Today we end Fix It week on my show, although we hope to keep this recurring theme. But the largest hindrance to solutions for all of the problems we’ve discussed – be it the Deficit, Energy, Education or the Wars – goes back to one place: the current Political Process in our country.

We practically all share the same list of problems, regardless of ideology: The undue influence of moneyed interest, the focus on inane Culture Wars instead of proper governance, the low quality of our politicians coupled with their high incumbency rates, the lack of ethics, disclosure etc. The only question left is how to fix them and then, how do we muster the will?

These are the questions we will address for my entire show today – and just to get the ball rolling, here are four of my favorite solutions:
1. ONE FOR ME, ONE FOR YOU

I don’t have to explain to anyone why we need to fix the campaign finance system. The question is how do we do it fairly. Publicly financed campaigns are one solution, but they seem to go against our very nature as Americans. After all, who wants to be forced into having their tax money going to politicians they don’t like? Meanwhile, infringing on the amounts people can donate gives an advantage to wealthy candidates. But I think there is pretty easy solution to this:

I propose that we make a law that charges 100% fee on all political spending, with the that fee going into a public campaign financing fund that given solely to candidates with low campaign coffers on a per petition signature basis. This means that if a well-moneyed candidate like Barack Obama wants to spend $740 million of campaign donations, $370 million of that can go to his campaign and the other half to public campaign fund.

Even better, if a wealthy person like Michael Bloomberg wants to spend $108 million of his fortune trying to get elected, half goes to other, less-moneyed candidates. As far as those “poorer” candidates go, the more valid petition signatures they have, the more money they should get from the fund.

In addition to curtailing the power of the dollar in elections, this would especially help new candidates take advantage of modern marvels like social networking etc. to jumpstart a serious challenge to more-moneyed opponents.

And if you don’t want your money going to candidates you don’t like, then don’t get in to the game in the first place.

2. DISCLOSE EVERYTHING TO ALL

It is a sad state of affairs when corporations, who clearly don’t work for us, are forced to disclose more to than Politicians who do (or at least are paid by us). We need to put the legal onus on Politicians to disclose every single potential conflict of interest, be it an invite to a BBQ or getting their nephew a job with a contractor. This means that if it could in any conceivable way be considered a conflict, it’s on them to disclose it even if there is no specific rule against it. Then, if they are found being negligent of material disclosure, they need to be fired, fined and possibly jailed.

Finally, this information MUST be updated weekly into open-source searchable databases. There is no shortage of smart, patriotic Americans who can take it from there.

3. COOL YOUR HEELS FOR SEVEN YEARS

The revolving door from Politics to corresponding positions of undue influence in the private sector has to be stopped. There needs to be a seven year cooling off period for all Politicians, staffers and regulators from working in any related industry or lobbying their former colleagues.

While this might sound draconian, ask yourself, do you really think we are getting high quality public servants with the current incentive structure? I am betting we will get much more capable public servants once we hinder their ability to get rich off of their service.

4. END THE LEFTY-RIGHTY FACADE

As far as I can tell, at this point the major differences in the traditional Political Parties has basically become their stance on gay marriage – and even that looks pretty similar once they are in power. Both like to give away money they don’t have and are unwilling to stand up to the special interests that fund them.

Furthermore, the false choice of “Republican” or “Democrat” is keeping some of the best candidates from making it to the general election. If politicians want to align themselves into two Political Parties, that is their right. But the government shouldn’t allow them to hold separate primaries. Hopefully this recent move to open primaries in California will take off across the country.
The question now is how do we get these same complicit politicians to make the fundamental changes that we need to the system. My hope is that in the coming years, we will see more and more people deciding that they have had enough and will enter into the political spectrum or push their neighbors and friends to do so.

Also, I am waiting patiently for serious candidates in the United States to sign a legally binding contract guaranteeing that they will support initiatives like the ones outlined above. Don’t laugh, it’s already on its way across the pond.

Politicians held personally liable for breaking their promises to the voter? That’s change we all could believe in.

