Corruptibility

Forget about Illinois, New Jersey or Mississippi – The Center for Public Integrity has placed Michigan as one of the most corrupt States and I believe it. Political corruption has been a significant problem at least since the Engler Administration which ushered in the era of a government “of the corporation, by the corporation and for the corporation”.  Money rules in politics and for the longest time we have seen a steady erosion of good government – and I am not just referring to Detroit City mayors or Wayne County Commissioners. State Legislators have routinely taken to granting Corporations tax concessions which were justified as “jobs programs”, but in the end only protected jobs in the Legislature via corporate contributions.

Corporate money has also been heavily invested in elections of activist judges which has had the net effect of limiting citizen access to the courts and establishing corporate rights as the primary focus of the Law, at the expense of individual rights. The danger of course, is that sooner or later citizens will get fed up with a government that represents only the rights of the highest bidding corporation and then – well, that day may come sooner than they think. Let’s hope is it not after any possibility of political change has been completely eliminated by corporate money.

Money does corrupt, and money has been allowed to corrupt the political process, not just in Michigan, but across the country. Maybe it is time for a Constitutional Amendment rooting out the corrupting influence of corporate money in politics.

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11 Responses to Corruptibility

  1. InYourFaceNewYorker says:

  2. But Mr. Fieger, if a Constitution Amendment rooting out the corrupting influence of corporate money in politics what would the Unions do? How many MILLIONS of dollars get funneled into the Democrat coffers by way of Unions?

    This issue you speak of is not exclusive to the Republican Party! What about all the earmarks that just happened to be granted for many Democratic states congressmen to get that flawed healthcare law thru the Senate?

    FYI, according to the article I assume you read Michigan ranked as the 8th most corrupt state in the nation –

    http://247wallst.com/2012/03/22/americas-most-corrupt-states/2/

    Unfortunately it appears that according to that article no states were saints when it came to corruption, but don’t you find it a little bit strange that the states that topped that list just happened to be states that Obama is doing poorly with, in terms of approval ratings? Things that make you go hmmmmmmmmm.

    Meanwhile we have the USDA giving out relief act loans to the tune of $3,000,000 (That’s 3 million) for companies that classify “Ice Blasting” a green technology. Never mind the company didn’t even bother to register their name until after being approved. The icing on the cake? Check out that same company today and they are now in the business of land development in Chicago Illinois. Mind you this money was allocated for MICHIGAN businesses. I got links/proof if you’re interested.

    So my question is this Mr. Fieger, “What are YOU going to do about it!?” You are the big wig attorney here! If your complaint was about your vehicle being broken down I’d offer up some assistance but as it stands this stuff falls in your realm of expertise.

  3. What is justice and what is a just society, and what is the role of the Courts in achieving the controlling paradigm? Should we even care if we are a just society?

    One of the things I learned over the past several years is that politics is not about good government, or the common good, or justice. It is about enriching the elected officials and supplying jobs and benefit packages (or contracts at the public trough) to the elected official’s relatives and friends. Period. There is no “conservative” political principle. It is my crony (GOP business interests) v. your crony (DEM organized labor). The political candidacies are elaborate advertising campaigns designed to get you to “buy” the candidate’s “message” which has nothing to do with his or her philosophies and principles, if he or she actually has any. Usually the message is formulated to trick you into believing (naively) that the politician actually agrees with you on basic issues. It is analogous to a caterer supplying you with an itinerary and menu after studying your tastes and preferences. You hire him, pay him, and he delivers a terrible and offensive product — something completely different than you had contracted — in fact he serves what a corporation or bank told him to supply you. That is fraud of our system. Like the battering spouse, every few years you politician comes back and tells the voter (victim) that he or she is sorry. This time it will be different. And the People vote for them again!

    This control is currently pervasive in the western liberal democracies, and in all three branches of of our government, including the Courts. Some may say, oh well, that is the way it has always been and always will be – to the victor goes the spoils. The Bible says there is nothing new under the sun, and this debate is just as old.

    In Plato’s Republic, Thrasymachus poses his definition of justice: the interest of the stronger. Thrasymachus asserts that injustice benefits the ruler absolutely. Socrates refutes him, offering true rule as just rule, for it is conducive to harmony, unity, and strength – HARMONY, UNITY, AND STRENGTH.

