"Damn The Country, Obama Must Fail"

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posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 02:27 PM
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A few months ago, I was invited to join an Internet trade group in their lobbying effort in Washington, DC. The goal was to educate Congressmen and Senators on the realities of privacy online, as well as the complex small-business economy of the millions of mid-sized to small websites that rely on advertising to survive. Overall, the trip was deemed a success, to some degree, we were able to communicate our issues in a way that was understood, even appreciated. However, I came back with several additional observations, the most important being that our government is absolutely gridlocked in a pointless turf-war and that we (the people) have long-since lost any voice we may have thought we had.


FIRSTLY: Let me be clear that it is not I who believes, "Damn the country, Obama must fail." Instead, as you read on, you'll discover that the statement is an editorialized summary of what appears to be the bunker attitude of republicans on Capital Hill.


DISCLAIMER: It is with hesitation that I post these direct observations and experiences. Foremost because of my role as part owner of AboveTopSecret.com, and the potential bias that many may see to infer from my statements. However, given the escalating climate of political rancor in this nation, I hope that the import of my experience outweighs the potential knee-jerk reactions of bias.


Why Me?

My involvement was requested because I'm a part-owner of a "long-tail" web site -- that is, one of millions of sites not part of the small collection of massively trafficked mainstream news and portal web sites. The goal of the trip was to communicate the complexities and fragility of the smaller site owners who very much mirror real-world small business owners and comprise a major portion of online traffic, advertising, and content. Additionally, my background as an advertising executive helped give me the background and communicative tools to portray our concerns in a way that could be appreciated.


Longworth, Rayburn, and Cannon, Oh My!

We started early, and our rather large rabble of 20-or-so web site owners was divided into groups of four and given a tight schedule of visits. Our group's rather long and tedious day consisted of nine meetings with Congressmen (most-often a senior aide) spread out among three of the House office buildings on Independence Ave., the Rayburn, Longworth, and Cannon buildings. Each building is connected by a maze of multi-level underground tunnels which also connect to the Capitol building. Accompanied by a registered lobbyist (in order to have access to the tunnels), I was teamed up with three other web site owners as we rushed from meeting to meeting.

On three occasions we actually sat down with a Congressman, and for the most part they did a good job of seeming to show interest in our concerns. The other visits were with senior aides or assistant chiefs of staff, who worked less to appear concerned but usually had one or two good questions.


Yes but, what can you do for me?

Despite our best efforts of portraying the needs of online small business that are in each congressional district, it became painfully evident that if we weren't speaking in terms of direct benefit to them, there was no real interest in our visit other than ensuring it ended on time or sooner. This was the first very clear up close and personal indication that our republic is broken.


Welcome To The Special Interest "Republic"

It's not difficult to spot the four types of people rushing about in the tunnels below the congressional office buildings. Interns and pages are young and generally are dressed in the best office casual Gap or J. Crew can buy. Congressional staff members are a bit older, and always in business suits from the more expensive selections of Sears or Kohls, or Macy's if they're a more senior staff members. Actual members of Congress are among the best-dressed best-coifed people around, and typically the only ones able to wear a smile. Which leaves us with the lobbyists... who are all wearing dark-colored higher-end business suits, serious expressions, fatigued carriage, and comfortable shoes. Once you can identify the various denizens it becomes obvious this is no longer our republic, and we're in deep trouble.

While we here on ATS have always known we're in deep trouble, the picture was clearly painted and readily experienced during lunch. In one the massive cafeterias of the Longworth building, easily 100 (or more) yards long by 60 wide, more than 80% of all the people in the packed room were lobbyists grabbing some lunch. Our companion lobbyist confirmed the guess, and also confirmed that it was this way in all the cafeterias, and has been since he can remember (18-year veteran of DC).

So I asked him, "With all these well-paid professional lobbyists representing big chunks of potential money, how do actual constituents stand a chance?" His response, "They don't, they never did."

