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Campaigns to be flush despite weak economy


Fri, Sep 30th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

Be prepared to be carpet bombed by political ads as never before leading up to the 2012 elections. There are estimates that from $6 to $8 billion will fuel campaigns, with over half of that money funding TV, radio ads, and to a lesser extent, print and online media. This grossly excessive amount will have an effect on the election of the president, Congress, and state government offices. In the 2008 presidential election cycle about $5 billion was spent on campaigns.

This seems like an obscene amount of money, especially in a weak economy, and as much as a 60 percent increase from 2008; inflation on steroids. Much of the increase is expected due to the January 2010, U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case, "Citizens United vs Federal Election Commission." The Supreme Court basically ruled money equals speech. It confirms what we always have known, "money talks." The majority opinion found that some of the limits imposed in the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (McCain-Feingold) violated the First Amendment of the Constitution guaranteeing free speech.

Since the decision, labor unions and corporations can now make expenditures for or against political candidates independent of the candidates. A flood of special interest money can legally flow into PACs. How will this effect Congressional races? Special interest group spending ballooned five times in 2010 over 2006. The 2010 midterm elections were the first to be regulated under the rollback of campaign finance laws.

All this money certainly will create a lot of noise. However, this kind of bombardment fails to inform the public and likely will be more misleading than helpful for the electorate. Super PACs, which aren't allowed to work officially with a campaign, can collect huge bags of cash and use it on a candidate's behalf, which can provide extraordinary influence. The deluge of money from unlimited donations is not indicative of a healthy electoral process.

Megabucks campaign money equals mega political influence and power which can lead to corruption. Some donations can flow without transparency, without the knowledge of where it came from. Money influence can have a corrupting impact on the political process.

Mistrust of government and discontent for many Americans has been fueled by Washington gridlock and partisan bickering. This added money in campaigns will help confirm the sense that politicians are in the pocket of big business.

Citizens Uni .....
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Lessons from 9/11

Fri, Sep 23rd, 2011
Posted in Commentary

It's been 10 years since 9/11, and we have learned countless lessons since then. Tom Ehrich is a writer, church consultant and Episcopal priest based in New York. He wrote of ten lessons that we should all keep in mind when the naysayers and critics ..... 
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One Moment Please... A lemonade stand

Fri, Sep 23rd, 2011
Posted in Commentary

As the 25th anniversary of our world famous trails approached, I knew this was going to be one of the most significant news events I would cover in 2011. So, I dedicated my weekend to visiting all eight trail towns to capture the essence of how each ..... 
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Government spending

Fri, Sep 16th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

Our founders clearly did not foresee the dangers posed by the creation of hundreds of government bureaucracies. Consequently, they did not include any means that would restrain or eliminate the many governmental functions and programs that are ineff ..... 
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One Moment Please...

Fri, Sep 16th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

Great stories, memories and Scrabble

I remember playing Scrabble at the kitchen table against my great-grandmother, Mabel Leighty, as she seemingly made up words I had never heard of on her way to an unopposed victory. I was 12 at the time, b ..... 
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One Moment Please...

Mon, Sep 12th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

Unless you've been living in a cave for the past 10 years, surely you are aware of the haunting demise of the United States Postal Service.

While it's easy to point fingers at something like the Internet - and trust me, I have - because I th ..... 
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One Moment, Please... Future leaders

Mon, Sep 5th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

In my June 6, 2011, commentary appearing in the Fillmore County Journal, I said, "We have an abundance of stand-out talent coming out of our schools, probably to the extent that we may not realize at times."

As we transition from a summer fu ..... 
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Looking Back While Moving Forward

Mon, Sep 5th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

Standing on the dock, I silently watched the four canoes move across the lake, paddles flashing in the sunlight. The six campers and two guides would be gone for five nights on the water taking a circle route which was not considered difficult for c ..... 
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The Root of the Problem

Fri, Aug 26th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

Government dysfunction is rooted in so-called "safe seats" whether they are in the state legislature or the United States Congress. Safe seats make for hopelessly divided government. The bickering and partisanship in government is one of the bigges ..... 
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