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Author Topic: Corruption in Government  (Read 45355 times)

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AGelbert

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COUNTERPUNCH

FEBRUARY 25, 2022 BY W. T. WHITNEY

Puerto Rican Unionists Protest Austerity, Look at 🎩😈US Responsibility

SNIPPET:

Puerto Ricans are in distress; 52% of them live below the poverty line, as do almost 60 % of their children. Electricity and water bills are almost 60% higher than they are in the United States; food costs are 18% higher.  The median family income is $20,500. The salary base for teachers – most are women – is $21,000 annually.

Full article:
https://www.counterpunch.org/2022/02/25/puerto-rican-unionists-protest-austerity-look-at-us-responsibility/
Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. Ps. 97:11

AGelbert

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March 15, 2022 by Greg Palast for Buzz Flash


How 😈🎩 Billionaires Picked Putin as “Russia’s 🦍 Pinochet

Vladimir Putin did not arrive from outer space on an abalone shell.

Putin went from the virtually unknown Deputy Mayor of Saint Petersburg to Russia’s President and potentate by winning a weird competition organized by Russian billionaire Boris Berezovsky who sought a “Russian Pinochet” to succeed Boris Yeltsin as President.

The competition, dubbed “Operation Successor,” went so far as to send Russia’s “Larry King,” Mikhail Leontyev, to interview General Pinochet for Russian TV while Pinochet was under indictment in Chile on murder charges. Russians were treated to the old dictator’s advice on choosing a leader who could imitate Pinochet’s “strong hand,” a police state, while promoting a hyper-capitalist economy.

And Putin fit the Pinochet profile.

To understand how Russia became, in effect, a military-corporate dictatorship, we have to go back to the 1990s when the former USSR, after the Wall fell, went along with the scheme known as “shock therapy” 😖 — substantially crafted by the 😈 man who would become 🐵 Clinton’s Treasury Secretary, Larry Summers. Yeltsin’s oligarchs grabbed 60% of Russia’s state assets for peanuts — including the world’s largest producing oil fields.

The “therapy” was ☠️ deadly. The US-designed smash-and-grab pushed 60% of Russians into poverty and half the population into starvation: calorie intake per person fell by almost half. Russian men, who had a longer life expectancy than Americans under the USSR, literally died by the millions — their life expectancy dropped to 57 years.

The suffering and resulting Pinochet fever hit its apotheosis with Russia’s 1998 default on its debts. Ben Judah, author of the must-read Putin biography, Fragile Empire, explains the repercussions:

Quote
“It was the moment when the elite got scared and moved over further toward authoritarianism. According to Grigory Satarov, Yeltsin’s former aide, it was then that [Yeltsin] ditched the idea of [“reformer” Boris]] Nemtsov as the successor and decided Russia needed a robust, military man. Intellectuals began to debate the need for a ‘Russian Pinochet’ to defend the market.”

The chance that Yeltsin, a notorious drunk, could get re-elected, was close to zero.

Berezovsky and other oligarchs, in Davos, Switzerland, attending that mating event of the rich and powerful, were horrified that the monied elite were giving their affection to Gennady Zyuganov, leader of the newly re-branded Communist Party of the Russian Federation. Polls showed Zyuganov was certain to defeat Yeltsin in upcoming elections.

Berezovsky and other oligarchs, panicked that Zyuganov would seize their ill-gotten gains, formed what they called the “Davos Pact” to re-elect Yeltsin — at all costs. And that cost a lot: they bought up all the media, all of it, and iced out Zyuganov. Bill Clinton jumped in, sending in an army of US elections and PR consultants.

While Yeltsin wanted to pick one of his US-trained free-market economists as his running mate (for Prime Minister), the oligarchs told him they’d found that Russian Pinochet, the little-known apparatchik named Vladimir Putin. They groomed Putin by having Yeltsin promote him rapidly through several posts including chief of the FSB, the successor of the KGB, where Putin had started his career.

But even that wasn’t enough to reelect Yeltsin. Yeltsin’s “victory” required what in Russia are called, “administrative resources” — wholesale vote theft. Dmitry Medvedev, later Putin’s Prime Minister is quoted in Fragile Empire, saying he didn’t know who won that election, but “it was not Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin.”

