Freedom of the Press in America and in China

February 3rd, 2012
in Op Ed

by Frank Li

This is the third article of the series: “Towards An Ideal Form of Government”.

Freedom-of-the-PressSMALLIs there freedom of the press in America? Yes. But it has not been realized until recently when the Internet finally made it possible. Before that, freedom of the press existed in America in theory only, but not in practice. Why? Because the press was not truly free!

Is there freedom of the press in China? No. But is it all that bad? No, not in my opinion! Why? Because freedom of the press in America, as we know it today, can sometimes be worse than the controlled media in China! Really? Hear me out …

Follow up:

1. Conventional media and America

Conventional media (e.g. newspapers and TV) is not free. For-profit companies own them (mostly), for which ratings are everything: They give you what you want (e.g. Charlie Sheen or China bashing), and you give them what they want (e.g. putting up with the ads). Simply stated, it is all about “I help you feel good and you help me make some money.” Little else matters, often not even the truth, especially in politics.

Three net results:

(1) The media and the politicians work in sync, because they both want the same thing: high ratings! The politicians need the media as their PR machines (e.g. Obama meets with left wing hacks Ed Schultz, Ezra Klein, Arianna Huffington and others at the White House), while the media craves the access to power (e.g. Diane Sawyer and Jake Tapper on the challenges of interviewing the President). Because of this type of cozy relationship, the media simply failed to question, let alone prevent, such a tragedy as the Iraq War. Worse yet, the media tends to go to the extremes (e.g. MSNBC on the left and Fox on the right), often without balance, for the sake of making sensational news! Together, they help, consciously or not, to undermine America, with the extreme left promoting destructive socialism (Democracy and Communism: Are They Really The Same?) and the extreme right (i.e. neo-con) promoting imperialism with out-of-control military spending and naked aggression against other nations (e.g. Iraq).

(2) The media is powerful (e.g. ’Nightline’ Nukes Newt), but not very trustworthy (e.g. Fox News Most Distrusted (And Trusted) Name In News: Poll). This is a terribly dangerous, even frightening, combination!

(3) America, as compared with China, is not only generally under-informed, but also often misinformed, about many world affairs, especially on the Middle East and Asia, with the Iraq War and the situation leading up to it being the worst example. Here is the bottom line: In my opinion, an average educated person in China today (e.g. a college graduate) knows a lot more about America than the other way around. More broadly, an average educated Chinese understands world affairs far better than an average educated American!

2. American media about the world

Still unconvinced about the deficiency of the American media covering world affairs? Here are three specific examples:

(1) Watch this BBC series, showing what the Chinese are doing globally. Now, the question: Why can't we, as Americans, produce a quality program like that? Okay, it’s BBC, the best in the world! But what about Al Jazeera?

(2) Hillary Clinton calls Al Jazeera ‘Real News’. Why is that? Can’t we even compete against Al Jazeera out of a little Arab country called Qatar?

(3) China’s crackdown on capitalism. What a sensational title! The negative story is largely true and it’s what an American typically wants to read (i.e. China bashing). However, the sensational title alone has distorted the big picture: China, despite its pervasive endemic problems, is succeeding over the West because of capitalism and China will likely become more capitalistic than the U.S. soon, if the current trend persists. Want more evidence? Read this: A CEOs guide to innovation in China.

No wonder the U.S. Middle East policy is a failure. No wonder many Americans still think China is a communist country. Thank the media and the politicians for having brainwashed you! In fact, brainwashing is yet another similarity between democracy and communism, which I will discuss in-depth in a future article.

3. Media in China

China-flagThere is simply no freedom of the press in China. This is largely because of the inheritance from China’s communist past, although solid progress has been made to open up the media over the past decade, with more to come.

No question, the Chinese government has much more direct control over the media than the American government. But is this all that bad? No, not in my opinion! Here is an example for a Chinese domestic issue: About two years ago, it was a news blitz about “another bad guy in China hurting some school children with knives.” Do you know what happened afterward? The Chinese government banned the media from reporting these kinds of stories in China, with the belief that many sick copycats were inspired by the stories. It worked. I agree with their assessment!

