Monthly Archives: June 2011

QP: What if we chose NOT to “Get Out The Vote”?

I saw an article yesterday that sparked a thought – what if both parties just didn’t Get Out The Vote (GOTV)?  Each cycle both the Democratic and Republican Parties spend millions of dollars and thousands of hours on their GOTV efforts.  While these efforts can be multi-year endeavors they really focus on the last few days before an election (be it Primary or General).  They also include huge pushes for voter registration and absentee voting.  I understand what compels each side to do this – they want to win.  Republicans are not calling up people who profile as Democrats or Liberals to vote – they are calling Conservatoires and the opposite is true of the Democratic Party – they are calling their base to encourage them to show up on Election day.  I even take part in these activities, calling from my local party HQ to encourage others to register and vote – whether in person or via absentee ballot.  I sometimes wonder why though.  Why do we (we being political parties) spend millions on people we have to down right BEG to vote?  What would happen if we just let those who were naturally motivated to vote go ahead and exercise that right then let the rest of society deal with the repercussions?

QP: What if we chose NOT to “Get Out The Vote”?

I saw an article yesterday that sparked a thought – what if both parties just didn’t Get Out The Vote (GOTV)?  Each cycle both the Democratic and Republican Parties spend millions of dollars and thousands of hours on their GOTV efforts.  While these efforts can be multi-year endeavors they really focus on the last few days before an election (be it Primary or General).  They also include huge pushes for voter registration and absentee voting.  I understand what compels each side to do this – they want to win.  Republicans are not calling up people who profile as Democrats or Liberals to vote – they are calling Conservatoires and the opposite is true of the Democratic Party – they are calling their base to encourage them to show up on Election day.  I even take part in these activities, calling from my local party HQ to encourage others to register and vote – whether in person or via absentee ballot.  I sometimes wonder why though.  Why do we (we being political parties) spend millions on people we have to down right BEG to vote?  What would happen if we just let those who were naturally motivated to vote go ahead and exercise that right then let the rest of society deal with the repercussions?

GOP WH2012 – Michele Bachmann

To continue our series on Republican White House hopefuls I decided it only made sense to focus on Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota who announced her candidacy yesterday in Waterloo, IA.  While she announced that she was running for President in the debate earlier this month, I guess this was her “official” announcement…or something.  This is something that is becoming commonplace in the WH2012 race though, so I am not fault her at all for making as big a splash – especially when it  takes place in the city of her birth (Waterloo) which just happens to be in home to our nation’s first test for White House viability.

Rep. Bachmann is the darling of the Tea Party wing of the GOP thanks to her outspoken views on taxes and government spending.  Since the economic collapse of 2008 and the rise of the Tea Party shortly following that, there has been a renewed focus on government spending, especially within the Republican Party who hope to keep the Tea Party in the fold rather than losing those voters to a 3rd party.  While Bachmann is the founder and head of the Tea Party Caucus within the US House, she is not the only candidate who is Tea Party friendly.  She really is a stark contrast to the candidate we first profiled, Jon Huntsman as he is rather soft-spoken and unassuming while she is one who often seeks the spotlight and is very outspoken about her views.  She is often compared to former AK Gov and 2008 GOP VP nominee Sarah Palin.  While the parallels are obvious to see in that both are outspoken and strong-willed women, they differ in style and substance.

I may draw some flack for this, but I actually see some similarities between Rep. Bachmann’s run for President and that of President Obama in 2008.  Both worked their way up from their respective State Houses to national office and announced their Presidential intentions while not having leadership positions in Congress.  Both capture the attention of their base while also serving as anti-establishment (remember, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton was the “establishment” candidate for the Democratic Party leading up to the 2008 primaries).  While I am not sure there is an “establishment” candidate within the GOP at this point, it is very safe to say that Rep. Bachmann will not hold that mantel unless she is the ONLY candidate.

