A Parable of Fraud, Hoax, and Heroism
Life in America
“It’s a command. A mandate is a command. If there is nothing behind the command, it’s sort of well what happens if you don’t file the mandate? And the answer is nothing. It seems very artificial to separate the punishment from the crime.” –Chief Justice Roberts on mandatory health insurance and penalties for non-compliance.
The health care debate about the constitutionality of requiring individuals to buy insurance seems more like a hoax than a fraud. Even the State of New Mexico mandates a fine of “$25” if you get stopped and don’t have an approved license from the DMV. We’re used to frauds and hoaxes in New Mexico. Now the U.S. Supreme Court is institutionalizing our upstate sense of humor as national mandate. There is no enforceable penalty, apparently, for ignoring the health care mandate. So where’s the argument?
Are our leaders at the Coop and the Town engaged in a fraud or a hoax with regard to the Command Center? Perhaps a former mayor, now a current councilor, can apply his Jesuit training to the issues and keep the community informed: A lonely town turns its eyes to you, Mr. Former Mayor.
Here’s a brief definition from Wikipedia of the two organizing principles referred to above with further commentary below.
“In criminal law, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual; the related adjective is fraudulent. The specific legal definition varies by legal jurisdiction. Fraud is a crime, and also a civil law violation. Defrauding people or entities of money or valuables is a common purpose of fraud, but there have also been fraudulent “discoveries”, e.g., in science, to gain prestige rather than immediate monetary gain.
“A hoax also involves deception, but without the intention of gain or of damaging or depriving the victim.”
Given the public mission of the local Coop, the contracts for cuates program is certainly suspect: Leasing land from relatives and cronies–quid pro quo for votes—to secure parking spaces for a few trucks engaged in Broadband installation. Notarizing signatures of absent signatories or sending out seven-man crews to trim trees and stack wood for special member-supporters of worthy trustees seems like a violation of equity. The notary deal seems like a hoax but is indicative of intent, whereas cutting wood and stacking it up for private individuals borders on fraud, regardless of the interpretations of threatening trees. Well, maybe it is a hoax but the joke’s on the members who don’t receive the same services but pay for them.
Phone 758—2258 for free wood services.
Neither the town nor the Coop has released the Command Center mandate—conditions for the loan approval from USDA-RUS for the facility. We believe that county-town cooperation in the lease of the Command Center is necessary or the Coop will be forced to return the money. The town controls the E-911 PSAP location—though the County is a minor player. Coop spokesmen have been publishing a variety of claims—hoaxes really –about the responsibility and consent of prior town and county administrations. Neither the town nor the county expressed anything other than an interest: Come to us when you have the details i.e. the costs. The Command Center deal is laughable—except for members and taxpayers who must pay the freight for one man’s folly. As long as you laugh, maybe it’s a hoax.
In the County, we could call the decision about La Martina’s a “hoax.” The motives are difficult to fathom. The Commissioners are either covering up the inadequacies of the Ranchos Mutual Domestic Water System or expressing their own anti-colonist sentiments by declaring themselves the defenders of the faith–the 300 foot rule mandating the distance of Cantinas from Churches. But the commissioners have invented a new rule—contrary to custom–in Ranchos de Taos. For years La Fiesta Lounge and the El Cortez Tavern/Old Martinez Hall were operated as adjuncts to the Church, which blessed matrimonial rituals prior to their secular celebrations in local wedding dance halls. Call this a hoax.
Regardless of your views about the above, whether “fraud” or “hoax,” soft-headed thinking leads to tragic consequences. The shooter’s preemptive strike in the “black man walking” case in Florida is indicative of an atmosphere, promoted by Corporations and their lackeys at the NRA to profit arms merchants. Though based on calls to defend the homeland, the war in Afghanistan actually promotes the wealth of the military-industrial complex. Call the “stand your ground” law a fraud in the case of the “black man walking” above. Shoot first, ask questions later.
Meanwhile, will the alleged shooter in the Alberston’s parking lot death be held accountable for homicide? We hear the local mechanic merely asked for money due for services rendered. Will the alleged shooter claim self-defense? Though faced with peril, we hear two brave lads exemplified their upbringing as defenders of the law and wrestled the alleged shooter to the ground and waited for the cops. Some folks follow the letter and spirit of the law. To the family members of Johnnie Lawson, we are sorry for your loss. We also know how tragedy turns everyday lads into heroes–that’s no hoax.
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