Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Our Political Leaders Today: Corrupt, Convicted, Inept, Ignorant, and Elitist

We have often discussed the reality that today’s American politicians do and say the darndest things. In fact, if you enter “darndest things” in the search box above, you will get a list of the dozens and dozens of times that today’s politicians embarrassed themselves, us, and the country as a whole.

Today, we will update some of their hijinx, quotes, and law breaking with a wide range of ways that the political class continues to fail us every day of every year. 

1) Kelly Cohen, writing on June 21, 2016 for the Washington Examiner, starts us off today with the recent news that Congressman Chaka Fattah was found guilty in his recent corruption trial. Details of his crimes include the following:
  • He was found guilty of ALL of the Federal corruption charges that were brought forth on him.
  • These charges included bribery, racketeering, conspiracy, money laundering and bank fraud stemming from efforts to repay an illegal $1 million campaign loan.
  • Three of his political cronies, including his once chief of staff, were also convicted under the racketeering RICO Act.
  • Two political consultants of the Congressman previously pled guilty to the charges.
  • The Federal prosecutors argued that Fattah used Federal grant money and charitable donations to pay back the illegal campaign loan.
  • Fattah once sat on the powerful House of Representatives Appropriations Committee.
This guy was earning over $174,000 a year, more than three times what the average American household earns, and he still could not keep his nose clean. So now, rather than continuing to get wealthy on the taxpayers’ back, he will now be in jail on the same taxpayers back. This is the quality of many people currently serving in the political class. At least this one got caught.

P.S.: Fattah’s son, Chaka “Chip” Fattah, was found guilty in 2015 of 22 counts of defrauding a school district and is now serving five years in prison.

2) But it is not only politicians that go to jail for getting greedy. According to Kosar, writing for the Political Insider website, the former head of the Veterans Administration in the Cleveland area was found guilty recently and will be going off to prison also:
  • William Montague once was the head of the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center.
  • He was recently sentenced after pleading guilty two years ago to 64 corruption related accusations.
  • Specifically, he pled guilty to defrauding the VA via bribery and kickback arrangements where he got thousands of kickback dollars from contractors.
  • Apparently, he handed over insider information to outside contractors that helped them win large VA contracts for which they gave him thousands of dollars.
  • He was part of an FBI investigation that involved over 60 government employees and executives and outside contractors, all of whom were involved in a so-called “pay-to-play” setup.
Maybe he and former Congressman Fattah can share a cell somewhere in a Federal prison.

3) But it is not just Federal employees and politicians that are corrupt, criminal, and greedy. According to Brent Scher, writing for the Washington Free Beacon on June 20, 2016, New York City and its mayor, Bill de Blasio, have found themselves deep into a government corruption investigation:
  • The New York Post recently reported that Federal authorities arrested a bunch of New York City folks linked to de Blasio’s fund raising operations when he successfully ran for mayor of New York City.
  • The arrests included four, high ranking NYPD police officers and a Jeremey Reichberg, a friend and political operative of de Blasio, who allegedly gave high ranking police officers expensive, lavish gifts.
  • These gifts were allegedly in return for having police serve on security details and police escorts.
  • Jona Rechnitz, a New York businessman who also allegedly gave gifts to high ranking NYPD officials, has already pleaded guilty to corruption charges and is cooperating with the investigators.
  • Federal authorities are still “probing into the mayor’s fundraising practices and some of his closest confidantes in an effort to find out if favors, contracts, or positions were offered for campaign donations,” according to the New York Post report.
As you can see, political corruption in this country extends from local to national corruption.

4) But those in the political class also do and say just plain stupid stuff that does not cross the line of being illegal. Take the recent screw up and follow up quote form Loretta Lynch and the Justice Department and FBI. As everyone knows, a Florida resident recently invaded and committed the heinous terrorist act of shooting up an Orlando nightclub, killing and wounding dozens of innocent Americans.

News reports indicated that his wife was heavily involved since she may have helped him case out other targets and pleaded with him not to do the attack even though she never reported the planned attack to authorities. Thus, she is a pretty important person in the investigation, either as a possible co-conspirator or as a material witness. You would have hoped that the FBI and Federal government would have kept her in custody or at least under surveillance given how close she was to the whole terrorist attack.