While I am not personally a fan of Michele Bachmann (as you can see if you follow me on Twitter or have read this on the blog) I can certainly understand the appeal she has for those within the Tea Party and Social Conservatives.  She is a powerful fundraiser for not only herself but for the candidates and colleagues she support (much like Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, another Tea Party favorite).  However, even with all of those positives, I don’t see her winning the GOP nomination in the end.  She currently enjoys high favorable ratings among Republicans because, in part, she has only been attacked by Democrats.  Once the primary battles truly begin and comparisons and contrasts are drawn, the fact that she has never been “the one, only one of”, along with her outspoken ways, will keep some voters from supporting her.  In a weird way, I think the Presidency of Barack Obama, something she is trying to end, will keep her from accomplishing that.  I do see her as a logical Vice Presidential choice (depending on the campaign rhetoric) as she has a national profile right now that would aid a more centrist candidate in retaining those who count themselves as members of the Tea Party.  On the other hand, if she does not get the Republican nod, I could also see her being encouraged to split off from the Republican Party and helping to establish the Tea Party as a true 3rd party and running as their nominee.  This race will be interesting to follow as I think there are more questions attached to Michele Bachmann than to any other person currently seeking the Republican nomination

GOP WH2012 – Jon Huntsman

We are going to start doing some intro profiles on the 2012 Candidates and I thought it appropriate to start with Jon Huntsman as he just “announced” this week.  These are just some initial thoughts, no doubt we will delve deeper into some candidates and/or their stances on certain issues as the race evolves.

Jon Huntsman has a very interesting resume when you compare it to the other GOP candidates in the 2012 field.  He is one of a handful of former Governors in the race – something that is becoming a rarity as we continually (and unfortunately) look to those already in DC to lead our nation.  I feel strongly that in order to be an effective President you need to have held a leadership position before – Governor, CEO, or Vice President.  You cannot have been “1 of 100” and even more so cannot be “1 of 435” (the exception to this rule is Speaker of the House – a leader of 435 certainly qualifies as a true leadership position).  Utah is a pretty conservative state and Jon Huntsman was not only elected there, but re-elected to the position while enjoying high approval ratings among his constituents.  He did not finish out his second term in Utah, in fact, he only barely started it before becoming Ambassador to China.  This is both a feather in his cap and a damning move at the same time.  On one hand he has immense foreign policy experience – he has a relationship with basically the only other country on earth that has similar pull to the United States in China.  However, he left his position of Governor at the request of the man he is now running to replace.

While Huntsman can hang his hat on fiscal conservatism, his social record is one that will not play well in states like IA and SC as he is being dubbed the “Moderate” option by most media circles.  I would not completely discount this strategy as MI Gov Rick Snyder moved to the center in a Right dominated primary battle in Michigan and came out on top.  If the primary system in our country was different, I would say the strategy had legs, but with the way it is now I am hesitant to endorse such a move.  Huntsman has gained a student following though with the previously dubbed “Students for Mitch” moving over to his side after Gov. Daniels decided not to run.  If Ambassador Huntsman can capitalize on a youth movement he will set himself apart from other POTUS candidates even more.

Some articles I have read state that Jon Huntsman jumped too early his best time would have been in 2016 with a wide open field and less baggage of being associated with President Obama.  Right now, I am tempted to agree and maybe this is a way to do just that.  I can’t get over the feeling that with his contrast and lack of focus on IA and SC he might actually be running for VP, not President.  As a VP option, he certainly carries significant weight given all that was stated above.  It will be interesting to see how his campaign evolves.

 

Raising Revenue =/= Tax Increases

Recently some Republican’s have stated that along with spending cuts, the Federal Government also needs to increase their revenue in order to solve both the yearly budget problems and the overarching issue of our crippling debt.  At the end of May, Senator Tom Coburn made some remarks on C-SPAN (watch the video if you can) regarding this that were met which criticism from the conservative tax groups.  If you read the summary it states that he is in favor of “tax increases”, something the anti-tax groups jumped all over.  However, in the video he states that the revenue would come from a flatter and fairer tax code, he only mentions “tax increases” when talking about President Obama’s plan.  This is really an important distinction, but also a confusing one as well.

A while back I talked about the budget issues our country faces and compared them to the budget issues a family in America might face (here and here).  Obviously the complexity of the Federal Government’s budget makes this more theoretical than practical and this is just an exercise in explaining the problems in a more relatable fashion.  How many American families, when looking at THEIR debt problems, don’t look at ways to maximize revenue, either through one time ventures or continually recurring efforts?  To completely shut out the possibility of revenue increases does a true disservice to the American public as it limits both the compromisable* options between Democrats and Republicans but also truly limits tools for budget balancing we have at our disposal.

