There used to a subtle art to corruption

What kind of upside down society are we living in these days? Sure, there’s always been bribery and corruption, but scumlord public servants had the common decency to try and hide it. And when they were caught with their grubby mitts in the honeypot, an example was made of them, like what happened with Rod Blagojevich. Ah, sweet memories of a better time…

Because we live in the too-firm-handshake, open corruption days of King Donald, things have changed hugely. Kellyanne Conway’s husband George T. Conway III represented a group that basically hand-delivered bribes to members of Congress. Like, literally all of them.

The presidential campaign choices that seemed so weird are proving to be 100% Russian infiltration. Let’s try a thought experiment and assume every one of Trump/Bannon’s cabinet picks is complicit.

From that perspective, it’s easy to see why Paul Ryan isn’t doing or saying anything that doesn’t involve taking away your insurance. All he has to do is hold on for dear life and he may very well be the next president. But what is the Senate Oversight Committee doing? Investigating leaks? You have to think that the light treason should be the more pressing matter. Unless more of these guys are bought.

Condottiero Erik Prince is definitely advising Trump. Erik has a sister, Betsy, who married a man named Dick DeVos with a net worth of 5.5 billion dollars. Betsy used their substantial fortune to influence the Senate. Tons of senators got payments to swing their confirmation votes in her direction.  Here’s a list of sitting U.S. Senators who have received money from DeVos:

Of the list, only Senator Murkowski voted no on Betsy Devos’s confirmation. I don’t see how the chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee wouldn’t want to ask maybe a couple of questions about that, so at the least Chaffetz is implicated now.  I wouldn’t be shocked if McConnell is too. Everyone who took money from DeVos is tainted.

Andrew Puzder may have been a salty-burger-slinging wife-beater but I bet if we tug on the leftover threads from his aborted confirmation hard enough we will find out more about his Russian business connections.

What about so-called “Russian business connections”? Is it suddenly so evil to do business with citizens of our rival superpower? Why does every story about Trump’s Russian ties have the feeling of the first 15 minutes of a Tom Clancy movie? You would think in a global economy that it would be inevitable that the richest companies from the US and Russia would be happily doing business with each other all the time, so why is everyone lying about it? Why are the ranking members of Donald Trump’s administration acting like teenagers who are trying to hide their high from their parents? Cut the shit, boys – we know you’re on drugs.

People are worried about a purge of the intelligence community, but if the outer government ever tries to lean on them it will be tragic for whomever brings that order. You can’t fire the guy with all your illegal dirty secrets and the proof to back it up. You would have to be desperate to fuck over your own intelligence agencies. That, or you would have to know you could beat them. I don’t want to imagine the latter proposition.

The thing that the inaction of these actors has made clear is that the political purge that needs to happen is in the House and Senate.

 

 

From Terrible Education To… Terribler? God, I Wish School Had Taught Me How To Write.

How do you feel about compulsory primary and secondary education in America?

Were you, due to your family’s racial or class position, relegated to the worst public schooling had to offer? Did your morning greeting consist of security guards and metal detectors? Did it occur to you that you were being warehoused in such a way that the only thing you were being taught was how to survive in prisonDid your high school’s graduation rate hover around 30%?

Did your parents send you to a charter school, with their wildly varying qualities and chance of creeping religious dominance? Or were you – again, with the same variability – homeschooled?

Perhaps you were a beneficiary of your family’s middle class status. Did your public school have robust Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs? Arts and humanities funding? Did the school administration treat you less like a future criminal and more like a potential mid-level bureaucrat? Did your parents pay for a tutor? If you were a good student, did you envision attending a private university, or if you won the lottery, one of the rarefied Ivy League institutions?

It’s statistically less likely your parents were among the economic elite. In their mostly closed system, the future upper echelon forgo public education altogether for private schooling, which functions both to provide them with something resembling a solid course of learning and like the Ivy League schooling sure to follow facilitates the establishment of lifelong connections with other elites. As Noam Chomsky posited, they’re also the most likely to be compliant and unquestioning about the system that has treated them so well.

How you feel about America’s educational system informs how you feel about the confirmation of the uniquely unqualified Betsy DeVos to run the Department of Education and Republican Congressman Thomas Massie’s bill to abolish it. If you have children or nieces/nephews and find yourself in the midst the unwashed masses, you’re likely feeling full-scale revulsion. If you’re part of the one percent, things will proceed as they always have.

Whether DeVos gets an assist from lawmakers or not, the already sorry state of education will further degrade. But for most of us, it wasn’t satisfactory to begin with. We’re running on the Prussian Model, after all.

(Year Zero/Day Nineteen)