Posts Tagged corrupt congress

The Mechanisms of Exploitation

One of the reasons the wealthy in this country are wealthy, is because they are the beneficiaries of massive loopholes inherent in our skewed tax code as well as government subsidies paid for by tax dollars. In other words, the dramatic gains in wealth by the super rich are underwritten by everyone else as a result of skewed values embedded in the U.S. tax code. This means that the top 1 percent of America’s wealthiest households—97 percent of whom are white—are subsidized by the rest of the tax base.

A major contributor to the dwindling of the middle class is that the majority of the taxes they pay rarely benefit them, especially with regard to social safety net programs. Those taxes benefit the wealthy, who then get to sit back and save their money while the middle class covers them by picking up their slack. Remember that wage earners pay taxes on their sustenance, while the wealthy would be paying taxes on their wealth.

 It is also no revelation that most of our taxes go towards the war machine, also euphemistically referred to as “defense department”, subsidies for oil companies and farms and a host of tax breaks for corporations that post record profits while siphoning their wealth overseas to avoid paying taxes, employing cheap labor overseas and paying domestic laborers lousy wages that do not keep up with increased cost of living and general growth.

This lack of equity has lead to the systematic erosion of the middle class by transferring wealth from the bottom to top, thus widening the income gap.

As much as corporations like to whine about hard times that are allegedly prompting them to keep cutting pay, benefits or lay people off altogether, research has revealed that, in fact, foreign profits held overseas by U.S. corporations to avoid taxes at home nearly doubled from 2008 to 2013 to top $2.1 trillion. GE tops the list, followed by Microsoft, Pfizer, Merck and Apple – all companies that are supposed to be the shining example of the American Dream and hard work. Turns out, their un-American, self-serving greed is of the same old garden-variety robber baron kind, only this time the velvet tones are neatly wrapped in wit and charm by these master manipulators who call themselves the purveyors of the American Dream.

The American Dream for whom, one wonders.

The middle class has not experienced much of an income growth for the past three to four decades while the 1% have seen their wealth multiply quite rapidly. General Electric, for example, has neatly stashed away over $100 billion overseas while paying an effective tax rate of merely 5% in the US.

All this has crated a situation whereby the middle class is basically digging its own grave, caught in a vicious cycle of little income growth, coupled with higher cost of living, paying the highest amount of taxes while at the same time not seeing most of that money they paid come back to them in the form of social safety net programs, ultimately resulting in them to slide down the social class ladder even further and with every slide slip deeper into the poverty trap. 

Tax Breaks Are A spending

The hundreds of tax breaks lawmakers have written into the federal tax code –  for instance, special low tax rates on capital gains, and a deduction for home mortgage interest – in order to promote certain activities they deem beneficial to society (which are not), function as a type of government spending. 

In fact, tax breaks are officially called tax expenditures within the federal government because, from the perspective of the government, they are no different from spending on any other government program. That’s because, when the government issues a tax break, it chooses to give up tax revenue – so both spending and tax breaks result in the same outcome, which is less money in the U.S. Treasury.  

The need for the money the government just decided to not collect from certain entities (that also happen to line the pockets of those very government officials – most of whom are millionaires)  does not go away because the tax break was issued. That need is still there. And if the government cannot collect, or will not collect,  it from the wealthy, then it will have to collect it from us.

According to the White House, in fiscal year 2014 tax breaks are expected to cost the federal government  – and by extension all of us who do pay taxes – $1.18 trillion – slightly more than all discretionary spending in the same year.

For the government it means that it does not get to collect the revenue it needs to remain solvent, which in turn results in the government going after the easiest of entities to cut from – the poor who don’t have lobbyists residing in the Capital buying politicians.

This is evidenced by the fact that cuts, usually, almost always begin with and come in the form of slashing food stamps, public assistance programs and a host of other social safety net policies.

