Just Another Day

"Any idiot can handle a crisis, it's day to day living that wears you out." - Chekhov

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Corruption

Once again, need to relate something about politics in Ukraine and something about the GOP operation...andtry to tie it together. I was reading Suskind's article in Salon yesterday. The article repeats something that Paul O'Neill said when he was interviewing with Suskind: 'But here's the difference: I'm an old guy, I'm really rich and there's nothing they can do to hurt me.'" This quote, upon reading it again, rang alarm bells in my head.

One of the ways that corruption works here is that no politician who has any success is untainted. No one who works for the government and gets anywhere is untainted. No one in the police force moves up if they are untainted. Why? Because the authorities above the individual in question, or the opponents of that same person, then have something they can use against that person if the need arises, i.e., they need to discredit the person, fire him/her, send them to jail to get them out of the way, keep them from going public about the activities of others.

In other words, if you have come far in politics here, or anywhere else in the former Soviet bloc or Yugoslavia, you have committed a crime and dealt in corruption. If someone is clean, they never get advanced or promoted because they are not trusted by their colleagues because they could turn on their colleagues and the latter would have nothing to use against them, i.e., no corruption means no leverage.

Think again about what O'Neill said. Paraphrasing: if you want to have a future, don't tell the truth about them. That's they're leverage. They have no problem with lying or abusing the state apparatus, and will use them to destroy your future potential if you decide to tell the truth. Who knows, maybe they have files on others to keep them from telling the truth which would explain why there are so few leaks from this White House. Beria used this tactic in service to Stalin. Himmler and Heydrich used it in service to Hitler. Hoover used it in service to himself. We don't necessarily know who the henchmen are now but they have scared DiIulio into silence, they have raised sufficient doubt, although unwarranted, in most people's minds about Clark just by sheer volume, they used secret information to destroy the future of Wilson and his wife, they investigated O'Neill about exposing secret information (even though they gave him the info to use) just to raise doubts, they have cut journalists out of press pools for asking difficult questions effectively ending the journalist's promising career, they hung Colin Powell out to dry in fron of the UN with faulty information because he was one of the chief doubters within the administration about going into Iraq, and I am sure there are other examples that aren't coming to me right now (help me out if you can).

This may explain why Rumsfeld hasn't been fired. He has money and he is old. He can get out there and tell the truth without fear of serious repercussions. He is protected. Same goes for Snow who is a gaffe-a-minute guy if ever there was one. They learned their lesson with O'Neill and I am sure that they won't hire any people near retirement or extremely wealthy again for fear that they will be exposed even more than they already have...unless, of course, they have something on them that could destroy their legacy (see first paragraph above).

This brings me to something else said by one of the luminaries of the American right, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He said that the people of California didn't need to worry about the power of lobbies to influence him because he is already rich. How sad a statement is that of American political culture? Only the rich cannot be corrupted? Of course, he has been corrupted and regularly takes plenty of money from lobbyists in California in spite of his promises and in spite of his wealth. So, I guess America is alright since wealth is no guarantor of clean politics. For a good example on the other side, look at people like the late Paul Wellstone or Dennis Kucinich.

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