Tag Archives | Corruption

Millions for Defense; Not One Cent for Tribute

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" [1] 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. [2] 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. [3]
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Chris Hedges’s Endgame Strategy: Why The Revolution Must Start In America

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.
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US, Russia, China Faulted For ‘Serious Deficiencies’ In Rule Of Law

Protesters clash with riot police on 7 November 2007 during Georgian demonstrations. Photo: Diaoha, Georgia Today

Protesters clash with riot police on 7 November 2007 during Georgian demonstrations. Photo: Diaoha, Georgia Today

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.”

[Continues at Solidarity Institute]

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Foghorn Leghorn Speaks On Matters in Wisconsin

FoghornLeghornIs 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

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The U.S. Congress Does ‘Abnormally’ Well in the Stock Market

Monopoly ManThis 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.”

Read More: Huffington Post

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Stephen Colbert: I Don’t Want To Be The ‘Chump’ Without Unlimited Corporate Cash (Video)

StephenColbertSuperPACThis 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.
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When No Experience Pays Off Big (In a Government Job)

Brian Deschane's mugshot

Brian Deschane's mugshot

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.

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Media Roots Interview With Cindy Sheehan

This is a special Media Roots TV interview conducted by Abby Martin with Cindy Sheehan, mother who has made the ultimate sacrifice and fearless anti-war activist. She relays her powerfully lucid point of view in a candid interview at her home on February 6th, 2011.
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Treasure Islands: The Murky World Of Offshore Tax Shelters

3446025121_072700607fNew Left Project sits down with author Nicholas Shaxson to talk tax havens — a mammoth system of quasi-legal money-laundering which has a far wider impact than we realize, with a large role in the global drug trade and financial crisis. As it turns out, the biggest “treasure islands” are not the Caymans or Monaco, but places such as the City of London and the U.S. state of Delaware:

There is no common definition of what a tax haven is. Everybody has a slightly different definition. Ultimately what a tax haven provides is escape from the rules and the laws of jurisdictions. Tax havens are also about ‘elsewhere’ – the laws of the Cayman Islands are not designed for the benefit of the 50,000-odd population of the Cayman Islands.

The traditional view is…palm-fringed tropical islands in the Caribbean, Monaco, Switzerland, Liechtenstein. Small states. But if you do the analysis of what a tax haven is and what they are selling, you will find that these small islands are generally sideshows to the big event.

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