    I believe our system, and more to the point – our State’s system, of justice was founded on tenets closer to Socrates’ just principles, A wide schism between what justice is perceived to be by the People and that of the ruling class – the oligarchy. This is not just here, but in England as well. David Beetham is Professor Emeritus, University of Leeds and Associate Director, Democratic Audit, and recently authored a 21 page paper, “Unelected Oligarchy: Corporate and Financial Dominance in Britain’s Democracy.” (fn1 – link)

    The ruling class is an oligarchy – a social Darwinism reminiscent of Charles Dicken’s England in the 1850s. It is not a foregone conclusion that corruption and self-interest should rightfully prevail over the common good, fairness, honesty and the People’s perception of justice. On Septemebr 23, 1932 FDR said in a speech that:

    Recently a careful study was made of the concentration of business in the United States. It showed that our economic life was dominated by some six hundred odd corporations who controlled two-thirds of American industry. Ten million small business men divided the other third. More striking still, it appeared that if the process of concentration goes on at the same rate, at the end of another century we shall have all American industry controlled by a dozen corporations, and run by perhaps a hundred men. Put plainly, we are steering a steady course toward economic oligarchy, if we are not there already.

    If that were true, how could there have been a progressive movement? What about Frank Murphy – yes, there was such a real man, and he did not order the national guard to shoot the UAW strikers in 1934. Instead, he ordered them to keep the peace while GM and the strikers negotiated. What would Governor Engler or Snyder do? Murphy wrote the famous dissent in Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S. 214 (1944):

    “I dissent, therefore, from this legalization of racism. Racial discrimination in any form and in any degree has no justifiable part whatever in our democratic way of life. It is unattractive in any setting, but it is utterly revolting among a free people who have embraced the principles set forth in the Constitution of the United States. All residents of this nation are kin in some way by blood or culture to a foreign land. Yet they are primarily and necessarily a part of the new and distinct civilization of the United States. They must, accordingly, be treated at all times as the heirs of the American experiment, and as entitled to all the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.”

    At the end of the day there needs to be a link between “justice” and basic morality. Of course, there are powerful forces which oppose these principles. According to President Eisenhower, there is now the omnipotent “military-industrial complex” which “[t]he total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government.” “In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity.” (fn2 Dwight D. Eisenhower farewell address -1961)

    How did the evil of slavery come to an end – by magic? No it was individuals forming abolition societies, and public debate. It did not happen overnight. Men like Dickens traveled to the US and publicly condemned slavery; Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote the wildly popular Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Like the bankers of today, the aristocratic plantation owners, had the politicians and the Judges of the U.S. Supreme Court in the bag. Witness the DREDD SCOTT opinion. And guess what rationale was used to decide Dredd Scott? Chief Justice Taney wrote that the Plaintiff (the slave Dredd Scott” lacked standing. How is that for deja vu? For the uninitiated, that device is still deployed by Judges, when expedient, to rule in favor of one party over another with profound political overtones. Before voting for any candidate for office, including a Judge or Justice for the Michigan Supreme Court, ask yourself what their definition of a just society is. Read Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation v. Nestle Waters North America:

    “The sole question presented in this case is whether plaintiffs have standing to bring a claim under the Michigan Environmental Protection Act (MEPA) as that claim relates to certain streams, lakes, and wetlands in Mecosta County.” (fn3 link)

    In the 1910s our GDP almost doubled (except for a correction in 1907) our growth exceeded China’s recent spurt. However, this “Gilded Age” left out working people: the average workweek was 80 hours, there were no weekends, no vacation, only a few holidays, and the barest minimum of pay. Benefits and health care were unheard of. Child labor was the rule. What happened between then and now? “Progressives” began agitating for better working conditions, and began organizing as labor unions.

    Nothing is new under the sun.

    fn1
    http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/trevor-smith/unelected-oligarchy-corporate-and-financial-power-in-britain-under-spotlight

    fn2
    http://www.h-net.org/~hst306/documents/indust.html

    fn3
    http://courts.michigan.gov/supremecourt/Clerk/01-07/130802/130802-Opinion.pdf

  4. I am starting to feel as if this place is infested with Democrats!

    Could you have put any more of a counter clockwise spin on that Frank? I mean hell, you might as well been turning back time! The 1910’s? Really? Were you there?

    There is a reason history books and bibles get re-written and it’s not because history has changed. You remember that.

    Perception… The mother of all lies.

  5. Frank Cusumano says:

    Rex Allen Ulmny – I made the same comment just the other day. “Down the memory hole” is the phrase used by George Orwell in his novel “1984.” So much of history has been rewritten and mischaracterized — that is the reason why I quote the original sources. That is also the reason I attended the actual rallies this primary season and heard, without media filter, the speeches of the GOP candidates. Those rallies included Rick Santorum at the Palazzo Grande in Shelby Township, The Oakland University Debates and Ron Paul at Little Rock Baptist Church in Detroit. And yes, I do read, study history and critically analyze the pablum contrived by the so-called elites.

    So, let’s look at the Taft Hartley Act – the “Right to Work Law.” That is good right? At least that is the mantra we constantly being drummed with by the media. But what did Ronald Reagan say about it in 1948? Listen to the Gipper himself for yourself.

