Wow! This one included back door payments of $100 k or more to the athlete’s family…
Wow! This one included back door payments of $100 k or more to the athlete’s family…
Here is a draft of what Articles of Impeachment for Trump would look like (so far).
The assumption in this set is that the result of the investigation into the Chumph’s collusion with Russia on the election hasn’t been released yet, so further criminal charges are not added. There is also a secondary investigation into the Chumph’s money laundering activities with the Russian Mob which has not reached conclusions.
A first draft of an impeachment bill for the president.
The framers of our Constitution likely never imagined a President like Donald J. Trump. And yet, they inserted impeachment provisions into the original text of the Constitution, some 230 years ago, to empower Congress to act in case a rube, tyrant, or criminal came to occupy the nation’s highest office.
It’s not crystal clear which Trump might be, but the president’s latest outrageous actions—the reported passing of highly classified intelligence to Russian diplomats in the Oval Office—should awake Republicans and Democrats in Congress to the dangers posed by Trump to the nation in case that wasn’t already obvious. His conduct now goes far beyond mere offense or incitement to constitute actual damage to U.S. national security, the very definition of “high crimes and misdemeanors” contemplated by the men who crafted the Constitution’s impeachment clauses. With this latest act, the time has come to commence the slow, deliberate process of demonstrating that Trump needs to be removed from office so he can harm the nation no more. A broad congressional inquiry should begin immediately, to inform drafters who will prepare articles of impeachment for consideration by the House and Senate. While Republican control of Congress means that such proceedings won’t occur anytime soon, it’s clear that they are warranted. We don’t yet know for certain what precisely such an investigation would yield, but there is enough public information already available to roughly map out what such articles of impeachment might—and probably should—look like.
Historically, impeachment articles have focused on broad violations of constitutional duty and specific discrete acts like clashing with Congress over Reconstruction, commanding the Watergate break-in, or testimonial perjury. In Trump’s case, there is ample evidence for both the more general violations and the more specific abuses, much of them admitted by the president through his own indelicate tweets (including admissions Tuesday morning regarding the passing of classified information to the Russians).
So what might an impeachment bill against President Trump include?
The Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton impeachment bills used common language to put their specific violations in context. Any Trump articles of impeachment should also include such language at the start of each article:
In his conduct while president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of president of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has engaged in conduct that resulted in misuse and abuse of his high office:
Beyond this preamble, the Trump impeachment bill might include, but not be limited to, the following articles:
Article 1: Compromising the integrity of the presidency through continuing violation of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause. From his first day in office, Trump’s continuing stake in Trump Organization businesses has violated the clause of the Constitution proscribing federal officials from receiving foreign payments. The true and full extent of Trump’s conflicts of interest remains unknown. For his part, Trump has transferred day-to-day control over these interests to his adult children and the management of the Trump Organization. However, he remains the ultimate beneficiary for these businesses, so the fundamental conflict of interest remains. These foreign business ties violate both the letter and spirit of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, and arguably provide the clearest basis for impeachment based on the facts and law.
Article 2: Violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the duties of his office by disregarding U.S. interests and pursuing the interests of a hostile foreign power, to wit, Russia. L’affaire Russia began during Trump’s campaign for the presidency, during which several top aides reportedly had contacts with Russia and its intelligence service. His campaign manager also had reportedly worked either directly or indirectly for the Kremlin. These contacts continued, famously, into the presidential transition, when the president’s chosen national security adviser, Michael Flynn, had his ill-fated contacts with Russia. Beyond these contacts, Trump has substantively acted in myriad ways that benefit Russia, including dangerous diplomacy that has reportedly frayed relationships with our allies and allegedly put allied intelligence assets at risk. By offering classified information to the Russians, it was reported that Trump risked the intelligence assets of a Middle Eastern ally that already warned American officials that it would stop sharing such information with America if that information was shared too widely. In risking that relationship, Trump has opened up the possibility for the loss of that information stream for combatting terrorism, and potentially put American lives at risk from the loss of intelligence that could inform officials about future attacks on Americans at home and abroad.
