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Telecom Immunity Flip-Floppers Got More Telecom Money

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the stark-example dept.

The Almighty Buck 277

ya really notes a nice analysis by Maplight.org indicating that those Democratic representatives who changed their vote on telecom immunity between March and June received on average 40% more in contributions from telecom interests than those Democrats who held firm. Maplight asks, "Why did these ninety-four House members have a change of heart? Their constituents deserve answers." Across both parties, representatives who voted for immunity in June had received almost twice as much telecom money as those who voted against. Wired's coverage includes a quote from Larry Lessig, who is on the Maplight board: "Money corrupts the process of reasoning. [Lawmakers] get a sixth sense of how what they do might affect how they raise money."

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277 comments

Ex post facto is prohibited. (4, Insightful)

IonHand (646698) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967285)

US Constitution, Article 1, Section 9: No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

Re:Ex post facto is prohibited. (3, Interesting)

Romancer (19668) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967333)

Holly... Why didin't I hear about this like a thousand times during this debate on immunity?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ex_post_facto_law [wikipedia.org]

Re:Ex post facto is prohibited. (5, Insightful)

autocracy (192714) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967577)

You never hear about it because the phrase primarily is interpreted as applying when somebody passes a law that marks an individual guilty. Making them not guilty isn't so much of an issue (whatever would we have done with slavery laws then?). eggoeater's quote from the wiki addresses that.

What that basically means is that Congress can't say "John is guilty" (bill of attainder), nor can they say "Wearing blue socks on July 4th, 2007 is illegal" if they pass the law on July 5th, 2007 or later.

Although, I admit when thinking about it now, that changing a civil liability law retroactively may not be tested. Curiouser and curiouser.

Re:Ex post facto is prohibited. (1, Flamebait)

IonHand (646698) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967969)

IANAL but can this be considered a bill of attainder - as it is taking away the rights of certain American citizens (those who communicate with foreigners) without trial?

Re:Ex post facto is prohibited. (3, Insightful)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967861)

Because it doesn't apply. Laws that retroactively make things legal are not ex post facto under the Constitution. The wikipedia article you cite specifically states that, and that it applies to the telecom bill (to be fair, that probably got added after you referenced it).

Re:Ex post facto is prohibited. (0)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967991)

Honestly, I have decided the written law means very little at all. If enough people dislike what you do, they'll find a way to prosecute you for something or other. If you have enough support, they'll figure out a way to conclude you didn't break the law.

Not saying laws are pointless, but they seem to be more reminders of shared values rather than executable code.

Re:Ex post facto is prohibited. (3, Informative)

eggoeater (704775) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967391)

Who marked parent offtopic?
Unfortunatly they'll probably get away with it. From Wikipedia:

A law may have an ex post facto effect without being technically ex post facto. For example, when a law repeals a previous law, the repealed legislation no longer applies to the situations it once did, even if such situations arose before the law was repealed. The principle of prohibiting the continued application of these kinds of laws is also known as Nullum crimen, nulla poena sine praevia lege poenali.




Re:Ex post facto is prohibited. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23967593)

This is why, from your own damn link:

Finally, Calder v. Bull expressly stated that a law that "mollifies" a criminal act was merely retrospective and not an ex post facto law. The current debate over granting telecoms retroactive immunity for their part in warrantless wiretapping is one that does not invoke the ex post facto clause in the U.S. Constitution.

To translate for you: Laws that make something legal, or even just reduces the penalty, that was once illegal are not ex post facto laws.

Re:Ex post facto is prohibited. (1)

bugnuts (94678) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967803)

My understanding is that they aren't making it legal, merely that you cannot sue them.

Re:Ex post facto is prohibited. (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#23968011)

Interesting? Can't sue them for what?
I believe that they have broken their privacy commitments. That being a civil matter, they would still be open to litigation... or so the thinking goes. It remains only to find someone to get the full information of who they spied on, and what was monitored.

Re:Ex post facto is prohibited. (2, Insightful)

Pichu0102 (916292) | more than 5 years ago | (#23968069)

You speak of that as if politicians care about the law unless it meets their own ends.

Re:Ex post facto is prohibited. (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 5 years ago | (#23968073)

That's not all.

