Monthly Archives: May 2014

Why corruption in Prince George’s county is the county’s worst enemy.

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It’s an open secret that it is not about HB1107, the new Education law that expanded the Board of Education for Prince George’s County in Maryland, but an extension of public corruption, which poses an existential threat to Prince George’s county. The Prince George’s county elite is the county’s own worst enemy.

That’s the single most important reason that’s prevented Prince George’s county from mimicking the Asian Tigers. It is public corruption that has prevented Prince George’s county from becoming a true democracy. Our elite here in Prince George’s county are sick — addicted to public corruption. Everywhere you look — right, left, sideways, behind, and in front — an official has their hand in the public till.

That’s why they don’t catch — and punish — each other because they are in it together. But the addiction to public corruption has fuelled another deadly, and shamefully obsequious, addiction — county, state jobs and senior public appointments by the county Executive or his appointee et al.

Not even the Constitution could cure this malaise. It has only simply “democratised” public corruption. Corrupt officials and others now seek their “racial share” of appointments under the guise of “regional or racial balance”.

And it’s OK as long as every ethnic elite gets an opportunity to pig at the trough. Trouble only explodes when these new rules of raiding the public purse are ignored, or broken. That’s why the Latino wing of Democratic Party here in Prince George’s county has been accusing its African American cousins that it’s being shortchanged in public appointments.

In Prince George’s county, the ethnic supporters of the winning political party expect “their turn to eat” to be respected. Or there’s hell to pay. That’s why winning elections is a license to loot the public treasury. This crescendo has gone a notch higher with the current county Executive Mr. Rushern Baker III working closely with previous regimes combined. There is no question Mr. Baker’s regime is the worst because of the deliberate nature of the crimes committed under his leadership.

This is the problem. In a modern county or state, economic innovation is usually facilitated by government, but carried out by private industry, state institutions, and research universities. However, under crony capitalism, these engines of growth are dulled by the primitive and kleptocratic accumulation of capital.

Usthinks this is Prince Georgenian’s Achilles Heel. Because of the under-developed political culture, Prince George’s county elite is a kleptocracy. A kleptocracy only knows how to manage crony capitalism. Our view is that Prince George’s county hasn’t broken free of the culture of patrimonialism, where power and wealth flow from top leaders.

You can’t get very far in Prince George’s county unless you are connected to a Big Man. More often than not, you need to know someone, like an ethnic “Godfather”.

The more things change, the more they remain the same. The county Executive is today cabined by seemingly democratic norms, but Prince George’s county functions the same way it did decades ago. The politics is ethnic and power is mobilised — and retained — through the race. “Racial kinsmen” must be rewarded. The problem is that there is only one way to reward cronies — public appointments.

But public offices alone wouldn’t make sense. The office must be capable of being looted. This is possible because the state and the county are the largest mobiliser of resources and money. In true democracies, it’s the private sector that dominates the economy, not the state. In many parts of the US, for example, you don’t go into public service to become rich.

But in Prince George’s county, you have an infinitesimal chance of becoming rich if somehow you aren’t connected to the county and the state.

Even wealthy businessmen who’ve never served in government, supplicate themselves before the county and the state if they want to prosper. Most of Prince George’s county wealthy served in government or have contracts with the government.

That’s why politicians and public servants are among the richest of Prince Georgeanians. Even a private newspaper would find it hard to survive without adverts from the county and the State. This explains why Prince George’s county elections are do-or-die affairs. As the loser, you are out of the gravy train. As winner, all the spoils belong to you.

In devolved government, this county has become the new locus for crony capitalism and public corruption unless citizens demand transparency and probity.

The crux of the elite addiction to state and county jobs and public appointments rests in granting public contracts, procurement, tendering, and “development” projects.

The major public scandals of the last two decades — appears to be HB1107, former county Executive Jack Johnson saga, and even the recent implosion of the over time money to a tune of $62.5millions can be traced to the lack of transparency in the procurement of goods and services. The bottom line is this: when our County Council and our county Executive Mr. Rushern Baker are reckless in overseeing the budget, particularly when they know the country and the county has been going through hard financial times, you will have to pay for it in higher taxes and fees, more speed cameras, diminished services, furloughs etc.

