Democrats & Liberals Archives

Fumigating Congress

Our repugnant Republican Congressional Culture of Corruption needs repair. Currently recommended fixes - itty bitty stuff - will not produce a long-term difference. However, James Carville and Paul Begala, in their book “Take It Back,” recommend a strong prescription that I think will do the job. Here are the major planks in their proposal:

  • Raise congressional pay to $400,000, to reduce temptation

  • A member of Congress can accept NOTHING of value as a gift from anyone but family members

  • Incumbents may not raise money in any amount from individuals, corporations or special interests

  • An officeholder must first resign before running for a different office

  • Challengers may raise money in any amount from individuals or PACs. They must report contributions within 24 hours of receiving them

  • The day after a challenger receives a contribution, the government will credit the incumbent with a comparable sum. The amount would be about 80% or so because of the benefits naturally accruing to incumbents

  • If incumbent spends his own money, the government will pay the challenger an equivalent amount

  • Penalties will be strict and fast: If incumbent accepts money he loses his seat. If challenger does not report contributions immediately, he is out of the running
I had been thinking that all money for campaigns should come from the government. But the approach delineated above seems to be better. A person needs people to contribute to his campaign in order to become a feasible candidate. But once this is accomplished, the influence of money is decreased tremendously. A fairly level playing field is produced. Officeholders can return to doing their job and not spend most of their time trolling for money.

This type of law would reduce the number of lobbyists. As one lobbyist who had canceled his season sports tickets said, "Who will I take?" Less wining and dining by lobbyists of big corporate interests would perhaps allow officeholders to spend more time with average constituents. Maybe our laws would become more friendly to ordinary people.

It's time to kick the moneychangers out with tough laws. It's time to fumigate Congress.

Posted by Paul Siegel at January 24, 2006 3:22 PM
Comments
Comment #116324

I like it!

The cost to government will be small because once contributors know their donations will be offset they will be less likely to contribute.

Posted by: Schwamp at January 24, 2006 4:02 PM
Comment #116339

It seems like the internet should have a very strong influence in reducing the money needed to run a campaign. However, it’s been my experience that no political advisor or incimbent is about to spend money any other place than broadcast TV. Maybe once they realise that the internet can bring in more money and capture votes at less $$$ per person than 30 second ads, then thing will change.

Posted by: tony at January 24, 2006 4:22 PM
Comment #116345

Paul:

What happens if a challenger uses his/her own money? I’d assume it counts as a gift, with the incumbent then getting 80%.

I don’t have a problem with incumbents getting gifts, as long as the gifts are not outrageous. I mean, no one ever got “bought” for the cost of a simple lunch (assuming the lunch isn’t in Honolulu or Paris). But what I’d like to see is a cap amount that the incumbent could get in gifts—say $1000 a year total, for example. Thats not enough to create temptation for someone making $400,000 a year, or even someone making $150,000. I’m not worried about the small stuff—I worry about the Duke Cunningham’s getting 100’s of thousands.

Lastly, where would the government portion of the money come from? I’m not sure what Begala and Carville are estimating that amount would be, but it seems like it could get pretty high. Any thoughts?

Good post.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at January 24, 2006 4:31 PM
Comment #116347

OK… this might get really nuts when implimenting, but

Can we create a review board that can remove a candidate’s funding if they are found to use false or patently misleading infomation in their ads and communications?

Posted by: tony at January 24, 2006 4:33 PM
Comment #116351

Tony:

Wow—can I have a HUUUUGE helping from the can of worms that you just opened?

Seriously, there’s no way to do what you’d like. Most political ads have facts in them. Of course, they tend to distort the facts, over or under state the facts, or lead the viewer to an incorrect conclusion. But…they use factual information a lot.

Was it fair to brand Kerry a flip-flopper? Sure, cuz he did. Is he a wishy washy guy—-I don’t know, but you couldn’t say its not factual.

Would it be fair to claim Bush was AWOL? There were no charges, so from a legal standpoint, he wasn’t AWOL. But I’d agree he worked his way into TANG to avoid combat, and that he very well may have missed some service. But the AWOL charge wouldn’t be technically factual.

Allllll kinds of problems with your thought. But it could happen……in Utopia. :)

Posted by: joebagodonuts at January 24, 2006 4:40 PM
Comment #116361

Of course - the idea was tossed out as folly. The issue comes down to desire to have factual campaigns free from distortion - and the Constitution’s free market of ideas… where even lies are excepted and it’s up to the free market to weed through it all.

Posted by: tony at January 24, 2006 5:03 PM
Comment #116363

Paul Siegel

Incumbents may not raise money in any amount from individuals, corporations or special interests.

If incumbent spends his own money, the government will pay the challenger an equivalent amount.

Challengers may raise money in any amount from individuals or PACs. They must report contributions within 24 hours of receiving them.

I’m not sure about what you mean about these suggestions. Somehow they seem contradictory, or at least confusing.

I definitely agree about stricter rules/laws for congress.

I’m not sure that $400,000 would help them resist temptation. Seems to me they would still want more. I believe there should be a cap on raises, and instead of congress being able to increase their own salaries, maybe we as the people should vote on additional salary increases. Right now the employees are picking their salaries, not the employers

While I agree that fund raising needs to be monitored, I think perhaps that more emphasis should be placed on HOW much can be raised, as well as strictly in force it.

Frankly I think that maybe, we should send ALL the congressional members home to their home states, buy them a good computer and let them work from home. Not only would they not have to have to afford a home in Washington, they could shorten their staff members, spend less time away from their families, and most of all be closer to the voters. This way we wouldn’t have to pay them a huge salary, and the lobbyists would be harder pressed to tempt a group of members.

They could return to Washington on a very occasional basis, vote and go home. And of course, riders should be totally removed from any bill not completely related to the content of the bill. Heck, maybe they could vote from home as well….

Why shouldn’t Congress join the 21th Century?
Linda

Posted by: Linda H. at January 24, 2006 5:05 PM
Comment #116364

Of course - the idea was tossed out as folly. The issue comes down to desire to have factual campaigns free from distortion - and the Constitution’s free market of ideas… where even lies are excepted and it’s up to the free market to weed through it all.

Posted by: tony at January 24, 2006 5:06 PM
Comment #116367

Of course Begala and Carville don’t believe what they wrote. They had plenty of time to advocate it when their guys were in power and they know it is unworkable. It is only a bluff.


