Let's Try This Again: Even If There's No Corruption, The Appearance Of Corruption Hurts Representative Government

from the is-this-really-so-complex? dept

Last week, I wrote a post about how 87% of Congress Reps who signed a letter urging the FCC to approve the Comcast/NBC Universal merger (which I think should be approved) had received campaign contributions from Comcast, saying that "this is what corruption looks like." In the post, I explained this further, noting (I thought clearly -- but obviously not clearly enough) that there was no evidence of actual corruption, but just the appearance of such a strong correlation was likely to diminish people's trust in government. To me, that's a problem.

Unfortunately, rather than discuss that point, many people assumed I was saying that those supporting the merger were corrupt. This is not correct. I have already said (and said in that article) two key things: I support the merger and just because these contributions happened, it did not mean there was corruption, just that it created that appearance, and that appearance was damaging. There were even claims in the comments that my title and the content of the article did not agree, but that's simply false. I was pointing out what corruption looks like, which is why people don't trust the government to act in their best interests, even if there is no actual corruption.

That story got a lot of attention (picked up by Reddit, StumbleUpon, Fark and others). The comments on the Reddit post went down a similar road, and then was followed up with another post on Reddit that suggested it was debunking my "misleading" title (though, all it really seems to show is Comcast throws a lot of money around Congress -- which actually supports my thesis, but whatever...).

So, let me be clear: I still don't think my original title was misleading, but it certainly appears many people misread it, so I need to take responsibility for that misunderstanding. I never meant to imply in any way that there was actual corruption. What I meant to imply, and stated outright, was that it's the appearance of such things that makes people trust their government less, and I find that to be a problem. Others may disagree. When people hear and see such stories, a very large percentage of them trust governments less to act in their interest. And if you actually believe in representational government, that's a problem.

Finally, I should note some level of irony in the Reddit "debunking" post. I love Reddit dearly. It's a really great and fun community. However, I find it amusing that the post "debunking" my original post supposedly took to task Redditors who voted up the link to my original post for not getting all the details. Yet, the "debunking" post made the same mistake: it didn't get all the details, and falsely pretended that my story was accusing those politicians of corruption. I almost feel like I should post another thread on Reddit debunking the debunking post... but that might just be too damn meta.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 8:46am

    There's no such thing....

    ...as too meta.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    rw (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 8:47am

    Absolutely clear.

    I understood your meaning with no problems. I think the problem comes because reading WITH understanding seems to be optional.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    johnjac (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 9:12am

    Alternate title

    "I will be misunderstood, you will not understand, but still I try to explain to the masses"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Someguy in Houston, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 9:32am

    Professional advice

    The best bit of professional advice I ever got was this:

    One should not only avoid impropriety, but also the *appearance* of impropriety. People like to remember whatever they *think* happened rather than what actually happens.

    That bit of advice has saved my butt more than once . . . .

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    freak (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 9:33am

    Too meta?

    "'What Corruption Looks Like: 87% Of Congressional Reps Supporting Comcast/NBC Merger Got Money From Comcast' considered harmful" considered harmful

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    Chris Rhodes (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 9:41am

    As I Said In The Other Thread

    Since statistics can be used to say anything a person or group wants, it would be almost impossible to avoid the "appearance" of corruption.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Vic, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 9:43am

    The article was clearly titled "The appearance..."

    I would not apologize and try to explain it again to someone who cannot read! Or can read but has his/her own understanding of the matter BEFORE reading...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 9:44am

    If you want to see real corruption...

    If you want to see real corruption, look at the state of VA. Until last year, you could file your state taxes online for free. Intuit, i.e. TurboTax, gave a bunch of campaign contributions last year and presto, change-o, no more filing online. This year, those who filed online last year, received a free code to use TurboTax for Virginia for free. Guess what those people get to do next year? Pay TurboTax to file state taxes.

    I and several of my coworkers will not be using TurboTax ever again and I have been using them for 10+ years.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 9:52am

    The appearance of corruption is only highlighted when people mention numbers, stats, and data, and say things like "this is what corruption looks like".

    How hard is it to admit that your overdid it on the last post, with a title that was pure hype not backed up by the numbers? How hard is it to admit that when all the numbers are in play, you realize that the vast majority of all house members got donations from Comcast, so the 87% number isn't unlikely, nor does it reflect corruption?

    Be the bigger man. Rather than writing a huge long post to defend the indefensible, why not just come out and admit you over did it?

    After all, if it's a question of the "appearance of impropriety" that is at issue here, you are looking worse than the house members that signed the document.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 10:01am

    Mike, I know this is a stretch but just maybe, if so many people think your article meant something you didn't mean it to, the article was at fault and not the masses who misinterpreted it. Your original headline was inflammatory (likely with intent) and if it caused confusion (and thus clicks), it was either by design or you just screwed up. Please don't start going all Mike Arrington and start blaming everyone except yourself. If you want to avoid this confusion in the future, be clearer.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 10:05am

    Too damn meta

    Mike, the problem was not an accusation that those supporting the merger were corrupt.

