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Posts Tagged ‘corruption’

I am tired of Barack Obama asking me if I’m in. I’m tired of Michelle Obama asking me if I’m in. I don’t want to be in.

First of all, when did voting for president become comparable to a poker game? That’s the only circumstance I can think of for the phrase, “Are you in?” It doesn’t apply to swimming, or shopping, or even travelling. It means, “Are you ready to put up some money to play?” It’s nice the Obamas ask you to donate money right after they ask if you’re in.

As I think about it, the phrase asks, directly or indirectly, “Do you want to give me money?” This from a campaign that does not have any good ideas about how to remove us from the crisis we are in. As our foot hovers over the quicksand of revolutionary violence, our leader and his wife ask with smiling internet faces, “Are you in?” Click the Donate icon now to show us you care, because we care about you. Join with others who are happy and don’t know why.

I keep saying in these articles that we don’t have much time. Our time of turmoil has already begun, but big changes usually take generations to play out. Barbara Tuchman, in A Distant Mirror, writes about the Hundred Years War. It actually did last a century. Rome’s empire underwent construction for longer than a day – for many generations, in fact. Neither did it fall in a day, as Gibbon reminds us. Similarly, our great civilization will not fall in one generation, but it will end eventually. Nothing is permanent. We as citizens have to manage this transition the best we can.

So we have to ask, how should we deal with a state that has become sclerotic, self-serving, and corrupt? Think of Jabba the Hutt, who ran a criminal empire through his toadies and assassins, who entertained himself with slave girls and ate anything in sight. When Luke Skywalker returns from his training with Yoda, he confronts the gangster with cool confidence and insight: “This is your last chance, Jabba.” The gangster laughs and sends him through a trap door to fight his pet monster. Not long afterward, Leia strangles him.

The insight we need is that this government is vulnerable. Its parts don’t trust each other. Its parts don’t communicate well with each other, partly because they don’t want to. They don’t want to partly because they don’t trust each other. Its parts engage in conflicts and self-protective activities that weaken the whole. The government – including the parts intended to strong-arm people – is not as strong as it appears to be. Like so many corrupt, vain leaders, it has no moral core, and its weakness becomes apparent only after it disintegrates.

The problem with so many theories of revolutionary change – theories from communist movements in particular – is you must use force to achieve your goals. Look at the long-term success of communist movements and ask yourself if they got it right. The movements failed, either before or after they acquired power. Reasons for failure vary. The key reason movements that use force fail is that they do not have legitimacy. When you acquire power by force, you wield it illegitimately.

Machiavelli wrote at length about how criminals like Stalin dressed up as rulers use power. In Italian politics at the time, you could not turn your back for a minute. Think of how the Corleones in The Godfather lived. Remember the security at the wedding in the opening scene? Machiavelli stated the first law of Italian politics in The Prince: In a world where people are cruel and untrustworthy, you likewise must use cruelty and force to achieve your object. If your object is to hold power until someone stronger and more ruthless knocks you off, it’s not bad advice. If your object is to wield legitimate power, to lead because others want to follow you, Machiavelli’s recommendations about use of cruelty and force could not be worse.

At the moment, our government and its leaders do not understand this point about Machiavelli. They do not grasp that their government is illegitimate, nor do they grasp that people perceive it that way. Not everyone perceives it as illegitimate, but enough do. Others are going to. The government’s pattern of behavior will force them to see it. That’s what happened to me. When it tortured people in the open – not once but all over the world – then defended the practice as legitimate, I asked, “What else is this government doing, in secret?” The answers to that question reveal a state more immoral and self-serving than you might imagine.

We have to prepare for the day when more people see that our government works for itself, not for us. That’s the definition of corruption: taking people’s money and using it to enrich yourself, pretending to serve other people when you actually serve yourself. That’s what people in China mean when they say communist party officials are corrupt. That’s what we mean when we say our government is corrupt.

