The Controlling Interests of Today's Power Brokers

I remember a time when the Soviet Block countries were our enemies. While we had "enemies" in other parts of the world, it was the Soviet Union that received our main focus as they were perceived as the biggest threat to the United States and our allies. Russia, as the base of command and functioning as the Soviet Union had taken over many countries in an attempt to expand its borders with the obvious goal being world domination. We knew that citizens of the Soviet Union were being deceived by their government which functioned as a brutal dictatorship. Taking care of "the people" was not a priority for the Soviet Union. Civil rights were virtually non-existent. Often, food was in short supply. Communication was limited and any communication that was permitted, was heavily monitored. The government spied on its people to prevent uprisings. If people rose up to demonstrate, they were often violently crushed in the streets. Their incarceration rate was among the highest in the world. The government spent over 20% of their GNP on the military. This was a government, controlled by a few powerful and ruthless military types whose goal was simple. Do whatever was necessary to gain enough power militarily to expand their borders and rule the world. Americans hated the idea of a communist dictatorship and what the Soviet government and military did to its people. America also hated the hard line the Soviets took toward negotiating with the rest of the world. They were selfish and unreasonable and they could get away with it because other countries feared the idea of sparking a third world war which could easily have been a nuclear war. In 1991, because of financial and military pressure from the United States and its allies, the Soviet Union collapsed. Obviously, their grand plan didn't work.

Today's world is quite different. While there are still deadly military threats, the world has become much more intertwined economically which in some respects, renders physical borders less important. We now live in what is called, a global economy. More than ever, nations are interdependent on each other for their incomes, food, daily use products, even social interaction. Multi-national corporations have established themselves in countries throughout the world, often in seemingly unlikely places. Who would have thought even 30 years ago that McDonalds could ever be successful in India, China or Turkey?

So in today's world, what countries are vying for world domination? Russia? China? The United States? I believe there are no longer any governments with a specific goal of world domination. There are however, extremely powerful individuals who would like nothing better than to be in a position to manipulate as much in the world as possible for their own benefit. These power brokers often have sociopathic motives where their only concern is to maximize their own efforts with little to no regard for the masses. They make their money throughout world markets. The only way in which they are sometimes concerned about the masses is when the masses get in their way.

Should these individuals and their corporations be expected to be loyal to the United States even though they may be based here? In a word...no. There is no requirement for loyalty. Loyalty is not a pre-requisite for residence, conducting business, or even citizenship.  The fact is, they should no more be expected to be loyal toward America than someone who, through no fault of his/her own, slipped through the cracks and has been relegated to living in the streets. It would be wrong to think any individual or business should be loyal to any country unless their loyalty has been pledged.

We have a political campaign funding system in America which gives these powerful individuals and their corporations unprecedented power to use their money for manipulative purposes. By contributing large sums of money to finance highly influential political ads, they purchase a unique level of loyalty from a politician. 94% of our elections are won by the candidate with the most money. If a candidate refuses to take campaign contributions from large donors, no matter how righteous his/her actions, history and/or intentions to carry out the will of the people, that candidate only stands a 6% chance of winning an election. Once bought, a politician has a choice - either express and fight for the views of his/her sponsors, or risk losing future essential sponsorship. Politicians can no longer fight for the best interests of the masses. These power brokers, through their bought and paid for legislators, promote issues which divide us by appealing to people's passions and beliefs. By paying politicians to espouse a specific side of a controversial social issue, they gain support from a large segment of the voting public who will vehemently defend the side which supports their beliefs. When these social issues come into play, people seem oblivious to the fact that the politician they support is being paid to say whatever the sponsors are telling him/her to say.

These powerful individuals are in large part, controlling American policies. Our military is no longer simply protecting our borders. We are fighting wars globally for the purpose of securing and protecting trade under the guise of liberating helpless citizens from brutal dictators. Liberating people from brutal dictators is a noble cause so in that light, our leaders are able to generate a fair level of support from many Americans. Unfortunately, all too often, the real purpose for war is strategic positioning to protect access to vital resources within nearby sovereign nations.

