You can understand now how all those "Trips for judges" paid off for the RIAA and other corporate slim.
It's an old report, and things have gotten MUCH worse, but from the 2000 report on the Tripsforjudges website:
"The framers and attenders to our judicial system have taken many steps to help foster the notion of the integrity of its judges. Some relate to smoke and mirrors --the high bench, the black robe, the "all rise" custom when the judge enters the room. Some, like life tenure for federal judges, the codes of conduct promulgated for all judges, are intended to create the climate for integrity.
All of those steps become meaningless when private interests are allowed to wine and dine judges at fancy resorts under the pretext of "educating" them about complicated issues. If an actual party to a case took the judge to a resort, all expenses paid, shortly before the case was heard, it would not matter what they talked about. Even if all they discussed were their prostate problems, the judge and the party would be perceived to be acting improperly. The conduct is no less reprehensible when an interest group substitutes for the party to the case, and the format for discussion is seminars on environmental policy, or law and economics, or the "takings clause" of the Constitution."
Greed and corruption by our elected officials are destroying the infrastructure and liberties of this country. When the votes of millions can be negated by a "campaign donation" of millions voting because useless. The John Edwards court case illustrates the kinds of folks who are running for office these days, and the corporate donations are making it impossible for any without corporate funding to get elected.
All three branches of our system are corrupted and broken, and thus the "checks and balances" are broken as well. Both political parties are cesspools of greed. It is essentially impossible for a citizen to redress grievances, and those using civil disobedience to do so have a Socialist agenda as their goal, not the restoration of Constitutional principles, and all that really needs to be done is to shut down corporate (private or public, or 5013c) influence in politics.