In 1999, Russia was falling apart. Literally. While big hunks of the USSR had years earlier scampered away (Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Ukraine and others), smaller regions were now declaring independence, including the Muslim region of Chechnya.

Yeltsin ordered a military expedition to recapture Chechnya. It failed disastrously.

But then Putin took charge, invading Chechnya. But this time, Putin took a page from Pinochet’s playbook: mass slaughter of civilians. When Chechens resisted the Russian invasion, Putin simply leveled their capital city, Grozny, killing, according to Reuters, 25,000 to 50,000 Chechens, most civilians. Notably, 14,000 Russian soldiers died — yet Putin’s popularity soared.

This is a sobering reminder for those who think Putin can’t withstand too many Russian body bags returning from Ukraine.

It is beyond strange to me that some of my progressive friends are playing Putin as a victim, an innocent man “provoked” by US expansion of NATO. Oh, come on! Ukraine applied for NATO membership 14 years ago — and it was laughed off by NATO members.

No doubt, expanding was diplomatic malfeasance, but it never constituted a real threat to Russian sovereignty, certainly not from the non-NATO Ukraine. Let’s not forget that Ukraine transferred all its nuclear warheads to Russia, hardly an act of aggression. (And let’s not forget, as Joe Biden seems to have forgotten, that as part of the transfer of Ukraine’s nukes, the US and Russia guaranteed the safety of Ukraine against all acts of aggression.)

Putin’s power originated from manipulation of an election. Whether you call it, “administrative measures” or “vote suppression,” it’s the endless story of the moneyed at war with democracy.

When, in 1999, Yeltsin was finally pushed to invite Putin to become prime minister, there was still the formality of having to get elected. Yeltsin said that Putin told him, “Elections, I just hate them.”

That surprises no one, least of all the ghost of Pinochet.

Me? I kind of like elections. I stand with democracy. I stand with Ukraine.
https://www.gregpalast.com/how-billionaires-picked-putin-as-russias-pinochet/

« Last Edit: March 16, 2022, 11:38:54 pm by AGelbert »
Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. Ps. 97:11

AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #1157 on: March 22, 2022, 07:38:48 pm »
It is time to take on corporate greed.


Mar 22, 2022

Senator Bernie Sanders 204K subscribers

At a time of unprecedented greed, the Senate is right now debating giving $53 billion to the highly profitable micro-chip industry and a $10 billion bailout to Jeff Bezos so that he can launch a rocket ship to the moon. I'm LIVE on the floor to oppose it.



Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. Ps. 97:11

AGelbert

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It's the Social Darwinism, stupid
« Reply #1158 on: March 25, 2022, 12:46:08 pm »
The Class Struggle

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Ralph Nader: The Biggest Business in America? Defrauding Uncle Sam and You

SNIPPETS:

The biggest business in America is stealing and defrauding the federal government, Uncle Sam and you the taxpayers. In terms of sheer stolen dollars, the total amount is greater than the annual sales of Amazon and Walmart over the past two years.

Before getting to the real big stuff, start with how much was stolen or not delivered by the contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just in one program, John Spoko—Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR), estimated that $30 billion of the $100 billion repairs project was purloined. Despite his many damning reports on what was also wasted—like the $40 million natural gas-powered fueling station (there were no natural gas-powered cars in Afghanistan)—no one was indicted, no one was fired, no one missed a promotion. ... ...

Of the $360 billion in annual billing fraud by the health care industry, over $100 billion is fraud on Medicare and Medicaid.

Turning to the $6 trillion appropriated (without reversing the tax cuts by Trump on the super-rich) by both Trump and Biden since March 2020, government investigators and the media are seeing staggering thefts and frauds. Money was stolen outright by fake companies and fraudulent applications, or taken by profitable companies, law firms and others that these programs were never intended to benefit. ... ...

Neither Congress nor the White House have met this challenge of titanic corruption which should become a major campaign subject in the coming elections. Apart from a few perfunctory hearings, Congress has not held the high profile intense hearings that grab public attention—in part because both Parties have culpability, though the GOP is worse. ... ...

