Tagged: Boston University College of Arts and Sciences

Ban on "soft money" reaffirmed

June 29th, 2010 in Politics 0 comments

political contributionsThe Supreme Court has reaffirmed the ban on political parties being able to raise unlimited amounts of “soft money” contributions, despite the high court’s ruling in January which removed restrictions on corporate and union spending in federal elections.  The Republic Party had appealed to the court to undo the ban.  Political science Professor Graham Wilson, author of “Business and Politics,” says whether soft money was really used as originally intended for “party building” rather than helping candidates, it’s reasonable to presume that corruption could be linked to soft money contributions.

“But the GOP is right to say that if you allow unfettered spending by corporations and ban soft money contributions to political parties, you are going to disadvantage parties and have more of the action coming from special interests.  Whether that is good for democracy can be questioned.”

Contact Graham Wilson, 617-353-2540, gkwilson@bu.edu

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Alleged Russian espionage ring busted

June 29th, 2010 in International Relations 0 comments

top secret stampThe FBI arrested 11 people for allegedly spying for the Russians while living secret lives in American communities – from Washington, D.C., to Seattle – sent here years ago to infiltrate U.S. society and steal its secrets.  It’s unclear what the alleged spies actually found.  Two BU international relations professors, Arthur Hulnick and Joseph Wippl, are both long-time veterans of the CIA and quite familiar with the world of spies.  They offer their thoughts on the big bust.

Hulnick: “The case demonstrates that the FBI is really good at uncovering such spy rings.  I’m not sure what will happen to the Russians who have devoted so much time and effort to what appears to be a failed operation.  I suspect the Russian government will deny that it is behind the operation.”

Wippl: “Unlike diplomats, none of the 11 has diplomatic immunity which would result in a PNG (Persona Non Grata) expulsion from the U.S.  Without diplomatic immunity, they will be prosecuted in a U.S. court according to the charges brought against them.”

Contact Arthur Hulnick, 617-353-8978, hlnk@aol.com, or Joseph Wippl, 617-353-8992, jwippl@bu.edu

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G-20 nations pledge to deal with debt

June 28th, 2010 in Economics 0 comments

carrying debtThe Group of 20 industrialized nations wrapped up their meeting in Toronto promising to have their government deficits by 2013 and “stabilize” debt loads by 2016, signaling to domestic political audiences and international markets that they’re serious about reducing stimulus spending.  But economics Professor Laurence Kotlikoff, author of “Jimmy Stewart is Dead” about the future of the banking industry, says the G-20 missed the mark by not focusing on the critical future problems of paying pensions and health care benefits.

“Had the G-20 agreed to do long-term fiscal gap accounting and to develop policies that eliminated those fiscal gaps, it would have done something real.  What’s it’s really done is agreed to delay making the critical policy changes needed to avoid insolvency.”

Contact Laurence Kotlikoff, 617-353-4002, kotlikoff@bu.edu

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Gun rights apply to local laws

June 28th, 2010 in Law 0 comments

handgunsThe Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment right to bear arms is a fundamental right that states cannot abridge.  The 5-4 ruling will require a lower court to overturn laws in Chicago and its suburb of Oak Park., Ill., that limited handgun possession.  Political science Professor Graham Wilson, author of “Only in America? American Politics in Comparative Perspective,” says the conservative majority of the court tilted away from a historic conservative position that states and cities should be able to adapt policies to local conditions and circumstances.

“Not since 1937 have we seen such conservative judicial activism and it makes complaints about liberal justices ‘making law from the bench’ ring more than a little hollow.”

Contact Graham Wilson, 617-353-2540, gkwilson@bu.edu

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