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by Eric C. Jacobson, Public Interest Lawyer
Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015 at 12:56 PM
ECJLA@AOL.COM PO Box 67674, Los Angeles, CA 90067
JFK Said: "Things Do Not Happen. Things Are Made to Happen." In 2015-2016, LIBERAL Billionaires Such as Ronda Stryker, Nick Hanauer, and Ted Turner (To Name a Few) Can Help Elect Bernie Sanders President by Giving His Supporters Fundraising and Spending Near-Parity With Hillary Clinton's Billion.
BY ANY OBJECTIVE STANDARD Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is a highly impressive “unbossed, unbought” statesman who by agenda, values and temperament is capable of winning widespread popular support and the presidency and thereafter governing in the public interest.
The maverick senator arrives on the presidential scene after decades of 2 party alternations in power during which the American people at and below the middle class have been “thrown to the wolves” (of Wall Street) on a bipartisan basis. And his campaign has made a promising beginning (to put it mildly). The Vermont senator’s indignant well-spoken populist and protectionist message is resonating with voters from coast-to-coast, generating enthusiastic large crowds at his public appearances and elevating his standing in the polls.
To the growing chagrin of the former “Goldwater Girl” from the Chicago suburbs (Hillary) and her team of opportunistic centrist operatives looking forward to wielding power in another Clinton Administration for no purpose other than self-aggrandizement, Bernie is appealing to far more than the so-called “Birkenstock Belt” (on both coasts). Sanders and his message are meeting with equal enthusiasm in “flyover country” (eg. Iowa and Wisconsin). In sum, Bernie Sanders and his message are “playing in Peoria” (Illinois).
In response Hillary has decided to run her first television ads, an unheard-of 6 months prior to the first caucuses and primaries. And Vice President Biden has also now all-but-decided to run, in the evident belief that what the country is longing for- and needs most is a desultory “Obama third term”.
More importantly – imitation being the highest form of flattery – Donald Trump has channeled Bernie Sanders’ Ross Perot-esque “bring the jobs home” themes, catapulting into the frontrunner’s position in the Republican field, setting up a possible 2016 contest between enlightened and regressive versions of their dueling patriotic philosophies, both featuring populism, protectionism and (to a lesser extent) isolationism. Were Sanders and Trump to both become their parties’ nominees, such a contest (whoever prevailed) would permit the American people to bring down the curtain on the 35 year bipartisan conservative and belligerent era that began with Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980.
The pundits and political gatekeepers – tv talking heads (note to Donald Trump: “talking heads” not “walking heads” – Doh!), tedious columnists and Hillary acolytes, etc. have not (yet) seriously reckoned with the possibility that the voters may well nominate Senator Sanders and then elect him president. Little wonder: the overall landscape of American politics has been so conservatively skewed since the late 1940s as to make a staunch advocate for public morality (AKA “the common good”) such as Bernie Sanders a wildly incongruous figure on the American political scene, one the “bigfoot journalists” (in the late Richard Ben Kramer’s parlance) simply cannot imagine having “what it takes” to win the presidency in 2016.
By the time Sanders came of age in the late 1960s the spirit of the times was well expressed in the Crosby, Stills and Nash song titled “Long Time Gone”. In it songwriter David Crosby advised socially aware people to “speak out against the madness” of Vietnam, racism, assassinations, etc. “but don’t – no don’t – try to get yourself elected”. Sanders’ defiant inner-directedness and political success (on his own terms) over the next 4½ decades has enabled him to develop rock-solid character and to speak a language of political truth and “normalcy” that is now so rare it is seen as (at least somewhat) radical.
Ironically, given his 1960s pedigree and political independence, Sanders’ substance is merely the honest mainstream Democratic political discourse and platform of yesteryear – in the mold of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern. But that is more than enough to put Sanders FAR out-of-step with virtually all of today’s elected Democratic pols. For at least 4 decades the vast majority of Democratic politicians have been eagerly (they might say “pragmatically”) doing the Republicans’ “dirty work” for them on one score after another:
• Reverse Robin Hood economic policies producing evermore extreme inequality? Done!
