Wednesday, July 13, 2016

July, 2016, Part 9, Polticial Class Insanity: Another Congressman Is Corrupt, Americnas' Low Faith In All Institutions, and More Corruption

It is the beginning of another month which means it is time again to review the latest political class insanity from the American political class. Each month it takes us multiple posts to cover the wasteful spending, incompetent government organizations and employees, government programs that usually make a problem worse than resolving it, inane and idiotic politician comments, etc. In fact, last month we set a record, needing ten full posts to cover it all.

To review past posts on this insanity and idiocy, just click on the first few posts in each month listed to the right of this page. After reviewing just a handful of these insanity posts we think you will agree that we are currently being served by the worst set of American politicians ever to hold office in our entire history.

It looks like our politicians have been especially insane over the past month or so let’s continue with the latest insanity from today’s American politicians:

1) It has not been a good week for Democratic members of Congress, or for the integrity of the Federal government. In an earlier discussion within this month’s political class insanity stream we reported how Congressman Chaka Fattah has been sentenced to five years in jail for various felonies. We also discussed the newly indicted Congresswoman Corrine Brown who is facing 24 serious felony charges for allegedly running a nonprofit educational organization that served as her own personal slush fund.

Now, Joe Schoffstall, writing for the Washington Beacon on July 8, 2016, tells us about Congressman Bobby Rush’s legal and criminal problems:
  • The Congressman allegedly and illegally paid both his wife and the church that he founded hundreds of thousands from his campaign funds since 2002.
  • He also allegedly funneled campaign funds to other members of his family.
  • $14 million of American taxpayer dollars were sent to a wellness center that was associated with a church he had founded in Chicago.
  • Payments to his wife began in 2002 and in the 2010 election cycle she got $119,400 from her husband’s campaign accounts, she got $148,000 in 2012, and $66,000 in 2014.
  • Since 2002, she has received $550,000 from her husband’s campaign’s funds.
  • The church he founded received over $200,000 from his campaign funds and accounts.
  • A nonprofit organization that Rush also created has received almost $600,000 of Federal taxpayer money.
  • The Better Government Association, a watchdog group based in Illinois, found in 2013 that Rush and two of his non-profits failed to pay Federal, state, or local taxes on time and the actions dated back a decade in some circumstances.
  • The Federal Election Commission is also looking into Rush’s finances.
What a mess, but just another indication of how corrupt and despicable the Washington political class has become.

2) Paul Bedard, writing for the Washington Examiner on June 13, 2016, reviewed the latest Gallup survey which examined the confidence Americans have in their various institutions. Highlights, or  lowlights, from the survey include the following: 
  • Americans' confidence in newspapers has hit an all time low, with only 20% of those surveyed saying they have confidence in them, down 10 points in the past 10 years.
  • TV news also saw a 10 point drop in confidence in the past ten years, going from 31% to 21% in the latest survey.
  • Obviously, trust in news vehicles like newspapers and TV news was not high to begin with but they are viewed as even less trustworthy than they were ten years ago.
  • Banks took the largest hit in confidence over the past ten years, going from 49% to 27% in the past ten years, not surprising given the greedy and deceiving practices banks practiced in the lead up to the Great Recession.
  • But the worst performer as far as institutions is Congress, going from a horrible confidence level of 19% ten years ago to an unbelievably and insanely low level of only 9% in the latest survey.
Such a sad state of mind for Americans today. We believe, or realize, that we can no longer trust the press in various forms to tell us the untarnished and unslanted truth and we have an abysmally low opinion of those in Washington serving in Congress. Tough to govern when nine out of ten of your constituents have no confidence in you.

But given the corruption, lack of integrity, criminality, and greed of today’s political class, these results should not be surprising. Nothing screams ”term limits” more than a lowly 9% confidence rating.

3) The Crony Capitalism website recently had a graphic view of an analysis that was done by the New York Times. Using data from the Census Bureau and Department of Justice, the Times calculated the number of convictions of public officials on a state by state basis per one million people living in the state. 

The results were quite interesting with Nebraska being the state with the least number of convicted public officials per million residents at .7. North Dakota had the highest number of convicted public officials per million of residents at 8.3 per million residents, about 12 times higher than Nebraska. The website gave no reasons on why one state was higher or lower than other states.

