Items filtered by date: Friday, 13 July 2018

There’s no secret as to which companies sponsor which drivers in NASCAR. It’s advertised all over the cars and drivers. NASCAR drivers aren’t bashful when it comes to endorsing their sponsors either, and race fans can easily see the companies that support them. Politicians should be no different. In fact, they should be just as eager to do so at the podium as NASCAR drivers are on victory lane. They should wear the logos of their campaign contributors with pride, stitched into their thousand-dollar suits, and they should proudly thank every one of them in their victory and concession speeches. Like NASCAR drivers, politicians wouldn’t be where they are without their campaign contributors. That’s why I’m proposing the Non-individual And Super-PAC Contributions Advertising Requirement, or N.A.S.C.A.R. Act, to end all that secrecy, and force politicians to reveal who paid for their campaign.


This was originally published at Grandstand Central.


Much has been made of the need for transparency with regards to campaign contributions in American elections, but not much has been done. Sure, there are organizations and journalists reporting from where the “dark money” comes, but few media outlets are reporting those stories and even fewer voters are reading or watching them when they are reported. The result is a record-number of Americans — 36 percent, according to an October 2017 poll by the General Social Survey — being ashamed of the way democracy works in America.

Even if you wanted to know who gave what to whom, the research is time-consuming, relatively un-revealing and you have to trust the number-crunchers and fact-checkers did their jobs. But you still couldn’t determine the amount a super PAC spent on a television advertisement in support of a politician’s specific agenda item like abortion. We’re lucky to have projects like OpenSecrets to reveal campaign contributors to the Americans who discover and believe their research to be accurate, but the American people shouldn’t have to search for that information because major campaign contributors shouldn’t be secrets.

Americans need to see who (and it is “who” since corporations are people by law) is most responsible for electing their elected officials, and the N.A.S.C.A.R. Act would require elected officials to display all non-individual campaign contributions on their person when in view of the public — whether that’s on television, in-person or even on vacation.

Since elected officials are public figures and celebrities of sorts, they are always representative of their office, regardless of whether they’re on the clock or not. When a politician commits sexual assault, he or she doesn’t get a pass because it happened outside the office or during off-duty hours. This form of public shaming would make elected officials think twice about taking money from just anyone or any one organization, and it would make corporations consider the consequences of supporting specific candidates, solving some of America’s campaign finance fiasco.

A majority of Americans support campaign finance reform, according to an August 2017 Ipsos Poll on behalf of the Center for Public Integrity, and almost half of those polled opposed the Citizens United decision that made corporations people and money free speech. “Given the chance to change the campaign finance system, a majority of Americans (57%) would place limits on the amount of money super PACs can raise and spend.” But there already are limits on the amount of money PACs can raise and spend, and super PACs are simply a means for wealthy individuals to give candidates more than the $2,700 limit per election without violating federal law.

PAC stands for Political Action Committee, and it’s how corporations and nonprofit organizations, including churches, funnel millions of dollars into elections without directly contributing to candidates’ campaigns, which would violate federal law. While super PACs cannot contribute directly to a politician’s campaign, they can produce commercials and advertising in support of a particular politician’s platform or agenda, or more commonly, against the platform or agenda of a particular politician’s opponent.

PACs, on the other hand, can contribute directly to politicians’ campaigns, and while that amount is limited, it’s still a means for corporations to buy elections. More than 39 percent of House Democrats’ 2018 election funding came from PACs, 43 percent of House Republicans’ funding came from PACs and more than 32 percent of Senate Republicans’ funding came from PACs.

Toyota, a Japanese company, used its PAC to spend nearly half a million dollars supporting 36 Senate candidates and 155 House representatives in the 2018 federal elections. So are those 191 elected officials inclined to represent the interests of the constituents who made individual donations, or the constituents who voted for them, or do their jobs quite literally depend on them doing as Toyota and their other corporate donors demand?

While the total of individual campaign contributions was more than the total of PAC contributions in the 2018 federal elections, the majority of those individual campaign contributions were made by businessmen and businesswomen on behalf of their respective businesses.