• Paramilitary domestic policing except in affluent areas, mass incarceration, the world’s largest prison-industrial complex and “the New Jim Crow”? Done!
• De-unionize the private sector in America? Done!
• Create (without the public’s consent) a Frankenstein’s monster “one-world economy” that offshores millions of American jobs, and subjects U.S. workers (at all levels beneath the 1%) to wage competition from billions of capable but poor Chinese and Indians – and from excessive legal and illegal immigration? Done!
• Foreign wars of aggression and plunder (Iraq)? Done!
Since the day FDR died almost all elected Democrats have gradually made the same right-ward journey as Ronald Reagan did, albeit in slightly slower motion. Rather than fighting for traditional liberal policies and values they have switched sides: from labor to management, from consumer to producer, from oppressed to oppressor, from everyday people to elites.
Nowadays, among all prominent politicians, only Bernie Sanders sounds remotely like then Screen Actors Guild president Reagan did in this nationally broadcast October 1948 radio address in support of President Truman and then mayor of Minneapolis, Minnesota and first-time Senate Democratic candidate Hubert Humphrey: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJDhS4oUm0M. Back then, before he switched sides, Reagan, like FDR before him (for whom Reagan voted 4 times for president), “welcomed the hatred” of America’s ruling financial elites.
With the exception of a scant few who have done so with varying degrees of rigor – President Truman (in 1948), Estes Kefauver (in 1952), Adlai Stevenson (in ’52 and ’56), Lyndon Johnson (’64), Eugene McCarthy (’68), George McGovern and Shirley Chisholm (’72), Gary Hart (’84), Jesse Jackson (’84 and ’88), Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich (in 2004) and now Bernie Sanders – Democratic presidential candidates have never sternly attacked Republican philosophy at the (moral) root – as then (Screen Actors Guild) union president Reagan implicitly did (in 1948) – as opposed to at the (policy) branch. And you cannot defeat what you do not really oppose.
Even when Democrats occasionally win the presidency, as Lyndon Johnson did in 1964, Jimmy Carter did in 1976, Bill Clinton did in 1992 and Barack Obama did in 2008, the Democrats ultimately lose by creating yawning embittering credibility gaps (amongst trusting voters) between genuinely progressive policies promised or hinted at during campaigns and their actions and inactions once in office.
TODAY THE FORCES OF selfish conservatism within both the Democratic and Republican parties are poised to counter-attack against Sanders and his supporters. The dynastic oligarchic candidates (Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush) as well as the Republican front-runner Donald Trump, and the other top GOP contender Scott Walker, have essentially unlimited financial resources (Trump via self-financing and the others via superPACs) and are preparing to vastly outspend the Sanders’ campaign. Using paid media advertising and sophisticated voter-turnout operations in both the key caucus and primary states as well as in the general election (if Sanders gets that far) they all aim to steadily “drown out” Sanders’ message with their own and as fall turns to winter turn the 2015 “Summer of Sanders” into a memory that vanishes like a mid-summer night’s dream.
Indeed, Sanders early momentum has already been significantly eclipsed by “the Trump phenomenon” which (as Robert Reich observed in a recent column) is working the same side of the political street as Bernie, but doing so with none of the savoir-faire, tact or political correctness evinced by Sanders. (Trump’s GOP rivals recognize this and will doubtless continue to question his Republican bona fides as some did in the first Republican presidential debate.)
It is also a matter of record that the Democratic establishment successfully did-in the last avatar of (quasi-) “revolutionary” hope to rise from Vermont, Governor Howard Dean. In 2003-2004 the Democratic “empire” struck back, by defaming Dean (as “too angry”), “working the refs” (mainstream journalists) and employing psychological warfare tactics in Iowa – asserting (ad nauseam) without any real basis whatsoever that Dean was somehow “unelectable” when in fact it was John Kerry who matched-up very poorly against W (President Bush).
