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Two SOPA Writers Become Entertainment Lobbyists

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the par-for-the-course dept.

Government 171

schwit1 writes "According to Politico, 'A pair of senior Hill aides at the center of a brewing battle between Hollywood and Silicon Valley are packing their bags for K Street, where they’ll work for two of the entertainment lobby shops trying to influence their former colleagues in Congress on the very same issue. Allison Halataei, former deputy chief of staff and parliamentarian to House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), and Lauren Pastarnack, a Republican who has served as a senior aide on the Senate Judiciary Committee, worked on online piracy bills that would push Internet companies like Google, Yahoo and Facebook to shut down websites that offer illegal copies of blockbuster films and chart-topping songs.' Techdirt adds, 'Pastarnack went to the MPAA where she'll be "director of government relations" and Halataei to the NMPA (music publishers and songwriters) where she'll be "chief liaison to Capitol Hill." The Politico article linked above notes that this kind of "revolving door" is all too common. It may not be directly corrupt, but to the public it sure feels corrupt.'"

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This should be illegal (4, Insightful)

laffer1 (701823) | more than 2 years ago | (#38330614)

It's way to easy to "encourage" someone to write bills in your favor as a company. And politicians wonder why so many people don't even bother to vote anymore.

Re:This should be illegal (3, Insightful)

nicholas22 (1945330) | more than 2 years ago | (#38330668)

This crap is precisely the reason me and my peers don't vote.

Re:This should be illegal (3, Interesting)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#38330802)

idea: funding for pork projects get limited the more people do NOT show up to the polls.

lets make 'not showing up' an actual vote. a vote to DE-FUND things.

right now, I voice my dissatisfaction by not voting for the fraudsters (ie, all of them). but it would be nice if I could pull back things I think are wrong without giving the bad guy (note: both guys are bad guys, no matter what or where the issue is) more power I'd do it.

I want to be able to vote AGAINST things. how about that for an idea?

will never happen. our system is gamed against us. better luck in the next life. maybe. (then again, I've heard st. peter will be your new 'walking boss')

Re:This should be illegal (4, Insightful)

grahamsaa (1287732) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331326)

So not showing up to vote should de-fund things. Ok. What things? Should funding be cut across the board? Should it be cut in the districts where people don't show up to vote? I don't think there's any workable way to implement what you're proposing.

Re:This should be illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38332030)

if anything i think the people who do not vote should have their votes placed as a no confidence vote resulting in contact about why they didnt vote, and or a new election with different candidates.

Re:This should be illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38332504)

Those who find both candidates horrible, should write in "no confidence" or something similar.

at least that may draw up a stir in the media, if enough people in a district vote similar. or do it enough, someone may take notice.

Re:This should be illegal (3, Interesting)

Moryath (553296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332654)

I would agree to a requirement that no candidate be allowed to take office unless they had garnered a vote count equal to (50% + 1) of the registered, eligible voters for that election.

If only 49% of the people voted in the election, obviously 51% of them wanted "None Of The Above."

Re:This should be illegal (1, Insightful)

rahvin112 (446269) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332952)

No that isn't what they wanted. What they wanted was to delegate their vote to the people that actually do vote. If you don't vote you have no right to complain about a single thing that your elected officials do. You abrogated your responsibility to others. Were people to actually take seriously their electoral responsibility much could be done to alter the politics of this nation.

Rather than this asinine idea that inaction should be a vote of some sort I'd rather see criminal penalties for NOT voting. If people actually took responsibility and voted and corresponded with their representatives the advantage of special interests would be greatly decreased. But by refusing to vote what you do is empower the special interests by abrogating your vote to them.

That makes you a fool.

Re:This should be illegal (1)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 2 years ago | (#38333028)

It doesn't matter how many people vote if there are still only two choices and both choices are beholden to special interest. Considering that districts are drawn up by whatever party is in power at a particular time the system is really gamed. Even on a local level candidates are going to pay more attention to those that donated to their campaign. Heck, when is the last time more than two people ran for president in every state? Sadly, I still vote even though it's pointless.

Re:This should be illegal (2)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332968)

The problem, naturally, is that you'll then have one candidate that got 28% of the vote, another that got 24%, and the remaining 47% stayed home. So then who do you send to Washington?

Re:This should be illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38332008)

In Austria they have developed a new voting system called the 'SK-Prinzip'. It is based on voting against options. Unfortunately their homepage sk-prinzip.net is only available in german yet. Nevertheless those of you who speak german might want to check it out. I found it quite convincing.

Re:This should be illegal (4, Interesting)

Internetuser1248 (1787630) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332364)

For all those that think not voting is like boycotting all politicians - it isn't. If you don't vote everyone else's vote counts for a little bit more. The more people that don't vote out of protest, the closer the system comes to an aristocracy.

