Tag Archives | Corruption

Big Pharma: America’s New Mafia


Here’s an article that I think Disinfonauts will truly appreciate. Daniela Drake explores Big Pharma’s control over the American people.

Daniela Drake via The Daily Beast:

Pharmaceutical companies have more power than ever, and the American people are paying the price—too often with our lives.
By now you have probably seen John Oliver’s comic take on the pharmaceutical industry’s influence on doctors’ prescribing habits. Media outlets from Mother Jones to the Wall Street Journal commented admiringly, and even the American Medical Association felt compelled to declare they were “committed to transparency” around drug company payments to doctors.
But satire will do very little to focus on the real problem if we’re distracted by the humor inherent in self-important doctors being bought off by a steak. What’s not funny is that America is the most medicated nation on earth, with some 70 percent of Americans taking prescription drugs—yet we have worse health outcomes than other industrialized countries. Part of the problem may be the drugs themselves.
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Shedding Light On 3 Big Lies About Systemic Pesticides

Sean Winters (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Sean Winters (CC BY-SA 2.0)

There are ridiculous inconsistencies being planted in the media, sprouting forth poisoned truth about the honeybees and the systemic pesticides killing them. This beckons the question: to what extend does Big Agriculture influence the way science is researched and reported in order to benefit their corporate agendas and pockets? Or do they sincerely believe they can ‘feed the world’ with this shit?

Recently a friend sent me an article titled Bee Deaths Reversal: As Evidence Points Away From Neonics As Driver, Pressure Builds To Rethink Ban. The wordy title hinting that systemic pesticides are safe seemed suspect, but because the op-ed piece was published in Forbes, a reputable publication, I knew many would read it as bonafide truth. I would have too if I hadn’t studied bees and colony collapse disorder for the past eight years. I am the director of a documentary film called Vanishing of the Bees, narrated by Ellen Page. I owe my life to the bees in many respects.… Read the rest

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CU5: Nationwide Actions Mark Fifth Anniversary of Citizens United

"U.S. Chamber of Commerce building" by AgnosticPreachersKid at en.wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:U.S._Chamber_of_Commerce_building.JPG#mediaviewer/File:U.S._Chamber_of_Commerce_building.JPG

“U.S. Chamber of Commerce building” by AgnosticPreachersKid at en.wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Republished with permission from Occupy.com

The corporate money machine has been snaking its way through our government for much longer than five years. However, this Wednesday marks the fifth anniversary of the moment when that snake went from insidious slithering to a boa constrictor-like tightening on our feeble and fragile democracy.

Five years ago, the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of Citizens United v. the Federal Elections Commission allowed corporations and unions the right to spend as much money as they want to influence elections. It gave rise to dark money spending and Super PACs where donors remain hidden from public view while funneling millions of dollars into state and federal elections.

In 2012, non-party outside spending passed the $1 billion mark for the first time in our history – three times the amount spent in the 2008 presidential elections.… Read the rest

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Corruption Perceptions Index 2014 Results


Via Transparency International:

Poorly equipped schools, counterfeit medicine and elections decided by money are just some of the consequences of public sector corruption. Bribes and backroom deals don’t just steal resources from the most vulnerable – they undermine justice and economic development, and destroy public trust in government and leaders.

Based on expert opinion from around the world, the Corruption Perceptions Index measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption worldwide, and it paints an alarming picture. Not one single country gets a perfect score and more than two-thirds score below 50, on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

Read more.

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America’s Dirtiest Cops: Cash, Cocaine and Corruption on the Texas Border

police badgeIt sounds like a reality TV show: America’s Dirtiest Cops. In fact it’s an expose on Texas Border police corruption by Rolling Stone:

he temperature was nearing triple digits when Jonathan Treviño strapped on his bulletproof vest, slipped his .40-caliber Glock into his ankle holster and got ready to go to work. It was Thursday, July 26th, 2012, one of those summers in South Texas when the hot air settles on the Rio Grande Valley like a blanket. The Gulf breeze was already sticky as Treviño climbed into his unmarked Chevy Tahoe and started it up.

Treviño was a police officer in Mission, a bustling city of 80,000 on the Texas-Mexico border. Part of a flourishing bilingual metropolitan region with five international bridges, Mission also sits firmly in on e of the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s 28 HIDTAs, or High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas – smuggling hot spots where the federal government spends an extra $240 million a year battling narcotics.

