By Linda Winsh-Bolard
The purpose of our government.
Our political process serves one purpose: to pass taxpayers money to private corporations.
We call it “free market” rather than corporate welfare and it works very well. For the corporate CEOs, I mean.
Everybody remembers the billions in cash supposedly sent to Iraq that never re-surfaced, nor is there any evidence they were ever delivered. We are all familiar with repeated bank bailouts, three in the last 35 years at cost going to trillions of dollars. Some are knowledgeable about government contracts, often not competitive, that pass billions to companies such as Halliburton, Boeing, Hughes and the Brothers Koch under many corporate names.
In theory, political process is supposed to deliver elected candidates to govern the country.
United States election process has no such pretensions.
Our politicians spend their time schmoozing the corporate bucks. Corporations buy political seats and in return collect tax funds to feather extremely soft private nests while getting rid of workers protection.
Crumbs go back to the politicians who passed those monies, under the pretension of government contracts, and those politicians make sure that the third branch of our government- the courts- will fully oblige the corporate power. The politicians nominate the judges. Sometimes corporations also slide some small fun to the judges, particularly at the Supreme Court.
Small favors in their world go from half a million up.
Two party system and the real government
Parliamentary system requires that parties compromise. Two party systems can effectively kill any governing.
Our real governing body, the five big banks, J.P Morgan Chase &Company, Bank of America Corp., Goldman Sachs Group, Wells Fargo & Company and Citigroup, with their local governing powers called corporations, like the system.
They can press on either party, or both, to stop any legislation from coming through. Should something slip in, it can be dismantled as the Consumer Protection Act was when Elisabeth Warren was forced to leave by Obama.
In the last meltdown, the big 5 have gotten rid of all competition and now hold the entire economy in their greedy, grubby hands. They alone control all financial interest in this country. No one, not even an elected President, can go around them. No money means no functioning country.
It took 30 years, but it is done.
Just in case, should there be a glitch in the system, the super rich are now financing a third party. Michael Bloomberg “No Labels” Party has backers such conservative Pete Peterson and Mark McKinnon. Throwing any pretensions to the wind, an non elected body of super rich will decide who to nominate for election that they will also pay for and allow you to vote for it by the easily manipulated electronic system. This will guarantee the top 1% of the nation the two third majority needed to get rid of pesky democratic process.
No more embarrassments such as recalls of Ohio Governoror Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who raised 13 million in about three months to fight his.
United States has three branches of federal government largely mirrored by state governments. Cities and counties differ somewhat is structure.
Congress has election every two years, Senate every six years, presidents get in every four years.
The election campaigns now run over a year. Elected officials barely get to know the duties and works of their respective offices, before they get back on the trail of raising money, shaking hands, obliging donors and running campaigns.
This serves to keep them from governing and hides any deals made between governments and the corporations behind continual pushing of citizens to work on re-election of whatever party they happens to support.
In a meantime, the deals and dealings are facilitated by public sector employees who should be known as disservant to the citizens.
Public jobs are forever. The only jobs in the USA that offer security, pensions, health benefits, vacation, sick days and whole bunch of benefits such as placing your kid in one as well.
Politicians know that public employees are essential, without them contracts passed to their corporate backers might be open to disclosures, criticism and changes. That might mean the politician’s name might be attached to something unsavory, like poisoning local water supply by oil companies who bought him/her his/hers seat, or utility price hikes linked to bonuses for Department of Water CEOs that just happen to be the kin of someone elected to oversee the agency.
Politicians keep public employees happy. ERISA, which prohibits private workers from suing their health care insurance when they maim them by denying them treatment, does not apply to federal employees. Unpaid overtime and firing does not exist. Personal responsibility doesn't either. Public employees do not give their phones, e-mails or addresses. They don’t have to respond. Laws do not apply to them. They can call you names, cheat and lie to you. All you can do is to file a complaint. Privacy laws cover public employees and complains land straight in the shredder.
Such plush jobs attract failed politicians, their mistresses, wives and friends. Tony Rauckass is District Attorney of Orange County, CA. Tony parked his mistress, Ms. Buffi, whose experience is limited to serving members, to a county job created fro her during hiring freeze. Buffi, former dental assistant with no work experience or education, will, by the time she leaves us, cost the taxpayers some three million dollars. Dick Cheney’s daughter and son in law would smirk at such sums. She went to State Department, he to the Office of Management and Budget (hic!).gave his seat to his daughter (R-Alaska), and all are nothing compared to George W. Bush Jr., who failed at everything, but was pushed into presidency even though he lost the election, and thus destroyed the economy with the help of his backers.
