The Blame Game

It appears to be human nature to blame somebody or something else for our transgressions.  It is rare when somebody steps up to the plate and admits that they made a bad decision and then accept the blame for what happened as a result of that choice.  More likely than not, individuals will refuse to accept any fault for what they have done.

And these people who do not have the intestinal fortitude to admit their guilt or fault will lie, cheat, steal, or do whatever it takes to ensure that somebody or something else is blamed for their mistakes.  We all make mistakes, but only those with moral courage will admit that mistakes were made and then accept consequences for those poor choices.

I used to wonder why younger generations were so stubborn in refusing to accept guilt, while the WWII and Korean generations were just the opposite.  The older generations would not only admit they made mistakes, but would work hard to ensure that it did not happen again.  If you watch these younger generations, they will rarely admit that they made a mistake.  I believe it is because they make so many mistakes that they cannot afford to admit to the truckload of errors they have made.  As I said, the older generations made mistakes too, but there were fewer of them and they learned from their mistakes so they were less likely to make them again.  The younger generations make mistakes, do not admit them, and then continue to make mistakes, never learning from these errors.

As an example, I have noticed that younger generations working in businesses make mistakes on a daily basis, but for the most part, these errors go unnoticed.  Modern society is much more accepting of mistakes.  The supervisors are also younger, and they don’t want to admit they are managing somebody who is making mistakes.  So if there are no consequences, then there is no reason for these younger generations to stop making these mistakes.  But if you confront them about the error, they will never ever admit that a mistake was made.  They will lie, rather than face the truth.

Thus, individuals in the modern world blame somebody else, their background, society, or any number of things that might have influenced them, but never themselves.  A drug user should not be blamed for being addicted to drugs.  Blame it on his dysfunctional family or blame it on his disease.  It is not his fault.  He cannot help it because he is addicted.  However, I wonder who made the decision to start taking drugs?  Isn’t that the same person who doesn’t want to accept the blame?

So, what is the big deal?  Why should we even care?  Well, it’s a simple matter of our world being overrun by individuals who can do anything they want without any blame.  Is this the type of world you want to live in?  Well, it is what the world will be like by 2030.  By that time, there will be nothing left of morality, decency, and even civilization.  There will be no order or consequences, so everybody can do anything they want to anybody they want.  It will be a free-for-all with those with the least moral values surviving in a dog-eat-dog world.  A totalitarian government will step in to take over at this point.  Freedom will be dead!

Dream of Hell

Interestingly enough, some of my dreams are hazy and fragmented, but others are quite vivid and appear to be very real.  One of those that seemed like I was actually living it, including feeling pain with all of my senses intact, was a vision of hell itself.

I lived in a compound with thousands of others, who all wore the same drab, gray outfits.  Men and women looked alike, as there was no distinction made through cosmetics or clothing.  There were no children, at least, in our compound.  We all had rules to follow, and we were all punished equally for failure to comply or failure to submit.

It took me a while to familiarize myself with my surroundings.  The structure had three elevations with the basement containing the exercise area, two dining facilities, and public showers and restrooms.  There was no privacy.  The sleeping arrangements were similar to prisons with cells with bunk beds.  I slept in the upper bunk bed, while my roommate, who did not introduce himself, covered his head with a scratchy, brown blanket in the lower berth.  His loud snoring kept me up most of the night.

The meals were bland and tasteless.  I had hoped that if we still had to go to the bathroom in hell, we would receive decent food, but that was not the case.  People moved around in lines for meals, restroom visits, and recreation.  There was no room for individualism anywhere in the compound.  Freedom was defined as being allowed to exist.

All control was totalitarian.  Stoic guards who never talked were everywhere.  I suspected that they were robots.  Some of the older prisoners were called “trustees” and they made certain that you understood the rules and requirements to submit to whatever was asked of you.

I watched one prisoner attempt a breakout that ended in failure.  The gentleman zipped out of line and ran for a door, only to find it locked.  He bumped off guards like he was in a pin-ball machine.  The guards had expandable, black batons that thumped him into submission.  They carried him back to his cell where he died.

At that point, I wondered if dying in hell would be better than living in hell.  Hopefully, this poor soul was in a better place.  But fear of the unknown is sometimes worse than fear of the known.  His body was dumped into a well, but it seemed like a three-minute fall before I heard it hit the water.  Nobody seemed fazed by this activity as they continued to shuffle off to their next destination.

The trustees were constantly attempting to get the prisoners to do bad things… either convincing them to hurt somebody else or allowing the trustees to have sex with them.  The idea was to get everybody to submit, one way or the other, to evil within the compound.  You couldn’t get away from the incessant torment.  If you failed to submit, you were punished in a separate area of the compound, which had various instruments of torture.  The pain seemed very real.

Thank God, I woke up during my torture.  However, my body ached for the remainder of the day just as if I had actually been beaten.  The dream seemed too real to dismiss it lightly.  I wondered what would have happened if I had submitted to the demands of evil.  I was certain that I would be tested again and again and again… a hellish world without end, amen.

Part of hell is feeling like there is no advantage to resisting.  You want to just give in and face the consequences, which may be less painful than the torture you will receive for sticking to your moral code.  However, remember that morality is choosing to do the right thing when doing the wrong thing is easier.  Holding to your moral values is not for wimps.

Scientific Evidence in Jury Trials

I have noticed that scientific evidence introduced by the prosecution, which is countered by scientific proof provided by the defense, becomes a “wash” with the jury.  If there are competing scientific witnesses, the jury typically will disregard all the scientific evidence.  At that point, it adds little value to parade in more scientific experts than your opponent.  There is already reasonable doubt in the jury’s mind, and most jurors do not have a scientific mind that will further analyze the science.

This “hung jury” on the scientific evidence can occur even when there is overwhelming DNA evidence.  If the prosecution finds DNA samples at the scene of the crime, the defense can offer an alternative theory as to why the DNA was found.  For instance, the defense may argue that the DNA of the defendant was from a consensual sexual relationship.  Or the defense may have a scientist who shows that the DNA sample was contaminated.  It is a more difficult defense arguing that the police or a third party planted the defendant’s DNA sample, but it has been employed with success as in the OJ Simpson trial.

