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Lawmakers Who Upheld NSA Phone Spying Received Double the Defense Industry Cash

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  • *Sigh* (Score:5, Insightful)

    by M3.14 (1616191) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @05:07AM (#44420957)
    Seriously. Did anyone expect any other result? Money talks everywhere.
    • Re:*Sigh* (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ganjadude (952775) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @05:18AM (#44420999) Homepage
      And sadly most americans are too busy voting for the next american idol champion to even understand that the people that they vote into office are being bribed into removing more and more of our freedoms. The media has done their job well, that is they have actively assisted in the dumbing down of america.
      • Re:*Sigh* (Score:5, Insightful)

        by kthreadd (1558445) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @06:49AM (#44421329)

        Tha'ts pretty much what has happened everywhere else too. That doesn't make it right of course, but it's hardly a problem that is centric to America.

        • Re:*Sigh* (Score:5, Insightful)

          by trendzetter (777091) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @07:23AM (#44421455) Homepage Journal
          It's the American influence, indeed the US is central to the global unrestricted power of corporations.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by khallow (566160)
            What "unrestricted power"? It's too bad I have to interrupt your two minute hate here, but we need to keep in mind that the NSA remains a more powerful organization than the business corporations that people like to hate.
          • Re:*Sigh* (Score:5, Insightful)

            by 0111 1110 (518466) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @08:43AM (#44421893)

            Please enlighten us as to how the US is responsible for the existence of corporations in other countries. All it would take is one law to make corporations illegal. Any country could do it. Remember that these scumbag corporations are just acting in their own self-interest as everyone expects them to. Without the corrupt congressmen willing to accept bribes they would not be able to influence politics at all. And without a government which was abusing its power that vote wouldn't have been necessary. So don't let the government off the hook here. They are the ones who are actually doing the spying and the killing. The corporations are just getting rich off it. Which isn't a crime, but probably should be.

            • Re:*Sigh* (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Princeofcups (150855) <john@princeofcups.com> on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @11:29AM (#44423903) Homepage

              Please enlighten us as to how the US is responsible for the existence of corporations in other countries.

              You are either joking or young and ignorant of your history. From WWI on, the US and UK have lead the world in "defeating communism" and installing puppet rulers, influencing dictators, and generally installing huge corporations into every nation possible. The strength of the US post WWII forced most "free" nations to play along with the US's market driven economics or else dwindle. Look at the rebuilding of Japan and Germany. Look at the fall of the Soviet Union. Look at the oil industries in the middle east. These corporations did not spring up from local resources. They were funded and guided by American corporations, often through the work of their benefactor, the US government.

          • Re:*Sigh* (Score:4, Insightful)

            by chihowa (366380) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @11:20AM (#44423785)

            Are you not aware that the construct of limited liability corporations predates the existence of the United States? Mercantilism, a European doctrine, was responsible for horrible acts by corporations, including outright wars waged by corporations. Some of the most heinous companies that have ever existed, such as the East India Company and the South Sea Company predate the US as an entity or an economic power. Other more modern atrocities were carried out non-US oil and chemical companies. To conclude that too-powerful corporations are a result of US influence is to be disturbingly ignorant of world history.

            But anyway, your country is really your own affair. You can't blame your elected government's policies on the actions of foreign governments. If you don't like the way the US operates, you should stop your government from emulating them.

      • Ecuador (Score:5, Interesting)

        by FriendlyLurker (50431) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @06:59AM (#44421359)

        The media has done their job well, that is they have actively assisted in the dumbing down of america.

        You are correct, but lets be clear: "The Media" is overwhelmingly dominated by corporations, and it is not just Americas problem. Those corporations are overwhelmingly interconnected with the interests of a vast array of other unrelated businesses, be it just advertising revenue or outright arms of the same corporation. The mass corporate media is using FUD/muddying the waters/dumbing down just enough to make the majority of voters for political reasons, they are doing so because it is good business for other arms of their corporation and their partners.