    The problem was the appearance of an accusation that those supporting the merger were corrupt.

    Yes, this is reaching brain-hurting levels of meta already. You wrote a post commenting on appearances of corruption, but that post had an appearance of an accusation of corruption, and now you are writing a post commenting on the accusations of an accusation of corruption. I think I got lost already.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 10:05am

    Re:

    No, it was titled "What Corruption Looks Like", which suggests pretty clearly that what you are seeing is corruption.

    See, even you missed it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 10:12am

    87% of Congress Reps who signed a letter urging the FCC to approve the Comcast/NBC Universal merger received KICKBACKS from Comcast,

    This is corruptions in its purest form.

    Vote sold to the highest bidder.

    How the money is paid is irrelevant. It is still a bribe.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 10:13am

    Re: Re:

    are you saying receiving money from a group and then supporting that group doesn't look like corruption?

    Also on a side note can we be changed from Anonymous Coward to Anonymous Invertebrate for the rest of the year?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 10:15am

    "but it certainly appears many people misread it"

    The only people who misread it are industry trolls who did so intentionally. Who cares about them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 10:19am

    Re: If you want to see real corruption...

    Wow, that sounds like an interesting story. I would like citations though, not that I don't believe you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 10:25am

    Re: Too damn meta

    If you read only the title then it looks like that, but if you read the article it's quite clear that Mike wasn't accusing them of being corrupt, he was accusing them of appearing to be corrupt. He used that to explain that appearances are important for popularity and trust, not just facts.

    Is it ironic that he wrote the title in a way that appeared to others to be an accusation? I don't know, I'm not good at the definition of irony. But that is the curse of communicating threw writing, emotion and deeper meaning sometimes get lost.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Another Anonymous, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 10:28am

    Appearance of corruption is NOT harmful.

    In fact, it is desirable:

    1. For the benefit of representative government, since it may provide a warning of possible wrongdoing that can be addressed (if the electorate cares..)

    2. For the benefit of the regulators who get free advertising that they are open for business to anyone with the cash. Advertising drives profits, and regulators need profits too!.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    Christopher (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 10:35am

    I would have to disagree about the 'appearance of corruption' thing. The fact is that ANYTHING can be taken as 'evidence of corruption' today or 'appearance of corruption'.
    That alone does not harm representative government in the slightest, there are A L W A Y S going to be times when something an official does 'appears to be corruption' if we adhere to reality if they vote on anything.

    We need to stop focusing on the APPEARANCE of corruption, and more on ACTUAL PROVEN CORRUPTION!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 10:35am

    Re: Re: Re:

    are you saying receiving money from a group and then supporting that group doesn't look like corruption?

    No, I am saying that once you realize that almost 75% of the house members got a donation from comcast, the 87% figure for those signing the document is somewhat less surprising. The variance would be withing the norm for a group of 400 plus people.

    Once you have the facts, it is the appearance of nothing, except a company using the electoral laws as written, donating to the vast majority of house members.

    The title of the piece was written in a manner that can easily be taken to say this is corruption, when it is in fact not.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 10:36am

    Re: Re: If you want to see real corruption...

    Ok, I did some digging and it does appear you are right.

    "The new Free e-File program provides eligible taxpayers free online tax return preparation and filing using commercial software offered by participating software vendors."

    http://www.tax.virginia.gov/

    and Turbotax is on that list

    http://www.tax.virginia.gov/site.cfm?alias=FreeFile

    I find some campaign contributions on their part to Virginia in 1998 but that doesn't seem nearly recent enough to be relevant.

    http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/qind/

    A message board said

    "Apparently, ol Bobby McDonnel got a phat campaign contribution from Intuit (who make TubroCrap) so there you go."

    http://www.fairfaxunderground.com/forum/read.php?2,481110,481118,quote=1

    I can't find a decent citation for the campaign contribution though, but everything else checks out.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    freak (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 10:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Wait, 75% of the house members are receiving 'donations' from comcast?

    That looks like corruption to me . . .

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 10:38am

    Re:

    KICKBACKS?

    That is a charged word. That would imply an illegal exchange of money. Do you have anything to back this up? Last time I looked, legal campaign donations were not kickbacks.

    I give you credit though, you manage to make the original headline seem somewhat restrained.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    vivaelamor (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 10:39am

    Re:

    "How hard is it to admit that your overdid it on the last post, with a title that was pure hype not backed up by the numbers?"

    Where does that fit? If you read the article then it was clear that he wasn't claiming what people are accusing him of claiming. You can accuse him of making the title intentionally misleading, but to accuse him of making it misleading to back up a point he wasn't trying to make seems ridiculous.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 10:39am

    Re: Re: If you want to see real corruption...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 10:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "No, I am saying that once you realize that almost 75% of the house members got a donation from comcast, the 87% figure for those signing the document is somewhat less surprising."

