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September 19, 2006

Capitol Crimes: Fixing the System

How would you reform the American political system?

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Backgrounder: Fixing the System
An Earmark is a stipulation inserted into a bill by an individual member or members of Congress requiring that a portion of the funds provided through that legislation, rather than going into a general agency fund, must be spent on a particular project or given to a particular recipient. Earmark reform got a special mention in the President's State of the Union address and was, until recently, under scrutiny on the floor of Congress. In September 2006, The House of Representatives passed an internal rule that would require lawmakers to sign their names to some of the items they sponsor as special-interest provisions into major tax and spending bills. Critics say the reform doesn't go nearly far enough... [more]

Class Is in Session...
The Abramoff scandal has politicians and the public taking a hard look at the relationship between money and politics once again. Indeed, in his 2006 State of the Union address, President George W. Bush singled out a common part of the budget process for criticism-earmarks. "I am pleased that members of Congress are working on earmark reform," he told the country, "because the federal budget has too many special interest projects."

So what exactly are earmarks, and why are they causing so much trouble? Generally speaking, an earmark is a stipulation inserted into a bill by an individual member or members of Congress requiring that a portion of the funds provided through that legislation, rather than going into a general agency fund, must be spent on a particular project or given to a particular recipient. For example, as part of the 2005 Federal Transportation Equity Act, $223 million was earmarked specifically for the construction of a bridge in Alaska that would connect a town of 9,000 people to an island of 50-those funds could be used for nothing else. Taxpayers and a number of politicians complained that the appropriation seemed exorbitant given the number of people who would benefit, and eventually, after a bitter battle, the earmark was removed from the legislation.

But the bridge example points up some of the problems associated with earmarks, namely that they tie the hands of government agencies charged with determining what projects are necessary and allocating funds for those projects, and that they frequently award contracts that are not subject to competitive bidding, public hearing or review. In short, earmarking often allow lawmakers to bypass normal budgetary procedures in order to ensure that their pet projects receive funding. Naturally, this can lead to corruption, kickbacks and the like.

Most Americans are familiar with the phrase pork barrel politics-government spending that benefits the constituents of a politician in return for their political support. To be clear, not all earmarks qualify as pork barrel spending. Citizens Against Government Waste has been tracking pork barrel spending for the past 16 years; they distinguish pork barrel spending as line-item appropriations or earmarks that circumvent normal procedures for review. In other words, not every earmark is a pork barrel by their definition. Citizens Against Government Waste estimates that earmarks have grown rapidly — from 1,300 in 1994 to 14,000 last year.

Watch the video

However, the guilty plea of former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.) and an investigation into West Virginia Democrat Alan Mollohan have raised questions about earmarks and the lack of oversight. Politicians and the public are concerned that earmarks, whether used as currency for re-election or as political favors to well-connected individuals or businesses, can corrupt the political process.

History

Earmarking has become so pervasive that it would be easy to assume that this is the way Congress has always worked. Garnering monies and projects for constituents is how legislators demonstrate that they are working on behalf of the people they represent-they are "bringing home the bacon." But earmarking did not become common practice until the 1980s. Throughout our early history, Congressional spending was limited to the powers enumerated in the Constitution. President James Monroe foreshadowed the recent abuses of the earmark system when he argued that federal money should be limited to great national works only. "If [the use of federal money] were unlimited, it would be liable to abuse and might be productive of evil," he said.

Concerns

Some critics of earmarks argue that federal tax dollars should not be used for local projects. An editorial in The Hill, the newspaper for and about Congress, stated that "[earmarks] also reveal congressional intrusion into nooks and crannies where every previous generation-not just the Founding Fathers-would have understood the federal government to have no proper business." (Read a editorial from THE HILL, September 6, 2006, )

But perhaps the greatest concern about earmarks is that they invite corruption. The Cunningham bribery scandal opens the question of whether there are other cases in which unscrupulous contractors have persuaded members to support earmarks, not based on what it might do for their Congressional districts, but what it could do for them personally. Cunningham, a California Republican, resigned from the House last year after pleading guilty to accepting $2.4 million in bribes in exchange for help in securing Defense Department contracts.

Since earmarks are not subject to debate, many people are concerned that they can be used secretly as bargaining chips for personal gain or to reward campaign contributors. Lobbyists work to get earmarks slipped into appropriation bills on behalf of their clients. The client then returns the favor by contributing to the campaign of the member who secured the earmark. Staffers who have hopes of securing a high salary down the road as an appropriations lobbyist may also be tempted to push earmarks through on behalf of lobbyists. Remember this from the documentary? When Abramoff moved from one lobby company to another, he recruited seven former to aides to lawmakers who more than doubled their salaries.

According to the Congressional Research Service, the number of earmarks in appropriations bills alone more than tripled to 15,887 in 2005 from 4,155 in 1994 -- and most of them were shepherded by lobbyists. To those critical of the earmark process, earmarks are a currency of corruption.

Another concern frequently cited, is the lack of transparency in the process. Earmarks are individual efforts and are not subject to debate - a lobbyist may only have to convince only one legislator to move their case forward. Without scrutiny, there is no guarantee that the money is being spent wisely. Allocations of $50 million for an indoor rain forest in Coralville, Iowa and $1.4 million for various Halls of Fame including $70,000 for the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame in Appleton, Wisconsin are just a few examples of waste and abuse cited in the 2006 Pig Book.

But the unwise allocation of funding may be even subtler. For example, academic earmarks are rarely screened for quality. This may result divert money going to a member's pet project rather than the institution best suited to conduct the research. Several universities, including MIT and the University of Michigan (except for rare occasions), have resolved not to accept any funds which come for earmarks. Their reasoning - such projects are generally not peer reviewed and thus run counter to scientific and research policies. (Read the MIT and University of Michigan policies.)

Even more troubling to some is the lack of accountability. It is often difficult to determine who is responsible for inserting the earmark. In response, The Examiner newspapers joined with the Sunlight Foundation, Porkbusters.org, and Citizens Against Government Waste in posting the database of earmarks in the Labor-HHS appropriations and inviting readers to help identify the congressmen behind each earmark. They are calling on citizens to be part of an army of citizen journalists that will "shine some much-needed light on spending decisions made behind closed doors by powerful Members of Congress" by calling their Congressional representative and asking if they inserted the earmarks listed in their district.

Citizens Against Government Waste cited a additional concerns about earmarks and called for reform of the practice in a policy briefing, "All About Pork: The Abuse of Earmarks and the Needed Reforms" (Read the briefing.)


Earmark Reform Efforts

This backlash of the recent scandals encouraged several Members of Congress led to a frenzied 51 new pieces of legislation by early April 2006 designed to discourage some of these practices. The two pieces of legislation most often cited for their potential to make significant changes are the Lobbying Transparency and Accounting Act of 2005 (S. 2128) and the Pork-Barrel Reduction Act (S. 2265).

The Pork-Barrel Reduction Act sponsored by Sen John McCain (R-AZ) requires that:

  • no new or general legislation nor any unauthorized appropriation may be included in any general appropriation bill;
  • no amendment may be received to any general appropriation bill that would add an unauthorized appropriation;
  • no new or general legislation nor any unauthorized appropriation, new matter, or non-germane matter may be included in any conference report on a general appropriation bill;
  • no unauthorized appropriation may be included in any amendment between the chambers in relation to a general appropriation bill.
The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act sponsored by Sen. Barak Obama (D-IL) does the following:
  • Creates a database that names recipients and dollar amounts of most federal grants, contracts, and loans. These will be searchable online and available to the public.
  • Identifies so-called pork-barrel projects, or earmarks, in the searchable database. The database will not necessarily name lawmakers who added an earmark, but it will reveal the congressional district where the federal money will go.
  • Gives the White House Office of Management & Budget the job of managing the online database. (Read more about the database from THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR.)
The Heritage Foundation, a think tank that formulates and promotes conservative public policies, supports these two bills saying, "enactment of these two bills, would deter some of the more outrageous lobbying and legislative practices related to earmarks." Further they call for even tougher provisions including:
  • disclosure of family relationships,
  • disclosure of campaign contributions paid by a client or lobbyist to a Member's charitable affiliate, and
  • a reasonably precise definition of an earmark that would prevent the congressional abuses that transfer valuable public resources to other interests for reasons based solely on influence and privilege. (Read the Heritage Foundations' briefing.)
To check the status of these and other pieces of legislation, go to http://thomas.loc.gov/ and enter the bill number.

Bill Moyers talked with Thomas Frank, author of WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH KANSAS: HOW CONSERVATIVES WON THE HEART OF AMERICA and Norman Ornstein of the conservative American Enterprise Institute about ways to combat earmark abuse and other ethics issues raised by the ties between money and power. Norman Ornstein advocates a greater oversight and visibilty for the process for a start. Both Washington observers think the problem runs far deeper than earmarks.

Watch the video
Following the Money

According to THE WASHINGTON POST, "annual fees paid to registered lobbyists reached $2.1 billion in 2004...a 40 percent increase from 1999. For 2005, lobbying revenue is on pace to rise by at least $300 million." THE HILL reported in January 2006, that "PoliticalMoneyLine, which tracks lobbying spending, reported this week that companies and other special interests spent $1.16 billion to lobby Congress and federal agencies during the first part of last year." It was a new six-month record for lobbying spending. [need to update this probably, but I can't get into politicalmoneyline database.]

Of course not everybody's earmark is everbody's waste. Use our collection of reference sites to track lobbying dollars, follow budget appropriations and priorities and make up your own mind.

Sources: "Clients' Rewards Keep K Street Lobbyists Thriving," Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, THE WASHINGTON POST, February 14, 2006; "Lawmakers Seeking Curbs on Special Spending Requests", THE NEW YORK TIMES CARL HULSE, February 8, 2006; "Hobbling the Lobbyists," THE ECONOMIST, January 26, 2006; Power Struggle Over Pork," THE HILL, Jonathan Allen, February 14, 2006; ""Match Point for Doctor No," THE ECONOMIST, January 19, 2006; MIT Office of Sponsored Programs; University of Michigan Research.

Discussion:

  • Should earmarking be allowed? What might be some of the benefits?

  • What process or guidelines should be in place to prevent the potential abuse of earmarking? How would you reform the earmarking process?

  • Go to: http://www.examiner.com/earmarks/ and look at the Labor, Health and Human Services appropriations earmarks for your state. Do you see some recipients you know? Maybe you see organizations or causes you support. Would you be willing to support a ban on earmarks even if it means that your community's federal funds might decrease?

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Comments

How would you reform the political system?

Should earmarking be allowed? What might be some of the benefits?

What process or guidelines should be in place to prevent the potential abuse of earmarking? How would you reform the earmarking process?

Go to: http://www.examiner.com/earmarks/ and look at the Labor, Health and Human Services appropriations earmarks for your state. Do you see some recipients you know? Maybe you see organizations or causes you support. Would you be willing to support a ban on earmarks even if it means that your community's federal funds might decrease?

Total public funding of elections - no lobbyists allowed. Shut down the electoral college immediately. Some earmarks are necessary for public funding of community health services, but all such funding should pass through a bi-partisan committee in no longer than one week. So much more....

There are two things necessary for democracy to survive: One, verified, witnessed counting of paper ballots started at the precinct/district level with totals handed to upper levels, and two, education based on equal time for all candidates to express what they have achieved and what they want to achieve if elected.

I think that we have gone too far down some dark, corrupt roads to do much in the near term to delouse the system.

The most crucial issue that we MUST deal with before the 2008 election is to insure that we have an open, trustworthy, and auditable voting system.

Every voting and tabulating machine that records votes electronically should create a paper audit trail.

I suggest that these machines be required to print out a paper confirmation of every vote. The voter would receive this while still in the booth and confirm that his or her vote is recorded accurately (at least on the paper). As each voter leaves the booth, s/he deposits the paper slip in a slot in a locked box. This old-fashioned paper ballot system is still by far the best, IMHO, for accurate verification and recounts.

Independent exit polls should be performed on all elections to national or state office, and a predetermined divergence from the official count should trigger a mandatory manual recount.

When a vote is close, within a predetermined percentage, a full manual recount should be triggered.

Candidates should also have a set of national guidelines defining their right to call for manual recounts.

Lastly, a predetermined percentage of machines or districts should be chosen at random and manual recounts be performed as a means of verifying the system.

We need to consider a Constitutional Amendment that would assert federal authority to impose baseline standards on the various states. If we are electing people to national office, it shouldn't be up to states, counties, or even local districts to apply standards with widely varying dependability rates.

Partisan state officials must be removed from control of electoral processes. We need to establish an independent federal commission to oversee all election standards and procedures, perhaps modeled on the League of Women Voters.

Until we can verify that our electoral system is secure and dependable, all else seems futile.

First, we must return the control of the debates to the League of Women Voters. The League resigned when they were asked to lend their good name to the rigged system we now have,and we are the worse for it.
Second, we should adopt Oregon's method of voting by mail. Without polling places there is no need for computers, programming, drayage,or poll workers' stipend. Ad hoc discrimination in certain neighborhoods would be eliminated. Computer breakdowns would be rare.
Third, by law, the entire process of counting the ballots should be supervised by trained monitors.

I would start at the beginning. And standardize the voting machines, and there tabulating systems. And have them manufactured under the supervision of an independent(if you can find one)governmental body.

To the question as to earmarks everyone, including fiscal conservatives agree that the McCain and Obama proposals are a good start. Let us all support items. Voting reform sounds fine-my precinct turned out less than 17% for the primary, however.

When you don't have open, honest elections, you probably won't get open, honest politicians.

There is no mention of political parties in the Constitution and no powers were granted them.

I believe that we need a more decentralized form of government so that legislators can actually represent their constituents instead of big corporations with many lobbyists.

Our present form of government was constructed when there were fewer people, no large corporations, and a manageable budget. Congress is no more suited to today's America than the quill pens that drew up the plans for it.

I think that Americans are too spoiled and live so well that they don't really pay attention to the real problems in this country. Why else would George Bush have been elected? As long as people can continue to live comfortably,there will be no sense of urgency or responsibility.

To start fix the voting system. Paper-trail voting would fix most of the corruption now so evident.

Next, make it easier for alternative political parties to get on the ballot. The fact that half the voting populace doesn't vote speaks volumes why a two party system can't possibly represent a population of 300 million.

Eliminate special interest money. Campaign financing should be taken equally from a central fund.

These three steps would do wonders in restoring our republic.

1. Vote by mail (like Oregon)

2. Dismiss and dismantle the Electoral College.

3. Turn to Parlimentary Govt.. where intelligent debate is demanded and debates are telecast.

4. Take privilege away from corporations. If they want the same privilege as a person, then they must be held to the same accountability.

5. Place a cap on the 'war chests' for elections.

If a government of, by and for the people is sick, then it's us, the people, who are ill and in need of healing. To state it as simply and profoundly as I can, as long as we each believe what we merely "think", in particular the seed thought that "I am a separate and autonomous mind/body organism: alone, afraid, needy, greedy, and under constant threat of obstruction, loss, harm and death," we are each in big trouble. This, the mother of all delusions, multiplies into many more producing imbalanced and harmful behavior. This process, however innocently it started, needs to be reversed, and just as innocently. Education about it is the key, but of course, the will to learn and understand must exist, because nothing is ever taught - only learned. And that will to learn, to change, to reverse direction, can only come about with sufficient misery, frustration and despair. Carry on!

The only way to stop this is at the systemic level. Only individuals can give to a politians campaign. And only individuals that will have that politian on their ballot. No companies, unions, special interest groups of any kind, includind the national parties. Bar any politian from public office whose campaign breaks the rule, even by a staffer. Heavily fine and jail the Chief Executive of any entity that breaks the rule. If the CEO of a company or a Union Chief might go to jail for 180 days because there staff broke the rule. They will reign in the staff.

The biggest problems, as I see them, are a bloated federal beurocracy and an unrepresentative governmental structure.

First, we need to strip the federal government of all powers not directly relegated to it by the constitution and turn control of all those powers back to the states and local governments. We currently have a government that is too far removed from the average person for the average person to feel they have any real control over it or voice in it. A good way to start that process is to reverse the distribution of taxes. Most of the taxes we pay should go to our state governments, who will then contribute or not, depending on the will of the people in that state, to projects or undertakings the federal government wants to pursue. That way, the states can hold the federal government to task by having control of the purse strings. The states will be able to take care of themselves with their own money and the federal government cannot pursue any agenda that a significant number of states haven't signed on to.

Second, we should abolish, or significantly reform the electoral college system and create a more representational government. The electoral college is outmoded and allows someone to win election without winning the popular vote. We should also move towards a more representative governmental structure like in many European contries were each political party gains seats in the congress based on the percentage of votes they recieve. That way more minority poltical views gain a voice in the system and we aren't dominated by a two party system that offers no real choice. I also think it would be good to restructure the congress to stipulate that congress can only create legislation and present it to the people for their evaluation and vote. There should also be a process by which the people could introduce legislation to be considered for law.

In addition to improving election integrity, we should limit lobbyist and industry access to politicians. These people push politicians to make it easier for them to do business. But what do politicians know? What do they know about the effects of pollution and food additives and pharmaceuticals? Certified, independent experts should be involved in any decision whose outcome will affect the chemicals going into our air, water or food. People are sick. They're sick because they fall victim to PR and hype. Billions of dollars go into advertising and ad research to find more effective ways to influence people. But the education system does not teach people to make better decisions. So we basically have one side with limitless resources at their disposal to get people to buy products and watch tv shows and movies, and the other side left with no tools, other than common sense, to combat it. It's basically a slaughter, funded by our money and endorsed by our politicians and celebrities. So, basically, we need to realize how much the playing field is already slanted to help those who don't need it, and put protective measures in place to keep corporate interests from creating legislation designed to weaken the individual.

1. Campaign financing by Federal government.
2.Change to Parliamentary system.

Two words: Term limitations.

PEAK OIL is what is driving this nation to the end of democracy as we've known it. Not that I agree with their strategies, but this administration is trying to guarantee oil company access to the world's remaining oil reserves. All of our battles now and in the future will be to protect that access. This strategy is intended to guarantee "free market" access to oil, which drives all developed economies. Oil is going to begin declining in availability in the near future and it will destabilize our economy and our lives in ways that we cannot imagine. Just sit down and think of all the products, services, communications, medicines, foods and their farming and transport, etc. and think of the oil that has gone into making each possible. Legislation and laws that seem so uncharacteristic for the U.S. are preparing us for martial law as people become displaced or cannot get their daily needs met. Read Richard Heinberg's "The Party's Over" and go to the attached Energy Bulletin website. Exxon has worked hard to debunk this as they have tried to debunk Global Warming. Don't believe them. Dave O'Reilly of Chevron came out and flatly said that the "era of cheap oil is over" and that the oil that remains is located in geopolitically challenging parts of the world. There is no war on terror. It's a war over oil in largely Muslim nations and our inserting ourselves into their lives.

So, in answer to the question: We have to develop strategies for transitioning to living with less and less oil. The government needs to lead the way and not cover up the issue, pretending like true believers that the market will save the day. The market is what got us here! We cannot discuss changing government anymore without addressing this monumental issue AND its fraternal twin Global Warming. We have very hard choices to make in the near future and Cheney, et al have started the process. Unfortunately, they have not told the public the truth behind their actions and they are not leading the public to alternatives.

