|Dr. David Marlett, Editor||21 April 2001||Vol. II #52|
A member of the Federal Election Commission said he hopes President Bush will veto the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill if it reaches his desk, because he says the bill will limit free speech, drive people out of politics, corrupt American society and contribute to the entrenchment of incumbents.
FEC Commissioner Bradley Smith, speaking in Washington Monday, said the campaign finance reform bill now working its way through Congress will "socialize" American politics.
"There is no real excuse for it," he said. "We'll find that that our society ends up being more corrupt, rather than less corrupt."
If McCain-Feingold is enacted, Smith believes, "We'll find that there's a need at the top for lawyers and consultants. The James Carvilles and the Paul Begalas of the world will have more influence, and the political life of the great mass of Americans is impoverished."
Former President Clinton appointed Smith to the Federal Election Commission last year. He has a strong interest in campaign finance reform, even writing a book about it called "Unfree Speech: The Folly of Campaign Reform."
Smith said the McCain-Feingold bill is not a new approach to campaign finance reform, but rather continues a 25-year tradition of regulations, fines and penalties.
He noted that for most of the country's history - until the 20th century - political campaigns had no laws at all.
"Even up until 1974, the campaign laws were pretty much without an enforcement mechanism and you could pretty much do whatever you wanted. And we elected some pretty good presidents in that time," Smith said.
Limiting Speech and Ideas
Campaign finance reform, Smith believes, has reduced the exchange of ideas in American politics. "If you want to run for Congress now, you've got to start with very similar, popular bland ideas so you can raise money in small amounts," he said.
"In the old days, people who had different ideas like Gene McCarthy, who wanted to stop the war in Vietnam, and Ronald Reagan, who wanted to reinvigorate conservatism, had a handful of supporters come to them, who would take care of the money so they could go out there and sell the ideas that changed the scope of American politics," said Smith.
"Nowadays you can't do that. You've got to raise a lot of $1,000 contributions and you've got to start with ideas that are kind of milquetoast and that aren't very offensive to anybody. You can't go out and sell your ideas, and this is exactly why campaign finance is limiting speech," Smith said.
The McCain-Feingold bill would ban "soft money" contributions to national parties and their political committees. Critics say it won't take any money out of politics, but rather will funnel the money in different directions - to political advocacy groups, such as the Sierra Club and the National Rifle Association.
Under the bill's provisions, labor unions and for-profit corporations would be prohibited from spending their money on radio or TV ads that refer to a clearly identified candidate and air within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election.
Non-profit corporations would be allowed to fund political ads only with contributions from individuals (hard money). Disclosure would be significantly increased for these political advocacy groups, supporters claim.
Campaign finance reform tends to boost incumbents at the expense of their challengers, Smith said. He added that McCain-Feingold does nothing to change that because it restricts the ability of challengers to get their message across to voters, while incumbents have the advantage of being able to generate headlines by virtue of their incumbency.
During the recent Senate debate on the bill, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) noted that his bill is not a perfect solution.
"Real campaign finance reform will not cure all public cynicism about modern politics. Nor will it completely free politics from influence peddling or the appearance of it. But I believe it will cause many Americans who are at present quite disaffected from the machinations of politics to begin to see that their elected officials value their reputations more than their incumbency."
"The system favors wealthy candidates," Smith said. "What's interesting is that the effort to restrict money influence is being promoted by professional do-gooders, the busybodies in places like Common Cause, the Center for Public Integrity and those kinds of people who are just always out telling us all how we ought to run our lives. Campaign finance reform has really stomped on a lot of good Americans who try to participate in grassroots politics."
McCain believes his bill will encourage more Americans to become interested in politics and vote in more elections.
"Maybe that will cause them to exercise their franchise more faithfully, to identify more closely with political parties, to raise their expectations for the work we do. Maybe it will even encourage more of them to seek public office, not for the privileges bestowed upon election winners, but for the honor of serving a great nation," McCain said.
The Senate passed the McCain-Feingold bill shortly before the Easter recess. The House is expected to pass the bill later this spring, and opponents hope the final legislation can be diluted in a House-Senate conference committee.
If a campaign finance reform bill does reach President Bush's desk, he has said he will sign it only if he believes it will "improve the system."
[ CNS ]
Cincinnati was on fire last week. Where was Je$$e?
Last week, the Department of Education's inspector general said that in the last three years of the Clinton administration, the department lost almost $500 million in waste, fraud and errors. On the subject of wasted education dollars, Mr. Bush noted, "We have spent $125 billion of Title I money over 25 years -- money spent on low-income students. And if the truth be told, we have little to show for it. This is not just wasted money, more importantly, it is wasted potential and wasted hope."
