The Beltway: ‘This Town’ Makes You Angry

Bill Moyers interviewed Mark Leibovich, reporter for the New York Times and author of “This Town,” an up-close look at how our nation’s capitol really works and just how bad it is in Washington, D.C.. He even has segments of the book dedicated to Indiana’s own hero, Evan Bayh.

You would think that the financial collapse of 2008 and 2009 which crippled the globe, might have brought some humility to the architects behind the collapse. They all rebounded quite nicely. As Muncie Voice shares often, the Department of Justice hasn’t made one arrest for those responsible for the financial collapse which called in a taxpayer marker of close to $13 trillion to bail them out. Some of those who assisted in deregulating the financial industry within our government went back to work on Wall Street.

And so the revolving door continues. Those who get appointed to high level appropriations committees and make daily million or billion dollar decisions about how money is spent suddenly find lucrative jobs with corporations who received government contracts.

Mark discusses how assimilating the motion picture bubble with the Washington bubble creates this distorted sense of reality. What’s worse, he also discusses how corporate owned media, specifically the cable media “journalists”, interact inside this bubble. Talk about sell outs the notion of a “free and independent” press. Muncie Voice was founded due to the lack of accountability within the local press corps. They are supposed to be the purveyor of truth, but nobody was holding them accountable.

Muncie Voice has shared local stories about the role corporate media plays in “selling the truth” to readers – Americans. However, they are part of the same corrupted ruling class in our society. We get nothing but spin. A further look at Gannett shows their editorial pages are offered up to the Indiana Policy Review who is funded by ALEC or part of the Koch brother connection. The local StarPress is just a press machine for corporate peddlers of information.

Mark’s book sounds like another good wake up call to Middletown, USA who attend Town Hall meetings to discuss whether we can afford to transport our kids to school in 2014 because Indianapolis cut the allocation for monies, or our tax caps have caused another $8 million deficit to our public schools.

During the Town Hall last night, Mark Burkhart, Chief Financial Officer for MCS, told the crowd that if we decide to close down one or several of our schools in Muncie, we’d have to offer them to a Charter School for sale or lease at $1.00. The millions of tax dollars spent on constructing these buildings have to be given to a charter school for $1.00. Our super majority of republicans adopted House Bill 1002 in 2011 stipulating:

If a charter school wants to use a facility or a part of a facility on the list created under subsection (b), the school corporation that owns the facility shall lease the facility or the unused part of the facility to a charter school for one dollar ($1) per year for a term of ten (10) years. The charter school may renew the lease for one (1) additional ten (10) year term. The right of a charter school to lease an unused facility takes priority over any other proposed use or disposition of the facility.

Still not had enough? Still think the liberal media is painting a rosy picture of President Obama while he tries to socialize America?

Those who listen to the ‘fair and balanced’ Fox News nightly consider Mark’s employer, the New York Times, as the lead orchestrator of the liberal bias in our country. However, the staff reporters at the Times are restricted from attending the White House Correspondents’ Association week-long party because of the implications of impropriety. However, Bill O’Reilly attends the dinner.

Washington is a revolving door of greed whose hinges are greased by those with the most money. If you have millions of dollars and want to change a law, you hire lobbyists who seek out the proper elected officials to make it happen. If your million can turn into billions, great investment.

If you want food on your table, or a raise from $7.25 to $15.00 so you can feed your family, who can you call?

You’re not going to get the time of day unless you have the dollars to gain access to an insider – not going to happen. They are consumed with money, power and influence.

Bill Moyers asked Mark if there was at least a “Mr. Smith goes to Washington” story inside the Beltway. Here’s Mark’s reply:

I tried to find a Mr. Smith character. I wanted to, and I had some back and forth with the first publisher of this book…and there are people I think I could root for, the people I like in Washington, I think people who are there for the right reasons. But I couldn’t find him or her. And ultimately, I gave up trying. And I tried to create a cumulative picture over a five-year period.

Do you think your vote counts?

Remember our Indiana savior, Evan Bayh, and all those wonderful speeches he gave about the mess in Washington and why he was resigning? Well, Mark discusses Evan in his book. Here are a couple of comments made about Evan that were noted in the book:

“The perfectly representative face for the rotted Washington establishment.” Another colleague said he was, “Acting to entrench the culture of narcissism and hypocrisy that’s killing the United States Congress.” Another describes him, “Practically a caricature of what a sell-out looks like.”

How does our democratic role model go from ‘savior of the common man’ to working for Fox News and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce?

It’s a great interview, and I must say the book is now on my must read list. In all honesty, I didn’t think I had any more contempt for a system that was failing Americans, but I found some more.

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Todd Smekens

Journalist, consultant, publisher, and servant-leader with a passion for truth-seeking. Enjoy motorcycling, meditation, and spending quality time with my daughter and rescue hound. Spiritually-centered first and foremost. Lived in multiple states within the USA and frequent traveler to the mountains.
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