Bought and paid for: Best politicians money can buy maybe an old joke but it is becoming closer and closer to the norm in today’s United States.

     I was once asked by a taxi driver in Bogota how the U.K. managed to have a political system that was not subject to corruption on the same level as Colombia. My reply was that, in my experience, all politicians, everywhere, steal. The only difference between countries is the percentage they steal. I might have added another caveat that some politicians in some countries are more subtle about their thieving ways than others in other countries.

     However, politicians in the United States have taken this common trait to a whole new level. They not only steal, they are bought and paid for by special interest groups to the point that they ignore public opinion in their legislative agendas. Bought and paid for.

     The most current example of this is the control of legislators by the gun lobby – the National Rifle Association and the U.S. gun manufacturers.

     Eighty-five percent (85%) of the U.S. population are in favor of some form of gun control and, amazingly, seventy-seven per cent (77%) of Republicans are also in favor of some form of gun control. Yet no significant gun control legislation appears to be forthcoming at any legislative level. Even impassioned pleas from individuals, including the U.S. Vice President, after the killing of 19 elementary school children and two teachers in Texas this week, are almost certain to fall on deaf political ears. BOUGHT AND PAID FOR!

     Last year I reported on the case of a long-time state consultant in Texas who was presented with her new annual contract, which now included a clause that she must confirm that she would not, in any way, criticize or boycott anything to do with Israel. She refused, and was summarily fired. Politicians who were bought and paid for by the Jewish lobby passed that new clause for all state contractors. Bought and paid for.

     Why am I bringing this up now, and in this context?

     Texas has just introduced a new State law that requires companies operating in Texas to state, in writing, that they don’t discriminate against the gun industry. If they don’t do this, they will risk losing lucrative business with the State. This Texas law is the first of its kind in the nation, but similar ones are working their way through other state legislatures. Even JP Morgan Chase, which several years ago distanced itself from gun makers, has bowed to this new law in Texas. A letter from their lawyers stated that the bank’s policy “does not discriminate against or prevent” it from doing business “with any firearm entity or firearm trade association, based solely on its status as a firearm entity or firearm trade association”. Why would they do that, you may ask? Bought and paid for.

     Texas has an annual borrowing capacity of $50 billion, which generated, last year, $315 million in fees for financial firms. Surprise, surprise, JP Morgan Chase’s lawyers wrote that letter.

     This U.S. level of corruption dwarfs corruption in most other countries. It is particularly hypocritical because it occurs in a country that takes a “holier than thou” attitude to virtually all other nations.

     However, money aside, when it reaches the point of being a fundamental detriment to society – killing 19 young children without a positive reaction towards gun control from politicians – then the flaws it reveals in the American democratic experiment could well be fatal.

     My suggestions are: Boycott any company that deals with the gun lobby is the call. Seventy to eighty per cent (70-80%) of us want change in this direction. Do your homework, and change banks, for example. Vote out of office those damn politicians who do not respect the will of the people. We are supposed to be a democracy, let’s start acting like one.


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