The upcoming election is the most important item on everyones agenda. There should be a bi-partisan group of people surrounding each polling place in America; 24 hours before the election. This group would be respomsible for insuring that no hacker could enter the polling place. Then the next morning on the election day an independent organization would certify each machine's authenticity to provide accurate election data.
Otherwise this election will be thrown by at least but not more then one and one half percent; towards the Republican party, irrespective of the exit poll statistics.

The Abramoff scandal is not an aberation -- it's a typical manifestation of how our presidentialist constitutional system has to operate. The same for ear-marking, and other familiar pathologies. Most countries that use our system collapse into tyrannies. We are able to survive just because of the prevalence of pathologies like those you pin-point. Well-meant reforms are bound to fail so long as we fail to undersand and reform the constitution. You can read more about how our complex system really works if you open my site at:
http://webdata.soc.hawaii.edu/fredr/AmMyth.htm. Or do a GOOGLE on my full name to find my site, then click on 'CHOICES'. With aloha, Fred

The first thing we must do in any discussion concerning earmark abuse is to actually focus on the questions proposed for discussion. The discussion is not about voting machines or how ballots should be counted. It is not about Big Oil. It is not about the November 7 election and how polling places should be operated.

The failure of most respondents here to actually focus on the topic and questions proposed is a pretty stark reminder of why we are where we are. This lack of focus and inability to address the problem at hand is what gets pretenders promoted to positions of leadership - a failure of reasoning. All the signs about the type of people we now have in office were around well before any votes were cast. Half the nation showed by their 2000 vote they had done their homework.

Those who propose government funding of all elections come closest to targeting a real solution. Politicians always "dance with the ones who brung them". The American people should bring them to the dance through an equalized funding of a tiered system, from President to local judgeships.

Second, state and national candidates should be provided equal and free air and print time by all media and incumbents should not be allowed to use the mail franking system to make sure folks who haven't heard from them in months get a lot of "news" a few weeks before an election.

Third, local elections should be just that - fought in real-time, person-to-person, shake-my-hand events rather than relegated to full page newspaper ads and expensive regional TV ads. Many future leaders start their careers by running for small local offices. People should have the opportunity to get to know them before they become just a face in an ad somewhere. And the candidates need to see the people they represent so they are made real.

Fourth, the party in power should never be allowed to draw the redistricting lines. Assign it to the court system to begin with since most plans end up there anyway.

Last, projects of merit (earmarks) which should be federally funded for the Good of the Commons ought to be submitted to a responsible, non-partisan selective body on the state level first, with the understanding that worthy projects will be matched dollar for dollar by local citizens and the state which benefits. Only a selected number of those projects should be passed on to both US Senate and House Representatives (whether they represent the districts requesting funds or not) to be submitted as part of a ONE PER YEAR, published for the public omnibus bill, several weeks before voting takes place.

If necessary cuts must be made, every project is cut the same percentage but no full projects are cut as punishment or vote extortion.

Each state would be granted funding up to a certain amount of money (predetermined by any good budget procedure which figures out how much money is likely to be available that year) so that everyone walks away from the table holding something to take back home. But no one walks away with all the marbles while some leave with nothing.

Projects which businesses and the marketplace ought to be funding instead of government should not even appear on the list.

When earmark projects are viewed as a competitive process which is based solely on the value of the ideas they represent, the less worthy ones or those which benefit only a small number of people will not survive the cut. The good ones will survive and receive help, even if not the full amount requested.

That's very like the process many families use to decide where to spend any money they have after bills are paid, emergency needs are met and savings are laid aside, whether we're talking about $25 or $25,000.

It's the same process used by every school Principal when deciding how to best utilize limited funds.

It's the same process used in education to let the best ideas float to the top.

And, for "free market" proponents it meets their narrow and nonsensical ideology that all things must be defined by the competitiveness of the marketplace, even if it forces blood banks to compete with a bridge to nowhere.

If lobbyists have nothing to sell, maybe they'll get a real job. If there is no financial advantage for an elected representive to promote earmark A over earmark B (earmark A bringing them more in campaign contributions), the better idea will win support. When ideas have to go through several levels of scrutiny before they ever reach the hands of a politician on a Congressional floor, the power of money to persuade is abated. Even if bribes continue to occur, at least we'll know that regardless of the final decision, every funding request they had was a good one and vetted before they ever saw it.

The trick is to let as many people as possible vet them before politicians start using them as re-election barter.

I feel that bribery and "corporate personhood" must go. Corporations do not have rights on a par with human beings and CEOs need to be held accountable for malfeasance, theft, harm. I also agree that clean elections are essential. Still, I feel very strongly that if we are to truly fix the system, we require forthright communications and authentic journalism. The concentration of media ownership must end.

Public financing of elections is a good place to start. Maine and Arizona have good models of programs that have resulted in better public policy, more diversity in elected officials and greater voter turnout. North Carolina has public financing of judicial elections and several other states and cities have developed programs for public financing of elections. The current flow of money to judicial candidates is one of the scariest trends I've ever seen and it must stop. Without an impartial judiciary, our balanced form of government cannot survive.

A well educated and informed electorate is necessary for real, lasting reforms and a stable and improved government. Therefore we should:

Return responsibility for education to state and local communities and support them with federal and state equalization programs that ensure access to necessary resources by all communites....and we should

Require those licensed to use the public airways to provide free, equal access to all viable candidates for public office. Also, we should require licensed radio and TV stations to provide in-depth and multi-sided coverage of major public policy issues and not just during election season.

Change lobbying from a money and influence-driven business to an information and public service approach to the development of law and public policy. Expect legislators and their staffs to seek out and be open to the information they need from business and professional organizations and other experts.

Adopt legislation such as proposed by Senators McCain and Obama and by the Heritage Foundation. Record, make public and ultimately eliminate earmarks and pork. Direct all public funds to projects that have been fully examined and are part of adopted and accountable public programs. Enforce these laws, inform the public and hold public officials accountable.

Finally, we need to honor and respect all elected officials and encourage respectable, ethical people to seek public office. Reduce the number of appointed officials and hold all appointed and career public employees to high levels of accountability for quality service to the public.

We need to consider short term and long term. Short term we need to make sure there are paper ballots and that the electronic system is not hacked. In the long term we need to eliminate TV advertising, shroten the length of the campaign, eliminate the electorial college.Following the British model would help a lot. We also need a press that doesn't let lies pass as the truth. There is a desperate need for an independent foruth estate.

The size of central government must be drastically reduced to a central coordinating function with all governance responsibility made as local as possible all the way down to greater personal responsibility for individuals over their own lives. Dependence on government justifies its intrusiveness, and encourages its disrespect for irresponsible citizens. A system of elections untouched by wealth.

TWO WORDS
TERM LIMITS!!!!!!!!!

I would establish mental health qualifications for all persons running for public office so that sociopathic personalities (4% of the population according to recent medical literature) could not be elected.

I would like to see elected leaders given the ability to form coalitions, such as is done in other democratic countries. I think that there are plenty of people out there like me who are anti-abortion, anti-death penalty, pro-conservation, anti-tax cuts for the wealthy, etc. Or some other sort of "odd" mix. People who are not opposed to religious belief, and belief that faith has a role to play in politics, but that don't use it to advance only their particular causes. A mix of "crunchy cons" and pro-life Democrats would be a great coalition; perhaps a majority of the country. As it is currently, one cannot run on a Democratic platform or a Republican platform unless he/she adheres to particular "pet" positions on specific issues.

DO WHAT ROBERT KENNEDY JR DID. FILE A LAWSUIT AGAINST THE USA GOVERNMENT USING AN 1863 ABRAHAM LINCOLN LAW TO BYPASS ALL OF CONGRESS, JUSTICE DEPT AND WHITE HOUSE. TAKE IT DIRECTLY TO COURT AND PRESENT THE LOSS OF OUR REPUBLIC.. TAKEN BY THE FEW.

We will never clean up the filth in Washington DC until all the dirty money is taken out of politics.

There should be a total ban on special interest PAC money for elections. That includes corporations, trade associations, Abortions Rights Groups, Anti-Abortion Groups, Religious organizations, foreign governments, unions, etc.

Candidates should be allow to accept donations in a limited amount only from the voters in their home state and in their home districts.

Candidates need to be totally dependent on their voting constituents in order for the representative system of government to work.

WHAT WE NEED IS DIRECT
DEMOCRACY LIKE THEY HAVE
IN SOME CANONS IN
SWITZWERLAND.

now that we know the problems with the lobby system and their influence.
who is going to over turn the laws and bill that hurt the average citizen.
banking laws,medicade laws,
and many others.

Bill Moyers on America is the best show on PBS and surpasses his NOW.
This is the first time in my 66 yrs that I felt a need to log on and make this comment. I look forward to the next segment.

If you want to see which candidates for Congress support publicly funded elections visit www.VotersFirstPledge.org. Incumbents will always work for those who can get them re-elected. Right now that is the lobbyists. With publicly funded elections, Congress can work for us.

I would institute term limits

The only hope we have is PUBLIC FINANCING! As of now the Corporations(including the MSM) have control and the votes are no longer necessary or counted to change the present loss of our democracy.

The most pressing reform we need is to overturn the 19th century Supreme Court decision that ruled that corporations are entitled to the same political rights as individuals. Strip corporations of these rights and forbid them from lobbying and from making political contributions of any kind whatsoever.

My concern with the PBS broadcast is that this appears to be ONLY a Republican issue. As a former lobbyist, I can assure you it is exemplified in the Democratic Party as well. How did former President Bill Clinton (a Democrat) fund his campaign? As I recall, John Gotti had his hand in it. Do you think honesty followed in his polital party during his tenure? This is not honesty in my book!

We need total campaign finance reform. I very much like the model Arizona has, where candidates can accept tightly capped contributions and ONLY from people who live in their district. We need 100% public funding of elections plus PACs should not be allowed to purchase any advertising or spend any money other than operating costs. PACs should become groups of citizens committed to public debate and direct communication with representatives and ideas should be advanced by Blog and public meetings. Let's see whether we can get a democracy going here before we attempt any more exports.

Hello all, first time on this site.
I think the answer is term limits to a year, require voting to be mandatory to ensure max participation. Hell make it a federal day off or something where you have to renew your drivers license in addition to. OK maybe a week. And only allow donations during that time with a cap of $200. per person. Maybe it'll work, maybe it wont', but anything is better than what we have now....

Prohibit bills in Congress which are not directly related to the title of the leglislation. As an exampole, an amendment for an appropriation of funds to build a bridge in Texas cannot be attached to a bill dealing with federal taxation of corporations. Members of Congress should vote up or down on leglislation on a single topic. Stop the politics of using votes for or against a bill, with all kinds of unrelated amendments attached to it, as a basis of running an election campaign.

Too bad that we keep choosing between Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Discussing Nader as a potential "spoiler" in 2004, the PBS website stated that "Nader is undeterred, repeating that he is driven by a desire to open the electoral process from a two-party to a multiparty system.
"After a while, you say this is a shutout. And what do we do?" Nader said on the NewsHour a day after announcing his 2004 candidacy. "We either go to Monterey and watch the whales, or we do what Jefferson counseled: that when the government is taken away from you by the corporate interests that are swarming over this city, you've got to go into the electoral arena."
When are we going to wake up?

Just a my personal oppinion, but less sounding like a politician people, and more real talk. Sound like a bunch of Delay Jr's out there....

Where is the outrage? We the people must stand and say to these Congress you have betrayed us.Thanks to corrupt congressman we have no say in how we are governed.If you don"T have a PAC you have no voice, your votes are meaningless.Goverment of the people ,by the people, for the people.NOT BY PAC"S

The citizens of this country have allowed the American Political to become so corrupt. We have allowed ourselves to become uninformed and lazy about supervising our representatives. It is the cynicism that has dulled our senses. We need to get angry and stop laughing at the blunders our representatives are making. It has almost come to the point where our public officials make such outlandish statements and crimes that we lose sight of the actual injustice they have perpetrated. This is the time when whispers of revolution need to become billboards and television commercials, not just jokes on the Daily Show with John Stewart.

wonderful show. a few comments:
1. public funding of elections
2. public education of lobbying results,i.e., oil companies contribute $5 million to campaigns, get $2 billion in tax cuts, pharma $5 million contribution, $50 billion in profits because law prohibits reimportation or "shopping" for best price for drugs, etc, etc. Consumers don't seem to realize that lobbying HURTS them right in the wallet while fattening the corporate profits, shareholders only receive a tiny fraction of profits, unless of course you own 1,000 or 10,000 shares,i.e., management.
3. no earmarks
4. 0 ,as in zero, corporate contributions.
5. term limits - 8 years reps, 12 years senate.
The most important is public funding. It frees up 50% of the time for congress, prez, that now spend the time on daily fund raising.

I totally agree with the person that wrote this..."Those who propose government funding of all elections come closest to targeting a real solution. Politicians always "dance with the ones who brung them". The American people should bring them to the dance through an equalized funding of a tiered system, from President to local judgeships."
It's the only hope we have to take back our country!!

Corporations/lobbyists have gone global and their interests have become supeior to those of individual nations, including those of the United States of America. The sovereignty of nations needs to be redefine within the context of this reality. It has come to the point of determining whose interests will prevail....those of global corporations or those of the peoples of once sovereign nations.

The only way to change the system is for the those among us who are outraged to unite!!!!!

Our political system is so out of control it appears that we are doomed. The world is crumbling from within us. The majority of the world used to look to the USA for leadership. We are now despized by most the countries that used to call us friends. We have an administration that is arrogant and believes they can do whatever they please. They go unchecked at every corner. We have lost all trust in the world and think we can solve all the world's problems on our own. The people running this country don't really care about America they only care about furthering their own agenda.
The focus is now on the republicans because they wield the power. When the democrats take control and are under the microscope it will br the same thing. If you look back in history every administration had and currently has their own set of problems.
Kennedy was a womanizer. Nixon was a crook. Ford was a buffoon. Carter was weak and naive. Reagan was inept and couldn't stay awake. He needed to be prompted by Nancy. Bush 41 lied about Iran Contra but nobody called him on it. Clinton liked sex. Most people do. Bush 43 has failed at everthing he has attempted. He lied to the American people about Iraq. We were safer when Saddam was in Power. We have now lost more people in Iraq than in 9/11.
We have a congressman who signed the contract with America and said be would only serve 12 years. If elected this Nov. he will definately exceed that number. Must be an easy job.
The problem with America is that politically we have become to polarized. People vote for a candidate based on one issue and damn the rest. How can you totally agree with everything one party stands for and nothing the other one does. Do we really care about what will happen to our children. We will talk and argue about what is going on in the world and eventually what will happen? We will die and our children will have to make their own decisions anyway. Why can't we just leave the rest of the world alone and just maybe they will leave us alone. The ones who have it right are two guys who created south park. It's all one big joke.

As a foreign student from Sweden I’ve always been amazed by the lack of outrage in here. I’m trying to grasp around why people aren’t speaking up more, why people aren’t demanding more of their politicians. One thing happens and the media is on it for a couple of days, then something else pops up and the old thing is forgotten. It never leads to anything. On the other hand, if only 50% of the people vote in the “greatest democracy in the world”, do people care? A good start, like some of you said, is changing the election process. With the complicated process here, one can wonder if politicians really want people to vote.

Unless more people get involved in the politcal debate, have an opinion and get out and vote, the politicians can play in Washington as much as they want. As it is now, government seems to be there for the politicians – not for the people. One can only hope someone who never voted before got stuck in front of “Capitol Crimes” and then decided to write his or hers congressman/woman.

I do not believe this is a Democrat or Republican issue... it's a public issue. PACS must be banned altogether and forever; they have brought about total corruption in our current poor excuse for a government 'of the people." The only people who are benefitting are those of the same ilk as DeLay & Abramoff and the corporations and contributors who are willing to play their game. What we learned tonight makes me very angry. Politicians should be ashamed of themselves, no matter what party affiliation, because you know they all know it's going on and they do nothing to stop it. No elected official in Washington appears willing to take a stand and say, "Enough." Even if they may go in clean, they appear happy to come out dirty as long as their wallets are full. It's a sad state of affairs, indeed.

One quick thing that will increase disclosure is to pass S1508, that will require the Senate to file electronically with the FEC instead of on paper with the Secretary of the Senate. Right now, you cannot see the contents of the latest reports filed by candidates for Senate seats because the Senate reserves the right to file its reports on paper. Unlike other committee reports that are filed electronically and can be seen immediately, some of the reports for the Senate cannot be seen for 30 days or more. Thus, you will not have a clue as to everyone who has contributed to your Senator's election until long after November 7. In addition, paper filing makes it much more difficult for the data to be converted into a useful form, for example, a database to link earmarked contracts to contributors. Every other type of committee that accepts over $50,000 in a year is required to file electronically -- in the interests of clarity and full disclosure, the Senate should be required to do the same.

In the hue and cry for reform, no one seems to be asking the question as to what motivates the frantic money chase by our elected representatives in the first place. Where is it all going? Think about this: without the need to fund huge television advertising budgets, perhaps our representatives could spend more time actually governing than constantly chasing contributions. Make all paid television advertising by candidates for public office, or by outside organizations attempting to influence an election, illegal. Require television licensees to provide air time free of charge and equally to all candidates, as part of "operating in the public interest", as they're supposed to be doing in the first place. We need to stand up to the NAB,kill paid TV political advertising, "Slay the Beast", and let our representatives get back to governing.

Saul Alinsky was concise in "Rules for Radicals" when he wrote: The separation of the people from the routine daily functions of citizenship is heartbreak in a democracy.

Columnist Thomas Sowell a year or more ago proposed one excellent solution to part of the problem--pay Congressional legislators $1 million/year--and eliminate all campaign funding--they can spend all their time on their jobs and none on fund-raising.

I have always been dubious about term-limits--for one, we already have them--it's called the ballot; for another, there might occasionally be an excellent legislator one wishes to retain for a longer period. But I've finally decided conclusively that term-limits are essential--and must be drastic: one term only and you're out--rather what the Founders envisioned as temporary politicians. Many argue that legislators need more time, especially in Washington, "to get used to the system, to understand how it works". EXACTLY!!! I don't WANT them to figure out how ir works!!! One term and they're out! Maybe they could return for another term in 10 yrs. or so--but the main impact would be to create an enormous demand for these short-term legislators that would bring in a wealth of new ideas & expertise. I think Congress would boil with ferment--they'd really have to move fast!

Dorothy

This is a question of Power and how those within the power structure have been totally consummed with keeping it and perpetuating their control. It is not enough to just try to correct the system as it has become unipolar, just as America has pushed it's national agenda on the world. Elections will be rigged again this year and from now on, so that Republicans will stay in power. They learned this lesson not from Machiavelli, but from the master himself, Thomas Hobbes. Hobbsian philosophy was to win against all your adversaries including your friends and do anything it takes to keep your power. The unprecedented corruption that we have seen while hiding behind a smokescreen of Christian morals and ethical values is the order of the day, week, month, year and century. It is also part of the ploy of multi-national corprations to control all they survey. They can only do this if they control all aspects of business, government, media and made up religious value fanatics. Neither can we complain about it as the media is totally controlled by conservative, make that reactionary or even proto-fascist, right-wingers.
So in spite of all our objections, the media will push the Republican best face forward and continue to mind control the mindless masses who do not see the charade. Until there is a major attack against the United States will people learn that it was us who actually initiated 9/11 by fostering and fomenting sectarian violence within the Middle East. When we are attacked maybe then, just maybe, people might realize that the Republicans took us on this greed and corruption self- destruct mode.

