There is a recognizable flaw in today’s political structure which results in the corruption of the political process …
It may cost a candidate and his supporters millions of dollars to win a position which pays less than $200,000 per year; but which offers significant future retirement and earning power benefits; benefits which grow significantly larger with time served. And which requires the elected official to immediately begin fundraising the day after the election to meet for the inevitable challenge of maintaining their newly-won seat of power looming only another election cycle away.
But what can induce previous supporters to continue to contribute their hard-earned funds to support the newly elected official once they take office? What will these individuals receive in return? Will the simple benefits of good governance even be noticeable in the lives of ordinary indivduals who previously supported the candidate as they struggle with day-to-day living?
At this point the elected official realizes that he is only attractive to those he can serve now and in the future. As well as the realization that they do not have enough hours in the day (with those pesky hearings, meetings and must-attend votes) to meet with large numbers of individuals who may contribute relatively few dollars to their campaign re-election. So a little re-thinking leads to the conclusion that the politician must court the media while selling access to larger organizations with larger campaign contributions and voter constituencies. And the process of subversion has begun.
Reality … This leads to those who control campaign funds or access to large numbers of voters having a disproportionate effect on the politician when it comes to crafting legislation or performing some personal favor for the supplicant. Possibly in the form of creating loopholes, carve-outs, grandfather rights or language that confers special advantage to one group or exempts them from scrutiny while disadvantaging another. Possibly in the form of employment for oneself, a family member or an important “other” relation. It should come as no surprise that most politicians have not read or do not understand the legislation they are said to have crafted. Because they did not craft that 2000+ page bill, the lobbyists provided much of the language and legalese and the "staff" completed the job. The politicians only work from easy-to-understand outlines and summaries. Making sure that their interests are protected and caring little about anything else.
And unfortunately, the group at the disadvantaged end of the stick is the consumer/taxpayer/citizen.
The “appearance of doing something” … The newly-elected or re-elected official also realizes the necessity to "demonstrate" that they care about their constituency; which leads to a political syllogism which can be applied to almost any topic.
- Something must be done.
- I am doing something.
- Something has been done.
Rarely asking is that the right something to do or does doing something lead to unintended consequences or prohibitive cost burdens on some segment of society -- or the general population as a whole.
An example of this kind of thinking can be found in the heartland of America, Indiana, where a Republican State Senator, Vaneta Becker, responded to a parodied singing of the National Anthem by introducing legislation that sets a $25 fine payable by any singer who doesn't meet "performance standards" when singing at an event at a public school or state university. “The "Star-Spangled Banner" performance standards would be set by the state's Education Department, and singers would have to sign a document pledging to stick with the rules.” Clearly the bill attempts to circumvent any constitutional issues by using a written agreement and contract law. One wonders how many bureaucrats will hired to monitor singers and/or respond to complaints. Or if they understand the political parody is protected free speech under the First Amendment of the Constitution.
Even worse, is that the something which has been done overlooked all of the other efforts of previous politicians and the end result is the type of legislative overlay, chaos and nonsense which provides lawyers and accounts with a very good living as they parse each and every word to your advantage, or on the other hand, to your defense against some real or imagined wrong.
And should the legislation fail to accomplish its goal, few legislators will admit that the goal was not achievable or that the legislation was ill-crafted; they will tend to say that the failure was because the bill did not go far enough – and immediately support a supplementary bill as a fix. A vicious circle to be sure.
Divide and Conquer ... It is in some politician's best interests to sow disharmony and disunity in the nation. Creating individual constituencies which have a real or imagined grievance which can only be addressed by political promises made by candidates. Therefore, you will see America being divided: demographically by region; financially by class, the haves and the have-nots, socially, ethnically, by country of origin, linguistically, racially, by gender and sexual orientation, by hobbies -- whatever -- as long as it creates an identifiable constituency to be convinced to join a coalition of like-minded individuals to support a party, a candidate or a cause. We are creating our own victims. We are allowing the United States to be ripped asunder for political purposes. And yet those who seek further entitlements, priviledges and perks refuse to set aside their victimhood and adopt the type of individualism which made our country great.
Horse-trading … In order to accomplish one’s goals, the office-holder needs the support of other politicians; who like politicians may have their own and quite different agenda. So sometimes one elected official may actually work against their own principles or constituency to purchase a favor which can then be used to one’s advantage.
Which brings me to conspiracies … I am not speaking of the type of conspiracy where the evildoers gather to plot their nefarious actions; because that would be too simplistic and controllable with the proper application of the law.
