Tag Archives | Corruption

Scumbag Judge Gets 28 Years for Role in Scheme to Incarcerate Children for Profit

mark-ciavarella-mugshot.400x800For-profit correction facilities? What could possibly go wrong?

Via Rolling Out:

Judge Mark A. Ciavarella, 63, serves as an example of why the private prison industry can do more harm than good. Ciavarella worked alongside owners of private juvenile facilities to ensure that the prison remained occupied. The more prisoners equated to more profits for the owners of the prison.

As a result, Ciavarella would sentence offenders with small offenses to months and, at times, years behind bars. He once sentenced a teen to three months in jail for creating a MySpace page that mocked her school’s assistant principal. Ciavarella also sentenced another teen to 90 days in jail after a simple schoolyard fight.

But after a federal investigation, it was discovered that Ciavarella and his colleague, Judge Michael Conahan, received more than $2.6 million from privately run youth centers owned by PA Child Care. In 2011, Ciavarella was convicted of racketeering and sentenced to 28 years in prison.

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Majority Of World Says Corruption Is Increasing In Their Countries

corruptionThe advent of new technology has ushered an era of unprecedented transparency and openness – oh, whoops. CBS News reports:

According to a survey released Tuesday, a majority of people across the globe feel that corruption has worsened in their countries. And while 53 percent of respondents felt corruption had increased in the last two years, a majority also believed that their governments couldn’t fix the problem.

A new report from the international anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International finds that mistrust in governing institutions extends beyond those countries, and beyond the protests in the streets. According to the survey, more than one in four people reported paying a bribe in the past year.

In the U.S., 64 percent said the government is run by a few big interests, compared with 5 percent who felt the same in Norway, and 83 percent in Greece.

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Here is What’s Going On in Canada, Part 1: Two Telltale Speeches by Stephen Harper

via chycho

harper-images

    I. Introduction: How Far We Have Fallen

    II. Harper’s ‘Plagiarized’ Iraq War Speech

    III. Harper’s 1997 Speech to Council for National Policy

I. Introduction: How Far We Have Fallen

For those watching from afar, Canada must seem an enigma. For decades we have been hailed as peace keepers, but have lately been busy flexing our mussels at every opportunity we get (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). We are known for our pristine environment, but have been accelerating the development of the dirtiest project in the world (pics). Knowing full well the devastating consequences of America’s War on Drugs, the very same day that Washington State and Colorado legalized the recreational use of Cannabis we introduced “tough new mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana.” We are the third largest water rich resource country in the world, but have recently suspended numerous water monitoring and preservation projects:

“DFO’s [Department of Fisheries and Oceans] Habitat Management Program – which monitored the effects of harmful industrial, agricultural and land-development activities on wild fish – is gone.

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Lobbyists for Canadian Pipeline Have Deep Ties to White House

via Pratap Chatterjee CorpWatch 6a0120a65d9a8c970b0148c6d1c8ab970c-250wi

TransCanada and the provincial government of Alberta are paying former advisors to the Obama administration – as well as former staff of the Hillary Clinton and John Kerry presidential campaigns – to help them lobby for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to transport tar sands fuel to the U.S.

The pipeline from Alberta – which is to be built by TransCanada – has been delayed for over four years pending approval from the U.S. State Department which has final say because it crosses the international border. President Barack Obama is expected to announce a decision this fall in consultation with John Kerry, who took over the State Department earlier this year from Hilary Clinton.

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Since 9/11 Private Contractors Have Made $385 Billion From Overseas Bases

baseworldVia TomDispatch on the staggering sum being passed from U.S. taxpayers to a handful of contracting corporations in the name of maintaining the Pentagon’s global “baseworld”:

Outside the United States, the Pentagon controls a collection of military bases unprecedented in history. With US troops gone from Iraq, it’s easy to forget that we probably still have about 1,000 military bases in other peoples’ lands.

The Pentagon has dispersed around $385 billion to private companies for work done outside the US since late 2001, mainly in that baseworld. That’s nearly double the entire State Department budget over the same period. Almost a third of the $385 billion has flowed into the coffers of just 10 top contractors, [with the largest amount going to] KBR, the former subsidiary of Halliburton.

Once upon a time, however, the military, not contractors, built the barracks, cleaned the clothes, and peeled the potatoes at these bases. This started to change during the Vietnam War, when Brown & Root, better known to critics as “Burn & Loot” (later KBR), began building major military installations in South Vietnam as part of a contractor consortium.

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The shit show that is Afghanistan, compliments of Vice: “We will survive. But they will be taking the war back to America!”

via chycho
afghnistan_vice

An excellent article and documentary on Afghanistan now available through Vice: ”This Is What Winning Looks Like”.