I have seen cases that attempt to match bite marks on the deceased’s breast with the defendant’s teeth fail as soon as the defense’s scientific expert shows that the bite marks do not match.  When jurors were questioned after the trial, they indicated that the scientific testimony regarding the bite marks was completely ignored in the deliberation room.  The jury reached their verdict based on something other than the science.

I was selected to sit on a medical malpractice trial before I attended law school, and I had the opportunity to see up front how a jury operates.  And each jury is different, but this jury completely ignored all the medical evidence provided during the lengthy trial.  The jurors did not understand it, so they dismissed it.  As long as both the plaintiff and the defendant offer some medical evidence to support their side, the jury will ignore all the medical evidence.

So how did this jury reach their decision?  Well, the foreman picked up a picture of the deceased that was taken about a week before he was seen by the physician and passed it around for everybody to see.  The plaintiff’s attorney had introduced the picture to enlist the sympathy of the jurors since the man looked sick and emaciated.  However, the foreman shook his head and announced, “Can’t you see?  The man was going to die no matter what the doctor did for him.  He was going to die anyway!”  And that’s how the jury made its decision for the defendant physician.

So what’s my point?  It’s simply that science will not convince the average person to believe in dark matter or dark energy or even a Creator.  The reason why the typical individual will believe in something is based on the emotion that carries the day.  This is why crowds are fickle.  One day, they may forgive your actions, but the next day, they may string you up.

The world is becoming more polarized, reducing the size of moderate, middle-of-the-road civilizations.  Extremists are always emotional non-thinkers.  That makes them very dangerous because you cannot reason with them.  And once the majority of world citizens are polarized into two major sides, both hating each other equally, and sometimes not knowing or caring why they hate each other.  Once the fire of hate starts feeding on that emotion, all rational thoughts will go up in smoke and the only thing that will matter will be to continue feeding the fire.  At that point, the only government that can control the emotional chaos in the world will be a totalitarian government.

A thinking person might wonder if this were the plan from day one of a small group of conspirators who created the polarized planet for a totalitarian world controlled by them.  Members of this group who want to take over the world may have sat in jury rooms themselves or perhaps they just understand human nature, which is to ignore science and reason if there is any conflict and rely on emotion to make decisions.

Our Right to Oppose an Oppressive Government

The American Revolution, which was the crucible for the thinking of our Founding Fathers, clearly allowed citizens to rise up and oppose an oppressive government, in that case England.  Revolution certainly is not an action to be taken lightly, but in a case of last resort, it would be a viable option for Americans to select if their federal government had overstepped its bounds and was headed in the wrong direction.

In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,—That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness…

Without entering the debate of whether a state can secede from the union, we can state simply that Americans have the right to revolt and abolish the government that has become destructive of our rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness and we also have the right to institute a new government that will protect our freedom of speech, religion, press, and all the other freedoms that we are heirs to from our original government.

There is no question that our current federal government is too big and bureaucratic, but that by itself does not justify a revolution.  However, the type of government that it has become may well give us pause in allowing it to continue.  Our government has become a socialistic form of government.  Again, this standing alone does not justify a revolution.  However, it is the combination of socialism with totalitarian domination that is the real danger to our way of life.

There have been moments during America’s great history when socialism lifted us out of the Great Depression and got us back on our feet and provided for the elderly and needy.  And even though the Affordable Care Act has generated much push back from Americans, it is not a reason for revolution.  But it is part of a new federal government culture that is growing by leaps and bounds, eroding and in many cases eliminating the guaranteed rights provided to the states and citizens by the ninth and tenth amendments of our Constitution.

You can think of our current socialistic federal government as a cancer that is progressing in stages.  At some point in time, this cancer will have to be cut out and removed or it will kill our democracy, independence, freedom, and any rights of states or citizens.  So, it is not a question of will we need a revolution; it is only a question of when we need to take action as states and citizens to abolish the federal government and start all over again.

Remember the Past to Protect Our Future

Welcome veterans and active duty to our Memorial Day program … “Remember the Past to Protect our Future.”  This is your day.  You and all the fallen warriors are to be honored this afternoon.

How many of us in here today know how much freedom is worth?  I think all of us have our own idea.  It’s probably like that ad you see on TV when you learn that something is priceless.

We are honoring veterans from WWII and the Korean War, fought by a generation known as “The Greatest Generation.”  Would those veterans please stand or, if you cannot, please raise your hands.  These GI’s didn’t want recognition, but they were willing to die in the fields with their band of brothers to protect our fragile freedom.  They made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom, but wanted nothing in return except to know that they were making America safe and free for their children and grandchildren.  Thank you (applause).

We also are honoring veterans from the Vietnam War, fought by “The Marred and Scarred Generation.”  Would those veterans please stand.  The stories that you  heard about these veterans returning home and being spit on by fellow Americans are true.

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was a problem both over the pond and back home as these warriors received a double whammy as they were shot at in Vietnam and then came home to unwelcoming arms.  Our freedom cost these veterans more than most.   Hopefully, this program today can help bring you peace, knowing that this audience greatly appreciates what you did for your country.  Thank you (applause).

We are also honoring veterans who served in the Middle East.  Would those veterans please stand.  You stood tall in serving your country in Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan.  You know that freedom came at a cost as you watched your fellow-soldiers crash to the ground, bleeding on foreign sands.

You know that America was at the top of its game in the First Gulf War.  President Bush stated the goal of getting the Iraqis out of Kuwait, and he gave this singular assignment to the military to get the job done, which they did after losing several hundred soldiers against the fourth largest army in the world at that time.  This may have been America at her best in wartime.  But any loss of life was a high price to pay, but these heroes never complained.  Thank you (applause).

We also want to honor those active duty military who are here today.  You keep us safe at home, while fighting on foreign soil.  Would you please stand to be honored.  Thank you (applause).

Finally, we veterans want to thank the First Responders… those policemen and firemen from our communities who serve and protect our families when we are overseas.  Are there any policemen, firemen, paramedics, or family members here today?  We want to thank you since you stand tall every day serving your country in a different way.  Your comrades have also died saving lives.  You know the cost is very high, but you do it just the same.  Thank you again (applause).

Please give a standing ovation to all these great American heroes.

As I said, the presentation today is:  “Remember the Past to Protect our Future.”  Quite frankly, I borrowed this idea from Confucius who said: “Study the past if you would define the future.”  In effect, if you learn from the past, you may avoid prior mistakes and build a brighter future.

