Fareed Zakaria looked at bribes

Excellent as always, Fareed Zakaria, still one of the few -- if only -- political talk shows that actually asks questions without forcing self-serving answers* -- discussed the situation of bribes, a worldwide practice integral to business in Europe, Asia, and Africa.

And it reminded me of a thought I often have:

"What's the difference between bribes and campaign contributions?

And my answer always boils down to this and nothing more:

"Bribes are illegal."

One of my all-time favorite politicians was a man who, a few years back, ran for Mayor of Santa Cruz, CA on the graft platform called:  Something for everyone and a little bit for me.

He promised to publish every bribe, kickback and special consideration taking place in his administration. I wish I could remember his name, if only to give him due credit for firing the first shot in the war for honest government.

(In the state where I was born -- Pennsylvania -- one of the great historical figures is a man who, in the 19th century, set that proper level of graft to be taken on construction contracts at 15% -- prior to that, crooks were all over the place.)

Others do this to some extent -- Rachel Maddow is the only host who doesn't treat former RNC Chairman Michael Steele like some sort of minstrel show clown, but with enough respect and affection to have a conversation that asks for his point of view and allows him to show that he's as a rather intelligent fellow.

Dylan Ratigan interviewed Ron Paul today and asked the sort of intelligent non-argumentative questions one would ask any guest not pre-judged to be crazy. Ratigan appeared to have Ron Paul on his show because he honestly wanted to give the man a chance to tell his viewers his opinion on government, deficits, and everything else. There's a reason people of all sides of political point of view love Ron Paul, even if they believe his administration would be a national disaster -- because he's straight on, doesn't hedge when someone disagrees with him, doesn't do a Newt Gingrich or Donald Trump, i.e., pretend he never ever ever ever EVER said that or MEANT that.  Ron Paul is that man -- not George W Bush, you'd like to know as a friend.


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