US Constitution, Article 2, Section 2.

The President...he shall have power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

Congress can't grant a pardon. So is it okay if they pass a law that says "well... anyone who did something illegal, and was asked by the president, during a specified time, and has 2 T's and an A and an and sign in there name did not actually commit a crime in the first place." --- Is that not a pardon?

First of all (0, Troll)

Romancer (19668) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967287)

First: Dirty rat bastards!

Second: Duh.

Third: Fix it Obama!

Re:First of all (4, Insightful)

k_187 (61692) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967351)

Too bad he's also flipped on his support of the bill.

Re:First of all (4, Insightful)

bonkeydcow (1186443) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967661)

Too bad he's also flipped on his support of the bill.

That doesn't matter. Obama is whoever you want him to be.

Re:First of all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23967781)

Politicians are whomever you want them to be, but only at the time and place of their choosing.

Fixed.

Re:First of all (2, Insightful)

Jhon (241832) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967459)

First: Dirty rat bastards!


Yup. Agreed.

Second: Duh.


Yup. Agreed.

Third: Fix it Obama!i>


See. There you lost me. I think both are crap, but this statement of yours is whacked as far as accuracy goes. McCain is the only one who's even seriously TRIED to limit money coming in to campaigns and politicians. Obama blew off his oath to not seek private funds and will now be in the pocket of every major interest group.

Re:First of all (4, Insightful)

The Warlock (701535) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967537)

On the other hand, McCain has also consistently supported telecom immunity, so I guess we're pretty much fucked.

Re:First of all (5, Informative)

Lally Singh (3427) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967989)

Hmm, before he shunned the public funding, he shunned interest group funding.

The entire DNC can no longer take money from lobbys or special interest groups, as per his request after Hillary's withdrawal.

He shunned the public funding b/c he could get more money through fairly honest means (mostly private citizen contributions) than the public funding with its restrictions.

Re:First of all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23968113)

Obama blew off his oath to not seek private funds and will now be in the pocket of every major interest group.

First it was a "promise" and now it was an "oath" ? The fact is that if he followed through with his plan to use public funding, he'd be handicapping his campaign; there is no reason for him to shoot himself in the foot like that except to cow-tow to his opposition and hand them an undeserved victory.

Give me a break about some sort of third grade "you promised" b.s. This is just a new entry in the long list of extremely childish (yet strangely effective) PR blitzes from the Republican hate machine. (The ones who brought you the "no nilly queers" as a central part of their platform.)

Re:First of all (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23968229)

Third: Fix it Obama!

You Obamatards crack me up. I really hope it doesn't take electing an unqualified individual to be POTUS before you realize how limited the office of the President truly is.

But it probably will.

Even more guffaws to be had when your O-savior is proved impotent.

Accountability (5, Insightful)

hags2k (1152851) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967331)

Where is the accountability for this kind of thing? Is it a matter of the information not being readily available, or is it just that people don't bother to do the research and find out just who is lining their leaders' pockets?

When a presidential candidate simply speaking about not taking money from lobbyists is considered a "bold move" by many in the media, it becomes terribly difficult to have faith in any of our political leaders, at least for me.

Re:Accountability (5, Insightful)

CauseWithoutARebel (1312969) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967507)

It is available, but it is obtuse. A nice place to find such information is OpenSecrets.org [opensecrets.org]

And the accountability? It's with you. With me. With our neighbors and fellow slashdotters. We are a Democratic Republic, we are supposed to keep our elected officials in check by removing them or not re-electing them when they become corrupt or simply stop representing our interests, which means one of two things is in play here:

1) The American people, generally, support wiretapping without oversight and don't want to see telecoms punished even if their support of the program was illegal

or, more likely:

2) The American people do not fully educate themselves on these sorts of matters and don't have a full grasp of the implications involved in allowing it. They have abdicated their responsibility of oversight of the government.

We are a lazy and selfish people, my friend. It's going to take some serious suffering on our parts to change that.

Re:Accountability (5, Insightful)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967511)

is it just that people don't bother to do the research and find out just who is lining their leaders' pockets?

Because that would just be an exercise in sorting out which candidates get their pockets lined by people you agree with. And it would just be a snapshot. By the next day a different set of people, with whom you might not agree, would be buying the votes.

