Wednesday, August 09, 2006

DLC would rather you not vote

They don’t really want you to vote

The news today is all about Ned Lamont’s Connecticut Democratic primary victory over Joseph Lieberman, incumbent three-time senator, right wing appeaser and Bush policy enabler. The final tally was fairly close, 52 per cent Lamont to 48 per cent Lieberman, however not much should be read into to this as many of the primary results were similarly close.

I have already witnessed evidence, on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and NBC’s “Today,” that the mainstream media, those defenders of democracy, are portraying Lamont and his blogger supporters in a light similar to what the supports of George McGovern were in 1972: kooks, hippies, peaceniks and out-of-touch-with-mainstream-America. Yet,as the New York Times observed:

The defeat of Senator Joseph Lieberman at the hands of a little-known Connecticut businessman is bound to send a message to politicians of both parties that voters are angry and frustrated over the war in Iraq. The primary upset was not, however, a rebellion against the bipartisanship and centrism that Mr. Lieberman said he represented in the Senate. Instead, Connecticut Democrats were reacting to the way those concepts have been perverted by the Bush White House.

The rebellion against Mr. Lieberman was actually an uprising by that rare phenomenon, irate moderates. They are the voters who have been unnerved over the last few years as the country has seemed to be galloping in a deeply unmoderate direction. A war that began at the president’s choosing has degenerated into a desperate, bloody mess that has turned much of the world against the United States. The administration’s contempt for international agreements, Congressional prerogatives and the authority of the courts has undermined the rule of law abroad and at home.

Lieberman is, or was at least, the poster child for an opposition party that kept edging closer and closer to the majority party’s position, then calling that the middle. It is truer than ever, there’s not a dimes’ worth of difference.

But why do the political appeasers of the Democratic Leadership Council keep repeating a mantra of defeat?

I’m beginning to think they actively want to discourage voting and eliminate our so-called two-party system, which has no basis in law, altogether.

The word bipartisanship slides easily from the lips of DLC candidates, as does middle ground, triangulation, and work with Republicans. Now there would be nothing wrong, in the traditional sense, of working with Republicans on legislation but, in post-Civil War American history, when did that, with the exception of declaring war, ever happen? Without referring to any sources other than my own feeble memory, of what I read in American history, I don’t think that FDR’s New Deal legislation was passed with much, if any, Republican support. Perhaps we can say the Voting Rights Act of 1965 received bipartisan support , but this was due more to white Southern sectionalism, contraryism and racism. (It should be noted that the majority of Southern Democrats who voted against the Voting Rights Act switched to the Republican Party in subsequent years.)

So “bipartisanship” is just a myth, a smokescreen to for politicians of both parties to push through laws favorable to big business. Look as the crap that’s coming from Iowa’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Chet “Chester” Culver. He wants to cut corporate property taxes, raise the cigarette tax a dollar per pack, and use the revenue from that tax to pay for health insurance for 58,000 of the states’ kids. He also wants to raise teachers’ salaries, put more state money into the three board-of-regents state universities and more tax credits to parents of kids going to Iowa’s private colleges. Chester also wants to raise the minimum wage, a paltry $2.10 per hour, while at the same time increasing the state’s output of ethanol and biodiesel by encouraging further investment through tax credits and incentives. Other than the increase in the cigarette tax, aimed intentionally or not at lower income Iowans, he doesn’t have the foggiest clue how to pay for all of this. But guess what! Challenger Republican Jim Nussle wants the same things and he’s even more clueless! (See Spoon Letter Anthology,Yepsen Compares, contrats Tweedle-Chet, Tweedle-Nus)

Right now the only real difference between the two major political parties is that the Republicans, after making a pact with the Devil after the downfall of Nixon and upholding of Roe v. Wade, throw some meat to their crazy, “Christian conservative” base, which is neither Christian or conservative. The Democrats throw little the way of social democrats, such as myself.

Look, I’m not the only guy out here in the blog-o-sphere who is a social democrat. I’m not the only one who wants a universal health care system the same as every other country in the world. I’m not the only guy who’s saying the Pentagon budget is dragging down the national economy. I’m not the only guy who says it’s time to stop kissing the Saudi Royal Family’s ass and pull the plug on the America Israel PAC. Jesus Christ they’re both big boys on the international scene, now let’em work out their own problems. I’m not the only guy who wants this nation to embark on a plan to upgrade, update and just put in place a decent mass transportation system, that might just make this country less reliant on foreign oil. And I’m not the only guy who says this country has done great damage, now and in the past, to Mexico and the nations of Central America and it’s time to have a “Marshall Plan” to raise their economies so their young men and women won’t have to trek to El Norte.

But do I, and thousand like me, get that. NO. We hear, read and see Democrats mouth tired platitudes about working together and getting along and working with the Republicans. You don’t have a compromise as your first offer, especially when dealing with fascists.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Second week in a row........

No update. It have a fellow coming over to start giving me an estimate for a new furnace--price of natural gas isn't coming down anytime soon. And Blogger.com has been cranky of late. Don't know if it's the heat or a plethora of middle school (I remember when this was "junior high") and high school kids jamming the band width, or a combination of both (most likely scenario.) You can still share my demented thoughts at Spoon Letter Anthology.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Oil, war and global warming

It’s going to be hotter that hell again today. I could say the heat wave is due to global warming, but it’s not. Iowa summers have been this hot, and hotter, in the past that I can remember. So, no, it’s not the summers that worry me but our Iowa winters.

In the last several years, starting in 2000 or so, I have noticed our winters being warmer than what I remembered as a child. That’s not to say that we don’t get the below zero day or week now and then, it’s just that those temperatures are becoming fewer and farther between. In fact it is becoming so clement around here, when I asked a letter carrier, newly moved here from northern California, how he like the Iowa winter, he said he really couldn’t tell much difference and didn’t understand what all the shouting was about. Needless to say, some of the other old hands in Postal blue and I were somewhat crestfallen at his revelation; we were secretly hoping to hear him whine about the bitterness of the Iowa winter.

So what does global warming have to do with the world political situation?

Everything.

Let’s revisit Greg Palast’s Armed Madhouse:

But don't kid yourself -- Bush and his co-conspirator, Dick Cheney, accomplished exactly what they set out to do. In case you've forgotten what their real mission was, let me remind you of White House spokesman Ari Fleisher's original announcement, three years ago, launching of what he called,

"Operation

Iraqi

Liberation." (P.65)

It's about oil," Robert Ebel told me. Who is Ebel? Formerly the CIA's top oil analyst, he was sent by the Pentagon, about a month before the invasion, to a secret confab in London with Saddam's former oil minister to finalize the plans for "liberating" Iraq's oil industry. In London, Bush's emissary Ebel also instructed Ibrahim Bahr al-Ulum, the man the Pentagon would choose as post-OIF oil minister for Iraq, on the correct method of disposing Iraq's crude.

And what did the USA want Iraq to do with Iraq's oil? The answer will surprise many of you: and it is uglier, more twisted, devilish and devious than anything imagined by the most conspiracy-addicted blogger. The answer can be found in a 323-page plan for Iraq's oil secretly drafted by the State Department. Our team got a hold of a copy; how, doesn't matter. The key thing is what's inside this thick Bush diktat: a directive to Iraqis to maintain a state oil company that will "enhance its relationship with OPEC."

Dick and George didn't want more oil from Iraq, they wanted less. I know some of you, no matter what I write, insist that our President and his Veep are on the hunt for more crude so you can cheaply fill your family Hummer; that somehow, these two oil-patch babies are concerned that the price of gas in the USA is bumping up to $3 a gallon.
Greg Palast.com



So now you’re wondering, what does oil have to do with warm Iowa winters?

I think the connection is fairly self-evident. Our modern Western Civilization, and the benighted Third World, save for poor North Korea (though it might be luckier than we think) for that matter, runs on petroleum. Hell, it just doesn’t run on oil it guzzles it. We might as well bathe in the stuff. And in the United States there is no political appetite for going on an oil diet. Too many politicians receive too much money from our end of the real Axis of Evil, Houston, Texas, to tell fat, old Uncle Sucker it’s time for oil gastric by-pass surgery. The price for a gallon of gasoline is, in some locals, three dollars per but has that lead to any fundament shift in the average American’s behavior?

Witness the new Hummer H3 commercial in which a young man is in the checkout line at the grocery store buying tofu, vegetables etc. Glancing over his shoulder, he sees piles of red meat and is embarrassed by his purchase, then rushes to the parking lot and jumps into a Hummer H3. The voiceover tagline: “Hummer: restore your manhood.” The castration anxiety angle is so heavy handed you can almost smell the testosterone; though I wonder how any red-blooded American male can get his chubby with a five-cylinder engine getting an EPA “estimated” 16 mpg/city and 20 mpg/highway. But of course those “estimates” are notoriously loose and the reality can, depending on the driver and conditions, be better or far, far worse. From a person perspective the drivers of Hummers, be they the H1 behemoth, the slightly smaller H2 or the “compact” H3, tend to be the lead-footed variety. GM and Ford certainly know theirmarket and I’m sure they had some help from their Five Sisters.

