For years, I lived within a media bubble that helped to carefully constrain my political viewpoints and it led for me replace my desire to think critically with a greater political narrative. Everything about the political realm was presented to me as a variety of consistent dichotomies: either you are liberal or conservative, inclusive or racist, cold-hearted or compassionate and lastly, Democrat or Republican.
I easily chose the Democrat side, but what I later discovered is that once you choose a side, you become less willing to see the flaws of your side. You want to believe your choice is the right choice rather than being the best choice of limited options. In order to feel good about your selection, you must find your political dichotomy and, in my case, it was the Republican party.
Republicans were supposed to be the party of “Big Business” and endless wars. They were the reason why corruption was running rampant in Washington, D.C.. My indignation for the opposition inflamed my ignorance of the greater flaws of a political system, regardless of political affiliation. I knew that D.C. was a circus, but I didn’t realize that everyone had makeup on because it’s all a show and we’re their audience.
The years I spent looking at George W. Bush as this lone war-monger in D.C. changed when Obama came into office and never kept his promise to end the wasteful wars. It wasn’t until I left the media bubble that I even realized that he increased the number of foreign conflicts. How is this possible? How is that my party, the supposed party of the people, allowed for this to continue? It’s because neither party is for the people; they’re for special interest groups & the elites.
In a Princeton University study titled “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens“, they state the following:
Clearly, when one holds constant net interest-group alignments and the preferences of affluent Americans, it
makes very little difference what the general public thinks. The probability of policy change is nearly the
same (around 0.3) whether a tiny minority or a large majority of average citizens favor a proposed policy
By contrast—again with other actors held constant— a proposed policy change with low support among
economically-elite Americans (one out of five in favor) is adopted only about 18 percent of the time, while
a proposed change with high support (four out of five in favor) is adopted about 45 percent of the time. Similarly,
when support for policy change is low among interest groups (with five groups strongly opposed and none in
favor) the probability of that policy change occurring is only .16, but the probability rises to .47 when interest
groups are strongly favorable.
These political changes are not bound by party lines because those lines are only an illusion; the uni-party is here whether you realize it or not. My assumption that the Republican party was the party for massive corporations wasn’t completely false; both parties are.
Since the beginning of my interest in politics, I’ve always been Anti-War and an Anti-Interventionist. Much of my interest in politics started due to 9/11 and how we decided to respond by involving ourselves in the Middle East. Whether you were for or against the initial invasions of Afghanistan & Iraq, you have to ask why the media doesn’t discus it as a rally cry to withdraw when 69% of Americans opposed the war in Afghanistan.
Part of the reason is that 90% of our media is controlled by 6 Corporations and these media outlets consistently hire pro-war pundits who are former military, former FBI, former CIA or simply anyone with ties to the ‘Deep State’ to propagate the narrative that nation-building is necessary but in order to do so, we must prolong the status quo of wasteful & unaccountable spending in foreign nations, while controlling their resources for our government’s and military contractor’s benefit.
In an article titled “Who’s Paying the Pro-War Pundits?“, published in September 2014, they state the following:
In a Washington Post story about Obama’s decision not to deploy troops to combat IS, retired Marine General James Mattis was quoted as a skeptic. “The American people will once again see us in a war that doesn’t seem to be making progress,” Mattis told the paper. Left unmentioned was Mattis’ new role as Keane’s colleague on the General Dynamics corporate board, a role that afforded Mattis $88,479 in cash and stock options in 2013.
Retired General Anthony Zinni, perhaps the loudest advocate of a large deployment of American soldiers into the region to fight IS, is a board member to BAE Systems’ US subsidiary, and also works for several military-focused private equity firms.
CNN pundit Frances Townsend, a former Bush administration official, has recently appeared on television calling for more military engagement against IS. As the Public Accountability Initiative, a nonprofit that studies elite power structures, reported, Townsend “holds positions in two investment firms with defense company holdings, MacAndrews & Forbes and Monument Capital Group, and serves as an advisor to defense contractor Decision Sciences.”
Military contractors not only fund pro-war narratives, they also fund both political parties with a substantial amount of money. If we use the example of General Mattis and his affiliation with General Dynamics, while he’s out making the media rounds to keep the American public engaged in prolonged foreign conflicts, the company he’s on the board for was giving millions to both political parties during the 2012 cycle (and it has only increased since).
Fact of the matter is that War is big business and everyone involved profits either monetarily or through influence. It’s always big business for the elite and our oligarchs but it always comes at the expense of the average American.
US government agencies sources directly engaged in the war, including the US Department of Defense, the State Department, USAID, and the like, have spent roughly $887 billion in the country; however, with indirect expenses added, it is estimated that the full cost of war on Afghanistan to be more than $2.26 trillion.Afghanistan war made US military contractors wealthy
None of this could be possible without the persistent interactions our politicians, especially in the federal government, have with industry lobbyists. These lobbyists play a pivotal role in the legislation process, but not in a manner that is favorable to someone like me. This relationship with lobbying firms provides an opportunity for our politicians to accept (and expect) money as alleged campaign contributions, board positions for their family members and favorable job positions or seats on a corporation’s board post their government career.
Republic Report’s investigation found that lawmakers increased their salary by 1452 percent on average from the last year they were in office to the latest publicly available disclosure:
Former Congressman Billy Tauzin (R-LA) made $19,359,927 as a lobbyist for pharmaceutical companies between 2006 and 2010. Tauzin retired from Congress in 2005, shortly after leading the passage of President Bush’s prescription drug expansion. He was recruited to lead PhRMA, a lobbying association for Pfizer, Bayer, and other top drug companies.When a congressman Becomes a lobbyist, he gets a 1452 percent raise (on Average)
Democratic senators Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad have a lot in common. They’re both from North Dakota. Both of their wives got jobs as big time lobbyists. Both have taken positions that benefited their wives’ clients.
