Wednesday, June 22, 2022

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Latest Half-Dozen Posts (Full Text)

The Day Democracy Died

Listening to Washington and McLean
Nicholas Johnson
The Gazette, June 22, 2022, p. A6

George Washington warned his “Friends and Fellow-Citizens” there could be days like this in his farewell address of September 19, 1796. Political parties could become “potent engines by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled . . . to usurp for themselves the reins of government.”
[Photo credit: wikimedia commons; Gilbert Stuart painting.]

Individuals may then “seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction . . . turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation on the ruins of public liberty.”

“[L]et there be no change by usurpation; . . . it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.”

Are you old enough to remember the lyrics to Don McLean’s song, “American Pie,” about “the day the music died”?

It will be nothing to sing about, but we’re headed toward “the day democracy died.” Some say it’s already dead. “The day democracy died” was January 6, 2021.

It’s more complicated than that.

Like preparing your garden soil in the spring, a democracy can only grow in a nation with, one, a civil society of non-governmental and non-business organizations – from Rotary Clubs to garden clubs, trade unions to Wordle groups. And, two, people who understand and reject authoritarian rule, and affirmatively seek democracy (as we discovered after 20 unsuccessful years in Afghanistan).

The first was found in America by de Tocqueville and published in 1835 in his “Democracy in America.”

The second was made clear by Thomas Jefferson in the 1776 Declaration of Independence, listing and charging the “King of Great Britain [with] a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny.“

Many components, properly assembled and maintained, can become a car. Similarly, a democracy only emerges with the assembly and maintenance of components. A non-political, respected judiciary. A trusted electoral system, expanding participants and easing voting.

Thomas Jefferson considered independent media so essential to democracy that choosing “government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

George Washington thought education a component. “In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.”

How to destroy a democracy? As the Nazi Hermann Goering explained, “it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship . . .. It works the same in any country.”

The authoritarian’s playbook isn’t complicated. You destroy the public’s trust in its democratic institutions. Promote divisiveness, fear and anger. Repeat “the big lie” until it’s believed by the faithful. Convince the public the media is “the enemy of the people.”

Or, as in Iowa currently, you attack the public education system, prescribe the books and subjects that can and can’t be taught, reduce the appropriations, demonize the teachers.

It works the same in any country. Including ours. Just like George Washington warned us.
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Nicholas Johnson is the author of Columns of Democracy. Website: nicholasjohnson.org Contact: mailbox@nicholasjohnson.org
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SOURCES

Washington’s Farewell Address. “Washington’s Farewell Address to the People of the United States,” Sept. 19, 1796, U.S. Senate, https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/resources/pdf/Washingtons_Farewell_Address.pdf

“[A]void the necessity of those overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty.” p. 8

“However combinations or associations . . . may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely . . . to become potent engines by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.” p. 12

“I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the state . . .. Let me now . . . warn you . . . against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally. This spirit . . . exists under different shapes in all governments, . . . but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness and is truly their worst enemy.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension [and] the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries . . . gradually incline . . . men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation on the ruins of public liberty.” pp. 13-14

“[L]et there be no change by usurpation; . . . it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.” p. 16

“But if I may even flatter myself that they [these words] may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good, that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism -- this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated.” (italics added) p. 24

Other:

“Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.”
. . .
“avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertions in time of peace to discharge the debts which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burden which we ourselves ought to bear.” p. 17

The day the music died. Lyrics to Don McLean’s song, “American Pie.” Don McLean, “American Pie (Full Length Version),” Lyrics, https://www.lyrics.com/lyric/14026136/American+Pie+%28Full+Length+Version%29

January 6, 2021. Nicholas Fandos and Emily Cochrane, “After Pro-Trump Mob Storms Capitol, Congress Confirms Biden’s Win; A normally ceremonial ritual in Congress exploded into chaos as protesters, egged on by President Trump, forced their way into the Capitol to stop the counting of electoral votes to confirm President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory,” New York Times, January 7, 2021, p. A1, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/06/us/politics/congress-gop-subvert-election.html

Peter Baker, “A Mob and the Breach of Democracy: The Violent End of the Trump Era; Those who warned of worst-case scenarios under President Trump — only to be dismissed as alarmists — found some of their darkest fears realized in the storming of the Capitol on Wednesday,” New York Times, January 7, 2021, p. A1, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/06/us/politics/trump-congress.html

Democracy in America. Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, vol. II, Sec. 2 (See headings, “Of the Uses which the Americans Make of Public Associations; Of the Relation of Public Associations and the Newspapers; Relation of Civil to Political Associations”), 1835, https://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper/DETOC/toc_indx.html.

