•    American Politics at Toxic Levels   

    Scales of Balanced Justice

    Abstract: Can America survive unrelenting toxic doses of insider politics indefinitely? The goose-step march of corporate, political and religious fanaticism = The New War Front.

              In considering whether American Politics is at Toxic Levels we are forced to examine the term “politics” in an effort to build a consensus as to what it means.

    A dictionary definition is a good starting point, but it is ONLY a starting point for ascertaining a shared meaning.

    Websters: “3 a: political affairs or business; especially : competition between competing interest groups or individuals for power and leadership (as in a government) b : political life especially as a principal activity or profession c : political activities characterized by artful and often dishonest practices 4 : the political opinions or sympathies of a person 5 a : the total complex of relations between people living in society b : relations or conduct in a particular area of experience especially as seen or dealt with from a political point of view <office politics> <ethnic politics>

    The problem with just about every definition one can find for the term “politics” is that they all seem to have something basic missing, although it is extremely difficult to pinpoint exactly what that missing element is. The term is highly elusive and illusive.

    I have honed in on the fact that politics has an in-built prejudice that always trumps the merit-based system for evaluating a person, a person’s performance, or for evaluating anything. And it is that stealth prejudice that poisons “politics” for almost everyone who ever talks about it. It also poisons its victims. So in the workplace environment, for example, John Brownnose will advance far more rapidly than Joe Genius, who is more intelligent, more productive, twice as knowledgeable and who is infinitely more experienced, merely because inner-office politics trumps any merit-based system for assessment and advancement.

    The bottom line? Politics is inherently dishonest. And it is not just unfair, it is counterproductive. Politics is the antonym for ‘efficacious.’ It is, by definition and operation, dishonest in a society that prides itself as being a ‘meritocracy.”

    The Importance of a Meritocracy

    The importance of a meritocracy to any business or government entity or employer is painfully obvious, if the objective is attaining greater efficiency, productivity, creativity, profitability, quality and reputation for quality. The relevance and usefulness of ‘politics’ on the other hand, is not at all clear. I have honed in on the only benefit and function I can find for politics, and it presents an ugly picture.

    I submit that the sole function of ‘politics’ is to catapult those with inferior skills, inferior intelligence, inferior motivation, inferior work ethic, inferior creativity, inferior productivity . . . ahead of those who do possess those valuable traits. The concept of ‘politics’ was invented by those with inferior qualities (an inferior product), to enable them to ‘compete’ in the marketplace even though their product offering is inferior and uncompetitive. It keeps them ‘in the ballgame’ when they would otherwise be driven to extinction, in the Darwinian model of capitalism driven by the “Survival of the Fittest” operating market forces.

    Hence, “politically well-connected” Wall Street thugs and incompetents are kept in the ballgame with government\taxpayer bailouts, instead of biting the dust as would (and should) happen in a merit-based society. It is politics that is called upon to keep a dangerous, defective, harmful product in the marketplace when it should be removed. It is politics that is called upon to keep a dishonest, incompetent, corrupt doctor, lawyer, businessman or politician ‘in the ballgame’ when they should be removed. At some point it should become clear that Darwinian economic deaths are vital to the health of this society and its economy. It’s like a self-cleaning oven.

    But, where politics prevails, we end up promoting the laziest, the dumbest, the most unproductive, most corrupt, most dishonest and inefficient, over the geniuses of the World — the experienced, the most knowledgeable, the most productive, the most intelligent, the most honest and the most efficient, merely because ‘the laziest’ happens to be politically well-connected and well-liked by people in high places, or because s\he happens to be related to a person in high places (nepotism). In law schools around the U.S. the axiom for finding a good job after graduation is disheartening: “It’s not ‘what’ you know, but ‘who’ you know that counts.” The skills, legal acumen, and common-sense quotients are largely expendable commodities.

    Governments, businesses and employers caught-up in these political forces (most are) end up providing inferior, invariably downright defective, products and services, while we the electorate and consumer victims, find ourselves perpetually baffled as to how such a grotesquely dangerous, defective, incompetent, harmful, irresponsible result could possible have passed ‘Quality Control’ and been allowed to occur.

    And that is what we are now discovering was the case behind the catastrophic BP Gulf Oil Spill disaster. The most competent, most experienced and most skilled and informed BP engineers were ignored and muzzled, so that the politics of profits and government regulator influence-peddling could carve out a shortcut detour around the more costly safety protocols and requirements which, unlike BP, had put ‘safety’ above profits.