MODERATOR RESPONSE TO DEAN ANDERSON REGARDING "ODD MIX"

Dean and others,

I hope that you will stay tuned for the documentary Is God Green and will participate in the discussion on common ground!

Taylor Willingham
Moderator

MODERATOR RESPONSE TO CINDY REGARDING CONERN ABOUT LACK OF FOCUS ON THE EARMARK QUESTION

Cindy,

I found it interesting that so many people were focused on the election process until I realized two things. First, we have an election coming up and if people live in states like Texas that is using electronic voting, they are probably bombarded with political ads from their secretary of state espousing the virtues of electronic voting. Secondly, the first question posed in this thread is "How would you reform the political system?" While the background reading focused on earmarks, clearly the mechanics of our election process and lack of faith that the process will be fair is weighing heavily on people's minds and is their priority for reforming the political system. This is very instructive and indicates that this is an issue for further deliberation.

Thanks for bringing us back to the issue of earmarks and for your extensive, thoughtful list of proposed reforms! You have clearly thought through these issues - ranging from campaign financing to district lines - and have presented a comprehensive plan for further evaluation.

Taylor Willingham
Moderator

I suggest several things to deal with the corruption: 1. Federal Funding of all Federal elections. This immediately eliminates the lobbyist's clout and gives the elected official time to concentrate on legislation rather than raising money for re-election. It also opens the door for non-millionaires and 3rd parties. 2. A non-partisan electoral board in every state that prepares for and runs the elections. All equipment must be certified accurate and produce paper trails for recounting accuracy. 3. Eliminate earmarks - eliminate the corruption of this. The elected officials will have more time for "open" legislation since they don't have to raise money. 4. Term limits: 5 or 6 for US Congress; 2 or 3 for US Senate. 5. Strict accountability for all members of both houses of Congress as well as the Executive branch. Just follow the constitution.

I am outraged at the last writer's comments that the media is slanted in favor of the Republican Party. The broadcast on PBS that you just commented on was completely slanted in favor of the Democratic Party! Furthermore, I had the opportunity to travel to the Middle East, i.e. Turkey, Italy, Greece. CNN's comments, in that area, were tragic and completely negative lies regarding the United States as well as our President. The U.S. nor President Bush are perfect, however, neither were former President Clinton, President Reagan, President Kennedy, etc. If they were perfect, they would be God! Until the media, i.e. CNN, STOPS bashing the United States, as well as our Commander in Chief, I am afraid we will continue to have a bleak outlook for generations to come. So, be prepared to defend yourselves when the nukes hit! CNN ought to be shut down for creating chaos with extreme lies regarding the United States and broadcasting those in other countries. Our broadcast that we see in the U.S. does not compare to the negative campaign that CNN sends to other foreign countries. Maybe CNN needs to be on the front lines to defend our country, since their negative campaign toward our President and the United States is adding to the unrest issues that we are facing!

Schools have a process to choose scholarship recipients, let's adapt it to choosing political candidates. Then, upon selection of worthy applicants, give each equal amounts of publically funded campaign money & media coverage. And require they participate in prime time debates carried on all networks and monitored by the League of Women Voters. Let's get America involved and talking about something other than what movie stars and sports celebrities are doing...we could have a "real" reality show!

1. Most importantly, we need election reform. Currently elections are rigged in favor of a two-party system. Instant Run-off Voting (IRV) is essential.

2. We need publicly-funded Clean Elections like we have in Arizona.

3. We need an independent ethics committee for politicians.

4. More and more government transparency!

We have a branch of government designed to fix our current problem, namely, the Judiciary. My vote is being compromised by lobbiests, businesses, and political donations which influence political decisions by those who make laws, inforce laws, and set policy. I think we need a class action that will assure one vote for one citizen, regardless of business interest, wealth, or poliyical connection. I consider the current way our government is operating unconstitutional and a compromise of my, and every citizens civil rights, which only the courts can remedy.

I'm a Canadian who's been living in the USA as a legal alien for over 20 years. Until recently I didn't see the need to become a US Citizen. But the combination of Bush's foreign policy catastrophy as well as the erosion of the democratic process by corrosive corporate influence and the epidemic corruption of politicians has made me take the first step in obtaining a US Citizenship application so that I can become an American and VOTE. It'll be just one vote and may do no good at all, but I can't wait to cast it.

Democracy is a very messy state of affairs. We watched the program tonight "Bill Moyers' America." The commentators at the close of the show said the corruption as portrayed by the Abramhoff scandals -- the culture of corruption -- is not going to be corrected overnight. Are we outraged enough to demand reform? Are we patient enough? I find I have all the feelings --- outrage, cynicism, pessimism, short on optimism. At least am moved to do something --- even if it is to post a comment. I write letters to congress persons, even the president. (well, maybe one) You can't stand to be in a state of angry outrage all the time. We all have to grow up, behave like adults and work towards the solutions that will be slow in coming. I think campaign finance reform is great idea, but am too cynical to think it'll actually work unless there's a prosecutor sitting at every candidate's elbow. There's always a way to cheat. Maybe enrolling in Jimmy Carter's Sunday School class would be good idea for the whole country.

Firstly, great job, Bill Moyers on today's show! Very well narrated.

The biggest problem today facing big democracies is getting the public informed and participating. The advent of Internet and TV ads has made the situation worse by:
1) Not keeping the public fully informed. Sound bites, TV ads, distortions, don't tell the full story.

2) Not bringing the official and his constituents/public closer. We need the public official on the streets and going door-to-door for votes, not fund raising with the elite and spending it on TV ads.

So my reforms are:
1) Limit TV ad usage.
For example, ban TV ads 2 months before election (hopefully, will force them to meet with public and get them to vote for them). Limit ads before the deadline to a 2-minute or 5-minute format, where both the parties' ads are aired back-to-back. That would take away the money edge and fundraising.

2) No term limits. Yes, term limits is a bad idea. Let the people have the power to vote them out, not wait them out.

3) Minimum of 3 debates/town hall meeting on live TV with a free format, and no pre-screened questions.

There are many more ways to reform, I know. But if John McCain and other so-called reform-minded (yeah, I can take on McCain!) people really want to do something to reform, they should start with controlling where the money is spent, not from where it is collected or how much. Make it a level playing field by giving equal time and format for each party to air their ads.

If you want my opinion on other subjects, please send me an email. I might run for office someday.

We elect people from our local district to represent our many and differing needs: a tough assignment. But once our elected representative finishes his/her tenure in Washington, it should be MANDATORY that the representative return to the home district (unless indicted, convicted, and imprisoned for a crime), either to resume gainful employment or to be involved in local governmental leadership. Staying in Washington,D.C., as a lobbyist or consultant should be expressly outlawed. A truly representative Representative should return to his/her community.

here's a start:

public funding of all elections

elect:
Bill Moyers president
Ralph Nader vice
appoint:
Amy goodman attorney gen
andy stern labor sec
noam chomsky education
bill clinton sec. state
molly ivins press sec.
tavis smiley defense sec.
william greider FED chief

that's a start, the rest will take care of itself

THE CITIZENS GOVT REFORM ACT of 2006

Publicly funded elections

a.)ALL federal elections will be paid for by the Citizens. Candidates will no longer be allowed to raise money on their own for campaign funds, or accept donations from outside entities or lobbyists. Elected Officials will no longer be forced to prioritize their Access to their constituants or lobbyists based on the necessity to raise Campaign Funds. This will force our elected officials to create and vote on legislation that is beneficial to their constituants instead of special interests, and money will no longer mean free speech. Our elected Officials will now be lobbying their constituants based on performance instead of the other way around. In order to stay in office, our representatives will have to work for the people.

Tax Deductible Private Donations

b.)Tax deductible donations by the Citizens of the United States to pay for all federal elections. An automatic Payroll deduction of $5 per week from Every Citizen of the United States. Each Citizen is also given the opportunity to get an additional 100% Tax Deduction for donations up to $2000 dollars per year to be donated to the Party of their choice.

Free Access to Citizen Owned Airwaves/FCC Changes

c.) The Citizens of the United States own the Airwaves and lease them to Corporations Via the FCC. Why should our representatives have to spend our money to buy time on our airwaves? This corrupts the system and allows special interests an unfair voice. Being that we now live in the digital age with Hundreds of Channels now available. There shall be 4(four) 24hr Channels per party with a total of 16(sixteen) Channels total (4 possible parties) to be used for all Campaign Commercials, Speeches, Debates, and party platform support. Fair and Equal Access to these channels by Challengers to Incumbants during the Campaign Season to be determined. Websites will be used for campaigning as well. C-Span will continue in it's current form at this time.

Realistic Pay for Elected Representatives

d.) This ties elected officials compensation to how the average middle class American is doing. Presidential salary: 5 x the median annual income Senatoral salary: 3 x the medial annual income Representative salary: 2 x the median annual income A "bonus" structure based on how well those at the bottom are gaining, if the number of americans under the federal poverty level (or some other, more objective measure) is dropping, how affordable a home, health care, higher education is, etc., an extra bonus if the national debt is being reduced or kept low, if social security is fully funded and projected to pay increasing benefits, etc. A metric on each goal will be established, and "Bonus" compensation will be granted as each goal is reached. Hey, this is the way a lot of people are evaluated on their job performance (at least in theory): you meet or exceed some goals by objective measurements, and you prosper. Why should it be any different for those who purport to run the country? Why reward them for not making things better? .

Lobbying Reform Provisions for Elected Officials

e.) elected officials would give up the right to work for any lobbying firms for life after holding elected office unless it is for pro bono purposes. This would not infringe on 1st Ammendment Rights for individuals as Law Makers would still have the same individual rights to "Petition The Government" that you aor I do as Individuals. They will however not be barred from working as Campaign Managers or staff, or grassroots organizers or media personalities. This is their sacrifice to hold Government Office. The current system establishes a conflict of interest to the Citizenry that is Legal at this point. The Current System, on it's face, is unfair.

Congressional Travel Reform Provisions

f.) All travel to be funded by the federal government using a Voucher System. All Federaly Elected Officials and their Staff Members would be issued "Vouchers" allowing them "Business Class Seats" or their equivalent. Upgrades to "First Class" status would be allowable using funds from the elected officials pocket or through the use of "Frequent Flyer Miles". This will be fully disclosed as part of a yearly review conducted by the Justice Department.

Gifts

g.) All gifts from constituants to be reported under full disclosure and limits on the value of those gifts to be determined later.

Independant Congressional Ethics and Oversight, Internal Affairs Agency

h.) It is obvious that our current and past track record leaving Congressional Ethical Oversight in the hands of Congress doesn't work. Congress doesn't hold Congress acountable for it's actions. Earmarks, insider contracts, and numerous other "inside Baseball" forms of congressional appropriations of the Citizens Funds has been abused for decades. Given the Deficit, this must stop immediately. At least for the near future, establishment of such an agency needs to be established to de-politicize investigations into violation of established laws concerning ethics violations, and violations of congressional parlimentarian rules. This agency will be formed out of career Law Enforcement Officials from Justice, FBI, and the CBO, or some such combination, in order to not allow Executive Appointments, or Congress itself, to be the personel in charge of selecting who gets investigated. Establishment of such an Agency appears to be critical to thwart corruption and to insure confidence of the American People in their Government. This agency would be established with a "sunset" governing it's existance, and would be an individual issue on all General Elections in the future to be Voted On by the People of the United States not hindered by Party Lines for approval or defeat.

This is just a first thoughts proposal. The main thing is to take the money out of campaigning, and to take the unfair adavantage to access by the professional special interest lobbying firms by making the priority of access to special interests by our elected officials a matter of principle instead of a need to raise millions of dollars on their own just to be able to campaign. I feel that this would completely change the kind of people that would go into politics. They would need to have a desire to serve instead of using it as a corrupt way to gain wealth.

No matter what attempts are made at any levels to reform government, no real positive change will take place until there is an evolution of consciousness among people in general. The only true reform will have to come from within the individual persons and the population as a whole, waking up and realizing the truth of who we are, what we give our attention and power to, and what we truly care about, and then living our lives, public and private, in accordance with higher principles than we are at present. At this point, whether people admit it or not, most of us, and not just the politicians, are driven by desire for more good stuff for ourselves, and often what we desire is not really even good at all, but just temporary satisfaction of our wants. We are so distracted by trying to get more than we really need, that we haven't even noticed that we are being manipulated and duped by advertising, the big corporations, and our government to enrich them even more. Most people are placidly staring at TV or video/computer games instead of being really involved in their own lives, much less taking the interest to protest and actively become involved to improve anything in the governmental process, or even in our own families and communities. All the proposals, reform plans, and other mental ideas in the world will not really help until the vast majority of people become conscious of what is going on and really begin to care--about the bigger picture, and our own part in it as well. The sickness in the government only reflects the sickness in the country as a whole, in fact, in the world as a whole. This lobbying scandal is one symptom of a very unbalanced species out of control within and and without. I am amazed that there is not widespread outrage at so many things that are being done daily, openly, by my fellow humans.
I do not believe it is hopeless, but the hope must arise from within--no one else, no programs, policies, new politicians, or imposed procedures will fix this for us, though there are certainly clear, needed improvements that move in the right directions. I am not saying "do nothing". But I am saying that all our doing must be supported by conscious awareness if it is to be effective.Historically, all "revolutions" have failed in the long run because the consciousness was not sustained over time. Those who worked to effect the changes soon fell into similar patterns of behavior to those whom they replaced. We must all wake up now, or we will all self-destruct and take everything else with us. The urgency cannot be overestimated.
Thank you for airing this program. I hope it helps to shock people into waking up. Please continue to shed light on these happenings.

Everything we do revolves around our energy use. We must move our country toward a "Solar Economy" and all that this means (find out). Lobbyists must be moved out of the halls of Congress and we should move to strickly PEN, PAPER, PERIOD for our voting system. If it takes two weeks to count the votes - so be it. It's the only way to be as safe as possible to know our votes were counted correctly. The only holiday we have for a non American is Columbus Day. It's now known he was a pillager and killer - why celebrate this person - he didn't really discover America away.. We need to make this holiday a nation day to go VOTE.

The first thing we have to do is to VOTE, monitor the voting, and insure an accurate vote count. This is in the next 30 days, folks. Take a personal day and volunteer rides, your time, your eyes, your handy-cam.
As noted by the panel, too many current incumbents have displayed a contempt for government of, by and for the people and THAT has to change. We need to reclaim our commons: our airwaves, our highways and infrastructure, our hospitals and schools; and we need to end corporate welfare and influence. Close our wallets, demand public accountability - there are so many great suggestions already made!
But first we must attend to this coming election and educate our friends, relatives, co-workers, churches, and social groups as to what is at stake. This program airs again on Sunday - have a BIG Sunday dinner, and turn on the TV.

Try this URL for solutions to the United States Problems.

www.citizenamendments.org

The Public Record is an under-used tool for corruption control. At least
one of the suggestions below is currently required but not overtly
published for public consumption.

a) Require all candidates to publish campaign activities and statistics
before, or within a time certain of, the occurrence. Permit only public
airtime for campaign advertisements and require media outlets to
pre-publish programming schedules.

b) Require congressional representatives to publish daily itineraries.
Reduce congressional salary packages and require their prominent display
on websites and in representatives’ offices.

c) Require routine and random drug tests for all candidates and elected
and appointed officials, identical to the sytem used in the workplace and
in schools. Publish results.

d) Require lobbies to publish client lists and maintain billing records
for public access. Prohibit lobby contributions to campaigns or
individuals.

d) Expect media outlets to air/publish, and use as a reference, the public
records.

The earmarking issue requires my further consideration before commenting.

question: if Delay is convicted of violating Texas Law, which allowed for the redistricting to happen, can that somehow be challenged and reversed? Without the illegal money laundering, redistricting would not have happened.

1. term limits for both houses.
2. enlarge both houses say 3 to 5 senators per state; and say 700 to 900 representatives; the more people the harder or at least more costlier it would be to bribe them
4.maybe set aside 1/3 of the seats in the house for ordinary people, just like jury duty at least for 1 term(the person has the right to decline)
5. A Office of the Inspector General elected separely.

Living in California, the question of Citizen Ammendaments, mentioned above, is all too familiar. The intent is to give the power to change legislation to the people. The result is that money = power, just as it does in Washington, and the monied powerful develop, promote and pass special interest legislation, often with one state purpose but hiding the real reason. They go on the belief that you can fool most of the people most of the time.

If every member of Congress was replaced in November we would still have a culture of corruption. We need a culture of accountability. Enforce the laws we now have and then if needed the public should exercise its power to organize and impose its will on Congress and the government.

A ban on former congress members especially and/or their staff from lobbying congress for the rest of their lives would be a good start. The recent past leaves one to think that being in congress is the training period for the real deal: The lobby industry.
Jim Shaddox

I am in agreement with election finance reform being the single most effective legislative change. One would think that establishing a billion dollar budget for Federal elections would be more than sufficient to fund every single race in the US. Eliminating funding of any type for senate and congressional campaigns, except for the Federal Funding, would certainly solve the majority of partisan, corporate and institutional influence peddling. With one stroke of the pen, Senate and Congressional races would be placed on a level playing field.

I would include party contributions, PAC and fund raising in such a ban as well. For example, NY Republican Congressman Tom Reynolds has raised nearly $3MM as of Aug 23 ( http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.asp?CID=N00001295&cycle=2006 ) Nearly $1MM in PAC contributions (mainly local NYS businesses), but also nearly $1.8MM from "individuals". Excuse me, but Laura Bush was recently in Buffalo to raise funds for Tom Reynolds. They reportedly raised $250,000 for Tom Reynolds' campaign, all "individual" contributions.

How can we realistically expect a fair election result when such fund raisers, by those in power, not to mention business interests, can contribute so much to the incumbent. According to Yahoo News, the Democratic challenger, Jack Davis has only $63,000 left for his campaign. He has no political connections to speak of and even the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has ignored his race up to now. Hopefully the voters in Reynolds' district will vote for change in spite of this huge financial imbalance and lack of political support.

Taken a step further, banning business, PAC and other "insider" contribution to local campaigns, would remove the influence peddling that starts the corruption process. You have to imagine that fledgling politicians soon learn how the system works in local races.

I believe we have to start somewhere. If Federal Funding can solve some of the outrageous corruption we have seen in this report, it would be well worth it. Even if it took $2 billion dollars, the price would be cheap, compared to the damages we all suffer as a result of backroom deals favorable to the powerful.

(1) Adopt a penalty for conflicts of interest (none exists now); (2) limit terms; (3) make it easier for independent candidates to run for office; (4) make all lobbying activities illegal; (5) government cannot hire lobbyists; (6) require Ethics Committee to prosecute all violations

The problem we have is the candidates, from the local elections on up to the Presidential elections. Most if not all the people running for office are there for the purpose of obtaining power and greed, not for making decisions for good of the country. Instead of campaigns for office which is a pure waste of time and money because all you get from candidates is negative ads on TV and the candidates telling you pure bull about what they stand for. Sure we have the freedom to vote but what good is it? Most people don't really know whom they are voting for, because it's all bull****. This country somehow needs to find some honest and ethical people to lead this country. How do you find them and ask them to serve our country? Maybe each person that wants to run for office should be given a lie detector test before elections. Then again after each year on the job you have to take another test, if you fail the test you are thrown out of office.

