Thursday, August 09, 2012

Accountability and the revolving door

In my personal opinion, one of THE biggest issues in our society today is a lack of accountability.  Expectations have been watered down in virtually every arena and even so, what 'standards' remain are too often treated merely as suggestions

This is particularly notable in our government and judicial circles.  A quaint half-century or so ago, we were warned about a "military-industrial complex" developing too much influence.  But Eisenhower's concern was just a larvae of today's Corporate-Government-Mass-Media ruling class.

The genius of our Constitutional system was the wide disperson of power.  Each branch of government had the ability to hold the others' feet to the fire.  The 'reserved powers' gave States and citizens the ability to tell Uncle Sam "this far, and no further."  Protected freedoms like the First Amendment ensured the ability to have a healthy public discussion including criticism of those in power.

ALL of this is undercut by today's status quo practices.  Examples:

- 'Journalists' working as spokesmen, or spokesmen who later become 'journalists.'
- Representatives (allegedly of the people) becoming lobbyists for particular industries/interests
- Regulatory agencies hiring personnel from the industries they oversee, and vice-versa

...which is how you end up with a financial meltdown like we had in 2008, but still have the idea that "nobody committed any crimes:"
GAI argues that the Obama administration’s decision to not go after Big Finance is due to senior DOJ leadership — Holder, Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli, Associate Attorney General Tony West, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, Deputy Attorney General James Cole and Deputy Associate Attorney General Karol Mason — who “all came to the DOJ from prestigious white-collar defense firms where they represented the very financial institutions the DOJ is supposed to investigate.”
The report details how Holder and Breuer both came to the DOJ from Covington & Burling, a “top-tier Washington law firm” with a client list that includes financial firms like Wells Fargo, J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, CitiBank, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, ING, Morgan Stanley, UBS and Wilmington Trust.
This blurring of roles has completely undercut the independency of critical functions in our society. We have an incestuous cadre of characters who move back and forth from "private" to "public" sector positions with little incentive to confront the behavior of those who may be their new partners next week.

It's time to put a stop to revolving doors, before what freedoms we have left fly right out of them...

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