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Stupid 'liberal' expects government to solve yet another problem, for her.

By Absolutely ·
These idiots should learn the literal meaning of the word 'democrat'. For now, a clue: being a true 'democrat' would require personal involvement in your own government, not endless creation of new bureaucracies. If 'the people' wanted to know what their representatives were doing, they could get their news from the C-SPAN channels, and they would collectively form a market force that would compel news networks to provide the data described below, in order to remain in business. Instead, the market pays for gossip, sit-coms and 'news' stories about the weirdest, not the most important, events. You losers don't deserve the truth, on my dime, nor anybody else's.

Re-Setting The Lobbyists' Table
Ellen Miller
January 04, 2007

Ellen Miller is the executive director of the Sunlight Foundation.

?Ethics reform? always sounded to me like something having to do with etiquette: the polite and proper way to hold a fork or knife, set a table or respond to an invitation. Something, in short, given the vast array of things we have to worry about, that just isn?t all that important. But ethics reform is at the top of the 100 Hour proposals the Democrats will offer in the House this week. And that?s a good thing.

Changing how Congress does business, and who it does it for, particularly in wake of an election that demonstrated the public?s disgust with the corruption, is the single most critical thing Congress can do to establish faith in our democracy and the institutions that govern it. It may be too late to do that, but at least the new leadership wants to try.

The Democrats are promising more transparency so the public can see and understand what happens on Capitol Hill, greater separation of lobbyists and state and tighter enforcement of the new rules. This is good, indeed, very good.

With our politics still reeling from the crooked culture of Abramoff, DeLay, Cunningham, et al., we are looking at an initial proposal that will ban travel and gifts from lobbyists, and end secret earmarks by requiring lawmakers to disclose who secured them. The devil is always in the details, but at least the broad outlines of these initial proposals sound very solid.

In the age of the Internet, though, transparency means something more than what the leadership has yet to propose. It means using the new technology to broadcast what and how Congress is doing the nation?s business; who lawmakers meet with and why; and making information available in a way that consumers of that information want it?24 hours a day, seven days a week. It also means putting out information in ways so that ordinary people can connect the dots. And besides all that, Congress would be foolish not to use the Internet to engage citizens in the new conversation that is taking place.

Congress now files a myriad of reports, but much of it is effectively hidden from plain view?information filed in three-ring binders in basement offices of the Senate or House Clerk or in some obscure government office, or put online as unsearchable documents. Like mold, influence peddling and corruption grow best in the darkness, and for a long time Congress has liked it just that way.

But the times, the technology and what people are beginning to expect in the Age of the Internet, have changed. Congress must go further than what it is now contemplating.

First, all currently required public filings by lawmakers should be filed online, in a searchable and downloadable format within 24 hours of the time they are filed in paper form. There are many valuable disclosure forms already required which would add to transparency?if only we could find them! Making all filings available online, and increasing their frequency, is a logical and easy step forward.

Second, end offline, secret legislation. Bills and amendments should be posted online at least 72 hours before a vote, so that members of Congress and the public have time to read the bills before they are voted on. There should be no reason to continue the practice of adding last-second earmarks and riders that benefit the moneyed and even lawmakers? personal interests. The proposed rule requires disclosure of the sponsor of an earmark, and that information should also become available, immediately, online.

Finally, recognizing that members of Congress are not the only culprits who allow corruption and secrecy to fester on the Hill, there must finally be some meaningful lobbyist disclosure. Paid lobbyists should have to report who they meet with, and what they discuss, and report any connections they have with members of Congress. All lobbyists? reports should be filed on the Internet, within 24 hours of any meeting.

There is nothing radical about these proposals. In the era of new technology, these are all feasible and common sense steps towards making our Congress more open, accountable and modern. This kind of accountability of lawmakers to constituents could begin to repair the broken relationship between elected officials and their constituents. They might change how the House and Senate operate, too. And that?s precisely the point.

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C-Span? Market forces? Don't talk nuts.

by DelbertPGH In reply to Stupid 'liberal' expects ...

The idea behind this article is that the lawmakers should post the text of the bills online so that anybody across the country can read them, do text searches, etc. You counter with the notion that you can learn all you need about your government from watching C-Span... like a TV channel could present a complete picture of Congress.

I don't see where the new bureaucracy you are worried about comes into this. It doesn't take a big staff to post text files on the web. The same bureaucracy is already at work, maintaining the text of the current bills under consideration, probably on computer servers. We just can't see it now.