Follow Dylan Ratigan on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DylanRatigan

Category: Bailouts, Politics

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

44 Responses to “FIX AMERICA? FIX THE POLITICIANS”

  1. DL says:

    We will NEVER EVER get the money out of politics.

    The best we can hope for is full and complete disclosure of who paid what to whom.

  2. Mike in Nola says:

    “Fixing” politicians in the same way as pets would probably provide more satisfaction to the public.

  3. MaxLdaMan says:

    I love ya man, but you’re dreaming in technicolour. Ditch the electric martinis. Can’t you just hear the talking heads on Fox? “Why, that’s commiemism!”

  4. constantnormal says:

    @Mike in Nola

    I agree, but we also have to fix their progeny if we want to stamp out these genetic traits that are damaging to the public welfare.

    OTOH, it would provide a lotta jobs in the veterinary industry … I mean, under our health care system, that seems to be a much more expedient and cost-effective way to implement these “fixes” than allowing doctors to do the work.

  5. Marcus Aurelius says:

    DR: Your rationality is hurting my head. Small doses, please.

    RE: #3: Not draconian at all. What will Dick Cheney do for a living?

  6. diogeron says:

    No difference except gay marriage? How about separation of church and state (or lack thereof, in the case of the GOP), climate change, universal health care, privatization of social security (or not), extension of unemployment insurance (or not), vouchers to use public tax dollars to fund private (often religious) schools, regulation (or not) of the financial services industry (or not), a woman’s right to choose to terminate a pregnancy (or not) even in the case of rape and incest, choosing to fight two wars OFF BUDGET for eight years (which only changed last year)….and on and on. Oh, yeah, and the 25% of Republicans who think Obama is the anti-christ (or even who think there really IS such a thing as the “anti-christ.”
    http://www.livescience.com/culture/obama-anti-christ-100325.html

  7. dead hobo says:

    Dylan Ratigan suggests:

    FIX THE POLITICIANS

    reply:
    —————
    No, this only works for house pets. Unless, of course, you are suggesting a little fixing as a consequence of making a mess on the house or senate floor, should one occur on their watch. The debate would be quite fun to watch.

  8. dead hobo says:

    mike in Nola,

    damn you, I should have read your comment first!!!

  9. HCSKnight says:

    For a time I had hopes for Dylan, sadly his tone has increasingly become one of a liberal who seems all to willing to force his ideas upon others.

    re 1. ONE FOR ME, ONE FOR YOU: this is classic liberalism, and sadly something even some self-called conservatives have fallen under. Today it is one of the most clear indications of one who is weak in the face freedom’s fruit and a failure to look in the mirror to find who’s responsible for the failure of politics.

    The only more fundamental form of “speech” and liberty is the ability to give, and do with, one’s property as one desires and sees fit to effect the political trajectory, limited only by those freedoms which are Constitutionally protected from infringement.

    In the end such calls for suppression of liberty, of control over others property, are nothing other than a reach for power or a failure to win the political fight….. for in the end the reason for the evil seen in the political machine is nothing more than a reflection of the ethical and moral soul of those who are casting votes.

    America, our politicians are the mirror of our Country’s soul. A soul blackened by the “smoke of Satan”, by the selfishness which reaches not for the torch, sword and balance of liberty but Eve’s apple.

    HCSKnight

  10. Tom K says:

    “I propose that we make a law that charges 100% fee on all political spending, with the that fee going into a public campaign financing fund that given solely to candidates with low campaign coffers on a per petition signature basis. ”

    I’ll say this the nicest way I can. Bad idea.

    Beyond your redistributionist way of thinking, this would be a huge advantage to incumbents and media darlings (e.g. liberals) – those who already have name recognition and tons of free media coverage. And do you really think Bloomberg would spend $54 million if he knew he would have to give $54 million to his competition?

    If we’re going to play a game of magic wand, here’s a better idea: Require a balanced budget. Politicians get elected (and re-elected) for giving their constituents things they haven’t paid for, or haven’t paid full price for. If politicians had Uncle Sam’s credit card ripped from their grubby hands, they wouldn’t be able to play Santa Claus.