Tom Steyer, a billionaire hedge fund manager, was the biggest campaign contributor in 2018, supporting Democrats with nearly $30 million. Second in campaign contributions was Richard and Elizabeth Uihlein, of U-Line, Inc. They supported Republicans with nearly $27 million. The only actual individual on the list who’s not a representative of a business is Deborah Simon, who is described as a “philanthropist” and made nearly $4.5 million in contributions to Democrats.

The premise of the N.A.S.C.A.R. Act is simple: any campaign contribution to a candidate through a PAC, or any super PAC contribution from which the candidate clearly benefits must be revealed by the candidate, with the largest contributions being most visible on their person when in view of the public.

Instead of Robert Mercer being able to hide his hedge fund firm behind his super PAC supporting Donald Trump, Trump would be required to wear a Renaissance Technologies logo on his chest or higher (so television cameras pick it up) in a size proportional to the $13.5 million in contributions he received from Mercer when compared to the candidate’s total campaign contributions. Whether that would keep Mercer from contributing in the future depends on what he thinks Trump’s actions will cost him and his company by “sponsoring” the candidate. So both the sponsor and the “driver” have to consider the risk their political-business relationship could have on the politician’s ability to keep his job and the sponsor’s ability to sell its product or service.

The same goes for Sheldon and Miriam Adelson of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, who contributed $10 million to Trump’s campaign. Linda McMahon of World Wrestling Entertainment contributed $6 million. Co-founder and former CEO of Home Depot, Bernard Marcus, contributed $7 million, and even though he’s retired, Home Depot would still be advertised on Trump’s person given Marcus’s 3.8-percent ownership stake in the company.

Houston Texans owner Bob McNair, who apologized for comparing NFL players to inmates when discussing the anthem protests with owners and then only regretted the apology because he wasn’t referring to players but NFL office executives, gave $2 million to a pro-Trump super PAC. So the Texans logo would be affixed to Trump’s suit jackets under the N.A.S.C.A.R. Act. He wasn’t the only NFL owner who contributed to Trump either. He and seven other owners donated $7.25 million to Trump’s inauguration fund, but those donations aren’t campaign contributions and wouldn’t apply under the N.A.S.C.A.R. Act.

I have shared this bill, the full text of which you can find below, with multiple Congresspeople and have received no responses. But Harvard Law Professor and author of Republic, Lost, Lawrence Lessig, was most gracious and thanked me for my work “for a functioning republic.”

“I’m afraid I don’t think this brilliant hack would be upheld under the 1st amendment, but maybe,” he told Grandstand Central via email on Wednesday. “But more fundamentally, I think our energy has got to be focused on changing the system, not shaming people who live under the current system. There’s no clean private money way to run for Congress or other lower offices. That means we need to change the money.”

So while it’s unlikely the N.A.S.C.A.R. Act reaches the floor of the Senate or the House of Representatives, and even more unlikely it be passed and signed into law, it’s a solution politicians should consider exploiting. Even without the law in place, politicians can commit to the N.A.S.C.A.R. Act as a means of expressing their campaign contribution cleanliness.

Politicians shouldn’t need the N.A.S.C.A.R. Act to become law in order to abide by it. If politicians have their constituents’ interests in mind, they would reveal their non-individual, super PAC and PAC contributors without being required to do so by law.

I am a firm believer, along with Lessig, that very little can change in America until campaign finance changes. The N.A.S.C.A.R. Act doesn’t stop corporations and billionaires from buying elections, but it would reveal to the American public who bought the elections. It’s not victory lane, but it’s at least a fast start from the pole position. America just needs one driver to put on that suit jacket littered with logos and lead the rest of the honest drivers who are proud of their sponsors but know it’s all about the fans in the stands.