So many people do understand how corrupt our government has become, but in general our country seems resigned to it. Certain groups, like the Tea Party and Occupy movements, display a sense of urgency about the problem, but given the reception these groups have witnessed, we might conclude that others don’t see what they see. Or we might conclude they see corruption, but don’t feel they can do much about it. That sense of resignation won’t last.

Yesterday on the radio I heard a gentleman named Thomas Cleary speak about Chinese history. Through millennia the cycle has been the same: complacency and corruption follow a period of stability and order. During periods of order, public officials try to honor Confucian principles of virtue and service. Corruption makes the rulers’ authority illegitimate, until stresses from within the kingdom and without bring a period of anarchy, confusion and suffering. At last a new ruler, often a military one, establishes a new dynasty, and the cycle begins again. Cleary noted that this cycle marks almost all societies.

We are a relatively new society, with less history than the Chinese. If Cleary is right, corruption is well advanced in our cycle. We see signs of weakness due to corruption, signs of resistance to authority, confusion about the future, and of course suffering. If you doubt the last point about suffering, think of the millions of unemployed men and women who sit at home today waiting for a phone call that will never come. Think of families who have lost their homes. Think of thousands of servicemen who come home from war to families who don’t know how to receive them or care for them, who after they escape death in battle crave it at home.

So our president asks me if I’m in. No, I’m not in. I’m an active opponent because you and the state you represent don’t deserve my loyalty. You and all the power you have gathered into the executive branch are going to fail. That is, the government you represent won’t persist in its current state. Don’t ask me for my money anymore. Meantime, citizens, let’s think about how we can hasten this period of transition to reestablish legitimate authority. We have better communications now than the Romans did. The pace of societal evolution has picked up.

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Back in November, I made the following comments at
Loretta Nall Sends Troy King Appropriate Sex Toy
:

But reasonable people would not include the Alabama legislature, which in is great wisdom passed a law banning dildos, vibrators, and other weapons of mass stimulation.

Not content with the law as it stands, Alabama Attorney General Troy King wants the legislature to make the law even more draconian.

I remember Troy from college. He was always a little weird. He used to write frequent letters to the CW, which described in detail his disgust with homosexuals hooking up in public toilets (well before Larry Craig), a subject he seemed to be intimately familiar with, and exhorted readers to go eat at Cracker Barrel, which at the time was under fire for a policy of discriminating against having gay employees. Troy always seemed just a little too obsessed with homosexual perversion.

Alert readers may remember that Loretta Nall sent Troy King a blow up pig:

My suspicion now seems likely to have been confirmed.

Loretta explains

This is not about being gay. This is about being a hypocrite…of the highest order

There is an official denial of the rumor about Troy King now….so I can say what the rumor is.

According to rumors flying around for the last week Troy King, our
rabidly homophobic
, anti-sex toy, Sunday School teaching, pro-execution Republican Attorney General is GAY! And I don’t mean that as in happy either. I’d bet he is anything but happy right now. In fact, according to two sources he is about to resign. [..]

I have been sitting on this story for about a week. Truth is I am SORE from having to sit on it so long….but not as sore as Troy King is.

Loretta elaborates:

I have some friends in pretty high places in Alabama politics so I called one of them up with the juicy details. They told me they heard a rumor about his sexual orientation some six months ago from a former reporter with a large, credible newspaper in Alabama. I also know that reporter and knew them to be very credible. The rumor at the time was that Troy’s mystery man was his old college roommate who he gave a position to when he took over the AG office in 2004. Supposedly when Troy was out of town so was lover boy.

The story then became that the mystery man was a young man who had just graduated from Troy University and was the Homecoming King(no pun intended) (God that gets confusing…Troy King with the homecoming king who graduated from Troy) and that was who the wife walked in on. Then a few weeks later Troy and his boy toy from Troy were spotted at the YMCA (not kidding) engaging in….ummmm….inappropriate activities. Yeah…at the YMCA…made famous by the Village People. Apparently Troy has no inkling of what it means to be ‘discreet’.

I’m betting they are both true. If Troy King can be a closet gay and Alabama Attorney General at the same time then there exists in this universe the infinite possibility for him to be a promiscuous, closet gay, Alabama Attorney General. But apparently closet and promiscuous don’t go so well together. But, hell, no one is claiming that he’s smart are they?