Declaration of Independence. “Declaration of Independence: A Transcription,” America’s Founding Documents, National Archives, July 4, 1776, https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript

Newspapers without government. Extract from Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington, Paris Jan. 16. 1787 (“the basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. but I should mean that every man should receive those papers & be capable of reading them.”) “Jefferson Quotes & Family Letters,” Monticello, https://tjrs.monticello.org/letter/1289

Washington on education (public enlightenment). “Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.” Washington Farewell Address, supra, p. 17

Hermann Goering, “the same in every country.” "Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." Nazi Germany’s Hermann Goering in 1946. [Accuracy confirmed, and source identified at: David Mikkelson, “Did a Nazi Leader Say Convincing People to Support War is ‘Simple’? Nazi Luftwaffe commander Hermann Goering was one of the highest-ranking Nazis who survived to be captured and put on trial for war crimes,” Snopes, Oct. 4, 2002, http://www.snopes.com/quotes/goering.htm; or https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/war-games/

Trump, media “the enemy of the people.” Brett Samuels, “Trump ramps up rhetoric on media, calls press ‘the enemy of the people,’” The Hill, April 5, 2019, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/437610-trump-calls-press-the-enemy-of-the-people/ (“The press is doing everything within their power to fight the magnificence of the phrase, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! They can’t stand the fact that this Administration has done more than virtually any other Administration in its first 2yrs. They are truly the ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 5, 2019”

The Big Lie. “the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation.” Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. I, ch. X, “Joseph Goebbels: On the ‘Big Lie,’” Jewish Virtual Library, https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/joseph-goebbels-on-the-quot-big-lie-quot; see also, Ralph Manheim translation, Sentry Edition, Houghton Mifflin, 1943, pp. 231-232.

Attacks on public education. Todd Dorman, “Iowa Lawmakers should try transparency before they impose it on teachers,” The Gazette, March 20, 2022, https://www.thegazette.com/staff-columnists/iowa-lawmakers-should-try-transparency-before-they-impose-it-on-teachers/ (“Among the most stringent concepts being considered are provisions that would require teachers to post all of their course materials online, from book titles and articles to videos and online links to materials, twice during the school year, in August and January. School districts that violate the rules could have their state funding docked for each day of non-compliance. Wanted: Clairvoyant social studies teachers capable of predicting how world and national events might affect their curriculum.”)

Ty Rushing, “Fed Up: How Educators in Kim Reynolds’ Iowa Feel After Nonstop GOP Attacks,” Iowa Starting Line, March 4, 2022, https://iowastartingline.com/2022/03/04/fed-up-how-educators-in-kim-reynolds-iowa-feel-after-nonstop-gop-attacks/ (“There were more than 50 education bills introduced during this year’s Iowa legislative session, including proposals to place surveillance cameras in public school classrooms, ban books, jail teachers, and take funding away from public schools to support private institutions.

Republican lawmakers, who have introduced the bulk of these policies, have done so under the guises of “transparency” and “parental choice” to prohibit teachers from enacting a “sinister agenda,” as Senate President Jake Chapman phrased it on the opening day of the legislative session. Gov. Kim Reynolds has devoted much of her attention and agenda on school-related bills in recent months.

The rhetoric and policies have weighed heavily on Iowa educators this year.

‘The attacks on teachers and discussions of jail time and cameras is absolute insanity. Teachers are being singled out and disrespected. We are simply trying our best to care for kids and help them learn,’ said Salley Wieland, a Des Moines special education teacher.

‘We are educated professionals who have the ability to put our skills to use outside the classroom; many teachers have said they are leaving. I will not be returning.’”)

Bruce Lear, “A Storm’s Coming. It’s Time to Act,” Bleeding Heartland, Feb. 4, 2022, https://www.bleedingheartland.com/2022/02/04/a-storms-coming-its-time-to-act/ (“Here’s just some of the intensity of this storm.

First, Iowa Senate President Jake Chapman vowed to pass a law to jail educators who make books, he considers pornographic available to students. He opened the 2022 legislative session by accusing Iowa teachers of having a “sinister agenda” to harm children.

Now, he’s made good on his bullying by introducing Senate File 2198, which makes it a serious misdemeanor to knowingly distribute obscene material in school. The bill also allows a parent or guardian to sue the school for civil damages.