The class divide we are facing is facilitated by these very middle class-destroying economic policies that are promoted by politicians in both parties.

Democrats are not any better. They too agree on beginning every cut by going after middle class causes and the poor. They merely disagree with Conservatives over the extent to which those cuts are to take place. While I do want to give credit to some truly dedicated Democratic officials, I want to point out that voting for policies that ultimately go after the most vulnerable and marginalized entities in society to subsidize the privileged does not make you a progressive, nor is it a vastly different position from the Conservative one. That is hardly deserving of accolades. In fact, it makes you part of the problem, just to a slightly lesser degree.

In the end, for the working middle class it means that they have to pick up the slack of those who get tax exemptions.

Coupled with deregulation, lousy labor laws and standards that favor the corporations and their money-making schemes over employee/worker rights and human dignity,  Citizens United, Too Big To Fail, and a host of other middle class busting policies, the middle class has essentially been reduced to nothing but a source of cheap labor and tax revenue, effectively shifting the economic burden of society away from the wealthy – who, among other things, by virtue of paying no taxes, can accumulate wealth easily and rapidly –  and onto the working poor and middle class wage earners.

Given that a good number of our elected officials (including judges) are wholly owned subsidiaries of corporations, this situation is not likely going to change anytime soon. After all, what incentive would a lawmaker have to put a stop to the very corporate greed and exploitation that is subsidizing his or her campaign (and summer house, car elevator, shiny, gold plated bootstraps for his kids etc). 

General Motors, Money and Free Speech

In 2001, General Motors considered, and rejected an ignition switch design that two prominent safety advocates say could have avoided the problem that led the automaker to recall millions of vehicles this year.

The company’s decision to reject the safety switch was motivated by cost. Without much oversight and accountability, GM just decided to forgo this important safety feature, resulting in not only recalls of vehicles but according to GM, the faulty ignition switch has been linked to 32 crashes and 13 deaths.

All so that GM executives may pocket a few million dollars more in bonuses and compensation.

Via the Citizens United ruling and the subsequent ruling earlier this month lifting the ban on aggregate campaign donations,  the crooks in the Supreme Court took a huge step toward giving wealthy donors, including corporations, unlimited freedom to influence elections, considering corporations and the money they can give to influence political outcomes “people” entitled to “free speech” under the First Amendment.

The move to exclude millions of people who do not have the money to influence political outcomes does not only deeply compromise the political integrity of our governmental institutions, but, as Justice Beer wrote in the dissenting opinion, this “decision eviscerates our nation’s campaign finance laws, leaving a remnant incapable of dealing with the grave problems of democratic legitimacy that those laws were intended to resolve.”  

Again, the entities that will be paying the price are middle class wage earners who cannot, on the political sphere, match the wealth of a powerful corporation or a billionaire – not without allies, effectively resulting in only people of extreme means and wealth being able to influence elections.

Equating free speech with spending money in elections is, furthermore, not only deeply undemocratic, but it is no different than making voting contingent upon an individual’s wealth. No one can tell me that the vote of a poor citizen carries as much weight as the “vote” of a millionaire.

Of course, corporations are only people insofar as they can donate unlimited funds to buy  surrogate politicians to do their bidding. When it comes to corporate accountability –  another feature of being a person – however, corporations remain immune and cannot be held accountable.

Case in point, again, General Motors that is currently seeking lawsuit protection in federal courts for knowingly equipping their vehicles with faulty parts, resulting in millions of recalls as well as dozens of crashes and deaths.

This is a company that paid no federal income tax for 2011 despite earnings of $13 billion since 2009. Why? Because the Treasury Department (hint: our corrupt lawmakers that run the Treasury Department) gave GM permission to use the $18 billion in losses from the pre-bankruptcy company, the so-called old GM, to cancel out any profits it has made since it emerged from bankruptcy.

In essence, GM would have to make $1 billion for 18 consecutive quarters before the federal government, which bailed out the company, sees a nickel in income tax from GM.

