Random Thoughts

Political Autopsies

In medicine, an autopsy often reveals the pitfalls in diagnosis and treatment of a sick patient and serves as a learning and teaching aid to prevent committing and repeating fatal errors. The aim of this article is to analyze past political events and explain in advance likely future events which are most likely to harm the public.

First, let me address the filibustering and holding hostage, the will of the Democratic majority in the Senate. In the past few months we have seen the Republicans delay or halt the passage of health-care and financial regulatory legislation. The death of Kennedy of Massachusetts and Byrd of West Virginia allowed some Republican Senators to blackmail the Democratic majority to obtain favorable concessions for their campaign financiers and blunt the reform process. By this they obtained large donations for their campaign chests. In the house, fund raisers were held just prior to a crucial vote and some house members first obtained the contributions from lobbyists immediately preceding the vote and voted favoring the donors after pocketing the checks.

This is a distorted and legal, but highly immoral form of selling one’s vote with the blessings of the shameless partisan Supreme Court’s recent ruling of equating corporate campaign finance with free speech. Have some of you wondered why when the Democrats held more than 40 of the hundred Senate seats they infrequently resorted to filibustering tax cuts for the wealthy by Reagan and the Bushlet. Many voters naively believe that this was due to some code of ethics, sense of honor or other noblesse oblige sentiment prevalent in the Democrats. The truth is that the Democrats supported such legislation including NAFTA, because they and their leaders were paid lackeys of vested interests and had no interest in the welfare of their common constituents who were not financing the legislators’ lust for power, wealth and privilege. Many political pundits have highlighted that the Republican machine uses the red flag fear of crime, abortion, gay rights, race and welfare, to persuade the non-affluent white majority to vote against their own economic interests. What is conveniently omitted to not alienate the audience and thus reduce the sale of the authors’ books and speaking fees, is the exceptional idiocy, apathy and ignorance of the electorate.

The new fervor for the Tea Party, a camouflaged creation of Republicans like Palin, Armey and a gaggle of crooked Dicks is meant to fool the stupid public once again. The only way to reform the American political system is to make anyone below the age of sixty ineligible to run for elective office and eliminate all pay and benefits for the posts of Senators and Congressmen and on top of that set a term limit of six years for both. At the end of the six years the legislators would be forbidden from any gainful employment but eligible for Social Security and Medicare for them and their spouses until death. This will eliminate many of our politicians who have made a career of public service like Arlen Spector, Ed Rendell and a myriad other parasites gorging on the public wealth.

Career politicians are often corrupt themselves but what is even worse is that they then appoint regulators who are captured by those whom they regulate. Now if you or I commit a fraud we would receive a jail sentence. One law in some states is so draconian that after three strikes (felonies), the convicted criminal gets a life sentence without parole. Yet corrupt cronies at the SEC and other bodies allow Goldman Sachs to plead “Nolo Contendre” and agree to a consent decree. This means that they admit no guilt, promise not to commit the offense again and pay a measly fine of 550 million dollars for a deal which lost the aggrieved party a billion dollars. Why don’t we allow bank robbers the same benefit of returning half their loot as a fine, a promise to refrain from robbing more banks and impose no jail sentence, while allowing them to carry concealed weapons used in the prior robbery? 

Such policies allowed the appointment of Tim Geithner in responsible positions for which he is temperamentally, intellectually and ethically unsuited. See Tim Geithner’s Ninth Political Life at www. Baselinescenario.com

It is also likely to block the appointment of Elizabeth Warren, a competent, caring and honest regulator to chair the Consumer Protection Agency. See - “Treasury Makes A Mistake–Claiming They are Not Blocking Elizabeth Warren” at the same website.

This is how Robert Rubin, Lawrence Summers and Alan Greenspan thwarted the honest, sincere and essential efforts of Brooksley Born when she was heading the Commodity Futures Trading  Commission and tried to bring derivatives trading into the sunlight of a clearing agency from the dark back alleys of Lehman, Bear Stearns, AIG, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and others. This is why Senator Dud from Connecticut decided to retire rather than seek re-election and why the financial regulatory bill has no teeth and no legislation to limit the risky behavior of the banks, but leaves it to the whims of appointed regulators who will either be beholden to or captured by the very entities which they are supposed to regulate, with the blessings, connivance, wink and nod of future corrupt crooked legislators, who will the replace the current scum-buckets fattened at the public trough.    


More by :  Gaurang Bhatt, MD

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