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Archive for September, 2010

OUTSOURCING

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THE FLAG OF PENNSYLVANIA

Aaaaaaaaaaaah, the smell of coal dust in the morning. This chapter on public corruption was supposed to begin with a discussion of the Pennsylvania Juvenile Court scandal.

But I really cannot really begin the discussion unless I get into the issue concerning privatization of our penal institutions. Rummy and his neocon compadres call this new scheme ‘outsourcing’.

So I am stuck discussing the philosophy of outsourcing and why the concept SUCKS!!!

Capitalism is an economic system in which the means of production and distribution and industry are privately owned and operated for a private profit; decisions regarding supply, demand, price, distribution, and investments are made by private actors in the market rather than by central planning by the government; profit is distributed to owners who invest in businesses, and wages are paid to workers employed by businesses.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism

I do not have the space or the inclination to get into some long discussion of what capitalism is or is not. To me it is a concept that is easily condensed into this nice wiki paragraph.

Now Rummy, along with most of the other billionaires and their top employees, would tell you that ANYTHING state run sucks. Therefore the first rule he laid down as Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush was that outsourcing was the goal of the Administration.  And since the DOD receives and pays out more money than any government in the world, Rummy’s philosophy became pretty important.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has enthusiastically embraced outsourcing. In a speech that drew little notice because it came on Sept. 10, he announced creation of a Senior Executive Council that “will scour the Department for functions that could be performed better and more cheaply through commercial outsourcing.” (SAA, 9/14/01)

We outsourced all sorts of DOD programs including our army. A significant number of our ‘troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are not MEMBERS OF OUR ARMED FORCES. http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R40764.pdf

Just from a philosophical point of view, outsourcing does not make any sense or cents.

The magic of capitalism is that the means of production, demand, price, distribution and investments by private actors is that it MAKES MONEY. Government planning just interferes with the entire process. So say the fascist corporate oligarchs.

The problem with outsourcing is that ALL THE MONEY COMES FROM THE GOVERNMENT. So the object of any particular outsourcing is:

To make more money off of the government.

Some of these outsourcing programs are cost + so that when the company incurs more costs in fulfilling the government purpose, it gets more money from the government.

If you are manufacturing tires and your costs go up, you have to add those costs to the price of your tires. But when some other tire company figures out how to cut its costs in its manufacturing process, your tire company is going to lose customers.

But when you are the company doing business with the government, especially on a cost + basis, your one customer aint goin nowhere.

And when your company receives a no-bid contract through the DOD, you are competing with no one for the affections of your one customer.

This does not compute!!!

And yet it does. If there is nothing that the repubs hate more than communism, it is happy workers.

Outsourcing ensures basic tenets of the repub party:

  1. Management must make at least 450 times the lowest worker’s pay. This is written in the Bible somewhere.
  2. It is even better if management can outsource to China or SE Asia or the Caribbean and therefore make at least 9000 times the average worker’s pay.
  3. The governmental managerial class earns only three or four times as much money as the average worker in his or her department; there is something un American about this—and it is also anti-Christian.
  4. When the public employee is entitled to a pension– that is an entitlement and there is something really wrong with entitlements; when a member of management in the private sphere is discharged with a golden parachute—all is right with the world because a golden parachute is ‘earned’. And this fact is also written in the Bible.
  5. When public employees have the right to equal opportunity, all hell will break loose. And tenure is an abomination to the Lord.
  6. When management must rule according to rules: it’s not fair.
  7. If you cannot hire your niece, what is the point of it all?
  8. The middle class must be destroyed; paying workers fair wages is not cost effective.
  9. My wife’s brother is a good as anybody, isn’t he? At least she thinks so!!!
  10. Who made all the money to begin with?
  11. We must grow up and realize that production is of the most important value of all!!!
  12. Where are my government contracts?
  13. I did not make it where I am today…living on a worker’s wage.
  14. Especially when I can make my wage based upon employees who make 50 cents an hour.
  15. Where are my Twinkies? Where is my latte?
  16. Rights, where are my rights to what I have stolen fair and square?

Well, these are the types of values that I ascribe to the managerial class.

From each according to his abilities….

But that is my bias!!!!

Let us look at a few examples of how this ‘system’ works.

Once upon a time, in coal country, a guy by the name of Greg Zappala had a brilliant idea as to how to make some money from outsourcing.

He had what some people call ‘contacts’.

Zappala was the son of a Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. And Greg’s brother was the D.A. for Allegheny County Pennsylvania.

Well Greg got his buddy, Luzerne County Senior Judge Michael Conahan, to declare a certain Juvenile Detention Center unfit for habitation.

