Campaign finance reform needed
Six years ago the Supreme Court struck down campaign finance regulations that opened federal, state and local elections to increased political spending and less disclosure. Since the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United, politicians from both major parties have increasingly relied on contributions from super PACs and organizations that spend undisclosed money on elections. According to reports by the New York Times, half of all early spending in the 2016 race has come from just 158 families and the corporations they control.
Fortunately, actions are being taken across the country to combat the problems that Citizens United raised and with broad based support. One study from Bloomberg illustrated that 80 percent of Republicans and 83 percent of Democrats opposed the decision. It makes sense that sixteen states and over 600 communities nationwide have called for an amendment to overturn Citizens United. In Arkansas, there have been attempts to curtail the power of Citizens United with ethics and finance reform at the state level. Despite making it onto the ballot and passing legislation, we have yet to see effective reforms to our campaign finance system. For these reasons, I would not be surprised to see a much needed attempt to restructure Arkansas's campaign finance laws in the next election. It would be nice to see 2016 be the year our democracy is "of the people, by the people, and for the people" once again.
From the web:
In response to last week's cover story, "A bigger, better Arkansas Arts Center":
It would feel better if the Arts Center and its affiliates were connected to the community within which it exists. I personally used to hang out around McArthur Park until they got tired of looking at black kids hanging around their upscale venue and replaced us with the dog park. I would say let the dog owners pay for it, but since my grandchildren visit the center from their school across town I'll leave that for later.
"To be a member of the Arts Center Board of Trustees — a city commission — you've got to come up with a yearly donation of $5,000 and another $5,000 'give or get.' "
Same folk pushing the destruction of downtown by interstate expansion. A favorite quote and truism: "LR is run out of the men's locker room at the Country Club of Little Rock."
The Committee for Arts and History has zero, much less "total transparency." To wit, its pathetic, thoughtless website (forartsandhistory.com) fails to list the "nearly 400" "honorary co-chairs" or any "fundraising and expenses" — all of which is also omitted from its Facebook page. Instead of being "transparent" via informative links to such Committee basics, its unattractive website restricts visitors to a single link: "Join." Duh. An incestuous, in-grown city and state that persist as civic bottom-feeders, not leaders.
In response to Ernest Dumas' Jan. 21 column, "Learning to love the Donald":
Many will be surprised that Trump will turn out to be a fantastic president.
Great? Only when monkeys fly out your ass. Cruz and most of the other candidates all have potential ranging from good to average.
Only Trump can ruin the country and not only get us in a war without allies, but could lose the war as he bankrupts the country.
Then he will retire in the south of France and laugh at all the tools, fools and idiots who supported him.
In response to Gene Lyons' Jan. 21 column, "Rainbow stew":
Bernie Sanders is telling the truth. He's the only candidate who wants to do something besides manage the problems that this country faces. He wants to solve them. In order to solve them they first have to be identified. Bernie Sanders is doing that, and the truth is catching on.
I must have missed the speech where Bernie said he hated rich people. He does have a disdain for the extreme income inequality in this nation. No one needs to hate anyone to dislike income inequality that has arisen since Reagan, became worse under Clinton and really concentrated under Bush and grew some more under Obama.
If Sanders was interested in winning at all costs, he'd tack to the center. He would also take corporate donations and Super PAC money. He has done none of those things because, unlike Hillary, he is not willing to sell his soul to win. Hillary, on the other hand, will pander wherever she needs to and say and do anything that she thinks will get her ahead. She'll take Wall Street money, no matter what strings are attached.
I had a higher opinion of Gene Lyons, but he has proven to just be another establishment Clinton apologist with this hit piece on Sanders. Am I really supposed to believe that Gene doesn't know the difference between Marxism and socialism? The Democratic Party establishment is afraid, and they have every reason to be. That's why they're unleashing these attacks on Bernie. The real left is coming for you, because they're sick of your empty promises and mediocrity. You're about to feel the Bern. I just spent an evening at Bernie's HQ right down the way from the Clinton Library with a room full of people that are ready to take the fight to Hillary. I didn't see any hippies or VW vans down there. I saw working people that are fed up and ready to do something about it.