TCN Comment: The entire Department of Education is a waste. Plow it under and sow it in grass. It will never produce anything of value. Leave education to local communities where the administrators are accessible and responsible to parents.
DOE is nothing but a fundraiser and lobbyist for the teachers unions. It has done nothing good for education since the doors were opened.
DOE is nothing but a fundraiser and lobbyist for the teachers unions. It has done nothing good for education since the doors were opened.
Although it's a violation of government regulations, 64 federal government web sites are tracking their visitors... and not just what they do within the government sites, but what visitors do after they leave as well.
If you visited, say, the Department of the Treasury site to look for tax forms for the IRS, and then went shopping at an e-commerce site, chances are the government knows what you did and has recorded it.
And in one case, a private-sector contractor was given ownership of all the information collected from a government web site.
ACTION REQUIRED: Sign the Petitions to President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Office of Management and Budget Director Mitch Daniels:
A federal post was created last year to make sure federal agencies adhere to privacy policies, such as the one forbidding government web sites from collecting information about users. But President Bush has yet to fill this position.
Sign the Petition, asking that the Bush Administration make it a top priority to fill this position and that everything possible is done to safeguard the Fourth Amendment (protecting our right against unwarranted government intrusion) by eliminating government monitoring of private citizens' Internet activity.
Click Below to sign this petition:
"A record 1.3 million babies were born out of wedlock in 1999, marking the first time that a full one-third of all U.S. births were to unwed mothers."
[ Washington Times ]
In Left Coast news, the San Diego City Council voted to ban use of the word "minority" in city documents and discussions as a "disparaging" term. Presumably, both the winning and losing sides in all future council votes will be now referred to as the "majority" bloc.
[ The Federalist ]
TCN Comment: The ruling white class must have read the report published by the Federal Census Bureau that pointed out that in many states whites are no longer in the majority. Nothing will guarantee minority rights any quicker than for the majority to see themselves slipping into the minority!
"Nearly eight years after the final assault on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, that fiery disaster's embers still smolder. A new study by Cato Institute scholar Timothy Lynch has reignited the controversy surrounding the FBI's April 19, 1993 tank and CS gas attack on the Davidians' home and the inferno that followed. Once the smoke had cleared, 76 Davidians were dead, including 27 children.
" ... Lynch's detailed analysis, documented with 114 endnotes, repudiates special prosecutor John Danforth's official investigation of the Waco fiasco. Lynch, Director of the Project on Criminal Justice at Cato, dismisses the former Missouri Republican senator's report as 'soft and incomplete.' He adds: 'Danforth's sweeping exoneration of federal officials is not supported by the factual record.' (Lynch's paper is online at www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-395es.html.)
"Lynch exposes a maddening culture of impunity in which few officials face serious consequences for violating the law. This double standard, in which federal badges become licenses for lawlessness, typified the Clinton-Reno years. The Bush-Ashcroft team should end this intolerable situation by prosecuting those federal officials who apparently broke the law at Waco and thereby contributed to the injury and deaths of scores of innocent American citizens."
[ Columnist Deroy Murdock, Scripps Howard News Service ]
WARNING: There is no good excuse for not acting on the following article.
Contrary to popular opinion, the Democratic National Committee has never returned the huge donations made by Indonesian business tycoon, James Riady.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Riady "was responsible for more than $1 million in illegal campaign contributions that were donated by employees of his now defunct LippoBank California from 1988 through 1994" (Los Angeles Times, March 20).
These illegal donations, funneled through alleged Chinese operative John Huang, reach also to Democrat Senators Kennedy, Levin and Torricelli.
It's high time for the DNC to stop just talking about returning the illegal donations, and actually do it.
ACTION REQUIRED: Contact Terry McAuliffe, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and demand that the illegal, foreign contributions to the DNC be returned to James Riady.
You can reach Mr. McAuliffe at:
Democratic National Committee
Attn.: Mr. Terry McAuliffe
430 S Capitol St SE
Washington, DC 20003
[ SixtySecondActivist.com ]
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled almost 3,000 miles to tiny Fallon, Nevada, last week to hold hearings on a strange set of cancer clusters that have struck the community about 60 miles east of Reno. To date, about a dozen children have been diagnosed with lympatic leukemia. And while there are a number of theories as to why the cluster has occurred, researchers and doctors have been unable to finger the exact culprit.
So why did Hillary go so far to such an obscure town? She invited the New York media to follow her, and she ghoulishly posed for photos with sick children even though the families had requested that she not do so, because she claimed there were similar cancer clusters in her home state.
One reporter asked her where the clusters were. "I'll have to have a staffer get back to you with that, " she replied. Apparently while she cares about a good photo-op, she hasn't spent any time in her own state's "cluster" communities.