* I apparently just made that word up according to spell-check

From what I gather, what Senator Coburn is talking about is closing the loopholes in our tax system that allow people to pay less than their cohorts and corporations to avoid taxes that their competition might be paying in full.  The complexities and loopholes in our tax code are such that you could actually LOWER the tax rates and get MORE money by making sure that everyone is paying what they should be paying.  No doubt you have read the piece in the New York Times stating that General Electric doesn’t pay ANY taxes which the Washington Post elaborates on by clearing up some issues (hint, it pays taxes, but not at the same level as some of its competitors).  Basically, think of it this way – if company A is paying 30%, Company B has found some loopholes and is paying 20% and Company C has found all sorts of loopholes and is paying 8%, then you can you can lower the tax rate to 20%, close the loopholes and still make 2% more (yes, this obviously over simplified to make a point).

I understand the anti-tax groups being afraid of Republicans talking about increasing revenues as that generally means raising the tax rate and often times spending cuts don’t accompany those hikes.  The American public has changed though I think.  They are demanding that we regain control of our budget and debt and doing it mostly through spending cuts.  By closing the loopholes and creating fairer tax policy for both our individual citizens as well as corporations and business we can increase revenue while at the same time lowering the taxes that most will pay.  While spending cuts are paramount to solving our problems I hope that groups like ATR realize that we do need more revenue to create budgetary sustainability and that “raising revenue” does not always equate  to “tax increase”.  As we continually try to preach here, while conservative principles are needed to guide our country forward, compromise is also needed.  rewriting the tax code to become flatter and more fair is one such area where “conservative compromise”* could/should/would shine.

* I like that term, not sure if it has been used before, but I think it goes a long ways towards illustrating what is needed in our country.  Heck, maybe it will be one of our tag-lines here.

Re-Imagining Congressional Redistricting

A popular slogan for the past couple of years has been “Rethinking Redistricting” but with the way some states handle the process, I am not sure how much thought goes into it.  I would instead propose that “re-imagine redistricting” since it seems like quite a bit of imagination goes into some of the district layouts right now and given the highly charged political nature of the process, my proposal will be pure imagination most likely.

Previously I talked about the Electoral College vs. the Popular Vote here and mentioned that one option was to go with a Congressional District type of scheme that Nebraska and Maine currently use.  In that piece I talked about how, for this to be successful, we would need to essentially end gerrymandering of Congressional Districts for political purposes and have fair representation.  If that occurred, then the option shown to use by Maine and Nebraska could be truly applicable to larger states and as such become our national standard.  As it currently stands, most states have drawn their Congressional districts in such a manner that a Democrat or Republican has a clear advantage in a majority of them, with a minority of seats being truly “competitive”.  Ed: interesting that as I was writing this, The Fix, an internet political section of The Washington Post, did a story on redistricting and the political outcomes

What we, as Americans, need is for the redistricting/reapportionment of Congressional seats (and furthermore the State House and Senate seats) to be taken out of the hands of those who directly benefit from it.  Some states already do this, such as Iowa who has an independent government body create a map and then send it along to the House and Senate for an up or down vote.  California has a citizens board (the California Citizens Redistricting Commission) that is in-charge of its redistricting process, the largest in the nation.  Here in the Hoosier State I was able to talk with Speaker Brian Bosma earlier in the year and he indicated a willingness to move towards Iowa’s system but that it would not impact their maps for this next cycle since the maps needed to be out so early in the year.

What we need is for our Congressional districts to be drawn to represent the people of a region, the diversity of a community.  We don’t need all the Republicans on one side and the Democrats on the other.  I don’t think our Founding Fathers envisioned scenarios in which one party would dominate the other so thoroughly in many of our districts.  The United States House of Representatives was set up to serve the people and continually reflect the will of the citizens.  If we are not getting an accurate or fair representation from those citizens because of how we have divided communities then our system is operating outside of the bounds of the Constitution.

I will admit to not fully grasping the Chicago community, but I still don’t see how the map is anything more than gerrymander.

Furthermore it shows that gerrymandering is not just about political parties but other demographics including race and income as the IL 4th and IL 7th, both areas in question, are represented in Congress by members of the Democratic Party.

In order to get the most out of Government, we need fair representation.  Gerrymandering a Congressional district does a disservice not only to the constituents of that district and the populace of the state, but to all of America.  Afterall, those 435 elected men and women are drafting budgets and creating legislation that impacts every single one of us, not just between 2nd and 8th Sts, North of Pine.  It is time that we start picking our Representatives in Congress again, not having them pick us.

Healthcare and the GOP – a misunderstood relationship

The Republican Party has an interesting relationship with the policy issue of health care and all of many facets.  Right now it seems that above all other issues, the media and the possible primary voters are most concerned with Mitt Romney’s health care plan for Massachusetts and the other candidates’ reactions to said plan.  That issue itself seems somewhat of a chicken and an egg thing – is the media driving voters concerns in their quest to compare/contrast President Obama and the presumptive GOP front-runner or are the voters truly concerned about it and the media is covering the story because of that?  I tend to think it is the former rather than the latter, but then again, I have a healthy distrust of the mainstream media and their relationship with Republican Presidential contenders.  In addition to that specific issue we have the overarching GOP distaste for President Obama’s plan (I think half of Congress is still on their first attempt to read through it…) as well as the new Medicare plan by Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, and a host of similar (but slightly different) proposals popping up within the GOP.

First off, lets dispel the myth that these discussions are about health care – they are not.  Most of what I have seen addresses health insurance and its availability.  It doesn’t specifically address “health care”.  The whole theory is that by addressing the insurance end, it will drive down costs to consumers.  Furthermore, this is more of a discussion as to how involved the Government should be in the area of health insurance – for all citizens, but particularly the poor and elderly.  The GOP swept into the majority in 2010, in part, because of their criticism of “Obamacare”.  They followed that up with efforts to repeal the measure which has predictably stalled out in the Senate thanks to their Democratic Majority.  The thing is, the Republican’s didn’t really see the forest for the trees on this particular issue and as such are missing it on “Romneycare” too (or “Obamney Care” as Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has deemed it).  While the public was upset about the President’s and Democratically supported health care policy, it was not because of what was included in the legislation (because many still don’t know, it was like 9000 pages long), it was because they saw it as another example of the Federal Government overreaching their bounds.  As such, it is fundamentally different from Mitt Romney’s proposal – his was a state measure addressing a state issue.  By lumping the tw o issues together as “Obamney Care” like Pawlenty did, he is doing a disservice to the idea of State’s Rights, something Republicans are supposed to support.  Regardless of how successful the policy is, it is hard to argue that when it was first discussed, it was a nice fit for a state like Massachusetts, but it probably wouldn’t work for Montana.

In regards to Rep. Ryan’s health care proposals, I must plead a bit of ignorance as I am not familiar with all of the specific in’s and out’s of the legislation.  As I understand it, it calls for the Federal Government to step back from the table of actually providing health insurance coverage by providing vouchers that would still cover the costs of private health insurance but would take the government out of the picture when it comes to actually running the program.  Among Republicans on the national stage, many applaud the initial step taken by Rep. Ryan but are hesitant to fully endorse the reforms as work on their own tweaks to the plan (and look at poll numbers that drive their policy decisions).  As this particular issue requires great depth explain, the polling is inadequate because the media portrayal is limited – the time it takes to explain such things is much greater than the average soundbite.  Until the GOP can hone its message on this issue into concise and consistent soundbites the polling will continue to inaccurately reflect the public’s apatite for such policy.

Finally, it is disheartening to see this “health care” (again, it is not health care, it is health insurance) debate being characterized by many as the “Republicans don’t want everyone to have access to health care”.  Honestly, if you believe that then you really need to have your critical thinking skills evaluated.  Every American should have access to affordable health insurance.  I am pretty sure that a vastly overwhelming  majority of the GOP believes this (I can’t speak for everyone of course).  The question is who pays for what.  Should the Federal Government, in a time when we are running massive deficits and our budget predictions forecast near economic collapse, be providing services that are available to the majority of people through non-governmental entities?  Should those in Washington D.C. be mandating a policy that could work and be accepted in some states (i.e. Massachusetts with “Romneycare”) but would be a disaster in others?  While everyone should have access to health cover does everyone need to actually be covered or should it be a personal choice?

Hopefully we see some of these issues debated in logical fashion and revised to create the best outcome possible.  We can only hope that inaccurate propaganda takes a backseat to factual statements and that sound policy drives the poll numbers rather than converse.  While altering the federal budget so that health insurance obligations eat up much less funding is one of the most important issues that those in Washington DC will be tasked with over the next few years, truly “fixing” health care goes well beyond the bounds of Medicare, Medicaid, and any part of the health insurance discussion.  It will be interesting to see if any solid proposals come out that go beyond the scope of health insurance as we near November of 2012.

Where to Cut – Special Elections

The State of New York recently held a Special Election to fill the 26th CD seat vacated after the Congressman resigned for inappropriate behavior.  We may even see another one in New York given the recent actions of Rep. Anthony Weiner, although he has said he will not resign.  It seems that lately, due to scandal or political ladder climbing, at least one state endures a Special Election every year to fill a vacant House seat.  Some states, like Indiana in 2010 after Rep. Mark Souder’s admittance of an affair, chose to leave these seats vacant or use the General Election as the Special Election.  Each state can handle this situation different depending on their State Constitution and their Governor.

I would advocate that we fully do away with the Special Election.  While the House of Representatives is supposed to reflect the will of the people, the people generally are consistent (the exception being in new or altered districts created by redistricting).  How often do we see a member of the same party take over the seat in question, and depending on the situation, it could even be someone from the departing Congressperson’s own staff.  To me, this just screams of a waste of taxpayers money and time.  With elections every two years, the “people” have a regular chance to voice their opinion – whether it be displeasure or gratitude towards their U.S. Representatives.  I am sure the leadership of both political parties disagree with my stance as they constantly pour money into these special elections.  To them, the results for one Congressional District can be a barometer for the entire Nation…unless their candidate loses.

Perhaps a better way to handle sudden openings in a Congressional seat is to instead appoint a person to fill that seat, much like they do with the most Senate openings.  If a seat is held by a Republican, then a Republican should be appointed to fill the remainder of the term, the same goes if the previous office holder was a Democrat.  Furthermore, to eliminate any sort of “incumbency advantage” (or the reverse, having a GOP Governor appoint a weak Dem so they GOP can overtake the seat next time) I would advocate that the person who fills said seat not be allowed to run for that office in the next election.  While I understand there is a downside to this by creating a “lame-duck” office holder, they are only one of 435 and would not be viewed that much differently than some who have been in Washington for quite some time while accomplishing very little.

In the end, I think this would result in a savings to the tax-payer and would also not subject them to further politicking – which we know many Americans already are tired of.  We need to not waste money just because party leadership in Washington thinks it is a good idea.  If they really want a special election to serve a mid-session barometer, then the RNC and DNC should fit the bill themselves instead of leaving the tax-payers of the state holding the bill.

Bad things come in 3s – The weekend of the “The Senator”, his QB and a Congressman from New York

Thanks to Twitter, email, and digital photography for making this weekend so interesting.  Not only was Twitter used as the device to spread the news of the Jim Tressel, Terrelle Pryor, and Rep. Anthony Weiner it was also the direct cause of the trouble for Rep. Weiner.  Thanks to technology, our scandals are so much more quick to develop.  Back when I was growing up, it took several months to even years for all of this information to come out whether it be about sports or politics; now it seems like hours and days, with the biggest taking weeks.  Is technology allowing the media to become even more watchful or is it really just allowing our scandalous figures to be much sloppier?

Jim Tressel was thought to be Ohio State Coach for life as recently as December 2010.  Then news of some player misdeeds started to filter out and he suspended them for a few games in 2011 season.  This had happened in the past, but in the past couple of years Yahoo! Sports has developed on heck of an investigative reporting team and they took a deep look into the goings on in Columbus.  In March, their story came out and Tressel  himself was suspended.  With a crack in his armor and blood in the water, the media (professional and amateur) started to circle and it seemed like every day something new was coming out in regards to tattoos, cars, drugs, etc.  On Memorial Day, Tressel announced his resignation/retirement/firing (but not “fired”) from Ohio State.  In the end, he was undone by technology, a few emails here and there proved what had been unprovable prior to this, that he stood idly by while players at Ohio State (and Youngstown State before that) committed numerous NCAA infractions.

Pryor is somewhat along the same lines as Tressel, technology has served as corroboration.  Rumors abound regarding the numerous cars he has driven during his time at Ohio State, but with everyone seemingly having a camera at their disposal nowadays thanks to cellphone integration, we have actual proof that he takes 4-6 month test drives.  While the future for young Mr. Pryor is unknown, things are not looking good for him at Ohio State and he may have taken his last snap for them while playing in the Sugar Bowl that could be the beginning of the end for this Ohio State dynasty

Lastly, Rep Weiner from New York had a run-in with twitter over the weekend where somehow a picture of a guy in his underwear was sent out over his account.  It was deleted shortly thereafter in what Rep. Weiner claims was a case of his account being hacked.  There is a lot about this story that doesn’t add up given that New York just held a Special Election as a result of another Congressman resigning for doing something incredibly similar.  So, maybe it was hacking – a political enemy trying to get him in trouble.  or maybe he realized what he did and tried to cover it up before anyone found out.  Regardless, technology once again allows for this scandal to occur where it wouldn’t have seen the light of day 15 years ago.

Advances in communication technologies make our everyday lives much simpler and bring people together from all over the world to accomplish things faster and cheaper than ever before.  However, because of our ever-increasing “connected” lifestyles, the mistakes we make are now made public at astounding speeds and frequencies.  I am not sure there are more scandals happening today than ever before, or that those implicated in them are any less mart than those who came before them.  Today’s technology makes it that much harder to keep a secret secret and thus that much easier to get caught.

 

Bad things come in 3s – The weekend of the “The Senator”, his QB and a Congressman from New York

Thanks to Twitter, email, and digital photography for making this weekend so interesting.  Not only was Twitter used as the device to spread the news of the Jim Tressel, Terrelle Pryor, and Rep. Anthony Weiner it was also the direct cause of the trouble for Rep. Weiner.  Thanks to technology, our scandals are so much more quick to develop.  Back when I was growing up, it took several months to even years for all of this information to come out whether it be about sports or politics; now it seems like hours and days, with the biggest taking weeks.  Is technology allowing the media to become even more watchful or is it really just allowing our scandalous figures to be much sloppier?

Jim Tressel was thought to be Ohio State Coach for life as recently as December 2010.  Then news of some player misdeeds started to filter out and he suspended them for a few games in 2011 season.  This had happened in the past, but in the past couple of years Yahoo! Sports has developed on heck of an investigative reporting team and they took a deep look into the goings on in Columbus.  In March, their story came out and Tressel  himself was suspended.  With a crack in his armor and blood in the water, the media (professional and amateur) started to circle and it seemed like every day something new was coming out in regards to tattoos, cars, drugs, etc.  On Memorial Day, Tressel announced his resignation/retirement/firing (but not “fired”) from Ohio State.  In the end, he was undone by technology, a few emails here and there proved what had been unprovable prior to this, that he stood idly by while players at Ohio State (and Youngstown State before that) committed numerous NCAA infractions.

Pryor is somewhat along the same lines as Tressel, technology has served as corroboration.  Rumors abound regarding the numerous cars he has driven during his time at Ohio State, but with everyone seemingly having a camera at their disposal nowadays thanks to cellphone integration, we have actual proof that he takes 4-6 month test drives.  While the future for young Mr. Pryor is unknown, things are not looking good for him at Ohio State and he may have taken his last snap for them while playing in the Sugar Bowl that could be the beginning of the end for this Ohio State dynasty

Lastly, Rep Weiner from New York had a run-in with twitter over the weekend where somehow a picture of a guy in his underwear was sent out over his account.  It was deleted shortly thereafter in what Rep. Weiner claims was a case of his account being hacked.  There is a lot about this story that doesn’t add up given that New York just held a Special Election as a result of another Congressman resigning for doing something incredibly similar.  So, maybe it was hacking – a political enemy trying to get him in trouble.  or maybe he realized what he did and tried to cover it up before anyone found out.  Regardless, technology once again allows for this scandal to occur where it wouldn’t have seen the light of day 15 years ago.

Advances in communication technologies make our everyday lives much simpler and bring people together from all over the world to accomplish things faster and cheaper than ever before.  However, because of our ever-increasing “connected” lifestyles, the mistakes we make are now made public at astounding speeds and frequencies.  I am not sure there are more scandals happening today than ever before, or that those implicated in them are any less mart than those who came before them.  Today’s technology makes it that much harder to keep a secret secret and thus that much easier to get caught.