  11. toddie.g says:

    Ihave a comment and some suggestions.

    My comment is that our broken political system is partly due to several fatal flaws in the design of government by the Founding Fathers. The idea that, in the Senate, small states with populations of less than 5-6 million have the same voice in government (2 senators each) as large population states has skewed power to a vastly disproportionate degree to those small states. This is absurd, and leads to bad policy and corruption, one prime example being the ridiculously expensive and poorly designed farm subsidies. Also, the Founding Fathers fumbled by not including the parliamentary action of no-confidence votes in sitting presidents leading to early elections, resigning the country to being stuck with a feckless, unpopular president. George W. Bush surely would have been out of office sometime in 2006 when his approval levels hovered around 30%. Countries like the UK, Canada, Israel regularly depose politicians who have become so unpopular, and call early elections. Makes so much more sense than our ridiculous election once every 4 years.

    So, 2 immediate suggestions is constitutional changes to those 2 flaws. Another suggestion is to make government appeal to the brightest and most ambitious of our society, by making government pay in positions of power compete with the kind of pay in the highest positions of the private sector. The design of that pay structure would be heavily skewed away from high salaries, and towards Wall Street levels of bonus. Extravagant multi-million dollar bonuses would be awarded to presidents, senators and house members based upon achieving excellent financial metrics, i.e. GDP growth above 3.5%, annual budget deficits as a % of GDP below 2% and especially big bonuses for a fiscal surplus, unemployment below 5%, the % of the population living above the poverty line, average mean family income above certain levels, % of high school kids who graduate and don’t drop out, just to throw out a few ideas – essentially rewarding politicians who create excellent policy designed to benefit the greater good of the country, and not special interests. Keeping salaries low, but allowing for extremely high bonuses based upon the actual greater good would be very motivating to the brightest and most ambitious Americans, who for now eschew the idea of being in government. Run government more like a business, and maybe you see substantially better results.

  12. drey says:

    “Publicly financed campaigns are one solution, but they seem to go against our very nature as Americans. After all, who wants to be forced into having their tax money going to politicians they don’t like?”

    Yeah, but we need to get over it. Or, short of actually providing public dollars to campaigns, we could force the media to provide equal blocks of free air time to serious candidates – the authority already exists to do it, all that’s lacking is the political will. Beyond the free time, candidates would not be allowed to purchase additional ad time, leveling the playing field. This is how it’s done in most of the democratic world. If this is an unreasonable 1st amendment infringement, pass a constitutional amendment as part of a comprehensive package.

    I agree that some (or most) of this may be pie in the sky and a good short term action would be to require complete, instantaneous disclosure of every stinking dime, doughnut, or cup of coffee a pol receives from any source. Those who flaunt the new disclosure laws can look forward to a felony fraud conviction…

    My favorite political reform would be a change from the single-member, simple plurality election system which guarantees that only Reps and Dems get elected to a proportional representation system (again, employed by much of the world) which says that if your party gets 5% of the vote in a national election, you get that same percentage of seats in the congress. This would really open things up, give third parties real power and legitimacy, and break the bipartisan stranglehold.

  13. bergsten says:

    As long as we’re discussing ideas that will never be implemented, here’s one that just might work, if only…

    1. Hold a national lottery to choose a small but statistically significant anonymous group representing the entire voting population. This would be just like jury duty (but nobody could be excused) — if chosen you would have to participate.

    2. Said group would be flown to D.C. (or Hawaii, or wherever), put up in very nice accommodations, fed very nice food, and paid very well for a week or two. Those running for office would meet with this group and give their spiel. The group could talk with the candidate as long as they like, ask as many questions as they like, and be given a research staff to gather/verify information.

    3. Said (odd numbered) group would vote and the candidate with a simple majority of votes would win. Period. Paper ballots — no hanging chads — no buggy electronic voting machines.

    Think New Age Electoral College. Think Election of Popes.

