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Forum Post: Political Distortions Erode US Public Confidence

Posted 1 year ago on April 26, 2012, 6:09 p.m. EST by Middleaged (5140)
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Political Distortions Erode US Public Confidence

The many half-truths and distorted truths have not only maintained a political status quo, but have dumbed down the US Public.

1) That we live in a democracy. In fact we live in a Limited Republic where our Representatives pass laws

2) That we live under a capitalist system. We live in a mixed economy which includes social programs, capitalism, and significant central control of the economy through government subsidies, tax abatements, and legislation that has supported creation of a financial industry with bubbles in mortgages and derivatives.

3) That money does not influence our government and create obligations and considerations after elections. In fact we know with capitalism, advertising, media exposure, the powerful impact of television that big money is required to win elections. And where is that big money going to come from? Big pockets. Big money establishes relationships, access, obligations, political appointments, and political considerations. Lobbyist’ contribute money to politicians, then are permitted to write legislation as if they had the best interest of the common people and working class.

4) That corporations are people. Marine General Smedley Butler wrote a book in 1935, War is a Racket, in which he outlines his career in Central America and the Caribbean. In fact when blacks were recognized a people by the Civil Rights Act of 1871 corporations filed law suits to push their own interests under this law. Corporate influence in the US and around the globe can’t be denied. But business is business. People can make moral and ethical decisions and even fight for their own country. But if corporations hurt people or put their employees in dangerous situations their liability is just a few bucks. The IRS and the SEC can't even begin legal proceedings against large corporations without huge funds.

5) That US Media is free from conflicts of interest. In fact Western media is a largely owned by 5 corporations or people. And media can't exist without obligations to large corporate advertisers. And media can't perform it's business without powerful people providing them access to government press conferences, government spokesmen, elected officials, government buildings and election events.

6) That the government has our best interest in mind and is largely free from conflicts of interest. In fact it is hard to separate fact from fiction. However there are many examples of corruption in US Governments.

A) Savings and Loan Scandal 1988 B) Keating Five Scandal 1989 B) Mortgage Crisis 2007 C) Financial Crisis 2008 D) Reversal of Depression Era laws to prevent Banking Scandals E) Use of "Riders" in US Congressional Legislation F) Every Presidential Administration has Scandals G) Use of Social Security Trust funds to pay for the Vietnam War H) Operation Northwoods Plot to start war with Cuba thru "false flag" operation on US soil I) Gulf of Tonkin incident to start war with Vietnam J) Business Plot 1933 by US Industrialist to overthrow the US Government K) Operation Ajax by CIA in Iran in 1953 L) Subsidies by federal government for Walmart parking lots, regional warehouses, and stores M) The Federal website www.cfda.gov shows 2,200 different Domestic Assistance programs for 2012. I'm pretty sure this is the current number of Subsidies. In 2006, according to the Cato Institute website there were 1,696 federal subsidies. N) Vulture Fund Company Seeks $40 Million Payment from Zambia on $4 Million Debt from "aid money" granted to fight poverty O) No one has gone to JAIL in the 2008 Financial Crisis that went global and for which the FED provide over $20 trillion dollars in emergency loans P) Too Big Too Fail banks haven't been broken up q) There is no investigation of 2008 financial crisis since it would require 20K investigators and mortgage banks must put together the paper work "referral" R) Patriot Act - because it erodes the Bill of Rights S) National Defense Authorization Act - because it erodes the Bill of Rights T) Congress hasn't signed a US Budget for 1000 days U) The Iraqi War, Afghanistan War, Vietnam War, and Korean Wars were not declared by Congress. V) We allow rich people, corporations, and foreigners to contribute millions of dollars to US Congressmen. Foreign lobbyist can go to the State department. Congressional receipt of foreign lobby dollars sounds like treason. W) Antitrust law used to protect against monopolies and oligopolies, but today corporations get larger year after year, have personhood, and seem not to have any limitations since the lessons they learned from the Bell Telephone breakup X) There is no concerted effort by the US government to discover, monitor, control, or legislate prohibitions against slave labor and child labor in foreign countries where US textile and other jobs have gone Y) There is less funding for US job retraining today than there was prior to 2008 Financial Crisis as per NPR last week Z) Creation of the Federal Reserve AA) Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham plead guilty to taking over $2M in Bribes from 3 defense contractors BB) Congressman William Jefferson of Louisiana was caught with $90K in his house freezer CC) Cost of congressional campaign is $1 million per candidate, and Senate campaigns is $4.3 million, but could be $10-15 million and the winner usually is the one that has the most campaign money DD) One third of campaign money could be coming from Political Action Committees based on 1986 study (PAC are special interest groups) EE) Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested in 2008 for trying to sell a US Senate seat FF) Opensecrets "all time top donors" list of campaign contributors shows AT&T, National Association of Realtors, and Goldman Sachs in the top 10 - Citigroup is #15, JP Morgan is #26, Microsoft #28, Lockheed martin #33, General Electric #35, surprisingly American Bankers Association #23 and American Medical Association #16 GG) US Government subsidies for oil exploration when profits are high and there is not chance the industry will fail anytime in the next 20 years HH) Teapot Dome Scandal involving bribes for government land leases to oil concerns II) Watergate Hotel Scandal involving the CIA being used for private gain and private interests of the US President

