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Author Topic: Corruption in Government  (Read 10042 times)

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AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #690 on: July 04, 2018, 01:50:19 pm »
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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #691 on: July 05, 2018, 09:47:30 pm »
Scandal Ridden Pruitt 🦖 Finally Resigns from EPA, Leaving Another Climate Denier 🦕 in Charge 👎

July 5, 2018

Sierra Club’s Mary Anne Hitt says Pruitt’s long list of scandals is only matched by his long list of attempted environmental rollbacks, and new acting EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler will advance the same deregulatory agenda


Story Transcript

DHARNA NOOR: It’s The Real News. I’m Dharna Noor.

Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt resigned on Thursday amidst numerous allegations of ethical and legal violations. Trump announced Pruitt’s resignation via Twitter, where he also said that EPA Deputy Administrator and former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler will assume the role of acting administrator this Monday. Just hours before Pruitt resigned, two congressmen called upon the EPA’s inspector general to investigate allegations that Pruitt has been hiding and falsifying calendar records of his meetings with industry officials. And these came in a slew of new allegations reported by The Washington Post on Monday. Aides also said that the administrator asked EPA staffers to help his wife get a six-figure job, and to perform many other nonofficial tasks.

Here to talk about all of this is Mary Anne Hitt. She’s the director of the Beyond Coal Campaign at the Sierra Club. Thanks for joining us today.

MARY ANNE HITT: Thanks for having me.

DHARNA NOOR: So first let’s talk a little bit about what we’re losing in Scott Pruitt. Let’s assess his record a little bit. So as you know, and many of you probably know, on Monday a schoolteacher named Kristen Mink actually confronted Pruitt in a D.C. restaurant and asked him to resign. Let’s see that clip.

KRISTIN MINK: I just wanted to urge you to resign because of what you’re doing to the environment in our country. Meanwhile, you’re slashing strong standards for cars and trucks for the benefits of big corporations. We deserve to have somebody at the EPA who actually does protect our environment, someone who believes in climate change and takes it seriously for the benefit of all of us, including our children. So I would urge you to resign before your scandals push you out.

DHARNA NOOR: So Mink castigated Pruitt for being a climate denier, for attacking clean air and water standards, for renting a condo from the spouse of a prominent fossil fuel lobbyist with whom he was in talks. This was just as a reminder at the time that he actually approved the Alberta Clipper pipeline, allowing hundreds of thousands more barrels of oil per day to flow to the United States from Canada’s tar sands. Talk a little bit about his record generally, and what Pruitt’s environmental impact was, and about his deregulatory agenda.

MARY ANNE HITT: Well, let me say first that I am a mom of an 8-year-old, and I found it very heartwarming when that mom stood up and I think said what a lot of us moms wish we could say to Scott Pruitt in person, which is that it’s our clean air and our clean water and the very safety of our kids that is on the line. And Scott Pruitt from day one in office was, frankly, working to dismantle the EPA. It was his life’s work formerly as the Oklahoma attorney general to try to find shortcuts or loopholes around our clean air and clean water standards, and from his first day on the job he began working at the behest of polluters to do just that.

And in doing so, if that wasn’t bad enough, he also was just-. It was just, frankly, a bottomless pit of scandals, of corruption, from multi-hundred dollar fountain pens, to accepting cheap rent from a lobbyist for a fossil fuel company, to tactical paants that were bought for him for the price of hundreds of dollars a pair. So it was really, frankly, I think-. Again, as a mom, as someone who’s worried about the safety of your air and water, the fact that he was that corrupt in his personal dealings was one thing. The fact that he was playing fast and loose with the water that we all drink and the air that we all breathe was what was truly scary about Scott Pruitt.

DHARNA NOOR: Talk a little bit more about what some of the impacts that he had were on clean air and clean water regulations. Talk a little bit more specifically about what some of his legacies will be, moving on from the EPA.

MARY ANNE HITT: Well, the long list of Scott Pruitt’s ethical scandals is only matched by a long list of air and water and climate regulations that he tried to roll back in his tenure at EPA. Everything from standards for how to dispose of toxic coal ash safely so it doesn’t end up in the drinking water, so you don’t have things like arsenic in your drinking water from coal ash, to the first ever climate standards that we had as a nation to reduce climate pollution from power plants. He was working to repeal and revoke those. You can talk about the safety of pesticides. You can talk about-. Really, Scott Pruitt never met an environmental regulation that he didn’t want to try to roll back or repeal. And the good news, if there is any, is that he didn’t get too far in that agenda. A lot of what he was trying to do, we believe, was illegal. And the Sierra Club and other groups were challenging him in court every step of the way. So he set a lot of bad things in motion. And we are worried that Andrew Wheeler, the number two at the EPA who is now in charge, will continue on that toxic agenda. But we also are very determined to fight them every step of the way.

DHARNA NOOR: Yeah. So let’s talk a little bit more about Andrew Wheeler. Again, he’s a former coal lobbyist. And I understand that your organization actually obtained emails between him and Scott Pruitt through the Freedom of Information Act. What did you find from those emails, and what do you generally expect from him as an EPA administrator?

MARY ANNE HITT: Well, I want to give a special shoutout to our attorneys and press folks at the Sierra Club. They paged through, I am not kidding you, almost 60000 pages of FOIA documents from the EPA that are the source of the information about a lot of these scandals that you saw on the news and you wrote about on the front pages of the newspaper. And Wheeler and Pruitt were definitely partners in crime, working to advance this agenda of rolling back our environmental safeguards that they’re going to continue full speed ahead with Wheeler at the helm, to try to get that agenda over the finish line. And we are going to be fighting at the Sierra Club and with all of our partners every step of the way to prevent that from happening. Because it really is, you know, just as the mom who confronted Scott Pruitt in the restaurant put it so so beautifully, it’s our kids future. It’s the safety of the water we drink and the air that we breathe. And that, that is what they are playing fast and loose with to benefit their polluter buddies.

DHARNA NOOR: And then, lastly, how can people hold the EPA administrator, whether it’s Pruitt, Wheeler, or somebody else accountable? What are some actions that people can take to ensure that, you know, we don’t have another EPA administrator like Scott Pruitt? Is that even possible?

MARY ANNE HITT: Well, the Sierra Club tonight is reaching out to all of our members and supporters and asking them to call their members of Congress, because Congress is the agency that does have oversight over the EPA. And obviously Trump is happy to have folks reading the EPA doing the bidding of polluters. And so our check on that is the Congress. And Scott Pruitt did get a lot of a lot of very hard questions, increasingly hard questions, every time he appeared before the Congress and before the Senate. That was a lot of what put him on the hot seat and, again, exposed some of this corruption.

And so we’re going to be counting on members of Congress now to do the same thing with Wheeler who, again, he’s a coal lobbyist. He has a very long and not very pretty track record when it comes to clean air, clean water. He’s got the same agenda as Pruitt and Trump, which is to dismantle all of our environmental safeguards. And so folks should call their members of Congress and ask them to oppose Wheeler and Trump’s agenda, and to actually put someone in charge of EPA who will let the EPA do its job and fulfill its mission. I’m sure the very hardworking folks at EPA are breathing a sigh of relief tonight, and would just like to be able to do their jobs to make sure our air and water are safe. And the Congress needs to allow the EPA to do just that. That’s what the American people are counting on.

DHARNA NOOR: All right. Well, Marianne, as we see what Wheeler and others do in the EPA we’ll be sure to check in again with you. Thanks so much for coming on today.

MARY ANNE HITT: Thank you so much for having me.

