Congressman, recuse thyself? NEVER.

Conflicts of interest. It’s the line of reasoning used in a court of law to change judges, to overturn court cases, to make sure justice is done.

However, it doesn’t apply in Washington:

There is a combined total of 59 Democrats serving on these two panels, which hold potentially life-and-death power over Toyota’s ability to continue offering its products to American consumers. So far this year, 31 of the 59 have received re-election campaign contributions ranging from as low as $500 to as high as $10,000 from the United Auto Workers union.

Why is that significant? Because the UAW is a major stockholder of Toyota’s top U.S. rival, General Motors. Also, Toyota has successfully resisted UAW attempts to organize the Japanese firm’s estimated 31,000 assembly line workers employed in five plants here in America.

Democrats have been telling America for years that special interest money corrupts government. I wonder if that is not the case now in these hearings in which Toyota executives are being grilled and are being subjected to an avalanche of negative coverage in the Mainstream Media.

Coincidentally, Toyota sales are down and GM sales are up. Nothing to see here, folks, now move along!

via Thirty-one House Dems quizzing Toyota execs got UAW campaign cash.

See the article for the names of the guilty.

Considering the huge amounts of cash needed to get into Congress (a million dollars average, every two years for House seats, much more for the Senate) it’s time America wakes up and realizes that as long as our “representatives” accept campaign cash- they have conflicts.

How could we ever have 60 votes in the Senate if we had to start recusing senators? Impossible. Therefore the only rational change is to eliminate all private campaign funding. Let the taxpayers buy their representatives- after all they are supposed to represent us, right?

It’s time the same logic that applies in a court of law, apply to our system of representation. It’s time to eliminate any conflicts of interest.

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31 Responses

  1. Dad March 1, 2010 / 11:00 am
    One of the most egregious examples of the congressional double standards was provided by Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., who spearheaded the impeachment of President Bill Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair.
    At the very time, Hyde was admitting an affair of his own.
    Despite his “youthful indiscretion,” Henry Hyde received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, on November 5, 2007.
     

  2. Shortwest Rick March 1, 2010 / 2:48 pm
    Never fear David, the same Congressmen have received money from Toyota too. Now it’s just a matter of deciding which donor they are more loyal to.

    Toyota already has an advantage built over a decade of targeted political giving. More than 40 percent of the 125 members of Congress serving on the three committees investigating Toyota have received campaign donations over the past 10 years, a total of $135,673 from the Toyota dealers’ PAC, from dealership owners and employees, and from staff at Toyota’s U.S. operation, a Washington Post analysis shows. Members of Congress received an additional $1 million for their campaigns through giving to state parties and PACs.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/21/AR2010022104295.html

  3. Gary Staiger March 1, 2010 / 8:11 pm
    Your anti-union bias is showing once again, David. Why shouldn’t the UAW members contribute to congressional races?  Yoou profess to want to see manufacturing return to the US ecom=nomic landscape…UAW members MAKE things…

    You have a knee jerk oppoistion to anything  related to trade unionism  While I don’t dispute that there have been serious corruption issues in the past, it is still true that  the role of workplace unions is a crucial one in defending worker’s rights against the capitalist monolith that is the US economy.
     
    I’d be happy to share with you some excellent books on the history of the trade union movement, something you obviously are ill informed about…

  4. David Esrati March 1, 2010 / 9:03 pm

    @Gary- I have no problems with unions. I have a problem with ALL CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS.

    I don’t think unions have been part of the political solution- just another bully with campaign cash.

  5. hall March 2, 2010 / 8:21 am
    I have a problem with ALL CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS.

    So your next run for office will be completely self-funded ?

  6. Bubba Jones March 2, 2010 / 8:22 am
    I just checked weather.com to confirm that Hell has indeed frozen over.  This in conjunction with me agreeing with David E!!  I just hope the Mayan’s weren’t off by two years in their calculations! ;)
     
    You might be dead on with this one David.  And, just this morning GM recalled a million cars for steering problems.  Will they be called in and grilled like Toyota has been?  Nope.  Were the US automakers grilled over their 100+ recalls over the last couple of years?  Nope.  But when Toyota has the first recall of their history, look out!!  This might have something to do with the unions or it might have something to do with the US Gov’t owning GM.  I don’t know for sure, but something ain’t right.
     
