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EDITORIAL: Does The U. S. Have A Corruption Problem?

Amid recent reports of corruption and illegal campaign contributions from Houston, Texas to Memphis, Tennessee, it is time the United States nation asked itself an nonpartisan question: Does the U. S. have a serious problem?

The answer is, quite simply; yes.

By looking at the two examples mentioned above we can see that illegal fund raising and corruption are problems that plague both the political parties that dominate the U. S. democracy. In a moment we will take on the Democratic Party's dirty dealings, but our first example involves corporate donations to an advocacy group in Texas called, "Texans for a Republican Majority."

While the success of American businesses is
an obvious priority of the government, their prosperity should not come at the price of democracy.

The treasurer of this Political Action Committee, run by the former Republican leader of the House of Representatives, Tom Delay, has been fined almost $200,000 dollars in a civil suite for failing to report more than a half a million dollars in donations from corporations. (In Texas it is illegal for a corporation to contribute to a campaign). This is the precursor to several criminal cases now being pursued in the state.

However, this is not just the problem of one party. Then Democratic State Senator, John Ford of Memphis, Tennessee, was arrested on May 27, 2005 on charges of corruption and threatening agents of the FBI. His family is considered one of the most influential in Memphis politics.

While these cases are on a state level, they are red flags of a larger systemic problem that is plaguing American democracy and the values it represents around the world.

Legislators continue to be tempted by corporations to pass laws that make business more profitable or easier to practice on both a local and national level. These corporations use loopholes in campaign finance legislation or by simply breaking the law in order to influence the decisions made within our government.

While the success of American businesses is an obvious priority of the government, their prosperity should not come at the price of democracy.

Recent reports of corporate financed vacations, dubious PAC organizations and downright illegal campaign contributions, should worry Americans from both sides of the isle.

Without independent oversight, the cherished democracy, the "noble experiment" of the United States, could be threatened by the very parties and peoples elected to represent and enforce it.

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Don't Ask And She Won't Tell

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Lawyers should never ask a Mississippi grandma a question if they aren't prepared for the answer.

In a trial, a Southern small-town prosecuting attorney called his first witness, a grand motherly, elderly woman to the stand. He approached her and asked, 'Mrs. Jones, do you know me?'

She responded, 'Why, yes, I do know you, Mr. Williams. I've known you since you were a boy, and frankly, you've been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, and you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you're a big shot when you haven't the brains to realize you'll never amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you.'

The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room and asked, 'Mrs. Jones, do you know the defense attorney?'

She again replied, 'Why yes, I do. I've known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. He's lazy, bigoted, and he has a drinking problem. He can't build a normal relationship with anyone, and his law practice is one of the worst in the entire state. Not to mention he cheated on his wife with three different women. One of them was your wife. Yes, I know him.'

The defense attorney nearly died.

The judge asked both counselors to approach the bench and, in a very quiet voice, said, 'If either of you idiots asks her if she knows me, I'll sentence you both to death by lethal injection.'

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