Thursday, June 23, 2011

A survey of America's third parties and Independents and the 2012 general elections

I find it newsworthy, that there has been little published in many of America's important news periodicals and recent research about roles or influence third parties may exert in the 2012 general elections.

From Friedman, Thomas L, Op-Ed Columnist, The New York Times  |  100 Days (June 21, 2011)  |
Maybe it is just my friends, but I find more and more people completely disgusted by this situation and looking for a serious Third Party candidate who could run in 2012 and deliver the shock therapy to the corrupt, encrusted, two-party duopoly now running the show in America.

Such a Third Party would have a simple agenda: 1) Inject a short-term stimulus. 2) Enact Simpson-Bowles. 3) Shrink our presence in Afghanistan. 4) Raise automobile mileage standards. 5) Impose a gasoline tax to pay for a massive increase in government-supported scientific research and a carbon tax to pay for new infrastructure and stimulate clean-power innovation.

Do I think such a Third Party can win in 2012? Not likely. But it doesn’t have to win to be effective. If such a party attracted substantial voters on such a platform, it would shape the agendas of the Republicans and Democrats. They would both have to move to attract these voters by changing their own platforms and, in so doing, might even create a mandate for the next president to govern for an entire term — not just 100 days. 

From Charlie Rose  |  Interview with US Senator Evan Bayh (March 1, 2010)  |
CHARLIE ROSE: Do you believe that a third party candidacy -- not for you, but a viable third party candidate could win in 2012?
EVAN BAYH: Well, let me be clear, because there are all sorts of rumors running around. I support the president, and I think he’s got a good chance of being reelected for a number of reasons.
CHARLIE ROSE: And you will not run as a third-party candidate?
EVAN BAYH: No, I will not. But I do think the level of frustration among the American public is such that following the last administration, there was a big vote for change, as we know. If Washington remains stuck, even though it’s not the president’s fault, even though most of this may rest at the doorstep of Congress, that frustration may fester and grow, particularly in the economy remains somewhat sluggish. And it would create an opportunity for someone with the sort of resources that Ross Perot, for example, had a decade or decade and a half ago to make a case to the American public that, look, we need someone from just completely outside of all this to come in and really shake things up. So there is that potential.
CHARLIE ROSE: How about someone like Michael Bloomberg?
EVAN BAYH: Well, he might fit that bill. He certainly has the resources.
EVAN BAYH: He’s been a thoughtful mayor of New York City.
CHARLIE ROSE: Resources and public experience.
EVAN BAYH: Correct.
CHARLIE ROSE: And an appeal to both Democrats and Republicans because of some positions he has which are Democratic, some -- certainly on fiscal issues, some positions that are conservative.
EVAN BAYH: Correct.
CHARLIE ROSE: So that’s the profile of somebody, a lot of money and an appeal to independents. And it’s in your judgment knowing politics doable if certain convergences take place?
EVAN BAYH: If you look at our history it’s unlikely. And I still believe the president will be reelected. But under the right set of circumstances, if the economy is sluggish and Congress remains stuck, someone with those sorts of resources and an executive back ground of proven accomplishments, that’s always attractive to the American public.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

US constitutional amendments on election reform proposed thus far this congress

H.J.Res.28 - Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States regarding the right to vote. 

Official Summary 2/14/2011--Introduced.Constitutional Amendment - Grants all U.S. citizens who are 18 years of age or older the right to vote in any public election held in the jurisdiction in which the citizen resides. Prohibits the United States, any state, or any other public or private person or entity from denying or abridging the right to vote, but allows regulations narrowly tailored to produce efficient and honest elections. Requires each state to:
(1) administer public elections in the state in accordance with election performance standards established by Congress, and
(2) provide any eligible voter the opportunity to register and vote on the day of any public election. 

H.J.Res.7 - Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States waiving the application of the first article of amendment to the political speech of corporations and other business organizations with respect to the disbursement of funds in connection with public elections. 

Official Summary 1/5/2011--Introduced.Constitutional Amendment - Waives application of the First Amendment to the political speech of any corporation, partnership, business trust, association, or other business organization with respect to the making of contributions, expenditures, or other disbursements of funds in connection with public election.

H.Res.156 - Calling for an environmental and social responsibility amendment to the United States Constitution. 

