America seems to be rapidly deteriorating into an unrecognizable morass of special privileges and self-dealing -- all to the detriment of the Americans who are responsible for electing honest and ethical leaders. Here are the four trends which I regard as being dangerous to the American way of life as we currently know it.

"Executive Privilege" While I can understand the legal foundation of the separation of powers, what I cannot understand is the need to claim that everything that the Administration does or discusses is a matter of "executive privilege." A claim which precludes disclosure and examination of the Administration's actions by members of the legislative and judicial branches of government. Perhaps this is due to the rabid partisanship that now is corrosively eating away and American politics. Where normal political events, such as the replacement of administration appointees is morphed into a "sinister criminal cabal" by the opposition party. Where the power of legislative committees to investigate anybody and

anything for any purpose has been corrupted into a means of attacking your political enemies; often resulting in the destruction of lives, reputations and careers. Where misspeaking or having an ordinary memory lapse is treated as an obstruction of justice. I honestly can see why no member of the Administration would want to say anything about any subject unless offered either full or partial immunity. This toxic trend has produced an environment where the truth is likely to remain hidden in a repetitive chorus of "I can't recalls." It is time for increasing openness in the Administration's deliberations that will affect Americans for generations to come. This is necessary to keep politicians from selling our American interests to those seeking special considerations in return for voter support and campaign contributions.

"Agency Politicalization" To some extent, the Administration's Agencies have always been somewhat political as they are often headed by a "political appointee" whose allegiance to the Administration has been demonstrated by their fund-raising zeal and adherence to the party line. Unfortunately, many of these appointees, especially those who have achieved great success in other endeavors, are total failures when it comes to the administration of an entrenched, self-serving bureaucracy. This politicalization from the top down has led to subordinates to inject politics into the business of "being of service" to the American public. As we are now seeing, normal law enforcement actions are starting to take on dangerous political overtones. No American citizen wants the CIA, FBI, IRS, OSHA or any other important agency run for the care and convenience of either high-ranking politicians or those special interests which can buy access and favorable treatment by the use of paid lobbyist/lawyers or former government officials. Many agencies have lost their credibility as impartial protectors of the American dream. It is now time to restore the American public's faith in our institutions and agencies. A restoration that starts and ends with honest politicians exhibiting uncommon leadership skills.

"Marginal Politics"  There is no doubt that the United States has been almost equally divided into opposing camps. Whether by party politics, religion, sexual preference, reproductive rights, these single-issues have been used to segment and segregate Americans. The dangerous consequence of this segmentation gives rise to the increasing importance of fringe minority factions whose members must be courted to form a coalition that can win an election. By empowering these fringe groups with promises of legislation and nomination to legitimate positions of power, the entire mainstream of conservative Americans is dragged toward an unhealthy and lopsided position which can run counter to American ideals and culture. An example of this pandering is readily obvious when Hillary Clinton puts on her fake Southern sing-song voice and tries to act "Black" before a specific audience. Or when politicians openly welcome illegal aliens on the steps of city hall -- promising them that they too have the same right to protest as do American citizens. Or when the Congress and Administration conspire to subvert American culture, healthcare, education and retirement benefits to allow the creation of a class of "super citizens" from a class of illegal aliens -- all for political and/or profit-based reasons. The American mainstream of decent folks must recapture their government before it is sliced and diced and sold to the highest bidder. Possibly even a foreign entity.

"Media Disintegration." The media is the so-called "fourth branch of government" which is charged with discovering and disclosing the truth about Washingtonian backroom maneuvering. But with little exception, they have retreated into a mealy-mouthed group of hacks, more worried about potential government regulation of their corporate owners, who may own newspapers, radio stations and other mass-media entities which are regulated by governmental agencies, then they are to fulfilling their primary responsibility to their respective audiences.

It is not so much that Katie Couric is a woman that is causing the decline in both audience and ratings, it is that she has been co-opted by a management who has lost their feel for real, hard-hitting news and has allowed their news division to slide closer and closer to the entertainment side of the house. I am not talking about fancy sets, graphics or sounds ... but the lack of their ability to fairly cover hard news stories in an effective and credible manner.

Local newspapers are also suffering mightily from a slide in readership for the same reason. Over-politicalization and a self-evident bias towards this party or this cause over another. Even the random investigative report is not enough to stop this slide into mediocrity and then into complete irrelevance.

The only segment of the media which continues to prosper is talk radio; which has been characterized by the politicos as being overwhelmingly "right wing" and "political." Why they are successful is simple. For the most part, the talk jocks are interesting, informative and entertaining. Most adhere to the 48-4-48 rule which means you pick a controversial topic, lay out your position, and then let those opposed have first crack at the telephones. In this scenario, one of two things will happen. One, the caller will make a fool out of themselves and reinforce the host's position or two, the caller will present information that leads to a discussion of the facts in an interesting and informative manner. The four percent in the middle without an opinion listen but never engage -- these are the dial sweepers who change programs every seven minutes. So, you may ask, why is "leftwing" talk radio failing to capture their audience? The answer is simple. The hosts conduct a daily harangue -- excoriating the Administration or presenting nonsense as fact. Most of the listening audience tunes out due to the repetitive nature of the attack, the lack of credibility demonstrated by "shaded truths" and the primary purpose, these people are not professional broadcasters -- but political hacks masquerading as talk-show hosts. The ability of Rush Limbaugh and others to sustain a three-hour show  is a magnificent testament to their  professionalism as broadcasters and their diligence in performing "show prep" to illustrate their points. We do not need a fairness doctrine or any such artificial attempt at censorship -- what we need are people bringing us the truth in an engaging manner.

What can YOU do?

Vote for honest and ethical politicians (if there is such a thing) who will restore decency and honor in to politics.

Vote against any politician who attempted to sell out American culture, healthcare, education, and retirement benefits for personal or political self-gain. Send the socialists, anarchists and those who admire failed political ideologies back to their homes so they may live their life as an ordinary citizen rather than a pampered existence on the taxpayers dole.

-- steve

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