Category Archives: corruption in government

Robbing Us Blind

 
 
Why do I get the feeling that we, the American people, are being royally ripped off by most of our career politicians and even some who temporarily enter the political arena in the hopes of feathering their nests? Why have a lot of us been feeling like this for quite some time? We are a long way from the gentlemen farmers who wrote our Constitution and were our first government representatives. These guys left their farms (probably more like estates) and went to make laws and then returned to run their estates and pursue their other activities. Today being a politician is a full time job and a career.  And, although there is a lot of money around politicians, it doesn’t pay very well. Yet people are serving in government at all levels who, when they leave government, are considerably richer than when they entered. Or they never leave, they just keep getting voted in year after year and adding to their stockpile of wealth. It presents a plethora of real problems for the American people when government office is used as a personal honey pot.  That money comes from somewhere, these days probably from special interests and political action groups who are trying to get specific candidates elected in order to control the American agenda and move it in their direction. Insider trading was a great source of profit until the laws were rewritten last year. Skimming probably also happens, which is outright theft and embezzlement. A NYS Senator was arrested this week for embezzling funds.

This is not something done only by one party. There are people in both parties who know how to play the system, make personal gains, and yet look like they are serving the needs of their constituents. It is also not required behavior for politicians; many do not partake and find legitimate ways to increase their wealth, through speeches and books, perhaps.

I live in New York State, which is probably one of the most corrupt states in the US; although I may be naïve about this. A few influential pols have been controlling the dialogue in NYS for decades as they gradually get older and older, and even more powerful. They seem to be untouchable and they throw the occasional bone to their subjects living in New York State. In spite of all their nest-feathering activities, NYS is not even a terrible place to live, although it is getting more and more expensive for residents with fewer and fewer services being offered. But we can see the slide, and even though part of it is the economy, it started before the recession hit.

For example, we can see what New York has done to one of its very valuable resources, the State University of New York. They have cut funds to the University over and over again and have raised tuitions over and over again. They have forced the colleges to hire more and more part timers and adjuncts who don’t have to have benefits or vacations. We had excellent state universities and, if we still do, it is only because of the efforts of the staffs, including professors, et al, that refuse to offer less-than-excellent job performances. Our school districts are also not the top priority of our legislators who have cut school budgets over and over again while piling on more and more onerous requirements for accountability and even their continued existence. And we are way past the part where manufacturers fled New York as if it was the source of the plague. Our governor, who we want to like because he seems able to make decisions and control the ruling clique, acts more like an absolute dictator (albeit a benevolent one) than a governor. New laws are passed without any input from the people whatsoever.

We get so cynical about this under-the-table feast to which politicians treat themselves because we see ourselves as powerless to change this system. We may actually have reached a point where we cannot effect any real change to our system of government which seems to exist on separate planes from both the Constitution and the people. We even play our role in the system because we continue to elect the same people who are ripping us off and who keep passing laws to make the average citizen even more powerless. Can we take back our government? Can we do it peacefully, with a practical strategy that will set things right? I believe we are too comfortable and lackadaisical to change any of it at this point. Viva the “playas”! We had better learn to get used to fewer and fewer services and more and more things that are not done well.

 

From the Syracuse.com website on May 8, 2013 is a small taste of the kind of underhanded activity New York State newspapers publish regularly in the hopes of exposing corruption and thereby ending it. It gets exposure, but then we elect the same people again.

Albany
Seven government watchdog groups filed a complaint Tuesday with the state, saying
lawmakers kept them from a public hearing on public campaign financing.
Jimmy Vielkind has this blow by blow account.
At one point when the sergeants-at-arms said the room was full, people were posting photos of empty chairs on Twitter.
Oneida County became the first to deny a pistol permit because of mental health reasons under the NY Safe Act.
In just two years, political candidates broke New York’s campaign finance laws more than 100,000 times. One example involves hiring “Turdo, the magician,” which probably should have counted as more than one violation.
Thomas Kaplan puts the recent string of scandals among Democratic senators in context.
The governor has said he wants a casino in Niagara Falls. But some Republican senators would rather see the proposed gaming site in Tioga County, near the Catskills or north of Albany — where state sanctioned racinos already exist.
New York
Not everyone loves New York: Chief Executive Magazine says the state has the
second-worst business climate. Yet tax breaks for businesses rose by 16 percent in 2011, Joe Spector writes.
Federal prosecutors say eight more people, including six elected officials in New York are under investigation.