Official Summary 3/9/2011--Introduced.Calls for the amendment of:
(1) the Constitution to subordinate the political rights of corporations to the rights of individuals; and
(2) U.S. laws to include a public federal election campaign finance system, a social and environmental responsibility education initiative, and a new federal corporate charter statute to facilitate environmentally and socially responsible corporate practices

H.J.Res.65 - Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to prohibit candidates for election to Congress from accepting contributions from individuals who do not reside in the State or Congressional district the candidate seeks to represent.  

Official Summary 5/24/2011--Introduced.Constitutional Amendment - Prohibits candidates for election to Congress from accepting contributions from individuals who do not reside in the state or congressional district the candidate seeks to represent.

S.J.Res.11 - A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to limiting the number of terms that a Member of Congress may serve to 3 in the House of Representatives and 2 in the Senate.  

Official Summary 4/14/2011--Introduced.Constitutional Amendment - Limits Members of the House of Representatives to three terms and Members of the Senate to two terms.

H.J.Res.53 - Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to limit the number of years Representatives and Senators may serve.  

Official Summary 3/31/2011--Introduced.Constitutional Amendment - Limits Members of the House of Representatives to nine terms and Members of the Senate to three terms.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A survey of corruption in the USA government

Willoughby, Nikki, Common Cause  |  Video: "I smell corruption on the high court" (March 3, 2011)  |
On Tuesday, March 1, Common Cause Vice President Arn Pearson spoke with journalist Thom Hartmann about proposed legislation that would hold Supreme Court justices accountable to the same code of ethics that apply to other federal judges.

From Kennedy, Elizabeth and Skaggs, Adam, Brennan Center for Justice  |  The People’s Business: Disclosure of Political Spending by Government Contractors (June 16, 2011)  |
By bringing sunlight to the political spending of government contractors, the Obama administration’s draft executive order will give the public and watchdog groups a powerful tool to ensure that corruption in government contracting does not corrode the legitimacy of the federal government.  Doing so will save taxpayers money and not only fight corruption, but prevent the appearance of corruption and political favoritism that undermines confidence in the government.  Significantly, a long and unbroken chain of U.S. Supreme Court precedents has upheld disclosure of political spending, and the draft executive order stands on rock-solid constitutional ground.  President Obama should sign the order without delay.

From People for the American Way  |  Report: Citizens Blindsided: Secret Corporate Money in the 2010 Elections and America’s New Shadow Democracy  |
Unlike actual voters, who can bring not only self-interest but an interest in the broader community and the common good to the ballot box and the campaign, private corporations that intervene in politics are bound by law to spend corporate resources to promote only those candidates whose election will serve to increase company profits and serve the company agenda.   As Justice Stevens put it in his passionate dissenting opinion in Citizens United, “corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires.”  But they do have a legally defined purpose to follow, which is to make as much money as possible for their shareholders.  Expenditure for any other purpose constitutes “corporate waste” in all of the states.  For the first time in our history, the Court has thus transformed single-minded profit-making corporations into full-fledged political citizens armed with the rights of the people.

Based on the election results, it looks like the first wave of investment of corporate political venture capital has paid off handsomely for major investors.  In an economy still reeling from the mortgage crisis and trillion-dollar collapse on Wall Street, at a time when millions of citizens are still out of work and millions more are facing home foreclosures, when big bail outs for big banks and budget austerity for everyone else is the order of the day, mere citizens proved to be no match at all for the organized wealth of large corporations and the negative ads the companies underwrote.    Even in the wake of corporate disasters like the BP oil spill, the collapsing West Virginia coal mines of the Massey corporation, and the trillion-dollar subprime mortgage debacle provided by AIG, Goldman Sachs and others, will either of the two major political parties and their elected officials now have the courage to stand up to the awesome economic might of our largest corporations?

This edifying and often horrifying report names the names of the key players who channeled the corporate cash, received it and spent it on building a wall of propaganda in the 2010 campaigns, freely mixing truth and falsehood along the way, as is the right of citizens--and now corporations--under our First Amendment .  Beyond known facts, the report also tells us what we do not know, and cannot know, about corporate political spending unless and until Congress moves to pass the DISCLOSE Act, which is the very least that can be done to give the public a sense of who is paying for the wall of propaganda that just got erected across America.

