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Is There a Way to Prevent Corruption in Leaders?

Posted by Aeronca 1 week, 6 days ago to Philosophy
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I had a silly idea how to prevent corruption. Silly because I'm sure anyone could poke holes in this scheme. Please point out where and why this wouldn't work.

Every public official who wishes to run for public office (and wins) has their identity, SSN, DOB, etc...published worldwide. Their face, their DNA, everything.

Their bank account(s) are published on the world wide web in real time.

They can't touch a dollar or a penny without everyone knowing. They can't ride in a vehicle without the VIN# being published. They can't own a piece of property without the price and address published.

I'm trying to imagine if we could shine a bright light on all the ways that they hide and steal money that ...

This is stupid. It will never work. I give up!!!

Let them eat lead.


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    Posted by mhubb 1 week, 6 days ago
    term limits
    all election funds at the end of those term limits are handed to pay down the nation debt they helped create

    all stocks go to a blind trust while in office

    retirement is social security
    all laws they pass effect them also
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    • Posted by $ rainman0720 1 week, 5 days ago
      +1 for "...all laws they pass must affect them also..."

      I wholeheartedly agree. I've often wanted to run for public office on that concept as my one and only platform. In essence, to every piece of legislation that ever appeared in Congress I would add an amendment that "Expressly forbids Congress from EVER exempting themselves from any law ever passed."

      Of course, long before being elected, anyone running on that platform would end up buried in an end zone, or thrown into a wood chipper, or found dead on a park bench, or taken for a ride in a convertible owned by the Kennedys.
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  • Posted by $ blarman 1 week, 5 days ago
    The simple question underlying your real question is this: can one force the human soul? Or in more proverbial terms "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink."

    Ultimately, people have to individually choose to accept a positive moral code to live by. Some will choose to do so and some will choose to eschew morals in favor of power, money, etc. So all one can do is try to hold politicians accountable for their actions. This is where structural measures such as separation of powers, veto, impeachment, etc. all have their day. It is veritably true that some are more effective than others. Here are a few of my comments on some structural reforms I believe could assist.

    1. Repeal the Twelfth Amendment. Many have never even heard of it or understand its significance, but the Twelfth Amendment paved the way for political parties by putting the President and Vice President on the same ticket. I support repealing this Amendment to allow for multiple political parties to more closely align with voter blocs.

    2. A lame duck clause which ends the term of any Congressman or Senator who loses their re-election bid no later than the Friday following the election (Tuesday) and barring any appeals. Once the people have spoken, they have spoken.

    3. All costs, salaries, etc. for Senators and Congressmen shall be paid for by their respective States rather than from Federal Funds. Congress should NOT be allowed to control their own pay or benefits. Congress would still set the budgets for the other two branches of office as well as the maintenance/security of the Capitol building itself.

    4. Repeal the Seventeenth Amendment. The individual States have been largely excised from any kind of control over the Federal government with the popular election of Senators. The States should be in charge of the Federal government and right now just the opposite is true. In order to do that, the States have to have their role in the Federal Government reinstated: Senators should be elected by their respective State governments. (The People themselves would maintain their participation through direct election of Representatives.)

    5. Repeal the Sixteenth Amendment. The personal income tax is oppressive in several ways and should be repealed immediately. First, it divorces government income in large part from the economic base upon which it should be responsive. When government can tax its own people for their commercial intercourse, it only gives incentive to grow its power through greater and greater tyranny. Government revenues should primarily originate from international trade tariffs and import duties. These also have a potent feedback mechanism as a result of international diplomacy and provides a potent check on both pure isolationism as well as unfettered grants of Most Favored Nation status.
    The second - and potentially even more problematic - issue is that the implementation of a personal income tax - and its extension as corporate income taxes - has an inherently chilling effect on Free Speech. Any time speech is suborned through the permission of a government agency - especially one as potent as the IRS - you are introducing and tolerating the very tyranny the Founders revolted over.

    6. Automatic review of federal appellate judges whose rulings get overturned by the Supreme Court. We have a real problem with the Federal Judiciary being more ideological than judicial. The Founders originally anticipated that Impeachment and Conviction could serve as a reasonable check on such behavior. Unfortunately, the history of Impeachment of judicial positions shows that it is almost completely ineffective, allowing Federal judges - especially appellate judges - to be appointed and rule from an increasingly ideological perspective. I would propose a second check: that Federal judges who are repeatedly overruled by the Supreme Court (I'm looking at the Ninth District especially) would be immediately subject to review and reconfirmation by the Senate.