    The major benefit is that this eliminates all campaign foolishness. We, the People, won’t be barraged by endless ads, mailings, automated phone calls, lawn posters, billboards.

    No campaign spending. No media collusion due to dependence on political ad revenue. No “experts” telling “we” how to vote. No bribes – -no “vote early, vote often.”

    The candidates will still suck, but that’s solved separately.

  14. Jack says:

    We’re only 234 years old.

    We still have training wheels.

    The best and worst is yet to come.

    Great country, great people.

    USA

  15. flipspiceland says:

    The “Fix”, is precisely what went wrong with nearly all the politicians.

  16. flipspiceland says:

    @HCSKnigh

    The only reason I or anyone else should vote for a man or woman to represent him, is because we deem that person as somehow much better than we ourselves are: more intelligent, honorable, gracious, fair-minded, and capable of leadership than we ourselves are.

    They SHOULD be our “better angels”, no? Otherwise any dolt could be an elected official.

    By placing our futures into the hands of representatives who are ‘closer to god’ than we are, we expect forward strides to be made in human progress not the devolution we have been enduring for 50 years.

    Instead the politician is lower than whaleshit. We disavow them, curse them, would if we could get our hands on some of them, put their heads on pikes.

    Must respectfully disagree that it is us who are at fault for voting ourselves the very sustenance of our neighbors, friends, enemies, and other humans in another state, country or county than ours.

    The founding fathers seemed to possess attributes such as this but along the way the democratic republic has gradually become a transfer payment system run amok in the hands of the politicians.

  17. wisedup says:

    one for one? damn good start.

    It is theoretically impossible for modern elective government to ever work. Since business can always secure monstrous multiples from the government in return for moderate outlays, the shareholders find it impossible not to support bribery of the government.
    Given the fundamental weakness, ad hoc solutions are all we have.

    one for one? we would have to extend it to cover air time as well. Say the owner of a large multimedia group favors one politician and sells him air time at a low low rate. The cost incurred is low and the opposed politician has no way of matching the air time given the paltry matching dollars made available.

    Oh, that sounds like the fairness doctrine, doesn’t it?

  18. ACS says:

    States having the same number of senators is not a “flaw”. Without that, there would be no country because the Constitution would never have been ratified. Small States did not want to be run by the bigger ones and that was one of the essential checks and balances written into the document. So by the way was senators being appointed by the States. They were supposed to represent the interests of their States as a counter-balance the power of the Federal government, something destroyed by the progressives who enacted popular election for senators making then nothing but “super congressmen”. The real corruption comes from the need to finance re-election making politicians bag men for special interests and vote buyers from portions of the electorate. The only cures are to enact a strict one-term per office limit or pick Congress by lottery rather than election.

  19. atswimtwobirds says:

    The PR idea is good. It’s really wild that a country as big and diverse as the US has effectively only two political parties.

  20. arel says:

    Many of the ideas are interesting but proportional representation is a “no no” as it doesn’t force political candidates or parties to centerist positions.

    I have been asking candidates who I might support to pledge to serve only two terms (for congress) if elected and reelected. Then let them get on with life.

    I find the class of “professional politicians” at all levels of government to be counterproductive to my own interests.

    I would feel more comfortable with a lottery for congress almost like the jury system- 1 term and gone, maybe with
    a recall provision.

    I also find it counterproductive that everyone in the private sector has to deal with changing yearly income streams (up and down) but yet neither the representatives nor the civil servants are willing to subject themselves to the same discipline of lowering their salaries when existing tax revenues decrease. Their solution is either to force the country to take on more debt or to raise taxes.

    There was something to be said for the “spoils system” as it mitigated against the establishment of a permanent interest group.

  21. franklin411 says:

    Our politicians merely reflect our population.

    A nation of morons–not morons by birth but morons by choice–will have moronic politicians.

    Fix the population. Fix the culture to value intelligence and the thirst for knowledge. Nobody can save America if we remain a society that values stupidity above intelligence.

  22. Joe_in_Indiana says:

    Do you know that US Representatives and Senators are exempt from Insider Trading Laws?

