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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 15, 2006 / 24 Mar-Cheshvan, 5767

Voters sent Congress a clear message: End corruption now. Will Democrats listen and, more important, act?

By Jonathan Turley

Turley
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In her first statement after the Democratic takeover of the House, the presumptive new speaker, Nancy Pelosi of California, pledged that her party would create "the most honest, the most open and the most ethical Congress in history."

History, however, should give citizens pause before they celebrate the dawn of a new day. Pelosi's promise is eerily similar to the vows of her two predecessors.

Notably, in this election, Democrats took back the seats that they lost in 1994 when Newt Gingrich, who became speaker, led a Republican takeover based in part on his promise to create the most ethical Congress in history. Yet, ethics quickly gave way to earmarks, and Gingrich left the House in scandal.

We heard the same words from Dennis Hastert in 1999, when he became speaker. During Hastert's speakership, the leadership actually loosened ethics rules and prevented some bipartisan reforms from coming to the House floor. Hastert even engineered the removal of GOP members from the ethics committee who had voted to admonish former majority leader Tom DeLay for his misconduct - before DeLay resigned under indictment.

This history explains why lobbyists on K Street are not packing moving boxes in anticipation of an outbreak of good government. After all, these same Democrats remained silent for many years in the face of corrupt practices, often engaging in the very conduct that would now have to be prohibited.

A vote against corruption

Even so, there is one unexpected glimmer of hope: They might not have a choice. To the surprise of both parties, exit polls cited corruption in Congress as one of the most important issues motivating citizens to vote. President Bush had campaigned for some of the most corrupt members of Congress. His political adviser, Karl Rove, admitted after the elections that "the profile of corruption in the exit polls was bigger than I'd expected."

Of course, "reform" can take the most curious forms in the parallel moral universe of Congress. For example, in 1997, the mislabeled House Ethics Reform Task Force moved to prevent ethics charges rather than ethics violations. Not only did the members bar citizens from bringing charges, but both parties also entered into a secret 7-year moratorium on any ethics charges by members.

While Republicans richly deserve the lion's share of blame for the grotesquely corrupt 109th Congress, it is only fair to note that ranking Democrats have long fought to preserve and benefit from many of the same loopholes and technicalities.

Democratic whip Dick Durbin of Illinois has been criticized for accepting trips for himself and his wife that were paid for by outside groups such as the not-for-profit Aspen Institute. Likewise, the presumptive Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, was recently scrutinized for alleged ethics lapses, including a controversial land deal in Las Vegas and the use of campaign funds to give Christmas bonuses to workers at his luxury condo building in Washington.

None of this means that the Democrats cannot show that they are capable of personal change with needed political reform. Yet, the last Democratic proposals for ethics reforms contain obvious gaps that would allow the continuation of corrupt practices, including some favored by their leadership.

To-do list

If Pelosi is serious about "draining the swamp," here are 10 practices that would have to end:

Free vacations.

Prohibit travel for members and their family and staff paid by outside groups, including not-for-profit organizations.

Playing the market.

Bar members from legislating in areas where they have financial interests by closing a loophole in the definition of "outside income," which excludes investments and stocks. Better yet, require the use of blind trusts by members (already used by executive and judicial officers).

Quid pro quo deals.

End the practice of receiving windfall private deals from partners, who then receive generous government contracts. Require recusal from any matter in which a business partner has a direct financial interest.

Self-policing.

Create an independent office of ethics in which non-members investigate and rule on allegations of unethical conduct. 

Misuse of campaign funds.

Prohibit the use of such funds for any purpose other than direct campaign costs for the original recipient, barring the transfer of funds to other candidates.

Family lobbyists.

Bar members from any official contact with family members who are employed as lobbyists and require recusal from any committee with jurisdiction over issues on which a spouse or a child is a lobbyist. Enact an ethics principle that expressly condemns the employment of spouses or children as lobbyists as harmful to the institution.

Family businesses.

Strengthen nepotism rules, including a ban on the hiring of spouses and family as campaign staff or contractors.

Gifts.

Change the scope of prohibited gifts to include the use of private jets by members and catered food for members or staff. Also require the valuation of gifts by an independent ethics committee.

Club privileges.

End all special access to the floor and other areas for former members that allows them free access as lobbyists.

Earmarks.

The primary currency for corrupt practices and pork barrel projects remains earmarks - special pet projects inserted into budgets outside of the usual competitive bidding and appropriations processes. Democrats have proposed  changes but not the most obvious: Ban earmarks.

Believing in Pelosi's promise is the ultimate victory of hope over experience. Indeed, Democratic proposals still fall short of a true cleaning as opposed to a quick dust and polish in the "first 100 hours." Yet, if she implements these 10 reforms, Pelosi can prove that it is possible for reformed sinners to sin no more.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Jonathan Turley is a law professor at George Washington University. Click here to visit his website. Comment by clicking here.

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