7) That industry does not have much influence on regulators in our government. In fact we have a revolving door from industry to all our regulatory agencies including the big banking, big pharmacy, big agriculture, and probably the EPA. This means people that work in regulated industries rotate through jobs at the Federal Reserve, US Treasury, SEC, FDA, Energy Agencies, Gas and Oil Agencies, and probably the EPA. They also probably have a strong influence in universities and the medical profession also. Regulatory capture is also a problem here where Industry has so much influence that it makes the rules or determines the enforcement.

8) That main street has the same chance to make money in financial markets as big banks. In fact we have a) slower ability to trade shares in financial markets b) a big hurdle and lost opportunities when prices change dramatically while US markets are closed c) wealthy financial consultants like Mitt Romney pay 15% for their fees that make a large portion of their income.

9) We don't need manufacturing, protection for manufacturing industries, and the business environment allows entry for new manufacturing. In fact the banking industry is focused on high risk/high yield investments and wants goods to be manufactured in cheap labor countries since it looks like a good business model that is efficient use of capital. There is little going on in the USA to a) Ensure people have the skills they need b) have retraining opportunities c) stimulate manufacturing in the US d) provide reasonable financing through banks to start new manufacturing e) install protectionist policies to keep US manufacturing base g) recognize the economic force called the economic multiplier effect that derives from valuable manufacturing activity h) recognize that US workers need an advocate i) provide grants for research into technologies that the US will need in the next 10-20 years.

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4 Comments


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[-] 2 points by Middleaged (5140) 1 year ago

Who ya gonna vote for?

[-] 1 points by Middleaged (5140) 1 year ago

Apology, I am trying to verify the quote about US Media ownership. I have seen antisemitism on a link and have to find out if there are really 5 oligopolies in US media, film, print, newspapers, radio, TV, cable, and text books.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/cool/giants/

Frontline shows these 6 which could be based on looking at their financial worth rather than influence: 1) Walt Disney Company
2) Sony
3) Viacom, Inc,
4) News Corporation
5) Bertlesmann
6) Vivendi Universal

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concentration_of_media_ownership

Globally, large media conglomerates include, National Amusements, Viacom, CBS Corporation, Time Warner, News Corp, Bertelsmann AG, Sony, General Electric, Vivendi SA, The Walt Disney Company, Hearst Corporation, Organizações Globo and Lagardère Group.[4][5][6]

So Wikipedia actually shows 13 Global Media Conglomerates.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concentration_of_media_ownership#Freedom_of_the_press_and_editorial_independence

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_polite_conference_rooms_where_liberties_are_saved_and_lost_20120326/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRQjF1IPgKQ (Chris Hedges on How Corporations Destroyed Democracy)

[-] 1 points by Middleaged (5140) 1 year ago

10) Distortions of war include: A) that countries over 500 miles away from the US border can be a significant threat B) the idea that the US reserves the right to change governments in South America, Cuba, Iraq, Afghanistan or "failed States" under our foreign policy and the Monroe Doctrine C) that we should invade, isolate, and coerce any nation that is communist D) that we have the right to attack a nation under first strike doctrine when the decision process to go to war has clearly failed.

11) Examples of US wars or military action without logical threat to US Security A) Korea B) Vietnam C) Gulf war with Iraq D) Iraqi Freedom 2003 E) Afghanistan 2001.

12) Examples of US Covert Actions that stole the right of self- determination from sovereign governments A) Syria 1949 B) Iran 1953 C) Guatemala 1954 D) Cuba 1959 E) Brazil 1964 F) Ghana 1966 G) Iraq 1968 H) Chile 1973 I) Afghanistan 1973-4 J) Iraq 1973-5 K) Argentina 1976 L) Afghanistan 1978-1980s M)Iran 1980

These additional are simply lesser known military actions as part of empire building and looking out for our industrial/trade or strategic interests N) Nicaragua 1980-90 O) El Salvador 1980-92 P) Cambodia 1980-95 Q) Guatemala 1993 R) Mexico 1914 S) Haiti 1915–1934 T) Cuba 1898-1902, 1906–1909, 1912 and 1917–1922 U) Nicaragua 1902-12, 1912 through 1933 V) Dominican Republic 1903, 1904, 1914, 1916-1924 W) Honduras 1903, 1907, 1911, 1912, 1919, 1924 and 1925 X) China 1927 Y) Porto Rico 1898 Z) Panama 1846, 1856, 1903,

13) That every American can have a job, build a life, and compete in the USA. In fact we have created a criminal class and have the world’s highest incarceration rate. Many citizens go to prison for nonviolent crimes only to be disenfranchised, unable to get an apartment, unable to join the workforce, and end up either on welfare, in prison, or a career criminal.