You complain that "your dime" would be wasted on this proposal, that if the people were really concerned about this kind of information, they would constitute a market force that would have already brought it into distribution, as a free-enterprise operation.

You complain about the idea that government should make it easier for someone among the people to find out what it's doing. Internet technology now makes fuller disclosure cheap and efficient. Are you actually a libertarian, or do you support secrecy in government? Isn't this a democratic country, with citizens entitled to access to their government, or do you need to be a "market force" to deserve information and a voice?

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"You counter with the notion that..."

by Absolutely In reply to C-Span? Market forces? ...

Each of the first three replies suggests that my mention of C-SPAN implies that I believe it is "good enough". My intention was just the opposite. I believe that the fact that C-SPAN is mandatory tells us that there is not a (significant) market demand for the valuable information broadcast on C-SPAN: other than the government mandate on cable companies to broadcast political debates as they occur, there is next to no economic demand for such "raw data". My conclusion is that since "the voters" are the same people as "the cable television market", and the Constitution already guarantees us freedom of the press, then what we don't buy in the free market, we have no right to expect "the government" to give to us.

The counter-argument is that Senators already have web pages. True enough. But, you all have jobs, right? Do you have any idea how much more money is spent ensuring compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley than was spent ensuring compliance with the accounting laws that existed before? New requirements mean new expenditures, always. If "the people" wish to require more, from an elected official or from anybody else, I say let them first try expressing their desires with purchases. Put your money where your loud mouth is!

Segregation, for example, ended because of the power of the boycott, not the power of legislation. Legislation only followed, as a formality, to codify the change that had been initiated by the free market.

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The corollary of your argument is

by drowningnotwaving In reply to "You counter with the not ...

what we don't buy in the free market, we have no right to expect "the government" to give to us.

... that there should be NO free access to government information.

There should not be free web sites for the Houses or the Executive.

That there should be no free web sites from the various departments enabling me access to information.

It should be on some commercial media. If there aren't enough people to justify it's existence commercially, then your money shouldn't be spent pushing it out.

Sorry, but that is demonstrably plain and utter foolishness.

Your argument favours secret government, hidden agendas, access controlled solely by money and all the things that most free democratic people would argue strongly against.

And to somehow join an argument about open government access with separate legislation brought in to curb illegal and immoral activity in corporations (S-O) is drawing a long bow.

Why do you feel commercialising access to basic government information is in any person's best interest?

Or are you of the extreme position that every single function of the government should be "commercialised"?

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classic liberal double posts

by Absolutely In reply to The corollary of your arg ...
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'...every single function of the government should be "commercialised"?'

by Absolutely In reply to The corollary of your arg ...

No, not law enforcement, nor militaries. Halliburton, and other corporations owned in the United States, should never sell munitions to any government.

Other than defense of personal liberties (the express purpose of the United States government) all other needs & wants of individuals should be the exclusive province of free enterprise. Call me extreme to your hearts' content. My reply is that I am extremely principled, and that your intended pejorative is taken as a compliment, as if you had called me 'geek' hoping that I would accordingly accept the moronic premise that my intelligence is cause for shame.

Your argument favours secret government, hidden agendas, access controlled solely by money and all the things that most free democratic people would argue strongly against.

How do those people spend their money? If they spend it on pulp fiction instead of on honest reporting, what right do they have to the truth?

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Access is free

by TonytheTiger In reply to The corollary of your arg ...

to anyone who wants it. Why should we pay to deliver it to the door of the few who too lazy to go get it themselves?

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or the many?

by Absolutely In reply to Access is free

Why should we pay to deliver it to the door of the few who too lazy to go get it themselves?

I don't care about numbers when the principle is invalid. Whether few or many, those expecting to benefit from my labor without payment can eat dung.

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by drowningnotwaving In reply to or the many?

The stated intention of your previous posts, combined with the detail of some of the other posts in this, make you a blind fanatic.

"Blind" because in putting up the shutters to any alternate ideas you must, by necessity, end up with results that cannot be optimum, in the long term.

And that's just stupid.

In your IT studies did you ever study any game theory?

Do you seriously think, in the end game of your credit-card-government, that you personally will be rich enough to be allowed to vote?

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Why vote

by TonytheTiger In reply to Well

when your choices are dumb and dumber?

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Why play your shell game?

by Absolutely In reply to Well

The rights of people who have not earned money are deemed to supersede the rights of those who have earned it, leaving earners deprived of our wealth without due process. Until that is remedied you can take your game and your theory and get the he11 out of my way.

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