What do you think of this?

We need equality under the law. Laws that apply to the rest of us must apply to Congress, including whistleblower, conflict-of-interest and insider-trading laws. Trading on nonpublic government information should be illegal both for those who pass on the information and those who trade on it. No more sweetheart land deals with campaign contributors. No gifts of IPO shares. No trading of stocks related to committee assignments. No earmarks where the congressman receives a direct benefit. No accepting campaign contributions while Congress is in session. No lobbyists as family members, and no transitioning into a lobbying career after leaving office. No more revolving door, ever.

The money-making opportunities for politicians are many. The most lucrative methods: accepting sweetheart gifts of IPO stock from companies seeking to influence legislation, practicing insider trading with nonpublic government information, earmarking projects that benefit personal real estate holdings, and even subtly extorting campaign donations through the threat of legislation unfavorable to an industry. The list goes on.
Astonishingly, none of this is technically illegal, at least not for Congress.

I didn't write this stuff. The person who did has more experience with these things. Do you think the OWS would go for it?

Posted by Christine & John at November 20, 2011 8:32 AM
Comments
Comment #332214

Why not name names? Why not provide specifics?

It’s not just Congress, by the way. Justice Thomas has gone over the rainbow, where other justices used to fear to tread. He no longer bothers to recuse himself from cases that involve organizations that pay him hundreds of thousands of dollars through his wife.

Posted by: phx8 at November 20, 2011 1:12 PM
Comment #332215

phx8

It is like the OWS. We speak in generalized rage.

It is interesting how fast some people get rich when they enter politics. Washington lost money serving his country. While I certainly do not advocate that, which would limit leadership to the independently wealthy, you really should not expect big spikes in income when people enter politics or soon after they leave.

I think it makes perfect sense to apply the same rules to congress as we do to others. I also believe that insider trading should be as illegal for politicians as it is for others. It would be interesting if politicians could not receive contributions while in office and it really makes no sense the a politician be hired as a consultant. What would he/she consult about if not how to manipulate the political system for advantage?

Posted by: C&J at November 20, 2011 1:34 PM
Comment #332216

I agree. So, let’s name names. Why does Palin pull her punch?

And again, it’s not just Congress. It’s also the Supreme Court. Justice Thomas no longer even tries to hide it, because no one can do anything about it. And it’s also the Executive Branch. President Ford did inside trading. And talk about a spike in wealth, Reagan increased his own personal wealth more than any other president in history.

It’s one of the reasons so many in Congress disliked Carter, including Democrat Tip O’Neill. Carter was never for sale.

Posted by: phx8 at November 20, 2011 1:46 PM
Comment #332220

Phx8

The reason I didn’t like Carter is that he was an educated fool and he got worse in recent years. I suppose others had their reasons not to like him besides that, but that would be enough.

Notice in the photos of Carter with other presidents that nobody stands near him. The body language says it all.

Posted by: C&J at November 20, 2011 3:40 PM
Comment #332221


I am sure you two’s politicians are guilty as hell, but not mine. Mine is one of the few good ones that need to be reelected.

Three hip hip hoorays for incumbency, partisanship and gerrymandering.

I would like to say that David Reemer’s VOID would be a good start, but as we saw with the tea party candidates, the first campaign stop is K Street.

The voters are the enablers of these kinds of activities. Look at how some of the GOP voters are swooning over Newt. It was just a witch hunt?

Some voters would have reelected Traficant from a prison cell and it wasn’t easy to convince the voters to give up on Jefferson. Had Delay not resigned, he had a good chance at reelection before the trial.

Posted by: jlw at November 20, 2011 3:41 PM
Comment #332227


Oh! The educated fool was ostracized, isolated by the corrupt ones.

Posted by: jlw at November 20, 2011 5:02 PM
Comment #332230


What? The OWS, a band of unclean, uncircumcised, philistines go for cleaning up the government corruption who’s primary cause is the Washington/Wall Street connection.

Yes, C&J, they will, so grab your tent and your porta potty and head on down there.

