Posts Tagged ‘corruption’

So Shocking, I’m Speechless – Video

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

"We didn't do any work with the government."

I realize this is a political ad, paid for by a SuperPAC, but frankly, I’m not sure what to say about this.  I am astonished. If this is substantially true, and so far, after ninety minutes of frantic research indicating that it is, I can conclude only that Mitt Romney shouldn’t be let within sight of the White House.  Setting aside any general misgivings about the Medicare program, this is simply unconscionable, and that he was able to carry this off, and disclaim all knowledge?  Unbelievable!   Watch this, and let me know what you think:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=jVUQuJDEs04]

I guess it’s only “crony capitalism” if you’re permitted to do this by sanction of law.  What is it when you do this, but get to walk away, despite the illegalities?

Does Money Corrupt Politics?

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

Which is Corrupted: Money or Politics?

Many people believe that money corrupts politics.  It’s certainly an easy conclusion to draw from the evidence if you consider only the superficial aspects of the problem, but my argument is a bit different.  I don’t believe that money corrupts politics nearly so much as politics corrupts money.  Money is merely a symbol of value. It’s a token we use in place of a barter system, since it’s far easier to exchange.  When you work, you’re creating value, but it’s difficult to exchange the value of that work directly to those from whom you would like to purchase, so the people to whom you sell your labor pay you in money, and then you take that money to all the places you would like to spend it.  This is the nature of money.  It’s an efficient system of exchange and it works quite well, right up until the moment you insert politics.  Rather than spend our time on a question I think misses the mark, let us now examine how politics corrupts money.

If you earn your money by honest labor, whether by manual or mental exertions, you are creating new wealth.  If you consider a block of wood, and you carve it into something fantastic, whether practical or artistic, if somebody will pay you more than it had cost you in materials and energy, that net payment is both an assessment of the value of your time and therefore also your profit.  Some of us are able to turn very little time into huge profits, while others of us are able to make only minimal profits on our time and exertions because what we are producing is not so valuable to others.  That is natural, and normal, and must always be the case.  The maker of candles will never be rewarded as highly as the person who invents a light bulb or the electric generation system to power it.  The reason is simple:  Almost anybody can make a candle.  Workers who can do this are numerous.  The mind that can imagine a light bulb or a generator are rarer, and therefore, their efforts are more valuable. It is the market in which you sell that labor that decides its worth.

Here is where politics enters to corrupt money:  Because candle-makers are more plentiful than inventors, they have many more votes.   They can turn to the political class and demand laws to make their candle-making unnaturally more valuable.  Politicians can follow a number of courses in response to the demands of the numerous candle-makers:

  • They can enact a law making candle-making more valuable than it is in fact
  • They can enact a law making inventors’ efforts less valuable than they are in fact
  • They can steal money from the inventor and give it to the candle-maker
  • They can say “No, property is property, you have yours, and the inventor has his!”

Which of these do you suppose the politicians is least likely to do, since it will not satisfy all his candle-making constituents, and thus will lose him his next re-election?  Of course, this situation becomes a good bit more complicated when we add competing inventors.  Suppose somebody comes along with an invention to replace the ordinary light bulb. Let us imagine that unlike compact florescent bulbs, it has no toxic mercury, and it’s much more efficient at the same brightness. If it’s also less expensive than the ordinary light bulb, and is in all measures a superior product, the market will answer by making it the new leader, and it will become the new ordinary light bulb in short order.  Now, the manufacturers of the older style light bulb will descend on politicians to demand protection of their market.  Politicians can respond in a number of ways:

  • They can enact a law outlawing the new style light bulb
  • They can enact a law requiring the use of the old style light bulb
  • They can add extra taxes to the manufacturer of the new style light bulb, driving up its cost
  • They can give a tax break to the manufacturer of the old style light bulb, driving down its cost
  • They can do nothing at all, and ignore contributions from the manufacturers of the old style bulb

Which of these options is the politician unlikely to choose?  Now let us imagine that the new light bulb is actually a terrible idea.  Let us imagine that it is filled with toxic mercury, and that in the long run, you’ll have EPA hazards created in your home if one breaks, and that while they are slightly more efficient, they are also annoying, and the light is actually modulating at a very high rate, and while barely perceptible to you, your eyes lead you to constant headaches, and besides the high frequency buzzing drives your pets insane, because they can hear frequencies you cannot.  Let us now imagine what politicians might do, not on behalf of the old style bulb manufacturers, but on behalf of the new ones:

  • They can enact a law outlawing the old style bulb
  • They can give tax credits to purchasers of the new style bulb
  • They can do nothing and let the market decide and skip the opportunity of contributions

Which of these have politicians actually done?

