|"Follow Your Dreams, Cancelled" - Banksy
I'm in Cuzco, Peru now. It's raining and thundering and flashing lightning outside. I'm in the center. It's mostly Europeans and Americans. There's some Japanese and Koreans sprinkled in the mix. But very few locals or other South Americans.
One reason I left on sabbatical was I was tired, tired of fighting against politicians and local administrators - who could blatantly and overtly do evil. (Remember when the City Attorney forged my signature, and the court just told him - Don't do it again.) Coming here, I've tried not to see or hear evil, but almost everywhere I look, I see evil and hear evil.
Machu Picchu is a good example. Machu Picchu is the ancient relic of a city. But who does it belong to? The Peruvians or foreign business people?
It's supposed to be the people's resources. Nonetheless, foreign powers here have created a monopoly of everything - such as the roads and railways, so they get all the profits. The Economist stated in 2010 that foreign companies make $13million by owning the monopolies of Machu Picchu. Economist Article
Although on the surface, you can say - so what? No. It's the people's resources, and that money should be reinvested for the people by the people into bettering their lives. But instead, some politicians were most likely bribed to sell those rights away to the highest bidder. Now that money gets skimmed off to some foreign offshore account. (I think life was easier when I was naive, as the saying goes: Ignorance is bliss.)
And the effect of corruption corrodes the lives of the people here. The people aren't educated. In fact, the local Andean people become porters and are hardly paid anything. And even though I could have tipped more, which I should have, the entire "democratic system" isn't serving the majority. It's degenerated to become an instrument for the rich, by the rich, now (and perhaps even before). It's sad.
But the same is happening at home. I was raised in a city called Baldwin Park - where the average person is making about $12,000 a year. Half the girls drop out of school, because they get pregnant. The school system ranks at the national bottom of in testing. The water is filthy and polluted by industrial chemicals. And yet the news media likes to tell us everything is all good, because children are learning to cook because of Kaiser Permanent. How Baldwin Park Unified is teaching kids to love broccoli and cauliflower pancakes A few cooking lessons will fix their lives, even though they're trapped in the unskilled labor class. This is propaganda at it's finest. Why don't the papers tell us the truth about our school districts and the children's performance?
And yet while all these problems are happening, our elected officials in Baldwin Park are only concerned about how to maximize their profits in issuing marijuana dispensary licenses. The Chief of Police is only interested in defrauding public funds, including Cal Pers, to retire a rich man, and get a million more a year than he should. (Remember, how much the average person makes in the City?)
Ask yourself this question about your politicians: Are they spending their time making decisions for us or for themselves? No matter where you are, this is the ultimate test to determine whether you live in a corrupt political system. Are the decision makers spending their times on self-interested decisions or time on making decisions for the interest of the most people? (That'll give you your answer.)
When you answer that, you'll understand why I say democracy is in crisis. And the biggest reason it is in crisis is because currently, it appears there's no way to fix this broken system. Replacing one bad politicians with other ones, doesn't fix the systematic problem.
I believe the root issue starts with voting fraud, which those in power are loathe to admit. But I've already shown a high pattern of voting irregularity in Baldwin Park. In our last mayoral election, 50% of the votes came in by vote by mail. Baldwin Park that year had a historic jump of 27% of voters from 2011, all by absentee vote. 774 voters only filled a ballot for the Mayor and nobody else. Furthermore, a number of these votes appear to come from nursing homes - where the witnesses have come forward and told me personally that the Mayor was present during this time. Was vote harvesting occurring?
I'm not the only one who discovered such type of fraud. In Houston, an activist group found that vote harvesting was happening in half way homes. Citizens' Group Helps Uncover Alleged Rampant Voter Fraud in Houston
If the fraudsters control the vote by manipulation, then the democratic system is broken. We can never vote them out; therefore, they don't have to do what's in our interest. Hence, in perpetuity, they could steal our resources and make decisions in their own interest. It turns into an authoritarian or dictatorial regime - which is what Baldwin Park is.
The problem with our system is complicated by the fact that it's incredibly difficult for a common person to investigate voting fraud. One activist told me that it's become a lot more difficult to get the Social Security Death Index File, which is needed to determine if dead people are voting. And it's all these broken checks and balances that are contributing to the downfall of a political system - which is no longer functioning.
The last resort is supposed to be the courts. But as we know from the Casas cases, that didn't work. I was able to get four court orders against the City to release records - who in the end decided that those records weren't going to be released. The courts didn't enforce it. I mean, you would think it's not so outrageous to ask to see how our money is being spent - but that was a no-go zone for us.
Till this date, we still don't know how many bank accounts Baldwin Park has? What happened with all the federal housing fund they received? How much money was received in the Baldwin Park Franchise Fund (at least 12 million)? Where did it go? What about Manny Carrillo's sham nonprofit bank accounts? What about his new sham nonprofit bank account? What'd he do with all that money? This is incredible.
And it's not only Baldwin Park. Even Donald Trumps Cabinet shows how far we've fallen from grace. A democratic system should represent the demographics of the people. And for decades, if not at least a century, minority groups have been fighting for a voice in the decision making process.
Well, the best color to get you a place on Trump's Cabinet isn't black, yellow, or white (though being white looks like it helps); it's green. Get this: Trump's Cabinet had an inflation-adjusted net worth of about US$250 million.
I don't know about you, but people with that much money don't represent how I grew up, saw the world, and struggled to fight for a place in higher education. But like I said - it's no longer for the people; by the people. It's for the rich, by the rich, with the use of sophisticated levels of deception.
There's no simple solution for this problem. I'm writing this article, so people are aware. That's what travel does; it lets you escape the world of propaganda, baseless entertainment, and the drudgery of menial work to see the world you're in and the world you're from in a different perspective. Awareness has to be the first step in fixing such a broken system. And all of us have to be more critical in our thinking, more skeptical of what people in power tell us, and we must no longer let ourselves be victims of deception.
I write this because I believe that being the salt and light can fix can eradicate such evil, because that's what the intrinsic nature of salt and light does.
No wonder why Jesus said:
“You are like salt for the whole human race. But if salt loses its saltiness, there is no way to make it salty again. It has become worthless, so it is thrown out and people trample on it.
“You are like light for the whole world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl; instead it is put on the lampstand, where it gives light for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine before people, so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16, NLT).