Democrats & Liberals Archives

Ethics in Government

Ethics in government? How does one achieve such a thing? Some legislators want to control “earmarking” - you know, the practice where each legislator throws in a favorite project into a spending bill. Other legislators want to more carefully regulate “lobbying.” Nobody seems to be concerned about “money,” the root of all our ethical problems.

The Senate Rules Committee, under the chairmanship of Senator Trent Lott, thinks that "earmarking" should be controlled. As far as lobbying is concerned, this committee recommends greater disclosure and bans on accepting gifts.

The Senate Ethics Committee recommends more disclosure, in other words, more reports by lobbyists. In addition, they want a "cooling off" period - a delay in the revolving senator-lobbyist door - of 2 years, an increase from the previous 1 year.

The Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee considered a proposal by Susan Collins, the chairperson, and Joe Lieberman, the ranking Democrat, to form a separate Office of Public Integrity that would initiate ethics investigations and then refer them the Ethics Committee. The committee as a whole, struck this down.

There you have it. Ethics at work in our Senate. No need for independent ethics investigations. Let's make "earmarking" a little more difficult. Let's have lobbyist disclosure.

This is a farce. Why do legislators write "earmarks," bend legislation, or in some cases, allow lobbyists to write the legislation, that benefits certain industries or businesses? "Earmarking" itself is not the problem. The activity of lobbying is not the problem. The question we should ask is why is there so much corruption in the legislative process?

The answer is obvious. Money is the problem. Rich people give money to politicians in order to influence them. Big corporations run PACs to give politicians money in order to affect the laws that get passed. Industrial groups spend big bucks on lobbyists, who in turn, spend big bucks on politicians, to change the nature of regulation and to write favorable laws.

Money is the problem. Yet, nobody in Congress is addressing this issue. There is only one way to solve the problem of ethics and that is to reduce the influence of money. We must make it impossible for anyone to buy legislation by corrupting a legislator.

We tried limiting campaign money with McCain-Feingold. I was for it. Frankly, however, it did not work. Evidently, the answer is not to try to control how much money is spent, but to assure, more or less, that everyone has the same amount of speech-money. The only way I can think of doing this is to have the public financing of campaigns.

Many of you will rebel at the idea. Why should I give my money to someone who is politically on the opposite side of me? many of you will ask. To sustain our democracy, I answer. Also, in the current system, rich people and corporations get their taxes reduced as a result of their campaign contributions; this means that your taxes are increased. Wouldn't you rather have your taxes go to maintaining a healthy democracy than to corporate thieves?

Nothing but public financing of campaigns can reduce corruption and bring ethics back to government.

Posted by Paul Siegel at March 3, 2006 3:38 PM
Comments
Comment #131153

I agree Paul If we want honest elections and honest elected officials then public financing is the only way to go. JT

Posted by: J2t2 at March 3, 2006 3:58 PM
Comment #131157

I would like to see more discussion on the public financing of elections issue of which I am in favor by the way. What are the top 3-5 reasons against it?

Posted by: Bill06 at March 3, 2006 4:24 PM
Comment #131164

This is a tricky subject. One of the main reasons for earmarks is that the federal government is being used to perform and fund functions of the state and local governments. These earmarks arent just giveaways to lobbyists, they are what keep congressional leaders in power. If you bring jobs and military bases to your district, you look good, they vote you back in. That money is the big issue here.

I do agree that we need to take corporate interests out of politics. This is not, however, going to happen because the Republicans and Democrats get fat and wealthy off of corporate donations. One is as bad as the other. This is why i refuse to vote for either party.

The Ian.

Posted by: iandanger at March 3, 2006 5:04 PM
Comment #131180


Bill06:

I would like to see more discussion on the public financing of elections issue of which I am in favor by the way. What are the top 3-5 reasons against it?

Number one to me is that money is a form of free speach. One group imposing it’s will on an election process through controling money flow, is another form of tyranny. We have to pick our poison. Whose tyranny do you want? The wealthy? (like now) or some other??

Craig

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 3, 2006 7:06 PM
Comment #131182

After watching a smug Trent Lott recently defend the practice of lobbyist comp’ed meals and trips as though they were the extent of the abuse, I believe the idea of publicly funded elections needs more advocates.

