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The Corrupting Influence is YOU!

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In recent campaign appearances all of the presidential candidates, most especially Barack Obama, have made an issue of their independence from the undue influence of lobbyists and their evil, corrupting money. Obama makes much of his high percentage of individual contributions while taking millions from megabanks and trying to weasel out of his promise to run a publicly funded campaign. McCain has built a reputation as a campaign finance reformer but he also wants to renege on his promise to limit spending as well. Meanwhile Clinton says very little while collecting a record $35 million from trial lawyers and unions.

When creating our government, the founding fathers had this idea firmly in mind. They believed that those who have more money have more at risk from the actions of government and ought to have more of a voice in the policies which impact them. They even understood that the way for the average person to have the kind of influence that a wealthy individual might was to work collectively to pool resources for increased effectiveness.

Political parties are a crude representation of this idea, but there are too few parties and they represent too broad a spectrum of issues. However there are many other ways that your political interests can get well represented in Washington, through the efforts of lobbyists who often have more of a voice than any individual elected representatives. And although you may not realize it, you probably have several lobbyists working for you already.

Your union, your employer, groups you donate to or even consider supporting all speak for you and your interests through lobbyists and PACs and direct donations to politicians. Your money and the choices you make about how to spend your valuable time and effort speak for you much more clearly and specifically than your paltry single vote. It is through their efforts that you receive your most substantial and meaningful representation in government.

Our supposedly corrupt system actually represents us better in many ways than pure democracy stripped of all the financial interest ever would. The teacher earning $35,000 a year has far more influence on government through the NEA, the choices she makes for the investments in her 401k, and the $5 a week she gives to the NRDC or NARAL than she would ever have with a single vote.

These organizations deal in the aggregation of voting power and of money, and those aggregates of money and power can have much more impact in an election than a single lone voice ever could. By combining resources and efforts with those who are like-minded anyone can become politically influential beyond anything they imagined as a mere voter.

And a lot of these organizations are basically democratic. Corporations allow stockholders to vote on leadership and policies. Unions theoretically do so as well. Issue groups like the NRA or NEA are constantly polling their membership for guidance and soliciting input to help with setting policy. Most people ignore the opportunities they have to influence these groups, but that makes the efforts of those who choose to attend stockholder meetings and who campaign to influence union votes or special interest group policies that much more effective. These groups are listening, and if you're the loudest voice in their constituency they will respond and pass your message on to our leaders with money and political pressure behind it.

So rather than whining about the corrupting influence of money and lobbying and special interests, you might want to pause a moment to think about how those forces of political influence work and who they represent, because if their role is to corrupt, that corruption is in your service and ultimately to your benefit. Before you go pointing fingers at politicians and lobbyists, you might want to look in the mirror first, because ultimately the source of corruption and undue influence is you and people like you. And ultimately that corruption which you think is so evil is just a different, more effective way for people to get their voices heard in government.

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About Dave Nalle

  • Doug Hunter

    The greatest danger to the free market is the unholy alliance of big business and government. Bought off politicians hand out corporate welfare and anticompetitive regulations that favor one business over another all too often. That’s not good for the taxpayer, the consumers, the free market, or anything but the bank accounts of those directly involved.

    Ideally, the government should not have any money to hand out in the firstplace and should be expressly forbidden to put out these ridiculous regulations designed to limit competition.

    To whom should I make my check out for that?

  • Clavos

    Perhaps there should be some sort of limiting or equalizing factor built into the whole lobbying element.

    Some groups, because of their wealth (usually from member dues) and size wield an inordinate amount of influence on government.

    Three such that come to mind are the National Education Association (teachers union), the National Rifle Association (gun lobby), and especially, the American Association of Retired Persons (Old Farts union).

    This last, especially, has for years deliberately lobbied an agenda which far transcends mere issues of immediate concern to geezers, and attempts to mold government into the image its leadership envisions.

  • Silver Surfer

    I hope we aren’t falling into that geezer category Clav :)

  • Clavos

    G’day, mate!

    Unfortunately, I’m afraid I am. I’m a dues-paying member of AARP, and have for a long time resented and disagreed with much of what they stand for (and spend my dues lobbying for); but, they’re clever: they offer irresistible discounts, group rates for various kinds of insurance, etc. to tempt us old farts to sign up.

    I reallly don’t agree with much of their political agenda, though.