    Of course not, we would expect that congress tends to vote in favor of who contributes campaigns and that is what the figures show. After all, why would 75 percent of house members get a donation from Comcast if Comcast didn't expect anything in return? Why would Comcast waste money on campaign contributions if it weren't getting anything in return? It was getting something in return, what it was getting in return is favorable legislature. Otherwise it wouldn't be spending money on campaign contributions.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 10:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    but the industry trolls would have you believe that comcast is stupid, that they are wasting money on campaign contributions without getting anything back. Of course they're getting something back, they're getting favorable legislation in return. Otherwise they wouldn't do it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 10:43am

    Re: Re: Too damn meta

    Basic rule of reading: In a newspaper, most people make their minds up about a story by reading the headline and usually the first paragraph. It is one of the reasons why newspapers tend to frontload articles with "all the info" in the first graph, so that people have an idea what is going on.

    People who want to mislead or create doubt in people's minds will play with this. You can put up a misleading or leading headline, and write a first paragraph that only highlights when you want people to think, and then you can disclaim slightly later. The reality is that most people tune out long before they get to the 3rd or 4th paragraph, especially if the story isn't going anywhere.

    TD uses that normal human reaction to their benefit. They can always point to a disclaimer or weasel word used later in the story to try to back away from their position, but the position has been made and the impression made.

    "Appearance of " is so appropriate for this discussion.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 10:46am

    Re: Re: Re: If you want to see real corruption...

    Thanks.

    Wow, apparently they've been doing this in California too.

    "In 2009, the Los Angeles Times reported that Intuit spent nearly $2 million in political contributions to eliminate free online state tax filing for low income residents in California."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intuit

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    icon
    vivaelamor (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 10:57am

    Re:

    "Mike, I know this is a stretch but just maybe, if so many people think your article meant something you didn't mean it to, the article was at fault and not the masses who misinterpreted it."

    The issue is over the title. If they read the article and still didn't get that he was making a complete opposite point to what people are suggesting then I'd hope such ignorant fools are in the minority.

    "Your original headline was inflammatory (likely with intent) and if it caused confusion (and thus clicks), it was either by design or you just screwed up."

    I'm sorry, you're accusing a site that blatantly supports the use of ad blocking software for trolling for clicks? Otherwise, screwed up how? By getting people to actually read the article? You should start a class action to get those precious seconds back.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 10:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You have to think about it in reverse. They donated to 75% of the members, but less than 25% of the members signed the document. The suggestion is that for a larger majority of the people who may have received campaign contributions from Comcast, they had no influence.

    Remember: you can donate to any campaign you want, there is no clear way to say if the campaign knows (or has personal connection) to every one of it's donors.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 10:59am

    Re:

    "you realize that the vast majority of all house members got donations from Comcast"

    But isn't that part of the point? The vast majority of house members receiving donations and subsequently voting in favor of the contributors appears to be corrupt.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    jackwagon (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 11:00am

    Corruption

    I feel that any and all campaign contributions made by corporations IS representative of the corruption that exists in our government. The article just pointed out one example of a flawed system.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 11:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Too damn meta

    "Basic rule of reading: In a newspaper, most people make their minds up about a story by reading the headline and usually the first paragraph."

    Speak for yourself. Or, stop condescending and pretending like you're somehow better than "most people."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 11:04am

    Re:

    I thought the article was perfectly clear. The title of the article was a bit of word play (appears, looks like, resembles, pick one), but, intentional or not, it got my attention.

    Usage of a different word, like 'confirms', would be a deception. But that's not the word that was used.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 11:04am

    Re: Re:

    Your post appears to have been made by a total jackwagon.

    I mean, based on your posting system, your spelling, and that totally horrible way you use italics to quote other people, you appear to be a total jackwagon. Jackwagons aren't very good at all, they end up on couches talking about how the color yellow makes them sad, and showing how much of a jackwagon they are. You only need to say yellow a couple more times and you too would be a total jackwagon.

    Jackwagons are terrible. I would use your picture on wikipedia to show what a jackwagon looks like. You are so much like a jackwagon. Thankfully you aren't a jackwagon.

    See?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 11:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Too damn meta

    "The reality is that most people tune out long before they get to the 3rd or 4th paragraph, especially if the story isn't going anywhere."

    Absolutely true, and they need to get the hell over that. Far too many places use that to spread fake information. In this day and age people should be called out for not having all the information.

    When I first read the article in question, I thought the title meant the same exact thing that Mike meant it to mean. Other people are so accustom to the government being corrupt, they read it that way. That is another trick that newspapers use, but I don't think Mike knew about it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 11:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Too damn meta

    Oh look, a troll. Back under your bridge!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 11:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "You have to think about it in reverse."

    No I don't.

    "but less than 25% of the members signed the document."

    and those who signed it were more likely to have received donations than not, by a number appreciably greater than the otherwise expected 75%

    "The suggestion is that for a larger majority of the people who may have received campaign contributions from Comcast, they had no influence."

    Not that they had no influence, just that they didn't influence them to sign this particular document. Comcast isn't stupid, if their contributions have no influence they wouldn't waste money on it.