DHARNA NOOR: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

https://therealnews.com/stories/scandal-ridden-pruitt-finally-resigns-from-epa-leaving-another-climate-denier-in-charge
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AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #692 on: July 07, 2018, 08:11:42 pm »
How the Democrats take the Supreme Court back from Donald Trump 🦀

Tim Faulkner | 12:18 am EDT July 7, 2018

Palmer Report » Analysis

Article III, Section I of the Constitution states that “The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.” While the Constitution established the Supreme Court, it left it up to Congress to decide how to fill the court. The Judiciary Act of 1789 set the number at one chief justice and five associate justices.
 
While the intended purpose of the Supreme Court is to determine the constitutionality of laws, there have been several instances where the court was used for partisan political moves. When the Federalists lost power in 1800 the lame-duck Congress made a play to prevent President Thomas Jefferson from being able to make an appointment by reducing the number of justices to five. However, the incoming Congress repealed this to put the number back at six. In 1807, Congress increased it to seven.

Then in 1837, President Andrew Jackson was able to appoint two justices after Congress increased the number of justices to nine. Following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, a Republican majority in Congress voted to reduce the number of justices to prevent Democrat President Andrew Johnson from appointing any new justices. When Ulysses S. Grant won the presidency in 1868, Congress increased it back to nine to allow him two appointments. The number of Supreme Court justices has remained at nine since the Judiciary Act of 1869.

With Donald Trump ready to announce his next appointment on Monday, there have been a multitude of strategies put forth for Democrats to attempt to prevent the confirmation. With so many critical laws that protect the rights of so many people at risk, this is an extremely important effort. When Andrew Johnson was about to be impeached, Congress passed the Judicial Act of 1866, which reduced the number of seats to prevent him from getting any appointments.
 
If the Republicans currently in Congress cared enough to put country over party, they could prevent Donald Trump from making another appointment, but we all know that will not happen. Instead, if Trump is able to push through his next choice, at least we know that once Democrats take back power, they have the ability to counter Trump’s appointments by adding two new seats which can be filled by justices who will actually make decisions to protect Americans, not hurt them.


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http://www.palmerreport.com/analysis/democrats-supreme-court-trump-back/11248/

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AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #693 on: July 10, 2018, 02:10:24 pm »
Agelbert NOTE: Trump 🦀 is following EXACTLY the same playbook Hitler used in Germany to make the courts a handmaiden to fascist murder ☠️ and mayhem 💣. >:( God help us.

Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh stumbles out of the gate

Bill Palmer | 11:58 pm EDT July 9, 2018

Palmer Report » Analysis

Brett Kavanaugh just did a big favor for those who are seeking to defeat his nomination to the Supreme Court. Donald Trump could have picked any far-right judge and made his billionaire donors and extremist supporters happy. So why did he choose Kavanaugh specifically? You and I know that it obviously involved a private conversation about personal loyalty. But thanks to Kavanaugh’s big stupid mouth, now the whole world knows it.

After Donald Trump introduced Brett Kavanaugh as his Supreme Court nominee, Kavanaugh stepped to the microphone and said this: “No president has ever consulted more widely or talked to more people from more backgrounds to seek input for a Supreme Court nomination.” It was precisely what Trump wanted to hear. It was also the dumbest thing Kavanaugh has ever said in public, because he just personally married himself to Trump in the court of public opinion.

There are two ways we can convince mainstream America to ferociously stand up and fight against this Supreme Court pick. The first is to point out that Brett Kavanaugh will cast the deciding vote to overturn Roe v Wade, gay marriage, and other crucial rulings. This simply requires pointing to his existing record of far-right extremism. The second is to frame Kavanaugh as being a corrupt puppet of Donald Trump. This was going to be a difficult sell, until Kavanaugh just handed us the above quote.

I’ll post Brett Kavanaugh’s words about Donald Trump again, because this is the quote that you copy-paste and send to all your friends who wouldn’t normally care about the Supreme Court but who think Trump is a corrupt criminal: “No president has ever consulted more widely or talked to more people from more backgrounds to seek input for a Supreme Court nomination.”

These are not the words of a legitimate judge. They’re the words of a corrupt judge who is willing and eager to do Trump’s 🦀 personal bidding 🦍 at the expense of America.

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http://www.palmerreport.com/analysis/stumbles-brett-kavanaugh-trump-court/11298/

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AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #694 on: July 10, 2018, 10:55:12 pm »
Agelbert NOTE: It turns out there was ANOTHER RAT named Anthony Kennedy in the Supreme Crooks Court 😈 👹 💵 🎩 🍌 🏴‍☠️ ALL THE TIME!

Exposed: secret corrupt retirement deal between
Anthony Kennedy and Donald Trump 🦀

Bill Palmer | 6:04 pm EDT July 10, 2018

Palmer Report » Analysis

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was secretly negotiating with Donald Trump about his replacement, even as he was casting major pro-Trump votes that were out of character with his own judicial record. This comes on top of earlier revelations that Kennedy’s son played a key role at Trump’s favorite Russian money laundering bank. We’re now looking at a full blown scandal that’s getting uglier by the hour.


NBC News is now backing off from its earlier implication that Anthony Kennedy only agreed to retire if Donald Trump specifically picked Brett Kavanaugh, and is now reporting that Kennedy provided Trump with five names that would be acceptable to him. Brett Kavanaugh was the only conservative name on the list, so Kennedy would have known that Trump could only pick Kavanaugh. These negotiations reportedly began months ago. This means that Kennedy was secretly negotiating his retirement with Trump while he was casting the swing vote on issues like Trump’s Muslim Ban.


While Kennedy has sided with conservatives on fiscal issues, he’s often sided with liberals on civil rights issues like gay marriage; his vote in favor of the Muslim Ban was out of character. If Kennedy had voted against Trump on the Muslim Ban, at a time when he was negotiating with Trump over his potential replacement, it likely would have prompted the vindictive Trump to break off those negotiations. Kennedy would have known this – meaning that his final votes can be seen as fully corrupt.


If anyone were tempted to give Anthony Kennedy the benefit of the doubt about the corrupt nature of this secret deal, that goes out the window within the context of the fairly straight line that can be drawn from Kennedy to his son to Donald Trump to Russian money laundering to the Trump-Russia election rigging conspiracy. Kennedy’s legacy is clearly ruined; the only question is whether he’ll end up facing criminal charges. Follow the money.

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http://www.palmerreport.com/analysis/corrupt-kennedy-trump-exposed/11311/
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AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #695 on: July 13, 2018, 04:51:38 pm »
Truthout

July 13, 2018


Exploiting Pensions, Wall Street Cost Taxpayers $624 Billion Over Last Decade

Jake Johnson, Common Dreams: In a frenzied bid for higher profits in the decade following the 2008 financial crisis, Wall Street pension fund managers have siphoned as much as $624 billion from Americans' retirement savings -- and, as a direct result, taxpayer coffers -- through a vicious combination of high fees and foolish investment strategies.

