Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Deborah Burger: While Washington Giggles, California Nurses Cure | The Huffington Post

You GO California nurses!

The Blog | Deborah Burger: While Washington Giggles, California Nurses Cure | The Huffington Post: "While Washington Giggles, California Nurses Cure
There's a new comedy playing in Washington. Perhaps you've heard of it? It's called 'Congress Pretends to Clean Up Corruption.'
As profiled yesterday in the LA Times, the comedians in the Senate have voted to ban accepting meals or gifts from lobbyists, but they will let politicians continue to accept trips paid for by donors.
Who can blame them, really? Paris is nice this time of year. The jokers in the House voted to ban such trips, but--and here's the punch line--they're only banned until June 15. They know Paris is nice in July, as well.
It actually might be funny if it weren't so deadly serious. The farce our elected officials are engaging in is supposed to distract voters from the problem. Our democracy isn't being corrupted by knick-knacks, snacks, or junkets. It's being corrupted by the record contributions that lobbyists and their corporate employers are pumping into the bank accounts of politicians from both parties--and the favors that politicians give in return.
Almost no one from either party in Washington is talking about this problem, not even in jest.
The California Nurse Association, however, is tired of seeing our patients used as political bargaining chips by big corporations. We have a solution. We have just turned in 600,000 signatures to qualify an initiative for the November ballot that will let candidates run 'Clean Money Elections,' or publicly-financed elections. Under this system, qualified candidates agree to give up private fundraising, turning off the spigot of lobbyist and corporate money. In return they get enough money from public funds to get their message out to voters.
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