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Interactive: Who's Pulling the Strings? | BillMoyers.com

Interactive: Who's Pulling the Strings? | BillMoyers.com | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
In the wake of Citizens United a well-funded network of conservative groups has arisen that has the ability to make the lives of Republicans who seek compromise very, very difficult.
Greg Russak's insight:

Let's hope that more and more Americans are beginning to understand just how rigged DC actually is and who is behind it.

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Represent.Us: The Campaign to pass the American Anti-Corruption Act

Represent.Us: The Campaign to pass the American Anti-Corruption Act | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Get money out of politics at Represent.Us, the campaign to pass the American Anti-Corruption Act - a bold new law that puts an end to business as usual in Washington.
Greg Russak's insight:

The system is broken. Our government has been corrupted by money. We need Congress to solve the nation’s problems, instead our politicians are out raising money for re-election. The country is run by lobbyists - fighting on behalf of big oil, pharmaceuticals, military contractors, labor unions, trial lawyers, insurance companies, food corporations, and on and on.

 

We may never get rid of lobbyists and big financial donors. But we all agree: citizens should come first.

 

Our government is corrupt. We need to fix it. We have a plan. We need your help.

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How the U.S. Ex-Im Bank Landed on Republicans’ Death Row

How the U.S. Ex-Im Bank Landed on Republicans’ Death Row | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it

"A day before U.S. House Republicans were to vote on a new majority leader, lawmakers aligned with the limited-government Tea Party movement delivered a message to the leading candidate, Kevin McCarthy of California."

 

 

Greg Russak's insight:

"The bank helps foreign companies buy U.S. goods by providing loans, guarantees and insurance. It was established in 1934 under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and initially focused more on advancing U.S. foreign policy than aiding the economy. It financed the Pan American Highway, authorized $2 billion for European reconstruction under the Marshall Plan and approved $100 million in credits for Israel in 1948. The bank also issued $5.6 million in guarantees to post-Soviet nations.


"To its backers, the bank’s primary benefit these days is to protect manufacturing jobs and counter the advantages of competitors in other countries backed by their government subsidies, including Airbus Group NV (AIR) in France, and Mitsubishi Corp. (8058) in Tokyo. The bank says that its financing has created or maintained an average of 231,000 U.S. jobs every year since 2009, though a Government Accountability Office report last year said the calculation has limitations."

 

...

 

"At least five groups opposing the bank’s renewal, including Concerned Veterans for America and the 60 Plus Association, received nearly all of their funding over an 18-month period ending in December 2012 from the Kochs’ political network -- a total of $47.4 million, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics researcher Robert Maguire. Another group, Americans for Prosperity, founded by the Kochs in 2004, is also lobbying against the bank.

 

"For the Tea Party, which has come up short in fights over higher-profile issues such as eliminating Obama’s health care law and ousting House Speaker Boehner, the bank presents the chance to chalk up a win going into the November elections.

 

“Its demise would clearly be one of the few achievable victories for the Main Street competitive economy left in this Congress,” Hensarling said in a May 20 speech at the Heritage Foundation."

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Bill Maher Rails Against Militarized Police Culture in Outstanding Monologue - YouTube

July 18, 2014 - It's a topic on which this writer has spilled plenty of ink, but one that goes largely ignored by mainstream media: The troubling militarizat...
Greg Russak's insight:

Know what scared me the most about the whole Boston Marathon bombing?

 

The nearly instantaneous para-militarized locked down of one of America's largest and greatest cities.

 

How can anyone be ok with that?

 

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Citigroup: The Original Gangsta: Robert Scheer

Citigroup: The Original Gangsta: Robert Scheer | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
The prototypical too-big-to-fail bank will pay $7 billion in fines, a move that will avoid a humiliating trial dealing with its role in the financial meltdown.
- 2014/07/14
Greg Russak's insight:

The evidence is clear for anyone willing to face facts.

 

Deregulation of the financial services industry screwed us all except, of course, for those at the top of Wall Street and K Street and Capitol Hill.

 

The rich and powerful have proven throughout history that they simply cannot be trusted. When are we all going to learn that lesson?

 

Let me start by asking you Randians who believe libertarian fairy tales about free markets and Invisible Hands.

 

You do realize - actually and sadly, I guess you don't - that there's no such thing as a free market or an Invisible Hand and there never can be.

 

There are no supernatural powers at work in the marketplace. The market can't sort things out by itself. The people of wealth power aren't making decisions to do anything to improve the market or our lots in life.