        This is also the reason the mass worldwide corporate media react so violently, distort the facts as far as to turn them upside down, make unfounded extreme accusations when any country or individual calls out the massive, obviously society destroying conflicts of interest that we have today in corporate media. Imagine what the worlds media combined do when a country starts to pass media and airspace legislation to even up the playing field with more to share the space with social organizations (say 33% government channels, 33% private companies with no other business interests in country, 33% to social groups and organizations)? Well no need to imagine, we have a good example: Ecuador [zcommunications.org]. If your first reaction to naming Ecuador as a shining example is that you start frothing at the mouth, wanting to post AC to educate me on "the human rights abuses", "censorship", "repression"... etc etc of Ecuador - then you are knee-jerk reacting, a product of the pervasive mass media dumbing down we are talking about here. There are even " international press freedom organizations" lining up to condemn the country - all of them with dubious shady origins when you look into the details and all of them making claims that dont add up when you look critically into the facts. If your one of those then you owe it to yourself to read the link provided and do a bit of searching outside of mass media channels on this topic. Ecuador is the only country I know of that is attempting to tackle front on the conflict of interest that dominates mass media today (Apart from some organizations - Wiklleaks Party is trying to make it part of their election campaign in Australia, see "Can we trust the media" [kellietranter.com]).

        For example Rafael Correa told a well known Spanish interviewer Anita Pastor, and a paraphrase, "How could we reform the banking system when 80% of the countries media was owned by banks". As an aside, Anita Pastor during the course of the interview claimed that the worlds press was free and independent. In a stroke of irony she was fired shortly after by an incoming government due to asking the ministers uncomfortable questions during the election campaign. The same government and the other major party in Spain has now passed decrees in true American style,that all election interviews will be controlled, with controlled questions in a controlled marketing directed act. They have even changed the government controlled media so that all stories pass by them before being published. Just like nearly every other western country now. Free press, indeed.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @07:53AM (#44421601)

          I suppose if we used the same tech they use to paste virtual advertisements during sporting events, that whenever an American politician is speaking in front of cameras, it could help people understand what's going on when the suit the speaker is wearing is emblazoned with the names and/or logos of the corporations who've bribed him or her, like sponsors of a racing team.

          Imagine it, the schmuck steps up to a podium, his name appears in front of him, and the phrase "Brought to you by... " and the list of the ten biggest donors. Simultaneously, bumper stickers are digitally edited in on his chest, arms, legs, etc, as long as the cameras are on him and rolling.

          Couldn't hurt, dispense a little truth amongst the lies, right?

        • A follow up link [unesco.org] (pdf) with much more information and an in depth study into Ecuadorian media by UNESCO - for those that are interested in more than the 20,000ft overview with simplifications/possible inaccuracies that I gave above...
        • by ShakaUVM (157947)

          Obviously they are trying to be a shining beacon of free speech like their good friends in Venezuela. :p

          Correa is a smart guy, but he's also a socialist and has the socialist disdain for freedom of the press. While you may be absolutely right that the press represents corporate interests over the people's interests, passing laws to make it illegal to criticize the president does *not* make him a hero of free speech. He's trying to ban the opposition from speaking and putting party-controlled voices in their

          • You say "passing laws to make it illegal to criticize the president". With all due respect that is typical muddy the debate tactics, and not factually correct. The facts is that all countries have defamation laws, just that Ecuador has criminal penalties for defamation which is unusual and extreme by comparison. You imply that this is a law made by Correas government - which it is not. It is a punishment for defamations passed by and left over from previous extreme right wing government. If you read the UNE

        • Re:Ecuador (Score:5, Insightful)

          by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @08:26AM (#44421769) Homepage

          You are correct, but lets be clear: "The Media" is overwhelmingly dominated by corporations, and it is not just Americas problem.

          It's more of a problem in the US than in most countries, because many other countries have state-run media that is relatively free of corporate influence. There is no US version of the BBC, for example: PBS could be that, but because their government funding has been continuously cut back they spend most of their time begging for corporate cash. Now, obviously, state-run media is not free from government influence, but the countries with significant state-run media have at least something that can counter corporate media, whereas the US really doesn't.

          • Re:Ecuador (Score:4, Interesting)

            by FriendlyLurker (50431) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @08:40AM (#44421861)

            True, but public media is a thin line of defense that is very quickly being eroded. Saying that state-run media is relatively free of corporate influence is like saying that their politicians and power brokers are relatively free of corporate influence... i.e, not by much if at all.