Read the Article
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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #696 on: July 22, 2018, 12:25:46 pm »

Poisoning Our Children: The Parent's Guide to the Myths of Safe Pesticides

July 22, 2018 • 71,521 views 👀




Story at-a-glance

• In the U.S., there are about 80,000 registered chemicals. Of these, only a few hundred have been tested for safety, and even that testing is considered inadequate by most toxicologists

• Chemicals are tested in isolation. In real world application however, chemicals are used in combination, and the few studies done on synergetic effects reveal even nontoxic chemicals can become toxic when mixed together

The agricultural and global chemical industries have manipulated the system to control and suppress safety concerns. Through regulatory capture, regulators end up working for the industry’s 😈 👹 💵 🎩 rather than the public’s interest

• Regulators make decisions on the safety of poisons in our food and environment based on data provided by the company selling the toxin, and outsiders cannot review that evidence

• There’s no specific safety testing done for children, but studies show there is no lower level of pesticides that is safe for children

Read more:

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2018/07/22/no-safe-limit-for-pesticides-for-children.aspx
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AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #697 on: July 27, 2018, 09:49:04 pm »
JUL 25, 2018TD ORIGINALS

American Society Would Collapse If It Weren’t for These 8 Myths

Our society should’ve collapsed by now. You know that, right?

No society should function with this level of inequality (with the possible exception of one of those prison planets in a “Star Wars” movie). Sixty-three percent of Americans can’t afford a $500 emergency. Yet Amazon head Jeff Bezos is now worth a record $141 billion. He could literally end world hunger for multiple years and still have more money left over than he could ever spend on himself.

Worldwide, one in 10 people only make $2 a day. Do you know how long it would take one of those people to make the same amount as Jeff Bezos has? 193 million years. (If they only buy single-ply toilet paper.) Put simply, you cannot comprehend the level of inequality in our current world or even just our nation.

So … shouldn’t there be riots in the streets every day? Shouldn’t it all be collapsing? Look outside. The streets aren’t on fire. No one is running naked and screaming (usually). Does it look like everyone’s going to work at gunpoint? No. We’re all choosing to continue on like this.

Why?

Well, it comes down to the myths we’ve been sold.


Myths that are ingrained in our social programming from birth, deeply entrenched, like an impacted wisdom tooth. These myths are accepted 🙉 🙊 and basically never questioned.

I’m going to cover eight of them. There are more than eight. There are probably hundreds. But I’m going to cover eight because (A) no one reads a column titled “Hundreds of Myths of American Society,” (B) these are the most important ones and (C) we all have other s h i t to do.

Myth No. 8—We have a democracy.

If you think we still have a democracy or a democratic republic, ask yourself this: When was the last time Congress did something that the people of America supported that did not align with corporate interests? … You probably can’t do it. It’s like trying to think of something that rhymes with “orange.” You feel like an answer exists but then slowly realize it doesn’t. Even the Carter Center and former President Jimmy Carter believe that America has been transformed into an oligarchy: A small, corrupt elite control the country with almost no input from the people. The rulers need the myth that we’re a democracy to give us the illusion of control.

Myth No. 7—We have an accountable and legitimate voting system.

Gerrymandering, voter purging, data mining, broken exit polling, push polling, superdelegates, electoral votes, black-box machines, voter ID suppression, provisional ballots, super PACs, dark money, third parties banished from the debates and two corporate parties that stand for the same goddamn pile of fetid crap!

What part of this sounds like a legitimate election system?

No, we have what a large Harvard study called the worst election system in the Western world. Have you ever seen where a parent has a toddler in a car seat, and the toddler has a tiny, brightly colored toy steering wheel so he can feel like he’s driving the car? That’s what our election system is—a toy steering wheel. Not connected to anything. We all sit here like infants, excitedly shouting, “I’m steeeeering!”

And I know it’s counterintuitive, but that’s why you have to vote. We have to vote in such numbers that we beat out what’s stolen through our ridiculous rigged system.

Myth No. 6—We have an independent media that keeps the rulers accountable.

Our media outlets are funded by weapons contractors, big pharma, big banks, big oil and big, fat hard-on pills. (Sorry to go hard on hard-on pills, but we can’t get anything resembling hard news because it’s funded by dicks.) The corporate media’s jobs are to rally for war, cheer for Wall Street and froth at the mouth for consumerism. It’s their mission to actually fortify belief in the myths I’m telling you about right now. Anybody who steps outside that paradigm is treated like they’re standing on a playground wearing nothing but a trench coat.

Myth No. 5—We have an independent judiciary.

The criminal justice system has become a weapon wielded by the corporate state. This is how bankers can foreclose on millions of homes illegally and see no jail time, but activists often serve jail time for nonviolent civil disobedience. Chris Hedges recently noted, “The most basic constitutional rights … have been erased for many. … Our judicial system, as Ralph Nader has pointed out, has legalized secret law, secret courts, secret evidence, secret budgets and secret prisons in the name of national security.”

If you’re not part of the monied class, you’re pressured into releasing what few rights you have left. According to The New York Times, “97 percent of federal cases and 94 percent of state cases end in plea bargains, with defendants pleading guilty in exchange for a lesser sentence.”

That’s the name of the game. Pressure people of color and poor people to just take the plea deal because they don’t have a million dollars to spend on a lawyer. (At least not one who doesn’t advertise on beer coasters.)

Myth No. 4—The police 🦍 are here to protect you. They’re your friends.

That’s funny. I don’t recall my friend pressuring me into sex to get out of a speeding ticket. (Which is essentially still legal in 32 states.)

The police in our country are primarily designed to do two things: protect the property of the rich and perpetrate the completely immoral war on drugs—which by definition is a war on our own people.

We lock up more people than any other country on earth. Meaning the land of the free is the largest prison state in the world. So all these droopy-faced politicians and rabid-talking heads telling you how awful China is on human rights or Iran or North Korea—none of them match the numbers of people locked up right here under Lady Liberty’s skirt.

Myth No. 3—Buying will make you happy.

This myth is put forward mainly by the floods of advertising we take in but also by our social engineering. Most of us feel a tenacious emptiness, an alienation deep down behind our surface emotions (for a while I thought it was gas). That uneasiness is because most of us are flushing away our lives at jobs we hate before going home to seclusion boxes called houses or apartments. We then flip on the TV to watch reality shows about people who have it worse than we do (which we all find hilarious).

If we’re lucky, we’ll make enough money during the week to afford enough beer on the weekend to help it all make sense. (I find it takes at least four beers for everything to add up.) But that doesn’t truly bring us fulfillment. So what now? Well, the ads say buying will do it. Try to smother the depression and desperation under a blanket of flat-screen TVs, purses and Jet Skis. Now does your life have meaning? No? Well, maybe you have to drive that Jet Ski a little faster! Crank it up until your bathing suit flies off and you’ll feel alive!

The dark truth is that we have to believe the myth that consuming is the answer or else we won’t keep running around the wheel. And if we aren’t running around the wheel, then we start thinking, start asking questions. Those questions are not good for the ruling elite, who enjoy a society based on the daily exploitation of 99 percent of us.

Myth No. 2—If you work hard, things will get better.

According to Deloitte’s Shift Index survey: “80% of people are dissatisfied with their jobs” and “[t]he average person spends 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime.” That’s about one-seventh of your life—and most of it is during your most productive years.

Ask yourself what we’re working for. To make money? For what? Almost none of us are doing jobs for survival anymore. Once upon a time, jobs boiled down to:

I plant the food—>I eat the food—>If I don’t plant food = I die.

But nowadays, if you work at a café—will someone die if they don’t get their super-caf-mocha-frap-almond-****-latte? I kinda doubt they’ll keel over from a blueberry scone deficiency.

If you work at Macy’s, will customers perish if they don’t get those boxer briefs with the sweat-absorbent-ass fabric? I doubt it. And if they do die from that, then their problems were far greater than you could’ve known. So that means we’re all working to make other people rich because we have a society in which we have to work. Technological advancements can do most everything that truly must get done.

