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Solutions: Making Government Work

Truthout's "Solutions: Making Government Work" editor and long-time researcher, author and government watchdog Dina Rasor.

Click to visit the “Solutions: Making Government Work” archive.

The Solutions column was created to take Dina Rasor’s 30-year knowledge of why the government wasn’t working and, slice by slice, come up with realistic solutions to fix long-term problems.

The column spent its first year looking at solutions for government agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Pentagon. These solutions were offered up as reforms during the time both political parties claimed that they were interested in governance to make the government work better.

However, during the course of writing weekly columns on fixing government, it has become more and more clear that any legislative and executive branch attempts to reform the system can be easily thwarted by the massive influence of money in the system. It has become obvious, more now than in the past, that the burgeoning problem of influence peddling with money will doom real reform.

In this presidential election year, it is virtually impossible to expect serious governance from our elected and appointed officials in the federal government. Therefore, the Solutions column will spend the rest of this year, until the election, following the money that keeps realistic reform from succeeding and concentrate on exposing and explaining how self-dealing is the No. 1 problem that is preventing our government from working.

Self-dealing is a term usually used in business when a fiduciary makes decisions that are in his or her own self-interest instead of the company’s. So, the Solutions column will look at our federal “fiduciary agents” and follow where the money is going, who it is buying and how the government is affected by the self-dealing corruption.

There are many journalistic efforts this year to expose campaign contributions to see where they are from and where they are going through databases and aggregate numbers. The Solutions column will, instead, follow specific examples of individuals who are self-dealing for money for campaigns or jobs outside the federal government and follow the self-dealing trail to see how various parts of the government have been corrupted or injured by the self-dealing.

Solutions: Making Government Work

Archive of all columns:

Government Secrets: Bureaucratic Wars on Who Gets Prosecuted

Six States Have Tried Community Controlled Power: What Works?

The Breaking of a Power Monopoly: Community Choice?

The Anatomy of the Perfect Whistle-Blower

Possible New Cold War? High-Fives in the Halls of the Pentagon

Why Truthout Is “Unreasonable”

Slow-Rolling Massacre Redux: Start Small, Think Big and Make a World of Difference

Slow-Rolling Massacre Unfolds in the Shadow of Shocking High-Profile Shooting Sprees

Can We Keep Scandal Fatigue From Thwarting Reform?

To Push for Meaningful Defense Cuts, We Need Unusual Partnerships

The Privatization of US Foreign Policy: An Interview with the Author of The Foreign Policy Auction

Giving Thanks for the Right to Disagree, But Also the Freedom to Work Together

Forget Petraeus: The Real Scandal Is Generals’ Corrupt Weapons Procurement

Now What? Think Campaigning Is Hard? Try Governance

Forget the Election and the Politics: What Will Make FEMA Work for the People?

Binders Full of Generals

Allowing Sequestration Defense Cuts May Right Our Listing Ship of State

Romney’s $2-Trillion Defense Increase Won’t Buy More Defense, Just More Waste

Lack of State and Federal Oversight of Offshore Fracking Could Imperil the Santa Barbara Coastline

Veterans First … and Their Dogs, Too

Tax-Exempt Boy Scouts Hide ‘Morally Straight’ Pedophiles in Plain Sight

The Bain Way: Let the States Pick Up the Tab on National Debt?

Lisa and Me: Birthdays and Republican-Style Medicare

Your Must-Do Assignment for This Year, Read This Chart and Pass It On

It Takes a Village to Get Control of the Pentagon: How Democrats and Republicans Must Walk a Narrow Path to True Reform

Section 8 Waitlists Don’t Have to Be a Mile Long: Federal Housing Policy Should Stop Favoring Wealthier Homeowners

Congress as Enabler: The Pentagon Can’t Kill the M-1 Tank, Only an IED Can (Part Two)

Defense Companies Use Congress to Save Their Profits, No Matter What (Part One)

Hide the Ball: Romney’s Long History of Hiding His Exorbitant, but Questionable, Business Practices

Three Ploys the Department of Defense Uses When Their Budget Is at Risk

Secret Donors vs. First Amendment: The Tricky Task of Reforming Election Abuse by Nonprofits (Part Two)

Thumbing Their Noses at Us: Election-Based Nonprofits Flouting Their Charters (Part One)

In Florida, Minimum Mandatory Sentencing Laws Fuel Push for Private Prisons

For-Profit Colleges Are Bankrolling Romney to Keep Student Loan Money Flowing

For-Profit College Reform: How Democratic Power Lobbyists Helped Water It Down

For-Profit Education: Milking Students and the Taxpayers for Corporate Profits

America’s Top Prison Corporation: A Study in Predatory Capitalism and Cronyism

Prisoners’ Families Are Paying For State Prison Kickbacks In Order To Phone Their Loved Ones

Pilots as Lab Rats: The Reprehensible Risk-Taking on the F-22 Raptor

“Breathing While Latino” Laws Boom For Private Prison Profits

America’s Top Prison Corporation: A Study in Predatory Capitalism and Cronyism

Prison Industries: “Don’t Let Society Improve or We Lose Business”

Self-Dealing and the War Service Industry, Part III: The Payoff

Self-Dealing and the War Service Industry, Part II

Self-Dealing and the War Service Industry, Part I

Generals Who Don’t Just Fade Away: The Newest in Self-Dealing Maneuvers

Lockheed: The Ultimate Pay-to-Play Contractor

Corporate or Reform Roots: Who Do You Want to Oversee Medicare?

