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Tue, Jun

Corruptionism: The Other Pandemic

LOS ANGELES

ONE MAN’S OPINION-The ubiquitous nature of Corruptionism is what caused our horribly incompetent response to Covid-19 and could result in our society’s demise. 

If someone had written Lord Acton’s phrase, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely” 5,000 years ago before the fall of Troy (instead of in 1887), people might have better understood how pernicious the abuse of power could be. 

Traditionally, we think of the fall of Troy as the result of a spoiled brat by the name of Paris who had an affair with Menelaus’ wife Helen. Menelaus, brother of King Agamemnon, was King of Sparta; they both had the power to force other Greek states to lay siege to Troy in revenge. Unfortunately for the populace, Troy’s royal family (i.e., the 1%) placed Paris’s narcissistic amorous affair ahead of the city’s welfare. As a result, like Sodom and Gomorrah about 1,000 years earlier (2,100 BCE), Troy was destroyed (circa 1190 BCE). The exact dates are irrelevant, but since then, Western scholars have been writing about political philosophy, noting that power corrupts, and a society’s ruin often follows. “Pride goeth before the fall.” (Proverbs 16:18.) Aristotle’s Politics likewise addressed the issue as did the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. 

Benjamin Franklin and other framers of our Constitution recognized that the integrity of men would not safeguard inalienable rights including Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Only power could counterbalance the pernicious influence of power; hence the U.S. Constitution created a Republic, devising a system of checks and balances so that too much power would not reside in anyone one branch of government. 

Benjamin Franklin recognized the fragile balance of power that the Constitution established when referring to our new government as “A Republic if you can keep it.” Almost immediately, the public (i.e. free, white, and 21 with land) found the proposed Constitution woefully inadequate, requiring the addition of the Bill of Rights, aka, the first ten amendments. While the framers had concentrated on balancing power within the government to prevent tyranny, the public recognized its need to be protected from the government. 

Enter the Moron, Shrew, and the Toady 

As long as the Republic supported individual inalienable rights, the nation lurched along with aid of gargantuan doses of luck. Geography was a prime luck factor. The incipient nation was too far from Europe to become entangled in its affairs, as George Washington warned, and we had wide open space for expansion to the Pacific Ocean with nothing to impede our advance provided we were not squeamish about genocide. When we became entangled with Europe during WW I and WW II, its devastation occurred “over there” which gave us huge economic opportunities. Then, the world shrunk, and the United States is now proving incapable of a coherent game plan to combat the Covid-19 Pandemic. 

The political and philosophic question is how we lost the Republic, lost the respect of the world, and lost the war on Covid-19. The rise of the moron, the shrew and the toady reveal the inherent weakness of the Republic. It all rested on the integrity of individuals, but personal integrity is an illusion. 

The first institution to fall to gross corruptionism was the judicial branch. The main cause is that the framers had no way to ensure that persons of integrity would be judges. 

“There is no power above them, to control any of their decisions. There is no authority that can remove them, and they cannot be controlled by the laws of the legislature. In short, they are independent of the people, of the legislature, and of every power under heaven. Men placed in this situation will generally soon feel themselves independent of heaven itself.” -- Brutus, 1780s expressing the anti-Federalist view. 

It is rather late to bifurcate the judiciary’s duty to constrain Congress and the President from unconstitutional behavior, which probably requires life tenure, and keeping judges’ from handling private cases where they can use their power to financially rape individuals while fattening their own wallets. 

Before the Moron came along, the judicial branch had been purchased by the 1% whose main objective was to destroy the 1930's Glass-Steagall Act which had made Keynesian economic philosophy controlling. In1999-2000, the Dems and GOP repealed Glass Steagall so that the big banks and the investment houses could pillage the assets of the average American. The intervening 9/11 and the war profiteering in Iraq diverted Wall Street’s attention for a while, but it soon turned to generating the massive mortgage frauds that ended up crashing the economy in 2008. The 1% emerged stronger than ever and during the subsequent Obama Administration, 90% of all productivity gains went to the top 1%, giving us the longest post WW II recession. 

When Howard Beale screamed in the 1975 movie, “Broadcast News,” “I’m mad as Hell and I am not going to take this anymore,” his screams did not reach Timothy Geithner, Barack Obama, and Nancy Pelosi, Mitch O’Connell almost 40 years later. So, Obama’s gave $15 trillion to the banks while sending off middle class America to foreclosure and bankruptcy setting the stage for the “fucking moron.” When just before the election, Hillary Clinton called blue collar workers “deplorables,” ignoring their Obama-induced sufferings, she resurrected Howard Beale’s rage and the deplorables marched off to the polls to vote for Trump, who at least promised to restore prosperity. 

Trump’s Mental Illness Is a Lethal Threat to the Republic 

From November 2016, all Washington officialdom and the rest of the world’s leaders knew that Donald Trump was seriously mentally ill, but Pelosi and McConnell would not agree or compromise to save the Republic. Pelosi was more steeped in her Group Rights agenda than toady McConnell was in the White is Right orthodoxy. The only way to Nixonize Trump would have been for the shrew and toady to cooperate in Nixonization. They did not and McConnell became Trump’s toady. As far as we know now, McConnell never made an independent move against Trump within GOP circles. 

The Constitution’s balance of powers requires that people of integrity occupy the crucial positions. Until the moron, the shrew, and the toady, we were fortunate that integrity inched along out of craven self-interest. But sadly, our luck has run out.

 

(Richard Lee Abrams is a Los Angeles attorney and a CityWatch contributor. He can be reached at: [email protected]. Abrams’ views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Photo montage: NY Daily News. Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.

 

 

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