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It looks like we’re sending a bunch more folks to Afghanistan to get more deeply involved in a land war in Asia (life imitates art?!). One of the tenets of that appears to be pushing the Afghan government to stamp out local corruption. Former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, with whom I don’t always agree (and whose daughter I mostly abhor), hits the nail squarely on the head. For me, he ties our health care reform mire right to Afghanistan in a single, neat paragraph.

"Who are we to seriously be preaching [such] a crusade?" he asked. "We have a financial sector that is voraciously greedy and exploitative, to put it mildly. We have a Congress which is not immune to special interests. And we have an electoral system that is based largely on private donations which precipitate expectations of rewards. The notion of us going to the Afghans and preaching purity is comical.

And it IS comical. The Republicans aren’t the party of "NO". They’re the party of "YES" – to institutionalized corruption. And the Democrats are at best marginally better.

We all know how far up Max Baucus’s rear the hand of the insurance industry is. Dick Durbin has made it plain as day that big finance industries "own the place". The fox guards the henhouse over at Treasury. Wal*Mart is a part-owner in Lincoln & Pryor. Congressional and White House staffs and seats are revolving-door neighbors to lobbying firms – like Tom Daschle’s very enriching influence laundering. We’ve seen the nearly completely-ignored scandal of commentary prepared by lobbyists and industry representatives delivered, VERBATIM, on the floor of Congress and written into the public record as the pandering, false passion of a body bought and paid for by the industries we all hoped they’d protect us from. And let’s not get started on the military-industrial complex – you KNOW they’re leaping for joy over the next moves in Afghanistan. As Iraq did before it, Afghanistan will fabulously enrich those contractors, who will continue to flout American and international law in the process. <strikethrough>Their employees in Congress</strikethrough>Our representatives will do little more than slap them on the hand (Al Franken, G_d love him, notwithstanding).

Wait, that’s not comical. It’s pathetic. It’s what I grew up calling a porquería in Spanish. Our political system has become a racket, a joke, a sham. And those who inhabit the highest echelons of our economic structure – including most of those Congresspeople – are thoroughly enjoying their representation. Because that’s what it is – I mean, seriously, let’s just list the members of Congress for who they really represent:  Michael McCaul (R-ClearChannel); Blanche Lincoln (D-Wal*Mart); Evan Bayh (D-WellPoint); Tom Carper (D-Pharma); Chris Dodd (D-Wall Street); Barney Frank (D-Wall Street). And so on. If we did, maybe we’d start to notice that there are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too many representatives for one small section of the populace. It’s like Rhode Island having 300 Representatives and 40 Senators, all too damned happy to do a little constituent services. The rest of us are limping along with folks like Al Franken, still D-Minnesota, who must heroically shoulder the plebeian throngs.

It’s time for some redistricting. Want healthcare? Want an end to expensive, poorly-run overseas wars? Want REAL finance regulation? Get the legislative and executive branches out of the corporate trough, or you won’t get anything that serves anyone but the corporations. I don’t know how that’s going to happen, but it must if you want any of the previous items. Of course, Congress self-regulates about as well as the corporations do – because they’re all the same entity.

Unfortunately, we can’t do anything about the judicial branch, at least federally – the Roberts court is the most corporate ever.

I am so fucking tired of hearing how this Senator or that Representative is getting in the way of reform, and attacking them as not a REAL Democrat or not a GOOD Democrat; frankly, the Conservadems and Blue Dogs are just being honest about how most of their salary gets paid, and who owns ‘em. Meanwhile, we’re busy arguing over the party label they hastily slapped over the corporate logo tattooed on their asses.

Wake up, folks. It’s not a government for the people, or by the people, and it hasn’t been for most of my life. We can scream and cry and carry on all the way to hell, but the rich folks still laugh all the way to the bank. Zbigniew Brzezinski knows it. Jerome a Paris nailed it the other day. How the hell is it going to change?

Originally posted to ElsieElsie on Wed Dec 02, 2009 at 03:57 PM PST.