Posted by: jlw at November 20, 2011 5:33 PM
Comment #332231

The problem with the Palin article is that it does not name names. In a way, it resembles the scandal involving Penn State. Denouncing political corruption is fine, but if the denouncer refuses to name names, then they are protecting the institution at the expense of the victims, the people, the people who suffer at its hands. Name names. Put up or shut up; otherwise, that person is just as much at fault- no, even more at fault, since they know the identities of the political abusers- than those who commit unethical acts in the first place.

Posted by: phx8 at November 20, 2011 5:53 PM
Comment #332256

I laughed out loud when I found out who wrote the article. A person who has done more to capitalize on the political racket out there than most people I could name.

Good God man, your suggestions are great, but they could come from any Democrat, too, and with much greater sincerity. Republicans rationalized a revolving door culture, where figures circulated between the media, the beltway lobbyist field and the speaking circuit and office, and so you have Newt Gingrich as a new front-runner, despite the fact he’s done practically everything you’ve spoken of.

It ought not be necessary to push for new laws to keep our politicians, left, right, and center, honest, but nonetheless, it is. We should stop kidding ourselves that the system will work for us as long as the incentives are stacked the way they are.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 21, 2011 10:21 AM
Comment #332263

Stephen

You got my point, although I suppose you missed the irony. When you talk about how so many people agree with OWS, I always tell you that is because they are not specific.

We can say that the 99% agree with OWS, but they also seem to agree with Sara Palin.

Posted by: C&J at November 21, 2011 4:42 PM
Comment #332264

Here is what a OWS protest looks like

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BR6Gos2phok

One guy even punched the horse the cop was riding. But the police were behaving very well.

Posted by: C&J at November 21, 2011 4:47 PM
Comment #332283

c&J-
Well then, if single videos are incriminating, that must mean that all police officers are like the guy who basically walked down the line of protestors and peppersprayed them in the face, despite the fact they weren’t a threat to him.

No? Well I didn’t make that hasty generalization for a reason. Not every police officer is like that. Many police officers have stood respectfully by and done their duty while people protested peacefully. And really, peaceful protest is the norm. One punched horse does not make up for all the predicted riots that never happened, and it certainly doesn’t change the fact that many more protestors have suffered than cops or bystanders. They haven’t been out acting like thugs, and they’ve been getting brutal treatment even while they’ve been doing nothing more than a sit in.

The politics of this shows how out of touch the establishment has become. The surest way to ennoble the protestors is rough treatment. It’s what they expect, it’s what fuels people to go back out there, and in greater numbers.

You’re not relieving the stress that is causing people to act out. You’re assuming the obligation is on these people to sit down and shut up. Problem is, they were sat down and shut up, and your system made things intolerable for them. So now, the attempts to shut them up are simply provocation to stand up and protest again.

Going back to Palin, your side brought her up because she was young like Obama, female like Hillary, and suitably pugnacious about her rhetoric to give the base red meat. The trouble was, she was more, or to put it better, worse than that.

I mean, she got up and made a series of specific claims about what she did as Governor that were no sooner made than debunked. She might have inspired some Republicans with her energy, but folks like my mother (and these are her words “felt like stapling something to her head.” Personally, I found that her right wing arrogance was worse for the fact she did it with a Minnesota Nice accent, and her ignorance was abominable. Yet it would take another two years or so for the GOP to get tired of the damn woman. Why?

Because it’s your reflex to turn every attack, no matter how on target. Sometimes your enemies do you a favor by weeding out the weak, but for the last couple generations, Republicans have gotten more and more averse to answering to anybody else than Republicans. The pattern, ultimately, has become that you have Democrats who know they have to be the equal of a sometimes adversarial system, against Republicans who haven’t had to be smart enough, stable enough, or mainstream enough in order to secure nominations and elections. Recent gerrymandering’s only made things worse, because the GOP’s tilted even further towards hothouse flowers that only bloom in the midst of undisputed right-wing consensus.

The question is, will the Republicans let their candidates take more mainstream views, or is this going to continue to be a game of Republicans trying to impose their views on the mainstream no matter what? Will the Republicans realize that the whackos and extremists are costing them credibility and straining people’s patience, or will they continue to insist on people accepting a distance between what they want and how their leaders intend to rule?