Now some will tell me this is all well and good, and merely proves their point, in that the money offered to politicians corrupted them.  Instead, I will tell you this is a lie, and now I will be happy to explain it if you missed what has really happened over the course of this post: The law was used as an instrument of enrichment by already corrupt  politicians.  They had no money apart from their salaries and immediate benefits, but in order to have more money, either in their own pockets, or in their campaign war chests, they used the law, your law, in each and every case to skim money from the system for their own purposes.  What this has the effect of doing is to change the market, and to change what people do in the market.  That means you are changing the value of the labor and the value therefore of money irrespective of what the market might prefer.  What you have done is to use politics to corrupt money.

There is an economic law, “Say’s law,” that tells us something about natural economic function, and it is that a supply creates its own demand.  The inverse and equally true corollary of this law tells us that without a supply, there can be no demand.  (Demand as an economic term, but not as a human behavior.)  What does this mean in the question of politics and money?  It means simply that you cannot purchase that which is not for sale.  No candle-maker, no light-bulb inventor, and no manufacturer of any sort can purchase influence that is not first offered for sale.  This is not a question of corruption by money, but of money.  When the politician uses his position and his legislation to influence the markets, whether he takes payment from a player in the market, or instead merely profits directly by his previous purchases in the market, this is not a matter of money corrupting politics.  It is the much more deadly issue of politics being used to corrupt money.

In every way, this upsets the natural order of the market.  Things that the market would find worthless are suddenly made precious, by law, and things that had been precious are made worthless, or even illegal to possess.  Any such action commits a fraud on all holders of money everywhere and at once.  What else could be the meaning of a law that imposes on you the purchase of compact florescent bulbs, that cost many times their traditional competitor, the incandescent bulb?  Do you have any doubt that most of the politicians who supported this law did so in order to profit in some way from the law, your law?  Notice, however, the ordering of cause and effect, and this will tell you which has corrupted the other, money or politics:  Which came first?  The political action, or the monetary result?  How many of these elected thieves had invested in GE or other CFL producers, before the enactment of the law, knowing what gains their investments would see once they made a law banning the good old incandescent bulb?

I am sympathetic to those who believe, innocently, that money corrupts politics, but the truth is something else:  Politics is being used to corrupt money.  When people make money by graft, it is the money that is corrupted.  It is a form of counterfeiting money, and since money is just an expression of value, what you must see if you’re to have any hope of reversing the trend is that the reason our system is so corrupt is not because of money, but because of those who use the law, and the power of government to extort, coerce, and otherwise gain money they haven’t really earned.  This is because government is involved in far too many things, and I’d ask you to consider Bastiat’s view of plunder to understand it.  If you want to solve the problem, don’t seek to get the money out of politics, but instead get politics and politicians out of money and markets.  That’s a real reform that could save our country.

Ten Reforms to Save America: Reform Number Four

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

Is This How It Works?

Whatever we may do about the limiting of congressional terms, or the length of service of Congressional staff, one of the main reasons to tackle that problem is the revolving door between Congress and the lobbying interests in Washington DC.  Whether representing trade groups, corporations, unions, or other groups, the problem is that the lobbyists often know the lay of the land, both physical and political, better than many members of Congress.  Too often, members and staff leave those offices to become lobbyists, and with equal frequency, we find lobbyists becoming Congressional staff.  This cozy relationship will be ended only by doing something drastic:  We must enact a lifetime ban on lobbyists from serving in government, and government  officials or staff from going to work in the lobbying racket.

Once again, I can hear the squealing of all the pigs at the DC troughs: “You can’t do this to us!”  Yes, we the people can.  When most Americans think of politicians leaving office for the private sector, they think of them returning to work in some profession or field that takes them back home, away from Washington DC.  All too often, when politicians depart government service, where they land is in some lobbying firm.  This frequently applies to staff too.  For most Americans, this isn’t considered to be “private sector employment,” but instead merely “public sector looting.”  It’s part of what makes Washington DC stink of corruption, and most Americans suspect it is the reason we have so many complex and convoluted laws.  Naturally, the American people are right about that, but in most cases, they have only the a glimpse of how thorough the corruption is.