The correct way to protest is to make a 'no vote'. This is where you tick all the boxes, or none of them, or you write a message voicing your dissatisfaction on the ballot, or smear faeces or stick chewing gum on the ballot, or you vote for a joke candidate. True this may be difficult in the US where many places don't use paper ballots, and there are often no joke candidates (or at least none that are more of a joke than all the rest.) You should be advocating for an abstain box on electronic voting machines. Not voting is using your voice to agree with the people that do vote.

Re:This should be illegal (4, Informative)

daspriest (904701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332510)

There is always a space to write in a candidate. no confidence written in enough times may get someones attention

Re:This should be illegal (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38330804)

This crap is precisely the reason me and my peers don't vote.

Don't feel guilty about that - if you do.

I live in Georgia and my entire Congressional delegation are the biggest lying hypocritical assholes anyone could have representing them. And every election cycle, I vote against them and every election cycle the incumbents usually get re-elected.

Why the fuck it that?

Everyone that I know is pissed off at Congress, but I'm sure in '12, all of my state's assholes will be right back in their overpaid cushy asshole jobs with all those wonderful perks that make that job attractive to multimillionaires.

Re:This should be illegal (1, Interesting)

Roogna (9643) | more than 2 years ago | (#38330924)

If you can't find someone to vote for that represents you, then run for office yourself. Start locally, work your way up. But not voting is not "voicing dissatisfaction", it is saying "I'm too lazy to give a shit what happens".

Re:This should be illegal (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38331024)

We might, if we thought it would make any significant difference. But it won't. Things have gone too far. The only way out now is through.

Re:This should be illegal (5, Insightful)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332996)

Honestly, you're full of crap. It's true, one vote doesn't matter. Especially when your only choice is between a politician who increases spending to buy pork and one that increases borrowing to buy pork.

But going to party meetings or working for a campaign? That's how things change. It's how the candidates that actually end up on the ballot get determined, and it's how those candidates determine their positions. Go to one of these places, offer to "help" and then while you're there, argue with them. Make them either see it your way or prove you wrong. If you can get them to be candid and admit their position is chosen based on funding or to play on public ignorance rather than based on reason, be their conscience. Be there to show them that you, as a representative of the human race, disapprove of what they're doing, care about it, and want them to change. Sometimes they will. Not all the time, but sometimes.

Or you can sit at home and bitch about everything on the internet. That's probably just as good.

Re:This should be illegal (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38331096)

I used to think this way.

Made the trip from apathy to habitual voter. Read up on everything, kept abreast of the latest developments, supported "my" candidates and voted in line with my desired outcomes.

Now I'm back to not giving a fuck about voting. I've seen what it's worth and I'm tired of being a rube. It's principled apathy, not laziness. I'll keep giving to the EFF and I'll support the Pirate Party when they sail into town but until then there are better things to do with my time.

Re:This should be illegal (2)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332728)

we are rubes. you got it right.

nice appearance. got to keep those up, but the system is broken enough that voting is the last thing that will affect change.

so many of us thought obama was about change. did we learn yet?

maybe he had good plans; but the system is just not working.

its 'cute' that some people still think voting in a screwed up system is going to make things better. I wish I could drink that koolaid but I'm too old and bitter and seen the same lie each 4 year period that passes. its old and nothing has changed.

your vote does not count. the Occupy guys know this. why don't you?

Re:This should be illegal (2)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332858)

so many of us thought obama was about change

Some of us managed to figure out that lie when he was still in Congress.

The main piece of evidence was this: he was in Congress.

Re:This should be illegal (2)

ATMAvatar (648864) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331750)

That works great at the local level. My father decided one year that he did not want to allow his city representative to run unopposed, so he campaigned against her and ended up winning. He has remained the local representative since, and he does a pretty good job communicating with his constituents and voting what he believes is in everyone's interests.

However, at the national level, this breaks down. It now takes millions of dollars to run for national office (nearing one billion for the President's seat). That makes it difficult if not impossible for someone to run who isn't either in one of the two major parties or independently wealthy. Even ignoring that, there is a significant portion of our voting public that automatically vote for the guy with the correct letter next to their name. Normally rational and intelligent people fall to this quite frequently. Without having a D or R next to your name, you have no shot, but to get that D or R next to your name means to sell out to corporate interests.

It would take some big event to prompt a protest group like OWS starting up, pull in an order of magnitude or more people, and form another political party. I think you realize (as I do) how likely that is anytime soon.

Re:This should be illegal (1)

AlamedaStone (114462) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332042)

It would take some big event to prompt a protest group like OWS starting up, pull in an order of magnitude or more people, and form another political party. I think you realize (as I do) how likely that is anytime soon.

Increasingly? I think we might agree on that.

Re:This should be illegal (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38330904)

Then don't complain about idiots getting into office.

Re:This should be illegal (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38330956)

Voting doesn't change whether or not idiots get into office. It just lets people pick the most popular idiot to put into office.