Immediately after Dean’s loss in Iowa, the Democrats’ traditional (selfish rich) donor class mobilized behind Kerry and enabled him to out-spend Dean thereafter by a wide margin. Kerry easily won the nomination, only to run a feckless campaign and go gently into the good night of defeat that November (without a peep of protest about what was most probably the second consecutive presidential election fixed by organized vote rigging). See generally, “The Strange Rise and Fall of Howard Dean” by Mary Lou Greenberg: http://www.garlicandgrass.org/issue7/Mary_Greenberg.cfm
Given Hillary Clinton’s (realistic) expectation of spending upwards of Billion to win the Democratic nomination, there is no reason to believe that Senator Sanders’ official campaign staff and volunteers ALONE can avoid meeting the same fate as Governor Dean. Truly competing politically requires the airing of highly expensive well-wrought radio, tv and social media ad campaigns and engaging in sophisticated organizing and “get out the vote” activities. The kind described here: http://progressivekick.org/progressive-kick-capabilities/.
Nor is longer historic precedent on Bernie’s side. In every contested Democratic presidential primary since 1972, the Democrat most congenial to- and most amply supported by the monied and special interests has prevailed: Jimmy Carter over Morris Udall (1976), Carter over Ted Kennedy (1980), Walter Mondale over Gary Hart (1984), Michael Dukakis over Jesse Jackson (1988), Bill Clinton over Jerry Brown (1992), Al Gore over Bill Bradley (2000) and John Kerry over Howard Dean (2004). The contest between Hillary and Barack Obama in 2008 was basically a battle of centrist equals. Objectively, then, it is likely Bernie Sanders will join a long list of liberal Democratic runners-up.
But 2016 MIGHT be different. As the New York Times alluded in its July 3, 2015 edition, the nation’s (non-conservative) super-rich have already decided to exercise their First Amendment right to emulate the founders (to “pledge their...fortunes” in the words of the Declaration of Independence) in an effort to determine our Republic’s future direction. See “Billionaires to the Barricades” 7/3/2015 http://nyti.ms/1JJsYKQ . There are many dozens or perhaps hundreds of such super-rich Americans who have prospered due to their own talents, diligence and luck or those of their forbears, who have maintained their staunch liberal values while becoming rich as Croesus. At least SOME of these privileged individuals appear to be as committed to reforming the Not-Great Society America has become as any leftist activist. Consider this excerpt from a profile of heiress Ronda Stryker of Michigan*, who is perhaps the nation’s most liberal-minded billionaire ( http://s.mlive.com/SjP1S9H ):
A common theme among Stryker’s causes is empowering women and minorities through education, particularly higher education.
“Racism and sexism make me crazy,” she said during a recent interview. “I’ve been that way since I was born.”
[Bill] Johnston agreed that his wife is outspoken. “You always know where Ronda stands” and that includes her passion on social justice issues, he said.
“Any unfairness or injustice is something that Ronda just can’t tolerate,” he said. “It’s part of the fabric of her being. ... She has a passion for things that matter.”
If she has not given up on electoral politics entirely (as the same article hints and may well still be her point of view), Ms. Stryker certainly sounds like someone who may be supportive of Senator Sanders and possibly even interested in pushing him to the left!
Laurene Powell Jobs, Steve Jobs’ widow in the Silicon Valley, could be another such quasi-“class traitor”. Indeed, a whole genre of op-ed commentary has arisen featuring members of the ultra-rich cohort who agree that the hyper-capitalist system that enabled them to become so is horrendously broken and has provoked dangerous class stratification and public resentment. These liberal billionaires are all over the internet sounding alarums. See eg. those of Nick Hanauer (http://www.ted.com/talks/nick_hanauer_beware_fellow_plutocrats_the_pitchforks_are_coming); Paul Tudor Jones, II (https://www.ted.com/talks/paul_tudor_jones_ii_why_we_need_to_rethink_capitalism?language=en); and Jeff Greene (http://www.cnbc.com/2015/01/28/us-has-work-cut-out-for-it-building-real-economy-greene.html). Then there is Ted Turner, who famously started a campaign for a “better world” with a billion dollar donation to United Nations. http://www.insidephilanthropy.com/glitzy-giving/ted-turner.html. To name just a few.