And you'd also find out they are all on the take, so whether you agree with any of it or not you have no ready replacements available.

Then you'd end up highly cynical about politics, and government in general, and you'd be here on Slashdot looking for any opportunity to spread that cynicism to people who show any sign of not yet being fully cynicised.

Re:Accountability (2, Insightful)

Gewalt (1200451) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967631)

Honest men are kept honest by fear of repercussions from not being honest. What's the repercussions for these lawmakers for corrupting their office? Additional campaign contributions?

Re:Accountability (5, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967741)

Honest men are kept honest by fear of repercussions from not being honest. What's the repercussions for these lawmakers for corrupting their office? Additional campaign contributions?

Dishonest men are kept honest by fear of repercussions. Honest men are honest because that's what feels right to them. Politicians are kept honest by burying them up to the neck in sand, head first.

Re:Accountability (5, Funny)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967957)

Really? If I were burying a politician head-first in the sand, I would want to bury him up to the ankles.

Re:Accountability (1)

Solandri (704621) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967811)

Where is the accountability for this kind of thing? Is it a matter of the information not being readily available, or is it just that people don't bother to do the research and find out just who is lining their leaders' pockets?

You get a chance to hold them accountable in November. But for some reason everyone always figures their Congressman or Senator is just fine, it's all the other ones who are corrupt.

Re:Accountability (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#23968001)

Oh sure, we can kick this particular bunch out in November, but the potential replacements are just as bad.

Re:Accountability (2, Insightful)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 5 years ago | (#23968031)

They are only accountable if we want them to be. Most people are still considering voting for either McCain or Obama. In other words, most people don't want them to be accountable.

If the people wanted accountability, the symptom would be that in the November election, McCain and Obama would both lose to someone else, as would many incumbents in Congress.

But only about 1% of Americans see a problem with legislation being purchased. Oh, they say they don't like it, but their actions in the voting booth show they're really ok with it.

Re:Accountability (1)

Pichu0102 (916292) | more than 5 years ago | (#23968139)

Accountability doesn't exist because it's not surprising that they do this anymore, and that generally, we have no way of getting out of it. It's a choice between asshole A and asshole B. Either way we vote, we lose, and third parties? Voting for them is a waste, you really think the same assholes who screw us over when they're put in office are going to care about how the people feel on issues?

What's worse, most governments across the world seem to be taking on America's example, and since our political system can't die due to how they're got it, there's no where to run, and no way to escape.

Dear America, (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23967337)

Now's the chance for you to prove to the Rest of the World that Money doesn't rule your country and that you still care about some of your rights that you so ardently want to keep guns to protect.

Love,

Rest of the World.

PS. Feel free to sit back and do nothing. It's worked well for you for the last 7 or so years.

Dear rest of the world, (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23967561)

How about you run your respective countries the way you see fit and we'll run ours the way we see fit. After all, that is what sovereign means, does it not?

PS. Feel free to allow tyrants, massive corruption and whole sale slaughter all over the rest of the world as you have for the last 100 years or so.

Re:Dear rest of the world, (4, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967791)

You know, plugging your ears and yelling, "You're not the boss of me!" when your elders try to give you honest advice simply isn't very mature.

And the US has allowed tyrants, massive corruption, and wholesale slaughter for the last 100 years as much if not more than any other country. Look at the history of Central and South America: we have a nasty habit of helping overthrow democratically elected socialist governments and installing US friendly tyrannical madmen.

Dear America, (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23967881)

We're elated to hear that you know the meaning of "sovereign." Your idea is a very good one, we'd like to act on it immediately. Please gather up your unsolicited military presences and stop your political and economic thuggery, and we will gladly stop making suggestions to you.

Warmest regards,

Rest of the World.

Throw the bums out... (5, Insightful)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967371)

This Congress is probably the best reason we should throw EVERYONE who is an incumbent out the door, particularly those who have been in place more than 1-2 terms - from BOTH sides of the aisle. Republicans are holding to big-government ideals rather than conservative ones, and haven't been worth much since Gingrich left; and Dems haven't done much of anything but posture and "investigate" with committees that have done nothing but waste taxpayers time (suing OPEC? WTF?), and NO ONE is working together well. The ONE argument that Obama has going for him, in my mind (being a conservative) is that he's relatively inexperienced.

