Tag Archives: money in politics

P + P = M The New Political Formula

During my formative years (now known as the young and dumb years!), I had an idealistic attitude toward our government and to the people that represented us in that government. I thought the job of these people was to do what is right for America. Now that I am old, somewhat mature, and somewhat knowledgeable (?), I am taking a rather dimmer view of the quality and motivation of the people representing us at the highest levels of government. It’s not my fault! 24/7 news channels, loaded up with ranting educated idiots have made me this way!

Did you know that at the time of the founding of our country, many men lost everything they had because they were representatives of the new federal government. Yup. They were patriots and they thought it was their duty, once selected, to represent their constituents in Congress. For some, this resulted in great financial loss. While they were in Congress, there wasn’t anyone representing their best interests with their businesses, their farms or at their plantations. Thus they suffered great financial and personal losses. My…how things have changed.

I have lived through thirteen different presidents. Without a doubt, I believe one of those thirteen was the most scrupulous of all. Want to take a guess? My choice would be Harry S. Truman. Why? Because once his second term in office was completed, Harry and his wife Bess moved back to Missouri and lived in the house that they had once shared with her mother. Once out of office, Truman quickly decided that he did not wish to be on any corporate payroll, believing that taking advantage of such financial opportunities would diminish the integrity of the nation’s highest office. He also turned down numerous offers for commercial endorsements. Since his earlier business ventures had proved unsuccessful, he had no personal savings. He faced financial challenges and only had an old army pension. Because of his financial condition, a pension was eventually granted to retiring presidents, and Harry was the first recipient. (Herbert Hoover also received it, as he was the only other surviving former president. Hoover was wealthy, but took it so as to not embarrass Truman!)

I think the ethical/patriotic component of being a politician, started by our founding fathers, may well have died with Harry Truman. I believe the new inspiration for most people seeking political office lies in my formula: P + P = M. Power + Prestige = Money. Yup. I think that too many of our politicians are running for office for the pursuit of the almighty dollar. I also think too many decisions made by our elected officials are being influenced by the almighty dollar. And…being the skeptic that I am…I am wondering from where this money is coming.

Campaign contributions

During the last presidential election, over $1.5 billion was raised by the two major party candidates, with Hillary Clinton raising about $1 billion herself. My question is, what happens to the unspent campaign contributions, especially for a losing candidate? Let me offer a theoretical situation. What if Hillary’s campaign spent only $750 million, what would happen to the other $250 million? Supposedly, there are strict rules governing this very situation. But, like all things coming out of Washington, D.C., there are loopholes and shady gray areas in the regulations. The candidates are forbidden from using those funds for personal use. (Yeah. Like I believe that!) And…the money is supposed to go to the political party or back to the contributors. (Really? Back to the contributors? Another fairy tale!) Once the political party has the money, they can do with it as they please. Does that mean they could give it back to the candidate? There are instances where candidates have purchased season athletic tickets, and paid extravagant salaries to friends and relatives. Yet….it has never been enforced. (Do you think all campaign contributions are reported?)

Could these campaign contributions be at least part of the reason we have almost fifteen people vying for the Democratic presidential nomination? Let’s be realistic. You and I both know that about a dozen of these people have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the nomination. But here they are…stumping and posturing for the first caucuses. How much money are we talking about? When Beto O’Rourke announced his candidacy, his campaign raised $6.5 million in 24 hours! And when all the losers drop out of the race, do you think all of the campaign contributions will be returned?

Net Worth

Will someone please explain to me how Barrack Obama can enter the White House with a net worth of less than $500 thousand, and now have a purported net worth of up to $140 million? If I am not mistaken, his annual salary as POTUS, was $400 thousand per year. That equates to a little over $3 million for his eight year term. He would net, after taxes, about $2 million. How do you take a leap of $138 million in such a short period of time? There is nothing the Obama’s have done; book deals, speeches, consulting that would earn this type of money. My skeptical nature tells me that money had to come from somewhere else. Campaign contributions? Executive decisions such as the Uranium One deal? Other executive decisions that resulted in donations or contributions? I am not accusing. I am just wondering out loud! Real loud!

How could I possibly bring up net worth without mentioning Bill and Hillary Clinton. According to Bill himself, the Clinton’s left the White House $16 million in debt. Much of this was because of attorney fees and settlements paid out for sexual harassment law suits. But yet, today the Clinton’s have a purported net worth of $240 million! Now that is what I call a miraculous financial turnaround! How did all of that occur? Well, there was that wonderful organization called the Clinton Foundation. This was a foundation located in Canada to protect the donor list, that was never certified as a charitable foundation because less than 3% of its donations were used for charitable causes. It sounds to me like it was more like a personal Clinton piggy bank. And some of its donations were huge. One $145 million donation came from the Russian investors involved in the Uranium One deal. This deal took place while Hillary was Secretary of State and Obama was POTUS. Coincidence? Do you find it coincidental that the Clinton foundation donations ceased as soon as Hillary lost the election, thereby forcing the closing of the foundation?

