Sunday, September 6, 2015

Power Corrupts

It's a generalization but it's largely true. If you have power and you're not accountable for how you use it, you'll probably start to take advantage of it. They talk about it in this episode of The Young Turks.
This cop supposedly had the right to impound their car, but he lets them off easy for a mere thirty bucks. His cover for the bribe are some tickets to a policeman's function for ten bucks each. He might even think he's doing them a huge favour. Who knows. But as the hosts say, he doesn't even care that he's being filmed it seems. Because he's got this feeling of inviolateness. He's got it from the lack of accountability, the social and political power of the police in the United States (and, in Canada).

It's the same thing with corporate criminals and corrupt politicians. To a great degree, they're untouchable. Until they get so full of themselves that they try to fight in a higher weight category than they're used to. Then they find that their crimes aren't ignored or forgotten. (The guy who owns the aluminum siding business might be able to murder a prostitute, but not the wife of the shopping mall owner.) If you want to see how vile and disgusting they can get, just check out Dick Cheney, Halliburton and KBR. Some people might be wealthier, but they don't have the connections with the state, the military, the military-industrial complex, etc.. Some powerful, wealthy people might find Dick Cheney's conniving and super-corruption to be squalid and have no wish to even be associated with the vermin. They're content with their vast power in their own social circle. For them it's simpler: They invent insane financial instruments (like mortgage-backed securities or collateralized debt obligations) that rob people blind, implode on their makers and necessitate (for them) that they all march to Washington and demand to be bailed-out by the taxpayers.

But anyway, Cheney did what he did, and does what he does, because he's effectively above the law. stephen harper thought he was above the law, but he's not that powerful. Nigel Wright looks and acts as if the law can't touch him. Maybe it can't. As I said in this post, this is a fight amongst elites, and none of them want to see it spin out of control. This explains the RCMP's ludicrous act of charging Michael Duffy with bribery but not Wright, who paid the bribe. (Duffy was not charged under the Parliament of Canada Act, but some other bribery law. The long and the short of it was that the RCMP could pretend that Wright would not personally benefit from whatever Duffy was supposed to do for the money. But under the Parliament of Canada Act, it's simply illegal to clandestinely pay a Senator for any reason. Which should go without saying. But it has to be said because Canada has always been a pseudo-democracy, corrupted by money and power. And it has veered into ridiculous territory under the shallow cynicism and the arrogance of the lamebrain stephen harper.

It will only get worse. harper's stench has contaminated this country to a depressingly deep degree. McGuinty's own resort to contempt of the legislature, to obscure his partisan wasting of $750 million on the gas plant relocations would not have been conceivable before harper.

How are we going to stop this?

By making politicians accountable.

How do we make them accountable?

Well, the first stage of accountability is Parliament. We have, all of us, done very little to protest the harpercons' routine abuse of Parliament and their neutering of Parliament's ability to hold the government to account. Having already said that Canada is a corrupt pseudo-democracy, I'm under no illusions about how good a job Parliament could do if allowed to do its job. But I think it's something to build on and therefore something to protect. Things like the harpercons instruction manual for making parliamentary committees dysfunctional, altering documents, not providing cost information, pushing through omnibus legislation with the frequent resort to cloture, and now, issuing Orders In Council without announcing them, make it impossible for the legislative branch (our representatives) to keep tabs on the actions of the Crown (the executive branch).

An unaccountable monarchy.

That's enough for today. I'll pick this up tomorrow.

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