    My easy suggestion is that as soon as they are elected, a US Representative or Senator along with thier immediate family and staffers must put thier investments into a blind publis trust until they are out of office.

    There is a law pending in three committes in the Senate per my Senator Richard Lugar to strengthen these laws, but they have been bouncing around for FOUR YEARS.

    I also agree that they, thier immediate family and thier staffers have no lobbying ability for seven years after office.

    BTW, Senator Lugar’s office called me personally to share that he has kept his investments in public mutual funds since he has been in office. He wanted to make sure he is above board in all things that he has an affect.

    After FOUR ATTEMPTS, I have yet to hear from Rep. Visclosky and Senator Bayh on this same issue. They have ignored my requests, even though I am trying to be an engaged American citizen.

    Joe

  23. JoWriter says:

    @ wisedup: ” Say the owner of a large multimedia group favors one politician and sells him air time at a low low rate. The cost incurred is low and the opposed politician has no way of matching the air time given the paltry matching dollars made available. Oh, that sounds like the fairness doctrine, doesn’t it?”

    No, it doesn’t sound like the fairness doctrine. What you describe is currently in effect. All political ads are sold at a much lower rate than the regular commercial rate. Don’t know whether that is a law or regulation, just know that it is so.

    The fairness doctrine requires a station to give the same amount of broadcast time to all candidates. And that is supposed to include all air time. So, for instance, you couldn’t have Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh on unless you had an equally liberal person on for the same amount of time on your station. In the past, stations just didn’t have anybody on the air to avoid trying to figure out what ‘fairness’ meant. This reduced the amount of information and opinion the public was exposed to.

    Critique of some of the other ideas:

    * One-term congress critters give even more power than already exists to unelected bureaucrats.
    * Lottery has been proposed for AT LEAST 50 years. Don’t know why it hasn’t been tried. Maybe because it might produce excellent results?
    * Cooling your heels – good idea, but should apply in reverse as well, i.e. you can’t go into government untill you have been out of business for 7 years. Also, staffers should be forbidden from running for office for 7 years after they leave employment in a Congressperson’s office. Have you noticed how many people used to work for Congr. X?
    * Public financing is a bad, bad, bad idea. Just look at Portland, Oreg. if you don’t believe me. It was compromised from the start and has gone downhill from there. I predict it will be abandoned by candidates before it is voted on. BTW, it is not a partisan issue. They’re all Democrats there.
    * Open primaries are also a bad idea. There shouldn’t be any primaries at all. All political parties can and should put on and pay for their own conventions, nominate someone. People not in political parties (too pure???) can vote in the general election. Top vote-getter wins. End of story.
    * It wouldn’t hurt to have shorter campaign periods. Any ideas on how to do that without passing another useless law? All ‘fix-it’ law have unintended (?) bad consequences, haven’t you noticed?
    * To all who suggest full disclosure – that is the best and most easily implemented suggestion of all.

    @ arel – most reasonable and interest post so far. Thanks!

    To all: Good discussion.

  24. TakBak04 says:

    @HCSKnight Says:
    July 4th, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    For a time I had hopes for Dylan, sadly his tone has increasingly become one of a liberal who seems all to willing to force his ideas upon others.

    re 1. ONE FOR ME, ONE FOR YOU: this is classic liberalism, and sadly something even some self-called conservatives have fallen under. Today it is one of the most clear indications of one who is weak in the face freedom’s fruit and a failure to look in the mirror to find who’s responsible for the failure of politics.

    The only more fundamental form of “speech” and liberty is the ability to give, and do with, one’s property as one desires and sees fit to effect the political trajectory, limited only by those freedoms which are Constitutionally protected from infringement.

    ——–

    That’s quite a comment. Amazing in that the “Far Left Bloggers” think Dylan is a RW Troll!

    How polarized we are these days. Can’t even read and digest before we start to sling arrows at folks trying to point out REAL Problems this country has!

  25. Paul Jones says:

    Dylan, you are one of the good guys;

    but we will need institutional change in the form of proportional representation, constitutional amendments, or a convention before any of this change will take place.

