someone please tell me
the answers to these questions?
17, 2001] When
I am reading my daily newspapers or listening to my favorite news
shows, I write down little questions that I have regarding something
in the news that just doesn't make any sense to me. Later I spend
some time trying to find the answers to these little mysteries or at
least try to figure out what the heck happened regarding the story.
Invariably, it seems some things just end up being beyond my feeble
brain capacity to figure out, and I put them in a "What the
heck is this about" file. Well, my file is overflowing, so I am
writing some of these questions in this article in the hopes that
someone like yourself, more enlightened than I, can e-mail me with
Bill and Hillary
Clinton by almost every standard are wealthy people. Hillary also just
got $8 million to write a book she hasn't started yet, so... Why did
these two steal the silverware? Why did they take out of the White
House a TV set and a couch that were gifts to the nation and not
personally to them? Are they kleptomaniacs? I need to know who gave
the White House a couch as a gift? What was that all about?
Why did federal
prosecutor Scott Lassar allow Dean Bauer, then Secretary of State
George Ryan's top aide, to plead out on the license-for-money scandal?
Why have we spent millions of dollars trying to find out what really
happened in that office and then make a deal without demanding
testimony from the one person who really knows what happened?
I have read 12 newspaper accounts of the American sub destroying and
sinking a Japanese fishing vessel in the South Pacific. Every account
mentioned "civilians" were working some of the controls. Why
didn't one newspaper tell us who these civilians are? Are they
politicians? Are they heavy financial backers to the Navy program?
Surely they aren't regular people like you and me. When was the last
time any of us received a phone call from the Navy saying, "Hey,
do you want to drive one of our submarines this weekend?" Why
hasn't a single reporter thought it was important to tell us who these
Why are Republicans
spending so much time and money investigating the Clinton pardon of
Marc Rich? Granted, Rich deserves nothing but a long visit to a jail
cell and Clinton should be ashamed of himself, but why are Republicans
fixated on the pardon. Rich will never come back to the U.S., because
he would be thrown into civil court (ŗ la O.J. Simpson) regarding his
bilking of thousands of Americans and would have to give up his
fortune in legal settlements. Why isn't something like the fact all of
us are facing backbreaking heating bills while oil and gas companies
set record profits something that Repubs spend their time on?
[to top of second
column in this commentary]
Does anyone else
beside myself find it bizarre that Gov. George Ryan just presented the
new "friend of tourism" award to his wife, Lura Lynn?
Whatever happened to the old disclaimer "Employees and their
families are not eligible for this contest"?
Jesse Jackson has a
nonprofit agency dedicated to funding educational tutoring for poor
minority children in urban areas. Last year this agency collected $12
million dollars in contributions but doled out only $47,000 to the
schools working this program. The IRS, by the way, says they only
audit agencies that report financial statements that cause a "red
flag" to come up. How the heck is the fact an agency had
$11,953,000? in expenses and only $47,000 in disbursements not a
"red flag"? I believe I would have been audited. How about
have a lot more questions that need answers, but this is a good start.
If you have the answer to one of my conundrums, please e-mail me care
of LDN or at email@example.com. Please, please, please don't send me a
question about something in the news that doesn't make any sense to
you. I have only so much room in my office.
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tally: Presidential race
costs Americans $350 million
14, 2001] Well,
Logan County, we have a new president of the United States working
away in Washington. After a war of words, miscounted ballots and
political posturing all the way to the Supreme Court, the nation has
shown it somehow gets out of all the self-made crises we seem to
place ourselves in. I can live with Mr. Bush as our president; I
could have lived with Mr. Gore taking the oath of office. Rarely
have I found my life being affected very much by which president is
in office, save the one instance when President Nixon sent me a
greetings letter that told me I was drafted into the U.S. Army. What
I do find affecting me and all of us is the continuous escalation of
costs incurred in the electing of a president that we are paying.
Let me explain.
to the Federal Election Commission, the past presidential election
carried a price tag of $350 million dollars. Republican candidate
George Bush raised $192 million, Democrat Al Gore $132 million. Even
no-chance-of-winning Pat Buchanan collected $30 million dollars to
spend on political ads. The amounts, of course, are mind-numbing and
should tell all Americans that the system needs to be rethought,
reworked and redone.
did this fortune in funds derive from? The funds came from us. Al Gore
received $83 million of his political plate from federal funds. Bush
received $67 million. Federal funds, of course, means tax dollars, and
so it is apparent that all of us paid a little to fund this
presidential slugfest through our taxes
Unfortunately that is only
the tip of the presidential iceberg. The list provided by the Federal
Election Commission shows organization after organization giving
millions of dollars to attempt to place their choice for president in
the White House. Corporate
America poured $100 million into the various races across America,
including the race for chief executive. This figure is on top of the
standard lobbying fees to government leaders, which also has gone over
the $100 million mark for the past year. Corporate giants such as
AT&T at $4.6 million and Microsoft at $4.3 million covered their
bases well by giving heavily to both Republican and Democratic
Where does this money come from? It comes from us,
of course. Donít for a minute pretend that corporate America decides
to lower their profits by giving to political machines. Corporate
America simply decides how much they plan to spend on candidates and
adds those costs to the price of their products or services. So you
see, every item we buy has a little bit set aside for the next Bush or
Gore or whoever that business decides to throw money at. Isn't it bad
enough that every product we buy has added costs to cover
half-million-dollar-a-minute Super Bowl ads? Now, every time we make a
purchase, we are paying to support candidates whom we personally may
not truly believe are the best candidates.
[to top of second
column in this commentary]
of the donorsí contributions were weighted heavily to the party they
felt would best protect their interests. Phillip Morris gave $3
million to Bush, since Republicans seem to have a kinder, gentler look
at the tobacco industry. Oil and gas also turned over 6 million to
Bush, who favors oil exploration in areas the Clinton administration
had made off- limits for ecologyís sake. The NRA placed $2.8 million
with Bush, since the Republicans are softer on gun control than the
Democrats, of course, had their own champions of excessive largess.
In fact the largest single contributor to the presidential race ended
up being the American Federation of State, County and Municipal
at $7 million dollars, 98 percent of which was directed Al Goreís
way. Unions were conspicuous by their donations to the Democrats, to
the point that eight of the top 20 presidential race donors were made
up of national workers unions, and almost all their monies were
directed to Gore and his compatriots.
Although not a member of a union
at this time, I find it hard to believe such huge sums coming out of
union dues is in the best interests of the common worker. I also have
to ask, since unions gave telling sums to Gore, can they possibly
believe that Bush will now bend an ear to them and their travails?
Judging human nature, I believe unions just threw a great deal of
potential employee pension money down the presidential drain. Have
they not by their expenditures actually alienated our new commander in
is nothing wrong with financially supporting politicians whom you
believe will defend or support your ideals. The sums involved and the
fact that all these costs are being borne on the backs of American
wage earners is the problem that we now face.
retooling of the
whole system is required before we can honestly say that campaign
finance reform is more than just rhetoric. I, for one, have listened to
enough rhetoric. I, for one, have said, enough is enough. Itís
starting to cost me too much money.
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