Article 3: Impairment and obstruction of inquiries by the Justice Department and Congress into the extent of the Trump administration’s conflicts of interests and Russia ties. The Trump administration has systematically impeded, avoided, or obstructed the machinery of justice to obscure its business relationships, its Russia ties, and the forces acting within the Trump White House to animate policy. The most egregious and visible examples have been Trump’s firings of Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and FBI Director James Comey. [Update, 6:18 p.m.: The New York Times reported on Tuesday afternoon on an even more egregious case of apparent obstruction of justice, wherein Trump allegedly directly asked Comey to end the FBI’s investigation of Michael Flynn.] Each termination had what appeared to be a lawful pretext; subsequent statements or admissions have indicated each had more to do with obstructing justice than holding leaders accountable. Alongside these sackings, the Trump administration has also worked to starve Justice Department inquiries of resources and refocus investigators on suspected leaks instead of the White House’s own Russia intrigues. The Trump administration also interfered with congressional inquiries through attempting to block witnesses like Yates from appearing or selective leaking of classified information to House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, compromising Nunes so badly he had to recuse himself from the matter.
Article 4: Undermining of the American judicial system through felonious intimidation of potential witnesses. In his desire to continue Comey’s public humiliation, and ensure Comey remained silent about Trump’s possible sins, the president threatened Comey on Twitter with disclosure of “tapes” of their conversations. This follows a pattern of Trump roughly treating witnesses and litigation adversaries that stretches back for decades before his presidency. Since taking office, Trump has also used the bully pulpit of his office to threaten intelligence officials for purported leaks and badger former Yates before her congressional testimony. In addition to falling beneath the dignity of the presidency, these verbal assaults also constitute obstruction of justice, prohibited by federal statutes on witness intimidation, retaliation against a witness, and obstruction of federal proceedings. These attacks don’t just harm the individuals who are targeted; they assault and undermine the rule of law. As such, they constitute further grounds for impeachment of Trump and his removal from the presidency.
Article 5: Undermining of his office and the Constitution through repeated assaults on the integrity of the federal judiciary and its officers. During the presidential campaign, Trump publicly attacked federal district Judge Gonzalo Curiel on the basis of his ethnicity, saying Curiel had been “extremely hostile to (Trump),” and that the judge had ruled against Trump because of his “Mexican heritage.” Since taking office, Trump has continued his unpresidential assaults on the federal judiciary, particularly after repeatedly losing court battles over his travel bans. At one point, he described a member of the bench as a “so-called judge,” undermining the premise of an independent judiciary. These statements also undermined both the dignity and power of the presidency, and threaten the rule of law by attacking the integrity of the federal judiciary.
Article 6: Demeaning the integrity of government and its public servants, particularly the military and intelligence agencies, in contravention of his constitutional duties to serve as chief executive and commander in chief of the armed forces. Trump swept into office with considerable disdain for the government and its military. Indeed, during his campaign, he insulted former prisoners of war, Purple Heart recipients, and Gold Star families; criticized the military for its performance in Iraq; and said today’s generals and admirals had been “reduced to rubble” during the Obama administration. Trump carried this disdain into the presidency, through his attacks on the “deep state” of military and intelligence officials that he believed to be obstructing his agenda. He also demeaned the military and its apolitical ethos through use of military fora and audiences as public spectacle—first to sign his immigration order in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes, and then to deliver rambling speeches at military and intelligence headquarters suggesting that pro-Trump elements in those agencies were grateful Trump had taken power. Trump has also continued to wage political war against his intelligence community, suggesting as recently as Tuesday morning that it was sabotaging his administration through leaking and other nefarious activities. In doing these things, Trump has undermined his constitutional office as president and commander in chief of the armed forces.