I personally like: “If incumbent spends his own money, the government will pay the challenger an equivalent amount.” I think I would make a career running for (and losing) political office. I could just keep running against some rich guys like Kennedy, Corzine or Rockefeller and get a piece of their action each time I lost.

And how do you work with PACs of NGOs that run parallel campaigns? Most the the attack ads were run by independent groups. Or what about groups like unions that supply “foot soldiers?” Do we figure their hourly rates?

Posted by: Jack at January 24, 2006 5:09 PM
Comment #116376

How can someone making hundreds of thousands of dollars and with full benefits truly represent the “ordinary man?”
They have no idea of what its like to be “ordinary.”
I say we cut their pay to around 40 grand a year, no tolerance for corruption, one strike and your out.
Maybe then, we could get people who care about the country more than they do about their wallet.

Posted by: kctim at January 24, 2006 5:18 PM
Comment #116392

kctim

I like it! The only problem would be that only rich folks would run for office. Say, that sounds like now, doesn’t it?

Seriously, I think there should be some salary adjustments for our elected officials. I don’t have a number in mid, but it would something along the following lines: Senator/Representative X: You will receive a grant of X dollars per year. The government will furnish you an office with utilities. You will pay staff, office supplies, health insurance, etc. You may not accept any gifts or remuneration of any kind from any one totalling more than $5,000 per year. Any violation of any ethics rule or law will result in your immediate expulsion and that will be for life.

In addition, I would propose a Constitutional amendment limiting terms to 6 years for representatives and 8 years for senators.

Just thinking out loud.

Posted by: John Back at January 24, 2006 5:59 PM
Comment #116394

I don’t want ordinary for our leadership - I want exceptional. I don’t mind paying $400k or more for the job, but I also expect to demand equal work for that pay. There are so many exceptional people out there… but as my father says: “Anyone who would actually run for office should probably not be allowed to.”

Ecuador has an interesting policy: you have to vote to get your voters card. Without the card, you can’t really do anything. I don’t think it’s perfect, because there’s always an issue with allowing large number of uninformed voters voting…

Posted by: tony at January 24, 2006 6:01 PM
Comment #116396

There will be no reforms until:
____________________________________________
(A) the voters get fed up and wise enough to do the one simple, common-sense, non-partisan, no-brainer, ethical, peaceful, and responsible thing they should have been doing all along:

[1] vote out (or recall) irresponsible incumbents (which is most, if not all of them),
[2] and continue to do it,
[3] until the bought-and-paid-for incumbents pass some badly-needed, simple, no-brainer, responsible, common-sense reforms.

That’s all. It’s that simple, and it would work.

_______________________________________________
Or, (B) the voters get fed up, but wait too long to do so, and have to learn the hard, painful way (again).

That’s all. It’s that simple, and it has already been done.
_______________________________________________


So, why not try something new ?
Why not stop the distracting, petty, partisan warfare, ignore party affiliations, and realize incumbents are just takin’ turns gettin’ theirs, and fueling the circular partisan warfare ?
Incumbents are just using and abusing the tax-payers.
Why not finally just do the one simple thing required to get the nation back on the right path? Vote. But don’t keep voting for incumbents; the very one’s that are using and abusing you ! ? ! ?

That’s all. It’s that simple.
_______________________________________________

OK, you say it isn’t simple?
You’re right of course, if there is too much greed and stupidity.
Do you think the majority of voters and politicians are too greedy and stupid?
If so, why try at all? If so, it’s hopless.

The fact is, no one knows.
But, doing nothing won’t solve anything either.

So, let’s hope it isn’t hopeless. Even as pessimistic as some think I am, I think voters will someday figure it out, and learn how to take off their partisan blinders, and simply do the one simple, common-sense, non-partisan, no-brainer, ethical, peaceful, and responsible thing they should have been doing all along to peacefully restore a balance of power (not merely shift it or strip government of all power to accomplish anything), and peacefully force government to be responsible and accountable too: Vote out (or recall) irresponsible incumbents, every election, until they provide the transparency (such as ONE-PURPOSE-PER-BILL) for the people to see exactly who to hold accountable, who deserves to stay, and who deserves to pay, for looking the other way.

Until ONE-PURPOSE-PER-BILL is passed, the voters have no way to know why anyone voted for or against a BILL consisting of tens of thousands of pages of pork-barrel, graft, bribes, corporate welfare, and waste (often sneaked into the BILL at the last moment).

Until ONE-PURPOSE-PER-BILL is passed, the voters should simply vote out all incumbents. That is the price they should pay for not policing their own ranks better, for succumbing to the status quo, and for being so irresponsible while our troops risk life and limb.

Once transparency is achieved, and a number of badly-needed, no-brainer, common-sense reforms are passed (e.g. CAMPAIGN-FINANCE-REFORM, ELECTION REFORM, BALANCED BUDGET REFORM, ONE-PURPOSE-PER-BILL, TAX REFORM, STOP PLUNDERING Social Security, etc.), the voters will have what they need to know who to hold responsible, and the politicians will begin to police their own ranks.

But, just for grins, try this one simple thing.
Give Congress a test.
Ask government to simply pass one of the following:
(a) ONE-PURPOSE-PER-BILL
(b) CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM
(c) ELECTION REFORM
(d) TAX REFORM
(e) STOP PLUNDERING Social Security
(f) STOP the pork-barrel
(g) BALANCED BUDGET amemdment

If incumbents refuse to pass one thing selected from the list, then what can you conclude ?

Exactly. You can only conclude that incumbents will never reform themselves until some significant event motivates voters to vote them all out. That circular pattern is threatening the future of the nation, and it is useless if voters keep making the mistake of only voting anti-incumbent only once, and allow incumbents to quickly resume being irresponsible and unaccountable.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 24, 2006 6:05 PM
Comment #116407

Paul Siegel,

I think those are fairly good ideas.
I just don’t think it, or any reform is possible until a more fundamental change is made first.

Only the voters can do that, because most incumbents will never initiate significant reforms themselves. Especially reforms that will take money out of their pockets.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 24, 2006 6:29 PM
Comment #116415

However, I don’t think we should raise their pay.
They already make enough.
Here’s another plan for CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM, but it too is hopeless without first restoring the balance of power between government and the people.

tony wrote: I don’t want ordinary for our leadership - I want exceptional

I’d just settle for responsible and honest.
But, newcomers are soon faced with temptations and pressures, and the threat of losig their party support if they don’t succumb to the status quo perpetuated by the incumbents.

