Thursday, June 23, 2016

The symptoms of an election where the corrupting influence of money is ignored

What I like about Bernie Sanders is that he has clearly identified the primary issue: the corrupting influence of money in politics. By eschewing big money donors, Sanders has, in many respects, made himself dependent upon the people alone. This is the single most important reason I like Bernie.

If he who pays the piper calls the tune, I know that millions of Americans are calling the tune. They are not asking for a special favor for one person, one company or even one industry. They are not asking for free stuff. They are simply asking for a better distribution of tax dollars so that everyone benefits. They are asking for a system of government that is more concerned with the general welfare of the citizens rather than just top 0.05%.

The way I look at it is like this. When people pay money to a politician, expecting something in return, they are asking for law or public policy which has a predictable effect. In other words, they can predict who will benefit from the change in policy. I read somewhere, a long time ago, that a good law is one where we cannot predict which specific individuals will benefit from the law.

A special interest, making a contribution to a candidate in or seeking a position of power, is seeking a change in policy that will benefit that interest and that interest alone. If that contribution is large enough, it can be a corrupting influence because now the person pulling the levers is only interested in benefiting the person that paid him rather than the merits of the change in public policy as requested.

But what happens when millions of people make a contribution to a candidate, asking for changes in public policy that benefit the broader population rather than a special interest? You get people like Bernie Sanders. Notice that Sanders does not promote special interest legislation. He's not making speeches for enormous sums of money for one particular industry. His speeches are public, not private. By keeping his speeches public, he is maintaining transparency between himself and his constituents.

In contrast, Hillary Clinton has made many private speeches to very wealthy contributors, each for an enormous sum of money. Seriously, is any speech worth $200,000 or more? Only if you expect something in return. That kind of money has a corrupting influence on politicians. We know it, Bernie knows it and yet, the press is rather silent on the issue, and I mean the mainstream media.

I know, that's a long digression to get to the point, but we'll get there. Hillary is under investigation by the FBI, but there are people who are hedging on what kind of investigation that could be. I've said that it's a criminal investigation only to be criticized for doing so. The FBI didn't say it's a criminal investigation, but some will say only the person they're investigating knows if it's a criminal investigation. They say that the FBI will let you know if you're under criminal investigation.

Well, Hillary isn't saying one way or another. She will neither confirm nor deny that she has been contacted by the FBI. Only she knows and if she's not definite about it, then we know she can't say with certainty that she's not under criminal investigation without lying. Yet she still presses on for the Democratic nomination. There was a time in America, where even the smell of an investigation would force normal people to drop out and wait until the smoke clears. Hillary is willing to put the Democratic Party in peril by pursuing her campaign while under investigation by the FBI.

I read in the news that Bryan Pagliano gave testimony for this investigation. He invoked his rights under the 5th Amendment 125 times. The 5th amendment says that no person shall be compelled to testify against himself. No person shall be forced to make statements that could be used against him in a court of law. 125 times. Why is this important?

Bryan Pagliano is the man who set up and managed Hillary's personal email server. At first he set it up without encryption, then he set it for encrypted communications. He moved it from Hillary's home to a hosting provider in a secured building. If there was classified information on that server, and there's a pretty good chance there was, he and Hillary are toast. If you want to learn more about it, have a read here of 24,000 words of details. Also note that no one can seem to find any trace of communications between Pagliano and Hillary Clinton that is from the time that she was Secretary of State.

Pagliano was hired by Hillary Clinton to set up the email server for her, with a private domain, that she used during her time as Secretary of State for all of her email correspondence. All of it. Now he's invoking the 5th Amendment in response to questions in deposition for a lawsuit over records requested by Judicial Watch. This is a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. It is not a criminal case, yet he's invoking the 5th amendment.

I can't think of a better clue that shows that the FBI is engaged in a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton and her private email server. If the man who set up her server is pleading the 5th Amendment, and he didn't even write the emails sent through that server, he knows something that most of us do not. He's been counseled by lawyers on how to respond. He had an index card with a carefully worded statement that was written by lawyers.

Bernie Sanders has none of this going on. Why not? Because he doesn't take money from or represent special interests. He just wants to make the country a better place for all of us. He does not represent a few lucky people sitting on private monopolies and piles of money who make large contributions to politicians with the expressed interest of increasing the size of that pile of money.

What I love about Bernie is that he's not conceding anything. He's still holding rallies, still raising money and still campaigning. He's doing what I would expect of someone who will keep going until the last delegate vote is cast at the convention. He has taken the steps needed to be above the corrupting influence of money and that sets him apart from many, many other politicians, including Hillary Clinton.

The corrupting influence of money should be the central issue of this campaign season, but it's not. Not if you read and watch what the mainstream media is presenting to us. Instead, we're being treated to newsreels about how dangerous Donald Trump will be for the country. The mainstream media is already trying to pivot to the general election, demonizing Trump (believe me, demonizing him is justified), but failing to focus on the issue at hand, the corrupting influence of money in politics.

Even Trump calls her "Crooked Hillary", though he hardly has hands clean enough to do so. But he's willing to do it. His campaign is basically broke, he's not even self-financing his campaign. I'd say he's quietly setting his campaign on fire and that's going to make for an incendiary Republican National Convention. There is a real controversy about the existence of any campaign at all. Seems mighty convenient for Hillary, doesn't it?

Every time I hear or see the press talking about how terrible Trump is or could be as president, I just roll my eyes. They are totally playing to Hillary's favor. Yet, there is a chance that Hillary could be referred for indictment by the FBI. Will that happen before or after the convention? Who wants to find out? I would rather find out with Sanders as the Democratic nominee, wouldn't you?

Don't mind the mainstream media. They'd rather have us forget all of this and line up behind Hillary.
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