Chapman isn’t the only bully. In her Condition of the State address, Governor Kim Reynolds suggested Iowa public school libraries were full of dirty books that would be X-rated if they were movies. Later she proposed that all classroom syllabuses and library books be published online for parents to review.

. . .

To one up Reynolds and Chapman, Republican State Representative Norlin Mommsen introduced House File 2177. His bill would require a live feed in every Iowa public school classroom, so parents can see in real time whether teachers are corrupting the youth. Another unfunded mandate. But what about most parents, who don’t want their children on camera?”)

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Sunday, June 19, 2022

Happy Father of Our Country's Day

How George Washington Warned Us About Trump

In George “Washington’s Farewell Address to the People of the United States,” 1796, he warned us there would be days like this, times when someone like Donald Trump would get ahold of the playbook: "How to Become an Authoritarian Dictator for Dummies."
“Washington’s Farewell Address to the People of the United States,” Sept. 19, 1796, U.S. Senate, https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/resources/pdf/Washingtons_Farewell_Address.pdf

[Photo credit: wikimedia commons; Gilbert Stuart, 1795.]

Here are some relevant quotes.
“[A]void the necessity of those overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty.” p. 8

“However combinations or associations [that is, political parties] . . . may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely . . . to become potent engines by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.” p. 12

“I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the state . . .. Let me now . . . warn you . . . against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally. This spirit . . . exists under different shapes in all governments, . . . but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness and is truly their worst enemy. The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension [and] the most horrid enormities, is itself afrightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries . . . gradually incline . . . men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation on the ruins of public liberty.” pp. 13-14

“[L]et there be no change by usurpation; . . . it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.” p. 16

“Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.” . . . “avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertions in time of peace to discharge the debts which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burden which we ourselves ought to bear.” p. 17

“that they [the words in this address] may now and then . . . guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism” p. 24

And while we're in the mood, a reminder of what all U.S. Senate and House members swear to abide when taking their oath of office. “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic . . .."
“Oath of Office,” U.S. Senate, https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Oath_Office.htm

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Sunday, June 05, 2022

Iowa's Rising Tide Lifts Yachts

"A rising tide lifts all boats"? Not in Iowa. Not according to the Board of Regents. Apparently they think it's too stressful to ask a University of Iowa president to try to survive on $600,000 a year (plus free housing, numerous other benefits, and little going away gifts that can approach $1 million or more when they finally leave for a better offer elsewhere).

So they decided to give her a little $50,000 raise.

Not incidentally, $50,000 is more than the median total annual income of Iowa men and women ($46,375)


Compare this with class act David Skorton who, when asked if he was leaving because the Regents failed to raise his pay replied, not at all, "in a state in which the median income is in the $40,000 range, a salary of $300,000-plus is really 'quite generous.'" [Photo: wikimedia commons; Dave Skorton]

I appreciate this is going on throughout America's universities, and even more outrageous with football coaches and assistant coaches, but I think it is both unnecessary and especially offensive when students are struggling with paying off significant loans for rising tuition.

When I was running in a Democratic primary for U.S. House, I promised constituents I would live on whatever was the median income for Iowans. Can't we at least agree that Iowa's state university presidents total income should not exceed TEN TIMES the average Iowan's income? Isn't $400,000 to $500,000 a year enough to live comfortably in Ames or Iowa City?

No, in Iowa a rising tide does not lift all the boats -- just the yachts.


University of Iowa's Old Capitol, where the gold only goes to, and stays at, the top. [Photo credit: wikimedia commons, Tony Webster, Minneapolis.]

SOURCES


Vanessa Miller, "Regents Approve 8.3% Raises for UI, ISU Presidents," The Gazette, June 3, 2022, p. A1, https://www.thegazette.com/higher-education/university-of-iowa-president-barbara-wilson-and-iowa-state-university-president-wendy-wintersteen-re/

For Iowa median salaries, Iowa State Data Center, https://www.iowadatacenter.org/quickfacts

David Skorton quote, contained within "UI President Search XVIII - Dec. 26-31," Dec. 26, 2006, https://fromdc2iowa.blogspot.com/2006/

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Tags: #IowaStateUniversity, #IowaStateUniversties, #UniversityOfIowa, #UniversityPresidentsSalaries, #studentloans

Thursday, June 02, 2022

Candidates Are Fundraisers Not Legislators

Candidates Are Fundraisers Not Legislators
Nicholas Johnson
The Gazette, June 2, 2022, p. A4

Imagine you decide to run for the U.S. House or Senate. Play along with me now.

