Sounds Like California

John Seiler:

Wikileaks’ recent release of a cable from the U.S. ambassador to Tunisia supposedly led to the downfall of that country’s government. The cable actually looks like it could have been written about the government of another state enjoying the blessings of a wonderful seaside Mediterranean climate: California. Revolution next here?

Here’s some of the cable, with the specifically “Tunisian” references cut out:

corruption … is getting worse…. [People] report encountering low-level corruption as well in interactions with the police, customs, and a variety of government ministries. The economic impact is clear, with … investors … forgoing new investments, keeping domestic investment rates low and unemployment high. These persistent rumors of corruption, coupled with rising inflation and continued unemployment, have helped to fuel frustration with the [government] and have contributed to recent protests…. With those at the top believed to be the worst offenders, and likely to remain in power, there are no checks in the system.
This next part has an actual title from the ambassador to Tunesia:
This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land
¶5. (S/NF) With real estate development booming [that was a few years ago] and land prices on the rise, owning property or land in the right location can either be a windfall or a one-way ticket to expropriation.
The Wikileaks cable concludes:
¶13. (S) Although the petty corruption rankles, it is the excesses of [the government ruling elite] that inspire outrage….  With [people] facing rising inflation and high unemployment, the conspicuous displays of wealth and persistent rumors of corruption have added fuel to the fire.
The recent protests … provide a potent reminder of the discontent that remains largely beneath the surface. This government has based its legitimacy on its ability to deliver economic growth, but a growing number of [people] believe those as the top are keeping the benefits for themselves.

¶14. (S) Corruption is a problem that is at once both political and economic. The lack of transparency and accountability that characterize [the] political system similarly plague the economy, damaging the investment climate and fueling a culture of corruption. For all the talk of [an] … economic miracle and all the positive statistics, the fact that [area’s] own investors are steering clear speaks volumes. Corruption is the elephant in the room; it is the problem everyone knows about, but no one can publicly acknowledge. End Comment.
Jan. 16, 2011

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