I think the term is 'to serve the people' or, 'public service'. Note either way 'PUBLIC' is the important word here. Seems like the only time you hear about any elected official 'serving' the public is around election time when they roll out 'the usual suspects'.I feel the first thing to do to improve our broken system is to eliminate the concept of 'career politician'. There should be no such thing. Perform your'public service' and then move on.Combine the two parties,we then will have the democratic republican party. The other party will be made up of regular Americans that realy do care about their fellow countrymen and the future of this 'once' great country. I believe if in this coming presidential election we have a 'special election'we can start to change things slowly. Make ALL seats up for election,sort of like a big do over and start from scratch. Obviosly alot of democratic republicans will win seats. But also alot of new blood will be infused into the system and just maybe this will work.If I remember correctly, Jefferson anticipated this when he suggested, this may not work forever. When it breaks start over and try again. A true patriot is prepared to defend his country against the government when the government is no longer of by or for 'The PEOPLE' .

To prevent future, and eliminate past, corruption the only way to reign in the abuse would be to whittle down the temptation. I therefore suggest:

1. Eliminate corporate, PACs and non-profit donations of any kind to any/every political campaign. Unfortunately, to do this we have to create a new citizen without "human rights": the "incorporated entity without standing" for the electoral process.

2. Existing campaign war chests would be added to reduce the national/ state/ local debt.

3. Advertising during any election cycle would be limited to five dollars per constituent to reduce the atmospheric levels of media spending. Messages would be shorter, more succinct and informative.

4. The only donation allowed would be from individuals and limited to 100 dollars maximum for each election cycle (not years). Persons would not be allowed to use personal money for campaigns. These limitations would serve to limit ad spending, wealthy candidates and a louder voice to closer to the people affected.

These suggestions may be simplistic and problematic but it would help to eliminate (corporations, unions, churches, PACs, etc.) from telling a person how to donate, but it would only be effective until minds more intelligent than I will circumvent and bastardize the process once again.

I would agree with many in that the first changes need to occur where the whole process begins, with elections.

There needs to be a more rigorous, standardized maximum to campaign funds, with specific requirements as to how the funds are spent (i.e. mandatory C.V. and service/legal record placement within newspapers and on public-access government websites). In addition, they should be required to outline their vision for America and their plans for specific important policies (i.e. education, security, and healthcare) within a variety of media sources for accountability. All negative campaign ads should be disallowed until 3 or more mandatory debates where opponents are allowed a defense.
In regards to the election process itself, I won't repeat what many have already have stated, but there needs to more security and accountability within the electronic voting system (i.e. paper audits and voter 'receipts'). Additionally, completely get rid of the electoral college and allow each of our votes to truly be equal.
There is so much that needs to be changed, but first and most importantly, we need to be able to get people into office that we as people have a greater understanding of as opposed to who we may think they are based on cursory coverage in media ads.

Outlaw lobbying and lobbiest. Enact the Dealth penalty for anyone convicted of lobbying. Everyone can send letters to their congressperson or senator if they want to be heard. No more lobbying firms!!!!!!!

Bill Moyers:

Your discussion of the Abramoff affair was helpful in tightly organizing the details of what happened. However, as the United States does not endorse any sort of religious or ethical code of conduct, other than what is expressed in the oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United Sates, perhaps were should look to that for guidance.


We the People of the United States of America,
In order to form a more perfect union,
Establish justice
Insure domestic tranquillity
Provide for the common defense
Promote the general welfare
And secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity
Do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America.


My thought here is that as this is an oath taken, then behavior in public office which is contrary to the spirit of this stated purpose is grounds for treason. I do believe that a charge of treasonable behavior, when brought to an individual such as Delay and other member of Congress, would have a decidedly sobering effect upon their self serving and blatantly unjust dealings. Further, I do believe that the crime of treasonable behavior could be proven in this case.

The application of the spirit of the Constitution in cases of ethics, I do believe, would inject living blood into a dusty and nearly forgotten document. I this regard, the issue of the flag as a symbol should be revived. Blue for loyalty, red for courage, and white for honesty.
If you are an American, this is the only behavior America will tolerate of a citizen. If you want to be an American, you vow to uphold this code. Hey, this might make a good Moyers program........

Looking forward to your next two programs.

Best wishes,


Timothy k. price
Fairlee, VT
803-333-4345

One simple reform:
Make NONE OF THE ABOVE (abstain) an election option and *count* it. If NONE gets the most votes, the election has to be done over.
This will solve the problem of "lesser evil" candidates and that will get out the vote at last.
It isn't a completely new idea, but was used in Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union.

When ''YOUR'' representatives and ''free press'' are FOR SALE to the highest bidder, then you, the laborers, have taxation without representation.

Nations, religions and corporations are NOT ALIVE and NOT HUMAN. Their priorities are market share, raw materials and cheaper slave labor.

Humans must regain control of our nation.


HAV?E YOU EVER HEARD OF
DIRECT DEMOCRACY

Campaign Finance Reform

1) All campaign contributions for congressional representatives shall be required to come from the district being represented.

2) No campaign will be allowed to run ads of any kind, but instead All television stations within the district will be required to air weekly 1 hour debates between the candidates. For those large market stations that cover many districts ... that's the price paid for the public airwaves in a large market.

3) All national and international interests will be allowed to contribute to a national campaign fund. Each contributor will be allowed to blog their issues and interests on the "National Campaign Fund Blog". Contributors to this national fund will be allowed to 'earmmark' their contribution to a particular race, but all candidates in that race will recieve an equal share.
No contact will be allowed by any lobbyist with any candidate, all messages associated with a contribution will be through the "National Campaign Fund Blog".

Earmark Reform

1) An "Earmark Fund" will be created with $0 at the start of every year.

2) Fines will be levied against every individual involved in every attempt to corrupt a representative.

3) Each fine will be split equally with the person blowing the whistle and the "earmark fund".

4) At the end of each year, Representatives will work together to figure out how to divide up the fund amongst their favorite earmark targets.

Lobbyists will also be allowed to contribute directly to the earmark fund,
but again, their only contact with the representatives will be through a blog set up expressly for that purpose.

Most of the money needs to get taken out of the election process. A simple idea that many have said is to restrict polictical ads to the print media. If it costs $3 million to get elected, how do you think the congressman will repay it? We restricted the tobaco and alchohl because it was bad for the people. This stuff is much worse.

We as citizens have the power to fire congress, we need to clean house by firing all of congress, i.e., voting all incumbents out of office. By not voting for any incumbants we can end the status quo. Who needs term limits if we don't keep voting for the same candidate. So many people today don't vote because they don't believe thier vote counts. Our nation's citizens have become apathetic towards government, believing that they have no input or control as to what goes on in our Nation's Capitol. Voting against all incumbants on the ballots would send the message that the people are sick and tired of the lack of ethics, morals and accountability.

If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

The one undeniable truth is this: people who try to subvert the democratic process by any means possible, money psychology, or outright cheating, are subversives, and traitors to the American ideals and to not subscribe or believe in democracy. We should do ro these people what we do to all subversives and trators,,,Shoot Them!

what is called voter owned elections is one very good way to regain some control. Candidates must agree to take only public funding. Some form of this exists in at least two states of which I am aware. I also agree that going to a parliamentary system looks more and more appealing. I would also love to ban political ads. They are worse than useless and extremely annoying

I agree with Robert's blog on 10/3 - term limitation!

How do you call for a referendum on term limitations.

After we put them on term limitations, we need to put all members of the house and senate on social security and medicare

Take the money out. If nobody can spend anything, perhaps the candidates will have even footing. Allow an election maximum of $100 per person. No money from lobbyists, trade organizations, companies or other entities. Individuals vote, not companies and Pacs, therefore they should not be able to bribe elected officials. Include any gifts retail price. So a member of the house could get $100 from each contributor for the primary and another $100 for the general election. They don't need money for radio or television. Have them appear with their opponents on public affairs programming such as debates. Require all broadcasters to give a certain number of hours to each candidate. Enforce equal time.

The left wing and the right wing are both attached to the very same corporate bird. We need a new party dedicated to the constitution and the well being of ALL of US citizens. It isn't limited to just the scandal shown here, this government is rotten to the core. I think the only reason there are two parties is to give the voters the illusion of a choice. When we are fed up with being screwed by the corrupt Democrats, we then install the corrupt Republicans, and back and forth it goes. Nothing is ever really changed.

Big Corporations have given us this rotten health care system that is failing the average citizen at high cost! Big Corporations have given us this rotten prescription drug program that rapes the average citizen. I am rather sure that the only reason we are fighting this war in Iraq is to feed our taxpayer dollars to Big Corporations (we sure as hell aren't safer from terrorists!) Big Corporations have brought millions of illegal citizens into our country to push down our wages to poverty level and they reap the profits. It was Clinton who brought to us NAFTA, that has screwed the little guy in numerous countries to the joy of Big Corporations (King George the 1st could never have got that one through and made law). It is the Big Corporations that buy our lawmakers and the Big Corporations that reap the benefits.

The Democrats attack the 2nd amendment, the GOP (Grand Old Pedophiles) attack the 5th , and they all chip away at the rest of them, slowly, to avoid our sudden awakening to the fact.

There is song by country artist Iris DeMent entitled "Wasteland of the Free". I wish every citizen could listen to it and ponder the words she has written.

I truly believe (as Thomas Jefferson did) that we need to have a revolution. It is only through that means that anything will change. But even then, we would very likely be listening to the B*** S*** fed to us by the corporate media owned by the Big Corporations and just be re-arranging the deck chairs on the sinking Titanic. Sorry to be such a pessimist, but I have been listening to this same conversation for 62 years now.

We need term limits for ALL members of Congress, not just in states that pass laws requiring them.

The founding fathers were businessmen, farmers, et al. with only a handful of lawyers. Their idea of Congress and the Electoral College was that members would be elders with a variety of experience to manage the affairs of the nation after they had made their living doing other things.

They did not view being a senator or representative as a career, but rather as a public service AFTER they had a career elsewhere. Most did not serve as a power trip or to make a career of service in Congress.

Senators should be elected for only one six-year term with the right to run for re-election for only one more term AFTER being out of office for at least six years. One third of senators would be elected every two years as currently.

Representatives should be elected for one two-year term with the right to run for re-election four times for a total of just ten years.

It is ridiculous that Congressmen get a pension of over $100,000 after only one two-year term in the House of Representatives.

Pensions for Congressmen should be in line with those in industry and other vocations.

They should be reduced significantly to something like 10% of their salary for each two-year term of service. That is, a five term congressman would receive a pension of 50% of his salary, if retired, at age 65. A two-term senator would receive 60% of his salary, if retired, at age 65.

Can we legislate ethics? Can we make a law against lying, cheating, stealing?
Our government is only as good as it's people. It is a matter of the heart, as I see it. I believe that is what the Ten Commandments are all about! It's the basis our civil law, and where the very idea of "ethics" originated. Americans have slipped into a moral morass and it is being reflected in every level of our society. Appreciated the show. Too bad Abramhoff and his scoundrels didn't practice what they preached. Jesus must really be emabrassed by some of those who claim to follow him!

Ten Steps to Repair American Democracy by Stephen Hill answers this question. Read it and follow the links to get involved NOW.

1)I think the best thing would be to eliminate Political Parties which have basically become established conduits for the purchase of influence.
In absense of this I feel at least 5 parties would promote, or rather, create the need for greater cooperatiion.

2)Only private citizens should be able to lobby and donate money to campaigns as individuals. And until that time it should be illegal for any corporation or entity from outside the US should not be allowed to lobby. This should especially include so-called "American" companies with headquarters in the Bahamas or some other off-shore tax dodge. WE ARE A NATION OF CITIZENS, NOT CORPORATIONS OR UNION OR PACS.

5) If lobbying continues, lobbyists should be confined to meeting with public officials(or staff) in recorded, preferably webcast, meetings at the public officials office. Any individual should be guaranteed as much face time as they spend with their biggest donor or pac.These officials should not be allowed to take as much as a pen with a company, union, lawyer or whatevers name.

6) Persons leaving Government service should be prohibitted from lobbying or accepting jobs, for them or their family, for a period of 10 years.

7) Congressmen should have to post on the ineternet and file at the capital in their home constituency every penny they take in contributions as well as a cross-referenced list of how they voted on any legislation affecting said donor.

8) Congress persons should be limited to ONE TERM IN OFFICE. They should be housed in dormitories with a cafeteria provided.

9) Finally, corruption by Public Officials should be subject to the harshest standards they have enacted in RICO & the Wars on Dugs. ZERO TOLERANCE. No Ethics committees, but criminal statutes.

These may seem extreme to many people and they are. We are fast losing, if we haven't already lost our Democracy. It has been solid out from under us with tacit complicity by our own silence in many cases. I will gladly say I am generally socially liberal but I am not a Democrat. While I am appalled at the extreme levels the abuses of public officials have reached under the current Republican Congress & Administration, I believe it is mostly because Democrats haven't been as ambitous they haven't reached these levels. At the same time they have gone along and profited from much of this. However, I believe the K Street plan and the actions of DeLay go beyond simple, disgusting greed to a concerted effort to subvert the Democratic system and disenfranchise half of the country who don't share their ideology. Further I believe once they eliminated any real competition they would disenfranchise their base. The facts of this documentary cleary point out that they are simply manipulating many honest & sincere Conservative and Christian Americans by claiming to represent their beliefs.
In the end extreme politicians on the left & rights are promoting, divisive partisan policies to keep people apart and silence the middle. If we came together on the left & right we would find we have more in common with each other than we do with the mostly rich people lining their pockets and those of the wealthiest few keeping them in power.

Mr. Moyers: Thanks for your program for the common good.
Unless there is an election reform with multi-party candidates, and new laws to restrict the influence of corporations, as the www.podlad.org people work for, 50% of the electorate will not vote this November.

Correction:
www.poclad.org

I strongly favor term limitations for all elected offficials, at all levels of government. If given the opportunity to remain in power indefinitely, we all have the capacity to justify unethical/immoral behavior. Everyone needs accountability. What better accountablity is there than when the only incentive is to serve your constituents? Most elected officials return to private employment in their representative district. We all desire the praise/appreciation of a job well-done. The ideal is for a representative to serve their distict honestly and wholeheartedly.Upon return to their community a well-respected representative would be welcomed to serve and enhance the quality of life through their career and volunteer endeavors. To be a servant of society does not require compensation over and above a "comfortable" quality of life. I believe the best incentive is to remove the temptation of greed/power and retain the desire to truly serve the best interests of society.

Everyone -- You all need to see this and pass it on to everyone in your circle:

Iraq For Sale

This is the one and only reason the Iraq 'War' cash cow is being milked endlessly.

During the design of our constitution suggestions were put forth among the framers that the Court appoint a committee(much like the court appoints Grand Jury Members)to draft citizens from each state to serve a specified period of time as Legislators, Senators, and Executive President and Vice President.

Such a draft may be the way of interrupting the present entrench society of career politicians in Washington. These draftees would be directed by the people to discontinue the current ineffective political system and reshape the election guidelines for future political candidates. These drafted servants of our trust would be tasked with the duty of ending the kind of purchase for profit mentality pervasive in Washington DC.

Once the drafted servants of the people and the courts were certain that newly designed legislation for a public funded election process was in place a date could be set for the return to a Political Election Process. The Electoral College would become extinct.

Such an election process should require more than a dominating two party political system. Such a liberated election process should allow for the formation of many Political Parties where power is distributed more equally and less centralized by one Democratic/Republican Party.

Presently the vast majority of the voters are disenchanted with the same old bunch in Washington. This is main reason for the poor voter turn out. Today's Voters are far too savvy and well informed in this day and age of electronic information. They realize the Washington bunch are all one in the same. The politicians presently in office belong to a special political society separate from the voters. These politicians speak of leadership and new directions, when it is Representative skills which create the quality of Leadership. When you take an honest analysis of your elected officials you may be surprised to learn Representative skills are missing. Appointed Officials without these skills are a recipe for disaster.

The USA is the Fourth Reich. The Constitution has been alienated from the populas. The Coup de'Tat was forever etched in history on Nov 22 1963. It is buried in our American conscience but live in a state of denial. Eversince then we have passively been going through the motions of, and pretending to be, operating as a democracy. However, with the world's availability to gain information and truth from a variety of media has unveiled us. The world has become too adversely affected by our fascist neocon activites and other peoples are becoming less tolerant of our corrupt world governance. Our Citizenry's pathetic acceptance of bad leadership grows our general population into impoverishment, makes us weak, skyrockets our debts, creates enemies, and makes it appear less likely that our system of democracy is serving its people, and therefore maybe should not be modelled after after all. All of which we wish for just the opposite. As for us coralling federal, state, and local governments, and the corruption in politics is concerned, until public servants are held accountable (including prosecution for treason) and All Laws/Bills are Single Issues and voted on BY THE PEOPLE, Not Politicians (i.e. Debit card/ID card technology), and the Electoral College as well as Districting is eliminated, we will not have democracy.

TERM LIMITS Please!!!

This is easily fixed. The real problem as I see it, is the people of our great nation need to have a way to "RECALL" any legislator who is acting like he/she knows better than the people who put him/her where they are! How do we do this? First, demand the resignation of the Senator or Congressman/woman! Of course they will send you a reply that is in a form letter, thanking you for your comments but believe me, they probably didn't even read it. Next tell the party of you're choice that until the Congress/Senate enacts legislation to allow a recall form the constituents, we will "STOP" allowing "ANY TAXES" to be automatically withdrawn from our payroll for Federal use! NO PAYCHECKS FOR THE HOUSE OR THE SENATE! I think most of them would not work for nothing, would you? What would they do? Put everyone in jail? In broad terms, "FIRE THEM!"

We are in a real crisis in this country with issues practically compounding daily. In fact it is overwhelming. But solutions and resolve are possible if we diagnose and tackle the causes rather than the symptoms.

Government manifesting as institutions consists of people and as history bears out no government and in particular no individual in a position of power is immune to corruption. Profit, greed, and hunger for power can corrupt any individual and in turn institutions. For corrupt individuals, government is merely an instrument. Our weakest link in our system today is an electoral process run amok by corporate-lobbyist funding.

First, I believe campaign finance reform is one of the most important things we need to fix. The mother of all symptoms creating many issues is corruption which is epidemic and widespread infecting both parties. We need to get the lobbyist-corporate money out of the electoral process otherwise “business” will continue as usual.

Second, neither the Democrats nor Republicans will fix the problem. Our elected officials are not listening to us. It may be necessary to replace nearly every politician who is too addicted and too indebted doing the bidding of the lobbyist-military-corporate-complex. Wayward politicians and a broken political process are causalities of faulty campaign finance system.

The Constitution provides for a government of the people, and by the people. In order preserve democracy and form a more perfect union it bestows and entrust ultimate authority upon we the people through the power of elections. Real change and a peaceful revolution are literally made possible through your vote!

