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"Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world" - Henry Kissinger

and yet...

"Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences" – Robert Louis Stevenson

The reach of the lobbyists' dollar

In response to an FT article by Ed Luce on 19th June 2016, entitled ‘Going to war with America’s gun lobby’

“...opponents of America’s gun culture are up against two unshakeable obstacles: intense faith in guns as a symbol of freedom and the reach of the lobbyists’ dollar”

There are a number of issues here, but I'll focus on the one that I believe is fundamental to all policy in the US - what you describe, Mr. Luce, as “the reach of the lobbyists’ dollar”.

Congress is bought and paid for by vested interests. They are constantly running for re-election and thus the best way to get a lawmaker's attention in Washington is with the words  'Wall Street' and/or 'K Street'

Personally, I do not believe that meaningful change can take place under a system that is rotten to the core with cronyism...absent a number of fundamental changes:

1. Term limits

2. Campaign finance reform 

3. Along with the rest of the western world - reformation of the monetary system, and the way governments fund their activities through the primary dealer banks

This is not new. Most of us know that when President Eisenhower left office he warned of the 'military-industrial complex'. What is not so well known is that this was a watered down warning.

The farewell speech was drafted and edited with the assistance of the President's brother, Milton Eisenhower, then president of Johns Hopkins University, along with a colleague in the faculty of political science at JHU, Professor Malcolm Moos.  

In turn they were assisted by a small team of undergraduates from JHU, which included Melvin A. Goodman, who went on to become a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and adjunct professor of government at Johns Hopkins University. According to Mr. Goodman:

"The actual drafter of the speech, Ralph E. Williams, relied on guidance from Professor Moos. Milton Eisenhower explained that one of the drafts of the speech referred to the "Military-industrial-Congressional complex" and said that the president himself inserted the reference to the role of the Congress, an element that did not appear in the delivery of the farewell address.

When the president's brother asked about the dropped reference to Congress, the president replied: "It was more than enough to take on the military and private industry. I couldn't take on the Congress as well."

In addition to the Congress reference, an entire section was dropped from the speech that dealt with the creation of a "permanent, war-based industry," with "flag and general officers retiring at an early age [to] take positions in the war-based industrial complex shaping its decisions and guiding the direction of its tremendous thrust." 

The president warned that steps needed to be taken to "insure that the 'merchants of death' do not come to dictate national policy." 

The section also warned against any belief that some "spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties." 

Read the last sentence again - that's a polite way of saying 'starting a war'.

You're not just taking on the gun lobby Mr. Luce - you're taking on a pit of snakes that even President Eisenhower, the General who'd led the liberation of Europe, was afraid to call out by name.

A special Breferendum message - from the big guy in Brussels

Lunch with the FT: Martin Wolf flatters Adair Turner