Hence, it is not as important who you vote for, as it is whether they can be held accountable after being elected. The only way to do that is to vote out (or recall) that incumbent.

By the way, does any of this appear exceptional ? Nope. In fact, it is not only disgraceful and irresponsible. It is dangerous and threatening American lives, and the future and security of the nation.

If that doesn’t upset you, nothing will.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 24, 2006 6:41 PM
Comment #116416

d.a.n,

Man, you sure know how to kill a thread, don’t you? :-)

John Back,

I’m opposed to term limits, even for the President. What I want, though, is CONSECUTIVE term limits. In my ideal world, you would only be allowed to serve 2 consecutive terms in any office before you had to leave the office for 1 full term. After that, you are free to run for the office again.

Tony,

Voting should be its own reward. By encouraging people to vote who otherwise wouldn’t, you’re just increasing the percentage of non-informed voters.

Paul,

The biggest problem I see with the proposed system is that is presupposes that there are only two candidates — the “incumbent” and the “challenger”. Contrary to what the GOP and DNC want us to believe, there are more than two parties out there. You can have dozens of people on the ballot for one office. This system doesn’t take that into account.

Also, how does the system work when there isn’t an incumbent?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 24, 2006 6:44 PM
Comment #116426

I think the only real solution is to vote based on personal preference for challengers and vote on personal conviction for incumbents.

That means you can’t vote for an incumbent if they fail to meet your base-line expectations. You can’t vote for incumbents who act unethical or dishonestly, unless you feel that that is an OK way to run our government.

However, as long as party conviction outweighs all other factors, we will continue this downhill trend. It comes down to us voters to change what we like…

Posted by: tony at January 24, 2006 7:26 PM
Comment #116435

Less than 100 years ago it was illegal to be a lobbyist.

$400,000.00/year is a bit excessive, don’t you think.

Why haven’t the Democrats proposed sweeping reform? Is it because they want their turn at getting large contributions from lobbyists?

I’m almost ashamed to admit “I’m a Democrat”…

Why are they not making sweeping changes Now? Are we going to have another scandal, indictments, etc when we control the Congress, the Senate, and White House?
Why aren’t we fillabusting Alito?
Why isn’t anyone talking Impeachment?


Posted by: Pat at January 24, 2006 8:01 PM
Comment #116465


I’m curious to hear what your folks think of my idea:

I think that maybe, we should send ALL the congressional members home to their home states, buy them a good computer and let them work from home. Not only would they not have to have to afford a home in Washington, they could shorten their staff members, spend less time away from their families, and most of all be closer to the voters. This way we wouldn’t have to pay them a huge salary, and the lobbyists would be harder pressed to tempt a group of members.

They could return to Washington on a very occasional basis, vote and go home. And of course, riders should be totally removed from any bill not completely related to the content of the bill. Heck, maybe they could vote from home as well….

Why shouldn’t Congress join the 21th Century?
Linda

Posted by: Linda H. at January 24, 2006 9:47 PM
Comment #116475

If the government pays all campaign money and private citizens or organizations are forbidden from donating, then how do we decide what consitutes a “challenger?”

Is only one challenger allowed? If so, who chooses this challenger? The government?

Remember now that no one is allowed to campaign in order to raise his profile enough to become the challenger unless the government gave him money to begin with.

So what’s to stop 500,000 people from declaring themselves candidates for President and then each demanding, according to Paul’s formula, a full 20 percent more than the incumbent President gets?

What happens then if the President decides to spend $800,000 of his own money on his campaign? Must each challenger then get a million dollars from the government?

Sign me up! Me and my whole family are going to run for President under Paul’s system.

The only reforms I’d agree with that are not totally unrealistic and which don’t impinge on our Contitutional rights are these two.

1) Congressional term limits mandated by an amendment to the contitution.

2) A fairly lengthy period after leaving office before a government official can work as a consultant or recieve money from interest groups—with exceptions allowed if the former official goes before a review board and gets special permission. This would permit former officials to remain active in political foundations, think-tanks and non-profits (like, say, Carter with Habitat for Humanity).

There are just so many problems with Paul’s proposals. All of them would just magnify even more than already the role of the 527s organizations and the media.

Getting government in the business of “rationing speech” is a terrible idea. No matter how noble the intentions, it’s a recipe for abuse.

Posted by: sanger at January 24, 2006 10:12 PM
Comment #116477
Raise congressional pay to $400,000, to reduce temptation

Holy, Shi…itake mushroom!!! Bad Idea. These people are passing bills without ever reading them! Would you give a raise to an employee who wasn’t doing their job? We shouldn’t be rewarding bad behavior. Why not reward good behavior? Split their compensation up, depending on what they do. The current salary for rank-and-file members of the House and Senate is $158,100 per year, about $20,000 more for leadership positions.

1) Senators and Representatives should be paid a base salary to compensate for work done outside of congress. This amount should be $19,307, the poverty line for a family of four.

2) Senators and Representatives should be compensated for each hour actually in attendance at a session of Congress. In 2005, the Senate was in session 1222 hours and the House was in session 1067 hours. If you don’t show up, you don’t get paid. Limit the number of hours that Congress can be in session to 2080 hours (equivalent to a 40-hour workweek), except in times of emergency. Pay $50 an hour. If Congress is in session to the max. and you were there for all of them you would make $104,000 a year + base.

3) A regular session of Congress lasts 2 years. At the end of each regular session all Senators and Congressmen should receive a bonus if the books balance, with all taxpayer money accounted for, and a full disclosure to the public of expenditures. The bonus could be $200,000, forfeited by all, if anyone is convicted of corruption during the 2-year session, unless another member exposed the corruption.

If Congressmen met all of the above requirements they would earn $223,307 a year. A raise of $65,207.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at January 24, 2006 10:21 PM
Comment #116483

JayJay, with a $104,000 annual salary based on maximum in session hours plus a poverty line base and a $200,000 bonus, wouldn’t the final earnings total around $324,000? Not sure I’m following your math there.

As for campaign finance: I say that there should be NO monetary limitations whatsoever on who, how much, or when anybody or any organization can donate to a political campaign. All contributions should be made public, so voters know exactly WHO is putting this money into the system and why, and then we have to depend on them to consider this information when they vote.

