Tag Archives | Corruption

Nominee to Oversee Wall Street Works at Think Tank Dedicated to Blocking Regulation

DonkeyHotey (CC BY 2.0)

DonkeyHotey (CC BY 2.0)

The Koch Bros have once again infiltrated politics, this time with the nomination of Hester Maria Peirce, a member of the think tank, Mercatus Center. Guess who funds it?

Lee Fang via The Intercept:

President Barack Obama recently nominated Hester Maria Peirce to fill a Republican seat on the Securities and Exchange Commission.

His announcement included her formal title — senior research fellow and director of the Financial Markets Working Group at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University — which sounds a lot like an academic post.

But Peirce, new disclosures show, received 98 percent of her salary directly from the Mercatus Center, a “think tank” that provides an academic façade to a radical anti-regulatory agenda. The Center’s so-called research reflects the lobbying priorities of its corporate funders — chief among them, Koch Industries.

Asked about any potential conflicts of interest given her work for the Mercatus Center, Peirce told The Intercept, “I appreciate you reaching out but I cannot comment at this point.”

The Mercatus Center has been described by the Wall Street Journal “as a coordinating center for lobbyists trying to block a flurry of regulations.” Congressional records show the think tank routinely cited in over a dozen hearings over the last two years by lawmakers seeking to roll back regulations on business interests.

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Higher Ed’s Scrutiny Gap: Is Corruption Getting a Free Press?


via CounterPunch:

As a University of Chicago Ph.D. candidate, I’ve not only undertaken investigative reporting of my home institution, the famed Obama library site and a college rankings powerhouse, but also used that odd opportunity to sort out consequences from causes and identify our higher ed system’s major problems.

Currently, higher ed’s greatest flaw is its pre-modern, pre-democratic institutional structure: although 99.9% of universities are permanently dependent on taxpayer-funded student loans and research grants, their ultimate authorities are either self-appointing or politically appointed and thus face inadequate checks-and-balances against corruption.

In other words, vital stakeholders like alumni and frontline mission fulfillers of educators and researchers can’t say “enough!” with a simple vote, even when “badmin” seek personal prestige through unduly hasty building campaign or counterproductive cover-ups, or they even go and start blatantly self-enriching through CEO salaries and crony contracts.

This fundamental problem, however, is compounded by a second, even less discussed problem, higher ed’s “scrutiny gap” – that is, the blind spot in press coverage that gives colleges too much free rein with our tax money.

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No, You Cannot Know This Man’s Account of His Torture by the CIA

The detainee's lawyer says the CIA is trying "guarantee that Abu Zubaydah never discloses what was done to him." (Photo: Stephen Melkisethian/flickr/cc)

The detainee’s lawyer says the CIA is trying “guarantee that Abu Zubaydah never discloses what was done to him.” (Photo: Stephen Melkisethian/flickr/cc)

Guantanamo prisoner Abu Zubaydah detailed the torture that the CIA inflicted on him to his lawyers, but that information won’t be making it to the public eye.

Reuters reported Thursday:

U.S. government officials have blocked the release of 116 pages of defense lawyers’ notes detailing the torture that Guantanamo Bay detainee Abu Zubaydah says he experienced in CIA custody, defense lawyers said on Thursday.

Zubaydah, abducted in Pakistan and transferred to U.S. authorities in 2002, has been held at Guantanamo without charge or trial since 2006. A lawyer for Zubaydah in his proceedings against Poland and Lithuania before the European court of human rights has written that he

might now be described as exhibit A in the week’s Senate report. He has the regrettable distinction of being the first victim of the CIA detention programme for whom, as the report makes clear, many of the torture (or “enhanced interrogation”) techniques were developed, and the only prisoner known to have been subject to all of them.

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Captured Agency: How The FCC Is Dominated By The Industries It Regulates

Cell Phone's Light
A new report published by Harvard University claims the telecommunications industry has unlimited access to shape Federal Communications Commission (FCC) policies at the expense of public health, consumer safety, privacy, and consumer wallets.

The Corrupted Network

The report claims that the FCC, which is a government agency that is supposed to act as a regulator, sits at the heart of a “bipartisan Washington web of institutional corruption” that has for many years been championing corporate interests often at public expense. This industry stranglehold extends from:

  • Its well-placed campaign spending in Congress
  • Control of the FCC‘s Congressional oversight committees
  • Persistent agency lobbying.

