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Washington Politicians: 81 percent of America is WRONG [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2006-1-18 11:24:14 |Display all floors
According to representatives from both major American political parties, 81 percent of Americans are WRONG!

Wrong about what?  Since when do politicians argue with the public perception instead of exploiting it to their advantage?  After all, it was the politicians who exploited the public's fears when CNOOC stepped up to buy American and narrow the trade deficit by purchasing Unocal.  You can't expect that politicians will do anything except take full advantage to score political points with the voters back home, can you?  Well, apparently there is one issue where Amreican politicians will not play politics -- and that's when the public believes that congress is accepting bribes.

Pew public opinion research conducted a poll recently that found an astounding 81 percent of Americans believe that it is common practice for elected representatives in congress to accept bribes.  Yet when questioned on this finding by Ameican political talk show host Chris Matthews , spokesperson from both major parties could not name one single person in all of Washington who is corrupt.  Here is the exchange:

"MATTHEWS:  We‘re a back, on a national holiday, Martin Luther King Day.  Steve McMahon came in for the holiday, he‘s a Democratic strategist, and Ben Ginsberg is working all the time.  He is an adviser to the Bush-Cheney campaign.   

We have a got a couple poll numbers out there.  One of them is 81 percent of the people in the new Pew poll that says that bribery in Congress is common behavior. Now, I just want to know if you guys agree with that.  You do know, you‘re in law practice here in Washington and a counselor to the Republicans and you know a lot of people.  Do you believe four out of five members of Congress are crooks?  

BEN GINSBERG, FMR. COUNSEL, BUSH-CHENEY ‘04:  No, absolutely not.  No  

MATTHEWS:  Can you make the case to the American people why you know better?  

GINSBERG:  Sure, because I‘ve seen them and know them.  I know that most people in Congress, despite the cloud of the Abramoff scandal, and it is a cloud and you can‘t denigrate the importance of it, but most members in Congress are honestly there to do the people‘s business, it‘s true of both sides of the aisle, and that‘s why they‘re there.  

MATTHEWS:  So they‘re not taking money under the counter.  

GINSBERG:  No.  In fact, if you saw the lifestyle that most of these guys and women lead, it‘s just not true.  

and here's the DEMOCRAT, the opposition:

"MATTHEWS:  Is the president corrupt?

MCMAHON:  No, I don‘t think he‘s corrupt.

MATTHEWS:  Well then, you said there‘s a culture of corruption—who‘s corrupt?

MCMAHON:  Well I think that there were some people there who perhaps violated the law.  

MATTHEWS:  Give me names.

MCMAHON:  Well you know who the names are.  

MATTHEWS:  No, I don‘t.

MCMAHON:  The Valerie Plame story hasn‘t concluded, Fitzgerald hasn‘t concluded his work, Karl Rove is still perhaps a target.  We don‘t know.

MATTHEWS:  That‘s true.

MCMAHON:  You‘ve got the majority leader, you‘ve got...

MATTHEWS:  Scooter Libby, is he a crook?  Is he a crook, is he corrupt?

MCMAHON:  Scooter Libby‘s under indictment.  I‘m not saying he is corrupt, but I‘m saying there‘s a culture."

The Democrat and the Republican agree: 81 percent of America is WRONG.  It's absolutely amazing.  Anytime a politician can find 81 percent of America to agree on any issue, then there will be a s$$pede to be the first Washington politician to "own" the issue top to bottom.  But when it comes to ethics in public life, neither party can admit there's a problem even when 81 percent of the public sees it.

Yes, there is a difference between forms of government and responsibility in government.  Free speech has no value when 81 percent of the public sees corruption, but no one in politics will give voice to their concerns.  And yes, a democracy's weakest moment comes in the wake of a 9/11 style attack, when the public is terrified and outraged.

Finally, notice that the Republcan said, "guys and women".  It's a practiced line, which is supposed to be friendly and informal.  In decades past, a person might say, "guys and gals," but because "gals" has negative, sexist connotations, American never use this word in conversation.  But the Republican still wants to sound informal, so he said "guys and women," which is never, ever said.  It's "men and women" and "guys and gals" but never "guys and women".  Nothing negative about the man who said it.  It just shows how badly politics can ruin a language, even English.

[ Last edited by matt605 at 2006-1-17 10:36 PM ]

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Post time 2006-1-18 12:32:19 |Display all floors

Reply #1 matt605's post

I actually find myself coming down on the side of the madmen in Washington on this one matt.

Odd isn't it? But the fact is that they have arranged things so they can actually say they are not "corrupt" as far as the word is concerned. They have legalized for themselves the taking of "bribes" - but they don't call them bribes so if they are not called "bribes" then they are free from that label. Lobbying is not "buying influence" it's "lobbying" - a nice, neutral sort of word - so it is not an indication of corruption in their myopic view.

The free trips, houses, cars, gifts are not "bribes" they are "considerations" or "fact-finding trips" or "necessary work-related activities/expenses."

It is not "bribery" to accept "campaign contributions" even if suddenly certain favors are granted to the "contributor" - so they can again avoid the "corrupt" label...they're the TA-DA!!! **Good Guys (and gals)**

It isn't corruption when a proposed bill/law has within it inserted "pork" or other "unrelated to the bill/law aspects" but which is necessary for the bill to pass - it's "political manouvering" - so the label of corruption must not be applied.