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was asked recently what we should do to fix the mess we find ourselves in today stated:
RFK JR: “…the first thing we need to do is to restore American Democracy”.
1) “Fix the campaign finance system to get corporate money out of the electoral process. Corporations are a great thing for our country. They drive our economy but they should NOT be running our government because they don't want the same thing for America that Americans want”.
2) “We have to fix the press: restore journalistic ethics in this country …by bringing back the fairness doctrine and strengthening the FCC. They (the media) have to inform the public because a democracy cannot survive an uninformed public”.
"An uninformed public will trade a hundred years of hard-fought civil rights for a half an hour of welfare." Thomas Jefferson
3) “We have to fix our electoral system so that every vote is counted. Those are the first three things that any President should do Republican or Democrat, to restore American Democracy”.
(http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/072006A.shtml (7/18/2006)

It really couldn't be any more focused than that!

What you can do:
• Be informed! Seek out alternate sources other than mainstream media for your information!
• Learn about your candidate’s full agenda and who they owe “favors” to!
• Vote absentee ballot if you have concerns about voter fraud via Diebold machines in your precinct.
• Vote yes on Proposition 89
• Research and support one of the following organizations working for election reform:
http://www.just6dollars.org/
http://www.publicampaign.org/
http://www.votersforpeace.us/index.jsp
http://www.votersunite.org/
http://www.votetrustusa.org/

We can make it happen, if we dedicate ourselves to accomplishing it!

Every politician needs to realize we are on to them:
No more lip service -- past and present behavior is the best predictor of future performance!

REFORM

!. We (The American People) need to come together, at a grass roots level, and establish an organization, outside any established organization, with the sole fuction of reforming our current political system.

2. This organization must establish a charter with specific goals, methods, criteria of means, and specific limits set forth for the reform of our political system.

3. This organization must never affiliate itself with any other organization.

4. This orgaization must adhere to the principle of one man, one vote.

5. Any person, organization, or any other entity that tries to manipulate, subvert, or compromise the charter without due process (one man, one vote) will be denied participation in the organization

After watching this program, I felt demoralized and depressed about the entire American legislative process.
The solution, if congress and the public has the stomach for it, seems simple (at least to me). The problem is money. Let all candidates receive the same set amount to run campaigns during a defined period of time before the election. These monies will be provided by tax dollars. ALL other monies and gifts from any source would be illegal. The tax would be the price of clean government. I for one would be happy to pay it.

Candidate's Profile
If we could do an individual psychological profile of the current members of Congress and the Executive, I'm sure we would find that they are narcissistic, vain, ego maniacs, who hunger for power and prestige to compensate for their own inner inadequacies. Just the kind of people we should admire and trust.

TRY THE WEB ON www.ni4d.us

Classmates:
Some thoughts on possible Changes to make:

1) At the end of the 'Corporate Crimes' program I had the feeling the Citizens need to create a Grass Roots organization so we can know we will be listened to by people who are interested in bringing the refreshing ideas of personal Honesty and even HOPE to our citizens along with the changes we see needed in our Government.

2) Bill Moyers has created for us a way to begin communicating with each other...yet how and where to begin?!?!?!

3) The 'Corporate Crimes'program confirmed what I have found obvious for years, even without considering the Corruption. The Elected Democarats and Republicans holding office have very little difference in how they think and operate 'On the Job'.

4) Re-examining our entire governing 'of the people and by the people' is a overwhelming thought and we need Special Individuals who are Free of the wrong obligations to assist or lead us. I read many good ideas here and somehow we need to find a way to get a NETWORK CONNECTION going between the people who think these clear and sound thoughts and cared enough to share them.

5) As for the elected officials in Washington, based on what I heard on Wed. evening, I now feel many/most of them and our country would benefit if they were to be set up with Psychiatric Evaluation appointments. It has been said that 'Healthy,happy, well adjusted people just do not act that way.' Also the Psychiatrist Scott Peck said '.....ALL people could benefit from some time with a good Psychiatrist.'

6) I deeply sense this opportunity is going to lead us to 'A New Beginning Everyday' and the crises we are in at this time seem to be triggering it.

7) My last words are to say a sincere thank you to all the people who are sharing their thoughtful ideas on this site as I have found many of them to be helpful to me, and to Bill for this opportunity.

scrub all the uncaring greedy people clean them out .Put in people who are caring who want fairness and understanding for all and so much other things but then also means laws that are new would have to go and then the major old ones be in place for all people not just the few and then ethics need to be taught in understanding to all.I think but what i know im not a politiun just a simple me.

First, Welcome back Mr. Moyers! Second: The Abramoff piece was Classic Moyer reporting. Style, class, real. Thank you for not being afraid to do it. You make me proud to be an American.

My suggestion for reforming the political system is rather simple. It starts with the oath of office and the enforcment of it. Pledging allegiance to the Constitution of the United States means denouncing party allegiance. You can't serve 2 masters. The Constitution is clear. Only citizens can vote only citizens can hold office. An elected official is a citizen first and everything else, meaning party, second.

As a citizen I should never have to be concerned about which party makes it into office. The reason being everyone takes the same oath and that means everyone is working to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. I take the oath to mean that officials will represent everyone in their district/state, not just those belonging to the winning party. Ruling by party leaves half the nation without representation. That clearly is not what our Framers had in mind. I am sure of it. Because the Constitution is a non-partisan document means the oath is non-partisan. Congress is a citizen first. Party hats must be checked in at the door.

The Framers hoped to create a unified country; they sought to bring order out of the chaos of the Critical Period of the 1780's. To most of them, parties were 'factions," agents of divisiveness and disunity. George Washington in his farewell speech reflected this view. He warned of the 'baneful effects of the spirit of party." In this light, it is hardly surprising that the Constitution made no provisions for political parties. Parties have no legal standing according to our Constitution. The Constitution only recognizes citizens as those who may take the oath of office.

The oath of office reinforces the Supremacy Clause; all officers, at every level in the United States, owe their first allegiance to the Constitution of the United States. The oath of office is a signed legal document. The oath, Article VI section 3, is not an option. Before any elected representative takes office they must take the oath.

I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God


The oath of office is Hallmark to what we stand for as a nation. If the oath, “to support and defend the Constitution,” was applied to every piece of legislation those that signed bills that remove provisions guaranteeing rights and protections of citizens, becomes apparent. Could the Torture Bill or the Patriots Act been signed into law if the oath was strictly adhered to? Clearly, as a citizen, my rights and guarantees under the Constitution are no longer in effect because of these new laws. Clearly those that signed them into effect breached their legal, lawful responsibility to defend and support the Constitution. If signed as a member of a party, for the party, by the party, and they most assuredly were with great fanfare and celebration, then I rest my case. Under these conditions the oath of office is of no consequence. And, I must conclude that means our Constitution is of no consequence.

I cannot suggest that by enforcing the oath of office will cure all our ills. But I can suggest that enforcement of the oath is one step in the right direction.

Thank you for this form and a most heartfelt Welcome back.

Jeanne Zindorf@yahoo.com

Welcome back, Bill -- and Judith, too. Your programs are the main reason we support PBS. You and C-SPAN are the only media that provides a viewer to 'see' what is happening in the 'real' world. Congratulations on another job WELL DONE!

Priority: Campaign Finance Reform -- And, I do mean REFORM!

Corporations have been given the 'right' of 'free speech.' Why? They are not citizens! They exist for the singular and sole purpose for -- PROFIT! They are insenstive to and care not for laws or government for citizens. Both are a hindrance and an intolerance to their sole means for existence -- PROFIT!

Now, there's nothing wrong with business or anyone else making a profit. But, that singular priority is not sufficient to declare a business -- as the Supreme Court has ruled -- to be identical to, or superior to -- a "person" holding citizenship with the legal right to vote as to who will hold political office.

First: Campaign Finance Reform as currently in vogue is ass-backwards! All citizens and other entities should be free to 'contribute' as much money as they wish to a campaign concerning issues, but not to political parties or candidates.

The regulation should be that all challengers and incumbants alike will be limited to how much they can SPEND in a campaign. Like the regulation that requires a 'balanced budget' to curb spending, it will serve to regulate and level the playing field such that all candidates/parties become peers/equals in the campaign.

Second: Federal Office qualifications for party participation and candidacy will be determined by Federal regulations -- not State regulations. The hodgepodge we have now is not fair. No Federal candidate should be stymied by out-of-date or party specific qualifications.

Third: House Representative districts will be determined and drawn up every 10 years but reviewed for population changes every 5 years by a group composed of a single appraiser appointed by the governor of each state. Their term of office will be 6 months and their budget determined and paid for by the Federal government.

The outstanding problem with any of this is that it requires an amendment to the Constitution.

Another problem is that it allows for more than 2 political parties. That dilutes the power of all political parties to the point of negotiation and compromise, even for the president who must 'court' the Congress for support. It may slow the wheels of progress a bit, but it sure will cool off a hot head in the presidency.

I think we should do away with the electorial college and implement real voter accountability where you are forced to abide by the decisions their elected official make. People who voted for the other candidate do not have to follow, and those who didn't vote for any candidate do not have to follow. Likewise, if the elected official lowers taxes then those who voted for the official get their taxes lowered, everyone elses taxes would stay up, and visa versa, and so forth.
The idea is keep it simple, and allow people who do not pay attention to harm themselves and not the rest of us.

The framework is broken. Not the system.

It was meant for God-fearing, honest and upstanding freemasons who believed in God, duty, and the good of all.

Our culture is now an atheist hodgepodge of immorality and looking out for #1.

When once an atheist was a complete outcast, now they sit in office and chair committees.

What do you expect? With no moral code, there is no right and wrong. If you can get away with it, it's o.k. Have fun with the money and power--after all, this is all there is. Why care about anyone else?

No God, no morals.

Here is your job: You spend a ton of money to get it, but it's only guaranteed for two years. Then, you have to win your job back, but just for another two years, spending even more money.

When you have to vote on an issue, with multiple possible ways to see it through, and no clear-cut right and wrong, wouldn't you too try to help out the people who got you your job? The ones who cared enough to contribute to your career?

Or, do you leave your wife and kids on the street and try to change careers in mid-life.

DUH! Why are we surprised at the results?

Politicians represent the people who pay their election campaign bills.

So, make the public pay? Great. Add that to the deficit. How much for each candidate.

Can 40,000 people run for president and we taxpayers pay the full way? How could you possibly make it a fair fight? Keep out special interest groups?

I already pay way too much in taxes.

How do you legislate common sense, voting for the good of all, character, etc. Guess what, when someone wins, someone also loses.

There are two sides to every issue--and politicians lean toward the groups who care enough to get them elected.

So which side is right?

Be a student of history.

Every democracy ever has failed. So has every kingdom, dictatorship, empire, etc. Why should the USA be any different.

Success breeds overconfidence, especially in the individual. Overconfidence turns failures into catastrophes, and empires fall.

Except the Kingdom of God. Seek the inner peace of salvation, and you too will outlast the latest form of government.

Modify the Constitution to:
Dissolve the Senate,
Dissolve the Electoral College,
Become A Parliamentary Style Government where real and official coalitions can exist and votes of no confidence can force new elections and bring an administration down.
In short, we need to end the republic and become a democracy.

WE NEED DIRECT DEMOCRACY TRY WWW.NI4D.US ON THE WEB FOR THE NATIONAL INTIATIVE FOR DEMOCRACY

This website brings tears to my eyes. Thank you for going to the trouble. I used to work in customer service for a computer information company where I put together many email notes and training documents like the class you have put together here. I led a team of people charged with keeping the rest of the department informed about hot legislative issues and how to find documents online that news and business customers would be calling our company to find. I spent many hours after work combing through the text of legislation, news articles and scholarly research to educate myself and to pass along the essential pieces to inform our staff about the documents our customers would want to find. "Read the bill," I found myself saying more than once. Then I began to notice bills passed in the dead of night. Text was unavailable for weeks on end. The legislative Parliamentarians and I were on a first name basis, but all we could do was wait. Politicians have institutionalized secrecy and coverup at all levels, big and small. Our enemy within is our own shadow government and we have a violent revolution in our future if we don't get our government back. Thanks for helping the average American participate in government by bringing our laws and law makers out of the shadows. I'm beginning to feel a groundswell here. We made it through Watergate and Vietnam but I was beginning to think we wouldn't make it through Neocon-gate and Iraq. Thanks to you and similar members of the formerly mainstream press I'm beginning to feel hopeful. I feel like the cavalry is finally coming to the rescue. Where have you guys been for the last five years?

There are a lot of good ideas here.
• The paper trail is an absolute.
• All campaign contributions must come from a real person who can vote for that candidate
• Contributions must be limited to a maximum of $100.00 per candidate per election cycle.
• Tax deductions for PACS and other special interest groups, including religious organizations, must be eliminated.
• Non-profits must be limited to groups ONLY concerned with the general well-being/improvement of the country or planet without any political/religious ramifications.
• Term limitations must be imposed, to the tune of 3 terms per Representative, 2 per Senator, and keep the 2 per president.
• Congressional salaries must be reduced to 4 times the median after tax income, as reported to the IRS, and any increase must be tied to a commensurate increase in the minimum wage.
• Gifting must be banned, period. Papers/briefs may filed as exhibits in any pending legislation, but they cannot be attached to any type of private/corporate contribution.
• Contributions to the government must be limited to earmarked funds for education, health, research, or preserving our natural and historical heritage.
The influence of money on elections must be stopped, in any of its iterations.

In response to Elijah... Morals have no more to do with God-fearing than right has to do with wrong. Every person is built with a desire to please others. It is our environment that changes that.

To think that the burden of taxes is going to change by public financing of politicians, leveling the playing field, is wrong. If taxes is the red herring bait of the right, you have swallowed the hook. The bottom line is that the only important thing, as far as income, taxes, etc. is the amount you have left as disposable income AFTER that. That seems to get NO airplay at all.

If one looks at countries that people are happy in (Scandinavia), most of them have significantly higher taxes but more disposable income... Explain that sir?

This country was never meant to be vanilla... it was and IS the land of opportunity for ALL, not just those who believe in the same God or the same party, or the same rock 'n roll band.

To make this work, one has to look beyond the rhetoric. Capitalism, socialism, communism, fascism, democracies, theocracies, etc. DO NOT WORK. The only (so-called) "free" society that can possibly work is one that balances all of these things. Without change this society will fail... you already can see it!

1. Reform the monetary system of the country - it's corruption taints the political process -- strip the banking cartel (the "Federal" Reserve) of its power to print money and restore that power back to Congress under the auspices of the U.S. Treasury. End the fiat monetary system now in place and return it to that specified in our Constitution, one based on silver and gold coinage.
2. Abolish all forms of electronic voting. Issue paper ballots to voters. Videotape the complete voting process from the minute the vote is recorded to the time it is counted to the time it is stored. Establish a secure chain-of -custody, sort of like registered mail at the post office for the handling of ballots.
3. Establish more liberal guidelines which would make it easier for third-parties to run for seats in Congress.
4. Outlaw those working in public service from becoming lobbyists for 10 years after leaving their last term in office or leaving the staff in support of a lawmaker.
5. Require that every bill be read in it's entirety in the session of Congress before being voted on, in front of C-SPAN etc.
6. Make the details of budgetary bills and earmarks available on the internet and have them indexed and searchable by a search engine.

I heartily agree with Gonnuts of October 3, 2006.

FIRST AND FOREMOST:
1) DESTROY THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE. NOW - NOW - NOW!

2) Vote by mail; creating a paper trail so that each citizen can check and see that their one vote was counted. Absolutely! With the criminal activities going on, this is the only way.

3) NO CORPORATE MONEY DONATIONS TO ELECTION CHESTS. ABSOLUTELY NONE !

4) If a candidate wins the primary, then the state handles T.V. time to be alloted, mailing material limited to three communications. Any food receptions, the candidate pays.

4) The criminal behavior of many corporations MUST be stopped. This is nearing fascism with the corporate world running wildly over the rest of us. Stop them now! The present problems are not from a country that professes to be Democratic.

The FIRST to go must be the ELECTORAL COLLEGE YESTERDAY!


In response to Doelman:

Points well taken. However, you cannot legislate character, you cannot make someone tell the truth, and you cannot force grownups to share.

Evil, selfishness-(lies, corruption, deceit, half-truths), murder, adultery, rape, prostitution --these are human nature. Read, "The Lord of the Flies" for a little more background knowledge--imagine children growing up without parents.

Without strong family values and a sense of religion, aka there's a reason to try in this life, you cannot vindicate your inner ego. You have to be cleansed and purified by repetition, punishment, discipline, and wanting to learn from mistakes.

Furthermore, THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO FAIR WAY TO PUBLICLY FINANCE POLITICIANS. How can 1 million people run for a congressional seat? 100 million candidates for the presidency?

DREAM ON PEOPLE!

Plus--with multiple parties, you guarantee special interest players a chance to get in without a majority vote.

Just like how Hitler and the Third Reich came into power! With three parities, 31% of the vote becomes the majority!

With 100 parties running for a seat, 1% of the population could decide the presidency. What about 1000 candidates? 1,000,000 candidates?

Let's look for more accountability from our current system, rather than focus on huge changes which can destabilize everything.

Apathy by the voter is the
main enenmy and the root
cause of everything from
corruption to war. Some- how, someway, this must
be broken through education
and, unfortunately, the bad
experience to those apathetic individuals to
get them off "DEAD CENTER"
to care-- the old cliche
about leading the horse to
water. This latter is, I
am afraid, the human condi-
tion, one, we as a species
should not be proud of in
any respect, for it seems
we are the only creature on
this earth that soils its
on nest, CONSTANTLY!

Getting people to support
good reporting of the news
is the first step which is
why I most strongly support
my PBS station,, WABE, CH. 30,and my NPR radio sta- tion, WABE-FM, 90.1 MHz,
and don't waste my time
with such wastes as FOX
and all those other biased
sources.

I am afraid it will have totake the body bag of a
loved one to get folks
angry enough to say enough
is enough! I am a Vietnam
Veteran who understands this process and the lust
for power, just like the
lust for wealth, both being
one and the same.

Thank you so very much Mr.
Moyers for the usual outstanding journalism.
I am so sorry you left "NOW" but feel David
Broncochio was a good re-
placement, not the same,
of course, but good.

I just don't want us to tar
all in Washington with the
same brush. Surely, there
must be some honest and
courageous men and women in
the Group such as Waxman and Miller of California,
to name a few. I guess may
be a good way to tell would be to look who has been relegated to the "broom closests"!!!!

God bless you and keep up the good fight.

Charles M. Hacke
a proud "LINCOLN REPUBLICAN", in no way asso
ciated with the NAZI Re-
bulican Party of today. I
didn't leave the party, they left me!! Seems like
1933 Germany all over again!!

God help us all!

MY FELLOW AMERICAN VOTERS, TAKE HEART THERE IS HOPE.
SEE WWW.GRAVEL2008.US.
CHECK OUT THIS WEB SITE.

We can start reforming the political process in California by passing Prop 89. Don't believe the big money campaign arguments against this. It will NOT raise taxes for individuals, families, cities, counties, small busiinesses. It WILL raise taxes for large corporations only, by restoring the corporate tax almost back to what it was in 1980's. It is a voluntary opportunity for candidates to choose public financing if they want it. Bill Moyers' program pointed out the huge cost to our democracy generated by the current system of money and pay-backs.
Vote yes on Prop 89, if you live in California.

We can start reforming the political process in California by passing Prop 89. Don't fall for the big money campaign arguments against this. It will NOT raise taxes for individuals, families, cities, counties, small busiinesses. It WILL raise taxes for large corporations only, by restoring the corporate tax almost back to what it was in 1980's. FUrthermore, it is only a voluntary opportunity for candidates to choose public financing if they want it, as now exists in Arizona and Maine. Bill Moyers' program pointed out the huge cost to our democracy generated by the current system of money and pay-backs.
Vote yes on Prop 89, if you live in California.

