In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan 13, 2014/ 12 Shevat, 5774

Congressional Extortion

By Bruce Bialosky

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Some of the world's most famous people became such by challenging conventional wisdom. Who does not know the name Galileo? He was scorned as a heretic in his day. Or what American does not know of Jonas Salk, who developed a nonconventional process and saved the world from the dreaded polio disease. Now comes along a man challenging conventional wisdom. The subject is not as lofty as curing polio or defining the center of the universe, but it challenges an accepted orthodoxy that has been beaten into our brains for decades.

Though campaign finance reform dates back to 1867 when Andrew Johnson was President, the real push started in the 1970's and has been drummed into the political psyche since then. What Americans have been sold is that big money interests have twisted the political system -- taking advantage of the poor, downtrodden elected officials. Americans may hold Congress in low esteem, but most think their personal Congressman is the reincarnation of Jefferson Smith (Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington). The poor befuddled representative has to claw and fight their way through a thicket of special interests trying to buy his/her vote.

Peter Schweizer dismantles the idea of the innocent Washington politicians in his book Extortion. (Buy it at a 40% discount by clicking here or order in KINDLE edition at a 50% discount by clicking here)

In chapter after chapter he explains how the current system extracts millions from corporations and other interest groups by manipulating legislation to feed the elected officials various different funds. Schweizer told me "Politics is destroying money; not the reverse."

The entire system is organized to not fix problems. Schweizer details how our elected representatives are running basically a protection racket. As Schweizer stated, "The goal is to create more problems or let problems fester." Members of Congress go to special interest groups and tell them if they don't hand over big bucks then a bill which may have a small chance of passing or has been presented annually will be brought up at great detriment to the target's business interests. One of the favorite techniques of raising money is called a "double-milker." That is when a Congressman raises money from interest groups on both sides of an issue by telling one-side that they are working on passing the bill and the other side that they better cough up the dough or the dreaded bill will pass.

As Schweizer writes in the book, bills are brought up and then die after the fundraising is completed. He writes, "The bill might go away; the executioner might take away the guillotine for a time. But it will return. The bill will reemerge, and the money will be extorted again by both sides. Sometimes bills only finally pass after the donors have been wrung dry."

When I asked Schweizer what most surprised him of what he found from his research, he actually had two matters that set him back. The first is how, particularly in the House, committee assignments are principally made to members who agree to raise a preset amount that can exceed a million dollars to go to their political party. This practice was begun by both political parties in the 1990's. Certain committees like Budget or Ways and Means have high-minimum party contributions. Others like Foreign Affairs or Ethics have no constituency and thus the required contributions are low. Schweizer told me that the big dollar committees have little appeal to the Congressman's hometown constituents, so the money they raise principally comes from lobbyists or industries affected by the committee's potential legislation. The Congressman then twists the arms of whomever to extract the required funds to pay the party dues.

The second thing that surprised Schweizer was how many pockets our elected officials can pull money from to feed their operations. He said they have five or six legal sources. He was also stunned by how, with tools like Leadership PACs, our Washington officials use the funds they raise to pay for their personal expenses.

The most revealing statement in the book is a quote from the former President of Shell Oil, John Hofmeister, which defines matters clearly and completely. He says, "They deliberately write ambiguity into the law. It's part of a career-building process. If you are a congressional staffer, you spend your career crafting complex legislative language. This equips you to leverage your postgovernment competence." Schweizer adds, "And complexity begets complexity"; then finishes with the Hofmeister's final words, "The whole system builds on itself." The reason these words are so revelatory is that business leaders typically keep their mouths shut and don't run to the press to express how they are being abused. After all, the entire idea behind extortion is that the victim does not allow anyone to know how they are being coerced because of the power the extortionist has to punish the victim for any public commentary.

When asked what the solution to the problem is, Schweizer offered two. First, he suggested no fundraising be allowed when Congress is in session. Many days senators and representatives run from committee meeting to fundraiser and back to committee meeting and then to another fundraiser. The other suggestion is to have single-issue bills. When there are omnibus bills like Dodd-Frank or the Senate Immigration bill, they are made purposefully complicated to extract funds from targeted pigeons who cannot say no.

Schweizer has put forth a highly readable book in "Extortion" that redefines how we should look at the political fundraising process and educates us on how it is done. But Schweizer and I agree in the end the best way to eliminate the fundraising sham is to limit the money flowing through the government's hands. That is truly the best way to end the shenanigans.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

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Bruce Bialosky is the founder of the Republican Jewish Coalition of California and a former Presidential appointee.


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12/03/13 Frontline/ProPublica's Misguided Attack on The Assisted Living Industry, Part 2
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11/04/13 Obamacare Schadenfreude
10/28/13 The Second Biggest Issue in America
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© 2013, Bruce Bialosky