    Essentially this same scenario of “the politics of incompetence” prevailing over “wisdom, intelligence and knowledge” was determined to be the most significant causal factor in both the Columbia and Challenger Shuttle disasters. In both cases tumid NASA managerial ‘politics’ utterly ignored, brushed aside, grave safety concerns expressed by highly experienced, knowledgeable expert engineers who accurately foresaw the disasters unfolding as they did.

    In the Columbia disaster NASA management failed to recognize the relevance of engineering concerns for safety, failed to honor engineer requests for imaging to inspect possible left-wing damage, and failed to respond to engineer requests about the status of astronaut inspection of the left wing. In the Challenger disaster NASA managers knew that the O-rings contained a potentially catastrophic flaw, yet they failed to squarely acknowledge it, while proceeding to disregarded grave warnings from engineers about the O-ring dangers of launching posed by the very low temperatures the morning of launch and they failed to adequately report these technical concerns to their superiors as part of the decision-making process. The “politics of misfits prevailing over intelligence, knowledge and expertise,” alone, produced these horrific, unnecessary tragedies.

    Most people would have no difficulty concluding that American Politics has reached Toxic Levels, once they start counting up the dead bodies of the victims.

    The issue of whether American politics has reached toxic levels forms the basis for this topic category entitled “American Politics at Toxic Levels.” Included in this topic is the next logical question, “Can America long-endure this constant, unmitigated, prolonged exposure to the toxins produced by politics?” And included in this topic is the next question in the logical sequence, “What can be done to remedy this carcinogenic environmental condition?” This last question is, by far, the most difficult question of all . . . and the most frightening to have to contemplate.

    As with all of the topics at the Reflecting Pool Discourse blog site, this topic is open for discussion and your participation by way of Comments on the articles posted is invited and encouraged. At this point in time, no membership, registration or log-in is required to post a Comment.


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  •    Judicial Politics Adds To BP Oil Sleaze   

    Scales of a Balanced Justice

    On June 22, 2010, “U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman, a 1983 appointee of President Ronald Reagan, overturned the Obama Administration’s Moratorium on Deep-Water Drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. (1)    The Louisiana judge has several Energy Holdings and has reported extensive investments in the oil and gas industry, according to financial disclosure reports. (2).    According to CBS “Feldman’s 2008 financial disclosure report – the most recent available – also showed investments in Ocean Energy, a Houston-based company, as well as Quicksilver Resources, Prospect Energy, Peabody Energy, Halliburton, Pengrowth Energy Trust, Atlas Energy Resources, Parker Drilling and others. Halliburton was also involved in the doomed Deepwater Horizon project.” (2).

    Northeastern University law professor Tim Howard told a CBS reporter “There’s been some concern that he is biased toward the industry, but I don’t see it in this opinion.” Howard explained, “They [gov’t officials] overreacted and just shut an industry down, rather than focusing on where the problems are.” (1).

    CBS News Reported , “in 2008 Judge Martin Feldman owned stock in Transocean Ltd., the company that owned the sunken Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. (2).    In his ruling, Feldman concluded the moratorium was “overly broad” because no one “yet fully knows” why the BP accident happened and, therefore, there is no reason to believe other new Deep Water wells “universally present an imminent danger.” (1).

    CBS reports “the Interior Department says it halted new permits for deepwater projects and suspended drilling on 33 exploratory wells to protect the Gulf of Mexico from another environmental disaster while it studies the risks of deepwater drilling. The Department said the moratorium was necessary while it studied deepwater drilling risks in the wake of the BP oil spill.” (1).

    Former Oil Industry Executive Bob Cavnar was incredulous that the court ended the moratorium because, he said, all of the Gulf Deep Water rigs “use the exact same blowout preventers that were used on the Deepwater Horizon that failed so tragically. And nobody can tell you why that BOP failed. So, going back and doing the same thing, to me is just crazy.”  (3). This directly and completely contradicts the claims made by Louisiana U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman, who fraudulent stated that the basis for his decision was the “fact” (bogus claim) that there was no well-grounded reason to believe other new Deep Water wells “universally present an imminent danger.” Cavnar said lifting the moratorium was “just crazy” because “they have every asset they have deployed now trying to collect this oil. If something else goes wrong, it`s a gigantic catastrophe that we have nothing to mitigate with.”  (3). Cavnar said that the only safe and prudent thing for the government to do in this circumstance is to immediately impose a moratorium until all these critical relevant facts are known and the industry can substantiate confident assurances of safety and an effective, rapid response plan.  (3).