Article 7: Dereliction of his constitutional duty to faithfully execute the office of president by failing to timely appoint officers of the United States to administer the nation’s federal agencies. Shortly after taking office, Trump administration strategist Stephen Bannon articulated his plan for the “deconstruction of the administrative state.” During its first four months in office, the Trump administration’s neglect of governance illustrates how this strategy is to be executed: delay of political appointments, failure to reach budget agreements with Congress in a timely manner, and deliberate neglect of governance and government operations. These actions and failures risk the health, welfare, and security of the nation, and represent a dereliction of Trump’s constitutional duty to faithfully execute the office of the presidency.
The more things change…The more they remain the same. This is all about the big cell carriers getting their way, and screw the consumers an small station owners. The coverage area of the crappy new Digital TV is pitiful, and many subscribers are left with no option but to pay exorbitant, rip-off cable TV bills for piss poor service and channel selection. Consumers yet again screwed by a corrupt government.
Maxwell C. Agha and his wife, Michelle Diaz Agha, have pumped $15 million into their small San Diego TV station over the last two decades so they could broadcast Spanish-language news, Catholic shows and local programming.
But KSDY-TV Channel 50 and many other small, low-power TV stations, which often broadcast foreign-language and religious programming, soon could be silenced — knocked off the air involuntarily by the federal government with no compensation to their owners or alternatives for their often low-income viewers.
The stations are the potential collateral damage of an ambitious attempt, set to begin next month, to transform the public airwaves for the mobile needs of the 21st century.
The Federal Communications Commission plans to use a complex auction to shift a huge swath of public airwaves from carrying TV signals to delivering wireless services to smartphones and other data-hungry mobile devices.
Because of that effort, the Aghas could face the prospect of spending millions of dollars more to keep their station on the air by moving to another channel — if one is even available after broadcasters are squeezed into a smaller chunk of the radio-wave spectrum.
If there is no free channel available, KSDY would go dark.
“They awarded these licenses and asked people to invest and now they say they can just take this and auction it and keep the money,” said Maxwell Agha, chief executive of International Communications Network Inc., which owns the station. “It’s a totally unfair process.”
The two-part auction, which begins March 29, aims to attract some of the nation’s 1,782 full-power broadcasters and 405 specially licensed Class-A low-power stations to give up their rights to those airwaves in exchange for a cut of the proceeds paid by wireless providers for licenses to use them.
The auction could produce as much as $40 billion in new licensing fees from AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and other wireless providers. Proceeds of even half that could lead to a jackpot of hundreds of millions of dollars to some TV station owners who decide to give up their airwaves.
But the auction could be a disaster for many of the smallest players in the broadcast world and their viewers: the 1,822 standard low-power TV stations.
“It’s catastrophic,” said Ravi Kapur, who owns a Chicago low-power station and founded a network that airs South Asian programming on low-power stations in Los Angeles and Houston. “These stations will go off the air and there will be a whole lot of calls to the FCC and members of Congress and it will be too late.”
The FCC created low-power TV licenses in 1982 “to provide opportunities for locally oriented television service.” The stations are limited in their signal power, allowing them to broadcast on unused patches of the airwaves as long as they don’t cause interference with full-power stations.
Because they are easier to obtain and less costly to run, low-power TV stations have a much more diverse ownership.
About 15% of the stations were owned by women, 10% by Latinos and 1.3% by blacks, as of 2013, the most recent FCC data available. That compares with 6.3% of full-power stations owned by women, 3% by Latinos and 0.6% by blacks.
The bad guy in this case was caught through the efforts of Richard Cordray, who was the Attorney General of Ohio at the time. Cordray’s nomination as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was held up by Republicans for two years…
One had to wonder whether it was in retaliation for catching one of their favorite dirty moneybags.