From Pearson, Esq., Arn H., Vice President for Programs, Common Cause  |  Letter to the US Senate Rules Committee regarding responses to Citizens United court case  (February 1, 2010)  |
Common Cause supports a comprehensive package of reforms to address the effects of the Citizens United decision – and the preexisting condition of big money dominance in federal elections and the halls of Congress. We believe that a reform package should:

1. Prohibit political spending by foreign-owned domestic corporations. The Citizens United decision opens a loophole that would allow foreign-owned corporations chartered in the United States to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence our elections. That loophole must be closed.

2. Require shareholder approval of political expenditures.

3. Prohibit political expenditures by corporations that receive federal government contracts, earmarks, grants, tax breaks or subsidies.

4. Strengthen coordination rules, to ensure that “independent” expenditures are truly independent.

5. Strengthen disclosure rules. Independent expenditures should be disclosed electronically within 24 hours in a manner accessible to candidates, the media and the public. CEO’s should be required to “stand by their ads” just like candidates, and corporations that collect money for political expenditures should provide attribution for their top three donors, in order to prevent evasion of disclosure by “Astroturf” entities. FCC advertising logs should be made available on the Internet.

6. Pay-to-Play reforms. Congress should move quickly to dispel the public’s perception of special interest dominance in Washington by enacting low contribution and solicitation limits for lobbyists and lobbyist employers, and banning earmarks for campaign contributors.

7. Fair Elections. Congress should enact a new system for 21st Century elections that allows candidates who agree to low contribution limits to run competitive campaigns on a blend of small donations and limited public funds.

The problem is not so much the amount we spend on political campaigns – columnist George Will likes to remind us that we spend more on potato chips than elections each year – as it is who pays for them, what they get in return, and how that distorts public policy and spending priorities. Keeping our elected officials dependent on the very same wealthy special interests they are supposed to regulate undermines public confidence in their government and its ability to tackle the tough issues that face the nation. And letting the interests who stand to gain from billions in federal spending and bailouts give politicians campaign cash undermines public faith in government’s ability to spend money wisely.

From Ronayne, Kathleen, Center for Responsive Politics  |  Some Super PACs Reveal Barest of Details About Funders (June 17, 2011 8:00 AM)  |
Super PACs, a new breed of political action committee that may raise unlimited sums of money to fuel political advertisements known as independent expenditures, are subject to one major condition: they must disclose their donors.

Or are they?

Federal Election Commission rules allow super PACs to legally avoid disclosing individual donors by attributing donations to nonprofit organizations, which are not required by law to reveal their donors.

During the 2010 election cycle, five super PACs utilized this little-used route, attributing all or nearly all of their contributions to nonprofit organizations organized with the Internal Revenue Service under section 501(c)(4) or section 501(c)(6) of the U.S. tax code, the Center for Responsive Politics finds.  Most of these non-profit groups are directly affiliated with the super PACs to which they donated money.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A survey of judicial campaign finance reform in America

  • Kang, Michael S. and Shepherd, Joanna, The Partisan Price of Justice: An Empirical Analysis of Campaign Contributions and Judicial Decisions (May 27, 2010). Emory Public Law Research Paper No. 10-115; Emory Law and Economics Research Paper No. 10-74; New York University Law Review, Vol. 86, No. 1, 2011. Available at SSRN:
Do campaign contributions affect judicial decisions by elected judges in favor of their contributors’ interests? Although the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co. relies on this intuition for its logic, it has been until now largely a proposition that has gone empirically untested. No longer. Using a dataset of every state supreme court case in all fifty states over a four-year period, we find that elected judges are more likely to decide in favor of business interests as the amount of campaign contributions that they have received from those interests increases. In other words, every dollar of direct contributions from business groups is associated with an increase in the probability that the judges will vote for business litigants. However, we find surprisingly a statistically significant relationship between campaign contributions and judicial decisions in favor of contributors’ interests only for judges elected in partisan elections, not nonpartisan ones. Our findings suggest an important role of political parties in connecting campaign contributions to judicial decisions under partisan elections. In the flurry of reform activity responding to Caperton, our findings support judicial reforms that propose the replacement of partisan elections with nonpartisan methods of judicial selection and retention. 

A new national poll commissioned by the Justice at Stake Campaign shows that a bipartisan majority of Americans believe elected judges deliver favored treatment to their campaign backers, and similar majorities support reforms to curb the perception that justice is for sale.  Harris Interactive surveyed more than 1,000 voting-age citizens between June 9 and 13 about potential conflicts of interest arising from judicial campaign contributions; the survey results overwhelmingly indicate that a majority of Democrats and Republicans believe judicial campaign contributions impact courtroom decisions; favor public disclosure of campaign expenses; and support recusal rules, among other reforms proposed to reduce special-interest influence in the courtroom.