Re:This should be illegal (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332770)

another accurate comment.

the ones that can *qualify* for office are 100% exactly what we don't want or need.

what the hell good is voting for moronA or religiousWhackJobB? I used to think that voting against the religious guy would at least minimize our losses, collectively, but even that seems like a total crap shoot. you can't tell which way the wind will blow once they get in office.

until the system allows folks like you and me to run for office and have a fighting chance, the system is too rigged to be useful.

there's no one at the wheel and the vehicle is steering itself. that's about the state of things. even if some guy you think is cool gets in, he will change and what you thought you were getting is no longer the case. and once he has your vote and is in office, your problems are not important anymore.

Re:This should be illegal (2)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332870)

They are not idiots. They are narcicisstic sociopaths, mostly very intelligent.

All you folks who sit there thinking these members of the political class are somehow your intellectual inferiors are just the butt of many jokes for those in power.

Re:This should be illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38331670)

Are you in office by chance?

Re:This should be illegal (2)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 2 years ago | (#38330978)

This crap is precisely the reason me and my peers don't vote.

And that would be exactly the reason you have no right to a negative opinion.

Vote for one of your friends - get all all your friends together and vote for them also. Maybe you'll get enough together and win.

Re:This should be illegal (5, Interesting)

joelpt (21056) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331134)

And that would be exactly the reason you have no right to a negative opinion.

I think non-voters most certainly have a "right" to a negative opinion, whether or not they choose to "voice" that opinion via voting. They simply view voting as a nearly useless (inaudible) way to voice their opinion; or perhaps that increasing the "percent abstained" figure is a more valuable way to express their opinion -- the "vote of no-confidence".

Personally, I would wager that posting my opinion in the Slashdot comments is likely to have at least as much, if not more, of an impact than visiting the voting booth ever will.

"If you don't order chicken or beef from the menu, you don't have a right to discuss the morality of animal consumption." But I'm a vegetarian!

Re:This should be illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38332558)

Write in "no confidence" during the next election.

Re:This should be illegal (4, Insightful)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331286)

"Maybe you'll get enough together and win." - and that would be exactly the reason we're not getting anywhere. If I had 100k friends, that would still be only a tiny fraction of the number of votes needed for federal office of any kind. Do you have even a tenth as many friends? However thanks to Citizen United, in addition to purchasing people who spend 100% of their time talking to politicians to influence legislation, a wealthy corporation can spend millions on campaigns to get the people they want into office. Corps can spend money getting voter suppression laws on the books. But go on thinking voting matters, and telling people who have a legitimate complaint about the way our system works their voice does not matter because they don't dance kabuki with the rest of us. More and more citizens are ignoring opinions like yours, and looking for ways outside of voting to influence or shake up a broken system.

Re:This should be illegal (3, Insightful)

JDG1980 (2438906) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331536)

If I had 100k friends, that would still be only a tiny fraction of the number of votes needed for federal office of any kind.

Actually, if you look at the 2010 election results, 100K votes is just about the number you'd need to win a seat in the House of Representatives. Of course, this requires that all of the friends in question are in the same congressional district.

Re:This should be illegal (2)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#38333018)

a wealthy corporation can spend millions on campaigns to get the people they want into office.

Why is it that people are so incapable of thinking strategically?

Step 1: Get your name on the ballot for the state legislature. This doesn't require a lot of money.
Step 2: Run a serious campaign. Make your opponent fear losing his seat. Then go to him and let him know that you'll drop out of the race if he gets a bill through the state legislature for public financing of statewide elections, including your state's federal congressional seats.
Step 3: Repeat Step 2 until either the public finance law is passed by your opponent, or until you beat him and can make sure it gets passed from your new seat in the state legislature.
Step 4: Run for federal office using the state's public finance program and tell the corporations to die in a fire.

Re:This should be illegal (1)

Slyfox696 (2432554) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331306)

This crap is precisely the reason me and my peers don't vote.

Not voting in a poll does not mean you're not casting your vote. It just means there isn't a candidate worthy of your vote. The idea people who choose not to vote don't have a right to a negative opinion is such a short-sighted concept.

Re:This should be illegal (1)

SnapShot (171582) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332094)

Sorry, the 1% of the non-voters who are making a principled stand are dwarfed by the 99% of the non-voters who: 1. forgot, 2. were too busy watching Desperate Housewives of Bumfuck Wherever or 3. can't read or write. You may think your lack of participation is registering as a vote of "no confidence" but to the politicians you're just another non-entity.

Re:This should be illegal (2)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331962)

This is an all too common moronic point of view.

If you don't like it run for office yourself herp derp derp

Really? That's your fucking solution? The problem is structural, not individual. Assassinate every member of congress today, and, no matter who replaces them, we'll have the exact same problems tomorrow.

It doesn't matter WHO is elected. We know, from actual, factual research, that situation dictates human behavior more than almost any other factor. Put new people into the same situation, and you'll get the same behavior. Voting for new people will fix nothing. Getting new people to run for office will fix nothing. Only replacing the entire system will have any effect.

Re:This should be illegal (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332880)

OK. What system?

Re:This should be illegal (2)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#38333064)

Only replacing the entire system will have any effect.

Your conclusion doesn't follow your premises. You don't have to replace the entire system, you only have to repair the structural flaws that create the incentives that currently exist. The flaw isn't in the idea of democracy, it's in the way we finance elections. The answer is public financing.