The brouhaha over the HB1107 is traceable to the lack of transparency in hiring the new CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell and greed involving some of the leaders who conducted the interview process in order to secure certain contracts within the county. There’s now talk of shadowy cartels and “brokers” out to cannibalise the county over the CEO project which was dominated by Dr. Charlene Dukes and Dr. Lillian Lowery.

The granting of the Legal contract to Thatcher law firm and the hiring of a staff member from the firm a Mr. James Fisher in a wider scheme connected to public corruption begs the same questions. Why haven’t the contracts been made widely public? How much was Mr. Fisher rewarded as a salary to mess up things after leaving the Federal government in order to cover up wrong doing? The prince George’s County citizens deserve better answers for this unethical practice.

Finally, we partly blame the thieving of public servants on the County Executive Jack Johnson administration, which paved the way for county and state employees to engage in private business while on the job. County Executive Rushern Baker has simply perfected the art after being guided by his mentor and friend  involved in the same. Above all, there is no question Mr. Baker was a secret admirer of Jack Johnson before Mr. Johnson was caught red handed by the Federal authorities. This explains why Mr. Baker influenced the hiring of Jack Johnson’s son even when there was a job freeze during the change of guard within the county leadership. At that time, County officials in the new administration of County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) declined to provide Johnson’s resume and covered up the issue to confuse the public.  No one has ever taken responsibility and the issue was swept under the rug.

The idea may have been good ­— empowering the county residents to stimulate the economy — but the results have been bad. It is going to get worse. Watch this space…. We believe that lifting the ban whetted the appetites of civil servants to find both crude and creative ways to loot taxpayer dollars.

Virtually every senior civil servant went into business – and most of them are among the wealthiest Prince Georgeanians and politicians today. Many of these corrupt politicians are fighting tooth and nail to cling to these ill-gotten spoils by fervently supporting their mafia kingpins in Prince George’s county. The public needs to demand that the wolf in sheep’s clothing amount for all appointments and ill-gotten wealth.

We will continue to spotlight and track his every move. Once bitten, twice shy. We learnt from the previous administration that blind faith and a blank check approach promotes corruption and is a recipe for massive corruption as we are witnessing under Mr. Rushern Baker. Enough is enough. Prince George’s county citizens, please stand up for what is right and demand answers. What is currently in progress is unacceptable.

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BUT WHAT IS CORRUPTION?

Corruption involves the injection of additional but improper transactions aimed at changing the normal course of events and altering judgments and positions of trust. It consists in the doers’ and receivers’ use of informal, extra-legal or illegal acts to facilitate matters. The concept can also be described as the wanton craze for illegal, unethical and often criminal acquisition of wealth or benefits by individuals whose main motive is ego bossing and self-aggrandizement with its attendant negative consequences on the rest of the society.

Put differently, corruption is a general concept describing any organized, interdependent system in which part of the system is either not performing duties it was originally intended to, or performing them in an improper way, to the detriment of the system’s original purpose (Aiyegbayo, 2007; Otite, 1986). As it were, there are myriad forms of corruption and these include: political corruption, bureaucratic corruption (misappropriation of public funds), money laundering (such as looted funds and wealth kept secretly abroad), gratification (which involves monetary, pecuniary, material or physical favors as a condition or reward for performing official duty), and nepotism which confers undeserved favors and advantages without receiving or giving gratification except that of primordial identity (Onimode, 2001). Of all these, political corruption is rated higher in many societies. This is because it induces other forms of corruption.

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What Can You Do?

People often think that corruption is “just a way of life”, but every society, sector and individual would benefit from saying “NO” to this crime.

Here are some examples of how we all can say “NO” to corruption.