In other words, GM got bailed out with tax payer monies and it not only not paid them back but is also not getting to put a dime into the very government coffers whose funds bailed them out in the first place!!

Guess who, amid this grand gesture of corporate welfare, will be tasked to pick up GM’s tax exemption? The middle class working stiff. (Not that other corporations in this country pay more, or any, taxes either.  See this).

Bootstraps

Hard work has very little to do with why the wealthy are wealthy. Why corporations and their executives keep getting richer by the minute and have become “too wealthy to fail” while those who work for them cannot afford buying a house or sending their kids to college or have any kind of social safety avenues available to them if some catastrophe were to happen.

The problem with poverty and a vanishing middle class in this country is systemic in nature with corrupt, greedy and self serving entities as the gatekeepers at every level, insuring that those wallowing in wealth remain where they are while those who subsidize them think they are on their way there while at the same time giving up their standard of living, their quality of education, their jobs, their worker protections, their civil liberties, their social safety net, their environment, their economy and their very democracy itself.

We are a at point now where those in the 25-to-34 age group are the best educated cohort in American history, with more than a third having a bachelor’s degree or higher. Yet nearly 50% of those are either jobless or underemployed, indicating that clearly, and while important, education alone does not create jobs and opportunities that lead to prosperity. For that, a fair and functional economy is needed — one in which the government, a government filled with people who have integrity, not the corrupt opportunists that are in its employ now – plays a robust role, alongside consumers and businesses, to promote full employment and to ensure a just distribution of gains.

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Welcome to the United Oligarchy of America Where Over 50% of Congress Members Are Millionaires

In a democracy, it is important that those who make decisions on behalf of the people who elect them into office are also personally affected by those decisions. Such a premise is crucial for the functioning and integrity of a meaningful democracy.

If those in charge are wealthy entities or part of an extremely privileged, wealthy class not affected the least bit by the policies they output, then they not only become practically elected kings but they are also not likely to enact policies that would affect anyone but those very privileged, wealthy entities they themselves are part of.

One of the reasons that our lawmakers, including the President, have not made creating a meaningful social safety net for citizens a priority is that most of them are all wealthy and seldom, if ever, affected by lack of a social safety net and even most of the policies they draft. (If you don’t believe me and think welfare recipients have it so good, I challenge you to conduct a little experiment on you own by pretending to be unemployed/disabled/in need of welfare and see for yourself just how much money you would qualify for from our generous welfare system. I’ll eat my words and make a public apology if the amount of money you are going to get is actually going to enable you to properly live for one month – i.e. pay rent, pay necessary bills, transportation, health care, food etc. Dogs in a pound require more money than the meager “social safety net” this country pays human beings).

Congress, A Millionaire’s Club

A few months ago I wrote about the United States Congress being a millionaires club with 238 of the 535 “public servants” (Congressmen) having a net worth of at least one million dollars, effectively making them members of the 1%.

According to OpenSecrets.org that number has risen to 268 in 2012. In other words, now over half of our lawmakers are wealthier beyond the wildest dreams, and possibilities, of most Americans they govern.

That is a problem.

As OpenSecrets points out “while members of Congress have long been far wealthier than the typical American, the fact that now a majority of members are millionaires represents a watershed moment at a time when lawmakers are debating issues like unemployment benefits, food stamps and the minimum wage“; all policies that affect people who are not part of the 1%.

It is no surprise, then, that our lawmakers are not making the strengthening and expanding of a social safety net, including a public option in health care, their priority and in fact, go after so-called “entitlement” programs everytime they talk fiscal responsibility and budget – as if it was welfare recipients, food-stamp recipients, the elderly, the poor and disabled that caused the economic meltdown and not the very entities our lawmakers have been deregulating for decades because they do line their corrupt pockets.

