THE BLOG
05/02/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Futility of "Throw the Bums Out"

I received something akin to the following from a variety of friends who in my humble opinion have become the upscale equivalent of the "New teabaggers."

They are speaking about Congress.

Choose anyone you want, as long as it is not an incumbent!

Out!

Absolutely:

Incumbents out

Every single one of them regardless of Party.

Do it!!


And now a few hundred words that come to you from a film peddler raised in The Bronx.

Fresh from four years of defending my country from imminent North Korean invasion I worked as a part time minimum wage employee at the Television Company Screen Gems while studying Electrical Engineering.

I was authorized to order film from a variety of film laboratories at my sole discretion.

One particular lab employed a salesman named Harvey who often took me to lunch and gave me tickets to sporting events. He also treated me "like a person." I knew that I was being manipulated by him, but what the hell.

Now what lab salesman do you suppose I went to with most of the business I controlled? Harvey of course.

Simple isn't it? He was nice to me and he at least pretended to care about me.

Moving along:

I spent some time yesterday and looked a little bit into the existent "Congressional Travesty" that has allowed the "business" of campaign financing to be controlled by the "rich and powerful corporations" (RPCs) among us.

These RPCs hire other people (Lobbyists) to speak to congressional "power" on their behalf.

These RPCs contribute large sums of money to Congresspeople in order to influence them. Simple isn't it.

It is helpful if you sing our National Anthem as you read all about this process.

RPCs, labor unions, and other organizations spend billions of dollars each year to lobby Congress and federal agencies. Some special RPCs retain lobbying firms, many of them located along Washington's legendary K Street; others have lobbyists working in-house.

It is apparent that most Americans do not trust career politicians who run for reelection over and over again.

Many members of Congress care more about RPCs, campaign contributors, and special interest groups than they do about representing their constituents.

Election rules and government power have been distorted to such an extent that it has become almost impossible for the people to vote their elected representatives out of office.

Over 80% of the American people support term limits.

I would support a two-term limit on Members of the House and a one term limit for members of the Senate.

Total Lobbying Spending

1998

$1.44 Billion

1999

$1.44 Billion

2000

$1.55 Billion

2001

$1.64 Billion

2002

$1.81 Billion

2003

$2.04 Billion

2004

$2.17 Billion

2005

$2.43 Billion

2006

$2.62 Billion

2007

$2.86 Billion

2008

$3.30 Billion

2009

$3.47 Billion

Number of Lobbyists*

1998

10,403

1999

12,950

2000

12,448

2001

11,755

2002

12,075

2003

12,838

2004

13,096

2005

14,030

2006

14,451

2007

14,826

2008

14,446

2009

13,740

As and until we as a society can figure a way to exclude the money that overwhelms the system we are doomed.

Nancy Regan popularized the foolishness of: "Just say no!"

We need to find a way to change the system, we need to "just say no" and following that we can: "throw the bums out."


We need Federally funded elections and term limits.

We need to do SOMETHING!

While it is not possible to justify my accepting lunches and tickets to ballgames yet I did not progress to larger transgressions and sadly I was never tested by being offered a "bribe" of any sort.

I would imagine that if you were to ask any member of congress if they were influenced by campaign contributions that they would vehemently deny it.

What follows is an excerpt from "Ya Got Trouble" from Music Man brilliantly performed by Robert Preston.

The first big step on the road
To the depths of deg-ra-Day--
I say, first, medicinal wine from a teaspoon,
Then beer from a bottle.
An' the next thing ya know,
Your son is playin' for money
In a pinch-back suit.
And list'nin to some big out-a-town Jasper
Hearin' him tell about horse-race gamblin'.
Not a wholesome trottin' race, no!
But a race where they set down right on the horse!
Like to see some stuck-up jockey'boy
Sittin' on Dan Patch? Make your blood boil?

