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04.25 America’s Top Scientists Reprimand Donald Trump (Again)

04.25 'Mountains and mountains of plastic': life on Cambodia's polluted coast [horrible!]

04.25 Dame Daphne Sheldrick obituary [beautiful!]

04.24 I’m an Expat US Scientist – and I’m Returning to Trump’s America to Stand Up for Science [use Trump, et al., as motivation to fight harder for a better world]

04.24 How Windmills as Wide as Jumbo Jets Are Making Clean Energy Mainstream [Outside the U.S., countries and companies focus on scientific innovation so renewable, clean energy can power a liveable world]

04.23 A Metaphor for the Planet [are we angry yet?]

04.23 One in eight bird species is threatened with extinction, global study finds [are we angry yet?]

04.23 California's Trees Are Dying At A Catastrophic Rate [are we angry yet?]

04.22 Challenging Cuomo From Left, Cynthia Nixon Gets Big Applause for Going Huge on Climate

04.22 Quitting a Bad Habit: Germany to Massively Restrict Monsanto Weedkiller

04.22 A Cancer on Society: Monsanto Claims Right Not to Speak About Roundup

04.22 100% Renewable Energy is Within Our Reach

04.20 'Sick Joke': House Agriculture Committee Advances Farm Bill Attacking Environment, Endangered Species

04.20 London 'pollution pods' let you sample the smog in Beijing and Delhi

04.18 More than 95% of world's population breathe dangerous air, major study finds

04.17 'Underestimating the Opposition,' Trudeau Doubles Down on Kinder Morgan Pipeline Push [How big is the bribe? We thought he had a conscience...]

04.17 New Study Shows Young People in Polluted Cities Are at Greater Risk for Alzheimer's [our children are made worse than idiots breathing our polluted atmosphere]

04.17 New Study Shows Young People in Polluted Cities Are at Greater Risk for Alzheimer's

04.17 To lead on climate, countries must commit to zero emissions [mention of America's willful ignorance is politely omitted out of consideration for the country it used to be]

04.17 Scientists accidentally create mutant enzyme that eats plastic bottles

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04.25 Bernie Sanders has conquered the Democratic Party

04.24 Embracing 'the Sort of Bold Thinking We Need,' Sanders to Introduce Plan to Guarantee Every American a Job

04.24 Why Young People Are Joining Unions Again

04.24 Arizona's Uprising Teachers Build Bridges, Not Walls

04.24 As Wave of Teacher Strikes Slated to Continue, GOP State Lawmakers Aim to Jail Protesters [dumber politicians never seem to get smarter...]

04.24 Public Servants Are Losing Their Foothold in the Middle Class [when government serves to harm the public]

04.23 McMaster and Commander

04.23 The US is entering a golden age of corporate medicine [not so fast!]

04.23 Democratic Socialists Aren't Just Demanding #MedicareForAll, They're Organizing For It [are we angry yet?]

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04.20 Gaza Deserves Our Support

04.20 Dear Bashar al-Assad Apologists: Your Hero Is a War Criminal Even If He Didn’t Gas Syrians

Economics, Crony Capitalism

04.25 Report Shows Nation's Richest—Including Trump—About to Enjoy $17 Billion Windfall Thanks to Huge Tax Loophole

04.25 Was Finland’s Universal Basic Income Program A Failure?

04.24 Fox in the Henhouse: Why Interest Rates Are Rising

04.23 Mueller Guides Us Through the Swamp

04.18 World trade system in danger of being torn apart, warns IMF

04.18 A bomb silenced Daphne Caruana Galizia. But her investigation lives on [investigating a micro-state run like a mafia (and the Trump organization) profiting from tax-sheltering of income and wealth and from money-laundering]

International & Futurism

04.23 How American Racism Influenced Hitler

04.22 Calls for stripping Natalie Portman of Israel Citizenship for criticizing Shooting Palestinian Protesters [Shame on her for telling the truth!]

04.22 When Robots Take Our Jobs, Platform Cooperatives Are a Solution

04.20 In Our Vital Self Interest: We Must Choose Community over Corporatism

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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.



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This story was published on June 7, 2012.

 

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