Public employees are essential to keep the citizenry in check. Pepper spray, beating and shooting are as popular with the unionized police as wiretaps on innocent people by FBI. Taxpayers pay at least $250,000 a year per jock who shoots unarmed citizens because he is a coward and a bully.
Patriot Act is dream act for politicians. Anyone, any time can be locked up for ever.
Both, Bush and Obama, signed and both house voted it in. Vanish hoi polloi!
Journalism is not dying because people don’t want to read news.
Journalism is being killed because our real government, corporations and banks, hate journalists.
Try to look up the suspension of civil liberties in Midwest on Google. Nothing will come up.
Google is the company that collected, illegally, as without permission, people’s e-mail addresses, passwords, web searches and personal data. Our obliging federal government, with Democratic presidentat the helm, using public disservants in FCC fined Google $25,000. Less than a day at the spa for CEO.
New York Times’ journalists work for over a year with no contracts. The management gave themselves millions of dollars in bonuses but refused to give the journalist any raise at all.
Boston’s Globe tried to break their contract with journalists, cut their pay 25% and take away any job security.
LA Times was tunneled out bywho took the money and real estate and left behind 12, 9 billion in debt. Before Zell, the LA Times made about $240 million a year and cost a quarter. Tribune Co. bought the paper and filed for bankruptcy. The paper makes now as little as $100 million and costs a dollar. Among its ‘creditors’ is Mark Willes, the former chief executive of Times Mirror Co., who is “owed” $11.2 million in deferred compensation from his severance package of more than $64 million. The bankruptcy is blamed on lack of advertising and subscription, not on bloated CEO pay and lousy content. Journalists were fired and management negotiated such outrageous bonuses and pensions for themselves that the deal was thrown out of court.
Compare that with Alan Rusbridger, editor -in -chief of the independent newspaper The Guardian, who reportedly makes 400,000 pounds a year.
Instead of journalists we have unpaid bloggers.
Arianna Huffington, posing as progressive democrat, stole 315 millions from the people who blogged for her. They sued for 105 million in shares and lost. Public disservant John Koetl of US district court in NYC dismissed their suit with prejudice, preventing them from suing again. For Koetl, slavery is fine in the US as long as the slave driver gets paid. Huffington is still sued by editors and employees of the online Huffington Post for pay.
Huffington opened the door to blogging.
Bloggers generally have little or no journalism training. They have not learned the tools of the trade, do no research, have no means of analyzing complicated documents, getting public documents or joining cause-consequence together into a column.
Andrew Breitbart, the extreme right blogger described as provocateur, was not bothered by small things like facts. He spewed unfiltered propaganda and got on very well with is hidden corporate bosses.
Bloggers rarely do more. The honest ones report things as they see them, or heard of them. They have no means of doing more. Many simply project their personal perception and ideology on others as if that was journalism.
Impartial evaluation is rare. Again, the training is usually not there. Corporations love this.
Corporations also love Twitter. Anything can be hidden in 140 characters. It’s such good way to mislead the public.
Twitter came out of headlines. Training the citizenry to read only headlines is beneficial to corporations. Last week LA Times headline read: “Lehman elite stood to get $700 million”.
Unless you read the article, you were under the impression that Lehman Bros., the only failed giant bank, had singlehandedly destroyed the economy by paying large bonuses to its CEO. Not so. Lehman bonuses were well within what Wells Fargo, Chase Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America still pay. They were smaller than Willes’.
In politics this type of media coverage means endless yapping about what Romney or Obama needs to do to win the election.
It only matters to the group around these two, because only their closest operatives will win, or lose, a soft spot at the White House.
To the rest of us, their respective policies and records of what they do to the economy, education, military and health spending are essential. The news never covers any part of this.
Vital Congress and Senate election are no longer covered by national news. Citizens are left in the dark as what to expect from candidates other than local. Consequently, federal government is isolated from citizens.
In state government, the governors hold secret meeting where they decide on policies that never came out during their campaigns. On local levels, county and city government are so corrupt and so entrenched that few bother even to vote.