Naturally, that will never pass at the federal level because it doesn't serve the interests of the people who are already there. So do it at the state level. Get a bill in every state legislature that funds candidates for that state's federal offices with state money. Then you can get a bunch of new legislators with the backing of state money who aren't Washington insiders but can beat the incumbents (or at least get them to clean up their act). That serves as the thin end of the wedge: You get enough new blood in Congress that isn't beholden to special interests and you can make the further structural changes necessary to fix things properly.

I mean what's the alternative, violent revolution? Be serious.

Re:This should be illegal (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38331018)

Getting you too not vote is precisely the strategy of corrupt politicians.

1. Pull off corrupt political move, get loads of cash.
2. Get discovered.
3. Paint all politicians as equally corrupt. Media and the public are happy to play along with this idea.
4. The kind of people who'd vote against you and corruption are disgusted and stop voting.
5. Get in for another term
6. Ratchet up the corruption and go back to step 1. Profit.

Voting hint: while both parties have corrupt cadres, the Republican corrupt cadre is very strong and powerful right now. If you want to avoid corruption, a good rule of thumb is to vote against republicans.

Re:This should be illegal (4, Interesting)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331372)

You can't vote against somebody. If you could, we'd never have republicans or democrats in office because everybody hates those sons of bitches. Our flawed system only allows you to vote FOR someone.

Re:This should be illegal (2)

daspriest (904701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332566)

Then vote "no confidence" for all the candidates running. There is always a write in space for all positions on a ballot.

Re:This should be illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38332954)

Then vote "no confidence" for all the candidates running. There is always a write in space for all positions on a ballot.

That doesn't work unless a candidate named "no confidence" is running.

Re:This should be illegal (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332800)

a mass vote against someone should cause them to not be able to get public office for X amount of time. a cooling off period, if you will.

what we should have, though, is not a bunch of fat rich white guys running the country but a rotating group of citizens (very very large group; think internet/shared) resolving issues. if you have a very large group (and groups watching that group) you can solve many problems and you don't have central power figures to get corrupted. make these positions non-paid (so there is no money incentive to cheat/lie/steal) and make them limited time. and like I said, have layers of watchers who review and folks who review that. if there is a problem, THAT gets reported and goes into the 'work pool' for the next group to sort out.

remove the power and you remove corruption. then you get people doing this because they want to and because they want to affect good change.

what we have now is career fatcats living off the system at our expense.

what also has to change: the holy reverence to the constitution and american 200+ yr old laws. NO SACRED COWS! all things must be again on the table for rediscussion and review. what flew 200+ yrs ago definitely needs revising. but if its a sacred cow, no one will dare say it needs improving - and that's a barrier to progress, right there.

Re:This should be illegal (2)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331026)

You should vote against them, if possible. For alternative parties, or for none of the above, or some other way to make it count that you voted, but didnt liked any of the candidates. If enough people vote, but not for them (or better yet, for none of them) the political system should notice how bad things are.

Of course, if enough people vote for them anyway, even after this and other leaks (wont be surprised if those 2 get reelected if run for congress again), then accept it, your country really like to be governed by corrupt politicians, enjoy the ride, but don't try to run because what corrupt politicians approves in US reaches you wherever you move.

Re:This should be illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38331048)

Sounds like a pretty bad reason to not vote to me. Just vote for a third party or independent. They do exist, though they have a hard time because people 'just don't vote' in protest which only makes the problem worse.

Re:This should be illegal (1)

SnapShot (171582) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332078)

Nothing makes these corrupt politicians happier than you not voting. You're not making a stand; you're just making it easier for them to do what their doing.

Re:This should be illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38332172)

Moron. You refuse to participate in the process, but you have no choice, you will participate in the bullshit they impose on you. Refusing to vote is exactly what they WANT you to do. Vote! Just not for the Republican or the Democrat they serve up to you, and never for the incumbent! It is better that you waste your vote on an unelectable than not to vote. They will take notice of how many votes the unelectables get and it just might make them change their behavior.

Re:This should be illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38332502)

which is what they want...

Re:This should be illegal (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38331720)

I hope you music pirates go to prison! Don't drop the soap, shitforbrains.

Vote for a 3rd party (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332408)

Any 3rd party. That way, congress will know that you are disgusted, and not just lazy.

Re:This should be illegal (1)

BenJCarter (902199) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332908)

I agree, it is way to easy to buy a politician these days with all the green floating around. I don't think the pols wonder why. I believe incumbent politicians love it when people don't vote...

What a twist! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38330616)

Directed by money.

Re:What a twist! (2)

Kiaser Zohsay (20134) | more than 2 years ago | (#38330740)

Directed by money.

United States of America, the best government money can buy.

Has anyone yet mentioned... (3, Informative)

Etz Haim (856183) | more than 2 years ago | (#38330628)

...that "sopa" means "trash" in Swedish? :)

Re:Has anyone yet mentioned... (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#38330792)

Give the lexicon a few years to catch up, and it could mean that in English as well.

