Episode-1088- Patrick Barron from DefiningTheMachine.com

The Machine is Why Nothing Changes

The Machine is Why Nothing Changes

Pat Barron is a former Independent candidate for congress in 2010,with over 25 years of experience working within both public and private mental health settings.

Currently, Pat works for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health.  Pat’s experience as a trained clinician, has helped to not only treat the symptoms of a problem, but to identify/understand the complex causes of the problem, and then find the straightest path to both stability and success.

In the 2010 congressional election Pat Barron was an Independent candidate in the 3rd district against incumbent James McGovern and Republican Marty Lamb. Pat ran as a true outsider to Washington D.C. and political partisanship.

Pat believes reform in Washington DC is the only solution to all our issues ranging from healthcare to infrastructure, to national defense. The current climate of partisanship, gridlock, national debt and congressional approval ratings in the teens substantiate this belief.

Since the last election Pat Barron has been hard at work researching and developing a seminar he is now offering called “Defining the Machine”

 Join Pat and I Today as We Discuss…

  • Partisanship and political gridlock, why it occurs and how this influences policy and fund-raising
  • The history of congressional committee term limits and does this help
  • The Bipartisan Congressional Reform Act of 2002
  • The RNC, DNC, what and where is K Street and why this matters
  • The difference between PACs, leadership PACs, and Super PACs
  • Control by the political parties through the Party Dues System.
  • Where your money goes when you donate to a candidate
  • Why change can’t happen with the current system
  • The fact that there is a published price list for committee seats
  • A new congressman’s first job is basically the same as a 9 dollar and hour telemarketers
  • Sponsorships and Co-sponsorships of bills are for sale on the House Floor
  • Congressman can legally bribe each other in their own office based on a law they passed
  • The only solution to this is education

Resources for today’s show…

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK and you might hear yourself on the air.

40 Responses to Episode-1088- Patrick Barron from DefiningTheMachine.com

  1. steve murphy

    good show, educational, and depressing.
    when is he gonna “talk fast”?
    steve in massachusetts

    • Hi Steve, Sorry for the fast talk. Something I’ll need to work on. I like presenting the issue live in front of a group best. It helps me pace myself better. Thanks for taking the time to hear about the issue. BTW I’m from Worcester MA. :)

      • steve murphy

        no need for the sorry, i was being sarcastic, all sounded normal to me i was just poking jack for warning us about the n.e. speech pattern. and im in westboro

  2. @ Steve in Mass-

    I’m with ya. Wondered when the fast talking would kick in. I live in Arkansas now, but born in NY & raised in CA, maybe I haven’t been in the south long enough to sloooowww down. I listen at 1.5 speed on my iPhone to most every podcast so maybe that keeps me speedy, I dunno?!?!

    Good share Jack. Been looking forward to this since you mentioned it awhile back.

  3. Wow! It makes sense now what happened to our newly elected member to the House, Mark Meadows. His positions completely changed once he reached Washington. Great show!

  4. I really believe him on this, but I have to ask. Why hasn’t anyone else brought light to this in such a thorough way? Do we not have any elected politicians with integrity.

    • Ron Paul was the only one and you see, as Jack said, he didn’t play their game and got not much done. Yet…he is responsible for the education of many to Libertarianism. Which I believe is important. And don’t forget his “Edit The Fed”

    • Hi Rob,

      I’m asked this all the time. I’m not sure why others haven’t connected the dots with this issue. So much of the information is publicly available (my site has many links and is a good starting point).

      I think for some people they research their own congressional member and see they may have given 2000. to member A and then it’s quickly dismissed as no big deal. When if you look deeper you see that 10 congressmen gave to member A within the same week or day. So I think sometimes it’s just lack of seeing the big picture by accident.

      Having the psych background you often hear people say when a person commits suicide they have almost always left clues there was something wrong. This is mostly true. Clues often don’t appear as clues until more than a few are put together. We often overlook clues to a bigger picture or many separate people have individual clues but not one person is identified to be looking for all the clues to make a complete picture.

      Bottom line, I share the same question. I not sure why this hasn’t been connected and presented before. But if you look at the political climate and process through this lens it all makes sense.

      Thanks for listening to Jack’s show and hearing about the issue. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to be in touch. patrick@definingthemachine.com

      • Thanks Patrick, Im still trying to wrap my head around this stuff. Im going to contact my elected officials and ask them point blank about it.