The sense of powerlessness is enhanced by constant propaganda barrage spewed to obscure real policies. Media focuses on ideological difference such as abortion and gay marriage to hide lack of governing plans by all candidates.
Is the political system broken?
It depends on where you stand. Currently, the system works wonders for the top 1% of the nation, works very well for the next about 8% of the rich and well for 13,6% of public employees.
To achieve this, it squeezes dry the rest of the people.
Wages have now officially fallen 4% since 2000. Housings’ real price is up 50-100%, gas, food and education costs tripled, health insurances quadrupled.
The squeeze is on as money concentrate at the never satisfied top 1%.
Since Clinton, taxes for the rich plummeted and federal budget took a hit, wars cost, bailouts cost, public payroll and pensions are getting huge, and Medicare is getting expensive.
Republicans want to cut more taxes for the rich, raise taxes on the rest, dismantle Medicare and Social security and firmly divide the society into two: the rich and the poor.
Frankly, Democrats do the same; they just don’t talk about it and keep the public payroll flush.
Obama and the Democrats did not provide any real break for the suffering former middle class. Nor did they return to the tax code of Clinton’s era, stop the wars or install profiteering tax as FDR did or price control as Nixon did on oil.
The ruling class is small, rich, insulated and isolated, by choice, from the rest of the people. They have no reason to change any of it. Party membership means nothing. Politicians constantly jumps from one party to another to independent status to keep their posts., kicked off the ticket by Republicans, was a writer in in the last election. With a few good friends, she got in.
The Democratic governor of California, elected to correct the horror of Arnie Schwarzenegger, suspended school buses for the poorest kids in the middle of the year. He also cut funding for community colleges in the middle of the year. Education for the poor is fiscally insane. California Constitution guarantees access to free education. Not one media outlet brought this up. Brown, like Arnie, wants the taxes go up and the public payroll to pay more to existing employees while cutting off the future ones. So did Arnie.
Paul Ryan's "budget" passed in Congress. it cuts the taxes of the richest 10% Americans and raises taxes on the remaining 90%. Mitt Romney "loves" the budget.Is this where we are going?
It is possible to tip the scales.
We need to cut the campaign period and use existing law regarding air time for candidates.
By cutting the campaign down to 3-6 months and forcing equal air time for all candidates, we can effectively reduce the influence of money in the election process.
We can cut The Supreme Court disservants out of this process by forcing in a procedural change that cannot be argued to be free speech.
Half a year of blather about the next clown at the public through, is enough for anyone to suffer.
It also forces the elected… ehm, .individual to engage in governing for at least 18 months in Congress and longer in all other offices. To the public, it provides record of action, or misdeed.
We also need to have a proper recall procedure for all elected representatives. We need to use it. At the beginning probably often. Until it sinks in that this is an office where you have to perform.
We need to hold public employees openly responsible for what they do. Have them fired, if they deserve it. Prosecute them when needed.
We have to cut their pay and pensions. It will make it more attractive for them to tax, or cut, the bonuses and pay of the rich CEO. Hunger is good at that.
Parliamentary system would help. Parliamentary means more than two conservative parties versus one pretending to be liberal. It means shades of all.
Amazingly, liberals don’t want another party. Liberals also did not fight the unlimited money contributions. In both cases, I think, they love the money for themselves and don’t want to share their power with anyone.
Our parties are often in agreement on preserving themselves. Michigan has recall system that allows recalling politicians for many reasons. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and his party are in agreement with House Democratic Leader Richard Hammel and the Democrats for bipartisan recall reform. As of, limit it, or get rid of it.
I wrote about my “choices’ to vote for Norby or Uballe, same double dipper former public disservans, violently anti- union, anti pay-pension-benefits for anyone but themselves, one painted red, the other blue. No change with either.
It just might finish the dems off. Conservatives play the game better. They want all the money and all the power. Conservatives don’t care how many groups works for them, as long as the power group doesn’t change. They pay for demonstrators busing and food, signature collecting. Liberals except people to do all for them for free. Neither expects to give anything back to the people who worked on their behalf.
We can change the system. We can submit and pass initiatives limiting the campaign period. Installing or keeping recalls. We can exercise the recall. We can limit spending of our tax money on private companies with failed military products and prisons. We can stop calling such spending “free market” or capitalism, when we have neither.
I don’t see any interest in doing so.
I wish you Happy General Strike as the beginning of change.