Re:Has anyone yet mentioned... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38331346)

And "sopa" means "soup" in Spanish, which it is, a bunch of "soup" to be force fed to the people.

How Conveeeeeeenient.... (2)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#38330690)

And politicians wonder why they get less respect than the IRS.

Re:How Conveeeeeeenient.... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38330876)

And politicians wonder why they get less respect than the IRS.

How would they know? People kiss up to them. When you write to them you address them as "Honorable" *snicker*.

I think it should be proper to address them as "shithead": letters, public speaking, whatever. And during the congressional hearings where those people do their grandstanding and yet do nothing, folks being grilled should answer a question from a Congressman like this, "Well, shithead ....."

$120k (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38330700)

I looks like Allison Halataei was paid $120k in 2011 as the Deputy Chief of Staff/Parliamentarian on the House Judiciary Committee. First, what justifies this huge sum? And second, I wonder how much her new employers offered her...

http://www.legistorm.com/person/Allison_Elizabeth_Beach_Halataei/36180.html

Re:$120k (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38330928)

It takes a lot of money to get worthwhile bribes, these days. Y'know, you need the flashy cars, the fancy outfits, the three metric tonnes of bling, a security detail, a record deal and maybe a couple of Swiss bank accounts. $120k might not be enough for all that.

Wow. Can anyone say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38330706)

Wow. Can anyone say "conflict of interest?"

Why can't it be these people who get ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38330708)

Pancreatic cancer, instead of people like Steve Jobs ?

Perhaps there is a reason, but all I can think of at the moment is the
old saying : "only the good die young".

Re:Why can't it be these people who get ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38330890)

Except Steve Jobs wasn't "good", unless you mean "good thing he's dead".

how many more (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#38330712)

how many more times do you need to be shown that governments' ability to regulate business is only a way to steal and sell power?

Re:how many more (4, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#38330824)

how many more times do you need to be shown that business' ability to regulate government is only a way to steal and sell power?

ftfy

Re:how many more (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331148)

Nope. That's not a fix. That's not supposed to happen by the law that the Constitution is. By the law that the Constitution is, the government is not authorized to deal in business, to print paper currencies, to regulate individuals in business, to meddle with the economy, to set prices, especially prices on money.

Sure, you can say that some business people changed the government structure in a way to benefit them, because the government is not being held responsible and accountable for not following the Constitution.

But the way it was done, you must admit, it was with the will of the people. It's not possible to change the government like this without the tacit complicity of the population. The people are the key to changing the government and throwing away the law that is supposed to rule the government. The people were bought off with the promises, and of-course the younger generations have been made to pay for this transgression of their ancestors, who have voted themselves the easy money policy of getting free cheese from the government.

You can say that the biggest businesses and government today are one and the same and that the people are accomplices and this merging of conflicting interests achieves the goals - for the population the goal of socialized medicine, socialized retirement, all of their preferred pet peeves, like having FDA (which is not authorized again, nor any other unelected departments). For the monopolies in finance and insurance etc., it's the free money, gov't contracts, monopoly protection via regulations and taxes, all of that.

But whoever GOVERNS is the government, so it's government that regulates and destroys the economy by destroying individual liberties.

Re:how many more (1, Interesting)

TheEyes (1686556) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331572)

The problem is that our systems of government are hundreds of years old, and haven't been updated to match the times. Our "first past the post" electoral system is an 18th century construct, and hasn't been updated to match the times. It means that people are forced to vote for one of two major political parties or have their vote basically not count. It allows small errors in voting to have outsized effects on the outcome (the 2000 presidential vote), or for a candidate who doesn't receive the majority of votes to be elected (1996, 2000, AND 2004 presidential vote).

We need to fundamentally alter the voting system to allow minority parties to have more voice. Open primaries and a single transferable vote will help, but proportional representation is probably the best way to go. I'd also like to see the Presidency be split into a five-person "Executive Council", one of whom has to stand for election every year, and for Supreme Court justices to either have fifteen year terms, or have to stand for confirmation by popular vote every eight years.

How is this "not directly corrupt"? (4, Insightful)

DanTheManMS (1039636) | more than 2 years ago | (#38330724)

I think most here would agree that lobbying in and of itself is corruption to begin with. A congressional aide becoming a lobbyist to influence his or her former colleagues? Even moreso. Yeah yeah, they have a one-year "cooling off" period in which they can't directly lobby them, but that's hardly the point. All that does is remove the issue from the public eye long enough that the corruption is forgotten by the time it can legally begin.

The Politico article linked above notes that this [...] may not be directly corrupt

The Politico article only states that this act is completely legal, not that it isn't directly corrupt. There's a difference between the two.

Re:How is this "not directly corrupt"? (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 2 years ago | (#38330850)

What so you think that anyone cant lobby their representatives is a good idea? is not election its self lobbying ie vote for me not the other person ?

