Corruption in America

[Burt has been unusually prolific of late. Please enjoy this extra bonus article also published today!]
By now I’m sure that even people who have less interest in college football than I, if such a thing is possible, are aware of the sex scandal that tore Penn State apart.  It does not surprise me that Jerry Sandusky got away with his vile activity for so many years or that Joe Paterno and the college administrators basically turned a blind eye to it.  College football, after all, is a cash cow that is far more sacred in America than the cattle that wander blithely through India’s countryside.  Even when I was just a kid, a popular joke was that such college super stars as Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice, Doak Walker and Hugh McElhenny, would all have to take pay cuts when they turned pro.

Joe Paterno Statue

Joe Paterno Statue outside Beaver Stadium on the PSU campus

In all the years since, I have yawned whenever the NCAA would suspend various programs for infractions which generally consisted of bribing their top athletes.  It always seemed to me that the folks at the NCAA would periodically flip a coin to determine which college would next be targeted for their wrath.  I mean, really, do you actually believe that any college can play by the rules and field a top-20 team year after year after year?  It’s one thing for the NY Yankees or the Boston Red Sox to be competitive decade after decade when they pay their players more than everyone else.  But how would a college manage to rule the roost when their best players have to move on after three or four years?  Quite simply, by emulating New York and Boston and spending more money than the competition!

That being said, what I found most disgusting in the aftermath of the Penn State scandal was the fact that hundreds of students rioted on behalf of Mr. Paterno.  Just because he kept turning out winning teams year after year, decade after decade, these young pinheads felt compelled to rally on his behalf, looking and acting exactly like the scumbags who comprise the Occupy Wall Street mob.  But, unlike those unwashed morons, the students actually knew why they were out there creating mayhem in the streets.  They were, by god,  showing their unflagging support for a man who had kept a child rapist on his coaching staff!

I’m sure that in their defense, the young louts would say that Paterno wasn’t the pervert.  But would they say the same if the coach had been employed not at Penn State, but at LSU or Alabama, Oregon or UCLA?  Would they say the same about the many priests and cardinals who had never engaged in pedophilia, but who maintained their silence about the small number who did?

Elbert Hubbard once observed, “Every man is a damned fool for at least five minutes every day.  Wisdom consists in not exceeding the limit.”  I’m afraid that the students at Penn State have already exceeded their limit for at least the next 50 years.

But it’s not just at Penn State that corruption runs rampant.  Take a look at Washington, D.C., where any number of politicians who opposed ObamaCare nevertheless voted for it because they were bribed or intimidated by the likes of Harry (“It’s just business as usual”) Reid and Nancy (“You’ll find out what’s in the bill after it’s passed”) Pelosi.

Or consider Barack Obama who comes out four-square against what they call swag, which consists of souvenir pens, pins and cufflinks, handed out by politicians.  But he sends his family off to Africa at a cost to tax payers of $800,000.  He then uses tax dollars to buy two buses so that he can conduct presidential business — business that apparently can only be conducted in what figure to be swing states in the 2012 election — thus saving the DNC’s war chest hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Or, for that matter, consider Solyndra, a beneficiary of 500 million tax dollars and personal visits by Obama and Biden, but which we’re told had nothing to do with the company being owned by a major Obama contributor.

But when it comes to corruption, unfortunately it’s not limited to Penn State and our nation’s capital.  It seems that in New York, by the time they retire, 90% of railroad workers — including those who only held desk jobs — have applied for disability, which just happens to add $36,000 a year to their pension payments.  In California, 82% of state troopers retire with some sort of disability.  It almost makes you wonder why anyone would even dare consider taking such jobs.  Am I the only person who worries about his health?

Finally, you have all these various women accusing Herman Cain of acting inappropriately.  Not having been there at the time, I don’t know what he did or didn’t do.  What I do know is that whenever a woman shows up in public joined at the hip with Gloria Allred, it is safe to assume that she either belongs in jail, a brothel or a psycho ward.

At this point, I suppose we should all be grateful that Anita Hill hasn’t yet come forward to claim that Mr. Cain once gave her a funny look.