In other words, we have to TRUST the intelligence of voters—anything less is a gross insult to the fundamental premises of democracy. You should NEVER say that voters must not be trusted and try to limit in ANY way what messages reach them. I’m dead serious about this.

I realize that this opens me up to accusations of favoring “government to the highest bidder” and that lots of people have a problem with the idea that money equals speech. But that couldn’t be further from my intent.

I think that I’m just being realistic. I don’t want goverment to the highest bidder any more than anybody else, but I believe that that’s exactly what we get with the cosmetic solutions proposed by many campaign reformers. As long as congressional terms are unlimited, there will ALWAYS be ways to funnel money to support that candidate unless you’re ready to live in a complete police state.

We all already know what happens with 527s, where basically unlimited funds are funneled into campaigns through the back door.

But what about this: there is one very easy loophole to virtually any concievable package of campaign finance laws. And that’s the media. Unless you’re ready to censor the media, all campaign finance laws will become totally irrevelant soon enough.

I can envision a day when campaign finance laws are so strict that the special interests and corporations start buying up all the newspapers and radio/television stations and turn them into political propaganda outlets even more than they are now.

After all, nobody wants to limit the freedom of the press! So by all means, just buy a press and go nuts!

CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC? How about the RNC and DNC nightly news? Coming soon on YOUR television in the brave new world of campaign finance reform.

Posted by: sanger at January 24, 2006 10:57 PM
Comment #116484

Linda H.

That’s an interesting idea that never occurred to me.
It definitely has several advantages,
but it does have a few disadvantages.
However, I think those disadvantages could be worked out.

It could present some security / identification problems. We need to be sure who’s really doing the voting, but I think that could be worked out (i.e. biometrics perhaps).

Technology is sometimes unpredictable. It will be hard to participate and vote if the broadband link is down. But, a back-up (e.g. satellite) may resolve that problem.

It wouldn’t necessarily cut down on lobbyists gaining access. So, that wouldn’t really change anything.

It would save a lot of time and money currently spent traveling between home states and D.C.

Debates on the floor would be interesting. But, similar things are done via video conferencing.

Some of the older Congress persons aren’t too high-tech or computer savvy. That could be a challenge.

It would reduce the face-to-face interaction considerably. That could be a problem. Some prefer doing business face-to-face.

Perhaps the choice of either (on-site or on-line) would be nice. Perhaps it would improve attendance. Some congress persons already have terrible attendance records, and often don’t even show up to vote (which is one of the primary purposes of their job).

One thing is for sure. Congress persons will love it if there are any ways for them to pervert it and abuse it for personal gain.

I definitely don’t want to give Congress raises. They haven’t done anything to deserve it. Besides, they get regular raises unless they actually vote not to accept the raises. That is, due to past bad publicity about voting themselves raises, they changed the system so that the raises are automatic, and go into effect unless a majority explicity votes against it (which has never happened).

What most (if not all) of the incumbents really deserve is to be voted out (or recalled), for being too irresponsible and unaccountable, and ignoring (decade after decade) pressing probems that threaten the future and security of the nation.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 24, 2006 10:58 PM
Comment #116485

JayJay, with a $104,000 annual salary based on maximum in session hours plus a poverty line base and a $200,000 bonus, wouldn’t the final earnings total around $324,000? Not sure I’m following your math there.

As for campaign finance: I say that there should be NO monetary limitations whatsoever on who, how much, or when anybody or any organization can donate to a political campaign. All contributions should be made public, so voters know exactly WHO is putting this money into the system and why, and then we have to depend on them to consider this information when they vote.

In other words, we have to TRUST the intelligence of voters—anything less is a gross insult to the fundamental premises of democracy. You should NEVER say that voters must not be trusted and try to limit in ANY way what messages reach them. I’m dead serious about this.

I realize that this opens me up to accusations of favoring “government to the highest bidder” and that lots of people have a problem with the idea that money equals speech. But that couldn’t be further from my intent.

I think that I’m just being realistic. I don’t want goverment to the highest bidder any more than anybody else, but I believe that that’s exactly what we get with the cosmetic solutions proposed by many campaign reformers. As long as congressional terms are unlimited, there will ALWAYS be ways to funnel money to support that candidate unless you’re ready to live in a complete police state.

We all already know what happens with 527s, where basically unlimited funds are funneled into campaigns through the back door.

But what about this: there is one very easy loophole to virtually any concievable package of campaign finance laws. And that’s the media. Unless you’re ready to censor the media, all campaign finance laws will become totally irrevelant soon enough.

I can envision a day when campaign finance laws are so strict that the special interests and corporations start buying up all the newspapers and radio/television stations and turn them into political propaganda outlets even more than they are now.

After all, nobody wants to limit the freedom of the press! So by all means, just buy a press and go nuts!

CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC? How about the RNC and DNC nightly news? Coming soon on YOUR television in the brave new world of campaign finance reform.

Posted by: sanger at January 24, 2006 10:59 PM
Comment #116486

Whoa—I see a double post from yours truly. Not sure how that happened, but my sincere apologies.

Posted by: sanger at January 24, 2006 11:01 PM
Comment #116488

Sanger,

…who chooses this challenger?

This has been work out, and various states and cities already run with “clean” elections.

Go here or paste www.ccec.state.az.us/ccecweb/ccecays/faq.asp

If you want to run, just collect enough $5 dollar donations from registered voters in your district.

Good luck with that (typically you need around 3000 of those little donations).

This changes the dynamic of our politicians, rather then one person getting a few rich supporters, now would be candidates need to actually talk to the people.

Like i said, these types of public financing of clean elections are already WORKING in this country.

Posted by: Patrick Howse at January 24, 2006 11:04 PM
Comment #116491
JayJay, with a $104,000 annual salary based on maximum in session hours plus a poverty line base and a $200,000 bonus, wouldn’t the final earnings total around $324,000? Not sure I’m following your math there.

sanger,

My final figure is per year. The $200,000 bonus would be for a full 2 year regular session of Congress, or $100,000 a year.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at January 24, 2006 11:10 PM
Comment #116492

Sanger,

More on that, here is a site that is trying to move the country in this same direction (not just the Arizona site i posted).

