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Results tagged “corruption” from IngeMusings

Democrats may still reelect Jesse Jackson, Jr.

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If they kept reelecting Barney Frank, who had a home where male prostitutes were turning tricks, and Marion Barry, who was caught smoking crack on tape, why wouldn't they send Jesse Jackson, Jr. back into office?

He's being treated for bipolar disorder -- a mental illness that can bring depression, mania, risky behavior and delusions.

He's had a highly publicized relationship with a "social acquaintance" that rocked his marriage.

His name is repeatedly linked to disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Now he's the target of a federal investigation into "suspicious activity" into his congressional finances.

What does all this mean for Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s political future when the Nov. 6 election is a little more than three weeks away?

"He's going to be re-elected," political consultant Thom Serafin said. "In this particular part of the world, being a 'D' is so important."

Junior isn't even campaigning. He doesn't have to. Being a D is so important that it trumps all else, but what do you expect from a party that still tolerates his father, the good Reverend that produced a love-child during an affair with one of his staffers, then paid her hush money.

I'm starting to think that John Edwards might have a shot at a comeback in the modern Democratic Party.

If you're one of the old guard that still thinks the Democratic Party stands for something good, wake up.

Putin's not the only one that uses soft power to silence critics

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Americans tend to write off the machinations of foreign dictator types as just examples of how every country but America functions. When the recently reelected Vladimir Putin cracked down on his political opposition by drastically increasing fines for taking part in unlicensed protests, it's obvious to us that Putin is corrupt and is using the power of the state to silence his critics.

We seldom stop to think that politicians in our own country not only have the same means available to them, but they've used them. (Unless of course, a Republican resorted to dirty tricks, as Richard Nixon did. Then we never hear the end of it.)

Earlier this year, Tea Party groups across the country received letters from the IRS demanding that they deAmericans tend to write off the machinations of foreign dictator types as just examples of how every country but America functions. When the recently reelected Vladimir Putin cracked down on his political opposition by drastically increasing fines for taking part in unlicensed protests, it's obvious to us that Putin is corrupt and is using the power of the state to silence his critics.

We seldom stop to think that politicians in our own country not only have the same means available to them, but they've used them. (Unless of course, a Republican resorted to dirty tricks, as Richard Nixon did. Then we never hear the end of it.)

Earlier this year, Tea Party groups across the country received letters from the IRS demanding that they detail their operations, down to what speeches are delivered at their rallies. If this happened in Russia, we'd see it as a clear example of political intimidation. When it happens here, the media ignores it. Not surprisingly, many Occupy groups weren't required to carry the proper permits to demonstrate, an advantage that wasn't often granted to Tea Partiers.

It's nothing new--Bill Clinton apparently was fond of sicking the IRS on his political enemies. Bill O'Reilly said he was audited several years in a row, joining, according to Judicial Watch:

 

The National Rifle Association, The Heritage Foundation, The National Review, The American Spectator, Freedom Alliance, National Center for Public Policy Research, American Policy Center, American Cause, Citizens Against Government Waste, Citizens for Honest Government, Progress and Freedom Foundation, Concerned Women for America and the San Diego Chapter of Christian Coalition.

A corrupt administration can also vigorously pursue its enemies with the Justice Department .Just ask Newscorp, the parent company of Fox News. The British phone hacking scandal opened the door for the Obama Administration to investigate the only non-liberal major TV news outlet.

A big bureaucracy aids public officials in persecuting opponents. The government has the power to grant or withhold permits as it sees fit. Get on the wrong side of some politicians, and your venture may be delayed or destroyed. When the government runs an auto company, it has an incentive to investigate companies that it finds itself in competition with. Remember the overblown Toyota acceleration scandal? When the government props up banks, the banks have an incentive to drop customers its handlers find offensive, like ammo-producer McMillan. That company was told by Bank of America, which received $20 billion in bailout money, that the bank had reached a politically motivated decision to terminate their relationship.

