Pages of interest

News that matters...

Loading...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Let's Minimize Political Corruption.

By: George

Am I the only one, or did anyone else notice that Political Corruption is rampant in our Political System?  Be it National, State or Local politicians, every time a rock is turned over, some crooked "elected official" slithers out.

Now you will probably point out that it only seems that way, because the news only covers politicians when they are found with their hands in the cookie-jar.  And while I agree that scoundrels are more newsworthy than honest upstanding citizens, it still seems to be almost a daily denouement.  We hear about politicians taking bribes, getting kickbacks, going on junkets at taxpayer expense, practicing nepotism, using campaign funds as personal accounts, avoiding taxes, hiring prostitutes on our dime, prevaricating (lying) without compunction, and many more. Now considering that we ONLY hear about the ones that got caught, we can start to fathom the extent of the sleaze.

I recently saw someone quote that "Crooked politicians give a bad name to the other 10%". This is meant to be funny, but it is probably understating the truth.


So why is this happening, and is there anything that can be done about it?

To understand the reasons for all this festering moral decay in the Public Sector, we have to delve into the workings of the human psyche. But since I am limited to the scope of this post, here is the bottom line in a nutshell. Man is a creature of his environment, and he/she is driven by wants and needs. If one is raised with emphasis on honesty and morality, he will absorb these traits. If the upbringing de-emphasizes honesty and ethics, the person will easily bend rules to his wants. Unfortunately, the absorption of one's surroundings and environment isn’t mitigated as one gets older. If one is surrounded by evil, it will eventually rub off, if one is surrounded by greed and corruption, he can't help but be influenced. The degree of the influence depends on the strength of one’s baseline convictions.

Simplified, people get into politics basically for one of two reasons.

1. For the ideals of making a difference to the community and to humanity.
2. To get power, influence and make lots of money etc...

The people in the second group are already primed for corruption from the get-go. They will accept it and seek it out. People in the first group, on the other hand, start out wholeheartedly seeking ideals, the truth and the moral high ground. They will try their best, and for a while they'll succeed. But if you spend time in a cesspool, the excrement will eventually stick to you.

The Rabbis in the Hebrew Talmud admonish their disciples to never place themselves in the path of temptation, because no matter how pious one may be, he is still vulnerable to the allure of temptation. We all are aware that countless temptations abound in Sodom and Gomorrah, aahh.. I mean, Washington D.C.

So can anything be done to return Honesty, Ethics and Sanity to the political scene?  I don't know.  What I do know is that now is the best chance to try.

We have seen that when the great "silent majority" of the American public gets involved in the political system and raises its collective voice in outrage, they can move mountains.  The American Public is currently engaged in the Political Process, and now is the time to effect a cure. We will soon have fresh faces gracing the Capital hallways, people whose idealism has not yet been diluted, influenced and corrupted by the prevailing Washington mindset. We, the voters must demand governmental reforms, and we have to keep the pressure up on our representatives, both new and old, to sanitize our government.

So where do we start?

1.  Term Limits. We can debate the length of the terms or the application of it equally or on a position-by-position basis, but there should be a LIMIT to a Politician’s “tenure”. The Presidency has it, now it's time to apply it to ALL elected offices. Let's not be in a position where a politician can feel secure that his constituents will re-elect him in spite of his "minor" felonious activities. (I am sure that we can all think of more than one such Politician.)

2.  Create fiscal transparency of ALL representatives with annual audited disclosures of net worth, with the first such disclosure happening upon taking office, to set a baseline. Any unusual deviations from norm should be fully explained, and if needed, investigated. We shouldn’t have to wonder how an average candidate becomes a millionaire in a few years.

3.  The Ethics oversight committee is to be an independent body. Do we get to be judged by our “friends” when we go to court?

4.  All political contributions to candidates or elected officials to be disclosed. For expediency we could set a low limit of $20.

5.  All political advertisements should be independently verified for accuracy and untruths publicly documented. Politicians are adroit liars, so this is important.

6.  Set some kind of Spending Cap for campaigns. I realize that this is a hot-potato issue, but it could be done on a position by position case, and periodic adjustments could be built in.

I am realistic enough to realize that even if we bend our wills to reforming the political system, it will fall short of idealism, which is why the title of this post states “Minimize”. Just because we know that we can’t fix it, that’s no reason for NOT EVEN TRYING!

What do you think?  Do you have any other ideas that should be tried?  Do you think that I am way off base?   Feel free to Comment.


12 comments:

  1. I agree with all of the above and would like to add that when a politician has lost his job, income, insurances and pensions should be stopped just like a regular job. And when they get caught breaking the law or not upholding the constitution, they should be removed from office, tried if the offense is criminal and have no further political influence. We need to stop the corruption!

    ReplyDelete
  2. If you read the whole article, Term Limits was #1 on my list.