Not Even a Fig Leaf: The Blatant Self-Dealing of Chairman McKeon

Self-Dealing in Government: No. 1 Impediment to Reform

War Is Too Tragic for Weak Balance of Powers

Federal Pay: Another Battle in the War on the Middle Class

Reclaiming Civilian Control: How to Keep Generals as Warriors, Not Politicians

Pentagon Solutions: Slices of Change Could Save Billions

Defender of the Capitalist System: Department of Defense Worst in Competitive Contracts

Defense Budget Flip: Dick Armey – Cut the Budget, Obama – Slow the Increase

Self-Dealing: Even Ex-Federal Watchdogs Are Doing It

The Pentagon’s Biggest Overrun: Way Too Many Generals

TV Analysts’ Collusion With the Military: Disgraceful but Legal?

Would You Blow the Whistle? Many Say Yes, but Perils Abound

F-35 Fighter is Latest in Long Line of Wasteful Weapon Failures

Don’t Embarrass My Moneyed Friends! As Fundraising for Congress Goes Up, Hearings Go Down

The Pentagon Flunks Another Audit

Panic in the Pentagon: Can’t Pass Weapons Testing? Army Chief Says to Get Rid of It

“Should Cost” vs. “Did Cost”: How the Military-Industrial Complex Swindles Billions of Our Dollars

Heads Up, Supercommittee: Here’s How to Cut Billions From Overpriced Weapons

Out of Iraq: What Will the War Service Industry Do Now?

Occupy Berlin: In the Shadow of the Reichstag

Iraq War Lessons Learned? Keep Rumsfeld Away From All Things Defense

Waste and Fraud Problems? Cut the Investigators and It Will Disappear!

The Department of Defense’s Unending Nightmare: Pass an Audit by 2017?

Iraq: We Lost $1.2 Billion in Equipment Going in; How Much Will We Lose Getting Out?

Guess What? It Is Cheaper to Use Federal Government Employees Than Contractor Employees

Defense Spending: The Worst Way to Make Jobs

Part Five: Obama’s FEMA: First Look at How It Worked

Part Four: Hurricane Katrina and Beyond

Part Three: FEMA During the Bush Years: A Look at What Worked and What Didn’t From a FEMA Insider (2001 – 2004)

Part Two: FEMA and Disaster: A Look at What Worked and What Didn’t From a FEMA Insider (1993 – 2000)

Part One: FEMA and Disaster: A Look at What Worked and What Didn’t From a FEMA Insider

How the DoD Allows Contractors to Grade Themselves and Write Their Own Contract Terms, Part II

Dangerously Blurring the Line: How the DoD Allows Contractors to Grade Themselves and Write Their Own Contract Terms, Part I

Learning the Hard Way: The Whistleblower From the Madoff Scandal Tells How to Reform the SEC

Leon the Knife or Leon the Ladle: On “Reform,” Will Secretary Leon Panetta Go the Way of Past DoD Secretaries?

Office of Special Counsel Must Change Climate and Protect Whistleblowers

Solution: The Miracle of Procurement Debunked Again: The Air Force Finally Got Tired of Getting Screwed (Literally)

Solution: More Bucks, Less Bang (Part II): Can We Give Some Power Back to the DoD Oversight Personnel?

Solution: More Bucks, Less Bang: The Ineffective Weapons Disease Infects Another Generation of Weapons

Solution: SEC Whistleblowers Unleashed: Will the New SEC Whistleblower Law Rules Really Work?

Solution: People First … and Dogs, Too: A Case Study of Throwing Money and High Technology at a Military Problem

Solution: Weapons That Will Never Die: We Need to Stop the Expensive Reincarnations (Part II)

Solution: We Need to Stop the Expensive Reincarnations

Solution: Reduce Influence Pedaling in Government Contracting

Solution: Track Government Contractors that Have Engaged in Misconduct

Solution: Fix the Buying and Selling of the Pentagon (Part II)

Solution: Fix the Buying and Selling of the Pentagon (Part I)

Solution: True Oversight (Part II)

Solution: True Oversight (Part I)

Solution: Reform the Pentagon Even if You Feel Overwhelmed by the Mess

Solution: Stop Having Government Do Business With Risky Contractors

Solution: Reduce the Use of Private Contractors

Solution: Fix the Pentagon by Creating an Independent Audit Agency

Solution: Reform the Pentagon and Cut Its Budget

Solution: Encourage Companies and Organizations to Step Up to the Challenge in the New Green Economy

Solution: Cut Costs of Radioactive Waste Stabilization Programs Through Competition

Solution: Don’t Let Wall Street Get Away With It! Protect and Reward SEC Whistleblowers

Solution: Stop Having The Pentagon Overpay for Everything

Vocalo Interviews Dina Rasor | “Fixing the Revolving Door”

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