With Thugs at the Desk

In a Florida County Government I worked with questionable characters

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

During the ten years I worked for Pinellas County in Florida, I was gradually subordinated to a number of people who seemed richly suspicious. While most of my coworkers were normal people, others gave me the impression of rather scraggly birds who actually belonged in the innermost part of the institution where I worked: the Pinellas County Jail.

One of them was a temporary worker who regularly disappeared from the office with his briefcase around 10 a.m., sometimes earlier, and told me the recurring sentence as soon as he passed my desk to the exit door: “Uwe, I am heading for the fire station.” Meant was a County project in Tierra Verde south of St. Petersburg, and that was also the direction to his dwelling. The saying “Heading for the Fire Station” became a common phrase among us colleagues whenever we wanted to jokingly imply that we would rather go home now than work.

The other was a ruthless character, unscrupulous to the point of going far beyond what was legal, as I was soon to learn for myself on one occasion when he called me into his office and threatened me in a very illegal manner.

As if my assumptions at that time were still looking for confirmation, I recently came across a television report from News Channel 8 and suddenly saw two very familiar faces. I encountered many shady characters in the GDR dictatorship abusing their authority by intimidating others to achieve personal advantages – but these two crooks in Florida surpass in my memory everything that happened in my life before and after. I would not trust any of them with even five dollars.

Why did I have a constant gut feeling at the time that something was wrong? I could only suspect and knew nothing, because I was in the lowest position and in a sense no more than a pawn in the game of intriguers, who at the expense of the taxpayer carried out their frictions among themselves almost on a daily basis. And most of the time, I admit honestly, I didn’t want to know anything. I had my personal load to carry and was glad to have a semi-secure income with the County Government.

It is interesting to see how criminal energies in the U.S. can develop not only at the top national level, with the executors always getting away with it. Watch this and make sure to turn on the sound. By the way, Andrew Pupke, who was also overpaid, should have been fired simply for the intentionally stupid answers he gave the reporter as a public servant in a senior position.

https://www.wfla.com/…/you-paid-for-it-pinellas-county…/ The report is certainly informative, even though it is several years old.

An American Catastrophe

From my Writing Room

Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

Up until this hour I am puzzled as to why there were and are people assuming that Donald Trump of all people would be the cleaning service against corruption and patronage. A socialite and gambler who lied, played the corona virus down initially, made ludicrous statements almost on a daily basis, and contradicted his own words the very next day. A president of the United States of America who incited an antisocial mob to invade a symbol of American democracy.

A self-check for Trump-voters should be a cakewalk, provided there are still some honest people: How had they reacted if Barack Obama had done all of this? What would they have said?

How is it possible that people are so mendacious, without any self-respect? Trump’s base, interspersed with believers – shameless hypocrites who not even shy away from praying to a God. How pathetic.

Trump himself not only stems from a dubious past, which was known long before he even became president, but he also recruited people with corrupt, corporatist background for his administration, including his own family. For sure, there are plenty of people in Washington receiving their money from the same sources as Trump, be it Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi. But a charlatan like Trump, who acted like an autocratic despot, fuming abnormal, ludicrous conspiration theories, is certainly the last person sound people would entrust their country. And yet, they have voted for him twice, giving him even more votes in the past election than in 2016.

Now, America can count the cost. Elected screwballs like Marjory Taylor Green with QAnon fantasies are sitting in Congress, and the Republican Party cannot get rid of the spirits they themselves have cited by allowing Trump to become their frontrunner. The Grand Old Party is facing a potential weakening of her political importance through a conceivable split-up of her radical member section. The consequent pinnacling polarization could pose an uncontrollable peril for the future with immeasurable consequences for the United States.

What have those people turned into who were capable of voting for Donald Trump? Did they ever read a history book in their life? Do they even have a clue what is really going on in this world?

Not for the first time in history: Sordid, partisan fanaticism coupled with fallacious patriotism, all blended with unsubstantiated and often parroted opinions, have led to a widespread, clueless and ideologically infiltrated thinking – especially on the political right of the electorate.

It is an American catastrophe.

Harming your country and yourself

From my Writing Room

Copyright © 2020 by Uwe Bahr

Quotation taken from: Tampa Bay Reporter, June 20, 2020:

A Supervisor of Elections in Florida said “she comes from a family dedicated to service to our country …” Her father, a veteran of the U.S. Army, “defended America from enemies that would do us harm.”

One has to savor the words slowly coming from an acting Supervisor of Elections, the more so as her father served in a war which the United States had lost – both politically and militarily. It remains an interesting question how he could have defended America from enemies in Vietnam under such circumstances and thousands of miles distant from his own homeland. And when did it ever happen that the winner of the war – North Vietnam – went to the United States to do you harm? Were it not the Americans who went to Vietnam under spurious arguments and lies, engaging themselves in a war which brutally harmed the civilian population there – children, women, and old people, who had no chance to defend themselves as it was in almost any other war? Vietnam to this day suffers the consequences of the atrocities bred by the US, to mention “Agent Orange” as just one keyword among others.

The supervisor’s words undoubtedly would have carried a useful message with them had she stated: “My father as a young man experienced the misfortune of being sent into a war that was useless for America and could have easily cost his life as it did for 58,000 of his comrades. Had he paid the ultimate price, I would not even be in existence and consequently not in a position of talking to you, let alone serving in a public function. Let’s face reality, let us never again walk the path of pseudo-patriotism.”

A statement too much to expect from a highly intelligent woman because she is trapped in a society not allowing her leeway in this highly sensitive, patriotic matter – or do her words really emanate from not more but a Republican-brainwashed conviction?

Furthermore, a conclusion like the one suggested would have been in full accordance with a more prominent insider of the Vietnam disaster and once upon a time war hawk named Robert S. McNamara, US-Secretary of Defense under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. McNamara, who later would also warn President George W. Bush of another uselessly triggered war – the one in Iraq in 2003 -, stated in 1995 in reference to the American war in Vietnam: “We were wrong – I believe, we were terribly wrong … and we owe it to future generations to explain why.”

Did this Supervisor of Elections ever hear of these explanations, has she ever learned of it, or has she just positioned herself in ignorance? Her father, who “defended America”, never told her the truth? That the fighting and dying in Vietnam was in vain and not to protect anyone from an enemy who never did you any harm?

Whatever the case, as a member of the Grand Old Party and in times of misguidance and uncertainty the Supervisor missed the exemplary opportunity to publicly articulate a pioneering message toward fellow citizens in her locality about the necessity of a general, mandatory rethinking within the American society. Instead, as a potential candidate for the political progeny, she presented herself as a diehard with words Americans have had rammed down their throat too often in the past, words out of touch with reality and history, words decidedly inept for a personal leadership claim including the ability of pointing the way into a better future. Such candidate might do for the job of Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections, but never to commend herself for higher tasks – at least not in a semi-normal society.