Al Franken has talked a lot about this issue recently as well Paul, and you can bet he’ll campaign on it against Norm Coleman. I also believe this would be a pivotal issue for the likes of a Presidential contender named Feingold. And I believe it’s worth composing an email to my U.S. Senators, Dick Durbin and Barack Obama.

Posted by: Bert M. Caradine at March 3, 2006 7:53 PM
Comment #131223

Craig Holmes:

money is a form of free speach

This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. I don’t even know where to begin.
Not everything you can do with money is legal. Your vote and your public opinion about who is a better representative are two things protected by various parts of the Constitution. I suggest you use them to elect who you want and persuade others to vote with you.
Quite the opposite, buying politicians via campaign funding is not a constitutionally protected right. It is a perversion of the system. It works out to be a general tax on democracy, the proceeds of which go to private companies.
Maybe it’s more illustrative to ask why candidates need to raise so much money. Stump speeches are one thing, but hundreds of television advertisements at thousands of dollars each makes for an expensive campaign. Who benefits from this expense? Private companies that sell ad time to BOTH SIDES. Who suffers? The people, as plenty of potential candidates who are not independently wealthy or well-connected simply can’t bear such monumental expense. Frankly put, we all deserve better choices, and limiting our selection to those who are either wealthy already or easily corrupted puts the republic in a terrible predicament.
Publicly funded elections are, quite simply, the best solution. The money in the system is the problem, so remove it. If your eye offends you…
Out of curiosity, would you feel the same way if defendants simply bought judges presiding over their trials? Free speech, after all…

Posted by: T. Jefferson at March 4, 2006 12:10 AM
Comment #131269
Number one to me is that money is a form of free speach. One group imposing it’s will on an election process through controling money flow, is another form of tyranny. We have to pick our poison. Whose tyranny do you want? The wealthy? (like now) or some other??

Craig

To answer your question: some other.

The tyranny you seem afraid of seems to me to be the tyranny of the people, as that is who would fund the elections through this system. The group that will be imposing its will on the process will again be the people, equally, rather than the minority who currently occupies this position.

Is government controlled and financed by the people truly a tyranny, as you put it?

Posted by: Liberal Demon at March 4, 2006 7:45 AM
Comment #131283

I dont think public financing can be considerd tyranny by the people, at least not the way Tocqueville or Jefferson meant it. If campaigns are going to be publicly financed they need to be equally financed, regardless of an individuals political affiliation. All sides get equal amounts including independents. In addition, there can be no advantages for the incumberant. If we are going to have public finance it must be equal and fair. If we did this, the only thing that would seperate the candidates would be the issues and their voting records.

Posted by: tom at March 4, 2006 9:07 AM
Comment #131325
Paul Siegel wrote: Ethics in government? How does one achieve such a thing? Some legislators want to control “earmarking” - you know, the practice where each legislator throws in a favorite project into a spending bill. Other legislators want to more carefully regulate “lobbying.” Nobody seems to be concerned about “money,” the root of all our ethical problems.

Paul Siegel,
The problem is Corruption.
Not money.

To say money is the problem is like saying religion, race, color, gender, etc., is the problem.

No.
Money doesn’t hurt people, or politics, or anything.

People hurt people.
Some people misuse their money.
Some people use vast wealth to control government.
Some people use vast wealth to buy elections.

That is bad.
So, the system is flawed.
Campaign Finance Reform is badly needed.
But, incumbents won’t allow that to happen.
Incumbents won’t allow any reforms that reduce their power or opportunities for self-gain.

Most people, understandably, seek security and prosperity with the least effort and pain. That is simply a human characteristic. Work (especially hard work) is painful (sort of). Most people seek the path of least resistance, within certain constraints, such as laws, ethics, and morals.

However, some people do not. Some will resort to unethical (or illegal) methods to obtain security and prosperity.

They are Corrupt.

But, what prevents Corruption ?