But as with most aspects of dealing with the political class and the government functions they oversee, hope is usually dashed by ineptness. When asked where the wife of the terrorist shooter was, Ms. Lynch had this wonderful comment: “Right now I do not know exactly the answer to that, I believe she was going to travel but I do not know exactly her location now.” Unbelievable. 

The worst mass shooting in the history of the country and the most critical witness to the whole planning of the operation has been lost by the Federal government. For all we know, she has snuck out of the country already, especially if this terrorist operation was orchestrated from afar and was not a lone wolf attack. All the chief law enforcement officer in the entire country can basically say is, “we lost her.” Certainly a memorable quote for Ms. Lynch’s legacy but not a good one.

5) In any argument in any area of life, one would hope that both sides of the argument are dealing with basic truths and knowledge. Opinions can certainly differ but to have a mature and constructive conversation and follow up action plan, both sides should agree on basic realities of life. For example, if the two sides in an argument cannot agree that two plus two is four, any discussion of higher level math and statistics is futile.

Which brings us to a recent inane quote from President Obama. Obviously, Obama would like to shred the Second Amendment if he could. Since the Constitution prevents him from doing that outright, he and other liberals nibble around the edges of the Second Amendment, trying to restrict gun possession and usage as much as possible. That is obviously their right to do but they should at least know the two plus two of guns. Otherwise, they show their ignorance of the subject and ignorance never leads to constructive debate and arguments.

Consider a recent Obama gun control quote where he undermines his entire credibility to have an intelligent debate on gun control Referring to the recent terrorist shooter at the Orlando nightclub, Obama recently said that the shooter had “a Glock, which had a lot of clips in it.” Why is this Obama’s two plus two equals three moment? Consider:
  • A Glock does not use clips, it uses magazines.
  • Every handgun in the world can only hold on magazine at a time.
  • Thus, the Orlando shooter’s gun could not possibly hold multiple clips at the same time.
Consider the following education on what a clip is and what a magazine is from

Clip vs. Magazine

You know that boxy rectangular thingy that holds cartridges and slides into the bottom of your semi-auto pistol? It’s not a clip — no matter how often the term is misused. It’s a magazine.

A magazine holds shells under spring pressure in preparation for feeding into the firearm’s chamber. Examples include box, tubular, drum and rotary magazines. Some are fixed to the firearm while others are removable.

A cartridge “clip” has no spring and does not feed shells directly into the chamber. Rather, clips hold cartridges in the correct sequence for “charging” a specific firearm’s magazine. Stripper clips allow rounds to be “stripped” into the magazine. Other types are fed along with the shells into the magazine — the M1 Garand famously operates in this fashion. Once all rounds have been fired, the clip is ejected or otherwise released from the firearm.

In essence, clips feed magazines. Magazines feed firearms.

Difficult to have an intelligent conversation about gun control with anyone, including the President, when that person is so ignorant of what they are arguing about.

6) Last inane quote for today comes from a sitting U.S. Congressman. Charles Rangel has been in Congress for a long time. We have discussed some of his inane and stupid quotes many times in this blog. But his latest one is a real doozy. 

When recently asked if his constituents should be able to legally obtain a gun more easily in New York City which has notoriously difficult processes for law abiding citizens to get a legal firearm, Rangel said: “I’m glad to you say that very few people can get it. We don’t need that many guns … Overall if it’s difficult to get a concealed weapon permit, I’m glad to hear that.”

When the reporter pointed out to Rangel that his personal safety as a Congressman was guaranteed by the armed security and police that protect him and his peers, he flippantly replied: “Well, that’s a little different. I think we deserve, I think we need to be protected down here.” So he “deserves” to be protected, despite the crappy job that he and his Congressional peers do, but he is glad to hear that regular Americans have a hard time get their own protection. Nothing says elitism like my life is more important than yours.

There you have it, a quick snapshot of the political class today: corrupt, convicted, inept, ignorant, and elitist. That is who is leading the country today. Feeling confident about the future?

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