All it would take is ONE progressive-minded (quasi-class-traitor) billionaire to independently generously promote Senator Sanders’ candidacy, and Senator Clinton’s commanding fundraising superiority would be neutralized overnight.
These are the same sort of enlightened scions who underwrote FDR’s campaigns, and Eugene McCarthy’s insurgent run for president in 1968 – the last campaign before “campaign finance reform” laws denatured U.S. politics by eliminating the “philanthropic” influence of multi-millionaires and billionaires of conscience (who now exist in larger numbers than they did then).
In ‘68 the liberal Minnesota Senator demonstrated the power of citizens (including well-heeled citizens) to “make history” by almost winning an upset victory in the New Hampshire primary. To get his antiwar message out, Senator McCarthy employed television ads paid for mostly by large donors (eg. Stewart Mott, a GM heir, and Arnold Hiatt of Stride Rite Shoes), who abhorred the Vietnam War. The voters responded. LBJ decided not to seek re-election. And the Vietnam War began to end (albeit very slowly).
A lost footnote to history (a highly important one) is the established FACT that “campaign finance reform” laws were first proposed during the Nixon administration in 1969 as a CONSERVATIVE response to Eugene McCarthy’s electoral insurgency. The proponents were Congressional incumbents who wanted to make it harder for challengers to acquire the funds realistically needed to get their alternative messages out to the voters.
Due to the (partially well-intended but in more ways infernal) campaign finance laws then still on the books, 12 years ago no well-heeled supporter of Howard Dean could legally independently spend any appreciable amount of money publicizing Dean’s message and attempting to generate voter support for Dean’s anti-Iraq War candidacy.
Thanks to Citizens United ("CU"), such high-minded non-selfish billionaires and multi-millionaires are “free at last” to make a real difference for Bernie Sanders and other left-liberal candidates of their choice and make them competitive. They cannot do so through direct contributions, only through so-called superPACs, organizations that are able and willing to accept and spend unlimited amounts of money in support of a candidate and/or in opposition to other candidates, so long as they do not directly or indirectly coordinate their activities with the candidate or his or her campaign personnel. See NPR report: “SuperPACS Are Back And They Are More Powerful Than Ever” by Peter Overby, 4/13/2015 http://n.pr/1CH7dEB
ACCORDINGLY (SINCE NOBODY ELSE had done so) on July 15, 2016 I filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission establishing a “Billionaires For Bernie” superPAC. (FEC Committee ID: C00581280) See: http://wpo.st/jyHS0 “In the Loop” news item by Colby Itkowitz at WashingtonPost.com. The name is figurative of course, and meant to connote the idea that what Senator Sanders derisively refers to as “the billionaire class” is NOT politically monolithic (indeed it insults the intelligence of the electorate to focus exclusively on self-serving conservative billionaires such as the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson and Rupert Murdoch, et al.) and that among both liberal-minded billionaires and “mere” multi-millionaires, there must be a few if not dozens or hundreds able and willing to underwrite the expenses of a first rate adjunct (but wholly unaffiliated) pro-Sanders organization.
Here is simple mission statement I have formulated for my Billionaires For Bernie superPAC:
On a very unaffiliated basis, disseminate Bernie’s message (not our own) and engage in other unofficial pro-Bernie campaign activity (including “get out the vote” etc.) that results in increased electoral support for Bernie – meaning more votes for Bernie than he would otherwise receive.
Finance these ads and other forms of publicity and organizing activity exclusively with funds raised from individuals of substantial means whose background, reputation and values suggest that they are sincere supporters of Bernie Sanders.
To prevent “bad karma” REFUSE any contributions offered by wealthy conservative donors who wish to promote Bernie’s candidacy for the “wrong reason”: that is, in the mistaken belief that Senator Sanders would be easier to defeat in the general election than one or more of his Democratic Party nomination rivals.