Whether social security is depleted or not will not affect a single member of Congress or their families. When the government is shut down for weeks leaving millions of people without a paycheck and other direly needed services, our lawmakers continue the gamble and casually use the livelihood of those people as a bargaining chip to extort more unconscionable concessions out of the other party. And they do so casually and while taking their time because whether the government is shut down for three weeks or for three months, they still get their $174,000 a year salaries.

Nothing screams "we are just like you" that wearing a several thousand dollars gown and posing in a mansion. Thank you Michelle Obama for showing us that, just like  most Americans, you can sport a $5000 gown and $800 shoes while still being "just like us."

Nothing screams “we are just like you” more than wearing a several thousand dollars gown and posing in a mansion. Thank you, Michelle Obama, for showing us that, just like most Americans, you can sport a $5000 gown and $800 shoes while still being “just like us.”

A member of Congress – even the President himself who has done his share of rubbing his wealth and privilege into the face of the American people  – never has to worry about needing unemployment benefits, disability benefits, Medicare, social security, housing or nutrition assistance. They never have to worry about fair wages, not having access to quality and affordable health care, that they will lose their homes or how to send their kids to college. They are sitting cushy and pretty on their constitutionally guaranteed salaries, pair of $800 Jimmy Choos (our “man of the people” wife’s favorite shoe designer) plus all the bribes they can get from the robber barons of big industry and the financial world that line their pockets.

It is no coincidence that most of our lawmakers, even Democrats, have, overall, prioritized doing the bidding for the wealthy and corporations – at the expense of everyone else and under the guise of “hard work” and “The American Dream.”  They are so far removed from what real life is actually like for the entities they govern, they are not likely to especially care about addressing the very issues that those entities struggle with.

It is an especially cruel irony, therefore, that the individuals behind the Occupy Wallstreet movement, for example, – i.e. the 99% – have to look at these very dishonest crooks in Congress – the one percent – to do something about the 1%. It is absurd. It’s like asking the thieves to please do something about the thieves.

Of course our lawmakers are not going to do anything that may jeopardize the lucrative positions they are in. They are not going to cut off the very lifeline (or money line) that fleeces their pockets.

Coupled with the democracy-obliterating Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court (whose members will also never be affected by the decisions they make as most of them will be dead in less than a decade), it is now almost guaranteed that only those with immense wealth will win Congressional and presidential elections to ultimately make decisions about a social safety net they will never need.

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Ethics Lower Than That of Child Molester

While most folks cannot wait to retire from the mostly wretched, soul quashing, often underpaid and stressful positions they have been trapped in for the past several decades, officials in the executive branch, Congress and senior congressional staff members seem to be getting their second wind once their jobs in the public sector end.

Apparently you can never be too old to retire from exploiting America and our corrupt politicians certainly have never met a constituent they were not willing to sell out to corporations and big business vultures for good money.

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, for example, who oversaw the Obama administration’s response to the 2008 financial crisis (thanks Obama for yet another completely competent decision)  will take his spin through the revolving door this year by joining private equity firm Warburg Pincus. Geithner followed the lead of former Treasury heads Robert Rubin and John Snow in making the move from Pennsylvania Ave. to Wall Street, where financial firms pay top dollar for former top government officials’ experience and connections.

Interesting to note is that Geithner managed the government bailouts of Citigroup, Bank of America and General Motors Corp., among others. While he was also in charge of lobbying Congress to pass the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which brought tighter regulation of financial institutions with the aim of preventing another crisis (not really), I think it is pretty safe to assume that he made sure to sweeten the deal for Wall Street as much as possible resulting in a watered-down policy aimed more at keeping critics quiet while giving them a sense that something was done rather than actually changing the way Wall Street does things. I mean have you heard of anyone in Wall Street getting in serious trouble or even face criminal charges since the 2008 crash? Yeah I didn’t think so.

The graph below shows Geithner’s employment timeline and the extent to which he has been going back and forth between private sector and public sector positions – ethical concerns that one may influence the other or pose a conflict of interest be damned.