However, you needn’t dig up our peaceful past and study it, because times of peace are not as valuable in forecasting our future.  Of course, peaceful times are important, and analyzing these periods can show changes and patterns, but they typically don’t help us in protecting our future.  Why?  Because hard times present the true challenges to our integrity and beliefs.  It is easy to support your beliefs in peacetime, but it is more difficult if somebody is shooting at you because you support those beliefs.

The older generation generally worries about the younger generation losing moral ground.  Decade after decade, older generations shake their heads and wonder what the future will be like with the younger generation in charge.  Elvis, the Beatles, acid rock, heavy metal, punk rock, and rap made older generations think that each succeeding generation was worse than the last.  History tells us that moral values deteriorate more during peace time, so one theory is that America’s loss of values occurred during decades when either there was peace or no war on our soil, much like what led to the fall of the Roman Empire.

On the other hand, the younger generations thought the older generations were in the way of progress… their progress, and should not be trusted after age 30.  But these past events probably will not matter that much in the future scheme of things.

It is wars and hard times that seem to matter the most.  We must remember and study past wars and depressions and revolutions in order to protect our future.  Analyze how we made it through those hard times.  How did we survive the tough tests of life?  Remember that saying:  “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”?

These difficult times typically had battle lines drawn by two major forces:  (1) self-serving interests and (2) community-serving interests.  And we need to study the past so that we can ensure that community-serving powers overcome and are never controlled by self-serving interests in the future.

The bottom line for the past is summarized in a question:  Were the generations that went through those hard times willing to die for their country?  In other words, were they willing to die for what they believed was the right thing?

Then the most important question for future generations will be:  will they be willing to die for their country?  In other words, will they first believe in something and secondly will they be willing to die for those beliefs?

Some of you might argue that younger generations form their moral codes and beliefs in times of peace, so that peace is an important time to analyze their development or lack thereof.  Even though this is true to a certain extent, the hard times are much more important for analyzing the human spirit.  I have seen criminals and nere-do-wells change into powerful leaders during hard times.

Just because people appear to have no backbone or moral standards in peaceful times does not mean they will not fight for their freedom to the death.  In fact, terrorists are examples of young people who will die for a cause.  But there is a significant difference between dying for your personal beliefs and dying for somebody else’s beliefs that have been imprinted in your brain.  But I will save the discussion on brainwashing for a little later in the presentation.

Let’s first analyze WWII.  We were very lucky that two self-serving interests, Hitler’s right-wing totalitarian society and Stalin’s left-wing totalitarian society, did not prevail against our Band of Brothers.  So how did the community-serving side win the war?

To answer that, I will rely on my dad’s experiences.  I remember waking up in my early years with my dad screaming because of his nightmares from WWII.  My dad served in combat under General George Patton for almost three years.  Let me repeat that.  He was shot at for almost three years.  So, he knew the answer as to why we won the war.

He told me that we won because of the “DC rule.”  The DC rule is when the leaders in Washington DC are finally motivated to Delegate and Cooperate.  The generals in the Pentagon delegated decision-making powers to the soldiers in the field, while Hitler demanded that no troop movements be made without his approval.  The Band of Brothers then cooperated by making excellent tactical decisions, while the Nazis waited for a self-serving dictator to tell them what to do.  We need to focus on what is best for our community and not on selfish pursuits in order to protect our future.

The Korean War was more of the same.  The selfish totalitarian forces of China and North Korea lost out to the powerful teams of soldiers formed through delegation and cooperation, working together to defeat a common enemy.

The Vietnam War showed us what happens when selfish interests overpower community interests.  The American soldiers were never given the green light to do what they needed to do to win the war.  Politicians held them back based on their self-serving interests.  There was no delegation and cooperation.

But we learned from our mistakes.  In the First Gulf War in 1991, Papa Bush as President told the military to remove the Iraqis from Kuwait.  He then delegated that mission to the military, allowing them to do their jobs.  America cooperated with many other countries.  With United Nations Security Council sanctions, we formed a coalition of 34 countries, including eight Arab countries, to remove the Iraqi army from Kuwait.  At that time, the Iraqis had the fourth largest Army in the world with the vaunted Republican Guard, which had over eight years of experience fighting the Iranian army.

Since the Iraqi army had the advantage of being dug into solid defensive positions, we expected to lose about two to three times as many soldiers as the Iraqis would in the ground warfare.  As it turned out, we only lost 148 troops, while the enemy had 20,000 to 35,000 killed in action.  That was amazing.

What made for this unbelievable result?  Primarily, it was because of Delegation and Cooperation.  Our military made decisions in the field while the Iraqis waited for guidance from Hussein.  We also were patient and waited until we had built up worldwide support to remove the Iraqis from Kuwait.

We also cooperated by following international law or the Law of War, which is the civilized rules for fighting a war.  One of the important rules of war is that you should minimize civilian casualties.  Hussein ignored this rule and it hurt him on the international front and in the press.  Hussein just plain didn’t care, so he used civilians as human shields for his military and he placed his military in schools.  How do you think we handled this?  We bombed the military at night after the school day was over.

Did you ever wonder why President Bush didn’t go into Baghdad and oust Hussein?  Many in America thought it was the right thing to do, but this was based on American selfish interests and not the needs of the communities in the Gulf to maintain stability in the region.  Bush, who had many years of international experience, including being Director of the CIA, knew Hussein’s value in Iraq was that he controlled the diverse and fractionalized religions and cultures.  If you removed Hussein, the area would become a powder keg.  Iraq also was the neutralizer of Iranian power in the region.

Bush knew that the international community and coalition forces had agreed to remove Hussein from Kuwait, and to go further than that would have been a violation of international law.  You can only secure your military objective and you have to stop.  If you go beyond your military objective, then you are in violation of the Law of War, which has not only international implications, but also carries sanctions.

If we had not followed international law, we could not have maintained the fragile coalition.  If President Bush had gone into Iraq attempting to oust Hussein, he would have been going beyond the military objective.  To go after Hussein would have been a breach of international law.  Bush was experienced enough to know the consequences of that.

“Didn’t have to do it.  Didn’t have to go to Baghdad.  Only had to get ‘em outta Kuwait.  Did it and did it quick.  Followed the rules.  Followed the law.” 