The first day after your announcement could you raise, as a Democrat, $6849 from your relatives and friends (Senate; or $2778 for a House race)? Might be a stretch, but possible?

Now imagine I tell you that it’s not just for one day. It’s that average every day for six years (Senate) or two years (House). That’s seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. Slack off and it’s more per day.


The average total cost for a Democrat’s Senate race is $15 million; $2 million for the House. The top ten Senate races in 2020 ranged from $180 million (Kentucky) to $299 million (North Carolina). It’s even more for Republicans. The combined cost of Iowa’s 2020 U.S. Senate race was $262 million. All for a job that pays $174,000 a year. [Photo source: wikimedia commons.]

If you win, your profession becomes fund raiser, not legislator. Finding thousands of dollars every day can take half an average Senator or House member’s time.

You lunch with one of your “major donors” who requests “a little favor.” Do you spit in their eye? No. As Molly Ivins’ titled a book, “You got to dance with them what brung you.”

This is no “ten cents a dance.”

Major donors’ contributions aren’t your supporters’ “donations,” they’re investments. Investments that return many multiples more than the stock market ever did.

Curious about an industry’s return on this “investment”? I researched it many years ago. It may be worse now. It was then between 1,000 and 2,000 to one. Contribute $1 million, get a return in exchange valued at $1 billion (or more). Examples included industries in milk, mining, timber, real estate, and individual companies like ADM, UPS and Gallo.

The returns can take many forms, such as tax breaks, government contracts, subsidies, tariffs, or access to public lands. It may be the defeat of popular progressive legislation that would have reduced corporate profits by that much, such as restrictions on gun sales, or radical reductions in pharmaceutical prices.

Who pays? We do, either as taxpayers (it’s our money) or as consumers (think milk and gas prices). As Simon and Garfunkel told Mrs. Robinson, “When you've got to choose/Every way you look at this, you lose.”

Are there alternatives? Yes; though House and Senate support is unlikely.
  • Public financing of campaigns might cost one percent of what we now pay.
  • Reduce the weeks of campaigning.
  • Broadcast time averages 50% of campaigns’ budgets. Free time for candidates is fair exchange for use of “the public’s airwaves.” Or, like Norway, ban political broadcast ads.
  • Overturn Citizens United. Millions in dark money isn’t the equivalent of what the founders called “speech.”
  • And many more ideas since the Tillman Act of 1907.
But until we’re able to turn our fundraisers and cult followers into legislators, Lincoln’s 159-year-old prayer for a “government of the people, by the people, for the people” will continue to be beyond our grasp.

Nicholas Johnson has been involved in campaigns from the presidency to school boards for nearly 70 years. Website nicholasjohnson.org. Contact mailbox@nicholasjohnson.org

SOURCES
Costs of elections.

Ally J. Levine and Minami Funakoshi, “2020 U.S. Senate Races,” Reuters, Nov. 24, 2020, https://graphics.reuters.com/USA-ELECTION/SENATE-FUNDRAISING/yxmvjeyjkpr/ (“The 2020 U.S. election cost nearly $14 billion . . ..”)

“Open Secrets,” https://www.opensecrets.org/

Eliana Miller, “Nine of the 10 most expensive Senate races of all time happened in 2020,” December 9, 2020, https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2020/12/most-expensive-races-of-all-time-senate2020/
Iowa’s 2020 U.S. Senate race; candidates spent $262 million Range for top ten races: $180 million (Kentucky) to $299 million (North Carolina)
Karl Evers-Hillstrom, “State of Money in Politics: The price of victory is steep,” Feb. 19, 2019, https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2019/02/state-of-money-in-politics-the-price-of-victory-is-steep/
(“Average Price of Victory (2018),
Senate Democrats (22) $15 M ($6849/day)
Senate Republicans (11) $19M ($8676/day)
House Democrats (235) $2M ($2778/day)
House Republicans (199) $2M ($2778/day)
Days in six-year term (365 x 6) 2190; x2 720

$174,000 salary. “Senate Salaries (1789 to Present),” https://www.senate.gov/senators/SenateSalariesSince1789.htm

Time spent by Senators/House Members raising money

Brent Ferguson, “Congressional Disclosure of Time Spent Fundraising,” Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy, vol. 23, Issue 1Fall 2013, https://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1390&context=cjlpp

Stacey Selleck, “CONGRESS SPENDS MORE TIME DIALING FOR DOLLARS THAN ON LEGISLATIVE WORK,” U.S. Term Limits, April 26, 2016, https://www.termlimits.com/congress-fundraising-priority/ (“Fundraising is big business in Washington, D.C. So big, in fact, that your newly elected Congressional representative is expected to spend half of his or her working hours dialing for dollars at a secret phone bank near Capitol Hill.”)