    ReplyDelete
  3. #6 is a huge pet peeve of mine! Politicians should not be able to "buy" a position. Every candidate should have the same budget - a low budget - to campaign. What a waste of money and so unfair - drives me crazy every year!

    And I don't know if this has anything to do with your article, but since you've got me talking - why do we even have political parties? Why can't people just have their own ideas and run on their own? (Everyone - not just the random independant who never wins). I know *I* don't fall neatly into any 1 party. I don't think most people do. So why do we feel the need to put everyone in a box? I find that really irritating. I wonder if things would be less corrupt if it wasn't always republican vs democrat. Each person would stand on his/her own and wouldn't be defined by their party. Just a thought.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Everyone !!@@!!

    It's George's buddy Harry on Election Night !! OK, It's close to 2 AM, and I've driven 170 miles to cast my vote in Staatsburg, NY, at the Staatsburg Fire House !!

    Christine Digrandi ( Jones ) - ( a fellow High School Grad. ) was of course an " intaker", and there to relay how many of our graduating class were also there during the day.

    This Progressive has been kinda silent up til now, and I will post my " makes sense logic " in the following " Enter your Comment here ...

    Thanks,
    George's Mentor,
    Harry

    ReplyDelete
  5. In our country we have a choice. Our Democrats in Congress have worked honestly to tackle the problems and not to filibuster or just say NO.
    So when the Democrats slapped down the credit card cowboys and demanded• that card holders be given clear and stable interest rates, most Americans cheered.
    When student loans for higher education were drying up and• Democrats made these loans directly available to students at reasonable rates, most Americans cheered.
    When a war based on false information finally began• to wind down with the withdrawal of American troops, most Americans cheered.
    When Democrats began to replace fossil fuel oil industry welfare• supports with seed money for clean energy innovation, most Americans cheered.
    When veteran care, which had suffered from negligence and• mismanagement, was investigated and improved, most Americans cheered.
    When• President Obama and Democrats passed reforms to control the excesses of Wall Street investment bankers, most Americans cheered.
    When returning veterans• were openly honored, most Americans cheered.
    When Democrats passed• legislation requiring insurance companies to stop dropping coverage for patients with serious diseases, to offer coverage to those with pre-conditions, and to extend family coverage for young people into their 20’s, most Americans cheered.
    When the free fall of the economy ended and jobs slowly began to• be added, most Americans cheered.
    When President Obama and the Democratic• Congress passed tax cuts for 95% of working families, most Americans cheered.
    And about taxes: nobody enjoys paying them, but here are some facts:
    In all of Harry Markle’s Political Science Classes he has taken at Dutchess Community, Buffalo State, and the American University, all professors have pretty much said the same thing; that

    FREEDOM is !!! N O T !!! F R E E !!
    A civilized society lives as O N E , is financed, and is not dysfunctional, and tries not to be idiotic, especially when the words
    " H U M A N I T Y P L U S B R O T H E R H O O D "
    is understood by all - like WOW ! ! GET IT ??
    The federal tax rate during both terms of the Eisenhower• Administration was 91% for the wealthiest Americans.
    Under President Nixon• the wealthiest were taxed at 70%.
    Under President Reagan the wealthiest• were taxed at 50%.
    Under President Clinton the wealthiest were taxed at• 39.6%.
    President George W. Bush steered the nation into six years of war,• spent the Clinton era surplus, and reduced taxes for the wealthiest to 35%.
    • In 2010 Republicans threatened a filibuster in the Senate to keep the wealthiest 2% from having their tax rate return to 39.6% (at a cost of $700 billion over 10 years).
    We all know that we are not “there” yet. We have much work to do to restore our economic vibrancy. We can move forward with risk, regression and negativity from our opponents, who want to privatize Social Security, protect the wealthy, and undo the benefits of Health Insurance Reform. We have a choice.
    Harry Markle sincerely hopes that you have voted for people who you believe can provide day to day getting people back to work, providing food, and shelter solutions; not the typical “ have stable jobs class, along with “ addicted to Blackberry, Droid “ Impatient Soul to Nowhere TYPES !! “ : )

    Anonymous " Progressive HARRY !!

    ReplyDelete
  6. HARRY,

    2 points:

    1 - You're either Anonymous, or you are Harry. Make up whatever is left of your mind.

    2 - Your second post is way too tedious and I fell asleep trying to read it, but what are you trying to say? Are you FOR Political Corruption or AGAINST???

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous is Harry.... but he's NO mentor of anybody here! ha!
    I got that email this morning from his 'hotel california' list....and it's obvious he's FOR Political corruption... it cracks me up that he wants higher taxes for the 'evil' entrepreneurs while he's now thinking about going into his own business.... truly a progressive thinker who is yearning to work hard so the elites can soak up his profits and go on 200 million dollar a day vacations. :-) Way to go Harry!