    Gary S – you’re partially right about “UAW members MAKE things.”  But they make EXPENSIVE things!  Your love of unions amuses me.   Let me set up a scenario for you and you can give me your response.  Let’s say that you own a little music store.  You work your ass off and start to see some success.  You want to expand your store and open another location using your formula of selecting great music and giving outstanding customer service.  To open this other store you need to hire 2 people.  After a great deal of time with your accountant preparing projections, you figure out that you can pay these 2 people $10 per hour, provide them with 1 week of vacation, and pay for a single person medical insurance policy.  Any more than that and your projections indicate that you won’t even be able to break even.  So,  you open the second store, hire the people and start to see some success.  One day after work the two employees decide over a beer that you’re an evil, rich business owner and you’re exploiting them.  They talk to the head of the “United Exploited Record Store Workers of America” union about unionizing your shop.  They vote and then unionize.  Now it’s time for their contract.  They decide that they’re worth $15 per hour, 3 weeks of vacation available to them after 90 days of service, a pension contribution, full family medical coverage, and time-and-a-half for working holidays.  You can’t fire them for unionizing and hire two more people since that’s against Federal law.  You can’t afford to pay what they’re demanding but if you don’t they’ll go on strike and disrupt your business.  You don’t want to close that location since it was starting to be successful and closing it would also damage your reputation as well as the other store.  What do you do?  Still lovin’ those union guys, Gary??
     
    Interestingly, the things that I’ve read lately indicate that public service sector unions are the largest unions now.  And I read something that other day that said that the hero of progressives, FDR, was against the concept of government employees unionizing.
     
    David E – sorry if this just highjacked this thread and turned it into a union vs. non-union thread instead of focusing on the crap that’s going on in both houses of congress and on both sides of the aisle.
  7. David Esrati March 2, 2010 / 9:18 am

    At Hall- I self funded my first 3 runs for City Commission, capping my spending at $1000.

    If I ran for Congress- I would ask for $1 donations, 1 per person.

    The next City Commission race- I hope to have the Dayton Process in the works- so donors would be donating to the process- not to individual candidates.

    So- yep- no more campaign whoring for me.

  8. Gary Staiger March 2, 2010 / 4:54 pm
    Bubba Jones:
    Why would I waste my time responding to a ridiculous hypothetical posed by someone who doesn’t even have enough courage of his own convictions to post with a real name? What are you hiding or hiding from?
  9. Bubba Jones March 3, 2010 / 8:41 am
    Gary – you obviously “wasted” the time or you wouldn’t have even bothered to reply!! :)  As far as it being “ridiculous”,  it’s not.  I’ve seen the exact scenario play out more than once.  Not in a two-employee record shop, but in operations that weren’t much bigger than that.
     
    As far as my name is concerned, how do you know it’s not my name?  Maybe Bubba is not my given name, but you don’t know that it’s not what people call me!  Besides, what is this obsession that  you and a few others have with “real names” on this site????  The fact that you want my “real name” so badly is of great concern to me!  What are you going to do?  Track me down?  Who knows what kind of nut job YOU are???  No need to answer that, your posts speak for themselves.
     
    If you want to test my convictions, I’d be happy to discuss them face to face with you sometime.  I’m sure that David would be more than happy to let us use his conference room.  You will have to work around my schedule though.  My pursuit of financial success within the capitalistic monolith that is the US economy does take up a lot of my time. ;)
  10. Robert Vigh March 3, 2010 / 1:13 pm
    Their is nothing wrong with Unions. The only problem is the federal law that says you cannot fire people for unionizing. If those 2 record employees want to band together and demand more pay that is fine. If they want to band with a larger force and demand more pay that is fine too. On the flip side, if they say we unionized and we want . . . . . . . The company should be able to say “you are fired” and put a for hire sign in his window. The only problem here is the federal protection of unions.
  11. Gene March 3, 2010 / 5:16 pm
    Well, unions are not all that bad, are they? Most who love unions recieve a government check of some sort. Strange but true. Some people who support unions recieve a check for phoney ailments and still have the ability to work and do work. We get scammed by more people who live off the government yet still are “employeed” or “employ” others in some fashion. The joke is on us folks. Those in power now want to take from poroducers and give to those who have the ability to work (a some still do work) becasue they feel that their lives are not that good. Yet they eat and have places to live, some even own businesses, employ other people, yet recieve government aid. This is happening all over Dayton, and the liberal cowboys endorse it bc of “the past.” They endorse unions for the same reason, take from the rich and give to the “so called” poor.
  12. Gary Staiger March 4, 2010 / 12:46 pm
    Bubba,
    The basis for the “obsession” about bona fide names is simple. The credibility of anonymous posters is always suspect, is  usually unverifiable  and tends toward the extremes of either left or right. Lacking the courage of their convictions, the anonymous poster seldom persuades and often enrages readers, fulfilling the role of agent provocateur, thereby debasing the quality of the conversation at hand.
     
