Friday, June 30, 2006

Things To Keep Your Mind On. . .

Things, Events, Happenings That Require Your Diligent Attention
by The Old Hippie Because The Fog Obscures So Much That Is Truly Important

Patriot 1.  Supreme Court blocks Bush, Gitmo War Trials  And  Video Here
     [May have to use "Ctrl" key to stop popup blocker to see video]

2.  Not Enough Fish in the Sea

3.  "Who Killed the Electric Car?"  (And)  The Facts

4.  The National Entertainment State, 2006

5.  Signing Away the Constitution?  Bush's Abuse of "Signing Statements"

6.  Bush Team Helps Ruling Party “Floridize” Mexican Presidential Election

7.  Got Away With It. . .  [Still Getting Away With It]  Reprised. . .

8.  GOP Plans To Reinstate Military Tribunals Deemed Illegal [by the Supreme Court]

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = 

Real-world wisdom from outside the beltway. - 6.30.06

"Never seen anything quite like what we have now"
When I appeared on the Colbert Report a few weeks ago, Stephen asked me how I know corruption is as bad or worse now than it ever has been.  He then poked fun at the fact that I am only 30 years old, so, he asked, how could I have any historical perspective?  I proceeded to make my case - a case that today is buttressed by one of the most longstanding and well-respected congressional observers - Norm Ornstein.  Here's what Ornstein wrote in his recent Roll Call column:

"In all my years of watching Congress, I have never seen anything quite like what we have now.  It may be a cliché, and it may be a partisan attack term, but it is also true:  There is a culture of corruption across Capitol Hill...  Still, when I look at the eagerness of Members to score big perks from their lobbyist friends and to find ways to make big bucks by transactions that are related to their behavior inside Congress, I cannot find any justification in the large pay gap with their peers...  Illegal or not, much of this behavior is unethical and repugnant.  It underscores the deep need for a real package of ethics, earmarking and lobbying reforms—which in turn underscores the shameful and pathetic behavior of the leaders in both chambers who have failed to act and who are trying to sneak through a sham bill."

He's absolutely right - except for one thing.  This corruption doesn't just underscores the need for ethics/earmarking/lobbying reforms - it more importantly underscores the need for public financing of elections.  The power of a lobbyist to corrupt the system comes from that lobbyist's ability to steer campaign resources to lawmakers and political candidates.  We need a system whereby good people can run for office without having to rely on private money that comes with the expectation of legislative favors.  Ethics/earmarking/lobbying reforms are critical (that's why we're pushing a ballot measure here in Montana to enact critical reforms) - but ultimately we have to also have real campaign finance reform.

Posted by David Sirota at 9:34 AM | Link | Discuss (2)


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