Re:Throw the bums out... (2, Interesting)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967855)

This Congress is probably the best reason we should throw EVERYONE who is an incumbent out the door, particularly those who have been in place more than 1-2 terms - from BOTH sides of the aisle. Republicans are holding to big-government ideals rather than conservative ones, and haven't been worth much since Gingrich left; and Dems haven't done much of anything but posture and "investigate" with committees that have done nothing but waste taxpayers time (suing OPEC? WTF?), and NO ONE is working together well. The ONE argument that Obama has going for him, in my mind (being a conservative) is that he's relatively inexperienced.

One way to avoid the corruption problem: 100% public financing of ALL campaigns for elected office with the provision of equitable free air-time from all media outlets. Any sort of contribution or gift to a politician, monetary or otherwise, will be seen as a bribe and prosecuted as high treason.

I had really high hopes for Obama since, with the bulk of his donations coming from average joe Americans, he had no big business interests to be beholden to. that's the biggest flaw for conventional campaigns, the new pols come in already owing favors.

Re:Throw the bums out... (1)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967941)

No thanks. Maybe somewhere in between, but I think this is a BAD idea - we'd get way too many people involved who would just see running for office as a free paycheck. Plus, there are plenty of business interests which would be shut out of the political process who should have genuine reason to be involved because they would be affected by taxation and regulation.

Public financing would also likely reduce much voting to the lowest common denominator and result in stupid people voting for stupid things. We need to re-work some of the way lobbying and influence peddling is done in politics, but we need to be careful we don't reduce everything to mob rule.

Re:Throw the bums out... (4, Insightful)

XanC (644172) | more than 5 years ago | (#23968017)

The real answer is to reduce the power of government to the point where it simply isn't so critical exactly who holds what office. Right now, it matters a whole lot, because the federal government is basically unrestrained.

Re:Throw the bums out... (2, Insightful)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#23968257)

No thanks. Maybe somewhere in between, but I think this is a BAD idea - we'd get way too many people involved who would just see running for office as a free paycheck. Plus, there are plenty of business interests which would be shut out of the political process who should have genuine reason to be involved because they would be affected by taxation and regulation.

We've had how many years of over-representation of business interests in government? Forgive my lack of sympathy and concern if we were to actually redress this issue.

Public financing would also likely reduce much voting to the lowest common denominator and result in stupid people voting for stupid things. We need to re-work some of the way lobbying and influence peddling is done in politics, but we need to be careful we don't reduce everything to mob rule.

How could we be any more LCD and stupid than we are right now? At least with 100% public financing, those people we do send to Washington will be able to do as they see fit without having to be concerned with whoring to big pocket donors for reelection capital. The only people they have to worry about satisfying are their constituents. And when it comes to that, the competing interests of all the other interests demanding a piece of the pie should result in compromises that harm the least, or at least that was the theory the Founding Fathers operated under.

Re:Throw the bums out... (2, Informative)

Thuktun (221615) | more than 5 years ago | (#23968299)

Any sort of contribution or gift to a politician, monetary or otherwise, will be seen as a bribe and prosecuted as high treason.

Impossible. Perhaps you've forgotten, but the Constitution enumerates what can be considered treason, and this isn't it.

From Article III, Section 3: [cornell.edu]

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.

Re:Throw the bums out... (0, Flamebait)

Pichu0102 (916292) | more than 5 years ago | (#23968171)

You speak as if voting matters anymore in the US and we aren't a country where people are placed in positions by the wealthy and powerful directly.

As long as the government legislates the economy.. (4, Insightful)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967385)

... companies will flock to politicians. It's one big protection racket.

Re:As long as the government legislates the econom (1)

chthon (580889) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967643)

The biggest problem for the USA, it seems, is to change legislation so that it is possible for more political parties to gain influence.

If you have more political parties, it should be possible to elect people who are convinced that change is necessary and are able to pull it off.

Here in Belgium, after some high profile corruption cases involving political parties, laws where introduced which set caps on political contributions, and which alotted government money for campaigning to the several parties, based upon their election results.

