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Posts Tagged ‘Corruption’

Unequal Protection: Part I: Corporations Take Over

Truthout

Tuesday 15 March 2011

by: Thom Hartmann, Berrett-Kohler Publishers | Serialized Book

Chapter 1: The Deciding Moment?

The first thing to understand is the difference between the natural person and the fictitious person called a corporation. They differ in the purpose for which they are created, in the strength which they possess, and in the restraints under which they act.

Man is the handiwork of God and was placed upon earth to carry out a Divine purpose; the corporation is the handiwork of man and created to carry out a money-making policy.

There is comparatively little difference in the strength of men; a corporation may be one hundred, one thousand, or even one million times stronger than the average man. Man acts under the restraints of conscience, and is influenced also by a belief in a future life. A corporation has no soul and cares nothing about the hereafter….

—William Jennings Bryan, in his address to the
Ohio 1912 Constitutional Convention

Part of the American Revolution was about to be lost a century after it had been fought. At the time probably very few of the people involved realized that what they were about to witness could be a counterrevolution that would change life in the United States and, ultimately, the world over the course of the following century.

In 1886 the Supreme Court met in the U.S. Capitol building, in what is now called the Old Senate Chamber. It was May, and while the northeastern states were slowly recovering from the most devastating ice storm of the century just three months earlier, Washington, D.C., was warm and in bloom.

In the Supreme Court’s chamber, a gilt eagle stretched its 6-foot wingspan over the head of Chief Justice Morrison Remick Waite as he glared down at the attorneys for the Southern Pacific Railroad and the county of Santa Clara, California. Waite was about to pronounce judgment in a case that had been argued over a year earlier, at the end of January 1885.

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George Soros: Middle East turmoil caused by 'revulsion against the corruption'

Oil wealth ‘must be shared’ with citizens says Soros

BBC News

3 March 2011 Last updated at 19:02 ET

Citizens of oil producing nations must see more benefit from their country’s national resources, billionaire investor George Soros has told the BBC.

Revolts in Libya were partly the result of “revulsion against a corruption” fed by the misuse of oil money, he added.

More “transparency and accountability” was needed from other producers such as Russia and Saudi Arabia he said.

Mr Soros also predicted the Iranian regime would be overthrown in the “bloodiest of the revolutions”.

‘Rebelled’

Libya produces 1.6 million barrels of oil per day and is the 17th largest producer in the world.

And Colonel Gaddafi’s hold on power has been dependent on the billions of dollars in oil revenue that pour into the country.

Talking of the wave of governments being challenged in North Africa and the Middle East, Mr Soros said: “What has caused the revolutions is a revulsion against a corruption that is fed by the misuse of natural resources like for instance in Libya.

“Transparency and even more importantly accountability in the use of natural resources is what you need for people living in those countries to get the benefit of those national resources.

“Libya produced enormous wealth which Gaddafi took as his own and now the people rebelled against it.”

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12 of America’s Most Crooked Candidates on the Ballot in the 2010 Election

Here are some of the absolutely least deserving candidates for high office.
September 16, 2010 |

Since 2005, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), has compiled a list of the dirtiest, most corrupt critters to scurry across the halls of Congress. The annual report shines some light on the double-dealing and back-scratching of some shady characters, and its release generally gets good play among political reporters.

But 2010 is the year of the upstart, insurgent candidacies — with dozens of “outsiders” on the scene dedicated to “cleaning up Washington,” “taking our country back,” etc. It’s the year of the Tea Parties, and no incumbent is safe. So it’s entirely appropriate that CREW should release a new list this year, one that looks not at the worst sitting members of Congress but at the dirtiest candidates — the people most likely to rank among the most corrupt in Congress if they go on to win their elections.

From James Traficant, running as an independent candidate in Ohio just 14 months after his release from prison on charges of bribery, racketeering and filing fraudulent tax returns, to Alvin Greene, an unemployed and apparently indigent Democratic Senate candidate out of South Carolina who can’t explain how he came up with the $10,000 fee required to file — here are 12 of the absolutely least deserving candidates for high office.