A commentary in Newsworks echoes the concern that the influence of money and political connections on judicial elections undermines public confidence in the judiciary and argues that [the state of] Pennsylvania should adopt a process of merit selection.

A new poll indicates that an overwhelming majority of North Carolina voters believe campaign contributions to judicial candidates can affect a case’s outcome in the courtroom, and that judges should not hear the cases of major campaign contributors.  The poll found that 94 percent of North Carolina voters believe campaign contributions have some influence on a judge’s decision in a case involving a donor, and 85 percent believe judges should step aside from hearing cases that involve major campaign contributors. A joint press release by the organizations that sponsored the poll, the Justice at Stake Campaign and the North Carolina Center for Voter Education, says that these findings explain why public support for North Carolina’s judicial public financing remains high, since “voters want to preserve a program that keeps campaign cash out of the courtroom."

Public financing plays a particularly valuable role in judicial elections, where it not only helps to prevent quid pro quo corruption, but also protects elected judges against the appearance of bias in the courtroom.  As Wisconsin federal judge William M. Conley recently observed (in a ruling upholding the constitutionality of the Impartial Justice Act), “judges—even when popularly elected—are not representative officials, but rather are expected to be, and to appear to be, impartial and independent in applying the rule of law.”  Judge Conley is right.  We need elected judges to treat all parties equally, regardless of whether they’ve offered campaign support. 

The Caperton case—in which Massey Coal CEO Don Blankenship spent $3 million to elect Justice Brent Benjamin while he was seeking to overturn a $50 million jury award—sparked national publicity on the potential conflicts caused by special-interest spending on judicial elections.

Citing the 14th Amendment Due Process Clause, which grants every litigant the right to an impartial trial, the Court said a “serious risk of actual bias” was created when Justice Benjamin cast the tie-breaking vote to overturn the jury’s decision.

Since Caperton, most states have failed to take any meaningful action [reforms].

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A survey of voter identification election administration in the USA

From Common Cause  |  Voter ID -- The Solution in Search of a Problem
The battleground for the 2012 elections is spreading beyond swing states and running mates and into the wallets and handbags of voters, who’d better be carrying some ID in there if they want to cast their ballots. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that eight states -- Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, and South Dakota --currently require or request that voters present a photo ID at the polls [this 2011 article is dated]. Another 20 or so states ask for some form of identification but do not require a photograph. And new, restrictive laws have been proposed in more than 30 states, include provisions that require voters to provide proof of citizenship.

Regardless of the specific identification requirements in each state, the end result is greater barriers to eligible voters and significant expense to the states.

From Brennan Center for Justice  |  Debunking Misinformation on Photo ID  |  by Keesha Gaskins, Senior Counsel in the Brennan Center's Democracy Program  |  June 9, 2011
The Wall Street Journal recently published an op-ed (“The Case for Voter ID”) by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.  In the piece, Kobach touts restrictive voter ID bills, including the Kansas “Secure and Fair Elections Act,” which he drafted and Governor Sam Brownback signed into law a few weeks ago.  Kobach argues that (1) voter ID laws will not actually prevent any eligible citizens from voting; and (2) they will prevent in-person voter fraud, which he claims is a substantial problem.  But his arguments are built on inaccuracies, unsupported allegations, and flawed reasoning.  Because Kobach takes direct aim at the Brennan Center in this op-ed, we thought a thorough review of his claims was in order. We sent a letter to the editors at the Journal rebutting some of his claims, but the paper did not publish it.

All Things Reform  |  "Your papers, please": Americans are more likely to be killed by a bolt of lightning than commit voter fraud!  |  March 27, 2011
From a ThinkProgress article, which includes reader commenting -- for a short history of the century-long conservatives' anti-voter agenda in the USA, please read the article.

Brennan Center for Justice  |  Research and Publications on Voter ID

From  |  Voter ID debate could change 2012 landscape  |  by Tom Curry, National affairs writer  |  5/25/2011 2:45:43 PM ET
“It’s very difficult to trace the precise effect of ID laws on actual turnout, since there are so many things that can affect participation,” said Daniel Tokaji, an election law expert at Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law.