"These cancer clusters are cropping up all over America," says one of her aides. "Mrs. Clinton isn't just New York's senator, she's a national political figure who has every right to take these issues on where ever they may lead her, whether it is to California or Illinois or New York." And even Nevada, apparently.
[ Washington Prowler ]
Sen. Hillary Clinton, who claims that her staff is the most constituent-oriented in the Senate, must work in blissful isolation. During income tax time, all senators receive a huge number of complaints and calls for assistance with the Internal Revenue Service. But Clinton's staff hasn't been helping anyone, according to New York colleagues in Sen. Chuck Schumer's office. "Clinton's people just refer their callers to us," says a Schumer aide. "We're doing all the work, while she claims she's working for the people."
[ Washington Prowler ]
"Federal investigators are zeroing in on thousands of dollars in purported illegal gifts to Sen. Robert G. Torricelli (D), the New York Times reports, citing 'people involved in the case.' 'Among the items that Mr. Torricelli received from the former backer, the people said, are at least 10 Italian-made suits, an $8,100 Rolex watch, bean-shaped cuff links from Tiffany & Company, a $1,500 area rug, $600 earrings for one of Mr. Torricelli´s former girlfriends and a 52-inch Toshiba television set,' reporters Tim Golden and David Kocieniewski write. 'The former supporter, David Chang, has told investigators that as part of a lengthy effort to win Mr. Torricelli´s help with several international business deals, he also gave the Democratic legislator tens of thousands of dollars in cash to spend on official travels, vacations and shopping trips.'"
[ Greg Pierce's "Inside Politics" ]
TCN Comment: Maybe it's just a NY thing. The question is, did it become a NY thing when Bill and Hillary moved there, or is it the reason they moved there?
May 1st is a communist holiday. It is only fitting that we begin a trade embargo against China during the summer months starting on May 1st.
For four months DO NOT BUY ANY PRODUCTS MADE IN CHINA. In September the embargo ends. As businesses and as citizens, let's make sure not to purchase any Chinese material. Maybe only a few people will actually participate, who cares! I'm doing this because it's the right thing to do, not because masses of people are going to participate. But maybe, just maybe, if enough people participate it might make China and all other would be adversaries think twice before threatening American lives.
I'm not saying free trade is wrong or only buy American goods. I just think that we should let the Chinese know over the next four months that there is a price to pay for threatening America. And I for one hope they pay it.
[ Dan Hennessey ]
"You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. If nothing is worth dying for, when did this begin...? Should Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery under the pharaohs? Should Christ have refused the cross? Should the patriots of Concord Bridge have thrown down their guns and refused to fire the shot heard round the world? The martyrs of history were not fools, and our honored dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis didn't die in vain!" --Ronald Reagan
"Government does not tax to get the money it needs; government always finds a need for the money it gets." --Ronald Reagan
Rep. Virgil Goode (I-VA) has introduced a bill, H.R. 1455, to repeal the onerous Lautenberg gun ban which was signed into law in 1996 as part of the Treasury-Postal omnibus appropriations bill. Many of you are new to the GOA Alert Network and may not be familiar with this gun ban that was named after its author, the former Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ).
This ban has disarmed people for life -- for offenses that include pushing, shoving or, in some cases, even yelling at a family member. The language of this lifetime gun ban is so expansive that unsuspecting parents have been disarmed for simply using legitimate corporal punishment.
Moreover, this lifetime gun ban can be imposed for mere misdemeanors, and in certain circumstances, imposed without a trial by jury. Many misdemeanors do not guarantee a jury trial, and the law does not require that one must be tried by a jury before losing his or her gun rights. Many offenders are now shocked to learn that a minor infraction from their teenage years is preventing them from owning a gun for life.
You can read some of the Lautenberg horror stories at http://www.gunowners.org/kldvtb.htm on the GOA website.
Finally, this ban contradicts the Second Amendment and finds no constitutional authority whatsoever. As stated by Rep. Goode, the Lautenberg gun ban "does not specifically deal with a subject delegated to Congress under Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, and is therefore unconstitutional under the tenth Amendment as interpreted by United States vs. Lopez." And the Lautenberg provision violates the constitutional ban on ex post facto laws, since it disarms people for offenses committed in the past.
ACTION: Please ask your Representative to cosponsor H.R. 1455. You can use the pre-written letter on the GOA website to help direct your comments to Capitol Hill. Or, you can call your Representative at 877-762-8762 (toll free) or at 202-225-3121. To identify your Representative, as well as to send a message via e-mail, see the Legislative Action Center at http://www.gunowners.org/activism.htm on the GOA website.
[ GOA ]
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