Tim Roemer, “Why Do Congressmen Spend Only Half Their Time Serving Us?” Newsweek, July 29, 2015, https://newsweek.com/why-do-congressmen-spend-only-half-their-time-serving-us-357995 (“How much of members' actual time is devoted to "dialing for dollars"? They are generally hard-working, honest, type A personalities, so in a typical 10-hour day, they might dedicate three hours. In election cycles during the heat of battle, it might escalate to more than half of their time. But it doesn't stop there. Members are now additionally "required" to raise money for "the party" and contribute to pools of funds at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC). As a member rises in seniority to committee chair or ranking member, their fundraising responsibilities multiply significantly. So just as they assume more jurisdiction, clout and a heavier legislative workload, they are simultaneously saddled with spending even more time raising even more money.”)

Amisa Ratliff, “The Congressional Fundraising Treadmill, July-September 2021,” Issue One, Oct. 24, 2021, https://issueone.org/articles/the-congressional-fundraising-treadmill-5-key-numbers-to-know-from-the-newest-house-and-senate-campaign-finance-filings/ (“Hours spent dialing for dollars are diverted away from lawmakers’ legislative and oversight responsibilities. The political parties reportedly suggest that members of Congress spend about 30 hours per week fundraising in the Republican and Democratic call centers across the street from the Capitol.”)

“You Got to Dance with Them What Brung You” is the title of one of Molly Ivins’ books.

“Ten Cents a Dance,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Cents_a_Dance_(1931_film)

“Dance Halls,” encyclopedia.com, https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/dance-halls

The $1000-to-one return on contributions

Nicholas Johnson, “Campaigns: You Pay $4 or $4000,” Des Moines Register, July 21, 1996, p. C2, https://www.nicholasjohnson.org/politics/general/campaign.html (with citations to 14 sources of support for assertions)

Either way you lose.

Simon and Garfunkel, “Mrs. Robinson,” Song Meanings, https://songmeanings.com/songs/view/7391/ “When you've got to choose/Every way you look at this, you lose”

Alternatives.

Reid Wilson, “US election spending exceeds GDP of numerous countries,” The Hill, Dec. 7, 2020, https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/529080-us-election-spending-exceeds-gdp-of-numerous-countries/ (“Americans spend more on politics and political campaigns than any other nation on Earth, and the 2020 election once again rewrote the fundraising record books. . . . The most expensive races attract more dollars than some small nations generate as their annual gross domestic product (GDP).”)

“Public Campaign Financing,” Brennan Center for Justice, https://www.brennancenter.org/issues/reform-money-politics/public-campaign-financing

Nick Thompson, “International campaign finance: How do countries compare?” CNN World, March 5, 2012, https://www.cnn.com/2012/01/24/world/global-campaign-finance/index.html
(“Norway Krishnan (Chandu Krishnan, executive director of TI UK), citing Scandinavia as a model, believes increased public funding would cut down party dependence on large donations and give the election system more credibility. In Norway, government funding accounted for 74% of political parties’ income in 2010, according to Statistics Norway. And unlike in the U.S. . . . political ads are banned from television and radio.”)
50% goes to TV/radio/media.

Marc Davis, “Where Presidential Candidates Get Campaign Funding,” Investopedia, Aug. 31, 2021, https://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/1012/where-presidential-candidates-get-campaign-funding.aspx
(“How Money Is Spent “According to OpenSecrets.org, a release of data by the FEC showed that 48.9% (or $354.8 million) of donations go toward media advertisements, with administrative costs coming in second at 24.6%. Campaign expenses such as consulting, events, and surveys make up 12.8%, and 11.8% goes toward fundraising for donations. Less than 2% of expenditures are dedicated to loan payments, contribution refunds, parties, and miscellaneous costs.”)
Campaign Finance Reform

See generally, top 10 from Google search on: campaign finance reform (includes “Campaign Finance; We are building a democracy that works for all of us,” Common Cause, https://www.commoncause.org/our-work/money-influence/campaign-finance/)

The Tillman Act, 1907

"The Tillman Act of 1907," wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tillman_Act_of_1907

The Gettysburg Address.

“The Gettysburg Address,” Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Nov. 19, 1863, National Park Service, https://www.nps.gov/abli/learn/education/upload/updatedgettysburgaddress.pdf (“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”)

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