Geithner employment timeline

The website http://www.opensecrets.org has compiled an entire list of politicians who have been profiting heavily from this revolving door by selling out hard working Americans and the poor, elderly and disabled of this country whose votes they secured to the vultures of the financial, defense, energy and pharmaceutical industries without compunction.

The graph illustrating Geithner’s employment timeline is pretty much the same for most politicians.

Well, it’s good to know that India is such a corrupt country and we here in the US aren’t.

Geithner employment timeline 2

Another bunion on the face of not only humanity but especially this country, Joe Lieberman, has announced today that he has joined the private equity firm Victory Park Capital, where he will serve as chairman of the firm’s Executive Board. Of course he will.

Lieberman retired from the U.S. Senate in 2012 after serving for 24 years. In 2006, he was reelected to the U.S. Senate as an Independent after being defeated in the Democratic primary election.

While in the U.S. Senate, I fought for policies that would allow small businesses to thrive,” Lieberman said in a statement. “I look forward to a long-term partnership with Victory Park Capital that will position the firm for continued growth.”

Note that Lieberman is almost 72 years old, but apparently greed knows no age limit and this sorry excuse for a human being just cannot help spending his last few years on this earth to fuck everything up for generations to come.

Also note that private equity firms are not “small businesses” nor do they work for the interests of small businesses. They are vultures and run the type of schemes that got this country into the fiscal mess it is in today. Not that the crisis hurt them, of course, because us 35%-tax-rate-paying peons ended up bailing out their 0%-tax-rate asses.

Also interesting to note that almost all of these people call themselves pious, god fearing Christians out there to do god’s work blah blah wet fart.

Well at least our policy-makers are being consistent; obvious and greedy yes, but consistent.

I must say, however, that given that many, if not all, of our lawmakers seem to have been taking public sector jobs not to serve their communities or this country but to manipulate and mold the government to serve the narrow interests of corporations  and the wealthy – with the added bonus of securing themselves lucrative positions guaranteed to influence government and corporate policies – it’s truly a wonder that anything gets passed that doesn’t exclusively benefit the wealthy and powerful.

While Edward Snowden has to rot away his life in exile for having exposed government crimes, these treasonous assholes get to sit nice and pretty on cushy salaries and health care that the tax dollars of the 99% pay for while they are working to make things happen for the 1% who don’t pay a dime in taxes. That these opportunistic parasites get to continue making the law of the land and called patriots is nauseating.

Woody Allen once remarked that politicians have the ethics of a child molester – or actually a notch underneath that of a child molester. Given the above and the general state of this country for the past twenty to thirty years, coupled with the completely ineffective, almost parasitic Congress of last year and the general state of affairs, I am coming to realize just how true those words are.

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Quote of the Day

obama blah blah

That is a huge understatement, Mr. President. I mean, for a second there I thought he was so passionate and enthusiastic about this, he would momentarily break down and yawn.

Shutting down the government so that millions of Americans don’t get health care is not just a bad idea  – you pudding of a man – it is callous and contemptible and speaks of a peoples who lack compassion and empathy.

I am always amazed, and with that I mean shocked to my core and appalled, at the ease with which conservatives/Republicans take comfort in the idea of denying health care to millions of Americans.

But that is the running, concurrent theme in a country where its people go marching for gun ownership and against health care for people. Just as it was the case with the bail out: of course students and us mere middle class 99%ers were not, and never will be, worthy of a bail out. That is reserved for the crooks who got us into this. Decent, law abiding people do not get bailed out, the white collar criminals, the robber barons and the politicians who support them do. Why forgive student loans or keep interest rates low for everyone at all times when you could give all that money to Wall Street, oil companies, the military industrial complex and Israel.