Our tax dollars have become a found treasure for a variety of private individuals and corporations. Our taxes represent the largest pool of cash in the world and power brokers can't wait to get their hands on our money. Corporations are bribing our legislators (legally, through campaign funding) to have tax dollars funneled in their direction. Charter and private schools are receiving public funding over traditional public schools. While in some cases, charter and private schools show higher test scores, others have not and the overall results remain unchanged. What has changed is that we are now paying more to private companies to educate our children than it costs to maintain and upgrade our public schools and education system, and we still haven't addressed the problem of how to better educate inner city children. Many of our politicians are doing exactly what they claim to be fighting against. Politicians claim, "Throwing money at our education system doesn't result in a better education," yet they're willing to spend even more dollars on private and charter schools. Another example is our prison system. America's prison system has largely become privatized. Short of a small handful of violent, third world countries, we now have the highest incarceration rate in the world. Another example of privatization is the fact that we hire expensive military contractors and mercenaries to do a lot the military work our armed forces used to do. For less than we are currently spending, we could easily require all young adults to serve their country, whether it's military service, public service in America or providing aid in a variety of forms to needy countries via something on the order of the Peace Corps. The list goes on and on and becomes more and more obvious the deeper one investigates.

One of these bought and paid for legislators has recently put forth a budget plan that he claims will be good for America by reducing taxes on the wealthiest individuals and companies in our country despite expert analyst's claims that it will increase our deficit by $3 trillion. Simply put...privatization is NOT the answer.

In some of the worst ways, the United States is slowly becoming what the Soviet Union had once been and what we once hated. Our government is spying on its own people. Many within our government are attempting to take away additional civil rights. Our government is making it more difficult for many for our people to vote. Our world view is being manipulated by radical hard liners within our government. The United States has broken agreed upon rules of war. America is striving to manipulate the world through our military might, etc., etc., etc. This isn't what American policy should be about. This is a stance the power brokers are paying to promote in an attempt to gain more control.

Most of the problems we face aren't caused by corporations or by greedy, sociopathic power brokers. Those entities are simply doing what they are supposed to do and what they get paid to do. As long as they don't engage in illegal activities, their job is to make money any way they can. The problems we face are caused by one single flaw in our electoral process. Our campaign financing laws allow unlimited and undisclosed amounts of money from anonymous donors to flow into our elections. These "donors" view campaign contributions as business investments. They are striving to manipulate the business environment so they can make more money and gain additional power. Our Constitution was written so that control of our government would always remain in the hands of the people. Since 94% of elections are won by the candidate with the most money, it becomes obvious that money spent on political advertising radically influences the outcome of our elections and puts control into the hands of a few with the most money - not the masses. Political ads seem to be free to say whatever they want about an opponent. We all know that political ads severely distort the truth or just plain lie about the opposition's record or political stance on pertinent issues, and once big money puts someone into office, the power brokers' "bought and paid for" legislator is required to do the bidding of his/her sponsors. All the while, they have their talking points to make us think they are actually doing what we elected them to do.

The electoral process as it stands, is based on nothing more than legal bribery. It is riddled with corruption and goes completely against what most Americans believe our founding fathers had in mind for America. There are many laws preventing this kind of behavior in business, but for some reason, those laws don't seem to apply when it comes to our political system. There is only one way to bring America back into the hands of the electorate. Americans must unite to fight this kind of corruption and manipulation by those with the most money. Political bribery must me made illegal with serious consequences for violators. ALL private funding must be removed from our political process. Then, and only then can we rely on our legislators to represent the best interests of "We, the people."