All this in turn leads me to the current situation in the Middle East and the struggle between poor, little orphan Israel or
"Who prevails with God,”
and the international terrorist organization Hezbollah or “Party of God.”

As Tom Incantalupo reports in Newsday:

…[M] ost experts expect prices to remain close to their current levels at least through Labor Day, after which pleasure driving usually declines and cheaper winter-grade gasoline begins a monthlong phase-in at local gasoline stations.
But gasoline futures, representing wholesale New York harbor prices, fell in trading Tuesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, by 1.83 cents, to $2.267 a gallon.

Gasoline futures were following crude oil, which fell by $1.76 to $73.54 a barrel in New York. Prices had touched a record $78.40 on July 14; the highest since trading began in 1983.


Coincidently, Hezbollah guerrillas snatched the Israel Defense Force, IDF, soldiers a week ago, July 12. And the good news coming out of the Levant is that this little border incident will not escalate into World War III, in spite of everything Newt Gingrich says. So the price of gasoline might go down. Or it might not.

“Peter Beutel, an energy consultant and president of Cameron Hanover Inc. in New Canaan, Conn., says that's quite possible, but he notes that continued high demand by American drivers is keeping supplies tight and prices high. "For some reason, it [the high cost] doesn't seem to be changing anybody's approach to driving at all," Beutel said.

For the four weeks ended July 7, U.S. demand for gasoline was 1.7 percent higher than a year earlier, the Energy Department said last week. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News predicted that the department would report Wednesday that U.S. gasoline inventories fell again in the past week.”
op.cit


Which leads me back to global warming. Auto exhaust emissions are not the only cause for the rise in average global temperature, but they are a significant contributor. Yet we Americans seem culturally in capable of making a lifesaving decision even as doom stares us in the face.

I said to a friend of mine, that there will come a time when we, meaning the United States, will have to make a choice between the automobile culture and building environmentally clean mass transportation. His answer was we could have both. He likes to drive. Why can’t we have it both ways?

We can't have it both ways because global warming will force us to change whether we like it, ready or not.

I said, “”You’ve read Collapse?” Of course he had. And I asked if he remembered the part about Easter Island. He recalled author Jared Diamond musing on the thoughts of the man who chopped down the island’s last tree.

Jared Diamond hazarded no guess as to what that man might have thought, but I will. I can imagine the fellow who cut down Easter Island’s last tree to be used as a roller to transport the last giant stone head thought: "Mission Accomplished."

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

We might as well get used to it; Democracy is dying

Ever since the founding of the United States, in 1789--and I use that year because it is the first year under Constitutional government--there has been political fissures along party lines. Most conveniently for all concerned, in this country's history politcal division was nearly always bilateral. In fact in the history of Western democracies, or at least in those polities that settled internal political issues by some sort of voting system, sufferage for centuries being the exclusive prerogative of propertied males, two opposing factions, or parties, alway developed.

Without at least two opposing parties, how can a constitutional form of government be concidered a democracy?

Short answer, it cannot.

Which leads me to wonder why any politician would make a statement like this:"This country can't afford further polarization."

The above, and more like it, were uttered by ex-governor of Virginia Mark Warner at a fundraiser in Des Moines, IA for Democratic gubnatorial hopeful Chester Culver. Ostensively this minor light of the Democratic Party is running for president and has amassed a quite healthy campaign warchest, second only it is rumored to that of undeclared front-runner Hillary Clinton. But let us read from Wikipedia concerning Warner's career as governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia:


Warner worked with moderate Republican legislators and the business community to reform the tax code in 2004, lowering food and income taxes, and increasing the sales and cigarette taxes in 2004, despite his campaign pledge that he would not raise taxes.The action saved the state's AAA bond rating, held at the time by only 5 other states, and allowed the single largest investment in K-12 education in Virginia history.
What a wonderful man! And what a wonderful way of funding education!; on the backs of the poor, through an increase in a regressive state sales tax, and the diseased lungs of Virginia's cigarette smokers! No wonder our beloved Governor Vilsack, chairman of the "New" Democrats, tried so hard to follow suit with his proposal to raise Iowa's cigarette tax from$0.36 per pack to a whopping $1.16 for twenty coffin-nails! DLC-monkey see, DLC-moneky do.