    ReplyDelete
  8. You're absolutely Right, Harry! Let's all pray for higher taxes on the rich, 'evil' entrepreneurs who are the main reason people have jobs in this country. Let's pray for higher taxes on everybody so we can keep our Leader and his wife happy so they can continue to go on their vacations....hmmm....let's see....the cheap vacation to Martha's vineyard was $50K a week just for the rental.....doesn't include security and all the fun stuff.......Michelle's Spain vacation that cost us over $250M could have fed a family of 4 for 57 years......oh wait.....that's peanuts..... the India trip this week will now cost the American people (that means you too) over 200 Million dollars a day! Yep.....they really care about the economy, the unemployed and starving in America don't they? We don't even have a budget this year because they can't figure out the trillions they've spent in the past 2 years....but God forbid the President miss a trip to India and a special visit to a mosque..... ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

    Oh and Harry.....because I believe in American Exceptional-ism.....I wish you the very best on your new business venture....After all YOUR HARD work getting it off the ground, and paying all your local and national start up fees, insurances, abiding by all the government regulations and licenses for electronics, hiring employees and matching SS/MED taxes at 7.65%, FUTA at 8%, SUI at at average of 5%, .... distributions, marketing and advertising, rents and utilities, liability insurances, sales taxes, corporate taxes, don't forget healthcare.... and all the other expenses regulated by the government..... and you work 100 hours a week getting your venture to succeed..... it takes several years to break even.....by that time, taxes should be back up to over 50% for your income bracket so YOU can HAPPILY send half of your hard work and income to the government so your wonderful congressmen and president can continue to use their (OUR) jets to go overseas on their fun vacations while you use your fossil fuel and energy savings machinery at higher taxes and costs! Isn't that wonderful???? ps...and make sure you pay your taxes on time or they'll get you with the penalties at 5% a day and interest on top of that.... but...... honestly....... Best of luck to you when you become an 'evil' entrepreneur!!

    I went to Dutchess too... and I majored in retailing and business management and economics.... and we learned that the only way to balance a budget is to cut back on extravagant expenses, and not spend a company into oblivion or you end up going bankrupt....

    ReplyDelete
  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  10. In short, yes, I think there's more corruption than ever before. I think corruption is a top down thingee; i.e. if a police chief is corrupt, so goes the department. Corruption has its markers like anything else. Using the police chief example again - if the chief is known for fudging the numbers, using his company car for vacations without paying for the gas, kicking a prisoner around, taking coffee without putting the quarter in the paper cup, then others see it and think they can do it as well. Our .government is broken from the top down. This brokenness is bound to run rampant throughout, in some form or another. Expecting the highest ethical standards from our Prez-O on down may insure that other .government employees inclined to cheat will be reined in somewhat more successfully than a sneaky, dishonest, non-transparent, secretive prez as our model. Sorta like real life.

    I stumbled on your blog and I likes it! I'll be back, y'all.

    ReplyDelete
  11. 1.) "The degree of the influence depends on the strength of one’s baseline convictions."

    Very good point!!

    2.) "People in the first group, on the other hand, start out wholeheartedly seeking ideals, the truth and the moral high ground. They will try their best, and for a while they'll succeed. But if you spend time in a cesspool, the excrement will eventually stick to you."

    My instant reaction to this: Term Limits!!

    3.) "Create fiscal transparency of ALL representatives with annual audited disclosures of net worth, with the first such disclosure happening upon taking office, to set a baseline. Any unusual deviations from norm should be fully explained, and if needed, investigated. We shouldn’t have to wonder how an average candidate becomes a millionaire in a few years."

    This isn't something I've considered before, but you do make some good points and I will be thinking about this one for a while.

    4.) "All political contributions to candidates or elected officials to be disclosed. For expediency we could set a low limit of $20."

    I'm not sure I completely agree with this one but it is still a very important issue and this is another one that I'll be thinking about for a while. So, thank you for bringing up this point.

    5.) "All political advertisements should be independently verified for accuracy and untruths publicly documented. Politicians are adroit liars, so this is important."

    I like this one too… makes a lot of sense!

    6.) "Set some kind of Spending Cap for campaigns. I realize that this is a hot-potato issue, but it could be done on a position by position case, and periodic adjustments could be built in."

    VERY good suggestion!!


    My ideas:

    For debates, we'd have to ensure that no candidate gets pushed out of the way because their ideas are seen as "wrong" or "crazy" by those in charge of the debate. The only way for people to learn what a candidate is about is for that candidate to speak. If a candidate is wrong on something, let them make their mistakes in front of people.

    As for informing people who are just waking up to what's really going on (like me), it would also be nice for there to be some sort of Conservative resource website. A place where you can have access to all things Conservative like books, articles of well known voices, news sources (Breitbart, WND, Newsmax, One America News, etc.) and something very important can be on this information website: Sources that talk about the Constitution so people like me can learn about it.

    What's gone on in the past few years has opened my eyes. There is so much that I don't know.

    ReplyDelete

Enter your Comment here...

StatCounter