    7. An Amendment which directs the Judicial Branch to use a "strict scrutiny" standard when adjudicating whether or not an action taken by the government is Constitutional. Deference to the judgement calls of bureaucrats ends forever.

    8. An Amendment clarifying that any Executive agency enacted by Congress must get Congressional approval to issue ANY rules. The Constitution delegates specifically to Congress the power to pass laws and this has been largely bypassed by the enactment of agencies with rule-making authority.

    9. An Amendment dictating that Congress may not allocate in its Budget any more than the actual Revenue brought in the second year prior to that being budgeted. No more unlimited spending. Priority goes to paying down debt. The rest Congress gets to fight over to allocate. But it is a fixed amount.

    Anyway, that's a starter list.
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    • Posted by jack1776 1 week, 5 days ago
      All awesome ideas... Looks like you’re going to the Convention of States.

      2. Great idea -I would expand to the executive branch as well, also I would disallow pardons after the incumbent lost.

      5. Concerned with unintended consequences – an amendment that forces equal application of laws - Congress would be forbidden from passing laws that give one state, industry, business, person an advantage or burden that others do not receive or pay. Would force a flat tax as well as remove the incentive for corruption. Laws couldn’t be passed bestowing favorable teams one corporation, no reason for the corporation to pay the congressman for their vote.

      6. This is a great idea, have not hear of this before.

      7. Can you elaborate?

      8. Agreed, regulatory bodies shouldn’t be able enforce regulations on people. I would deny regulatory rules completely, any regulatory rule would have to be a law passed by congress before it could be enforced.

      9. I think this could have some major problems and will be overturned in the future. Think about war, how would we increase spending in the face of a threat? First, we fire/layoff most federal employees. It would cheaper with them on welfare and we wouldn’t have to deal with the poor decisions they make. We would privatize most functions that were deemed necessary. The BLM, once disbanded, has tons of resources owned by the people, these should be privatized, the profits utilized to pay our federal operating costs. We would start again with a budget of zero, any increase must be paid for and voted on by congress. The source or the funds must be in the bill, and how the law is dissolved if funds become unavailable. Each and every bill would have to contain a life cycle of the law.
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      • Posted by 1 week, 4 days ago
        And no more multi-purpose bills. No more "American Recession Plan, blah blah blah, ...and for other purposes" in the Title. One bill, one subject, no more 2000 page bills to hide the legalized stealing in.
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        • Posted by $ blarman 1 week, 4 days ago
          Yes. My idea is to require a mandatory prefatory clause in every bill which cites the singular Constitutional authority under which that Bill will be executed (if passed). (This has the additional effect of providing an effective and simple challenge to any legislation. All a plaintiff has to do is show that the Constitutional authority claimed in the prefatory clause is bogus and the whole bill goes down in flames.)

          A second idea is that which is already employed in many states: that the FULL text of any bill must be read in the presence of a quorum before debate may begin. If that were instituted in the House or Senate, you could kiss these "omnibus" bills goodbye.

          The third would be to outlaw "reconciliation" bills. If the Senate passes a bill, the House has to vote on that bill as written. Same the other way. None of this nonsense where a committee gets to change the text of a bill and then only a slim majority are needed to pass it.
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          • Posted by 1 week, 4 days ago
            All good. I remember when the Unaffordable Careless Act was about to be passed. To make good on his bogus pledge of transparency, Oblama announced that the 2500 page ACA bill would be posted online for 48 hours before the vote! Who reads 2500 pages in 2 days? It took me 6 weeks to read the Gulag Archipelago, 1800 pages.
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      • Posted by $ blarman 1 week, 5 days ago
        I like the suggestion on #2 about the pardons. Good thought.

        #5 Tariffs and taxes are always going to be somewhat problematic in regard to equality of application. In fact, it can be argued that there is no such thing as equal application in such. What metric could be universally applied to all transactions? At least with tariffs there is a direct feedback mechanism outside of Congress' ability to skirt the system.