In my mind, Papa Bush was the best war president we ever had.  He knew the national security interest, announced the goal, and then stood back and let the military do its job.  And the military did its job extremely well, always following the law.

I served as a JAG in both the Army and the Air Force during the wars in the Middle East.  JAGs and military attorneys were even used to examine the targets to avoid violations of the Law of War.  As an example, these attorneys told Gen. Colin Powell and Secretary of War Dick Cheney that they could not bomb a triumphal arch in Baghdad because it was a cultural object just like the Washington Monument.  Powell and Cheney were not happy and shook their heads that attorneys were running the war, but they scratched this target from the bomb list.

International law is that important in cooperating in the world today.  As an example, Bush’s son did not fare as well as his dad did in understanding international law.  When he used water boarding at Guantanamo and other torture at Abu Ghraib, he probably was in violation of international law.  We lost world respect and, more importantly, fiscal and physical support and cooperation from other countries.

I taught the CNN Test to the pilots who were going into war environments.  I told them to see if the targets passed the CNN Test.  In other words, how would that target look on the news the next day?  For example, we advised Gen. Powell not to bomb a statue of Hussein because it was a cultural object and did not have much military necessity… not enough to risk getting a CNN story about how our pilots risked their lives to bomb a statue.  The media supported the First Gulf War and it was used very effectively to obtain worldwide support.

By issuing general orders and delegating the details to your troops in the field, you enable soldiers to think outside the box.  I worked in the Pentagon and I believe that most of the people I worked with thought that thinking outside the box was coming up with new excuses for not coming to work.  And when you did run into people who thought outside the box, they were still touching the box.

One of my favorite Pentagon stories involved one of those meetings with all the big whigs and mukety mucks and the big brass.  And at this meeting, the generals were handing out new emergency plans to evacuate the building in case of any emergency.  After the meeting, I took the map and followed the directions right into a dead end.  The staffers who had prepared the map had not actually walked the course.  They based it on the old blueprint.  To me walking the course is not even thinking outside the box.  It is just simply thinking.  You should at least get out of your office and check out the course before handing it out to people.

It is interesting.  When you place bureaucrats in the field to face hard times, assuming that you can ever get them there, they actually think differently.  They quickly get outside the box and start thinking much clearer as bullets are whizzing and bombs are bursting around them.  War is surrealistic.  It makes people think and sometimes makes them think differently.

I served in four military services over four decades.  Let’s go back in time to the early 1960’s when John Kennedy was president.  I started my service in the Viet Nam war.  It was a difficult war for those of us in the military and also for those who were at home.  President John Kennedy first sent our troops into Viet Nam as trainers.

“I uh, was not certain that we were doing the right thing, but I couldn’t just stand idly by and allow the communists to overrun the country.  So, I sent small military teams over there to train the Vietnamese to fight.”

The Viet Nam war continued and we sent more and more soldiers overseas, but our leaders would not allow the military to do what they needed to do to make it a short and victorious war.  President Lyndon Johnson took most of the heat for the political bureaucracy that bogged down the military.

“Mah fellow Americans.  I come to you tonight with a heavy heart.  Ah think it’s that dadburned chili I ate.  I want you to know that ah nevah lied to you about Viet Nam.  I may have kidded you a lil’ bit, but ah nevah lied to you.”  

I remember when we finally pulled out of Nam, our military leaders met with the Viet Cong and angrily told them that we had won every battle that we fought with them.  The Viet Cong leaders quietly told them, “Yes, but that was irrelevant.”  The point is that you have to think differently than the selfish bureaucratic leaders in order to win the war.  You can even win all the battles, but if the leaders in DC don’t delegate and cooperate, you can still lose the war.  President Richard Nixon finally brought our troops back home.

“Let me say this about that.  I was the one who brought our boys home.  Give me credit for that.  You may kick tricky Dicky around for other things, but I brought our troops home from Nam.”

I remember President Jimmy Carter was on the television show, “What’s My Line?” when he was Governor of Georgia, and the panel didn’t know who he was.  He was elected president a short time later.  His inexperience hurt him when he tried to deal with the Iranian hostage situation.  It was another failure to delegate and cooperate.

“Hidy, hidy.  I relied on experts around me, but I didn’t have many experts with military experience.  I had served with the Navy, but not in combat.  I wanted to work things out with the Iatolla, but I had to learn the hard way that you can’t negotiate with fundamentalists.  I did better with Sadat and Begin because I learned to delegate and cooperate.”

And it is not a matter of Republicans vs. Democrats.  Unfortunately, both parties carry bad and selfish records into wartime efforts.  Both Bill Clinton and George Bush, the son, did not understand or appreciate international law.  First, Bill Clinton.

“Hillary, have you seen the latest polls?  I want to find out if I need to take more military action in Bosnia and Serbia today.”

Presidential decisions should not be made based on public opinion.  Decisions should be based on protecting national security interests while complying with international law.  Gen. Colin Powell, recommended allowing the European powers to handle the problems in former Yugoslavia because America had no national security interest involved.  We should have delegated and cooperated with other countries.  Clinton got America involved in the Bosnian-Serbian war based on opinion polls and not America’s national security.  Presidents must be civil servants protecting our national interests, not securing votes for the next election, a selfish interest.

Next, George W. Bush.

“Those are evildoers out there in Iraq.  They tried to kill my daddy!”

Presidential decisions to attack a country cannot be based on emotion or a personal vendetta.  Again, these decisions must be based on national security interests while in full compliance with international law.

After 9/11, Bush went on the offensive in Afghanistan going after the terrorists.  That was a reasonable response to the bombing of the Twin Towers.  It was similar to a policeman’s “hot pursuit” policy when chasing a criminal into another jurisdiction.  We definitely had a national security interest at stake, and the international community understood our response and considered it appropriate.  But we should always have an exit plan.  We need to get in and then get out.  The longer you stay, like in Vietnam, the worse it gets.

But what was our national security interest in invading Iraq?  There were several reasons given:  (1) Hussein was an evil dictator, (2) Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, (3) Iraq needed democracy, (4) terrorists were being protected in Iraq, and (5) Iraq was one of the countries in the Axis of Evil.

I don’t really need to talk about any of these because they were all distortions of the reality of Iraq’s role in the Middle East.  No matter what you thought of Hussein, Iraq was a great counterbalance to dangerous fundamentalists in Iran.  By removing Hussein, we allowed both Iraq and Iran to become a serious threat to peace in the Middle East and to our national security.