Re:How is this "not directly corrupt"? (1)

thaylin (555395) | more than 2 years ago | (#38330970)

Lobbying and voting are 2 separate things.. Lobbying and campaigning, now that is about the same thing. The thing is however that in campaigning politicians are lobbying you for a vote, however you should vote for the person you believe in the most to run the country well. The difference is they are not paying you to vote for them, and when you get done voting you dont have a 6 figure job waiting for you.

Re:How is this "not directly corrupt"? (3, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38330910)

in the UK, the system is (in theory) better. Any constituent can see their representative on demand, provided the representative isn't busy in the House at that time, so everyone has (in theory) equal access and equal lobbying power. Cash-for-questions and similar direct bribery is off-limits and will get a member sanctioned, banned from the House or forced to quit. Well, provided it's discovered and the ethics committee hasn't been perverted.

This is not perfect, the system has some unimaginably large holes - apparently large enough to drive 5,600 phone hacking scandals and assorted cash-for-votes scandals through, but when bribery and high-paying jobs aren't merely legal but de rigour - as is the case in the US, it's a whole different ballgame.

Both systems should be majorly overhauled and the politicians and aides operating in such a manner should be majorly keelhauled, but if only one were to change I think the US should move more towards the UK's standards than the other way round.

Re:How is this "not directly corrupt"? (1)

thaylin (555395) | more than 2 years ago | (#38330988)

It is the same thing here, but this is not that same situation. These people are not elected officials, they are staff of elected officials. Here I pay you to influence your boss sort of thing. So even if the elected official gets any money out of it, it is very hard to trace .

Re:How is this "not directly corrupt"? (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332248)

Any constituent can see their representative on demand, provided the representative isn't busy in the House at that time, so everyone has (in theory) equal access and equal lobbying power.

Theoretically, you can do that here.

Of course, the fact that your Representative's office might be 5000 Km away might make that harder than one might initially suspect.

Plus the fact that if you're not a donor, he knows he can safely ignore you....

Re:How is this "not directly corrupt"? (2)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331762)

I don't think lobbying is corrupt - as long as no bribery is involved. Corrupt is something like loading up your cabinet with Goldman Sachs execs because they contributed to your campaign.

Completely Legal but Highly Corrupt (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38330752)

It may not be directly corrupt, but to the public it sure feels corrupt.'"

Incorrect. This is an inherently corrupt practice, much like when Michael Moore pointed out (in the film Sicko) that the politicians who supported the big medical corporations at the expense of health care also got executive level positions after their corrupt legislation was approved by congress.

I will correct the quote:
It may not be directly illegal, but to the public it is corrupt.'

60 minutes (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38330768)

60 Minutes: Jack Abramoff on Lobbying and Gov Corruption http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMMppBhOLXA

Re:60 minutes (2)

jimshatt (1002452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331092)

60 Minutes: Jack Abramoff on Lobbying and Gov Corruption http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMMppBhOLXA [youtube.com]

Despite the title, it's only 15 minutes long. And certainly worth watching!

VOTE IN SOVIET RUSSIA ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38330788)

Yes, always has been. Just the one commie party, but vote you can do !! The more things change, the more they stay the same !!

Occupy's One Thing (4, Insightful)

deanklear (2529024) | more than 2 years ago | (#38330842)

This should be the sole focus of the Occupy movement: a law that makes it illegal to engage in any business with the private industry which you have recently helped regulate, for a period of 10 years. Additionally, make it a law that you cannot regulate an industry where you have worked in the previous ten years. (This includes voting in the chamber: it's called a conflict of interest for a reason.) Make the conviction penalty for lawmakers their immediate termination and a complete dissolution of their government pension.

When people complain that the only way it would work is if government had to disclose all of their now-private meetings, you say, "You're damn right they would." When they say that half of Congress couldn't vote because they're lawyers, you say, "You're damn right they couldn't." That, of course, is the whole problem: we've got hundreds of millionaire lawyers pretending that they care about working class Americans. But instead, they're taking away our rights and giving them to corporations who put money in their campaign coffers.

I don't want any more secret meetings between the companies picking my pocket and the government I pay to employ. No more Vegas style parties on the taxpayer dime. No more loopholes for outrageously wealthy corporations shipping our livelihoods overseas so they can rake in profits while we bail them out. Openly perform your duties as a public servant, or get the hell out of our government.

Re:Occupy's One Thing (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38330902)

Considering that "occupy" was the attempt of the democrats...and their own form of wealth redistribution, through the illiterate masses of marxists and neo-marxists. Well I don't need to say anymore.

Re:Occupy's One Thing (1, Insightful)

Dutchmaan (442553) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331708)

Well I don't need to say anymore.

Did you actually say anything at all?

Re:Occupy's One Thing (5, Insightful)

grcumb (781340) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331606)

This should be the sole focus of the Occupy movement: a law that makes it illegal to engage in any business with the private industry which you have recently helped regulate, for a period of 10 years.

