Who Can Drive the Snakes Out?

In her book, “Too Good To Be True: The Rise and Fall of Bernie Madoff,”  Erin Arvedlund wrote, “Overnight, America came to know Bernard Madoff as a man living a life of luxury and deception … with other people’s money.”

If that’s a crime, we’re going to need a big, big caravan of buses to transport the politicians from the White House and the Hill, and their lobbyist and union leader cronies, to prison. Given that the government is beyond broke, we ought to save money and skip the trials.

They are all engaged in deception, beginning with daring to call themselves our representatives. To the contrary, they openly defy us, drip disdain for us.

To be specific, doesn’t the phrase “living a life of luxury and deception with other people’s money” neatly fit Charlie Rangel? The reason he’s so puzzled and angry about being shoved aside without allies and friends is that he knows full well he didn’t do anything out of the ordinary. The normal and customary (in his view) perks of his power are not at all unique to him. The reason he is being eased out, to hopefully go quietly and soon be forgotten by the public, is that the spotlight of scrutiny and possible prosecution might reveal so many others’ larceny – petty or substantial.

Of course, Rangel probably won’t leave Washington when he leaves Congress. After a brief vacation, he’ll either get a gig in the Obama Administration – as was tried with mega-insider Tom Daschle, or he’ll join all the other lobbyists bringing bags of money in through the back door, skimmed from corporate shareholders, prices paid by consumers for goods and services, and, in nifty closed loop, from federal funds and subsidies. A pile of TARP money, bail-out money, stimulus money has boomeranged right back to the halls of power through this back door. The entire place is a cesspool stinking of corruption, and avoiding the contamination seems nearly impossible. We have wound up with entrenched royalty serving itself, which makes the use of the term “Tea Party” so appropriate. But we need throw something other than tea into the Potomac.

The last thing we should do is hand over another sixth of the economy to this bunch of criminals. They have no moral right or practical ability to reform health insurance, health care or anything else until they reform themselves. This is what we should insist on. This is what the media should relentlessly focus on, were it to actually serve the nation.

I am Irish, and it’s St. Patrick’s Day. The day’s meaning lost to most; commemoration of  that guy who drove the snakes out of Ireland. How badly we need somebody to drive all the snakes out of Washington – and out of our wallets.

It would have to be a saint. It’s a practical impossibility for that to be a regular person. Even if we had president who intended it (which this one most obviously does not) he couldn’t. He would be stymied. I suppose it’s possible for a movement to make it happen, but the two party system and the impossibility of a viable third party has been carefully constructed as impenetrable fortress.

Who, then?  Were the mainstream media to accept the role of exposing corruption to such extent, with the same day-to-day relentlessness as was once directed at the Nixon Administration, they could save us. They did bring down a presidency. They could produce real revolution. Regrettably, they’ve become more cooperating conspirators than they are objective, investigative force. At the moment, the only media figure as relentless at exposing the pervasive corruption and deception in Washington as Walter Cronkite was at exposing the futility of the Viet Nam War is Glenn Beck – and even if you are Glenn’s #1 fan, you have to admit he lacks the gravitas, broad public trust and influence of Cronkite. It will take more than Mr. Beck.

We need the mainstream media to lead a revolution. Gee, that’s not a good thing, is it?

Dan Kennedy is a serial entrepreneur, adviser to business owners, sought-after speaker and author of 13 books. More information about Dan can be found at www.NoBSBooks.com, and a free collection of his business resources including newsletters and webinars at www.DanKennedy.com.<?xml:namespace prefix = u1 />

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