Re:As long as the government legislates the econom (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967691)

All you're basically saying is, "these two groups got it wrong, so if we throw more groups at the problem, maybe we'll find a solution." The end result is whoever has the most interesting personality will win.

Re:As long as the government legislates the econom (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967763)

As opposed to no regulating at all, it which point they can happily do whatever the hell they want, wiretapping included.

Yes. That's *so* much better.

Re:As long as the government legislates the econom (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 5 years ago | (#23968115)

It seems you do not know what the whole story is about. The government was doing the wiretapping, and demanded companies comply with their requests. Normally, if someone wiretaps you, you can take them to court for violating your rights. Only when the government does the wiretapping do you not have that option. The rights violation has still occurred, however.

Re:As long as the government legislates the econom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23967831)

So I guess we don't have a free market in any sense.

Re:As long as the government legislates the econom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23968061)

Of course it is, and every single politician knows it, even as they spend mass efforts (and your tax money) to convince you otherwise.

When buying and selling is controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are the legislators.

-- P.J. O'Rourke

Re:As long as the government legislates the econom (2, Interesting)

illumin8 (148082) | more than 5 years ago | (#23968095)

It's one big protection racket.

Bingo. The temporary backbone that our representatives had while they voted against telecom immunity was just a blip on the radar. The "fix" is in now. Somebody forgot to make their regular protection payments (Verizon, AT&T, etc.) and a lesson was made. "Don't pay up and see how difficult we make doing business in the US." The political system works for those that pay to play. Money flowed freely, laws were bought and paid for, and the citizens were fucked in the ass without lube.

Make note of these fucks and vote them out during the next election.

The thing that really sickens me is that it's the Democratic party leadership that is getting the most payoff. Rahm Emanuel, Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer are all near the top of the list.

I'm still a democrat, but right now my party can fuck off for all I care.

This is the change we voted for? (5, Insightful)

tji (74570) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967407)

In the '06 elections, the Democrats won overwhelmingly, taking back control of both houses of Congress. Many of us had high expectations after that.. I mean the public sentiment was about as obvious as it could ever be.

But, what the hell have they brought us? Certainly no meaningful change on the war effort. And no backbone when it comes to any of the tough issues. When the issues get difficult, they fold like lawnchairs.

What a broken system we have.

Re:This is the change we voted for? (4, Insightful)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967571)

"I mean the public sentiment was about as obvious as it could ever be."

It's like voting for Kodos after 6 years of Kang. All you're voting for is a different name for the same thing. The public, it would seem, is easily fooled.

Re:This is the change we voted for? (4, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967821)

Finally, you understand why a two party system is just marginally better than a one party system and why a system that tends toward a two party system is bad.

Re:This is the change we voted for? (3, Insightful)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 5 years ago | (#23968059)

Finally, you understand why a two party system is just marginally better than a one party system and why a system that tends toward a two party system is bad.

In my opinion, our system really IS a one party system.

I also have a suspicion that this is a direct result of the outcome Civil War, and was designed to prevent that sort of thing from ever happening again.

In that way, our 'two party' system is actually WORSE, due to the deception involved.

Re:This is the change we voted for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23967919)

I would suggest you read the first chapter of John W. Dean's "Broken Government". I think the Democrats are making an important improvement, but it gets a bit obscured because the press doesn't like to cover "process" issues. The Republicans were really trashing the House, and the Dems have reintroduced some degree of order. (I can't write about it as eloquently or authoritatively as Dean. You'll have to check it out and make your own conclusions.)

The other thing that I've heard John Dean say, specifically about FISA, sort of suggests that their strategy may have more to do with election strategy than anything else. The idea is that the Dems think the Bush admin will be gone in January. So they're going to let this one pass to avoid turning it into a GOP smear tactic. Then when they win in November they'll correct things.

Of course, then again, the last time I remember being told that a nasty repeal of civil liberties would only be a temporary thing was the patriot act...

Re:This is the change we voted for? (2, Insightful)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 5 years ago | (#23968303)

Democrats didn't actually win Congress, it make look like it, but what actually happened was the Conservative Republicans just didn't go out and vote for the Republicans that had been betraying Conservative principles.