So if we wanted to, we could get rid of most work and have tens of thousands of more hours to enjoy our lives. But we’re not doing that at all. And no one’s allowed to ask these questions—not on your mainstream airwaves at least. Even a half-step like universal basic income is barely discussed because it doesn’t compute with our cultural programming.

Scientists say it’s quite possible artificial intelligence will take away all human jobs in 120 years. I think they know that will happen because bots will take the jobs and then realize that 80 percent of them don’t need to be done! The bots will take over and then say, “Stop it. … Stop spending a seventh of your life folding shirts at Banana Republic.”

One day, we will build monuments to the bot that told us to enjoy our lives and … leave the shirts wrinkly.

And this leads me to the largest myth of our American society.

Myth No. 1—You are free.

And I’m not talking about the millions locked up in our prisons. I’m talking about you and me. If you think you’re free, try running around with your nipples out, ladies. Guys, take a dump on the street and see how free you are.

I understand there are certain restrictions on freedom we actually desire to have in our society—maybe you’re not crazy about everyone leaving a Stanley Steamer in the middle of your walk to work. But a lot of our lack of freedom is not something you would vote for if given the chance.

Try building a fire in a parking lot to keep warm in the winter.

Try sleeping in your car for more than a few hours without being harassed by police.

Try maintaining your privacy for a week without a single email, web search or location data set collected by the NSA and the telecoms.

Try signing up for the military because you need college money and then one day just walking off the base, going, “Yeah, I was bored. Thought I would just not do this anymore.”

Try explaining to Kentucky Fried Chicken that while you don’t have the green pieces of paper they want in exchange for the mashed potatoes, you do have some pictures you’ve drawn on a napkin to give them instead.

Try running for president as a third-party candidate. (Jill Stein was shackled and chained to a chair by police during one of the debates.)

Try using the restroom at Starbucks without buying something … while black.

We are less free than a dog on a leash. We live in one of the hardest-working, most unequal societies on the planet with more billionaires than ever.

Meanwhile, Americans supply 94 percent of the paid blood used worldwide. And it’s almost exclusively coming from very poor people. This abusive vampire system is literally sucking the blood from the poor. Does that sound like a free decision they made? Or does that sound like something people do after immense economic force crushes down around them? (One could argue that sperm donation takes a little less convincing.)

Point is, in order to enforce this illogical, immoral system, the corrupt rulers—most of the time—don’t need guns and tear gas to keep the exploitation mechanisms humming along. All they need are some good, solid bullshit myths for us all to buy into, hook, line and sinker. Some fairy tales for adults.

It’s time to wake up.

If you think this column is important, please share it. Also, check out Lee Camp’s weekly TV show “Redacted Tonight” and weekly podcast “Common Censored.”


https://www.truthdig.com/articles/american-society-would-collapse-if-it-werent-for-these-8-myths/
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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #698 on: July 28, 2018, 04:39:30 pm »
Common Dreams

BY Jake Johnson

PUBLISHED July 27, 2018

Quote
How are they going to pay for this?” asked one commentator on Twitter. “Oh wait, that question only gets asked when it comes to social programs that benefit the working class.”

The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald added:

It seems strange, at least to me, that Democrats – with one side of their mouth – say Trump is an authoritarian, lawless traitor, but then, with the other side, keep voting to increase his war powers, military budget and detention & spying authorities. https://t.co/nRoOM7Kifw pic.twitter.com/X11kYf9Qsf

— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) July 27, 2018

House Democrats Join GOP to Approve $717 Billion in Military Spending

Full article:

https://truthout.org/articles/house-democrats-join-gop-to-approve-717-billion-in-military-spending/
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AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #699 on: July 31, 2018, 08:14:08 pm »
Gore Vidal Interview Series with Paul Jay (7/7)

July 31, 2018

On the sixth anniversary of the death of Gore Vidal, and the final day of our fundraising campaign, we republish Paul Jay’s 2007 interview with Vidal on the state of journalism. Vidal says, “I’ve been around the ruling class all my life, and I’ve been quite aware of their total contempt for the people of the country”


Story Transcript

PAUL JAY: The economic structure of television makes what I’m going to ask difficult to accomplish. But do you think television journalists have learned anything from this last four years?

GORE VIDAL: Well, they’ve always been lazy, and they’re not used to getting to the heart of problems, of matters. They’re not used to investigating anything. Socrates tells us that the unexamined life is not worth living, and that is an absolute truth. Those who want to examine life don’t go in for journalism, because they’re not allowed to. So they’ve got to be very careful. They have to think about tenure if they’re at a university. They’ve got to think about, you know, the publisher and advertisers. So it’s a difficult row to hoe, and we have no intellectual tradition of any kind in the United States. I even told Arthur Schlesinger, you know, Arthur, one Schlesinger does not make a spring. He was horrified.

PAUL JAY: What do you think is the significance of what we’re trying to do?

GORE VIDAL: Well, I’m all for it. I wouldn’t be sitting here today if I didn’t like the notion. And it’s apt to catch on. It’s when the news starts to break how two presidential elections, 2000 and 2004, were stolen, and The New York Times would not review the book written about it by Congressman Conyers, nor Washington Post, nor Wall Street Journal. The great instruments of news were silent. Well, they’re saying, we don’t give a goddamn about the United States. Just stew in your own juice. Leave us alone. We have corporate figures to add up now, and we have certain things we want to put in place, and we may have a couple of candidates for you dumdums, but you probably won’t like them.

You know, I’ve been around the ruling class all my life, and I’ve been quite aware of their total contempt for the people of the country. And the Republican machine became so good at transmitting its own feelings about the world to the enemy, to the liberals, once anyone, any of the right wing hear what I just said, he’ll say, oh, the liberals have always hated America. We know that. They despise family values, because they’re only interested in gangbangs and drugs and so forth. This is the way they deal. And whenever they have a real coward for president, like Bush himself, and you have a hero like Kerry, oh, he’s a coward. Didn’t you know that? We’ve got five guys who were in Vietnam with him. What they do is whatever is their transgression, whatever are their faults, they lie and apply it to the other person. That confuses everything. If I were an average voter in the United States I wouldn’t know who was telling the truth, whether Kerry really had run away and didn’t get purple hearts, or whether Junior, you know, had actually learned how to fly a plane.

PAUL JAY: And television news covers the lies like news.

GORE VIDAL: Yes. It has a lock on it.

PAUL JAY: You’ve been touring the country after your new book.

GORE VIDAL: Well, no, I was touring it before the last congressional election to raise money for the Democratic Party. Not that I like the Democratic Party, but we have to have the semblance of a second party to get rid of these others.

PAUL JAY: What do you hear from people?

GORE VIDAL: Well, I’ve never heard cries of rage so loud. It’s when I’m in New Mexico or West Virginia. I’ve covered the whole country by now.

PAUL JAY: Our project’s fundamentally motivated out of our own concern for what the future holds, especially in terms of what democratic rights we do have and the way the media has played such a destructive role. What do you think is the potential for what we’re doing? What do you make of the project?

GORE VIDAL: Well, the potential is enormous. There’s not anyone with an IQ above, you know, lowest room temperature who isn’t interested in something like this. Everybody is on to the con act of our media, that they are obeying bigger, richer interests than informing the public, which is the last thing that corporate America has ever been interested in doing. So I think, you know, the sky’s the limit to the amount of audience you can get.