Internationally, the Chinese media is actually better than the American media: more objective, more even-handed, and less ideological. Why is that? Because the Chinese government policy is better than the American government policy! The Chinese government promotes peace and pursues a non-intervention approach that can be simply summarized as this: “let’s do some business, without worrying much about ideology or politics.” History proves, time and again, that this approach is the best, not only for China, but also for the world. Clearly, this is the opposite to America’s approach of trying to be the world’s policemen. (Yes, Ron Paul has got this one right!) As a result, the Chinese media’s job is much easier than that of the American media. No example is more illustrative than this: In China, I saw both sides of the story on Syria (and Libya and Iran) on TV: the government-side as well as the anti-government side. It was very refreshing for me, because the former is totally non-existent in America’s mainstream media today!

4. Welcome to the Internet age!

The Internet has fundamentally changed the Middle East, though not necessarily for the better (Towards An Ideal Form of Government). However, it will certainly fundamentally change America and China for the better!

4.1 The Internet and America

The Internet has already profoundly changed America, from the USPS to the established media. Yes, change is good – what’s bad for the status quo is often good for America! As a result, Americans are now enjoying true freedom of the press for the first time ever. Today, we all can publish, instantly and worldwide! Even an electrical engineer like me can publish big time on politics!

warren-buffettHere is a simple comparison between my writing and the established media (Time magazine) on the same subject Warren Buffett (pictured left):

(1) Warren Buffett and Chairman Mao: Something in Common?

(2) Warren Buffett Is on a Radical Track.

Can you see the differences between the two articles?

4.2 The Internet and China

The Internet has already profoundly changed China as well. Here is a must-read article for all open-minded Americans: Globalization 2.0: China’s Parallel Internet. Astonishingly eye-opening?

The Internet will further change China for the better, with positive influence from America, hopefully …

5. Closing

As human beings, we all desire freedoms, including freedom of speech (a good thing) and freedom of excessive spending (a bad thing). Therefore, there needs to be a force out there to balance our unbounded desires. It may take the Wisdom of Solomon to determine where that boundary is for freedom of the press. Meanwhile, all of us, especially Americans, must avoid being overly simplistic, such as by dismissing China’s media censorship as nothing but purely evil. To the contrary, given the dire economic condition of the West, I believe it’s time for America to examine itself fundamentally and thoroughly, starting with its antiquated political system.

Giordano Bruno was burned to death because of his Sun theory. I am still alive, thanks to freedom of speech and freedom of the press in America!


Related Articles

Previous articles by Frank Li

About the Author

Frank LiFrank Li is the Founder and President of W.E.I. (West-East International), a Chicago-based import & export company. Frank received his B.E. from Zhejiang University (China) in 1982, M.E. from the University of Tokyo in 1985, and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1988, all in Electrical Engineering. He worked for several companies until 2004, when he founded his own company W.E.I. Today, W.E.I. is a leader in the weighing industry not only in products & services, but also in thought and action.

Dr. Li writes extensively and uniquely on politics, for which he has been called "a modern-day Thomas Jefferson"(see page 31).

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  1. Frank Li (Member) Email says :


    You made a few good points. However, if you agree that the U.S. is deeply in trouble today, then the challenge is not to find some good examples (e.g. good journalism), but to identify what's wrong and how to fix it. With that in mind, you may find my writings a lot more interesting.

    --- Frank

  2. Derryl Hermanutz, Correspondent (Member) Email says :

    Public Opinion?
    I think Doug's critique of Frank's article, rather than showing Frank to be wrong, provides evidence of the depth of the "misinformation" America's media is promulgating. Doug appears to be a blissfully unaware victim of it. Doug wrote,

    "The fact that most Americans are more interested in what Madonna will wear vs. whether or not Iran gets nuclear, while a sad statement on our education and culture, is NOT an indictment of "free press"."

    This statement entirely fails to engage Frank's point, which is that the US media-political industrial complex systematically broadcasts a deliberately one-sided self-serving perspective on issues. Such a perspective is called "spin" and "propaganda" and "brainwashing". It has nothing to do with Madonna vs substantial issues (more on ‘nuclear Iran’ below). It has everything to do with "crystallizing public opinion" on policy actions that the powers that be have already decided upon for reasons that would never pass public inspection.

    "Crystallizing Public Opinion" is the title of Edward Bernays' 1923 book on the new profession of herd mind control, which Bernays maintains is essential to 'democratic' government of large scale nations. You can't "govern" a vastly disparate people, so you have to unify their minds. In 1921 Walter Lippman published "Public Opinion", an incisive psychological/sociological examination of the emotional, irrational, herd-conformity factors that contribute to people's opinions. Bernays criticized Lippman for knowing the public mind so well, but failing to use that knowledge to manipulate the mind. Bernays spent a long career creating the opinion-making machinery which would provide the ‘news’ that would become the ‘history’ of the 20th century. The engineered perceptions, not “reality”, provide the carefully crafted contents of people’s “public opinions”.