        #7 Currently, when any particular agency of the Federal government is challenged on its interpretation of statute or its rule-making authority, the agency is given broad leeway or discretion in its application because of a couple of Supreme Court rulings, the most notable being Chevron (Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.). Thus, the precedent established by that ruling was called "Chevron Deference." It is one of the primary reasons for the expansion and growth of Federal bureaucracies' power because the precedent basically says that the burden of proof regarding a given agency's authority to interpret statute lies with the plaintiff rather than with the agency. In other words, given Chevron deference, an agency only has to argue that their interpretation is reasonably aligned with the authority delegated to it by Congress. In contrast, a "strict scrutiny" standard 1) places the onus back on the government agency to prove that its interpretation falls within the authority delegated by Congress, 2) that there is no other way to accomplish the task of the agency, and 3) that the means chosen by the agency must be the least impactful when conflicting with other civil liberties.

        For example, right now, the EPA and Department of the Interior egregiously violate the property rights of land owners in their interpretation of the Waters of the United States Act by declaring any source of running water to impact the water system. Thus they can tell people what they can and can't do with their own land, not to mention what they put in the water (fertilizer runoff from farmers, etc.). A "strict scrutiny" standard would likely negate this encroachment.

        #9. The point about war has not been lost on me. But turn the question on its head: do you want Congress to simply bypass this requirement by ALWAYS existing in a state of War? I think not. The other thing to consider is that this is a direct feedback method to Congress: if they enact policies which cripple the economy, they'll have to deal with revenue shortfalls until they rescind their disastrous policies. The other point I didn't bring up was that this system would automatically disallow funding programs for more than one or two years at a time. They would constantly be on the chopping block, ensuring that there was real competition for those funds.

        I agree that we have too many federal employees. I would fire probably 80% of them if I were Emperor for a Day as I don't believe many of them serve a Constitutional purpose - let alone a useful one.
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        • Posted by 1 week, 4 days ago
          Let's also end pensions for the Congress and President. You get paid to govern. You don't get paid to retire and do nothing useful.
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          • Posted by $ blarman 1 week, 4 days ago
            If we turn over the funding of Senators and Representatives to their States, you'll also get audits of their books. Whether or not they choose to reward their legislators with retirement packages would be up to them.

            Historically speaking, of course, you are correct. The Federal Congress was never meant to be a full-time body nor was it meant to be comprised of "professional" politicians. I am in support of term limits for Congress.
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  • Posted by 25n56il4 1 week, 6 days ago
    Term limits. I speak as a former elected city official. I definitely approve of term limits. Our Congressional candidates are lured by the high salary and perks. They begin to think DC is their home town. Granted it is a lovely city but that's beside the point. Their attitude is and always will be, "now that I've been elected, my priority is to get myself reelected".
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  • Posted by freedomforall 1 week, 6 days ago
    Follow the constitution (and only the first 10 amendments) as written and don't give government power to enslave.
    All the other amendments are hidden agenda actions to enslave.
    No power, no corruption.
    The founders gave us the power. We let the corrupt take it from us.
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    • Posted by LibertyBelle 1 week, 5 days ago
      That's not true. Your don't want Amendments #13, #14, #15, #19?! Abolition of slavery, blacks guaranteed not to be disenfranchised because or their race, equal protection under law (including protections from lynching), woman suffrage? Or perhaps you want the citizen to be handed over to be the serf of his state government? (Comment regarding freedomforall's remark about not using any of the Constitutional Amendments after #10.)
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      • Posted by freedomforall 1 week, 5 days ago
        No, I want some wisdom to be applied to any amendment(s) that replace those additional amendments.