Now I supposed I should give Warner a modicum of credit for "...not leading on hot button issues, but maintains he is trying to avoid unproductive posturing and partisanship"(Wikipedia.org cited above) but that's exactly the problem. When the "hot button issues" and the boilerplate is all stripped away, there isn't a dime's worth of difference between "centrist" Democrats and "moderate" Republicans. In fact, I'll even go further and say that once the abortion, "gay marriage" and gun rights is stripped away there's not much difference between the positions of a reactionary knuckledragger like Rep. Steve King and this Warner guy. It's all about the money.

What is becoming clearer is that the non-ideological right in this country, the old money, banking Republicans, is looking for a divorce from the so-called "movement" conservatives, the middle-class religious whacko Republicans. The moneyed Republican crowd is tiring of all the "Christian" posturing by the Reaganites and the "War on terror," except for a few, well all, defense contractors, has been pretty much a bust. Time to trade horses. The preachers and bloviators have done their jobs quite well in driving a generation of Americans into the arms of Mother Reaction. But they've all outlived their usefulness, and a considerable number of their followers and listeners actually believe the bullshit! It is time to sing a lullaby to the Christian Coalition, and mesmerize the rudderless Democrats.

For the corporationist crowd, that so-called "New" Democrats like Warner, et al. are sucking up to, political stability is the watchword ; bipartisanship its slogan. It's time to put the people, the consumers, back to bed, political somnambulance is the preferred state.

Further reading:
  • Gov. Whodafuck in town for Dempublican fundraiser
  • Can't the Democrats do better than this?!
  • Momma, always told me, "If ya stand in the middle of the road, yer bound to get run over!"
  • Republican wing nuts bum out Centrists

  • Spoon Letter Anthology

    Wednesday, July 05, 2006

    No post today

    Attending a friend's funeral.

    Thursday, June 29, 2006

    Further reflections on the ACLU, Randall v Sorrell & the slow death of democracy

    I am still very upset over the American Civil Liberties Union’s position in the Randall v. Sorrell case in which the John Roberts Supreme Court struck down the State of Vermont’s mandatory campaign spending limits, thereby upholding Buckley v Valeo and maintaining the status quo.

    For me the issue boils down to plutocracy versus democracy, oligarchy versus republic. The Des Moines Register wrote: “Spending money to further political views is freedom of expression, pure and simple. Besides, the American people have a ready remedy if politicians are corrupted by campaign cash: They can vote the bums out.”

    How facile, but the reality is that “the bums” have almost direct access to means of expression and dissemination, i.e. the media, “voting” them out becomes a nearly impossible task. If corrupt Senator Moneybags, with million of dollars in campaign funds, can dominate the media what chance does Candidate Pureheart, with limited funds, have in getting his message out? After all Senator Moneybag’s friends and colleagues own and operate all the major media outlets. So if the voters are inundated by pro-Moneybags television, radio and newspaper advertisements and psuedo endorsements, can cash-stripped Pureheart be heard? Can the voters make an informed decision?

    I think the answer is no. But here is what a Los Angeles Times editorial said in defense of the Court’s upholding of Buckley v. Valeo:
    the Buckley ruling said, a candidate spending his own money is entitled to greater 1st Amendment protection because he is espousing his own views. The same point holds of truly independent expenditures by a candidate's supporters.

    It's easy to mock this distinction. After all, both campaign contributions and campaign expenditures represent the use of money to produce political results. But Buckley's two-tier approach makes sense. It was a pragmatic attempt to balance a need for elections uncontaminated by large special-interest contributions with the guarantees of the 1st Amendment, which above all protects political speech.


    Now let’s re-read one sentence: “It (Buckley v Valeo) was a pragmatic attempt to balance a need for elections uncontaminated by large special-interest contributions with the guarantees of the 1st Amendment, which above all protect political speech.” From the perspective of history, this is an absurd statement. One need only look at any of the campaign disclosure web sites and see that “special-interest” contributions are the engine of the America political process. To pretend that Mr. Gottrocks, major stockholder of several corporations, is not a “special-interest,” even though his is, after all, only one individual is to ignore reality.

    The equation: Money = Free Speech, is absurd. Money, after all, is commonly agreed upon as an abstraction of property. When humankind first conceived of agriculture, animal husbandry and organized warfare, an economic system was sure to follow. And in those halcyon days goods were exchanged to goods, or in some case services. For example if I wanted to purchase cheese made from my neighbor’s nanny goat’s milk, I offered him some good or service which was useful to him. We bartered our property. This is a very broad definition of the word, but in the BCE world of ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt and the Indus Valley, where the first civilizations arose, I imagine the very concept of “property” was itself very loose. Now I purchase my neighbor’s goat’s milk cheese with money.