However, most interesting, the most corrupt area in the country according to the Times analysis was not a state at all. Washington D.C. had the most convictions of public officials per million of population at an amazing rate of 66.9. This is more than ninety times higher than the corruption in Nebraska and eight times higher than the most corrupt state, North Dakota. Conclusion: whether we are talking national politicians or local politicians, D.C. is by far the biggest cesspool of public official corruption in the entire country, by far.

4) In the past few days we have reviewed how three sitting members of Congress have either been sentenced for their felonies and corruption (Congressman Chaka Fattah), have been indicted on 24 counts for their alleged felonies and corruption (Congresswoman Corrine Brown), or under investigation for skimming money from their campaign coffers and illegally giving it to their spouse, their private organizations, and relatives (Congressman Bobby Rush). 

But according to a Washington Free Beacon article by Kaitlyn Beiswanger on May 20, 2016, a top political operative in the Boston city administration of Mayor Martin Walsh recently pleaded not guilty to a single corruption charge that potentially carries a 20 year prison term if he is found guilty. Kenneth Brissette, the city’s director of tourism, sports, and entertainment, was allegedly accused of withholding city permits from a music festival until union workers were hired to staff the event.

This has resulted in a Federal indictment of alleged union-related extortion. Brissette allegedly denied the permits until after festival organizers hired union workers from the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Local 11. Brissette and his boss the mayor declared him innocent of the charges.

Of course he is presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, it gets so tiring of hearing the constant drum beat of corruption out of all levels of government today, from the halls of Congress to local town halls throughout the country.

5) In our book, “Love My Country, Loathe My Government: Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom and Destroying The American Political Class,” Step 42 reads as follows: “Require ex-Presidents whose income is over $1 million a year to pay back one dollar for every two dollars earned over that amount to help fund their Secret Service protection. Also, require them to forgo their annual government pension if their annual income is over $3 million a year or their net assets exceed $10 million.” 

The logic behind this Step is that over the past couple of decades, ex-Presidents have been able to parlay their Presidency years into vast fortunes after they left office. Bill Clinton and his wife are easily worth $100 million, Barack Obama and his wife are easily worth more than $10 million. 

Given the dire straits the country is in today from a debt perspective and given how millions and millions of Americans are homeless, hungry, drug addicted, and out of a job, it hardly seems right that ex-Presidents who are worth millions and millions of dollars should be still taking wealth from taxpayers, wealth that could better be spent on far less wealthy Americans.

Well, never let it be said I never give recognition to a situation when the Washington political class is actually trying to do the right thing. It is just that that type of situation arises so infrequently, you do not see me giving a lot of praise to the Washington political class. 

A recent piece of legislation passed by the House of Representatives was a small first step to implementing Step 42 discussed above. The House voted to place limits on the taxpayer funded expense accounts of former Presidents.

The spending caps are now $200,000 a year and this level is reduced further if the ex-President earns more than $400,000 in any year. The law's sponsors correctly said most ex-presidents did not need support from taxpayers since they make millions in book deals and speaking fees: "Upon leaving office, most presidents go on to make millions of dollars and are not in need of taxpayer subsidies," said the authors of the bill, Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland and Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah, in a joint statement

Nice first step in recognizing that ex-Presidents are quite rich and undeserving of high taxpayer expense budgets. Unfortunately, the bill did not address the taxpayer funded Secret Service protection that ex-Presidents get for life. That is a much bigger taxpayer expense and one that the former Presidents should be paying for also if they are raking in the cash after leaving office. The reason they are raking in the cash is because they were in office so they should be paying for their own protection also. 

But, nonetheless, this is first step to bringing a tinge of fiscal sanity and logic to Washington.

That will do it for today’s and this month’s political class insanity. It took us nine days to get through all of the failures, ego, greed, idiocy, and other forms of inanity that today’s politicians continually rain down on us. It was one day short of the ten days we needed several months ago to cover the insanity that month. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could go just one month without the ineptness, stupid quotes, and wasteful spending that we review every month? 

Yes, it would be nice, but with our current set of American politicians, probably never going to happen. More insanity next month, I am sure.

Our book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government - Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom And Destroying The American Political Class" is now available at:

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