    "Create a media event", Bernays counsels his clients, "something that disrupts the normal flow of public attention, and I will show you how to craft that event to direct public opinion along the channels that serve your purposes." (that's a paraphrase, not a quote) America's media report on stage-managed theater, which they believe to be 'events'. But the events are carefully crafted by "public relations counsels", like Bernays, to generate exactly the media "take" that results. The media buys the illusion, then the media does the work of selling it to the public. When interviewed in 1990, Bernays, then nearly 100 years old, told Stuart Ewan (who wrote the introduction to a recent reprinting of Crystallizing Public Opinion), "We (public relations counsels) have had no direct contact with the mass media for about 50 years." The job of a public relations counsel is to instruct a client on how to take actions that, "just interrupt...the continuity of life in some way to bring about the (media) response."

    It is the media whose opinions are manipulated in the first place. They believe they are reporting and editorializing on “news”. But “news” is the creation of media events that induce the desired public opinions, first in the media, then in the masses.

    Most people assume, to the delight of the reigning power structure, the Enlightenment ideal that people form their opinions from evidence and hold those opinions "rationally", subject to alteration when new evidence comes to light. In fact almost all people are fed their opinions by "authorities", opinion-leaders, and people cling to their opinions with religious faith rather than hold them tentatively on rational evidence. Ask them to justify their opinions and you will get a defensive rant, a bad monkey jumping around in a threatening manner, not a cool rational explanation of the evidence and logic that supports belief in one conclusion and weakens belief in alternate conclusions.

    Beliefs are held as “opinions”, not “hard knowledge”, though people usually believe that they “know” things rather than recognizing that they merely “believe” them. Most individual’s opinions, and all public herd opinions, are held emotionally, not intellectually/analytically, so public opinion is created by manipulating people's emotions and instincts, not their rational minds. In his 1928 book, "Propaganda", Bernays writes of Lippman's predecessors Wilfred Trotter and Gustave Le Bon,

    "Trotter and Le Bon concluded that the group mind does not think in the strict sense of the word. In place of thought it has impulses, habits and emotions. In making up its mind, its first impulse is to follow the example of a trusted leader. This is one of the most firmly established principles of mass psychology."

    As Ewen writes, Bernays correctly gathered from Le Bon, Trotter, Lippman et al that,

    "Without a thorough comprehension of the unconscious and instinctual triggers that stimulate human behavior, the work of the 'public relations counsel' would be impossible."

    Insofar as the masses have 'reasons' for believing what they believe, they think up those reasons after the fact, to justify their beliefs. Actually they don’t think up the reasons. Talk radio and other professional partisans think up and sell prepackaged “reasons”. The masses’ beliefs are not built up deductively from careful examination and coherent compilation of evidence. The reasons they give have nothing to do with the real reason they have the beliefs they have. They were told what to believe, showed what to believe, and they believe it. Some examples from recent American public opinion creation:

    Iraq's "weapons of mass destruction", which the media-political complex uniformly presented as the "reason" Bush Jr attacked Saddam. How about the alternate, far more plausible reason that has come out on the internet, that Saddam was planning to sell oil in currencies other than the US$, thus threatening the dollar's status as global money, which status has been allowing the US to print rather than earn its money since Nixon abandoned the gold-dollar standard in 1971.

    Bush's statement that Saddam had terrifying weapons was the media event. It was that statement, not any realities anywhere else, that WAS the media event. The subsequent media coverage and public opinion on the Iraq attack, and on Bush’s gullibility or complicity in the false “weapons” statement, universally focused on this engineered diversion of “weapons”. Which American mass media did in depth investigative reporting of alternate American motives for attacking Iraq and deposing Saddam? None of them. They all bought the bait, and sold it to the American public. Criticism was successfully focused on Bush, which deflected attention from an examination of plausible motives for America’ action.

    More recently we have Gaddafi and Libya. Why did the Anglo-American led NATO forces wage war on Libya’s government and murder Gaddafi? The sales job that ALL the media report is that we were supporting an Arab Spring uprising against Gaddafi’s “brutal” regime. I personally know lots of guys who worked in the oilfields in Gaddafi’s Libya, and they have nothing but good to say about Libya and Libyans. Not a peep about any ‘brutal’ ruling regime or public discontent with Gaddafi’s government. By all credible accounts, Libyans’ support for Gaddafi was far higher than Americans’ support for Obama. Should NATO support an Occupy Wall St military takedown of the “massively unpopular” Obama regime?

