Saturday, March 5, 2011

Breaking News!

We hear it all the time. BREAKING NEWS! It seems like everyday there's always something to report: A scandal is revealed about a congressman cheating on his wife, or a senator taking a bribe, evading taxes, or making a sleazy back-room deal to benefit a major corporation.

Or we might learn of a big city mayor being busted with cocaine and cash in his freezer. Or we'll hear about a small town mayor raising property taxes in a municipality with a huge budget deficit (and where the unemployment rate is 30%) just to pay himself and the town's commissioners multi-million salaries.

Most of us that are over 50 years old have heard of ABSCAM, the FBI sting operation in the late 1970s and early 1980s that led to the conviction of a United States Senator, five members of the House of Representatives, one member of the New Jersey State Senate, several members of the Philadelphia City Council, and an inspector for the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Sometimes we'll hear about a senator claiming he once served in the war in Vietnam, trying to pass himself off as a military veteran and war hero, when in fact, he had a college deferment because of his daddy's connections within the federal government.

We hear about the political kickbacks given by corporations who get multi-billion dollar no-bid government contracts in the defense or space industry, or for taxpayer-paid subsidies benefiting the big corporate farmers, the oil industry, and the tobacco companies. We hear about the waste, fraud, and abuse in government all the time, as though corruption were an every day occurrence...because it is.

Tomorrow we'll have BREAKING NEWS on some theft or treason being perpetuated by one of our government leaders that has been going for many years - - - or maybe it will have only happened once yesterday. Next week we'll also have BREAKING NEWS on a government crime that hasn't even happened yet, but we can always expect some form of government's the "norm" in America.

Is that another reason why so many politicians spend so much money on their election campaigns - more than what they could ever expect to earn from their taxpayer-paid annual salaries? Instead of an investment, is it more like a gamble...that if they get elected, they can earn so much more by having access to and/or control over taxpayer funds and pensions?

Have our political leaders ever really wanted to represent taxpayers, or did they mostly just want to make a name for themselves so that they could sell their cheesy books (written by ghost-writers) and profit from private speaking engagements? (Not to mention the kickbacks and bribes).

Breaking News! Another political crook gets caught with his or her hand in the cookie jar. But it's never a big surprise to us, we expect it. We see it reported on news, get outraged for a few moments, holler at the TV screen, realize it happens all the time, figure there's nothing we can do about it, then we just change the channel to watch Charlie Sheen.

It's almost as though honest leaders in ANY level of government, in ALL positions, don't exist ANYWHERE. And if they do, they never make breaking news for exposing waste, fraud, and corruption - - - unless of course, it can be used as a weapon against their political opponent to get themselves elected or re-elected to keep themselves in office longer (so that THEY can continue to receive more kickbacks and bribes).

Political corruption, greed, and dishonesty is "normal" in America, but just slightly less so than in other countries such as Libya. Is that what's supposed to make America so damn great...just because it's a little LESS corrupt than other places around the world?

Is the working-class in America in 2011 supposed to be grateful just because they're not AS POOR as those living in Haiti? Are the poor in the United States supposed to be thankful because they have an old VCR while those in Afghanistan don't even have a TV set? Will we all soon be expected to take low-paying jobs (and be grateful), even though one can't pay for the basics of food and shelter with a minimum wage of $7 an hour? Is the working-class in America expected to praise the wealthiest 2% for not laying off or outsourcing even MORE workers - - - and be thankful for the opening of another Wal-Mart or McDonalds in their neighborhood?

Let's admit it, corruption in our government, banks, and corporations is part of our American culture. Greed, thievery, and lying is all part of our American tradition. Those are our "family values". God Bless America, engraved or printed on our fiat currency to remind us of how "special" we are, has always been the great American myth, the embarrassing hypocrisy we've always presented to the rest of the world.

We don't deserve to slap ourselves on the backs and call ourselves "exceptional" until the climate of corruption has been completely eradicated from this country. But it's been so ingrained in our very being, too entwined into our very fabric, too much a part of our everyday living, that I doubt this can ever happen...not while we continue to insult the poor and weak while praising the rich and powerful.

BREAKING NEWS! (AP Newswire) NEW YORK: Civil war breaks out in the United States. American citizens take to the streets all across the nation - from the extravagant penthouse suites in New York City to the luxurious beach-front mansions in Los Angeles. Working-class Americans are fighting back, protesting, and shouting from their roof tops, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!"

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