As far as the significance of this story, Loretta explains:

There are so many things that make this a delicious story. Gay Sex, high ranking elected officials who are rabidly anti-gay in public but turn out to be gay in private, they get caught at the YMCA (of all places), the whole sex toy incident, the ‘below the belt’ legislation that Troy has made a focal point during his time in office, his desire to be the guy who injects death row inmates with deadly chemicals. I bet this is why he objects to DNA testing, ya know? Wonder where all they would find his DNA? It’s really not much different than what Bill Clinton did with Monica Lewenski…except Troy is a Republican and his mystery partner is GAY!! Lordy, does it get any better than this?

Head On Radio Network is one of several sites making video and musical parodies which take advantage of Troy King’s embarrassment.

Another one is found at the myspace page for Mock 5

Alabama Queen

Troy King has refused to comment on the allegations, claiming that his kids would be subject to teasing.

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tarnished badgeIn Ironton, Ohio last night, a pedestrian was hit and killed by a police cruiser, driven by a cop on his way to work. Unbelievably, the cruiser dragged the man for blocks, and the cop allegedly didn’t even realize he was dragging a human underneath his cruiser. In fact, he dragged the man all the way to the police station, over a half a mile away!

I don’t buy that “I didn’t know I’d hit someone” story at all. If a driver hit a dog, they’d know it, and they’d know if they were dragging the dog because there would be noise and bumps involved. Given that a human is much bigger than a dog, how much more would someone realize they were dragging a human?

I suspect the cop was hoping the guy’s body would disengage from the cruiser, and then he could be the first on the scene, blaming someone else for the death.

The victim, Guy Thomas, age 46, was a block away from home when the accident occurred. His family found his shoe and his wallet two blocks away from the point of impact. The family has still not been contacted by the police, which makes me think the cops are circling the wagons already. At the very least, the Police Chief should have gone to the family’s house, apologized and offered his condolences, and assured them that all steps will be taken to get to the bottom of it. The police have asked the Ohio Bureau of Investigation to become involved, which is a positive, but at the same time, how can they not contact the family? How can they even make a positive identification without contacting the family, when the man’s wallet was found elsewhere?

Even if it was an accident, which is altogether possible, it does not excuse the actions of the police following the incident. If your car hits and kills someone, chances are you’re going to be arrested. The cop in question has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.

However, if a citizen hit and killed someone and dragged their body for blocks, do you think the cops would believe them if they said they didn’t know they’d hit someone? No way would that story be believed, and the driver would be booked and charged with vehicular homicide or vehicular manslaughter, as well as hit and run and leaving the scene of an accident.

This cop should be treated like anyone else would be treated under the same circumstances. He should be arrested, not just placed on administrative leave. That he hasn’t been arrested is outrageous.

You can read more about this – some of the comments are quite interesting – on WSAZ.

UPDATE 3/10 @ 3 pm: Police have confirmed that the victim is Guy Thomas, and that he was found dead beneath the cruiser’s rear bumper; and that the officer who hit him is 27-year-old Patrolman Richard Fouts. Fouts has been with the police department for only two months. He has been placed on administrative leave with pay.

Why isn’t the cop being charged criminally for leaving the scene of an accident, and hit and run, along with vehicular manslaughter? Do you really think that if you or I ran over someone, then dragged them for over a half mile under our car, that we wouldn’t be arrested when we tried to claim that we didn’t know we did that?

The police say they are waiting to find out if Mr. Thomas was dead before he was hit by the police car. Does that really matter at this point, other than giving the cops an excuse to cover for the cop who committed a horrible, incomprehensible crime?

To believe that, one would have to believe that Mr. Thomas was seen alive just moments before he was hit, yet he suddenly died, fell in the middle of the road, and was hit by a cop who then cluelessly dragged his dead body for over a half mile.