    And, yes, Gene, that includes you, especially the provocateur role. Your nonsensical  statements  and flat out lies are the epitome of the work of such a provocateur.
  13. Gene March 4, 2010 / 1:17 pm
    I am not trying to provoke anyone. I just have noticed in my life those who receive government checks in some form also support unions. That is all I way trying to say.

    I don’t care about unions, they do nothing for me. I am not against them either. I just think it is funny that we have people accepting government money and still believe in the “working man” when they are not working. It is a funny kind of irony.

    I know of a few people who scam the government for SS checks claiming they can not work yet own businesses that a) they work and b) employ other people. And these people are certainly pro-union, just not in their businesses. Now that is funny shit. And it happens all over Dayton, so I imagine it happens all over this country.

  14. Robert Vigh March 4, 2010 / 2:31 pm
    Gary,
    I thought the credibility of Bubba’s idea was self evident. Why do you need a name? He could have posted under the name ao;fghpa; and I would have been content with the flow of his ideas. You have served as the provocateur on this thread. For example, you have made 3 posts, one that has debatable ideas and has suspicious implications, such as the need to be protected from capitalism. The other 2 posts said nothing on topic and only served to provoke these agents.
    And, yes, Gary, that includes you, especially the provocateur role. Your nonsensical  statements  and flat out lies are the epitome of the work of such a provocateur.
  15. Gene March 4, 2010 / 5:59 pm
    Gary is a capitalist,  that is what makes his statements so funny. He hates his own kind. He bitches and moans that “poor” people need this and that, yet sells them music, as if that is important compared to food or clothes or housing. That is why we love Gary – he hates himself and his life.
  16. Gene March 4, 2010 / 6:30 pm
    What will be funny is how Gary reasons on why he is or is not a capitalist. He may say he is but it is OK bc he is a small buisness. Or he will say he is not bc he is not making any money/trying to make any money.

    Fact is he is a capitalist and if Joe Smoe went in his store right now and dropped a grand on CD’s and LP’s he would smile ear to ear. Double trouble from the double standard.

    Is it Gary Stairger or Gary Coleman we are talking about? Or Cleveland Gary or Garry Berry? Gary Hart? Gary from Weird Science? Does not matter, all ‘dem ‘dar folk are capitalist (when it fits them) and against it when someone else is doing well…..

  17. Bubba Jones March 4, 2010 / 8:47 pm
    Robert – Thanks!  I couldn’t have said it better myself.  And I’m sure we are all noticing that Gary “Real Name” Staiger still doesn’t have the courage of his own convictions to address the scenario to defend the unions that he apparently loves so much.
     
    Gary – I don’t know where how you can justify your statement that people that post here under what you assume is a fake name are extremists – either left or right.  Quite frankly, you are the one posting extreme (leftist) views on this site, even under your legal name.  I certainly don’t think I’ve posted anything extreme at all.  As a matter of fact, I agreed with you on your point that UAW members make things.  Is that an extreme view???  And my post never said outright whether or not I was pro or anti union.  I merely posed a scenario that you don’t have the courage to address.  Oh, well.
     