I reminded him of the subject matter of my site, and how his statement confirms the concerns of conspiracy theorists everywhere. He said, "It used to be a conspiracy, now it's just the way things are."


"Damn The Country, Obama Must Fail"

During my "SkepticOverlord Goes To Washington" adventure, I had the opportunity to speak with several lobbyists other than the chaperone assigned to my group. Some conversations were over cocktails the previous evening, others after the day's events before I had to depart to the airport. One such person in particular became particularly talkative once I identified who I was, and which site I owned. He knew of ATS and was very interested in many of our topics. In fact, it might be best to qualify our short but detailed conversation as "getting a weight of his chest."

After being a Washington lobbyist for quite some time (into his second decade), he was clearly disenfranchised and not enjoying his work. Two points stand out as being particularly important to the events happening right now.

The Republicans Have Their Long-Knives Out: "Ever since the election, and for the foreseeable future, the Republicans only have one thing on their mind, screw Obama." He said nothing else matters to them, not voters, and certainly not getting anything done. While the daily dance of special interest continues, he said that everyone is continually distracted by the inside war between Republicans and Democrats... and the smart lobbyists are the ones approaching Republicans with strategies and plans to undermine the Democrats and especially Obama. His concern was (and this was in late May, before the worst of it began), that the "get Obama" climate was in danger of getting out of control and irreparably damaging the entire country.

Nothing Ever Changes, Ever: The most haunting words I head my entire trip were, "Nothing ever changes here, other than the nameplates on the Senate, Congressional, and Executive offices. The money (lobbyists) controls every policy, every platform, and in most cases, every election." It's one thing to know draw this conclusion on your own, it's quite another to hear it straight from an insider's mouth. Sending chills up my spine hardly covers the feeling.



We're In Deep Trouble

We here on ATS knew this. To most of us, this is no surprise. However, the stunning surprise comes from experiencing an insider's lament as to the horrible state of the "Special Interest Republic" we have occupying the offices of Washington, DC. To hear, from an insider's mouth, that the "elected" officials are gridlocked in bitter battle with no focus other than to force the failure of the new President is stunning confirmation of what we feared was happening. Combined with the overwhelming control of the entire process by special interest money, and the only conclusion we can draw is, "We're in deep trouble."


Is It Too Late?

Regardless of your politics, or your personal opinion of the person represented by the nameplate on the Oval Office, the culture of "get him" we now see is beyond perilous. In fact, it so horrific and dangerous to our culture it's difficult to find the appropriate adjective.

I'm no fan of politicians, and especially many in Obama's administration. Part of the reason for my dislike is the never-ending context of attacking the other party and/or president of the other party. But this current culture of attack-inspired gridlock is, in my opinion, the worst ever. And to compound our feelings of helplessness, it's all too clear that the current bunker mentality of an us-v-them all out war on Capital Hill is inspired by the massive money of special interests. This political war, at a time when so much must be done, is quite possibly the death knell of this nation.

Is it too late?

Was there ever any hope?

 

(typo corrections)

[edit on 11-8-2009 by SkepticOverlord]




posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 02:33 PM
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reply to post by SkepticOverlord
 


I have to say, Bill, that this seems like politics as usual.

Everyone in America, when pushed to a certain set of limits, has the "get him" mentality when it comes to Capitol Hill and the "old boys network" in Washington D.C.

While I cannot say I agree Obama, it is not because of his politics, his party, nor his being a black man in office.

To me, I cannot stand to hear those cotton candy dreams, gum drop smiles, and rainbow wishes type speeches.

They mean nothing to me, because back behind those types of speech I begin to wonder, is the man a competant politician, or is he just giving false hope, or is he up to something and wants to hide the reality of his actions.

I have been a long time member of ATS, and I have railed against both sides of the political isle, because unlike most people I know, I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat, I am a registered Independent.

Glad to hear you went to Washington D.C.

At least someone is trying to do something more than business as usual up there.

