The entire quote is from Paul Krugman of The New York Times:
Why corruption matters.
Hint: It’s not the money, it’s the incentives.
When money corrupts the decision-makers, the decisions they make may ultimately have nothing to do with right or wrong, the public interest or private needs — or anything but how the decision affects a business interest or pay-day.
If everything is about money, the moral and ethical elements that should be part of the decision-making process vanish. When the bottom line is the only line, decisions can be made by computers. And probably will be it they aren’t already.
Was there ever such thing as a moral middle-ground?
When we decided as a nation to allow and even extend slavery because it would enable us to create one nation — was that the “middle” ground? Middle of what? The middle between slavers and free people?
When we decided to kill every native American or “convert” every single member of every tribe to being “just like us” (and who are we, anyway?), was that middle ground?
Was refusing to discuss the cruelty of taking over this country and despoiling it without regard for its future ability to support other people, was that the middle-ground?
Was opening up Native “regions” to white settlement while simultaneously starving the original inhabitants — and pretending nothing was happening — was that middle-ground?
There is no middle-ground between cruelty and kindness. You are cruel or kind, but there’s nothing in between.
Destroying the earth or not destroying it … where is the middle-ground?
It’s not just about Trump and his politics. There has never been a middle-ground between good and evil. Pretending nothing is going on is not a middle-ground. Knowing about evil while pretending ignorance — or worse, intentionally remaining ignorant in the face is evil — is not higher ground.
Ignorance does not excuse you from getting a speeding ticket. It also does not excuse you from Hell, either. There is righteousness and there is corruption. There’s no place where you can sit on the fence and thus eliminate your involvement. Black or white, but not gray.
Not discussing politics doesn’t put you in a better position than any of the raging ranters on Facebook. Having better manners doesn’t make you a better person.
I’ve been saying for some time that it isn’t enough to rail against the conditions in the concentration camps currently being filled with those seeking asylum in the U.S. We need to propose some solutions. Today I received a communication that offers solutions–or at least ways in which we can support those attempting to institute measures to end the atrocities in these camps. Here is a link to view what is happening in the camps–many of them run by a big-time contributor to Trump and several senators as well as a list of things you can do to help.
“These concentration camps (let’s call them what they are) will be under the control of the Department of Homeland Security, but within the Department of Defense. Unlike ICE facilities, which allow site inspectors inside, there will be no inspection of military-run camps.
The military will be able to deny access to anyone it chooses. No media. No oversight. Lawyers will not be allowed in. Human rights monitors will not be allowed in. The camps will also be protected airspace, meaning that no drones can fly over them to take pictures of what’s going on inside. The Trump administration will be able to conduct itself in whatever way it wants to without anyone knowing what’s going on inside.”
Da Prez is screaming “Witch Hunt.” Meanwhile, we wait. And wait. Because we know there’s evil afoot. We want to know what kind of evil.
We want details.
We want to know.
Today we learned a little. It’s interesting that while the Fed – Mueller and associates – are not pressing down hard on Cohen, New York State is pushing for a substantial prison sentence. Garry — who has a tendency to be right about many things political — thinks it’s a “good cop, bad cop” thing except in this case, it’s “good judge, bad judge.”
Our chief mobster can pardon Cohen on Federal charges — of which there are very few with no jail time involved — but he cannot pardon him on those New York state charges. I don’t think there’s a lot of love in New York for Godfather Donzo and I’m not expecting a strongly positive reaction to another plea from Cohen. Or Donzo.
There was just so much news today. I haven’t fully processed it and neither has anyone else, probably because this is just the beginning and we aren’t entirely sure, but we can certainly make some solid guesses. What today’s filings on Michael Cohen said is that this is one bad dude. That not only was he a criminal, but he was in it for his own profit and did whatever he did from a position of privilege and power.
Godfather 2 in service to Godfather 1. Or, as Garry put it, “Cohen is one evil dude.”
What was 45’s reaction to it?
This is, to put it mildly, a peculiar reaction to the sentencing filings on Michael Cohen. Among many other things, Cohen says the president ordered him to do it.
Individual 1 is Da Prez. Totally cleared? Seriously? But wait. There’s ever so much more!
I cannot help feeling that it’s about time we got a little feedback from the investigation. We have, after all, been enthusiastically supporting it even though we had no idea what was going on. We hoped and I think we hoped rightly.
I had to assume that something was indeed going on. I did not expect to get a final report saying “It really was a witch hunt and the poor, bedeviled prez didn’t do nothing wrong, just like he said.”
No, I assumed he had done everything wrong. It was more a matter of proof, evidence, facts, legal briefs. This has been a lot like Watergate times 20. I remember with joy the pleasure I felt as in Watergate, the dominos began to fall.
And they all fell down. Finally, down went the Top Dog. Never did I imagine we’d wind up back in this place again with even bigger and more dangerous fish to fry.
Aside from setting our country back to being a proper nation, we’ve got a planet to save, wars to end, an atmosphere to preserve. Oceans to clean and many kinds of wildlife to save from extinction. Medical care to make available to all. There’s barely anything that doesn’t need saving.
I’m going to go with “save the planet first,” but that’s only because if we lose the planet, nothing else will matter.
Maybe, along the way, we will save ourselves from extinction. That would be a nice touch.
I just wanted to add this last bit, in case you weren’t clear on what I’ve been getting at:
Linking Trump to knowledge of the payment and the payment to the campaign is important. One of the defenses that might have been offered by Trump is that he regularly had his attorney pay off women to keep their stories quiet. The government filing indicates that AMI and Cohen discussed the company helping to make such payoffs as early as 2014. But the references to the rationale behind the payments in 2016 and the inclusion of the phrase “at the direction” of the candidate bolsters the evidence that the McDougal and Daniels payments were not just run-of-the-mill behavior.
Given that Cohen indicated that the payments were meant to influence the election and that they came at the direction of Trump, Lawrence Noble, former general counsel for the Federal Election Commission, told The Post, “there is little question Cohen, the campaign and the candidate are liable for the campaign finance violations.”
There are no innocents in this mix. They are all guilty and one of my biggest questions remains: HOW FAR DID THIS CORRUPTION GO? How many people — senators, military men, lawyers, wheelers and dealers, were paid to let the Russians play tiddlywinks with our electoral process?
To say that all politics is corrupt is maybe partially true, but this is not only corrupt. This is actively treasonous.
Actively treasonous and not just the president and his close little circle, but his whole “ring of thieves.” Nixon’s crime was a cover-up. This isn’t a cover-up. This is an active attempt to gain the services of an enemy foreign power to win the American presidency.
That’s treason and I don’t care how you spell it. I don’t merely want to “know more.” I want the whole story. Paragraph by paragraph.
Robert Mueller III’s and the Southern District of New York’s court filings, and the President’s response, confirm that “Individual-1” never should have been administered the oath of office “to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.” The people around the Oval Office are the only brakes on the man who, like Chauncey (“Chance”) Gardner played by Peter Sellers in the humorous film Being There, spends his days watching his favorite television shows, doesn’t read, and reduces complexity to the simplest of terms.
Ron Steigler: Mr. Gardner, uh, my editors and I have been wondering if you would consider writing a book for us, something about your um, political philosophy, what do you say?
Chance: I can’t write.
Ron Steigler: Heh, heh, of course not, who can nowadays? Listen, I have trouble writing a postcard to my…
Many — probably most — Americans think we have the world’s worst government. We probably do have the world’s worst fool as our president. He is most likely the most narcissistic and stupid person to ever be elected to such a high office.
But the rest of the world is embroiled in equally bad government and an equivalent degree of poverty, corruption, and neglect. England and France and Australia, to name a few. Where you find a government, it will be corrupt.
It’s probably true that all government is corrupt and probably always has been to some extent.
Despite that, there was a portion of good people ready to fight corruption. Who held a desire to improve the life of the citizens who supported them. There were always enough people in power who wanted to improve the quality of life for the citizens who elected them.
Now? We can but hope!
Today, everywhere, the corporate bottom-liners are running the world. It is killing us. Destroying our climate, making it impossible to earn enough money to live on. Making our education useless. Failing to provide an education for the world that is coming.
This is one of those rare times when I’m not sorry I won’t be here to see how this works out. It isn’t going to be easy and I don’t know if we will survive the apocalypse we have made. I want to believe we will manage to overcome the adversity, but I don’t know.
No one knows.
We can hope. We can try, but we can’t make it work unless every nation puts its shoulder (so to speak) to the world. If we do not, it will not be long before we are living on a planet where there is no drinkable water, insufficient food, and air that is unsafe to breathe.
Last week, 16 November 2018, Professor Philip Alston, international lawyer, and UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights made his statement on the shameful state of Britain. He began by pointing out that the UK is the world’s fifth largest economy, yet one-fifth of its population live in poverty. Of these, 1.5 million are destitute. The reasons for this, he says, are largely ideological, and government ministers are so fixed on their agendas, they are refusing to acknowledge the evidence presented to them, or acknowledge the consequences of their policies. The problems, Professor Alston states, are set to grow worse, and especially for the most vulnerable: CHILDREN.
“14 million people, a fifth of the population, live in poverty. Four million of these are more than 50% below the poverty line, and 1.5 million are destitute, unable to afford basic essentials. The widely respected Institute for Fiscal Studies predicts a 7% rise in child poverty between 2015 and 2022, and various sources predict child poverty rates of as high as 40%. For almost one in every two children to be poor in twenty-first century Britain is not just a disgrace, but a social calamity and an economic disaster, all rolled into one.”
Amber Rudd, the new Work, and Pensions Secretary dismissed the report on the basis that its tone was ‘highly inappropriate’. Philip Alston’s response, as covered by the Guardian, was to tell her to take action rather than criticize.
You can judge Professor Alston’s tone in this introduction to his statement:
“The UK is the world’s fifth largest economy, it contains many areas of immense wealth, its capital is a leading centre of global finance, its entrepreneurs are innovative and agile, and despite the current political turmoil, it has a system of government that rightly remains the envy of much of the world. It thus seems patently unjust and contrary to British values that so many people are living in poverty. This is obvious to anyone who opens their eyes to see the immense growth in food banks and the queues waiting outside them, the people sleeping rough in the streets, the growth of homelessness, the sense of deep despair that leads even the Government to appoint a Minister for suicide prevention and civil society to report in-depth on unheard of levels of loneliness and isolation.
And local authorities, especially in England, which perform vital roles in providing a real social safety net have been gutted by a series of government policies. Libraries have closed in record numbers, community and youth centers have been shrunk and underfunded, public spaces and buildings including parks and recreation centers have been sold off. While the labor and housing markets provide the crucial backdrop, the focus of this report is on the contribution made by social security and related policies.”
Was there anybody with half a brain who did not know the Democratic National Committee was firmly committed to Hillary Clinton long before the DNC convention? Was there anyone shocked by this revelation — especially one being made by someone who was part of the problem in the first place?
If you were shocked, what dark hole were you living in before the election? Did you really believe deals for huge amounts of money to run gigantic, organized electoral campaigns — which go on for years — are made on a wish and a handshake? Seriously?
I’m not saying this because I’m so cynical. This stuff is obvious. Of course they were committed to Clinton. Obviously. Of the candidates to whom they could be committed, I was okay with Hillary. She had earned her shot at it over the years. Hard work and 8 years as first lady and another bunch in the senate. And she is one smart cookie.
How naïve are you? If you are so naïve, maybe it’s time you get it together with reality. The one in which you live. We are never going to like all the stuff that goes on in our world. We will always be making compromises between the ideal — and with what we can live.
I could have lived with Hillary Clinton as president. I am having the devil’s own time surviving Donald Trump. It never crossed my mind for a moment that there weren’t a thousand deals in place to put her up as the candidate. Given the options? I was fine with the choice. I thought she could make a pretty good president. I didn’t think Bernie would accomplish anything much even if elected. An old guy with head full of ideas and ideals — with little or no research behind them. Ideas are great, but the presidency requires more than good ideas.
It requires leverage. Connections. Enough dirt on the people you’ll need to bribe, beg, and bedazzle if you want to accomplish any of your goals. Even had he won, he didn’t then or now have the stuff he would need to lead.
He also didn’t do his homework. The numbers he put up to go with his ideas were about as realistic as Trump’s, which is to say NOT. We liked his ideas better, but that didn’t make them more viable. Bernie had zero chance of turning his concepts into reality.
But hey, what do I know, right?
I actually don’t know how you can survive in a modern environment with so little understanding of how the world works. It boggles my mind.
You know what I do know? I could never be president. Of anything, much less the U.S. Forget about ill-health. I couldn’t make those decisions. I couldn’t survive the oval office. Moreover, I do not know anyone who could do it better than me.
I know people who want power are supposed to be the last ones who should get it … but would it be okay if the people who do get it have the wits to manage it? The intelligence to understand it? The presidency isn’t anything like being mayor of a small town. Being President is a big deal — except we have an incompetent moron as president. He knows nothing. Will never know anything. Doesn’t care that he knows nothing. It’s all about the money and the power. He wanted to be god and we made him one.
Now, we are trying to live with it.
If you still think (a) not voting, (b) voting for some a third-party idiot, or (c) voting for the Orange Moron to express your displeasure with the status quo, was perfectly fine? You’re a moron too.
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