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Washington is Broken

Washington is Broken

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Published by Jose
Excellent article with a clear message about why government doesn't work for the people.
Excellent article with a clear message about why government doesn't work for the people.

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Published by: Jose on Sep 05, 2009
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10/14/2012

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Wayne Besen - Daily CommentaryWednesday, September 02, 2009Washington is Broken(Weekly Column)By far the biggest and most destructive lie in politics today is when lawmakerssay, "I'm not influenced by the money." Anyone who believes this doozie isdelusional. The truth is, politicians will rarely turn away those who are feedingtheir families and egos.As a society, we are conditioned to focus on tawdry sex scandals or illegalbribes. But, our way of life is really threatened by the legal larceny that occursin campaigns and legislatures. Powerful lobbyists represent wealthy specialinterests that have the immense resources to game our pay-to-play system.If you accompany a politician on the road, the first thing that you notice is thathe or she spends a great deal of time begging for money. The phone becomes aSiamese twin and the office holder enters a co-dependent relationship with theinvaluable donor list. In the race for cash, original thoughts becomeafterthoughts and ideals are cast aside by the need to close the deal.The media and the pundits exacerbate the problem by judging the seriousness ofpresidential and congressional candidates almost exclusively by how much moneythey raise. We have reached a point where bank statements are more important thanstatesmen.These days, getting things done on Capitol Hill requires a three-step process.The first step is creating a legal mechanism to deliver campaign contributions.The second step is hiring a team of hotshot lobbyists (aka former members ofCongress) who essentially promise their old colleagues lucrative jobs as lobbyistswhen they eventually step down -- if they vote the "right" way. The final step ishiring top tier public relations firms to create advertising and pseudo grassroots campaigns, designed to give cover to politicians that are essentially beingbought to do an industry's bidding.This Washington sleaze factor is evident in the healthcare battle. The drug andinsurance industries have pulled out all the stops to protect profits. Their moneyhas co-opted (some would say corrupted) the majority of the Republican Party andmany of the Blue Dog Democrats. Republican operatives, often posing as concernedcitizens, have raised hell in town hall meetings in an attempt to confuse thepublic. And, a PR campaign has tricked the most gullible Americans (there is noshortage of them) into believing in "death panels."Unfortunately, the Obama administration seems shell-shocked by the realities ofmodern Washington. It has failed to use the bully pulpit to remind Americans whatthey hate about our inefficient and ineffective health care system.For example, we keep hearing about how Americans love their insurance. Why don'tthe democrats run ads featuring people who were once infatuated with their healthplan -- until they got sick. At that point they discovered that their company didnot want to pay for life-saving procedures and found a way to cancel theirpolicies. Instead, we get dispassionate, policy wonk prattle about public optionsand mechanisms for controlling costs.In the end, it may not matter what Obama does because the special interests withthe most money usually win. But, the dominion of dollars over decency is important

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