    When we talk about the “Toxicity Level” in American ‘Politics’ today, this is one bitterly ironic example of it, as it clearly reaches deep into the Judicial Branch of government, a branch which takes an oath NOT to allow itself to become ‘political’ — a branch which by its very definition cannot function as constitutionally required once it has become politicized. “Bitter irony,” because the political ‘Toxins’ that for decades have been inching their way into the fabric of society and government, poisoning regulators, legislators and judges, is so graphically akin to the BP corporate tarball sludge and slime that keeps seeping its way into the coastlines, the wetlands, the byways and waterways, poisoning all the Life in its path in an incredibly hideous, painful, torturous way. And like the BP oil sludge, no one seems to be able to halt the militant goose-step march of this carcinogenic blight called “American Politics as Usual.”

    I may not be able to stop the corporate or political or petroleum slime from overtaking this country, but I intend to stay in the fight till the ammo’s gone and I will go down swinging. I am determined to inject the Truth of the matter as far into the artery of this malignant parasite as strength will allow — confident in the certainty that the Truth CAN kill it, just as certainly as fraud and dishonesty gave it birth.

    I wrote a CBS News response to Feldman’s fraudulent, flim-flam “here is what ‘bought off’ looks like” judicial decision. What poetic justice it would be to see this ‘Sweetheart Mama’ go viral and level the playing field just a bit, in Justice’s favor.

    Judge Feldman’s ‘oil investments’ bias is evident in his ruling which has no legal, logical or factual basis whatsoever. Feldman declared the moratorium “overly broad.” Tim Howard (NWU Legal Prof), made this ludicrous statement in referring to the government’s moratorium: “They (Obama Administration) overreacted and just shut an industry down, rather than focusing on where the problems are.” This conclusively establishes Howard and Feldman as both factually ‘clueless’ and cerebrally short-handed. Regardless of whether anyone yet “fully knows why” this BP accident occurred, we know all we have to know to warrant a moratorium.

    There is absolutely no one in the World or in the Oil Industry who knows how to stop this leak, precisely because it happened in “deep water.” Every expert has stated ad nauseam, there is no precedent for it, in such ‘deep water’ — to serve as an instructive guide for how to stop the leak. For Feldman’s & Howard’s edification, that is sufficient to establish the gov’t was “focusing on where the problems are.” And that focus was sufficiently narrow to exclude all drilling that was NOT in “Deep Water.” In “Deep Water Drilling” situations these Oil Industry dolts are clueless and can NOT give reasonable ‘honest’ environmental safety assurances.

    Judge Feldman has corrupted himself and the judicial process because he should have recused himself . . . and he surely must have known he should have recused himself. It is the sworn duty of judges to avoid “even the appearance” of bias and prejudice and it is their duty to err on the side of caution so the integrity of the judicial process is not brought into question.

    Because Judge Feldman refused to do this, this decision is tainted with evidence that the ‘political’ (business interest) decision he rendered has absolutely no legitimate factual or legal basis in this biased pro-oil ruling, precisely because it is NOT based on the law or the facts, but on a predisposition Feldman had to advance his political prejudices and business interests.

    As for the so-call “law professor” (Tim Howard) who stated he did not see any “bias” in Feldman’s decision, he has conclusively certified that either his prejudices eclipse his objectivity and perceptual acumen, or he simply never had those qualities to begin with. The political and business self-interest “bias” in this decision is the only thing that these fraudulent premises trace back to.

    By Feldman’s reckoning, police would never be able to detain someone on “reasonable suspicion” grounds nor would they ever be able to arrest anyone on “probable cause” grounds, simply because they do not possess ‘conclusive’ (dead certain) proof to support such action. Any Compelling, Convincing, Credible, Persuasive, Obvious evidence, like that which supports the Obama Moratorium, would be deemed “insufficient” under Feldman’s ‘biased’ rationale.

    When I grit my teeth and come to a ‘rapid boil’ at the thought of Judge Feldman’s molestation of reality and the law, a Mark Twain quote comes to mind which, if I share it here, might help others like me cope with the reality that honesty in business, politics and government is a rare and very precious thing. Here is a Judge Feldman portrait by Mark Twain:

    You take the lies out of him, and he’ll shrink to the size of your hat; you take the malice out of him, and he’ll disappear.” ~~Mark Twain~~

    How did this country become so thoroughly and hopelessly corrupted?

    A Tim Russert Kind of Answer:        Politics . . . Politics . . . Politics . . .


    Footnote 1 Link: “Appeals Court Nixes Drilling Moratorium” — CBS News Report — New Orleans, July 8, 2010


    Footnote 2 Link: “Judge Who Tossed Drilling Ban an Oil Investor” — CBS News Report — New Orleans, June 23, 2010


    Footnote 3 Link: “What happens if the leak continues?” — MSNBC News Report — June 22, 2010


    (See also, “27,000 Abandoned Gulf Oil Wells May Be Leaking” and “American Politics at Toxic Levels“).


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