I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.
-Major General Smedley Butler, USMC,
Two-Time Congressional Medal of Honor Winner
Author of, War is a Racket!
In observing politicians, the media, and American citizens, one thing is clear to me about the presidential, congressional, and local campaigns. Nobody is ready, willing, or able to ask and/or answer questions of substance.
Quite some time ago, my family and I ran across one of our elected representatives, our United States Congressman, campaigning at the town square. We observed more than 100 of our fellow Texans shaking hands with him, and offering their support, which he was grateful to accept. Not one person asked a question about his party's platform, or his voting record. The congressman did not make a single statement of substance about any issue. Sure. There were a few comments and jokes exchanged about the personalities of other candidates, but nothing at all about policy.
Finally, our family approached him, introduced ourselves, told him where we live (in his district) and exchanged warm greetings. I asked, "Considering that you voted for both TARP bills in 2008, the most recent of many tax-payer bailouts of bank shareholders, and considering that you reported owning more than $100,000 of JPMorgan Chase Common Stock and Employee Stock in 2007, Congressman Brady, what is your position on the Federal Reserve Banks being responsible for regulating and supervising the very same banks that own them, such as JPMorgan Chase?
Immediately, a twenty-something woman stepped around from behind our elected representative, and in between him and us. Our congressman stepped backwards several steps. She said to us, without even a hint of the Texas twang used by Brady, "The congressman believes strongly in protecting our nation's financial system for the benefit of every American."
I said, "Well, like the vast majority of Americans, I did not, and do not, own any bank stocks or receive any bank dividends, especially New York banks. I am, however, paid my salary in the US dollars that continue to lose value, and I use them to purchase the ever more expensive necessities of life. Back to my question, please. Doesn't self-regulation and bailouts put the fox in charge of guarding the tax payer's hen house? And hasn't our congressman shown himself to be one of the foxes?"
Congressman Brady was smiling, waving, and making his escape to a waiting vehicle. One of our children shouted, "Dad! He's getting away!"
I laughed and nodded.
The un-elected twenty-something woman simultaneously smiled and glared at me. She said, "America has the strongest banking system in the world, and the most stringent regulation. Your congressman has worked hard to ensure that. Thank you." Then she also left the town square.
I love the United States of America. But as a parent, I have learned that two very important parts of love is not accepting wrong behavior and holding our loved ones accountable. If we do not, then we are enabling wrong behavior, and that is not loving.
Many years ago, in high school journalism class, I was taught that journalists held politicians accountable. In fact, the media used to be known as The Fourth Estate. However, today, I see no evidence of this. I only see the media as tools of propagandists and sellers of advertising and advertisers' products and services. Nobody in the mass media appears ready, willing, or able to ask our politicians any questions of substance. When they do, rarely, and the politician is not responsive, usually, journalists are totally incapable of holding the politician accountable for an answer.
As I have described in a previous ZH article, I have spent many days with Donald Trump on several occasions. I found him to be intelligent, honest, and hard working. However, I am not yet willing to vote for him, even though he has never held political office, and is using his own money, which are both very admirable and appealing traits in a political candidate. Below are five of the questions I need to hear answers to before I would consider supporting Trump, or any politician.
As a side note, mostly because of the way the electoral college works, I do not currently subscribe to the idea of voting for anyone except candidate X. Voting for the Libertarian candidate, such as Gary Johnson, and not voting for any candidate at all, are both rational options. The candidate that represents me may not be able to win this election, but my vote will encourage him or her and others to continue to be a voice crying out in the wilderness.
1) Would or could you ever support amending The Bill of Rights? If so, which, how, and why?
2) Do you consider the recent actions of the United States military in Ukraine, Pakistan, Syria, Libya, etc., to be violations of the War Powers Act? If no, then why not? If yes, then what actions would you take on this issue, if elected?
3) What is your position on the Federal Reserve Banks being responsible for regulating and supervising the very same banks that own them?
A term used to describe the situation in which a public official or fiduciary who, contrary to the obligation and absolute duty to act for the benefit of the public or a designated individual, exploits the relationship for personal benefit, typically pecuniary.
In certain relationships, individuals or the general public place their trust and confidence in someone to act in their best interests. When an individual has the responsibility to represent another person—whether as administrator, attorney, executor, government official, or trustee—a clash between professional obligations and personal interests arises if the individual tries to perform that duty while at the same time trying to achieve personal gain. The appearance of a conflict of interest is present if there is a potential for the personal interests of an individual to clash with fiduciary duties, such as when a client has his or her attorney commence an action against a company in which the attorney is the majority stockholder.
Incompatibility of professional duties and personal interests has led Congress and many state legislatures to enact statutes defining conduct that constitutes a conflict of interest and specifying the sanctions for violations. A member of a profession who has been involved in a conflict of interest might be subject to disciplinary proceedings before the body that granted permission to practice that profession.
4) What are the similarities between unlimited campaign contributions and bribery, and what actions would you take to reform campaign finance, if elected?
Bribery is the act of giving money, goods or other forms of recompense to a recipient in exchange for an alteration of their behavior (to the benefit/interest of the giver) that the recipient would otherwise not alter. Bribery is defined by Black's Law Dictionary as the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or other person in charge of a public or legal duty.
5) The invasion and ongoing 14-year occupation of Afghanistan represents the longest war in American history. Explain your personal understanding of why, exactly, US soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen are still killing Afghani men, women, and children in their homes, schools, fields, shops, and hospitals?
Look at that American-enabled growth of the largest opium crop in the world!
Try to ignore 2001, when the Taliban were in control, along with the epidemic of heroin abuse in the USA.
Look at all of those dividend payments (blue diamonds)!
I hope ZH readers read and act on my article, hedgeless_horseman's Revolutionary Call to Arms, and find the courage to ask your politicians at least some of these five questions.
Peace and love!