But I am speaking about loosely-coupled conspiracies where people of like mind trend towards actions that are in their own self-interest, be those interests personal, social, financial or religious. There is no real leadership to push people towards a goal; but a confluence of people seeking that goal on their own.
Thus everybody appears to support the push for environmentalism ... the politicians for the power to create public policies and control economies, the prestigeous institutions for continued funding, the scientists to get their projects funded, the environmentalists to push their Marxist agenda, the polluters who can buy indulgences to pollute and shift those expenses to the rate-payers, the Wall Street Wizards who can create securities (derivatives) out of thin air and sell/trade them at a handsome profit and the third world nations which can simply monetize their rainforests and barren land as the ultimate form of wealth redistribution from the producers to the non producers. Everybody moving toward their own objectives; ignoring that the science at the present time is ill-understood and does not support a hypothesis which relies solely on computer models.
It works the same way for both individuals and organizations. For some individuals, the goal is to maintain their position by supporting their organization’s goals. For some individuals. it is to maintain their employment by banding together in unions to push for political policies which insures their continued survival and prosperity. And for others it is promoting that cause which they have been told, by the media or other so-called credible source, is an answer to their current or future problems.
How many people now realize that unions are a clear and present danger to America? Supporting the Marxist agenda of the collective over the individual. Rewarding seniority over merit, mediocrity over innovation and the maintenance of norms over outstanding productivity lest some individual be slighted or the entire group forced to step up their performance. A malignant and evil influence that insures nonsensical work rules, higher costs, lower productivity and the creation of a campaign funding/voter support mechanism which absolutely corrupts politics.
Creating their own money making machine ... In the political arena, it may be the threat of an investigation or the threat of taking legislative action against some group of entities who are known to have significant discretionary funds to purchase access or influence with legislators. Merely announcing the issue and crafting “preliminary” legislation is often enough to drive a flurry of lobbyist’s funds towards the legislators. With some being for the proposition, some being against the proposition and some starting out one way knowing that they will be coerced or challenged by campaign contributions or offers of voter support to switch their positions. And in the end, the legislation is tabled – a fancy word for left on the floor where it belongs – and everybody walks away with what they need to help them retain their personal prestige, power, positions and profits.
How this applies to today’s politics … You have two basic political parties, both with the widely divergent thoughts of their individual supporters, who are telling their constituencies that they, and they alone, have the answers to the nation’s problems and can assist you in leading a better, healthier and more productive life. This is symptomatic of the loosely-coupled conspiracy where each individual, family and organization is attempting to nominate and elect someone who might be an actual problem-solver.
But there is a problem! Neither party really knows the solution to the problem. They are more interested in gaining and/or maintaining political power. And to do this, they will walk away hand-in-hand with anyone with the finances, the organization, the media and voter support to win the position. The reason they cannot find the solution is because they are too close to the problem, in fact they are the problem.
Even if they lose, they will not mourn their loss of opportunity because, like any good loosely-coupled conspiracy, there will be enough money extracted from the consumer, taxpayer and citizen to pay the bills and dupes to support their future positions.
Perhaps the losing party will not get the lion’s share of the power, prestige and profits – but they will get a share as they await their opportunity to be the party in power. Using the slights and perfidies perpetrated by the opposition to fuel their frantic “do or die” fundraising which does little or nothing of use except milk the gullible who believe that they are part of a great effort to change society.
Cognitive Dissonance and "Don’t do as I do, Do as I say" …
Gun control: On one hand, the authorities want to make us safer by imposing draconian gun control laws that subvert the Constitution’s Second Amendment; not caring that the real issue is crime control, not gun control. One the other hand, they ignore the reality that the outlaws who do not respect the law will have easy pickings in neighborhoods where the police cannot always be where they are needed, when they are needed.
Finances: On one hand, the authorities tell us to conserve, save and watch out finances carefully; not caring that the real issue is financial institutions offering easy credit at onerous rates which makes pay-offs are unlikely. And on the other hand, they need people to purchase more and more goods and services to grow our economy. Not to mention the government schemes to re-capitalize the imprudent financial institutions who gambled the money in our deposits, savings, investments and retirement accounts and lost our money while pocketing significant multi-million dollar bonuses.
Immigration: On one hand school districts are under-water financially and increasing fees to students; yet we find the state creating a half-billion dollar entitlement program to provide tuition assistance to illegal aliens who cannot obtain legal work permits to work in this country. One the other hand, you see no other nation providing the reciprocal rights, privileges and benefits to our citizens who may be on an extended visit or living there permanently. Why is it the government is trying so hard to use our money to purchase current and future votes? The only answer: political corruption.
