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Lawmakers Who Upheld NSA Phone Spying Received Double the Defense Industry Cash 284

An anonymous reader writes "The numbers tell the story — in votes and dollars. On Wednesday, the House voted 217 to 205 not to rein in the NSA's phone-spying dragnet. It turns out that those 217 'no' voters received twice as much campaign financing from the defense and intelligence industry as the 205 'yes' voters."
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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.
  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • Re:*Sigh* (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @05:35AM (#44421073)

    Do you think that the defense industry should support those that oppose them?

    I mean, okay if you disagree with people, but the whole correlation / causation thing I think is backwards. I think there is a causation, but the lawmakers thought a certain way -> therefore they were paid money.

  • 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 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 Bob_Who ( 926234 ) 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 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.

  • 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...

  • Re:No shit... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @06:07AM (#44421195)

    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.

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

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

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @06:28AM (#44421265)

    What's the surprise?

    The surprise is that "Campaign financing" is legal in a democracy. There are parts of the world where this sort of thing is outlawed. Politicians are paid - and paid well - from the tax money. They are not allowed to take money from others - that makes them criminals.

    Less campaign financing is not a problem, because that works the same way for all politicians. And we get less 'campaigning' to put up with too. :-)

  • by FudRucker ( 866063 ) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @06:43AM (#44421307)
    yes it is fascism, the defense industry is out of control, it is exactly the result of ignoring Dwight Eisenhower's farewell speech that included a warning of the Military/Industrial complex, the private sector that stands to make HUGE profits from the contracts of this defense & intelligence industry has bribed these politicians to vote in their favor,

    they should all be hanging from lamp-posts like Benito Mussolini was
  • by Lennie ( 16154 ) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @06:48AM (#44421325)

    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" ?

  • 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.

  • by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @06:51AM (#44421335)

    thank you for showing how deep the corruption goes.

    I don't think the corruption here is any deeper than anywhere else on average. The problem is that the dollar amounts and resulting influence are so much larger, and thats because fucking idiots keep finding excuses to forgive politicians that make the government bigger (hell, some even see a larger government as something to strive for.. fucking retards)

    When you allow a bigger government, you get corruption on a larger scale. Every. Single. Fucking. Time. Ever. In. All. Of. History.

  • Re:*Sigh* (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 1s44c ( 552956 ) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @06:57AM (#44421349)

    You are right. But if there is any doubt why lawmakers are making their decisions it should be removed. No lawmaker should be receiving money directly or indirectly from those who their laws affect, it's a recipe for corruption at worst and reasonable doubt at best.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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:*Sigh* (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DMorritt ( 923396 ) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @07:26AM (#44421473) Homepage
    America - the best government money can buy.
  • 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?

  • 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....
  • Re:*Sigh* (Score:2, Insightful)

    by khallow ( 566160 ) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @08:18AM (#44421711)
    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: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.

  • 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!

  • 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:Ecuador (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0111 1110 ( 518466 ) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @08:58AM (#44422027)

    Or rather, does it matter if the company that sells the news is incorporated?

    It does matter. It relieves them of any responsibility for their actions. And there is no owner who can be punished for behaving badly. Corporations are sociopaths who care for nothing except money. They do not deserve citizenship or the status of a single entity. Regular companies with an owner that is an individual human being are quite enough of a concentration of power. If society could find a way to reduce even that concentration without completely removing the right of individuals to cooperate with each other, it would be good.

    Police brutality shows us what happens when you combine obscene power with an almost complete lack of responsibility for their actions. The same dynamic is at work with corporations. You combine a concentration of power to influence things with money and a complete lack of conscience and very little or diluted responsibility for their actions. This is a recipe for disaster.

  • Re:*Sigh* (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 0111 1110 ( 518466 ) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @09:28AM (#44422315)

    Bribing a public official is illegal. If you want to support a politician there is a very easy way to do so. Vote for them. And try to convince as many people as you can to vote for them. That is all. Money has no place in this.

    And Labor Unions and Teacher's Unions and the NRA are also their constituents.

    No. They are not. However the individuals within those groups are free to vote for whoever they wish. That is the power of a representative democracy. The power to vote for politicians. Not the power to bribe them. Campaign contributions more than a certain amount should be illegal as the most obvious form of bribery and only individual citizens should be allowed to make such contributions. Not corporations or any other group.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @10:25AM (#44423007)
    In that scenario the "ten biggest donors" would quickly become the "ten biggest harmless-sounding shell entities"
  • 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.

  • Re:*Sigh* (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Princeofcups ( 150855 ) <> 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.

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson