Conspiracy Nation -- Vol. 12  Num. 26
                     ("Quid coniuratio est?")


"Bribery [campaign contribution] is no mere felony. It's treason. It's systematic. That =is= the way it is done. Bribery and corruption is a process of revolution, to make a democratic government represent, not the people, but a part, the worse part, of the people."

-- The Autobiography of Lincoln Steffens

"There had been a burst, a volcanic eruption, of 'steals' and 'jobs,' all in the administration of Mayor Ashbridge. I asked how they had dared do such a wild, wholesale business in such a short time. I was really puzzled and wanted only to understand the politics; technically it looked like bad politics."

"You could put over one of those steals in New York or anywhere else, but one would be enough to strain any machine I know of. And five or -- more!"

"'We reasoned,' he answered, 'we agreed among ourselves that it was exactly the five or -- more that would save us. If we did any of these things alone the papers and the public would concentrate on it, get the facts, and fight. But we reasoned that if we poured them all out fast and furious, one, two, three -- one after the other -- the papers couldn't handle them all and the public would be stunned and -- give up. Too much.'"

"I was stunned. 'Well, you Pennsylvania politicians know something even Tammany [Hall] doesn't know.'"

"He nodded. 'Yes,' he said. 'We know a lot they don't know. We know that public despair is possible and that that is good politics.'"

[Excerpts from The Autobiography of Lincoln Steffens]

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