Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Corruption, absolutely!

Whatcha might call an evergreen cartoon …
Thank God for greed and arrogance at the state capitol!

Now my excuse for trotting out these 'toons doesn't stink so bad.

They come from another time when our lawmakers weren't worth the money we paid for them if they didn't take everything undercover feds had to offer.

Sort of restores your faith in government. Snif!

This time it's State Sen. Ronald Calderon, a Democrat from Montebello in Southern California, who faces allegations of accepting bribes and gifts in exchange for help steering legislation that would benefit his benefactor.

The benefactor turned out to be an FBI agent masquerading as a movie studio owner, from whom Sen. Calderon allegedly received as much as $60,000 in gifts and trips, Aljazeera America reported last week. Citing a sealed affidavit it received, Aljazeera reports Calderon received payments in the form of "income" to the senator's daughter, and got the bogus studio owner to pay part of his son's college tuition.

Calderon allegedly hired the studio owner's "girlfriend," also an FBI agent, to work in his office at more than $3,000 a month, even though she had no skills for the job. All this, allegedly, in exchange for Calderon's help in steering legislation giving tax breaks to independent filmmakers.

The FBI raided Calderon's office in June, the affidavit supporting the search.
Former Assembly Republican leader Pat Nolan
Back in the day, the sting was all about shrimp. FBI agents in the late 1980s posed as operators of a West Sacramento shrimp processing company, looking for help in legislation allowing their company to operate.

"Shrimpscam" sent to prison Assembly Republic leader Pat Nolan of Glendale, Democratic Sen. Joseph Montoya of Whittier, and Board of Equalization member Paul Carpenter, among other convictions.

The sting also targeted but did not ensnare Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, Democrat from San Francisco.

Editorial cartoons are weakest in the wake of blatant graft because:

(1) It's a softball pitch, and the wickedest swing at the subject usually fouls it off. Only the most gifted cartoonist can match the height of corruption with the pinnacle of satire. The corruption alone should stand alone as the biggest joke.

(2) Cartoons often require a learning curve, a history lesson before the joke or satire has a chance. There's a good chance constituents don't care their representatives may be living it up in Las Vegas on the take. Chances are they don't know who their representatives are.

Which may be the first problem.

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