    Simply stated, only severely rocking the apple cart means anything to the people at the top; incremental change is just another tool in their tool belt.

  26. philipat says:

    These things we hold to be self-evident?

  27. alfred e says:

    Have often puzzled the notion of allowing campaign contributions only from district/state individuals and entities. And excluding subsidiaries owned by out of district/state megacorps.

    The notion of mega-corporations being able to buy Congressmen that then vote against the wishes of their constituents seems a toxic part of the problem.

  28. Jojo says:

    If I remember correctly, politicians in Britain cannot start campaigning until two? months prior to the election. This would be a great change for the USA, IMO.

  29. adamsvictor says:

    to Diogeron,

    Mister, and who’s YOUR antichrist …The Republican Party? Now, just take a deep breath, look in the mirror and repeat after me: The inner cities are 100% run and owned by the Democrats….projects, crack cocaine, high sky unemployment, 5th generation welfare…oh yes and also: our k to 12 schools are also the Dem’s domain: drop outs, illiteracy…and just take a look at the Golden State: high taxes, high unemployment…I rest my case. Barry is right, you’re wrong, today’s politicos stink!!! All!!!

  30. GrafSchweik says:

    HCSKnight:

    You are suffering from a rhetorical disease. Probably from staring too long at the American wall in Plato’s cave.

    You might believe what you’re saying, but I can guarantee you that most of the people reciting the same catechism are only paying it lip service because for them it’s all about the money, the influence and the power.

    It’s why I left the Conservative movement over 30 years ago: it has amounted to nothing more than a series of apologias for oligarchy and plutocracy; a respectable philosophical front for the oligarchs and plutocrats funding them. They laugh all the way to the bank, the Senate, ambassadorships and patronage on the backs of suckers like you who are taken in by their metaphysical séances.

    More than 20 years in Europe watching the UK’s Tories, the German CDU/CSU and the French Gaullists up close finished off any lingering attachments I might have had. The center of America’s political discourse is skewed so far to the right compared to the rest of the world’s as to make your epithets of liberalism laughable.

  31. Andy T says:

    HCSKnight@4.00

    Amen Bro. Well stated.

    Jack at 4.53.

    Indeed!!!

    @flipspiceland

    “The only reason I or anyone else should vote for a man or woman to represent him, is because we deem that person as somehow much better than we ourselves are: more intelligent, honorable, gracious, fair-minded, and capable of leadership than we ourselves are.”

    Pretty silly stuff there. You vote for people who you think will most represent your “views.” That’s it. That’s all. It’s hard to believe you or anyone else actually believes what you wrote there….

    bergsten@4.47

    Interesting idea. I sort of like the concept…

  32. [...] July 4, 2010 Politics: part i Posted by ducati998 under politics Leave a Comment  4. END THE LEFTY-RIGHTY FACADE [...]

  33. Expat says:

    You want to solve the problem? You need to introduce genuine separation of powers and tighter controls. In order to do that, you need to elect politicians who are trusted by no one!

    Henceforth, allow only belligerent foreigners to run for office in the US. If you ain’t Al Qaeda, you ain’t on the ticket. African blood diamond despot? Great, you’re the next Senator from North Dakota. Mexican drug lord? Fantastico, you’re the governor of Alaska. Commandante Deathkill from the Shining Path? You’re the Speaker of the House.

    Even Fox News would insist on probing, fair coverage of leaders like this. We know they are criminals and we would watch them like hawks. They would be incompetent in most matters and would therefore do almost nothing during their terms of office.

    Ok, it’s a crappy idea, but there are times when I would rather have the Taliban sitting in session on Capitol Hill than our present mob. At least the Taliban have principals!

  34. Expat says:

    Er, the Taliban might even has assistant vice principals! I meant “principles”. (Oh, Strunk and White, forgive this worthless sinner!)