And one of the secrets is, aside from telling the truth, which most people in America hate because they’ve been brought up on advertising, and they think the truth is just something irrelevant. Irrelevant. You know, everybody lies. You know, I love that line. So it’s alright to steal the election. Well, that isn’t what the world’s about. And I think it’s really come down to we’re going to be blown up one of these days. We have now acquired so many enemies with so much power in the world that, well, they’re going to take a couple of cracks at us. I would rather have Real News here telling us just where it was they struck, where it is, intelligence says they may strike again, and maybe why they’re doing it. We blew up their mosque, we killed their president, or whatever it was that set them off. What our fictional news does now, and this is- all it is is fiction, whether it’s CNN or CBS or NBC, it’s all fiction. The people making this junk know that. The viewers suspect it. But where are they going to turn to? Where are they going to find out? They can’t all go out and get a, you know, subscription to The Nation, which would help straighten them out, at least in print.

So you’re going to be the only alternative, and the word will start to spread. Look at the speed with which, you know, just by telling jokes, John Stewart and company got the attention of everybody. And now they say, well, most of the real news that the people know about they get from the satirizing of it that Stewart does. And very funny he is, too. In other words you build a better mousetrap, and the mouse will come to your door.

PAUL JAY: Thank you.

https://therealnews.com/stories/gore-vidal-interview-series-with-paul-jay
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AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #700 on: August 05, 2018, 05:55:16 pm »
Do Major Corporations Pay a Lot in Income Tax?


The nation's top CEOs get richer, while the U.S. government loses out, at least according to the Institute for Policy Studies. The think tank reviewed tax and personal financial information from 2010 and found that at least 25 U.S. companies paid their CEOs more in total compensation than the firms themselves paid in corporate income taxes.  >:(

In fact, while the CEOs earned an average of $16.7 million USD each, their businesses received an average of $304 million in tax refunds from the federal government.

Among the widest discrepancies:

John Lundgren got paid more than $32.5 million from Stanley Black & Decker, while the firm saw a tax refund of $183 million.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally earned more than $26.5 million and Ford received a $69 million refund. 🤬

The report follows up on recent controversies about sky-high CEO pay, as some estimates show that top executives earn about 325 times more than the average American worker.

It's good to be the boss: 

On average, CEOs in the United States earn the equivalent of $6,000 per hour.

Average CEO pay has jumped 930 percent since 1978, compared with an 11 percent hike for all other employees.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is the world's wealthiest man, with a net worth of about $150 billion USD.

https://www.wisegeek.com/do-major-corporations-pay-a-lot-in-income-tax.htm



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AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #701 on: August 09, 2018, 09:35:46 pm »

Trump 🦀 Ally Rep. Chris Collins 😈 Arrested for Insider Trading – Is the Swamp Drained Now?

August 9, 2018

White collar criminologist Bill Black analyzes the significance of Rep. Chris Collins arrest for insider trading along with his son and son’s fiance’s father on 13 counts of wire fraud, securities fraud, and making false statements to the FBI.

Collins was first Congressman to endorse Trump and is one of his closest confidants


https://therealnews.com/stories/trump-ally-rep-chris-collins-arrested-for-insider-trading-is-the-swamp-drained-now

Agelbert NOTE: This is just the tip of the Trump "iceberg" .

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AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #702 on: August 13, 2018, 09:16:47 pm »
Agelbert NOTE: Pentagon response to the following 100% factual article:


The Political Economy of the Weapons Industry: Guess who’s sleeping with our insecurity blanket

by Joan Roelofs, Counterpunch 25:3, 16-22 (2018) republished August 7, 2018

For many people the “military-industrial-complex (MIC)” brings to mind the top twenty weapons manufacturers. President Dwight Eisenhower, who warned about it in 1961, wanted to call it the military-industrial-congressional-complex, but decided it was not prudent to do so. Today it might well be called the military-industrial-congressional-almost-everything-complex. Most departments and levels of government, businesses, and also many charities, social service, environmental, and cultural organizations, are deeply embedded with the military.

The weapons industry may be spearheading the military budget and military operations; it is aided immensely by the cheering or silence of citizens and their representatives. Here we will provide some likely reasons for that assent. We will use the common typology of three national sectors: government, business, and nonprofit, with varying amounts of interaction among them. This does not preclude, though it masks somewhat, the proposition that government is the executive of the ruling class.

Every kind of business figures in the Department of Defense (DoD) budget. Lockheed is currently the largest contractor in the weapons business. It connects with the worldwide MIC by sourcing parts, for example, for the F-35 fighter plane, from many countries. This helps a lot to market the weapon, despite its low opinion among military experts as well as anti-military critics. Lockheed also does civilian work, which enhances its aura while it spreads its values.

Other types of businesses have enormous multi-year contracts—in the billions. This despite the constitutional proviso that Congress not appropriate military funds for more than a two year term. Notable are the construction companies, such as Fluor, KBR, Bechtel, and Hensel Phelps. These build huge bases, often with high tech surveillance or operational capacity, in the US and abroad, where they hire locals or commonly, third country nationals to carry out the work. There are also billion-funded contractors in communications technology, intelligence analysis, transportation, logistics, food, and clothing. “Contracting out” is our modern military way; this also spreads its influence far and wide.

Medium, small, and tiny businesses dangle from the “Christmas tree” of the Pentagon, promoting popular cheering or silence on the military budget. These include special set-asides for minority-owned and small businesses. A Black-owned small business, KEPA-TCI (construction), received contracts for $356 million.  [Data comes from several sources, available free on the internet: websites, tax forms, and annual reports of organizations; usaspending.gov (USA) and governmentcontractswon.com (GCW).] Major corporations of all types serving our services have been excellently described in Nick Turse’s The Complex. Really small and tiny businesses are drawn into the system: landscapers, dry cleaners, child care centers, and Come-Bye Goose Control of Maryland.

Among the businesses with large DoD contracts are book publishers: McGraw-Hill, Greenwood, Scholastic, Pearson, Houghton Mifflin, Harcourt, Elsevier, and others. Rarely have the biases in this industry, in fiction, nonfiction, and textbook offerings, been examined. Yet the influences on this small but significant population, the reading public, and the larger schooled contingent, may help explain the silence of the literate crowd and college graduates.

Much of what is left of organized industrial labor is in weapons manufacture. Its PACs fund the few “progressive” candidates in our political system, who tend to be silent about war and the threat of nuclear annihilation. Unlike other factories, the armaments makers do not suddenly move overseas, although they do use subcontractors worldwide.

Military spending may be only about 6% of the GDP, yet it has great impact because: 1. it is a growing sector; 2. it is recession-proof; 3. it does not rely on consumer whims; 4. it is the only thing prospering in many areas; and 5. the “multiplier” effect: subcontracting, corporate purchasing, and employee spending perk up the regional economy. It is ideally suited to Keynesian remedies, because of its ready destruction and obsolescence: what isn’t consumed in warfare, rusted out, or donated to our friends still needs to be replaced by the slightly more lethal thing. Many of our science graduates work for the military directly or its contractee labs concocting these.

The military’s unbeatable weapon is jobs, and all members of Congress, and state and local officials, are aware of this. It is where well-paying jobs are found for mechanics, scientists, and engineers; even janitorial workers do well in these taxpayer-rich firms. Weaponry is also important in our manufactured goods exports as our allies are required to have equipment that meets our specifications. Governments, rebels, terrorists, pirates, and gangsters all fancy our high tech and low tech lethal devices.

Our military economy also yields a high return on investments. These benefit not only corporate executives and other rich, but many middle and working class folk, as well as churches, benevolent, and cultural organizations. The lucrative mutual funds offered by Vanguard, Fidelity, and others are heavily invested in the weapons manufacturers.