Top 25 Candidates for 2010


Democrats
Republicans

Candidate
State
Money Raised

Harry Reid - Senate
NV
$7,536,975

Charles E Schumer - Senate
NV
$7,027,378

Steve Pagliuca - Senate
MA
$5,980,742

Kirsten Elizabeth Gillibrand - Senate
NY
$5,524,614

Arlen Specter - Senate
PA
$4,835,396

Blanche L Lincoln - Senate
AR
$4,204,568

Martha Coakley - Senate
MA
$4,174,703

Barbara Boxer - Senate
CA
$4,021,922

Kendrick B Meek - Senate
FL
$3,777,956

Michael F Bennet - Senate
CO
$3,661,630

Patty Murray - Senate
WA
$3,504,500

Michael E Capuano - Senate
MA
$3,358,361

Christopher J Dodd - Senate
CT
$3,168,576

Robin Carnahan - Senate
MO
$3,152,517

Byron L Dorgan - Senate
ND
$2,983,331

Alexander Giannoulias - Senate
IL
$2,951,048

Scott M Murphy - House (20th Dist)
NY
$2,852,485

Lee Irwin Fisher - Senate
OH
$2,569,297

Daniel K Inouye - Senate
HI
$2,463,817

Alan Khazei - Senate
MA
$2,305,120

Ronald Lee Wyden - Senate
OR
$2,226,038

Russell D Feingold - Senate
WI
$2,102,408

Evan Bayh - Senate
IN
$2,074,009

John William (Jack) Conway - Senate
KY
$2,003,382

Steny Hoyer - House (5th Dist)
MD
$1,847,187

Candidate
State
Money Raised

Charlie Crist - Senate
FL
$6,889,198

Rob Portman - Senate
OH
$6,231,323

John S Mccain - Senate
AZ
$4,219,011

Linda Mcmahon - Senate
CT
$3,501,684

Roy Blunt - Senate
MO
$3,307,807

David Vitter - Senate
LA
$3,234,235

Patrick Joseph Toomey - Senate
PA
$3,197,998

Richard Burr - Senate
NC
$3,086,246

Joe Wilson - House (2nd Dist)
SC
$2,978,319

Mark Steven Kirk - Senate
IL
$2,919,951

John Thune - Senate
SD
$2,853,270

Richard C Shelby - Senate
AL
$2,455,388

John Hardy Isakson - Senate
GA
$2,214,394

Eric Cantor - House (7th Dist)
VA
$2,157,676

Charles E Grassley - Senate
IA
$2,059,237

William Russell - House (12th Dist)
PA
$2,025,461

Todd Tiahrt - Senate
KS
$2,019,937

Douglas L Hoffman - House (23rd Dist)
NY
$1,811,919

James W Demint - Senate
SC
$1,793,780

Robert R Simmons - Senate
CT
$1,721,598

James Tedisco - House (20th Dist)
NY
$1,711,190

John A Boehner - House (8th Dist)
OH
$1,681,338

Robert F Bennett - Senate
UT
$1,639,421

Marco Rubio - Senate
FL
$1,615,201

Jerry Moran - Senate
KS
$1,434,999



Top 5 Contributors, 2005-2010, Campaign For Senator Reid
Contributor
Total
Indivs
PACs

MGM Mirage
$153,400
$143,400
$10,000

Weitz & Luxenberg
$88,800
$88,800
$0

Harrah's Entertainment
$81,600
$66,600
$15,000

Girardi & Keese
$76,400
$76,400
$0

Station Casinos
$71,200
$61,200
$10,000



Top 5 Industries, 2005-2010, Campaign Cmte
Industry
Total
Indivs
PACs

Lawyers/Law Firms
$2,114,664
$1,904,365
$210,299

Securities & Investment
$764,185
$634,385
$129,800

Casinos/Gambling
$605,700
$543,700
$62,000

Lobbyists
$515,400
$502,274
$13,126

Health Professionals
$511,625
$297,025
$214,600



Cycle Source of Funds, 2005-2010, Campaign Cmte only

Individual Contributions
$10,253,155
(68%)

PAC Contributions
$3,860,824
(26%)

Candidate self-financing
$0
(0%)

Other
$864,828
(6%)

Needless to say none of Reids contributors want or expect anything in return.

At one time Americans maintained that their systems of corporate governance and financial disclosure were models to be copied by the rest of the world. Not any longer.

In late 2001 policymakers and corporate leaders faced the largest corporate accounting scandals in American history. The collapses of Enron and WorldCom as well as the discovery of accounting irregularities at other large U.S. companies called into question the efficacy of the entire system of corporate governance in the United States. Our systems were and remain flawed.

Wall Street transgressions?


Sadly all of this is just part of the human condition which is not so great. Have a look at a real pro in action, President Richard Nixon.


"I made a lot of money. I made $250,000 from a book and the serial rights which many of you were good enough to purchase, also. In the practice of law--and I am not claiming...

I made a lot of money. I made $250,000 from a book and the serial rights which many of you were good enough to purchase, also. In the practice of law--and I am not claiming I was worth it, but apparently former Vice Presidents or Presidents are worth a great deal to law firms--and I did work pretty hard. But also in that period, I earned between $100,000 and $250,000 every year. So that when I, in 1968, decided to become a candidate for President, I decided to clean the decks and to put everything in real estate... that I welcome this kind of examination, because people have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I am not a crook. I have earned everything I have got."

Let us never FORGET THAT Nixon was absolutely a crook and that he was not the only one in Washington who was or is now a crook.

Sadly the system has allowed RPCs to get even BIGGER and they want things to be the way they want them to be.

Have another look at Disney, GE, News Corp and Viacom/CBS and tell me again that the RPCs do not run more then they should in our once proud country.