        Rob

        • Thanks Rob,

          if you do call please update me with what you say and they reply. I have a keepcongresshonest site which attempts to have members or candidates sign on to not play this game. I will update it from your conversations (Where do you live by the way?). It’s still being built and only Mass. is linked at this point.

          Easy questions to ask are : The congressional code of ethics clearly states :”Never accept favors or benefits that might be construed as influencing the performance of governmental duties.” the concept of buying committee seats is a clear contradiction to this, do you support this process?

          Many consider Leadership PACs as second campaign accounts allowing members to solicit donations twice from the same donor do you think this should be allowed, especially since 30-70% of all funds going to a Leadership PAc are then distributed to other congressional members?

          Also please remember over 90% of Congressional members are already doing this so they’ll hide behind the rhetoric of campaign finance, super PACs, too much money in DC etc. Don’t forget new candidates are a great place to target as well. They haven’t started doing it yet and therefore possibly easier to convince .

          If you send me what state you’re from, or a couple of specific members, I’ll try to quickly get some info on a couple of your reps and you’ll have more ammo :) Sometimes it’s hard to piece together, sometimes it’s right there.

          Thanks for your interest, please feel free to be in touch. Please spread the word, post my site on facebook etc. I really enjoy presenting in person to groups if possible…Anything and everything is appreciated. Thanks!

        • sent you an email :) Also, thanks for sticking around to interact, alot of guests do not.

  5. Im a RP supporter and Ive never heard him talk specifics like this. Its like a QB giving the other team the playbook calls.

  6. Is it possible for this scheme to affect the Fed or other government bodies also? Is it only the federal government or have you seen this in states also?

    • Hi Ryan,

      This process definitely has a ripple into other government agencies and business. It’s what Rush speaks of with in regards to money laundering.

      Say I’m a congressman. I solicit donations from the government employees whose agencies are the recipients of budget increases I’m voting on.

      With business, I solicit from Boeing employees and affiliated PAC’s but then am voting on the funding for a new contract going to Boeing.

      Yet as a congressman if I wasn’t taking the money from government employees or Boeing and giving 30-70% of it back to my party or other members, I could solicit 30-70% less money allowing me to be more independent.

      Good question. Feel free to be in touch with any others, Thanks.

  7. Patrick great show!

    Fellow masshole here out in the western boonies. I had zero idea this kind of thing was going on. I’m not surprised, i’m just shocked its so institutionalized.

    To me (based on the info you presented) it seems like the real power lies at the top of the RNC/DNC who act like a puppet master pulling the strings of elected officials. It would be interesting to learn who these people are and who they are affiliated with. This might also explain some of the shenanigans that happened during Ron Pauls campaign.

    • Thanks GP. Most don’t know about this and how institutionalized it is. I do think the type of leadership runs all approach filters down to the local level especially given the issue with the Ron Paul delegates in mass getting treated the way they did. very disappointing. liberals say they support competition but clearly do not, and republican say they support competition and perhaps do slightly more than the Libs but when it comes to competition for themselves they circle the wagons. It’s really too bad.
      thanks for hearing about the issue. Please feel free to share my site and info. if you know any groups in Western Ma. I’d be glad to come out and present.

      Thanks, Pat

  8. Sharing this podcast and Patrick’s site with everyone I know. I think most people know the system is completely corrupt and broken but are clueless as to the proceedures and mechanisms that cause it to be so. Now we know.

    I quit pissing into the wind (voting) many, many years ago. It would be nice to think at some point it would be worth my time and effort again.

  9. Thanks LJH!
    I do think this issue is so straight forward that once presented and heard it may be possible to change a lot. Not everything, but a big piece.
    Thanks!

  10. Dad and I listened to the podcast on the way back from working on our property in East Texas. Even at his age, he had never heard of anything like this before. He was fuming. I can imagine people having a hard time with this because they want to believe that they voted for the “good guy” or that their “guy” would be above all this.

    I’ve linked the episode on PW and will link to Defining the Machine too.

    Peace,
    Todd

    • Hi Prepper-web,

      Thanks for the feedback. And thank you very much for sharing the info with others. The more who begin to hear it the better.

      Sorry to tick-off your dad :)

      Tell him it’s a good news, good news situation.