The other problem is that the American people have been conditioned to view lobbyists as the source of the problem.  They’re not.  Lobbyists are a symptom just like the runny nose, achy muscles and spiking fever that tells you you’ve been infected with influenza.  The virus is already there, and while you can treat the symptoms, and it will at least make you feel better, your body still must combat the illness or you’ll never recover.  Everybody harbors and image in their mind’s eye of some lobbyist, a briefcase full of cash, and some elected or appointed official waiting greedily to be in receipt of the loot.  The problem is, this isn’t what actually happens in most cases.  Outright bribery of that sort would be caught fairly easily, and the people involved would be dealt with under existing law.  It’s not to say this never happens, because it does, but that’s a fairly stupid politician or lobbyist who gets caught in that fashion.

Instead, there are other ways to enrich themselves, and most involve a kind of extortion racket, or kick-backs, or insider information to be used for personal profit.  Imagine you’re a business, and imagine  the business you’re in is one regulated in some fashion by the federal government(but which industry isn’t?)  Imagine that some politician introduces a bill that you know will effectively destroy your company, or make it easier for a competitor to displace you in the market?  Your inevitable response would be to play self-defense, and you would do that by lobbying Congress.  You might contribute to campaigns and parties, but in all cases, you’d try to make happy everybody who holds your business in the palms of their hands.  This kind of extortion racket is common, and what you discover is that the number of legal contributions “enticed” by this method is scandalous.

Naturally, this works the other way too, as a matter of offense.  Do you need a “competitive edge” in the market?  No problem for Congress.  They just pass a bill that either directly or indirectly fouls the business of your competitors, and “Bingo!” To ensure a Presidential signature, you make sure the provision is attached to the most popular legislation, or at least something certain to get the approval of those who run the show.

Imagine yours is a large concern.  One way to pay off folks for their good deeds on your behalf is to provide them information that will enable them to make a killing in the markets.  A bit of info here, and a little investment there, and before you know it: Instant Congressional millionaire.  Of course, the member just happened to “get lucky” in the market.  Consider how frequently members of Congress get in on the Initial Public Offering of stock in a company commencing public trading.  It’s obscene.  It’s not easy to get in on an IPO for most people, and insider information is frequently a good head-start.  Some have suggested that Congress ought to be forbidden from investing in things related to that on which they’re currently legislating, but the problem with this approach is that the Congress now legislates on every matter under the sun.

Apart from the ban on lobbying, there is something more we can add to this reform, and that is to require members of Congress and their staff to convert their investments into cash savings.  That way, as the value of the dollar goes, so goes the value of their savings.  Under such a regime, the Congress would have every reason to safeguard the value of the dollar by prudent fiscal policies, and you could bet they’d be eye-balling the Federal Reserve a good deal more closely.  Many suggest the use of blind trusts, but the problem is that most things called “blind trusts” aren’t really blind at all, as Governor Sarah Palin recently pointed out in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.

Of course, all of these suggested reforms still only address part of the issue.  The biggest part of the problem is that Congress is involved too deeply in business at all levels, and in all respects.  This has become the biggest problem we face: As long as Congress can stick its nose into any business for any reason at all, to impose their notion of “regulating interstate commerce” as they see fit, under whatever outrageous definition they concoct, and with courts willing to interpret the Constitution that way, we’re in serious trouble.  It means they will always have some way to dig their claws into not only business, but also into our lives and our pockets.  We need a wall of separation between business and state at least as thorough as the one that’s been erected between church and state.  If we wish to save America, we’ll need to tackle this too.

 

 

How Corrupt Is Washington DC?