©2011 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write!
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Author Bio:

Burt Prelutsky, a very nice person once you get to know him, has been a humor columnist for the L.A. Times and a movie critic for Los Angeles magazine. As a freelancer, he has written for the New York Times, Washington Times, TV Guide, Modern Maturity, Emmy, Holiday, American Film, and Sports Illustrated. For television, he has written for Dragnet, McMillan & Wife, MASH, Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda, Bob Newhart, Family Ties, Dr. Quinn and Diagnosis Murder. In addition, he has written a batch of terrific TV movies. View Burt’s IMDB profile. Talk about being well-rounded, he plays tennis and poker... and rarely cheats at either. He lives in the San Fernando Valley, where he takes his marching orders from a wife named Yvonne and a dog named Angel.
Author website:
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  • Burt Prelutsky

    Thank you, Maureen. While you can still, though barely, fight City Hall, it’s getting to be more and more difficult to fight the Oval Office…and the four years between presidential elections keeps looking longer and longer.

    Best, Burt

    • Maureen

      I used to tell my kids,if you make a mistake you must correct it. In America today it seems like no one has either the courage,morals,or ,dare I say it, the humility to do the right thing. After decades of moral equivilance we now have a Penn State horror. Keep up the good fight!

  • Maureen

    As usual Burt you hit the nail on the head with this astute article concerning corruption in America. America’s decline of morals and ethics,no less common decency, has become notorious. Decades ago people would say that “you can’t fight City Hall” but if we don’t then America is doomed. Thanks for an enlightening and courageous article.

  • Burt Prelutsky

    Wally2: Everything the Democrats do stinks of Chicago politics. That is always the case, but more so over the past three years when such rats as Obama, Emanuel, Jarrett and Alexander, all scurried out of the Chicago swamp.

  • wally2

    Wow! Great article. I agree totally. In reference to the claims against H. Cain, I find disgusting. If There was any truth in the claims, the NRA paid to avoid any publicity. If there was any truth to the claims, the women was well paid. Case closed! Or is she still in business? The other claims and the one are bogus. They had their chance to prosecute the claims years ago. Not now that there is a political agenda involved. The democrats are attempting to discredit Cain because he is a threat to Obama. This smells of Chicago Politics.

  • Burt Prelutsky

    Robin in FL: I’m with you. I couldn’t believe it when I heard that the asst. coach let the rape in the shower continue. In my eyes, that makes him an accessory to the crime. If I were the D.A., I would indict him as well as Sandusky.

    Regards, Burt

  • robin in fl

    this entire Pa state thing makes me feel like throwing up every time I hear more about it.I just wonder how it would have been “taken care” of had the kids been one of their(the universities elites) kids or grandkids instead of some high risk kid from a kids charity that must have been created for a pedophile to use as a smorgasbord for his own sick perversions. I am sure it would have been handled quite differently if that were the case. After all we all know it’s not what you do,it’s who you know……how pathetically sick ALL involved are in my opinion. And for the students who made the scene because they just didn’t like people being fired. Well too bad for them, grow up, anyone who enabled this freak to continue with his perversions for all these years may it come back to them tenfold .Had it been me that witnessed the act ,as the one guy did, after I reported it and saw nothing was being done about it and the man continued to be employed, I would have given it until the next big dinner party and stood up to make a speech after getting the entire rooms attention and I would have called this man out and let EVERYONE know what I had seen and then let them all know I was going to the authorities as soon as I left since it seemed like I was the only one appalled at the situation…well that would have been if they hadn’t already noticed the black eye and broken nose the next day after I caught the man in the act of his sick perversion ,because I know I would not have been able to stop my outrage had I been the one that walked in on that to begin with.So with that said, anyone who witnessed it,or covered it up or allowed it to go on all these years and turned the other way, they too are guilty ,perhaps not of the actual crime,but guilty non the less for their lack of integrity .

    as always ,GREAT take on it Burt

  • Burt Prelutsky

    Drew: I do not believe that the allegations hurt Mr. Cain nearly as much as his response to them. First he pretended to be blindsided although we know he had a week and a half to prepare. Then he pretended to be confused by the use of “arrangement/settlement.” He didn’t help himself by going blank on Libya yesterday. Just because a person isn’t a career politician doesn’t automatically qualify him or her for the Oval Office.