Individual investors may not know what is in their fund’s portfolios; the institutions usually know. A current project of World Beyond War advocates divestment of military stocks in the pension funds of state and local government workers: police, firepersons, teachers, and other civil servants. Researchers are making a state-by-state analysis of these funds. Among the findings are the extensive military stock holdings of CALpers, the California Public Employees Retirement System (the sixth largest pension fund on earth), the California State Teachers Retirement System, the New York State Teachers Retirement System, the New York City Employees Retirement System, and the New York State Common Retirement Fund (state and local employees). Amazing! the New York City teachers were once the proud parents of red diaper babies.

The governmental side of the MIC complex goes far beyond the DoD. In the executive branch, Departments of State, Homeland Security, Energy, Veterans Affairs, Interior; and CIA, AID, FBI, NASA, and other agencies; are permeated with military projects and goals. Even the Department of Agriculture has a joint program with the DoD to “restore” Afghanistan by creating a dairy cattle industry. No matter that the cattle and their feed must be imported,  cattle cannot graze in the terrain as the native sheep and goats can, there is no adequate transportation or refrigeration, and the Afghans don’t normally drink milk. The native animals provide yogurt, butter, and wool, and graze on the rugged slopes, but that is all so un-American.

Congress is a firm ally of the military. Campaign contributions from contractor PACs are generous, and lobbying is extensive. So also are the outlays of financial institutions, which are heavily invested in the MIC. Congresspeople have significant shares of weapons industry stocks. To clinch the deal, members of Congress (and also state and local lawmakers) are well aware of the economic importance of military contracts in their states and districts.

Military bases, inside the US as well as worldwide, are an economic hub for communities. The DoD lists more than 4,000 domestic properties. Some are bombing ranges or recruiting stations; perhaps 400 are bases with a major impact on their localities. The largest of these, Fort Bragg, NC, is a city unto itself, and a cultural influence as well as economic asset to its region, as so well described by Catherine Lutz in Homefront. California has about 40 bases, and is home to major weapons makers as well. Officers generally live off-base, so the real estate, restaurant, retail, auto repair, hotel and other businesses are prospering. Local civilians find employment on bases. Closed, unconvertible installations are sometimes tourist attractions, such as the unlikeliest of all vacation spots, the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

DoD has direct contracts and grants with state and local governments. These are for various projects and services, including large amounts to fund the National Guard. The Army Engineers maintain swimming holes and parks, and police forces get a deal on Bearcats. JROTC programs nationwide provide funding for public schools, and even more for those that are public school military academies; six are in Chicago.

National, state and local governments are well covered by the “insecurity blanket;” the nonprofit sector is not neglected. Nevertheless, it does harbor the very small group of anti-war organizations, such as Iraq Veterans Against War, Veterans for Peace, World Beyond War, Peace Action, Union of Concerned Scientists, Center for International Policy, Catholic Worker, Answer Coalition, and others. Yet unlike the Vietnam War period there is no vocal group of religious leaders protesting war, and the few students who are politically active are more concerned with other issues.

Nonprofit organizations and institutions are involved several ways. Some are obviously partners of the MIC: Boy and Girl Scouts, Red Cross, veterans’ charities, military think-tanks such as RAND and Institute for Defense Analysis, establishment think-tanks like the American Enterprise Institute, Atlantic Council, and the flagship of US world projection, the Council on Foreign Relations. There are also many international nongovernmental organizations that assist the US government in delivering “humanitarian” assistance, sing the praises of the market economy, or attempt to repair the “collateral” damage inflicted on lands and people, for example, Mercy Corps, Open Society Institutes, and CARE.

Educational institutions in all sectors are embedded with the military. The military schools include the service academies, National Defense University, Army War College, Naval War College, Air Force Institute of Technology, Air University, Defense Acquisition University, Defense Language Institute, Naval Postgraduate School, Defense Information School, the medical school, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and the notorious School of the Americas in Fort Benning, GA, now renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. “In addition, Senior Military Colleges offer a combination of higher education with military instruction. SMCs include Texas A&M University, Norwich University, The Virginia Military Institute, The Citadel, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), University of North Georgia and the Mary Baldwin Women’s Institute for Leadership.”

A university doesn’t have to be special to be part of the MIC. Most are awash with contracts, ROTC programs, and/or military officers and contractors on their boards of trustees. A study of the 100 most militarized universities includes prestigious institutions, as well as diploma mills that produce employees for military intelligence agencies and contractors.

Major liberal foundations have long been the “Sinews of Empire,” engaging in covert and overt operations to support imperial projection. They have been close associates of the Central Intelligence Agency, and were important in its instigation. The foundation created and supported Council on Foreign Relations has long been a link among Wall Street, large corporations, academia, the media, and our foreign and military policymakers.

Less obvious are the military connections of philanthropic, cultural, social service, environmental, and professional organizations. They are linked through donations; joint programs; sponsorship of events, exhibits, and concerts; awards (both ways); investments; boards of directors; top executives; and contracts. The data here covers approximately the last twenty years, and rounds out the reasons for the astounding support (according to the polls) that US citizens have conferred on our military, its budget, and its operations.

Military contractor philanthropy was the subject of previous reports, in 2006 and 2016. Every type of nonprofit (as well as public schools and universities) received support from the major weapons manufacturers; some findings were outstanding. Minority organizations were extremely well endowed. For many years there was crucial support for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from Lockheed; Boeing also funded the Congressional Black Caucus. The former president and CEO of the NAACP, Bruce Gordon, is now on the Board of Trustees of Northrop Grumman.

General Electric is the most generous military contractor philanthropist, with direct grants to organizations and educational institutions, partnerships with both, and matching contributions made by its thousands of employees. The latter reaches many of the nongovernmental and educational entities throughout the country.

Major donors to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (listed in its 2016 Annual Report) include the Defense Intelligence Agency, Cisco Systems, Open Society Foundations, US Department of Defense, General Electric, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and Lockheed Martin. This is an echo of the CEIP’s military connections reported in Horace Coon’s book of the 1930s, Money to Burn.

The DoD itself donates surplus property to organizations; among those eligible are Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Clubs, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Little League Baseball, and United Service Organizations. The Denton Program allows non-governmental organizations to use extra space on U.S. military cargo aircraft to transport humanitarian assistance materials.

There is a multitude of joint programs and sponsorships. Here is a small sample.

The American Association of University Women’s National Tech Savvy Program encourages girls to enter STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers, with sponsorship from Lockheed, BAE Systems, and Boeing. Junior Achievement, sponsored by Bechtel, United Technologies, and others, aims to train children in market-based economics and entrepreneurship. Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts is partnered with Northrop Grumman for an “early childhood STEM ‘Learning through the Arts’ initiative for pre-K and kindergarten students.” The Bechtel Foundation has two programs for a “sustainable California”— an education program to help “young people develop the knowledge, skills, and character to explore and understand the world,” and an environmental program to promote the “management, stewardship and conservation for the state’s natural resources.”

The NAACP ACT-SO is a “yearlong enrichment program designed to recruit, stimulate, and encourage high academic and cultural achievement among African-American high school students,” with sponsorship from Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman et al. The national winners receive financial awards from major corporations, college scholarships, internships, and apprenticeships—in the military industries.