Then Greg Zappala, purchased the facility from the County.

Then Zappala, with low interest loans from the state, refurbished the center and sold it back to the county for fifty or sixty million dollars.

Then Zappala LEASED THE CENTER BACK FROM THE COUNTY.

And Zappala owns other Juvenile Centers.

Then he talked Conahan and  Judge Mark A. Ciavarella to start sentencing juveniles to the center.

Records show that in 2004 — Pennsylvania Child Care’s first full year of operation — Luzerne County spent $2.9 million to incarcerate juveniles at various detention centers and boot camps throughout the state, including Mr. Zappala’s centers.

That’s more than double the amount the county spent in 2002, the year before Pennsylvania Child Care opened. A breakdown of the amount spent by Luzerne County at each center where its juveniles were incarcerated was not immediately available.

Statewide, spending on juvenile detention increased 15 percent during the same time period, according to the state Department of Public Welfare, which reimburses counties for half of their costs for juvenile incarceration. http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09046/949273-85.stm#ixzz10qaxKfQK

So Zappala ended up with more than just one privately run juvie center and was ripping off the state as well as the county—and I can imagine that some federal funds came his way also.

As kind of a thank you to Conahan, Zappala basically ‘kicked back’ some 2.7 million bucks in just four years for the judge’s help.

There are a number of suits against the state and the county for the torts committed by the Judges as well as the centers.

I will get into the damage to the children in the next couple days.

Suffice it to say that government outsourcing does not always work.

Children, thousands of them, have been injured and will suffer from those injuries for decades to come.

The county and the state will lose millions upon millions of dollars in their own civil courts.

Do you know that the judges had entered into a plea agreement as early as March of last year? They were to be incarcerated for 8 years and pay a $250,000 fine.

But the judges’ judge was pissed and would not allow this agreement without full confessions from the felons as well as full apologies.

Both judges had been walking around on a $1,000,000.00 bond since the plea agreement fell through last year.

And why were not all the assets of both judges confiscated by the State of Pennsylvania immediately under RICO? And RICO applied because it was part and parcel of the 48 count indictment against these animals.

At any rate, in July of this year, the judges decided to enter into a new plea agreement BUT SENTENCING AS NOT YET OCCURRED. They are walking around free as unjailed birds.

Although, I am pleased to announce, a new indictment was handed down a few days ago calling for the confiscation of all Judge Ciavarella’s assets as well as Judge Conahan’s assets. Thank the lord for small favors. http://www.torttalk.com/2010/09/ciavarella-re-indicted-in-luzerne.html

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=judge+conahan+luzerne+county&sourceid=navclient-ff&rlz=1B3GGLL_enUS381US381&ie=UTF-8&aq=1&oq=Judge+Conahan

I maintain that this example of corrupt judges is just a symptom of a systematic illness known as ‘outsourcing’.

And it is also symptomatic of a Republican view of the universe.

Outsourcing is not capitalism.

Outsourcing is just another means for corporations to feed at the public trough. Outsourcing allows corporations to provide lower wages and benefits for employees who would survive much better as government employees. Outsourcing is a great means of providing huge benefits for the few as opposed to the many.

Outsourcing is a misuse of public funds.

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We Are Now At Once Upon a Paradigm

We are now shifting our blogging and comments over to Once Upon a Paradigm. http://onceuponaparadigm.wordpress.com/ If you have any questions, you can email me at blau.polar@gmail.com

The blogs and comments from this site have been transferred over to the new site.  Peace.

American Ignorance Part Daux

I was going to write about how I thought people, like those on the right, could go through school and even get college degrees and still remain ignorant of the world around them. How could this be ? I though I might get a handle on it. But now that I have done some research, I am still at a loss.
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New Site/New Name – An Update

Okay I was putting togther the new site and when I added the users I guess it sent out an invite to everyone.  At least it did to TheraP who posted a blog.  And here I thought I was doing it all stealthy.  I can bring over blogs and comments that are added here from this point on, so for simplicity sake we can keep blogging and commenting here and then I will do the switch late tonight when everyone is asleep.   I was hoping to make a flash cut late this evening.  Oh well, the best laid plans or something like that. 

If you did get the email then you know that we’ll be going with Once Upon A Paradigm.

Torture Five-0

I have fond memories of cop shows, from Dragnet to Hill Street Blues to CSI, but I have noticed that there has been less and less regard for the rights of televised suspects as time goes on. Adam-12 once had Martin Milner complaining about some guy pulling an, “I am a citizen” routine, but he and Kent McCord were generally as polite and courteous as could be, though somewhat wooden. The heroes of Hawaii Five-O, like Kam Fong playing Chin Ho Kelly above, were comparatively wooden, too, but they managed to solve their cases without beating up their suspects.