I have also pledged to run my pro-Sanders superPAC strictly as a small non-profit organization; to keep overhead and payroll low; employ no more than 3 senior executives and no more than 3 staff members; and to pay no staff member (myself included) more than ,500 per week in salaries (gross). Another self-imposed ground-rule is that while I will engage the services of the most talented political ad creators in the country (one of whom has tentatively agreed to produce a pro-Bernie demonstration ad) no political consultant will receive compensation based upon a percentage of the purchase price of placements on tv and radio stations and social media outlets of ads they create. If such ad placements are not accomplished by superPAC staff member(s) as part of their job duties, the consultants who create the ads will be compensated for placing them based solely on the time required to accomplish that additional task.
Whether they admit it or not, Bernie and his campaign team need the help of highly professional independent messengers who are experienced political combat veterans. The media campaign contemplated by Billionaires For Bernie superPAC would ensure that Senator Sanders’ message (again: one that reflects ONLY the Senator’s public record views – NOT my own or anyone else’s) is heard unfiltered – and not just through the distorted medium of “free media” (AKA professional journalist detractors) on a widespread basis by virtually all of the electorate, throughout Bernie’s participation in the 2016 campaign season.
When – not if – the defamatory “chaff” arrives (in the first few caucus and primary states and beyond), to the full extent contributions to our superPAC permit, we will “do what superPACs do”: take rapid counter-measures to ensure that operatives of the oligarchy’s candidates (Hillary Clinton and the Republicans) are not able to successfully employ blarney and double-talk to trick earnest Americans out of: voting for Senator Sanders and thereby advancing both their own best interests and the common good.
SOME LIBERALS AND PROGRESSIVES contend that employing superPACs on behalf of Bernie Sanders and other staunchly left-of-center candidates is a strategic or even moral error; these readers on the left may consider my pro-Sanders superPAC initiative misguided (or even daft). Alas, candidly, the feeling is mutual, for multiple reasons most of which are space-prohibitive to discuss herein, including ones based on my near-absolute view of the First Amendment, particularly when it comes to speech related to elections that determine which citizens will obtain the vast power to govern. (The ACLU is in accord.) It's a subject on which there is something of a convergence of sorts between conservatives and some left-liberals. See eg. my online comment (and article to which I responded) here: https://disqus.com/home/discussion/thewashingtonexaminer/citizens_united_its_about_free_speech/#comment-1812638090 .
On a practical level, given the outsize costs of electioneering, progressive anti-superPAC advocates and candidates who spurn such help, are engaging in unilateral disarmament in the battle for hearts and minds of the American public. They are effectively silencing their own liberal POV (point of view).
Those who insist on making CU into a “bete noir” also overlook that its abolition (if such were somehow possible), would merely reinstate the dismal status quo ante that further “liberalization” of the ability of the super-rich to influence politics. But it was precisely under the pre-Citizens United regime that the Democratic Party became neutered (and lobotomized) by the same monied interests that dominate the Republican Party. That happened when the Democratic Leadership Council was formed in the 1980s.
It was then that what I call the Democratic Party’s “unbearable Republican liteness of being” arose in earnest. And that in turn has created today’s peculiar political environment dominated by the 2 old parties – ones who engage in a Kabuki political theater of (relatively minor) policy disagreements (eg. on social issues) while both ensure that American ultra-elites (the top tenth of the 1%) reign ever-more supreme indefinitely.
Ironically, well-intentioned anti-CU activists are (highly counter-productively for progressives’ substantive political goals) actually working to close the window of opportunity the Supreme Court has handed serious liberals and those of us more to the left (on a silver platter) to IMMEDIATELY vault ourselves back onto the state and national political stages:
Prior to CU, candidates and parties were primarily reliant on “bundlers” of dozens or hundreds of K contributors. Since politics always “follows the money” this created an overwhelming tilt towards policies which pleased these “selfish rich” and “near rich” donors.