Or paste www.publicampaign.org/

Posted by: Patrick Howse at January 24, 2006 11:11 PM
Comment #116498

There’s a lot of room for improvement. Almost anything would be better than the bought-and-paid-for politicians, their big-money-donor-puppeteers, and the FOR SALE government we have now.

Some simple changes are needed to level the playing field for all candidates, and end unfair and dangerous influences by only a few people that abuse their vast wealth and power.
[] Limit political contributions from any entity (e.g. person, corporation, organization, etc.), per year, to 10% of the average American annual income. Regulation of political contributions is allowed by the Constitution. Unfortunately, the courts have decided that political contributions can not banned entirely, but can be regulated. Therefore, contribution limits should not be so large that the wealthy and corporations carry more influence than the individual voter (as it is now, and is obviously unfair to the average voter).
[] Only allow contributions by American citizens or corporations or organizations owned 100% by American citizens. And, the contribution is limited to the same single 10% limit of the average American annual income. True, not all Americans can afford to spend 10% of their annual income on a political contribution, but there are a lot more average-income-level Americans. Hence, no small group can control government. Government should not be FOR SALE.
[] No candidate may spend their own money in excess of 10 times the average American annual income; otherwise, a very wealthy person could conceivably buy an election, and control the media, news, propaganda, etc.
[] All donations must be deposited into a single fund managed by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) that:
(a) disperses donations to the intended recipients.
(b) enforces donation laws and restrictions (e.g. enforce annual donation limits, enforce restrictions of donations only originating from American citizens or 100% owned corporations, and enforce other laws governing elections, etc.)
(c) disperses donations above the permitted limits (if any), equally, between all registered candidates; there is no need to disclose the identity or source of donations, since only American citizens and 100% American owned corporations or organizations can make political donations, and everyone is limited to the same annual maximum of 10% of the average American annual income;
NOTE: The FEC must disclose to all contributors that all amounts above the established 10% limit of the average American annual income is dispersed equally to all registered candidates.
[] Make it illegal for candidates to public office or government employees to solicit or accept money, gifts, favors, or future promises of any kind (above and beyond the allowed limit)
[] Also, make it illegal for any family member, group or organization to solicit or accept money or gifts, or spend funds on the behalf of a candidate for office or government employee.
[] Government should not be for sale. When money enters the election process, it is rotten. Peddling influence represents a flagrant conflict of interest, and must be eliminated. Conviction for violation of this law would also forfeit the employee’s government pension (if any).
[] Make it illegal for government office holders or employees to accept outside employment during their employment by the government.
[] Prohibit all government employees or office holders, for five years after leaving government employment, from accepting employment with any government contractor or sub-contractor, government consultant, lobbyist position, etc.
[] All candidates for office will be provided some free and equal media time during the election campaign (including print, radio, television, etc.). Remove the big money that allows only some to control the newspapers, radio stations and TV stations. Election statistics show that in over 90% of elections, the candidate that spends the most money wins !
[] Hold elections on a week-end and/or declare important election days a national holiday.
[] End voter-registration. Instead, all eligible voters should use a secure form of identification, such as biometrics. We’ve currently got illegal aliens voting in our elections, for cryin’ out loud.
[] When each voter submits their vote(s), they will receive a computer printed slip of paper with a randomly generated number that can be used to find a record of their vote in a publicly listed record of all votes (e.g. on the internet, telephone, news paper, etc.). This will preserve anonymity, reduce election fraud, and provide a public record of each election.
[] Prohibit campaigning before a certain date prior to an election, so that all candidates have equal campaign time, so that campaigns will be less time consuming, and less costly to the tax payers.
[] Remove the straight-ticket voting lever (or button) in all voting machines. Voting machines should not be promoting party-only voting.
[] Remove and prohibit the party affiliation via names and symbols (e.g. Democrat, Independent, Republican, etc.) next to the names of all candidates.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 24, 2006 11:21 PM
Comment #116502
In other words, we have to TRUST the intelligence of voters—anything less is a gross insult to the fundamental premises of democracy. You should NEVER say that voters must not be trusted and try to limit in ANY way what messages reach them. I’m dead serious about this.

That’s an interesting, purist approach. I’ll have to think about it. You may be right. However, I’m not sure voters should have to research every candidates’ donations, which are coming in all the time from everywhere. Especially when all candidates are trolling for money for their campaign war chests, and most voters already feel that government shouldn’t be FOR SALE. The constitution won’t let us ban all campaign contributions, but it will let us regulate them.
Thus, we may want to limit political contributions from any entity (e.g. person, 100% American owned corporations, 100% American founded organizations, etc.), per year, to 10% of the average American annual income. Regulation of political contributions is allowed by the Constitution. Therefore, contribution limits should not be so large that the wealthy and corporations carry more influence than the individual voter (as it is now, and is obviously unfair to the average voter).

Posted by: d.a.n at January 24, 2006 11:40 PM
Comment #116503

Patrick, you’re not at all on the same page with Paul, whose suggestions were the ones I was addressing.

Paul said pretty clearly, and I quote, that “Incumbents may not raise money in any amount from individuals, corporations or special interests.”

Any amount would include five dollars.

Furthermore, how does a candidate go about raising all these five dollar contributions if he or she is not allowed to spend any additional money for staff, copying, postage or media buys?

If you can’t hire a staff paid for by either yourself or supporters before you start campaigining for all those five dollar contributions, then how do you even get started? It makes no sense.

Posted by: sanger at January 24, 2006 11:50 PM
Comment #116519

We have a good system, we just have some crooks who have screwed it up, some of them just can’t stay honest.People are fallible some of the time.Thur no fault of their own except human nature. Mistakes are made.
But we also have laws. Right now all this payoff and kickback, is a crime , they should lose their jobs ,just like the average joe on the street.Right now we have a whole crew up there who have commited crimes, but no one is doing a damm thing about it. They are thier own bosses. We don’t get a voice.There are laws for the trouble we have right now, but nothing is being done because , one side has more and an upper hand and it ones that have the most will not gov themselfs.
We need someone who can be the sheriff, to do something when a law is broken, in the congress and the senate and the President and vice president and their aids. The laws are on the books , but no one will inforce them.
That is something I have been trying to fine out for weeks, who shots them down when they break a law.The place is full of crime now, is anyone doing anything?