But, he said “there is considerable evidence about who doesn’t have government-issued photo ID, which shows that certain groups – such as elderly, disabled, minority, and poor voters — are likely to be especially hard hit.”

From National Conference of State Legislatures  |  2011 Elections Legislation Database: Voter Identification

This database contains state legislation related to the administration of elections for voter identification that was introduced in the states in 2011.

From OpenCongress  |  H.R.108

  • Short: Voting Opportunity and Technology Enhancement Rights Act of 2011 as introduced.

  • Official: To protect voting rights and to improve the administration of Federal elections, and for other purposes. as introduced.

  • All Things Reform  |  Five ways to fight North Carolina bill on voter ID  |  March 10, 2011

    From Rock the Vote blog, which offers reader commenting:

    "A restrictive photo ID bill was introduced in North Carolina today, making it harder to vote for more than 500,000 currently-registered voters who do not have a state-issued ID." ...

    Here’s five things you can do to take action around the bill.

    Saturday, June 11, 2011

    A survey of American democracy

    From San Francisco Chronicle  |  Nothing to fear but democracy itself  |  by John Diaz  |  August 3, 2008
    Democracy and change can be scary. But they are scariest to those in power who derive their power from suppressing change by any means necessary.

    From New America Foundation  |  Internet wasn't real hero of Egypt  |  by Rebecca MacKinnon  |  February 14, 2011
    Wael Ghonim, the Google executive whose anonymous online activism helped bring people into the streets for those fateful protests on January 25, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that "the revolution started on Facebook," and "if you want to liberate a society just give them the Internet."

    Ghonim is modest. He rejects the label of "hero" and prefers to deflect credit to others. But let's be clear: He and hundreds of thousands of other Egyptians are the heroes, whether they were inspired to join the protests in Tahrir Square in the new way through Twitter or the old-fashioned way thorough their neighbors and co-workers.

    From The Heritage Foundation  |  How the Internet is Strengthening Democracy  |  by Israel Ortega  |  May 10, 2010
    Of course, members of Congress and politicians will continue enacting public policies, whether they hear from us or not. Consequently, it is up to us to seize the endless possibilities of the Internet and technology to influence public policy.

    If we are to ensure that future generations can reap the benefits of prosperity and technology, we cannot afford to stand on the sidelines as history is being made.

    From Democracy  |  Democracy  |  by Michael Waldman  |  Issue #11, Winter 2009
    The key is to press for bold reforms that tap the participatory spirit of the age. Far too often, democracy reforms bog down in technical arcana, tangled in acronyms and technical fixes. Nobody ever marched for sound election administration; they have marched for democracy, and can do so again. Reforms cannot be expected to purify politics, to “clean up Congress” or impose rational order on a necessarily messy political system. Rather, all the reforms should point in the same direction: more participation, especially designed to boost the voices of those who are too often drowned out. ...

    Barack Obama enters office burdened with rare high expectations, at a time when the economy is reeling, and there is little money for immediate spending on other priorities. He could push for reforms that would institutionalize the surge of voters and small contributors that brought him to the White House. If he does, he will change the country, and usher in a new era of democratic aspiration and energy. Once again, as so often in the country’s past, democracy itself will be at the center of our politics, where it belongs.

    Tuesday, June 07, 2011

    A survey of US political power and attempts at reform

    From Common Cause  |  The Political Process: New Game Please  |  by Helen Grieco  |   May 11, 2011

    During most of my 25 years as an activist, I advocated for women’s rights. Once again, I was disheartened by the small number of women in elected office. To answer the gender inequality in France, the people there went so far as amending their Constitution to require political parties to select the same number of women and men candidates.  With one change in the law, dramatic governance transformation ensued.

    From Cato Institute  |  The Military-Industrial Complex at 50 (policy forum)  |   March/ April, 2011
    “We the people” need to understand: it’s no longer our army—it hasn’t been for years— it’s theirs and they intend to keep it.  The American military belongs to Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright, to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, to Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates, to Admiral  Mullen and General Petraeus. They will continue to employ that military as they see fit.  If Americans don’t like the way the army is used, they need to reclaim it. This can only happen by resuscitating the tradition of the citizen-soldier.