Accountability (i.e. consequences, laws, etc.).
Transparency (i.e. visibility, evidence, being seen, outrage, etc.).
Power (i.e. to enforce laws, stop illegal behavior, punish the abuser, and guarantee consequences to discourage and prevent future illegal or unethical behavior, etc.).
Education (i.e. understanding the importance of Education, Transparency, Accountability, and Power; the prerequisites for Responsibility or Corruption.

Transparency leads to Accountability.

But, Transparency will not come about without Education.

So, the problem is not money.

The problem is:
Laziness, rooted in the human nature to seek security and prosperity, with the least effort and pain. While laziness is a natural human trait, it is immoral to succumb to completely.

Laws, and the enforcement of those laws make us better. Without them, we would have savage anarchy, and survival of the fittest.

So, laziness, and a lack of Education, Transparency, and Accountability have made our government irresponsible and unaccountable, and voters complacent and negligent.

So, we are all culpable (government and voters), and lacking Education, Transparency, and Accountability.

Responsibility = Power + Education + Transparency + Accountability

Corruption = Power - Education - Transparency - Accountability

The solution is:
Sufficient Education, Transparency , and Accountability, and Power to properly enforce the laws.

The solution must first begin with Education of the six (6) important factors above.
Education can lead to Transparency.
Transparency can lead to Accountability.
There is no lack of power, and rarely is.
Only a misuse of it.

The voters must now do their part.
Government will not reform itself.
When the corruption finally creates enough pain, and if voters still have the right to vote, the voters will finally vote out irresponsible incumbents. Until then, the longer the voters wait, the more difficult and painful reforms will be.

The funny thing is, all voters could go vote out all irresponsible incumbents, replace them with candidates that understand that they too will be voted out (or recalled) if they continue to be irresponsible.

But, the voters are not yet convinced it is necessary. And, unfortunately, the voters won’t be until the solution is too late, and the reforms are more difficult and painful (mostly for themselves; not the abusers in government who all have golden parachutes). And, the sad part is that the voters continue the cycle over and over, and keep allowing corruption to begin growing again and again, instead of demanding Transparency, and exercising their right to vote every election to remove irresponsible incumbents, always.

So, all the discussion of “Earmarks”, “Pork-Barrel”, “Term Limits”, “Campaign Finance Reform”, “Tax Reform”, “Border Security”, “Election Reform”, “National Debt”, etc. are all a waste of time if we never do the one thing, first, we were supposed to be doing all along: vote out (or recall) irresponsible incumbents, always, every election, until no more are left, and the government finally starts to pass some of those badly-needed, common-sense, no-brainer reforms that they have been ignoring for decades.

Unfortunately, we will most likely have to learn the hard way (again).

Posted by: d.a.n at March 4, 2006 6:44 PM
Comment #131327

Campaign Finance Reform is needed, but no reforms are possible until voters get fed up enough to peacefully force government to pass some badly-needed, common-sense, no-brainer reforms.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 4, 2006 6:48 PM
Comment #131366

Of the many things the founding fathers could not have possibly imagined (like someone claiming a constitional right to own and bear a high powered automatic assault weapon) is that the political system they designed would become so corrupt. If they had, they surely would have instituted a FOURTH BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT whose sole duty is to safeguard the ethics of the other three branches.

Posted by: Thom Houts at March 5, 2006 2:13 AM
Comment #131368

Campaign Reform:

My local cable company has a channel devoted to my community. It is called the Public

Access Channel. Currently, the local radio station dominates the audio input and a

billboard dominates the video. We can listen to our high school basketball team play!

The billboard consists of a graphic being displayed for a number of seconds. The graphic

would resemble a business card. Charity and non-profit graphics are free. Equal access

is granted to others for a small fee.


Was that an oxymoron!?
Equal access, for a fee!
Har Har Har.

Shut-up! Dagnabit, I’m talkin’!

Anyway, Anyone can launch a campaign if this equal access is taken advantage of. Local

access is by definition Local. A candidate for mayor has only to access the city. People

who agree or dissagree have the same access. A state or federal candidate has 10

seconds for 2 bucks. The same exact access. Everyone running for anything can make a

10 second clip saying anything and display it on the Public Access Channel. It’s access is

local and it is accessable to all.