The myth that "corporations are citizens", the ability to serve more than one term, and laws that allow/encourage campaign contributions guarantee that politicians will be bought.
What chance do you think there is of ever getting a term limits law enacted? Even without them, you can still try to vote everyone out of office after one term. Just keep preaching about it to everyone you encounter.
Our government does not act in the best interest of it's citizens.
If they are in office vote them out - every time. ONCE AND DONE!

1. Get rid of the lobbiest.

2. Get rid of the electorial college.

3. Public funded elections.

4. More than two political parties.

5. Amend the constitution to make it a federal right for every American to vote.

6. Fix the voting system in America.

Election reform is crucial to fixing the political system, and will involve paper trails and a voting system that meets standards such as those being advocated by the Carter Center (http://www.cartercenter.org/news/documents/doc1866.html). Instant Runoff Voting is another idea gaining traction (supported by folks like John McCain, Barack Obama, and Howard Dean) and is already being put into practice in many local jurisdictions. See The Center for Voting and Democracy for more info (http://www.fairvote.org). Thank you Bill Moyers and crew for all your dedication and hard work!!! Because of you, there is still hope for our democracy!

Eliminate the earmark process entirely - unless and only if the McCain/Obama proposed changes are combined with the recommendations from the Heritage Foundation. Without those clear guidelines, limits and open disclosures, the outright stealing of public tax dollars will continue unabated. I can see little to no benefit for allowing the "earmark" process. If a budget line item does not have clear and substantial supporting background documentation in the detail budget (the "roll up" documents that explain how the budget amounts are planned to be spent and specifically for what...) then it should not be approved until adequate supporting information is provided.

I believe Thomas Frank and Norm Ormstein are correct in their assessment that the problems with congressional budgeting include far more issues than just the "earmark" process. This is a huge animal and modifying it is most easily done in small increments - the changes need to start here and continue with the other areas.

Every election we hear that the candidates will, if elected, go to Washington and fix the process, the corruption, etc. If elected, they go to Washington and tinker around the edges and then come to us at the next election with the same promises. I think that instead of electing people who will tinker with the process, we need to encourage and elect people who are passionately focused on the big issues that need to be addressed - healthcare for all, addressing the gulf between the rich and the rest of us, restoring a moral basis to our foreign policy. If they focused on that, instead of election mechanics, we might see less posturing and triangulating. And, as a side benefit, some real problems might get solved. What we need are more Paul Wellstones.

First step is to reform the American people. There are numerous studies and surveys showing the ignorance and apathy of the American public. This Abramoff scandal is a major black mark on our history. This guy was paying off politicians in order to affect their vote which in turns effects me and you. If you dont think this is a major scandal, you're a moron. Please do the rest of us a favor and move to another country were these types of practices are tolerated, like Russia. Every American should be outraged and screaming for Tom Delay's head. We saw today Bob Ney admit guilt in getting bribed. Tom Delay is no different. He was the ring leader. He cant hide behind his smile and bible-thumping. He's a crook, a thief and a liar. He should be prosecuted and we as citizens should be making noise until it happens. Unfortunately, only a few will really care and this will get swept under the rug like everything else. I wish I didnt care, life would be so much easier. I guess its true, ignorance is bliss.

A fundamental point to remember is that power corrupts we should critically think about where the corruption starts. No fix, no matter how extensive is going to last forever. Having a critical mass of informed and vigilant citizenry is the only cure for controlling this corruption. This is badly missing at the moment due to the circus created by the major media.
Here are some general suggestions:
1. Ban private campaign funding. Make commercial media have public debates with equal times to candidates. No privately funded campaigns.
2. Get rid of the Electoral College.
3. Remove districts within states for national elections so we get out of this two party race and more candidates with diverse views can go into congress.
4. Possibility of direct referendums on major issues allowed.
5. Ban lobbyist for corporations and have nonprofit group’s public meetings with representatives. No gifts allowed.
6. True citizens are informed ones. Create much bigger funding for public media not controlled by government but independent elect able entities. Tax the private and for profit media for the use of public airways accordingly to fund public media.

7. A political reform should be accompanied by some equitable economic reform.
Powerful multinationals are not democracies. They have a tribal structure and as such should not be able to manipulate the political system. There has to be laws devised to regulate their conducts from social, political and environmental point of view.
One example: regulate CEOs salary. When someone making 500 million dollars a year. There is a good chance that s/he tries to corrupt any system that tries to be fair and equitable. This is much bigger than electoral reforms but there could be a minimum and maximum wage scheme. Say with a 40 to 1 ratio max. 40x belonging to highly experienced highly educated and highly successful professionals.

8. Have an IQ test mandatory for presidential candidates with minimum set at 75 so we don’t run into what we have now!

I'd like to see political advertising taken off of television, just like cigarette commercials were banned a generation ago. If it would require a Constitutional amendment, I'd be all for that.

What is all this money needed for? Television advertising that is more likely to mislead than to inform the voters.TV advertising is poisoning the system in more ways than one.

Anybody remember TERM LIMITS? Newt thought they were a great idea! Whatever happened with that???

'Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely'

Jimmy Carter wanted a single six year term for the President.

My personal favorite: Reagan was only going to be a one term president.

My other personal favorite:
restore the Fairness Doctrine. If there was a fairness doctrine Rush Limbaugh would not be an honorary congressperson

My other other personal favorite: Bill Moyers should run for public office or at least be in charge of PBS.

earmarking (like bribery er 'political contributions') should be outlawed, and congressmen should make the minimum wage. After all the Native Americans had a pretty good system there: The chief was always the poorest man in the tribe: he always had to give gifts to everyone so that they would agree with him.

Last time I heard of a public offical giving away their salary it was JFK. I think I heard he worked for a dollar a year as president. [I also heard he gave his salary to charities]

Responsibility, Responsiblity, Responsibility. I know it is old fashioned for the people to be concern with the "greater good". We have become a selfish, arrogant, and uncompassionate society. In general, it is everyone for themselves, not their contemporaries, or their posterity. Why is that? Religion talks about a personal relationship with God (Fundamentalist Christians are more worried about being saved and saving others than any of the consequences of their actions). Most people forget that the Bible (Torah in particular) teaches how live now, how relate to people and the environment. There is really nothing we can do about life after death. That's personal and private. The founding fathers understood that Liberty and our form of government depended on THE PEOPLE'S ability to choose the right thing. Obiviously, the lobbyists are not part of that formula. Honesty and compassion must be restored to our government. Lobbyists and businesses must be given limits to their responsibilities, not free reign to control government. I think to the Republican Party has to raise its standards for morality and ethics. They are hypocrits, who demean and degrade those who don't agree with their ideology. We, the People must take back our government. Thomas Jefferson said we had that right. The Repubicans have become Tyrants, just like King George III and Napoleon. Our government has survived for over 230 years, because it can adapt to a changing world. It wont survive if the PEOPLE continue to Abdicate their responsibility and let their rights be reduced to window dressing.

I have noticed a pattern in political campaigning that I suspect may be at the hearth of all these close elections, especially for important elections, such as president.

The political parties use extensive polling science to determine the likely outcome of an election in a particular area. If they follow typical Madison Avenue national patterns, the country is most likely divided into 50-75 “markets.”

Then they apply careful techniques to find out what constituents want to hear in this area; what they are concerned about, their priorities and wishes.

Once this data is collected, their PR people establish copy, spin, text and media messages directed towards these concerns. These are the ads that are specifically worded to sway the voters of this area towards what they believe in – what they want to hear!

Now comes the magic; marketing science knows how many dollars of advertising it will take to push this particular area over to their side, based on the size of the market, and coupled to the state electoral votes. They build a spreadsheet with their secret formulas, and plug in media dollars until they arrive at the best scenario; 51% of the electoral votes for the least amount of money.

It is pure marketing science, right out of the MBA handbook.

So we elect a president who represents all of us, based upon a message and an image that was only directed to our small and select group.

I think the best election reform law that could ever be passed could be very simple and very easy to monitor. Require every party for every campaign to present the exact same message to everyone in their district. For a presidential campaign, the exact same message must be presented to everyone in the country, and uniformly. Every person, in every possible area, has the same equal chance of hearing the same exact message; no more, no less, and no different.

The root causes of the lobbying abuses are two:
First, the customary interpretation--not really a supreme court decision--to regard corporations as if they were human beings with rights attendant to human beings under the constitution. Legislation to clarify and confirm that Corporations do not have the rights of individuals must be drafted and passed.

The second cause was the decision by the Supreme Court to regard money as a form of speech. As soon as that was decided--I do believe early on in the Rehnquist court--it allowed for the current abusive system of Pay and play and legalized bribery. Reforming this abusive tenet should take priority as well.

A coalition of voices from all political areas can be created, I think, based upon the current coming together of various interests in this Free Internet movement. Liberals and progressives must learn to pay more attention to Libertarian principles, conservatives and Libertarians must learn to pay more attention to the greater social responsibilities of the Government, Christian conservatives must pay more attention to tolerance and the freedom provided by the separation of Church and state, and all Americans should pay more attention to the initial principles established in the Constitution. This Reform can come about by continuing the current coalition building around this internet issue. It may be less difficult than it appears.

I strongly recommend the State Legislature and U.S. House of Representative districts be established outside the political system. Gerrymandering has become very sophisticated. Demographic data bases analysis has enable each major party to establish districts so that legislators are relatively guaranteed reelection. Secondly, the guaranteed reelection limits the amount of compromise needed to make progress.
Redistricting through a neutral committee (this does not mean a committee with polical appointees that reach agreement to redistrict so that each is equally protected)would achieve a 10 to 20% improvement in the system. This would be a signifcant first step.

Thanks

Reform?? The nature OF the Beast is that power corrupts...and so.
I would first start by making sure that any candidate could actually prove that he or she was qualified..a bank statement is one thing..but running the United States is quite another thing entirely. I personnaly believe that the current sitting administration had No clue..no intention..of ever managing this country. it came complete with an agenda..and weve been putting up with it ever since. Its sad to see unqualified people in high office..screwing up and bastardizing all that came before them..as if it were their own private domaine. America can and should require a LOT more out of its representatives...a whole LOT more.

Call it what you will, but elected officials accepting ANY money, or other gifts, from folks who want favors is BRIBERY, which, I think is illegal in our country, right?
We've got to (1) Clean house in Washington D.C. and (2) Elect every congressman and member of the executive branch through "clean elections" and make K street obsolete - banish them from the planet. That will be a good start. Then we need to make "pork barrel" spending (earmarks) illegal. And, we need to set term limits and reduce the beauracracy of "do little-earn-big-money-and-great-retirements" folks. We also need to put federal employees and congressmen and all the rest of us under the same retirement program and health insurance program. Let's see how they like that !

It probably doesn't need reform so much as adherence to the original Constitutional intent. The economic system, on-the-other-hand...

Make civics a required counrse in all schools, every year and prohibit gerrymandering.

Limit every office to no more than two terms (8 years). Once they have served their time they go back to being a plain citizen like the rest of us. No more continued income from the government. If they have to return to being an ordinary citizen then they would watch out for ALL of us.

The way it is now, they keep giving themselves raises because they get to take that raise with them for the rest of their lives (plus medical benefits which they DO NOT have to pay for).

If they had to draw SS like the rest of us, then they would fix the problem. If they had medical care like the rest of us - they would fix that too!

Of course the system is going broke - we are supporting former representatives forever!

No political problem in this country or in this world will ever be "fixed", beyond "symptom based" solutions, as long as we operate by a flawed cosmology.
No amount of Platonic reasoning or technique, that is not based on the spherical connectedness of nature, will allow us escape from the consequences of collective thoughts and actions which we have "set in motion", past and present.
Unfortunately, our approach to solutions is to comparatively analyze the particulars, ad nauseam, using segregative thinking, not realizing or accepting that in a unitary existence, all things exist in the same place! Otherwise, we will continue to be real life actors in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice", doomed to solve a million self-created problems, each destined to morph into a million new ones.

Our democracy has been replaced by a plutocracy. It happened because corporations were allowed to spend money in such a way to influence the formation of public policy. Unless a way can be found to stop this, maybe the solution would be to revoke the charter of every corporation in the U.S. Sure it would be mess; however, it would restore us to being a country governed by a government of the people, by the people and for the people. With that type of government in place, we would surely find a way out of the mess.

I SECOND MOST OF THE SUGGESTIONS PREVIOUSLY MADE AND OFFER THIS ONE. ANY PERSON ASSOCIATED WITH CONGRESS, THE JUDICIARY, OR THE EXECUTIVE WHO IS DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY ASSOCIATED WITH CORRUPTION (i.e. the immediate boss of a corrupt aide, etc.) LOSE THEIR JOBS, PENSIONS, MEDICAL BENEFITS AS BESTOWED BY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, AND HAVE TO SERVE A MINIMAL SENTANCE OF 10 YEARS WITHOUT PAROLE IN MAXIMUM SECURITY.

The two party system in the US has failed us. It is a Du-opoly.

It seems that a parliment type system may be in order - to allow constituents to vote their conscience without compromising their morals.

I am a religious conservative. I think the poor and disadvantaged do need our help, from society. I can't in good conscience vote either Democrat or Republican. Both parties are corrupt at their core in different ways.

I would hope that with a parliamentary system, where more parties with a more narrow purpose, have to form coalitions - that the task would be too complicated for lobbyists (I know, I'm dreaming) to cover the spread.

I'm sick of the manipulation that organizations like Ralph Reed/Christian Coalition have taken advantage of religious conservatives and sick also of the lemming like behavior of those so duped.

the internet gave a voice to the little man, to compete with the incombents without owing big money anything, to make to best decisions for the public possiable.

I am running for congress agenst an incombent that has sold out and the public has no control over He has been there so long that he owes big money too much.

I have no money to get on the ballot,nor pay for advertising. I am using the internet for my advertising. Wish I was in school or had some other way to learn how to use the internet.

Change human nature.

I am sick of the do nothing Congress, So I am running agenst the incombent. I have no money to get on the ballot, nor for advertising so I am using the only way I can think of. This may be my only chance to use the internet becuase the incombents in goverment with their money friends in the telcom industry want to restrick and shut down the 1'st admenment free speech.

I am trying to keep the internet, affordable insurance, medicare, social security that works and is no longer the concern for senior citizens. See www.hoodsale.com

ps. I am not the best speller but I do want to help fix the mess congress has made

Change ? Yes,

Rescind ruling / interpretations that implied corporate personhood. ie We need another separation - Separation of Corporations and State. It's we the people not we the corporations.

Is this the type of democracy America is trying to sell the world? I believe we should put our house of democracy in order 1st, and the sugggested solutions are 1.TERM LIMIT 2. TERM LIMITS and 3. TERM LIMITS.
Max 4 years for congress(two term), 8 years for senator(two 4 years) and the same for president.

Have all campaign monies be used, not for billboards, backbiting TV ads, and "litter"ature that end up as junk mail on our porches, and instead, used for things that need to be done. Have the candidates compete with their campaign money to hook up Katrina victims to amenities and rebuild devasted homes.

So no more promises or lies, or asking for money from Americans to back them when they haven't made good on the last election's promises and lies. Instead, action we can all see: Whoever comes up with the best plan for the futures and uses their embarrassingly large funds to implement them. Even if the candidate loses, the work will be done.
The media would cover all candidates, like the Olympics, and we can all see who's accomplishing what.
The candidates can also write bills as part of their campaign, and we vote on them to be implemented instead of what elections are now; embarrassing personalilty contests.
Then they when candidates are elected they will have earned their right to have the workweek in Washington -- what is it now, Wednesday? -- go to their PAC parties, and play with their lobbyist friends.
This plan would get rid of the electoral college, which is a form of treason.

1. Term Limits - Set term limits for House and Senate seats, just as we have for the Presidency.
2. Ethics Reform
3. Paper ballots
4. Campaign finance reform
5. Eliminate the revolving door for politicians/lobbyists. No politician can become a lobbyist until 5 years after leaving office. (It would be great, also, if no lobbyist could run for public office!)

This is a crazy world. What can be done? Amazingly, we have been mislead. We have been taught that we can control government by voting. The founder of the Rothschild dynasty, Mayer Amschel Bauer, told the secret of controlling the government of a nation over 200 years ago. He said, "Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation and I care not who makes its laws." Get the picture? Your freedom hinges first on the nation's banks and money system.

We have been mislead and all Attorneys have been mislead - "In the course of his studies, the student of law finds so much said, in an incidental way, about the civil law, that is calculated to mislead his judgment in regard to the true character of that scheme of justice, that it is important, at the outset of his walks over the fields of the common law, to give him some account of the civil law, and point out in what it differs essentially from the common law. This is a matter of much importance to every student who aspires to a comprehensive and enlightened knowledge of jurisprudence."
http://www.shrubbery.net/law-commonorcivil.html

The world as we know it is not in our control. We have been led to think that the people actually have a say in what the government does. I believe that the government should give the people a chance to get what they want!

I believe that the political system has some extremely large loopholes and flaws in it. With such easy ways to cheat the system, the system must fight back and become more strict to protect itself or else it will be destroyed by corruption. If soft money is illegal then make it an offense that politicians worry about: If a politician is cut making any kind of profit off of unregulated money for use in his/her political campaign, give them the boot, remove them from the ballot for this election and monitor them next election to see if the acts continue at which point permanent exclusion would have to be considered. The harsher the political system becomes the better it will be at stopping unlawful business practices. Of course there must be exceptions to every rule, if a candidate recieved soft money unwillingly and it can be proved by others or if he only made a $x (x being a small amount in terms of campaign costs), then a mere warning is necessary and possibly a small fine for the candidates who knowingly accepted the small sums but all out removal would be harsh in these circumstances. The final change would have to be where campaign financing comes from: I believe that the size of a politician's pockets shouldn't ever be allowed to determine who has a better chance at election. Instead, funding should come directly from the people through fundraising and donations and from reformed FEC funds that way the most liked candidate will win the election, not the one that can grease the campaign wheels best.

I think that we should just let the candidates use as much money as they want, but they are only allowed to get a certain amount of money from any one group. This would probably cause groups to give it to other people to give it to the candidate, but they already do that. So they should just get to do whatever they want pretty much to win the election, and if the candidate that spent more money loses, next time maybe people will not contribute as much money.

With this its hard to say one thing or another because not matter how many limits there are to the system someone will find a way through it to benefit themselves, and/or their party. And we don't want to go to far that our there is no campaigning(obviously a stretch but...)because that's how voters are informed through the debates, the ads, the signs...and if the candidates don't have money to fund those then there will be many ignorant voters. But i agree that something needs to be done but i'm wondering if there will ever be a time when we don't have this problem...

To reform our political system, I think the majority should start with voting. When voting for people to represent money should not be the ticket into power. People who are good at getting money for campaigns are good at getting money for other reasons. Voting for someone based only on his or her ideas and morals would create a good foundation to build the rest of the political system. Limiting the time that our senate and house hold office, will also be beneficial because it will limit the power that each individual can gain over time. Making sure the morals of our politicians are good, and that money is regulated for everything will improve our political system.