How were these large net worth amounts attainable? P + P = M!

Influence Peddling

Who made this statement?

“People who enter the United States without our permission are illegal aliens, and illegal aliens should not be treated the same as people who entered the U.S. legally.”

Donald Trump? Mike Pence? Sarah Sanders? Mitch McConnell? Well, in 2009, that statement was said by none other than Chuck Schumer, the Senate Minority leader. My…how things have changed. But I digress.

Is the real reason that the Democrats are fighting the wall is to stop Trump from keeping a campaign promise, or is it something else. Something else…like money. I brought up in my last blog that it was not coincidental that the marijuana legal states are controlled by Democrats. Correspondingly, most of these states are fighting immigration reform and border security. As well as the influx of illegal aliens, there has been an influx of illegal drugs. How much money is generated between legalized marijuana and illegal drugs in those states? I don’t think anyone really knows because there have not been any drug lords in America that have religiously filed personal and corporate tax returns. I am willing to speculate that amount of money is enormous ( or gi-normous in modern vernacular) and would probably astound the average person if known. So…is that money finding its way into the campaign coffers of politicians from those states? Because once money is in campaign coffers, that money seems to find its way to parts unknown.

I know that one reason for resisting the wall is that the Democrats are speculating that illegal aliens will increase their political base. That is so they can maintain POWER+ PRESTIGE. If my formula is correct, the MONEY will follow.

The Mueller Investigation

The Mueller Investigation results were released this past weekend. With eighteen full time attorneys and forty full time FBI investigators, at an expense of over $25 million over two years, the Democrats are doubling down on their efforts to discredit the report. I predicted that the Democrats would rather investigate than legislate and it appears my crystal ball is still finely tuned.

Here’s another quote. Who said this:

” Carry the battle to them. Don’t let them bring it to you. Put them on the defensive and don’t apologize for anything.”

Chuck Schumer? Nancy Pelosi? Cory Booker? Hillary Clinton? Nope. This quote was made by Harry S. Truman. I believe he was referring to World War II, but does it sound like the battleground being fought today by the Democrats. Does that quote pretty much describe the political climate in Washington? I am convinced that the Democrats, even though losing the last presidential election, even though not getting the desired ‘goodies’ from the Mueller report to impeach Trump, will do anything to gain/retain POWER + PRESTIGE. After all, with it comes the MONEY.

One more prediction? I think that Trump is going to rip the scab and expose all the puss surrounding this whole affair. Watch for the cockroaches scurrying for the darkness.

The Mystique of Donald Trump

What can be said about Donald Trump.  Controversial?  (Check.)  Politically Incorrect (Definitely!)  Anti-illegal-immigration?  (Absolutely!)  Successful?  (Unquestionably.)  Interesting?  (Better than a soap opera.)  Short tempered?  (Probably.)

So here we are.  After the New Hampshire primary, after the South Carolina primary, the leading Republican presidential candidate is Donald John Trump.  So why are so many people either frightened of a Trump candidacy or attacking the Donald?

I, for one, am not afraid of a Trump candidacy.  Here are my reasons.

Firstly, Donald Trump is not a career politician.  People are beginning to take Grandpa T’s Common Sense Rule #1 to heart, ‘Politicians are more concerned about getting reelected than they are about doing what is good for the country.’  Therein lies the weakness in our political system.  To get reelected takes money………lots and lots of money!  To get that money, the politician must sell their soul and support to whichever individual, group or lobbyist makes that contribution.

In 1960, John F. Kennedy was running for president against Richard Nixon.  As you may remember, Kennedy was a Catholic, which caused much concern about the entire nation being converted to Catholicism.  Many vitriol articles were published about that very matter.  Of course, it did not happen.  I digress.   I was underage, so i asked my father, Big Daddy G, for whom he was going to vote.  Big Daddy G said he was voting for JFK.  I asked why.  His reply?  “Son, it is difficult to bribe a millionaire.”  In a left handed manner, my father had his fingers on the pulse of the effect of big money on politics.  With that in mind….how do you bribe or influence a billionaire?

That in itself is driving the Washington establishment up a wall.  An elected official that did not have to spend 10 seconds with any individual, group or lobbyist attempting to purchase political influence. Would they need to establish a special welfare/unemployment system for underemployed lobbyists?

Admittedly, Trump can be short-tempered.  I would be short-tempered if I were in his situation. He is the leading Republican presidential candidate, which puts a bull’s eye on his back from his Republican competitors.  He gets the same treatment from his Democratic competitors.  He is receiving negative attention from the liberal media.  He is even receiving some flack from the Republican National Committee, which I find amazing…but true.  With all of this adversity, with all of this negative publicity, with all of these debates happening more often than I change underwear…wouldn’t you be a little short tempered if you were the big teddy bear in a one prize shooting gallery?

