International investors have a private court of appeal even in criminal matters - "A parallel legal universe, open only to corporations and largely invisible to everyone else, helps executives convicted of crimes escape punishment. [ISDS] operates unconstrained by precedent or any significant public oversight, often keeping its proceedings and sometimes even its decisions secret." (via) [more inside]
Law professor Zephyr Teachout first rose to prominence as the director of internet organizing for Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign. She's published the acclaimed political history book Corruption in America. In 2014 she primaried Andrew Cuomo from the left, winning half of NY's counties despite Cuomo refusing to even mention her name. And now? She's running for Congress. [more inside]
Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) has announced that he will resign from Congress. He has been recently been in the news for alleged ethics violations including a Downton Abbey office redecoration he didn't pay for, sketchy real estate deals, claiming 170,000 miles in reimbursement on a personal vehicle that he later sold with 80,000 miles on the odometer, and much much more! [more inside]
Now, there's good news and bad news about this corruption. One bit of good news is that it's bipartisan, equal-opportunity corruption. It blocks the left on a whole range of issues that we on the left really care about. It blocks the right too, as it makes principled arguments of the right increasingly impossible. So the right wants smaller government. When Al Gore was Vice President, his team had an idea for deregulating a significant portion of the telecommunications industry. The chief policy man took this idea to Capitol Hill, and as he reported back to me, the response was, "Hell no! If we deregulate these guys, how are we going to raise money from them?" [more inside]
Just in case you haven't overdosed on American politics: Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington Most Corrupt members of Congress (Full 2012 report - pdf). [more inside]
How Money Corrupts Congress (previously) - John Baez sez: "It's easy to get distracted in a thicket of issues. Thoreau said 'There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.' But what's the root? Watch this video for Lawrence Lessig's answer."
In trademark style, Lawrence Lessig today announced the creation of a congressional exploratory committee. If in the next few days he decides to officially enter the race, he'll be running in the special election on April 8th to fill the CA-12 seat recently vacated by the death of Tom Lantos. A run by Lessig would likely be seen as a new front the the technocratic, post-partisan movement Barack Obama is attempting to catalyze; Lessig was a colleague of Obama at the University of Chicago law school, helped to draft Obama's technology plan, and is describing his potential run (his first attempt at public office), and the larger Change Congress project he also announced today, as an attempt to save Congress as an institution from the corrupting influence of money. [more inside]
Slashdot poster has brilliant legislative reform idea: "Source Control for Bills in Congress." What if sneaky changes to pending legislation showed up as soon as they were made instead of in ominously worded media reports months later?
The Worst Congress Ever. How our national legislature has become a stable of thieves and perverts -- in five easy steps. By Matt Taibbi. [Via TalkLeft.]
Defend DeLay (link to embedded video). Tom DeLay needs your help to fend off the rabid liberal media. He appreciates the fact that Stephen Colbert is doing his part by taking on Robert Greenwald, maker of the upcoming "The Big Buy: Tom Delay's Stolen Congress" and previously "Outfoxed." (via)
[Mugshot filter] The Hammer is tanned, rested, and ready... to kick some partisan-hack a**! But seriously folks, has Tom DeLay ever looked better in his life? Book 'im, Danno -- and don't muss that fabulous hair!
Beyond DeLay: The 13 Most Corrupt Members of Congress. CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) has released a report detailing the dirty business of many members of Congress.