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Local Gov’t Stories, Events

08.15 RIDE FOR THE OVERRIDE

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Travel
Books, Films, Arts & Education
Letters

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

08.31 WHAT AETNA’S WITHDRAWAL MEANS FOR OBAMACARE

08.31 Can We Save Venice Before It’s Too Late?

08.30 Punishing the Poor: Welfare Reform and Its Democratic Apologists

08.30 Japan’s ‘Hail Mary’ at Fukushima Daiichi: An Underground Ice Wall

08.30 Is your shampoo safe? We simply don't know

08.30 High birth rates and poverty undermine a generation of African children – report

08.30 Nasa: Earth is warming at a pace 'unprecedented in 1,000 years'

08.29 California has urged President Obama and Congress to tax carbon pollution

08.29 The Evidence for ‘Born This Way’

08.29 Should Environmentalists Worry About Hillary Clinton’s Transition Team Chief?

08.29 Floating solar device boils water without mirrors

08.29 Brain wiring needed for reading isn’t learned—it’s in place prior to reading

News Media Matters

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

08.31 Former Models for Donald Trump's Agency Say They Violated Immigration Rules and Worked Illegally

08.31 The Real Clinton Foundation Revelation

08.31 When Is a Scandal Really a Scandal?

08.30 If You Want to Celebrate a "Landslide" Clinton Victory, Don't Call Me

08.30 What Landslide? New Polling Shows Clinton and Trump Still Neck and Neck

08.29 Trump's slump in Nascar country deepens Republican fears of defeat

Justice Matters

08.30 In 'Tacit Admission' of Cruelty, DHS Says It Too May End For-Profit Prisons

08.30 Nigerian rapists escape punishment using money, influence – and marriage

08.28 DoJ Says Jail for Not Making Bail is Unconstitutional [9:13 video & transcript]

High Crimes?

08.31 JOHN HERSEY, THE WRITER WHO LET “HIROSHIMA” SPEAK FOR ITSELF

08.30 Up to 15,000 bodies may be buried in mass graves in Syria and Iraq – survey

Economics, Crony Capitalism

08.31 Drugs and Privilege: Big Business, Congress and the EpiPen

08.31 EpiPen maker gave CEO more than $5 million to cover personal U.S. tax bill [immorality and capitalism...go together like a horse and carriage]

08.31 Apple, Congress and the Missing Taxes

08.31 California's Smart New Retirement Plan and the Industry That Opposes It

08.31 Ireland's Outrage Over EU's Apple Ruling Reveals Fraudulent Global Tax System

08.29 Can Cooperative Businesses Save Communities?

08.28 How the Trumps Got Rich

08.28 Mylan CEO sold $5m worth of stock while EpiPen price drew scrutiny [Jay And The Americans.....Only In America]

International

08.31 Record numbers of Britons head to Spain on summer holidays

08.30 Don't wear dresses in India, tourists warned

08.30 Why did you become a humanitarian? Aid workers share their motivations

08.30 Rights group blasts U.S. “hypocrisy” in “vast flood of weapons” to Saudi Arabia, despite war crimes

08.30 Girls learn app coding to navigate a way out of their Mumbai slum

08.30 North Korea executes officials with anti-aircraft gun in new purge – report [let's hope for this insane, cruel dictatorship to end]

08.30 Germany mulls plan to force mothers to reveal child’s biological father

08.30 Apple ordered to pay up to €13bn after EU rules Ireland broke state aid laws

08.30 UN pays tens of millions to Assad regime under Syria aid programme

08.29 TTIP Has 'De Facto Failed,' Says German Economic Minister

08.29 South Korea Can Afford Its Own Defense

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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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