The Truth About Lobbying

  By VennerRoad, 9th Aug 2017

When Donald Trump declared his intention to drain the swamp, he could not have imagined the magnitude of the problem he was tackling.

The Truth About Lobbying - 1

Rupert Murdoch in 2007

The outrageous smear campaign and hysteria directed against the new President is living proof that what he calls the special interests are intent on keeping their gravy train running, but the money men and the mainstream media are far from the only people to have it in for him. It is well known that big business lobbies and often bribes politicians in order to secure preferential treatment, but it isn’t only them. First though, we must understand what lobbying is.

Lobbying is simply making representations, perhaps to the government, perhaps to an organisation, or even to an individual. And there is nothing inherently wrong with it. Ordinary people in the UK and other countries can and do lobby politicians in person. People can actually go along to the Palace of Westminster and do it there. It helps to live within easy travelling distance, but MPs may be lobbied locally, and anyone can send an e-mail or write a letter to a politician.

Business people have that right too, as do businesses and organisations, and again, there is absolutely nothing sinister or even wrong about them having that right. Not everything ordinary people want is good for society as a whole, and not everything big business wants is bad, indeed, organised labour has a shameful track record of opposing new technology on the grounds of its ostensibly destroying jobs. This dates back to the Luddite era and beyond.

In 1986, Rupert Murdoch caused havoc in the newspaper industry when he moved the production of his titles from Fleet Street to Wapping, and more importantly brought in computers that made typesetters redundant. The organised left mounted massive protests to stop this move and new technology, which resulted in Murdoch becoming a hate figure, but look at him today, and his organisation. Rather than being an evil capitalist, Murdoch was a visionary; if not for him and people like him, you would not be reading this article, because there were those who would have shut down the Internet to keep the old system of printing. Ironically, the organised left still rails at Murdoch using the very same technology he championed.

Wapping and similar disputes highlight very real problems; new technology benefits society as a whole at the cost of certain segments of it, overwhelmingly workers. At the turn of the Twentieth Century, the new motor car began replacing horses as the main form of transport in urban areas. If you were a blacksmith, a stable owner or a groom, the cost of progress was your livelihood.

Before he came to power, Barack Obama pledged to give all Americans an affordable healthcare system, something that was long overdue in a country that has always been ultra-suspicious of “socialised” medicine. While Obama’s intentions were undoubtedly sincere, by the time the special interests had finished crafting the legislation, what was left was a cripplingly expensive monstrosity.

Under the Obama Administration, many Government employees had comfortable niches in make-work jobs, jobs that made work for them and made life Hell for business people. This short video sees the President explaining what road builders were up against. House building and many other industries faced similar problems.

It should be pointed out that not all businesses are unhappy with this type of regulation because it creates barriers for new competition. In 2014, the cost of a taxi license in New York City was a million dollars. Obviously this prohibited all but the largest firms from operating, which is the main reason the company Uber has been in the news so much, often attracting bad publicity. In France, there have actually been riots against Uber! Whatever one thinks of Uber, companies that lead to the lowering of prices benefit society as a whole at the cost of the special interests.

Back in 1975, Terry Arthur wrote:

“The topography of the Common Market now consists largely of butter mountains, beef mountains, and wine lakes!”

This sort of absurdity is the result of markets being distorted by subsidies, and subsidies are almost always the result of lobbying, either by big business or organised labour, often both, usually working in concert, because as Carroll Quigley pointed out in his classic Tragedy & Hope, Karl Marx had expected impoverishment of the masses and a great decrease in the number of owners, but what actually happened in the industrialised countries was not the exploitation of labourers by capitalists but:

“the exploitation of unorganized consumers (of the professional and lower-middle-class levels) by unionized labor and monopolized managers acting in concert.”

The reasons for this are not hard to seek; Quigley again:

“Business hates competition. Such competition might appear in various forms...(making) planning difficult, and (jeopardising) profits. Businessmen prefer to get together with competitors so that they can cooperate to exploit consumers to the benefit of profits instead of competing with each other to the injury of profits.”

Why should big business fight the unions when it can team up with them to extract money from the public purse?

Adam Smith said more or less the same thing two centuries earlier in The Wealth Of Nations:

“People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”

The Truth About Lobbying - 2

Clive Stafford Smith in 2010

The power of these special interests and lobbies extends far beyond the commercial sector though; there are numerous organisations out there - pressure groups, charities - that campaign for greater regulation and changes to the law, ostensibly to benefit society, but often they cause enormous damage, and are not shy about lying gratuitously in order to do so. Let us take just two examples: the human rights industry and the sexual grievance industry.

Any organisation that campaigns for human rights, opposes torture, arbitrary detention...must be honourable, right? Let’s look at Reprieve. Founded by Englishman Clive Stafford Smith, Reprieve’s campaigns include opposing the death penalty unconditionally. This is an ideological position that most people can accept, even if they disagree with it, but it is one thing to oppose the execution of a serial killer; it is another to traduce individuals and to spread lies in order to attempt to exculpate a woman convicted of an heinous murder on overwhelming evidence.

