We're all cynical types, and as such we fully expect that our elected officials are doing shit behind the scenes that is either corrupt, depraved, or both. Still, Cracked likes to take time every now and then to remind everyone that in many cases, it's much worse than you think:
5A Candidate Changes His Name to Appear Hispanic and Appeal to Hispanic Voters
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The politician formerly known as Scott Fistler was running for Congress in Arizona and would do whatever it took to get there. He discovered that the weakness in his strategy had always been the candidate (that is, him) and so he figured, why not just change that shit?
"Plus I can end 30-plus years of fisting jokes; win-win!"
Previously a Republican who ran for and lost two elections, he decided to shake it up and run again, not only as a Democrat, but as a different person altogether. So, the man who once lost a Republican city council seat in Phoenix as Scott Fistler was suddenly running for Congress as a Democrat named Cesar Chavez. Yes, the same name as the famous Mexican labor leader.
Cynical minds might assume that the new Chavez was trying to create a subconscious connection, or even outright confuse voters in his heavily Hispanic district (especially considering that most people just briefly skim the ballot in midterm elections, if they vote at all). We don't want to take a side, so let us just say that his amateur website was inexplicably covered in propaganda for both the original Cesar Chavez, and more bizarrely, Hugo Chavez, who is of no relation to either.
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But a big hit with the socialist workout video demographic.
The former Fistler submitted his name change request with the simple explanation that he had "experienced many hardships" due to his birth name, and soon after refused to answer any question by the press regarding the change (on top of insisting that he would not answer any question about anything if it was longer than five words). Eventually, a lawsuit was filed against him by the grandson of the original, more well-known Cesar Chavez, in an attempt to stop him from pretending that he was somebody he wasn't. But the hopeful congressman's defense was that the name change had nothing to do with masquerading as a historical figure -- he was just a fan of six-time world boxing champion Julio Cesar Chavez. No, really.
The court didn't buy it, and "Cesar Chavez" was thrown off the ballot. Which sucks, because we're thinking the debates would have been fucking amazing.
4The Tongan King's Fundraising Efforts Go Awry
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The Kingdom of Tonga is a tiny island nation off the coast of New Zealand, which still takes its traditional monarchy very, very seriously.
New Zealand Herald
Except for that one girl in the back, later jailed for snickering.
King Tupou IV inherited the throne in 1965, and as absolute monarch, he had the power to do pretty much whatever he wanted. Just like Spider-Man, he knew that with that power came great responsibility. So, when the nation's economy started to spiral down the drain, it was his job to raise some money, which he did through increasingly bizarre fundraising efforts.
Although Tonga doesn't have a space program, and only one phone for every 25 people, it was somehow possible for Tupou's government to claim and then sell off a number of "parking spots" in space for geo-orbital communication satellites. Tupou then managed to raise more money by registering foreign ships as Tongan, which became controversial when it was discovered that some of these ships were trafficking weapons for al-Qaida. These small enterprises eventually managed to raise a few million dollars, which the King decided not to keep in the country because, "the government would only spend it on roads." So instead, he opened an everyday checking account at a Bank of America branch in San Francisco and deposited it there.
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It was the same branch used by the deposed Nigerian prince.
When a totally random banker named Jesse Bogdonoff stumbled on an account for millions owned by the Kingdom of Tonga, his eyes turned to dollar signs and he contacted the King offering to help him invest the money properly. The King was thrilled and offered Bogdonoff an official royal title, to which he agreed, and so the banker was soon sworn in as ... court jester, which probably wasn't the title he was expecting.
Tonga's chief exports are terror ships, space spaces, and puns.
It's uncertain how well he did his job as a comedian, but as a businessman, Bogdonoff really sucked. The company he invested Tonga's fortune in, Millennium Asset Management, went belly-up after its manager literally embezzled the entire nation's trust fund. Bogdonoff fled the country after the revelation and now works as a hypnotherapist in California. Again: We are not making any of this up.
He also releases smooth jazz CDs on the side as "Jesse Dean". Again: We are not making any of this up.
In the meantime, King Tupou was again charged with the duty of recouping Tonga's losses, which led to more crazy schemes like hiring some international criminals wanted by Interpol to help him build an airport, hotel, and resort. This all makes him sound like a bumbling but sentimental figure, but it came to light in 2002 that the King personally owned $350 million in foreign bank accounts, which is something the tanking Tongan economy would have liked to have known about sooner. His excuse? That money was all personal profits from his vanilla farm. That's one fuckload of vanilla, dude.