The sad reality in this, of course, is that as long as Congress-members are in bed with the likes of Koch Brothers as opposed to mistresses, everyone is fine. Screw over the entire country, you are good, you get bailed out and called an example of the grand American Dream, a hard worker. Text a picture of your dick to your mistress, it is a scandal and you are a scum, wreck sex addict who deserves to crawl into a cave to never return.

Yeah, priorities. We got them.

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Quote of the Day

No one can earn a million dollars honestly.”

— William Jennings Bryan

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George Orwell Hails From 1984

There is so much bullshit of the Orwellian kind going on in this country I cannot keep up.

government or private cartoon

First (and I’ll get to second, which is the SCOTUS gutting the Voting Rights Act in a later post), we got Edward Snowden being chased around the globe because he exposed the United States government, which is meant to be of, by, and for the people, as encroaching upon the very liberties it’s purporting to defend via an extensive drag net of government surveillance programs via which millions of law abiding Americans are being spied on and monitored everyday.

Naturally, Snowden  is called a traitor when the only people he is a traitor to are the liars who claim to value transparency and liberty, while obfuscating their cloaked intrusions into peoples’ privacy.

In the name of security and terrorism prevention, Americans have not only handed over their very hard-won and hard-fought-for civil liberties and constitutional rights, but in many cases it was right out usurped out of them. And anyone who opposes it or, in Snowden’s case, decides to expose it, is called a traitor who must hang and his supporters are dismissed with the usual rigmarole about how what we should really be worried about is the dire threat to national security that exposure of the PRISM program constitutes. The same refrain that has been used by the Bush administration as well as the Obama administration to justify every overreach of executive power and unconstitutional intelligence-gathering—not to mention torture, extraordinary rendition, and indefinite detainment—for the last 13 years.

It does make you wonder why this program, which is supposed to be so effective, didn’t it catch the Boston Marathon bombers? The Tsarnaev brothers were not very sophisticated. They used pots and pan for cryin’ out loud.  Everything we’ve learned about them suggests that they operated more openly and crudely than most terrorists. So if this program didn’t catch their plot, what are the “dozens of terrorism threats” that this program has allegedly halted? And why didn’t it catch the Tsarnaevs?

Yesterday, President Obama issued a statement saying that the United States is following legal channels on how to bring National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden back to the U.S. to make sure “the rule of law is observed”, which is very rich and not hypocritical at all coming from the same administration that just last year cared so much for the “rule of law” that they chose not to indict HSBC, the London-based bank, on charges of vast and prolonged money laundering, for fear that criminal prosecution would topple the bank and, in the process, endanger the financial system.

To purport to care about the Rule of Law when it is convenient and when just a few months ago we chose not to prosecute to the full extent of the law in a case as egregious as money laundering is not only deeply hypocritical and arbitrary, it also  diminishes that law, which Obama is now claiming must be upheld, itself. So “Rule of Law” my dissenting ass, Mr. President.

20121215_woc922_0

Obama has no problem bypassing the Rule of Law that he is holding in such high regard when it comes to “too big to fail” financial institutions that own our government and continue to remain “too big to fail” based on his continued failed policies, but now suddenly we must spend endless efforts and resources to bring to justice a man who exposed government crimes.

But then again, what do I expect? He is just another god damn politician. To quote Woody Allen “You know the ethics those guys have It’s like a notch underneath child molester.”

Indeed.

What is making all of this worse is the public’s complacency and that so many people are seriously asking for this guy to go to jail because he violated that sham law The Patriot Act. A law that should never have been. And really, who cares it is the law? Laws can be wrong. And just because something is the law doesn’t make it right.

Some 80 years ago Germany enacted a bunch of laws of its own, for the safety and protection of the state, and we saw where that ended. After the war everyone was blaming people for not speaking up when they saw evil happen. Now someone does exactly that, and everyone thinks he should go to jail? What is wrong with people?

The government is spying on Americans.  That is not acceptable, that is not a bargain we should accept, especially if there is no oversight and accountability. Of course they say this is only to take down the bad guys. “Oh and by the way, we will also determine who the bad guys are, don’t you worry”. That’s reassuring.