    The suggestion is that at least some of those who did sign it were influenced by the contributions. This is what Comcast intends.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    icon
    vivaelamor (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 11:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Too damn meta

    'Basic rule of reading: In a newspaper, most people make their minds up about a story by reading the headline and usually the first paragraph. It is one of the reasons why newspapers tend to frontload articles with "all the info" in the first graph, so that people have an idea what is going on.'

    Frankly, if people can't be bothered to read past the title before making an opinion then that's their problem.

    "TD uses that normal human reaction to their benefit. They can always point to a disclaimer or weasel word used later in the story to try to back away from their position, but the position has been made and the impression made."

    First I see someone accusing Mike of making the title misleading to entice people in for page clicks. Now I see someone accusing him of making the title misleading on the bet that they won't read the article. It's weird how you're not arguing with each other. Personally I think it's more likely that he'd troll for clicks than try to convince anybody that congress is corrupt. Both seem ridiculous but yours seems even less plausible. What possible motivation could Mike have for wanting people to believe that congress is corrupt?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 11:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    (and I'm not saying there is anything wrong with the merger either).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    icon
    vivaelamor (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 11:13am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Your post appears to have been made by a total jackwagon.

    I mean, based on your posting system, your spelling, and that totally horrible way you use italics to quote other people, you appear to be a total jackwagon. Jackwagons aren't very good at all, they end up on couches talking about how the color yellow makes them sad, and showing how much of a jackwagon they are. You only need to say yellow a couple more times and you too would be a total jackwagon.

    Jackwagons are terrible. I would use your picture on wikipedia to show what a jackwagon looks like. You are so much like a jackwagon. Thankfully you aren't a jackwagon.

    See?"


    Is this the Chewbacca defence?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 11:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    100% of democrats and Republicans receive money from Democrats AND Republicans. Corruption abounds by your logic.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 11:15am

    Re: Re:

    (Ok, the vast majority did not sign the document, my mistake. Still, of those who signed it, appreciably over 75 percent received donations).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    icon
    Mike42 (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 11:23am

    Re: As I Said In The Other Thread

    Copout much?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    DCX2, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 11:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If Comcast isn't getting anything out of those campaign contributions, then I bet there are some shareholders who might be upset at the waste of money.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Jamie, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 11:31am

    BREAKING: People on the Internet can't read

    It just goes to show, no matter how clear you're being, it isn't clear enough.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    icon
    Almost Anonymous (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 11:39am

    Lemme clear it up even more

    There is corruption, no "if's" about it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    icon
    freak (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 11:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'm not totally sure of what you're trying to say, but I think you just setup multiple strawmen. And then repeated me.

    Yes, corruption does abound, if 75% of house members are receiving 'donations' from a private corporation. I don't know what you call that, but I call receiving gifts from someone who would thusly put you into a conflict of interest: a bribe. Whether the gift they offer is a 'business lunch', a nice watch, or several thousands of dollars, it is a bribe.

    If the money is offered instead only to get you elected, (campaign contributions), (as opposed to, say, a less friendly politician who might otherwise win), I would still refer to that as a bribe. Even if the politician is mostly unaware, (in which case I couldn't call it a bribe), that would still be a perversion of a democratic republic, because the corporation is still not a citizen, and should neither get a vote, nor be allowed to be involved in the process of voting.


    Do you think differently?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    icon
    Gabriel Tane (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 11:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Too damn meta

    GreenSnowflake AC has a point... Considering that there was a strong counter response to people making the case you're making... I think it's safe to say that "most people" who read here understood what Mike meant and didn't feel mislead. So, if you're done ad hominim attacking someone, feel free to address their point. Or get back under your bridge.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    icon
    Gabriel Tane (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 12:00pm

    Re: Appearance of corruption is NOT harmful.

    Very good ponit. I think, however, that Mike meant it was harmful to the faith people feel in thier elected individuals.

    Pain is harmful... but ultimately beneficial when it gets me to take my damned fool hand off the burner.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    icon
    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 12:19pm

    Re: As I Said In The Other Thread

    Yes, it would be almost impossible to avoid even the tiniest appearance of corruption from idiots spouting easily refutable statistics, but it's oddly easy to avoid taking large amounts of money from companies and then voting in ways that favor them.

    Funny, that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Appearance of corruption is NOT harmful.

    From the point of view of whatever ethics committee, the distinction between bribes to get politicians to change their views and contributions to help put/keep in power politicians sympathetic to Comcast's interests matters a great deal. It may also even affect how well those politicians "sleep at night".

    From Comcast's point of view though, it doesn't really matter whether they're empowering old friends or making new ones through bribery. Either way, they're able to pay money to have politicians that will vote the way they want, and even if it shouldn't be called "corruption" in the traditional sense it's still the same huge problem for the sort of non-plutocratic democracy we wish we had.

    The problem is getting there from where we are without throwing out the first amendment.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    icon
    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 12:21pm

    Re: Re:

    No, it was titled "What Corruption Looks Like", which suggests pretty clearly that what you are seeing is corruption.

    That's funny, because I was just in a store that featured candles that 'looked like' baked goods, which suggests pretty clearly that they're baked goods... if you're an idiot.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    icon
    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 12:23pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    ...and that totally horrible way you use italics to quote other people...

