•    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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  •    Comment Sent to PBS Tavis Smiley Blog   

    Scales of Balanced Justice

    Below is a blog Comment we sent to the PBS Tavis Smiley blog site entitled “Tavis Smiley Blogs Round-Up: Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill.”
    It’s worth a read.

    Re: “Tavis Smiley Blogs Round-Up: Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill.”
    Web: http://www.pbs.org/kcet/tavissmiley/voices/2010/06/round-up-gulf-of-mexico-oil-spill.html

    When you consider the spate of reliable info already available about how regulators were romanced and ‘captured’ by BP — info about how regulators “looked the other way” and ignored glaring BP problems while lowering the bar for inspection standards and for minimum safety requirements for BP — and when you consider how rigorously BP fought against standard recommended safety provisions utilizing ‘assurances’ we now know were utterly fraudulent and were proffered in bad faith, regarding its ability to respond to and correct major malfunctions in “Deep Water” wells and regarding how ‘safe’ Deep Water Drilling actually is — when you consider all these things and so many more horrifying bad-faith BP and regulator activities (and inactivity – inertia) that we now know led to this Gulf disaster, it is especially aggravating to hear a Reagan-appointed Louisiana federal judge, who holds significant Gulf oil industry investments, strike down Obama’s temporary “Deep Water Drilling Moratorium” when such bedlam, incompetence, corruption, ineffectiveness and uncertainty still hangs thick in the air. Exactly “where” does this seemingly infinite stream of corruption, undue influence, bribes, payoffs and “dirty politics” actually “end” in this horrifically seedy, catastrophic, disgusting episode? I addressed this issue in a blog entitled “Judicial Politics Adds To BP Oil Sleaze” located at http://gbruce.com/reflect/2010/07/09/judicial-politics-adds-to-bp-oil-sleaze/

    Reflecting Pool Discourse Blog


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


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