The Non-individual And Super-PAC Contributions Advertising Requirement, or N.A.S.C.A.R. Act
A politician’s non-individual, PAC, and super PAC campaign contributions must be visible on his or her person while in view of the public.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE CONGRESS HERE ASSEMBLED THAT:

SECTION 1. Every elected official in service of the United States of America make every non-individual campaign contribution from which they benefited in the previous election or stand to benefit since, visible on his or her person at all times while in view of the public, and proportional in size to indicate the percentage of total campaign contributions for the election cycle. Violators will subject themselves to recall elections if so petitioned by their constituents.

SECTION 2. A non-individual, campaign contribution is either a contribution not from an individual or contributions by an individual in an amount exceeding the $2,700 individual limit per election. This includes donations from political action committees (PACs) and super PACs.

SECTION 3. Campaign contributions made by PACs formed by heads of corporations, LLCs, or nonprofit organizations will be represented on the politician’s person by the logo of the corporation, LLC, or nonprofit organization responsible for the formation of the PAC. The PAC founder need not be an employee of the corporation, LLC, or nonprofit organization, but must simply stand to benefit from the corporation’s, LLC’s, or nonprofit organization’s success resulting from poltical influence.

SECTION 4. The Federal Election Commission will oversee the enforcement of the bill along with the specific enforcement mechanism.

SECTION 5. This law will take effect two weeks after its passage to allow politicians ample time to properly display their non-individual, campaign contributors.

SECTION 6. All laws in conflict with this legislation are hereby declared null and void.

Introduced for Congressional Debate by ______.

Published in Opinion

"Philosophy is common sense with big words." President James Madison 

 

In this age, there have risen up in America, men who speak perverse things. There are many that trouble us with their philosophies and novel interpretations, by which they deny the doctrines they profess to teach and undermine the faith and purpose they are pledged to maintain.

It is well that some of us, who know what we believe and have no secret meanings for our words, should just put our foot down and maintain our standing, holding forth the word of life, and plainly declare the foundational truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life (Philippians 2:16-18).

Let me give you a parable given by Charles Spurgeon.

In the days of Nero, there was great shortness of food in the city of Rome, although there was an abundance of corn to be purchased at Alexandria. A certain man who owned a vessel went down to the seacoast, and there he noticed many hungry people straining their eyes toward the sea, watching for the vessels that were to come from Egypt with corn. When these vessels came to the shore, one by one, the poor people wrung their hands in bitter disappointment, for on board the galleys there was nothing but sand which the tyrant emperor had compelled them to bring for use in the arena. It was infamous cruelty when men were dying of hunger to command trading vessels to go to and fro, and bring nothing else but sand for gladiatorial shows, when wheat was so greatly needed. Then the merchant whose vessel was moored by the quay said to his shipmaster, "Take thou good heed that thou bring nothing back with thee from Alexandria but corn; and whereas, aforetime thou hast brought in the vessel a measure or two of sand, bring thou not so much as would lie upon a penny this time. Bring thou nothing else, I say, but wheat: for these people are dying, and now we must keep our vessels for this one business of bringing food for them." Alas! I have seen certain mighty galleys of late loaded with nothing but mere sand of philosophy and speculation, and I have said within myself, "Nay, but I will bear nothing in my ship but the revealed truth of God, the bread of life so greatly needed by the people."

Bringing it to the present, I have noticed in recent years that we have some men on the scene who claim to give the answers to America’s godless issues without making reference to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that brings about the resolve to the issues (Deuteronomy 4).  That is like asking the fallen sinner (without Grace) to instruct and educate the people in righteousness. How that works I don't know.  Yet, as long as the American people have teachers to tickle their itching ears, I guess that the resolve to the lawless issues matters not to many in our country (2 Timothy 4:3-4).  How foolish. Let me describe a few...

In America today we have a very popular Jewish man who loves to debate and play the answer man to college students across the country.  He is a man championed by the conservatives (yesterday’s liberals) of the day with a mouth that spills out vulgarities (James 1:26; Ephesians 4:29).  I ask, what is the lesson that he wants listeners to learn? This guy does a great job of tearing down misconceptions and propaganda in one part while propping up immorality in another (Galatians 5:9).