Monday, November 14th, 2011

It's Worse Than You Thought

After a number of shocking disclosures including Nancy Pelosi’s Visa investments, and continuing scandals involving the President’s crony connections, what is becoming increasingly clear is that they don’t think they’ve done anything wrong.  So corrupt  has official Washington DC become that the people working there by and large do not see anything immoral in their behavior, since they may well have stayed within the laws.  Some are calling this “soft corruption,” but in truth, there’s nothing “soft” about it. That’s cold hard cash they’re raking in by virtue of insider information.  If you or I were to behave in the private sector as Minority Leaders Pelosi(D-CA) had behaved in her elected position, we would face imprisonment.  Of course, the larger problem is that Pelosi isn’t alone, and the corruption isn’t limited to Democrats.  As Big Government is reporting, Representative Spencer Bachus(R-AL) seems to have an uncanny ability to pick market winners with the most incredibly profitable sense of timing.  While his profits from the trading are small potatoes compared to Pelosi’s Visa profits, it’s indicative of how bad things have gotten.  On Sunday night, speaking with Stephen K. Bannon on his “Victory Sessions” radio show on KABC, Andrew Breitbart called for Bachus to resign.

How can we combat this?  These people have sworn an oath, and yet all too frequently, it seems the only allegiance they actually express isn’t to the people of the United States Constitution, but to their own wallets, and the purses of their cronies.  I believe we need to tighten up the laws on our Federal elected officials.  Peter Schweizer’s new book, Throw Them All Out, promises to reveal a number of instances of this pervasive corruption, and Spencer Bachus was just one of the people Schweizer’s book identifies as having serious problems.  The senior leadership of both parties in Congress have been playing this game for a long time, and this new book exposes the systemic breadth of the problem.  Throw Them All Out will be released officially on Tuesday.  Pelosi’s spokesman claimed that she’s not corrupt, and that the author of the book is merely a partisan attack dog, but if so, why did he go after Republicans too?

Since former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin began hammering on the issue of crony capitalism back in August, it’s become a more  visible issue.  Most people hadn’t really understood what all the fuss was about, or what the distinction between capitalism and crony capitalism really is.  They’re now learning. What can be done to curtail this sort of profiteering from elected office is another question.  Another complicated problem is how Congressional staff might also have access to confidential information, and thereby profit in the markets.  It’s difficult to know how we should draw the lines, and how to make rules difficult to circumvent.  After all, these are the people who write our laws, and if they can’t be trusted, neither can the laws they author be considered anything but suspect.  It makes one wonder about the political gamesmanship that goes on during crises, like the Debt Ceiling debacle of late July/early August: How might legislators have turned a profit from the wild gyrations of the market that they were effectively causing?  What about the S&P credit rating downgrade?  Who in Washington DC might have profited from that calamity?

These are all questions to which we must demand answers.  It’s not enough to simply pass campaign finance laws, because that hardly scratches the surface.  We must address the baseline of corruption that now seems to be the norm in our federal establishment, and it’s time we held our elected representatives to account.  If the people of Bachus’ or Pelosi’s districts don’t demand answers, it will provide us a new dilemma:  How can we defeat entrenched corruption when even the voters won’t eject their members of Congress?  We’ve seen this before.  It may well be time to do as Schweizer suggests:  Throw them all out. Now.

Here’s a nifty ad on the Pelosi Scandal:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMYxCHrrDdo]

State Department: The Audacity of Dopes

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

The Audacity of Dopes

This should make your skin crawl and veins bulge in your forehead.  It turns out that the US Department of State spent more than $70K on copies of Barack Obama’s decade-old book, Dreams from My Father for global distribution.  As has also been revealed the embassy in Indonesia spent $3800 on copies of The Audacity of Hope for similar purposes.  This is an astonishing waste of tax-payer dollars, and honestly, I believe that if the government of the United States needed so many copies of these worthless books for the State Department’s global friendship tour for Barack Obama, they should have asked the wealthy author to provide them as a gift.  After all, this is the jerk who thinks we should pay more taxes.  Well, Mr. Obama, here was your chance to put your money where your mouth was.  He could say: “I gave at the office,” and mean it. I wonder how much he makes from the sale of $70K in retail sales of his books.  Minus the cost of publishing them, and the publisher’s cut, if it’s even seven dollars, it’s too damned much.

Honestly, I cannot imagine what goes through the heads of the worthless bureaucrats at the State Department. I’d vote for a candidate who promised to fire 90% of the State Department’s employees.  I am tired of this, but this case is astonishing.  The sad part is that Obama himself may not have known it, or at least he will have had plausible deniability, but in any case, this must be considered some sort of illegal campaign contribution, mustn’t it?  Who knows?  The laws are so mangled, nobody could make any sense of it anyway. Predictably, there is then this to accentuate the point in the Washington Time Article:

A review of the expenditures in a federal database did not reveal any examples of State Department purchases of books by former Presidents George W. Bush or Bill Clinton. The purchases of Mr. Obama’s literary work mostly, but not always, took place in the months after Mr. Obama captured the White House.