        I think there have been lessons learned about the effects of those amendments. Clearly suffrage and rights of all homo sapiens must be addressed.
        My objection to the 13th, 14th , and 15th is that they were passed without representation of the southern states, and that is unconstitutional itself.
        The 16th was arguably never ratified either. The 12th and 17th are converting the republican form into a democracy, which Franklin among others warned against.
        The 22nd should be expanded to affect the congress.
        There is need for an amendment that further restrict expansion of the central government using the commerce clause and other phrases.
        The amendments that were added after the 10th should be seriously considered based on government actions in the past 200 years.
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      • Posted by 1 week, 4 days ago
        The constitution doesn't limit us as much as it is to limit the government. We do not need every single possible right to be enumerated by the Constitution because then any right not listed would be considered illegal. That is upside-down. The whole purpose of the Constitution was to prevent another abusive taxing monarchy from forming again, as they wanted England to GTFO forever, and anything resembling it growing from within, to never arise. Well, it seems a 2nd Revolution is coming, we had a good run, we are only people, not perfect, the Constitution is pretty damn good, prophetic in many ways, but not in all ways. They could not predict birth control pills and how that would change society...They did however predict and observe corruption.
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  • Posted by $ Ben_C 1 week, 5 days ago
    Something about "the consent of the governed" comes to mind. I have run out of consent. I agree - term limits and full disclosure of all assets.
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  • Posted by bradAnderson 1 week, 6 days ago
    While I understand the motivation to come up with such an extreme idea, there are some fundamental flaws. However, that is the point of this medium and good job putting this out there. Discourse partnered with discussion is the foundation of all progress.

    Coined be Abraham Lincoln, but arguably the root of all visions of America, our government is to be "of... by... and for the people." Subjecting our elected officials to different lifestyles than what the rest of us live will only exacerbate the differences between us and them. Additionally, these conditions would lead only to a need for career politicians and not term limits, a concept which has been brought up numerous times in this chat.

    Greed carries a connotation many don't like in the world. Another term for it, one we should all be more familiar with on this sight, is self-interest. It is the same thing. Two individuals engaging in a transaction with one another are subject to risk. However, if both pursue their personal interests to the fullest of their abilities, especially through regular transactions with one another, then the two will benefit better than under any other system. When one tries to give something unearned, or similarly take something unearned, than there is a discrepancy known as unfairness. The idea that elected leaders are angels on a divine mission with utter disregard for personal interest or desires subconsciously perverts many individual's thoughts. This very ideology is what drives people to regulation and legislation to correct issues rather than to reason. The truth is no human is not human. That is, A does not equal non-A.

    If we can embrace that they pursue personal interests, and ensure a world exists where they live lives as similar as possible to the rest of us, then all the power rests within the voter to vote for the representative with the most aligned interests. That is how corruption is overcome. At the risk of oversimplifying, corruption is merely just a disagreement. In the context we are discussing, corruption is a disagreement between the corrupt and objective value/morality.
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    • Posted by 1 week, 6 days ago
      A ≠ ~A. True! I had to ponder this, having studied symbolic logic a long time ago. I cogitates you is right.

      It looks like the psychopaths are the social climbers who run for office. There is a distinction between Conservatism, and Republican Politicians. Same for the Liberals, and Destructocrat Politicians. Voting just doesn't bridge the gap. We are perpetually voting for corrupt people, no?
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      • Posted by LibertyBelle 1 week, 5 days ago
        I never saw that symbol in such a statement before. I understand the "equals" sign with the line through it, but what does that curved line mean?
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        • Posted by 1 week, 4 days ago
          I used ~ as "not." You remember A=A from Atlas Shrugged?
          A ≠ ~A or, A does not equal not A, is just the inverse. Blue does not equal Yellow. Yellow is not Blue.

          I remember now. My symbolic logic professor used to use politically charged premises to trick the students into getting the wrong answer. Logic is about logic. He'd pose a bunch of political statements that were absolutely stupid, but perfectly logical. Some students would follow their views and common sense and fail the exams. That's why many people don't like logic. It's really hard to separate logic from feelings and common sense.
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  • Posted by $ allosaur 1 week, 6 days ago
    Me dino wants to know how to make career politicians (the more corrupt making $millions on the side from quid pro quo "donations" and insider trading) for being the lawmakers who make our laws ever vote to deprive themselves of anything.
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    • Posted by 1 week, 6 days ago
      Yes. Pukelosi introduced a bill a long time ago to give the House a pay raise. Unanimous consent, they voted themselves a raise. All 435 sockcuckers IIRC.
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      • Posted by $ allosaur 1 week, 6 days ago
        Now a raise is something our caring about the country lawmaking "representatives" will always vote for. Yesiree bob!
        Besides making millions on the side to buy stuff like mansions encircled by walls, a raise is always a wonderful hedge against the rising cost of living. Oh, how they DO deserve that. Um-hum!
        Bitches and bastards everyone. (As a child, me an old dino very early on was taught the polite if not chivalrous concept of "ladies first.")
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  • Posted by jack1776 1 week, 5 days ago
    A constitutional amendment limiting congress from passing laws that favor some over others. Congress would be forbidden from passing laws that give one state, industry, business, person an advantage or burden that others do not receive or pay.