 

How many times do you need to be hit over the head with the factual 2X4s before you get it that corporations are run by people who, when left unchecked, have proven again and again the only self-governance they're interested in is toward whatever definition of unfettered capitalism - including, BTW, all the generous government subsidies they can get their hands on thanks to our tax dollars - yields them the greatest returns?

 

When will you get it that that is not their largess trickling down on us, and when will you understand that wishing for some piss-poor Russian novelist's fiction to suddenly become reality won't make it so no matter how many times you click your ruby slippers together?

 

As for you more mainstream conservatives, Republicans, and even most tea partiers, you need to quit listening to the libertarians and the off-the-rails radicals among you.

 

The only people benefiting from deregulating corporations and guns while wanting more regulation of gays, women, minorities, and immigrants are those who are using their Not-So-Invisible Hands to pull the economic strings. Will you ever see that those strings are tightening around your necks, too?


And "The American Dream?" It's a dream now for a reason, and if you spent 15 minutes looking at history you'd know that.


The only time that Dream could actually be realized was during America's Golden Age when Democrats ruled most of government post-Depression; when labor was strong and growing; and when banks and financial services were regulated up their wazoos.


So, please, all you well-educated, thoughtful, and clear-thinking conservatives, would you please stop kissing the Mad Hatter's and GOP's asses when it comes to their lies about smaller government, lower taxes, weaker labor, and less regulation?


The 30+ year experiment of Reaganomics has failed. Be grown ups about it, at least, and admit it.

 

Now for you dyed-in-wool Democrats, liberals, progressives, and transpartisans (which, IMHO, is as about as believable a thing as Invisible Hands - talk about non-committal).

 

The Financial Services Modernization Act, aka Gramm-Leach-Bliley, passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. It was signed into law by a Democratic president. It broke down all the barriers and protections that were put up after the last Great Depression.

 

We clearly didn't learn anything from history, putting the foxes back in charge of the hen houses they had been locked out of for all those prosperous years in America.

 

If this article doesn't prove that Big Money trumps ideology, party, and policy - the kind we like to fantasize about as coming only from Democrats who, in our fairy tale world, are always doing right and looking out for the little guy - then what will?

 

And, when will you well-meaning, kumbaya-singing, fellow liberals on the Blue Team call out Clinton for what he did? Isn't it time to stop canonizing him as your Saint Reagan?

 

It's all about money and power.


Can someone prove to me that money doesn't rule our government at every level?


Can someone tell me why there aren't more Americans willing to do something about it?


For those who are willing, let me make a few of the same suggestions I've been making. They are non-partisan and apply to everyone of every political stripe and leaning:


1. Become a Citizen Co-Sponsor of the American Anti-Corruption Act at http://bit.ly/CitizenCoSponsor


2, Support the MayDayPAC, the "SuperPAC to end all SuperPACs" at http://bit.ly/MayDayUS


3. Get behind and support organizations working to overturn Citizens United and McCutcheon like Move To Amend (movetoamend.org) and WolfPAC (wolf-pac.com)

 

If we're going to make a difference, the first thing that has to happen is we have to be louder and more powerful - and electorally more important and more threatening - to politicians than a few wealthy donors and corporations.

 

That's why getting money out of politics - and voting in every single election - is so important. 

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Party Recon's comment, July 19, 1:59 PM
You are welcome, and I hope you are also correct. My real concern is that the most of the Randian Free Marketers have all sipped the cool-aide and cannot be reasoned with. The thing I bring up that stops the conversation in its tracks is that the game as it is has produced a poverty stricken lower class and a homeless community that everyone tries to wish away. In their world, these people are just told to suck it up and get a job or a better job, as if their free markets have expanded opportunity instead of pooling the worlds wealth into a very few number of pockets. In short, reality bites; so they close their eyes and cover their ears, and then vote republican. Idiots.
Party Recon's comment, July 19, 2:00 PM
You are welcome, and I hope you are also correct. My real concern is that the most of the Randian Free Marketers have all sipped the cool-aide and cannot be reasoned with. The thing I bring up that stops the conversation in its tracks is that the game as it is has produced a poverty stricken lower class and a homeless community that everyone tries to wish away. In their world, these people are just told to suck it up and get a job or a better job, as if their free markets have expanded opportunity instead of pooling the worlds wealth into a very few number of pockets. In short, reality bites; so they close their eyes and cover their ears, and then vote Republican or Libertarian. Idiots.
Greg Russak's comment, July 19, 4:18 PM
Agreed. You've hit the nail squarely. Any Republican or libertarian (I refuse to even capitalize it) who isn't in the 1% already is acting against their own and against all of humanity's best interests. That's not hyperbole. Those ideologies are the root of every social, economic, and environmental problem facing this planet, from tax loopholes and subsidies to rich corporations, to laws that discriminate based on gender, race, and sexual orientation, to allowing themselves to be duped into believing that more drilling is better than less. The Democrats are not perfect, to be sure, but a vote for a Republican - and Republican at any level of government - is a vote for a person who represents a party that is so ideologically reprehensible that I will always do what I can to point that reality out to as many people as I can. I believe that some people will eventually come to understand these truths and will abandon the GOP for good.
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This Chart Explains Why The US Military Is Such A Dominant Global Force