            You do not have to look far to see the cracks. I have already Mentioned Spain governments firing any reporter that steps out of party line - and in Spain the banks own the two main political parties, lock, stock, and barrel. BBCs behavior in the drum beating leading up to all the latest decade plus of middle east wars is worse than shameful - following Tony Blairs US set agenda to the T. In Australia the government cant cut the ABCs budget enough year after year, so now they might as well be a private interconnected company given that they have to go hat in hand to advertisers just to make basic broadcasting costs. New right wing goverment set to win big the next election there will probably be the final nail in the ABCs coffin.

      • American idol was months ago

        Now it's the Penant race in baseball and football is starting soon. Add some news from the basketball offseason

    • We keep telling people to follow the money. Our lawmakers took our advice, they are following the money.

    • Re:*Sigh* (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @06:05AM (#44421189)

      "Campaign financing". They misspelled ILLEGAL BRIBERY, AN ACT OF TREASON, and punishable with 10 years of prison!

      How the hell do you Americans just go "Oh well, it is financing for their campaign after all. And we know that money if what elections are all about. Everything is Ok over here."
      Americans *love* to sue. So why aren't there at least 100 *million* Americans suing those criminals right fucking now?

      Come-ON! You're better than this!
      And this would be one of the rare occasions, where you all could go "'MERICA, FUCK YEAH!", and we Europeans would consider that awesome! Seriously. Go ahead. Flag waving and rock music blasting from a huge pickup truck; guys with flags around their foreheads blasting Gatling guns and girls with huge gigantic fake tits cheering for them; fatback fried in lard, battered, and fried in lard again; and all that stuff! (-; I'm joking a bit, but seriously, if you're put those bastards in prison, while doing it, and showed the world what the USA is all about, it would be OK.)

      It boggles the mind...

      • by berashith (222128)

        :)
        YYYEEEEEEEHHHAAWWWW

        The first problem is that the acts arent as illegal as you think, and it would be very difficult to even sure, let alone win. Now, it would make sense that these acts are illegal, but the guys taking the money are the same people that write the laws. And treason here is punishable by death, because we are freaking barbaric!

      • Because the President also supported the decision from the Congress.

    • Re:*Sigh* (Score:5, Insightful)

      by flyneye (84093) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @07:02AM (#44421371) Homepage

      Maybe it's time to quit or reorganize this business of a Senate and Congress. Make it corruption proof with life threatening pitfalls for underhanded activity. We would definitely get a different breed of politician. At this point I'd even settle for zealous nuts over the "professionals" we currently have raping us.

      • These guys are bit closer to zealous nut then professionals. Last time I checked they'd only managed to get both houses to agree to 13 bills. Since they all claim to be convinced the Nation Is In Peril, it strikes me that pros should probably be passing more then one proposal every three weeks. They aren't likely to pass a budget, or a debt ceiling hike without extreme drama. I will be surprised if Federal employees get all their scheduled paychecks on time this year, and won't be stunned if the military ge

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DMorritt (923396)
      America - the best government money can buy.
  • Time to chnage (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @05:11AM (#44420971)

    And why is it, this type of bribery continues? And where are the Republicans standing up saying how they are out for your rights, while they cut unnecessary government? And the Dems, who continued with the path that the Rep, put into place, that are acting as if they had no idea that surveillance was taking place on non-terrorist citizens..

    It is time for term limits, and prison time for lobbyists, and politicians that take bribes.

    • I hear they took a vote on whether to allow bribery to continue too. Can you guess the result?

      • by 91degrees (207121)
        Actually, no.

        The lawmakers don't benefit. It's essentially an arms race. The "bribery" comes in the form of campaign contibutions. They're committed to spending that money in order to win the election. Their opponents are forced to do the same. The net result is that the lawmakers and any challengers sacrifice some of their own power but the don't gain anything.

        If they voted against this, then their ability to fight the election would be reduced but so would that of their opponents.
    • The reason the bribery continues is simple.. We didn't follow the instructions.. Declare independence.. Check... Fight war for independence.. Check.. Build new government.. Check.. Water the Tree of Liberty with the blood of tyrants and kings.. Oops.. forgot that step.. Our own founder Thomas Jefferson said this would happen.. The corruption in a society (and complacency) is a guarantee with a fresh "reset" every once and a while. Nobody wants a war, but trying politicians in courts of their own making w
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @05:12AM (#44420977)

    Our congress isn't free. Our congress isn't in the best interests of the people. Our congress is bought, and until the people take a stand nothing will ever change.

