Sunday, December 16, 2012

Oligarchy hires, fires constitutional officers

Corporations co-opting elected officers

You'd better come on into my kitchen, because it's going to be raining outdoors...” - Robert Johnson

General semantics formulates a new experimental branch of natural science, underlying an empirical theory of human evaluations and orientations and involving a definite neurological mechanism, present in all humans. It discovers direct neurological methods for the stimulation of the activities of the human cerebral cortex and the direct introduction of beneficial neurological 'inhibition'... - Alfred Korzybski, founder of General Semantics

...We stole it fair and square...” S.I. Hayakawa, general semanticist

Waco – A preponderance of McLennan County constitutional offices are filled by appointment, according to elections records.

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The trend has resulted in five of seven justice courts filled with magistrates who were appointed to their first term of office, among others.

In the latest go-round, Sgt. Pete Peterson of the DPS filled the unexpired term of the Honorable Billy Martin, Justice of the Peace in Precinct 1, Place 2.

Sgt. Peterson lost an election bid to unseat the incumbent Precinct 1, Place1 Magistrate, The Honorable Judge Kristi DeCluitt.

A Commissioners Court chaired by interim County Judge Scott Felton, who served as Sgt. Peterson's campaign treasurer in the elections of 2012, selected him from a short list of 8 candidates winnowed from a starting lineup of 21 who submitted resumés, many of them licensed attorneys. Judge Felton is a former chief of the Wells Fargo Bank and a honcho in the Waco Economic Development Corporation.

Santo Martin de Porres, patron saint of
persons of mixed racial heritage
Why the sudden vacancy? Consider the fact that Kathryn Casey, a true crime writer from Houston, just published a definitive work on the Matt Baker case, in which Judge Martin failed to order an autopsy after Hewitt Police found a suicide note beside her lifeless body. The oversight eventually led to an exhumation of Mrs. Casey's body, a murder trial, and the conviction of her husband Matt, a Baptist pastor.

People who run multinationals such as M and M Mars, Caterpillar, and Sherwin-Williams are involved in a joint venture between the City of Waco and the County of McLennan, both of which local government entities tap general tax revenues to help support the attraction and service of corporate accounts to the Waco area – at taxpayer expense.

One could speculate as to the same reasons why Judge Jim Lewis suddenly decided to terminate his tenure through resignation. The county's budget included a 250 percent override on outside care of inmates at $45.50 per day by CEC, Inc., at the Jack Harwell Detention Center. Judge Lewis, along with two other members of the Court, is now history following his strong advocacy of the for-profit jail. The resulting need to shut a perfectly good jail at the Courthouse Annex led to a murky understanding as to why that was done. Members of the Court were led to believe, apparently, that the Texas Commission on Jail Standards forced the closure, but it was not really the case. The old structure was in need of remodeling and refurbishment.

That put bunk space in the struggling project that McLennan County built at a cost of nearly $50 million – with a debt service of about $100 million – at a premium, where before it was only a surplus.

Obviously, the corporate types know how to retain pollsters who take the pulse and temperature of the voters, rich and poor, male and female, professional and wage earners – and they get a very accurate picture of who can win.

So, it's now a process of filling vacancies through the time-honored process of personnel management. Sort through the resumés, draw down the short list, weigh the qualifications against the ability to devote the maximum amount of time to the job, and hire the best bet.

For instance, there is the new law that allows only licensed attorneys in magistrate positions to sign an order for a blood draw in DWI cases.

No problem. They've already got that covered. When Judge Raymond Britton left office, the Court replaced him with Judge Virgil Bain, a Jail Magistrate who is a licensed attorney - yet another new requirement of the latest legislative session.

Consider the difference in the way the Court filled a 2009 vacancy of the Precinct 5 Justice Court at McGregor.

Judge Lewis asked then Precinct 4 Commissioner Ray Meadows who he wanted in the job, and he chose Pat Richardson. End of story. They hired him.

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In pursuit of the field of general semantics, one would discern a classic progression of the use of language – in thought and action – resulting a complete subversion of the Texas Constitution to fill the offices of Counties with elected officials.

It's a time-honored system of benevolent anarchy that is giving way to the buttoned-down methods of corporate management in which the bottom line is the bottom line.

One need only consider the number of appointed officials in the election cycle of 2008:  
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And what do these judges do? For one thing, they sign off on affidavits of probable cause and charge persons arrested by police officers on evidence obtained through search and seizure based on reasonable suspicion aroused by "probable cause." Consider this video by a once very aggressive narcotics task force officer from the east Texas communities Gladewater and Big Sandy, a veteran officer who became a drug interdiction specialist in Ector County's Midland-Odessa area of I-20. He now works as a consultant, training people how to keep from getting busted. He teaches the tricks of the trade, and it's an eye-opener, to say the least:


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