We will be having an election in another nine days or so. Here in Pennsylvania some on the UN election observer team for other countries have opined that it is almost harder in Pennsylvania to get free and fair elections than almost anywhere else in the world.
For the last forty years we have had representation by a father and son dynasty similar to the divine right of kings. Some people refer to the father Bud Shuster and his son Bill as Bud and Bud lite. When you understand how political machines work you realize Papa Doc and Baby Doc, in reference to the infamous father and son dictators, the Duvaliers of Haiti, is much more appropriate.
The corporate propaganda networks love to try to dupe us in the unwashed masses into believing it is all about political ideas and moral values. Unless greed, graft and corruption have suddenly become strengths of character, that is decidedly not true.
You can’t collect the 1.3 million dollars that Congressman Shuster has collected in his campaign war chest and really keep ethical or moral integrity. What you do is tell yourself that the corruption and the auction of your representation to the highest bidder is okay because it gets things done. Shuster may have an R after his name but he really represents only the party of big money and that Chairmanship of the House Transportation Committee is the plum that will give Shuster the keys to one giant pork barrel of largesse to dole out to all those of either political party willing to sell themselves out.
This is what Citizens United really let out of the bottle when our morally challenged Supreme Court decided free speech was money. It made corporations people but also legalized graft, bribery, and corruption on a scale even Boss Tweed and Tamany Hall couldn’t have imagined.
Enter the leaders of the Fayette County Democratic Party. Here in Fayette County you need to be invited to be a Democrat as Democratic Congressional candidate Karen Ramsburg found out the other night (10/24/12) when the local party had their dinner that in every other part of the district is open to anyone who wants to attend.
Here whether by intent or not the local Democratic Party leaders seem eager to make Republican Congressman Bill Shuster the Democratic leadership nominee for Congress and have worked diligently to deny Fayette County Dems the right to hear Ms. Ramsburg and decide for themself about her candidacy. But then this is about working with Shuster to bring pork back to Fayette along with the political power to control how the gravy train gets dished out. Just like Don Corleone in the God Father, “it isn’t personal its just business.”
Almost everywhere you look in Pennsylvania new roads need to be built, old ones repaved, bridges need to be repaired, and other infrastructure projects need to be completed. Congressman Shuster as Transportation Committe chairman would have the keys to one large portion of the federal bank vault, thus the bait for Democrats to cut the Faustian bargain with a sitting Republican Congressman while sabotaging your own party candidate.
It isn’t the pork that is the real problem here it how and who gets the no bid contracts and giving the most lucretive ones to campaign supporters on a no bid basis in a subtle form of welfare for the rich that is what is totally wrong and broken in this system. That is also what graft and bribery are all about not to mention helpful deregulation of things like coal mine safety and environmental regulations for hydro-fracking and mountain top coal removal. The new motto of America for the last thirty years has been profits before people. Working people don’t matter in this mad dash for the cash. We are all just powerless pawns in one giant Monopoly game.
Ms. Ramsburg’s only real crime may be her stepping on the planned gravy train thus the silent but absolutely intentional sabotage of the candidate by the leaders in Fayette County from her own party. She has waged a pretty gutsy campaign with no money really, while Shuster spends as much on corporate fund raising consultancy in one month as Ramsburg has spent on an entire campaign so far.
Ramsburg’s campaign announcement speech says it best when she says,”America needs to open it eyes to our coin operated political system.” In this system party loyalties don’t matter. The vote has been taken by corporate check book and middle class America didn’t win. We might ask when will it be time to Rage Against the Machine and for all of us to throw off the corporate monetary yoke and restore our inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?