Shocker! This is another absurd example of what happens when liberals have any power in government.  The cronyism and favor-making begins immediately.  I’m not suggesting there have been no crooked conservatives, but to be honest, if they are crooked, they’re not really conservatives anyway.  I simply detest the statist mindset.  I find this sort of thing to be the evidence of how bankrupt these people really are.

All Is Not Paradise In Occu-Pest Land

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Drumming Up Discontent?

The New York Post is reporting that all is not happy at Occu-Pest Central down at Zuccotti Park, in New York.  It seems the Occupy Finance Committee (don’t you love their use of “committee” just like full-fledged communists) has a war-chest of some $500K and Occu-Pests want some of that wealth spread around to compensate them for losses of equipment, particularly drums,  due to vandalism.  Every protest movement needs a finance scandal, and now the Occu-Pests have one, complete with angry drummers. It was only a matter of time, but the stunning part is how naive these people really are about the ways of the world and the facts of the ideology they claim to hold as their ideal.

One angry Occu-Pest told the New York Post:

“F–k Finance. I hope Mayor Bloomberg gets an injunction and demands to see the movement’s books. We need to know how much money we really have and where it’s going,” said a frustrated Bryan Smith, 45, who joined OWS in Lower Manhattan nearly three weeks ago from Los Angeles, where he works in TV production.
Of all the complaints cited in the New York Post article, none provided me more entertainment than this:

“The other day, I took in $2,000. I kept $650 for my group, and gave the rest to Finance. Then I went to them with a request — so many people need things, and they should not be going without basic comfort items — and I was told to fill out paperwork. Paperwork! Are they the government now?” Smith fumed, even as he cajoled the passing crowd for more cash.

This sad spectacle of a Marxist demanding money, and then angry about bureaucracy is absolutely revelatory of how disconnected these people are from history and reality. Note to Mr.  Bryan Smith:

You are agitating for a change in form of government and an elimination of the private sector, and you want less bureaucracy?  Who do you think is going to be running your life if you have your way?  My bet is that you won’t be beating a drum for a living at a protest rally. Really, grow up and face the reality:  That demand for paperwork is what you’re ultimately demanding from the universe at large in this entire enterprise.  Don’t be unhappy now that you’re getting your first taste of it.  Wait until your Finance Committee is answering to a Central Committee that in turn answers to some sort of Politburo.  That’s where your wishes are taking you, pal. Don’t shrink in revulsion from the sight of the monster you’ve helped to create. Revel in it. This is the future, the hope, and the change for which you’ve been protesting.

On Money and Politics

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Is Money the Problem?

There are many people who decry the influence of money in politics, but to be honest, I think most of them are confused about the causes and effects involved.  People will immediately assume that cash waved in a politician’s face will readily buy influence, and sadly, in all too many cases, they’re correct.  The question then becomes one of cause and effect, however, and I think this is where most people become confused.  Did the money corrupt the politician, or did he corrupt the money?  It remains my proposal to all who will listen that it is naive to believe that so long as government is involved in every facet of our daily lives, that you will ever substantially reduce corruption.  Every official has some financial interests, and it’s in this atmosphere that some propose that money must be gotten out of politics?  No, there’s no rational way to do so without destroying liberty, and besides, it doesn’t offer any hope of solving the actual cause of the problem.

There’s an old and important rule of economics that says simply:  One cannot purchase at any price that which is not for sale. The root of the corruption we see in politics lies not with those interests throwing about cash, but with the politicians who in one way or another accept money and benefits from them.  If you want to make a substantial change in the way politicians in Washington or anywhere else behave, you must address the corruption at its fundamental root:  The politician who is for sale.  If it were mine to do, and if there were even the slightest hope of enacting it, I would propose a new constitutional amendment stating simply:

Corruption among elected or appointed public officials constituting the better part of the potential evils of government, any official of government who uses their office and official authority for private gain, or gain of any sort beyond his salaries and benefits shall be eligible for trial as for charge of treason, with the same penalties to be applied.

