Sunday, May 14, 2017

May, 2017, Part 8, Political Class Insanity: Massive Fail In Afghanistan, Greedy Millionaire Politicians In Washington and More

It is the beginning of another month which means it is again time to review the latest political class insanity from Washington and around the world. Political class insanity takes many forms including the wasting of taxpayer wealth, criminal fraud within government programs, inane and stupid political quotes and actions, the inability to create and implement effective and efficient government programs, stupid and ill performing economic policies and strategies, and other forms of insanity that continue to evolve and surprise and shock us.

Today and for all of the insanity posts this month, let’s start off with a welcome piece of honest political dialog. It comes from a State Department spokesperson. Mark Toner, who is about to start the daily State Department press briefing. In a joking matter, he makes the following quote: "Welcome to the State Department. I think we have some interns in the back. Welcome. Good to see you in this exercise in transparency and democracy."

He then burst out laughing at his own quote, indicating he also knew what a joke the Obama administration has been, especially Mr. Toner’s State Department, when it comes to cover ups, lack of transparency, denial of Freedom of Information Act requests, the prosecution of whistleblowers, etc. But at least it was a little refreshing to finally hear some actual honesty out of Washington as we see from the actual clip of the news conference:

With that context of honesty, let’s see what other insanity has been going down:

1) We have had armed forces in Afghanistan since shortly after the 9-11 attacks about sixteen years ago. Since then thousands of U.S. troops have been killed and wounded and the country and its taxpayers probably have spent a trillion dollars or so in the process. For all of that expense in blood and money, one would have hoped that we have the situation under control.

And as always when dealing with the Washington political class, hope is never fulfilled. According to recent reporting in the Washington Post:

  • The Pentagon and the Trump administration are considering expanding military operations against the Taliban in Afghanistan.
  • As we have previously reported in this blog, the Taliban who were once on the run in the country, are back and as strong as ever, controlling more areas of the country then since the U.S. military and other NATO forces went into Afghanistan 16 years ago.
  • Actions being considered to regain the momentum in the country include sending more U.S. troops into the country and relieving Obama administration orders that hindered the military from fighting the way they thought necessary.
  • This military review of the current crisis situation was explained by Andrew Wilder, an Afghanistan expert at the U.S. Institute Of Peace: "The review is an opportunity to send a message that, yes, the U.S. is going to send more troops, but it's not to achieve a forever military victory – rather, it's to try to bring about a negotiated end to this conflict."
  • The current potential plan involves sending another 3,000 U.S. troops over there to supplement the 8,400 that are already there.
So after eight years of the Obama administration, we have another Obama foreign affairs failure. Thousands killed and wounded and billions and billions spent over the past eight years and the situation is somehow worse and not better. Insanity, fatal insanity.

2) One of the fifty steps we outlined in our book, “Love My Country, Loathe My Government - Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom And Destroying the American Political Class,” was to force politicians with assets of over $3 million a year to forfeit their annual salary of about $174,000 a year. 

Given that we as a country have a Federal government national debt load of about $20 TRILLION, it would be a nice, symbolic move if the hundreds of millionaire members in Congress donated their annual salaries to either worthy causes (e.g. feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, treating the addicted) or apply their annual salaries to symbolically help reduce the onerous national debt.

But despite being rich beyond comprehension of most Americans, the really rich in Congress still insist they draw their annual salary even though it is a nit against their total wealth and annual income from other sources. Consider a recent LA Times article that amply demonstrated how Nancy Pelosi, a very, very rich person, still draws a salary that she does not need in any way:

  • According to a recent analysis of government documents that members of Congress need to file in the financial statements done by Roll Call, Nancy Pelosi is estimated to be worth about $29.3 million.
  • This means that her annual salary as a member of Congress is significantly below 1% when measured against her net worth of $29.3, in other words refusing to draw her annual salary would not put her in the poor house or cause her to starve to death.
  • Pelosi owns a vineyard estate back in California that is worth millions and millions of dollars so refusing her $174,000 salary every year would not make her homeless.
  • The property sells grapes that grow on the estate, providing another income stream for Pelosi.
  • Pelosi also owns another Napa Valley property that collects between $15,001 and $50,000 in rent every year.
  • That second property could be worth upwards of a million dollars.
  • She and her husband own a THIRD property, a townhouse near the Sugar Bowl Ski resort, that could be worth anywhere between $1 and $5 million.
  • She and her husband also have investments in Apple, Disney, and Facebook and her husband has financial stakes in several San Francisco office buildings and other commercial real estate investments elsewhere in the state.
And while it is obscene that Pelosi dares to take an annual salary while serving the country, given her personal and family wealth and the sad shape of the country’s debt situation, she is only the 15th richest member of Congress; there are actually 14 others in Congress that are wealthier than her but still draw a salary funded by burdened American taxpayers.

Please never tell me that we do not have an elitist political class in this country that for doing very little, and always screwing that up, make obscene amounts of money for themselves and their lobbyist friends.

3) Before we go any further on the next case of political class insanity, remember that in this country, everyone is assumed innocent until proven guilty. And that noble principle should be extended to the current mayor of Seattle despite the following accusations and realities:

  • Seattle Mayor Ed Murray recently announced that he will not run for reelection in that city after a series of accusations arose that he sexually abused teenage boys decades ago.
  • A fourth accuser recently came forward and he accused Murray of paying him for sex when he was a teenager decades ago.
  • This fourth accuser claims that he was introduced to Murray by a Delvonn Heckard who filed a lawsuit recently that claimed he was also abused by the Mayor back in the 1980s
  • Murray had the following statement after announcing he was not going to run for reelection: “It tears me to pieces to step away but I believe it’s in the best interest of this city that I love.”
Again, innocent until proven guilty. But if he is guilty, we have just another example of how broken our political processes have become since it has allowed deviant, greedy, and inept people to infect our political and government processes from the local through the Federal government levels.

More insanity to follow.

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