    As far as my “screen name” goes, I will admit to “Bubba” being a nickname.  I’m sure that you love “Mother Jones.”  If she can have a nickname, why can’t I? :)
     
    Gene – Unlike what Robert posted, I COULD say it better myself! ;) I’ll try to do so!  I do agree with your point though. Gary WANTS to be a capitalist but he doesn’t know how to do it.  I don’t know the circumstances under which he ended up a record store owner, but something obviously possessed him to “pursue the American dream of business ownership!”  But it hasn’t played out like he hoped it would.  While he keeps the doors open, the customers aren’t just flocking to his store, he’s the only employee so he can’t take a vacation without closing the doors.   Somehow that’s the fault of “the capitalistic monolith that is the US Economy.”  Certainly it has nothing to do with the population demographic of the area around his store, his selection of inventory or his warm personality!  Nope, it’s nothing that he’s done, it’s all someone elses fault.
     
    Quite honestly, Gary, I admire ANYONE who has the balls to strike out on their own and open their own business.  I’m coming up on my 19th anniversary  in the business that I’m in now and that doesn’t include the two businesses that I owned in college.  Nor does it include the 4 years that I carried newspapers 7 days a week when I was a kid!   It’s not easy.  I know that I haven’t always made the right decisions but I do always try to learn from my mistakes.  I’ve had some years when I’ve made big money and others where I’ve lost my ass.  But, I always tried to step back and look at things objectively in order to continue to keep my business where it provides the things that are important to me.
     
    So, courageous Gary – are you going to address the original scenario that I presented to you?  I’d love for you to be able to convince me that trade unions are still relevant into today’s economy!
     
  18. Gene March 4, 2010 / 9:32 pm
    His business may or may not be successful, who knows? But a store front operation competing against the Best Buys of the world has to be hard. I guess he sells “different” stuff. And he probably sells online, and stuff that is hard to find.

    Is it location? Sure. Most every business, without cost considerations, could benefit from better location. Is it his selection? Maybe, but I sure as hell do not know what is popular today. I listen to stuff I like (like most everyone) and don’t consider if it “in” or “out.” I love to hear the TV folk talk about who is “in” in the music world, bc it is often followed by “who the hell is that?” by me.

    Is it his perosnality? Maybe. I am sure he pushes his liberal agenda on his customer base. Most liberals do this. A lot of conservatives do this. To be honest, most Americans could give a frick about politics, and I can’t blame them. All those hot wind bags blowing smoke up are asses gets old. It is just a big game with no winners, only losers.

    But there is NO WAY Gary can defend being a capatalist and a union-backer without tripping over his own long liberal hair. But I would love to see him try. Heck, he stated that he thought it was OK to take from one person and give to another…. Wonder if he minded that I take from him to give to me, since I need some new music in my life….

  19. David Lauri March 5, 2010 / 9:50 am
    But there is NO WAY Gary can defend being a capatalist and a union-backer without tripping over his own long liberal hair.
    Obviously you’re right, Gene, because everyone either must be an absolute Marxist communist or an absolute free market Libertarian capitalist.  It’s clearly impossible to embrace ideas from more than one perspective.  There are of course no examples to be found anywhere of successful capitalist corporations that nonetheless supported the rights of workers.
  20. Bubba Jones March 5, 2010 / 10:13 am
    Hello David L!  Nice to see you weigh in on this one.  While we rarely agree, I always enjoy reading your stuff!
     
    I’m curious as to what’s in the Wikipedia article that supports your point of B&J’s supporting “the rights of the workers”?  I didn’t really see anything that addressed worker’s rights.  PLEASE PLEASE don’t tell me that changing the name of their Chubby Hubby flavor had anything to do with workers’ rights.
     
    I found this a little interesting…>>> Ben & Jerry’s used to have a policy that no employee’s rate of pay shall exceed seven times that of entry-level employees. In 1995, entry-level employees were paid $8 hourly, and the highest paid employee was President and Chief Operating Officer Chuck Lacy, who earned $150,000 annually. When Ben Cohen resigned as Chief Executive Officer and Ben & Jerry’s announced the search for a new CEO in 1995, the company ended the seven-to-one-ratio policy. <<<
     
    First, they had to drop the policy because when they needed a new CFO they couldn’t find one to manage a company that large for only $150k!!  But, the math they illustrate doesn’t work out even before they changed the policy.  If the entry level person was making $8 per hour, 7 times that amount would be $116,480.  ($8 x a multiplier of 7 x 40 hours per week x 52 weeks per year = $116,480)  A salary of $150k is roughly 28.5% higher than their stated allowable max.  Oh, those damned liberal capitalists!!  You can’t trust them either! ;)
     