To reform our political system, I think the majority should start with voting. When voting for people to represent money should not be the ticket into power. People who are good at getting money for campaigns are good at getting money for other reasons. Voting for someone based only on his or her ideas and morals would create a good foundation to build the rest of the political system. Limiting the time that our senate and house hold office, will also be beneficial because it will limit the power that each individual can gain over time. Making sure the morals of our politicians are good, and that money is regulated for everything will improve our political system.

i don't think reforming the system will prevent politicians from finding loopholes in order to further themselves. there will always be ways to get around the rules and people will always try to get ahead of their opponents. I think that limiting campaign spending is a good start to prevent corrupt campaign financing. I think that politicians shouldn't be able to recieve funds from groups or organizations, they should have to raise it all on their own or recieve money from the government.

Canidates should be allowed to use as much money as needed to run their campaign. But things like people giving large amounts of money to a canidate just to get favors and Privileges needs to be stopped. Its only helping those contributors and making it unfair for the rest of the nation. So if that means that the government should be contributing more to campaign financing then thats what needs to happen. But when canidates are found bringing in soft money they should be punished. Obviously its hard to keep track of where canidates are getting all thier money from but more an effort could be made to keep up on the different parties financing. Thier acounts need to be monatored.

Canidates should be allowed to use as much money as needed to run their campaign. But things like people giving large amounts of money to a canidate just to get favors and Privileges needs to be stopped. Its only helping those contributors and making it unfair for the rest of the nation. So if that means that the government should be contributing more to campaign financing then thats what needs to happen. But when canidates are found bringing in soft money they should be punished. Obviously its hard to keep track of where canidates are getting all thier money from but more an effort could be made to keep up on the different parties financing. Thier acounts need to be monatored.

With all the ways people get money the only possible solution is to get rid of lobbying all together. People will still do it but it will be discouraged. The political setup is already corrupt by being so powerful. It's like the old saying absoulute power corrupts absolutley, A lot of power corrupts most.

I believe that candidates should only be given a certain amount of money to help with their campaign otherwise millions of dollars are being wasted from the candidates that spend the money on themselves rather then organizations or campaigns. Money given to candidates from people who just want to get more power and know important leaders shouldn't continue. I think that money should come from the government or from the candidates themselves rather then from organizations. This will help prevent candidates from bending around the rules and using soft money. Unfortunately it's hard to tell where the money is actually coming from so the candidates should be forced to prove that they are not using soft money. If this happened it could have prevented Jack Abramoff from taking so much money from the organizations. Unfortunately some people will always cheat the system in order to have money and to be powerful so I don't really know if there ever will be a solution to the problem of campaign finacing.

Although I feel our government should monitor campaign financing closer, I'm afraid that there will always be loopholes in the system. While making soft money illegal sounds like a pretty easy way to get rid of corruption, its nearly impossible to enforce. I don't want to give the impression that I feel campaign funding regulations shouldn't be addressed, or that those who violate these regulations should not be prosecuted. True enforcement will require pressure from both the public and an investigative media. People need to take some responsibilty for campaign funding, and pressure their representatives to insure that campaigns and politicians are fair and honest.

Earmarking is a problem today in congress because it is such an easy thing to do. Congressmen can simply add a few lines to the end of a bill and nobody will even blink. I like the idea of a bill that insures certain bills cannot be changed or added on too. This eliminates the problem alltogether because the Congressman no longer have a chance to add things to bills.

well i think that the only way to stop things from going outside the limits sre to put more restrictions into any individual donating any money to any organization. Also, i think that there should be a limit of money that should be donated to any charity because many of the times people just don't even know if the money that they are giving is actually getting into a charity organization. I think that people who are left incharge of any of these type of organizations should be brave enough and act like grown-ups and take some responsibility and pressure all other campaign electives to stand up for rigths and be fair and honest about any type of donation or organization

Reform? Please, reform would be up to those it would change. This may sound a little extreme, but the whole system needs an over-haul! The begining is the new laws limiting congress' power, but more needs to be done. "If you make something idiot-proof, then they'll just make a better idiot!" I'm not talking about revolutionary war, or forcing anything. I'm just saying that we need to stop for a second and look at what we're doing. This new law is a good start, but what makes a book good isn't its first few pages, but it's last.

No matter how close the government looks at the finances of campaigns, there will still be problems within the campaigns. People will always want to choose the easy way out and in this case it is soft money. Although, if people only get a certain amount of money from ceritan organizatons/groups, then it may make the soft money a lesser thought since they are reciving money. It will take awhile for soft money to decrese but you have to start somewhere.

If you were to set limits to how much money a group could give they would find a way to get the money to the candidates anyways. just like how they do now. to me you should let the groups give as much as money as they want.

We always talk abput the freedom that we have and all the things that other countries dont have but is that really true? yet in this country our freedom of speech is cut off in some circumstances...we now have the secret service questioning 14 year old girls because on their myspace it said kill Bush? i mean whats a 14 year old girl going to do? this country in many ways is like the nazi party because of the small things were supposed to be able to do... every person in this country has certain things they can and cant do...so if the government allows people to do certain things then why do they start to tie off those things even if it is about the government... dont we have the righ to express how we feel and what we think should be done? something that this country needs to get better is agreeing on things and coming together and let the people express how they feel and put ideas and thoughts together to make this a better country and a better government for us the people

I think that we should not allow lobbyiest. We should have total public funding of the elections and we should shut down the electoral college completely.

I would change the government by making campaign finance against the law because it corrupts the system. It is used to bribe the candidates into voting for only some of the issues. The Jack Abramoff scandal is a perfect example of why campaign finance should be stopped. This would make the government much better and not "fixed" in the voting.

I would not reform America. You can not reform America. It is impoissable because of teh fact that Americans are so stuck up on the things that are going on today. You can not raise taxes with out causing hell and at the same time you can not lower taxes with out raising some type of hell. No matter what part you try to reform you always will raise hell in one form or the other and the problem with that is, yea we try to get through majority ideas while keeping minority rights and no matter which way you go they always try to find a way that you broke that.

I can't picture a democracy (or any government) with out any bribery. the real world works with bribs. It's an Ideological mistake to think you can stop someone from takeing a brib let a lone find the bribe in the first place. The government can monitor these activities all they want but I think it will always be there as long as government exsits. Please respond

Our government already does what it can to stop soft money from being used in campaigns. The candidates need to be truthful about how they are spending their money and provide documentation to prove that. We, as citizens, need to vote for who WE think would best fit the job that they are campaigning for. We shouldnt worry about who we are loyal to or who has the coolest commercials. We are choosing somebody to represent our ideas of how we can make this country a better place to live. Let the media worry about who is nicer or who is better looking. It would be hard to reform america because we are so stuck in our ways. Although, I do believe we need change. Things are taking a turn for the worst. When you can get arrested for having $10 worth of drugs in your car but get away with laundering billions of dollars; something is wrong. I think our political leaders sometimes forget that they are representing the people of this country. They get caught up in fame and fortune and forget about the little guy who elected them in the first place. Politicians are corrupt. Its human nature. We cant vote on eveything because it would take too long and we'd never get anything done. This is why I think the government does what it can already to stop corruption and soft money. But there isnt much else we can do. We can just hope the people we elect have good morals.

I agree with some regarding pure public funded elections. However, we in Texas can execute people. Why is a jury selection system not good enough for public service at all levels? If we have the ability to take a life...we should be able to select people to serve as "elected" officials using the jury, random call, practice. This would make me feel like I am represented. I have a hard time voting because too few people running for office even come close to my beliefs or social strata!!! We must change the system and the ruling class must know this. Let us have the wheel before it goes too far! Only a random selection of people will get "real" people in office to serve us.

To ALL:

Until more people know, the whole truth, nothing will change!

“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer German philosopher, 1788-1860

"Today’s economic conditions reflect a fiat monetary system held together by many tricks and luck over the past 30 years. The world has been awash in paper money since removal of the last vestige of the gold standard by Richard Nixon when he buried the Bretton Woods agreement- the gold exchange standard- on August 15, 1971. Since then we’ve been on a worldwide paper dollar standard. Quite possibly we are seeing the beginning of the end of that system. If so, tough times are ahead for the United States and the world economy." HON. RON PAUL OF TEXAS IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - September 5, 2003
http://www.house.gov/paul/congrec/congrec2003/cr090503.htm

PREVIOUS FEDERAL BANKING HISTORY
Alexander Hamilton lobbied for the first privately-owned federal bank. However, Thomas Jefferson opposed it writing, "If the American people ever allow the banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property, until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers occupied."
http://iresist.com/cbg/fraud.html

All rights reserved,

/S/ Steven Pattison

Bruce Funk is an American Hero and a champion of voting integrity in Utah. On July 27th, he spoke to an audience in Salt Lake City about ... all » the problems he discovered with the new Diebold electronic, touch screen, voting machines. Joining him in the discussion was Joycelynn Straight of Utah Clear.

Bruce Funk is a responsible elected official who has paid attention to problems in other states, he recognized the danger to our Republic if we depend on the accuracy of machines that break down easily or can be hacked into, altering votes.

Currently, there is an effort to strong-arm Mr. Funk out of office.

No one seemed concerned that the integrity of Utah voting is at risk. The Utah State officials, along with the County Sheriff, County Commissioners, and County Attorney - and Diebold representatives - met behind closed doors - especially closed to Funk - and then told him they were sticking with Diebold.

Evidence is building nationwide that these private corporate voting machines will lead to more questionable elections, false mandates, and leaders who do whatever they want.

Utah election official reveals how voting machines are rigged to fix elections. Long video but worth every minute.
Google Posted 2006 Oct 21

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1396271232701024595&q=%22bruce+funk%22&hl=en

There are not enough restrictions on campaign finance and that is one of the reasons we are having problems with scandals in the government. If we put in place a group/ organization that monitors all of the spending and receiving of money, for each party will help solve a lot of the problems we are having, as well as putting a limit on the amount a group can spend during a election will help limit the amount of money a group will spend and raise.

i think that we shouldn't have campaign finance because whether or not we have it or not people are still going to find ways to make it so that they can spend as much money as they want. its their money they should be able to spend it anyway that they want. besides, voting shouldn't be determined by how much a person spends on their campaign.

I think we need to reform campaign finance but it would be to hard to regulate it and enforce the laws. people are always going to find ways around the system so they can donate as much muney as they want to a certain party. but after all it is there money and they should beable to do what they want with it. but why should people with more money get more votes that the people that dont have as much? candidates dont or shouldnt win elections based on how much money they spend on thier campaign.

well, first off is to get rid of every single government person out of the government and vote by their will power, then catagorize them by what they are going to do in the government finally if they screw up once, fire and get a new person.

Way to be an Anarchist "butterfly" Iceman. No the solution is to pass stricter legislation to limit soft money from becoming hard money and then directly going into the pockets of politicians. With out Campaign finance reform votes would be bought and election would not be bassed on the peoples views but on the money used to buy the votes.

First of all i agree with the above statement. But to add a little bit, first there should be an organization developed to monitor businesses friendly to the said party or parties canidate. To make sure that soft money is not being turned into hard money.

I think that the best way to get rid of money issues in the political realm is to eliminate the use of soft money. Soft money can only cause problems, irregulartiy, and dishonesty. Soft money was the way that Jack Abramoff built up his pocket and decieved us all. It's impoartant that our legal system is kept legal and that our government is just as honest as they make themselves out to be. With unregulated money floating around that's not possible. It makes our nation just as corrupt as the next. The ellimination of soft money is the ticket.

Agreeded...Soft money is one of the larger problems that is found inside campaign finance...Passing more laws by the already corrupt politicians who rely on this "soft money" would do very little so why would they have the inspiration to completely destroy their main source of campaign funding???There need to be reforms inside campaign finance, point blank, it is needed...About said organization above, there sadly is one already, how else would Jack Abramoff and his associates have been discovered without detectives and other members against soft money???To fix this problem of campaign finance we need to eliminate some of the sources of the soft money with State laws guided by federal laws to avoid the larger soft money scandals that have and probably take place in the federal government...By doing this it would limit the funding of soft money through the rich individuals who are mostly reponsible for this soft money...

Agreeded...Soft money is one of the larger problems that is found inside campaign finance...Passing more laws by the already corrupt politicians who rely on this "soft money" would do very little so why would they have the inspiration to completely destroy their main source of campaign funding???There need to be reforms inside campaign finance, point blank, it is needed...About said organization above, there sadly is one already, how else would Jack Abramoff and his associates have been discovered without detectives and other members against soft money???To fix this problem of campaign finance we need to eliminate some of the sources of the soft money with State laws guided by federal laws to avoid the larger soft money scandals that have and probably take place in the federal government...By doing this it would limit the funding of soft money through the rich individuals who are mostly reponsible for this soft money...

I think that the best way to get rid of money issues in the political realm is to eliminate the use of soft money. Soft money can only cause problems, irregulartiy, and dishonesty. Soft money was the way that Jack Abramoff built up his pocket and decieved us all. It's impoartant that our legal system is kept legal and that our government is just as honest as they make themselves out to be. With unregulated money floating around that's not possible. It makes our nation just as corrupt as the next. The ellimination of soft money is the ticket.

Everyone wants to change America. Everyone is also naive to the fact that America has the greatest political system set up in the history of the entire world. Yes, there are minor problems within America, but there is no perfect system. This system is the best we can get, and reforming it would just end up ruining it. This is why it hasn't been reformed very often. It is so close to perfect, changing things will most likely make it worse.

I think there should be a cap on how much Hard Money a political party can recieve, by doing this we would give each candidate an equal advantage in running their campaign.

Candidates should use their own money and be limited to how much they spend.

I personally believe that changing the system could make things better but also worse. Yes you could change it, but not everyone would agree with it. That is how America is, everyone has there own opinions, and from the way things are now it seems that a majority of people are ok with how it runs now. Not everyone, but if it was a serious problem with alot of people they would be determined enough to change things. But there isn't that's why things have stayed the way they are for a pretty long time. There could be a few things changed like allowing the people to know where there money is going and how it is being spent, otherwise big changes could cause conflicts with many.

i dont think that they should change the government that much all i think they should do is limit the money. the money is the biggest issue with america's government people scaminning people. And then trying to make everyone believe that they are doing good for america when they really are just getting money from us. So i believe that they shouldnt do no major changing but it should be change some. But nothings perfect or will ever be perfect and we should screw with it and mess it up even more!!!!

We all no that the whole Abramoff thing was bad, but in a way it mad the soft and hard money situation allot stronger. When they did this it mad the government take a closer look at what’s going on with the soft and hard money contributions. This does not mean that there won’t be another scandal; it just means that there is a less chance of another one coming up in the near future.

The American political system is in need of a reform. I believe that that the U.S. legislation should enforce the McCain-Feingold Bill. The government is having alot of soft money that is unaccounted for. Money is passed from organization to organization so many times that the money can't be tracked. This leads to money in candidates pockets without the government knowing about it. As shown in the Jack Abramoff scandal, there is there is a massive amount of corruption that is taking place in our government. The McCain-Feingold bill will get rid of soft money.

I think that what Abramoff did was not right but i also think that the McCain-Feingold Bill will not work but it is needed in an attempt to get a hold of the campaing finance situation. People will always find a way to sneek their way around the bill. But the bill can always be revised to prevent these loopholes.

Getting rid of soft money seems to me like it would be the only way to ensure that there will be no more scandals like the Abramoff scandal. It would get rid of a lot of the money fraud that happens when soft money is turned into hard money. There is no realistic way to track all the soft money and ensure that it will all go to the candidate, so it should just be eliminated altogether. How we have it set up now, there are too many loopholes and getting rid of soft money would also eliminate a lot of the loopholes.

No matter which way you look at it, there will always be loopholes in the system. It just happens that way, nothing's perfect. However if all funding of a campaign is limited to public donations, it will decrease the amount of wealthy donors affecting the swing of a campaign. This solution in a whole has many flaws but is the only logical choice. Banning soft money has had little to no effect on the matter. Soft money will always somehow seep in. However, if you limit the funding to public donors, it will be easier to see whether a candidate is living true to accepting only regulated money to spend. So in a nutshell, no matter what there will always be flaws with the system, it's human nature to want more.

I recommend the State Legislature and U.S. House of Representative districts be established outside the political system. Their that the political system has some massive large loopholes and flaws in it. Total public funding of elections, no lobbyists allowed. Campaign financing should be taken equally from a central fund.No one can help it when the greed pulls you in to want the rest.

if i was able to reform campaign finance it would be simple...get rid of the lobbyist and soft money. All of the money should come from public funding. With public funding all the candidates are equal and it comes down to the best man. With this public funding money is tracked unlike the soft money between the lobbyist. So this should prevent any scandals like the one with Abramoff.

The most important part of reforming campaign finance is to get rid of the lobbyists. All the money for campaigns should come from the government and all candidates should recieve the same amount. This way no one would be able to in any form buy votes. Every candidate should have an equal chance no matter who is backing them up. I don't think there is any reform that will fix campaign finance completely because people will always be able to find a way around the rules to better their chances of winning. Constant reforms are needed as times change.

The first thing to do would be to get rid of soft money. That way there wouldn't be as much money going around unnoticed, and the campaigns would be more fair for all candidates running. We would need to make changes all the time because people will always find ways around the law.

Even though there is a limit on how much a certain person,company, or interest group can donate, candidates find a way to use soft money. The best way to reform the political system then would be to eliminate the use of soft money. We have to find a way to know if and when they use it because they are technically not suppose to today but they still do! When we solve the use of soft money i think we will have solved maybe not all but some of the political curruption.

I think that reform shouldnt have unlimited spending when it comes to the campaigns of the elections because that is putting america in more debt. We should restrict the spending from not just major companies and organizations but to all the people that donate into any runner up in the elections. I understand that the elections are big deals but theres away to get what we want and save money in the process. this is how i feel that we should reform the campaign finances.

I dont think there is much to change about the political system, I think that we could improve but we have to deal with what we have. I think that canidates should have a limit on how much money they can spend.

It's understandable why men would feel a necessity of corporate compliance since so many are employed by corporations who inject themselves between the taxpayer and their government, but it's a mystery why women would allow it. Most companies, even if hiring, are not elevating women, and few are responsive to women's concerns. That companies have highjacked our men is reason enough to be concerned that the culture war exists because government allows its citizens to be placed in such a precarious position by granting corporations the status of a person/citizen. If corporations are citizens, they sure are the epitome of the hydra with multiple heads, and multiple limbs. It is the equivalent of pitting a human against an octopus to see who wins.

I saw Capital crimes last night and it was excellent but my only problem with Mr Moyers is that he only goes after the Right when in fact the Left is super corrupt also.I would admire Moyers twice as much if he did a program on the Clinton administration their Chinese funny money scandal,the Russian & World Bank scandal which seemed to have Gores name attached to it.The Nuclear secrets debockle and more.In truth they should build a mile long gallows and hang them all."His Kingdom is not of this world" Amen!!

My solution would be to limit presidents to one six-year term. That might limit the amount of damage each president could do. It might also help Congress actually do something because nomatter who is in the White House, Congress will know change is coming soon. It also seems that second four-year terms become all about the damage done in the first term.

1) Electronic Voting machines should be required to produce voter confirmation ticket, a "hard copy" of the voter's choice(s). Perhaps, it could even print two; the yellow copy, for the voter's records, the white copy, to be deposited, by the voter, into a supervised lock box, for vote re-counting and auditing/random, spot-auditing purposes.