Poll

Campaign finance and lobbying:

3%3 votes
77%76 votes
2%2 votes
3%3 votes
14%14 votes

| 98 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  And it's going to get worse... (12+ / 0-)

    when the Supreme Court rules against campaign finance reforms.  

    When is the last time the Obama Administration has pleasantly surprised you - Made you think to yourself "Wow, I didn't think they had that in them"?

    by Jonze on Wed Dec 02, 2009 at 04:02:01 PM PST

  •  Thanks for the diary, ElsieElsie (9+ / 0-)

    I get a little suicidal when I think too much on this topic. It's the biggest problem we have, and as usual, Zbig nails it.

    You drive me crazy with that boogieoogieoogieoogie -4.48, -4.56

    by pseudopod on Wed Dec 02, 2009 at 04:02:48 PM PST

  •  Are the Afghans financing our corruption? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ExStr8, Nailbanger
    No. But we are financing theirs. Seems to me if we are paying for everything, we've got to right to say how its spent no matter how hypocritical it is.

    Our money, our rules. Thems the breaks.

    "Styles upon styles upon styles is what I have. You wanna diss the Phifer but you still don't know the half." - A Tribe Called Quest

    by brooklynbadboy on Wed Dec 02, 2009 at 04:07:59 PM PST

    •  Do as I say, not as I do. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      drewfromct, Jaffa Kree

      I don't think the point here is that we have no right to tell Afghanistan how to act with our cash. Saying "Thems the breaks" doesn't really fix the fact that our own government is too corrupt to reasonably expect its satellite government in Kabul to act in a clean manner. We can lay down the rules all we want, but if our own legislature is so completely corrupted, why should I expect we'll do any better in Afghanistan?

      •  Yeah, basically. (0+ / 0-)
        We should keep our corruption in the family. But when it comes to some other family...yeah...its do as we say.

        "Styles upon styles upon styles is what I have. You wanna diss the Phifer but you still don't know the half." - A Tribe Called Quest

        by brooklynbadboy on Wed Dec 02, 2009 at 04:43:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  There's a bill for campaign finance reform (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gmb, dancewater

    in the House with 107 cosponsors.  I believe it's called the Fair Elections Now Act.

  •  I don't always agree with Zbig but I have (10+ / 0-)

    tremendous respect for his experience and his incredible grasp of the world political arena.  And I loved it when he called Joe Scarborough's analysis of the middle east "stunningly superficial."

    A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. -Greek proverb

    by marleycat on Wed Dec 02, 2009 at 04:10:00 PM PST

  •  Our System SENDS Them to the Corporate Trough (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gmb, jimreyn

    Not for salary, but to have even a shot at applying for their jobs. It protects the corporate media from responsibility to the people as well.

    How many yachts would a corrupt Senator take in bribes? I don't know, but to campaign effecitively for their jobs they need to be given the equivalent of a big enough one for a family of 4 to circumnavigate the planet, about every 2 weeks, for their entire careers.

    You hardly have to know anything more about the country to figure how that's going to turn out.

    The problem isn't the donors, the problem is that there's a place and a need to spend the donations.

    I doubt Bush's new Supreme Court majority will tolerate finance limitations. In fact they appear to be poised to eliminate restrictions on corporate campaigning.

    Public financing looks like a minimum improvement to me, that might survive Bush's constitution.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Dec 02, 2009 at 04:17:00 PM PST

  •  Talking about two books I didn't read (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    truong son traveler, drewfromct

    I shouldn't admit that-- but Fritz Hollings, who wrote Making Government Work, was saying on C-SPAN how individual senators rely so much on the party to raise money in these hugely expensive elections they can't buck the party trend to do what's right for their constituents.

    Next-- The Grand Chessboard by Zbigniew Brzezinski (I'll also admit I copied and pasted his name) is spooky stuff about how the West must control the resources of central Asia and ... well, others here have likely read the book.

    But it seems it's easier to speak the truth when it's not your area of concern, and maybe that's what Dodd and Frank do.  They seem like pretty good guys to me.  But look at Rockefeller-- awesome on health care, awful on telecom immunity in FISA (Verizon is a big donor).