Spying on citizens and such infringements are serious transgressions and they undermine the very core of a democracy and everything this country stands for. It always starts with “we are only going after the bad guys” and “this is only for your protection” and before you know it’s turned into something else, something bigger. Too big to fail and then too big to shut down. That is scary. That is unacceptable. I cannot believe people are so sheepish to seriously think that this is ok because “the law says so. Baaaaaahhhhhh.”

Yeah. Priorities. We got them. 

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Today in Democracy At Its Best: After Watering Down Financial Reform, Ex-Senator Scott Brown Joins Goldman Sachs’ Lobbying Firm

The face of patriotism: Scott Brown

The face of patriotism: Scott Brown

It’s a good thing that corruption only exists in places like India and Mexico and not in this wonderful, democratic and free country where everyone – rich or poor, powerful or not, is held to the same standards and where the rule of law applies to all of us. A country where our officials are held to the highest ethical standards with respect to stocks they can own in which companies as well as their employment options post government service – and I used the term service as it pertains to our government officials quite loosely as the only service they are engaging in is that of enriching their own pockets.

It is no coincidence that nearly half of Congress are millionares.

Case in point: Senator Scott Brown from Massachusetts. During his nearly three years in the U.S. Senate, Brown, much like most of his colleagues, frequently came to the aid of the financial sector — watering down the Dodd-Frank bill and working to weaken it after its passage — and accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign cash from the industry. Now, the man Forbes Magazine called one of “Wall Street’s Favorite Congressmen” will use those connections as counsel for Nixon Peabody, an international law and lobbying firm.

The Boston Globe noted Monday that while Brown himself will not be a lobbyist — Senators may not lobby their former colleagues for the first two years after leaving office, under the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 (HA!!! Hahahahahahahahahah — speak of your token legislation) “he will be leaning heavily on his Washington contacts to drum up business for the firm.” The position will also allow him “to begin cashing in on his contacts with the financial services industry, which he helped oversee in the Senate.”

Oversee the Senate. I am so glad that the honest leadership and open government act of 2007 has been put in place so that now former Senators can take on new jobs where they use their connections to oversee the Senate – like it was a private equity firm and not one of the governing bodies of this oh so democratic nation.  It is especially reassuring that they have to wait a whopping two years to do so.

Among the lobbying clients represented by Nixon Peabody is Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street behemoth that skirted the Dodd-Frank rules . Brown received $10,000 in PAC contributions from Goldman and more than $100,000 in contributions from its employees.

Transparency, accountability and integrity have never looked so profitable and patriotic.

Wave the flag everyone. The American Dream is at works here.

India, China and all those other corrupt countries with corrupt leaders who enrich their pockets at the expense of the people who elected them and entrusted them with representing their interests as opposed to that of banks and corporations have a huge lesson to learn from how we do things in this country. Now with the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 in place and the fact that a Senator has to wait a whole two years to go work for the people he helped while he was in office – killing the time by going on long, expensive vacations, remodeling one of their mansions, building a bowling alley or recreational room possibly and attending soirees thrown by the likes of Lloyd Blankfein.   – we are in doubly good hands and all set.

Imagine the hardship and the test of endurance this requires of one.  Two whole years of doing nothing but spending the money you amassed being the representative of Wall Street and at the backs of those who entrusted you with their vote – vacationing  partying, spending, remodeling. It’s a hard knock life. I know.

I am also very glad that someone like Bradley Manning, who exposed crimes committed by this government, is considered a traitor who will spend the rest of his life in prison, while folks like Scott Brown are considered upright patriots who get to enjoy all the freedom they can get to spend all the money they amassed at the back of this country and its citizens.

I am glad it is clear whose actions are treasonous and whose patriotic.

The American Dream never looked so good. So come to our shores…

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