The pics below are of fraud artist Bobby Thompson, who ran a fake Veterans Aid Charity – stealing nearly $100 million while giving nothing to the Veterans it was supposed to support. But Mr. Thompson was decidedly generous giving money to Republicans…
This guy is tied to Boehner, Bachmann (who is under investigation for dirty money of her own), and McCain – as well as a numbe of other conservative poliical figures.
The public, and a jury, is about to hear for the first time directly from the mysterious mustachioed man and accused con artist known at various times as Bobby Thompson, or “The Commander,” or even just “Mr. X.”
The flamboyant man, whose real name is believed to be John Donald Cody, is expected to take the stand Tuesday morning in a Cleveland courtroom. He is accused of running a bogus U.S. Navy veterans charity for years, using some of the proceeds for political donations to high-ranking politicians including former President George W. Bush and Speaker of the House John Boehner, and eventually vanishing with over $100 million in ill-gotten cash.
Prosecutors say Cody ran the whole scheme using false identities to hide his alleged crimes, and to mask his escape from Florida to Oregon, where he was finally taken into custody last May after what a U.S. Marshal called “one of our most challenging fugitive investigations to date.”
On the stand, Cody is expected for the first time to explain how he came to run the nationwide charity called the U.S. Navy Veterans Association and, according to his attorney, explain how the charity operation was blessed by the CIA as part of an elaborate plot to court political support.
“He’s legitimately some form of American intelligence,” Cody’s attorney, Joseph Patituce told ABC News previously, adding that his client is “not a kook.”
Cody’s biography appears to offer hints of past work with the intelligence community – he carries a degree from Harvard Law School and was documented to have done a stint in military intelligence. And when he was ultimately identified by U.S. Marshals, it was in part because he had appeared on an FBI most wanted poster in connection to a decades-old charge of espionage.
The trial has been underway for a month, but Cody’s testimony is likely to be the latest dramatic chapter in a saga of intrigue that began to unfold three years ago when questions first surfaced about the U.S. Navy Veterans Association.
Over those years, ABC News chronicled Cody’s curious case – his abrupt disappearance, the manhunt that led to his capture, and the puzzle that surrounded his identity – a mystery made all the more unsettling by his ability to gain access to the White House for an event with President Bush, and to pose for photographs with political leaders including Sen. John McCain and House Speaker John Boehner. Read the rest of this entry »
Lot of folks in Virginia have seen this ad for Ken Cuccinelli, Republican State Attorney General who is running for governor…
And were lef wondering why an obviously educated black woman could do this. Well…It may have something to do with – Tichi Pinkney Eppes, the woman in the ad, filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection during the week the Cuccinelli campaign began airing an ad featuring the lifelong Democrat’s support for Cuccinelli’s education policy.
Hmmmm….Got paid? I certainly hope so.
RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Richmond School Board Member Tichi Pinkney-Eppes’ home is in foreclosure and 9th district representative has filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection.
“As a result of being elected to the school board I was let go from full-time employment with Communities in Schools of Richmond citing conflict of interest,” Pinkney-Eppes explained in a statement. “This substantial decrease in income has made it increasingly difficult to honor my financial obligations. I decided the most appropriate way to manage my debt was to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy allowing me to reorganize my debt and still pay my creditors.”
That bankruptcy filing has allowed Eppes to stay in her home, thus not impacting her seat on Richmond School Board. Eppes’ home was scheduled to be auctioned off this week.
At least some folks are beginning to get serious on Capitol Hill. Tommie Clarence’s “Pay for Justice” scheme may well be unraveling fast…
A group of liberal Democrats, led by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, will formally ask theHouse Judiciary Committee today to investigate “ethical lapses” by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
At issue is Thomas’ failure to report “at least $1.6 million” in earnings by his wife Virginia for her work at the conservative Heritage Foundation between 2003 and 2007. Virginia Thomas has been one of the most vocal critics of the federal health care law. The Supreme Court will hear a case this term determining the law’s constitutionality.
