Tuesday, December 6, 2016

December, 2016, Part 1, Political Class Insanity: Congressional Criminality, Congressional Idiocy, and More

It has been almost a month since Donald Trump has been elected which means at some point in the future we may run out of material to talk about. With the demise of the Obama administration, eight years worth of wasteful and excessive spending for nothing in return, foreign affairs blunders, Obama Care disasters, and assorted other administration and government blunders and screwups might end with the onset of a new administration. Trump may usher in a new paradigm of government actions that are limited, effective, cost efficient, and protective of the Constitution. If so, then this blog would run out of material to discuss and would have to be shut down.

But I doubt it. Even if Trump is truly a different type of President, he is still fighting over 500 embedded and entrenched politicians in Congress and thousands and thousands of government bureaucrats who will not go peacefully into the night for the good of the country. I wish him well and hopefully he can fix at least some of the myriad of problems the American political class creates everyday but until then, enjoy the latest political class insanity from Washington and beyond:

1) Over its almost eight years, the Obama administration has probably spent about half a TRILLION dollars on our national defense. This comes out to about a per household cost of over $4,300 for every American household in the country. So, according to the Heritage Foundation’s recently published annual analysis, “The 2017 Index of U.S. Military Strength, “ what did each American household get for its $4,300:
  • Only 43% of the Marine Corps' aircraft are considered usable.
  • Back in 1992, the Air Force was acquiring about 200 aircraft a year on average while in the past few years that number is about 25.
  • The Air Force is short of 700 pilots and 4,000 maintenance personnel.
  • In 2017 the Navy will likely be able to fulfill only 56% of its needs for aircraft carriers
  • “The Army currently is having to choose between being ready to defend the country today and defend it in the future.”
  • And things are not trending favorably with the Heritage Foundation asserting that their “threat score,” which attempts to gauge our enemies’ threat to our country, was raised from “Elevated” in 2016 to “high” for 2017.
Nice going Washington, half a TRILLION dollars and you have still somehow managed to turn our armed forces into a ragtag, under equipped, vulnerable set of defenses.

2) Often over the years we have discussed the reality that very often outright criminals end up in Congress. Remember when:
  • Congressman Randy Cunningham of California received a sentence of eight years for taking $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors.
  • Congressman Bob Ney of Ohio received two and a half years in jail for taking bribes from a lobbyist.
  • Congressman James Traficant of Ohio received a seven year sentence for bribery and racketeering.
  • Congressman William Jefferson was sentenced to thirteen years in jail for accepting bribes, the longest term ever imposed on a Congressman on bribery charges. He was the guy who hid his stolen loot in a freezer.
This is just a small example of the corruption we have covered over the years. And now, thanks to the Reboot Illinois website, we have news of another Washington politician that has potentially gotten caught in his life of crime:
  • A Federal grand jury recently indicted former Congressman Aaron Schock on two dozen criminal counts.
  • The charges include fraud, theft of government funds, filing false tax returns, and making false statements.
  • The indictments charge that Schock “engaged in a scheme to defraud the government, his campaign committees, and others for his direct personal benefit and for the benefit of others.”
  • Not only has he been criminally indicted but he may have no one to blame but himself since according to the Reboot Illinois, “The Peoria congressman, who was considered a rising star in the Republican Party, came under media scrutiny after photos posted to his Instagram account depicted a lavish lifestyle, including exotic trips taken by way of donors’ private jets and most notably his “Downton Abbey”-style office makeover on Capitol Hill.”
  • The details of the indictment include nine counts of wire fraud, five counts of falsifying Federal Election Commission filings, one count of mail fraud, one count of theft of government funds, two counts of making false statements and six counts of filing false federal income tax returns. 
  • If found guilty on all charges the ex-Congressman could be facing 78 years in prison.
Of course, he is presumed innocent until proven guilty. But these are serious charges and a lot of them and a crooked Congressman is not out of the realm of possibility. But despite the seriousness of these many charges, the ex-Congressman seems to still be in denial by claiming he did nothing wrong and these were just “honest mistakes,” honest mistakes he did at least 24 times.

3) Politicians’ quotes are always a source of humor and sadness at the same time. Humor because their comments are so funny and out of touch with reality and sad because it is these types of people that vote on laws that affect all of us. 

Someone named Phoenix, writing for the US Chronicle website, pointed out a classic politician’s inane view of the world. Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, while advocating for a total assault weapons government ban, suggested that the ultimate solution to prevent mass shootings from happening is to simply take guns, with large magazines, off of the shelves of stores that sell guns: “If they’re not in the stores, they can’t be bought.” 

My gosh, why didn’t we think of that before? Just take the guns and related materials out of stores and no one could get them, so simple. This same approach worked so well when we made it illegal to sell heroin in stores. Oh, wait, we are in the midst of a heroin epidemic in this country that is killing thousands of Americans every year despite heroin not being available in stores. 

This same approach worked so well when we made it illegal to sell illegal methamphetamines in stores. Oh, wait, we are in the the midst of a meth epidemic across the country that is killing thousands of Americans every year despite meth not being available in stores.

How out of touch with reality is this politician? Numerous studies have shown that very few criminals walk into a store, get a background check done on themselves, buy a gun, and then go out and commit a crime with that gun. They get guns on the black market, from friends, ones they steal from other people, etc. If there is a demand for something, be it a loaf of bread, a can of beer, heroin, meth, or guns, someone will fill that demand and quite often the fulfillers will be criminal elements. 

To think that not allowing guns to be sold in stores will make guns unavailable in society is a lunatic that knows nothing about the real world. And these types of people write and vote on the laws of our land, scary, very scary.

4) One last piece of insanity for today. You really cannot talk about the American political class without talking about the main stream media. One of the tragedies of the 2016 Presidential election, besides the fact that we were forced to choose from two of the most unfavorable candidates ever presented by the two major parties, is the fact that news and journalism disciplines in this country took a beating for being so biased and skewed in their writing and coverage.

How biased and horrific was their reporting in the minds of Americans? Consider the results of a recent YouGov opinion poll that was conducted on November 9th and 10th after the election: 
  • Almost 7 in 10 (69%) voters do not believe the news media are honest and truthful.
  • Almost 8 in 10 (78%) of voters believe the news coverage of the presidential campaign was biased, with nearly a 3-to-1 majority believing the media were for Clinton (59%) vs. for Trump (21%).
  • Even 32% of Clinton voters believe the media were “pro-Clinton.”
  • 8% of Trump voters said they would have voted for Clinton if they had believed what the media were saying about Trump.
  • The good news, if there is any, is that 97% of voters said they did not let the media’s bias influence their vote.
Democracy is in very bad shape when no one trusts anyone be it politicians or journalists. Democracy relies on truth and actual facts in order to make accurate decisions and when the availability of actual facts is filtered by inept politicians and their campaign staffs and biased and unprofessional journalists, a country is in serious trouble.

First day of this month’s political class insanity and we are off to a good start: another potentially crooked, criminal member of Congress, another inane and idiotic take on gun control and reality by another member of Congress, an overfunded but under prepared military and no one trusts politicians or the media anymore. More insanity tomorrow.

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