    That's actually the standard way to quote someone, which makes you... A jackwagon?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    icon
    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 12:29pm

    Wow. Really?

    I had no problem understand the title or the post. I don't understand how someone could read both, and be confused. It seems like the people whom are confused didn't fully read the post, or... Well, just aren't very smart.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 12:34pm

    The loobying business is in the region of $1.75 billion last year. And that just to the members of the Houses of Congress.

    Think of what that money could buy, and weep.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    icon
    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 12:36pm

    Re:

    The fact is that ANYTHING can be taken as 'evidence of corruption' today or 'appearance of corruption'.

    Yes, just as any interaction between co-stars can make them appear to be sleeping together. However, believable media outlets aren't going to start saying that they might be sleeping together until they start kissing in public.

    That alone does not harm representative government in the slightest...

    In your opinion. Many of us disagree.

    We need to stop focusing on the APPEARANCE of corruption, and more on ACTUAL PROVEN CORRUPTION!

    Focusing on the former will help alleviate the latter, so I don't see why you're so upset about it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    icon
    Jesse Townley (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 12:52pm

    Conflict of Interest definition

    Conflict Of Interest rules in many situations(*) ban material conflict of interest (ex: receiving a monetary benefit) AND the appearance of conflict of interest.

    The 2nd phrase is what I assumed the original article covered, and upon reading it, I learned that my assumption was correct.

    *- A non-profit I ran used this definition of conflict of interest, as well as the Board of another non-profit I'm involved in, so I'm speaking from direct experience.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 1:11pm

    Re: Re:

    Kickbacks are payment to an government official for services rendered paid by a 3rd party.

    What Mike described is a classical case of kickbacks. I pass your legislation you contribute to my campaign coffers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    icon
    Chris in Utah (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 1:13pm

    Ah the fundamental flaw of science. Look upon something and it changes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    icon
    Chris Rhodes (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Re: As I Said In The Other Thread

    Not really.

    I'm fairly certain most (all?) politicians are corrupt, but not because a seriously flawed statistic implied that they kinda might be, sorta.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    icon
    Chris Rhodes (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 1:41pm

    Re: Re: As I Said In The Other Thread

    t's oddly easy to avoid taking large amounts of money from companies

    The amounts listed here aren't even large. They are actually quite tiny.

    and then voting in ways that favor them

    If a politicians takes money from a company, they should never vote in that company's interest afterwards? Or are you saying that politicians shouldn't ever take money from any company, in any amount, ever?

    The former makes no sense, in my opinion, but the latter seems to be a defensible position.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    icon
    Chris Rhodes (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 1:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: If you want to see real corruption...

    The IRS was trying to make filing your federal taxes easier, but Intuit is lobbying against that too. Techdirt even did a story on it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    icon
    Chris Rhodes (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 1:48pm

    Re:

    Unless you have proof (or at least a reasonable statistical analysis) that they would have voted differently had those corporations not donated to their campaigns , it doesn't really mean anything.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    icon
    AR (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 2:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I just want to start by saying I agree with you.
    Accepting campaign contributions, for political favors, is a bribe at most and a conflict of interest at the least. If it were just a conflict of interest, than the official should admit that upfront and abstain from voting on the legislation and/or voicing an opinion on pending government action. If it were a bribe, then well thats a crime and should be treated as such.

    Now when campaign contributions, If I remember correctly, are given for (re)election purposes, if the politician doesnt run or losses they get to keep that money as income.
    Looks like a bribe to me.

    From WIKI:
    "Bribery, a form of corruption, is an act implying money or gift given that alters the behavior of the recipient. Bribery constitutes a crime and is defined by Black's Law Dictionary as the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or other person in charge of a public or legal duty.

    The bribe is the gift bestowed to influence the recipient's conduct. It may be any money, good, right in action, property, preferment, privilege, emolument, object of value, advantage, or merely a promise or undertaking to induce or influence the action, vote, or influence of a person in an official or public capacity."

    Go figure.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    icon
    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 3:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: As I Said In The Other Thread

    The amounts listed here aren't even large. They are actually quite tiny.

    Companies, plural, not Comcast, specifically. Sorry, I should have been clearer. Anyway, our reps take large amount of money from different companies, in return for... Nothing? Really? I don't think anyone believes that. Shareholders certainly don't.

    Or are you saying that politicians shouldn't ever take money from any company, in any amount, ever?

    Yes. It either buys influence (whether the rep thinks so or not), or gives the appearance of influence. The former is worse, but the latter is pretty crappy, also.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    icon
    Chargone (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 3:25pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    actually, the problem here is poorly chosen wording given common figures of speech.

    'what X looks like' is Usually used to mean 'here is an example of X so you will know what it looks like, and thus be able to identify it, in future'.

    pretty much everyone going off the handle about this is reading it based on the common usage, which Heavily implies the presence of actually corruption.

    what ever point was trying to be made (and i do understand what was meant), this wording caused problems.

    the store ma have had candles that look like baked goods... but i doubt anyone said 'this is what baked goods look like' without including the fact that they were Actually candles... or having an audience that actually knows what baked goods and candles are.

    reading comprehension and intelligence only get you so far when the entire article is written using an expression strangely.

    the title probably Should have been 'this looks like corruption'. the entire issue goes away then, and any argument over whether it is or not is a lot more... coherant? legitmate? whatever.

    i actually read the first article and, once i figured out what was meant, had to keep reminding myself of it.

    (this reminds me strongly of the fact that, to my ear, a lot of Americans pronounce 'can' and 'can't' identically, and lots of people accidentally leave the 'n't' off the end of words in online posts. the entire meaning of the post is inverted due to a simple error. )

    so... yeah, doesn't take an idiot to be confused when the thing confusing them was presented in a confusing manner.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    icon
    Chargone (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 3:52pm

    Re:

    ultimately it comes down to using a common phrase to mean the inverse of what it commonly does.

    of course that's going to confuse people...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    icon
    Chargone (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 3:55pm

    Re:

    or anyone who was assuming that the standard phrase would be used in the standard way.

    the reader had to Work to get what mike wanted to say out of the original post. getting the Opposite took only reading what was written and assuming it was used in the standard way.

    that's... bad writing, i guess?

    still, if one did read it carefully one could see what he actually meant... after rereading parts of it several times. it's not at all surprising many people misunderstood.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
    icon
    Chargone (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 3:58pm

    Re: Corruption

    part of the flaw being that the USA is freaking HUGE. you've got a continental Empire going on there. no one but the corporations and the super rich has the Budget to fund a national level campaign in the USA.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72.  
    icon
    vivaelamor (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 4:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "That's actually the standard way to quote someone, which makes you... A jackwagon?"

    Ahah! You missed the bit at the end where he said that I wasn't a jackwagon. Obviously if I'm not a jackwagon and yet am the practical embodiment of it then it follows that no one is actually a jackwagon.

    Seriously, even I draw the line at poking holes in the Chewbacca defence.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  73.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 4:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: If you want to see real corruption...

    Makes me happy to live in a country where the government itself distributes, for free, the programs needed to do your taxes online (and they are written in Java, so they work everywhere).

    They also have the web form option for simpler cases.

    And these programs are not junk. They are quite good.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  74.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 4:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: If you want to see real corruption...

    And in case you are wondering, these programs are also developed by the government itself. It is not a case of a business developing a tax filing program and lobbying the government to license and distribute it. The business which develops these programs is owned by the government.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  75.  
    identicon
    Darryl, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 7:13pm

    Oh dear, Mike got his fingers burnt !!!!

    what in the law, or you precious constitution, does it say ANYWHERE, that individuals or companies are not allowed to support their Representive ?

    Do you think it is wrong for the Government to do its best to ensure companies can succeed, and do business, make money, pay taxes, and employ people who also pay taxes, and spend money, and employ people?

    Or should the Government do something else ?

    And NOT support big business, sure, great idea. after all China will take over for you !!!!..

    What about if you VOTED for that REP ?? would they have to disclose all the names of people who voted for them, and where they work ?

    Who do you think PAYS for the GOVERNMENT and the services you recieve from that?

    Industry and commerce does, it employes people, PAYS people, and pays taxes, I allows the economy to function, and they have EVERY RIGHT, just as YOU DO, to support your Representative that you support.

    You support that rep because their policies agree with your own, or theirs.

    If enough people support that Reps policies, they will vote for him/her, and they will be elected.

    To call that corruption, or even claiming it 'looks like' corruption, deserves to be exposed for what it is.

    as usual mike, you think if you say something, it will be true.

    you fly very close to defamation laws, when you start to call large groups of powerfull people corrupt..

    And that is what you did, cant weasel out of it...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  76.  
    icon
    Chris Rhodes (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 10:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: As I Said In The Other Thread

    Anyway, our reps take large amount of money from different companies, in return for... Nothing? Really? I don't think anyone believes that. Shareholders certainly don't.

    Maybe, but you also might be thinking of it backwards. If you and I give money to Mike Masnick to run for office (because we agree the IP law needs to be trimmed back a bit) would we be hoping to influence him into doing what we want, or would we be recognizing that his opinions already align with ours, and by giving him campaign cash we help him succeed in his bid for election?

    Yes. It either buys influence (whether the rep thinks so or not), or gives the appearance of influence. The former is worse, but the latter is pretty crappy, also.

    What about private contributions? What about private contributions from CEOs of the extremely rich corporations that you just banned from donating cash directly? There's no real line you can draw that does what you want, except to ban donations from anybody and everybody. But then, only rich people (such as the aforementioned CEOs) can run for office in the first place.

    Just because Microsoft wants to donate a hojillion dollars to an election campaign does not mean my vote is suddenly up for grabs. The candidate still has to impress me, the voter, before he gets my vote. If the news comes out that Microsoft gave him a hojillion dollars, I might be more skeptical of his platform.