It’s really not an issue about which party you belong to, but it is an issue about following the path of what is best for our community or nation.  Sometimes, the two-party system creates two extreme positions, neither of which is helpful for our country.

I was raised in downtown Louisville in the 1950’s.  It was a time for the Jets and Sharks.  Gangs were a way of life.  I remember that those gang members who were extremists never became leaders of the gang.  The leaders were assertive, but not aggressive.  Whether you are fighting in a gang or as a soldier in a war, if you are aggressive, you will get yourself and your friends killed.  The best leaders in war are assertive.

I remember my dad telling me that the new soldiers were ignored because most of them were too aggressive and would get themselves and anybody around them killed.  The combat hardened soldiers took their time and never jumped into the fire.  They were assertive, but not aggressive.  They actually adopted an approach to war that avoided aggressive, self-interest actions, but focused on group-assertive activities.

If your friends pressure you to take an extreme position, do you conform or do you think for yourself?   If your boss tells you to do something that is illegal, do you do it?  If you join a terrorist group and you strap a bomb to your back and blow yourself up, did you do this because it conformed to your belief or was it somebody else’s belief?  Generally, the terrorist leaders who instruct followers to blow themselves up, rarely strap any bombs on themselves.

An experiment was conducted at a university using students being directed by a person in authority telling them to administer shocks to test students.  Initially, it was thought that about 1% of the students would actually shock their fellow students under the direction of an authority figure.  They weren’t under duress or offered money, it was just simply somebody telling them what to do.  It turned out that 65% of them shocked the other students, even to the point of causing severe pain.  And the painful sounds made by their fellow students didn’t deter them.  Of course the students receiving the shock were hidden behind a screen and were only faking it, but the students administering the electric current didn’t know that.

The actions taken at Abu Ghraib and at Guantanamo Bay were based on instructions from above.  Nobody questioned the authority from above.  These were Americans torturing people in violation of international law.

During the McCarthy hearings and during the witch trials and during the rules of Stalin and Hitler, most people did nothing to stop these extremist positions.  You may be afraid of consequences to yourself if you say anything, but the worst consequences are from doing nothing.  Do you think Hitler would have stopped with the Communists?  With the Jews?  With the Catholics?  With the Protestants?  You can keep silent until your group comes up for annihilation.

When I worked with Exxon, I made a two-hour Power-Point presentation to the president.  After it was over and questions had been answered, the President asked, “Is there any way I can do nothing?”  And that’s what he decided to do.  And by doing nothing, there were environmental consequences.  Yet, I was the only one in the meeting who spoke up.  If others had said something, he might have actually done something.

An 18th century philosopher Edmund Burke believed, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”  How many times have we done nothing after we saw that something was wrong?

Many politicians are self-serving, doing nothing for their constituents.  It’s very difficult finding politicians who are more interested in doing the right thing than in getting elected and then re-elected, but hopefully they will come forward, especially if times get really bad.

Many people today are like the politicians… out to serve themselves.  But if times get tough, I wonder if Americans will take action to defend our beliefs.  If we recall the past things that awakened America, Pearl Harbor and the Twin Towers come to mind.  These were actions that awakened the sleeping giant.

I see where military bases have stepped up their security since ISIS is taking actions in the United States.  I believe that at some point, ISIS will awaken the sleeping giant.  It may be an attack at a mall or an elementary school, but there will be a line that they will cross that will bring out the Hulk in America.  ISIS will go too far and awaken America from its slumber just like Pearl Harbor and the Twin Towers did.  And when it does… watch out!  When these tough times reach our soil, that is when I believe young and old Americans will unite against the enemy.  As we transition from peace to war, the genetics in Americans that is found in our ancestors who were tough immigrants and hard-core pioneers will reappear in an independent spirit of America.

When we reach that point, we will need to be smart.  We need to follow the past recipe for success:  “DC” – delegate and cooperate.  The political leaders in DC need to delegate the details to the military and law enforcement officials, who then need to share information and cooperate in a coordinated attack.  It might even be our cells against their cells, as we form Terrorist Tactical Teams throughout the United States combining specialists from federal, state, and local levels for the teams.  And all the different agencies must share information and cooperate.

Love and Hate

Love and hate are both four-letter words.  Sometimes they have other similarities.  Love can turn into hate and hate can return to love.  How can this be?

Well, both of them are extreme emotions that many times spring from relationships.  The most basic explanation is that love occurs when the relationship is good and hate develops when the relationship sours.  So are we talking about the same emotion, distinguished by whether things are going well or not?

It’s not quite that simple.  Some people love and hate from afar.  A stalker may be initially attracted to a beautiful lady, thinking of his feelings as love for her.  But the stalker may eventually realize that he can never have her, so his feelings turn to hate.  The poor lady may never even know anything about this guy until he appears out of the dark and kills her.

Some people hate others based on race, creed, or religion.  If you are poor, you can hate the rich without knowing them.  Thus, these forms of hate are not based on personal relationships that have gone bad.  Many times, hate is a way for the oppressed to compensate for their positions in life.  Hate also can become a super-glue for political parties, gangs, and peer groups.  What better way to cement individuals together than by hating another group?  Hitler understood this very well.

Love and hate, although very powerful initially, typically are very temporal emotions, because extreme emotions can burn out fairly quickly.  They can disappear as quickly as they appear.  But there are exceptions to this.  The hate between Arabs and Jews has been going on for hundreds of years.  This is not going away because the Bible makes the Jewish people the chosen ones and the Koran does not.  The hate leads to terrorist acts that beget more violence.  It has become a “never-ending story” of hate.

However, these problems can be resolved over time when reasonable leaders are in charge of Arab countries and Israel.  An example of this was Northern Ireland and England.  The terrorist killings had gone on for decades without any end in sight until the leadership of those countries recognized how the acts of terrorism were tearing the economy of the two countries apart.  Reasonable leaders found an economic compromise that has held the peace for many years.

Does that mean that the leadership in the Middle East is unreasonable?  Well of course it does.  But which comes first:  reasonable leadership or stopping the terrorist attacks?  The leaders say that they must respond to the terrorist attacks, and since the terrorists are not reasonable, they cannot be reasonable.

