Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Problem Of Fraud, Wrote Dante, Is That It "Gnaws Every Conscience"


So many New York state legislators and leaders of the legislature are currently in prison that when former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Nassu County) was sentenced to five years in prison on Thursday, most New Yorkers, inured, just shrugged it off. After all, Republicans are on the verge of nominating Donald Trump for the presidency and the level of Trump's self-entitled corruption is of a magnitude hard to measure compared to poor nepotistic Skelos'. The federal judge sentenced Skelos' rotten son, Adam to six-and-a-half years in prison, even more than his father's sentence and, addressing Dean, said "You sent a message that you, one of the three most powerful politicians in New York state, were in some measure corrupt, and that you used your official position for personal gain." The two Skeloses had been found guilty of conspiracy, bribery and extortion last December. A week earlier Skelos' Democratic counterpart, state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was sentenced to 12 years in prison after being convicted of fraud, extortion and money laundering. Too bad they missed Cuomo so far-- and Schumer.

Let's face it, the American political establishment stinks of corruption from top to bottom. Trump in office would make it worse. So would Hillary Clinton in office. Anyone who votes for either one of them is complicit in what they bring with them. A Democrat voting for Hillary as the lesser of two evil is on the same moral grounds as a Republican voting for Trump as the lesser evil. The lesser of two evils is, first and foremost, evil.

Dante's 8th circle of Hell, dedicated to fraud, includes 10 subdivisions-- bolgie-- and although there are politicians scattered throughout hell, the 5th bolgia of the 8th Circle is the designated home of corrupt politicians who are eternally being boiled in tar. No doubt a place is being prepared for 75 year old Michel Temer right this moment. He is a leader of the bloodless coup d'état against Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff. As a NY Times editorial asserted Thursday, "there is no evidence that she abused her power for personal gain, while many of the politicians orchestrating her ouster have been implicated in a huge kickback scheme and other scandals. Brazil’s Supreme Court ruled last week that Eduardo Cunha, the veteran lawmaker who has led the effort to oust Ms. Rousseff, must leave office to stand trial on corruption charges. Vice President Michel Temer, who took charge of the country on Thursday, could be ineligible to run for office for eight years because election authorities recently disciplined him for violating campaign finance limits." The same day a Times news piece by Simon Romero reports that Temer immediately went to work shifting the Brazilian government from a moderately center-left orientation to a dangerously right-wing one.
The new Brazilian president’s first pick for science minister was a creationist. He chose a soybean tycoon who has deforested large tracts of the Amazon rain forest to be his agriculture minister. And he is the first leader in decades to have no women in his cabinet at all.

The government of President Michel Temer — the 75-year-old lawyer who took the helm of Brazil on Thursday after Dilma Rousseff was suspended by the Senate to face an impeachment trial-- could cause a significant shift to the political right in Latin America’s largest country.

“Temer’s government is starting out well,” Silas Malafaia, a television evangelist and author of best-selling books like “How to Defeat Satan’s Strategies,” wrote on Twitter.

“He’ll be able to sweep away the ideology of pathological leftists,” Mr. Malafaia added of a conservative lawmaker whom Mr. Temer chose as education minister.

...To many of Mr. Temer’s critics, the shift is perhaps most evident in the role of women in his and Ms. Rousseff’s administrations.

The contrasts could not be more glaring. Ms. Rousseff, 68, was a former operative in an urban guerrilla group. She was tortured during the military dictatorship and eventually rose to lead the board of the national oil company before becoming Brazil’s first female president.

Until recently, relatively few Brazilians had even heard of Mr. Temer. When they did, it often involved references to his wife, Marcela Temer, 32, a former beauty pageant contestant who is 43 years younger than he is. They met when she was just 18.

A profile of Ms. Temer in Veja, a newsmagazine, caused a stir by glowingly referring to her as “pretty, demure and of the home.” It said Mr. Temer was “a lucky man” to have such a devoted, unassuming housewife as a spouse, especially one who wears knee-level skirts.

The magazine did not mention the tattoo on the nape of Ms. Temer’s neck featuring her husband’s name, but the message was clear: Mr. Temer, a law professor and career politician, embodies a more conservative approach than Ms. Rousseff in the corridors of power and in his own home.

Then there is the issue of race. After a long stretch in which Brazil pressed ahead with affirmative action policies, Mr. Temer’s critics point out the lack of Afro-Brazilians in his cabinet, especially when nearly 51 percent of Brazilians define themselves as black or mixed race, according to the 2010 census.

“It’s embarrassing that most of Temer’s cabinet choices are old, white men,” said Sérgio Praça, a political scientist at Fundação Getulio Vargas, an elite Brazilian university. He drew a contrast with Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, who formed a cabinet in which half of the 30 ministers are women.

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