Two problems with that idea:

  1. 1) They would simply be hired by 'independent' think tanks, then be contracted from there by the lobbyists to provide 'expert advice'. Abstract as desired until it's legal again.
  2. 2) Experience and expertise are absolutely necessary when legislation and regulation are being drafted. Outlawing that would be worse than letting the corporations write their own legislation. Seriously.

You can't make immorality illegal, no matter how hard you try. The problem is cultural. The mantra that companies' sole priority is to increase shareholder value via any legal means necessary will inevitably lead to companies trying to affect the 'legal means' part of the equation.

I know whereof I speak, by the way. I live in a very small country, and am fairly often asked for expert advice on matters pertaining to technology policy by players on both sides of the field. I answer any request for information to the extent that I can. If it takes a lot of my time, I charge for it. I have only one condition: I refuse to change my advice, nor to hide my opinion, nor to serve one side differently from the other.

In one case, someone involved in litigation asked me to brief his legal team on the particulars of technology in this country. I said I would, but that he should be advised that, while I'd not repeat what was said in the meeting room, I would offer the same advice and information to anyone who asked. He didn't seem pleased with the idea, and never followed up on the request.

As long as profit is the only criterion for success in the US, you're going to have the problem of people gaming the system and congratulating themselves when they do. That has to stop. Competition is not about playing with the rules, it's about playing by them.

What you really need is a generation that says, 'There are some things that I simply will not do.' That won't be easy.

Re:Occupy's One Thing (1)

deanklear (2529024) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331928)

1) They would simply be hired by 'independent' think tanks, then be contracted from there by the lobbyists to provide 'expert advice'. Abstract as desired until it's legal again.

With enough penalties, like the repossession of all related property that we do in the case of breaking up organized crime, I think this can be fairly curtailed. At some point a check has to be written to someone, because you can only stash so much cash, and we have pretty fine grained control of financial transactions. (Well, at least the ones that aren't buried in unregulated derivatives markets.)

Outlawing that would be worse than letting the corporations write their own legislation. Seriously.

Well, the law doesn't make it illegal for corporations or anyone to give their advice to a lawmaker. It makes it illegal for a lawmaker to pass regulation and then cash a check from the same people a few years later, and it makes it illegal for corporations to give their advice in secret. I'm not one of those people who thinks all corporations are evil, but I do believe that very bad things happen when you combine money, power, and secrecy, and that pretty much sums up everything inside the belt line these days.

As far as US morality goes, those are good points, but that attitude only reflects a slim portion of the population. Even some of the plutocrats are asking to be taxed more. It may be difficult, but I think a law can be crafted to outlaw secret government dealings even if it can't outlaw the desire to pull them off.

Re:Occupy's One Thing (2)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332202)

There's a document that is associated with but not (yet) approved by the Occupy movement that looks quite promising to me. Here [dangerousminds.net] is a nicely formatted version of the document. It calls for a General Assembly of delegates in Philadelphia, and lists a Redress of Grievances. There are a few I take issue with and a few I'm on the fence about, but the vast majority of them I see as things that ought to be addressed, and I'm pretty libertarian.

If they really get their shit together, they will be a force to be reckoned with and a very positive agent of change.

Some thoughts (5, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38330858)

First, in some countries this would automatically spark an ethics investigation or be deemed corrupt. It may not be "corrupt" in the US, but I suspect that's more of a relative definition of corrupt than an absolute one.

Second, the US is ranked 24th in the world on corruption [dailymail.co.uk] . I'd therefore argue that the standards the US government holds itself to is not only nowhere near what it could be, but isn't even anywhere near as good as other nations are managing on a day-to-day basis. This isn't great for smaller nations, though you can understand that they don't have the resources to be equal and of high quality. They also don't have much influence and the impact of corruption is necessarily limited. A fair number are also very new and don't have much experience. A nation like the US is a different matter. They've plenty of resources, they've had three centuries to work out the flaws, and they've far too much power to not be responsible with it.

The fact that New Zealand, Denmark and Finland are first and joint second respectively (none of whom are permanent members of the UN Security Council, hold nuclear weapons, dominate either the IMF or World Bank, or control vast swathes of international trade) is worthy of great respect. They don't have to be as good as they are, they just are because they by-and-large want to be. Not saying they're perfect, this is a ranking system not a measure against a fixed standard, but it is highly commendable none-the-less.

Re:Some thoughts (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331206)

The corruption in the US is awful. If you want to buy a senator's vote, you can give him money directly (not to his campaign, that's regulated) in the form of stock options, land, any number of things. Worse, YOU CAN'T GET AN FOIA REQUEST FROM CONGRESS. That's right, it's easier to get information from the CIA than from congress.

The cynical side of me says the reason congress always talks about campaign reform, often in a bipartisan way, is to distract people from thinking of bribery reform.

Re:Some thoughts (1)

Bill Dimm (463823) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331320)

Second, the US is ranked 24th in the world on corruption

Just to clarify, the article says there are 23 nations less corrupt than the U.S. (not 23 nations that are more corrupt, as one might assume by the way you worded it). Still pathetic, of course.

Just an idea... (2)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 2 years ago | (#38330870)

Just an idea...

