Saturday, February 21, 2009

BlagoyaBurris Pay for Play

The pay for play news that came out in good ol' IL for the most part is not news to anyone who pays attention to politics. The only difference here is that certain people wanted a chance at getting a Republican seat. Except for our dear president and a select few in government, pay for play happens all the time. I am sure even our president hinted at giving something further consideration because someone wholeheartedly, wholepocketedly gave their support. Presidential cabinets and other appointments are always prime examples of pay for play. For anyone to pretend this is unusual and/or new is at best disingenuous.

If we have not learned anything in this past year, we should at least have learned that money makes the world go around. Greed is and was in fashion and those in power will do anything to feed their greedy desires. They know that if they are successful and become one of the more popular politicians, they will move on to a television spot, best-selling books, high-paying jobs or on the guest speaker tour--all of which lead to higher financial gains. You support a candidate because you expect them to do 'something' for you when they are elected. You expect them to remember your 'support'. Us regular folks just hope they will remember who voted them in when getting funding for their locality, state, etc. We want them to remember our faces when they vote for new taxes. We want them to remember us when they throw our dollars away on stupid pet projects. We pay to put them in office so they will support our interests. Now, someone who has real power, i.e. lots of money, supports a candidate because they know they can count on this candidate to enact a specific law or at least introduce it. They know that the need for their dollars for the next election will weigh heavily on that candidate when they vote for or against things like clean air, health care and energy initiatives. They know that their company will be on the list for possible or probable government contracts. They know that they may have already become the object of a vetting process for a position high up on an administration, whether local or national. That's just how our governments work now. There is rarely true honesty. The very idea that we need to run a campaign for 2 years, wasting billions of dollars should tell you that fund raising is job one for our elected officials. And this is at least partly the fault of us every day folks who allow this to continue. We are complacent now because we have our decent jobs and our nice cars and homes.

That's why you have to be a different animal to want to be in politics. You have to be willing to give up (or at least temporarily alter) some of your mores. Many of our politicians want to effect positive changes for their constituents and may even start their political career working towards that goal. But ultimately they too realize the game of finance. I am sure we have many politicians who are disheartened and disappointed when they 'make it' because they will see no way around being somewhat unscrupulous, turning their promises to constituents into disingenuous banter. They then have to decide that they need to 'pay for play' in hopes that 'compromising' just a bit enables them to see a small victory down the road. When our president talks about the different dynamics in the community between the people who were active in his organizing efforts in his book, Dreams From My Father, he addresses this disparity between those who genuinely want to do good and those who know they can manipulate people into thinking they want to improve their community. He saw how officials from the church to the state houses used their influence to get some personal benefits for themselves or those close to them. He also seems to have successfully maneuvered around most of this to get where he is--much to the chagrin of those whom he passed. The only people initially around him that were pure in their desires were the moms and dads living in Altgeld who had children and family that were directly affected by the dearth of financial attention to their neighborhoods. Obama's sincerity, inability and unwillingness to be 'purchased' is evident because the only thing they were able to 'pin' on him was a connection to a minister who didn't mind speaking the truth from his pulpit.

I knew there was more to come when Mr. Burris accepted the appointment. I initially thought that any person who accepted an appointment by Blago was just plain stupid. But Burris knew what he was doing when he accepted (I'm trying to give him the benefit of the doubt here). He knew the dems wanted to avoid a special election and also knew that once appointed it would be difficult to remove him...thus the use of 'friends'. Mr. Burris needs to just let the focus on him stew and slowly dissipate. The media will find something else to focus on (you know, like turning to their penchant for revisionist history to start working on blaming our pres for the economic mess created by those before him) because, if nothing else, they suffer from ADHD!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Stimulate This

I was watching 'This Week' on ABC the other morning and as the panel discussed the economic stimulus plan pushed through the House of Representatives and now handed over to the Senate, Fred Smith, the CEO of FedEx stated that "the growth of global trade has been enormously beneficial to the United States." That line immediately made me get out of my warm, comfy bed, turn on the computer and write down the quote exactly. Of course I am not surprised that he said this because the company he runs greatly depends on the growth of global trade. In fact I think Mr. Smith wanted to say that 'the growth of Fedex has been enormously stimulated by the transferring of manufacturing from the United States to the global economies who have the lowest wages.' They went on to mention customer service centers and blah, blah blah.

Customer service centers are a relatively new creation. Although relevant to the argument, it is manufacturing that is at the crux of the problem. The destruction of the Unites States economy is directly related to the so-called 'globalization' of world economies that Mr. Smith is holding on to like 'his precious'. Unfortunately, he is not Golum, this is not the 'Lord of the Rings', and Bilbo is not about to ask the Elves for help! This is a ruse being sold by multinational corporations who prey on poor countries with their environmentally dirty manufacturing practices and grossly low wages. Today's multinationals are miscreants, to say the least, who prey on the weak countries that have less opportunities to offer their people.