By the way, Bill, is that possibly why you added the S.O.S. across the ATS logo?

S.O.S. Here On ATS, Is This ATS In Distress?



[edit on 11-8-2009 by SpartanKingLeonidas]



posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 02:35 PM
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Wow, awesome thread SO.

Thanks you for sharing that experience.

For a long time I wondered how things actually took place and who held the real power, and it has become obvious the lobbyists and congressmen are the ones running the show.

The political in-fighting has been continuous, and your right, all they want to do is undermine and destroy Obama. But I ask the question.

Would things have been different with McCain in office? Would democracts have acted the same if the tables were turned?

I would assume yes.

The climate never changes as your chaperone said, it's just the names that change.

As far as if this can be fixed, everything can be fixed, it's just finding the people with the stomach and [snip]'s to do it. I hope for the American people that you guys sort your government and your people out.

The world is continually watching.

~Keeper



posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 02:37 PM
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Originally posted by SpartanKingLeonidas
I have to say, Bill, that this seems like politics as usual.

Indeed. But lately, it feels like the sides have escalated from carpet-bombs to nuclear weapons.

I've been closely watching Capital Hill antics and battles since Nixon and Watergate... I have to say, this culture of internal war is the worst yet.



posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 02:43 PM
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The idea that this is not just a conspiracy anymore and it is actually happening... well that is not such a good feeling....

It makes me angry that this is happening... "politics of division and hate"....

I usually have some long winded post to make when I get all worked up, but ultimately , I just don't know what to say to this..



posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 02:44 PM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord


Indeed. But lately, it feels like the sides have escalated from carpet-bombs to nuclear weapons.


Absolutely, and the second either side decides to use their metaphorical nuclear bomb... Watch out...


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posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 02:48 PM
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It is clear to me that lobbyists need to go. They have taken the lawmakers away from their constituents. If somebody wants my lawmaker to vote a certain way, then they should have to come to the constituency and make their case. Then the constituency would approach the lawmaker and give him their opinions. My lawmakers are supposed to be working for me. They do not work for the lobbyists. At least they are not supposed to. Lobbying is one of the things that is messing the country up badly.

Lobbying should be made a capitol crime. The only influence that Congressmen and Senators should be experiencing needs to come from the constituency.



posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 02:48 PM
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reply to post by gimme_some_truth
 


It is a bit much when you think about it. I mean the people working in that environment aren't telling us were crazy anymore, they are basically saying that we dropped the ball and the stuff we fear happening has already taken place.

Civil revolution much I think.

~Keeper



posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 02:50 PM
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reply to post by SkepticOverlord
 


Watching politics since I was a boy of six, and telling my stepfather he was wrong about what was happening, and then finding out he was right only turned me into someone who will never trust a politician, ever.

I grew up hearing about what was really happening, then began learning how to spot it, to learning how to interpret it based upon the indicators that were present as well as not present.

My question to you, Bill, is what can we as American's do differently to make a positive change?

I keep telling ATS'ers to stop whining, complaining, and griping on here, and actually go out and do something about it, and I can hear crickets chirping in response.

I am someone who will someday be in politics, every threads I submit here on ATS is about what I see wrong with our nation, and how to fix it, yet, what typically happens is that it either falls on deaf ears, or because there's no gunpowder and C-4 included, people ignore it.


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posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 02:51 PM
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The thing is though, we have had the same people in power for decades.
Presidents come and go, but the men and woman of congress, senate and committees and sub committees stay.

Those people who are apart of the "revolving door" are not going to change their ways. That is why we are in the trouble we have been.

When Rumsfield started off as the youngest secretary of defense and has ended his career as the oldest, people need to see wtf is going on.

That is why I encourage "public awareness", because with out it, the people are not.

Good thread SO, thank you for sharing this with all of us.



posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 02:53 PM
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reply to post by SpartanKingLeonidas
 



am someone who will someday be in politics, every threads I submit here on ATS is about what I see wrong with our nation, and how to fix it, yet, what typically happens is that it either falls on deaf ears, or because there's no gunpowder and C-4 included, people ignore it.


