Another Time...Another Place

A baby boomer's bon mot

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Location: Goodlettsville, Tennessee, United States

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Watch out for the "P" trades

My old friend A.E. Cook, now deceased, was a retired carpetlayer when I met him. A slight man with a balding head filled with wisdom. He told me more than once, when I was a just-barely voting adult, to "watchout for the "P" trades! He put Politicians at the top of his list that included; painters, palm readers, pawnbrokers, paymasters, physicians, physiologist, plastic surgeons, plumbers, pick-pockets policeman, pool hustlers, postmen, preachers, presidents, priest, prizefighters, professors, profiteers, prostitutes, psychics, publishers and pushers. He always added "and don't forget those dang Pa-ttorneys."

Through the years I have found Mr. Cooks words of wisdom to be prophetic. Now more than ever I see his obsessive apprehension of the "P" trades (politicians category) as a proven hypothesis. Once again our elected public servants have chosen to serve themselves first.

Here, in Tennessee, a recently completed sting operation code named "Tennessee Waltz" caught on camera corrupt legislators swimming in the slime of payola for perverse patronage. "For as little as a thousand dollars you too can buy a vote" was the message sent loud and clear by the indictments brought by the prosecution. In Washington the money is so abundant, K Street (as in kick-back) is rumored to be a potential investment grade mutual fund. A lobbyist group selling shares for future profits and dividend yields would actually be a pretty sound investment considering what we're now seeing and the laws that protect their illicit industry.

Jack Abramhoff and his wampum for worms program, baited his hook with millions of dollars and caught more political fish than the common man's vote has ever found. One, two, four, forty, a hundred crooked pols in his network of pay-for-play does not seem unreasonable at this point. Now these caught fish are hopping off the hook and back into the waters of respectability...they returning their ill gotten gains.

After the media has moved on to another kidnapped white girl story, the "P" trades will parse words, play-like they're passing laws to prevent political purse snatching and quietly go back to their old system of pursuing reelection funding through ear-marks, parties and propaganda. Incumbents will continue to pad their war chest with wink-and-grin lobbyist funding until the next scandal comes around.

The system the "P" trades have put in place supported by pious judges who say it's a first amendment right, fails to take into account that the poor man can't afford a lobbyist. Is poor another "P" trade? If it is, there's a hell of a lot more of them than the despicable kind that hide behind their freedom of speech rights. A word of warning to the politician "P" trades watch out for the Poor, Persecuted, Progressive, Principled Patriot ("P" trades) who ultimately have their personal vote. These "P" trades can perform a great service for democracy. Watch out for the "P" Trades in the next election.


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