    Knowing (as I do) how old you are, you don’t have to worry about being in the geezer group — yet…

  • bliffle

    AARP is a private company that peddles insurance and memberships to anyone over 50. They aren’t governed by their members wishes in any perceptible way, and every move they make is designed to enrich the AARP company, not their ‘members’.

    Whatever you do, don’t get old. This society, in particular, is very negative about old age. And if you do manage to provide for your own future old age entire industries and political movements will seek to deprive you of that.

  • Lee Richards

    This is a statement of how cynical Americans and our system of government have become and, for the most part, it’s an accurate description of how things really are being done. But it shouldn’t make us sanguine or proud.

    I do disagree with the last sentence:

    “…that corruption which you find so evil is just a different, more effective way for people to get their voices heard in government.” No, it’s the way that the people with the MOST MONEY get their voices heard more effectively.

    Politicians are for sale to the highest bidder, not equally balanced among all interested parties. They owe their careers–and fortunes–to those who will shell out the biggest bucks;those are the voices that get the answers they want, and can pay for.

    Between AARP and the drug companies’ lobbyists, who wins every time? Between credit card and banking interests, and consumer advocates?

    The simple truth is votes are for sale now and if your group can’t afford the price, your voice isn’t as loud–no matter your cause–as the group that has the deeper pockets.

    The fact that we accept it indifferently and participate in it selfishly doesn’t make it any less corrupting to our ideals and, ultimately, dangerous to our cherished freedoms.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    No, it’s the way that the people with the MOST MONEY get their voices heard more effectively.

    I’d hold up the NRA as a perfect example of how that’s not the case. They’re one of the most effective lobbying groups and they are almost entirely member supported with tens of millions of members. And unlike the AARP, they do seek and react to member input in a very proactive way.

    Dave

  • Marlowe

    Sorry Dave… Not buying any of it…

  • Clavos

    Well, that’s certainly facile…

  • Lumpy

    Someone suggested earlier that lobbying empowers the rich, but I think the article touches a valid counter to this, because the system also empowers the weak by letting like minded people engage in collective lobbying which makes them far more powerful than they would be individually.

  • Lee Richards

    #7:

    Dave, are you really claiming the NRA has tens of millions of members? If so, you’re misinformed.

    You’re mixing my apples and your oranges with your comment here. I’m talking about the huge amount of special interest money and lobbyist spending I think it takes to lobby effectively, which can and has led to corruption, and you seem to be talking in #7 about how a large number of people with low money to spend but filled with passion and persuasiveness can be just as effective.

    If that were true, the question of corruption wouldn’t even be raised.

  • Silver Surfer

    I have to congratulate Dave on this one.

    It’s a good job it’s labelled opinion, because IMO most of his views are wrong.

    But he has done a marvellous job by leaving himself plenty of wiggle-room.

  • troll

    …while a pleasant fantasy your claim that *…if their role is to corrupt, that corruption is in your service and ultimately to your benefit.* follows from none of your observations

  • Concerned Citizen

    Here is a quick and easy way to shut down the IRS.

    Each concerned citizen should fill out as many tax forms as possible. Make up any name, address and social security number you want. Maybe print some fake checks or write in fake credit card numbers to screw up the system even more. Maybe you know the SS# of an evil doer and you can make up a bunch of fake returns for this individual.

    The purpose of this exercise is to find a peaceful, no-violent way to shut down an illegal operation. The Federal Reserve is a private entity. Look it up. It even says so on their website. The Fed is made up of member banks, half of which are foreign owned. The Constitution clearly states that only Congress can mint money, backed by gold and silver. There has been no amendment to the constitution to allow a private organization to control our money supply. The Fed prints money and charges the taxpayers 99 cents on the dollar for their services. The IRS is a collection unit for the Federal Reserve. In its present state, the IRS is unconstitutional. What I am advocating is not against the law because the entire monetary system is unconstitutional.

    If every American who believes the IRS should be abolished engaged in this simple act of civil disobedience, the IRS would be shut down in a heartbeat. You can imagine the confusion as a bunch of temporary employees struggle to input data, not knowing whether it is legitimate or not. The audit department would be overwhelmed. It could take the IRS years to solve this problem. All it takes is a million people willing to spend a few hours and a few dollars in stamps.

