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Kenny Ausubel Headshot

Family Values: Why Is It a Crime?

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I wanna talk to you about family values.

Family values are under assault. This deplorable situation presents a grave threat to the very fabric of our society. Family values have sustained society since civilization began. People who hold family values have deep convictions. The problem is - more and more of these convictions are felonies. When serving your country means serving time, it's an indictment of our society.

Let's put our cards on the table. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right? The family values we're talking about are crime family values. We're all family here. So let's be frank.

Everybody knows the business of America is business. America is for sale, and America belongs to the people who own it. The rules are simple. Make money. Exercise power. Minimize the bloodshed. That's the way of the world. The question is not if we're going to have crime. The question is if we're going to have organized crime, or disorganized crime. So let's get with the program.

Are you with me?

Now I'm not talking Tony Soprano here. We went corporate a long time ago. It was a racket made in heaven. Actually, in DC. Which brings me to my point: which is the sorry state of government corruption and corporate crime.

My old friend Willie Sutton used to say he robbed banks because "that's where the money is." Well, today old Willie would be robbing the government. Do the math: $1.4 trillion dollars a year. That's real money. And it's the best kind of money: Other People's Money.

Think about the mess the government's making, then think about what organized crime does best. Arms dealing. Grand theft. Fraud. Bid rigging. Accounting scams. Drug trafficking. Toxic-waste dumping. Monopolies.

Who better to do these functions than experienced family businesses? We can and must professionalize government.

We say we're against big government, but we're not. Big government provides family value. Think about it. The bigger the government, the more money there is. The more money, the more corruption. The more corruption, the more regulation. The more regulation, the more government. The more government, the more money. It's a perfect system. It's a road-tested formula for permanent unlimited growth.

So I am very, very concerned that certain parties are spoiling the party by degrading family values. I am shocked - shocked! - by the sheer incompetence of our politicians and government officials. Gangsta wannabees. Romper-room racketeers. It gives family values a bad name. It breaks my heart.

Are you with me?

Look what's going down.

A very disturbing report came to my attention. It's from some do-gooder group calling themselves Transparency International. They run a scam called the Global Corruption Barometer. It's your usual bleeding-heart public opinion survey. It tells how corruption affects ordinary people's lives around the world. And guess what? Corruption is increasing. Who knew?!

This Global Corruption Barometer says people think political parties are the most corrupt, followed by legislatures. Duh. But really it's all a perception issue. The question I ask you is:
why do people think corruption is getting worse?

Two reasons: a lack of professionalism - and disrespect for traditional family values.

Everybody knows the appropriations process is a shakedown. Extortion - bribery - whatever you want to call it. Congress is a "pay to play" game. Always has been. A "transactional" Congress - that's the new MBA lingo.

Take this joker Congressman John Boehner. He's a big party muckety-muck, and he's swinging a tobacco vote on the floor of the House. So far, so good. Until he starts handing out campaign checks from Brown & Williamson Tobacco, right there on the House floor. Why? So he can, quote, "get credit." Everybody and their mother sees him doing this. So they have to make a new rule and they name it after him. He wanted credit, he got credit.

Then when the House Majority Leader Tom DeLay gets popped - because he did not launder his campaign contributions clean, Boehner gets promoted to Majority Leader! Why, I ask you, are we rewarding incompetence?

Not that the private sector is exactly a role model. Take Brent Wilkes. He's pimping defense contracts to Congress. "Earmarks," they call them. Stick the pork in some bill in the middle of the night and ride the gravy train home. Everybody wins. It's all good.

Until this dingbat waltzes into meetings with Congressmen. In their office, Wilkes tells them what he's buying and he hands them the envelope. We're talking Ethics 101. Any wise guy knows you give them the envelope in the hallway. This is the blond leading the blond.

So we have a little talk. OK, Wilkes admits he's a "rookie." He's teachable. He goes into training to be a "chuck wagon" for Congress. You got expenses? He'll take care of them. Tickets to the game? Skyboxes. You need cowboy boots? Monogrammed. A little golfing in Scotland? Pack your bags.

But then Wilkes has to make like a big shot. At parties, he tells people, "If you throw enough dough at Congressman Whoop-De-Doo, you'll get it back 100 times over." He's right. He himself has scored $90 million in earmarks. He's a good earner. This is the shame of it.

But finger pointing at parties? I mean, with earmarks of $64 billion dollars in play, who wants the attention?

So sure as day Wilkes gets popped and it turns into a regular St. Valentine's Day Massacre on the Hill. Jack Abramoff and his whole candy store go up in flames. Then they all start singing. Traditional family values simply do not allow this. It's like all Ten Commandments rolled into one.

Wilkes was in a great business, too: Defense contracts. What makes it so great? In a word: cost overruns. Oops - a dollar short and a day late! Doesn't matter. We're talking tens of billions short and years late.

I look at it this way. I think you'll appreciate this. It's just as well when these wacko Star Wars weapons never get built. We already got enough to blow up the planet 1,000 times over. Thinking long-term, peace is good for business. I'm talking sustainability here.

Are you with me?

The other problem I'm having is this: accountability. The Defense Department says it, quote, "lost visibility" on over 7 billion dollars in the war on terrorism. (ahem) "Lost visibility?" Now I know something about things that fell off the back of the truck. But I give you my personal guarantee: in a family business, when things fall off the back of the truck, we know where they land. This is accountability.

It gets worse. I'm sure by now you've heard about the K Street Project. The Republicans decided to wipe out the competition. They tell all the lobbyists on K Street, "If you want government business, you can't give any money to the Democrats."

From the start, I knew this was a lousy idea. Bottom line, a dispute between families is bad for business. Cardinal law.

So sure enough - what happens when one family gets control of Congress - and the White House - and announces it's open for business? The number of lobbyists shoots up from 10,000 to 35,000. And because now there's only one family to do business with, fees go up 100 percent! Sixty-eight lobbyists for every member of Congress, and you get inflation. This is the wisdom of our two-party system and the free market.

As you can tell, I'm smoked about the decline of family values. But for me, rock bottom was this Transparency whatever "Corruption Perceptions Index." It's a scorecard of all the countries of the world - from the least corrupt to the most corrupt.

(SAD) 160 countries, and the US of A only rated the 17th least corrupt country in the world! We practically invented white-collar crime. We not only wrote the book, we made the movie. We are number one in corruption. It's our biggest export worldwide. We are not getting the respect we deserve.

I see this as a marketing issue. We need to get our story out.

But like my lawyer says, "Get your ducks in a row before you let the cat out of the bag."

So, this is my program. We need to professionalize government. Of course lobbyists should write legislation that affects their industries. Of course politicians should have a revolving door with family businesses. Of course you should hire your relatives and cronies. If these are not family values, what is?

These are technical issues with technical solutions. What we need is a crime czar to regulate the culture of corruption. If everybody's doing it, how can it be a crime? It's a regulatory issue, pure and simple.

And the way things are now, we are not getting our money's worth. That is the real crime.

I am asking for your support. Right here today, I am launching the American Crime Family Values Agenda.

We're calling our program the "Contract on America."

Are you with me?