In recent years the weapons makers have become enthusiastic environmentalists. Lockheed was a sponsor of the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation Sustainability Forum in 2013. Northrop Grumman supports Keep America Beautiful, National Public Lands Day, and a partnership with Conservation International and the Arbor Day Foundation (for forest restoration). United Technologies is the founding sponsor of the U.S. Green Building Council Center for Green Schools, and co-creator of the Sustainable Cities Design Academy. Tree Musketeers is a national youth environmental organization partnered by Northrop Grumman and Boeing.

Awards go both ways: industries give awards to nonprofits, and nonprofits awards to military industries and people. United Technologies, for its efforts in response to climate change, was on Climate A list of the Climate Disclosure Project. The Corporate Responsibility Association gave Lockheed position 8 in 2016 in its 100 Best Corporate Citizens List. Points of Light included General Electric and Raytheon in its 2014 list of the 50 Most Community-Minded Companies in America. Harold Koh, the lawyer who as Obama’s advisor defended drone strikes and intervention in Libya, was recently given distinguished visiting professor status by Phi Beta Kappa. In 2017, the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility recognized 34 Young Hispanic Corporate Achievers; 3 were executives in the weapons industry. Elizabeth Amato, an executive at United Technologies, received the YWCA Women Achievers Award.

Despite laborious searching through tax form 990s, it is difficult to discover the specifics of organizations’ investments. Many have substantial ones; in 2006, the American Friends Service Committee had $3.5 million in revenue from investments. Human Rights Watch reported $3.5 million investment income on its 2015 tax form 990, and more than $107 million in endowment funds.

One of the few surveys of nonprofit policies (by Commonfund in 2012) found that only 17% of foundations used environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria in their investments. ESG seems to have replaced “socially responsible investing (SRI)” in investment terminology, and it has a somewhat different slant. The most common restriction is the avoidance of companies doing business in regions with conflict risk; the next relates to climate change and carbon emissions; employee diversity is also an important consideration. Commonfund’s study of charities, social service and cultural organizations reported that 70% of their sample did not consider ESG in their investment policies. Although 61% of religious organizations did employ ESG criteria, only 16% of social service organizations and 3% of cultural organizations did.

Weapon industries are hardly ever mentioned in these reports. Religious organizations sometimes still used the SRI investment screens, but the most common were alcohol, gambling, pornography, and tobacco. The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, a resource for churches, lists almost 30 issues for investment consideration, including executive compensation, climate change, and opioid crisis, but none concerning weapons or war. The United Church (UCC) advisory, a pioneer in SRI investment policies, does include a screen: only companies should be chosen which have less than 10% revenue from alcohol or gambling, 1% from tobacco, 10% from conventional weapons and 5% from nuclear weapons.

The Art Institute of Chicago states on their website that “[W]ith the fiduciary responsibility to maximize returns on investment consistent with appropriate levels of risk, the Art Institute maintains a strong presumption against divesting for social, moral, or political reasons.” Listed as an associate is Honeywell International, and a major benefactor is the Crown Family (General Dynamics), which recently donated a $2 million endowment for a Professorship in Painting and Drawing.

Nonprofit institutions (as well as individuals and pension funds of all sectors) have heavy investments in the funds of financial companies such as State Street, Vanguard, BlackRock, Fidelity, CREF, and others, which have portfolios rich in military industries. These include information technology firms, which, although often regarded as “socially responsible,” are among the major DoD contractors.

In recent years foundations and other large nonprofits, such as universities, have favored investments in hedge funds, real estate, derivatives, and private equity. The Carnegie Endowment, more “transparent” than most, lists such funds on its 2015 tax form 990 (Schedule D Part VII). It is unlikely that Lockheed, Boeing, et al, are among the distressed debt bonanzas, so these institutions may be low on weapons stock. Nevertheless, most of them have firm connections to the MIC through donations, leadership, and/or contracts.

Close association with the military among nonprofit board members and executives works to keep the lid on anti-war activities and expression. The Aspen Institute is a think-tank that has resident experts, and also a policy of convening with activists, such as anti-poverty community leaders. Its Board of Trustees is chaired by James Crown, who is also a director of General Dynamics. Among other board members are Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice, Javier Solana (former Secretary-General of NATO), and former Congresswoman Jane Harman. Harman “received the Defense Department Medal for Distinguished Service in 1998, the CIA Seal Medal in 2007, and the CIA Director’s Award and the National Intelligence Distinguished Public Service Medal in 2011. She is currently a member of the Director of National Intelligence’s Senior Advisory Group, the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations.” Lifetime Aspen Trustees include Lester Crown and Henry Kissinger.

In recent years, the Carnegie Corporation board of trustees included Condoleezza Rice and General Lloyd Austin III (Ret.), Commander of CENTCOM, a leader in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and also a board member of United Technologies. A former president of Physicians for Peace (not the similarly named well-known group) is Rear Admiral Harold Bernsen, formerly Commander of the US Middle East Force and not a physician.

TIAA, the college teachers’ retirement fund, had a CEO from 1993-2002, John H. Biggs, who was at the same time a director of Boeing. TIAA’s current board of directors includes an associate of a major military research firm, MITRE Corporations, and several members of the Council on Foreign Relations. Its senior executive Vice President, Rahul Merchant, is currently also a director at two information technology firms that have large military contracts: Juniper Networks and AASKI.

The American Association of Retired Persons’ chief lobbyist from 2002-2007, Chris Hansen, had previously served in that capacity at Boeing. The current VP of communications at Northrop Grumman, Lisa Davis, held that position at AARP from 1996-2005.

Board members and CEOs of the major weapons corporations serve on the boards of many nonprofits. Just to indicate the scope, these include the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Newman’s Own Foundation, New York Public Library, Carnegie Hall Society, Conservation International, Wolf Trap Foundation, WGBH, Boy Scouts, Newport Festival Foundation, Toys for Tots, STEM organizations, Catalyst, the National Science Center, the US Institute of Peace, and many foundations and universities.

The DoD promotes the employment of retired military officers as board members or CEOs of nonprofits, and several organizations and degree programs further this transition. U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Eden Murrie (Ret.) is now Director of Government Transformation and Agency Partnerships at the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service. She maintains that “[F]ormer military leaders have direct leadership experience and bring talent and integrity that could be applied in a nonprofit organization. . .”  Given the early retirement age, former military personnel (and reservists) are a natural fit for positions of influence in federal, state, and local governments, school boards, nonprofits, and volunteer work; many are in those places.

Perhaps the coziest relationships under the insecurity blanket are the multitudes of contracts and grants the Department of Defense tenders to the nonprofit world. DoD fiscal reporting is notoriously inaccurate, and there were conflicting accounts between and within the online databases. Nevertheless, even a fuzzy picture gives a good idea of the depth and scope of the coverage.

From their 2016 Annual Report: “The Nature Conservancy is an organization that takes care of people and land, and they look for opportunities to partner. They’re nonpolitical. We need nongovernment organizations like TNC to help mobilize our citizens. They are on the ground. They understand the people, the politics, the partnerships. We need groups like TNC to subsidize what government organizations can’t do.” Mamie Parker, Former Assistant Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Arkansas Trustee, The Nature Conservancy.

Among the subsidies going the other way are 44 DoD contracts with TNC totaling several million for the years 2008-2018 (USA). These are for such services as Prairie Habitat Reforestation, $100,000, and Runway and Biosecurity upkeep at Palmyra Atoll, HI, $82,000 (USA). For the years 2000-2016, GCW lists a total of $5,500,000 in TNC’s DoD contracts.

