by Philip Giraldi,
March 01, 2012
Antiwar.com

I have long nurtured this thoroughly depressing conviction that the United States, far from being a shining city on the hill, has become one of the most corrupt of nations. Why does America have more lawyers than the rest of the world combined? It is because the corruption has been institutionalized at every level of political life and is protected by laws and procedures created precisely to enable elites to maintain dominance over the rest of us. I appreciate that my viewpoint may be regarded as somewhat simplistic as I am neither a judge nor a lawyer, and I do concede that many of those in the legal profession are both honest and dedicated to the Constitution. Still, the bad taste of the past 11 years continues to remind me that there is something seriously wrong with how our political system and rule of law operate.

Take, for example, the issues of lobbying and political contributions. Lobbying, which essentially consists of advocacy on behalf of groups that promote their own interests at others’ expense, is legal and even encouraged at the federal, state, and local levels in the United States. It distorts the perception of the public interest and lines the pockets of both the lobbyists and those who possess the resources to commission the lobbying. The politicians who are corrupted are frequently rewarded after their terms of office expire. Lobbying rarely serves the people of the United States, and in many parts of the world it would be regarded as what it in fact is — a particularly pervasive form of political corruption.

And then there is the corruption of the system caused by the perceived need by politician-aspirants to raise vast sums of money to get nominated and elected to office. Once in office, the politicians reward their financial supporters, awarding ambassadorships at the top end, providing patronage-level government jobs lower down the food chain, and relying on earmarks to generate returns in a more direct fashion. Does anyone seriously think the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson’s funding of Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich with tens of millions of dollars is disinterested? Adelson is a passionate Israel-firster, so much so that he has said he is ashamed of having served in the U.S. Army and would prefer to have the Israeli Defense Forces on his resumé. Gingrich is his man because Adelson perceives that Newt will do Israel’s bidding in the Middle East. It is as simple as that. Rick Santorum is likewise largely funded by multi-millionaire Foster Friess, who recently described the best method of birth control as an aspirin placed between a woman’s knees. He will no doubt cash in his markers if the nomination and electoral process are successful for his candidate.

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