There is a problem with extremist thinking.  It is important for moderates to exert more control in the world.  Generally, moderates do not choose to get involved with extremists.  They patiently wait for the extreme positions to dissipate.  But moderates must take a stand against terrorists and extremists before they polarize the world.  The thing that makes moderates apathetic is that they believe that since terrorists and extremists are in the minority, they can never take over the world.  Hitler is the ultimate example of why this is the wrong way to think.  Many extremist minorities have taken over countries throughout history.  Stalin just killed millions of people who didn’t do what he demanded.

There are many countries in the world who do not want terrorism to expand into their areas, so they should be willing to form a worldwide coalition to eradicate terrorists and extremists throughout the world.  The terrorists and extremists cannot stand up to a worldwide force that joins hands to crush them.

Perhaps we would be better off by not emphasizing extreme emotions like love and hate and instead by becoming a more thoughtful, moderate world.

Politicians Are More Dangerous than Terrorists

It is a very sad comment that today’s politicians are more dangerous than terrorists.  Politicians are much more likely to destroy the American system and our way of life than any terrorist organization.

One of my favorite jokes around springtime tells the rest of the story.  Towards the end of March, I would state that it was time to clean out the house… but don’t forget to also clean out the Senate.

So both Democrats and Republicans are guilty.  They may have good intentions early in their careers, but they get sucked into the corrupt system within a few months of arrival in Washington.  When I worked at the Pentagon and the Navy Yard as a fraud attorney, I had occasion to work with NCIS, the Department of Justice, and the FBI.

I was constantly bringing up good fraud cases against Senior Executive Service civilians and high ranking officers of the military, but these cases never went anywhere.  Why?  Because the culture in Washington was corrupt from middle management up to the top.  Everybody wanted to look the other way when federal managers did something unethical.  The only cases I successfully prosecuted were against lower managers and regular employees.  There is a double standard in Washington.

And this is even worse with politicians.  I asked an FBI agent why we never prosecuted Congressmen who were taking bribes every day.  He told me that it was difficult proving that the amounts given were not campaign contributions.  He also told me that there was a wicked culture in DC that was entrenched.  Anybody attempting to change that would lose their jobs or disappear.

It was difficult for me to watch all the politicians… and let me repeat… ALL the politicians accept compensation from special interest groups.  The real compensation for politicians is not their salaries, but it is the tremendous amount of money they receive from organizations who bribe them to do their bidding.

Several decades ago, Congressmen were only dangerous to our country because they did not represent Americans, but only their self interests.  However, today there is a new breed of politician who is even more dangerous.  These new politicians are interested in creating a world order that will be totalitarian in nature.  But don’t think for a second that it will be beneficial to you.  It will benefit these new leaders because they will rule the world.  They can then take anything they want and leave the rest of us in the cold or dead, which is very typical of all totalitarian leaders throughout history.

You can see the political posturing in the news, but please try to think what a politician’s real motivation is.  For example, when President Obama promised executive action that would give nearly five million illegal immigrants temporary work permits and amnesty, this really is designed to add more voters for a Democratic president who will continue pushing for a new world order.  The White House was spinning that Obama’s unilateral action was not “amnesty” and that it would “ensure that everyone plays by the same rules.”

Republicans are pushing for comprehensive amnesty legislation in order to avoid losing the next presidential election because of these potential voters.  Some of these five million immigrants may find ways to vote at the polls, but the real increase in voters who will support the Democrats are the families and friends of these immigrants.  Also, new Democratic supporters may rise exponentially in the next two years as Americans may become frustrated by the “gridlock” that could be caused by the actions of both parties.  The Republicans will take the greatest part of the blame.

Executive Agreements and Executive Orders have been used for decades and the Supreme Court has never ruled any of them unconstitutional.  The best option for Congress is to exercise its control of the power of the purse.  However, we have never had the executive branch so intent on using its agreements and orders for political purposes to create a new world order or worldwide totalitarian regime much like in Huxley’s and Orwell’s books.

Because of the nature of the political beast that exists in DC, it is not likely that America will avoid being drawn into the giant totalitarian whirlpool that awaits it.  I predict that millions of people will be sent to concentration camps and murdered until only weak-minded citizens remain behind to be enslaved by the new world order.

It is interesting to note that history has not been kind to the original leaders like Lenin, who might have had a genuine interest in helping the people.  The only survivors will be those who are completely evil and those who are completely dominated and offer no resistance.  Where will you fit in this new scheme of things?

 

 

Perception of Reality

Reality is only what you perceive it to be.  In other words, your senses detect information and you translate that into your perception of reality.  It may not even be close to another person’s reality, but it is your reality.

If you were deprived of all your senses, you would still be thinking and would be conscious, but you would have no sight or sound or smell or taste or touch to provide you information on your reality.  So reality might become something altogether different with sensory deprivation.  Reality might become a surrealistic landscape with giant insects crawling toward you.  Or it might be a hellish environment with molten rock pulling you down into a volcanic lava flow.  It could be anything your imagination creates or anything you cannot stop from creating.

Reality then is fleeting and determined by our perceptions.  If our brains are dysfunctional, then reality will suffer because our perceptions will be distorted.  If you are schizophrenic, you may hear voices telling you to do things, so your reality will be very different from those who don’t hear those voices.  Even if these voices cannot be heard by others, the voices are very real to those who hear them.  One person’s reality may be another person’s perception of somebody who is out of touch with reality.  My reality may not be your reality and vice versa.

So if reality can vary from individual to individual and depends on a variety of sensory data, how can society judge which reality is correct?  Is it based on what the majority of people think reality is or is it based on what the government dictates what reality is?  And if your perception of reality differs from what the society or government dictates, are you wrong?  Should you conform to the reality that others describe and proscribe?

One argument is that an individual’s reality should not be allowed to interfere with the reality provided to a society by a government.  The common good for the masses would outweigh the good for the individuals.  But is that really true?  If reality is superimposed on a society by a totalitarian government, is it always good for the masses?  Let’s take the Nazis effort to exterminate the Jewish race as an example.  The reality of a superior race, eliminating the Jews as a form of ethnic cleansing was not good either for individuals or the masses.  It was only good for a short period of time for the leaders of the Nazi party.