    Like bad speech, I think the answer is more good speech, not censorship or government bans.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  77.  
    identicon
    Tom, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 11:09pm

    Bribery

    Frankly, it just looks like bribery to me. It is pretty damn simple. I give you money and you do something for me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  78.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jan 20th, 2011 @ 3:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: As I Said In The Other Thread

    "If the news comes out that Microsoft gave him a hojillion dollars, I might be more skeptical of his platform"

    That was the point. Even if the politician is not corrupt, you may not trust him as much if he accepts this contribution. It does not mean his views are being swayed by Microsoft, but it impacts your view of him regardless and that hurts democracy almost as much as actual corruption.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  79.  
    icon
    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 20th, 2011 @ 4:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: As I Said In The Other Thread

    If you and I give money to Mike Masnick to run for office... would we be hoping to influence him into doing what we want...

    Yes, or why would we support him?

    ...or would we be recognizing that his opinions already align with ours, and by giving him campaign cash we help him succeed in his bid for election?

    Either way, the amount of money we could give him is limited by both law and reality. This is not the case with companies. If Microsoft the company were limited in the same way that the CEO of Microsoft were, it wouldn't be such a big deal.

    What about private contributions? What about private contributions from CEOs of the extremely rich corporations that you just banned from donating cash directly? There's no real line you can draw that does what you want, except to ban donations from anybody and everybody.

    Again, the amount of money that Microsoft's CEO could give him is limited by law. If Microsoft the company were limited in the same way that the CEO of Microsoft were, it wouldn't be such a big deal.

    But then, only rich people (such as the aforementioned CEOs) can run for office in the first place.


    Again, if we had fair election rules in place, then anyone, even Mike Masnick, could run for office, resulting in better governance.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  80.  
    identicon
    alternatives(), Jan 20th, 2011 @ 7:30am

    Having done the 501c3 dance the IRS has rules about conflicts of interest. Same with accounting rules.

    FedGov can't be bothered to meet those standards. In fact, how many laws are Congresspeople "immune" to just in the language of the bill VS the standard 'people in power are untouchable'?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  81.  
    icon
    Chris Rhodes (profile), Jan 20th, 2011 @ 7:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: As I Said In The Other Thread

    Yes, or why would we support him?

    Answered by the second part; because we're already in synch with his viewpoint and we want him to win.

    Either way, the amount of money we could give him is limited by both law and reality. This is not the case with companies.

    Companies can give as much money as they want to political campaigns with no limits? Are you certain about that?

    Again, if we had fair election rules in place, then anyone, even Mike Masnick, could run for office, resulting in better governance.

    Ugh, so then my tax money will taken from me and be used to contribute to every politician's campaign equally. No thanks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  82.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Jan 20th, 2011 @ 9:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: As I Said In The Other Thread

    Companies can give as much money as they want to political campaigns with no limits? Are you certain about that?

    I'm pretty certain.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=unlimited+corporate+contributions

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  83.  
    identicon
    Darryl, Jan 20th, 2011 @ 10:58am

    political spin from Mike

    But we all know that Mike is playing the political double speak trick.

    The non-denial denial, everyone knows, that you do not have to believe something, you just have to say it, and saying someone 'looks' corrupt, is exactly the same as saying THEY ARE CORRUPT.

    You might of got away with it mike, if you had simply placed a question mark in your original heading.

    "WHAT CORRUPTION LOOKS LIKE?"

    But no, because we have to look at your INTENT, and it was to accuse many politicians of outright corruption, for doing what they are ALLOWED TO DO..

    If they ignored the people, and the companies that employ those people, they would not be REPS, they would be 'Mikes'.

    The ones that say alot, but who do not appear to actually do ANYTHING, but whine.

    Mike, if you hate it so much, and you feel you have so much support run to president Mike.. LOL...

    You can stamp out all you like, IF you are elected, but as you will refuse to take any campain donations, you will fail.

    Oh BTW: is Richard Stallman corrupt because INTEL donate money to his 'charity' ? I wonder????

    Why does RMS accept money from INTEL (and MANY OTHERS) who make their money with copyright, and proprietary products ?

    Use many Government services do you mike, ??

    Are you really THAT ANTI-American Mike ???

    You appear to hate everything the US stands for, you call it a failed system. you offer no possible viable alternative.

    Has anyone EVER donated to Techdirt Mike ??

    Even if they did, would you disclose it ?

    You most certainly would not accept full disclosure, neither would you 'customers'. That is why you do not do it.

    Maybe you should learn how you Government 'works' because you start throwing stones in glass houses.

    Are you hands squeaky clean ? I doubt it. So get off your high horse!!! :)

    Wait for Tax time Mike, piss off that many Reps, and see what the tax man has install for you :) maybe a super audit or two..

    Just to make sure you are not corrupt !!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  84.  
    identicon
    Darryl, Jan 20th, 2011 @ 11:05am

    Bill Gates for President

    So what will you say next, because politician A got more votes that politician B he must have been corrupt.

    Or because the majority of business, and people (business does not vote) want that person as their Rep, does that mean that Rep can no longer provide support or advance the policies that the majority has requested by voting that person in ?