The first time a public official faces such a charge, it will have a profound effect.  It’s easy for them to pretend they’re putting tough new limits and reforms in place, but the truth is that their regulations tend to punish them the most lightly of all, reserving the worst punishments for others.  I’ve always thought that the willing recipient of a bribe is far worse than the person who offered it.  As I said, it’s impossible to purchase influence if it isn’t for sale.

Of course, the problem extends beyond politicians.  In many cases, Congressional staff members are involved in the key details of writing legislation that ultimately profits a particular business or group, or class of citizens, and all too frequently, themselves.  The same goes for the extensive bureaucracy and the regulations they craft.  Too often, regulations are authored in order to benefit somebody in particular, but the only way to limit this effectively is to restrict that which government may regulate.  What we need to combat all of this is a separation of economics and State at least as thorough as that which we have erected between Church and State. The simple fact is that so long as government has its fingers in every pie, there will be reason to expect that those who own the pies will seek to minimize their losses.

I believe disclosure is critical.  Campaigns and causes should be required to list their contributors and donors from largest to smallest.  The truth is, I don’t care if you’re a billionaire and wish to spend a pile of money on a single candidate.  I would merely require that your contributions be listed and published prominently by any campaign to which you contribute.  I find it’s better and more honest to get it in the open.  How many of you would like to know exactly how much in indirect contributions Soros made to Barack Obama through intermediaries like MoveOn and other entities?  In this way, disclosure provides the key.  They’re going to find a way to do it so long as politicians have the monumental power you’ve permitted them to arrogate to themselves, so it is better that at the very least, we know in detail who is funding whom.

The other problem is that it’s usually not bribery per se, but more frequently a form of extortion.  It works like this:  Legislator Doe introduces a bill that would, on its face, harm the interests of a particular entity, knowing that this entity will then come in with a deal.  It’s a bit of a protection racket, and it’s not even hidden.  They do this sort of thing on a continual basis, because in terms of the number of laws enacted each year, there’s simply too much opportunity, and most of the laws aren’t written to prevent this sort of corruption.  That may be the real “trick” in all of this:  Too often, since they make the laws, they decide what does and does not constitute a violation of law on their part.  Prodding Congress to police itself is not going to be easy, if it can be done at all.  This is why various campaign finance reform initiatives, including McCain-Feingold are destined for failure.

I believe in free speech.  I believe that money spent in politics constitutes free speech.  Free speech does not apply to any other sort of entity than individual people.  The  sorry game that has cost the American people dearly is augmented by rules that limit what Americans can contribute in one form, while giving preference to a relative few Americans in another.  Newspapers, radio and television stations or networks function as advocates perpetually.  Is there a spending limit on how much positive coverage the New York Times can give to President Obama?  No, of course not, and there should not be.  Individual citizens are having this same right denied them by the FEC(Federal Elections Commission) on the shoddy basis that they’re not protected as “the press” under the First Amendment.

For instance, if you run a blog, you could be considered to have contributed to a campaign merely by linking to its website.  The value of the alleged contribution increases on the basis of how much traffic your blog sees.  The same thing is true of commentary on some TV stations, although other outlets have exemptions under the law.  This is clearly intended to stifle free speech, and yet TV funny-man(?) Stephen Colbert  wanted to lampoon the Citizens United decision of the Supreme Court, and among the other things he wanted to do was to set up a PAC(Political Action Committee.)  Imagine his surprise when he found the maze of laws that would obstruct him. Colbert found himself facing the very obstacles he insists other must face, and he didn’t like it very much.

Let’s be honest about something else, while we’re at it.  Your money is yours.  If you want to spend all you have in support of a cause or a candidate, by what authority does anybody lay a claim to restrict you?  More, what authority does government have in defining what is “the press,” or more frequently, what is not?  The problem with all of this regulation of speech is that there is no fixed bright line, and depending upon who is pulling the strings at a given moment, the rules will be shifted and twisted to suit the cronies of whomever holds power.  Free speech isn’t really free when some people are forced to comply with regulations while others are exempted from those same regulations on the basis of some arbitrary law or rule.