Brilliant Idea (5, Insightful)

mr_nazgul (1290102) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967427)

The solution for this is simply put:
1) Corporate contributions directly or indirectly are banned from politics.
2) Only individuals can donate, and there are limits placed on how much one person can donate.
3) Politicians become honest.
4) Pigs grow wings and fly.

Re:Brilliant Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23967547)

corporations don't donate money. It is individuals with an interest in the corporation who donate the money to corrupt officials

Re:Brilliant Idea (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967647)

The problem is there will always be a loophole as long as politicians are able to pass legislation affecting the economy. You're trying to patch things up on the wrong end of the problem, and you'll end up repeating this process forever. The only way to fix it is to ban politicians from manipulating the economy. Then companies will then have no interest in them.

Re:Brilliant Idea (2, Informative)

Fastfwd (44389) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967847)

This is already how it mostly works in Canada(not step 4). I think it is a good step but it is not a perfect solution.

Re:Brilliant Idea (1)

Dorkmaster Flek (1013045) | more than 5 years ago | (#23968285)

It's not the whole solution, but it's certainly a required step in my mind. I like that aspect of our political system. It seems to me that corporate contributions to politicians are just an obviously bad idea.

Man are they cheap (5, Insightful)

alextheseal (653421) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967439)

$8,359 to sell out this country. Didn't Spitzer spend more on some of his romps. Come on Senators, have some pride.

Umm, I'll bet you it's *not* just the telecoms! (4, Insightful)

BLKMGK (34057) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967443)

I'm willing to bet that if you examine this phenomenon for most any big issue you will find much the same behavior. Oil, automotive, energy, media, name any BIG well funded topic and I'm betting you will see this same sort of activity occuring. In fact I think articles pointing this out for the RIAA\MPIAA have been posted in the past.

Bravo that there's a big spotlight on this but I'll be WAY more excited when this hits mainstream press. Unfortunately the mainstream press is as much a PART of the problem as they are a potential way of informing the public - especially now that ownership rules have been relaxed

Correlation is not causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23967455)

But it could be.

Surprised? (5, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967457)

This won't receive media coverage. The ecosystem of for-profit media, for-profit corporations, and for-profit government officials have no interest in their constituents.

They don't need their constituents.

The media will give you only two false options that have zero real policy differences, the gerrymandered lines ensure the "proper" parties are elected. They will avoid offending any of their advertisers by reporting things as unimportant as blatant vote-buying to purchase immunity. Instead we'll get to hear about things that are of no importance: sports, celebrity gossip, and political bickering that passes off as dialogue.

But hey, new iPhone next month! Who's already waiting in line? The best Germans will have theirs first...

Re:Surprised? (1)

Paranatural (661514) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967605)

Agreed. I think there should be very strict rules on any sorts of news coverage, including restrictions on campaign donations, and heavy, if not outright restrictions on parent companies 'owning' media networks. No good can come of one company owning a drug company and a news company who should 'investigate' it.

What a surprise! (1)

fotbr (855184) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967481)

Politicians are bought and paid for. Oh, wait. Its always been that way, and always will be.

Before or after? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23967489)

Did they flip-flop as a result of an increase in contributions, or did they get an increase after they flip-flopped. Or were they always getting payed more.

Lessig was close, but fundamentally off (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967497)

Money does not corrupt reasoning. Greed in an uncoerced, free market demands efficiency from all involved parties. What does lead to corruption is when a force-backed entity - such as the government - gets involved in the money game, with the promise of financial protection through favorable legislation. Companies and cronies will immediately seek out corruptible politicians - to do otherwise would be to risk seeing unfavorable legislation passed.

The internet allows us to track and organize... (5, Insightful)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967533)

The Internet allows us to track these offenses and organize against the offenders far better than ever before. We need to start funding challengers against every Vichy Democrat who voted for this bill and against every Republican on general principle. And if Obama really goes along with this shit, if he really proves himself to be just another politician, well fuck him, too.

"Reform the system from within," we're told. "Be part of the solution, not part of the problem." At what point do we decide that the system cannot be reformed from within, cannot be reformed from without, and must be overthrown in its entirety? That'll make for some nasty times to be sure but will such measures be forced upon us by necessity?