  21. Gene March 5, 2010 / 10:22 am
    DL – it was a joke. But we will see GS try to defend his capitalistic ways (ie business owner of a music/record/cd store) and not address what Bubba had to say. He will trip on his long liberal hair, bc that is what liberals do. They contridict their own lives.
  22. Gene March 5, 2010 / 10:48 am
    I think most capitalist support “worker’s rights.” But what is the right of the worker? To get unlimited health benefits at the companies expense? To make $78.00 per hour when $32.00 is fair market value? To get 5 day in which an employee can have a no call/no show and still not get fired? Well, that in a nutshell it the Auto Union. Those MF together with management drove the US Auto industry into the ground. Aren’t these MF on the same team – that is to build and sell cars? Well look at them now. I hope all involved never sniff a job again, including management. Liberals make things way too complicated. The Auto indsustry fucked themselves, I hope everyone got off bc now the  future success of the auto industry will go to those who play nice together.
  23. Ice Bandit March 7, 2010 / 11:26 am
    They talk to the head of the “United Exploited Record Store Workers of America” union about unionizing your shop.  They vote and then unionize.  Now it’s time for their contract.  (Bubba Jones)
    The umpire has barely shouted “play ball” this spring training season and Bubba Jones has already hit the first home run. But please consider this all too likely scenario. After the signing of the contract, the UERSWA decides that work in CD shops is too vital to the national security to allow just anyone to do it. So after consulting the membership and greasing the palms of a few legislators with the legalized bribery known as “campaign contributions,” the Ohio General Assembly decides that one must have state certification in CD Science in order to have one of those positions. Immediately, Wright State opens the Kurt Cobain School of CD Science and Research, which after four years of intense study (and intense tuition) enables the scholar to pursue their lifelong dream of working at the Music Go Round at the Fairfield Commons. Of course the state also offers expensive paid stays in the Lucasville Hilton for those in violation of this law (which of course, include asset forfeiture) which inspires everybody involved in this business to close shop or migrate across a state line. This state’s infatuation with certification, in every area from bee-keeping to tightening corn rows, not only stifles economic recovery and entrepreneurial zeal, but limits the freedom of every Buckeye from Conneaut to Miamitown……
  24. Jesse March 8, 2010 / 6:35 am
    Capitalism and government enforcement of “workers rights” are not compatible.  You can’t be both pro-capitalism and pro-union (as anything other than organizations of the threat of “mass quit”).  You can’t destroy the right to property and be “capitalist”.  The “owner” of a job is not the person who holds a job but the person who provides said job.  Therefore, stating that the true owner of a job MUST negotiate with (anyone) because of (anything) is the destruction of the ownership of that property to the extent that the owner may not use the property as they see fit.  Yes…I understand the implications of this.  Yes, I think you should be able to discriminate for literally any reason you choose as a business owner.
     
    Either you believe in private property or you do not.  If you don’t, then you aren’t a capitalist.
  25. Jeff of Louisville March 8, 2010 / 8:02 pm
    The Dayton buisness communtiy had a very sucessful history in crushing unions.  In the 1890s about 40% to 50% of the workforce was unionized.  The business community was able to organized and destroy these unions, rendering the city mostly union-free by 1910 or so (the industrial sector). Then the streetcar union was busted (but not without some violence, riots on West Third Street at the carbarns).  So the city was virtually union-free.  The only problem is the workers started voting for socialists.  This was busted via munciple reform government.
     
     
    It took the CIO organizing drives in the 1930s to bring unions back to Dayton.  This only worked because of two things…the CIO union active here, the UE, used disciplined and committed CPUSA cadre to organize, and there was a big influx of briars from the coalfields of Appalachia, who were favorably disposed to unions due the UMWA and John L Lewis.  It was this Appalachian workforce that signed those cards and brought the unions back to Dayton.
     
     
    That era is over now, the private sector union has had its day.  The unions that need to be busted today are the public employee unions, which includes the FOP as well as the NEA and AFCSME.  People don’t want to touch the cops and firefighters but public safety payrolls and pensions are the big line items in local government budgets.
  26. Brad March 9, 2010 / 8:55 am
    Yes, police officers and firefighters are a big chunk of municipal budgets these days.  But don’t be so short-sighted as to see only the monetary issue. 

