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Sunday, 29 November, 2020

Breeding Corruption Through Legislation

Date: 01 November, 2006

By: Chief

Imagen case you haven't noticed for some strange reason, the Republican party has really taken some severe hits this year. Scandals of one sort or another seem to be making the main stream news circuit regularly. And why not? The Republicans are the party currently in power and have been for over 10 years. They have earned it — in spades.

Scandal after scandal after scandal. An almost never ceasing array of abuse of power. Whether it be the "K" Street pirates (lobbyists in general and Jack Abramoff in particular) to taking bribes (ex-Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham) to violating campaign fiance laws (ex-Congressman Tom Delay) to instant messaging sex with underage pages (ex-Congressman Mike Foley). And that is just the Republicans.

On the Democratic party's side of the house things are just as bad. You had former Speaker of the House Jim Wright of Texas who resigned over a real weird book deal in 1989. Then there was ex-Congressman Dan Rostenkowski of Illinois, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, who resigned in 1994 after he was indicted on charges of fraud, witness tampering and embezzlement. He was tried, convicted and did some time in a cross bars bed and breakfast. Plus there was the un-illustrious Bill Klinton who denied having sex "with that woman" but ended up getting a blow job and was subsequently impeached for it. And who can forget Congressman William Jefferson of Louisiana who was video taped accepting $100,000 in $100 bills from an FBI informant whose conversations with Jefferson were being recorded. That is just the tip of the iceberg.

So you see that no matter which of the two main political parties are in power both are equally corrupt along with being ethically and morally bankrupt. The old 'do as I say not as I do' adage comes to mind.

But have no fear — it gets worse.

Give or take a few years the Democratic and Republican parties have traded power back and forth for approximately 150 years. During this time frame both the Democratic and the Republican parties have not been sitting idly by watching the clouds pass overhead. Indeed, it is of the utmost importance to realize that both parties designed and enacted bills which various presidents and state governors have signed into law which perpetuate their power and, without doubt, their corruption at the complete expense of We the People.

At the federal level and at the state level laws and regulations have been put into place which keep the two major political parties in power.

Consider for a moment the Federal Election Commission. It was brought into being by a federal law and is comprised of an equal number of Democrats and Republicans. No third parties are represented nor are any independent candidates represented. Just the big two. The FEC specifically deals with campaign finance at the federal level. This situation could also be called 'the fox guarding the chicken coop syndrome'.

Have you ever seen a presidential debate where there were candidates from third parties or independent candidates allowed to participate in the debate? No you have not. Nobody has. And the two major political parties have every intention of keeping it that way — forever — if they have their way.

From 1960 - 1988 the League of Women Voters sponsored the presidential debates. However in 1988 the LWV withdrew from sponsoring the debates for this reason (quoting Wikipedia):

"The League of Women Voters is withdrawing sponsorship of the presidential debates ... because the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter. It has become clear to us that the candidates' organizations aim to add debates to their list of campaign-trail charades devoid of substance, spontaneity and answers to tough questions. The League has no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public."

The 1988 presidential debates did happen and, as we all know, have continued to the present day. Quoting Wikipedia:

"The two major political parties had their own loyalists ready to take over the debates and did so in 1988 under the name of the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). The two parties presented the 1988 debates and have done so every election cycle since. The commission has been headed since its inception by former chairs of the Republican and Democratic parties."

Gee, can you spell c-a-r-t-e-l?

Additionally, the several states have various and sundry laws and regulations on the books stipulating how a political party and or a political candidate can become a party or a candidate. All favor the big two political parties. Some are also more restrictive than others as well. New Mexico has one of the most restrictive party and candidates series of statutes in the country. Hence it should surprise no one that, politically speaking at least, New Mexico is one of the most corrupt states in the country, if not the most corrupt state in the country. And always has been. Shoot, the Lincoln County War (Billy the Kid and the Regulators) was started because of political kickbacks.

Our two big political parties have created a system which in fact breeds corruption. Most pathetically of all, it was designed that way from the beginning.

This sorry situation is propagated even more because it is taught in high school. Seniors must take an American Government class in order to graduate. When the course gets to the point of political parties and elections almost without fail the curriculum points to the "two party system." Some go so far as to name the two main players — Democratic party and the Republican party. Third parties are, at best, reduced to foot note status — along the lines of 'there are a number of third parties but they tend to have little impact on national events'. Or something similar.

What is being taught to kids in high school who will soon be able to register and vote is 'register with one of the big two political parties otherwise your vote will not count'. Though it is not spoken, that is the thought. It is also successful.

In business, if two big companies who produce very similar products at very similar prices collude together in an attempt to lock out competitors and possibly fix prices it is known as a cartel. Most forms of cartels are illegal as sin and subject to various federal and state statutes such as anti-trust action.

But not the big two political parties. They operate as a public cartel with absolute impunity. 'Well, the people will decide at the next election'.

Really? You sure could have fooled me. In most cases, such as ex-Congressman Foley, the disgraced politician is replaced by someone within the same party and serves out the now resigned politician's term. Only then it is up for the people to decide. Admittedly some states handle the situation differently, but by and large this is how it is done.

Further, both the Democratic and Republican parties have basically merged and become one party going by two different names. Just check the voting records of your Congressman and two Senators. If they are all of the same party, well, you are screwed. If they are of different parties you will get a more truthful answer. Another way to tell is from where or who a candidate gets their campaign money. U.S. Senator Bingaman, a Democrat from New Mexico who is up for reelection this year, has received the vast majority of campaign money from — Republicans. Who would have thought that?

What that shows is there is very little, if any, difference between the two major political parties.

In other words We the People have very little, if any, choice. We can pick candidate 'A', a Democrat or candidate 'B', a Republican. The result will be the same. We the People get screwed.

What needs to be done, somehow, is to change existing state laws to enable choice. This will not be easy to accomplish as the state legislatures are completely controlled by the big two parties. But change it we must. We must make it it simpler and less costly for an independent candidate to get his or her name on the ballot or third parties to get their candidates' names on the ballot.

Only then will we see the much needed change.

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