Politicians, thieves and those greedy pigs in between.

Greed01

It’s simple, easy and a mistake, to despise all politicians. In my experience, they’re actually like us and mostly decent people, and when push comes to shove, they’ll usually try to do their best for the people they’ve been elected to represent. To some extent or another, they all pursue power, which when you consider it, puts them in a situation most of us rarely find ourselves in.

Pretty much everyone in the circles they operate in is highly ambitious and also seeking power, so the only way forward is to do some horse trading with each other. Such necessary compromises make it all too easy to be cynical about politicians, but given the power thirsty dynamics of their peer group, there’s simply no other way if you want to get anything done. Politics, being the art of the possible, really does come down to doing the best for as many people as possible. The first lesson you learn in politics, is that you’ll only rarely get everything you wanted.

All politicians, without exception, are obliged to make compromises but the acid test of any politician’s integrity, is where they draw the line in terms of what is not up for negotiation. They never forget where it is and everyone who knows them is aware they’ll defend it to the last, because they’re what’s known as conviction politicians. Ronald Regan, Margaret Thatcher and Helmut Kohl, amongst a few others in the last century, would fall into that category. I can think of only two or three such people in modern politics, only one of whom is currently leading their party but conceivably the others might one day do the same.

At the other extreme, there are a few who don’t have any idea of where that line is, nor do they see that as a problem. They actually don’t have any line. Frankly, they’re in politics for nothing more than to accumulate power and most especially money, and to hell with those plebs who were stupid enough to vote for them.

They pad their expense claims. They take under the table cash payments from shadowy lobby groups to actively promote a particular cause. They arrange their slice of the take in companies they’re shilling for by appointing spouses or close family as board members or holders in name only of equity instruments and very much in the money stock options. If is all gets a bit too hot for them to operate any more or they decide they’ve had enough of politics, they’ll retire as non-executive directors onto the boards of their client companies.

It’s just outright theft and they’re nothing better than common thieves.

Unlike most thieves, they’re usually invulnerable to prosecution, because although their own party and the opposition have a pretty good idea of what they’re up to, blowing the whistle on them to outsiders is seen as being disloyal to your party by causing it reputational damage. The opposition know they’ve got similar thieves in their own ranks, so they are in no position to start throwing stones.

Nobody wants that kind of tit for tat war, because everyone would inevitably be a loser. Given such political protection, anyone going after them needs a high level of proof, which is never an easy thing to assemble, since everyone involved in the particular scam is not only powerful but also has good reason to keep their mouth shut.

Historically, what kept some sort of control over the excesses of such people was independent journalism, more specifically the investigative branch of it, but in any practical sense, that mechanism is no longer in place. The relationship between the latter-day barons of the sprawling media conglomerates and politicians is altogether too cosy. The untrammelled power of those barons nowadays would put William Randolph Hearst to shame

It doesn’t help the situation that around the world, the majority of most news organisation’s output has a distinct left-wing spin, which means half the politicians in the world have a guaranteed get out of jail free card with the denizens of the mainstream media. God help any right winger caught with his hand in the till or down the knickers of the wrong kiss and tell type.

The only time such thieves are brought to book is when they’ve become so arrogant at getting away with nearly anything, they go too far, even for the sickeningly compliant bend over and take it like a man harlots of the journalistic establishment. Putting in a parliamentary expense claim for having had the moat around your castle dredged is a prime example of such shameless piggery. Mainstream journalists might be obliged to suck by the powers that be, but just once in a while, even some of them refuse to swallow.

Increasingly, investigative journalists who want to break such stories, have to strike out into the veldt and establish an independent platform for themselves in the blogosphere, which is why in some countries such as Australia, what I call Finkelstein legislation is being proposed to regulate it. It’s basically an attempt at indirect control by a government through a pseudo regulatory body, whose membership they totally control, and after you strip away the tattered fig leaf, is government censorship in all but name. There’s not even a proposed right of appeal against its diktats.

It’s in such eminently reasonable ways, a free country, through indifference, allows itself to sleepwalk into a totalitarian state.

Any such measures are doomed to failure, since even if they were to be enacted and were even practicable, the blogosphere will simply retreat like an unaccountable guerrilla force into the Undernet, where absolutely no control on it could be exercised, never mind the self-control currently exercised by the more influential sections of it.

If that ever happens, free responsible journalistic comment would quickly be replaced by bald denouncement, anonymous accusation and unsubstantiated libel, and as all us grownups know, dirt like that has a habit of sticking. Winston Churchill said “a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” In this electronic information age and given the raw speed of internet rumour mongering, the truth might as well hit the snooze button and stay in bed, especially if the lie being disseminated is widely perceived as being subject to suppression by a government appointed body.

If you sow it, you will reap it.

