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Health Care & Environment

10.23 'Blatant Censorship': Trump EPA Abruptly Muzzles Its Own Climate Scientists [profoundly stupid actions–that harm the public–assures corporate bribes continue]

10.22 CO2 benefits of regrowing forests nothing to shake a stick at

10.22 The story behind a devastating photo of human greed [where were Don Jr. and Eric at the time?]

10.22 Power lines and electrical equipment are a leading cause of California wildfires

10.21 Vikings Razed the Forests. Can Iceland Regrow Them?

10.21 Pressure Mounts on Insurance Companies to Consider Their Role in Opioid Epidemic [like Monsanto's practices to make captive agricultural consumers for more profit, non-addictive pain medication is less prescribed versus addictive opioids]

10.20 Introducing Halo Top: the 'healthy' ice-cream taking over America [Uses Stevia as a sugar substitute (not an artificial sweetener) that has no carbohydrates, calories, or artificial ingredients.]

10.20 The case against sugar

10.20 Global pollution kills 9m a year and threatens 'survival of human societies'

News Media Matters

10.23 Ready for Trump TV? Inside Sinclair Broadcasting’s Plot to Take Over Your Local News [escape warped hate news! cancel TV cable service and go 100% video streaming w/ broadband Internet—save $100/mo. too!]

10.22 The World's Most Powerful Publishers Refuse to Admit What They Really Are

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

10.23 Sanders Confirms He'll Remain Independent for 2018 Re-election Run [it would be contradictory for real progressives to join (or be in) a neoliberal-dominated political party]

10.23 In state capitols, women see rampant sexual harassment

10.22 Trump’s Pick for Puerto Rico’s Environmental Cleanup Might Actually Do the Right Thing

10.22 IT DIDN’T JUST START NOW: JOHN KELLY HAS ALWAYS BEEN A HARD-RIGHT BULLY

10.22 Donald Trump Is Rush-Shipping Condolences to Military Families

10.22 Trump and His ‘Beautiful’ Weapons

10.21 51 GOP Senators Just Voted To Cut $1.5 Trillion from Medicare and Medicaid To Give Super-Rich and Corporations a Tax Cut [what makes sociopaths smile?]

10.21 The Tax Debate We Need

10.20 Ahead of Senate Vote, Warren Lists Everything Wrong With GOP's 'Garbage' Budget [1:33 video]

Justice Matters

10.23 Trump 'will help pay' legal bills of White House staff and aides in Russia inquiries

10.17 Trump could remake judiciary for ‘40 years’ — with controversial picks [America will become more like Malta; facilitating corporate/mafia criminality to the maximum]

High Crimes?
Economics, Crony Capitalism

10.21 Insectageddon: farming is more catastrophic than climate breakdown [short-sighted capitalistic priorities have promoted ecocide]

10.19 SOCIALISM, LAND AND BANKING: 2017 COMPARED TO 1917

International & Futurism

10.23 China speeds ahead of U.S. as quantum race escalates, worrying scientists [recently, democracies are more dysfunctional and vulnerable to incompetent or bribed leadership]

10.23 Owning a car will soon be a thing of the past

10.23 'Fear is a fact of life': the rooftop view of Jerusalem

10.23 How the Catalan crisis could send shockwaves across Europe

10.23 Northern Italy regions overwhelmingly vote for greater autonomy

10.22 Europe’s Enemies Within

10.22 Meet the Border Angels, the Group Trying to Save Migrants’ Lives

10.22 Tories under pressure over use of UK troops to sell arms to Gulf states [allowed war-profiteering enables capitalism to destroy humanity in all respects]

10.22 Russia accused of supplying Taliban as power shifts create strange bedfellows [is it war profiteering/capitalism, or is there a political power objective? the US supplies arms to dubious countries and militia groups worldwide...]

10.21 Under Trump, Brags Mike Pompeo, CIA Will Be 'Much More Vicious Agency' [imagine an administration made up of willfully ignorant sociopaths—oh, right]

10.20 Archaeology fossil teeth discovery in Germany could re-write human history

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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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