  •  This morning as he spoke on the Joe show (0+ / 0-)

    Arianna dared not challenge him on his comments.  She sat there scare to respond to his statement.

  •  Bravo, Zbig (0+ / 0-)

    I continue to squirm at the term 'American Exceptionalism' and wonder to whom this refers.  

    We are a country dominated by hate talking radio/tv personalities, bought and paid for congresscritters and a religious right which has rapidly become our own home grown Taliban.

    We are stuck in two wars which have depleted and demoralized our military and forced US citizens to accept a military industrial complex spending mentality which should have been stopped decades ago.

    We have a health care system which is shameful and inhumane.

    And, we have Sarah Palin.

    An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it. Mohandas Gandhi

    by msmacgyver on Wed Dec 02, 2009 at 04:29:11 PM PST

  •  Have any of you looked at his photo on (0+ / 0-)

    Huffpo?  He looks strange.

    'If we lift our voice as one, there's nothing that can't be done' MJ

    by publicv on Wed Dec 02, 2009 at 04:36:15 PM PST

  •  Brzezinski knows a thing or two about the Afghans (6+ / 0-)

    This is the guy that embraced the creation and support of militant Islamic forces under the direction of Osama Bin Laden.  Brzezinski also sanctioned the support of a SE Asian regime that killed two million people during the 70’s and he admitted to the instigation of the Soviet-Afghan war that claimed the lives of one million people in Afghanistan during the 80’s.

    Whenever I see this guy getting his ass kissed on the Rachel Maddow show, my stomach turns.

    •  I agree...here is Brzezinski in his own words (6+ / 0-)

      Does this sound like the words of a man who is sorry for anything?

      The USSR's invasion of Afghanistan was deliberately provoked. In his 1996 memoirs, former CIA director Robert Gates writes that the American intelligence services actually began to aid the mujahudeen guerrillas in Afghanistan not after the Soviet invasion of that country, but six months before it. And in a 1998 interview with the French weekly magazine Le Nouvel Oberservateur,former president Carter's National Security Adviser,"Zbigniew Brzezinski, unambiguously confirmed Gates's assertion.

      "According to the official version of history,"Brzezinski told the Nouvel Oberservateur,, "CIA aid to the mujahideen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan on December 24, 1979. But the reality, closely guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed it was July 3, 1979, that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet intervention."

      When asked whether he regretted these actions, Brzezinski replied:
      "Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trp and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter, essentially: 'We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam War."

      Nouvel Observateur: "And neither do you regret having supported Islamic fundamentalism, whih has given arms and advice to future terrorists?"

      Brzezinski: "What is more important in world history? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some agitated Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?"

  •  Off to Afghanistan to teach the American Way! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sandigurl, gmb, GeeBee, Nada Lemming

    I love humility. Why aren't the French going to Afghanistan? Could it be they know a folly when they see one?

    Our financial sector is near ruins, and we are going to make the world save from jihadists? Would somebody lift a finger to help Detroit? I just got back from there. Many neighborhoods look like war zones to me.

    "War is the health of the state." Randolph Bourne "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."Samuel Johnson

    by american pastoral on Wed Dec 02, 2009 at 04:38:27 PM PST

  •  Zbig at Khyber Pass 1980 (0+ / 0-)

    I remember the tape after the Soviets moved into Afghanistan, at the Pass, he was waving an assault rifle, telling the Afghans 'God is on your side'.

    Dunno about his daughter, but I will leave him be....

  •  Brzezinski does not have any responsibility (0+ / 0-)

    It is easy pie to be an arm chair critic.  Just open your mouth and speak.

    But if you have responsibilities, and you see the briefing books, and you have tons of security material you see, AND you have some responsibility for America's security even if you are not going to be popular in executing your plans, that is a different thing altogether.

    I respect Brzezinski, but he should not always act like the President is wrong just because he disagrees with him.  Maybe the President is right, or at least partially right.

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