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Take it and Like it: Corporate America and the Manipulation of Public Opinion

Brad Clinesmith (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Brad Clinesmith (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Absurd Illusions of a Shining City on a Hill by Mark Weiser at Dissident Voice:

The average natural born citizen in any country is continuously indoctrinated into the national culture starting about the time they begin understanding the meaning of words. There’s one country in particular where reality is staring the public in the face, but the truth has been grossly distorted for decades by government, and mass media, bias and propaganda. If the citizens would suddenly see the truth, instead of what they’ve been conditioned to believe, they would find themselves in a strange and bizarre foreign land that’s contrary in many ways to their personal beliefs regarding home. For those who experience this sudden revelation, as soon as the truth is realized, it’s likely to provoke a profound and immediate sense of disbelief. Like emergency room personnel making insensitive jokes, laughter at some point becomes a self-defense mechanism for offsetting continuous parades of the absurd realities and outright horrors.

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Dilma’s Reelection Proves “Citizen Kane” Style Media Still Alive and Well in Brazil

“They Knew About Everything”: the sensationalistic cover of Veja magazine intended to take down Dilma at a newsstand in Rio de Janeiro.
Photo: Veja

It’s a scene that’s just as famous among film scholars as it is among news junkies: Charles Foster Kane, owner of an influential news conglomerate in the early 20th century, is settling in to married life with his first wife, who becomes increasingly worried with the coverage in Kane’s newspapers. When she points out his outrageous headlines and begins to ask him what people will think, he cuts her off: “What I tell them to think”.

This depiction in Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane, based on real life media baron William Randolph Hearst, was a fairly accurate assessment of the influence peddling typical of media outlets at the time. But the days of Hearst-style manipulation of the media are now long gone. Not to say there isn’t still yellow journalism in the states (perhaps it’s just turned a different shade of yellow).… Read the rest

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Our Pay to Play System, Embodied by Beanie Babies

By Dominique Godbout (CC by 2.0)

By Dominique Godbout (CC by 2.0)

Disinfo’s newest film, Pay 2 Play: Democracy’s High Stakes will be available this Saturday (11/1) on our site. Join us for Pay 2 Play’s worldwide digital release. You’ll be able to stream the film for $4 or download for $10.

There was a political scandal I heard about that changed the way I looked at corruption and helped me understand the larger mechanisms at work in government and society. It rocked the swing state of Ohio right after a disputed election, toppled the state’s one-party rule and ended the Taft legacy that included a President, a U.S. Senator, a Supreme Court Justice. And it started with Beanie Babies.

In Toledo, Ohio, Tom Noe was a small-time rare coin dealer who sought to raise his business prospects by getting involved in politics. He would later testify under oath that giving money to politicians “kept my business alive.” Noe elevated his status as a political player by bundling contributors together in North East Ohio in order to get more attention from statewide candidates.

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Protests in Pakistan: Curiously Underreported by International News

Thanks to a Facebook commenter on this post, the underreporting of the protests in Pakistan has been brought to my attention. While some of the mainstream media has covered these protests, their narrative has been dwarfed by other, more popular stories. Here’s a short recap from different sources.

551px-Konferenz_Pakistan_und_der_Westen_-_Imran_Khan_(4155877864)_cropped

Imran Khan, Pakistani politician and former cricketer.

“Imran Khan vows to carry on protest till Pakistan PM resigns” via Arab News:
(September 28)

LAHORE: Opposition politician Imran Khan has vowed to continue his protest against Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif until the leader resigns over allegations of election rigging.

Khan, along with populist cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri, has been staging a sit-in in capital Islamabad since August 15.

Last week he took his protest to Pakistan’s largest city Karachi and on Sunday he addressed thousands of people in his home town and Pakistan’s second largest city — Lahore, which is also the home town of Sharif.

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When Humans Lose Control of Government

By Sheila in Moonducks via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

By Sheila in Moonducks via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

via The Atlantic:

The Veterans Affairs scandal of falsified waiting lists is the latest of a never-ending stream of government ineptitude. Every season brings a new headline of failures: the botched roll-out of Obamacare involved 55 uncoordinated IT vendors; a White House report in February found that barely 3 percent of the $800 billion stimulus plan went to rebuild transportation infrastructure; and a March Washington Post report describes how federal pensions are processed by hand in a deep cave in Pennsylvania.

The reflexive reaction is to demand detailed laws and rules to make sure things don’t go wrong again. But shackling public choices with ironclad rules, ironically, is a main cause of the problems. Dictating correctness in advance supplants the one factor that is indispensable to all successful endeavors—human responsibility. “Nothing that’s good works by itself,” as Thomas Edison put it.

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