The report goes even further by saying that in the case of wireless radiation health issues industry control extends beyond Congress and regulators, to basic scientific research

Troubling Body Of Evidence Linked To Negative Health Effects

Whilst guardedly describing the EMF science as “controversial” the report admits that “a troubling body of evidence suggests exposure to even low emission levels at typical cellular frequencies between 300 MHz and 3 GHz can have a wide range of negative effects.”

The report goes on to cite some of the numerous studies that link wireless exposures to adverse health effects:

A 2002 study that compared the health of people living at different distances within 300 meters of cell towers with those living more than 300 meters away ―Results indicated increased symptoms the closer a person lived to a tower.… Read the rest

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Why is Rev. Edward Pinkney in Prison? Another Case of Political Persecution

Jackie Miller writes at CounterPunch:

Why is Rev. Edward Pinkney in prison?

One answer comes to mind from my very first meeting with Pinkney in 2003. I drove from Lansing to Benton Harbor in southwest Michigan to witness a Berrien County Commissioners meeting soon after the Benton Harbor uprising. At that eye-opening introduction, white commissioners literally laughed at Black community members’ desperate appeals for justice for their young Black men, incarcerated or killed with impunity at a sickening rate. From this vignette straight out of the Jim Crow South, I left 90% white St. Joseph and crossed the bridge to Benton Harbor where well over 90% of the residents are Black and nearly half live in poverty according to census data.

Standing outside City Hall, Pinkney said to me, “You know, they offered me a Cadillac. I said, no, thank you.” The power elite in the county tried to buy him off to shut him up.

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First They Ignore You: The APA and Torture

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. — Mahatma Gandhi

Ten years ago this month, the American Psychological Association (APA) announced to its members that it supported psychologists assisting detainee interrogations in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and CIA black sites. APA officials asserted — against all evidence — that “operational” psychologists helped keep the interrogations “safe, ethical and effective.” Rank and file psychologists criticized the policy as providing legal cover for the Bush administration and began to organize petitions and withhold their APA dues in protest. Hundreds have spent years researching and writing papers, holding conferences, and fighting for legislation to reverse the policy. Thousands of members formally voted against it to no avail as the referendum was buried in an “implementation” committee.

Most critics were ignored by APA officials, while particularly effective dissidents were dismissed with snide comments about their mental health.… Read the rest

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Cell Phone Radiation Is Probably Cooking Your Brain and Balls (and What You Can Do About It)


Via Midwest Real

Kevin Kunze is the filmmaker behind Mobilize, an investigative documentary exploring the negative long-term health effects of cell phone radiation. The film examines recent scientific research, follows national legislative efforts, and exposes the influence that technology companies have on public health.


This is an unfortunate rabbit hole my friends, because I love me some technology. I’m constantly ranting about it, tweeting about it, or manipulating it in some manner. It’s certainly not lost on me that without it, this show and this site wouldn’t even exist in the first place. I’ll even go out on a limb and say that technology and the insatiable, uniquely human, desire to continually lift our circumstances is intimately intertwined with the destiny of mankind (if that’s a thing).

As Terence McKenna put it:

“Technology is the real skin of our species… We take in matter that has a low degree of organization; we put it through mental filters, and we extrude jewelry, gospels, space shuttles.

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Not voting: Why Buckminster Fuller said this is important to our success

"BuckminsterFuller1" by en:User:Edgy01 (Dan Lindsay) - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

BuckminsterFuller1” by en:User:Edgy01 (Dan Lindsay) – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

L. Steven Sieden via Examiner.com:

When asked if he voted, Buckminster Fuller adamantly replied,

“Of course I don’t vote. I’m completely apolitical.”

For most of his life Fuller championed a world that works for everyone and the fact that political leaders can never achieve such a vision. He felt that voting only encouraged politicians and others to believe that they were in power and capable of making the changes we so desperately need. He correctly predicted the growing cultural trend of people not voting, and that trend continues to provide many people with great as we move toward an age of true democracy. His often quoted statement about politicians is even more relevant today, than it was decades ago when he first made it.

“Political leaders look out only fort heir own side.

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