A tale of 2 briberies - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Commentary

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

A tale of 2 briberies

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Tuesday, December 29, 2009 12:00 am

In furious counterattack against reform, the banking and health care industries have launched lobbyist blitzkriegs on Capitol Hill that includes generous amounts of “campaign contributions.” They are redundant reminders of our endemic political corruption.

Persistent legislative bribery is reminiscent of an earlier struggle against judicial bribery. For four centuries, from the reigns of Edward III to George III, Britain waged a desultory campaign against rampant bribery of judges, a tradition extending back to ancient Rome. It finally took the Industrial Revolution to end this dismal practice. Britons learned that a complex industrial economy simply can’t function without a dependable legal system, capable of enforcing contracts and guaranteeing trustworthy commercial transactions.

As a consequence, bribe-taking judges have all but disappeared in advanced nations. U.S. judges usually recuse themselves at the slightest hint of a conflict (as Judge Lance Ito did over a minor conflict in the O.J. Simpson murder trial).

Bribetaking congressmen are something else. Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott was openly corrupt. Soliciting businessmen’s donations, Lott resorted to overt extortion: “By failing to act today, you could lose a unique chance to be included in current legislative policy debates that will affect your business.”

Lott’s work included documented cases of bribed influence – notably for a billionaire telecommunications tycoon who provided Lott with his New York apartment for a mixer that raised thousands for Lott’s PAC.

Statistical correlations prove that money buys votes. Of congressmen receiving $3,000 or more from companies profiting from the Clinch breeder reactor subsidy, 92 percent voted their donors’ interest. Only 29 percent of congressmen receiving no donations voted that way. Similar, if less spectacular imbalances confirm this general rule. Sen. Joe Lieberman’s one-man obstruction of health care legislation can be fairly attributed to his $1 million-plus in health insurers’ donations.

Much federal legislation is so stupid that only bribery can explain it. Backdated stock options, for example, have enabled CEOs to steal hundreds of millions from stockholders. Options backdated to days with lower stock prices increase CEOs’ gains at stockholder expense. Yet the law approves this theft so long as it is reported on corporate financial statements. Can anyone seriously doubt that this preposterous legislation was simply purchased?

Defenders of legalized bribery parrot a sophistical argument denying the obvious sale of votes. The “defendant” congressman is innocent until proven guilty, and a “guilty” verdict requires proof beyond reasonable doubt.

This analogy to a criminal trial is absurd. The individual is not on trial; the system is. The proper analogy is not a criminal trial; it’s a civil trial. That requires only a preponderance of evidence – 51 percent, not 99.9 percent probability of “guilt.”

Professional organizations enforcing codes of ethics hold members with conflicts of interest guilty until proven innocent. That’s what Congress would do if the phrase “congressional ethics” wasn’t an oxymoron.

A congressman who votes for a donor-backed bill should be judged unethical. Besides the crooked congressmen, the only losers from such a rule would be the socialistic special interests who buy government subsidies and tax favors, at rates around $1,000 per donated dollar. Relieved of this underhanded theft, the U.S. economy would record tremendous gains.

The bank lobbyists’ assault against meaningful regulation is designed to perpetrate the fraudulent derivative transactions that have cost taxpayers well over $1 trillion in bailouts. Unless Congress resists, the U.S. economy will remain in the power of rapacious corporate lobbyists. They are zealous believers in Ambrose Bierce’s definition of politics: the conduct of public affairs for private profit.

 

C.W. Griffin has lived in Ahwatukee Foothills since 1988. He is a retired consulting engineer and a published author.

More about

More about

More about

  • Discuss

Six Things I Love About the Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort

Shares 79I’ll admit it.  When it comes to hotels stays, I am particular.  I expect a hotel I am paying good money for to be immaculately clean…

Published: September 29, 2016 - 1:04 am @ http://acorkforkandpassport.com/hacienda-del-sol-g…

Arizona State Fair Food: 38 new deep-fried treats and desserts to try at this year's fair (Oct 7-30)

PHOENIX - Last year , the new food items to the Arizona State Fair were the deep-fried Red Velvet Cupcake and the Spaghetti Ice Cream. (We're …

Published: September 29, 2016 - 12:02 am @ http://www.abc15.com/entertainment/events/arizona-…

Ariz. paper faces threats, loses subscribers after Clinton endorsement

The Arizona Republic is suffering some major blowback for its decision to back a Democrat over a Republican in a presidential campaign for the…

Published: September 28, 2016 - 11:42 pm @ http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpoli…

Prescott Patriots

See more of Prescott Patriots by logging into FacebookMessage this Page, learn about upcoming events and more. If you don't have a Facebook ac…

Published: September 28, 2016 - 11:01 pm @ https://www.facebook.com/PrescottPatriots/

This Fiercely Conservative Newspaper Is Endorsing A Democrat For The First Time Ever (VIDEO)

The Arizona Republic has a long and storied history of endorsing Republicans for president. That has now changed, and for the first time in th…

Published: September 28, 2016 - 10:00 pm @ http://reverbpress.com/politics/this-fiercely-cons…

From Phoenix to Mesa, Here's Your Guide to Public Art on the Light Rail

Lynn Trimble A A Looking for a diverse assortment of art by artists in and beyond Arizona? Consider jumping on the Valley Metro Light Rail, wh…

Published: September 28, 2016 - 9:10 pm @ http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/arts/from-phoenix-t…

Arizona Cardinals: 5 bold predictions vs Rams

The Arizona Cardinals will be looking to get back on the winning track on Sunday afternoon, facing the Los Angeles Rams at 1:25 p.m.  It will …

Published: September 28, 2016 - 8:59 pm @ http://raisingzona.com/2016/09/28/arizona-cardinal…

Donald Trump to pay another visit to Arizona next week

PHOENIX — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is coming back to Arizona next week, but will not be in the Phoenix area this time arou…

Published: September 28, 2016 - 8:40 pm @ http://ktar.com/story/1293708/back-for-more-donald…

U.S. ELECTION WRAP: Clinton Vows to Work With Sanders on Agenda

Hillary Clinton hit the campaign trail in New Hampshire with former rival Senator Bernie Sanders in a bid to ignite enthusiasm among hard-to-g…

Published: September 28, 2016 - 8:36 pm @ http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-09…

California shooting victim had ties to Arizona; man shot by police 1 minute after arriving

GLENDALE, AZ - Police in the San Diego suburb of El Cajon shot and killed a black man a minute after arriving near a strip mall to investigate…

Published: September 28, 2016 - 7:28 pm @ http://www.abc15.com/news/state/california-shootin…

Facebook

ahwatukee.com on Facebook

Twitter

ahwatukee.com on Twitter

RSS

Subscribe to ahwatukee.com via RSS

RSS Feeds

Spacer4px

Most Popular

Online poll

Loading…