    Yes, this is a radical idea. Eventually, the system will collapse. In the meantime, Bush will use every penny to kill more innocents, to poison more land, and destroy the future of humankind.

    If every unsatisfied American engaged in one act of civil disobedience, we could end the misery. Do you have the courage? Or will you just stand back and complain that nothing can be done?

  • troll

    (5 to 1 says that what CC advocates does break some federal law that’s on the books…that would leave him open to a charge of seditious conspiracy even if no one were to reply)

  • Clavos

    Re #14:

    Did Pablo change his moniker?

  • Dan Miller

    In other words, “We have met the enemy and it is us.” Remember the slogan from ages ago, “I go Pogo?”

    Of course, unions and other “special interest groups” provide a voice for their membership, or at least for their leaders whose interests may, just may, be different from those of their many members.

    The problem, as I see it, is that with a population of more than 300,000,000 and growing, the political diet consists of slogans capable of being placed on bumper stickers. Remember the “thirty second sound bite?” Now a ten second sound bite is too complicated for most of us to digest. “Change!” “No blood for oil!” — meaningless but effective.

    Unfortunately, there are lots of problems to which there are no solutions, and probably as many solutions to which there are no problems. That does not mean, however, that there are no solutions to any problems. If I am correct in concluding that the U.S. simply has too many people with very diverse interests, how about the following:

    1. Partition the U.S. into, say, fifty, separate political entities;

    2. Permit each of those fifty separate political entities to exercise significant political power; perhaps, even take the radical position that all powers not expressly delegated by the Constitution to the Federal Government are reserved to those fifty separate political entities, to exercise as their citizens direct.

    3. Reduce the enormous tax revenues sent to Washington, D.C. to be disbursed as the Congress decides, and leave sufficient moneys in the fifty separate political entities to collect and disburse as they wish.

    I recognize that this a merely a pipe dream and that, as we all know, the folks in Washington, D.C. are far more intelligent and attuned to the needs of the people than those rascals in local government. Still, it might be worth a brief experiment.

    Dan Miller

  • Clavos

    Dan,

    Your idea sounds suspiciously like the original intent of the founders.

    How far we’ve strayed…

  • Dan Miller

    Clavos,

    Sigh. You may be right. Oh well, it was just an idea.

    Dan

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    #16:

    Wouldn’t be the first time. I remember when he was just plain old Paul!

  • Bennett

    Dan, that was wonderful.

    Oh how I wish for such ‘change’.

    The problem with this piece is that, as Dave well knows, there is no equality surrounding the concept of DC lobbyists.

    There is no organized and well funded association whose primary focus is to thwart the efforts of the coal industry to rewrite the laws governing how much mercury their power plants can emit.

    The NRA doesn’t give a rats ass about the decline of our world’s fisheries.

    The NEA is focused on the compensation due for the education of our youth, not the price of prescription drugs in the US vs Canada, gas prices, or background checks for gun purchases.

    Dave, it doesn’t wash. Limiting lobbyist spending could be the only thing that saves us from the immoral capitalists among us.

  • Clavos

    #20:

    So do I.

    Then, I called him Pablito in one of my comments, and from that point on he was Pablo…

  • bliffle

    Do you think that my lobbyists were acting under my instructions and on my behalf when the latest $200billion bailout of the banks was proposed?

    How does that figure?

  • Irene Wagner

    * looks at self in mirror and is delighted to see the same lil’ ol’ Ron Paul supporter *

    I’m NOT delighted about all these groovy lobbies that are out there to “represent” us, and I shan’t be called a whiner because I don’t. I do more than whine. I annoy very intentionally. :D

    Plenty of 50+ year-olds won’t join the AARP, and not just because they’re in denial. They’ve spent a lifetime doing for their kids, and now it’s their turn to take it easy, but that doesn’t mean they want to leave them high and dry. The AARP doesn’t seem to care much about the generations coming up.

    There are teachers who won’t join the NEA because they don’t want their membership fees going to support NARAL (National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws). What’s the connection between partial birth abortion and the teaching profession anyway? It seems a rather draconian measure to take to reduce the student to teacher ratio.

    I’m picking up a very anti-child vibe from the lobbies that claim to represent grammas, grampas, and those in professions devoted to nurturing the intellectual development of children. (By the way, please talk to a Special Education teacher to see how she or HE feels about the “throw away” kids.)

