Have you ever felt a strange warning you can’t decipher, a nameless apprehension that something terribly wrong is going to happen?
It happened last weekend when eight police officers shielded the attorney general (who left last Saturday morning) from being served penal summon to appear in court last Monday. Apparently, DPS failed to prevent the receipt of a court order from happening. Ed Buckingham, the AG, is being charged by OPA for a number of serious charges that includes politics in a federal election and ARRA contracts, among others.
There’s the unanswered query of whether the governor invoked or exercised executive power or privilege to shield what could potentially be an implosion of wrongdoings. His use of such authority though would be illegal if the intent is to stop a potential wrongdoing or its exposure from being probed. This is per a court decision in the Nixon-Watergate case. You don’t cover up a potential wrong, according to the court.
Interesting how someone on the hill made sure the penal summon wasn’t served but failed to do so royally. Buckingham received it. Whoever is the evil genius behind such callous and calculated filth is seriously involved in the obstruction of justice. Whatever happened to being elected to be a careful and responsible steward of justice?
Was executive power or privilege to shield the AG properly invoked or exercised to ward off exposure of potential wrongdoing? How sad that Ed is the fall guy while his boss takes a quick hiding in hopes nobody finds out.
It is now obvious more so than ever before that the failed shield was aimed at preventing the big fish from prosecutorial reach. Thus, it was made sure (in failure) that the former AG leaves so he doesn’t open up a can of worms in court if the matter ever goes through.
Would we see justice rendered in this instance when someone muscled-in to ensure the digging stops before more shovels are fetched to dig deeper? Is there perceptual or real fear that doing so would eventually lead to a federal indictment for the violation of pertinent laws governing disposition of contractual award of federal funds and other issues raised by OPA?
There appears to be a vicious retaliatory legal feud between the AG’s and OPA’s offices. Hope the impending long and tenuous lawsuit would pan out to demonstrate which side is on the side of the truth. We all deserve to know it.
Then there’s the manhandling of a reporter who was literally kept at a distance from the AG who was speedily checked-in and cleared through security. Her role is known in the business as fulfilling the public’s right to know. What right has the general public in this case? Most are taxpayers who pay for the former AG’s salary, including the salaries of servile police officers.
My apologies for being bias, but active journalists go through the thankless job of serving as the conscience of their people by "telling it like it is" with a sense of fairness. None of us relish the villainous role in a profession loaded with daily stresses especially on controversial issues. But it comes with the territory.
It’s literally scary that the powers that be could cripple the delivery of justice. It shows dismissive arrogance and how power teeters on the edge of corruption at the highest level of government here. It saps every ounce of trust we once had in government we thought was civil and humble in protecting citizenry from assorted brutality and abuses.
It makes for a groping struggle to understand if this is really happening and was it the nameless apprehension I had heading into last weekend.
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The NMI is attempting a fatal swim across the treacherous sea-divide between Saipan and Tinian. The lethal venture is the definite presence of huge sharks or debts almost everywhere. It makes a dip into the deep blue fatal at every turn. What must we do to catch fresh fish or new revenue streams?
It really boils down to the phrase "fiscal responsibility" where complete control on spending is instituted forthwith. It means your income (revenue) is larger than your expenses. Obviously, this isn’t the case in the NMI today.
We spend while simultaneously incurring more debts beyond the ability of the local treasury to pay. In other words, we probably spend upwards of $1.50 for every dollar that comes into the coffers. This is one dangerous and fiscally paralyzing situation. You quiz if the local government could find optimism breathing some sigh of relief, hyperventilate or agonize as limited resources head Deep South.
Obviously, there’s the dire need for spending control of what little we generate annually after the exodus of foreign capital. It means an all out effort at keeping a limited government. Skeletal it may be in these lean and mean times, it’s a must have course of action today. The simple, universal lesson is that economic growth must outpace increases in government expenditures. For a listless economy, this means fixing our fiscal situation to stimulate the economy.
As we navigate the towering heavy seas of bankruptcy, it’s important to understand why limiting the size of government and leaving more resources in private hands boosts growth. The private sector is far better at generating growth than is the public sector (which has other important roles in the economy). It follows that the main lesson for high-debts is spending control and the shifting of resources to growth.
Indeed, buckling down to spending within our means would be a politically difficult task. But the lean mean times doesn’t leave much room for politicians to peddle redundancy, always trying to convince us to do the wrong things for what they say are the right reasons. Go ahead and deflate your overblown ego.
This could gain you more mileage than braving the waters of bankruptcy where in the end you tuck your tails between your legs singing "Let It Be". No we won’t! We deserve brighter days than your trophy of hopelessness teetering at the edge of abject poverty.
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The "One Pay De Odda" blow-up between the former AG and OPA made super banner headlines and elicited exciting reactions from folks for the failed shield to issuing the penal summon to Ed Buckingham, former AG. Its analogous to someone kicking a can of worms. Now legal eagles must collect each of the crawlers before they infect other governmental institutions. Never knew that digging your own grave could be an art too. OMG!
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John DelRosario Jr. is a former publisher of Saipan Tribune and a former secretary of Department of Public Lands.