And really, are the Republicans going to continue to go out there, and keep on creating moments that amaze people with their level of foolishness? Even the best candidates have their dumb moments, but unfortunately some have made a career of such moments, and don’t want to be safely consigned to the Vice Presidency. All joking aside, when your front runners seem to be all playing Russian Roulette with the gun pointed at their foot, you ought to be concerned.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 22, 2011 12:12 AM
Comment #332292

Stephen

Very often when the protester are sitting “peacefully” they are breaking the law. If a protester sits in front of the door I want to use, he is interfering with my legitimate business. That is what the occupy idea is all about, isn’t it? The whole idea is to seize property and prevent others from using it in the way they would otherwise want.

I don’t appreciate anybody seizing streets or parks that we all share. They are trying to impose their views on the rest of us by taking away our ability to enjoy parks and streets unmolested. They impose themselves on local businesses, using facilities meant for customers in ways that were not envisioned. That is why businesses have to keep street people out. OWS are essentially street people.

I understand that you want to attack Palin, since you cannot attack what she wrote. I understand that. I feel in some ways like that about OWS. I agree with some of their goals (as near as we can figure out what they are) but I disagree with their methods. I don’t expect you will understand this or see the irony of your own position, but I know that others will also read this.

Posted by: C&J at November 22, 2011 5:30 AM
Comment #332305

C&J-

The whole idea is to seize property and prevent others from using it in the way they would otherwise want.

You’re not trying to red-bait there, are you? Naw, you couldn’t be trying something so cliched.

Seriously, though, that’s quite a stretch. I don’t think we’re going to try to get them to give us Zuccotti Park. I think we’re protesting the way that Wall Street imposed on us for the last few decades, making America a less friendly place to work.

As for them being street people? Really. No. For the most part, they’re just like you and me. Funny how it is that you seek to cast them among the untouchable, the foul and the smelly, the folks you don’t want approaching you on the street, the filthy beggars.

I understand that you want to attack Palin…

No, you don’t. I attack her because she’s a bloody hypocrite. Why do you keep on getting taken in by this con artist? She used her office and her candidacy as Vice Presidency to live high off the hog, and has since enriched herself with cushy media positions and speaking fees, often at exorbinate rates. She rails against the corruption in both parties because she wants to ride the latest trend into more money and attention.

She encouraged exactly the kind of cronyism and federal waste she’s decrying now, exactly the kind of patronage and water-carrying for the special interests. Why do you choose to lend her any credibility?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 22, 2011 3:50 PM
Comment #332308


With Republicans in a quandary over a candidate, I guess the thought of Palin flying into the primaries on her black steed to sweep the halls of Congress clean is appealing to some of them.

“The whole idea is to seize property and prevent others from using it in the way they would otherwise want.”

Stephen, I think C&J are referring to the gas and oil industry. It doesn’t matter what those independent farmers want to do with their farmland, we are going to eminent domain their asses.

Posted by: jlw at November 22, 2011 5:16 PM
Comment #332314

Stephen

As you say (and criticize) I am not currently in the U.S. but when I am there I am a daily user of the parks. I like to walk or run and enjoy the trees and nature. I also walk, take the Metro of bike to get around. I know the places where OWS has camped out. One particular place is where I often used to sit under a ginko tree and wait for Chrissy so we could walk up to lectures at AEI. OWS has occupied that place. I use it for ten or fifteen minutes, then I move along and let others have a turn. OWS sits there all the time and takes the space from honest citizens. For that, I dislike them.

BTW - this is true of all long term protests. I recall those clowns who used to hang around in Lafayette park to protest Reagan. You go there to take a look at Taddeusz Kosciusko and all you get is ragged protesters.

One of the first Tea Party rallies was also there, BTW, but they stayed a couple hours and then went home.

Posted by: C&J at November 22, 2011 6:25 PM
Comment #332315

jlw

I support land owner rights and have written against the abuses of eminent domain. Landowners should have the unobstructed use of their land as much as possible.