Roy Blunt — Running for U.S. Senate, Missouri

Roy Blunt is a candidate in the Republican primary for the United States Senate in Missouri. For the last 14 years, Rep. Blunt has served in the U.S. House of Representatives in the state’s 7th congressional district. As a member of Congress, Rep. Blunt came under fire for a variety of issues including employing the same corrupt tactics that forced his mentor, former Texas Rep. Tom DeLay, to resign. Rep. Blunt’s ethical issues were documented in CREW’s 2006 report on the most corrupt members of Congress.

In 2003, Rep. Blunt divorced his wife of 31 years to marry Philip Morris (now Altria) lobbyist Abigail Perlman. Before it was known publicly that Rep. Blunt and Ms. Perlman were dating – and only hours after Rep. Blunt assumed the role of Majority Whip – he tried to secretly insert a provision into Homeland Security legislation that would have benefitted Philip Morris, at the expense of competitors. Notably, Philip Morris/Altria and its subsidiaries contributed at least $217,000 to campaign committees connected to Rep. Blunt from 1996 to 2006.

Also in 2003, Rep. Blunt helped his son, Andrew Blunt, by inserting a provision into the $79 billion emergency appropriation for the war in Iraq to benefit U.S. shippers like United Parcel Service, Inc. and FedEx Corp. Andrew Blunt lobbied on behalf of UPS in Missouri, and UPS and FedEx contributed at least $58,000 to Rep. Blunt from 2001 to 2006.

Family connections have also helped another of Rep. Blunt’s sons, former Missouri Governor Matt Blunt. Gov. Blunt received campaign contributions from nearly three dozen influential Missouri lobbyists and lawyers when he ran for governor of Missouri in 2004, half of whom had provided financial support to his father. Earlier in 2000, when Matt Blunt was running for Secretary of State, Rep. Blunt was involved in an apparent scheme, along with Rep. DeLay, to funnel money through a local party committee into Matt Blunt’s campaign committee.

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Blackwater, Now Xe, Vying For $1 Billion Contract To Train Afghan National Police

HuffPo-  First Posted: 02- 8-10 12:36 PM   |   Updated: 02- 8-10 03:17 PM

“Blackwater Worldwide’s legal woes haven’t dimmed the company’s prospects in Afghanistan, where it’s a contender to be a key part of President Barack Obama’s strategy for stabilizing the country,” the AP reported recently.

Now called Xe Services, the company is in the running for a Pentagon contract potentially worth $1 billion to train Afghanistan’s troubled national police force. Xe has been shifting to training, aviation and logistics work after its security guards were accused of killing unarmed Iraqi civilians more than two years ago.Yet even with a new name and focus, the expanded role would seem an unlikely one for Xe because Democrats have held such a negative opinion of the company following the Iraqi deaths, which are still reverberating in Baghdad and Washington.

During the presidential campaign, then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, now Obama’s secretary of state, backed legislation to ban Blackwater and other private security contractors from Iraq.

Xe eventually lost its license to operate as guardian of U.S. diplomats in Iraq and the State Department, with Clinton at the helm, elected not to rehire the company when the contract expired in 2009. Delays in getting a new company in place led to a temporary extension of the State contract.

Derrick Crowe of Rethink Afghanistan notes that Xe is in the running for this contract “despite the fact that they’ve ‘trained’ the notoriously corrupt and incompetent Afghan Border Police. Recently, two Blackwater / Xe trainers were indicted for murdering Afghan civilians, and the company has a history of hiring people with a criminal record. Xe Services / Blackwater is a liability to the American cause around the world and doesn’t deserve another dime of taxpayer money.”

Rethink Afghanistan has posted a new video on the topic featuring Afghanistan-based correspondent Anand Gopal.

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Rove op-ed reveals he had inside information about probe

Raw Story- By Larisa Alexandrovna

Published: August 20, 2009
Updated 2 hours ago

Lawyer declines to say how he found out accuser didn’t talk to Justice Department

Karl Rove’s latest attempt to proclaim his innocence and demand apologies from those who have accused him of being behind the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman may backfire if it turns out that Rove was improperly receiving inside information after leaving his position as Deputy White House Chief of Staff.

“For more than two years,” Rove writes in the Wall Street Journal, “House Judiciary Committee Democrats and the New York Times editorial board have argued that I personally arranged for Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman to be prosecuted in 2004 for corruption and ordered the removal of eight U.S. attorneys in 2006 for failing to investigate Democrats. The Washington Post editorial board also echoed this last charge. The Times and the Post have published a combined 18 editorials on these issues, which were also catnip to House Judiciary Committee Democrats.”