Posted by: Sue McAvoy at January 25, 2006 12:49 AM
Comment #116520

We have a good system, we just have some crooks who have screwed it up, some of them just can’t stay honest.People are fallible some of the time.Thur no fault of their own except human nature. Mistakes are made.
But we also have laws. Right now all this payoff and kickback, is a crime , they should lose their jobs ,just like the average joe on the street.Right now we have a whole crew up there who have commited crimes, but no one is doing a thing about it. They are thier own bosses. We don’t get a voice.There are laws for the trouble we have right now, but nothing is being done because , one side has more and an upper hand and it ones that have the most will not gov themselfs.
We need someone who can be the sheriff, to do something when a law is broken, in the congress and the senate and the President and vice president and their aids. The laws are on the books , but no one will inforce them.
That is something I have been trying to fine out for weeks, who shots them down when they break a law.The place is full of crime now, is anyone doing anything?

Posted by: Sue McAvoy at January 25, 2006 12:51 AM
Comment #116521

Yes, let’s reward them for the immaculate way they are handling our democracy by giving them an enormous pay raise! Are you joking?!?!

Honestly, rewarding failure only proliferates the problem. If anything, we should begin by demanding they accept a pay *cut*. Some of the other points you mention should be implemented, but without compensation - if they don’t like it, they can leave. There are far more competent, honest, and grateful people who would be happy to do their job (far better, for far less).

Moreover, we are conveniently disregarding some other key elements of the fundamental underlying problem as well. Ban pork-barrel politics outright. If it’s important enough to pass, it’s important enough to vote on. Why should these federal representatives claim all the glory for returning our money to us (in ridiculous and inefficient ways). Block and Categorical grants could potentially do all that a representative’s constituents require. Passing responsible legislation should be glory enough.

No gifts - that’s a given. Oh sure, a cup of coffee never bought a vote (but it paves the path to corruption), and the price of a cup of coffee is entirely insignificant - so they should be able to buy their own on the substantial salary we already afford them.. They should be as stingy with our tax money as they are with their own.

They have brought shame on themselves and should be *forced* to pay the price, lest that shame fall on our shoulders.

Posted by: Diogenes at January 25, 2006 12:52 AM
Comment #116525

there are a great many reformations which our government desperately needs, as many of you have mentioned. yet those with power will never willingly relinquish it - (here, i refer generally to the parties, as opposed to specific individuals).

as you will see (i fear), no real progress will be made. those changes that are made will be superficial and insubstantial - fabricated solutions with numerous and expedient loopholes.

so, i ask you; when, in your own personal opinion, will enough be enough. when will you be so sick of the status-quo, politics as usual, that you are finally ready to stand up?

Posted by: Diogenes at January 25, 2006 1:07 AM
Comment #116609

In my ideal world, I would ban all contributions from Corporations, PACs, etc, to political campaigns. All campaign contributions would have to come FROM INDIVIDUAL US CITIZENS. That’s who the VOTES come from… so that’s who the MONEY should come from. There would be no limit on the amount an individual could donate, but any donation above, say, $1000 should have to be publicly disclosed.

Likewise, campaign donations should have to go to individual campaigns — no intermediaries. So, no more donations to the “whoever the Democrats run next year” fund. You donate to the Clinton-for-President fund, or the Kennedy-for-Senator fund, or what have you. Let’s put the emphasis on the Candidates, and not on the Parties.

Then again, I also think we should remove party levers from voting booths. You should be voting for people, not obscure governments-in-waiting.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 25, 2006 9:15 AM
Comment #116624
Diogenes wrote: so, i ask you; when, in your own personal opinion, will enough be enough. when will you be so sick of the status-quo, politics as usual, that you are finally ready to stand up?

No one really knows. Hopefully, we’re getting closer.

Education is badly needed.

Voters have forgotten that the only thing they need to do is the one simple, logical, common-sense, no-brainer, non-partisan, inexpensive, responsible thing they were supposed to do all along: vote out irresponsible incumbents, every election, until government is responsible and accountable too.

Why should voters vote out or recall incumbents ?
____________________________
Because, the incumbents are irresponsible.
Irresponsible Incumbents:
[] refuse to pass many badly needed, common-sense, no-brainer, constructive reforms (e.g. campaign finance reform, election reform, one-purpose-per-bill amendment, balanced budget-amendment, tax reform, etc.).
[] vote irresponsibly (e.g. pork-barrel, graft, waste, corporate welfare, etc.), look the other way because they lack the peer-pressure to police their own ranks, and continue to grow government and the national debt to nightmare proportions, which is threatening the future and security of the nation. The national debt is so large now, it would take 127 years to pay off the debt if the federal government started now to (a) stop borrowing $1 billion per day, and (b) also started paying back $1 billion per day (slightly more the daily interest alone). It is irresponsible and immoral to be heaping that much debt onto future generations.
[] are bought-and-paid-for, too beholding to their big-money-donors. and refuse to tackle tough issues or address numerous pressing problems, for fear of risking re-election or defying their big-money-donors.
[] spend too much time and tax-payers money trolling for money for their campaign war-chests.
[] fuel the partisan warfare, and seduce voters into a circular pattern that distracts the voters from more substantive issues.
[] pressure and seduce newcomers into Congress to conform to the status quo, look the other way, or be shunned and isolated.
[] somehow still convince many voters to empower the incumbents that use and abuse the voters.
____________________________
Therefore, the voters can and should peacefully force government to pass many badly-needed reforms, because government will not do it themselves. Voters are supposed vote responsibly to vote out (or recall) irresponsible incumbents, repeatedly, until elected officials are responsible and accountable too. That is what voting is supposed to be all about.

Not only is it simply the right thing to do, but there are many other benefits and reasons to vote out incumbents.

Thus, education is the key, because many voters have simply forgotten how it’s supposed to work.

Many voters have given up, and don’t believe their vote matters. They have resigned to despair and futility.

Many voters (I used to be one of them) have been seduced into the circular pattern of petty, partisan warfare that distracts them from more substantive issues and pressing problems that threaten the future and security of the nation.

Many voters don’t care.

Many voters think everything is just fine, the National Debt and our pressing problems are nothing to worry about, and it will all work itself out somehow.

The sky isn’t falling, but you don’t have to be too brainy to realize that decades of fiscal and moral irresponsibility will eventually have consequences. But, I don’t have any of those really cool rose-colored glasses, that allow me to simply ignore the fact that crappin’ in your own nest will eventually snap the branch that supports it.

