Saturday, July 22, 2006
How New Yorkers can stop the NeoCons
Matthew 7:5 - “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.”
New York State is legend for the corruption of its government. Some New Yorkers might prickle at that but they know it is all too true. In some instances in other places corruption is incidental, arising from one individual or a small number of individuals who abuse their power.
But in New York the story is more complex. That corruption has been enabled by the political structure built mostly by those who identify themselves as Democrats. The abuse of power in New York City, through the court system, legislatively, and woven into every other imaginable avenue, is just a part of life there.
It was not always this way; and many good people have worked to change this from all political perspectives, but they have failed. The power that comes with corruption, like a gold ring grabbed from a wooden horse on the carousel, became an accepted part of life in the Big Apple. No amount of clean up by either party has done much to change that.
Corruption is everywhere government touches the lives of the people, placing all of us at risk both by that system and even more gravely by those who are taking advantage of the opportunities such corruption makes possible.
What starts in places like New York; ends at the doors of the White House and Congress. The NeoCons are the most efficient crooks but New York lead the way.
The Garson case in Brooklyn revealed not just one case of judicial corruption but a system of corruption that tied back to the appointment of judges by, surprise, the Democratic Party. Not a NeoCon was in sight – but the reliance of women and children on a dispassionate and judicial oversight for their lives had been converted to a market in pull. The tapping of a judge, carrying on business as usual by extorting cash from a desperate mother, was carried out by one courageous woman, Frieda Haminov. She had been discouraged and threatened by authorities and carried out her expose despite the official hostility. Her acts resulted in one cover up after another; little changed in spite of the overwhelming evidence.
Good people are still at risk when circumstances force them into the court system.
The legislature is no different. Ada L. Smith, Democratic State Senator for Queens, continues her battering and vitriol, showering abuse down on her office staff while she continues to rake in the monetary benefits from her position. No NeoCon handed her the phone she flung at her last victim.
New Yorkers know their system is corrupt. In New York there is nothing that is not for sale from the bench or the legislature. But there is nothing that the people can do to enact change as things stand today. Systemic corruption means that those in control have become part of a system that uses the government to funnel wealth into their own pockets. Greed trumps goodness every time.
Those elected to Federal office from New York came up through that system and to succeed played that system successfully, thus picking up the same nasty habits and destructive values that hopefully will limit Old Ada's career. The most successful of these go on to Washington D. C.
Therefore, those who secured their power in New York now serving mostly themselves in Congress, are not, shall we say, the kind of people who can afford to throw stones at the NeoCons.
Congress is a glass house.
If the Democratic Party is to save itself and offer a solution to the growing Nazism of the NeoCons Democrats with the balls and determination need to take action and the first item on that agenda should be cleaning up their own house. They need to change the Democratic Party. Do they have the courage? The jury is out; Las Vegas might refuse to make odds on that one.
Corruption in one place transfers everywhere.
There is a reason why the Democratic contingent of Congress spends its time watching the steady roll of fascism through America's Institutions, silent where you would expect outrage. Several generations of stealing less and a solid addiction to the benefits of power has made them vulnerable to the charges that would be leveled at them if they dared speak out. Some of them probably wonder what the NSA picked up in its tapings or what kind of home movies Bush gets from his operatives. Not all of them have that kind of worries, but enough to make it impossible for any counter move to be successful. Enough is all the NeoCons need.
If an individual Congressman has dirty laundry he is vulnerable. He can be depended on to be quiet on those issues that really matter. Otherwise he is free to benefit from his position. The NeoCons don't mind a little sharing.
At an elemental level this is not a partisan problem – but the divides of politics have worked well to build that perception.
There is no question that Republicans also need to act; they need to clean up their own party as well. But for them this is far more difficult. None NeoCons lack any control over their political infrastructure, Many of them, now still stuck in denial, are experiencing a deer-in-the-headlights moment. The Democrats, on the other hand, must deal only with the more mundane, garden variety kind of corruption. Sort of homey after watching the NeoCons operate, isn't it?
Are Democrats up to that challenge? Their grass roots, peeling away just like many Republicans, are giving up hope. The courage must come, as always, from individuals. For a moment imagine what might be possible. What if those who are controlled by guilty secrets came forward and simply admitted what has been hidden? What if they offered to make amends for any wrongs they have done? Confessed to those they had harmed? Asked forgiveness? That would be a powerful statement that would leave them feeling better about themselves and on a firmer footing with everyone around them – and with God. Their fellow members could support and encourage them. Many would find that much would be forgiven them. It would be a revival of American trust, something much needed – and not just in New York.
New York, and all of America, needs Clean, Open, Politics and the means for ensuring that the government we pay for does not become the government that owns us.
Clean, open, politics is not rocket science. In fact, it need not be difficult. During the last two hundred years Americans have created all of the tools needed to accomplish that goal. Those tools are the accountability and enforceability we expect from insurance agents, dog walkers, house cleaners, brokers and other professionals. We trust those elected to legislatures and courts with things far more valuable than entrusted to any house cleaner. Why do we fail to ensure they are bonded? When elected officials steal, either directly or by holding a garage sale on our rights as Americans, there must be accountability.
We, not they, have the rights recognized by the Declaration of Independence. We, not they, are sovereign.
A bond should cover the cost of removing them from office by recall or other ethically appropriate method. If you lie you leave should be a basic assumption of accepting political office, and not just the next term, immediately. Tom Delay should not only be gone he should be bankrupted by liability and now working at MacDonald's.
It is time for installing Accountability 101 in government. While the Democratic Party starts looking for the rags and cleaner for that housecleaning job on itself Americans need to dig in and ensure the job gets done in every possible way. Coming clean is one way, the other is coming together. We must close the political divides between right and left, keeping in mind that we are one people.
Some of us are already working on that.
Coalition for Clean, Open, Politics, a growing group of fed up Americans is forming, determined to return control to the people by exacting accountability for those in government. Promises made must be promises kept. To do that we need to extract enforceable promises from hopeful candidates and we need to bond them, ensuring the means for removal are available.
When real control is again vested directly in the people the moral hazard of government as it is today will be less of a temptation to the ethically challenged, and that will be a good thing.
Co-chairs, Mike Hersh Mikehersh@mikehersh.com, Dem.; Melinda Pillsbury-Foster email@example.com, Rep.; Robert Hughes, firstname.lastname@example.org, Rep.