    • by Zimluura (2543412) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @05:38AM (#44421095)

      but isn't it stranger than that?
      1) we get taxed
      2) iirc ~20% federal goes towards defense spending.
      3) then some fraction of that goes to defense contractors
      4) some fraction of that goes to the defense contractors lobbying budget...
      5) which they use to buy our lawmakers into purchasing more of their products for use against us...

      • by erikkemperman (252014) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @06:16AM (#44421235)

        True enough, you're paying for your own oppression.

      • by rkhalloran (136467) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @08:08AM (#44421661) Homepage
        Final address Jan 1961 as he left office: "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together." Some folks apparently weren't listening....
    • by UltraZelda64 (2309504) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @05:54AM (#44421159)

      Hell, this isn't even a representative democracy, let alone a pure one. All those motherfuckers are representing is the almighty dollar, not We the People as the Constitution states that they are supposed to do. They have basically sold one of our most important amendments that was in our Bill of Rights for a quick personal fix of $$$. George Carlin said it best when he said that the U.S. government has been bought and sold a long time ago. They might as well take that money they obtained through bribery and use it to re-write the entire U.S. Constitution--by now it needs it more than ever, because at this point it's clear that all it is is a fucking joke and everyone in the government is just wiping their ass with it anyway, laughing all the way while everyone watches fucking American Idol or the latest knockoff.

      Truly sad and fucking pathetic.

    • by dkf (304284)

      Our congress isn't free.

      Of course not. It takes a lot of money to buy a Representative, and even more to buy a Senator.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @05:14AM (#44420985) Journal
    Truly you have achieved the best government that money can buy...
    • by Bob_Who (926234)

      Truly you have achieved the best government that money can buy...

      You mean like GM makes the best car money can buy?

      The sad thing is we pay top dollar even though we buy substandard value, hardly worth the price. I mean why be the richest guy on the block if you only wanna drive a Cadillac? Talk about low standards. Casting pearls before swine, or putting lipstick on pigs seems to be the extent of benefit we receive as a society from all our surplus wealth .

      Whats the point of being the richest nation on earth if it fails to enrich the vast majority of its citizens? Wh

  • good to see free market applied to governments - you go land of the free(market)

  • We in the USA are blessed by the Great Invisible Puppeteer in the Sky with the best government money can possibly buy.

  • As a foreigner (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lesincompetent (2836253) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @05:25AM (#44421037)
    Isn't it exactly how congress works in America, the country that legalized bribery?
    • by korbulon (2792438)

      Legalized bribery ain't nothing new: selling indulgences, rent-seeking - hell, there's probably a wikipedia article about it.

      What's so awful is that they're pissing on the very things which were supposed to make America different and "better". Certain tenets were supposed to remain inviolate, and if they were violated it was with the understanding that it was just that: a violation, an illegal act. But no more. That's what's so disturbing: that this shit is apparently completely legal. It's horribly ironic

      • by 1s44c (552956)

        Lawyers care about what they can justify under their flexible interpretation of letter of the law. They are not concerned about the spirit or intent of the law.

        Most lawyers are game players with no morals because that's exactly what it takes to be a successful lawyer.

    • Keep in mind that the difference between $41k from the defense industry and $18k isn't actually that big a deal to a Congressman. A Congressman whose doing it right raises the $23k difference every month. Since only 205 of them voted against the bill, as long as Civil Libertarians pony up $5 million they'll actually turn a profit.

      So you've basically got it backwards. They got $41k because they were going after the tough-on-terror voters who actually like the NSA program (support goes up from 30%ish to 40%is

  • From a purely political perspective, the surveillance-against-citizens promises to be an important wedge issue in the next election cycle. Voters are divided on it, even the politicians are divided on it. We'll just have to wait and see, as unsatisfying as that sounds: in a representative democracy that's how these things are "corrected"... or not.

    I hope they just pound the hell out of the people who voted against this bill, be they R or D. I fear that it will all be forgotten one year from now.

    This is ho

  • No shit... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NicBenjamin (2124018) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @05:28AM (#44421047)

    The Defense Industry lobbyists were smart enough to know which candidates actually liked them, therefore they gave twice the money to those candidates. It's almost like the articles is saying they actually ask candidates what they think BEFORE they cut a bunch of checks.