    This would remove the incentive for corruption and force a flat tax.

    In the same amendment, I would severely limit the executive branches use of executive actions in the same vein as above or just limit it to the implementation of existing law. I would also deny regulatory rules completely, any regulatory rule would have to be a law passed by congress. We need to make those sorry ass-wipes do their job and do it in the best interest of the country.
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    • Posted by LibertyBelle 1 week, 5 days ago
      What we need (but probably can't get at this point--it would require a long, hard crusade), is a Constitutional Amendment declaring that the sole purpose of government is to protect human beings from force (including fraud and violence), and to punish same; and that the only functions of government are to be the Legislature, the Executive Branch (to carry out the legislation), the law courts, the police,and the military. Of course, there would still have to be provisions for legal registration of contracts, and notarization; and a bureau of patents and copyrights.---Government activities unrelated to any of these functions should simply be abolished.
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  • Posted by $ Thoritsu 1 week, 5 days ago
    Aristotle's "Priest Kings" comes to mind. Invert communism. Those in charge are not allowed to have luxury or wealth.

    100% open books for public officials (and SES people). If you are in government, all your financial information is open to all, and all communications are open to the public.
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  • Posted by term2 1 week, 5 days ago
    It would help. The way politicians make money is selling our government to willing purchasers. This only happens because our government can take from one and give to another. THAT needs to stop, and if stopped, the "anothers" wont want to bother purchasing favors from politicians.
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  • Posted by $ Stormi 1 week, 4 days ago
    No, not unless you have a small group of like thinking people. Power corrupts, always. Only if you have leaders who have no desire to lead nor follow, but to act and allow other to act in best interest of self, which has never happened. Sad.
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    • Posted by 1 week, 4 days ago
      Yeah, that's simplest clearest answer. Humans can be awesome as individuals, or in small groups, but we are corruptible when given large powers over a large group.
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  • Posted by Snakecane 1 week, 5 days ago
    This is a difficult question. Laws and regulations will not, I believe, stop it. Our politicians pass laws allegedly to prevent a problem and then sit back and expect bureaucrats and law enforcement to apply the laws. However, the corruption is deep. So what leads to corruption? Is it not the loss of ethical standards, of integrity, of keeping one's word, of compassion, of understanding, of honesty? And then there is the outright mental illness: personality disorders, sociopathy, and psychopathy, disorders that seem to be growing exponentially. The next question is how we shall deal with these anti-human chaos-makers that have taken over in pursuit of death? North Americans have become divorced from our own lives. We elect these people on the basis of too many assumptions and not enough data. Do the politicians and we have spiritual lives apart from organized religion? What I know is that we must have a balance between the intellectual and the spiritual to live a moral life. That is all that I know. I have no answers. I wish I did.
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    • Posted by Susanart19523rtf 1 week, 5 days ago
      I don't have answers either, but this is a good explanation why.
      I think corruption goes hand in hand with over regulation. As in regulation equals law. Actually it doesn't.
      I agree with the oft quoted AR passage about passing laws for the sole purpose of having good people break them.
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      • Posted by LibertyBelle 1 week, 5 days ago
        Yes, indeed. There is Dr. Floyd Ferris's confession when he is trying to intimidate Rearden, and Rearden says, "After all, I did break one of your laws." (Once,when I called a radio talk show, and made a remark about creating a situation where the citizens were bound to be put in the position of law-breakers, and the guy on the radio seemed to recognize it, and replied, "I'm not a Randian.")
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  • Posted by $ Radio_Randy 1 week, 5 days ago
    Part of a James Madison quote goes "If men were angels, no government would be necessary".

    Men are human, and humans are greedy by design. The only way to eliminate corruption is to eliminate men, and that's not going to happen any time soon.
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    • Posted by LibertyBelle 1 week, 5 days ago
      I have nothing basically against greed. I am greedy myself, and proud of it. I admitted this when an adolescent, on my job as a carhop. But corruption is when dishonesty is involved, or power-lust, or actual or attempted violation of the rights of others. I was greedy for the money (including tips) that I wanted to actually earn myself.
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      • Posted by $ Radio_Randy 1 week, 4 days ago
        The difference is that your greed is in working harder and earning more than the other guy, not in taking something that belongs to someone else.