Whoever came up with that one should be writing fiction for a living. Even if Mr. Thomas was dead when he was hit, it does not excuse the officer lying about whether he knew that he hit a human and was dragging a human body underneath his car; he had to have known that. That cop still committed a crime, either way. He committed hit and run and leaving the scene of an accident, both of which are criminal charges.

Put that cop in jail, or at the very least suspend him without pay while the investigation is ongoing. The level of disparate prosecution in this case is shocking.

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Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan

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Charlette Marshall-Jones, the Hillsborough County, Florida deputy who was caught on surveillance cameras dumping a quadriplegic man out of his wheelchair after he was arrested on a traffic violation, has been arrested herself.

In case you missed it, here is the video:

Marshall-Jones has been charged with abuse of a disabled person, and faces five years in prison. In the meantime she has been suspended without pay.

I bet the gals in genpop would be happy to have not only an ex-cop, but an abusive ex-cop who likes to abuse people in wheelchairs who can’t even move, join their ranks. They might even throw her a few of those pillowcase parties I’ve heard so much about. ;-)

Now authorities need to go after the jail employees who saw it but didn’t report it, and especially the jerk cop at the end of the video who laughed about it.

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Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan 

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Once again, President Bush proves that he has absolutely no idea about … well, anything. Here, he claims that the economy is not being harmed by the war, and the extraordinary amount of money being spent on the war. Instead, he thinks the war is helping the economy.

Um, yeah. That may be true if you’re one of his fat-cat friends who own companies which supply equipment and necessary (and sometimes unnecessary) items to feed the war machine. Otherwise, it’s not helping you (or me) economically at all.

By the way, since he mentions the rebate, just where exactly where is the government supposed to get the money to do that?  It’s just more debt, and more interest on debt.  It’s just the Republicans trying to look better before the presidential election in November, pure and simple.

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Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan 

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Night of the Living DeadIf you have ever had to deal with the federal government’s bureaucracy, you can only imagine how hard it would be to prove to the government that you actually are alive if their records reflect that you are dead. After all, just showing up at the Social Security Administration isn’t going to do it. Given that, how exactly does someone prove to the satisfaction of the government that they aren’t dead, when they’re dealing with brain-dead government employees who simply believe whatever their computer screen tells them?

Yet, a shocking number of Americans have to find this out the hard way; by at least one official estimate, the government incorrectly declares 35 Americans dead every single day.

The problem begins at the Social Security Administration, keeper of most of the records tabulating deaths in the United States. Like other government agencies, the IRS, with whom Todd has most recently tangled, relies upon Social Security’s database, said Dan Boone, a spokesman for the IRS.

When Social Security determines that an eligible current or future beneficiary has died, it closes the person’s entry in its Case Processing and Management System, or CPMS.

The system is only as good as the data it receives. Sometimes, that isn’t very good.

Todd, for example, was killed when someone in Florida died and her Social Security number was accidentally typed in. Since then, her tax returns have repeatedly been rejected, and her bank closed her credit card account.

“One time when I [was] ruled dead, they canceled my health insurance because it got that far,” she said.

Toni Anderson of Muncie, Ind., expired when someone in the government pushed the wrong button, making the records declare that it was she, not her husband, John, who died Nov. 8.

Social Security even sent this letter: “Dear Mr. Anderson, our condolences on the loss of Mrs. Anderson.”

In September 2006, the inspector general’s office tried to get a fix on how many people Social Security was improperly killing off by reviewing updates to the agency’s Death Master File.

In all, Social Security officials had to “resurrect” 23,366 people from January 2004 to September 2005. In other words, over a period of 21 months, Social Security was presented with irrefutable evidence that it had been “killing” more than 1,100 people a month, or more than 35 a day.

Two months later, in November 2006, the inspector general looked specifically at 251 cases of people to whom the agency continued to issue checks even though Medicare records said they were dead.

“Of the 251 individuals in our population, 86 are deceased and their SSI payments should be terminated,” the audit said. “The remaining 165 beneficiaries were actually alive and their Medicare benefits—and, in some cases, their SSI payments—were incorrectly terminated.”

Read this entire article here.

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Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan 

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