    If you look at the actual numbers the ridiculousness of the "campaign contributions as bribes" theory gets even clearer. A House race costs at least $500k. In extreme cases (ie: Bachman) they cost millions. That's $700 a day for a cheap race. You'd rather have $40k from defense contractors then $18k, but the difference is only 32 days of fundraising for the guy with the cheap $500k race. Somebody like Bachman brings in $22k in under a week. Note that by international standards $500k is a really cheap election for the 750,000-person districts we have. Canadian pols spend in the $50k-$100k range, but a) there are generally three serious candidates in every riding so that works out to $150k-$300k per riding, and each riding only has 100,000 people in it.

    In other words if you're a Congressman you pick a side. If you pick the anti-NSA side you get geek donations, grassroots buzz from Civil Libertarians, and a little defense industry cash (Honeywell et al. want to maintain a relationship with you, so you do get that $18k). If you pick the pro-NSA-side you get to be tough on bad guys on TV, and you get a little more defense industry cash. You do not change a side just because somebody offers you a lot of money, because that would look terrible on TV ("He's an EVIL FLIP-FLOPPER"), the new voters you were appealing to wouldn't actually vote for you because they wouldn't trust you, and the ones you stabbed in the back are gonna hate your guts.

    Since the GOP won the last go-round tough-on-bad-guys got more votes then Civil Libertarians.

    • by Xest (935314)

      "If you pick the anti-NSA side you get geek donations, grassroots buzz from Civil Libertarians, and a little defense industry cash (Honeywell et al. want to maintain a relationship with you, so you do get that $18k)."

      In 2008 wasn't there a bunch of buzz about how Obama's campaign was funded far and away by individual donations over corporate donations? It was the little guy that funded Obama's campaign IIRC. Shame it doesn't seem to help much but I'd wager it's because Obama told people what they wanted to

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        2008 was a new generation of voters on both sides that thought their idealism would carry the day and wipe opposing views out of the way. Then the Tea Party and President Obama got into office, and their supporters found out how the real world works. Those that had been around a while (including Obama himself), seemed less surprised.

      • I don't think Obama broke any records last year, but he still had an awful lot of money from small individual donations.

        Small individual donations are actually the way all the biggest-money pols make their targets. Personal donations max out at $2,600, and both corporations and PACs are limited to $5,000. SuperPACs can spend unlimited amounts, but they are banned from actually talking to a campaign about strategy, and tend to be run by political novices; so dollar-for-dollar they have so far been extremely

    • by Phrogman (80473)

      So essentially your politicians are a bunch of money-grubbing whores who try to get all the cash they can to ensure they keep their jobs. Moreover, because you have very frequent elections, they probably spend a lot of their time engaged in turning another lobby-group/corporate trick in order to keep the money flowing in so they can stay in power.

      Does this leave them any time to actually try to do the things they were ostensibly elected to do?

      • Re:No shit... (Score:4, Informative)

        by NicBenjamin (2124018) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @07:01AM (#44421367)

        Depends.

        According to the Founders the federal government's job was to be exactly centralized enough to keep other countries out, therefore it's designed to include an intricate set of Checks and Balances that make it virtually impossible to actually do anything. Constant fundraising is an excellent additional check because it requires they talk to "the people" (aka: that set of people interested in politics, and with sufficient disposal income to donate) instead of law-making.

        According to the voters Congressman are magically endowed with a super-human understanding of the intricacies of both Federal law and public policy, therefore they not only have the time to read every bill they vote on (including all bills and amendments for everything that comes before their committee), they also magically understand all it's implications without help from their staffs. They are also able to instantly process any request that comes into their office, and respond with exactly the right combination of information, humor, and grace instantaneously. Which leaves them plenty of time to hammer out budget deals on reasonable terms that don't entirely please anyone, but give everyone a little of what they want. If half of Congress wants to fire all federal employees, and the other half wants to hire thousand more; not to worry Congressman have been granted the wisdom to square the circle by some clause of the Constitution or other. The $2 Billion we spend on staffers to do all this for the MBAs and Lawyers who dominate the Congress is just wasted money and if only we got rid of it there would never be a deficit ever again, everyone could get a tax cut, and we could triple Social Security.