Post-CU however, a handful of super-rich (quasi-class-traitor) serious liberals could through my or another superPAC independently blanket the country with Bernie Sanders’ staunchly progressive message (and those of other such “little Bernies” who step forward to run for lesser offices) throughout the 2016 election season and beyond. In fact this is the only practical way we (currently marginalized and patronized) “happy few” progressives can command respect and regain clout, dignity and relevancy “in the arena” of politics and re-enter the corridors of power.
It is not only morally acceptable for supporters (such as myself) of progressive candidates to form superPACs and seek and accept the largesse of the liberal-minded super-rich; it is immoral not-to (tactfully) ask them for generous superPAC contributions. The only remote ethical concern is the manageable one of receiving funds only from genuinely selfless and patriotic zillionaires of conscience, donors who do not have any covert selfish agenda (even to be appointed to ambassadorships for which they may or may not be qualified).
The only other possible negative ramification of “letting go of the rope” regarding CU and “fighting fire with fire” would arise if the radio and tv broadcast stations were allowed to in effect auction off available commercial time during election seasons to the highest bidder. Then the “parade of terribles” virtually all anti-CU activists (short-sightedly) worry CU will bring might materialize. But there is no indication that such stations would do so, and in the unlikely event they tried such a stunt, it could be countered by legislation or litigation aimed at requiring such (government licensed) stations to distribute ad space at fixed fair prices (no windfall profits) on a fair rotating basis to any candidate or organization able to afford the fixed price. If Congress refused to pass such a law, federal litigation was unavailing, and tv and radio stations started black-balling progressive superPACs and only selling ads to mainstream candidates, then a major campaign of civil disobedience would have to be mounted to force the stations to change their policies, as that would effectively allow the Fortune 500 to drown out all opposition voices.
I simply don’t believe the American people would tolerate this kind of heavy handed censorship and low-bridging of the democratic process. Finally, on the practical front, well-heeled progressives who support Senator Sanders needn’t be able to afford advertising parity with the mainstream neoliberal Democrats, conservative Republicans and/or Donald Trump. Just enough of a presence to get their message out in a repetitive way to the majority of voters in the states and nationwide in the run-up to caucuses, primaries and the general election. Beyond a certain saturation point, radio, tv, social media and print ads, as well as phone calls, door-to-door canvassing, literature drops, billboards, yard signs and direct mail, simply act as bombs that “make the rubble bounce”.
CALIFORNIA POL AND WAG Jesse Unruh famously quipped (correctly) that “money is the mother’s milk of politics”. In 2015 and beyond the liberal progressive political cause needs its own super-rich benefactors to engage in what might be dubbed “political philanthropy”.
Given likely Republican nominee Donald Trump’s personal fortune of at least Billion, and Bernie Sanders’ renunciation of superPAC support, a Sanders-Trump 2016 general election match-up (should it materialize) would present a rather ominous scenario for the country – IF liberals of stratospheric wealth continued to refrain (as Sanders’ has – frankly irresponsibly – requested) from supporting him via one or more superPACs. Fortunately, under the First Amendment, that is NOT Bernie Sanders’ call to make, and such well-heeled Americans of conscience would be utterly foolish to heed Sanders’ request. Contrary to Sanders’ counsel of self-abnegation, in Martin Luther King Jr’s phrase, “NOW IS THE TIME” for one or more pro-Bernie superPACs to begin assembling and deploying their war-chests.
Democratic activists’ propaganda campaign against Citizens United is now in its 5th year. Their “idee fixe” is that it will (somehow, someday) result in its repeal and/or provoke a wave of electoral support for its detractors such as Senator Sanders, and eventually foment a politically-driven conversion to fully publicly-financed (and/or other forms of) “clean elections” (what activists have simplistically taken to calling “Issue 1”). Not to be unkind, but these naive activists resemble nothing so much as Samuel Beckett’s sad-sack Estragon and Vladimir characters in Waiting for Godot. I implore mature ultra-wealthy liberals of conscience to firmly reject such naive “magical thinking”.
