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CRACKING THE SYSTEM: How does the ridiculousness of a fast food restaurant serving gourmet food relate to the political version of prostitution?

written by Anthony Moore
© 2013

Question: How does the ridiculousness of a fast food restaurant serving gourmet food relate to the political version of prostitution?

Excerpt from Cracking the System: I’ve just seen a commercial that says Taco Bell now has a “gourmet” menu. Really? Going to Taco Bell for gourmet food is like going to a whorehouse to find people who think that paying for sex is immoral. Another way to put it is that going to Taco Bell for gourmet food is like going to K Street to find people who feel like paying for political favors is immoral (by the way, when I compare whorehouses to companies on K street, I mean no offense to whorehouses). For those people who’re offended by the term “whorehouse,” let me provide a comparison that is more Rated PG as opposed to Rated R (by the way, as it relates to the example provided, the “R” could also stand for Rated “Real”—because although some might find it politically incorrect, it’s not like whorehouses don’t exist; nor is it not like many men who publicly denounce whoring don’t secretly finance lots of whoring that they greatly benefit from—just consider any ultra-religious wealthy person who makes anonymous financial contributions to Super PACs). Anyway, back to what I was getting at: the Rated PG version of what I said about Taco Bell’s gourmet food is that going to Taco Bell for gourmet food is like going to an NFL locker room to find people who think you shouldn’t ever hit people hard enough to make them forget what planet they live on.

Speaking of conservative rich guys and Super PACs, it’s ironic that Joe Ricketts, who made a billion dollar personal fortune from founding what is now TD Ameritrade, started a Super PAC as an outgrowth of his efforts to end political earmarks. That’s like if you feel that hardcore drugs are ruining your community, and so you fund a group of meth dealers to help you get rid of the people next door who are selling heroin.

HOW THE PRECEDING BOOK EXCERPT CONTRIBUTES TO “CRACKING” THE SYSTEM: The excerpt above is from the chapter entitled Politics. Within this chapter there are sections such as The College Game Shows the Reality of Politics in America. Among other things, this section shows how when we don’t understand and pay attention to political policies that affect us, we often suffer as a result. It also gets into how government can be very beneficial to citizens in ways that private business can’t (and won’t) be, but this is dependent on citizens being aware, educated, and participatory when it comes to the democratic process (in an “active” versus a “passive” way). The creation of the student loan market in the U.S. shows how government can do things that encourage and assist businesses in benefiting the public and the country as a whole. The evolution of the student loan market in the U.S. also shows how government policies (however well intentioned) can be hurtful instead of helpful when hijacked by self-serving and often short-sighted business and/or political interests. Other topics covered in this chapter include how when everyday people effectively organize and educate themselves, they can overcome powerful entrenched interests that have more money and political capital. In addition to things that frequently undermine U.S. democracy, such as earmarks and lobbyists, also discussed is another factor that also frequently undermines the U.S. political system, which is the Super PAC.

Campaign-finance law in the U.S. has been greatly and fundamentally upended by the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Citizens United case and the subsequent ruling of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in the Speech Now case. The “Super” PACs that consequently emerged represent a clear threat to U.S. democracy. A threat that in practice—regardless of the intention of the Supreme Court decision regarding the matter—subverts the best interests of the people in favor of clandestine, well-financed, and self-serving interests.

As long as they don’t explicitly contribute to candidates or political parties, Super PACs can engage in limitless political spending and raise unlimited funds from corporations, unions or other groups, as well as from individuals. Donors are also able to anonymously give to Super PACs that establish a 501(c)4 nonprofit entity (as long as it satisfies the very flexible classification of being a “social welfare” organization).

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