True, there are some who have mental conditions that make them dangerous.  Their perceptions of reality are distorted by those conditions.  However, it may be difficult diagnosing and categorizing these conditions, since there are world leaders like Hitler and Stalin who probably had mental conditions that changed the reality for the German and Russian citizens for many years.  If you live in a totalitarian regime, your reality becomes that of the mentally challenged leaders.  If you don’t conform to that reality, you will be tortured and murdered.  This is a reality that I hope you don’t encounter during your life.

The biggest issue with reality occurs after you die.  If you die and you are no longer aware of anything, then you are “dead” dead.  There is nothing more and there is no reality after death.  But the problem occurs if you are conscious after you die.  What does your reality become at that point?  Is it like the totalitarian rule where a power dictates your new reality?  Or is it your individual spirit that will create your new reality?

The dilemma is how you will respond to this new environment.  Some people need guidance and prefer being told what to do, so that a totalitarian ruler would be able to control their after-death reality.  But others may think that they are independent enough to handle the after-death experience by themselves.  This would be like traveling past the event horizon into a black hole, attempting to dictate what happens next.

Your reality in this new universe is an unknown.  You may or may not have your senses to assist you.  Without your senses, your imagination may be your worst enemy.  You may think about being buried alive in a very confining coffin.  Your mind may create a most hellish environment that becomes your new reality.  In that case, having a guide, perhaps even a totalitarian guide, might create a better reality.

Our perception of reality that is most comfortable to us is found in a moderate, comfortable, balanced, and controlled environment.  A chaotic quantum world would be a nightmare for us.  We are comfortable in a controlled solar system around us, yet we have a quantum universe inside us.  In other words, our reality is steeped in what we see outside us, but if we die, it is possible that we may collapse and fall into the chaos of quantum mechanics.

What would our perception be if we were in several different locations at the same time?  What if we were riding on a quark without any clocks or calendars?  What would we think if we had nothing to hold onto?  How devastating would it be to our thoughts if we had no distractions of sight, sound, smell, taste, or touch?  My best guess is that most people would lapse into a psychotic state, hallucinating most of the time without any end in sight.

So what is our perception of God?  Is God reality?  Many have faith that there is a God, but I suppose we will not really know until we die.  After death if we are still thinking, then four main realities may be perceived:  (1) you may have no belief in God, thus God will not be in your reality, leaving you to your own devise without anything to hold onto; (2) you may consider yourself as being godlike, being in charge of everything that happens in the afterlife; (3) you may perceive God as a totalitarian authority who controls everything, leaving you to God’s providence; or (4) you may perceive God as being inside you, uniting you and God as one in the afterlife.

Of these four, I prefer number four.  Why?  I have heard stories about tough prisoners who were placed in solitary confinement and captured soldiers who were tortured with sensory deprivation and how they broke down after a short period of time.  Many hallucinated and suffered greatly.  Without anything to hold onto, these hardened prisoners and soldiers went through complete meltdowns.  They were reduced to being emotional wrecks, out of control.  That is why I have no confidence in our species dealing with the afterlife by itself.  If we are still thinking upon death, we must have a powerful belief that we can latch onto like a life preserver in the storm.

Many religions emphasize number three.  Why isn’t that a good option?  Well, it is certainly better than the first two, but it fails to deal with entity that is thinking.  If you surrender yourself to a God who is not within you, then that God is outside of you.  You give up all control to a God that may become something created by your imagination or something that morphs into just the opposite of what you expected.  If you are thinking after death, then you must deal with that entity that is still thinking.

It really does not matter what religion you carry into the afterlife.  But you must have a solid faith in God.  However, it must be a God that is inside you at death.  You must be fully united with God.  You must be one with God.  I selected Christianity as my personal religion because it is the only religion I know that eliminates all your sins before death.  This is important because you must not carry any guilt into the afterlife.  If you are thinking about bad things that you did during your life, you will punish yourself more than any Devil ever could.  If you are claustrophobic, you will stuff yourself deep inside a shrinking shaft for eternity.  You get the picture?

But no one knows exactly what will happen until we reach the point of departure.  I do have faith in God during this life because I believe that you cannot just select one of these realities at the last second.  If you want to have God inside you, you need to prepare in advance and let Him inside you long before you die.  After you die, it may be too late to be one with God.  Living with yourself for an eternity would be hell.

Freedoms of Religion and Speech

The American Constitution makes freedoms of religion and speech a number one priority in the Bill of Rights.  The First Amendment to the Constitution states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech…”

The references to freedom of religion are commonly referred to as the “establishment clause” and the “free exercise” clause.  Both of these clauses have been expanded to apply to state and local governments by separate Supreme Court decisions.  Even though the Founding Fathers clearly were concerned about the federal government and not local governments, both the state and local government now also contribute to restricting religious freedom.  Justice Clarence Thomas has correctly argued that the Court was wrong in extending these clauses to the state and local governments.

The rights of the states were significantly curtailed after the Civil War, probably in violation of the Tenth Amendment, which some would say has been emasculated by the Supreme Court.  James Madison wrote in the Federalist Papers # 45:  “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined.  Those which remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.”  Madison went on to say that one of the powers definitely reserved to the states was our liberty.  This includes both the freedom of religion and speech.  In effect, Madison was saying that the federal government has no power to interfere with religious liberty.  The First Amendment does nothing more than tell Congress to stay away from religion.

Thomas Jefferson said that there should be a wall separating church and state.  Jefferson was interested in walling off the church from the state in order to protect secular interests.  On the other hand, Roger Williams, an English Protestant theologian from Rhode Island who was an early proponent of religious freedom, believed that religion should be protected by a “sturdy fence” from the secular segment.  Both sides wanted the same thing:  to keep the federal government separated from religion.  Thus, freedom of religion and speech were both guaranteed by the Constitution, and they walk together hand-in-hand as our most important liberties.

The Founding Fathers agreed that government and religion do not mix any better than oil or water.  So, they decided that Congress should neither establish nor interfere with religion.  In other words, there should be a separation of church and state for purposes of preventing the federal government from either taking positive action for or negative action against a religion.  In effect, our government should have a “hands off” policy regarding religion and religious rights.

The only legitimate concern for the Supreme Court is determining what religion is.  The Court generally attempts to avoid formulating a definition, skirting its real job.  Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taosim, Shinto, and other well formulated religions are accepted as world religions.  This is not to say that it will be an easy job determining what religion is, but it is what the Court should be focusing on rather than how it can interfere with religions by using the establishment clause.

