Tag Archives | Corruption
DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA: Twenty one years after Nelson Mandela walked free, corruption has become the issue du jour in South Africa.
Even president Jacob Zuma who narrowly slithered out of a corruption trial before his election is blasting corruption in the ranks of the African National Congress which came to power as the morally superior alternative to an apartheid regime that shamelessly used the wealth it controlled to benefit Afrikaners and deprive the black majority of services.
“Let’s make a plan,” were the code words members of the all white National Party used to scheme ways of stealing state resources to benefit themselves, a cozy reality overshadowed by the vicious racial policies that outraged the world.
As the ANC prepared to win power democratically, there was concern among leaders that a deprived black majority might feel it was “their turn” and thus, their right to cash in on their political victory.… Read the rest
Kelly Carr and Brian Grow recently reported in Yahoo Finance:
The secretive business havens of Cyprus and the Cayman Islands face a potent rival: Cheyenne, Wyoming.
At a single address in this sleepy city of 60,000 people, more than 2,000 companies are registered. The building, 2710 Thomes Avenue, isn’t a shimmering skyscraper filled with A-list corporations. It’s a 1,700-square-foot brick house with a manicured lawn, a few blocks from the State Capitol.
Neighbors say they see little activity there besides regular mail deliveries and a woman who steps outside for smoke breaks. Inside, however, the walls of the main room are covered floor to ceiling with numbered mailboxes labeled as corporate “suites.” A bulky copy machine sits in the kitchen. In the living room, a woman in a headset answers calls and sorts bushels of mail.
A Reuters investigation has found the house at 2710 Thomes Avenue serves as a little Cayman Island on the Great Plains.
Oh how the times have been a changin’ since Robert Goodloe Harper coined that gem in 1798. In the 21st century, apparently, patriotism means stealing hundreds of billions from the U.S. Treasury to bailout incompetent bankers, as “minute man”  Paul Ryan begged the House to do on September 29, 2008.
Okay, so as a nation we’re totally cool with recasting tribute to greasy financial fat cats as “investment” — even if it doesn’t exactly pay a huge return. 
But since “far left socialist” Barack Obama proposed cutting Social Security benefits during recent talks to increase the nation’s debt ceiling (to much Republican enthusiasm), making sure Granny gets her catfood money has also been redefined as “wanton profligacy”. Ah, sure, the ol’ gal only had another ten years left in her TOPS anyways, right?
America, you are a pack of perverts. 
Synopsis via The Raw Story:
Pulitzer-winning author and former New York Times reporter Chris Hedges has a revolutionary worldview. In the video below, his recent “Endgame Strategy” piece for AdBusters is read aloud by George Atherton. His conclusions are chilling, but not entirely hopeless. “We will have to take care of ourselves,” he wrote. “We will have to rapidly create small, monastic communities where we can sustain and feed ourselves. It will be up to us to keep alive the intellectual, moral and cultural values the corporate state has attempted to snuff out. It is either that or become drones and serfs in a global corporate dystopia. It is not much of a choice. But at least we still have one.
How well has America upheld ‘justice for all’ this year? Via Solidarity Institute:
An annual survey of the rule of law around the world released Monday sees weak protections for fundamental rights in China, “serious deficiencies” in Russia, and problems with discrimination in the United States.
Sweden and Norway scored highest on the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index, which ranks countries on such key areas as whether the government is held accountable, there is access to justice, rights are protected and crime and corruption is prevented.
“Achieving the rule of law is a constant challenge and a work in progress in all countries,” said Hongsia Liu, the executive director of the project, which was funded by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
He said the index was “not designed to shame or blame, but to provide useful reference points for countries in the same regions, with comparable legal cultures and similar income levels.”
Is it possible to channel a fictional character? Specifically, the Southern-gentrified blowhard from the Warner Bro.’s 1960′s “Foghorn Leghorn” franchise? Based upon experiments performed over the weekend, I can report a firm and conclusive “yes”. But the ritual requires copious volumes of an obscure Sri Lankan stout called “Lion“. And Mr. Legohorn seems to have quite a bit to say about Wisconsin people and places . . . .
“The behavior on display before us in this instance constitutes a perfect SCANDAL in the eyes of our sacred parliamentary traditions. This method of proceeding cannot call to mind words any loftier or more noble than “poltroon” and “knave”. I understand that the accepted standards of comportment may not be all they could in some of the darker corners of the great state of Wisconsin, but I see no reason to drag them into the sacred halls of our legislature.”
—Regarding the extraordinary violation of Wisconsin’s open meetings law by which Republican majority leader “Big Fitz” Fitzgerald surreptitiously passed Gov.… Read the rest
This should be more troubling, but it feels like business as usual in Washington. Dan Foomkin writes on the Huffington Post:
Members of the House of Representatives considerably outperform the stock market in their personal investments, according to a new academic study.
Four university researchers examined 16,000 common stock transactions made by approximately 300 House representatives from 1985 to 2001, and found what they call “significant positive abnormal returns,” with portfolios based on congressional trades beating the market by about 6 percent annually.
What’s their secret? The report speculates, but does not conclude, it could have something to do with the ability members of Congress have to trade on non-public information or to vote their own pocketbooks — or both.
A study of senators by the same team of researchers five years ago found members of the higher chamber even better at beating the market — outperforming it by about 10 percent, an amount the academics said was “both economically large and statistically significant.”
This is brilliant. Looking forward to seeing how far Colbert can go with this. Ryan J. Reilly writes on Talking Points Memo:
Stephen Colbert doesn’t “want to be the one chump” without any unlimited corporate money going to his political action committee. That’s why he showed up the the Federal Election Commission building in D.C. to formally request an advisory opinion on behalf of “Colbert Super PAC,” a proposed independent expenditure only committee able to accept unlimited corporate, individual, political committee and labor contributions.
Accepting unlimited funding is “a right as described by the Citizens United case,” Colbert said in response to a question from Politico’s Ken Vogel. “I believe the Citizens United decision was the right one, there should be unlimited corporate money, and I want some of it. I don’t want to be the one chump who doesn’t have any.”
Colbert said he expected the FEC to take his request seriously.
Daniel Bice writes in the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel:
Just in his mid-20s, Brian Deschane has no college degree, very little management experience and two drunken-driving convictions.
Yet he has landed an $81,500-per-year job in Gov. Scott Walker’s administration overseeing environmental and regulatory matters and dozens of employees at the Department of Commerce. Even though Walker says the state is broke and public employees are overpaid, Deschane already has earned a promotion and a 26% pay raise in just two months with the state.
How did Deschane score his plum assignment with the Walker team? It’s all in the family. His father is Jerry Deschane, executive vice president and longtime lobbyist for the Madison-based Wisconsin Builders Association, which bet big on Walker during last year’s governor’s race.
The group’s political action committee gave $29,000 to Walker and his running mate, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, last year, making it one of the top five PAC donors to the governor’s successful campaign.