    The NRA doesn’t represent all gun owners, especially the big chunk that got disgusted with all the wishy-washiness and broke off to start the GOA (Gun Owners of America.) Moms and dads ARE the last line of defense between harm and their children–they don’t want the government removing any means to provide that protection.

    So there.

  • Irene Wagner

    #14 sounds a bit like Aaron Russo.

    I love the old-timey footage in this.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    The problem with this piece is that, as Dave well knows, there is no equality surrounding the concept of DC lobbyists.

    Should there be equality? Each gets representation according to his ability to gather support represented in the form of money and number of supporters for a particular issue. Seems quite fair to me.

    There is no organized and well funded association whose primary focus is to thwart the efforts of the coal industry to rewrite the laws governing how much mercury their power plants can emit.

    Of course there is. There are multiple environmental groups with this objective, including some which are quite powerful like the NRDC.

    The NRA doesn’t give a rats ass about the decline of our world’s fisheries.

    And why should it? If that’s your concern join the NRDC or the Center for Biological Diversity or one of the many other groups actively working to protect fish. Hell, there are even fishing industry associations who want to regulate fishing to protect fisheries.

    The NEA is focused on the compensation due for the education of our youth, not the price of prescription drugs in the US vs Canada, gas prices, or background checks for gun purchases.

    Why would you expect the NEA to lobby on a subject outside of their area of interest? Each of those issues has its own advocacy groups. Join and support the ones for the issues you care the most about.

    Dave, it doesn’t wash. Limiting lobbyist spending could be the only thing that saves us from the immoral capitalists among us.

    A simplistic answer which makes no sense. The only really fair solution is no limits whatsoever.

    If you say lobbyists can only spend X, then what do you do when there are 12 different lobbies which want to restrict gun rights and just 1 really big and wealthy one which wants to protect gun rights?

    Dave

  • http://www.winstonapple.blogspot.com Winston Apple

    Aristotle had a very insightful method for distinguishing between a “good” government and a “corrupted” one. He classified governments based on the number of people involved in governing and whether the person or persons governing ruled in the common interest (good), or in their own interest (corrupted).

    An autocracy could be either a tyranny (corrupted) or a monarchy (good). A state with a small group exercising power could be either an aristocracy (good) or an oligarchy (corrupted). A state where the majority of the people shared power could be a polity (good) or a democracy (corrupted).

    The problem that Dave hints at, filtered through this lens, is that most of us, whether individually or as members of a group, judge the quality of our government by how our own needs are met and/or our own opinions acted upon.

    As a society we do a pretty poor job of truly listening to one another and discussing the issues and problems facing our nation from the perspective of the common interest.

    I say this fully realizing that there are some, perhaps many, issues where there is no “common interest.” Often whatever the government does helps some people at the expense of others. But whenever possible, to whatever extent may be possible, wouldn’t it be nice if we worked harder and more effectively to move beyond competing interest groups and to discern the “common interest?”

    – Winston Apple

  • bliffle

    In case noone noticed it, the Fed is giving $200billion to banks to shore up credit. Apparently, the banks get Good Money (well, I guess it’s as good as anything we have left) in exchange for Bad Mortgages. The administration is indemnifying the very banks that created the subprime problem.

    I didn’t see any provision for a morality test for the banks, such as the one that was proposed for borrowers to screen out ‘speculators’.

    I didn’t see that any of this was voted in by congress.

    I didn’t see any provision for borrowers, who are, after all, the people losing their homes.

    When did I and my (undoubtedly) mighty lobbyist get to have influence on that policy?

  • hsbowen

    What is wrong with the males in America’s wave of feminism? Have the new American femi-nazis got men so terrorized at the beck-and-call of their obscene morality that the men are afraid to claim their rites? Mayor Marion Barry was caught in a tryst involving cocaine and prostitutes. He was re-elected. Candidate Barrack Osama has been sexposed as a person who is cabable of homo-sexual relations with a gay guy only under the switch in male sexuality that cocaine causes in a male. Are these the perverts that have evolved out of former president Bill Clitins law of “don’t ask, don’t tell”, while the media juxtaposes sodomy with the rite of lower his voice? What a bunch of chicken hearted, Lilly livered, yellow backed bunch of consumer derelicts.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    I think friend Howard’s got a rather tenuous understanding of the National Enquirer and its relationship to reality.

