Brenda Grantland 2/4/2017
(c) 2017, Brenda Grantland, Esq.
It might sound a little presumptuous to call this blog “Truth & Justice” Blog – but that’s what it is about. There is far too little Truth and Justice in the world today. You see, I’m a frustrated optimist. After all of the human misery and corruption I’ve encountered in my 34 year career as a lawyer, I have come to the conclusion that the American justice system is broken. And after this past election is it clear the political system is broken as well.
But they are not hopelessly broken. I still believe the system could work (not perfectly, but passably well) if more people cared enough (or dared enough) to speak out and if they got together, organized, and took back the reins to their country.
What broke the system, I believe, was not a decline in moral values of the American people as a whole, but the ruthless and bold corruption of a few very wealthy and greedy people, and the ignorance, gullibility and apathy of the rest. The corrupt are always among us. Those whose driving passion is to better their positions of power, wealth, or fame at the expense of others, by hook or by crook, without concern for the damage they inflict on the public or its institutions – naturally will worm their way into positions of power. It used to be that the candidates used their charm and zeal to convince us that they had the intelligence, gumption, and ideals to be leaders, but their charisma was all based on acting skills, and media spin. We wanted to trust them because they told us things we wanted to hear. This past election, the charming facade cracked and fell away, exposing “that man behind the curtain” that we were told not to pay attention to, and there in plain view we saw the corporate-owned news media and the two political parties’ establishment pulling the strings.
I’m not just talking about the 2016 presidential election. The corruption goes down the ticket in both parties, consuming the majority of the legislators in both houses of Congress, the state legislature, the federal and state agencies and the courts. Money and the ability to get favors done gets swapped between the corrupt politicians and the corporations and billionaires that purchased their influence with massive campaign donations, and ordinary citizens get left out of the power game. As a result, the opinions of 90% of the public now have a near-zero impact on legislation, according to a Princeton University study published in 2014. See the video describing the study’s findings.
How do we fix it?
Getting money out of politics is of course essential, but how do we do that when the people in control of the system are corrupt people with enormous wealth?
First we have to expose the corruption of the system. When people in power cheat and abuse their power we have to talk about it, blog about it, write our Congressmen to complain about it, tell the media, and scream it in the streets if we have to. Until the corrupt forces are exposed, and the bad deeds of the few revealed to the public – all the public, not just some Facebook groups – nothing will change. The 2016 presidential election was manipulated by corrupt political operatives and billionaires to force unacceptable candidates on us. We can’t just shrug and “get over it” – we have to shame them, rub their noses in it over and over until they learn not to crap on the rug. Since all the television networks are owned by the owners and/or controllers of one of the two political parties, we have to spread the word in other ways. We can’t make the corporate media cover our point of view, so we have to take to the streets and airways, publish our own blogs and podcasts.
Then we have to fight to throw the corrupt politicians out of positions of power. No corrupt politician or Ponzi scheme artist could ever make it into the position of power and stay there long enough to amass great wealth or a political empire without leaving telltale signs visible to those who worked with him along the way. We need more whistleblowers inside the political organizations to expose the misdeeds of their parties and/or the politician they work for.
We also have to clean up the corruption in the courts and the agencies that investigate and prosecute cases. Take for example the way the courts have handled the massive Ponzi scheme cases like those of Bernard Madoff and Thomas Petters. In better times, Congress passed laws meant to protect crime victims, such as the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act, which requires the money seized from fraudsters be distributed in restitution to the fraud victims. Also competing for this money is the federal asset forfeiture program, which makes proceeds of fraud forfeitable and allows forfeiture proceeds to be divided up by the police agencies that participated in the investigation and prosecution of the forfeiture case. In a tug of war between the victims (whose money was taken by fraud) and the federal government, you can imagine who usually prevails. The prosecutors and law enforcement agencies have vested interests in keeping the money for themselves, and the courts often let them have their way. In the really big Ponzi cases, the judges help the government spend the victims’ money by appointing Receivers to manage the seized assets, at astronomical hourly rates. And the Receivers hired agents from among the top law firms of their community to help them manage the assets, and they too charged exorbitant rates. In appointing the Receivers and giving the Receivers the authority to hire other agents, all paid for from the fund that was supposed to be used for victim restitution, judges diverted money from victims to other people that they favored. That is not so very different from what the Ponzi schemers. To the extent the courts built a system that does not strictly follow the intent of the victim restitution law, they were aided and abetted by numerous others who worked in the system or along-side the system (i.e. the local press), and who saw the first hand, yet said nothing.
Cleaning up the system requires parties with knowledge of the man behind the curtain to speak out. The system won’t get more fair or just until people dare to publicly tell the truth about such things.
My goal with this blog is to try to expose the corrupt-hearted things when I see them, in the hopes that others will speak up too.
I’ll tell you what I believe to be the truth, and what evidence I rely on to support my belief. You don’t have to believe me. You can – and should – investigate for yourself.