        Back in the real world, there's no way in hell an MBA understands a law even until a staffer explains it to him with powerpoint. There's no way a lawyer understands how a law will work in the real world (as opposed to the glorified debating societies we call "courts") until a staffer explains it to him using a bizarre combination of very small words and Latin. Since the country is polarized, almost all of them are in districts where representing the district means mindlessly parroting an ideological line. In practical terms the only thing the constant fundraising actually does is force them to end their conversations with the phrase "And I need money. My staff thinks you can give $500, so make the check out to..."

  • Empires fall (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @05:32AM (#44421061)

    Dear americans, your empire is going to fall. Not today or tomorrow. But - younger of you may live to see it. Those of you who visited history lessons about not-america (also called "rest of the world") may notice the pattern: Roman Empire, British Empire, Russian Empire and so on.
    Yes, your country have lot of weapons. Guess what - romans had it too, russians still have. And yes, there are still many scientists live in US. Guess what - it may not matter that match.
    It may end in bloody conflict (see fall of Rome) or as peaceful dismount (see fall of Soviet Union) or as something in-between (British Empire). But - it will end. If history teaches us something, it's "too big army is bad for you".
    You guessed right - US military (and NSA is also considered military by us in "rest of the world") is way too big for US economy to support. Since US have not a single border with enemy states, it's army supposed to be about 1/1000 of current size. Yep, you read right: one hundredth. No, you don't need carriers. And no, you don't need that many nuclear submarines. And no, you probably don't need tanks AT ALL, nobody going to invade you any time soon.
    And finally - no, world don't need you as policemen.

    • by C0R1D4N (970153)
      Really? Cuz I read One one thousandth =p Anyone got a list of the 217?
    • by Dr. Spork (142693)

      Well of course this and all other empires will fall. It's basically the second law of thermodynamics applied to societies. The more relevant question is whether the empire which replaces it will also have panopticon spying on its citizens. And my confidence in answering 'yes' is at least 99%. Spying is the future.

      I'm not saying I like it, but I think we must focus on the next question, the question of what the state may do with the information they gather. Will we criminalize certain thoughts, opinions and

    • by Lennie (16154)

      Openness/transparency (like the article) and facts is the only thing that could still help.

      I guess we'll never see this facts on US TV.

      OK, they are going to fail.

  • by DarkOx (621550) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @05:41AM (#44421105) Journal

    We were warned about the dangers of the military industrial complex by one of our best presidents. Eisenhower kept this nation out of trouble (pointless wars and political suicide pacts) and allowed us to enjoy our peace dividends. We should have listened and remembered.

    • by Lennie (16154) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @06:48AM (#44421325) Homepage

      I didn't have any mod points for this, but if I did, I would have voted you up.

      This is exactly what I was thinking about too.

      Many US politicians even presidents (or their family) are involved in oil/energy, guns, medicine for example.

      Before they are a politician, they work at these companies and after they've been a politician, they go back working for the same companies.

      Anyone hear of the phrase "conflict of interest" ?

  • by Bob_Who (926234) <`ten.ohw' `ta' `boB'> on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @05:41AM (#44421107) Homepage Journal

    ....that still doesn't make it a democracy.

    As long as our "representational" government is hijacked to represent the majority of dollars instead of people and of free speech, then we've completely strayed away from any sort of democracy at all. I don't know what you call it, but it ain't democracy.

    Clearly our voices no longer equate to a level democratic process. Though we may be born equal, our influence under the law extends with our wealth, regardless of its source or of the massive disparity among the citizens.

    Whats the point of voting in an auction that always goes to the highest bidder? Nostalgia or denial? We might as well still have royalty because it sure works like a nobility.

    • by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @07:07AM (#44421389)

      ....that still doesn't make it a democracy.

      As long as our "representational" government is hijacked to represent the majority of dollars instead of people and of free speech, then we've completely strayed away from any sort of democracy at all. I don't know what you call it, but it ain't democracy.

      Clearly our voices no longer equate to a level democratic process. Though we may be born equal, our influence under the law extends with our wealth, regardless of its source or of the massive disparity among the citizens.

      Whats the point of voting in an auction that always goes to the highest bidder? Nostalgia or denial? We might as well still have royalty because it sure works like a nobility.

      The problem with Citizens United is that the court failed to recognize 2 key facts:

      1. The law is not "one dollar, one vote", it's one person one vote. Corporations don't get extra votes per se, but they can afford much bigger megaphones to speak at their representatives with.

