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LETTERS / On Corruption in the World and America

Dear Editor,

Corruption is common in countries of the Third Word but America is also full of it.Our corruption is less visible and better organized.Several major differences exist between the Third World corruption variety and America’s. In the Third World everyone and everything is for sale. Bribery is part of the system. Corruption is personal by individuals.

 Americangraft is more at the level of government and business. You don’t pay a local judge to drop dope charges against your teenager. American corruption occurs at the level of policy and contracts, between corporations, special interests, and Congress. It’s done mostly legally. Big Pharma pays Congress to insert, in some huge bill that no one will read, a clause saying that the government will pay list price for drugs instead of negotiating for better pricing which is worth hundreds of millions, paid by you. It’s legal. Military industry pays Congress to buy an enormously expensive and unneeded airplane. It’s done legally. Agribusiness pays Congress for large subsidies.

 In Mexico you pay your useless daughter’s useless teacher to give her grades she didn’t earn so she can go to college. Corruption is individual. In America, corruption is a class-action industry. Large groupsbribe or intimidate Congress into giving them special privilege: legal corruption.

 Third World has unaccountable and intrusive police withoutpublic control while ours havebecome militarized, swatted-out, and more powerful.  The cops can bully, threaten, and harass, with little you can do about it. The laws against filming police can only befor preventing exposure of misbehavior. Our policeinclude TSA, “Homeland Security,” the FBI, NSA, ICE, and so on. Theoretically these groups are accountable but not in practice.

 The Soviet Union had an admirable constitution, and ignored it. America heads rapidly in the same direction. Congress is the action arm of a corporate oligarchy. Constitutionally Congress must declare war, but the president sends combat troops wherever he pleases and Congress hears about it on the TV. The president can order citizens murdered, ignore habeas corpus and can search you at will without pretense of probable cause.

 In the third world, the rich and powerful are never brought to trial regardless of their crimes. Wall Street runs a clear and thoroughly documented scam doing immense damage to the country. How many went to jail? How many were tried? How many have high positions in the federal government?

 The American economic decline shows our hugeincome gap,as the middle class becomes the lower middle class; Prices rise but incomes don’t, Houses foreclosed, Businesses hire people as individual contractors, without benefits,The young live with their parents. America’s rich prosperand carefully remain inconspicuous, not flaunting their money.

 Many Americans will insist that the media is free, because they’re repeatedly told it is, they have nothing to compare it with, and the control is cleverly managed but it exists.In America control doesn’t work as it did in the USSR, brutally punishing the expression of undesired ideas; this would be obvious and awaken opposition. American control works on the principle of fooling enough of the people, enough of the time.

 America hasmedia freedom. You can easily buy any bookand newspaper but few read;people get their informationfrom TVowned by large corporations whose interests are maximizing the income from advertising, keeping the lid on in a country in which there would be civil unrest if the truth got out whilekeeping corporations from suffering much control, and furthering the political agendas of the media.

 You never hear criticism of Israel, or hear an articulate Palestinian speak. You don’t seecomplete coverage of crime by minorities. You don’t see distressing war reports like a little girl looking at her intestines hanging out thanks to shrapnel. You don’t see much serious reporting of corporate corruption. And so on. Keep it reassuring. Better to maintain the illusion of Informed Citizens Engaging in Democracy.Mexicans know what kind of government they have. Americans don’t.

  Americans are given a “choice” between “two parties” which are nearly identical in support of crony capitalism, bailouts for big business, disregard for the Bill of Rights, never-ending war, support for big oil and big nuclear, allowing the sale of crap instead of real food, and so on.

 Candidates who don’t follow the script are labeled “unelectable” in the same way that any policy that the powers-that-be doesn’t want is branded “not politically feasible“.  We have freedom to choose, from one of the two acceptable choices.

Craig Dudley