    Who’s fighting (daily) to keep fire apparatus on the street, and cruisers out in the districts?  Who’s working to keep Public Safety staffing levels where countless studies and reports say they should be?  Who keeps the citizens of this City informed about the continued cuts in services that can drastically affect their family and homes?

    Who?  The IAFF and FOP.

    Without Public Safety Unions, all the cops and firefighters would be making barely more than minimum wage, and riding around town with dangerously low levels of personnel.  And nobody would know or care, because the City sure as shit wouldn’t tell them how bad their police and fire departments sucked.

    Expensive?  Maybe.
    Necessary?  Absolutely.

    It’s easy to sit back and spout off that public safety Unions should be “busted” when you know absolutely nothing about the safety issues they fight for.  Minimum staffing, response times, station location, personal protective equipment, apparatus maintenance, etc….

    All are crucial pieces of the puzzle that we have to fight to maintain constantly.  The safety of citizens and safety of police/fire personnel is a war waged behind the scenes in this City every day.

  27. Jesse March 9, 2010 / 1:58 pm
    Hmmm…lets check the logic.
    What do people think about being safe from fires and protected from criminals?   They seem to like both.
    Does a market exist for fire protection and police?  Yes, of course a market exists.
    Does the government assuming the responsibility for both of these functions as a monopolist who operates outside the marketplace make it virtually impossible to tell how efficient or effective the services provided are?  Yes, of course it does.
    Why doesn’t some private company provide fire protection then?  Because people are already paying for the service.  It is the same disadvantage that private schools have.  People pay taxes to provide fire protection, police and public education.  To then also pay for private fire protection, police and education means that you are now paying for a service you don’t want and aren’t using and the service you do want and will use.
    In short, you have no idea as to the market rate of a fire fighter or police officer.  Without government control and unions the remuneration rates of both would likely rise.
    Police officers would no longer direct traffic and hand out tickets, they would be actively engaged in protecting the rights of individuals.  Similarly, fire fighters would be selected based on their ability to fight fires and they would less often be used for cats in trees.  Both of which would make the job more valuable and could greatly reduce staffing.  However, we will never know because we aren’t allowed to compete.
     
  28. Greg Hunter March 9, 2010 / 3:54 pm
    It’s easy to sit back and spout off that public safety Unions should be “busted” when you know absolutely nothing about the safety issues they fight for.  Minimum staffing, response times, station location, personal protective equipment, apparatus maintenance, etc….

    Hmms I am not putting words in Jeffery’s mouth, but he may be talking about the Corporate Machine doing the busting, but either way it is over for the Police and Fire Unions.  The revenue is just not there and culpability is high.  Now Dayton Police are generally more pragmatic with respect to “crime” as not much speed enforcement in the City.  (Of course that has changed now the Dayton has a lower than “normal” speed set for RT 35 and a perfect spot for a speed trap <s>revenue generation</s>)   However, the “crunch” is coming and Dayton cannot afford the Pension Obligations and the Bond Payments as the population reduces so sayonara to the Police and Fire as a Union Entity.

  29. Jeff of Louisville March 9, 2010 / 4:36 pm
      The revenue is just not there and culpability is ….. However, the “crunch” is coming and Dayton cannot afford the Pension Obligations and the Bond Payments as the population reduces so sayonara to the Police and Fire as a Union Entity.

    This is my point.  The revenue is not there to support the current level pay and benefits.  This is what that Brookings study is talking about when there is a high cost of local government. Ohio is in the top ten of local taxation yet has a such a weak economy.  How sustainable is this?

    Payroll and benefits  are the largest line item in local govt. budgets and that is where you look to make the cuts if you want to bring expenditures in line with revenue.   Or if you want to reduce the tax burden.

     This is just common sense.

  30. Jesse March 9, 2010 / 6:46 pm
    Greg,
    Not that I have specific numbers but anecdotally; I have never been stopped for any violation other than traffic violations by any officer of the law.  I would love to take a poll as to how many people have been stopped for a minor traffic violation vs how many have been stopped in the commission of an actual crime (like violating the rights of another).  I am guessing that more people are stopped for traffic violations.  (BTW…it also pays better than stopping people in the commission of actual crimes because the ROI is so much higher. )

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