    So is Reagan a liar? Or was he a liar in 1948, and then became honest and truthful in 1980s? I think that this “incongruity” exemplifies the absolute ridiculousness of the “right” and its pious self-righteousness on all the issues. It is all about the Benjamins. Period. After Reagan started suckling in the GE money teat, he turned 180 degrees. BTW I am a lifelong Republican, but does that mean that I am obligated to act as a fool and blindly follow edicts of a party totally and completely controlled by corporations and insurance companies? Many in the GOP feel the same as I do. In fact, almost ever rank and file precinct delegate to county and state convention privately say the same thing, however, we are cajoled, bullied and threatened (yes, this does go on) to vote for the establishment candidates or else.

    I have no reason to believe that Eisenhower had anything to gain by his farewell remarks. He was being truthful. When Ron Paul stated at Little Rock Baptist Church a few months ago that there is a 1% and that 1/2 of them have made all their money through the government, I have no doubt that he was telling the truth.

    After watching the collapse of Southeastern Michigan’s economy, after NAFTA and Free Trade Agreements, which were sold as a means to create “high paying export jobs,” I can tell you that being called a Democrat or a RINO for calling out the charlatans and liars in BOTH parties is a badge of honor. Yes, I was there and I am here. I think you should look outside the the media cocoon that has been spun for you. Tell me Rex, which Ronald Reagan should I believe?

  6. Frank, you are aware that Ronald Reagan is dead? Right?

    Speaking of sucking on the GE “teat” as you would call it, isn’t it funny how Obama seems to be on one of them “teats”? Are you aware that GE owns some 49% of MSNBC? The other 51% of MSNBC is owned by Comcast! Where were the Anti-Trust laws when that merger went down? You don’t think a content provider buying a news outlet is somewhat monopolistic? Oh but that’s right, aren’t Obama and Brian Roberts (Comcast CEO) good buddies? So much in fact that he makes personal visits to his home?

    Yet Obama blames the Media for the vitriol in politics! LOL!

    For someone who claims to be a life long Republican I sure have a hard time buying it! With friends like you Frank, who needs enemies?

    I can’t blame GE for flip flopping, they are a business. Do I buy GE products? Maybe a light bulb, but hey, pretty soon it will be illegal to buy incandescent light bulbs, so we can now buy them florescent bulbs from China that contain Mercury. What a GREAT IDEA (NOT!).

    Frank, I don’t know what party you belong to… Sounds like you belong to the party of “Frank”.

  7. By the way Frank…

    NAFTA was Clinton’s baby… How about the free trade deal Obama made with India? Are you sure you are paying attention here?

  8. Frank Cusumano says:

    Be a good Republican, and don’t question what is fed to you. Take one for the team. Ron Paul said it right at the debate when Santorum was incoherently babbling about why he is against what he voted for – you lose all credibility. That is the problem. So every time you pledge allegiance to the flag, make sure to add after every sentence “except when the leadership of my party tells me otherwise.” To answer your doubts, I am on the GOP Macomb County Executive Committee, and I am a true principled conservative.

    I agree 100% that Obama is not genuine. His rhetoric does not match his actions. The Democrats have latched on to the corporate teats as a means to take power, and Obama is par excellence as was Clinton. I think I actually saw a Super PAC ad, by the so-called “right” (note I don’t call them “conservative” because they are not when it comes to doling out the public treasury to favored private banking and business interests) exposing the hypocrisy of Obama’s statement that “I don’t want to help out a bunch of bankers” where he has completely surrounded by Goldman Sachs and Bank advisers. Too big to fail …. Citibank and Bank of America are twice as large now then they were in 2006! The same bankers that Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton, and Bush Jr. had surrounding them

    Read Chris Hedges’ “Decline of the Liberal Class” and tell me what is wrong in his analysis. Hedges talks about how the so-called “left” has abandoned the principles which had built the middle class. That is why to call Obama a “socialist” is so silly and ridiculous. That is the paradigm which you fail to grasp: there is no choice. In the former Soviet Union there was no Green Communist Party and Red Communist Party — they did away with the pretense. Same in Nazi Germany. Here we shout labels at each other, but fail to see that despite these supposedly huge ideological differences our basic economic policy and foreign policy does not change – and it doesn’t. Witness the repeated bailouts of the corporations, the airlines, the banks, the insurance industry, and then the banks again. Who did that first? It was George W. Bush. So your outrage at Obama is hollow and empty.

    As for the “my team’s leaders” can do no wrong mentality, I guess that you would still like Rich Rodriguez to still be coach at the University of Michigan. I think that the GOP was wrong to run Bob Dole, John McCain and now Mitt Romney. I think that the destruction of our constitutional rights under the Patriot Act and NDAA is wrong.

    The people of Germany where so indoctrinated that they followed Hitler (and his facist corporate backers) to utter destruction. So don’t question, or think critically. Don’t act on principles. That is BAD. Eisenhower was BAD when he said those things in his farewell address. That vision is not only narrow, but dangerous to a Democratic Republic, and contrary to everything Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin thought and wrote.

    Guess what? Bank of America is in trouble again. What do you think will happen after the election – no matter who wins? Spell it out slowly.

    B-A-I-L-O-U-T.

    In the short term, the Federal Reserve is electronically printing TRILLIONS of Dollars to the Banks at 0% interest. The Banks then buy Treasury Notes at 3%. Nice work if you can get it. The Free money deal. Don’t spew the “I am a conservative” malarkey to me. It is Corporate Facism, and damn the damage to the Republic. Meanwhile, Americans become impoverished, and the standard of living continues to decline, but not in NYC, NJ (near NYC), Washington DC, Virginia and Maryland. Things are just fine there — their home values are solid and going up.

  9. Frank, you seem to be all over the map here buddy. Sounds like you might have some legitimate beefs but I can’t tell whose side you are on! Reminds me of this guy named Obama.

    I’ll just agree to disagree with you, since I can’t seem to make heads or tails out of your rants. In the mean time I’ll leave you with this catchy little tune-

  10. Frank Cusumano says:

    I represented (pro bono) a 20 year old girl who was arrested for prostitution at a Troy Michigan hotel. The under cover surveillance report stated that a man driving a Cadillac pulled up, got out and went in for 15-20 minutes and left. The Troy police followed the man and stopped him almost 10 miles away up I-75. It was Senator Stabenow’s then spouse. After he immediately told them who he was, the police told him if he agreed to testify against the girl he would face no charges of any kind. They noticed after running his license that his driver’s license was suspended, and let him go on his way after he filled out a statement incriminating the homeless 20 year old girl. This was all recorded on the dash cam video and officers’ microphone audio. The police laughed and joked about “how long it took him” and “we timed it.” She was arrested and charged with prostitution, i.e. performing a sex act, and my Motion to Dismiss (because the Troy Police never bothered to have Stabenow’s spouse ID her live or by photo) was denied by Judge Bolles, the best I could get her was a plea to trespassing. The Judge ultimately put her in jail for 10 days because she could not pay the fines he had levied.

    The reason I bring this up is because I think political party sycophants and voters are like that poor confused young woman. They do what they think they have to do to survive emotionally, whether its voting for Bob Dole, Johnny McCain (the war hero that told the Viet Minh everything he knew to save his skin), or Mitt Romney the “I’ll bet you $10,000” man. You know that will run this election cycle. The pimps have brainwashed them. They are their “daddy.” The woman is convinced that it is her choice to survive like that, on her knees, submissive, and unquestioning, while the political higher ups food chain use and empty themselves at her (the public’s) expense. Like the 20 year old girl, principles and ideology are irrelevant, except as talking points for the pimp’s media arms and so-called think tanks. And if you step out of line, watch out. You will get the party’s “strong pimp hand” and you will never get elected, or will be labeled. They use the “party faithful” like a human toilet for their own selfish political agenda. These politically active individuals choose to go along to get along. Ultimately the “service” goes up the economic chain to the pimps of operation which hold the levers of power, the Chamber of Commerce or the Insurance Company PAC, the union bosses, and other ghosts of the political machine. Its all about the Benjamins. Just put the money on the counter for a “GFE” — a term used on Craigslist where the prostitute acts like she cares about the John and just doesn’t hustle him out the door upon completion of the sex act. I think the analogy of our elected politicians and johns is apt. Upon election (completion) the LAST thing they want to do is hang around and actually talk to the voter – akin to the hapless and desperate sex worker. The voters never really meet the pimps.

    To answer your question on which “side” I am on: I am on the same side as George Washington (Washington knew that loyalty would be to the party, and not to the Country) and Ron Paul. LIBERTY, FREEDOM and the US CONSTITUTION. On to convention.

  11. You defended a prostitute “Pro Bono”? Now that has a catchy ring to it!

    I guess it’s true that one get’s what they pay for. Trespassing charges? Oh well that just happens to be my specialty at the moment! MCL 750.552 just happens to carry a max fine of $250 or 30 days, or both. Is that correct?

    Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between a prostitute and someone pushing their political agenda. Wouldn’t you agree?

    You are right about one thing, all this political bickering within the Republican Party needs to end, just make Romney the Republican Presidential candidate already! If Ron Paul had what it takes he wouldn’t be trailing so badly. Besides, Romney is from Michigan but as usual you can’t seem to back your own.

    Washington was the 1st President of the United States, so naturally that’s something no other President after him will EVER be able to top, regardless how good or bad they may perform.

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