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Michael Martin

Michael Martin

Posted: October 26, 2010 01:44 AM

What Choice Do We Have in November? We're Not Free Regardless Who Wins

It occurred to me that the reason President Obama may have taken Marine One to USC this trip rather than his limousine "The Beast" like he did last trip to Hancock Park was because the Democrats can't afford any further negative headlines -- especially in CA -- before the November Elections. They are going to need all the votes they can get.

But what's going to change if the Democrats lose the House or Senate? Probably nothing. IMO our local leaders have failed us. The incumbents have been in office for both Democrat and Republican White Houses and they have no one to blame but themselves.

The incumbents must take responsibility for their failures, and not blame each other. That's entirely irresponsible and actually shows further lack of leadership. A great leader looks you in the eye as says "I've failed. I messed up, and this is what I'm going to do about it starting right now." It's about accountability and that speaks to integrity. That person would have my vote, regardless of party, and my very vocal endorsement.

To date, I haven't heard any candidate speak such words and the political ads are childish. Both the men and women sound like clique-y high school cheerleaders: "He did this. She said that. She is spending $$$. He used to smoke pot."

The politicians running obfuscate their own failures by banging each other over the head so much, they've turned it into a reality show that's much worse than anything with Snooki, Dancing with Bristol Palin, or the Real Housewives of the New Jersey. (I watched it once, and I quickly figured out why they run Cialis commercials during those shows...)

Regardless of who wins, our local incumbent politicians will have done a great job of smoke and mirrors, and will go back to how their own Pay Per View reality show, "Sleeping With My Private Interests" -- where you and I will NEVER know what handshakes are made, but our politicians make every day for their own benefit and power.

It would be a lot different if we mandated that our elected officials were surrounded with an Entourage of their voters -- thereby shielding them from special interests who are the puppeteers. That would be a great start to regaining our freedom as a country and having, ahem, a true Representative Government. Where are Drama and E when you need them?

If your beloved party loses, you'll be pissed and angry and you'll probably write snide remarks about the candidate and party who won and which party is inherently more evil than the other.

But if you vote "Party Line" without putting any thought into it, you've surrendered your personal sovereignty long before your vote will be cast anyway, so in effect, it doesn't really matter who wins. Go back to Snooki and the Cialis commercials...you're a political softie.

Cialis & Politics - The Time Is Always Right

We know both parties are sleeping around. In that regard, they are no different from one another. And at some level, I wonder whether either party actually stands for what they say they stand for, or do they just take a position so you and I can debate the salient points, while the rich bankers, the friends of Wall St, Friends of Obama, and the lobbyists all get rich. Why would the incumbents need a sovereign wealth fund when you can always tap the taxpayer for all their new spending and bailouts?

We are not free and as long as we have this corrupt two-party system, we never will be. Whichever party wins, we are not in the game with the ruling class and it's practically written in the Constitution that we are slaves to the two-party system.

Mafia Wars?

We have choices in our state of California, but not in the First Congressional District of Pennsylvania --which includes parts of Delaware and Philadelphia counties. There, the Democrat/Republican two-party political mafia has a great racket set up for incumbents to keep the "Status Quo Joes" in their rightful place of power.

There, the local Democrat and Republican leaders have divided up their fiefdom like the five mafia families once divided up New York City and its boroughs. It's a marriage of convenience for the incumbents (who run unopposed) and Philadelphia taxpayers are paying the bill. It's a very, very big annual bill and the revenue is generated from nailing the taxpayers with gigantic parking tickets.

At the heart of matter is the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA). Pia Varma, who was recruited to run for a House seat there, recently wrote about it in her new book Brotherly Love - A Cautionary Tale of Naivete, Deceit, and Corruption and detailed the wink-wink inner dealings of how her own party makes deals with the Democrats in order to keep what she refers to as "patronage jobs."

Doling out the jobs is a coordinated effort between former Philadelphia GOP Chair Vito Canuso, City GOP Legal Council (but the de facto City GOP Party Boss) - Michael Meehan, and incumbent member of Congress Bob Brady. Everyone gets their slice.

Of course, these men are far from becoming anything like jailed Philly mob boss Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo. However, they sure have a very brazen, and cozy relationship of convenience to keep things the way they are, and can affect things with an environment of little or no competition, but tons of cooperation. Why wouldn't they...

According to Varma's book, Michael Meehan's old law firm earned over $1.3 million in legal fees from no-bid contracts from the PPA during 2005 - 2009. During that time Michael Meehan was also the legal council for the Republican City Committee. Now that's tribute!