Big government means big opportunities to abuse power. It's not something that just happens overseas. And those opportunities are not going to waste.tail their operations, down to what speeches are delivered at their rallies. If this happened in Russia, we'd see it as a clear example of political intimidation. When it happens here, the media ignores it. Not surprisingly, many Occupy groups weren't required to carry the proper permits to demonstrate, an advantage that wasn't often granted to Tea Partiers.

It's nothing new--Bill Clinton apparently was fond of sicking the IRS on his political enemies. Bill O'Reilly said he was audited several years in a row, joining, according to Judicial Watch:

The National Rifle Association, The Heritage Foundation, The National Review, The American Spectator, Freedom Alliance, National Center for Public Policy Research, American Policy Center, American Cause, Citizens Against Government Waste, Citizens for Honest Government, Progress and Freedom Foundation, Concerned Women for America and the San Diego Chapter of Christian Coalition.

A corrupt administration can also vigorously pursue its enemies with the Justice Department .Just ask Newscorp, the parent company of Fox News. The British phone hacking scandal opened the door for the Obama Administration to investigate the only non-liberal major TV news outlet.

A big bureaucracy aids public officials in persecuting opponents. The government has the power to grant or withhold permits as it sees fit. Get on the wrong side of some politicians, and your venture may be delayed or destroyed. When the government runs an auto company, it has an incentive to investigate companies that it finds itself in competition with. Remember the overblown Toyota acceleration scandal? When the government props up banks, the banks have an incentive to drop customers its handlers find offensive, like ammo-producer McMillan. That company was told by Bank of America, which received $20 billion in bailout money, that the bank had reached a politically motivated decision to terminate their relationship.

Big government means big opportunities to abuse power. It's not something that just happens overseas. And those opportunities are not going to waste.

Russia isn't the only faux-democracy

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Vladimir Putin's back as Russia's president--not that he was ever far away from it. He retained power behind the scenes during his ally Dmitry Medvedev's presidency, and the plan all along was for Putin to return. The ex-KGB strongman wants to reconstitute the empire that was lost when the Soviet Union fell. Putin and Medvedev are playing Good-Cop-Bad-Cop on a geopolitical scale.  When Russia needs to be conciliatory Medvedev is the man to do it. When it needs to be strong and aggressive, enter Putin.

To win reelection, Putin resorted to rigging the election, as outlined in a Ventura County Star editorial. Every word of it is true. We tend to look down on other democracies, with good reason. They're often subterfuges for dictators. Only Sean Penn thinks Hugo Chavez was elected fairly, and I haven't yet heard anyone say Putin was fairly elected. Maybe George W. Bush.

But it struck me while reading the editorial that, while we clearly see the faults other nations have, we often overlook our own faults. Our democracy is not corrupt. Our elections aren't rigged.  Consider the following statements in the Star editorial.

The Wall Street Journal cited a poll that says 35 percent of Russians think the elections are illegitimate and 40 percent distrust the government, a figure surely on the low side.

Even if 40 percent is a low figure, it has a long way to go to match up with the 83% disapproval rating Americans give to Congress. Incompetence is not proof of corruption, but for some reason these people keep getting reelected. We already know that gerrymandering all but ensures reelection for career politicians--isn't that something we'd expect to find in a banana republic?

To ensure the outcome, the Kremlin resorted to a vote fraud so crude it would make a Chicago alderman blush -- "carousel voting."

Interesting that Chicago is held up as a model of corruption, because that's the president's political home.  In fact, he had close ties to ACORN there, which even the left-leaning FactCheck.org said "had widespread problems with phony [voter registrations]."

If the election had been honest and confined to Moscow, where three months of nonstop protests led up to the election, Mr. Putin might have gotten less than 20 percent of the vote.