        Corruption, while motivated by greed, normally culminates in theft, which is not the same as earning something. It's our self respect and love for ourselves that protects us from corruption. The corrupt have no such feelings.
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  • Posted by $ jdg 1 week, 1 day ago
    I like the sentiment but I can see several ways this would be impractical.

    First, publishing identifiers such as SSNs, bank account numbers, and VINs makes it easy for others to impersonate the individual, or the owner of the bank account or vehicle. I don't think it would help to enable that.

    Second, crooked or even just sneaky operations such as transferring funds to allies or to shady vendors such as Mr. Epstein is frequently done through family members or other trusted "dummies." Think of outfits like Obama's ACORN and OFA or Soros's foundations, each of which uses hundreds of front organizations to hide their actions. To even try to make this scheme work we would have to expose to public view every person or entity that has ever received money or favors from a politician, no matter how indirectly, including before he or she sought public office. And expose everything all those people and companies do as well, and THEIR beneficiaries.

    The IRS has tried on multiple occasions to similarly investigate the opponents of powerful politicians. Presidents FDR, Nixon, Obama, and now Biden have set the IRS on their "enemies lists" this way, and it hasn't worked very well. I doubt if any civilian can assemble an auditing team more thorough than the IRS.

    Corruption is in human nature; no one is worthy of ultimate trust. The only solution to it is a combination of unending skepticism and vigilance, plus an overriding constitutional principle that no one is above the law. If the constitution (either as written or as enforced in the real world) does not work this way, then it's time to scrap it and form one that does.
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  • Posted by $ puzzlelady 1 week, 1 day ago
    Who or what is a "leader"? Why do we even have them if we are all independent individuals? What primitive tribal relic is still with us of accepting rulers and obedient subjects? Where in our psyches is the command programmed that we must be subservient to others, who quickly take on the role of superiors, from the simplest lieutenants or supervisors to the fiercest tyrants? Is this phenomenon related to the built-in genetic drive to be predators versus prey? Is it an outgrowth of the earliest evolutionary command to survive by overpowering others?

    And what is "corruption"? An animal to survive may resort to any form of aggression, by camouflage or outright force, with sly hunter's tricks or laying traps. Deception is nature's most sophisticated tool of conquest. But what creature devours its own kind? Yet that is what humans do with their wars, crimes, and collusions. So why do we call them corrupt when they simply operate according to their natural modus operandi for survival by acquisition? Everyone would operate the same way if they had the skill and opportunity.

    Humans are still deeply under the influence of their original algorithms of seek, find, take. They are no different from the millions of other species that co-exist with or co-consume what is available on the earth. It is easy to accuse other humans of "corrupt" practices when all they do is follow the original program of seek-find-take. Ah, but what other lifeform destroys its own kind? A major glitch in the human software lets humans turn against their own kind, defrauding and destroying instead of cooperating for mutual benefit.

    So the question should be how to eliminate the whole concept of leaders and followers, rulers and serfs. Hire administrators, don’t empower commanders. How can humans cooperate for mutual benefit, not for cancerous mutual destruction? How can respect for each individual’s unalienable rights be the prime directive?

    And yet, what do we find at the end of this fatiguingly long discourse by the august thinkers of the Gulch? The most barbaric proposal to kill in the most ghoulish ways anyone they can accuse of serving their self-interest, along with all the relatives in their bloodline. Care to rethink this?
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    • Posted by 1 week, 1 day ago
      Your sarcasm is not in vain. A great answer. I am frustrated with the whole thing. You do sound a bit anti-human in your assessment of humankind, that we are doomed. We are fundamentally flawed as a species, and all we can come up with is violence, I believe is what you're saying? In my post I said I give up. Let them eat lead (cake). Everyone is fed up with liars and thieves in charge. I know that violence won't solve anything in the long run.
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  • Posted by Storo 1 week, 3 days ago
    I’m less concerned with the politicians who line their pockets than I am with ideologues whose goal is to destroy the government and the Constitution, and thus America as we know it.
    Term limits can stop a lot of the former, but given the people being elected by the “woke” portion of the electorate, term limits may be able to do little about the latter.
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