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One country, two standards

Guest Column

 


Recently, national news pundits have been making a case that some of us are angry, disenchanted with the political “establishment” that governs America, and that we are willing to vote for an “outsider.” Why would anyone be disenchanted? Let me cite some reasons.

Two classes of citizens are evolving in the United States, one subject to law and one not. A low- ranking soldier released a batch of classified documents without authorization to do so. He is serving 35 years in a federal prison. A four-star general gave classified documents to his mistress, who was writing a flattering biography of him. He was charged with a misdemeanor and remains a power player in the establishment. Former Secretary of State Clinton transmitted Top Secret documents on a personal computer and has not been charged. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has been accused by members of Congress of lying to Congress while under oath, obstructing justice, and giving false testimony. No charges for Clapper.

When the economic recession occurred in 2008, the establishment rushed to bail out the wealthy Wall Street banks and imposed no penalties. But the ordinary citizens who lost their homes and jobs were left to suffer on their own. That sends a message.

Carrier Air Conditioning Company just announced that they are moving their jobs to Mexico. Millions of jobs have been moved from the United States to low- wage countries. When that happens, a few establishment owners and executives become a lot wealthier because stock values and profit margins increase, but former employees suffer, communities suffer, tax revenues decline, and America is diminished. Some corporations are also holding their profits in off-shore banks to avoid U.S. taxes, a privilege not available to most citizens.

When the Trade Towers and the Pentagon were struck, the government responded, massively, and that was entirely appropriate. But where was the establishment when Hurricane Katrina devastated the poorest section of New Orleans? The response was so deficient that Israel sent supplies and a rescue and relief operation!

Historically, a contract between two parties had to be negotiated with each party having an opportunity to participate in the development of the terms of the contract. A contract where the terms were specified by only one party was not valid. That has changed. Now, establishment businesses impose terms. I get periodic messages from my bank saying, “This is our new agreement.” Hardly, since I had nothing to do with it. If you do business on the Internet, you will be required to agree to the imposed “terms and conditions,” or else you won’t be able to obtain service. Many contracts require that citizens forfeit their right to legal redress by agreeing to settle any disagreement by arbitration. Guess who those arbitrated settlements favor.

The U.S. government, frequently operating through favored private contractors, collects every phone and Internet communication we make. But that same government and its thousands of contractors wrap themselves in Top Secret documents, often leaving their activities beyond accountability. The words “national security” have become a sacred shield that protects a few legitimate things and a lot of scoundrels.

The Wall Street-Washington axis is worried. They desperately want a president, any president, from either political party who owes his or her loyalty to the establishment.

If ordinary citizens are concerned by the behavior of our country’s entrenched and self-serving establishment, it is not without reason.

Let the voting begin.

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