Even though conservatives are the largest ideological group--twice as numerous as liberals, we're still dominated by them. Interestingly, Gallup has the percent of the population as liberal at 21 percent, just like the pro-Putin minority. Like them, we find ourselves outnumbering the opposition but losing to them. Democratic leadership is pretty far to the left--nobody (except the media) would say that Obama or Pelosi or Reid or Schumer or Durbin or Frank are moderates. Let's be nice and call them "social Democrats" instead of outright socialists.  But when it comes to Republican leaders, we have to put up with moderates. Bush, while socially conservative, was not fiscally conservative. McCain, our 2008 presidential nominee, tried to out bailout Obama. We're going to have Romney next, and he out Obamacare'd Obama in Massachusetts. For governor here in California, we had Arnold, who practically declared war on his own party. In short, why is it that the biggest ideological group never has a candidate that represents those beliefs? Simply put, the media is corrupt and with the exception of Fox News and talk radio, conservative candidates are piled on by the media. Just look at poor Rick Santorum.

Outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev will return to his previous role as prime minister. President Medvedev and Mr. Putin exchanged jobs so Mr. Putin could comply with the Russian Constitution's limit of two consecutive terms. The president's term, meanwhile, was extended from four to six years.

In America, we too get around term limits by having our close associates run in our stead. The elder Bush was the outgoing President Reagan's vice president. Then we got Bill Clinton, and several years after he got termed out Hillary ran (and Chelea is a being groomed for a political future). Between the Bill and Hillary campaigns we had the younger Bush. The only reason Hillary didn't win is because the lightning President Obama captured in a bottle. Will we next see a Michelle Obama campaign?

There is a growing backlash against officially sanctioned corruption and the numerous overweening perks of Kremlin favorites.

Do we need to even get into the perks that Washington favorites get, like legally sanctioned insider stock trading? Gold plated medical insurance? Payouts to your political supporters, like $500 million for Solyndra?

During the campaign, Mr. Putin made promises to voters that would total more than $160 billion, money the Kremlin doesn't have.

Wow, our politicians never promise to buy us anything with money we don't have. $160 billion sounds like pocket change for us.

Mr. Putin might surprise his critics. A key test will be three measures before the parliament: one restoring the direct election of governors, another eliminating at least some restrictions on political parties, and a third giving the opposition access to state-controlled broadcast media.

Opposition access to state-controlled broadcast media? Show me where conservatives have access to PBS.

Russia's corruption might be cruder and more obvious than ours, but ours still exists. We just have nicer words for it. Other countries have state run media outlets that disseminate pro-government propaganda. We call it "public broadcasting." In Russia, journalists get intimidated with violence. Here, they get intimidated by Media Matters. In other countries those that say the wrong political things get assassinated. Here, their character gets assassinated (just ask Rush Limbaugh, or Glenn Beck, or Sarah Palin, or Michelle Bachmann, or any other high-profile conservative).

Face it, our system is corrupt. Romney, despite having almost no support from non-political establishment Republicans, is the likely GOP nominee. And President Obama--let's just say that any other president wouldn't even try to run for reelection with $5/gallon gasoline and 9% unemployment.  But he'll probably do what nobody else has been able to do and win, because he'll benefit from about a billion dollars worth of free advertising from the complicit media. Our elections aren't rigged, in the strict sense of the word, but the establishment has such an advantage that it can almost always ensure that someone from the single largest ideological group never gets elected president.

IngeMusings
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This blog attempts to add perspective and context to local and national politics, through a variety of disciplines, such as history, economics, and philosophy--all tempered with common sense. About the author

Eric Ingemunson's commentary has been featured on Hannity, CNN, NBC, Inside Edition, and KFI's The John and Ken Show. Eric was born and raised in Ventura County and currently resides in Moorpark. He earned a master's degree in Public Policy and Administration from California Lutheran University. As a conservative, Eric supports smaller government, less taxation, more individual freedom, the rule of law, and a strict adherence to the Constitution.