Saturday, February 18, 2012

Is Our Congress Corrupt? 2

David Stockman

Bill Moyers

The conclusion that I so extensively expressed in the first part of this post may shock the majority of Americans. However it is my contention, my belief, that the majority of our citizens do not monitor the actions of their federal Senators and Representatives closely, and are therefore largely ignorant of the practices of those who serve in Congress. An ignorance unscrupulous members of Congress take full advantage of.
Why should most Americans monitor their own members of Congress, let alone Congress as a whole except in extraordinary circumstances that affect them directly. Americans are busy! They have lots of things to do. They have jobs... maybe. If they don't have jobs then they're looking for them. They have children to raise and worry about. They have pressing financial concerns. They may be on the brink of losing their homes. Every month after month they have mortgage payments, car payments, groceries, gas expenditures, children's school supplies and clothing, electricity, insurance payments that need to be made. Medical costs. Grandma just moved in. Their sister and deadbeat brother-in-law want to. The people on television, radio, and the Internet machine forget that our country is trying to crawl it's way out of a recession and constantly, constantly want us to buy things... all the time! They never stop! Even my dear friends on the morning radio, Stephanie Miller and Thom Hartmann daily urge me to buy some gold. Gold! What the hell am I going to do with some gold after I get it, but they tell me I would be stupid not to get it. Every day they tell me this.
To be quite honest with you I don't think Stephanie has any gold at all unless her sponsors gave it to her.
It's very expensive, even a little bit of it.
The last thing in world I need to buy right now is some gold. I need new shoes more than I need to buy gold.
These situations may cause a lot of people some amount of anxiety and/or depression. I know it does for myself. To counter these emotions many self medicate with drugs and/or alcohol, some to excess. There is always the TV to help us forget about our pressing problems, at least for a little while. Even if people are of the lucky upper middle class, if that still exists, who don't suffer from any of the ills I've described above, who wouldn't want to watch "Dancing With the Stars," or "American Idol," or "The Wendy Williams Show," or soap operas, or a good zombie program like the "Walking Dead," rather than CSPAN? I certainly wouldn't. I never watch CSPAN. And then there is the mind numbing films that are offered to us week after week. Let's see what opened yesterday for instance: "Ghost Rider, Spirit of Vengeance." An uplifting, intellectually challenging film if I ever heard of one. A Japanese cartoon, or should I say "animated" film, "The Secret World of Arrietty," that has already made over $126 million overseas (I guess kids like this one), "This Means War," a comedy spy film, on and on. There is one documentary, "Undefeated," about a high school football team. But sports seem to be just another avenue used to avoid reality for a little while, except for those actually playing.
I understand...really. I've spent a good portion of my life actively trying to avoid reality at any cost.
But it's usually been to my detriment.
My point is that we are all constantly bombarded with commercials and ads that want to separate us from what little money we do have, and that we are constantly trying to be put to sleep, hypnotized, and manipulated by the media.
Most so-called news programs don't report the news anymore. They're entertainment shows pretending to report news in search of high ratings.
So with all of this going on how, or why should we know or care about what is going on in Washington D.C.?
Because what happens in Washington D.C. affects each and every one of us, our children, and their children.
Well, we tell ourselves, I voted for this guy so I trust him/her to do the right thing and look out for me.
But how do you know they are?
Fox News tells me they are.
Ahhhh, but Fox News is the propaganda network for the Republican party, and the Republican Party is only looking out for people and companies that have a lot of money.
That's not true... Fox News tells me so.
Ahhhh, but Fox News... and politicians lie.
But don't worry America. There's Joyce's Take, Bill Moyers, "The Daily Show," and "60 Minutes," around to shed some light on what's really happening to our federal government.
As I've stated before, the United States of America is not now a democracy, if it ever was.
Wikipedia tells us: "Democracy is the ideal that all the citizens of a nation determine together the laws or actions of their state, requiring that all citizens have an equal opportunity to express their consent and their will. In practice, "democracy" is the extent to which a given system approximates this ideal, and a given political system is referred to as "a democracy" if it allows a certain approximation to ideal democracy," and who ever wrote this misspelled the word "practice," which I've graciously corrected.
Our country is not even a republic, which Republicans like to claim all of the time because that is the name of their party.
Again, Wikipedia tells us: "A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people."
There are of course other sources for the definitions of these forms of government, but I hope we can all agree that Wikipedia has gotten this basically right.
Okay, here's the definition of what the country really is right now, and has been at various times in the past: "Corporatocracy is an imprecise pejorative term describing a situation in which corporate bodies interact with sovereign power in an unhealthy alignment between business and political power.
It describes an elite, sometimes termed the "1 percent", which maintains ties between business and government, sometimes by lobbying efforts or funding political advertising campaigns, or providing bailouts when corporations are seen as too big to fail, for the purpose of controlling government and dictating policy to serve its financial interests." Again, I've used Wikipedia as the source.
Don't believe me? Well I'm not the only one who thinks so. There are a lot of others.
David Stockman served as a Republican U.S. Representative from the state of Michigan (1977–1981) and as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (1981–1985), under President Reagan. He resigned that office amid some controversy as he was very critical of the Reagan administration's fiscal policies. He then became an investment banker on Wall Street. Of course.
Here he is interviewed on Bill Moyers new PBS program "Moyers and Company," in which he describes how the United States, or at least the banking sector on Wall Street, does not do business in a capitalist manner that Republicans typically defend so stridently, but rather works and thrives under what Stockman calls, "Crony Capitalism," a system in which giant financial interests can't lose, no matter what they do. This is a long segment, but well worth watching.
It is nothing but chilling as Moyers asks Stockman if there is anything we can do to change this situation before we reach another, greater financial crisis.
"No," was his reply.
Again, as I've postulated before on numerous occasions, and in which Mr. Stockman seems to agree, our greatest problem is private money in politics through what is essentially legal bribery through campaign contributions, and intense and constant lobbying by professional lobbyists.
And now the Supreme Court, although not concerned with its own reelection, seems to be ruled by sharp ideology, and in that case the majorities idealogy rules the day. My proof, Citizens United ( ), in which corporations, unions, and foreign entities can practically infuse as much cash into our election process as they wish to, thereby exacerbating the fundamental problem our nation faces.
Mr. Stockman, myself, and probably millions of other Americans agree, the only way we can change the current, corrupt system infesting all three branches of our government, is to get corporate money out of it. And since Citizens United is currently the law of the land, a Constitutional Amendment reversing Citizens is what is needed to be initiated and installed.
This post is approaching 1500 words, and it is getting late, so I have to stop now before the monsters come out.
Next we will finally examine the blatant corruption within the legislative branch, the House of Representatives and the Senate of the United States of America.

To be continued.

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