Yesterday I attended the Honey Bee parade in Paris, IL. A local person walked by that I knew and when I simply said hi, how is it going?, the response was “I don’t like the #$%@ you post”. I asked, you mean the truth? The person angrily disagreed and continued down the sidewalk. I was confused with her reaction as she had been a supporter of our work in the past.
Having spent a lot of time working with people from all walks of life, I have learned a few things that help point me in the direction of my own life. For example, exposing misinformation with the truth sounds logical, however, many don’t want the truth exposed, which is why we have misinformation. There are even companies that make a living on spreading misinformation, which means there are people paying to cover up the truth, which is actually pretty sad when you think about it.
In the past 4 years of exposing local government corruption, we have come to realize some very interesting facts about people. Most want you to dig in and expose as long as it does not come close to any of their friends or family, which turned out to be the case with the woman mentioned above.
We saw this very thing happen when a Clark County Park District person wanted us to expose some corruption, and when we did, some of it tracked back to a very close relation of his and with the snap of a finger we were the bad guy.
Another example, several years ago I ran this story (Illegal use of credit cards covered up) on a local city commissioner at the request of Randy Peterson, a local who is now running for state representative. Mr. Peterson disagreed with some of our reporting on former State Representative Roger Eddy and said why don’t we expose Commissioner Branson?, which at the time I didn’t know anything about. His request was very telling. He couldn’t dispute the facts on Roger Eddy so instead, he asked us to expose someone else, which as reflected above, we did.
We have elected officials from all over the state at almost every level of government who want us to expose wrongdoing in their own districts, yet depending on the crowd they are in they either support our work or speak out against it. We see this at every level from the common citizen to high-level political officeholders. Expose, Expose, Expose………………………as long as it doesn’t upset my apple cart or that of my friends.
I share this because yesterday's interaction with a person who disagrees with our work speaks volumes. She has no clue how many of the very local people she is supporting have asked us to expose things in this county, to include the actions of her close relation. I defend her right to disagree with our work, just as I will defend our work. Sadly, people take a position on matters without ever getting to the truth and in some cases, they simply refuse to accept the truth.
Our track record speaks for itself and we are confident that we are in fact making a difference in this state as it relates to exposing bad government, which means exposing bad actors that just might be friends with one or many of our supporters.
Right here in Edgar County our work ensured the county recovered over $150K of misappropriated funds. Clark County was over $60K. District 95 recovered almost $10K. The city of Paris, in spite of bid-rigging, saved $90K on insurance. Kansas School district saved almost $50K on their insurance. Edgar County ETSB recovered funds illegally paid to a private attorney. College of DuPage exposure has assisted in pushing for reforms that are going to save students and taxpayers over a Million dollars next year in taxes and tuition. Over $4 Million dollars of flood grant fraud exposed in Iroquois County with pending Federal investigations that appear to point towards prosecutions. Numerous public officials removed from office for conflicts of interest, others resigning after being exposed, and some even charged with crimes.
Those are just a snippet of some of the things we have accomplished on behalf of the taxpayer. And in each case, the vast majority of the people in those areas greatly appreciate what we did. Those who do not, in every case, have some close tie to the very people who were breaking the law.
We are not here to win a popularity contest or promote ourselves for personal gain of any kind. We are a nonprofit and have not taken a penny of funding from our contributors in our efforts to expose the malfeasance that has infected our local governments. Our contributors should sleep well knowing their assistance went towards fuel to go to the next meeting, or insurance for our vehicle, filing costs for legal action, or in those cases where we must travel away from home and our family, meals that were paid for.
No, this is not about any personal goal to make money with what we are doing. This is about stopping the sickness that is destroying this country. When right is wrong and up is down, most know we are in trouble. We have become a society that demands tolerance of others' views and beliefs, and that tolerance attitude has migrated into our government to the point where we no longer hold people accountable while they are violating the law right in front of our face. Instead, we create excuses and justify the wrong doing.
For example, U-46 School District recently confirmed the Administrator’s use of public credit for a Baseball game in California was not appropriate and the person was asked to reimburse the funds. When I asked a simple question prior to exposing the criminal act I was shocked how many people justified why it was OK. Even though their own policy outlined that such an abuse is in fact a crime subject to prosecution, nothing was done other than ask for recovery of the funds. Zero accountability to the law.
We see that here in Edgar County with Nanette Crippes who was allowed to bill the county for two paychecks and turn in false claims for meetings to get paid even though half of those meetings never took place. Use of public credit for personal expenditures, cell phone plan for her whole family on the taxpayer dime, and to this day, no one has held her accountable. No, now the answer is, move forward, and stop living in the past. I wonder how that logic applies to other criminals that do get prosecuted and are not friends with those in power.
Clearly there is a societal break-down in this country and if we don’t come to grasp with what the truth is and what our laws mean, as well as identify what our morals are, we are doomed as a nation. If you don’t think we are at a tipping point then give this some thought. Dan Quinn, commander of a Special Forces unit in Afghanistan was removed from his command after a fight with a U.S.-backed militia leader who had kidnapped a boy and chained him to a bed and used him as a sex slave for upwards of 10 days.
The US policy being pushed on our heroes was to look the other way because such acts are part of that country's culture. I am of the opinion such a culture is based on evil. If we are going to be a leader in this world we must not allow evil to flourish. This is a case where our good men and women in combat are asked to do nothing, which we all know when we do nothing evil will thrive.
For our commanding officers to claim this is their culture you have to ask how long before we find it in this country, and state that our culture is nothing more than a “culture” of corruption? Most would say we are there. I tend to agree, however, I am still convinced that if we take this fight to the people at the local level we can change the hearts and minds of the people and fix what is so terribly broken in our local government. All of the accomplishments mentioned above were because the local people reached out and asked for help. Sadly, we are only two people and we can only do so much. We have people crying for help daily from all over this state and in some cases from other states.
We must push to get back to our culture from many years ago in which people took pride in public service and actually were there to do our part in helping the community, not to set up a base camp for 30 years of manipulating the system for their own gain. A culture that a man’s word was his bond and that was all that was needed or a handshake to seal the deal.
The reason I believe the local level can fix this problem, it was the local villagers in Afghanistan pleading for help as those people know in their hearts this is wrong. The following few paragraphs from the New York Times tells us what we need to know. (Soldiers told to ignore child rape)
“By the summer of 2011, Captain Quinn and Sergeant Martland, both Green Berets on their second tour in northern Kunduz Province, began to receive dire complaints about the Afghan Local Police units they were training and supporting.”
If it is their culture then how can there be dire complaints? You see a culture is one where the society as a whole agrees with how things are done. A society in which the men control everything and treat women and children in this fashion is not a culture. It is a sickness known as evil.
“First, they were told, one of the militia commanders raped a 14- or 15-year-old girl whom he had spotted working in the fields. Captain Quinn informed the provincial police chief, who soon levied punishment. “He got one day in jail, and then she was forced to marry him,” Mr. Quinn said.”
“When he asked a superior officer what more he could do, he was told that he had done well to bring it up with local officials but that there was nothing else to be done. “We’re being praised for doing the right thing, and a guy just got away with raping a 14-year-old girl,” Mr. Quinn said.”
When we have leaders in our military and elected officials making policies that allow this kind of crime to happen and actually punish those who tried to stop it, we are doomed as a civil society in my opinion.
When we have local public officials who manipulate the system for their own gain and state's attorneys and attorneys general that refuse to prosecute the crimes committed then we have accepted a new path for our society. One of corruption and self-dealing. The playing field is no longer one of equal opportunity and nothing good will come from that.
I am asking that everyone do their own soul searching and think about the long-term effects to this great country and ask yourself, If I do nothing will things get better or worse. We need people with hearts to serve and help for the good of the people to step up and root out the corruption in our local governments and bring new meaning to the community.
We the People is the key and Benjamin Franklin said it best when asked, “What Sort of Government Have You Given Us Dr. Franklin?”, he responded with “a Republic madam, if you can keep it.”
Today we have people that don’t even know what a Republic is and claim we are a democracy, when in fact we are not. When we no longer even understand the foundation of our own government, that alone should be the cry to everyone that we must get involved and return to the principals that this great nation was founded on.
We need your help!