This Chart Explains Why The US Military Is Such A Dominant Global Force | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Naval power is one of the main sources of U.S. military dominance
Greg Russak's insight:

Where "smaller government" would definitely be a good thing.

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Behold, the drunk uncle-ization of America

Behold, the drunk uncle-ization of America | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Got a busload of immigrant children? We'll scream at 'em.
Greg Russak's insight:

Some people - a tiny but loud minority - really are an embarrassment to themselves and to this country.

 

The rest of us, I think, need to feel more than just a pang of shame, too. So long as we keep silent, keep pretending that "both sides do it," and keep paying any attention at all to corporate media companies playing us for fools as a business model, we shouldn't expect much to change.

 

 

"Reasonable Americans — that is to say, most of us — favor sensible gun laws, care about the environment, would like to see our immigration system reformed and generally steer clear of yelling at busloads of children.

 

"But Fox News highlights the "patriotic" immigration protesters, knowing its viewers will eat it up. Then MSNBC highlights the same protesters because it feeds the network's desire to misrepresent all conservatives as kooky. Then blogs and social media follow suit and, before long, America is the drunk uncle.

 

"It really has to stop. And it seems the first step is admitting that we have a problem." - Rex W. Huppke, Chicago Tribune

 

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Money Is Raised; Now Lessig’s Super PAC Must Win

Money Is Raised; Now Lessig’s Super PAC Must Win | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
The proving ground of a Harvard Law School professor’s goal of campaign finance reform will be five House races in November.
Greg Russak's insight:

The hardest part just might be finding 5 House candidates who want to reform campaign finance laws.

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Larry Lessig raised $5 million to reform campaign finance. Now he needs GOP support.

Larry Lessig raised $5 million to reform campaign finance. Now he needs GOP support. | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Larry Lessig's Mayday PAC has raised $5 million to change how American elections are financed. But getting Republican support will be challenging.
Greg Russak's insight:

"Lessig clearly understands the importance of attracting conservative supporters. His standard pitch includes an explicit appeal to them, arguing that the corrupting influence of money in politics makes it as difficult to shrink government as to enact the reform ideas liberals favor. In one of his videos, he cites data from the libertarian Cato Institute on the massive quantity of corporate welfare Congress enacts every year."


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Mayday PAC

Help us reduce the influence of money in politics and pledge today!
Greg Russak's insight:

The Mayday Political Action Committee is crowd-sourcing the money it needs to get a Congress committed to fundamental reform by 2016. This is our first essential step.


OUR DEMOCRACY needs our help!


Please pledge what you can!


http://bit.ly/MayDayUS


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Calling MayDay on Democracy, Super PAC Powered By Citizens Vows to #GetMoneyOut

Calling MayDay on Democracy, Super PAC Powered By Citizens Vows to #GetMoneyOut | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Our democracy is held hostage by the funders of campaigns.
Greg Russak's insight:

Super PACs spent $567,498,628 on the 2012 elections. About half of that was used on the presidential election. You may have seen that half-billion-dollar number thrown around or heard the mention of Super PACs – but what does a Super PAC really do?


See more at:

http://www.occupy.com/article/calling-mayday-democracy-super-pac-powered-citizens-vows-getmoneyout#sthash.wH52Bp8l.dpuf


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Reform.to

Reform.to tracks members of Congress as well as candidates, and highlights their support for specific legislative and constitutional reforms aimed at fighting the corrupting influence of money in politics.
Greg Russak's insight:

Reform.to tracks members of Congress as well as candidates for Congress, and highlights their support for specific legislation that would effect fundamental reform of the corrupting influence of money in politics.