  • Pablo

    Irene post 25

    I would love to see Dave’s opinion on this movie, however I doubt that he will watch it. Mr Russo also claims to have been personal friends with Nicholas Rockefeller, who tried to get him to join the CFR. He also claimed that Nick told him there would be a world event 9 months prior to 9/11 and it would be staged, and that we would then go to war with Afghanistan and Iraq. He also claims that Nick said to Aaron that we would all be microchipped in the near future. The video is here for anyone out there with an “open” mind. Russo Video.

    There is very little info on Nicholas Rockefeller on the web, I did however find some verifiable info on him. Not only is he in the CFR, but he is part owner of a microchip company, I will supply links to those interested.

  • Pablo

    Clavos,

    I do not change my moniker, there are many intelligent educated and sincere people who agree with my politics. Unfortunately however there are far too many narrow minded, brain washed, ignorant people who agree with yours. That is changing however, as I see more people waking up to the criminal enterprise known as the federal government every day of the week. The fact is that we have a welfare state for corporations, and the amount of inbred corruption and unconstitutional laws is staggering in nature.

    I am glad Clavos that you sleep soundly at night as your government slaughtered 500,000 innnocent civilians for a war that was never authorized under our rule of law. Sweet dreams baby!

  • Clavos

    “I do not change my moniker…”

    Oh?

    So you did not start out posting comments on this site as Paul?

  • troll

    *I am glad Clavos that you sleep soundly at night as your government slaughtered 500,000 innnocent civilians…*

    Pablo – the us government didn’t do shit…those are red blooded American boys and girls doing the slaughtering

    there’s no absolution in hiding behind an abstraction

  • Clavos

    “there are many intelligent educated and sincere people who agree with my politics.”

    “Sincere?” I’m sure.

    “Educated?” Possibly, though it’s a sad commentary on the effectiveness of the American educational system.

    “Intelligent?” Uh uh. Not if they believe that conspiracy-mongering stuff you’re always spouting.

    “Unfortunately however there are far too many narrow minded, brain washed, ignorant people who agree with yours.”

    You have no idea what my politics are.

    The only thing you know about my politics, Paul, is that I laugh at your CFR conspiracy fantasies.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Paul might be intelligent enough to separate his politics which are perhaps not entirely insane from his conspiracy fantasies which are. Maybe he’ll clear that up for you.

    And Nicholas Rockefeller must be one crappy conspiracist, reviled by all his co-conspirators if he tells all that secret stuff to Aaron Russo. Oh wait, as usual there’s a more reasonable and simpler explanation. Aaron Russo is a nut and made it up. Works for me.

    Dave

  • Pablo

    Thats the best you can do Clavos? I rest my case. I assume you do not like me, you can rest assured that the feeling is mutual. Enjoy your sleep.

  • Pablo

    I do not respond to trolls, they dwell in the dark, under the bridge, afraid of the light of day.

  • Pablo

    Clavos

    I thought you spoke spanish, apparently I was wrong.

  • Pablo

    Dave,

    Of course it works for you, as you sit in your smugness so sure of yourself for all the world to see. I wonder, did you ever take the time to watch “From Freedom to facism”? I doubt you did. Do you support the FED? I wish I had the “private” printing press that they did to spew out funny money, boy I would be as rich as they are! I love pots calling kettles black, it always amuses me Dave.

  • Pablo

    Dave,

    Mr. Russo is not longer with us, he died last year, he was an acclaimed hollywood director, formerly married to Bette Midler. Its funny how you don’t even take the time to check something out, as you sit there so sure of yourself. He directed several big hits in Hollywood among them “24 Hours” with Eddie Murphy.

  • Pablo

    Dave,

    I do agree with most of your article, particularly the title. It is my opinion (something which you will never preface your remarks with) that our political leaders are a symptom of a much larger problem, which is the body politic, the electorate.

    People that do not demand that the tabulation of votes is fair and accurate. People that do not demand that the politicians faithfully follow the constitution that they swore to uphold. The sheeple just go along with the program assuming that the government is doing things in their interests, when nothing could be further from the truth. Joe Sixpack who could not tell you what the 6th amendment is, without googling it. The fake conservatives who wholeheartedly go along with the evisceration of their god given rights for their “safety”. The fake liberals who do not have a clue who really finances the liberal publications that they read. And people such as Clavos who imho never add to the debate, but just chip away like a little kid to make himself feel worthwhile, never adding anything of substance just occasional snide remarks.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Hell, being married to Bette Midler would drive anyone nuts.

