Corruption & scandals

Promises, Promises

Hillary Clinton's statements on the Israeli flotilla situation might well have been replaced with, "blah, blah, blah."  I'd recommend you watch the YouTube video of her formal statement but it's so full of boring platitudes, all of which could easily have been extracted from the speeches made during her husband's Israeli-Palestinian peace talks way back when.   "We will continue to work with both parties", "We are committed to a resolution", "An agreement must support a 2-state solution", etc.  What Hillary had to say was far less telling than her facial expressions and body language.  Secretary of State Clinton looked more like Mrs. Bill Clinton as her eyes and weary countenance seemed to reveal a deeper personal concern beyond the issue in Israel.  One has to wonder what Mrs. Clinton knew about her husband's role in the job offer scandal regarding Sestak.  Does she anticipate yet another political quagmire involving her husband and the onslaught of negativity toward her own political ambitions?  Her tone and her demeanor seemed to reveal a person with many regrets.  Did she get  promised something if she would drop out of the presidential race, and if so, did the pedaler deliver on the promise to her full satisfaction?  Does the implication of her husband in another shady deal send a blow to any last and final hope of gaining the presidency for herself?  Does she resent her present job as her expressions insinuate? No matter how it's sliced, the Sestak situation serves up a distasteful morsel with a bad aftertaste that continues to linger.  Too many questions swarm this matter for it to go away.  No matter how many WH gala's such as last night's love fest with Paul McCartney, created to help change the subject,  the informed voter in this country still demands answers.  If there wasn't really a job offer and if this entire mess is so insignificant, why then, did Mr. Sestak even bring it up in the first place?  If  insignificant, why did his brother get inserted into the conversation? What promise, if any, did Arlen Specter get if he'd switch parties and support Obama initiatives?  Afterall, it seems more trendy these days to simply go Independent if you truly want to save your skin in an election.  The relationship of Barack Obama and his wife with the Clinton's has never been one of warmth and mutual admiration and respect.  Why was Bill Clinton put into the mix and why did he show up last week at the White House for lunch and glad-handing with a soccer team?  The 'official' WH statement on the Sestak deal immediately followed Mr. Clinton's chat with the president.  Was there another deal cut and another promise made?

What has transpired in terms of promises made and promises kept here in Colorado and our Senate race continues to unfold. Does Romanoff's released statements about it help him or give the nod to Bennet?   Has Mr. Romanoff gotten WH direction in terms of his released statement, or has he gone out on his own?

 Former Gov. of IL, Rod Blagojevich (a.k.a. "Hot Rod", as then Sen. Obama liked to refer to him back in their good buddy days when Obama stumped for Blago's re-election) says he has lots of information relevant to his defense, but he can't find a single judge in IL that will allow it as evidence.   If Blago was unique in that no one else involved used corrupt practices in trying to determine whether Valerie Jarrett, Jesse Jackson, Jr., or Blago himself would fill Obama's Senate seat, why didn't they blow the whistle on him right away?  Rahm Emanuel has been subpeoned to testify.  Will he do so, or will he be exempt from answering questions in that deal also?  What did the president and also Dick Durbin know, and when did they know it?

California's Republican Representative, Darrell Issa, summed things up well yesterday when he stated that these matters must be thoroughly investigated because whether its a Democrat or Republican White House in charge, these tactics are slowly robbing the voting public of any input as to whom runs for office. I agree that our primary system is in jeopardy because politicians with power and high ranking officials in the parties are circumventing the law by making deals and encouraging people to run that fit their agenda.  Promises made and deals cut behind closed doors remove the voting public from the process.  If this type of corruption isn't exposed and stopped, the average American will no longer be able to identify and support candidates for primary elections.  True representatives of the people will never make it to primary ballots.  Instead, we will continue to see the public sold a bill of goods on persons that we otherwise would not have selected to run for office.

Let them eat...cake

I'm constantly amazed at the arrogance of our elected officials in Washington.  Service in the government was supposed to be a privilege, and members of Congress were supposed to be the people's representatives. Perhaps there was a time, before big money lobbying and ballooning budget deficits, when that was largely true. But not today.

Today we have a Congress made up of people -- on both sides of the aisle -- who think their position in Washington puts them above everyone else. They have created their own entitlement, with a prerogative that they can do as they wish, when they wish. They no longer work for us. We now work for them. Our tax dollars pay for their perks and their pork. And we are treated as if our opinions don't count. Its enough to make you realize that Reagan was right: Government is the problem.

