Monday, February 20, 2017

Drain the Swamp

Leviathan – a thing that is very large.
Our government has become a leviathan; large, unwieldy, and wholly out of the control of the people it was designed to serve. It is partly the fault of we the people; as we look to the government to solve all of our problems where once we fended for ourselves. The other part of the problem is the self-serving nature of the people we have selected to represent us who have in turn chosen to represent and benefit only themselves. Two new books take on different sides of the same issue and offer a glimpse inside the beast and at some potential solutions.

Clean House: Exposing Our Government’s Secrets and Lies – Tom Fitton (Threshold Editions)

For nearly 20 years Tom Fitton has been at the helm of the government watchdog group Judicial Watch, easily one of the most successful and effective organizations with that charge. Fitton uses laser like focus as he recaps a wide array of cases and challenges that Judicial Watch has brought to bear on the Obama administration and it’s minions over their eight years in office.

Wielding the power of the legal brief, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the power of the judiciary branch, Fitton and company have almost singlehandedly unraveled the secret, hidden dealings of the Obama administration in the process they pried lose documents regarding; Benghazi, Obamacare, the IRS targeting conservative groups and perhaps most importantly Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

Judicial Watch is responsible for digging out a veritable treasure trove of smoking guns that Congressional investigator and the mainstream media either missed or flat out refused to even look for. Fitton makes the straight forward case that that corruption was a way of life in the Obama White House.

Nation on the Take: How Big Money Corrupts Our Democracy and What We Can Do About It – Wendell Potter and Nick Penniman – (Bloomsbury)

The old cliché is you “can’t judge a book by the cover” but full disclosure I will admit that I didn’t quite know what to expect when I delved into Nation on the Take: How Big Money Corrupts Our Democracy and What We Can Do About It by Wendell Potter and Nick Penniman. Given the pair’s bonafides which include the Huffington Post and something called the Center for Media and Democracy, along with the mention of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision I half expected a rambling liberal screed.

What I got was a cogent and detailed overview of how both sides of the aisle have let down the American people and almost without exception enriched themselves on the backs of us all. They focus on what they describe as the marriage of great wealth and greater power that leaves the country in the dust. While I agree with the high court’s decision in Citizens United and I think people should and do have the right to participate in the process of political campaigns, I have also witnessed the ridiculous power that has been accumulated by lobbying groups and organizations that defy not only the American public, but often common sense.

Potter and Penniman lay out the issues and in turn offer their suggestions for solutions to the problem. While they should be lauded for their efforts, I think that in many instances they fall a bit short of the mark of delivering on workable fixes. Nation on the Take is certainly a great starting point synopsis of the issues we face and acknowledging the problem is the starting point of finding a solution.

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