  • Ratify and enact the UN Convention against Corruption.
    Countries that successfully attack corruption are far more legitimate in the eyes of their citizens, creating stability and trust.
  • Know what Convention requires of your government and its officials.
    Rooting out corruption allows social and economic development.
  • Educate the public about the government’s responsibility to be corruption-free.
    Equal and fair justice for all is a crucial element for a country’s stability and growth. It also helps to effectively fight crime.
  • Raise awareness with the public, media and government about the costs of corruption for key services such as health and education.
    All of society benefits from functioning basic services.
  • Engage the youth of your country or in county level about what ethical behavior is, what corruption is and how to fight it, and to demand their right to education.
    Ensuring that future generations of citizens are brought up to expect corruption-free countries is one of the best tools to ensure a brighter future.
  • Report incidents of corruption.
    Create an environment where the rule of law prevails.
  • Refuse to participate in any activities that are not legal and transparent.
    Increases both domestic and foreign investment. Everyone is more willing to invest in countries or states when they see that funds are not being siphoned off into the pockets of corrupt officials.
  • Foster economic stability by enforcing zero-tolerance practices towards corruption.
    A transparent and open business community is a cornerstone of any strong democracy.

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Read more >>> Major Scandal underway.

Read more >>>Let us demand an end to this fraud.

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Great Mountains of the World.

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Mighty Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand at 3754 metres

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Mt.Kilimanjaro

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Magnificent Piopiotahi Fjord In New Zeal HD Desktop Background

Magnificent Piopiotahi Fjord In New Zealand

 Mount Shasta Desktop Background

Majestic Mount Shasta In California

Mount Everest North Face

Mt. Everest

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Mt. Everest

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The Thrill of Mt. Everest
Located in Xizang-Tibet which is in the Autonomous region of china, Mt. Everest is Himalaya’s highest peak standing at 8848 meters above sea level and looks like a huge pyramid full of grandeur and power. The environment is quite complicated and it has an extremely dangerous topography. Its cloud posture is multifarious and is regarded as “the supreme vane in the world”.

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Aoraki/Mount Cook (70,696 hectares)

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Mt. McKinley

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2nd largest mountain on the earth.

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Nanga Parbat – Pakistan

mountain-view-of-the-Swiss-AlpsView Of A Wonderful Fjord HD Desktop Background

Swiss Alps

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Grindelwald  – Switzerland.

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Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano on the island of Hawaii.

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Monte Fitz Roy -Chile

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Mountains of Banff – Canada

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Rocky Mountain National Park – United States

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Mt. Kenya

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German Shepherd.

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The German Shepherd (German: Deutscher Schäferhund) (formerly known as Alsatian and Alsatian Wolf Dog in Britain) is a breed of large-sized dog that originated in Germany. German Shepherds are a relatively new breed of dog, with their origin dating to 1899. As part of the Herding Group, German Shepherds are working dogs developed originally for herding sheep. Since that time, however, because of their strength, intelligence, trainability and obedience, German Shepherds around the world are often the preferred breed for many types of work, including search-and-rescue, police and military roles and even acting. German Shepherds are the second-most popular dog in the United States and fourth-most popular in the United Kingdom.

All in all, German Shepherds are fierce but friendly, and have a calm confidence that may seem kind of aloof. When in need, however, a German Shepherd is instantly ready to protect, play a game or perform a task—in some cases as a guard dog, police dog, herder or seeing eye dog. With a strong work ethic and an eager intelligence, they crave challenges. Enjoy!

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Intelligence
German Shepherds were bred specifically for their intelligence, a trait for which they are now famous. In the book The Intelligence of Dogs, author Stanley Coren ranked the breed third for intelligence, behind Border Collies and Poodles. He found that they had the ability to learn simple tasks after only five repetitions and obeyed the first command given 95% of the time. Coupled with their strength, this trait makes the breed desirable as police, guard and search and rescue dogs, as they are able to quickly learn various tasks and interpret instructions better than other large breeds.

Temperament
German Shepherds are highly active dogs and described in breed standards as self-assured. The breed is marked by a willingness to learn and an eagerness to have a purpose. They are curious which makes them excellent guard dogs and suitable for search missions. They can become over-protective of their family and territory, especially if not socialized correctly. They are not inclined to become immediate friends with strangers. German Shepherds are highly intelligent and obedient.

What They Are Like to Live With

Not to be left alone in the house too long, German Shepherds crave interaction and involvement. They are fiercely protective of their homes and families—sometimes known to “herd” children—and they get along with other pets. Standoffish and detached with strangers or those outside the family unit, they have been known to “over-guard” or bark protectively.

German Shepherds have great instincts and fertile minds. Lots of activity and exercise will make them happy, but tracking, obedience and agility games—or any task-oriented activity—will make them even happier. A bored or neglected German Shepherd may resort to chewing furniture, digging up flowers and other mischief.

Things You Should Know

The benefits of a German Shepherd—loyalty, protectiveness and eagerness, to name a few—come from careful obedience training and authority. Everyone in the household must be prepared to show “authority” and earn the dog’s respect with a firm but loving touch. They do not respond to negativity or anger. Once achieved, this respect may need to be earned again and again.

Shepherds don’t need to be bathed very often, but they tend to shed in great quantities. Brush them daily, outside if possible. Like any large dog, they can handle apartment living quite well but need daily walks and, if possible, vigorous exercise to stay sharp.

Some common health problems include hip and elbow dysplasia, skin allergies and pancreas deficiencies, They normally live up to 12 years.

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Japanese Snow Monkeys. (Japanese Macaque)

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The Japanese macaque is a terrestrial Old World monkey species native to Japan. They are also sometimes known as the snow monkey because they live in areas where snow covers the ground for months each year — no other non-human primate is more northern-living, nor lives in a colder climate. Individuals have brown-grey fur, red faces, and short tails. There are two subspecies. One which is found across northern and mainland Japan, and the other is restricted to one of the country’s southern islands. The two differ very slightly in size and appearance.

In Japan, the species is known as Nihonzaru to distinguish it from other primates, but the Japanese macaque is very familiar in Japan, so when Japanese people simply say saru, they usually have in mind the Japanese macaque.

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Japanese Macaque Anatomy and Appearance

The Japanese Macaque has a stocky body with a naked, red face that is said to resemble that of a Human. Their thick, furry coat is usually grey or brown in colour, sometimes with a slightly mottled pattern, and grows thicker during the winter months to allow the Japanese Macaque to stay warm in freezing conditions. Like other Monkey species, the Japanese Macaque has opposable thumbs, allowing it to grasp and hold objects and is able to walk on just it’s hind legs when it has something in it’s hands. The Japanese Macaque also has large pouches in it’s cheeks, to allow the Japanese Macaque to store food whilst foraging. They have a relatively short tail for their body size (in the same way as other primarily ground-dwelling Monkeys), and males tend to be somewhat larger than their female counterparts.

Japanese Macaque Distribution and Habitat

The Japanese Macaque is found in four separate regions in Japan throughout a variety of habitats from subtropical jungles to hot mountain springs, in forested hills, across highlands and high up in the mountains. In the northern and central parts of Japan, Japanese Macaques have to contend with seasonal changes with temperatures ranging from -15 degrees Centigrade in the winter to more than 23 in the summer, where the vegetation primarily consists of deciduous trees and conifers. In their most southern range, on the island of Yaku-Shima, the Japanese Macaques live amongst tropical broad-leaf forests that are subjected to less seasonal change. In central Japan, the Japanese Macaques are found in the mountains, where they warm themselves in the hot springs that are heated by nearby volcanoes.

Japanese Macaque Behaviour and Lifestyle

Japanese Macaques live together in troops that are led by the alpha male and usually consist of between 20 and 30 individuals. The alpha male not only helps to sire young, but also decides where the troop should go, and protects it from both predators and other Japanese Macaque troops. Social rank is very important in Japanese Macaque society, and consist of both males and females, with the male’s rank often determined by his age. Offspring however, are also thought to inherit the rank of their mother with younger siblings often outranking their older brothers and sisters. Japanese Macaques are incredibly sociable animals, particularly the females who tend to remain in the same troop for their whole lives, and spend their time together, grooming and raising the troop’s young.

