Sam Dastyari – one rotten apple or just the tip of the iceberg?

I’ve been having a conversation over on The Passive Voice that has disturbed me greatly. Not because it was unpleasant or rude, but because it has made me feel terribly naive at the ripe old age of 65.

To backtrack a little, the conversation began as a discussion about Amazon. We’re all pretty much Indie writers on TPV so Amazon features rather often in our conversations. Anyway, these are the relevant bits of a recent conversation between myself and Felix J Torres:

FJT: ..They [Amazon] are definitely being demonized like Microsoft ca 1995.
Hopefully, unlike MS in those days, they have more than one part time lobbyist in DC and have a few bought and paid for politicians in their pocket.

Me: ..So cynical! I most sincerely hope Bezos is smart enough not to have to do business like that.

FJT: ..If he doesn’t Amazon will get the same treatment Microsoft got for not contributing enough corporate funds to the politicians….

All that is a matter of record.

As is the fact that MS now has one of the larger contingents in DC and regularly provide PCs and free software to Congress people…

Me: ..I’m not denying it happens under the label of ‘lobbying’, but Amazon succeeded despite not doing what all the other companies were doing. If Bezos caves to the soft-corruption game of ‘gifting’ politicians, the ones to suffer long term will be /us/.
Apologies but Amazon is the /only/ large company that I admire. [I am so cringing now]

FJT: ..Well, of course consumers suffer.
The cost added by the politicians and bureaucrats gets added to the sale price….

Once one player alerts the politicians there is money to be had in a market they don’t back off. Rather they descend en masse…

Bezos would have to be an idiot to hear all the baying dogs calling for a lynching of Amazon and do nothing despite of what happened to Microsoft.

And he isn’t.
Amazon’s publicly reported lobbying has been growing steadily. Even faster than their online sales are growing…

Me: ..So there is open corruption that everybody knows about and accepts as normal?
In certain much maligned countries that might be known as ‘baksheesh’.

FJT: ..

Oh, just because it’s common knowledge doesn’t mean it’s accepted.

But every once in a while a congressman gets caught and arrested with a brown bag with $30K. (Seems to be the going rate in the House. Senators are a lot more expensive.)

Most politicians aren’t that blatant and merely call it “serving their constituents”. And many wrap themselves in principle like “protecting competition” or “looking out for the little people”.

Me: ..A member of the Labor party here in Australia – Sam Dastyari – was caught getting cosy with some Chinese business man, twice. He was finally kicked out but now I wonder whether he wasn’t just the tip of the iceberg, the one blatant idiot who got caught.
Could I get any more disillusioned?
I will never understand why so many Americans picked a certain person to be their ‘champion’ against the swamp, but I’m starting to understand why they need a champion in the first place.

I have only quoted what I thought were the relevant parts of the conversation, but if you’re interested, you can find the whole thing here:

http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2018/01/why-amazon-is-the-new-microsoft/#comment-408446

Just scroll down a bit.

So, is this something everyone else already knew except me?

I would like to think that Australia is less caught up in this nudge-nudge-wink-wink epidemic of greed, but I’m not a complete fool. How many more Sam Dastyari’s are there amongst our politicians? Do they all take bribes of one sort or another? Is that why, once the politics dies down, nothing is ever done to change this bloody situation?

I’ve long thought the  concept of lobbying was wrong: in a democracy, the only people influencing politicians should be the voters. And yes, I know lobbyists are voters too, as are CEO’s of huge corporations blah blah, but if this bribery is as rampant as it appears, then our democracy is just a great big off-colour joke. 😦

Not happy Jan.

Meeks

About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

7 responses to “Sam Dastyari – one rotten apple or just the tip of the iceberg?

  • candy

    Lobbying is wrong and yet it is entrenched in democracies all over the world. Industries, businesses, unions, special interest groups, all lobby and they lobby all the time. Even small non-profits have lobbyists in the U.S. to promote the legislation that is important to their constituents. I was surprised at how close these associations get to the people writing laws. Sometimes it works toward a good end, but…

    Like

    • acflory

      Yeah, and it’s such a very fine line between attempting to persuade a politician with ‘words’ and slipping over into ‘gifts’ or promises of lucrative jobs after they leave politics or an all expenses paid holiday….:/
      As I see it, the problem is two fold:
      1. we have human nature being shitty, and
      2. we have a system – i.e. representational democracy – that has never worked as advertised because the representatives themselves are human. :/

      Liked by 1 person

  • Mick Canning

    As David says, lobbying is just plain wrong.

    Like

  • davidprosser

    Since we had the infamous ‘Cash for Questions’ problem some years ago I’ve wondered how deep corruption goes in the Government.
    Lobbying is wrong and money should not bring an undue influence on Government decisions but how to stop it is the big question. I think any poliician found guilty of taking a ‘present’ or a bribe should be removed immediately and a new election held.
    Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      ‘how to stop it is the big question’
      Yes. 😦 I agree about them being removed immediately, but first you have to catch them at it. If you outlaw professional lobbyists from even saying hello to a politician then they’ll just go underground and ‘buy’ one of the genuine constitutents to go in and talk to his/her ‘representative’ with a little something.
      Even making it a criminal offence for both parties won’t work completely, although it might reduce the number a bit.
      This really is an example of human nature at its worst. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

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