Grants to TNC for specific projects, not clearly different from contracts, were much larger. Each is listed separately (USA); a rough count of the total was more than $150 million. One $55 million grant was for “Army compatible use buffer (acubs) in vicinity of Fort Benning military installation.” Similar grants, the largest, $14 million, were for this service at other bases. Another was for the implementation of Fort Benning army installation’s ecological monitoring plan. Included in the description of these grants was the notice: “Assist State and local governments to mitigate or prevent incompatible civilian land use/activity that is likely to impair the continued operational utility of a Department of Defense (DoD) military installation. Grantees and participating governments are expected to adopt and implement the study recommendations.”

TNC’s Form 990 for 2017 states its investment income as $21 million. It reported government grants of $108.5 million, and government contracts of $9 million. These may include funds from state and local as well as all departments of the federal government. The Department of the Interior, which manages the vast lands used for bombing ranges and live ammunition war games, is another TNC grantor.

Other environmental organizations sustained by DoD contracts are the National Audubon Society ($945,000 for 6 years, GCW), and Point Reyes Bird Observatory ($145,000, 6 years, GCW). USA reports contracts with Stichting Deltares, a Dutch coastal research institute, for $550,000 in 2016, grants to the San Diego Zoo of $367,000, and to the Institute for Wildlife Studies, $1.3 million for shrike monitoring.

Goodwill Industries (training and employing the disabled, ex-offenders, veterans, and homeless people) is an enormous military contractor. Each entity is a separate corporation, based on state or region, and the total receipt is in the billions. For example, for 2000-2016 (GCW), Goodwill of South Florida had $434 million and Southeastern Wisconsin $906 million in contracts. Goods and services provided include food and logistics support, records processing, army combat pants, custodial, security, mowing, and recycling. Similar organizations working for the DoD include the Jewish Vocational Service and Community Workshop, janitorial services, $12 million over 5 years; Lighthouse for the Blind, $4.5 million, water purification equipment; Ability One; National Institute for the Blind; Pride Industries; and Melwood Horticultural Training Center.

The DoD does not shun the work of Federal Prison Industries, which sells furniture and other products. A government corporation (and thus not a nonprofit), it had half a billion in sales to all federal departments in 2016. Prison labor, Goodwill Industries and other sheltered-workshop enterprises, along with for-profits employing immigrant workers, teenagers, retirees, and migrant workers (who grow food for the military and the rest of us), reveal the evolving nature of the US working class, and some explanation for its lack of revolutionary fervor, or even mild dissent from the capitalist system.

The well-paid, and truly diverse employees (including executives) of major weapons makers are also not about to construct wooden barricades. Boards of directors in these industries are welcoming to minorities and women. The CEOs of Lockheed and General Dynamics are women, as is the Chief Operating Officer of Northrop Grumman. These success stories reinforce personal aspirations among the have-nots, rather than questioning the system.

Contracts with universities, hospitals, and medical facilities are too numerous to detail here; one that illustrates how far the blanket stretches is with Oxford University, $800,000 for medical research. Professional associations with significant contracts include the Institute of International Education, American Council on Education, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, National Academy of Sciences, Society of Women Engineers, American Indian Science and Engineering Society, American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, Society of Mexican-American Engineers, and U.S. Green Building Council. The Council of State Governments (a nonprofit policy association of officials) received a $193,000 contract for “preparedness” work. Let us hope we are well prepared.

The leaders, staff, members, donors, and volunteers of nonprofit organizations are the kind of people who might have been peace activists, yet so many are smothered into silence under the vast insecurity blanket.

In addition to all the direct and indirect beneficiaries of the military establishment, many people with no connection still cheer it on. They have been subject to relentless propaganda for the military and its wars from the government, the print and digital press, TV, movies, sports shows, parades, and computer games—the latter teach children that killing is fun.

The indoctrination goes down easily. It has had a head start in the educational system that glorifies the violent history of the nation. Our schools are full of in-house tutoring, STEM programs, and fun robotics teams personally conducted by employees of the weapons makers. Young children may not understand all the connections, but they tend to remember the logos. The JROTC programs, imparting militaristic values, enroll far more children than the ones who will become future officers. The extremely well-funded recruitment efforts in schools include “fun” simulations of warfare.

There is a worldwide supporting cast for the complex that includes NATO, other alliances, defense ministries, foreign military industries, and bases, but that is a story for another day.

The millions sheltered under our thick and broad blanket, including the enlistees under the prickly part of it, are not to blame. Some people may be thrilled by the idea of death and destruction. However, most are just trying to earn a living, keep their organization or rust belt afloat, or be accepted into polite company. They would prefer constructive work or income from healthy sources. Yet many have been indoctrinated to believe that militarism is normal and necessary. For those who consider change to be essential if life on this planet has a chance at survival, it is important to see all the ways that the military-industrial-congressional-almost everything-complex is being sustained.

            “Free market economy” is a myth. In addition to the huge nonprofit (non-market) sector, government intervention is substantial, not only in the gigantic military, but in agriculture, education, health care, infrastructure, economic development (!), et al. For the same trillions we could have a national economy that repairs the environment, provides a fine standard of living and cultural opportunities for all, and works for peace on earth.

 

Joan Roelofs is Professor Emerita of Political Science, Keene State College, New Hampshire. She is the author of Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism (SUNY Press, 2003) and Greening Cities (Rowman and Littlefield, 1996). She is the translator of Victor Considerant’s Principles of Socialism (Maisonneuve Press, 2006), and with Shawn P. Wilbur, of Charles Fourier’s anti-war fantasy, The World War of Small Pastries (Autonomedia, 2015). A community education short course on the military industrial complex is on her website, and may be used for similar purposes.


Web site: www.joanroelofs.wordpress.com Contact: joan.roelofs@myfairpoint.net

 https://worldbeyondwar.org/the-political-economy-of-the-weapons-industry-guess-whos-sleeping-with-our-insecurity-blanket/

Leges         Sine    Moribus     Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #703 on: August 14, 2018, 05:28:31 pm »

Trump is Not What He Seems - Maggie Haberman

He is a LOT WORSE!


Washington Watch

Published on Aug 13, 2018

Maggie Haberman, a New York Times White House correspondent and CNN political analyst, spoke about covering the White House. Among the areas she talked about were the mechanics of the daily press briefings and how information is disseminated by the White House to the press.

Recorded July 21st, 2018

Agelbert NOTE: Maggie Haberman reveals that Trump actually believes that he can shape reality according to his whims simply because he has no concept of truth whatsoever. His loud mouthed vengeful, vicious nature, which negatively affects the press and the White House staff 24/7, is also evidenced with some rather euphemistic vocabulary.

This POTUS is a wannabe Textbook Fascist Big Brother straight out of Orwell's book, 1984. Absolutely every single one of Trump's "frustrations" as POTUS are caused, as detailed by Maggie Haberman, by his inability to DICTATE whatever he wants to dictate.


If the USA survives Trump, it will be a miracle.






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Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #704 on: August 14, 2018, 07:11:38 pm »

Harvard Professors Levitsky & Ziblatt - How Democracies Die


Washington Watch

Published on Feb 25, 2018

Harvard professors Steve Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt examined the causes that lead to breakdowns in democracies around the world.

January 31st, 2018

Daniel Ziblatt is Professor of Government at Harvard University, a faculty associate in residence at Harvard University's Minda De Gunzburg Center for European Studies, and a nonresident associate of Harvard's Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.

Steven Levitsky is a political scientist and Professor of Government at Harvard University. A comparative political scientist, his research interests focus on Latin America and include political parties and party systems, and democratization, and weak and informal institutions.


Leges         Sine    Moribus     Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

 

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