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Archive for the ‘corruption’ Category

Louisiana Supreme Court states that the right to an attorney only applies if you state a request for an attorney in standard English. Speak Spanish? Tough shit. Speak vernacular Creole? Tough shit.

I mean, look. Gotta send them darkies to prison, y’all. You know they’re all criminals, after all. As for the Constitution? Yeah, well, according to the U.S. Constitution, the amount of justice you receive isn’t supposed to be different based upon the language that you speak (that whole “equal protection of the law” thingy in the 14th Amendment). But hey, the Constitution is just a piece of paper, right? Right?!

And people wonder why I would never move back to Louisiana even if I had a million bajillion dollars and was wanting to start up a business… shit, their “justice” system is so goddamn corrupt, it’s worse than India. Like in India, if the rich and powerful who control the state decide they want your shit, they’ll use corrupt D.A.’s and judges to take it. At least in India the judges will take bribes to stop the process. In Louisiana, the judges are basically selected by the rich and powerful, so they just rubber stamp whatever the rich and powerful in the state want rubber stamped. It’s a “justice” system, not a justice system.

– Badtux the Corruption Penguin

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I already pointed out that the unique labor demands of growing and picking cotton led to slavery being extremely profitable in the pre-Civil War South, to the point where slavery would have never died out naturally until the advent of herbicides and mechanical cotton picker machines in the 1950’s. I mentioned how slavery was continued somewhat in the sharecropping system that arose after the war, and the system of segregation that insured that blacks had little choice but to work in the fields or starve since they were blocked from most other jobs by the segregation regime. I also mentioned that my grandmother and grandfather on my mother’s side, both poor whites, were sharecroppers when they married, living in a one-room tar-paper shack with no indoor plumbing or electricity (the toilet was an outhouse) and working like dogs to grow and pick cotton, and how one of my mother’s least-favorite memories was picking cotton as a child.

So back to my question: Why are there so many uneducated poor white trash people in the South?

Well, it’s for the same reason that the South embraced segregation so heavily: by keeping most white people poor and uneducated, it meant that the Southern aristocracy could obtain cheap labor for their fields.

In short, Southern poverty was a deliberate decision of the Southern aristocrats who lost the military phase of the Civil War but won the peace afterwards. They deliberately organized their society so that schools beyond K-8 were too expensive for poor people. They deliberately kept industries that might have employed large numbers of poor whites in high paying jobs out of their states. It wasn’t until the mechanization of cotton production that desegregation could happen in the South, nobody dared push it before then because the South *would* have risen up again. It wasn’t until the surplus poor white population was no longer needed for cotton that industries like textiles and the auto industry were allowed to come to the South to employ the surplus poor white population, and the taxes to build good schools were never passed even then because educated people were a threat to the aristocracy.

The end result of that third world society — a sea of poverty and a small set of aristocrats on top — was that these states were poor. The aristocrats didn’t care. They could have had more money if they’d allowed the peasants to become prosperous and educated, but they cared more about being on top than about absolute wealth. It’s no surprise that in the 1960’s and 1970’s, as the power of the old Civil War descended aristocrats collapsed, the affluence of the South grew immensely. Even into the 1980’s, it seemed that the South was going to rejoin the rest of the United States.

Then progress stopped. Because a new aristocracy arose. An aristocracy that, like the old one, also was more interested in maintaining their power than in absolute wealth, though in many cases, like the Koch brothers of Oklahoma, they do have immense absolute wealth. And maintaining their power is easier with an uneducated populace. Thus the constant attempts to prohibit accurate teaching of biological science in Southern schools (modern biology simply cannot be explained without the theory of evolution), the prohibiting of teaching critical thinking skills in most Southern schools, and so forth. By keeping the poors stupid, ignorant, and superstitious, the poors don’t look up at their aristocrats and start measuring the aristocrats’ necks for nooses. By keeping the poors fixated on guns, gays, god, and godless Liberals, the poors don’t notice that the aristocrats have been fucking them up every goddamn orifice for the past two hundred forty fucking years.

All in all, it’s a nice scam. But it *has* required that they shut down prosperity again, which they’ve done via de-industrialization, replacing high-paying factory jobs with low-paying service jobs. Yet the rubes still haven’t caught on: their poverty isn’t accidental. It’s planned.

And the motherfuckers who planned it are getting away with it. Again. Because turns out that not only are the majority of Southerners ignorant, they’re also stupid, lacking the common sense to realize that it’s no accident that the Northeast and the West Coast are affluent and prosperous while they are mired in poverty…

So it goes. As it was, it is again, yessiree. When you have an entire class of people that benefits from keeping the majority poor and ignorant, only an idiot would blame liberals for that. But idiots are one thing not in short supply.

– Badtux the Economics Penguin

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Libertarians who say we don’t need government police, intelligence agencies, etc. because private enterprise can do all of that forget that their proposal was the norm for the United States until after WW2. The reason why we quit doing that is that we learned that the private police and intelligence agencies were corrupt and selling their services on behalf of the highest bidder even if the highest bidder was asking them to violate the law, and in the process were harming innocents with no recourse.

Equifax is a perfect example of that. Equifax started out as sort of a private Stasi intelligence agency, gathering files of dubious integrity on people via various means both legal and illegal and selling them to the highest bidder with no regard for privacy or accuracy. If you wanted to make sure you weren’t about to rent an apartment to a gay or an atheist or a Communist, you paid Equifax to find out whether the renter was one of those things, and Equifax in turn paid your neighbors to inform on you, just like the Stasi did. And if a neighbor you had a feud with decided to tell them you were a Communist even if you weren’t, well, you had no way of knowing that this was why you couldn’t get anybody to rent to you, and no right to see what information they had on file on you and correct it.

It wasn’t Utopia, regardless of what the libertarians whine about, and that’s why the credit reporting agencies are regulated now and only allowed to collect financial information, not information about your politics or sexuality or religion or whatever, and why they’re required to give you access to your file and required to correct information if it’s incorrect (though you may have to sue them in some cases). Libertopia just *doesn’t work*. Invariably it ends up with corruption, thuggery, and fraud. The fact that corruption, thuggery, and fraud might work better than the former government of Somalia is not a rousing statement. Giardia is preferable to cholera too. But you don’t see me running out to contract giardia…

— Badtux the Non-libertarian Penguin

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So a New York housing development that is half-financed by HUD is up for sale and Trump stands to get millions if the sale goes through. And who approves the sale? Well, Donald Trump’s HUD, of course. Nope, no possibility of corruption there, nosirree!

All of this could have been avoided if Trump had sold his properties and interests in properties and put it all into a blind trust that invested it in an index fund before running for President. But he couldn’t do that, because he’s insolvent — he owes more on his properties than they’re worth. He claims all these billions of assets, but what he doesn’t tell you is that every single one of them is mortgaged to the hilt.

Which of course is why he ran for President in the first place — as a scam to get money out of people. Then his ego wouldn’t let him quit when, to everybody’s surprise, he won the Republican nomination. And then with a little help from his Russian friends and Wikileaks plus a little help from FBI director James Comey (who got fired by Trump for his help in electing Trump), he got elected President. And now he can really run some scams…

– Badtux the Corruption-smellin’ Penguin

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The rats are surely deserting the ship.

Of course Trump has Mafia connections. He’s a real estate developer in NYC and New Jersey. He couldn’t do that if he didn’t have Mafia connections. All the real estate developers there are mobbed up, it’s how things are done.

The real story isn’t Trump’s Mafia connections. It’s about how voices on the right are now feeling their way towards directly criticizing Trump, rather than the sort of lukewarm faint praise that they previously gave him out of fear of Trump’s MAGAts. Apparently despite Charlottesville, the sharks are smelling blood in the water coming from the direction of the Trump administration. And where there’s blood, eventually there will be a feeding frenzy….

– Badtux the Swimming Penguin

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A spoon, you say? A spoon with spaghetti sauce residue on it? What’s that got to do with the drug war, you say?

Ask Ashley Gabrielle Huff about that.

After a spoon was found on her during a traffic stop, a spoon she insisted was last used to eat Spaghetti-O’s at the office for lunch, Ashley Gabrielle Huff was kept in jail awaiting trial on bogus meth charges due to astonishingly high bail despite the fact that she had no criminal record, was married, had children in the schools, and otherwise was no flight risk. She was ready to plead guilty and forever give up her voting rights just to get out of jail if they gave her time served. Then the lab results came back, months after the spoon had been submitted to the state crime lab: Spaghetti sauce.

Just as she’d insisted from the beginning.

Our drug war is ridiculous. A spoon? That was all they had, a spoon, and purported residue on said spoon? Yet that was all it took to deprive her of her rights and put her in a cage for months.

The reason I bring this up is because there is now a widespread movement amongst progressives to reform the bail system to do away with injustices like that. Bail bondsmen in the state of California are outraged about it, but the fact of the matter is that most people in jail are not there because they’ve been sentenced for a crime. They’re there because they can’t afford bail. And while they’re in jail, they’ve lost their job, their children may be in foster care, their home was repossessed or they were evicted with no ability to retrieve their belongings, their college kicked them out for non-attendance and kept their tuition money, and otherwise had their lives destroyed.

It’s one of the few things that the progressive Left and the libertarian Right agree on: the bail system is broken, it enriches bail bondsmen and local sheriffs who run jails at the expense of poor people and taxpayers, and needs to be fixed so that people who aren’t a flight risk have bail set according to their income, not according to some fixed schedule writ in stone.

Which means: entrenched people who benefit from the current system are keeping it from happening.

For now.

— Badtux the Criminal Injustice Penguin

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In Thailand, a corrupt official was found guilty of human trafficking.

Seems pretty straightforward, if unusual. How often do corrupt officials end up going to jail, anyhow? Not darn often.

But reading more on the case, I found out something interesting: In Thailand, if you are a government official and are convicted of a crime committed while in office, your punishment is automatically doubled. We need a law like this here in the United States. Maybe that would keep some of our corrupt politicians from going bad so fast.

Of course, first we would have to actually have convictions for our politicians who are corrupt…

– Badtux the “Well, there goes THAT suggestion!” Penguin

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