      The good news is fuming is a typical reaction and what most people feel when they hear it.
      And the good news is now he knows and can start to teach others!

      Thanks!

  11. Congressmen engage in constant fundraising; I’m not surprised by that.

    Congressmen who can raise more money, i.e., those who are popular enough to raise more money, get to “buy” their way onto committees and raise their influence.

    The net result of these two facts is that congressmen who are more popular have more influence in Congress. Not really surprising.

    So long as there are limits to how much an individual or corporation can donate to a congressman (and I’m pretty sure there are), that congressman’s ability to raise money (and increase his influence) is dependent on getting a lot of people and businesses to donate money to him. And getting a lot of people to donate money to him means getting people to support him. And getting people to support him means casting his vote in a way people agree with.

    If the congressman goes off and does a bunch of crap the people don’t like, why will people continue to donate money to him? Conversely, if people are donating enough money to a congressman to keep him in his position of influence, seems to me they support what he’s doing.

    Now, I’m assuming contribution limits, e.g. no individual or company can donate more than $500 or whatever. If there are no limits, then all bets are off, and I can see how the fundraising could be problematic, because very wealthy people/businesses would have unlimited influence. But I’m pretty sure there are limits. And that means the politicians need the support of a large number of people to collect fundraising from them. They can’t just hit up Exxon for $100 million and call it a day.

    In that sense, donating money is sort of like voting, or exercising your right to freedom of speech: everyone is free to donate their allocated $ to whatever politician or candidate they like best. The guy who gets the most money “wins.” Assuming their are limits to contributions, the guy who gets the most money also generally has the most support.

    Folks who want to support a politician, cause, or candidate, but don’t have time to go knocking on doors, campaigning, and trying to convince our fellow citizens to vote for Senator Joe (because we’re too busy working, raising our families, etc.) can allocate our contribute to the politicians / issue groups (e.g. NRA) we agree with, and thereby allocate influence to those politicians/groups who will advance our cause.

    It’s kind of libertarian in a way. Or maybe I am just jaded.

    • Hi Cordovil,

      Thanks for the feedback.

      I think if contributions were required to come from only in the congressional members district you may be right. Unfortunately it doesn’t.
      The incumbent had a distinct advantage over any challenger via the RNC or DNC multi-million dollar support systems int here re-election efforts.
      A lot of the money to fund those come from the money the congressman and other members has raised for the party as a member of congress.
      He/she is able to raise this money because he has something to offer his party (not his constituents), other members (not his constituents) and businesses via lobbyist (not his constituents).
      He has access to these people and money because he’s a member on congress. The challenger isn’t.
      Lobbyists, other members and the party can donate in massive sums 20,000-100,000 a day or more if need be depending on how many lobbyists attend a fundraiser (which statistically become 10-50,000 for the member if he’s giving money back to the party and other members). The challenger has no ability to match this.
      Anyway, it’s not a level playing field so the free market competition theory doesn’t apply.
      Thanks for taking the time to hear about the issue.

      • Hi Patrick,

        I take your point about the fact that since the fundraising isn’t limited to the congressman’s district, it results in the congressman gaining fundraising dollars (and hence, influence) in congress based on his popularity to the nation as a whole, rather than his popularity within his district. Perhaps I should be more troubled by that, but it seems to me that an unpopular congressman will lose his election within his district if he doesn’t garner enough support within his district. So the fact that a congressman can increase his influence by being popular nationwide (in addition to maintaining a support of the majority of voters in his district) doesn’t seem all that bad.

        I get that an incumbent has an advantage over a challenger, because the incumbent gets support from the party. I’m just not sure why that relates to the issue you raise about new congressman being asked to raise funds in order to increase their influence in congress.

        I don’t know, there are a lot of moving parts, I just think it’s more complicated than money = bad.

        I am a voter and I want my voice heard too. I’m also a father, and a responsible member of society with a job that doesn’t allow me to skip work (or follow the instructions of my union boss) and storm the state capital to protest for a week. I don’t have time (not because I don’t care, but because I have other obligations, like working for a living instead of living off the government dole) to be as active as I would like to be.

        Welfare layabouts perhaps have time to protest, show off their mugs on TV, and “occupy” something. I don’t. So I like the fact that I can allocate my dollars as part of my free speech right to support candidates and causes.