Where once (at the nation’s founding) there was, in George Washington’s phrase, “an enlarged and LIBERAL policy...worthy of imitation” (emphasis added) today there is American belligerence, militarism and chaos-mongering abroad, and cold pinstriped barbarism, corruption, injustice-mongering and public immorality at home virtually everywhere one turns.
If patriotic wealthy socially concerned elites do not forthwith use the First Amendment freedom the Supreme Court gave them via CU to put their money where their liberal political values are, they (and all their fellow Americans) will almost certainly lose what’s left of the Republic as we’ve known it. Their ability to pass on to their own progeny a public legacy of American political, social and economic normalcy and vitality, and not just a private legacy of wealth and assets, now hangs in the balance.
By pledging a part of their fortune elect Bernie Sanders president and thereby preserve America’s unique character as a liberal, socially just, middle class Republic, these privileged few can win enduring praise from a grateful citizenry.
– ### –
* “Ronda Stryker’s sense of passion and purpose make her recipient of 2013 YWCA Lifetime Woman of Achievement award” by Julia Mack email@example.com on May 19, 2013 at 6:55 AM, updated May 19, 2013 at 7:39 AM http://s.mlive.com/SjP1S9H
Eric C. Jacobson is a public interest lawyer in Los Angeles. Admitted to practice in the courts of California, the District of Columbia, 2 federal districts in California, the Ninth Circuit appeals court and the U.S. Supreme Court, Jacobson specialized (for a decade) in protecting the civil rights of ex-offenders and their family cohabitants and promoting a transition of California corrections from mass incarceration to mass rehabilitation.
In 2001 Jacobson co-authored with scholar David Harnden-Warwick a proposed Congressional resolution of censure of the five justices who formed the majority in Bush v. Gore (www.censurethefive.org).
Jacobson's most recent op-ed article for LA IndyMedia (published in January 2015) commended UC Berkeley's law school for an overdue status and performance upgrade of the Henderson Center, the school's social justice hub. http://la.indymedia.org/news/2015/01/267095.html
In an April 2014 LA IndyMedia article Jacobson called attention to the schism within the leadership of Pacifica Foundation Radio about the future and unity of the 5 station network. http://la.indymedia.org/news/2014/04/263659.php
Jacobson's July 2013 op-ed published in Counterpunch.org called upon the U.S. Justice Department to criminally prosecute George Zimmerman for violating Trayvon Martin’s federally protected civil right to commute to a convenience store and return alive. http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/07/29/why-justice-department-can-and-must-criminally-prosecute-george-zimmerman/.
Jacobson cast his first vote with enthusiasm for George McGovern in November of 1972, served as intern in the field office of Berkeley-Oakland Representative Ronald V. Dellums in 1980-81, volunteered full time for Gary Hart for months during his 1984 presidential campaign (an all-out effort to nip the conservative cancer of Reaganism in the bud), attended Hart’s outstanding speech to the Democratic Convention (found at http://www.c-span.org/video/?124439-1/democratic-national-convention-day-3 beginning at the 5 hour 36 minute mark), and sought public office himself twice on progressive platforms in 1986 and 1993.
The son a public health psychiatrist father (whose secular Jewish family fled Berlin, Germany to the U.S. in 1938) and school teacher mother (originally from Bayonne, New Jersey), Jacobson has been a staunch progressive from his teenage years in Los Angeles and college years at UC Berkeley to his present 60th year – but not one “so open-minded that his brains fall out”. His favorite Beach Boys song is Help Me Rhonda https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Te_lCF69Aw, which he distinctly remembers being played at the first coed party he attended during his 7th grade year at Palms Junior High School in West Los Angeles.
Billionaires For Bernie superPAC (FEC Committee ID: C00581280), which is not authorized any candidate or candidate committee, can be reached at: Eric.Jacobson@BillionairesforBernie.org. Non-tax-deductible contributions can be mailed to: Billionaires For Bernie c/o Eric C. Jacobson, Public Interest Lawyer, PO Box 67674, Los Angeles, CA 90067. No contributions will be accepted from foreign nationals, organizations or groups, or conservative individuals, organizations or groups.
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