Posts tagged ‘corruption’

Right here in River City! Sheldon Silver

Many people are starting to notice that, no matter how much politicians overspend the people’s money and how corrupt they are, it seems to be just about impossible to vote them out and get a new bunch that is meaningfully different. Why? A big part of the answer is the use of public moneys in the corrupt processes of government expansion and entrenchment.

There is little systematic reporting on these processes in the media. But here in New York, a series of corruption cases has exposed a widely-used M.O. that seems to represent the current state of the art. The latest case has revealed corruption at a whole new level and brought it to the doorstep of the kingpin of New York State politics, Speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver.

Here’s the basic New York M.O.: Start a non-profit organization ostensibly dedicated to alleviating “poverty” among your constituents. The public is bamboozled by fake federal statistics into thinking there are lots of people in physical-deprivation poverty, and generally supports public spending to alleviate the poverty. The State Legislature and City Council spend public money, purportedly to alleviate poverty, by handing out large grants to dozens of non-profits in the scam “anti-poverty” biz, many of them closely associated with various state legislators and city councilpeople. So you get your non-profit on the list. Not one of these non-profits has ever actually removed a single person from “poverty” as measured by the federal statistics, because the services they provide are all in-kind and therefore don’t count toward the official federal poverty measure. But these non-profits are political gold. At the minimum you have lots of employees who can be your campaign workers when that season rolls around, but that’s only the beginning. Next, you can put on the payroll your wife, girlfriend, and/or lots of relatives, not to mention yourself — remember, state legislature and city council are part-time jobs. Best of all, you can divert a good piece of your state or city funding back into political contributions to your campaign to ensure that no competition against you can ever get traction. And finally, you have no concern that your non-profit might actually cure the “poverty” and put itself out of business because none of its efforts count in the fraudulent official measure of “poverty.” Get a bigger appropriation next year! You are fixed for life!

How It Works In New York

An observer from another planet would ask, Why does such a bizarre system go on, seemingly without end? Why does the rich New York keep supporting the poor New York, and why does the poor New York not improve its lot? Why are these the Americans who won’t do the jobs that Americans won’t do?

The answer is that the real division in the city is between the wealth creators who pay the taxes and those who live off them, a class that includes not just the welfare poor but the vast army of city employees whose jobs exist supposedly to ameliorate their condition but who actively perpetuate it—the Housing Authority administrators, the public school teachers purveying a curriculum of social justice and an ideology of victimization, the domestic-violence counselors trying to fix unfixable families, the welfare workers on whose watch some poor child is horribly killed every year, the Public Advocate who apparently is supposed to promote some public concern that the City Council has failed to grasp, the civil rights commission on the lookout for racial abuses that the state and federal civil rights commissions have somehow missed, the tax-funded social-service agencies that wouldn’t exist were there no social pathology to address—in short, the Bill de Blasios of the world, constantly spewing out their myth of two cities that justifies their existence, feeds their self-righteousness, and keeps the votes and money pouring in.

The intergenerational poor are not a problem to be solved but a resource to be exploited—at least as long as the shrinking numbers of taxpayers, from rich Wall Streeters to ink-stained journalists, whose jobs technology is changing and inexorably shrinking, are still here to pay the bills.

A Fairytale of Two Cities

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Food Security and Terrorism

Food security . . .

. . . and the “other”

The endless “war on terror”.

Protests continue on the streets in Egypt, as supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and former President Morsi are clashing with the police and military. Government authorities threatened to forcibly clear two large protest camps in Cairo, while Senators McCain and Graham, on a visit to the country, urged restraint. But all of this continues to be just a prelude to the big issue: Egypt’s chronic economic problems. These will have a much greater effect on Egypt’s long-term stability than anything that happens on the streets this week.

The military appears to be aware of this. As the Financial Times reports, Egypt’s military-backed government is looking to introduce a “raft of short-term measures” in order to breathe life back into the country’s sinking economy.

Egypt: It’s the Economy, Stupid

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More Government Corruption

You’d hardly know it from the wall-to-wall coverage of the George Zimmerman case, but there’s another trial going on that’s at least as worthy of national attention. That’s the 32-count federal racketeering indictment against James “Whitey” Bulger, a Boston mob kingpin linked to at least 19 murders, captured in 2011 after 16 years on the lam.

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Free Citizens are Sooooooooo Much Trouble. Question Authority.

All power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Lord Acton

It should come as no surprise that President Obama told Ohio State students at graduation ceremonies last week that they should not question authority and they should reject the calls of those who do. He argued that “our brave, creative, unique experiment in self-rule” has been so successful that trusting the government is the same as trusting ourselves; hence, challenging the government is the same as challenging ourselves. And he blasted those who incessantly warn of government tyranny.

Yet, mistrust of government is as old as America itself. America was born out of mistrust of government. The revolution that was fought in the 1770s and 1780s was actually won in the minds of colonists in the mid-1760s when the British imposed the Stamp Act and used writs of assistance to enforce it. The Stamp Act required all persons in the colonies to have government-sold stamps on all documents in their possession, and writs of assistance permitted search warrants written by British troops in which they authorized themselves to enter private homes ostensibly to look for the stamps.

These two pieces of legislation were so unpopular here that Parliament actually rescinded the Stamp Act, and the king’s ministers reduced the use of soldier-written search warrants. But the searches for the stamps turned the tide of colonial opinion irreversibly against the king.

The same king also prosecuted his political adversaries in Great Britain and here for what he called “seditious libel” — basically, criticizing the government.

Thomas Jefferson . . . warned that it is the nature of government over time to increase and of liberty to decrease. And that’s why we should not trust government. In the same era, James Madison himself agreed when he wrote, “All men having power should be distrusted to a certain degree.”

Why All of Us Should Mistrust the Government

Chris Rock, rube-tool.

The president is not my boss and not my dad. Sheesh.


Unfortunately, it seems that the future Aldous Huxley predicted in 1932, in Brave New World, is arriving early. Mockery, truculence, and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline. However, we do need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT), learn what Members of Congress pay in taxes, and prosecute politicians and staff and their “family and friends” who profit from insider trading.

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Accountability and Corruption

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