Re:The internet allows us to track and organize... (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 5 years ago | (#23968015)

Meet me at the Capitol. I'll bring the torches, you bring the pitchforks.

I'm only half kidding.

Re:The internet allows us to track and organize... (1)

nickhart (1009937) | more than 5 years ago | (#23968271)

The problem isn't individual bad politicians, Democrat or Republican. The problem is structural. The system is organized so that the exploiters (capitalists) "earn" their money from the labor of the exploited (workers). The capitalists use their money and power over the economy to run the system in their interests. The state belongs to them. They ensure it represents their interests through open bribery (aka campaign finance and lobbying) and by rewarding players with lucrative jobs when they leave office (on the boards of top corporations, and cushy jobs at law and lobbying firms). Those who don't play along are forced out. The higher you get in office the more compromised you are, of sheer necessity.

If we miraculously elected 535 honest people to Congress and they actually started looking out for the interests of workers, then the capitalists will sabotage the economy by moving their capital overseas. A state requires an economic base in order to function. The threat of economic collapse is more than enough to bring the state to heel. This is *precisely* what happened when the "Socialists" and Francois Mitterand came to power in France in 1981. They promised all sorts of great reforms, the economy tanked, and all of a sudden Reaganism/Thatcherism never looked so good to the them. (This should also serve as a notice to those "socialists" who think you can simply vote a new economic system into being.)

The long and short of it is: don't expect to win reform by voting. It's not going to happen. If voting could change anything it would be illegal! The people in power have too much power and privilege to lose to allow genuine democracy to occur. As the great orator and abolitionist Frederick Douglass once said:

The whole history of progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle. If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning, they want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted.

The only solution to such corruption (2, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967543)

Privatize the power to conduct a legal prosecution. Imagine the possibilities.

-Lying government witnesses could be targeted for prosecution by defense attorneys.

-Police who break the law could be targeted for prosecution by civil liberties organizations.

-Politicians who take bribes could be prosecuted by rich constituents.

-Prosecutors who pull a stunt like Nifong did in the duke rape case could prosecuted for unlawful prosecution and other charges by the victim's family.

The fact is that until the government loses its monopoly on trying criminal cases, the key parts of the government like prosecutors' offices, police departments and bodies politic will be largely immune from the consequences of their actions.

Can a monopoly legally do this? (3, Informative)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967613)

It occurs to me that many of these monies come from government-blessed monopolies. Can they then take such a large portion of their profits and use it to purchase votes? This is a self-amplifying cycle if I've ever seen one.

I can't recall any law that would prohibit it, but perhaps there really should be one...

Why so hard on the Dems? (5, Informative)

objekt (232270) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967685)

A majority of Democrats are still against the bill (105 for-128 against), whereas the Republicans almost unanimously support it (188 for-1 against).

From TFA:
All House Members (June 20th vote:)
Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint gave PAC contributions averaging:

$9,659 to each member of the House voting "YES" (105-Dem, 188-Rep)
$4,810 to each member of the House voting "NO" (128-Dem, 1-Rep)

Re:Why so hard on the Dems? (1)

objekt (232270) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967731)

Also interesting to note that the Dems who switched votes are apparently getting than the Republicans

$8,359 to each Democrat who changed their position to support immunity for Telcos (94 Dems)

$9,659 to each member of the House voting "YES" (105-Dem, 188-Rep)

Re:Why so hard on the Dems? (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 5 years ago | (#23968157)

Because the onus is on the Dems to repeal this crap. 'Change' means not supporting the status quo.

Fair or not, they set up the expectation themselves.

Let me see if I've got this right... (4, Insightful)

Kainaw (676073) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967701)

So, we allow companies to donate money to our lawmakers. The companies donate more money to lawmakers that vote for laws in a way that benefits the companies. Why should it be different? Should we only have companies that donate money to lawmakers who vote for laws to run the companies out of business?

Re:Let me see if I've got this right... (2, Insightful)

Eoika (1123009) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967869)

The lawmakers are supposed to make laws that protect the people, not protect a small group of companies.

Re:Let me see if I've got this right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23968087)

The problem isn't that the companies are giving more money to the lawmakers who vote for company-benefiting laws.
The problem is that companies are giving money to lawmakers to begin with.