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Comments (8)

  1. 12SunOryx

    In my opinion, there was scarcely much different in the political structure between America and the Soviets. There was a time when the Soviets were worse… However America did not beat them by being the nice guy. America eclipsed the Soviets, and now we’re doing exactly what they did across the world.
    I’d like to see money lose its influence. But not just in politics.

    May 27, 2012
    1. gbakere

      I agree however, I believe that humans are naturally greedy but to varying extents. If we truly weren’t greedy, we’d live like tribal people in the jungle and be happy with bare minimums. Or, a little more advanced…we might live in a shack with wood heat and a hand pump for water…or…we might have electricity, plumbing, a water heater and lights…or…we might have what the average home is today…or…we might have an above average home, etc. My point being that money is nothing more than a bartering tool where we ultimately express our level of greed. It’s trade and trade isn’t a bad thing. The only time money becomes a problem is when a small portion of the population has the ability to manipulate society for the benefit of that small portion regardless of any negative effects their actions have on society. This is one of the reasons for having government – to protect society from tyrants. Right now, government isn’t doing a very good job of protecting us from tyrants.

      May 27, 2012
      1. 12SunOryx

        I would agree that people are greedy, however I would argue that the level to which we are greedy in a Capitalist society is unique. Prior to Capitalism, I’ve been told, making money was considered to be a bad thing. There were various reasons for it; some demanded further centralization of power, thus making money was stealing from the king. Some demanded decentralization of power, and making money was stealing from society. But for a variety of reasons unique to a Capitalist economy, people are taught to be greedy and even that greed is good.
        For money to lose its influence, I believe people would have to give it up. Recognize its imaginary value, its arbitrary importance. Hell, even start doing something crazy like trading with something other than the notes with a government stamp on them. When you start doing that, you see how ridiculous the game really is.

        May 27, 2012
  2. gbakere

    Money represents everything material. If I raise corn for a living and, for some reason, the hat that I need to wear while working in the field is lost or destroyed, I’m not likely to know how to make a new hat. If I’m lucky enough to have a hat maker nearby, he may not have a need or any desire for my corn. So in a case like that, how do I get a new hat? Do I need to ask the hat maker what he needs and then go find someone who has what the hat maker needs and see if that person will trade for my corn? The fact is…money is corn. Money is a hat. Money is everything material. In our current society, instead of having to look for a specific market for something that you produce, where you can trade your product for something you need, you can sell your product to a distributor for money. Then you can go to a store and buy a hat. Greed isn’t a bad thing. We all have it. Again, as a corn farmer, should I dig up a field with a shovel? How do I get that shovel? Should I acquire a horse and a plow? How do I acquire a horse and a plow? Should I have a tractor? Should I have a large tractor with an air conditioned cab? Don’t forget, we have over 7 billion people on this planet and growing. There is an extreme need for corn.

    For me personally, I was a musician all my life. It could be argued as to whether or not having music to listen to or having the ability to go watch a music show is greedy. Is it greedy to want to watch a music show? Is it greedy to want to listen to music? Or…at what point does listening to music become greedy? If you’re able to listen to one song, is that greedy? Or…would it be 10 songs?…100?…1,000? Who gets to make that judgement? Should you get to judge me for the number of songs I own? You might not be a musician so music might not be nearly as important to you. If I want to listen to music, I need a radio, or some kind of music playing device. Is it greedy to want one of those? And again…who gets to make that judgement?

    So let’s assume it isn’t greedy to want a music playing device. How do I acquire one? No one nearby makes anything like that. Shouldn’t there be a place where I can acquire one? How do I acquire one even if there is a nearby store that carries one? No one there thinks my music is worth a crap so they won’t trade a music playing device for hours of me playing my music.

    The solution to this problem…a government note with a stamp on it. Money is a music playing device. Money is my music. Money is corn. Money is a tractor or even just a shovel. Money is logistics so even though there may not be much demand for my corn here, it can be shipped to where there is demand. Even though no one around here thinks my music is worth a crap, I can ship recordings of my music to an area where they love my music. The note with a government stamp on it is nothing more than the barter system made easy.