This guy wears a Kippah (skull cap) while "educating" Americans on conservatism, and all the while denying the deity of Christ. This is like the scientist discovering God's Creation, and then denying the Creator and taking praise unto one’s self as a teacher that need educate the creation.

CONSERVATIVE, adjective, Preservative; having power to preserve in a safe or entire state, or from loss, waste or injury.

Jesus said, "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men" (Matthew 5:13).

Salt is a preservative to stop putrification.

The meaning of Christ's words is that the salt represents those of great worth and reliability in the honoring of God's Word without compromise.

It seems almost inevitable, as a law of nature, that a man who is not sound in his life cannot be sound in his judgment. Yet, the people in America put this "conservative" speaker as so. Wisdom will not long hold a seat in the head of that man who has yielded up his heart to folly. A pure theology and a loose morality will never blend.

Then, we have another man who wears sunglasses and dressed up like he is from the 1990s. During his question and answer session to college students, he acts out as if he is some sort of pop culture star when, in fact, he is a full-fledged sodomite (even defending pedophilia) with a whore’s forehead claiming to speak on the behalf of those who call themselves conservatives. He advocates that which God condemns and yet, people act out as if it is wisdom on our part to follow the blind and rebellious. I say that if the ditch is the place where you want to end up, then keep listening, keep following the blind.

The list goes on…

We have a couple more that claim to be preachers who use innuendo and filth every step of the way. It's not a good position to put themselves in (Exodus 20:7) What Bible are these reprobates reading?
Ezekiel 22:26

Today's Tea Party favorites across the country claim to be some sort of standard among Americans and behind closed doors I have seen are godless, adultery committing drinking hypocrites (1 Corinthians 6:9).

Or how about them favorites on the radio or television that have sold their souls to the golden calves of the day (sponsor's) who are just UNWILLING to say and do what needs to be said and done. Matthew 23:3. This is why Americans are losing ground year after year, and why it is their backs are up against the wall. Shameful.

These are also the same people giving you the same talking points given to them by the CIA controlled media. Dividing Americans one against another, the left vs the right, the Democrats vs the Republicans, socialists vs the conservatives etc.. Mark 3:25

Remember, Jesus said "Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch (Matthew 15:14).

When know that "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." 2 Timothy 3:16-17 So as Americans we need get back to the Book (the Bible) that will point the way to victory that God promises, yet on His term, not on ours. 2 Corinthians 3:17

Many of these men are, without a doubt, very intellectual and at the same time very carnal.  Let me remind you that God speaks to the heart and not the head.  Furthermore, it is simplicity that is in Christ.  A child is the model of Heaven (Matthew 18:2-4), not some intellectual philosopher, which by the way in many instances is nothing more than a man giving forth big words with common sense meaning.

How many times these sort of men are found to be without understanding.  How could they when it goes no further than their heads and through their mouths? Titus 1:16  Why? Because they cannot quite explain what they do not understand from the heart.

Without the Spirit of God and the Sword of the Spirit (Hebrews 4:12), they are ministering from their own wicked hearts (Jeremiah 17:9), like fighting with a wooden blunt sword. If they preach not the Word of God in the power of the Holy Ghost, I am here to tell you that they are fools for their pains in the effort (2 Corinthians 3:6).

Don’t forget, friends, that you will never go beyond those who you allow to teach you. Know who you follow, know who you listen to and pay attention to those you allow to influence you. Ask yourself, what do those you follow stand for, and mark this, you will not go beyond those you allow to teach you. Christ is the Bread of Life (John 6:35), which feeds men’s souls, as well as sets men free.  That is, of course, if you follow Him and Him alone (John 8:36; John 14:6).

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Bradlee Dean is a guest contributor to GCN news. His views and opinions, if expressed, are his own and do not reflect the views and opinions of the Genesis Communication Network. Bradlee's radio program, The Sons of Liberty broadcasts live M - Sat here at GCN. This op-ed was originally published by Sons of Liberty Media at www.sonsoflibertyradio.com. Reprinted with permission. 

 

 

Published in Opinion