Not just telecom bailout, but government CYA (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23967755)

It frustrates me to hear people say that government simply wants to bail out the telecoms, as if all they were doing is caving to big business.

My honest opinion is that those pushing this bill don't care at all about the interest of telecoms in this matter. The real reason is they don't want it to come out in court just what they were doing on behalf of our government.

The bill prevents people from suing telecoms for doing something on behalf of the White House. The case is to be thrown out on that grounds. Now, if you were suing the telecoms about this, don't you think the question of what the White House asked for would come up? Don't you think that in order for a meaningful trial to happen, that information would have to come out?

And from there, it's revealed that the White House has been asking for your phone conversations, in matters that have absolutely nothing to do with terrorism or any of the other things this administration claims it's acting for. And some Democrats probably know this, and don't want to get blamed for it either.

But. Let's also not forget that some Democrats are doing the right thing on this. I checked the roll call, and found that my representative voted no, as did the rep for the district I lived in before. So I can safely say that no one I voted for is behind this. :P

Telecom immunity not the real issue (5, Insightful)

darjen (879890) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967801)

Why do we allow our government this power to begin with? Immunity wouldn't be an issue if they weren't spying on us in the first place. Let's place the true blame where it should be - on congress, not the private companies.

Re:Telecom immunity not the real issue (2, Informative)

Khisanth Magus (1090101) | more than 5 years ago | (#23968027)

Actually, the spying was done at the behest of the executive branch, not the legislative, so we can really only blame congress for giving them immunity.

Re:Telecom immunity not the real issue (1)

darjen (879890) | more than 5 years ago | (#23968081)

They executive branch was using legislation like the original FISA, passed by congress, to justify their spying.

Open season (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23967877)

How about a new national holiday? June 28th could be "Shoot a politician in the face" day! Who's with me?

They are worthless fucking parasites, the lot of them, and it's about time they were exterminated.
Tell me, what happened to the French monarchy when their greed and corruption became too flagrant?

"Their constituents deserve answers." (1)

longacre (1090157) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967971)

The masses don't care enough to want answers. The masses are willing to overlook certain indiscretions if they believe it was done to further their safety. So what if some rules were bent to let the Feds listen to terrorists talk on the phone?

Even if they did care, at this point people are too worried about being able to afford gas to get to work to pay any attention to this.

that is just so absurdly impossible! (1)

swschrad (312009) | more than 5 years ago | (#23967993)

it is just not going to happen that fine upstanding civic-minded citizens who happen to be able to pay for a full and frank airing of views on important issues will be able to "buy" the vote.

.
.
.

CUT! PRINT! Thanks, SW, here's a little something for ya.

Freedom or death (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23967999)

When are we allowed to revolt? Before they have us under 24/7 surveillance and have lethally enforceable curfews or after?

I mean, everything they're doing is bringing us down this path where freedom is non-existent, and all that remains is a farce of what it really is as told to us by the media conglomerates (who are owned by the same companies that create the US Military Industrial Complex).

When are we really allowed to just say fuck it and start burning congress?

Settle down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23968067)

I'm sure this is all one big coincidence.

The best democracy... (1)

Sebilrazen (870600) | more than 5 years ago | (#23968197)

...that money can buy.

I'm glad that I'm a member of a huge group of corporate whore-mongers that can buy the laws to protect us.

Isn't it grand?

Is this really news? Does anyone REALLY care? (1)

Electric Eye (5518) | more than 5 years ago | (#23968231)

C'mon, people. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone any more. EVERY politician in Washington accepts bribes. They've made it legal under the guise of "campaign contributions." The sad problem is that, oh, 99.9% of Americans couldn't give two shits about it because they are to desensitized, skeptical, jaded and mostly plain ignorant and lazy to do anything about it. Every single scumbag in Washington needs to be thrown out of office and we need to start from scratch. It's a big, festering pit of corruption. Look at any issue. The guys vote depending on who pays them the most. It's clear as day and they don't even hide it. But no one is rushing to throw these human pieces of garbage out. That's why the US is in such bad shape these days - worse than we've been in a very, very long time.

Wake me when the revolution starts. Hopefully it's before my 90th birthday in 55 years.

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