      2. Giving corporations a "vote" is un-democratic. The corporation is comprised of individuals. Thus, the individuals who control the corporation effectively have an extra vote beyond their individual vote. As a corollary, 98% of the employees of a corporation may oppose a certain piece of legislation, but corporations are not in the least democratic, so the "corporate vote" can be - and often is - directly counter to the wishes of the overwhelming majority of the individuals employed there.

  • it is called fascism
  • by portwojc (201398) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @06:32AM (#44421281) Homepage

    I'm just going to repeat this until either it starts or someone makes a valid argument against it. The states need to call a constitutional convention and fix problems like these. Imagine term limits for Congress - the state reps would pass that because it would mean more churn and a chance for them to get there. Problem one solved. That's just for starters. Fixing problems like what this post is about would be on the table too.

    In this day and age of social media and groups who have nothing better to do this should be easy to push right to the front. Just have to work hard to not have it be subverted. Just imagine how pissed off this would make Congress & the President. The founding fathers would be cheering! The world would see how it's really done right.

    • You're incredibly] naive.

      Term limits don't help. The reason the current Congress is dysfunctional is that most of it's guys got elected in the past six years, and they don't have any experience in the herculean task of getting Texas and California to agree. They honestly think that getting nothing done is better for their political futures then reforming the immigration system and passing a budget because all their political experience is from the last three elections, and in those elections a lot more peop

  • by argStyopa (232550) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @06:53AM (#44421341) Journal

    It's not just 'secret NSA spying'.

    Tort reform? You'll find the naysayers got at LEAST 2x from the legal community PACs and lobbyists.

    More loans and grants for education, or student loan forgiveness? You'll find that the ones in favor got piles of money from Teacher Unions.

    Minimum wage? Unionization? Defense spending?
    As the old saying goes: Follow the Money.

    opensecrets.org.

    • Tort reform has actually been passed in every state. Frequently more then once. It's an idea that sounds great, but as long as it's possible to spend millions on medical treatment from a single injury (for example: if you're 15, and you need a full-time nurse for life), it doesn't actually do much. Either you have to let that 15-year-old kid die when his maximum $50k settlement runs out, or you have to allow him to win his $3 Million. And if he can win $3 Million the benefits of tort reform do not exist.

      Stu

  • Politicians are simply being reward for having the 'right' beliefs. It's not about buying someone's vote once; it's a long-term investment. Lobbies know that it is not necessary to find someone willing to vote against their conscience - they find the politician who already *wants* to vote the 'right' way because they are ideological or misinformed or, in extreme cases, outright mentally ill, and shower that person with so much money that a reasonable or patriotic candidate can't compete. By the time that

  • How is this even a story?

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @08:42AM (#44421877) Homepage

    Lobbyist: Listen, I'd like to do more money for you -- I just need to know your positions on a few issues. For instance, where are you on sugar price supports?
    Congressman Johnson: Sugar price supports. Where do you think I should be, Tommy?
    Lobbyist: Shit -- makes no difference to me. If you're for 'em, I got money for you from my sugar producers in Louisiana and Hawaii. If you're against 'em, I got money for you from the candy manufacturers.
    Congressman: You pick.
    Lobbyist: Let's put you down as for. Now what about putting limits on malpractice awards?
    Congressman: You tell me.
    Lobbyist: Well, if you're for 'em, I got money from the doctors and insurance companies. If you're against 'em, I got money from the trial lawyers. Tell you what, let's say against. Now how about pizza?
    Congressman (gestures to plate): I'll stick with the salad.
    Lobbyist: Not for lunch, shmuck, for PAC money. A lot of the frozen pizzas use phony cheese. There's a law pending requiring them to disclose it on their labels. Where do you stand?
    Congressman: If I vote for the labels...then I get money from the dairy industry...
    Lobbyist: Good...
    Congressman: And if I vote against the labels, I get money from the frozen food guys.
    Lobbyist: Excellent! And don't forget the ranchers, because they get hurt if pepperoni sales go down!
    Congressman: A pepperoni lobby. I love this town.
    Lobbyist: So which is it?
    Congressman: Fuck the cheese people. Thanks to them my office smelled like smelt for a week.
    Lobbyist: All right. For.
    Congressman: So Tommy, tell me -- with all this money on every side, how does anything get done?
    Lobbyist: It doesn't! That's the genius of the system!

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