  12. P.S. I agree that many (maybe even most) of our congressclowns are fools, scumbags, or power-hungry psychopaths. But I don’t blame intra-party fundraising for that. I blame us, “we the people,” who donate money to them and vote them into office.

  13. Politics is a trainwreck I can’t look away from. This was great. I’ve read some Robert Caro, knew the system was really really corrupt, and am not surprised, but this shed light on their internal bribery system, brilliant. The bit on the size of the Senate was good insight too. Maybe we should change our political focus and support strategic candidates, like “I can’t actually do my job because the system is broke, you know it, I know it, but I can try to change this one thing if you elect me”. We could at least shoot for differently corrupt. Thanks the great show.

  14. It seems to me that this stems from the need to spend so much money on TV advertising. It seems we can’t force people to not advertise because of free speech. What if we expanded the equal time rule to paid advertising. Any ad on air for any candidate gets the opponents free equal time. The networks would limit the amount of time they sell, to limit the amount they have to give away. No free speech violation. Any “qualified” candidates would receive the equal time. This would allow third party candidates to keep up with the major party candidates. There are a variety of ways candidates could qualify for the equal time. We can’t have every Tom, Dick and Harry getting free ad time, so we would have to limit it somehow. One possible way would be to collect signatures in the county you live in. Everyone with enough signatures gets equal time in their county, only in the “first round”. In the elimination rounds there would be a “none of the above” choice in case the choices were all undesirable. The county winners would compete on a state level, again with a “none of the above” choice. Next a ten state regional, which would give us at most five candidates for the final. In the unlikely case that “none of the above” eliminated all the candidates in the semi final, the top two highest percentage vote counts would advance to the final. This can be done basically the same for senators and congress people. It would give the regular guy a chance and it will break the party stranglehold. It could even work for propositions. It should be easy to sell directly to the people. Get the money and special interests out of politics. Any politician that opposes it would look bad. The politicians might even like the idea of not spending their time constantly fund raising. Ken

    • Modern Survival

      Or we could ban TV ads and simply admit that we don’t need them for this and they serve no purpose.

      Um YouTube is free, let every candidate get a channel and say his/her piece and let people listen to them or ignore them. For those that don’t have the internet just take all the damn PAC money and set up a few thousand free internet cafes across the nation and done.

      I won’t miss the political ads on TV or radio for that matter if they go away.

      Remember what Rob Gray told Congress was the greatest weapon of the American people? The answer was our apathy, that when we no longer saw them as relevant they would cease to be relevant!

      Getting this thieves off our TVs and radios would harm no except special interests and the thieves themselves. Hell get rid of bill boards and street signs for this as well. If no citizen will by their own choice put their sign in their yard you don’t get no signs. Oh and you can’t pay them to do it either.

      I mean the world has changed let’s admit it! If I can talk to 65,000 a day with a USB mic (150 bucks) a computer (500 bucks) and some web hosting (350 a month) so can a congressman or senator or a President, that is if anyone WANTS to listen.

      Frankly making them only use the internet and even banning them from buying advertising there and only using it to deliver content, would make the process far MORE democratic and violate less free speech.

      If Lincoln and men of his day could campaign with a train, no phone, no radio, no nothing but newspaper and telegraph, then the internet and voluntary attention by the people should be good enough for these douche bags running shit today.

      Seriously if this was done it would mean that lobbyist money would be WORTHLESS, therefore it would have no power and get this apathy would be the greatest weapon.

      “Congressman Smith, do you think you will win reelection?”

      “Yes I am very confident”

      “I don’t think you should be”

      “Why”

      “You channel has lost almost all its subscribers and by the way your last video only got 100 views, please tell your mom to stop viewing it on multiple machines as well. I mean we know she wants to make you feel better but she is drastically skewing our poll numbers.”