Between the above two extremes of the political spectrum, most politicians are reasonable honest people, but there are exceptions. I’m thinking here of people who for instance chair influential committees in government and at the same time stand to make or are already making hundreds of thousands, depending on which way their committee decides to steer policy.

They’ve declared their financial interest and yet, despite what is obviously a massive conflict of interest, seem quite content to continue on in that vein. Curiously, nobody else in the political establishment is voicing any concerns publically. I suppose it’s one of those things honourable men do in the name of party loyalty, but at some point, they’re becoming culpable. Integrity, unlike virginity, you tend to lose degree by slow degree. It can slip away from you unnoticed, but if you haven’t had the wit to realised that, you’re already lost

People in politically influential positions who personally stand to gain financially, dependent on the direction policy takes, is quite simply unacceptable. Either resign from the post or liquidate all such deeply compromising financial interests. I find such behaviour to be morally repulsive and it should be a bigger cause for concern by their political parties. In the most basic way, it brings politics into disrepute.

The same classifications of people occur around the world, with nothing more than the local name or phrase for it changing. I’m thinking here specifically of what American cops call a criminal’s criminal and British bobbies an ODC, which is an acronym for ordinary decent criminal. The criminals tend to use the same terms. It denotes someone who is a career criminal but doesn’t prey on the defenceless. To stay in those two respective vernaculars, they’re neither skels nor scumbags, who’re the bottom feeders of the criminal world.

Thieving rather than violence is their way of life. They do things like take down banks or businesses, rather than murderous house invasions for small change. They may be thieves and bad guys, but they do have some basic sense of decency, which means they refuse to share prison space with the likes of child murderers or kid molesters. Even in hell, there’s a pecking order, as John Milton observed.

I may not like the out-and-out thieves in government, but at worst I consider them to be just another type of ODC. At least the dirty money they’re getting their hands on is coming from business interests, who can well afford it.

It’s the ones actively involved in setting policy, and who are benefitting massively from it financially, that I reserve my complete contempt for. They’re actually somewhere beneath contempt, if such a thing is possible. In the UK, it’s estimated by various charities that there were between three to five thousand extra deaths from cold related causes last March. A goodly proportion of those deaths can be directly attributed to the poor and elderly, who can no longer afford to heat their homes, because of green taxes lumped onto their heating bills to subsidise the renewables gravy train.

For them, March was heat or eat, fuel or food decision time, with the inevitable tragic result. In brutal environmental conditions, it’s always the very young and the very old who die first, because they’ve got no reserves. Such money earned in such a fashion has blood all over it, and it’s the blood of our most vulnerable and defenceless citizens. The poor are being stripped of what little money they have, to make the already rich even richer, and the swine don’t give a damn about the misery and death caused by that.

Protected by both a yellow cloak of political protectiveness and a Teflon cloak of green righteousness, they’re above criticism but to my mind, those greedy pigs are no better than vicious muggers, beating an elderly pensioner to death in the street for her pennies.

©Pointman

Related articles by Pointman:

How policies get dropped and positions reversed.

Just how far are you prepared to go to feel good about yourself?

The death of journalism and the irresistible rise of the blogosphere.

The decline of the environmental lobby’s political influence.

Well, at least one of the bastards is behind bars.

Click for a list of other articles.

Comments
18 Responses to “Politicians, thieves and those greedy pigs in between.”
  1. Rick Bradford says:

    The out-and-out thieves and bandits are bad enough, but the truly stupid are worse. Bandits make money while causing others to lose it, but:

    “A stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses.”

    Bandit politicians merely redistribute wealth to their own advantage; stupid ones cause society overall to lose money, and hence the The Fifth Basic Law of Human Stupidity states that:

    A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person. (therefore) A stupid person is more dangerous than a bandit.

    http://cantrip.org/stupidity.html

  2. Blackswan says:

    Pointman,

    As ever, you’ve distilled and encapsulated what modern politics is all about. Shameful isn’t it? On the other hand, patronage and ‘indulgence’ have been the stuff of political life since men first gathered their bondsmen around them for protection and to wield power in their tribes.

    Perhaps it’s only we in the predominantly Christian West who have been deluded into thinking that ‘right was might’ and Man was inherently noble in pursuit of the greater good. Other cultures in other lands are not usually so squeamish about the dominant classes asserting their control over the peons from whom that wealth is gleaned.

    The theory of a representative democracy ticks all the boxes for an ordered society administered for the greater good, but the reality is a horse of a completely different colour. In fact it’s a Trojan horse, so crippled and deformed by such corrosive corruption that we can only wonder when our system of government will finally implode altogether.

    I don’t believe this to be an accident of ‘unintended consequences’.

    You’re right about a complicit and compliant Media grabbing their ankles when financial and ideological pressure is brought to bear – thus the populace goes on about their daily lives, muttering darkly as their budget shrinks and bills increase but still feeling powerless to change the status quo. Periodic elections create the illusion that the citizenry has a measure of redress, but it’s a chimera and usually changes little.

    In Australia, the Federal election scheduled for September will hopefully see the Socialist/Marxist Labor Party annihilated, but it remains to be seen whether the Opposition leader will rescind our Carbon Tax legislation and pursue the billions of dollars so far tossed about on insane Green schemes that have delivered nothing but massive sovereign debt our grandchildren will be repaying.

    Is the glass half full or half empty? Neither. We simply need a smaller glass, to be filled with optimism and enterprise. A renewed belief that hard work and its just rewards will feed and raise our families in prosperity, without every carpetbagging parasite in creation picking our bones clean.

    Oh well, it costs nothing to dream …..

  3. Graeme No.3 says:

    Well said, Pointman.
    At least in the eighteenth Century various corrupt politicians were subject to a vigorous press, especially after Wilkes. Nowadays the Press seems to be manned (and not to be accused of sexism) and woman’d by either ex-political staff members or those hoping to be one. It blunts their critical facilities.

    The other problem with these corrupt individuals is shown by the behaviour of the black rat (Rattus rattus) when the ship shows signs of sinking. No disrespect to the rats, but they are easily outmatched for cunning and greed.

    • Blackswan says:

      Graeme 3 – seems the greed of our particular breed of rattus knows no bounds, right across the spectrum.

      “The major parties have united to increase secrecy around the running of Federal Parliament, with a new law set to prevent revelations about some perks enjoyed by politicians.

      Three departments that oversee Parliament – with an annual budget of $170 million – will be given a blanket exemption from freedom-of-information laws.”

      http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/secrecy-law-veils-mp-perks-20130531-2nhi2.html#ixzz2Utm3Id00

      With a House Speaker forced to step down and then resign after being under criminal investigation and charged over his “expenses” claims, it seems our collective rats are caulking the seams in our leaky Ship of State.

      The Speaker has offered no explanation for his taxpayer-funded “Parliamentary business” that regularly took him curb-crawling through the red light districts of Sydney in the wee small hours of the morning. This only came to light under Freedom of Information by a media organisation and now this door to accountability has been slammed shut in our faces.

      They are ALL unmitigated bastards without a single redeeming feature between them. If they aren’t perpetrators then they are all participating in the cover-up, which is even worse.

      • Graeme No.3 says:

        Only a $170 million a year? That’s less than a million a head. ($750,000) Obviously, the cost of advisors, hangers on, etc. aren’t included.

        I don’t suppose that it would do any good offering them $750,000 a year just to stay home, there are obviously other perks we haven’t been told about (plus the delusion that they’re wanted).

  4. thojak says:

    As usual; Spot on, Pointman!🙂

    As a minor(?) addendum to the list of ‘good’ politicians, or statesmen rather, I’d propose Helmut Schmidt, former chancellor of [at times] West-Germany and this although he was a social-democrat ! I lived in Hamburg at the time when the ‘cold war’ was really hot, the Russians deployed SS-20 missiles (mobile) in the DDR and the major query was, whether ‘anti-SS-20’s’ were to be deployed in W-G. The S-party was totally opposite to that, but one person; Helmut S and his argumentation for the deployment was brilliant, thus they were deployed… He totally ran over all of the ‘lefties’ in his party, more accurate he totally flattened ’em. N.B., at that time, the Soc-Dem of Germany was approx. in line, ideologically, with todays US Republicans. He was and still is a truly great man, a Statesman!

    I’m of the impression, that in order to ‘climb the ladder’ in politics, a fundamental pre-requisite is compulsory, namely a total spine-less personality, maybe rather a ‘rubber-type’ one – if at all. Look at the clowns of your Juliar G., UK’s Cameron, our Reinfeld, France’ Hollande, Merkel of Germany and many more. And above all the master-un-decent criminals/clowns of the EUSSR with Barroso, van Rumpuy and Schmidt at the bridge of the modern time Titanic, running at full speed towards the biggest iceberg ever.
    Maybe they’ve listend to Connie Hedegaard who told ’em there’s no danger as the iceberg will be melted before the ‘vessel’ reach the point of clash…😉 /sarc…

    As far as I know, Sweden is the only EUSSR-member who has constitutionilised (?) its membership in(on) the Titanic and this without any form of a sign of referendum… Sweden is also one of very few countries in the world lacking a constitutional court of justice – even Zimbabwe has one… Go figure!
    The outcome can only be one, although it might yet take some time, namely the implosion of the whole scam, and it’ll most probably start with the downfall/crash of the Euro. One doesn’t have to be a ‘rocket scientist’ for noticing this, all there need to be is the fact, that all fish rotten from the head and down…

    Brgds from Sweden
    //TJ

  5. Let me add one more element to your seriatim of contemp. Beneath the worst of the politicians, the most venal and ideological of them, beneath the least principled, below the least caring, the most ambitious, and the most disgusting…. are the vast numbers of us who continue to permit it.

