It still stuns me to hear Hillary Clinton blame her defeat in the 2016 presidential race on anything but the $153 million she accepted from the monied interests hijacking our democracy.
Apparently, the excessive "speaking fees" she received from financial firms like JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley had nothing to do with her loss to America's first fascist president. Neither did Congress' decision to allow our senators and representatives to wash bribe money clean in this fashion.
In some cases, there were no transcripts of the $250,000 speeches.
They weren't needed because no speech was given. Our former First Lady chatted with the rich bankers for a few minutes, then pocketed their money just like a good mob bagman.
Bottom line, Hillary is not the anti-Trump. The soft corruption of today's Democrats is not the antidote to the shameless venality of their Republic doppelgangers.
The painful truth is Hillary and idiot-boy are in the same business, which is auctioning off America to the highest bidder. Just as the big banks did with Midwestern family farms in the 1980s.
That’s why our factory jobs have been off-shored to Communist China, we can’t afford basic medical care, former coworkers are killing themselves, our woods are full of homeless people, and our kids spend the best years of their lives repaying student loans.
The painful truth is that there aren't many American families left anymore who can afford to eat steak once a week.
Remember when nearly everyone was a homeowner?
We’re a nation of renters now, courtesy of Wells Fargo, former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, and the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Remember pensions, unions, and physician house calls?
Remember when we had a free press with gutsy columnists like Jimmy Breslin and Mike Royko who championed the middle class?
The poor and middle class are almost invisible now, at least as sources, in the national media. When we are mentioned it's usually by some silver spoon being paid to speak for us. Like Tucker Carlson, Chris Cuomo, Anderson Cooper (son of Gloria Vanderbilt), Chelsea Clinton or Meghan McCain.
DC's political corruption business model is based on the old mob protection racket. In both cases the seller offers you protection from themselves.
The Dems and Republicans are selling protection from government regulations to the multinational corporations of Wall Street. Those are the rules which once protected you and me from industry gouging, pollution, collusion, abusive labor practices, and annual interest rates exceeding 11 percent.
Think Bernie Madoff, opioid crisis, lead in drinking water, global warming, mass shootings, identity theft, spyware, pink slime, profits over people and wood cellulose in fast-food beef.
None of it happens with proper industry regulation.
Our government regulators possess the knowledge and inclination to police this garbage. The Congress which oversees them does not.
Because doing good is not nearly as profitable for them as playing the villain.
Wall Street pays a premium for scams that hurt the electorate. Like payday lending, for-profit colleges and the sale of pricey assault rifles.
Question: Why didn't the infamous Tricky Dick Nixon get rich off excessive speaking fees like Hillary and her hubby?
It wasn't because the money wasn't there. It was because the only president to resign from office wouldn't take it. Neither would JFK, FDR, Lincoln and Washington.
Hillary and Donald Trump will, and have.
Question: If a prostitute offers to trade you sex for a car, drugs, a diamond ring, food stamps or a concert ticket does the form of payment change the nature of the transaction?
Of course not. It's a quid pro quo either way, based on the buyer's perceived value of what’s for sale and the seller's ability to deliver.
Does it really matter if the prostitute has been falsely accused of other crimes?
That's why I don’t give a damn about Hillary’s emails, the Benghazi brouhaha or Bill’s wayward wee-wee. Or any of the other marginal garbage which has been trumped up by the Right Wing Noise Machine.
However, the speaking fee scam is a deal breaker for me. And I say that as a journalism lifer and a former political correspondent who has covered national figures like Jeb Bush (pumpkin head and ugly ties), Cory Booker (winter fat pants), and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (bad hair).
I know better than most Americans that this kind of so-called “soft corruption” is just one small step from pure tyranny
Same goes for the insider trading exemption Congress has given its members, which allows CEOs to bribe them with timely stock tips. And its rejection of term limits.
How much money could you make if Propagandist Rupert Murdoch told you he planned to abandon Fox’s $15 billion acquisition of Sky News at the end of this week?
Lots and lots.
Just ask Senate Minority Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who has amassed a fortune of more than $87 million during her career in public service. Much of it via the “soft corruption” of insider trading tips and being allowed to invest in initial public offerings beside her billionaire friends.
Pelosi made $100,000 on Visa's IPO in just two days, while considering legislation the credit card industry disliked in 2008. Surprise, surprise, surprise - the bill went no where.
The 77-year-old public servant has been in Congress the past 30 years. She told CBS in December that she doesn't think the American people want a new direction.
As in she doesn't want a new direction, away from the profitable corruption embraced by a Congress with an abysmal 14 percent approval rating and a ridiculous 90 percent re-election rate.
Why the disparity?
It's largely due to the games incumbents have played the past 20 years to insulate themselves from public accountability. The U.S. Supreme Court's 2010 ruling in Citizens United took the cap off corporate political spending to give its political protectors a huge financial advantage over challengers favored by the poor and middle class. Like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
Congress has also redrawn the national electoral map via a process called "gerrymandering" to create more overwhelmingly Democratic and Republican districts, which are easier for the political machines to control.
The problem with these machinations is that they disable the safety valve the Founding Fathers created via real elections, which they saw as a way of facilitating peaceful revolution at the polls. Instead of blood in streets.
I am to the left of most of you politically, but this kind of soft corruption is not soft to me. It is unacceptable and indefensible. No democracy can survive it.
The Cynical Times cannot support the primitive tribalism of a Republican Party fueled by group hate. However, the open corruption of the Democratic Party is not an alternative.
It hurt America in 2016 and is still hurting America.
Because it’s not a real alternative to the crooked greed of the Republican Party and Donnie Friggin Trump, at a time when Americans are looking for an alternative. It's just political corruption by another name.
Members of traditional victim groups, like gays and feminists, level themselves with the Alt-Right when they ignore the corruption of Hillary and the Democratic Party.
Because corruption is corruption. It doesn’t become OK just because your champion is doing it. Any more than it’s OK when Trump does it.
Bottom line, we have to have higher expectations for our elected representatives and their political parties.
That's why the Democratic Party and the Republican Party both have to go the way of the Whig, Federalist, No Nothing and Anti-Mormon parties. They must be tossed in the dustbin of history.
Not because it’s fair, but because it’s best for The Republic.
There simply must be visible consequences for the kind of systemic treason these two political machines and their beneficiaries have embraced. Emulation is not the answer. Neither is the primitive tribalism of identity politics, nor the bloodlust of the far right.
The proper response is impoverishment, imprisonment and exile.
We need to make an example out of these greedy sonsabitches, and examples are always unfair.
Where to begin?
We can start with Trump, Hillary, Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Leader Tom Donahue. Then work our way down the political food chain.
These treasonous scoundrels need to go down and they need to go down hard. Not because it's fair or just, but because we need to make an example out of them which deters future crooks.
The survival of the Republic depends on it.