    For the record, the name of the movie is ’48 Hours’ and it was directed by the great Walter Hill, not by Russo who was at best a second rate director. Russo’s career did peak with a Murphy film, but it was ‘Trading Places’.

    Russo was a high-school dropout who had all sorts of loony ideas, and towards the end of his life he stopped directing films and became more and more disconnected from reality, likely as a result of his long struggle with cancer.

    Like Pablo he had some very laudable political beliefs, but they were coupled with a basic ignorance of the history and structure of the government and an inability to tell fact from fantasy which comes out in his film. And yes, I’ve seen the film – fast forwarded through some bits, I admit – and I also heard him interviewed on Alex Jones about 2 years ago.

    IMO the prime failing of the film is that it puts people forward as credible who are not and then takes what they say at face value with no critical analysis whatsoever. It’s a wide-eyed and credulous approach to the world willing to accept anything so long as it fits into the fantasy vision of reality.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    “I assume you do not like me”

    I’m indifferent to you, Pablito.

    I do consider your conspiracy obsession risible, however.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Oh, and as far as my feelings about the Fed, I see it as a necessary evil. I’d rather we didn’t have any kind of national bank, but I understand why we do and can live with it so long as it’s held accountable.

    And BTW, I don’t preface my statements with ‘In my opinion’ because I assume the readers are perceptive enough to tell statements of opinion from statements of fact. If that causes you problems then I have little sympathy.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    “And people such as Clavos who imho never add to the debate, but just chip away like a little kid to make himself feel worthwhile, never adding anything of substance just occasional snide remarks.”

    As soon as you write something “of substance,” Pablo, I will respond in kind.

    Until then, I’ll continue to comment on your musings at the level which they so richly deserve…

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    As strange as some of his ideas are, I actually do like Pablo.

    He’s kind of the intellectual equivalent of tossing a lit firecracker into a room full of cats.

  • Pablo

    Dread,

    I like that comment.

    Dave,
    I stand corrected as to the movie title, as I am not that big of a movie buff to begin with. I believe Russo and his Rockefeller story, you don’t, each to his own. I do not agree however with your characterization of your opinion, in my opinion you frequently present YOUR opinion as fact, at least that is how I the reader, and apparently others interpret your writings. As far as the FED goes, to have a private institution, that is in fact owned by banks, with the chairman chosen by the President, have the ability to manufacture something out of nothing is folly in the extreme.

    Clavos,
    You deserve no comment, and will be treated by me accordingly, or with derision as called for.

  • STM

    Clav, come on … be kind.

    Everyone KNOWS the Poms aren’t really a constitutional democracy at all and are trying to undermine the US to draw it back into the fold of the evil empire.

    If in doubt, get busy on the internet now.

    I suggest you get up at 5am every day and google for a few hours early in case anyone’s watching you through the window (everyone knows spooks on stake-outs are asleep at 5am). It also gives you a good two hours before the 7am changeover.

    Remember to include in your search Cecil Rhodes, CFR, Chatham House, black helicopters, 9/11 truth, the Milner group, Oregon Country Life magazine, the anglosphere, living in the Vermont hills on 50c a day, MI5, MI6 (SIS), CIA, FBI, the Tavistock Institute (not to be confused with Tavistock SQUARE, which is the London bus stop close to the scene of the London bus bombing … hang on!) and just about any other piece of lunacy that pops into your head and then put it altogether and, whammo! It’s the truth!!

    It also helps if you only read the first two paragraphs of anything, so that you can ignore anything of substance a bit further down.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    I’ll agree that fabricating money out of nothing is troubling. I don’t have a problem with the fact that it’s being done by a public-private partnership. But the big question is, as it has been since the start of the greenback movement 150 years ago, whether basing the value of currency on the creditworthiness of the nation is the same as basing it on nothing, or if perhaps a nation’s credit standing has a tangible value.

    Dave

  • Pablo

    Dave
    Interesting

    STM
    You are being ignored, I am in Phuket glad your not joining me.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    “Clavos,
    You deserve no comment,”

    But … you … just …

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “Its funny how you don’t even take the time to check something out, as you sit there so sure of yourself. He directed several big hits in Hollywood among them “24 Hours” with Eddie Murphy.”