Today the PPA has become a $200 million revenue-generating agency. It has 20 employees making six figures, and its Executive Director -- who also happens to be a Northeast Republican Ward leader -- earns $183,000 per year. That's more than the Mayor of Philadelphia or the Governor of Pennsylvania.

Not exactly the city of Bell, CA, but smells like it. If you think parking tickets are expensive in California, you have Philadelphia to look forward to thanks to our incumbent leaders. More below...

There are no less than 10 Republican Ward Leaders who are tied-in with the PPA. Moreover, there are up to 500 Republican employees of the PPA -- including Ward Leaders, Committeemen, and their "friends and family" -- who are immune from civil service regulations and hiring procedures, according to Varma. Sounds like featherbedding, but no one is going to speak up with the heat always dialed in to a comfortable 70 degrees at the PPA.

See how this works? Put Republican Ward Leaders on the payroll or award them contracts. Since Representative Brady is the Chairman of the Democrat City Party, he has enormous leverage in the outcomes of all elections -- local judges, Senate, Congress, State Reps, PA Supreme Court, and the Governorship.

Then have the Republicans throw their elections under the bus, because the Democrats can take back the PPA at any time. Taxpayer parking tickets pay for it all. On the face of it, the PPA looks more like a PAC, who's charter and mission is to foster a vibrant spirit of fair and balanced non-competition.

Varma, who was heavily recruited to run for Congress by the PA State GOP boss Robert Gleason, ended up a patsy. She found out the hard way that Canuso and Meehan like to do things their own way and color outsides the lines of their own party. She summed it up in her book during a curt chat with then GOP City Chairman Vito Canuso at the May 11 City GOP Banquette at Philadelphia's Cannstatter Volksfest-Verein, a private German-American club:

"Vito, why don't you care about Congress? If not me, at least find someone else. We can't just let (Representative Bob) Brady go uncontested."

Canuso said, "Pia, talk to me after the Primary."

Her story, which chronicles the six months from January to the May 18, 2010 Pennsylvania Primary, exposes the lengths to which incumbents will go to maintain their seats.

With Varma, and any other Republican candidate out of the way, Representative Brady will run uncontested, and the PPA-cash-influence-vote annuity machine is likely to repeat itself next election cycle. Nice work if you can get it.

"Finance is a gun. Politics is knowing when to pull the trigger."

-- Don Lucchesi, The Godfather Part III

The stock market hasn't liked the way things are either and President Obama's first 100 days were quite rocky. The good news for investors is that if we end up with a Republican Congress (which we can vote for) and a Democrat President (which we're stuck with) the stock market historically has responded well.

When I see headlines from the Associated Press that "Voters Craving For Change Look To The GOP" and "Enthusiasm Gap Favoring Republicans," I sense big change is around the corner. President Obama is praying for a raging stock market too, although he'd be sheepish to say so publicly because Wall St. has become the new "big oil." A strong stock market will lend itself handsomely towards a second term for the President, which right now seems unlikely.

That is great news for investors and everyone who has mutual fund investments in their retirement accounts. According to Jeffrey Hirsch, author of the Stock Trader's Almanac 2011, notes that the combination of a democratic White House and a republican led Congress has produced the greatest gains for the stock market -- averaging gains of 19.5% for the Dow Jones Industrial Average since 1949...not quite as high as the 22% underemployment of the too young to retire and too old to re-hire in California, but you can count on them showing up on Election Day to express themselves about how our CA incumbents have set us up for economic and financial misery.

The Business Insider blog came up with 19 Reason To Leave the State For Good.

I think a better title is 19 Reason to Oust the Incumbent In Your District. When you've failed, you need to find a new job or get fired. Here is how our Representative's foresight has served us:

--- The unemployment in CA is equal to the populations of Vermont, Nevada, and New Hampshire combined

--- Even with the third-highest state income tax, the absolute highest sales tax, and the highest gasoline taxes in the country, our Representatives have left us with a Budget Deficit of $19 billion dollars (that means even higher taxes, after the elections of course)

--- Can you say Jim Florio? After the Budget Deficit is concerned, our Representatives have been putting aside a "Tax Christmas Club" for us to be unveiled sometime (after elections) of an underfunded pension liability that is estimate to be as high as $500 billion...half a trillion dollars.

When you go to the booth, you might consider voting just like your Representatives do - aligned with their special interests. You should vote for your special interests.

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