Occupy The Pirate Bay.

Someone creates a text file that embodies the disgust and derision of the masses towards SOPA (and all that it represents), then uploads this file to TPB. Everyone that feels sympathetic to the contents of the file can then download it and seed it. The idea is to get a running total of seeds as high as possible--a petition, if you will. Those numbers--seeds and peers--can then be used as an argument against SOPA (or anything like it). Perhaps a "declaration of consumer rights" as we consumers would create one...

I'd love to see such a thing at the top of TPB listings.

Now that I think about this, perhaps such an idea could be used to nominate actual laws and bills for consideration by governments.

Re:Just an idea... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38332824)

Occupy The Pirate Bay.

Someone creates a text file that embodies the disgust and derision of the masses towards SOPA (and all that it represents), then uploads this file to TPB. Everyone that feels sympathetic to the contents of the file can then download it and seed it. The idea is to get a running total of seeds as high as possible--a petition, if you will. Those numbers--seeds and peers--can then be used as an argument against SOPA (or anything like it). Perhaps a "declaration of consumer rights" as we consumers would create one...

I'd love to see such a thing at the top of TPB listings.

Now that I think about this, perhaps such an idea could be used to nominate actual laws and bills for consideration by governments.

Yeah, that would totally be taken seriously.

"The highest ranked torrent on a piracy centered torrent site is a file protesting new laws against piracy"
"LOL"

Again, (1)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | more than 2 years ago | (#38330880)

I ask, shouldn't lobbying be forbidden?? The meaning by itself is corrupt, people elect officials that after are subject to influences, its a reipe to tragedy, i don't get it!!

Re:Again, (1, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331232)

No, it shouldn't. If you have a concern, you should be able to go to your senator and talk to him about your concern, try to get him to see things your way. Large companies should be allowed to do this as well; after all, they play a part in society too.

Bribes should be illegal. You would think they would be, but it's amazing how many congressmen leave Washington as millionaires. This is in my mind, the biggest problem with the country today. You should be allowed to talk to your senator. Everyone should be able to, no matter who pays them. You shouldn't be able to bribe your senator. No one should be able to.

Re:Again, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38331600)

Obvious problem: Corporations stand to make a massive return on investment through their lobbying that the general public could never take advantage of. In fact, if corporation X can pass a law that will make them billions, they'll happily spend hundreds of millions lobbying. No matter how much what they want may be against the public's interest, the general public could never put together enough to counter all that corporate $$.

As long as money equals face time in D.C., there can be only one outcome: Large corporations will control 100% of the facetime, and the general public will be shut out. The only reason SOPA didn't pass is that there are still a few people in Washington who aren't bought and paid for, and that there were a handful of large corporations willing to ALSO spend a fortune to see to it that it didn't pass. What happens when the public don't have an extremely wealthy corporation or organization to stand for them? We lose.
 
All lobbying is corruption. It should end. (But it won't, because that would kill the cash cow for both corporations AND the politically connected.)

If you can't beat em..... (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38330918)

...Join em.

this appears to be flamebait (1)

swell (195815) | more than 2 years ago | (#38330942)

Any sensible person can see that this is a corrupt practice, and Slashdot readers have seen it all before. Is Soulskill trying to incite more useless rants?

The only useful comment here would be a pointer to someone who could/would resolve the problem.

If your comment can't offer useful information, please keep it to yourself.

Definition (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38331032)

World English Dictionary
corrupt (krpt)

— adj
1. lacking in integrity; open to or involving bribery or other dishonest practices: a corrupt official ; corrupt practices in an election
2. morally depraved
3. putrid or rotten
4. contaminated; unclean
5. (of a text or manuscript) made meaningless or different in meaning from the original by scribal errors or alterations
6. (of computer programs or data) containing errors

— vb
7. to become or cause to become dishonest or disloyal
8. to debase or become debased morally; deprave
9. ( tr ) to infect or contaminate; taint
10. ( tr ) to cause to become rotten
11. ( tr ) to alter (a text, manuscript, etc) from the original
12. ( tr ) computing to introduce errors into (data or a program)

[C14: from Latin corruptus spoiled, from corrumpere to ruin, literally: break to pieces, from rumpere to break]

Please just shoot them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38331558)

This is getting silly, the soapbox and ballot box have failed, it's time for the ammo box.

Better luck next time. (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332274)

The only reason two of them received positions is because there were only two positions available. Had there been three, then three of them would have been in the headlines. I feel for the ones that didn't get hired. There were so many "good" candidates.

Corruption like in 3rd world country (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38332334)

Corruption in USA is now so widespread that it starts to look like 3rd word country

Way to help fix this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38332788)

I honestly think that since they get full pension after they have served in for even 1 term, it makes this perfectly fair.

Anyone who has served as a congressman or senator will be bared from any other job from that point on, doesn't matter if it is as a company CEO or flipping Burgers as McDonalds after you have served for the Government in them positions you are not working as anything else, you are already getting paid your full salary with full benefits for life.

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