    Pablo, congrats on winning this week’s “pot calling the kettle ‘black'” award. You are on the net. Click over to IMDB.com because he wasn’t as successful as you think. Also, while I see they were in a relationship, I don’t see that he was ever married to Midler.

    But don’t worry, Dave’s response is faulty as well through error and omission.

    “towards the end of his life he stopped directing films”

    The guy directed one film, “Rude Awakenings,” before his documentary. It was completed in 1989 unless who have evidence Alan Smithee took over some projects. Russo did produce a few movies, which is a completely different job.

  • Baronius

    Dave, great article. Indisputable. I don’t even know where the “opinion” part is.

    Without lobbying groups, I have no say in the election of 98% of the Senate and a larger percentage of the House. I have no leverage against them. And that’d be fine if they had limited authority over me (as the Founding Fathers intended). But we citizens are in a constant battle against the federal government.

    McCain took away one of our best defenses against government, the right to organized political speech in the days before an election. Now politicians want to remove our money from the system. I say, we make them sit up and beg for our campaign dollars. If our lobbyists tell you to do the cha cha, you do the cha cha.

    Have you noticed that politicians have no complaints about the money we have to give them? But it’s the donations that are a “corrupting influence”.

  • Clavos

    “STM
    You are being ignored”

    See #53…

  • http://jetfireone.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    How rude Pablo, how very very rude…

  • Pablo

    Jet,

    If you had seen some of STM’s previous comments to me in other posts perhaps you would not be so quick to judge. I act in accordance to how I am treated, don’t you?

    El Bicho,
    Your name fits you to a tee, I am so ashamed of my ignorance concerning Mr. Russo’s film career, kudos to you.

  • http://jetfireone.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    (Groan) I see I’m going to have to go back to labeling my jokes so people know when to laugh

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com/ handyguy

    Pretending that all lobbying activity is identical, and therefore equally good [or bad], is where this argument breaks down.

    Lobbyists who simply make sound arguments effectively [or what they believe to be sound arguments] are a lot different from lobbyists who take politicians on high-priced golf excursions.

    There are also plenty of lobbyists who have obscured their agenda. Not all are so out-front in their aims as, say, the NRA. Abramoff, for example, was helping Tom DeLay and others support sweat shops in US Territories that were not states so they could carry a “Made in USA” label. How was that a good thing?

    In addition, the allegedly protected political speech of these groups should be regularly checked for bullshit and lies. Their distortions have the power to get in the way of real issues discussions during [and between] elections. Pretending that the regulation of this anti-democratic [small “d”] attack rhetoric is unconstitutional is one of the right’s lamest arguments.

    Dave’s article, like many of his articles, is almost a textbook case of disingenuous fake reasoning.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Handy, how are lobbyists inherently any more good or evil than anyone else? They represent all sorts of groups and the only thing they have in common is that they promote the interests of those groups by whatever means they can. None of them are above reproach and all of them would stoop to taking people to play golf or threatening them with adverse publicity. There’s NO DIFFERENCE.

    You can argue that some of them represent good causes and some represent bad causes, but that’s largely subjective, and you could just as easily argue that some voters vote for good reasons and some vote for bad reasons.

    This is not a case of fake reasoning or being disingenous, it’s a case of honesty which you’re too timid to accept.

    Dave

  • STM

    Pablo’s in Phuket.

    Glad I spent the weekend in Melbourne.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Baronius: Dave, great article. Indisputable. I don’t even know where the “opinion” part is.

    Handyguy: Dave’s article, like many of his articles, is almost a textbook case of disingenuous fake reasoning.

    I think I’ve achieved a perfect yin-yang kind of balance in getting these two responses.

    Dave

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Stan: Pablo must really get your goat if you’re actually glad you spent the weekend in Melbourne rather than Phuket…

  • STM

    Mate, Melbourne’s a great place. The problem is it’s full of Victorians, or Mexicans as we call ‘em round these parts :)

    I went down for the F1 Grand Prix. I think I saw part of a sporting event but I’m not sure.

    It’s not spectator friendly, and the noise. Fair dinkum, it’s literally ear-shattering. There were kids there who were crying because of the noise.

    On Melbourne: it has its good points. The trams for one. I reckon Melbourne has the best public transport network on the planet.

