|The Nossiter Net
The net that shall enmesh them all
Edited, Written, and Published by Josh Nossiter
|The People's Purse
Friday, October 27th, 2006
|The Nossiter Net is cast to snare some of the riper rascalities of the day. Comments? firstname.lastname@example.org|
|When a pharmaceutical company wants to put a toxic new drug on the fast track to FDA approval, it sends a lobbyist over to FDA to plead its case. When an oil company craves to drill a stretch of pristine coastline, its lobbyists stalk the halls of Congress until they get what they want. Youíre a tobacco company, and you donít like a proposed new cigarette tax? Call your lobbyist. The same goes for polluting industrialists fighting environmental regulations, exploitive retailers battling labor laws, and defense companies bidding on lucrative Pentagon contracts. If youíre rich and powerful and you want something from the government, you put your lobbyist on the case.
Itís an uncomplicated system that works extremely well for those who can afford it. High stakes lobbying doesnít come cheap, but you get what you pay for. Most lobbyists are former government officials themselves. They cash in after years of public service by cajoling their former colleagues on behalf of moneyed interests for enormous fees. They know exactly with whom to talk, and how to talk to them. They perfectly understand which official is rendered pliant with a free trip to the links at St. Andrews, and which requires a salutary threat of exposure for his sexual proclivities or financial defalcations. Lobbyists, in short, rock.
Until now, anonymous individual citizens like ourselves have been unable to benefit from the power of lobbying. Few of us could afford to retain a lobbyist for millions of dollars a year, much less spend the many extra millions on top of that needed to sweeten, or threaten, the relevant government office holder. It may not be particularly fair that a chemical company can poison your hometown unchecked, entirely because of its capacity to lobby the very officials you elected to represent your interests. It may not be logical that your only recourse is to vote those officials out of office at the next election, only to have the newly elected crop be lobbied in their turn. Itís certainly not good value for money to contribute to the political campaign of someone who stays bought only until heís elected. But, as any member of the Reprobatelican party will assure you, and with much justification, for the average citizen life is neither fair, logical, or good value for money.
Until now. The time has come for the rest of us to fight back by making the system work in our favor. How to beat the powerful Reprobatelican machine at its own game? Itís easy. Some 140,000 of our fellow citizens are being used as targets in the Iraqi civil war, only because our leaders are indifferent to their fate. Say each of those 140,000 has an average of ten friends and family members deeply concerned about them. Thatís a total of 1.4 million people. If each of those 1.4 million ponied up a paltry $50.00, thatís $70 million, enough to hire the fanciest lobbyists in Washington, D.C. Immediately set them the task of bullying and bribing the government to get the troops out of Iraq, and theyíll be home by Christmas.
This strategy, which we will call micro-lobbying in honor of the most recent Nobel Peace Prize winner, can be applied to anything at all. Just consider how many people living along the California coast object to oil rigs ruining their views and oil spills destroying their beaches. Quite a few of them have a bit more than $50 with which to micro-lobby, especially if they skip those ineffectual political campaign contributions. Even in less affluent places like the Gulf coast, small contributions from everybody will sum to enough boodle to hire the next Jack Abramoff. In fact thereís probably no other way to ensure a proper clean up after the last Katrina, or to do what it takes to prevent the next one. And if everyone who ever paid an extortionate medical insurance premium contributed just a few dollars to a micro-lobbying fund, the power to force adoption of a rational health care system would be right in our hands.
Micro-lobbying. You read about it here first. It may not win a Nobel Peace Prize, but it just might win back our country.
©Joshua C. Nossiter, 2006
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