Rove then goes on to attack Dana Jill Simpson, an Alabama Republican lawyer turned whistleblower who has linked him to the Siegelman prosecution. In doing so, however, he raises serious questions of impropriety by revealing that he has received confidential information from both the House Judiciary Committee and the Department of Justice.

“Committee staff confided to me that they considered her an unreliable witness,” Rove says of Simpson. “I also understand that Mr. Siegelman and Ms. Simpson refused to cooperate with the Justice Department’s review of his claim of political persecution, while I willingly gave sworn testimony.”

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Apple Jacks, Prada, And Kidney Trafficking: Taking Stock Of The New Jersey Arrests

TPM Muckraker- By Zachary Roth – July 27, 2009, 12:04PM

At 6am last Thursday, more than 200 FBI and IRS agents fanned out across the state of New Jersey, as part of that corruption and money-laundering probe that ended up netting 44 people, including mayors, rabbis, and a state lawmaker.

Now that the dust has settled, it’s worth taking a look at the whole sprawling operation.

The story (sub. req.) starts with a 36-year-old real-estate investor and philanthropist named Solomon Dwek. Dwek, a member of the tight-knit Syrian-Jewish community of Deal, New Jersey, used family connections — his father is a prominent local rabbi — to win investors’ trust and build a real-estate fortune whose value at one time approached $500 million.

But at some point, Dwek appears to have taken out more loans than he could pay back. In 2006, in an effort to pay back his creditors, he allegedly deposited a $25 million check at PNC Bank, which was not backed by funds. He was charged with defrauding the bank out of $25 million.

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Agents led suspects from F.B.I. headquarters in Newark on Thursday. The inquiry began with questions on money laundering.

Agents led suspects from F.B.I. headquarters in Newark on Thursday. The inquiry began with questions on money laundering.

DAVID M. HALBFINGER | NYT | July 23, 2009

A two-year corruption and international money-laundering investigation stretching from the Jersey Shore to Brooklyn to Israel and Switzerland culminated in charges against 44 people on Thursday, including three New Jersey mayors, two state assemblymen and five rabbis, the authorities said.

The case began with bank fraud charges against a member of an insular Syrian Jewish enclave centered in a seaside town. But when that man became a federal informant and posed as a crooked real estate developer offering cash bribes to obtain government approvals, it mushroomed into a political scandal that could rival any of the most explosive and sleazy episodes in New Jersey’s recent past.

Peter J. Cammarano III, leaving the courthouse in Newark, was elected Hoboken mayor in June. He is accused of agreeing to help a supposed developer with his projects in exchange for cash.

Peter J. Cammarano III, leaving the courthouse in Newark, was elected Hoboken mayor in June. He is accused of agreeing to help a supposed developer with his projects in exchange for cash.

It was replete with tales of the illegal sales of body parts; of furtive negotiations in diners, parking lots and boiler rooms; of nervous jokes about “patting down” a man who turned out to indeed be an informant; and, again and again, of the passing of cash — once in a box of Apple Jacks cereal stuffed with $97,000.

“For these defendants, corruption was a way of life,” Ralph J. Marra Jr., the acting United States attorney in New Jersey, said at a news conference. “They existed in an ethics-free zone.”

Mr. Marra said that average citizens “don’t have a chance” against the culture of influence peddling the investigation had unearthed.

Ralph J. Marra Jr., above center, acting United States attorney in New Jersey, said average citizens “don’t have a chance” against the culture of corruption unearthed.

Ralph J. Marra Jr., above center, acting United States attorney in New Jersey, said average citizens “don’t have a chance” against the culture of corruption unearthed.

Even veteran political observers were taken aback by the scope of the investigation. The mayors of Hoboken, Secaucus and Ridgefield were among those arrested.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Related

Life Can Imitate Art: Indictments Describe Deals More Fit for a Crime Movie (July 24, 2009)

Syrian Sephardic Communities Shaken by Charges Against a Leading Rabbi (July 24, 2009)

Millionaire, Patron and Now Informant (July 24, 2009)

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