    From  |  Principles before heroes  |  by Robert Reich
    Once the financial crisis seemed to have passed, the public lost interest, with the result that the Street’s lobbyists played a major role in fashioning the resulting legislation. ...
    It will not be easy to devise and sell policies—more progressive taxes, stronger unions, universal access to high-quality education through college, adequate public funding of elections, for example—that respond directly to the increasing concentration of income, wealth, and power in America. But without a fight, progressive ideals will never be met. No president and no administration can do it on its own. Obama is already being labeled a “socialist” for his efforts to expand access to health care. The fight will take a generation, and it will require a progressive movement willing to push its elected leaders, to educate the public, and to organize and mobilize Americans to achieve the nation’s most basic ideals.

    From Common Cause  |  State Political Party Reform: A political army in need of a few good soldiers  |   By Diane C. Walsh  |  April 9, 2006
    Rachel Pittard, an education coordinator for the Citizens' Campaign [of New Jersey], said, "Our goal is to teach regular folks with limited time and limited funds how to access the political power levers."

    From Cato Institute  |  The Poison Of Professional Politics  |  by Mark P. Petracca  |  May 10, 1991
    Professionalism and careerism dominates American politics; it poisons the prospects for political representation in America and threaten the promise of democratic government. ...
    In response, a national movement to limit the terms of congressmen and state legislators is gaining momentum.

    Saturday, June 04, 2011

    A survey of US non-governmental organizations on the issue of public trust in government

    Brookings  |  Public Trust in Government
    Public trust in government levels are rising from their all time low point in 2006.  Presenting public trust levels dating back to 1958.

    From Pew Research Center for People & the Press  |  Beyond Red vs. Blue: The Political Typology: Section 5: Views of Government, Constitution, American Exceptionalism

    From Brookings  |  In Government America Must Trust  |  By William A. Galston, Senior Fellow, Governance Studies  |  March 3, 2010
    Economic inequality in the United States stands at levels not seen since the 1920s, and polarization between the two principal political parties is deeper and more pervasive than at any time since the 1890s. Scholars have linked both these trends to intensified public mistrust. 

    From Brookings  |  Trust in Government Ethics: Measures in OECD Countries (paper text)
    Public service is a public trust. Citizens expect public servants to serve the public interest with fairness and to manage public resources properly on a daily basis. Fair and reliable public services inspire public trust and create a favorable environment for businesses, thus contributing to well-functioning markets and economic growth. Public ethics are a prerequisite to public trust and are a keystone of good governance.

    From Center for American Progress  |  Better, Not Smaller: What Americans Want From Their Federal Government  |  By Guy Molyneux, Ruy Teixeira, John Whaley  |  July 27, 2010
    New research shows people would rather improve government performance than reduce its size. And they are extremely receptive to reform efforts that would eliminate inefficient government programs, implement performance-based policy decisions, and adopt modern management methods and information technologies.

    From  |  H.Con.Res.274  |  Sponsor Representative J Forbes R-VA 
    Official: Reaffirming "In God We Trust" as the official motto of the United States and supporting and encouraging the public display of the national motto in all public buildings, public schools, and other government institutions. as introduced.

    From  |  S.123  |  Sponsor Senator David Vitter R-LA 
    Short: Social Security Lock-Box Act of 2011 as introduced.
    Official: A bill to establish a procedure to safeguard the Social Security Trust Funds. as introduced.

    From Cato Institute  |  The Case for Gold, an e-book by Rep. Ron Paul and Lewis Lerhman   |   by Mark Calabria, Director of Financial Regulation Studies, Cato Institute
    Paul and Lehrman remind us that the ultimate purpose of a monetary standard is not price stability, but "trust and honesty." A gold standard is an avenue, among others, to restore our trust in government, by appropriately constraining the discretionary power of government. In an era when five unelected bureaucrats on the Federal Reserve Board can spend over $2 trillion, and deny the rights of the people and their representatives to audit such spending, we know we are again in a time where "trust and honesty" in government is in short supply. It is my hope that re-releasing The Case for Gold will help to bring public accountability back to monetary policy. Its re-release will also expand and raise the level of public debate surrounding monetary policy.

    From  |  TRUST PAC, Affiliate: Fred Upton (R-Mich)

    Wednesday, June 01, 2011

    Brookings survey of US political polarization

    From Brookings  |  Political Polarization:
    Budget and debt debates, filibusters over judicial nominees, and partisan posturing in Washington occur amid growing concerns about heated political rhetoric across America. Brookings experts have tracked and examined how growing political polarization has become embedded in American society with results that are damaging to the political process.

    Our selections: