Corruption Bred Corruption, Until…

Corruption always breeds greater corruption. Once someone can get ahead through corruption they have an advantage over the non-corrupt. The non-corrupt can’t compete and are driven out.

Allowing money to influence politics AT ALL (including “think tanks,” “non-profits” like ALEC, corrupt information sources like Fox, Epoch Times & talk radio, etc) bred greater and greater corruption to the point where a corruptly-constituted Supreme Court allowed unlimited money in political campaigns. That unlimited money drives a massive and unbeatable influence machine.

And then there’s just basic corruption – politicians paid by oil companies to allow them to profit off of killing the planet.

Our “system” is probably irretrievably corrupted. Tobacco kills around 480,000 Americans each year and causes a huge amount of disease and suffering beyond that. It is still legal and largely uncontrolled.

And, of course, the climate crisis has been allowed to reach a tipping point.

(Yesterday a “liberal” friend was talking about how “progressives” killed the infrastructure bill. That “opinion” comes straight from corrupt information sources. Despair.)

Planet-Killing Corruption In Plain Sight

One senator who makes a fortune from coal is blocking the country from last-ditch efforts to keep the climate crisis from becoming catastrophic. Well, it’s really one Democratic senator and EVERY Republican – all of them, their entire party and propaganda infrastructure paid by the fossil-fuel industry. But they go unmentioned.

The Guardian explains, in, Joe Manchin leads opposition to Biden’s climate bill, backed by support from oil, gas and coal,

In the current electoral cycle, Manchin has received more in political donations from the oil and gas industry than any other senator, more than double the second largest recipient. He is also the No 1 beneficiary of donations from the coal mining sector, leads the way in money accepted from gas pipeline operators, and is sixth in the ranking of senatorial donations from electricity utilities.

… But Manchin’s ties to the fossil fuel industry run deeper than political donations. After initially working in his family’s furniture and carpet business, Manchin set up a coal brokerage firm called Enersystems in 1988, running it until he became a full-time politician.

… His shares in Enersystems are worth between $1m and $5m, according to his latest financial disclosure document, with the senator receiving more than $5m in dividend income from the company over the past decade. The coal brokerage represents 71% of Manchin’s investment income, and about a third of his total net worth.

For history there should be a memorial monument that names names. It should list the names of individuals who contributed to the horrific situation they inherit.

But place that monument well above sea level.

Lies vs Democracy

This post first appeared at Imagine Democracy.

Well-funded lies are very effective.

The tobacco companies proved that with well-funded propaganda lies (a.k.a. “marketing”) you can get people to kill themselves while giving you their money.

The firearms industry proved that with well-funded propaganda lies you can convince people to allow kindergarteners to be killed while giving you their money.

Trump proved that well-funded propaganda lies (and media participation) he could convince people to kill democracy while giving him their money.

Now the oil&coal companies are proving that well-funded propaganda lies can get people to kill the planet while giving them their money.

Democracy doesn’t have an advertising agency to counter this stuff. This is why we need a Department of Democracy.

Letter to the Chedditor (Cheese Editor)

EVERYTHING. IS. HOPELESS.

but…

SO. FUCKING. WHAT!!

It’s not difficult at all to find happiness in the fight.

But that’s the key: always be in the fight, and always as a happy warrior.

From a reader:

My favorite description of the most important thing that’s happened over the last 50 years or so comes from coal history, and it is this:

Just 50 years ago, to get anthracite out of the ground, we sent hundreds of men into tiny holes in mountain-sides with lamps on their heads, and tools in their hands. They’d slowly follow seams, pushing coal out in carts that ran on tracks they laid.

Today, we’re literally taking the tops off of mountains, scooping out what we want from their insides with shovels the size of houses, then filling the hole back in and moving on to the next mountain.

Now, thankfully, coal extraction is slowing down in the USA. But this kind of exponential growth in resource extraction wasn’t limited to coal, and it wasn’t limited to the United States. Indeed, as bad as the US ecological footprint has been, it’s orders of magnitude worse in other parts of the world.

So apply the same principle to ocean fishing… or to palm oil production… or to ranching and the deforestation that goes along with it… The next time you fly, look down at the earth and understand that 50 years ago, all that land that’s been transformed by roads and houses and parking lots and farms… Well, 50 years ago, much of it was wild.
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Sheriff Fascism Follows Republican Laws

“I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad,” Trump said.

“We’re going to find out who is willing to die for freedom.” – Mark Lamb, Sheriff, Pinal County, Arizona

Today’s example of America’s new breed of fascist law enforcement: Resist democracy, choose which laws to enforce.

Politico, He Calls Himself the ‘American Sheriff.’ Whose Law Is He Following?, (Emphasis added, for emphasis)

Since taking office in 2017, Lamb has become the face of a new online streaming service called the American Sheriff Network and of a nonprofit coalition of sheriffs called Protect America Now; he also founded a charity, the American Sheriff Foundation. Lamb is a frequent talking head on Fox News and Newsmax, where he derides President Joe Biden’s and Vice President Kamala Harris’ handling of immigration, and he has spoken at political events like a Turning Point Action summit a few months ago in Phoenix …

As much as he glorifies law enforcement, though, Lamb is selective about which laws he chooses to enforce. He takes a hardline approach on immigration, for example, but when it comes to the government telling people to get vaccinated — or declaring the 2020 election legitimate — he fashions himself as more of a vigilante resister, with a heavy dose of anti-government, sometimes militant rhetoric.

Lamb supported the “stop the steal” campaign in Arizona and has expressed sympathy for the Jan. 6 rioters. He has called vaccine mandates “garbage” and spoke at a recent anti-vaccine rally in Phoenix, where he told supporters, “We’re going to find out what kind of patriots you are. We’re going to find out who is willing to die for freedom.”

* “Protect America Now, which was founded by a Republican strategist and two businesspeople”

Terminal Decline

Guy Saperstein, writing at Sheerpost in, Why I’m Leaving America,

America once led the world in innovation. No more. We don’t even have one mile of high-speed rail, unless you count Disneyland. China has 30,000, and counting. Which country do you think is prepared to prosper in the next century?

We can’t even keep our roads repaired. America’s roads are a mess, many as bad as any Third World country. In fact, that is what America is becoming — a Third World country.

The battle is lost. America is in terminal decline and nearly 75 million Americans seem to be willing to pull it down further.

He writes about the rigged system, with the filibuster making the country almost ungovernable, and,

Biden won by 7.3 million votes — a smashing win, right? — but if just 43,000 votes in a few states had switched, Donald Trump would still be president today. In California, Governor Gavin Newsom could have received 49% of the vote in the recall election and have lost and some Republican hack could have received 18% and won. And because each state has two senators, 18% of the electorate elects 51% of senators. Explain that to Cleisthenes.

A lot of people feel the way Guy does. Terminal decline.

And So It Goes

Disctionary.com, Stochastic terrorism,

the public demonization of a person or group resulting in the incitement of a violent act, which is statistically probable but whose specifics cannot be predicted:
The lone-wolf attack was apparently influenced by the rhetoric of stochastic terrorism.

Example,

AP, Flag-wearing man throws Molotov cocktail into Austin Dems HQ,

An arson investigation was underway after a man wearing an American flag bandanna threw a Molotov cocktail into the headquarters of the county Democratic Party in Austin.

The incendiary device did not ignite when it was thrown at the Travis County Democratic Party headquarters at about 2 a.m. Wednesday, Austin Fire Capt. Brandon Jennings said. A small stack of papers was set on fire, but that was quickly put out by employees of a neighboring business using a fire extinguisher.

No one was in the office at the time, Travis County Democratic Party Chairwoman Katie Naranjo said, but the incident was caught on security cameras. A note was left with a politically motivated threat, Naranjo said.

“Anyone who wears an American flag as a bandana and then throws a Molotov cocktail … into a building and leaves a note, a threatening note, is a coward,” she said.

Authorities did not release the contents of the note.

The man in the video is also suspected of vandalizing a Travis County administrative building a few hours later, Jennings said.

No One Will Be Held Accountable

Members of Congress trade stocks in companies when they receive inside information. CNBC, Insider trading and Congress: How lawmakers get rich from the stock market.

(PS NBC, Justice Department drops insider trading investigations of three senators.)

Federal Reserve officials trading stocks that the Fed is propping up. NY Times, Fed Officials’ Trading Draws Outcry, and Fuels Calls for Accountability, Central bank regional presidents traded securities in markets in which Fed choices mattered in 2020.

Federal Reserve officials traded stocks and other securities in 2020, a year in which the central bank took emergency steps to prop up financial markets and prevent their collapse — raising questions about whether the Fed’s ethics standards have become too lax as its role has vastly expanded.

Federal judges own stock in companies they rule on. WSJ, 131 Federal Judges Broke the Law by Hearing Cases Where They Had a Financial Interest,

More than 130 federal judges have violated U.S. law and judicial ethics by overseeing court cases involving companies in which they or their family owned stock.

A Wall Street Journal investigation found that judges have improperly failed to disqualify themselves from 685 court cases around the nation since 2010.

We all know no one will be held accountable.

American Democracy in the Rear-View Mirror?

“We saw it in the 1930s in Italy, Germany, Spain and Japan; today it’s happened in Hungary, Turkey, Egypt, Russia, The Philippines and Brazil, and is well underway in Poland, India and multiple smaller countries.”

Thom Hartman, writing at Raw Story in The new ‘businessman’s conspiracy’ authoritarian plot is closer than you think,

History shows that most democratic nations don’t realize how serious their fascism problem is until it overtakes them altogether. We saw it in the 1930s in Italy, Germany, Spain and Japan; today it’s happened in Hungary, Turkey, Egypt, Russia, The Philippines and Brazil, and is well underway in Poland, India and multiple smaller countries.

… Fascism isn’t just about the merger of oligarch and state interests; it also requires a repudiation of the rule of law and the institutions of democracy itself.

… We’ve seen this movie before, and, tragically, history tells us most countries only recognize their fascism problem in the rear-view mirror after it’s consumed their democracy.

It is happening here,
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