    Today money itself is abstract. It is also a commodity. Money is traded. Money, and here I am climbing out on a logical limb, therefore can be thought of as property.

    There are no property requirements for federal public office, on this the United States Constitution is quite clear. Abraham Lincoln would have never been able to run for and get elected to the US House in 1846 if he’d had to raise funds comparable to what it takes for the average US House race today (in 2004 an average of $849,000.) Lincoln, a family man with a wife and children, knew the power of money in political campaigning, but in today’s political climate he would have had to walk away from his law practice and devote his entire political career to fundraising. In 1846 Lincoln was relative to the day well off financially, but he was by no means independently wealthy.

    So under today’s Buckley v Valeo rules, to run for political office on any level of government above local, the office seeker need either be independently wealthy or devote all efforts toward fundraising; a process little different from the common streetwalker soliciting Johns. It is no accident the US Senate is a rich man’s club.

    Will history harshly judge the ACLU’s position in both Randal v Sorrell and Buckley v Valeo? Only time will tell. How does history judge “political hero” Eugene McCarthy?

    By successfully knocking a sitting president, Lyndon Johnson, out of a re-election bid in 1968, McCarthy’s quixotic campaign was the direct cause of some of the most horrendous unintended consequences in United States history: The deliberate sabotage of an early peace settlement among the United State, North and South Vietnam and Cambodia, possibly as early as 1968, that was being negotiated by the Johnson administration. The election of Richard Nixon, six more years of war in Vietnam, with increasing violence committed by all sides-- the bombing escalation over North and South Vietnam, the mining of Haiphong Harbor; an illegal incursion into Cambodia, My Lai, plus a host of nameless atrocities— and Watergate.

    I am sure the late Senator McCarthy was justifiably proud of his turn on the stage of history in 1968. Yet like some real-life Joe Btfsplk, McCarthy spun the wheel of unintended consequences yet again as a co-plaintiff in Buckley v Valeo, leading once again to what I feel were dire consequences indeed: the election of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and an invasion and occupation of Iraq. What a triumph of 1st Amendment freedom of speech.

    What will be the unintended consequences of Randall v Sorrell be? I am certain the forces of reaction are licking their lips over the prospect of pushing ACLU challenges to Clean Money/Clean Elections laws in Arizona, Maine, New Mexico, New Jersey and North Carolina based on the Buckley v Valeo precedent. Meanwhile, the very same forces of reaction, which will benefit the most from striking down Vermont’s campaign funding rules, are busily undermining the concept of one man/one vote.

    Undoubtedly this development, and many others yet to follow, will keep ACLU lawyers busy. It is just business after all.

    Wednesday, June 28, 2006

    ACLU on wrong side of history in Randall v. Sorrell

    I am very angry at the American Civil Liberties Union. No, I’m more than angry, I’ve really, really pissed off.

    Tuesday, in a 6-3 decision the United States Supreme Court, no longer in the clutches of “liberal” activists, overturned Vermont’s nine-year-old law limiting campaign contributions. In so doing the Roberts court upheld the Burger Court’s 1976 decision, Buckley v. Valeo, equating campaign contributions, primarily by wealthy individuals, with the First Amendment right of free speech.

    On the face of it, the saying that money is equal to freedom of speech, as protected by our First Amendment, is absurd. Yet this is the argument the ACLU presented before the non-activist Roberts Court.

    In briefs filed with the Court, the ACLU argued that the extreme limits of Act 64 prevent voters from hearing from the candidates themselves, and ultimately magnifies the importance of so-called special interest spending, further undermining the state's asserted interest in limiting the influence of such groups on the electoral process. In addition, the Act blurs the line between discussions of issues by candidates, particularly incumbents, and election speech.


    "The state of Vermont would have us believe Act 64 is only about money and not about speech, when in fact the opposite is true," said ACLU senior staff attorney Mark Lopez, who is co-counsel in today's case. "A candidate who has reached the spending limit cannot even drive to the village green to deliver a political speech without violating the law, because mileage counts as an expenditure under this law."
    ACLU press release 06//28/06


    Said an ACLU lawyer:
    "We're obviously very, very pleased. It's a landmark case for freedom of speech," said Peter Langrock, a Middlebury lawyer who represented the American Civil Liberties Union in the case.