    May 27, 2012
    1. 12SunOryx

      The problem here is, your still thinking in terms of division of labor; which is also based on Capitalist principles. Capitalism necessitates a division of labor, so everyone has to trade with each other. It limits us to a specialty, and rewards us for our self-imposed limitations. Theres no reason you can’t have access to music, corn, and straw, and thus be able to make your own hat, grow your own corn, and play your own music at your leisure. You could also simply trade with someone who can do it better if you wanted to.
      The only reason you even have to ask “how do I acquire this?”, is because we have been raised in an environment where we expect these kinds of restrictions to be present. Where we expect these limits on skill and resources. But the truth is, straw for a hat is not hard to come by, nor is it difficult to grow corn. It is simply growing it on an industrial level to make a profit which your thinking of, and that is more difficult yes.

      Money is really nothing more than a medium of exchange, its true. However, its when you start converting this money into material things that you see how it is really an unnecessary medium. Money is just a symbol, and like I said, its value is imaginary. For me, money will never be more valuable than corn. I have a use for corn, only other people think they have a use for money. Me personally, it makes more sense to trade with the corn.

      May 27, 2012
      1. gbakere

        12…
        No offense, but you’re viewing people as if we’re all the same. All people are not capable of creating their own music. I despise the idea of gardening, so my life would be miserable if I had to grow my own food. On the other hand, you might love working in a corn field. I hate the idea of weaving a straw hat. What if it’s winter and I need a felt hat. I can’t sew either – nor do I want to. We live in an extremely technologically advanced society. What you’re proposing is like saying, “let’s go back to the pioneer days when everything was much simpler.” That is simply impossible. The only way you will ever be able to live in the world you’re proposing is to acquire a huge tract of land and start a commune of like minded people. Realistically, you could never sell the world on accepting your idea of how life should be. Again, no offense, but I certainly wouldn’t accept it. We live in a global economy for a number of good reasons. I like having television. I like having satellite TV. I like having the internet. Obviously, you do too. Taking our style of living back to an “Amish Philosophy” can’t work in our modern society. Virtually no one would accept it. It’s a pipe dream. I certainly don’t want it for myself.

        I have no problem with Capitalism. In fact, I love Capitalism. I am a relatively poor man but I would fight you if you tried to take away my opportunity and incentives to have more. Capitalism provides incentive. Again, everyone is greedy to different extents. Just because you might be satisfied with driving a horse and buggy, doesn’t that mean I’m somehow wrong to want to drive a car? Someone else might think you’re greedy because they prefer to walk. Everything is relative and we’re not all the same in our needs or our desires. The only way I have a problem with Capitalism is when capitalists can infiltrate and control our government with their money. Wealthy people are governing this country vicariously through the politicians they’ve paid to get elected. I have a problem with a Plutocracy as opposed to a Democracy. Anuk is correct. A plutocracy is what we have in America. That’s what I was trying to express with this post.

        May 27, 2012
        1. 12SunOryx

          I notice after a few exchanges with you, you tend to fly off the handle with wild assumptions about what I’m saying.
          First, you seem to be under the impression that everything I just suggested as an alternative was somehow mandatory.
          Second, I was using your example, and while I never got the idea that your example was reverting to an Amish philosophy, strangely you seem to think mine did. I’m not sure how yours did not necessitate an Amish lifestyle, but mine did somehow.

          It doesn’t really bother me if people don’t accept my ideas. But I am also under no obligation to accept the ideas society has imposed upon me either. And I won’t pretend to go along with it whenever I know of better ways. Judging by the things you’ve said here, it seems you agree with many of the same problems I am seeing. The only difference is, I am willing to actively try to correct those problems.

          May 27, 2012
    2. anukulardecider

      I don’t think America is becoming a plutocracy, I think we’re already there.

      May 27, 2012