It should be mandatory viewing for every citizen of every country that was involved in the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. It shows life from our and our allies perspective – the honest, the honorable, the gullible, the liars, the politicians, the occupying forces, the Afghan security forces, the war lords, the addicts, the desperate, the corrupt, the child molesters, the murderers, the government – the fantasy that has been defined as victory.

The documentary is well worth watching and should be sobering for anyone who has not yet come to terms with what has been unleashed. The Following quote from an elected local Afghan official sums up the consequences quite well (emphasis added):

“When they came to Afghanistan they came here for a purpose. They couldn’t fulfill their purpose and now they are trying to release themselves.

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Former Congressman’s Federal Corruption Trial Begins

A leading watchdog group named Renzi, above, as one of the top 20 most corrupt congressmen for three straight years. (Photo: Wikipedia)

A leading watchdog group named Renzi, above, as one of the top 20 most corrupt congressmen for three straight years. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Opening arguments in the Tucson trial of former Arizona Representative Rick Renzi (R-AZ) began Wednesday with federal prosecution characterizing Renzi as having engaged in “lying and stealing … taking advantage of people” and having “sold out his office.” Meanwhile Renzi counsel Kelly Kramer contended that his client “didn’t extort anybody … solicit any bribes” or “defraud anyone.” Charged with 32 counts of conspiracy, fraud and extortion, if convicted the three-term former congressman from Arizona’s 1st District could face up to 400 years of prison.

Dennis Wagner writes at The Arizona Republic:

In 2005 Resolution Copper Mining wanted surface rights to an ore-laden national forest area near [the town of] Superior. Another investment group involving former Gov. Bruce Babbitt [(D)] was seeking to trade private conservation land for potential development properties owned by the government near Phoenix.

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How The CIA Helped Orchestrate The Extralegal Creation Of Disney World

disney worldVia the Daily Beast, T.D. Allman explains how top CIA alumni helped Disney buy up large swathes of South Florida land in secretive fashion and create its own private cities and quasi-government:

Disney’s key contact was the consummate cloak-and-dagger operator, William “Wild Bill” Donovan. Sometimes called the “Father of the C.I.A,” he was also the founding partner of Donovan, Leisure, Newton & Irvine, a New York law firm whose attorneys included future C.I.A. director William Casey.

In order to maintain “control over the overall development,” Disney and his advisers realized, “the company would have to find a way to limit the voting power of the private residents.” Here again the CIA was there to help. Disney’s principal legal strategist for Florida was a senior clandestine operative named Paul Helliwell. Helliwell came up with the approach that to this day allows the Disney organization to avoid taxation and environmental regulation as well as maintain immunity from the U.S.

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Pres Obama Signs Bill Killing Anti-Corruption, Pro-Transparency STOCK Act Provisions

via Daily Kos

Obama-Corruption

…yesterday, President Obama completed this rope-a-dope deception by signing this new bill, which stripped key provisions from the STOCK Act and rolled back a lot of the progress that the original bill made in promoting transparency and open government. The bill was signed without any cameras or fanfare, which is in stark contrast to the very public signing of the actual STOCK Act. It seems President Obama was glad to parade around the signing of the pro-transparency bill, but was not so open about his reversal of the most important parts of it a year later! Open Secrets describes the key provisions stripped out of the bill and labels this action “A reversal of the STOCK Act”:

The elements of the STOCK Act that were removed include:

Creation of searchable, sortable disclosure of the information contained in reports even for Congress, the president, vice president, the president’s cabinet and congressional candidates.

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Elizabeth Warren’s Foreclosure Settlement Bombshell: Banks Determined the Number of Victims of Their Own Foreclosure Frauds

via Wall Street on Parade

elizabeth warren

There is only one thing more Kafkaesque than the ongoing Wall Street frauds and that is watching a live United States Senate investigation of a diabolical settlement the banks themselves concocted to repay the victims of their own fraud. Such was the case yesterday when Senators Sherrod Brown, Jack Reed, and Elizabeth Warren grilled regulators from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Federal Reserve along with outside consultants over allowing banks to hand pick the consultants to do their foreclosure reviews, negotiate confidentiality agreements with them and pay them directly.

Hundreds of millions of dollars in checks from the Foreclosure Review settlement will start going out today, eventually topping $3.6 billion in the cash portion of the settlement, and yet it was revealed during yesterday’s Senate hearing that it was the actual banks that engaged in the illegal foreclosure actions that tallied up and classified their wrongdoing under various degrees of harm; deciding themselves how many people would receive $300 and how many $125,000.

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