This is what Reprieve did in the case of Linda Carty, who was sentenced to death in February 2002, and is still on death row today. Carty was convicted of the murder of a young mother on absolutely overwhelming evidence, but you wouldn’t think that if you read what Reprieve say about her. As can be seen from this archived page, the person we are told is responsible for Carty’s predicament is not herself but her lawyer, who was so bad that most of his clients ended up on death row. The reality is very different. Jerry Guerinot, who is now retired, was a court-appointed attorney who was given the worst of the worst to represent. His clients included a man who murdered two teenage girls after they were gang-raped, and a murderer who raped both his own sister and mother. As well as trashing Jerry Guerinot, Reprieve have told many provable lies about the Carty case.

Neither is this a one-off, Stafford Smith did his best to clear double murderer Krishna Maharaj, a man he knew personally. The contrived appeal he mounted for Maharaj was described by the prosecution as six degrees of separation. In spite of these and many other easily provable lies, no one in the mainstream media does any fact-checking about the Reprieve organisation, and it continues to solicit donations from trusts and foundations as well as from individuals. Last year it received donations/grants of over £100,000 from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, which means the British Government is helping subsidise its lies.

Much could be written about the sexual grievance industry; in the UK, Women Against Rape and similar organisations have a long history of greatly exaggerating the extent of rape, downplaying the extent of false allegations, and even traducing the police, claiming they are in effect collaborating with sexual predators. In December 2014, they held a meeting at the Houses of Parliament which included contributions from inter alia Lisa Avalos, an American academic whose polemics are as dishonest as they are unscholarly.

This incessant dishonest lobbying has resulted in the erosion of due process to such an extent that recent proposed changes to the law in Canada would make it virtually impossible for a man accused of rape to prove his accuser consented to sex. In the United States, attorney Gloria Allred has exploited the bogus Cosby allegations to increase the statute of limitations in sexual assault cases. This will undoubtedly result in a similar situation to that which prevails in the UK, namely some demented female - or male - comes forward and accuses a teacher of a sexual assault twenty years ago, the police then go trawling for victims, perhaps aided by the media, not to mention unscrupulous lawyers, and the poor sap ends up in the dock facing multiple allegations which the prosecution claims cannot all be false, these people don’t know each other, yadda, yadda, yadda.

We could mention the race industry and the anti-smoking industry to name but two more, but let us return to economics, in particular the coal industry and finance. Donald Trump has made much of what he calls clean coal and putting America’s miners back to work. This was a vote catcher, but ultimately, the American coal industry must die, indeed all such industries must die. If you don’t understand why, check out the late Professor Bartlett’s amazing lecture on arithmetic, population and energy.

Finally, there is the biggest vested interest of all, the Federal Reserve System and the banking system worldwide. In spite of its name, the Federal Reserve is a private banking system outside of the control of Congress. The American Government and other governments have all manner of unwarranted powers, but the one they should have yet haven’t is the power for sovereign nations to create their own credit. Indeed, a nation that cannot do that is not really sovereign. The National Debt of the United States is currently running at over $19 trillion. This is money that is conjured up out of thin air then loaned (ie sold) to governments, corporations and individuals at interest. The entire banking system is based on fraud; with the exception of hard currencies like gold and silver, the value of money is purely psychological, in other words, it functions only because people believe in it. Can the same thing be said of a parachute?

Even though Donald Trump has turned the world of graft and special interests upside down, he is if not a mainstream politician then an orthodox businessman, and is blind to the power of the money creators. Hopefully he will take them on in due course, but don’t hold your breath in the meantime.

Something else he is blind to is the fallacy of full employment. This is hardly surprising because so are the overwhelming majority of mainstream politicians, and all trade unionists. While Trump’s policies are good for America in the short term and will be in the middle term, over the longer term his policies and the policies of all governments must change because with advances in technology - especially automation - more and more work will be accomplished by fewer and fewer hands. Universal basic income is beyond the scope of the current dissertation, but at the end of the day it is the only meaningful solution to the problem of wealth distribution.

Although the “problem” posed by increasing automation is unlikely to be solved in Trump’s term, or even his lifetime, it is one that will need to be addressed by social policy makers as much as big business, because the alternative is the continuing polarisation of society into haves and have-nots which will result in some form of socialism and unquestionably a police state. The latter would be a disaster for freedom, and the former would be a disaster period, indeed a world socialist government would necessarily result in mass starvation on a hitherto unforeseen scale, because a command economy of that size would be unable to deliver the goods and services - including food -that a planet of ten billion plus souls would require. We have ample evidence of this from the former Soviet Union and Communist China.

When the campaign for meaningful financial reform and basic income reaches a critical mass, expect to see the sort of hysteria directed against Donald Trump by special interests who want to keep their own gravy train running, as now at the expense of everyone else. And as usual, don’t expect to see them lobbying honestly, but to do so on the pretext of the public good.

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