Rep. Bill Young, R.-Fla., sits on the defense spending committee. His daughter-in-law lobbies for defense contractors that have been awarded many millions in tax dollars.Family Ties Bind Federal Lawmakers to Lobbyists
This bond has been formed within Washington, and it’s literally become a family affair. What happens when private industry has leverage over our government officials? Well, they get what they want. Have you wondered why the banking industry received a bailout when they gambled away people’s retirement, pensions and general investments? Have you wondered why their bailout was so favorable and, coincidentally, no one was punished? It’s because they’re just as imbedded into the government as the politician you vote for. Lobbyists actively bring pre-drafted bills to Congress to use as a template for politician buddies. The bank bailout is a perfect example of this:
The New York Times reported on the front page that Citigroup drafted most of a House bill that would allow banks to engage in risky trades backed by a potential taxpayer-funded bailout. The Times notes that “Citigroup’s recommendations were reflected in more than 70 lines of the House committee’s 85-line bill.”
The bill is sponsored by Republican and Democratic members—Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), Jim Himes (D-Conn.), Richard Hudson (R-NC), and Sean Patrick Mahoney (D-NY)—and its passage would be great news for Citi and other financial titans. Five banks—Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo—control more than 90 percent of the $700 trillion derivatives market. “The big banks support [the bill] because it means that they’ll get to keep the public subsidy”—FDIC insurance and the implicit promise of a taxpayer bailout—”to their derivatives-dealing business,” explains Marcus Stanley, the policy director at Americans for Financial Reform.See How Citigroup Wrote a Bill So It Could Get a Bailout (2013)
And if you don’t believe me about how much influence lobbyists have over our politicians…
“I would say to [the Member], ‘When you’re done working on the Hill, we’d very much like you to consider coming to work for us.’ The moment I said that, we owned them. And what does that mean? Every request from our office, every request of our clients, everything that we want, they’re gonna do.” – Former lobbyist Jack Abramoff
Former lobbyist Jack Abramoff
To give an even more recent example, Pfizer, one of the companies to develop the COVID-19 vaccine, spent the most amount of money on campaign contributions in a single campaign cycle since 1990. For their efforts, they were able to rush a vaccine, skip all the government hurdles while having zero legal liability. That’s right, you can’t sue them if you experience any adverse side-effects and one could only surmise that their lobbying efforts allowed for this to occur.
Millions invested…billions in profit. A sweet deal if you ask me.
Pfizer spent much of 2020 lobbying the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FDA while the two departments weighed recommending and authorizing its vaccine for emergency use.
In Pfizer’s latest SEC disclosure, the company reported $7.8 billion in total revenue from its COVID-19 vaccine in the second quarter. Pfizer disclosed a total of $11.3 billion in COVID-19 vaccine revenue in the first half of 2021. While this revenue can’t be compared to any other year on record, since the vaccine was only first administered under the FDA’s emergency use authorization in Dec. 2020, Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine has provided more revenue than any other Pfizer vaccine on the market.
The company reported $14.1 billion total revenue from its vaccine programs in the first half of 2021. Just under $3 billion of that is coming from other Pfizer vaccines for diseases including pneumococcal disease, tick-borne encephalitis disease and meningococcal disease.Pfizer’s full FDA approval could lead to even greater profits
To clarify, I am not anti-capitalism or even anti-corporation. I have no problem with the existence of these corporations in a free market sense, however, what is happening today is not a free-market capitalism, it is crony-capitalism. Private industry knows that our politicians have a price and they have no problem paying it because the returns are far too favorable. When they can go as far as to writing bills that our elected officials can simply copy & paste, why not throw a few million in their direction.
The reason that you are seeing corporations give money to both parties is because they are consistently hedging their bets. This is not even a complete judgement on the two parties themselves, it’s more of a highlight of how our political system has a slew of vulnerabilities and greedy politicians use it to their advantage.
Regardless of what side you are on, you are being used in a political game. Our politicians know who they are really serving, but they must give you a distraction to keep you entertained. The most effective distraction today is the constant evocation of ‘social issues’. It costs a politician nothing to stand at a podium and gesture how they stand alongside *insert alleged marginalized group*. It costs a politician nothing to bring a private citizen or a representative of a corporation into congress so they wag their finger at them.
It is the illusion of social action that we all fall for and it’s the distraction of party division that we believe in. Corruption is not restricted to a particular skin color, gender or party line; they are all susceptible to it.
Although I don’t identify as a Democrat anymore, it doesn’t mean that I’m a Republican either. Hypothetically, my viewpoints are more in line with the Republican party, but how could I blindly join along in a party that doesn’t disparage the system I’m complaining about. Both parties advocate for war conflicts that are unnecessary, both parties accept money in exchange for disregarding the representation for the remainder of their constituents and both parties talk more about the American public than actually doing for the American public. For these reasons and many more, today, I’m a proud Independent.
There is no perfect political system, nor would I advocate for one, but I know how the game is being played today and I choose not to get involved in the childish game of measuring political factions on a scale of who is better. The political establishment and economic obstructionists don’t want me to mind the man behind the curtain, but it’s too late because I’ve already questioned why the curtain even exists.
I think for myself, I criticize who I deem needs to be criticized, and I hold no allegiance to anyone but God.
Founder and Editor of Wrong Speak
Former Liberal, present day free thinker. Believer of equality of thought, free speech and open conversations. Proud American that prefers to be judged by character over skin.