    An alternate, far more credible explanation is that Gaddafi was trying to unify Africans under a pan-African currency, an alternative to the US$, and Gaddafi, like Saddam, had planned to sell oil in currencies other than the US$. Gaddafi was also guilty of the sin of maintaining his own central bank to create Libya’s own currency to fund public policy initiatives like large scale water diversion projects. So both the US political regime and the Anglo-American banksters were threatened by Gaddafi. One of the first acts of the victorious Libyan ‘popular revolutionaries’ (more likely, hired mercenaries preparing the way for a puppet government) was to take over Libya’s central bank and install new management. As one internet wag quipped, “Strange revolutionaries indeed.”

    Doug raises the Iran “nuclear threat”. In fact Iran is “threatening” to sell its oil in currencies other than the US$, and Iran, like Libya, maintains its own central bank outside the jurisdiction of the Anglo-American money power and their BIS global money system. Iran also supports the Arabs vs the Israelis on the Palestine issue, as does Iran’s client state Syria. So Iran, like Saddam before, is threatening with “weapons of mass destruction”. And the Syrian government, like Gaddafi before, is a “brutal regime” under assault by ‘freedom loving revolutionaries’.

    Doug seems to have swallowed whole the media event, the illusion, that America’s current preparations to invade and engineer regime change in Iran and Syria is about nuclear threats and democratic revolution. Some puppet master student of Bernays dreamed up these plausible but false scenarios, some political mouthpiece announced them in a “media event”, and these fabrications become the subject of American media attention and the “controversies” that engage American public opinion. “Should America permit a nuclear Iran?” “Should America support the freedom fighters in Syria?” The real motives for American action against these nations NEVER see the light of media coverage or American herd opinion. It’s all about ‘patriotism’ and ‘making the world safe for democracy’, didn’t you know?

    Any time a credible but politically unpalatable explanation for real world events is expressed in the American public sphere, it is universally denounced as “conspiracy theory”, then dismissed and studiously ignored by the mass media. Public opinion, the public herd mind, obediently follows suit and closes itself to any such crazy conspiracy talk. Bad monkeys will jump up and down on you to make you be quiet, if you try to say these verboten things to them. Well, now all us conspiracy theorists possess our own mass media, the internet, where a million pairs of eyes look behind the million veils of propaganda and report the truths of what we see. Does anyone wonder why SOPA et al wants to shut us down?

    Bernays died in 1995, before the internet and the blogosphere really got going. But he surely would have recognized the free flow of unmanaged information as an existential threat to his profession of moulding public opinion to serve powerful moneyed interests. Frank Li accurately observes that the American mass media “misinforms” Americans. Bernays explains that the media itself is being systematically misled, and merely passing along the illusions as “news”. I can’t comment on the Chinese media, but Frank tells us that while its messages are no less controlled than are the “media events” that are constructed for American consumption, at least in China we can see the hands of the puppet masters who control the news, and they can offer valid public policy purposes to justify their interventions in the “news” that Chinese public opinion is exposed to.

  3. Frank Li says :

    What a long and insightful reply!
    Thanks, Derryl, for your knowledge, time in writing, and appreciation of my writing! I think you and I should write an article together on brain washing! I write about communism and you write about democracy - 80% is here already!!!