All paper printing should be done using dot matrix, and NOT thermal paper. Thermal-printed materials could be very easily compromised, just sitting in the back of a truck, on a really hot day (the entire piece of paper turns black, with excessive heat)!

Each roll of Voter Ticket Paper could be pre-printed with unique, encrypted "Roll Numbers" and "Edge Numbers." A poll worker would be required to record each roll number into a log, and to "key' the same number into the machine, upon changing it.

With these edge and roll numbers in place, it would make the spot-auditing the machine tallies and vote re-counting a much more reliable and tamper-resistant process. Having the numbers printed in advance, on the paper, would assure that the codes weren't being generated by the same machine that recorded the vote code.

To reduce the risk of problems that might be linked to machines running out of running out of ink/paper, the machines could be programmed to accept only the number of votes that the roll of paper/ink will allow. This would reduce/eliminate votes counted on a machine, for which there was no paper record.

2) While voting is our RIGHT and not a requirement, I'm wondering if, maybe, it should become a responsibility to, at the very least, register - perhaps even be required to “check in” or something.

3) It should be a requirement for all voters to show PROOF OF RESIDENCY, and CITIZENSHIP. We are all provided a birth certificate, when we are born here, in the US. If you can’t find it, you can send away for it, or something. I don’t buy into the idea that certain classes of people can’t get/afford a US Passport, or some other official ID. If that is the case, our government needs to step in and fix it so that everyone has some form of ID with which he can prove his citizenship. Nobody should be in this country without some form of proper ID. Period.

4) “Re-Districting” – OUT! ‘nuff said!

5) The American Civil Liberties Union should concentrate its efforts on the liberties of AMERICAN CIVILIANS, and should not concern itself with defending people who are here, illegally, from other countries.

6) It should be ILLEGAL for anyone in any governmental office or agency to award any amount of money or contract to anyone or any company with whom they have done or plan to do business, within a 5+ year span of time. It should also work the other way, as well - the recipient of the awarded contract/money should also face corruption charges if it is discovered that they have had any history of business relationship. This would cut back on some of the nepotism, the special favors, and the no-bid contracts that seem, to keep going out.

7) Just like Jury Duty, perhaps some kind of mandatory, "Ethics Oversight Duty" could be implemented, where randomly-selected, citizens would be required to anonymously participate in some form of oversight regarding what projects are "earmarked" (if any) and which ones are added (or not) to the schedules of the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, etc. By bringing randomly-selected people into the mix, it will, in my opinion, put our government on its "best behavior."

One might argue that "the average Joe" might not be qualified to be contributing to this level of decision making... I would argue that if he's qualified enough to put someone to death in this country, he's certainly qualified enough to oversee that schools get books, or roads are repaired, or that laws aren't passed that cause people to lose their homes/livelihoods because some other entity says they can make more money off of it.

8) It's becoming more and more apparent that many of the governmental officials are not capable of self-discipline and keeping each other in check. That or, perhaps, the temptations are so great, that it's beyond their ability to resist... Whatever the case, I think the Lobbyists have got to go! No more gifts, free trips, free lunches... If these companies want to donate money and resources so badly, let them donate to a distribution agency (of "The People"), and let the agency handle the distribution of the donations. This will reduce the chances for corruption (and probably the donations, as well, unfortunately).

9) We need to give this country back to the people, and we need to get our "act" [democracy] cleaned up! We have NO BUSINESS "pushing" democracy on any other country or culture, until we can show that it CAN work. Right now, it's not working, it's quite broken. I'd like to see OUR roads fixed and OUR hungry fed BEFORE we start building roads and feeding people in countries that don't even want us there in the first place.

I digress...

1) We need to get smart on education. Folks should be REQUIRED to graduate with AT LEAST a high school education. It should be made really tough on those who choose to drop out or flunk out of school. There are plenty of pot holes that could be filled. Community Service should be the alternative to quitting high school. This is the 21st century and we are not in a depression. There's no excuse for a kid (in this country) to need to drop out of school to help support his family.

2) People really need to stop having kids if they are not capable of raising and supporting them in decent living conditions, with the support of both parents. It breaks my heart to see all of these kids being born to mothers who don't know who the father is, or that already have four other kids they can't support.

Parents need to snap out of their "not my kid" attitude and realize that kids are having sex with one another nowadays. Unfortunately, the only education about this that many kids CAN get is from other kids! Kids and their parents just don't discuss it, and parents won't let it be taught in school, to the extent it probably should be. In light of this, I think that girls should be administered the Norplant [time-release] Birth Contraceptive, upon having their first period. This way, at the very least, a girl's got a fighting chance to make it out of high school without becoming pregnant. To those parents who say it would encourage their kids to screw around, I say YOU need to teach your kids NOT TO SCREW AROUND! You will be a grandparent before your kid makes it out of school, if you don't make sure they know the consequences of their actions. Kids will screw around, and will do it whether you know it or not. We might as well make it so they can do it without messing up their own lives, the lives of their parents (because they usually get stuck with them), not to mention the lives of their babies.

3) Why is our country one of the few, if not the only one, that does not require a passport to enter/leave? We need to seriously get this border situation fixed! I'm pretty certain it's too late to stop whatever terrorists from getting in, they are probably already here.

The skill level of the people working on our buildings, our highways and roads is slowly being compromised, by people who didn't know what they were doing when they accepted their job, and who couldn't read the back side of a bag of cement if... Oh, wait.. Everything is printed in English AND Spanish, now - (Actually, Spanish and English, in that order)

If we keep letting people in who couldn't make it in their own country, what the hell makes us think they are going to improve ours?

We SERIOUSLY need to start enforcing our immigration laws, and go after anyone who employs or rents homes or sells cars to anyone that is not an American Citizen, or well on their way to becoming one!

I don't buy into the argument that it would be too much trouble to "round-up" all of the illegal immigrants. They are going to have to be rounded up to get whatever "temporary" documentation (another bad idea), right? So what's the difference? How could anyone even conceive of going to another country without following its immigration laws, and become a citizen, the right way? How can you live, constantly looking over your shoulder for IMIGRA?

We need to review/change the laws so that at least one parent of a couple MUST BE AN AMERICAN. No more "Anchor Babies!" I'm quite fed up with seeing all these senoras pushing a stroller around with 2 kids in it and one on the way and who don't even bother taking the time to learn English before they have kids here. How the hell do they expect their kids to amount to anything if they can’t function in school? This becomes yet another burden on our already over-taxed school systems. I'm tired of using my tax dollars to pay for their inability to keep their panties on

3) There should be one single agency to which money/resource donations may be made, and the agency charged with equal and transparent distribution of the assets to all government offices and parties. This agency would disburse political ad campaign funding, and would also track any government-issued charge cards and spending accounts for all employees and officials. I don’t get a free ride, an expense account and an all-expenses paid week in the Bahamas, nor should anyone else.

4) There should be an ethics oversight agency formed. The agency would perform oversight on all local/state/us laws and "earmarked" projects. The agency could be staffed by "regular" people, and it could become OUR LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY to serve [anonymously] with this agency, much like how our courts populate their juror sections.

The core staff could be made up of "qualified" legal and support administration, who would explain each new law/proposal to "ethics jurors." These ethics jurors could deliberate on their assignment, and determine whether it should be put on a schedule for the US Senate or the House to work on. One might argue that "the average Joe" isn't qualified to make these decisions... I would argue that if they are qualified enough to send a man to his death, then he's certainly qualified to decide whether a school gets new books, or pot holes get filled, etc. I think something like this would help get the people involved, and would also keep politicians on their best behavior!

5) I have been lucky enough to have pursued a career that has taken me around the world. I would never have said this when I was a kid, however, given the way things are headed, and given my own experiences and observations, I think it should be mandatory for Americans to serve in our military; and part of the service should be performed while living in another country.

Living abroad, for an extended period of time, will afford Americans invaluable opportunity to experience other cultures and to appreciate where people come from and what they have, at home. Part of America's problem is that we are "Globally Retarded" Too many people never get out of their own back yard and, as a result, are culturally and geographically clueless. There is no excuse for this, and it only breeds ignorance, discrimination and probably even racism.

I would "clean the hill" of anyone there in office and then do any criminal background on ANYONE who wanted to run for office. But there would be reformed laws ensuring that NO Congressional employee would be able to vote themself a payraise, and they would only be able to have 2 times in office and no family member or extended family member could run for Congressional office as there's also be nepotisum on the "Hill" for decades, in all sorts of extended ways. That lobbyists for corporations would never be able to have any influence to anyone who was making, discussing and passing any laws for this country. That all monies spent by a Congressman/woman had to be audited monthly to keep and make them "HONEST" whether or not they were. I'm for making everyone of them know that the American voting public are not going to stand for this crap anymore! Where in the world is it known in this country that an employee tells the employer they are going to get a raise and how much of a raise. They NEED to be taught the reason they are where they are, THEY WORK FOR US, THE AMERICAN PUBLIC! We need to fire all of them and start over! ON BOTH SIDES OF THE ISLE IN BOTH HOUSES. BTW...did you know they are exempt from paying any taxes on any home left behind in their "home" state and also the house they live in while in Washington D.C...then they get medical, dental, a chauffer and car while they are in Washington D.C. and get their gas to drive them for free from the gas pump behing the Capitol. Just some information for you to chew on....I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!

Civics needs to be brought back to our schools - check out Richard Dreyfuss on Bill Maher's HBO Show in November. Fabulous discussion. I also feel we need to publicly fund all elections and get rid of the electoral college.

We think that schools should teach the kind of civics lessons that Richard Dreyfuss talked about. Let's create some enthusiasm for the reform of elections so that representatives truly represent the public instead of the corporations.

All earmarks should be abolished. Anyone attempting to earmark any bill should automatically be cited for an ethics violation

Let's put the "US" back in
U.S. This means all of us,
not just a few.

A good example of "Federalism" would be the following: Interstate 20 through the state of Mississippi was funded by the taxpayers of the wealthier states like those of the Northeast and the Midwest, and gladly so. This has helped to bring the badly needed commerce to this poorest of states. A good definition of "Federalism" would therefore be: Everyone working together (the "us" referred to in the above opening statement!) for the good of ALL citizens in the U.S.

we are all the same and we all feel the burden of our name
we should not do one another harm
we can be safe
here
with us
we can keep up
we are all the same and we all feel the weight of this administrations mistakes.

there is no better moment to bring in a new time in its completeness then now

there is no better moment to bring in a new time in its completeness then now

there is no better moment to bring in a new time in its completeness then now

there is no better moment to bring in a new time in its completeness then now

My idea for reform is this: All federal elections become completely unfunded,campaign contributions and all campaign advertisement becomes illegal. Every candidate must submit in writing h/her outlines for an administration and all of its policies, etc. in a paper of no less than 12 monthly installments to be published publicly and freely in all media. No one gets to spend more money than anyone else and no one gets more media attention than anyone else. We should establish a parliament and abolish the electoral college and destroy the 2 party system. Every political party should have representation so that every citizen will have a voice.

I would fire them all and send their children & wives to Iraq, korea or Iran whatever war is in vog at the time.

please mr. moyers, save America. run for president!please.

Three phrases should be among the most common in our daily usage. They are: Thank you, I am grateful and I appreciate.

I would try to leverage you to run for President. You are brilliant, kind, philosophical, and visionary. As a former employee of NOW, I have met you in person, and was very impressed by you and your work. I recently viewed your speech at the conference for media reform, and agree whole-heartedly. I hope the American people have turned a corner and will refuse to be spoon fed rhetoric dictated by salesmen and their spin doctors. I value the time I had working with you and the NOW staff, Bill, and laud your passion for truth.

1 - Ensure absolute election integrity and treat election fraud as a form of treason.
2 - Pay legislators and the President a salary commensurate with their responsibilities.
3 - Prohibit any income from any source which did not provide income prior to an elected official's candidacy.
4 - Afford all candidates equal time on TV and prohibit all other political advertising.
5 - Prohibit any legislation which is not transparent and fails to identify its sponsor.
6 - Prohibit any person, corporation or lobbiest from giving anything of value to any elected official.
7 - Treat the acceptance of anything of value from any of the above sources by any elected official as treason.

I like the idea of Ranked Voting as a means of getting more people involved in the political process. How many people vote for the lesser of two evils rather than for the candidate they respect because that candidate doesn't stand a chance of winning and they don't want to "throw away" their vote? If I can vote for Respected as my first choice and then name Lesser Evil as my second, I can still get Lesser Evil if Respected has no support. I think we'd be surprised at the results and less cynical about politics.

To Bill Moyers: I watched your special and it ties into what I tried to tell CNN way back when the first Bush administration was pursuing war in Iraq (aka "Desert Storm"). Review the "60 Minutes" tapes during the 1st Bush administration and you will find that Bush Sr. also lied about Sadam Hussein (proven), that a Washington-based publicity firm was hired to paint Saddam as a villain to Congress and the American people in order to justify that first war, and that Bush Sr. knowingly testified before Congress using the words of a female later identified by "60 Minutes" to be the ambassador-to-Kuwait's daughter (known to Bush Sr. after she'd been to the White House, but he claiming she was an ordinary Kuwaiti citizen with supposed "knowledge" of Saddam's soldiers "stealing incubators"---a claim proven false by the "60 Minutes" investigators). Please see if use of this same publicity firm (or its subsidiaries) is part of the whole propaganda play from the current Bush administration. Also, as a side-line, can you find out if this same publicity firm (connected to the secret group of right-wingers placed in the CIA by this administration?) was instrumental in the so-called "case" built against the Clintons in order to discredit them (and influence future elections).

To Bill Moyers: I watched your special and it ties into what I tried to tell CNN way back when the first Bush administration was pursuing war in Iraq (aka "Desert Storm"). Review the "60 Minutes" tapes during the 1st Bush administration and you will find that Bush Sr. also lied about Sadam Hussein (proven), that a Washington-based publicity firm was hired to paint Saddam as a villain to Congress and the American people in order to justify that first war, and that Bush Sr. knowingly testified before Congress using the words of a female later identified by "60 Minutes" to be the ambassador-to-Kuwait's daughter (known to Bush Sr. after she'd been to the White House, but he claiming she was an ordinary Kuwaiti citizen with supposed "knowledge" of Saddam's soldiers "stealing incubators"---a claim proven false by the "60 Minutes" investigators). Please see if use of this same publicity firm (or its subsidiaries) is part of the whole propaganda play from the current Bush administration. Also, as a side-line, can you find out if this same publicity firm (connected to the secret group of right-wingers placed in the CIA by this administration?) was instrumental in the so-called "case" built against the Clintons in order to discredit them (and influence future elections).

They , whoever they are, say that media is the fourth estate. Our constitution says we have the right to a free press. I tell you the first thing I would do would be to go to www.wearechange.com and you get Luke and you show off his spirit. On NOW or whatever show you have. This a true American His buddy just died and he needs real help.

One has to wonder WHY the mainstream media has NOT taken Bill Moyers lead? It's up to the "CONCERNED CITIZENS" of America to take back what was once "of, by and for" the PEOPLE!

THE BEST DAMN POLITICAL STRATEGIST
SpoAct@blogspot.com

Decision makers should ride bicycles. (bikes + public transportation)

The comment of the concern citizens are the same.The political leaders that's local,state, and federal, level are all to be held accountable. and we the people of these united states
have the power to made a much need it change. Who or whom going to lead us??

Bill Moyers, thank you for remaining one of the very few courageously, accessibly, empathetically informative programs left on TV!
I'm a public school teacher witnessing the US public school system being economically dismembered and served up to the same interests which resist change in the health-care system, and seek to gain from mortgage, credit card, and used car corruptions amongst the many.
The same privatized triumphs: profits-first, watered-down-services-to-a-few, less-and-less-to-the-rest, are clearly resulting. It's another angle on our economy's being in "The Poverty Business".
Please, please soon do an exploration of public education. How public school monies are being raided for private interests. How our children are mandated to spend so much less time per year in school -months!! - than other countries, so that prospects for reasonable academic competition become less and less - with accompanying grim future implications.
How so many politicians and educators continue to move their children either out of schools in tougher environments or out of public schools altogether, while continuing to administer blame and reduced support for viable school functioning into the lives of those too poor to get out.
HELP! Public education is overdue the exploration! j.p-s.

The U.S. has the WRONG FORM of government for the 21st Century. It has been SO easily subverted/controlled by corporatists/fascists that it cannot be trusted by the American people.

A total revision of the U.S. Constitution and elections to a Parliamentary, non-partisan mode, via public financing, would bring back HONEST representation.

OR, the U.S. could become broken into 6-50 million person nation-states with similar governments noted above.

Clearly, the U.S. Government's representational system does NOT work for the vast majority of Americans.

We MUST rise to CHANGE the subversion of our government.

We can do it by BALLOTS or BULLETS, but it MUST be done.

I have a couple of penis stretchers and I like the X4 Labs the most.

it is well informed by the business school and i hope that this information can be lobbyied for before parliment to make a stature of Acts/ legistation in the white house to put these comments to the secretary of the attention of President Barak Obarma of america. put give me feed back when this is address the

it is well informed by the business school and i hope that this information can be lobbyied for before parliment to make a stature of Acts/ legistation in the white house. thanks christine

it is well informed by the business school and i hope that this information can be lobbyied for before parliment to make a stature of Acts/ legistation in the white house. thanks christine

I think it is time to have a constitutional convention to form a new government[or governments]. Selection should be like jury duty; random. My preference is for more democracy; term limits for all; a more democratic court as well, no more lifetime appointments. A bar on lobbying for say 5-7 years after you leave office.Define what really is a human person, none of this legal fiction crap.

Great thread, and sorry I'm so late in finding it. A lot of great suggestions, I find, include term limits and public financing.
The role of corporations concerns me most of all as the root of all evil in this multistakeholder dynamic. In a consumer society, every dollar spent establishes the parts of the economic system.
I began shopping in health food stores years ago, and then joined a food co-op as member. After several years I realized I was actually also part-owner along with thousands of others.
While I worked for Nader's progeny the PIRGs for a short time, and have supported non-profit civil society like Greenpeace for years, my shopping at healthfood stores and joining a food co-op have impressed me as essential acts.
Moreover, the ongoing strength of the organic food certification, though under corporate assault, has not yet succumbed in important ways, for example. Furthermore, a previous comment on Nader also reminds me that the PIRGs also have started some businesses, including Green Century Mutual Funds. Nader himself has written on Credit Unions:
http://www.populareconomics.org/ussen/node/152
Imagine what shifts can happen through shifts to supporting health food stores, smaller organic and fair trade companies, and credit unions. Imagine friends, associates, and neighbors, not to mention fellow worshipers, getting together to start buying clubs that become green, social enterprises themselves sooner or later.
Then, combined with the political consciousness of non-profit civil society, like Global Exchange and Green America, the constituencies for political campaigns could easily start to look like the best the world has seen, both in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Denmark, for example, has historically had a strong co-operative culture, and has numerous wind co-operatives that have weathered the contamination of their political culture by neoliberal ideology. The Middelgrunden offshore wind co-op stands as a testament and bulwark of sorts to their holding fast in the cultural "winds" that have blown.
Finally, one day, perhaps a candidate like Cynthia McKinney or Dennis Kucinich can be elected, or the recent ex-Sierra Club mayor of Seattle, along with representatives like them to shape American culture and policy in a green social democracy.

it is well informed by the business school and i hope that this information can be lobbyied for before parliment to make a stature of Acts/ legistation in the white house. thanks christine

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