    My daughter and I were sitting at a beachfront cafe in St Kilda eating our dinner on Saturday night, and the tram stop was across the road.

    There was a tram going back to the city about every five minutes, and it’s only a 15-minute trip back to town.

    Pretty damn good, and you can get them just about anywhere around the city and suburbs.

    If Sydney is like a big west coast city in America, Melbourne is like a European city … totally different.

    The women dress exquistely too. It’s a pretty stylish town. I don’t think I could live there though, but it’s still a pretty good joint.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Ah yes, the Grand Prix. Our boy Lewis Hamilton, who should win the F1 title at a canter this time around after narrowly missing out in his rookie season last year, took the prize, I see.

    Not surprised it upset some folks, though. The race takes place partly on the city streets, doesn’t it?

    I did like Melbourne – not as much as I thought I would, though, and it doesn’t hold a candle to Sydney.

    My favourite part was the weather. Bright, sunny and warm one minute; pelting down with rain and/or hail the next. Quite reminded me of home. I love rain.

  • STM

    Doc: The weather issue is big down there. It’s freezing in winter. People joke about Melbourne experiencing four seasons in a day, and they’re only half joking.

    Even though it’s only an hour’s plane flight from Sydney, the difference is palpable. Sydney is a warm South Pacific city, and much of the weather is a result of weather patterns generated in the south pacific and by north-easterly airstreams off tropical Queensland – while Melbourne sits on the southern tip of mainland Australia, which means it’s exposed to the cold prevailing winter winds from the Southern Ocean – which as everyone knows, are generated off the ice floes of the Antarctic. While they’ve warmed up a bit by the time they hit the great southern continent, they are still bloody cold.

    The only city colder in winter in Australia is Hobart, which suffers from being near the southern tip of Tasmania. It is the most beautiful city in Oz though.

    However, I prefer my winter beaches with warm water and sand, rather than snow, which is why I haven’t moved there.

    You should come back for another visit one day Doc and call in while you’re here.

  • Baronius

    Dave, the distinction you have to make is between good lobbying and bad lobbying. Sweat shops are bad. So are nuclear power, the Irish, and flouridation. If you have any questions, I’ve got a master list of good and bad things.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Yes, Baronius, I make value judgments. So, I suspect, do you. Your point being?

  • Baronius

    Sorry if this is a double-post:

    Handy, my point is that lobbying is protected by the First Amendment. Not just “good” lobbying. If anything, we need to be more protective of “bad” lobbying, because it’s so easy to oppose the unpopular and controversial.

  • bliffle

    How so?

    ” Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Bliff, it’s free speech. It’s just citizens talking to their legislators. What could be more appropriate?

    Dave

  • bliffle

    “It’s just citizens talking to their legislators.”

    No it’s not.

    The people doing the talking are paid to express those views. They are NOT advocating for themselves. They are NOT expressing their personal views. And they are hired based on their ability to get close to the decision makers, because of their personal familiarity. This is commonly known as “influence peddling”.

    And they are offering bribes, in the form of campaign contributions. Offering bribes is not constitutionally protected free speech.

  • troll

    It’s just citizens talking to their legislators.

    …lobbyists are not necessarily citizens nor do they necessarily advocate for the interests of citizens

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    The people doing the talking are paid to express those views. They are NOT advocating for themselves. They are NOT expressing their personal views.

    So if I’m a journalist paid to write editorials I lose my free speech rights? Same thing if I’m a speechwriter? Both I and the guy I write speeches for no longer have full rights to express ourselves? You can’t limit free speech based on your subjective perception of the motivation of the speaker.

    And they are hired based on their ability to get close to the decision makers, because of their personal familiarity. This is commonly known as “influence peddling”.

    Many forms of influence peddling are illegal. Arrest them if they cross that line.

    And they are offering bribes, in the form of campaign contributions. Offering bribes is not constitutionally protected free speech.

    True, and it’s already illegal. If they violate anti bribery laws, arrest them.

    …lobbyists are not necessarily citizens nor do they necessarily advocate for the interests of citizens

    Last I checked we allowed free speech even for foreign nationals, what with it being an inalienable right of humanity and all.

    Dave

  • troll

    Last I checked we allowed free speech even for foreign nationals, what with it being an inalienable right of humanity and all.

    nonresponsive