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Everyone I know thinks the federal government is corrupt, that it is overly influenced by lobbyists, big campaign contributors, and other pay-to-play arrangements. Yet, inexplicably, about half of the folks who complain about these things, we'll call them Democrats for lack of a better word, want to see ever more and more power concentrated in the hands of that same corrupt federal government. This is roughly equivalent to saying "I know cigarettes will kill me. I think I'll smoke twice as much from now on." The same Democrats who thought President Bush's warrantless wiretapping of international phone calls from suspected terrorists following 9/11 was the most egregious overstep of governmental authority since the Russian Revolution now think it's perfectly fine that the government takes over vast sectors of private industry, from health care to energy to automobile companies to finance to everything else. The same Democrats who thought Bush's annual deficit spending was horribly irresponsible (it was) now think it's perfectly fine that President Obama is doubling those Bush deficits (it isn't). I will never understand.
And the same Democrats who complained about the previous Republican "culture of corruption" under Bush are now openly courting corruption, pay-to-play, influence peddling, government meddling, and cronyism. Don't believe me ? Let's start with a how-to on buying a government position. Consider this report from opensecrets.org titled 'Barack Obama's Obscure Ambassadors Bring Experience, Campaign Cash':
To date, President Barack Obama has tapped 19 individuals to serve as ambassadors...Seventeen of these 19 ambassadors...along with their immediate family members -- have contributed about $323,900 to federal candidates, committees and parties since 1989, the Center for Responsive Politics has found.
Moreover, both of the Cabinet-level ambassadors -- Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and Ron Kirk, the U.S. trade representative -- bundled between $50,000 and $100,000 for Obama's presidential campaign, according to CRP's analysis.
Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro, who also has the rank of ambassador, bundled at least $100,000 for Obama's campaign -- and another $290,000 for his inauguration, according to Public Citizen.
Here's another job handed to a crony, from an opensecrets.org report titled 'Philip Berg, New Ambassador To Germany, Gave Big To Democrats':
Murphy and his "homemaker" wife, Tammy, have contributed nearly $1.5 million to federal candidates, committees and parties since 1989, with 94 percent of that sum going to Democrats, according to a Center for Responsive Politics analysis. They also contributed an additional $100,000 to Obama's inauguration committee.
While other ambassador picks have steered more money Obama's way as bundlers, Murphy, who was not among Obama's bundlers, takes the title of being the largest personal giver to all federal candidates among nominees to date.
It's crystal clear. Want a nice cushy ambassadorship with great perks ? Cough up the cash to the right people. If you don't pony up the cash, talk to the hand.
Or consider this opensecrets.org report titled 'Newly Appointed Wall Street Investigators Are Big Campaign Contributors.' This one shows how those appointed to a bipartisan investigation of the financial crisis are big political contributors. This goes for both Democratic and Republican appointees. The "investigators" are government cronies. Do you think just maybe the investigation will conclude that the housing/financial meltdown and resulting recession was NOT THE GOVERNMENT'S FAULT ? Call me cynical, but I believe that's precisely what will happen (though because this is ObamaTime, they'll probably find something to blame Bush for, maybe all that "Bush deregulation of the financial industry" liberals are always going on about, even though that never happened).
And don't lose sight of the fact that all the cronyism I've described so far is LEGAL. So is the behavior described in this next video, in which Representative Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) talks about Gangster Government, about how who you know in government makes the difference in whether your auto dealership was closed down or allowed to stay in business during the restructing of the car companies. Pay particular attention to the first few minutes:
Rep. Bachmann mentioned all Obama's Czars. He has appointed them to oversee...well, almost everything. We have more Czar's than the Russian Empire had. Nearly three dozen by some accounts. Nobody seems to know the exact number. These Czars are non-elected officials given the tools and authority to do the bidding of the White House. They are accountable to no one except the President. They circumvent Congress. They go through no Congressional confirmation hearings, even though in some cases they oversee confirmed officials. They just...wield power. There is no transparency. Don Obama's capos.
Now, let's turn to companies buying influence in Washington D.C. It's a common misperception that the big boys contribute primarily to Republican coffers, but that isn't quite accurate. From 1989-2008, of the top twenty biggest groups donating to politicians, only three gave more to Republicans than Democrats. Fourteen gave more to Democrats than Republicans, and most gave heavily in favor of the Democrats. Three gave nearly equally to both parties. The Democratic edge comes mostly from the big unions. Corporate donors slightly favor Republicans, but most of the big corporations give to both sides, to buy influence regardless of who runs the show in D.C. They aren't stupid. They know how the game is played.
Does all that money lavished on the politicians by big business interests pay off ? You bet it does. If it didn't, they wouldn't do it. For example, here we are in the middle of the worst recession in 70 years, resulting in a meltdown of the financial industry, and the fourth biggest government donator, Goldman Sachs (over $31 million donated, mostly to Democrats) just turned a nifty $1.8 billion profit for the first quarter of 2009, and an even niftier $3.4 billion profit for the second quarter. Goldman Sachs expects to have record breaking profits this year. Number thirteen on the big donor list is Citigroup, Inc. (over $26.4 million donated, split among Dems and Republicans). They made a $4.3 billion profit for the second quarter. Number forty on the top donor list is Bank of America ($16.4 million donated, split between Dems and Repubs). They made a $2.4 billion profit in the second quarter. You may remember Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Bank of America as being recipients of huge bailouts from the federal government. They were "too big to fail." If they went down, so would our entire financial system, allegedly.
Is YOUR business doing as well ? Did YOUR business get bailed out ? Does the government give a tinker's damn if YOUR business fails ? Didn't think so.
Maybe John Edwards was right about there being two Americas. He just had his definitions wrong.
The first America is the gangster government/financial giant class. They are one and the same, but the financial giants must pay protection money to the gangster government, or they risk being cut out of the scam.
The second America is everyone else. The marks. The ones who pay for it all.
Soooo, again, why is it that about half of Americans, we'll call them Democrats for lack of a better word, are in favor of ever MORE and MORE of this corrupt government ???? Are they just hoping to get initiated into the gang, or what ?