I actually have a good current example of that.

The law is The Violence Against Women and Justice Department Reorganization Act (pl 109-162 ) and the relevant section is 113.

It states:

"Whoever...utilizes any device or software that can be used to originate telecommunications or other types of communications that are transmitted, in whole or in part, by the Internet... without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person...who receives the communications...shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both."

Now what devices or software used to originate telecommunications has to do with Violence Against "Gals" is unclear, but it isn't it? hide such under such a "noble" cause.

One politician promising a favor to another politician if they side with the one offering the favor is not corrupt, it is a cowboy word - filled with all the nobility of cowboys, it is "political wrangling."

Gifting multi-million and multi-billion dollar rewards to companies connected to politicians is not corrupt, it is "choosing the best available option" - just because other companies don't have the opportunity to partake in the free gifts is their fault - they need to participate so they can become one of the "options from which the best possible is chosen'...and that's not corrupt, it's up to them whether they "join" and come up with the membership fee.

And "gals" are women, and men are "guys" and black is white, and freedom is slavery, and peace is war, and backward is forward, and regression is progress, and negative is positive.

So the people are wrong. They only look at the reality...not the facts. The people waste too much time focusing on the intent and the result instead of just listening to the language used. The people are not being suitably politically correct.

The people just need to get with the program!

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Post time 2006-1-18 13:13:52 |Display all floors

Washington's corruption is collectivized and institutionalized.

What's really unusual about this situation is that if 81 percent of the public thought we should invade China, then the politicians would claim that support as a command of democracy.  And invading China is the dumbest thing America could ever try.

However, when 81 percent see congress as corrupt, no one will claim that as a message from the country to its leaders.  It doesn't even get a press conference from all the good governent "reformers."

How is it that no one in Washington sees Washington the way that 81 percent of Americans see Washington?  How tremendously profitable it would be for a politician to be the first and loudest on an issue that 81 percent of America cares about, and yet no one will touch it.  

Americans sometimes complain that their elected officials read the polls and then decide their views on issues.  But when it comes to corruption, the politicians won't follow the polls.

The way I read the law you cited, if I call my congressman with the intent to annoy and harass him for being corrupt, then the government can place in a federal prison for no less than 2 years.

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Post time 2006-1-18 22:03:00 |Display all floors
Originally posted by matt605 at 2006-1-18 13:13
The way I read the law you cited, if I call my congressman with the intent to annoy and harass him for being corrupt, then the government can place in a federal prison for no less than 2 years.

Or fined...but as I have been going over with fish elsewhere...fines are apparently reserved for the rich such as owners of'll be going away for up to two years, or in Guantanamo for longer.

And not phone calls...they seem to be focusing on the net, emails, blogs, - horror of horrors "BBS Forums" - any form of communication through the Internet "with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person...who receives the communications"...guess my calling Baby Bush a braindead, vacuous moron with the intellectual capacity of a rock would be grounds for me to be sent to jail - it that is he understood those words enough to be annoyed...or fined; but since I'm not rich by any stretch of the imagination, I wouldn't be able to get away with a fine.

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Post time 2006-1-19 01:10:23 |Display all floors

Yes, it is a broadly worded law.

Since it includes any software, then using a word processor to produce annoying or harassing letter about public corruption that is then printed out and mailed could earn a person a prison sentence of 2+ years per letter.  Of course, if you place a s$$p on such a letter and drop it in a letterbox, then you would be guilty of using the public mail service in furtherence of a felony, a seperate and additional felony charge.

I just can't get over the fact that 81 percent of the public says Washington is corrupt, but no one in Washington will push the issue.  The situation is so sensitive and precarious that not even the good government "reformers" will touch it.  They could be reaping millions in contributions and untold positive media with anti-corruption crusades.  But when China wants to purchase a small gasoline retailer, congress exploits the fears of a small, conservative minority and thwarts the deal.

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Post time 2006-1-28 01:30:50 |Display all floors
Here it is again.  
In this survey, which was conducted on January 8 and January 26, the pollsters took great care to steer the respondents away from the corruption issue and toward the narrower Abramoff scandal.  Despite their best efforts to put a good face on corruption in Washington, more than half the public sees corruption.  

"22. As you may know, a prominent lobbyist in Washington named Jack Abramoff has pleaded guilty to corruption charges allegedly involving a U.S. congressman. Do you think this case (is limited to a few corrupt individuals); or do you think it (is evidence of widespread corruption in Washington)?

             Limited to a                                Neither/None       No
            few individuals     Widespread         (vol.)          opinion

1/26/06           38                      55                     2                    5
1/08/06           34                      58                     2                    6"

A 55% majority is less than the 81% that the Pew Center found in its poll, but it is still a sizable portion of the population to have no voice in Washington.  There's also a problem with the way the question was asked.

If the pollster had wanted to report a higher number for the corruption question then he or she would have asked,

"And thinking about corruption in Washington generally, not just the Abramoff scandal, do you believe that elected officials are corrupt?"

See, by steering the respondent to think only about the Abramoff scandal first and then not adequately expanding the question, the listener may believe that the question is whether they believe the Abramoff scandal is widespread, which is a different question than corruption generally.

The Washington Post has not released all the data from the poll yet, so there may be other questions that deal with corruption generally.  We'll see soon enough. ... l_ethics_012706.htm

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