    "This bill (Vermont’s Act 64) used a sledgehammer to fix a bent nail," Langrock said.

    He noted that the court agreed that the law's contribution limits would reduce the voice of political parties to a "whisper."

    Vermont Republican Party Chairman Jim Barnett, whose organization also opposed the law, praised the decision as not only a victory for free speech but also "a blow to incumbent politicians."
    Burlington Free Press


    One fallacy of logic the ACLU presented in its argument is the long held American belief that the smaller the political unit, the less the possibility of corruption.

    [ACLU cooperating attorney, Mitchell L.] Pearl noted that Vermont is a small state where constituents tend to know their elected officials personally. "Election corruption isn't a significant problem in Vermont," he said, adding that Vermont ranked 49th in spending in gubernatorial elections across the country. "Act 64 is causing more harm than good to the candidates and people of Vermont."
    op.cit.

    Obviously no one from the ACLU national office has paid any attention to the Central Iowa Employment & Training Consortium (CIETC) scandal. Here is a perfect example of a relatively small political unit descending into, for the polity as a whole, a state of major corruption.

    That small polities are immune to corruption just because everyone knows everyone else is a fantasy, a myth. The opportunities for political corruption, from my experience, tend to increase in small polities precisely because everyone knows everyone else. There is less likelihood of outside oversight and cover-ups, intentional or otherwise, occur. What incentive would cousin Diane, who works for the county recorders office, have to snitch to the county board of supervisors that cousin Sue is embezzling small amounts from the county treasurer’s office, for a swimming pool that they can both enjoy?

    So why would anyone think that a small, rural state like Vermont be any less politically corrupt that its southern neighbor New York? Just look at the recent Democratic gubernatorial primary here in Iowa, a state similar to Vermont. The primary qualification for political office these days is not whether a candidate has new ideas or stances on the issues, but is she an effective fundraiser. Even iconoclastic Texas gubernatorial candidate, Kinky Friedman boosts of his fundraising abilities.

    But now with the republic in its two hundred seventeenth year, our philosopher kings are, as they fashioned themselves from the first, the wealthiest among us. By that measuring stick Bill Gates should be president for life. And this, seemingly, is the political myth the mover-and-shakers of the ACLU hold dear.

    In a 1999 PBS interview with Gwen Ifill, ACLU counsel Joel Gora, who argued before the Supreme Court in the landmark Buckley v. Valeo case, said:
    " I'm looking at protecting the different voices. When the ACLU first got involved in these issues, it was because individual citizens were trying to use their resources to run ads in the newspaper and the government tried to stop them saying they were an illegal campaign committee. We got involved in representing Senator Gene McCarthy, a political hero, for having challenged Lyndon Johnson. How did he do so? He got a small number of wealthy contributors who agreed with his anti-war message to fund his campaign(emphasis added). And he took the message to the people and defeated a sitting President. That's why I'm interested in having people use their funds or their contributor's funds to get their message out.

    He continues: “So that means if we take John's [ John Bonzifaz] cap and continue to limit contributions, we're going to have a perpetuation of the same failed system that we have now. No limits on expenditures, which is critical under the First Amendment; and then we make it harder for the new voices, the political newcomers, to try to get their message out and that's wrong.”


    And all these years I was under the illusion that Eugene McCarthy’s meteoric rise in the political stratosphere of 1968 was due to the so-called “children’s crusade,”-- a dedicated cadres of college age men and women who shed their jeans and sheared their locks to be “Clean with Gene”—and not a few richer than Croesus donors who, more than likely, were playing both sides of the political street (“Here you go, Senator McCarthy, a nice donation of $10,000 to get out your anti-war message.” Which really meant: “My Waldo’s nearing draft age now. Gotta call my broker and see how my shares of General Dynamics are doing. With Nixon in they’ll be worth real money.”)

    And how, with media concentration can a lone individual get his message out to the public?

    The world’s oldest democracy is sliding into plutocracy. Not only that, it is mutating into an aristocracy. The proof is in Iowa politics itself. Young Chester Culver is the youngest son and political heir of erstwhile US Senator John Culver; former Governor Terry Branstad’s wastrel son, Eric, is an
    apparatchik of the Iowa Republican Party. I need not mention the national political dynasties of the Bushes, Rockefellers, or Kennedys. The only way to keep our system of representative-democratic governance from ossifying into a hereditary hierarchy is to level the economic aspect of the political playing field. Let ideas and issues truly be the decider.