I think you've answered your own question here SKL.

People want the C-4 and gunpowder, it's this mentality that needs to go before we can make any sort of real change. The blood letting has become far too accepted in this country.

~Keeper


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posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 02:55 PM
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reply to post by SkepticOverlord
 


After reading this, I again become one P*ssed off Soldier Veteran. I honestly cannot see how any of us will make it with the flow of money running around there. Maybe it might be time to dust off the muskets and carry old glory one more time into battle.



posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 03:00 PM
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Speaks volumes about my take on things but not a word said really surprises me, money has always and will always drive this ship unless something drastic and very unpleasant happens to change things, but thats not awfully likely.

So how did it feel to be so close to the snake's den SO?



posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 03:01 PM
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reply to post by SkepticOverlord
 


I've noticed the escalation in rhetoric also. I watch business news pretty much all day and the parade of congressmen interviewed have been coming out with more and more outlandish claims about anything involving Obama. Even the news anchors are taken back by the fantastic claims some of these guys are making and it's common now for the interviews to break down into shouting matches.



posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 03:05 PM
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Originally posted by tothetenthpower
reply to post by SpartanKingLeonidas
 




I think you've answered your own question here SKL.

People want the C-4 and gunpowder, it's this mentality that needs to go before we can make any sort of real change. The blood letting has become far too accepted in this country.

~Keeper

People want it now because of what the new all along and Bill just reaffirmed. Washington is corrupt and crooked; No matter who we elect the special Interests groups will eat them alive....

If you don’t have money you are not going to win... With that being said do you see any other way?
I ran for congress at the state and federal level in 2006 and 2008. I lost not because of my ideas and policies; I lost because I could only raise $32,000 and my opponents raised well into the MILLLONS upon MILLIONS. My supporters and I beat the street every damn day to raise money and pass out fliers and spread my message but I lost because no one recognized because I wasn’t on TV. However I did get a good bump in the polls during the debate between the 4 of us. But since I could not follow up with commercials, radio spots, and even opinion papers I lost. Tell me how fair that is? And you still don’t believe we should dust off the muskets?


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posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 03:06 PM
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TERM LIMITS, it's the only way to "clean house". As long as we have career politicians in the Senate and the House we are going to get what we have...

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.

As long as we continue to re-elect the career politician (s)he will continue to do business with the same lobbies for the same money and we will continue to have the same issues.

We have Term Limits within our power, never re-elect the same Representative. Yes, it requires work in researching the other candidates, but I would think with what's at risk it's worth doing the work. Sadly it appears most of us US Citizens are too lazy to be bothered.

Springer...



posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 03:07 PM
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Reply to post by SkepticOverlord
 


The united is now divided.... Weep for the future weep for us all. The tear time has come.


 
Posted Via ATS Mobile: m.abovetopsecret.com
 



posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 03:08 PM
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Originally posted by Springer
Sadly it appears most of us US Citizens are too lazy to be bothered.


And that sir, is what breaks my heart...



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posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 03:10 PM
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Originally posted by Springer
We have Term Limits within our power, never re-elect the same Representative.

All we'd end up doing is giving the name-plate engravers more work with a faster cycle of people in-and-out.

Until there's real and meaningful change (not reform) of campaign financing -- and change in why campaigns become so costly -- there's no hope of eliminating special interest lobbyists and their money from Capital Hill.



posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 03:10 PM
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reply to post by SkepticOverlord
 


You said:
So I asked him, "With all these well-paid professional lobbyists representing big chunks of potential money, how do actual constituents stand a chance?" His response, "They don't, they never did."

I reminded him of the subject matter of my site, and how his statement confirms the concerns of conspiracy theorists everywhere. He said, "It used to be a conspiracy, now it's just the way things are."

Speechless !

Dark days indeed ...






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