  4. Doug Andrews says :

    Thank you for your take on this issue as it enlightenes the debate. While I do not disagree on the premise that opinions are crafted most of the time without rational factual backing, you delve into the age old agrument of "what is history" "What is truth" and who annoited it as such? The fact that you know "lots of guys" in the oilfields of Libya" as a basis of your arguement on that particular example is about as uncredible of a statement made. How many do you know? Really know? and do 5, 10, or 200 who have a vested interest in their work have any less jaded "opinion" of their surroundings than the hundreds of thousands who were protesting? Really? What makes their perceptions any more credible?. Imported mercenaries? Was this true of Tunsia as well? A country where we have scant poltical dealings or economic interest and where the Arab Spring started. Please read up on the man who started himself on fire in protest of the unfairness being delt by the regime in power. Then the Egyptian uprising, all a created PR move? You state all this was "dreamed up plausable but false" really? By who's annointment, yours? Have you convienantly forgotten some facts? Was the attack on the USS Cole dreamed up? Was that gaping hole in the ship an illusion? Or the Lockerbie plane crash with 240+ dead, also a "Wag the Dog" media campaign in a larger plot to save the dollar from being unseated as the official oil currency? Did the US or any other country aid and abett Mormar's thurst for personal wealth with direct consultation to screw his people over and build compounds of opulance while people starved? Stash billions of dollars in foriegn lands which should have been used for infrastructure and the overall betterment of the Libyian people.
    The blogosphere is nothing more than a new avenue for creating opinion. Uncontrolled yes because one knows not the true source of the information. However, unless the authors have actually been there, or work for the CIA, NSA or other with privy to data that others are not, the blogosphere is nothing more than the same pig only with lipstick on. I think that the last ten years has held valuable lessons in journalism and if this decade has done anything, it has taught us to be suspecious. Your over generalization of the media being a pawn is no longer as valid as it once was (yes it once was very valid).
    Saddem gased over a million of his own people...proven chemical weapons. He used them in his war with Iraq as well. So is it a total fabrication or a legitimate question of concern? If you are tasked with the protection of people, I think we all underestimate the discussion which take place with far more information that we have as ordinary citizens. That makes it easy to lob verbal criticism from the cheap seats. I know full well that most of our foriegn policy is directed and has a goal of taking advantage of alliances for the betterment of the USA. As it should. We do so on a basis which also may have a side benefit to the spread of democracy or human living conditions. But one only needs to see the other trouble spots in the world where we have "no prevailing interest" which we summarially dismiss or ignore to show that of course the State Department is picking and choosing our interventions which have the highest payback for the USA. I'm not saying I agree with it always but I do not go into the discussion with my eyes wide shut as you infer.
    For every example of spin, I can give you one of good investigative journalism by a free press. Watergate, the ultimate example in the arena of spin took down areguable the most powerful position in the world. This was a significant example in it taught two things. 1. Don't believe everything you read or hear especially when it comes from people with a dog in the fight and 2. Follow the money. Free press coverage of the Vietnam war had a significant influence on getting us out. Free press coverage of Civil Rights movement had a significant effect on correcting wrongs which is still very much a work in progress. Was the investigation of Clinton a right wing conspiracy? Hillary tried to spin it this way but at the end of the day, the proof, the fact, that Slick Willy actually DID have sex with "that women" ruled the day. Bottom line; Spin is something we all do at every level of our experience as human beings. We rationalize our behavior to the benefit of ourselves it is human nature. Then a glimpse of good shows up more and more frequently, with questions asked, information dug up, by a free and unrestricted free press to shine light on whatever issue is at hand. It is the counter balance of the axiom that every story has two sides (sometimes more). One mans spin is another man's decit. One party's conspiracy is anothers perception. At the end of the day, we all must decide for ourselves. Is it perfect? not by a long shot. Is it better than it was 50 years ago? Exponentially and getting better all the time. The clutter (or problem)is a side effect of the blogosphere in that some "mainstream" "news" outlets are nothing more than opinion peddlers and not news people. If the American people don't see the difference...shame on them and on our educational system and bad parenting skills. Tabloidism has grown no doubt, but so have credible outlets. While Frank uses a broad brush to paint his own brand of theory, it in and of itself is meerely his opinion not the truth, not fact, his opinion. Selective use of history and facts can paint many different pictures using the same data set. It is not unlike three blind men decribing an elephant.

  5. Doug Andrews says :

    I didn't adequantly address the Iran issue. You wrote
    "Doug raises the Iran “nuclear threat”. In fact Iran is “threatening” to sell its oil in currencies other than the US$, and Iran, like Libya, maintains its own central bank outside the jurisdiction of the Anglo-American money power and their BIS global money system. Iran also supports the Arabs vs the Israelis on the Palestine issue, as does Iran’s client state Syria. So Iran, like Saddam before, is threatening with “weapons of mass destruction”. And the Syrian government, like Gaddafi before, is a “brutal regime” under assault by ‘freedom loving revolutionaries’."

