The disgrace that is Washington is unbelievable, at least to someone like me who has seen it in a different time. It never was “clean,” but it is now ethically and morally irreparable. Michael Payne of Op-Ed News describes the state of our political center as follows:
There are almost no words by which to describe this current U.S. Congress but stench and cesspool seem to fit quite well. From the ruthless, despicable Republicans to the cowardly, spineless Democrats (with some exceptions) it is a disgrace to our democracy. Ethics and integrity have no place in this institution infested with corruption, deceit and twisted political ideologies.
Mr. Payne is hardly alone in his assessment. Yves Smith takes on one small part of the problem in a devastating piece on Jack Lew, likely incoming Treasury Secretary for the Obama Administration, entitled
Corruption has now become so routine in Washington that improprieties far worse than Turbo Timmie’s implausible failure to pay taxes on income from his days working as a consultant to the World Bank barely evoke a yawn from the media. Apparently the fourth estate is either so bedazzled by star turns, like Michelle Obama presenting at the Oscars (!!!) or so cowed by the prospect of being cut off from information that it dutifully falls in line.
But the lack of consternation about Lew’s financial record, and the way some respected members of what passes for the left (Robert Reich and Jamie Galbraith) have defended Lew, in part also shows how much things have changed in a mere four years. Obama’s lying has become so predictable that it’s hard to stir up any outrage over it.** And since fish rot from the head, one of Obama’s singular accomplishments is in defining deviancy down throughout the Beltway. For instance, Obama took the unheard-of step of collecting “unlimited corporate cash” in the words of Roll Call, with virtually nil in the way of disclosure, took even stalwart supporters like the Grey Lady aback.
So Lew is indeed perfect for his new role, just not in the way ordinary Americans expect him to be.
The corruption between Washington and major corporations is beyond what the average American could possibly suspect. And, it is this average American who is unknowingly paying for this corruption.
In terms of Ms. Smith’s “fish rot from the head” comment, this short article by Tom Lester seems appropriate if not exactly timely:
Using Sequestration as the Next Campaign Narrative
I watched the President in an earlier speech telling the Republicans he would veto any attempts by the Republicans to change any portion of the sequestration. That was before the election. Today, however, he demonizes the Republicans for not only proposing it but for not coming to the table to offer an alternative to the “massive cuts” it employs.
What’s wrong with this picture? For one, it’s just blatantly dishonest. Dishonest is the term that some might use but more accurately, it’s filled with bold-face lies.
First, the idea of sequestration was not the brainchild of a Republican Congress. It was the idea proposed by the White House as a means of getting through the election without having to propose any tax cuts to the Federally bloated spending budget. At worse, Republicans went along thinking that at last the President might finally propose cuts with which all could live.
Secondly, it was postponed until after Obama’s re-election to allow the promotion of tax rate increases during the fiscal cliff negotiations. Negotiation normally means that both sides surrender something in compromise. Not much of a negotiation when only one side gives up something. The Republicans acquiesced on tax rate increases, the Administration didn’t have to propose any tax cuts.
Thirdly, those “massive cuts” don’t do a thing to a massively bloated Federal budget. The Congress has too long allowed base-line budgeting and it has become the cruise-control for a Congress that wants each year to award each government department and agency a bit more to spend the following period. Of course, “a bit more” is more frequently a number consisting of at least six to nine zeros. For the uninformed that means if a particular department had a $500 million budget during the base-line year, the subsequent year will be $500 million plus an increase of 5%, or whatever percentage that is currently in effect. Thus, that department’s new budget is $525 million.
Obama said he does not support tax increases on the middle class. Really? Obamacare is the largest increase on the middle class in recent history. But the facts about sequestration:
- Obama proposed and signed the sequestration,
- Harry Reid refused to bring budgets passed with bi-partisan support from the house to the Senate floor for a vote for the last 2 years,
- Democrats had complete control for the previous two years and still failed to pass a budget,
- Obama did submit a budget (always late) that was so ungodly liberal that not one Democrat in congress voted for it,
- Obama failed to implement the recommendations of the Simpson and Bowls panel that he alone organized,
- He promised “sequestration would not happen” during the Presidential debates and that he would wash Speaker Boehner’s car if that is what is takes to stop sequestration and then turned around and refused to talk to Boehner about any compromise but,
- Later stated “…they will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy.”
The net effect of sequestration is a reduction of 2.2% of the total Federal budget, or less than half of the $190 billion of base-line increases.
If any prior President had employed the same tactics as this Boy King, he would have been impeached for “Fast and Furious” and Benghazi. But this President is immune, the benefit of the mainstream media love-affair who refuse to peg Obama as dishonest, casting off as “just politics” or “both sides do it”.
So what’s the goal of Obama in saying one thing and then later switching the rhetoric? It’s really rather simple. The communists once professed that if you repeat a lie often enough you could persuade the majority of people to believe it. So Obama will continue to advance the same lies and most of the complicit media will fall in lock-step blaming the Republicans for being intransigent.
But the real goal of Obama is the 2014 elections. He likely knows that with his tax hikes the economy will again go into hibernation or stagnation and unemployment will again increase. But as long as a complicit media sings his praises, he sees the opportunity for another victory in the House elections in which the Democrats, and liberals, could again have the majority in the House, Senate and White House. And with that majority comes the opportunity to further his socialist agenda of Cap and Trade, further Stimulus spending, amnesty for illegals, expanded regulation of the private sector and more giveaways to his base, be they his crony capitalists or the Hollywood elite.
The blame game will again surface heavily about mid-2013 as he jets around the country, spending $180,000 per flight hour of taxpayer money, speaking for any liberal Democrat running for the House with the same tired message of “Not me, blame the Republicans!” And this campaign can very likely be successful and the signal that our country has become the European Social-Democracy he in 2008 envisioned his transformation of America would bring.
It is disgusting what has happened to our political class (although entirely predictable). If it were just their lack of ethics, it would be tolerable. But, their behavior is destroying the country and possibly the world’s last best hope for freedom.
As usual, H. L. Mencken had it nailed. A hat tip to Ron Lipscomb for providing this quote from Bill Croke:
H.L. Mencken said: “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.” The 2012 Election makes the Sage of Baltimore’s quip ring true. All the bizarre political, sociological and economic theories that we have heard from the left for years are now being put into practice (in fact, President Obama showcased it in his Second Inaugural and State of the Union speeches). The result is a germinating dystopia sprouting from an executive branch contemptuous of the legislative and judicial branches of national government. Barack Obama is the embodiment of a country in willful decline in both domestic and foreign affairs, and he seems to relish his role. The president is a political Dr. Jack Kevorkian assisting our slow, national suicide.
In a country filled with gullibles, government is assumed to be some type of god, a near-perfect being. It is thought that only government can control the dishonesty and ethics of business dominated by self-interest. This belief is a dangerous one. People in government have the same self-interest and motivations as those outside of government. People outside of government are constrained by competitive forces and countervailing interests. There are virtually no constraints on people within government.
That most people do not see government as the monster that it truly has become has even more serious ramifications. Looking to government as some sort of paradigm of goodness alters these people’s perspective on what is right and wrong. As Justice Brandeis pointed out long ago:
In a government of laws, the existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our government is the potent, the omnipotent teacher. For good or ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. If government becomes a lawbreaker it breeds contempt for law: it invites every man to become a law unto himself. It invites anarchy.
Our current government does provide quite the ethical example for those two ignorant to understand what is happening. Anyone who respects government will accept its behavior as normal and adopt it as his own. And that is exactly what the masses are in the process of doing.