So, there’s a huge job of education facing us. But, I think someday, voters will figure it out, and learn how to maintain a balance of power (not simply shift it or strip government of all power to accomplish anything) between government and the people. Why have that optimism that we will eventually figure it out ? Because no one really knows what the future holds, resigning to futility and doing nothing won’t accomplish anything, there’s nothing to gain from hopelessness, and doing nothing will only guarantee failure.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 25, 2006 10:10 AM
Comment #116635

Thanks D.A.N,
I really appreciate your comments.

As for the lobbyists, the way I figure it is at least they would actually have to work to get a group of Congress members to agree with them - one at a time. No more lunches,free parties, trips, etc.

If they want to work face to face there’s always a video camera and telephone. (Hey we could tap their phone lines!!!

As for non-technical members, I would imagine that most of them do know how to use a computer at least well enough to be able to read or talk/see (video and audio). If they are not intelligent enough to figure out how to push a few buttons, maybe we need some fresh blood…

I really think it would work.

Additional pluses are

1.It would keep one member from maintaining an almost celebrity statis,

2. There could be a record kept of their activies. A publishable record, which can’t be changed, unlike the Congressional Record which can be altered at will.

And a salary decrease for making it cheaper to do their jobs.


Posted by: Linda H. at January 25, 2006 10:28 AM
Comment #116636

Good article, Paul. Carville presented a similar campaign finance reform agenda in an earlier book, “Had Enough?” Good stuff.

I think it’s interesting that we get significant ideas for curing one of the fundamental problems with our system from Democrats, while Republicans merely offer little band-aids to keep the puss-oozing sores from offending the voters too much during an election year.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 25, 2006 10:29 AM
Comment #116680

A.P. , As usual, you give too much credit to the Republicans for our irresponsible and unaccountable government. Democrats are equally culpable. Our situation has been in the making for decades. It’s really all incumbents that are the problem. The sooner voters figure that out, the sooner they will realize the solution:
(1) take off their partisan blinders,
(2) stop wallowing in the partisan warfare,
(3) stop being distracted from the fact that incumbents are ignoring the nation’s pressing problems,
(4) stop fueling the distracting, partisan warfare.
(5) stop enabling the very people that use and abuse them.
(6) stop sending bought-and-paid-for incumbents more money.
(7) stop allowing themselves to be bribed with their own money.
(8) and vote out (or recall) all irresponsible incumbents, repeatedly, always, until government is responsible too.

That’s simply the way it is supposed to work. Otherwise, the system is abused and perverted to what we have now. The quick, safe, peaceful, non-partisan, responsible way to fix it is to simply do what voters were always supposed to do. That is all. Just vote out (or recall) irresponsible incumbents, who make it impossible for newcomers to change the status quo, and tempt or pressure newcomers into accepting the corruption, and the rationalization that voters deserve what they get if they are too stupid to vote them out.

If you think there are more responsible Democrats in Congress, please name 10, 50, 100, or even 268 (half of the 535 in Congress).

But, you’d better carefully research the bought-and-paid-for incumbents voting records, attendance records, arrest records, and the things they say and do. Almost all (if not all) vote for pork-barrel, resist campaign finance reform, election reform, tax reform, one-purpose-per-bill amendment, balanced-budget amendment, lobbying reform, or any reform that will not let them prosper from bribes, graft, and perversion of the system for personal gain. Unless you can name at least 268 in Congress that aren’t irresponbile and unaccountable, then what good are they? Thus, vote out (or recall) all of them. Especially since they have perverted the system so profoundly, that we can’t even tell who is the most irresponsible. Take the one-purpose-per-bill amendment. That would allow voters to finally see who voted for or against a BILL, and who exactly to hold accountble. But, as it is now, no one can know. No one can know why anyone voted for or against a 10,000 page BILL loaded with pork-barrel, graft, bribes, corporate welfare, and waste.

If Congress is responsible, then why do they behave irresponsibly ? Why do they resist simple, common-sense, no-brainer reforms ?

All the voters really need to know is that the majority (all parties) are very irresponsible. What good is a few good incumbents, if the majority are not? And who are these good incumbents? Why don’t they stick out like a sore thumb? Why do they look the other way? Why do they too vote on pork-barrel. Even the most honest of them do it. The bar is set so low, it’s time to just vote them all out, until they learn to police their own ranks, and quit looking the other way.

Especially at a time when our troops and are risking life and limb, need body armor, need medical care, and are being stretched thin.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 25, 2006 2:00 PM
Comment #116719

d.a.n
I couldn’t agree more.

Posted by: Linda H. at January 25, 2006 4:01 PM
Comment #116762

Sanger,

The first web site I pointed to IS how they ARE doing it in Arizona.

I guess I have a different take on this then Paul. I think the clean election laws already in use are the way to go.

If you went to the second site I mentioned, and poke around you’d come to a short faq
or paste www.publicampaign.org/congress/howitworks.htm

This short faq offers a general description on how clean elections work. Also, if you go to the home page, there is a short movie of people explaining the advantages of their clean elections.

How do you get started… Old school campaigning.

In the faq, you’ll see people can collect seed money (from individuals). I would think this money would come from local political clubs, also, you’d get volunteers from your club as well. (for instance, I’m active with my local Democratic club, this is where I would first get support).

Each city and state that does this may have slightly different rules. I suspect that if applied to a Federal level, the rules would be similar.

Also, I should point out, that under clean election laws, the program is voluntary. Meaning, a well funding candidate can opt out. However, and this is the kicker, a qualified clean money candidate would receive almost the same amount as the other dirty money candidate. Each state uses a similar formula. Since a clean money candidate does not have the overhead of having to pay for money drives, he/she would get 70% to 80% of what the dirty money candidate raised. Seeing how the dirty money candidate has to spend money to raise money (30% to 40%). These are the matching funds that evens out the playing field.

This is a great system already in use, providing those citizens more access to their representatives, and holding those politicians more accountable to their consistently.

Posted by: Patrick Howse at January 25, 2006 7:16 PM
Comment #116829

Pundit,

“I think it’s interesting that we get significant ideas for curing one of the fundamental problems with our system from Democrats, while Republicans merely offer little band-aids to keep the puss-oozing sores from offending the voters too much during an election year.”

I wholeheartedly disagree with this blanket-statement, and furthermore, it is precisely this kind of vilification which prevents bipartisan support for real change. Democrats are corrupt as well - you might claim to a lesser degree - and I will tell you that no level of corruption is tolerable.