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The evidence of this is everywhere -- from Congress wanting to spend $500 million on new jets for them to fly around the world (on our dime) to them refusing to use the same government-run health care that they are now trying to pass in the House. Last month, Republican Rep Dean Heller (NV) tried to put an amendment on H.R. 3200, the current House Health Reform legislation that would have required Congress to give up their rich health benefits and go on the government plan like everyone else.

Democrats also voted down an amendment from Rep. Dean Heller (R-Nv.) that would require all Members of Congress to get insurance through the government-run plan. Apparently Democrat members of Congress do not like the government plan they’re trying to inflict on the rest of us.

In a straight party line vote, Democrats voted against exempting themselves from the government-run plan by a vote of 21-18. “We also had an amendment to require that members of Congress must participate in the government-run plan,” Rep Dave Camp (R-Mich) said. “If it’s such a great idea, it should be a great idea for members of Congress. The majority voted to prevent that from happening. They voted to exempt members of Congress from the government-run plan.”

No surprise, of course, that Democrats rejected this amendment -- when you consider that progressive leadership in the House firmly believes it is superior to the common folk like you and me. They sit on high and decree, spending our money as if it is water and exempting themselves from their decisions. It is truly shameful.

Now there is another attempt at this, HR 615, sponsored by Rep John Flemming of Louisiana who is also a physician. Flemming has put a link on his website that has a petition -- you can go to it and sign here. The fate of Flemming's initiative, however, is already sealed: the scoundrels will never agree to being treated like "regular folk". They're special, remember?

Fortunately, history has its lessons, even if many choose to ignore them. Marie Antoinette also famously once said "let them eat cake". And we know what happened to her. She lost her head (literally) in the public square.

Cake, anyone?

Bailouts beget corruption, history warns

Obama’s attempt to save America’s failing financial sector, automakers, etc., perhaps by nationalizing them, is classic socialism. It will result in failure not only of those industries but of our entire economic system. It will also produce the same massive societal corruption found in former states of the Soviet Union. I served as a Fulbright scholar in the former Soviet republic of Moldova about a decade after the end of the Soviet Union and observed how this culture of corruption continued to suppress freedom, initiative and economic growth.

f corporations are inefficient, they must either be made to be efficient or they must be allowed to fail. According to Joseph Schumpeter, destruction can actually be creative. If there is a need for the product the failing company produced, someone will step in the gap and produce to meet the demand. The fresh start provides the new company the opportunity to be free of the burdens which caused the inefficiency of the failed corporation.

If the government props up the inefficient corporation, it perpetuates the inefficiency and passes the cost on to the taxpayers and the entire economy as well. Like a communicable disease, this spreads the inefficiency from the corporation to the general economy and entire populace. Those not responsible for the inefficiency are now burdened unfairly, and that burden brings down more efficient businesses, who become burdened with the increased taxes necessary to prop up the inefficient businesses.

In this situation corporations are no longer seeking to respond to the needs of consumers to insure their viability, but to government which props them up. This is corporate welfare at its worst. The consumer loses his power to influence the market and is instead forced by the government to consume what is offered by mediocre, propped-up providers -- a situation artificially imposed upon them by politics.

Corporations find it more advantageous to cooperate with government than with the market. This close relationship between business and government elites, is akin to fascism in its truest sense which was how Mussolini attempted to run Italy in the 20s and 30s. It also corrupts both our economy and our government.

Access to government becomes the top priority of corporations, as they become more dependent on government than on consumers. Government officials began to manipulate the corporate sector and corporate executives begin to manipulate government.

This develops into a symbiotic relationship of corruption and inefficiency reminiscent of what resulted in the collapse of communism. It began with supposed noble and benevolent aspirations, and resulted in the worst of tyrannies and inevitably a far more profound collapse.

William Watson is a professor of modern history at Colorado Christian University.

If the Rocky folds

As Tom Daschle exits the Obama administration in his tax-free chauffeured limo, kudos to the Rocky Mountain News for editorializing today that this hypocritical scofflaw wasn't fit for confirmation as HHS Secretary. Sorry to see nothing on that from the Denver Post editorial page. A Rocky editorial likewise called for the rejection of Tim Geithner, another tax cheat, as Treasury Secretary last week. Unfortunately only 34 senators agreed -- and unfortunately, again, nothing from Post editors on that one either.

The Post did have an excellent Sunday editorial on Feb. 1 pointing out many flaws in the $819 billion stimulus bill, but the Rocky's editors were earlier and stronger in their condemnation of this legislative monstrosity.

One of the things Colorado will lose if the Rocky Mountain News goes away is an outspoken editorial voice that is usually, not always, more friendly to the conservative position and more skeptical of the liberal position than Denver's other daily, the Post. Let's hope it doesn't happen. Our state would be the poorer for it.