How has the Founding Father’s clear message been misconstrued so that our government not only interferes with the beliefs of Christians, but many times goes out of its way in an effort to destroy these religious rights?  There is nothing in the First Amendment that gives the government the right to discriminate or harm Christianity, or any other religion for that matter.  A hands-off policy means “hands off.”  The Founding Fathers did not want the federal government to have anything to do with religion, because they wanted to steer clear of the religious persecution practiced by the English government.

If the government were to create a religion and compel participation, this would violate both provisions.  But the confusion occurred when Supreme Court decisions parsed these two provisions and focused on the establishment clause.  For example, if the government provides for chaplains in the military, this was argued to be the government establishing religion.  However, if the government tells military chaplains what they can and cannot say, it is denying the free exercise of religion and speech under the guise of the “establishment clause.”

In the Supreme Court case of Lemon v. Kurtzman, the government violates the establishment clause if the government’s primary purpose is to advance religion or if the principal effect is to aid or inhibit religion.  This makes no sense because the primary purpose of the government is to advance religion every time it acts to protect the free exercise of religion.  The Supreme Court has recognized this friction between the two clauses, but the problem is that the two clauses should have been interpreted together and not separately.

If you examine both clauses, they both refer to religion.  In Everson v. Board of Education, Justice Wiley Rutledge wrote in his dissenting opinion: “’Religion’ appears only once in the Amendment.  But the word governs two prohibitions and governs them alike.  It does not have two meanings, one narrow to forbid ‘an establishment’ and another, much broader, for ‘securing’ the free exercise thereof.”

The Constitution includes both clauses as being consistent with each other, so that the message is for Congress to stay clear of passing any laws or taking any action that would impact religion by either establishing it or prohibiting its free exercise.  In effect, don’t do either one, but the bottom line is to not infringe on our freedom of religion.  Both freedom of religion and speech are the trump cards in the First Amendment which sometimes are overlooked by the Supreme Court.

In the above example of military chaplains, the government is not establishing a religion even under the Lemon case, because its primary purpose is not to advance religion.  The primary purpose is to provide faith based support for our troops who are in harm’s way.  By removing the chaplains or restricting what they can preach to our military is definitely a denial of America’s freedom of religion and speech.

When I was in grade school, we had our morning prayer and a short Bible verse.  This is not permitted anymore.  And “Merry Christmas” has been replaced in federal offices with “Happy Holidays.”  This is a governmental hands-on policy with a strangle hold around the neck of Christianity.  The federal government’s actions are clearly a violation of the Constitution because these actions prohibit the free exercise of religion and speech.  If I am a Christian, I can practice my belief anywhere I want, even in federal buildings and at federal functions.

Americans fought and died for their freedoms of religion and speech.  Many early Americans left England because they were persecuted for their beliefs and speech.  Today, we are losing our freedoms of religion and speech without a shot being fired.  Our government is taking away our freedoms a piece at a time, and few seem to care.

If you don’t fight for what you believe and if you don’t fight for your faith, then you deserve to lose it.  But why would our government want to take away our beliefs, faith, religion, and speech?  Well, if you want to form a worldwide totalitarian government, you need to neutralize religions and speech.  How do you do this?  You get the different segments in a majority to turn on each other.  And you stifle speech by making the majority embarrassed about being a member of the majority.  Did you ever think that you would be embarrassed to tell people that you believe in God and that you enjoy working for a living and that you don’t need anything else beyond having a loving family?  How sad that this is now considered “nerdy” or even worse.

If Muslims, Jews, and Christians enter into a religious war or jihad, this would create a vacuum for potential worldwide domination that could be filled by totalitarian leaders.  How does a minority control the majority of the world?  A minority can control when the majority is at odds with each other and is too embarrassed to say anything.  A majority that is divided becomes weak minorities.  That is how Hussein ruled Iraq with his minority Baath party.  The Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds could not agree on anything.  Divide and conquer.  If all the religions in the world hate each other and are trying to kill each other off, this would be a perfect environment for a totalitarian government.

Think about it.

Ganging Up On Others

There have been gangs since early man.  There is strength in numbers, so if early hominids wanted to bring down large game, they had to form a hunting team.  Because of man’s human nature, these early teams more than likely became gangs, which are defined to be a group of people working together, sometimes for selfish needs or control.

Prehistoric man, recognizing the power wielded with these associations, formed not only hunting parties but also war parties that would joust with other groups for prized hunting grounds.  Weapons used by gangs may have evolved over the centuries, but the basic elements for gangs have remained the same.

Gangs typically were formed based on long-time associations in specific geographic areas.  In early days, gangs were created among workmen in shops in the United Kingdom.  However, gangs quickly evolved into power hungry associations, which carried a negative connotation.  For example, an Irish community called Hell’s Kitchen in New York was a springboard for many Irish gangs, including the vicious Gopher Gang.  Many gang members grew up and formed close friendships and loyalty over the years.  They were fighting for their “turf.”  The New York gangs were very active, leading up to mass killings in gang wars of the 1860’s.

Gangs seem to be more prominent in larger cities, but with drugs penetrating smaller communities and rural areas, gangs have spread throughout the United States like cancer.  The early gangs, primarily in New York and Chicago, competed for control of illegal drinking during prohibition.  The gangs became more sophisticated as they became the mafia and other business-like associations.  One of the famous lines became, “It’s not personal.  It’s business.”

But today, youngsters are enticed into a lucrative drug business run by gangs.  Gangs are so widespread that they have captured a large segment of American society either as gangsters or drug users or other victims.  Gangs are so pervasive with international connections, including the Mexican and South American cartels and the Russian mafia, that it is impossible to conduct business as usual in the United States.

The prognosis for America is not good.  Our government, like Boss Tweed in New York, utilizes the gangs for their benefit.  Politicians can gather more votes and obtain more money by working with the gangs.  Are all politicians on the take?  I don’t know, but we know that many are and those who are not can be eliminated easily.  And once politicians take their first taste of graft or payoffs, they are hooked.  If they try to get out of taking additional bribes, they will be turned in for the original crime.

The gangs are becoming so powerful that they will be the source of all future government and leadership.  If you go against them, the gangs will kill you and your family.  They will gang up on you, and you will have nowhere to go.  This environment is fertile grounds for a totalitarian government.