  15. I don’t disagree with your concept, I just don’t think we could ban ads. As good of an idea as it is, they would argue free speech. They would probably also claim it was denying poor people without Internet the ability to be annoyed by the BS commercials. Governmental bans I think would not be doable because of the free speech argument. If you ban the candidate, how do you ban Carl Rove from saying what he wants, paid with his own money? The TV stations can limit what goes on the air without the free speech problem, as long as they do it with out discrimination. Making them give equal time should be doable because it already exists with regard to unpaid TV time. TV stations already have to sell ads at the lowest rate, so making them give free equal time to match the low ad rate time will cut into their bottom line. I expect we would quickly see an end to all paid advertising. In that case, along with televised debates, the qualified candidates would all receive a limited government sponsored block of ad time to make their case. I don’t know that this way has any real chance of getting done, but I do think it is more possible than the very desirable, outright ban. Ken

  16. Well I’m referring to what I think their argument would be, and what I expect the court would say. Do I get time on TV? If I had a million dollars could I buy time? I suppose it would depend on the message. Right now money is the limiting factor rather than regulation. I propose we reverse it so the network is limited financially, rather than the candidate. Keep in mind that as I said, there are many ways this could be done. The question becomes what can we get the people to support AND the courts to allow. Get those two things and we could make it happen. I can imagine a groundswell of public support to get the special interest money out of politics. Especially right now with their approval ratings so low. How to get the ball rolling however, I don’t have a clue. Ken

  17. Maybe we should go the other way. Just eliminate voting all together and instead hold a biannual auction for all governmental positions of power. Not only for ‘elected officials’ but also for bureaucratic positions.

    Of course there would be starting bids, that would increase every year.. and if no one bid on a position, it would just be left vacant until the next auction.

    By extending this to the passage of new laws that favor particular industries we could make even more money! Just pass a constitutional amendment that says that any company/individual receiving preferential treatment or state protection from the market place is subject to a 50% tax of their additional revenue. 75% if they’re listed in the law by name. That way industries can freely and transparently purchase the laws they want, with a guaranteed profit margin.

    Why we’ll shrink the deficit in no time!

    /s

    • Who wouldn’t want to have ‘CIA director’ or ‘Leader of the Free World’ on their resume?

      And of course we should also auction off the generals positions.. just let the colonels run the wars, while the ‘generals’ spend their time at cocktail parties and being saluted.

      also /s

    • I hear people make these same points whenever I give a presentation.
      Solutions ‘d offer up always are geared toward regulating the politicians no one else. After all they are the problem. Couple of quick ideas,
      1. Ban or have them pledge to stop giving or receiving money from and federal candidate, office holder or former office holder.
      2. If not eliminate party dues, make it transparent, publicly stated and equal across the board (say 50,000.) No buying committee seats or favors.

      1+2 would reduce money in campaigns by 30-70% from current levels since this is what they are currently giving away to the party and other members.

      3. Ban Leadership PACs. One candidate, one account.

      4. Mandate exposure. For example every congressional member needs to have a minimum of 6 live debates, 6 radio debates, and six cable debates which are played on every local cable station in there district.
      Currently the incumbents can raise millions and then duck exposure and debates never allowing the opponent to be heard or compared to the sitting member. That’s ridiculous.

      5. Move the stand by your ad disclaimer to the front of all commercials and at the end. Any ad not directly endorsed by the candidate would say at the beginning and end:
      “Warning the following ad is not sponsored or endorsed by any candidate or congressional member. The content of the ad may be considered extreme and inaccurate.”
      This teaches the audience to tune them out before they play negating the effects. Also shortens the length of the ad, increasing spending on ads, and therefore running fewer.

      6. Possibly mandate a certain percentage of money must be raised in-district i.e. 50-70%

      7. Money collected can only be used for the same office. Any congressional (House) member who wants to jump to Senate or anywhere else, automatically the current campaign funds go to a charity and they start at zero.

      Plus a few others, but I’d start here. Thanks for hearing about the issue!

  18. Although you solutions are well thought out. The problem of “INFLUENCE” remains. Laws are made by commitee. Unless the system of Commitee apointments becomes a loto-those who make appointments will hold sway.

  19. A good point. I’m not sure we would want them assigned by lotto either. We could end up with the least qualified as powerful committee chairpeople. It seem that the biggest problem is making the change. Since the politicians are the ones that have to make the change, it can’t be seen by them as a big negative.

  20. Lawrence Lessig lays out the numbers for how truly few people are the ‘gatekeepers’ for who gets into office:

    http://www.ted.com/talks/lawrence_lessig_we_the_people_and_the_republic_we_must_reclaim.html

    Seemed like a good place to post it..

    • P.S. I’m posting this not because I agree with his politics, but because its interesting that ‘thinking people’ get it, regardless of their political leanings

    • the enemy of my enemy is my friend

    • ‘There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.’
      – Thoreau