My friend Rog turned me on to CSI and later raved about 24. I started to watch CSI, and became a fan, but never caught up with 24. Later I read that torture had become a mainstay of the series. Lovable Weird Guy Donald Sutherland’s son Kiefer played Jack Bauer, and somehow Jack always had to either torture some evil dude or let a mall full of innocent children die. I wasn’t interested in watching that, but I saw similar scenarios creeping into other series.

For example, I was a fan of Star Trek: Enterprise, the Trek prequel with bony Jolene Blalock as hot Vulcan T’Pol and Scott Bakula as Captain Jonathan Archer. Even without a Prime Directive, Archer, who watched water polo videos with his puppy, seemed like the least aggressive of Star Trek captains early on. In the wake of 9/11, the show was rewritten to have the Earth attacked by alien meanies called the Xindi, and Archer became all-too-willing to pummel any other aliens they captured to find out more about the Xindi. That was about when I stopped watching the series.

Saturday night, CBS reran the first episode of the remake of Five-O, which is Hawaii Five-0, with a zero. Steve McGarrett is played by Alex O’Loughlin, a fellow I liked from the Moonlight series, where he played a vampire PI that could go about during the day as long as he wore his Foster Grants. The new Danno, James Caan’s son Scott, was OK, and the new Chin Ho, Daniel Dae Kim, had been good on Lost, and the new Kono, Grace Park, was a bikini babe. But when McGarrett was offered a job as head of a task force with complete immunity, I groaned. Eventually they caught up with some nasty grinning Asian who knew something but wouldn’t talk. The solution – hit him in the face with a large ash tray. He tells them everything because as we know from 24, torture always works perfectly.

After Five-0, they reran the first episode of Blue Bloods, with Len Cariou and Tom Selleck as scions of a family of NYC cops named Reagan. Actually they aren’t all cops – one daughter is a district attorney. I’ve liked Selleck both as goofy Thomas Magnum and gruff Jesse Stone. The rest were all new to me. Right at the beginning, someone unseen in a white van snatches a young girl off the sidewalk. She’s around ten years old, with diabetes. That’s important because it added a time constraint. They find critical evidence, and Detective Reagan, Selleck’s son BTW, soon finds the suspect, who isn’t talking. The missing girl needs her insulin, pronto, so the obvious thing to do is to shove the suspect’s head in the nearest toilet. He tells them everything because as we know from 24, torture always works perfectly.

They find her still alive, and everyone is happy, except the lady Judge, who is just this close to releasing the perp to kill again, and the DA,  Selleck’s daughter BTW, who has no untainted evidence to mount a case. So at least the writers stipulated to the fact that physical coercion is technically against the law. But it didn’t matter because amazingly fast police work uncovered another crime in the perp’s past, and they extradited him to a state where he could be executed – so everyone was really happy.

Except me. Because it ain’t never that simple.

An End to Privacy – What’s Left of It

It’s being reported in the NYT that the Obama administration is seeking the broad ability to require all providers of Internet based communications services to enable government intercept of any and all communications as government sees fit.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/27/us/27wiretap.html

It’s not bad enough that this nation is leaking the private data of citizens via careless business operations without a care. No. That’s not good enough. Now government officially wants in on the act and is sure to be at least, if not more abusive than the private sector.

This country keeps going the wrong dam way on everything under the sun. I’ve been known to rant about dumb Americans. As it turns out our national leadership is at the top of the heap when it comes to being dumb.

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

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THE JUDGE FROM HELL

I have to accomplish what I wish to accomplish on this subject in a series.

PART I

Bribery, a form of pecuniary corruption, is an act usually implying money or gift given that alters the behaviour of the recipient in ways not consistent with the duties of that person or in breach of law. Bribery constitutes a crime and is defined by Black’s Law Dictionary as the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or other person in discharge of a public or legal duty. The bribe is the gift bestowed to influence the recipient’s conduct. It may be any money, good, right in action, property, preferment, privilege, emolument, object of value, advantage, or merely a promise or undertaking to induce or influence the action, vote, or influence of a person in an official or public capacity. http://www.uslaw.com/us_law_dictionary/b/Bribery

 

There are codes of ethics and professional codes of responsibility providing standards for the conduct of attorneys and judges in every single state and territory of this country.

Discussions are long and tedious at times. There is case law on the books discussing every sentence contained n these codes.

Everyday life makes some decisions difficult to say the least.

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