The truth is simply that money doesn’t corrupt politics.  People do.  If you want reform, the only way you’re going to have it is to move toward a free speech paradigm in which all are unshackled in their speech, but that full disclosure of contributors and donors is known, ranked from largest to smallest, so that all discerning citizens can choose accordingly when they head to the polls.   We need also to get government out of the business of business. Too frequently, it is the involvement of government that makes it possible  for corporate  interests to buy influence.  If government officials weren’t offering influence, for what purpose would corporations lobby them?  To reform this system, we’re going to need honest people in Congress willing to live under a much more strict regimen, and part of this will include sending the professional staff home.  Too many of them have far too much influence on legislation, and until we start sending them home with the politicians for whom they work, we’re not going to get very far.  Money is a problem in politics only inasmuch as people are open to corruption.  That’s the root of our trouble, and it’s the most difficult problem to fix.

Obama’s Giant Green Crony-Capitalism Machine

Monday, September 12th, 2011

How Much Cash Can You Hide In One Of These?

Some things politicians do should result in prison terms and this may well be one of them.  When you lift up the carpet to find what’s been swept under the rug, the growing scandal with Solyndra and other “Green Energy” companies begins to look less and less like energy initiatives  than political pay-offs from corporate connections.   Crony capitalism is reaching its pinnacle under the leadership of Barack Obama, and while there have been other practitioners, it’s clear that this President is engaged in a vast scheme to redistribute wealth from tax-payers to corporate pals who may well be paying a form of commission right back to his campaign coffers.  The fact that any president would do this is scandalous, but Obama campaigned as the champion of the down-trodden, and this disgusting debacle that warrants a serious investigation.  With other instances in which cronies seem to have paid not to play(Obamacare Waivers,) it also appears we now have a case of pure pay-to-play.  Congress must investigate this scandal.

Let’s be honest enough to admit that there have been politicians in both parties guilty of these sorts of things.  The sad political demise of Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-CA) was the result of ridiculous defense contractor kick-backs, and it’s no surprise that our system has dealt with him as it ought, but when you see an instance like this Solyndra scandal, and begin to look at how many billions of tax-payer dollars went to support the “green jobs” lie, it’s small wonder that unemployment is still over 9%.  President Obama’s handouts to cronies for the sake of the contributions to be had, coming back as campaign cash from these large donors is a clear symptom of a system overwhelmed by corruption.

For those of you who don’t understand what’s been going on, let’s try to clear up the mechanism of the corruption.  First, the government, acting under the auspices of the “Green Jobs Initiative,”  part of the 2009 “Stimulus bill,” guarantees huge loans on behalf of the company in question, or provides direct financing in the form of loans and grants.  In the case of Solyndra, it will put the tax-payer on the hook for over a half-billion dollars.

For those of you who might be thinking that these sorts of things are done all the time, and some of them fail, you’d be correct, but this fails to understand the true scope of the scandal.  Solyndra officials visited the White House at least 20 times that we’re aware, and one can only guess how many times before the White House visitor logs were ordered released by a federal judge.  What then generally happens in these sorts of scandals is that after the money’s been given in one form or another to the company in question, or sometimes before it is given, there is an avalanche of bundling campaign dollars by company executives to politicians.  In the Solyndra case, as in many other instances, this appears to have happened.

Oh sure, it will all appear strictly legal.  Few are so mind-warped to do such things without the of cover of law, but this is what the legislative process has become:  It is a way to dispense money to corporate and union cronies in exchange for some paid back to the politicians who enacted the law.  Obama said “shovel ready,” and it was, because he shoveled it out the door to his cronies just as fast as he could.  Of course, even here, they will hide it behind the actions of some low-level staffer or political operative, but the facts always show up in the end.  The bucks started flowing at the President’s desk, and he had a responsibility to stop them.

While I don’t wish to sound too conspiratorial, I also wish to sound a note of caution to all those who think that because the FBI is now involved, we’ll inevitably get to the bottom of this.  What one must remember is that with Holder heading the DoJ, there’s some chance the FBI wasn’t visiting the home of Solyndra’s CEO to uncover incriminating information, but instead to bury it.

Sarah Palin is right:  We can’t restore or repair our republic until we’ve cleaned up the crony capitalists and corporatists in our nation’s capital.   We mustn’t pretend that our economy can be recovered by more dubious “green jobs” or anything else proposed by this administration.  President Obama simply isn’t capable of acting as an honest broker any longer.  Instead, he’s become just one more symbol of the corruption that rules Washington DC, with we tax-payers and our children as the perpetual suckers.