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11.19 27-Year Study Finds the Amount of Insects Flying in the Air Has Declined 75 Percent

11.19 'My eyes are burning': Delhi holds half marathon despite pollution warning [“Stupid is as stupid does.” –Forrest Gump]

11.17 'We should be on the offensive' – James Hansen calls for wave of climate lawsuits

11.17 Keystone pipeline leaks estimated 210,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota

11.17 For Damage Done and Transition Needed, 50+ Groups Demand Global Fossil Fuel Tax

11.16 Canada's most shameful environmental secret must not remain hidden

11.16 Special Report from the Occupied Forest: Meet Activists Fighting Europe’s Largest Open-Pit Coal Mine [video, audio clip & transcript]

11.15 Interior Department Scrubs Climate Change From Its Strategic Plan [this Administration has been perfectly wrong about everything]

11.15 Controversial Ruling Says Organic Crops Don’t Have to Grow in Soil

11.15 The Largest Coal-Fired Power Plant in the West Is Slated for Closure

11.15 Protests as Trump promotes Coal at Climate Summit in Berlin

11.15 An Inconvenient Sequel – the science, history, and politics of climate change

11.15 Growing number of global insurance firms divesting from fossil fuels

News Media Matters

11.18 The Paradise Papers: How Ridiculously Easy It Is For The Rich To Avoid Taxes [birds of a feather flock together]

11.17 'Time to Raise Hell': Internet Defenders Mobilize as FCC Aims to Kill Net Neutrality Within Month [decreasing regulation will increase monopoly power of large Cable and Telecom broadband providers enabling distortions of Internet content benefiting the higher bidder]

11.17 'Say Goodbye to Local Media,' as Trump FCC Opens Corporate Merger Floodgates [decreasing regulation will increase monopoly power of large News and Entertainment providers enabling distortions of media content benefiting the higher bidder]

11.16 DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE COMPANY PAID MERCENARIES TO BUILD CONSPIRACY LAWSUIT AGAINST ENVIRONMENTALISTS

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US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

11.19 Trump Voters Celebrate Massive Tax Cut for Everyone But Them

11.19 Under GOP Plan, Wealthy Foreign Investors Benefit Nearly Three Times More Than US Taxpayers

11.18 The Shocking Math of the Republican Tax Plan

11.16 Kochs key among small group quietly funding legal assault on campaign finance regulation

11.16 Trump sons' hunting in focus as US lifts import ban on African elephant trophies

11.16 We Knew Julian Assange Hated Clinton. We Didn’t Know He Was Secretly Advising Trump.

11.16 A Note From Bill on ‘No Choice’

11.15 House Approves $700B 'Cash Cow for Weapons Companies'—But Single Payer 'Too Expensive'

11.15 Roy Moore challenged Alabama law that protects rape victims, documents reveal [Hideous is as hideous does...]

11.15 'Disgusting': Senate Republicans' Tax Plan Will Scrap Obamacare Mandate [tax-cuts for the super-rich are more important than the health and lives of 13 million poor people]

11.15 GOP Tax Bill Would Trigger $25 Billion in Cuts to Medicare, Warns CBO

Justice Matters

11.18 Donald Trump Jr.'s Messages With WikiLeaks Point to Campaign-Finance Violations [birds of a feather flock together]

11.18 Trump's Panama tower used for money-laundering by condo owners, reports say [birds of a feather flock together]

High Crimes?

11.18 US, European Nations Slammed for 'Complicity' as Humanitarian Groups Demand Aid for Yemen

Economics, Crony Capitalism

11.19 The Design Flaw at the Core of Humanity's Malaise

11.18 'All Out Class War': GOP Bill Cuts Taxes for Private Jet Owners, Hikes Taxes on Students

11.17 Battle Lines Drawn as GOP Moves Closer to 'Greatest Transfer of Wealth to the Super-Rich in Modern American History'

11.16 World’s biggest sovereign wealth fund proposes ditching oil and gas holdings

International & Futurism

11.19 End all immigration controls – they’re a sign we value money more than people

11.19 Disruption games: why are libertarians lining up with autocrats to undermine democracy?

11.18 Investigation Reveals US-Led Bombings in Iraq Kill 31 Times More Civilians Than Reported

11.18 'These Will Be Weapons of Mass Destruction': Warnings About Killer Robots After UN Talks

11.18 Truck drivers like me will soon be replaced by automation. You're next

11.17 World, horrified at Trump, sends US Ranking Plummeting

11.17 Elon Musk unveils Tesla electric truck – and a surprise new sports car

11.17 Tim Berners-Lee on the future of the web: 'The system is failing' [governments are failing]

11.17 North Korean defector had 27cm parasitic worm in his stomach

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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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