Recent efforts by a long-culpable Congress and a long-neglectful Presidency are not close to catching up with current robberies, not to mention any chance of retrieving stolen monies. Ever since I requested in 1971 that President Richard Nixon set up a commission on corporate crime, the federal government has remained obstinately indifferent to the sheer scale of ‘crime in the suites.”

Full article:
https://ongoingclassstruggle.blogspot.com/2022/03/ralph-nader-biggest-business-in-america.html


AGelbert
Ralph Nader is one of the few voices of reason, objectivity and truth we have left among politicians in the USA. He knows full well that this routine theft from we-the-people is "Business as Usual" in our thoroughly Social Darwinist = Capitalist corrupted government.

There is a long list of elite parasites that defraud we-the-people 24/7, but the top spot on that list belongs squarely to Big Oil. Though Nader did not mention it above, the subsidy SWAG (both visible and invisible "subsidies") the hydrocarbon fuels "industry" has coerced from we-the-people with the help of bought and paid for politicians is the insult to the biosphere degrading pollution injury these 🦖 psychopaths profit from.

Big Oil talking points are a nothing but a thin economic-sounding pretense for their misanthropic, self-centered rants, that exposes how their 'free-market' punditry is merely plain-old cruelty wrapped in an economic-sounding pretense for prioritizing private polluter profits over public health and the environment (with, as Nancy MacLean documents in Democracy in Chains, a deeper utility in opposing the Civil Rights Act and subsequent racial justice policies).

March 23, 2022 Nexus Hot News 👉 Denier Roundup
Over $50 Million in Funding For Climate 😈 Disinfo 🐍 Organizations Between 2014-2020, Coming From 🦕 Koch And 🦖 Similarly Shady Sources

Just Me • 2 days ago
The only teeth the IRS has left are only good for chewing up the little people. That's the fundamental problem.

AGelbert > Just Me
Agreed. Thus the wealthy crooks steal more and the rest of us suffer more.



Adam G. Yoksas • 2 days ago • edited
... If you receive state benefits you aren't entitled to receive, and only receive them due to some untruthful claim, that's fraud, and subject to the criminal code.

But there's a difference between that kind of thing, and, say, the defense contract budget. It's a small difference, but a significant enough difference that makes that kind of fraud a bit more difficult to substantiate.

Government contracts are not entitlements. These are not benefits that a firm is entitled by law to receive. They are, as the name implies, contracts that both parties freely enter into on the basis of some consideration, typically an agreement of a private contractor to do some work the state wants done in exchange for money.

Now I can imagine some scenarios where a government contractor can be prosecuted for fraud. For example, if they were just a shell corporation created and maintained for the sole purpose of extracting graft from the commonweal, that could be fraud, among other things.

But unless it's a situation like that, the best a state can do when a private contractor fails to do what we expect it to do is file suit, at which point the state will have to show that the contractor failed to fulfill the obligations of the contract. But that's a civil matter, and not a part of the criminal code.

I can imagine some scenarios where the contract can be ruled unconscionable or invalid, but that's a pretty tall order for the state to claim. If the contract was so bad, why did the state even allow itself to enter into it in the first place? We assume that the state is competent to enter into agreements like these, and that they do so in the interest of the public. And if they aren't entering into contracts that are in the interest of the public, is that the private contractor's fault? Or is it the state's fault, whereby the remedy is to remove those government officials through elections, appointments, censures, impeachments, and other remedies available under the Constitution?

AGelbert > Adam G. Yoksas
The thorny problem you correctly state of determining agency for fault requires a firmly grounded moral compass. As long as we have too many people in government and in business which live by "situational" ethics, morally bankrupt greedballs, lacking any consciense whatsoever, will write or/and approve contracts that profit said greedballs by defrauding we-the-people. 💩


I remember that old saying, "It's the economy, stupid." Well, I don't think that was true then or now.

What is true, then and now, that clearly shows the irrefutable link between moral bankruptcy and corrupted government, is this saying:
It's the Social Darwinism, stupid.

🦉 "In human society, the amount of inequity is directly proportional to the amount of iniquity." -- A. G. Gelbert
Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. Ps. 97:11

 

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