    Regards, Burt

    • Drew Page

      Burt — I must agree with you that Mr. Cain did not respond to the allegations against him in the most professional way possible. I also agree that just because someone is not a career politician doesn’t automatically qualify him/her for the Oval Office. But we have all seen what ‘career politicians’ have gotten us into.

      You say that Mr. Cain had a week and a half to prepare comments about the charges of sexual harrassment made against him. Are you referring to the charges made 14 years ago, recently resurrected, or the charges of Ms. Bialek? I will admit that I don’t know how much time he had to prepare a defense against these charges. I would have found a well prepared canned defense by Mr. Cain to be less credible than one saying “I never did any such thing”.

      I agree that Cain certainly didn’t help himself by going blank on Lybia during a televised interview. But that is another matter. Herman Cain was not my first choice for the Republican nominee, Newt Gingrich is.

      The point I attempted to make in my previous post is that I am seeing a rush to judgement here that is hurting Mr. Cain’s chances. If he is guilty of the things Ms. Bialek claims, he deserves what he gets. In this country, people are supposed to be considered innocent until proven guilty. If the allegations made by Ms. Bialek are false, how does anyone make up for the damage done?

  • Drew Page

    Before making further comment on the sex scandal case at Penn State, I want to go on record as saying that any that any man that rapes a child should be given life in prison.

    Having said that, I see a troubling trend going on today. Allegations, yet to be proven, are costing people their jobs and their reputations. If allegations made against Joe Paterno and the President of Penn State prove to be true, they deserve what they get. Then again, maybe I’m the only one who doesn’t know that these two men have not been proven guilty of something.

    The same goes for Herman Cain. If he admits to doing what Ms. Bialek alledges he did, or if it can be proven, then Cain deserves whatever he gets. Real sexual harrassment in the workplace cannot and should not be tolerated.

    On the other hand, have there ever been false charges made against innocent people? Is it possible that some people may take offense at a harmless comment or at a joke in bad taste and call it ‘sexual harrassment’? I believe that the answer to both of these questions is yes, these things can happen. We may never know what the specific allegations were, made by the two women who took cash settlement/severance packages and signed non-disclosure statements. And we may never know if Cain is guilty of the charges made by Ms. Bialek. But it seems Mr.Cain has been convicted in the court of public opinion and if that now sets the standard, we might as well disolve courts of law.

  • Burt Prelutsky

    Rand Mack: You make things almost too easy. Shooting fish in a barrel comes to mind whenever I see your name attached to a comment. The Republicans you named all suffered the consequences of their sins. They either went to jail or lost their careers. On the other hand, Ted Kennedy and Barnie Frank, to mention just two of the most vile Democrats, just kept getting re-elected and garnering more influence in the wake of their scandals.

    John in MA: Thanks for trying to educate IndependentLasVegas and the others who keep showing up to comment on my articles, and keep confusing me with my host.

    While I agree that coughing up money for one’s alma mater is quite different from paying taxes, at least people get a few benefits such as firemen, cops and decent roads, for their tax dollars. Still, if people want to donate money to colleges because they field winning football and basketball teams, that’s their right, even if I consider it a sure sign of arrested mental and emotional development. The thing that got me the most upset was when conservatives continued writing checks to colleges and universities that booted the ROTC and military recruiters off their campuses.

    Regards, Burt

    • Rand Mack

      You are aware that Ted Kennedy passed away, right?

      You missed the point of your own article if you wish to sweep away the scant few republican/conservative offenders I pointed out. I could go on for a while listing the republicans that haven’t suffered the consequences of their sins, to wit- Mitch McConnell
      John McCain’s role in covering up Jack Abramoff’s ties to Senate republicans, and how can we forget everyone’s favorite neocon, George W. Bush and his many shortcomings. You can dismiss me if you want, hell I’ve only posted half a dozen comments, but instead of dismissing me, why don’t you try to refute me. I suspect you see yourself for the lampoon that you actually are instead of the righteous and indignant crusader you pretend to be.

  • Rand Mack

    Ah, lest we forget Jack Abramoff, Tom DeLay, John Ensign, Mark Sanford, Larry Craig, Bob Packwood, Ted Stevens, and the whole litany of corrupt republican/conservative offenders you forgot to add to your spanking list.