Ha! My sides are hurting! I’m laughing so hard!! You wouldn’t be able to get out a well

timed fart if everyone had the same access! Ha! Ha!

Ahem, HMmmm……
OH! Yes! My Point!
Can you imagine the amount of money that’s being paid to government by the employers

in your city? We send it all that money to the government and we jump thru hoops to get

some of it back.

What if we just refuse to send an elected official to Washington, D.C.? Elect nobody, and

send nobody to D.C. to represent us. I think nobody will get more results. Because we

cannot be taxed without representation. We won’t be secessionists, just passive

observers.

That money will be diverted to local government. Local government will provide for the

poor, sick, elderly. Doctors and churches and non-profit organizations will answer only to

the local problem. Taxes paid by employers and employees doing business in that local

will go to the local government, quantified, and invested in the best interests of the local.


Posted by: Weary Willie at March 5, 2006 2:18 AM
Comment #131371

Our businesses and property will be free of taxes if we have no representation in the federal government. We don’t have to secede from the Union. We chose to gain the majority by not participating in it.

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 5, 2006 2:36 AM
Comment #131376

There are those who give more money because they have alot at stake. Decrease the influence government has on our businesses and there would be no need to bribe congressmen. Allowing a lazy mob to pilfer what someone has given his life to earn is immoral.
Who will determine the people worthy to run for office and recieve public money? You would end up with the bribes and favors going to them. I think this would be a worse tyranny.

Posted by: Kruser at March 5, 2006 4:17 AM
Comment #131377

Willie, not everyone is as weary as you of the federal tax burden and beleive it or not, some of us trust our federal government to be less corrupt than our local leaders. I, for one, do not trust my state or municipality to set the bar of educational standards… though I’m not happy with the limbo level the current administration has set, but I KNOW my local officials COULD and probably WOULD ‘go a little lower’. Nor, do I think I’d entrust them to fight the war on terror on my behalf. Again, I’m not happy with the current effort, but I’m confident it could be significantly less effective with 50 states waging the war individually. And no, I’m not happy with federal subsidies of SUV’s, but I’m inclined to doubt very many local governing bodies would sink anything at all into furthering alternative fuel vehicles.

THAT BEING SAID, however, if everyone else is on the same page as you, I would be more than happy cast the lone vote deciding who goes to Washington from MY state.

Posted by: Thom Houts at March 5, 2006 4:48 AM
Comment #131384

Yes I suppose it would be highly tyrannical of our government to actually allow non-millionaires to run for public (remember that word?) office.

Alright, all sarcasm aside, people have raised some important issues regarding the public funding of elections, but why allow some (correctable) hypothetical barriers to this idea act as an unsurmountable obstacle to trying it in practice?

Thats what really bothers me when this issue (and many others) is brought up. Yes, there are some flaws in the basic idea, but no, this does not mean that our system is somehow automatically better than any other. Instead of working together to try to overcome the obstacles and move our country forward, it becomes a silly argument focused on these obstacles rather than the solutions.

An infinite number of fully-funded candidates would create a chaotic election process, and the process of selecting who would make the cut is, of course, prone to corruption and something that needs to be thoroughly addressed/worked out before implementation. Is this impossible? No. Difficult, yes, of course, but we must at some realize that the path of least resistance isn’t often the correct one.

I fail to see how these problems prove that our current system is, in any way, better though. Especially considering that the arguments against this idea are based on the fact that the proposed system isnt perfect.

No system is, was, or ever will be perfect, demanding perfection within any system proposed to replace the current one will only lead to stagnation and a more entrenched encumbancy which will be harder to rein in when at last we see what they are really doing.

Instead, we must ask ourselves if this is the best we can do given our limitations. If not, it is our duty to try and make it better.

Posted by: Liberal Demon at March 5, 2006 8:51 AM
Comment #131454

It is obvious that the Soros millions couldn’t by the last election. I think we should repeal Finegold and allow our elections to be free again. Communications the way they are today, including this blog are the best defense against millionares winning elections. It doesn’t matter if a bonehead runs millions of dollars worth of adds. American people have access to all the dirt with alternate medias. We also still prosecute corruption. This is the empowerment of the individual even if libs don’t win and there is bitterness. In the past the opposite was true and the conservatives were bitter. There is little cry from the winning party about corruption and I am sure libs would be content with the system if they were winning. There would be bragging about how the will of the people prevailed.
As far as education is concerned, I homeschooled my boys dispite threats of jailtime because the quality of our area schools were so poor. Local parents and not a far away indifferent government are the most effective educators


Posted by: Kruser at March 5, 2006 7:43 PM
Comment #131499

dan,

The problem is Corruption. Not money.

To say money is the problem is like saying religion, race, color, gender, etc., is the problem.

No.
Money doesn’t hurt people, or politics, or anything.

Maybe, but the problem still comes down to money. If unethical lobbying were made illegal, i.e. if businesses could no longer give gifts in exchange for legislation, we wouldn’t have most of these problems in the first place.

The bribery has to stop. Of course, in addition, the people who have done it now or in the past need to be voted out. Government officials should be ethical people concerned with representing the public. Of course, unfortunately this would never happen in the current climate.

Posted by: John at March 6, 2006 12:06 AM
Comment #131504

“This is the empowerment of the individual even if libs don’t win and there is bitterness. In the past the opposite was true and the conservatives were bitter. There is little cry from the winning party about corruption and I am sure libs would be content with the system if they were winning. There would be bragging about how the will of the people prevailed.”

youre correct, look at the senate under the control of the democrats, there was always corruption there too. my only issue is you using lib (liberal) as a pseudonym for democrat. terms like liberal and conservative dont really work in these circumstances, because the christian neoconservative movement is mostly liberal. There is nothing i dislike more than using poorly defined terms like liberal, when what you actually mean is something they have a name for alread.

/rant.

Posted by: iandanger at March 6, 2006 12:34 AM
Comment #131535

Kruser,

It doesnt bother you at all that during the last presidential campaign, the two major candidates spent nearly half a billion combined dollars? Senate races average over 2 million dollars spent, and House races are somewhere in the neighborhood of 700 grand. (Please forgive me if these totals are off a little, Im going on what I learned a few years ago in Poly-Sci…)

I dont know about you, but I can think of about a thousand better uses for that amount of cash. The first candidate who spends enough money on one add to tell everyone that he donated the rest of his campaign money to a worthy cause has my vote, hands down.

When you accuse the so-called liberals (Democrats) of being happy when they win, you would be technically correct, but please remember that you are admitting to the same error right now in regards to the Republicans.

The problem is that both parties are completely entrenched in the current political climate of greed. They will bow to wherever the money comes from, which is why the money needs to come from us, the people, not multinational corporations whose interests arent exactly in line with the average American.

As to education, Im not sure where that fits in this conversation, but Im sorry that your schools are so horrible where you live. Personally, were I to one day have children, I wouldnt trust myself to be able to fully educate them, as not many people are well-versed in the wide array subjects that are available in our school systems (I could teach them math and english, but my molecular biology and physics are, admittedly, more than a bit rusty).

I can’t for the life of me figure out how anyone can be completely satisfied with how our representatives are elected, or how they are performing in regards to most of the issues in the world today.

The partisan stranglehold on our government is merely serving to divide the populace into two bitter camps endlessly arguing over whose team is better (politics shouldnt be a football game), while the ones in power laugh all the way to the bank with our money.

Posted by: Liberal Demon at March 6, 2006 5:42 AM
Comment #131677

I fear voters will have to learn the hard way.
One can hope for better, but if the voters don’t put a stop to the fiscal irresponsibility of the federal government, it won’t be hard at all to see how the next recession could easily turn into the next depression.

Time is important.
The longer it keeps going this way, the harder it will be to reform it.

Take IRAQ for instance.
We, fortunately, are not as bad off as they are.
But, since the situation in IRAQ existed for a long time, the bad forces were allowed to grow in number and severity for many decades.

Same with most any problem.

The longer it is ignored, the more painful the eventual reforms (if any) will be.

Since recessions come and go every 2 to 11 years for the past 46 years, the next recession, which will come some day, will likely be about 2013 or sooner (since the last recession was 2002).

But, are things the same now? No.
[] We in more debt ($8.2 trillion; now 67% of GDP; up from 33% in 1980)
[] We are at war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
[] We have energy vulnerabilities.
[] Median incomes have fallen for 6 years.
[] Energy costs are on the increase (looked at you fuel and electic bill lately?).
[] Foreclosures have risen for 13 months.
[] Interest rates are increasing.
[] Inflation is increasing.
[] Foreign competition is greater now.
[] Social Security is $12.8 trillion in the hole.
[] Medicare has never been in worse shape.
[] The gap between the wealthiest 1% of the population hasn’t been larger since the Great Depression of 1929.
[] more …

The frustrating thing is that voters have the theoretical capability to remedy the situation, but no motivation to do so.

So, we are in a hell that politicians created and voters tolerate.
We are both culpable.
It makes no sense.
So, that is why we will probably have to learn the hard way again, and again.

But, maybe someday, voters will learn to do the one simple, common-sense, no-brainer, non-partisan, peaceful, responsible thing they were supposed to be doing all along: vote out (or recall) all irresponsible incumbents, always, every election, until no more irresponsible incumbents exist, and politicians finally pass badly-needed, common-sense reforms, and finally start doing something other than fillin’ their own pockets, gettin’ theirs, trollin’ for campaign money, votin’ on pork-barrel, graft, & corporate welfare, and finally do something that has some net benefit to society.

No, it won’t likely change until it gets much worse, because pain is what motivates voters.
Voters are complacent and negligent until the pain level grows sufficiently bad. What the voters fail to realize is how bad decisions made decades ago, and continued fiscal irresponsibility are locking them into a path that will be very difficult (or impossible) to avoid. The pain may already be on its way. And, the sad fact is, the voters have themselves to thank for it, just as much as the corrupt, bought-and-paid-for incumbents.

But, the bought-and-paid-for incumbents all have golden parachutes. They won’t be the ones to suffer the most. The average voters (90% of the population with only 29% of all wealth) will suffer more. And, perhaps they should. Otherwise, how will they ever learn to start doing their part too to stop perpetuating the cycle of corruption within government, and learn that government is always trying to grow corrupt.

All organizations are always trying to grow corrupt. Take middle management in corporations. Have you ever noticed that all the geniune, do-nothing, know-nothing buttholes somehow always manage to wiggle their way into a management position. Why is that? That is because that is where they can all hide-out and do nothing for the most part. And size seems to be a factor. The larger the organization becomes, the worse the corruption becomes. Congress is like that, and government continues to grow and grow to nightmare proporation. You don’t find as many cheaters at the worker-bee level or within top-management level. They don’t last long as bad CEOs or bad worker-bees. They usually get fired. But, they can last for years and decades in middle-management, congress, and some other similar organizations. That’s simply just the way it is. It is not meant to be overly negative or cynical. It’s simply human nature to seek security and proseperity with the least effort and pain, and some, without an environment of sufficient education, transparancy, and accountability, will always resort to unethical or illegal methods. Corruption is like a weed. It will grow whereever it can get a foothold. The longer it grows, the harder it is to get rid of it. This is what voters need to realize, and understand that they, themselves, by allowing it to grow, are sabotaging their own lives.

Only education, transparency, and accountabiltiy can stop it, by motivating voters to finally learn to do the one simple, responsible thing required to make government responsible too !

Posted by: d.a.n at March 6, 2006 5:05 PM
Comment #131722

One is a corporate v.p. and the other is a Pharmacist. We moved to an good area for high school. Their teachers really enjoyed their independance. I really didn’t teach them well but being around adults and acquiring drive or thirst is what they really needed. Information is generic and will be forgotten. Access is easy. The basics and drive is all anyone needs.
I mentioned this because of the constant mantra in another post that we need more education.
Nonviolent contention is a sign of a healthy republic. I would be more worried if all I heard were good things from opposing parties toward each other. You would think they all must be covering up something or there was a media monopoly.
What weeds out do nothings in a capitalistic society is downsizing. I had a job once where the corporate heads asked me to babysit their engineers and keep them out of trouble. When prices fell, they were layed off and I continued as a simple equipment operator. It always works out that way when you are patient.
I consider the money paid to polititians protection money. They have way too much under their control. This is the area that needs work.

Posted by: kruser at March 6, 2006 8:11 PM
Comment #131965

Conservative Ethics

Now, imagine This:

You are a twelve-year-old girl - blonde with blue eyes - from a Conservative American family. You’re just as cute as you can be - and you’re pregnant, because your father (who has been raping you since you were ten) has made you so. As you carry in your mind the wounds and scars of his sick lust, you now carry, in your young body, the product of his actions to fulfil it.

And now, since your family lives in South Dakota, you must bring this “love child” to term, and deliver it into the world: the screaming, crying, very possibly monstrous, reminder of your daily torment and nightly abuse - because the Conservative Value of the situation demands it. The “Family Value” of Conservatism says you may not have this nightmare ended sooner, rather than later, because the Conservative law says you must carry this horror within you, and then deliver it, at age twelve - even if it threatens your health to do so - and even though it is a product of Rape and Incest.

This is an example of Conservative “Ethics.”

But there are many more:

Let’s say that now you are a twelve year old Chinese girl, with short black hair cut in bangs over your dark eyes. You are just as cute as you can be. Your family has just sent you to a better life in the Marianas - a commonwealth in political union with the U.S. They have raised several thousand dollars to send you and your sister to Saipan where you have been promised a good job and the possibility of U.S. citizenship in the future. When you get there, your sister is separated from you, and you are both sold into Child Prostitution. If you get pregnant “on the job,” you will have a Forced Abortion. And all of this is because of the policies of none other than Tom Delay and other good Conservatives - it is an example of their Ethics and Values at work in the Global Economy:

http://www.texasobserver.org/showArticle.asp?ArticleID=1743

Here’s another example:

American Conservatives (the overwhelming majority of whom identify themselves as being “Christians”) are also in favour of the Death “Penalty.” After all, wasn’t Jesus? He was, in fact, lawfully arrested by the local enforcers of the Law, duly tried - not once, but three times - and, having exhausted his “appeals,” was executed according to the Law. And so you have yet another example of Conservative “Ethics.”

Oh, I could go on and on: the response to Hurricane Katrina, and the lies to cover it up; the programme of lies to get America into the Iraq War, and the other lies to cover that up; the outing of an active CIA control officer for political payback, and the subsequent folding of her entire operation - including hundreds of foreign operatives and cutouts as well as their cover organisation - and the lies to cover that up; the violation of the constitution in order to conduct unwarranted surveillance on U.S. citizens, and the lies to cover that up. The list just goes on and on and on and on…

I wonder, just how much more of these Conservative Values can this nation endure, before it ceases to be America at all?

Posted by: Betty Burke at March 7, 2006 5:52 PM
Comment #132064

Kruser,

I disagree that blogs like this and technical advances in communications are going to counterweigh the corruption of big money in election campaigns. A very large number of people in this country don’t have access to the internet at home. Many can’t afford it in the first place. In lots of cases, it’s more of a toy for the kids than a tool for the parents. I’m a employment counselor at a state-funded employment center in Texas and I can tell you that most of my blue-collar customers - welders, nurse’s aides, forklift drivers, carpenters, janitors and the like - don’t even know how to use a computer.

How are these folks (their numbers are growing every day) going to educate themselves to make an informed decision on election day? By watching TV.

Additionally, let’s take the example of a more firmly entrenched middle class family. The wife is an executive assistant (college educated) and the husband, also degreed, is a social worker. They have one child. While they both try to make time to educate themselves on candidates and issues, the course of an average day offers very little time to do so. Employers are cutting costs left and right, so you cruise the internet at work at your own peril. Tighter budgets make an average employee’s workload heavier, too - so even if there were no rules against it, who’s got time to surf for political info at work? Once you are home, well - I can tell you from experience that in order to spend quality time with your kids, make sure their schoolwork gets done, keep a decent house together, make sure everyone is eating a healthy dinner and ensure proper amounts of sleep, there is very little if any time for perusing alternative communications for political info.

And don’t get me started on the homeschooling thing. What I would give to have the time and money for that!

Posted by: macsonix at March 8, 2006 9:17 AM
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