If you haven’t noticed, some of these people have gone out of their way to goad Donald Trump, repeatedly.  Donald, a very successful businessman, has no time for patty cake politics in his business dealings. He is a man of action and anything that detracts from the mission is superfluous. Washington, and politics in general are all about superfluous.  Why say or author something in one hundred words when two thousand pages will do?  That is politics.

Trump is a ‘cut to the chase’ kind of guy.  I can relate.  In the military, I was responsible for staff functions at the battalion and brigade levels.  Of course, I was surrounded by competent officers and NCOs.   In the military, as in business, there are occasions when time is of the essence and there is no time for extemporaneous BS.  Occasionally, I would get a young officer that thought he was being paid by the word.  This was the antithesis of providing 2000 pages when one hundred words would fit the bill.  I, in a mostly kind manner, would point out to said young officer that indeed, he was not being paid by the word.  My usual slogan was, “Don’t tell me how to build a clock when I ask what time it is.”  When something insignificant was brought up, I would point out: “Quit pole vaulting over mouse turds!”  Thus, I can relate to Trump with his short-temper mantra, ‘get it done’ personality.

So, Donald Trump is not a career politician.  Many are attempting to turn that into a weakness when the majority are finding it refreshing.  I have nothing against Cruz or Rubio except they are both career politicians and former lawyers.  As career politicians, are they a part of the solution or are they a part of the problem?  Both take every opportunity to extol this bill they introduced or that bill they introduced and how they attacked and corrected a specific problem.  If that is indeed the case, why is the country is such a terrible state?  On April 12, 2013, I wrote a blog titled, ‘Lawyers in Politics- Princes or Pariahs?’  Personally, I think attorneys have screwed up this country.  They appear to be more interested in circumventing the law versus upholding the law.  Just sayin’.

According to the liberal media, Donald Trump in controversial because of his stance on illegal immigration.  This would include not only Hispanics but also the Muslims and everyone else from entering this country.  With all of the terrorist events that have happened recently in the US, Europe and the Middle East, it is understandable why American citizens are concerned.  Numerous sources from our present government have indicated that there is no sure-fire way of checking the background of the Syrian refugees.  Like many Americans, my thoughts are, ‘so why are you letting them in?’  If you are so sure that we should just open our doors to non-vetted Syrian or Muslim refugees, then I think they should all be resettled in Washington, D.C.  That way, all the politicians can take care of them directly.  Donald’s position is that until the government can do thorough background checks, no further Muslims should enter this country.  This sentiment rings true with most Americans.  It even makes common sense.

Grandma P has a legitimate concern about Donald Trump.  She is concerned that his ego would get into the way of performing well as the POTUS.  Admittedly, I would have a pretty sizable ego if I had a net worth of somewhere north of $4 billion.  Estimates are as high as $9 billion.  I have always wanted to be so rich that I could afford to hire other people to exercise for me.  My thoughts about Donald’s ego?  I think all of these candidates have egos that would bury the needle on the Richter Scale.  You need to.  I have met town mayors and councilmen that thought they were royalty.  The person that appears to have the smallest ego problem?  That would be Ben Carson and his detractors think he is somewhat wishy-washy.  Hillary doesn’t have an ego problem nor do Cruz and Rubio.  It just appears that Donald’s ego is the largest…but let’s be honest, of all the candidates, he is the most accomplished.  He has made his own money.  The others?  They have mostly lived on other people’s money.

There has been concern that Donald Trump may not be ‘presidential’ enough to be POTUS.  What exactly does that mean?  Does that mean, “I did not have relations with that woman.”  Was that presidential?  Or, “It depends on what the definition of is, is.”  Or, “ISIS is the junior varsity team of Al Qaeda.”  There have been few presidents lately that would fit the bill of being the paragon of presidential.  I am not sure what being ‘presidential’ entails in today’s society.

I do find Donald Trump very interesting.  He made his fortune with a small amount of assistance from his father.  He obtained the education necessary to be successful in business.  He has guided his children to be able to run his business empire.  He had successful television shows, The Apprentice and The Celebrity Apprentice.  He was paid over $250 million for hosting those shows.  When he is giving a speech to a receptive audience, he is charming and entertaining.  Amazingly, even with his wealth, he is appealing to the American middle and working classes.

So, is this article a ringing endorsement by Grandpa T of the GRUMPY (Government Revisions Utilizing Many Practical Years) party for Donald J. Trump?  I have been asked many times if he is my ‘guy’.  Here is my answer:  This country has swung so far to the left with political correctness and liberalism, that Donald Trump may not be the ‘guy’ you like, but he may be the ‘guy’ that this country needs to move the needle to the right and get this country on track.

Here is the boiled down version of the upcoming election:  do you want the country run by a very successful businessman or by more career politicians.  Hmmm….