her own political campaign was political speech, protected under the free-speech clause of the Constitution, and therefore could not be limited. This opened the floodgates for rich people [e.g., Corzine] to finance their own efforts.”

It defies common sense, Bradley says. “In Buckley, the Supreme Court said in effect that it was just fine that the candidate with little money only has a megaphone while the candidate with a lot of money has a microphone.” This laid the groundwork for the corporations-are-people Citizens United ruling, under which “the Supreme Court has approved unlimited contributions by super PACs than can steal elections through widely broadcast lies.”

The black-robed Supreme Court may be clueless and tone-deaf, but ordinary white collar and blue collar workers can easily connect the dots. As Bradley puts it, “There is something fundamentally wrong when a lobbyist—whether representing business or labor—comes to a legislator’s office to plead his client’s case and then four hours later appears at the legislator’s fund-raiser in a nearby restaurant with a $10,000 check. The link between money and policy must be broken.”

What needs to be established (re-established, really) is the link between government spending and job creation: “When it comes to proposed federal action to create jobs, every dollar spent in the current environment of declining confidence in government should go to the establishment of a specific job; people have to see the connection between their tax dollars and job creation....When a government’s credibility has been damaged for whatever reason, it cannot shrink from boldness. It must act in a big way to generate more jobs with a short-term, mid-term and long-term strategy.”

Bradley lays out ideas for all three periods, and he draws on his own childhood to invoke the direct federal job creation that took place under FDR:

“What most people remember about President Franklin Roosevelt’s response to the Great Depression are the Works Progress Administration, the Public Works Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps, which created jobs for Americans in building schools, parks, roads, dams, bridges. In the small town in Missouri where I grew up, the high school was a PWA project built in 1939. Today, over seventy years later, it stands as a testimony to far-sighted government leadership. We need new public investment in public goods that will last another seventy years....The New America Foundation study estimates that a $1.2 trillion investment in much-needed infrastructure over a five-year period would generate 5.52 million jobs in each year of the program. There is no other stimulus that could create so many jobs and leave behind a seventy-year foundation for economic growth. Given low interest rates, there will never be a cheaper time to float thirty-year reconstruction bonds. Government-subsidized personal consumption (i.e., tax cuts) in the current climate of debt de-leveraging cannot work; public investment that directly creates jobs can.”

Twenty-two state attorneys general, joined by Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-OH), have lined up behind a Montana challenge to Citizens United.

Is there any hope for more stimulus spending? For campaign finance reform? It’s hard to imagine the former; as for the latter, it’s easy to imagine but another matter to pull off. Twenty-two state attorneys general, joined by Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-OH), have lined up behind a Montana challenge to Citizens United. Bradley’s best-case solution would supersede Buckley and Citizens United with a constitutional amendment “stating that federal, state and local governments can limit the total amount of spending in a political campaign....If that were combined with public financing for whatever amount was permitted by the campaign finance laws, we would have returned government to the people.”

Right now, though, we’re nowhere near returning government to the people; right now we’re heading into the most expensive presidential campaign in U.S. history, bent on handing over government to those with the most dollars.


Copyright 2012 Gerald E. Scorse. Op-eds by the author have appeared on numerous websites and in major newspapers.



Copyright © 2012 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.

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This story was published on June 7, 2012.

 

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