Posted 1 year ago on April 26, 2012, 6:09 p.m. EST by Middleaged
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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.