  6. handive says:

    In Australia, it’s business as usual for our politicians, as they claim they are for transparent government:

    “The major parties have united to increase secrecy around the running of Federal Parliament, with a new law set to prevent revelations about some perks enjoyed by politicians.”

    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/secrecy-law-veils-mp-perks-20130531-2nhi2.html

  7. Pointman says:

    Now three Lords caught in ‘cash for access’ sting: Ex Labour minister Jack Cunningham ‘wanted £144,000 for lobbying’ as two other peers are linked to fake solar energy firm

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2334558/Now-Lords-caught-cash-access-sting-Ex-Labour-minister-Jack-Cunningham-wanted-144-000-lobbying-peers-linked-fake-solar-energy-firm.html

    Isn’t it strange how people already rich can be so greedy?

    Pointman

  8. grumpydenier says:

    The thing that really bugs me, amongst everything else that bugs me, is why we have moved away from concept of punishment for wrong-doing?

    If these people know that should they get caught the worst that’s going to happen is a temporary drop in wages, ie no MPs salary, where is the incentive to stay on the right side of that line?

    If you are a law maker and you break a law then surely it would be reasonable that, at the very least, you should lose some, if not all, of the benefits you might have expected if you’d remained honest?

    Instant removal from Westminster; loss of pensions rights; no severance pay.

    I could go on but I don’t wish to appear grumpy.

  9. alex says:

    Great dissertation pointman. We need to take the MSM back from the commies who had seen their mothership sink in the late eightees and like rattus rattus abandoned that ship, swam to shore and became ‘journalists’ and educators taking over the media and our universities..
    Like every evel, this will one fine day also implode. The question is: At what human sacrifice.

  10. Bob H says:

    “Winston Churchill said “a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” ”
    He came out with a lot of memorable quotes, but it is very common for him to be attributed with many more. In this case, he was quoting Mark Twain if he said this! I’ve just written this without checking, so I am risking the internet law that every correction comment contains a mistake. Oh, it was boots not pants. I’m not a pedant, honest…

  11. TinyCO2 says:

    AGW is a particularly knotty issue when it comes to politicians and lobbying – because most in parliament, their flunkies and even their opponents believe in catastrophic CO2, so the rules are blurred. They don’t see benefiting from doing the ‘right’ thing as wrong. It’s not like being caught doing a deal with an oil company.

    Reactions to international aid are tied up in action on CO2. MPs have grown to like the feelings of being philanthropists as they sign away our money. Mistakes are forgiven because ‘the heart’s in the right place’. They see cutting CO2 as the ultimate gift to the World. Even questioning it is tantamount to wanting brown babies to die of thirst and polar bears to drown.

    In that world the road to sainthood is paved with good intentions and sod those who actually want stuff to help.

  12. adminmaia says:

    “..they’re actually like us and mostly decent people, and when push comes to shove, they’ll usually try to do their best for the people they’ve been elected to represent. ”

    i do not agree. They are not like us. And they are not “decent” people, to use your description. And its definitely not “doing their BEST for the people they’ve been elected to represent.” I doubt that congressmen creating projects not within their district means “elected to represent.”

    What I’ve checked so far:
    1. Selected a few congressmen (questionable).
    2. Checked the details of their projects for 2007 to 2009 in the DBM website.
    3. Based on the nature of the project, searched the net for news on the project:
    – local government website news on details of the project timeline, cost, stakeholders…
    – implementing NGO and its experience, technical consultants involved, strategy for implementation, solution outline in the said project…
    – involvement of the congressman in question like ribbon cutting, who were invited, articles written in the congressman’s website…
    – post implementation or comments of the stakeholders months after the implementation (did it address the problem?)
    – news of the government agency directly/indirectly related with the project (dpwh for infrastructure, dept of agri for fertilzer….)

    Analysis:
    1. Some projects have details on the implementation. Most are vague in the description of even the solution approach (high level scope of work, timeline, deliverables).
    2. Inconsistent news on the output of the project. Congressmen and staff saying it was a success but mostly stakeholders provide negative feedback (this is post implementation). This is for projects that have details.

    Conclusion:
    The congressmen do not understand the essence of the project and the stakeholders and sponsors plight. I do not see any sincere involvement. Nor do I see any follow up or even details of the implementation. It is clear however that there are disbursements from DBM, but sadly, I am sure these are failed projects (if they are really real projects in the first place).

    I would agree with you if you would have said that these congressmen are INCOMPETENT. Probably they do not understand the projects at all. But my little research proves that there is little or no serious effort to create projects with real benefit. Since this is repetitive, then there is the motivation of malice. And therefore this amounts to clear terms of corruption. My simpleminded definition therefore of decency does not fall in their direction.

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