    • Maureen

      I think the Abramoff just got released from Jail and many of the others you listed actually DID suffer consequences,unlike many,many democrats in office. Barney Frank asked us to suspend our reason to believe that he was unaware of his boyfriend running a cathouse (?) from Barney Frank’s own home! And the people in Ma. keep voting these bums back into office. NO Consequence there I guess.

  • The Outlier

    There is no doubt that Penn State Football is an institution of power that generates hundreds of millions of dollars for the university. When given the choice between protecting children or the institution of power, Joe Paterno chose the institution. He chose himself. His power is derived from the fact that the program he runs is a bonafide revenue generator. When someone chooses to protect their own power rather than exercise responsibility, that person is corrupt. The great Joe Paterno is corrupt. The great Joe Paterno who had the reputation of running a “clean” program was susceptible to the corrupting influence of power.

    This is not about throwing Joe Paterno under the bus. This is about understanding the irresistible corrupting influence of power on human beings. Wherever there is a concentration of power there must be oversight and accountability. The greater the power, the greater is the need for oversight and accountability. Wherever power concentrates in the absence of oversight and accountability, there will be corruption. This is axiomatic. The corruption will not always manifest in the form of child abuse, but it will always occur.

  • neil rouse

    i do not understand how sports became so important to institutions of higher learning. if it is some kind of all important learning tool, than it should be an academic requirement, and everyone should be required to play. otherwise, (and i’m sure i’m expressing a very unpopular sentiment here), collage sports eat money, take money away from the primary stated business of an university, that being education, and has proven ripe with abuse for decades. maybe the ‘r’s’ should no longer include rah rah. or, is building college muscles really more important than building college brains?

  • John In MA

    Being a college football fan, I get the “spirit” that enthralls the students. Especially if their campus is a remote one, in an area where the identity is almost exclusively tied to the school. That environment is somewhat common. Most of those who are particularly excited and involved are the younger in the population. They come from high school, perhaps with “school spirit” that is still not fully quenched, and find a similar outlet at their college. The party atmosphere is a huge attraction on top of that spirit emotion. I suspect “party material” has a lot to do with the embarrassing mob event at Penn State, too.

    The money topic with college sports is a bit of a canard, in my opinion. But, it is true that with increasing sums of money come increasing risks of corruption. Or even evil. I could fill the page on this debate, but if I choose just one point to make, it would be that the majority of the sports wealth acquired by a college/university tied to football is given VOLUNTARILY, perhaps tied to past “school spirit” memories. By contrast, all the accumulation and distribution of wealth within the elected class is not voluntary. Whereas you may argue the “ruling class” or its equivalent in either case write the rules in their favor, there is still one, huge distinction. If a Penn State alum finds what is going on offensive, they have a simple and easily taken remedy – don’t give. And perhaps you find others you can solicit to do the same. In the government analogy, at all levels, it takes a much, much larger amount of energy and action to change the system.

    I’ll take the system of college football that can be changed by public perception and freedom of donation all day long over the other.

  • IndependentLasVegas

    Bernie your article just verifies how important this election in 2012 is.

    CNN,MSNBC,CNBC,ABC,CBS,NBC,PBS,the NYT etc..will pound any GOP candidate into the ground 24 hrs a day 7 days per week…they are allowed to be bias. This guy in the whitehouse is the most politically evil person I can ever remember.

    • John In MA

      Why do so many people here not read the bylines? Independent, you might want to read the two words above the title and the byline below it one more time.

  • Steve

    Regarding “…she either belongs in jail, a brothel or a psycho ward,” did you mean Ms. Allred, the accuser, or both?

    • neil rouse

      i wish allred would go away. although once she shows up you know it was all a joke, but still. she gives ambulance chasing a bad name.
      the accuser seems somewhat disingenuous when we find out she tried the same thing again just a little while later.
      also the justice thomas/anita hill thing. this seems to be getting to be a typical democrat response to any republican black person. it was predictable. that so many people simply believed it without any facts being presented is disappointing.

  • Sam

    about ur article-“corruption in america”-da last part-i hope that means that u wudn’t mind having Mr.Cain as ur nxt president over Mr.Gingrich or Mr.Romney…