When the politically powerful live by a different set of rules
Ah, our government officials — there is no shortage of criticism that we voting citizens can heave at them. And for a good reason too.
They have the collective ability to feather their nests. Depending on the political climate, they can vote themselves pay raises, extend their privileges, and enjoy several tax-free allowances — which is why they typically pay lower overall tax rates than the average citizen.
And let’s not even mention the fact that over 50% of Congress are millionaires while only around 5–12% of American citizens have reached that level of wealth. The funny thing is that they somehow become very wealthy within a couple of terms while only earning around $170k annually — pure magic.
The best part is that no one holds them accountable — a real live case of the fox guarding the henhouse.
While we don’t expect our leaders to be perfect, we do expect them to follow the laws they have established for the rest of us. Somehow, this must be too much to ask, as evidenced by these six corrupt acts of blatant hypocrisy.
They Allowed the Use of Chemical Weapons
You may have heard of white phosphorus. It’s highly flammable and bright enough to provide lighting for a battlefield or even to create a smokescreen against an enemy. But when it is used for bombing humans, it is beyond illegal.
White phosphorus burns just like napalm. Whenever it touches flesh, it burns through your skin and even eradicates the bone underneath — leaving you disfigured. It is impossible to put out once it starts burning you. Imagine such agony.
If this isn’t bad enough, white phosphorus also puts off a toxic gas that will scorch your throat, eyes and permanently damage your lungs. Using this substance as an offensive weapon is highly criminal. The US admitted deploying this chemical weapon during the 2004 siege of Falluja.
While we point fingers at the world’s dictators for using chemical weapons, we somehow commit the very same crime.
Congress Breaks Their Own Insider Trading Laws
Most of us see insider trading as a dishonest act committed by Wall Street players. In a nutshell, it means digging up inside information (that the public can’t see) that will affect the markets and then trading the market based on that information. Inside information gives you an unfair advantage — which is why it is highly illegal.
The thing is that these insider trading laws are not meant for just corporate execs and Wall Street people. Over the years, we have witnessed authorities going after analysts, publishers, journalists, lawyers, and recently even a TV chef for violating these laws.
However, if you happen to be a member of Congress, or even if you work for one, then no worries. They seem to have immunity from these laws. Perhaps we could call it Congressional looting?
An article in the Wall Street Journal reports that, in the years 2008–2009, over 70 congressional aides executed market trades as directed by their bosses. For instance, one aide to a Republican serving on the Senate Banking Committee purchased stock shares in the Bank of America, right before stress tests on the bank were publicly reported, which led to a rally of the stock.
More recently, several members of Congress dumped thousands of stock shares right before the escalation of the Coronavirus — which caused the market to plummet. They saved themselves from huge stock losses — while everyone lost much of their savings and even pensions.
Washington Illegally Funds Violent Coups
In 2013, Egyptian forces conducted a military overthrow of the democratically elected Morsi government and installed their leader, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, in his place. This was a coup beyond any stretch of the imagination, although several leaders in Washington refused to call it that.
Initially, the US government refused to do business as usual with this radical regime, as it is illegal per our laws. President Obama didn’t want to cut off aid to Egypt since they are one of the few US allies left in the Middle East — and because they are the biggest buyers of our weapons.
Immediately following the coup, the new government in Egypt began committing countless atrocities against its citizens. One such act was when the military gunned down 1000 protesters in one fell swoop.
Despite these actions, eventually, Obama caved in and resumed funding and trading with the radical new leader in 2015 — turning a blind eye to their evil acts.
Our Government Ignores Human Rights Abuses
Whenever another nation in the world passes a new draconian law, we are treated to lectures from outraged members of our Congress about the violation of human rights they committed. They remind us that laws like these do not belong in a decent society. Yet they forget how selective their moral compasses can be at times.
For example, let us look back to the 1980s. The US saw Saddam Hussein as a guy to be trusted — more importantly, a guy that would keep Iran in check. Therefore, we ignored everything else he did. Like when he deployed anthrax, nerve gas, and even the bubonic plague against his enemies. Even when he committed genocide against his people, we backed him all the way.
The NSA Hypocrisy
I’m sure you’ve heard of the NSA. Especially since we learned that they’ve been spying on Americans for years. They started monitoring our calls, reading our emails, you name it.
The government claims to have authority for this because of the Patriot Act that was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2001 — prompted by the 9–11 attacks. Like with many other things, the government finds ways to twist laws around in order to do their own bidding.
The hypocrisy pertains to how everyone has reacted to the NSA’s newfound power. The Democrats attacked the practice when Bush was in office, but defended it under Obama. The Republicans have responded in reverse — as one might expect.
As usual, the average American citizen gets left unrepresented and holding the bag.
The Iran-Contra affair was among the most hypocritical and damaging policies in all of history from any government. This was one of President Reagan’s initiatives and pertained to the selling of arms to Iran — who was under an arms embargo at the time.
Then they took those profits and illegally funded various terrorist groups within Central America. All this took place while officials were being bribed, and lies were being told, and the Constitution was plainly ignored. Not to mention, we were working with the very same drug traffickers that we were supposed to be eliminating.
It would be quite challenging to find more hypocrisies in one place than in the Iran-Contra affair.