  35. mathman says:

    As long as humanity acts like this:

    http://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com/

    there will never be a “fair” government anywhere. People abuse power, pollute endlessly, are greedy, self-serving, disrespectful and disagree with each other on practically everything. i think that our species is hopeless case, honestly, and that we’re going to get a much harder lesson about the way we live on the planet in the coming years from physics and nature.

  36. KentWillard says:

    Campaign financing is the most important issue for the US. One of the worst Supreme Court decisions ever gave corporations (and yes, unions) “free speech” to give as much money as they want to candidates. So Congressmen represent not their voters in their district, but the contributors in their committees.

    1) In the Internet age everyone has access to widely distributed free speech, should any campaign financing be allowed?

    2) A corporation or lobby can’t vote, serve one’s country, die for one’s country, or go to jail. So why should they have the legal right to contribute money?

    3) If we did away political parties’ ability to raise and distribute money, then our policy would be much less partisan (parties use money to enforce lockstep voting).

    4) Simple rule – if you can’t vote for the candidate (registered voter in district for which they are running), then you can’t contribute money. This eliminates most special interest spending. But would take either a Constitutional amendment or a different Supreme Court.

  37. davefromcarolina says:

    “…only severely rocking the apple cart means anything to the people at the top; incremental change is just another tool in their tool belt.”

    My question is: What will constitute “severely rocking the apple cart?” I thought BP’s actions in the Gulf, along with MMS’s behavior, would have resulted in overwhelming popular sentiment favoring an end to Corporate/Government “cooperation.” But as best I can tell, that’s not happening. Why not, I wonder?

    Of course, I’m one of those trusting fools who thought Obama meant it when he said he’d close Guantanamo, who couldn’t believe Obama would set up a “Deficit Commission” and put Alan Simpson on it, who thought somebody–anybody!–from Goldman Sachs might have faced consequences for their actions, etc., etc.

  38. BPman says:

    0 for 4. Pretty poor average if you ask me.

    But what would you expect from someone who proclaims they can’t tell the difference in policy between Republicans and Democrats. How this writer was allowed a platform as influential as The Big Picture blog is a serious breach in editorial review.

  39. fatelephant says:

    Fix politicians? Fix human nature.

  40. alfred e says:

    @Kent Willard: agree. Well said.

  41. beaufou says:

    I can’t remember who said: the worst idea is when you only have one.

    It seems to me the political field in Washington is dominated by useless polemics between two parties receiving large amounts of money from the same people, meanwhile the idea basket remains empty.
    There are only two answers to one problem each time and those answers are usually not far form each other, especially after bills are tweaked by generous lobbying efforts.

    In an ideal world, lobbying would simply be banned because of what it really is, legal corruption.
    And corporations are not citizens, why on earth would they have the ability to influence an election.

    The media are also corporations, so good luck finding any kind of improvement there, and last but not least, people have to take an interest in what is going on around them and think for themselves, not just absorb ready-made slogans and one track minded propaganda.

  42. droubal says:

    Just reading these comments demonstrates how the public can’t agree on anything.
    What kind of chance do we have to change things when large portions of the public still defend their favorite party? None.
    It is too late for America to pull out of this. It will take a catastrophic crash and years of misery to really change the system. Problem is, by then we will no longer be the world leading economy.

    States and municipalities are on the verge of bankruptcy but even that may not stop the control of wealth and taxes by monied, politically connected interests.

    It is difficult to see a way out of this. Certainly none have been stated yet.

  43. takloo says:

    i think fixing any country requires fixing the politicians… or the SYSTEM manifested by these greedy bastards

  44. diogeron says:

    @Adamsvictor:

    Who is my “antichrist?” I don’t have one because I don’t believe in fairy tales and haven’t since I was a child.

    Also, this post was written by Dylan Ratigan, not Barry. I’ll let Barry speak for himself, but I think it’s relevant to be accurate about who actually was the author of the post.

    Finally, all I did was point out some differences between the Democrats (most) and the GOP (most.) Whether or not one agrees with one or the other (separation of church and state or not, for example), is in the eye of the beholder. After all, meaning isn’t inherent in language, rather it’s attributed by the listener, or in this case, the reader.