Japanese Macaque Reproduction and Life Cycles

Female Japanese Macaques tend to reach sexual maturity about a year earlier than males, at between the ages of four and five. She usually chooses her mate by his rank, and after a gestation period that lasts for up to 6 months, the female Japanese Macaque gives birth to a single infant. Baby Japanese Macaques are incredibly dependent on their mother and remain clinging to her for their first couple of years, meaning that mother and baby often have a very close bond. Once weaned, males often leave the troop and spend their lives travelling between others, while females generally remain in the same troop that they were born into. Japanese Macaques tend to live for a relatively long time, often reaching ages of 30 years old or more.

Japanese Macaque Diet and Prey

The Japanese Macaque is an omnivorous animal meaning that it forages for both plants and smaller animals in order to survive. Unlike a number of other Monkey species, Japanese Macaques are primarily ground-dwelling so the majority of their foraging is done on the ground. They mainly eat fruits, berries, seeds, young leaves and flowers which they pick from the surrounding vegetation before storing it in their cheek pouches, so that they can continue to gather more. They also supplement their diet with Crabs, Insects and Bird’s eggs particularly during the colder winter months. Japanese Macaque babies feed on their mother’s milk until they are able to begin eating more solid foods.

Japanese Macaque Predators and Threats

Due to their fairly large size and diverse habitat ranges, the Japanese Macaque has no real predators in their natural environment, perhaps with the exception of the occasional hungry Wolf or Feral Dog. Humans are the primarily threat to the Japanese Macaque as they are often killed by farmers when they approach livestock and crops. However, the only reason that these conflicts occur is that the Japanese Macaque is being pushed into smaller and smaller pockets of it’s native ranges, due to deforestation and growing Human settlements. During the colder winter months, Japanese Macaque individuals in the north are also known to sleep in the deciduous trees to protect them from being buried in large amounts of snow during the night.

Japanese Macaque Interesting Facts and Features

The females are actually very picky when choosing a mate, as they will not mate with a male Japanese Macaque that they have mated with in the past few years, to prevent interbreeding within the troop. Japanese Macaques, particularity in the north, have different home ranges for the changing seasons which lead to their wide variety in diet and different habitats. They are incredibly intelligent and adaptable animals and are known to pass new behaviours through the generations. In the mid 1900′s a female was seen entering a hot spring to gather dropped soy beans and today, whole troops can be seen resting in the steaming waters to keep themselves warm.

Japanese Macaque Relationship with Humans

Like many of the 22 Monkey species found across Japan, the Japanese Macaque is often loved and protected by the native people. However, growing Human settlements and land clearance for logging and agriculture has meant that Japanese Macaques have lost vast areas of their natural habitats, and often have to approach farmland in order to find better food supplies. It is estimated that, despite being a protected species in Japan today, around 5,000 Japanese Macaque individuals are killed every year by farmers who claim to be protecting their livestock and their crops. In the Nagano Mountains in central Japan though, the Japanese Macaques that bath in the hot springs, have become one of the country’s most desirable tourist attractions.

Japanese Macaque Conservation Status and Life Today

Today, the Japanese Macaque has been listed as a Threatened species by the IUCN, with the southern subspecies of Japanese Macaque actually listed as Endangered. This means that both have been subjected to loss of their natural habitats and population numbers have dropped throughout the country. It is estimated that there could be as few as 50,000 individuals remaining in Japan today, but numbers are still declining particularly seeing that they are often killed, as they are seen as pests by local people.

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Japanese snow monkey distribution map worldwide

Happy Memorial Day.

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On this Memo­r­ial Day, we look to the words of Pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy: “A nation reveals itself not only by the men it pro­duces, but also by the men it remem­bers, the men it hon­ors.” As Amer­i­cans, may we for­ever com­mit to reveal­ing our nation as one that holds true the mem­ory and full mea­sure of sac­ri­fice our nation’s heroic men and women have given to secure life, lib­erty, and free­dom for us all.

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Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.

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Psalm 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.

 

My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. ~ John F. Kennedy

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Memorial Day – a salute to our fallen heroes.

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Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.

“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.” John Stuart Mill

Freedom is never free. We honor all that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. May they rest in peace.

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