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How it is exceptional is that its government is much more corrupt than that of most European countries

You've got to be kidding me. Name me a major European country that is clearly less corrupt than the US. Last I checked Chirac et Cie. were still in power. Berlusconi was until very recently. The CDU ain't exactly a model of probity. Tons of corruption scandals under various Spanish governments. And don't even get me started on Poland.

by MarekNYC on Mon Jan 15th, 2007 at 03:08:39 PM EST
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The kind of corruption I was writing about doesn't involve breaking the law. It is Congressmen being dependent upon campaign contributions from corporations and other special interests to get elected. That leads to lobbies writing legislation, and the normal outcome being that voters' wishes are ignored.

This is why universal health care is viewed as a non-starter in Washington, even though a vast majority of Americans want it. Washington is so corrupt that what would be viewed as corruption in other countries—dollars instead of votes determining what Congress legislatess—is viewed as quite normal, simply "the way the system works".

A bomb, H bomb, Minuteman / The names get more attractive / The decisions are made by NATO / The press call it British opinion -- The Three Johns

by Alexander on Tue Jan 16th, 2007 at 03:59:02 PM EST
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Alexander has a point here : the financing of the electoral system (presidential etc..) would be illegal in most European countries. Most of the French corruption scandals (besides some expensive flats and cronyism) are about illegal financing of political parties. The new laws passed some decade ago, make that these practices have been widely reduced. Top politicians like Juppe have been recently indicted and condemned for illegal funding, but it's very rare that you find politicians putting BIG money in their own pockets.
by oldfrog on Tue Jan 16th, 2007 at 04:23:12 PM EST
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This is why universal health care is viewed as a non-starter in Washington, even though a vast majority of Americans want it.  

Sort of. That vast majority drops fast when you get into the details. And then you have the problem of America's de facto super majority system for legislation. Given a large minority of the population that will oppose whatever plan you come up with and the need of sixty votes to pass legislation in the senate, seeing the insurance lobby as the only major obstacle seems simplistic to me.

And if you think that Chirac and company don't have an incestuous relationship with corporate interests, well...

by MarekNYC on Tue Jan 16th, 2007 at 04:39:18 PM EST
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