14) That propaganda doesn’t exist in the US or at most is just some small activity carried out by the other political extreme. In fact all governments and corporate business relations organizations work to control the message/narrative and to avoid questions. Public relations is a significant part of US industry and education today.

15) That business growth or economic expansion results in more jobs. The fact is that many jobs have been replaced by computers and robots. Increased investment in businesses may simply be an investment in capital not labor. Increased GDP may also simply reflect increased efficiency.

16) That the US is the best country in the world without a debate or without reservations. In fact we have a lot of work to do. Governments always have a lot of work to do. The US is a leader in Financial derivatives and Wall Street Banking. The US is the world military super power. The US is the world leader in influential business and political ideas. But we can debate about the US rating in health care, education, cost of education, middle class populations, opportunity for the poor, incarceration rates, welfare rates, honest politics, corruption, free media and investigative reporting, fair and simple tax code, predatory lending, subprime mortgages, federal subsidies, foreign policy, war policy, support for dictators, interference with sovereign nations, freedom of information from the government, and recognition of the cost of war to the nation we invade in terms of injury, loss of life, loss to families and communities, and loss to entire economies, job skills, educational institutions, and progress toward normal eating, sleeping, clean water, agriculture, and daily commerce.

Conclusion: Given the economic, military, and government history of the US there should be robust interest in government transparency and monitoring of our government efficiency. Many people feel disenfranchised in the US and have little reason to trust corporate or political interests. OWS and global protests against meeting for the G8, G20, IMF, WB, and the Bilderberger group bare that out. Somehow we forget US history and military history due to reduced debate or discussion. There is much to be gained by investigations of relationships between government and business interests as well as government funding, government campaign finance, and US lobbying. People would like to hear how to help main street start new small businesses and new small manufacturing through US financial or tax structures.

[-] 1 points by Middleaged (5140) 1 year ago

Here are the Notes:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/21/opinion/l21brooks.html http://cfinst.org/congress/pdf/Table4_PostElec.pdf http://www.cleanupwashington.org/sii/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honest_services_fraud http://articles.cnn.com/2005-11-28/politics/cunningham_1_mzm-mitchell-wade-tax-evasion?_s=PM:POLITICS http://www.scu.edu/ethics/publications/iie/v3n2/money.html (Cost of Campaign) http://www.commoncause.org/site/pp.asp?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=4764307 http://www.commoncause.org/site/pp.asp?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=4923163 (Pay to play Blaggo) http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/list.php?order=A (Heavy Hitters Campaign Contributions) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Savings_and_loan_crisis http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accounting_scandals http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accounting_scandals#Notable_accounting_scandals http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_federal_political_scandals_in_the_United_States http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Ponzi_schemes http://www.walmartsubsidywatch.org/ http://money.cnn.com/2004/05/24/news/fortune500/walmart_subsidies/ http://www.neweconomicperspectives.org/2011/09/william-black-why-nobody-went-to-jail.html http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=7926 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Akerlof http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_K._Black http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yves_Smith http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subprime_mortgage_crisis http://ideas.repec.org/a/bin/bpeajo/v24y1993i1993-2p1-74.html http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-real-housewives-of-wall-street-look-whos-cashing-in-on-the-bailout-20110411 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_flag http://www.wanttoknow.info/010501operationnorthwoods http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_of_Tonkin http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_Industrial_Complex http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Is_a_Racket http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smedley_Butler http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_Plot http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covert_United_States_foreign_regime_change_actions http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covert_United_States_foreign_regime_change_actions#Chile_1973 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covert_United_States_foreign_regime_change_actions#Destabilization_through_CIA_assets http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_Wars http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_Oil (Broken up in 1911) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_System (Broken up in 1984) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teapot_Dome_scandal http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watergate_scandal
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_incarceration_rate While Americans only represent about 5 percent of the world's population, one-quarter of the entire world's inmates are incarcerated in the United States.[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_incarceration_rate#Effects Within three years of being released, 67% of ex-prisoners re-offend and 52% are re-incarcerated, according to a study published in 1994.[26] The rate of recidivism is so high in the United States that most inmates who enter the system are likely to reenter within a year of their release.
American journalist Reihan Salam has argued in National Review Online that past a certain point in which more of the population have been or are currently in prison, incarceration becomes more destigmatized and crime would actually increase (akin to the Laffer curve). He stated that the U.S. is "past that point" with its incarceration rate.[30] The effects of such high incarceration rates are also shown in other ways. Consider a woman who has been recently released from prison. In most states she is ineligible for welfare. She is not eligible for subsidized housing, and for Section 8 she has to wait two years before she can apply. In addition to finding housing, she also has to find employment, but most likely she can not find a job because she has a record so no one wants to hire her. Essentially, a woman who has been recently released from prison comes into a society that is not prepared structurally or emotionally to welcome her back.[19]
http://www.alternet.org/drugs/87702?page=2
http://rortybomb.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/pew-economic-mobility-project-incarcerations-effects-on-economic-mobility/
state correctional costs quadrupled over the past two decades and now top $50 billion a year, consuming 1 in every 15 general fund dollars.”

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