Voter fraud: One one hand, the authorities make an effort to insure that every legal citizen has the ability to vote and are not disenfranchised by onerous conditions or voter intimidation. Yet on the other hand, the authorities do everything they can to enable vote fraud by not demanding the same type of identification you need to purchase cigarettes, alcohol, cash a check or board an aircraft.
In Illinois, the home of the "Chicago Way," the state law requires those who buy drain cleaners and other caustic substances to provide photo identification and sign a log. It seems the progressive democrats are more worried about the occasional abuse of drain cleaners than the systematic abuse of our freedoms through voter fraud.
Terrorism: On one hand the authorities have created a large, unionized work force that is little more than a touring company for Kabuki Theatre. On the other hand, they seem to relish outlandish incidents which remind the public that they are present and ostensibly doing their jobs; although they have caught no terrorists, foiled no plots and fail to detect real weapons being accidently carried by passengers – not to mention the test weapons and bombs used to competency testing. The terrorists are more likely to strike at an unguarded soft target making most of the needless screenings worthless. Of course, the authorities will respond: we need more unionized workers, not less.
Faux science: One one hand, the science of global climate change is not well understood in spite of billions pumped into research. On the other hand, the real world evidence that solar output, planetary dynamics, deep ocean currents and water vapor are the significant factors driving climate change; all beyond our control and having little or nothing to do with carbon dioxide whose increasing concentration may be beneficial for life on Earth. Commonsense tells you that a planet emerging from an ice age is apt to continue warming until the inflection point where the climate starts cooling.
And there are many other issues where the public is being told one thing by the authorities and the media and which run counter to reality. All for the purposes of promoting a political agenda, perpetuating political power and draining the public treasury on behalf of the politicians who are beholden to the special interests that keep them in power.
Bottom line …
Unfortunately, many voting citizens have no come to regard politicians as celebrities and political parties as sports teams. Producing rabid fanatics who cannot see reality as they invest their egos in supporting "their" candidate come hell or high water. Never once realizing that the candidate may be quite different from their carefully crafted persona and spin-tested words written by others. Acting like groupies rather than a rational individuals whose decisions will determine the outcome of their future. When an accomplished actor with a TelePrompTer, pre-written remarks, controlled access to a fawning and sympathetic media can lead the nation into despair and dangerous times.
I have asked on a number of occasions is a political candidate evil or clueless or evilly clueless? Which is a question each one of us must ask when doing our civic duty in the polling booth.
I can see no personal advantage in staying engaged in the fight as I am old enough to have little or nothing to gain from the battle. All the politicians and political parties look disgusting; some more than others. We may be able to retard the slide towards European-style socialism, but we cannot reverse it without honest brokers to serve “We the People.” I will continue the fight, but in a less public forum which will be much, much more effective that simply posting my thoughts, comments and pointing out the work of others.
The true problem is political corruption and the true solution to our problem can only be resolved with term limits, removing the immunity and privilege from those who serve as public servants and to repeal all existing applicable rules and regulations when crafting new legislation.
We should not allow violations of a politician's oath of office as if it did not occur, similarly disallowing the ability to retroactively alter the record and/or pay for unethical or illegal actions. We should not allow anyone to be above the law -- especially elected officials.
We should not accept any political class that is immune from the consequences of their actions and has broad immunity from the consequences of life with lifetime jobs, fully-paid benefits in excess of those found in the public sector and with a growing sense of power as they vote for the continuation of their own welfare over that of the people they serve.
Therefore, I have decided to go off and play entrepreneur once more and attempt to build another company. One which will use machines instead of people; resulting in the maximum reward to myself while paying as little as possible to the government which has grown complacent and corrupt – and is not likely to change in my lifetime.
I have also noticed that the social media is becoming more and more a time-waster. Instead of meeting people with like views, I find myself explaining my positions over-and-over to the clueless or, even worse, defending my positions to the trolls who anarchistically pursue chaos for the purpose of creating havoc in society and putting their graffiti on the resultant dung heap. Therefore, I will no longer share my views in such a public forum – feeding those great behemoths who are collecting my personal information and thoughts to sell to advertisers for their own fame and fortune.
So I bid you a fond farewell and suggest you take care of yourself and your loved ones first. You and your neighbors will be the ones responding to any local or regional emergency – with the local, state and governments pointing fingers and bollixing up the scene.
I leave you with two of my favorite quotes:
"My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose -- somehow we win out."~ Ronald Reagan
“The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” ~ Marcus Aurelius
P.S. -- I will maintain the firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail should you wish to comment.
“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!
“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw
“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius “A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell