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chris from boca

no democrat worth his or her salt will discuss any aspect of the abramoff affair without noting that black box voting is also an issue that stems from the same culture of corruption. they can pass every reform under the sun, but if the outcomes of elections can be rigged it is all for naught.


A good suggestion, but the Democrats won't change their tune. No one really wants to change the system -- they just want to blame its bad effects on the other party.


But no one forces any legislator or staffer to accept lunches, trips, or favors from a lobbyist. Mark Schmitt

I know Mark's post was hurried, but it seems to me that this statement reinforces the idea that "lobbyist scandal" explains the headlines.

We Democrats view the "State" as an ally in the people's -- the three middle quintiles -- struggle against the 1-5% wealthy elites and their 15-19% symbol analyst servants, enablers, defenders, and sycophants.

Republican Party politicians have captured the State and don't intend to let it go. Their actions -- the K-Street money project; holding votes open to pass a drug plan solely to deny Democrats an anti-Bush campaign issue; adding special interest plums in secret conferences; awarding expensive earmarks to loyal sons -- have one goal in mind, retention of power.

How do we Democrats reawaken the people to the idea that the wealthy elites don't have their interests at heart and that the Republican Party has sold the State to that elite?


A quick idea I hope warrants further digging.

I think the whole GOP structure of passing a tax cut bill every year, with expiring tax cuts, is part of the same corrupt culture in which those in power collude with those willing to buy inflewence.

Why else would we rewrite the tax law every year? Why else would most of the tax cuts passed since Y2K have a build-in expiration date?

And why else would we have shifted gears, from passing a couple of significant tax bills per DECADE in times gone by, to revisiting the subject every year, when the GOP got control of all three branches of govt? Shouldn't the GOP have tried to pass the once and for-all serious reforms while they had the majorities required, rather than hashing through a series of ill-conceived patches, if they were doing this as a matter of ideology or of policy?


Yeah. This was the old Rostenkowski gambit. Every so often he'd announce a tax reform plan and wait for the lobbyists to get in line to fill up his campaign chest or, as it was known under the old House rules since he never had to spend any of it on a serious election contest and he could take it with him when he left, his "retirement fund."

The Republicans have gone him one better making tax rewards and punishments with their associated contributions to worthy pols and continuous employment of well positioned lobbyists a year round thing.


We need tax reforms .. I work hard and pay too much to uncle sam

Galen Nelson

Mark - I agree that the Democrats are making a message mistake by calling this a lobbying scandal. But isn't the solution campaign finance reform? Staffers and legislators don't need to accept lunches, trips, or favors, as you say, but they do need to raise millions to run a competitive campaign for the next election in the inflated marketplace of Congressional campaigns. If public rather than private funds were available to qualified candidates, the temptation to accept money from the likes of Abramoff would fade considerably.


But no one forces any legislator or staffer to accept lunches, trips, or favors from a lobbyist. Excellent point!!

Ellen 1910

And did you see how WaPo came out swinging?

"[Lawmakers] need to restrain themselves . . . they should remember that it's not just the behavior of lobbyists that's a problem." Washington Post Editorial 1/20/2006

Daniel R. Baker

I have to disagree: this is both a betrayal of the public trust AND a lobbying scandal.

Yes, Abramoff had no power by himself. But when he cheated the Coushatta tribe to line his own pockets, that was simple lobbying misconduct. He could still have stolen all that money from his clients without any Congressman behaving unethically. Thus lobbying as well as congressional reform is needed to prevent a repeat of Abramoff's crimes.

Susan McCabe


...though assuredly not the Grandmother, is 'reform'. It was the first frame, in a political context, of which I became conscious. The first use by the CATO-nicks was: tort 'reform',which meant keeping people out of the courts with their pesky complaints of death and injury at the hands of corporations and powerful interest groups. Since then I've heard of dozens of proposed 'reforms' designed to benefit powerful and rich people at the expense of everyone else. Progressives should drop 'reform' altogether, unless we mean true reform, which means cleaning up corruption.


Well said:"A good suggestion, but the Democrats won't change their tune. No one really wants to change the system -- they just want to blame its bad effects on the other party." Could not agree more.

Wally Smith

Sales of new single-family home is down, but there are strong signs of stabilization and a strengthening market ahead, according to figures released by the U.S. Commerce Dept. "The new-home sales report by the government is in line with what builders have been reporting, that the market correction in terms of sales is largely behind us and the current market is stabilizing

Wallace Smith

The Las Vegas real estate market has experienced several peaks and valleys in the last few years and as a veteran of the Las Vegas real estate community, I have seen Las Vegas homes and Las Vegas new homes go from a shortage of inventory to all time highs. Las Vegas homes for sale presently are at the 20,000 home level while just three years ago Las Vegas homes inventories were closer to 5000 available including North Las Vegas real estate, Henderson real estate, Summerlin real estate, with Las Vegas real estate being the largest contributor. The North Las Vegas real estate market and Henderson real estate has more than doubled in the last 5 years also Summerlin real estate and Green Valley real estate has shown tremendous increases. As a Las Vegas real estate agent, I have experienced Las Vegas home resale market decrease and Las Vegas new homes increase in sales percentage. A few years ago Las Vegas new homes accounted for around 60% of sales of Las Vegas residential property and Las Vegas builders were scrambling for available land to build not only residential Las Vegas homes, but commercial land demanded all time high prices. Las Vegas homebuilders and developers were competing in the entry level home market and lot sizes became smaller and the size of Las Vegas homes also reduced. With the insurgence of hi-rise Las Vegas condos construction of a master plan was implemented and Las Vegas condos surged to the forefront. It was said to be similar to Manhattan style living in Nevada. This segment of Las Vegas condo hi-rise homebuilders has since cooled off and several Las Vegas condo projects have been shelved or delayed. The masterplanned communities of Green Valley real estate and Summerlin real estate, has kept the Las Vegas home market strong even though Las Vegas home loan rates have also been up and down. Clark County Nevada is still one of the most sought after areas in the country and the Las Vegas MLS has many resale homes as well as new construction listed. Anne and I would love to be your Las Vegas real estate agent. Don’t hesitate to e-mail or call for information on how to do a real time MLS search for Las Vegas new homes as well as Las Vegas condos, Las Vegas land, Las Vegas commercial property, and homebuilders incentives that are available.

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