By "support" we mean that they have either co-sponsored specific legislation, or, they have pledged to us to co-sponsor specific legislation.

If a Member or candidate supports any of these reforms in this sense, we mark their profile with the AC tag. "AC" means they are working "Against Corruption."

If Member or candidate has not indicated support for these reforms in this sense, we mark their profile with a DC tag. "DC" means business as usual.

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Dick Cheney's Chutzpah - The National Memo

Dick Cheney's Chutzpah - The National Memo | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
WASHINGTON — The infinitely valuable Yiddish word “chutzpah” is defined as “shameless audacity” or “impudence.” It’s singularly appropriate for the astonishing op-ed piece that former vice president Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz published in The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. It’s not every day that a leader of the previous administration suggests that the …
Greg Russak's insight:

In the same way that "Santorum" is both a surname and a neologism, I propose doing the same for "Cheney."

 

This one is so unsatisfying.

Cheney-esque

adjective; derivation

a deceitful manner, based on the secretive nature of the Vice-President of the George W. Bush administration. It was used to poke at the secretive and possibly deceitful manner of the Bush administration. (From http://neologisms.rice.edu/index.php?a=term&d=1&t=1003)

 

Any and all thoughts are welcome.

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Common Cause – Common Cause Hails Senate Subcommittee Vote for Constitutional Amendment Permitting Common Sense Limits on Political Spending

June 18, 2014

Today’s Senate subcommittee endorsement of a constitutional amendment permitting common-sense limits on campaign spending “is an important step toward putting voters back at the center of our elections,” said Common Cause President Miles Rapoport.

 

http://www.commoncause.org/press/press-releases/senate-subctte-amendment-vote.html

Greg Russak's insight:

The vote was 5-4.

Here are the members.

Care to guess how the vote went?

Senator Durbin, ChairmanSenator Cruz, Ranking MemberSenator FrankenSenator GrahamSenator CoonsSenator CornynSenator BlumenthalSenator HatchSenator Hirono
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Have We Not Learned That Bigger Is Not Better When It Comes to Banking?

Have We Not Learned That Bigger Is Not Better When It Comes to Banking? | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it

How can this be a good thing? The very people who legally crashed our economy - and those who did it illegally and still haven't gone to jail - and have kept their bonuses are now even bigger than before

Greg Russak's insight:

There can’t be opportunity and protection without a balance between the private sector and the government. There is no balance today. The scales have been tipping for far too long toward Big Money. This is why it’s so important that we strike at the root of all of our problems – money in politics.

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Children have been coming to America alone since Ellis Island

Children have been coming to America alone since Ellis Island | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
And no, we didn't just send them packing.
Greg Russak's insight:

Truth and history cannot be denied, they can only be ignored. Every generation has its haters. Ours is no different. They will be pushed to the dustheap of history again just as they always have been. It will take time, but it will happen, and history will, once again, be the judge.

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Full Show: The Crusade Against Reproductive Rights | Moyers & Company | BillMoyers.com

Full Show: The Crusade Against Reproductive Rights | Moyers & Company | BillMoyers.com | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
With new state laws and Supreme Court rulings, the battle over women’s reproductive rights is being fought more fiercely than ever. Roe v. Wade itself may be in peril. Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards joins Bill in the studio this week.
Greg Russak's insight:

More than half of women in America now live in states hostile to abortion. We have extremists on one party and one party only to thank for that.


If you vote FOR a Republican your are voting AGAINST all women.


Period. Full stop.

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Full Show: Is the Supreme Court Out of Order? | Moyers & Company | BillMoyers.com

Full Show: Is the Supreme Court Out of Order? | Moyers & Company | BillMoyers.com | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Following several high-profile, controversial decisions, Bill speaks to NY Times columnist Linda Greenhouse and Slate's Dahlia Lithwick about the agenda of the Roberts court.
Greg Russak's insight:

The conservatives on the Supreme Court are the epitome of and the worst kind of Activist Judges. They are blatant partisan hacks pushing the backward agenda of the ultra-conservative wing of the Republican party. 

 

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Miami will be swallowed as sea levels rise, but the climate change deniers who run it look the other way

Miami will be swallowed as sea levels rise, but the climate change deniers who run it look the other way | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Greg Russak's insight:

This is one of those issues that's too important to sugar coat.

 

If you're a climate science denier and you're voting for people like Rubio, you're part of the problem. Simple as that.

