"The most significant threat to our national security is our debt," Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, August 27,2010

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Chief Justice Roberts

This essayist had occasion on Wednesday, April 18, 2012, to read the entire front section of the Chicago Tribune.  Not just the front page but all 20 pages.  Let us recap the stories quickly:

News items:

·         Dixon, IL – city comptroller charged with misappropriating $30 million of city funds for personal purposes in this small town with an annual budget of $8-9 million.  She’d been in the job for 30 years and her theft was discovered during a recent 4 month absence.

·         Chicago – 56 year old former head of Chicago police union pleads guilty to stealing more than $1 million from union dues for personal activities.

·         Chicago – mayor requests immediate action on his proposal to get private companies to pay for public works projects.  Few understand the proposal to which Emmanuel says, “we’ve debated this long enough…I’m not in the position of analysis…I’m…getting things done.”  Many Chicagoans are reminded daily of the last mayor and his private/public transaction selling the city’s parking meters for 75 years to a private group for what some have calculated as less than half their economic value.

·         Chicago – 2 lawsuits against police misconduct – one stemming from 2007 beating of female bartender by off duty cop and one going back to 2006 when cops released a young mentally handicapped woman in a bad neighborhood whereupon the local youth beat her, raped her and she mysteriously fell from a high rise building to the ground

·         State of Illinois – state representative returns to Illinois house after being charged with taking a $7,000 bribe.  Fellow legislators welcome and congratulate him.

·         US of A – former GSA official and associates questioned by congress after years of wasteful spending on personal activities. 

·         And, of course, on any day the city and state both try to avoid facing two real problems – bureaucrats and bureaucracies borrowing money they cannot pay back, in many cases to fund their own pension checks, and students going to school with no measurable educational results.

After reading all these stories about corruption, self dealing and just simple abuse of power, what do we read in the same section of the paper the very same day, coming from the highest court in the land ---

·         US of A – Supreme Court rules that even a private lawyer employed by a municipality enjoys the same immunity from prosecution extended to municipal employees when “they are doing their job.”   Chief Justice Roberts says that immunity is needed for “ensuring that talented candidates are not deterred from public service.”

Roberts thinks the issue is attracting and keeping people interested in public service.  Is Roberts just stupid or is he part of the cabal that keeps this kind of crap going and going and going?   Message to Roberts: the problem is not getting and keeping people interested in public service.  It is getting rid of the lousy ones and holding them personally accountable for their misdeeds and self serving behavior.

This essayist believes that Roberts believes his own nonsense because he has never lived for any period of time in a world of public service accountability – where one is held responsible for what they do.  Responsibility can take the form of legal action – both criminal and civil; take the form of employment downgrading, suspension and termination; or, just plain everyday routine application of fundamentals such as reporting on objectives; being required to move on after a set term limit; limited in the time you can serve in any one position; being disciplined for small or medium errors and misjudgments and being required to take vacations so that someone else can do your job for a while and make sure everything is okay. 

Roberts does not know anything about accountability and yet, he runs the highest court in the land whose job is to administer ultimate accountability.  One of the men most in charge of accountability does not grasp the concept of accountability.   Legal immunity in public employment is a basic abuse of the American government concept of the people being sovereign; not the state.

The solution to the public service nonsense examples above is not at all difficult.  Eliminate collective bargaining for all “public service” jobs’; mandate term limits for all elected officials; demand balanced budgets and outside performance audits and hold all public employees personally accountable for their misdeeds on the job.  And, find a chief justice who can at least define accountability in terms consistent with the premise on which his country was founded.

Postscript – the essay above was written on April 24, 2012 (not published until today) at which time we could only detect that Roberts did not grasp the enormity of the problem facing America.  So, at that time, we made some reasonable, albeit for Washington DC, very challenging observations about this man in this very important job.  This week we learned that our view of him was dead on target.  All he knows is government; all he turns to is government; he believes that government is the solution. He has just this last week used incredibly combobulated thinking to go along with the most disastrous, voluminous and undecipherable piece of legislation produced by congress in our time.  To place the future of American health care in the hands of bureaucrats in Washington DC will result in the same outcome that we are experiencing from placing our financial future in their hands.

America has now found the perfect imbalance of its constitutionally designed checks and balances and so-called balance of powers.  The executive under Obama; the congress under all three – Pelosi, Reid and Boehner; the central bank under Bernanke and the supreme court under Roberts are a disaster of incalculable consequence. 

There is not an ounce of spine in all of them.  There is not an ounce of comprehension of why limits on government are necessary.  They believe in centralized, mammoth government.  Not a one of them will stand up to the geometric expansion of a failed central government. 

Roberts is 57 years old; he can easily be in that job for 20+ years. 

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