glenn greenwald:

Just in the first three months of 2008, recent lobbyist disclosure statements reveal that AT&T spent $5.2 million in lobbyist fees (putting it well ahead of its 2007 pace, when it spent just over $17 million). In the first quarter of 2008, Verizon spent $4.8 million on lobbyist fees, while Comcast spent $2.6 million. So in the first three months of this year, those three telecoms — which would be among the biggest beneficiaries of telecom amnesty (right after the White House) — spent a combined total of almost $13 million on lobbyists. They’re on pace to spend more than $50 million on lobbying this year — just those three companies.

as my dad would say “what a racket.” as in racketeering.

the executive branch asks companies to become accomplices in a crime spree. the companies accede. a few years later, the white house gets caught. the companies get caught. and now the legislative branch, via its unofficial intercessors, is asking these companies to pony up some money or else they’re going to get fined, prosecuted, whatever.

it almost makes arguments for small government conservatism sound reasonable. why empower crooks to lie and steal?

unfortunately that logic would also dictate that we do away with freeways because they lead to forty thousand deaths each year when the reasonable response is to make freeways more efficient and less dangerous by making them more “transparent.”

the same logic applies to governance.