Tag Archives | Corruption

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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Interview with Brett Smith, Creator of 9/11 Movie ‘Hypothesis’

Brett Smith. Photo: Brett Smith

Brett Smith. Photo: Brett Smith

This is an exclusive Media Roots Radio interview with Utah based documentarian Brett Smith, conducted by Abby and Robbie Martin on February 23, 2011. In 2006, Brett’s love of films drew him into taking a film class where he was required to make a 15 minute short. That 15 minute short later turned into 40 minute documentary called Hypothesis.

Hypothesis is a documentary that follows physics professor Steven E. Jones during a pivotal time in his life. In 2005, Jones went public with a theory about 9/11 that was so controversial, it resulted in everything from hate mail, threats, and even bribery to try to end his research. Despite the outside pressures, Jones vowed to never give up on his pursuit of the truth.

Interview with Filmmaker Brett Smith, Creator of Hypothesis by Media Roots

The above timeline is interactive. Scroll through it to find out more about the show’s music and to resources mentioned during the broadcast.… Read the rest

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Caller Posing As Major GOP Contributor Dupes Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

Scott Walker is Mini-Mubarak!Well, we knew Wisconsin governor Scott Walker was morally and intellectually challenged, but a recent phonecall, as discussed in this expose in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel provides some dramatic new details …

Madison — Gov. Scott Walker, believing he was talking to prominent financial backer David Koch, revealed to a Buffalo, N.Y., blogger Tuesday his strategies to deal with public-sector unions and to lure Democrats boycotting the Senate back to Wisconsin.

In the 20-minute talk, he also likened his tough stance to take away most bargaining rights from public workers to former President Ronald Reagan successfully combating the air-traffic controllers union three decades ago.

“That was the first crack in the Berlin Wall in the fall of Communism because from that point forward the Soviets and the Communists knew that Ronald Reagan wasn’t a pushover,” according to the recording.

He said he told his cabinet, “This is our moment. This is our time to change the course of history.”

Walker also discussed a plan to get his bill on union rights passed without Democrats who have boycotted the Senate.

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Matt Taibbi: Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?

White CollarI have been a fan of Matt Taibbi’s work for quite some time, looks like he is asking the really “big” question in his most recent article (one that Danny Schechter, who Disinformation has worked with, has focused his work upon). I encourage you to read this article in Rolling Stone. Matt Taibbi writes:

Over drinks at a bar on a dreary, snowy night in Washington this past month, a former Senate investigator laughed as he polished off his beer.

“Everything’s fucked up, and nobody goes to jail,” he said. “That’s your whole story right there. Hell, you don’t even have to write the rest of it. Just write that.”

I put down my notebook. “Just that?”

“That’s right,” he said, signaling to the waitress for the check. “Everything’s fucked up, and nobody goes to jail. You can end the piece right there.”

Nobody goes to jail. This is the mantra of the financial-crisis era, one that saw virtually every major bank and financial company on Wall Street embroiled in obscene criminal scandals that impoverished millions and collectively destroyed hundreds of billions, in fact, trillions of dollars of the world’s wealth — and nobody went to jail.

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Did Societies Evolve To Be Corrupt?

Riot PoliceGood question. Alasdair Wilkins asks on io9.com:

Corruption is as old as human history. For as long as people have organized themselves into groups with powerful leaders, those leaders have sometimes abused their power. But evolutionary biologists say corruption might actually be holding societies together.

That’s the theory put forward by evolutionary biologists Francisco Ubeda and Edgar Duenez. The pair used game theory to figure out why people cooperate to form a society even though the ones in charge are corrupt. The model they developed assumes that government officials and law enforcers — in other words, the individuals responsible for punishing noncooperators — can get away with a certain amount of noncooperation themselves in the form of corruption, and that they can sidestep most punishments when caught being corrupt.

Their findings make a lot of intuitive sense — most people will continue to cooperate to keep their society together, in part because they don’t want to be punished by law enforcers.

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400,000 Baby Chicks Killed By Bankrupt Poultry Farm

Dumping Baby Chicks

Photo: Dmitry Noskoff

Stephen Messenger writes in treehugger:

Poultry workers reportedly wept as they carried out their grim task — overseeing the death of about 400 thousand newborn chicks by drowning them in water or simply dumping them in rusty barrels outside where they would succumb to the freezing winter air. Around 600,000 more birds, housed at Russia’s Krasnaya Polyana poultry farm have died of malnutrition, and the lives of 3 million others await a similar fate. A $190,000 tax debt, says the farm, has forced them to declare bankruptcy, leading to this killing of chickens on a horrific scale.

The poultry farm, located in the region of Kursk, is owned by Russian parliament member Alexander Chetverikov — and he says declaring bankruptcy, which has forced the deaths of about 1 million chickens, was his only recourse after he became the target of a political conspiracy aimed at putting him in financial ruin.

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