In addition, there are some good Republicans working hard to enact real and substantial change. More importantly, relatively no one is pushing hard or far enough. As I stated previously, No Gifts Period; No Earmarks Period… and let me add one to the numbers (many of which have been detailed in other posts)… No PACS Period!

Show me a democrat who supports *that* statement.

But wait, how will they run their campaigns? how about with *good* ideas, instead of endless streams of verbal defecation.

But wait, how will they manage to find a loophole which allows them to resume selling our freedom for cash donations?
Sorry, I don’t have an answer for that one.

Posted by: Diogenes at January 26, 2006 12:06 AM
Comment #116998

Never happen - only for media food!

Posted by: Reporter for Doody at January 26, 2006 11:44 AM
Comment #117019

Never say never. There will eventually be change when the lack of it becomes too painful.
But, then the cycle will probably start all over again. The trick is to live during the best parts of the cycle.
And then, who knows…maybe someday, humans will learn how to avoid all but step (3).

Posted by: d.a.n at January 26, 2006 12:18 PM
Comment #117156

Paul, I like your ideas… but it will never happen *sigh*

I would also like to add, that they actually have to go to work a set number of days a month/year/whatever. What pisses me off more than anything else in the whole world, is they go there only when there is a vote. No body actually reads the bills, not unless they wrote it :) just my thoughts.

-Einghf

Posted by: einghf at January 26, 2006 4:24 PM
Comment #117474

Any campaign reform would have to begin with ‘no greedy people should be allowed to run for any office’.Greed has no party designation and it cannot be stopped by reform and neither can the reason donations are made to a candidate.If you take money from a group of individuals who share your ideas and you are true to those ideas you serve them,but large organizations usually want special favors.No matter who contributes it should not be a bribe,but how can we know if it is except by how he or she votes.If I give you money to convince you to do something you would not do otherwise I have bought you,but if I give you money to do what you would do anyway I am not buying you.We should be able to help elect who we want,but,when he or she retires the campaign funds should not be put in the candidates pocket,but returned or donated to his party affiliation.Still some who are inclined to take bribes will find a way,so,we just have to make the punishment harsh enough to discourage it,then again,even that may not work.You cannot make people honest,they have to choose to be.

Posted by: RDAVIDC at January 27, 2006 8:29 AM
Comment #117542

You can make most people (not all) more honest.
If that were not true, we would have no order;
only anarchy, war, and total chaos.
But a law abiding society requires law enforcement.
However, law enforcement has a few important prerequisites.

The elements required are as follows (in this order):
[1] Transparency,
[2] which provides visibility,
[3] which provides concern and interest,
[4] which provides outrage,
[5] which provides laws,
[6] which provides law enforcement,
[7] which provides accountability,
[8] which provides responsibility.

Summarizing: Transparency —> Accountability —> Responsibility

That applies to all governments, organizations, and even personal relationships. Transparency reduces opportunity, and prevents unethical behavior and crimes that otherwise would almost certainly occur.

All societies rely on the success of that to some degree. When it fails, there is decay, oppression, totalitariansm, anarchy, revolution, war, looting, plunder, and chaos.

A lack of Transparency is the current problem we have with our government. And, voters apathy, despair, and complacency compounds it.

An obvious step to create more transparency in government would be a ONE-PURPOSE-PER-BILL amendment.

Others would be campaign-finance-reform, tax-reform, balanced-budget-reform, election-reform, etc.

Newcomers to Congress would like some of these reforms, but incumbents won’t let them pass any of these badly-needed, common-sense, no-brainer, responsible reforms. Incumbents tempt, pressure, and threaten newcomers if they don’t conform to the status quo.

The newcomers to Congress badly need the voters help.

Voters must vote out (or recall) all irresponsibe incumbents so that newcomers can pass badly-needed reforms.

Voters must simply vote responsibly to peacefully force government to be transparent, accountable, and responsibile too. That’s all. No complicated schemes, No grand strategies. Nothing more than that.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 27, 2006 11:31 AM
Comment #117560

You can make most people (not all) more honest.
If that were not true, we would have no order;
only anarchy, war, and total chaos.
But a law abiding society requires law enforcement.
However, law enforcement has a few important prerequisites.

The elements required are as follows (in this order):
[1] Transparency,
[2] which provides visibility,
[3] which provides concern and interest,
[4] which provides outrage,
[5] which provides laws, and law enforcement,
[6] which provides accountability,
[7] which provides responsibility.

Summarizing: Transparency —> Accountability —> Responsibility

That applies to all governments, organizations, and even personal relationships. Transparency reduces opportunity, and prevents unethical behavior and crimes that otherwise would almost certainly occur.

All societies rely on the success of that to some degree. When it fails, there is decay, oppression, totalitariansm, anarchy, revolution, war, looting, plunder, and chaos.

A lack of Transparency is the current problem we have with our government. And, voters apathy, despair, and complacency compounds it.

An obvious step to create more transparency in government would be a ONE-PURPOSE-PER-BILL amendment.

Others would be campaign-finance-reform, tax-reform, balanced-budget-reform, election-reform, etc.

Newcomers to Congress would like some of these reforms, but incumbents won’t let them pass any of these badly-needed, common-sense, no-brainer, responsible reforms. Incumbents tempt, pressure, and threaten newcomers if they don’t conform to the status quo.

The newcomers to Congress badly need the voters help.

Voters must vote out (or recall) all irresponsibe incumbents so that newcomers can pass badly-needed reforms.

Voters must simply vote responsibly to peacefully force government to be transparent, accountable, and responsibile too. That’s all. No complicated schemes, No grand strategies. Nothing more than that.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 27, 2006 12:09 PM
Comment #117563

Sorry for the double post, but there is definitely something buggy somewhere. I didn’t see the 1st post. I left the page and posted a comment on the RED column. Then I returned to this column. My 1st post still didn’t appear. So, I closed I.E. and tried it with NetScape. Still, the 1st post did not appear. So I closed NetScape, and restarted I.E., and Refreshed it to reload the page. Still, the 1st post did not appear. So, I entered the 2nd post (not completely identical either to the 1st). Then, suddently, both the 1st and 2nd posts appear (one at 11:31, and one at 12:09).

Posted by: d.a.n at January 27, 2006 12:15 PM
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