    So your now saying that now its only the independtly rich who can afford to fund an election campain from their own finances (as long as that money is not from a corporation!!).

    They can run for Government, but not if you are not mega rich.

    So great, all you will have are Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs are Pres and Vice pres.

    What a joke !!!! Mike, !!!!!!! BAHHHH,,

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  85.  
    icon
    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 20th, 2011 @ 1:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: As I Said In The Other Thread

    Answered by the second part; because we're already in synch with his viewpoint and we want him to win.

    Yes. Because he'll do what we want. That's why we're giving him money, in your hypothetical situation.

    So, out of curiosity, why are corporations giving money to candidates, in your view?

    Ugh, so then my tax money will taken from me and be used to contribute to every politician's campaign equally. No thanks.

    Financially, this isn't very different than your non-tax money being taken by corporations and given to candidates that protect their interests. Do you think corporations print that money themselves? Nope, just like the government, they get it from you.

    Only this way, candidates aren't beholden to chance and corporate interests. They're beholden to you, the voter, as it should be.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  86.  
    icon
    Chris Rhodes (profile), Jan 21st, 2011 @ 8:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: As I Said In The Other Thread

    The Citizen's United decision didn't say that corporations could donate as much money as they wanted to a political campaign. That was all just FUD.

    The decision said that the government couldn't stop a group of people from publishing their own political documentary, merely because the group of people was incorporated.

    There's a big difference between those two things.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  87.  
    icon
    Chris Rhodes (profile), Jan 21st, 2011 @ 8:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: As I Said In The Other Thread

    Yes. Because he'll do what we want.

    Right. And what's the problem with that? If he would do what we want regardless of us giving him cash, how is that corruption? If you find a politician that you believe is the right fit based on his stated viewpoints, and you give him money to help him win, are you corrupting government? How are the donations you personally make to a political campaign different from a corporation?

    Financially, this isn't very different than your non-tax money being taken by corporations and given to candidates that protect their interests.

    Sure it is. I can always choose to stop shopping at a given business if I don't like how they play at politics. I can't choose to stop paying the government.

    What you have just advocated, is having the government reach into my wallet, remove money from me by force, and then give that money to candidates whose views I find abhorrent. Right now, the money that I hand over voluntarily might be used to support candidates I despise, so your solution is to replace my voluntary donation with state-backed violent coercion.

    Yikes. That's not a solution to government corruption, it's an invite!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  88.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Jan 21st, 2011 @ 9:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: As I Said In The Other Thread

    The Citizen's United decision didn't say that corporations could donate as much money as they wanted to a political campaign. That was all just FUD.

    "Citizens United v. FEC, one of the most high-profile decisions of the 2009 Term, struck down limits on corporate campaign spending (and, by implications, limits on union spending as well)."

    "Citizens United is arguing that expenditures by corporations in elections should be treated identically to those of individuals. If the Court accepts this argument, it would... allow corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money in elections."

    Should I find more? Do you have any references for your position?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  89.  
    icon
    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 21st, 2011 @ 11:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: As I Said In The Other Thread

    I can always choose to stop shopping at a given business if I don't like how they play at politics.

    Libertarian, then? Look, I ♥ Heinlein, too, but this is not a realistic solution. If it were, we wouldn't have a completely corrupt Congress. Don't like my answer? What's yours?

    Yikes. That's not a solution to government corruption, it's an invite!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  90.  
    icon
    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 22nd, 2011 @ 1:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: As I Said In The Other Thread

    Hey, this cut off my post. :/

    Yikes. That's not a solution to government corruption, it's an invite!

    You obviously don't realize that your taxes already funds elections and that our Congress is already corrupt.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  91.  
    icon
    Chris Rhodes (profile), Jan 25th, 2011 @ 8:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: As I Said In The Other Thread

    First, I notice you ignored my earlier question: How is personally giving money to a candidate less a corrupting influence than a corporation doing it? (Sure, corporations generally have more money than citizens, but they are still bound by law as to the amount they can donate.)

    this is not a realistic solution

    Why not? If enough people get on board, the company loses money. If your argument is that not enough people care, and that such a boycott would be too small to make any appreciable difference, then you acknowledge that the majority of their customers don't care about (or even approve of) such transactions.

    If it were, we wouldn't have a completely corrupt Congress.

    Here you assume that such minor transactions are the cause of government corruption, which is what we're disputing in the first place. Question begging will get you nowhere! ;)

    Don't like my answer? What's yours?

    Honestly, a stronger constitution implementing a government of more limited scope and powers. You may argue that this is not a realistic solution (and I would agree), but that doesn't change the fact (substitute in "my opinion" for the word "fact", if you prefer) that it would be the correct solution, and that your recommendation would make no appreciable difference in scope of government corruption.

    You obviously don't realize that your taxes already funds elections and that our Congress is already corrupt.

    So you acknowledge that funding elections through taxes causes corruption? ;) I say this in jest, of course, since you didn't imply that the correlation between the two was evidence of causation one way or the other. But it does call into question your argument, does it not?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This