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Fracking Company Offers Pennsylvania Residents $50,000 In Hush Money If They Promise Not to Sue

Fracking Company Offers Pennsylvania Residents $50,000 In Hush Money If They Promise Not to Sue | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
All EQT Corporation asks is that residents release the company from any legal liability for current—and future—operations.
Greg Russak's insight:

Why would EQT feel compelled to offer Finleyville residents cash if fracking is nothing that should bother, upset, or threaten anyone?

 

"The release is so incredibly broad and such a laundry list," said Doug Clark, a gas lease attorney in Pennsylvania who mainly represents landowners. "You're releasing for everything including activity that hasn't even occurred yet. It's crazy."

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Can the G.O.P. Be a Party of Ideas?

Can the G.O.P. Be a Party of Ideas? | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
What Eric Cantor’s defeat means to “reformicons” and their attempt to reconnect Republicans to middle-class voters.
Greg Russak's insight:

No, it's not an attack of the GOP. It's an excellent examination of what's happening inside the Republican party and what the conservative thinking of today is. I highly recommend it to fellow political junkies.

 

What's my answer to the headline question?

 

Yes, they can be, but they have a long way to go.

 

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300 Billion Reasons to Support #MayDayPAC

300 Billion Reasons to Support #MayDayPAC | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
A very straight-forward "map" that leads to a crystal clear understanding of 300 billion reasons why your support for getting big money out of politics is so important. Look, it's going to be this ...
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Historic Anti-Corruption bill AJR1 Passes in California - Article 5 Convention State 2 - YouTube

Historic Anti-Corruption bill AJR1 Passes in California - Article 5 Convention State 2 - YouTube | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Skip to the 1 minute mark to see history being made today! Taxied to the State Senate by Senator Mark DeSaulnier and Introduced by Assemblymen Mark Gatto htt...
Greg Russak's insight:

It's happening! You can help! Get involved with groups like 

WolfPAC 

https://www.facebook.com/WolfPAChq

 

Move to Amend 

https://www.facebook.com/Move2Amend

 

MayDay.us 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/282646648577039/

 

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Campaign-Finance Reform Has to Be Cross-Partisan

Campaign-Finance Reform Has to Be Cross-Partisan | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Democrats love to talk about cutting the influence of money in politics, but are they actually any more eager to fix it than Republicans?
Greg Russak's insight:

The single central flaw in American democracy today is not the speech within elections—not how much or how nasty or by whom. The single central flaw is the fundraising. America has outsourced the funding of campaigns to the tiniest fraction of the 1 percent. That tiny fraction then leverages its power to enormous effect. It turns otherwise conservative Republicans into “crony capitalists”—the tag David Brat successfully attached to Eric Cantor. It turns otherwise progressive Democrats into the “tools of Wall Street”—think Clinton-led deregulation in the 1990s. Bending goes both ways, pushing the principles on both the right and left off the table. The reality of the need to fundraise is the reality of everything in D.C. And thus it is no surprise that the largest empirical study of policy decisions ever in the history of political science finds a government responsive to the wants of the “economic elite” and “business interests,” but finds “average citizens ... have little or no independent influence.”

- Lawrence Lessig

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Greenhouse

Greenhouse | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Install and use Greenhouse, a free browser extension for Chrome, Safari, and Firefox that exposes the role money plays in Congress. Provides transparency by putting vital data about political contributions where it’s most relevant. Discover the real impact of money on our political system.
Greg Russak's insight:

Some are red. Some are blue. All are green.

 

A free browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari that exposes the role money plays in Congress. Displays on any web page detailed campaign contribution data for every Senator and Representative, including total amount received and breakdown by industry and by size of donation. Puts vital data where it’s most relevant so you can discover the real impact of money on our political system.

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Up Close and Personal With George W. Bush’s Horrifying Legacy: Robert Scheer

Up Close and Personal With George W. Bush’s Horrifying Legacy: Robert Scheer | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
The Iraq disaster remains George W. Bush’s enduring folly, and the Republican attempt to shift the blame to the Obama presidency is obscene nonsense.
- 2014/06/18
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This is corruption.

This is corruption. | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Political spending can only be limited if it gives rise to corruption or the appearance thereof. Which raises the question, what does corruption look like?
Greg Russak's insight:

Money corrupts our government and that corrupts everything else - the environment, the economy, our health, and our freedoms.

 

You can ignore these realities, or you can educate yourself about them. 

 

Visit http://thisiscorruption.com/

 

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