Why companies fund politicians

Sometimes it helps to state the obvious. Companies and wealthy donors are not contributing to politicians without expectations. They want a return on their investment. They want politicians to help their businesses and increase their wealth.

Last Friday, the show “Whistleblower,” highlighted a procurement person in the Department of Defense who testified to Congress about a very egregious dereliction of sourcing of contracts. She noted how a major military contract was awarded to a subsidiary of Haliburton without a competitive bid during the Iraqi invasion. If you recall your history, former Vice President Dick Cheney was CEO of Haliburton before the election. This contract eventually tallied $61 billion in fees. By crying foul, she was eventually fired. Yet, this earnest and ethical public servant helped improve the procurement process and was awarded a settlement for being mistreated.

Yet, this is not an isolated incidence. Corporate welfare is alive and well. You need look no further than the environmental deregulation under this administration. But, Democrata should not be too smug, as corporate welfare is an equal opportunity offender. Politicians need funding to run a campaign, so they ingratiate themselves to people who are looking for a payback with their donations.

The cures to this dilemma should not be as hard, but funders do not want the paradigm to change. Until other citizens demand change, it won’t happen. Let me repeat a few thoughts which are not original.

– shorten election cycles – less money will be needed and fewer commercials will result.

– have term limits – twelve years for a Senator and Congressperson is plenty; two terms for a President is enough.

– debates should be structured around issues, without an audience and following debate protocols; if you speak over an opponent, you lose time.

– legislate to remedy three awful Supreme Court rulings – Citizens United, McCutcheon and the gerrymandering decision of last week.

– Eliminate commercials not sanctioned by the candidate – they are usually hateful and stretching the truth.

– Read and watch reputable news sources; if they publish or broadcast when they make mistakes is an indicator – also opinion talk show hosts are giving you biased opinion disguised as news.

– the country desperately needs a moderate party – all of these issues have created more polarized parties who are collaborating less, not more.

– Finally, especially with this president, but it goes with all politicians, take what they say or write with a grain of salt. The current White House incumbent is far more untruthful than other elected politicians now or in the past.

We the people are the only ones who can stop this. Demand the truth. Demand action. Identify your supported concerns with legislators and ask them what they plan to do about it. Be diplomatically relentless. And, remember this final point – members of Congress spend at least 1/3 of their time soliciting money. Their job is governing, not fundraising.



Just to be clear

Cutting through a lot of noise in the news, just to be clear:

– Getting dirt on a campaign opponent from a foreign entity is something of value – it is illegal to do this no matter how much it is rationalized by sycophants in your party. The message lost on the man in the White House is you don’t want to be beholden to a foreign government – that is why the law exists. The key question for me is the man speaking only of the future?

Watching the US Open at Pebble Beach on Monterrey Peninsula, my wife and I recall playing this course in 1992 about two months before the US Open at the same course. It is as beautiful as it looks on TV. The pros make this hard course look easy. Yet, one thing they don’t tell you on TV is guard your valuables and food as the seagulls swoop down and take them from unattended golf carts.

– When the Special Counsel in the Justice department, who the president appointed, says someone on the president’s staff is in violation of the Hatch Act (politicking on the taxpayer’s dime) after multiple warnings to cease and desist, action is required. Yet, unless she resigns, the “law does not apply to me” president won’t take action.

On the same trip we played Pebble Beach, my friend (we traveled with another couple) and I played Spyglass Hill as well. Pebble was hard, but Spyglass was painful. The first hole is over 600 yards – I thought I would never get to the green. We also played a course named Spanish Bay where the marshes are protected by law. You could see the result of an errant golf shot, but could not reclaim it due to the postings.

– Senator Mitch McConnell is the key blocker in passing a bill to further protect our election process. I have heard a security expert and a conservative pundit be critical of McConnell’s weak-kneed response. Both of these commenters said it us because McConnell did not want to hurt the president’s feelings as he gets volatile thinking people are questioning his legitimacy. Note the major take away from the Mueller report is the Russians influenced our elections. And, just today, there is an article that the EU thinks the Russians impacted their recent vote through social media.This is an indicting criticism of McConnell. Please ask him why.

The golf trip in 1992 led us to wine country for two days of tours. Too many tastes of wine will get you snockered. An interesting memory is the owner of one winery was out mowing the grass as we visited. Our final two days were in San Francisco, my favorite American city. We took the advice of our B&B chef and enjoyed some neat restaurants, one of which the wait staff sang opera and Broadway songs while serving.

– As with the US president, if the Brits end up with Boris Johnson as Prime Minister the two leading English speaking countries will be led by two people who have a very hard time with truth. That makes me sad for democracy. If Johnson wins, it will be interesting to see how Trump and Johnson handle their first disagreement when neither’s word is worth a darn. It is already apparent, Angela Merkel is the leading voice in the western world as she commands respect far more than either person.

I intermixed our trip to the San Francisco area with the current US Open there. I felt just talking only about the real news might be too depressing.  I hope all the fathers out there have a pleasant day tomorrow with their families.