The problem in Pennsylvania and New York is NOT that landowners don’t want to cooperate.

Posted by: C&J at November 22, 2011 6:28 PM
Comment #332319

C&J-
All too often in our lives, we don’t pay attention to those less fortunate than ourselves.

It’s all so inconvenient for you, isn’t it?

You don’t know what it’s like to be truly inconvenienced in this economy. To have to search for a job that five or six other people are competing for, then have some smug jackass on TV tell you you’re lazy and a leach on society. You don’t know what it’s like to be short on healthcare in this economy, to have watched your retirement collapse because some fool on Wall Street committed massive fraud. Consumers have basically fled the capital markets. You know why? Because one disaster after another has convinced them that the best and the brightest, if they’re running the companies, are running them into the ground for their own profit, and if they stick around with their retirement savings, they’re going to get squashed.

When all we are to those people are worker ants, and when all we get treated like liabilities, when the market is only allowed to crush down on wages, not raise them up to handle the costs imposed on people, then what we have isn’t classic Adam Smith capitalism, what we have is a monstrous, mechanized parody of it, that tries to lurch along on loanshark terms, while it brings entrenched poverty rather than enhanced fortunes to those between the rich and the poor.

I would like to think that the rich would just naturally give people a fair shake, but time and history have proven otherwise. They will, like most human beings, protect their own interests, even to the point of blindly ignoring the good of others. As you would restrict that tendency in the poor and middle class by not permitting moral hazards to persist, I would restrict that tendency in the rich, not permitting the temptations they find themselves unable to resist to endure.

But sometimes, people have to get a little inconvenienced to pay attention. Sometimes you have to bring the spectacle of a disgruntled segment of the bottom 99% to their doorstep, and confront the public, the media, the politicians, and the rich and powerful with it. Your people talked about the forgotten man, but here, it seems, you have people who you would rather forget. They’re doing these OWS events so you don’t have the option of hiding your elitism and your disdain behind layers of refined manners. And yes, even the steps you take the clear them out work to their advantage, especially since your people can’t seem to break their political preference for expedient use of force, rather than negotiation.

What you fail to realize is that by making these people into your enemies, you’re playing into their game. Once again, where co-opting the spirit of events would be smarter, where recognizing, then diffusing in red-tape a few promises would clear things out more peacefully and uneventfully, you instead choose to react with disgust, disdain, and airs of superiority. You’re sadly convinced that they care about honoring your sense of how they should conform, when the reality is, conforming to your system is the last thing they want to do.

Worse, millions of Americans, in fact a majority, agree. You might like to deny it, to quibble on the counts, but people are thoroughly dissatisfied with the status quo, and unfortunately, the status quo is what you’re struggling, fighting even, to force them into committing to.

You’re losing your hold on the public imagination, and the drastic nature of the actions your party has taken, and that the elite have taken indicates just how desperate you are.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 22, 2011 9:28 PM
Comment #332347

Stephen

I have been there. I was unemployed (or more precisely employed sporadically)for almost a year in 1982. I never accepted welfare, but I did mooch off my father and lived on beans, potatoes and sauerkraut. I worked at temporary jobs. They would call a few hours before I needed to show up to stuff newspapers or shovel dirt for minimum wage. This is after I had my MA in classics which was luxury for me, but didn’t (and was not supposed to) get me a good job.

I had other years of sub-optimal employment.

I have great sympathy for the poor and the hard working. Hanging around the park is not something I did in those days and it is not something good people do now. What is one of these guys got the call to work for minimum doing the things I did. Wouldn’t they be unable to hang around the park?

The worthy poor and the OWS are not the same.

Re the 1% and the 99% - the OWS occupation of city parks does not inconvenience the 1%. Do you think that the 1% really are big users of public parks? No it is the 99% like me, who do not use cars to get around and who like to use OUR parks. These guys litter up our world.

Let’s just hope for a rainy November followed by a cold and snowy winter.

RE OWS protesters, YES I would rather forget them. They have so far given us no ideas that we can work with. Just being pissed off (and pissing in the street) is not a program for progress.

Posted by: C&J at November 23, 2011 12:04 PM
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