    Couple of points here;
    1. It is a fact that the supreme Ayatolla of Iran has stated his desire to wipe Isreal off the map.
    2. It is a fact that Iran has a nuclear program.
    3. It is a fact that they launched a rocket just four days ago as a test missle.
    4. It is a fact that Iran has blocked UN nuclear teams to visit their facilities.
    Now I nor you, have any real hard data on what shows up on satellite photos, how they are interpreted and what conclusions get drawn from this information. The whole thing could be peaceful means of energy production. Or it could be a means for stalling until they have reached their capability. This is the subjective question. The media has reported on these facts and some outlets have editorialized on the subjective question. On the surface, connecting the dots seems fairly easy in this story and if Iran wanted to prove the plausability of their story, why are they so insistent upon secracy?
    If they are not enriching uranium then prove it. We seem to have evidance otherwise yet the average person on the street has no means of verification of this evidance while the story unfolds. Is this all a conspiracy or a matter of national and world importance? If Iran, Libya, ...all of OPEC wanted to unseat the dollar, they could do so without the threat of nuclear proliferation. One has nothing to do with the other. Ah but you insinuate it does, that this nuclear game being played is a conspiracy of the US to keep the dollar rock solid as the world currency. Where is your proof? On what basis can you crediblly say this? Isreal is fighting for their right to exist when it comes to such a matter as Iran having deliverable nuclear capability. knowing the statements out of Iran regarding their right to exist would certainly make me uneasy. The US is in a tight spot here. The attempts at diplomacy seem to get nowhere and this blame rests soley at the feet of the Iranians. There has been no rebuttle story from Iran or the internet credibly argueing that this is all a conspiracy. If they wanted to embarasse the USA and attack our credibility as a world leader, this could easily be done by allowing inspections and once verification that we are chasing ghosts, a full on media blitz of the dangers of listening to the American story would crush our credibility overnight. These are smart people in Iran, so why don't they play the game in a fashion which would harm us much more than the he said she said game they are playing now? Could it be that they actually are enriching uranium? The dots certainly line up that way just on the four facts listed above. No spin, no opinion creation, just those four facts all verifiable.
    The whole point of my prior and current post is this;
    Spin exists to rationalize whatever is being discussed and all outlets are guilty of some level of spin. We therefore have to be ecerning consumers of information in both where we seek it from and what the information actually tells us. In that light, I find it much more acceptable to get information from a free press than I do from a government entity. Frank disagrees, and that is his right. As it is mine to disagree with his position. Frank is very much pro China (current China). It can be a good exchange as neither one of us will be totally right nor totally wrong. Both countries do this well in some areas and not so well in others. He is totally correct in his missives regarding the current state of political problems in the USA. Where we disagree is on the solution.

  6. Frank Li says :


    > Where we disagree is on the solution.

    Here is mine:
    (1) Limiting 1-term for President (e.g. 6 years)
    (2) Raising the statutory requirements for the Presidency (e.g. age 55 and 1 full-term governorship)
    (3) Introducing term-limits for Congress.

    What is your solution???

  7. Doug Andrews says :


    Term limits are a double edge sword. On the one hand, people campaign for re-election from the start and this is not good. On the other hand, if they know they can't be re-elected they are therefore incented to "get while the gettins good" and pillage where they can as they know there are no repercussions.
    I agree that 35 is too young but think 55 isn't right either. History shows that this isn't really an issue but I would be fine with the middle ground of 45.
    I would limit political "season" to 6 weeks and each candidate must qualify with a sort of petition drive (show they have some backing so we don't attract any crack pots). What this qualification gets you is a number of credits of media exposure. Therefore no need to raise money. What you do with your "credits is open to free speech but it should be strongly encouraged that they be used to promote your agenda not attack others. Let the media do this on their own dime (possible corruption point ...super pacs). All media credits must be approved by that particular candidate so no one can hide behind the "that didn't come from my camp" escape hatch.The media uses these credits to partially satisfy their public service requirements and is given free of charge.
    Each elected official must submit to an asset inventory on the day they take office and at each renewal. No insider information trading allowed and in fact limit investments to US T-bills. Let your patriotism speak by investing in the USA debt. This assures no one gets rich for public service and incents one to do good and move on.
    All office holders held to all laws that every US citizen is held exceptions
    Must participate in Social Security, normal health plans and do not have any perks like tuition waivers.
    All government contracts must be open bidding and bonded. Cost over runs on your dime not the tax payers (truth in bidding).
    In a nut shell, I don't care how long a politician serves as long as he isn't enriching himself at the expense of the U.S.citizen. So I think it is the policies surrounding people that invite corruption. While we will never erase it all, butan 80% bite sure would be a breath of fresh air. Jail time for insider trading either directly or indirectly.
    Finally, while a balanced budget isn't practical, limit triggers set in place which greatly curtail increases in spending, yet leaves wiggle room for natural disasters and such.

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