The letter also asked the committee to examine “air travel and yacht stays and other gifts from wealthy supporters.”
“Reports of potential ethical lapses by Justice Thomas’s actions give rise to concerns about conflicts of interest undermining appellants’ rights of due process and also raise substantive questions about Justice Thomas’s ability to retain his seat,” said the letter, which was written by Blumenauer and will be delivered today.
“We urge that your committee hold hearings regarding the nature of these questions, their factual basis, and their potential to undermine the public’s trust in the Supreme Court,” it says.During a news conference Wednesday, Blumenauer also said a similar letter will be sent to the Democratic-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee in coming days.
“Nobody is unaccountable in our system of government and we need to take steps to make sure this is always the case,” he said. “These are fundamental questions about the administration justice and it doesn’t necessarily need to be partisan to make sure there are rules of the road for the Supreme Court.”
In January, Thomas eventually amended several years of financial disclosures he is required by law to file after media reports raised questions about the omission. Simultaneously he released letters saying his wife’s income was “inadvertently omitted due to a misunderstanding of the filing instructions.”…
Don’t expect any Republicans to stand up for whats right on this one – but 20 Democrat Congressmen have called for an investigation into the questionable finances of Clarence Thomas, and “pay to play” justice at the Supreme Court.
Democratic lawmakers on Thursday called for a federal investigation into Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ failure to report hundreds of thousands of dollars on annual financial disclosure forms.
Led by House Rules Committee ranking member Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), 20 House Democrats sent a letter to the Judicial Conference of the United States — the entity that frames guidelines for the administration of federal courts — requesting that the conference refer the matter of Thomas’ non-compliance with the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to the Department of Justice.
The letter outlines how, throughout his 20-year tenure on the Supreme Court, Thomas routinely checked a box titled “none” on his annual financial disclosure forms, indicating that his wife had received no income. But in reality, the letter states, she earned nearly $700,000 from the Heritage Foundation from 2003 to 2007 alone.
Slaughter called it “absurd” to suggest that Thomas may not have known how to fill out the forms.
“It is reasonable, in every sense of the word, to believe that a member of the highest court in the land should know how to properly disclose almost $700,000 worth of income,” Slaughter said in a statement. “To not be able to do so is suspicious, and according to law, requires further investigation. To accept Justice Thomas’s explanation without doing the required due diligence would be irresponsible.”
The letter also cites a June report in The New York Times indicating Thomas may have regularly benefited from the use of a private yacht and airplane owned by real estate magnate Harlan Crowe and failed to disclose the travel as a gift or travel reimbursement.
Current law requires the Judicial Conference to refer to the Attorney General any judge the conference “has reasonable cause to believe has willfully failed to file a report or has willfully falsified or willfully failed to file information required to be reported.”
Slaughter’s press statement also notes that the Heritage Foundation was a prominent opponent of the Affordable Care Act, an issue the Supreme Court is expected to rule on by next summer.
“The Attorney General would be the appropriate person to investigate the issue of non-disclosure, and that is why my colleagues and I are making this request today,” Slaughter said. “I cannot determine guilt or innocence, but I can request that the government do our due diligence in investigating a situation that strikes me, and many other members of Congress, as suspicious.”
Other members of Congress on the letter include Reps. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), Mike Honda (D-Calif.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.), John Garamendi (D-Calif.), Pete Stark (D-Calif.), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), John Olver (D-Mass.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Donna Edwards (D-Md.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), Bob Filner (D-Calif.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.).
Money, Honey… Indeed.
Turns out Tommie Clarence’s vote on the Supreme Court can not only be bought by financial consideration through his wife…
I do a fair amount of work in third world countries where corruption is often an issue. Thanks to conservatives I now live in one.
In 2001, a conservative, corporate-aligned think tank called the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) gave Justice Clarence Thomas the gift of a $15,000 bust of Abraham Lincoln. At the ceremony presenting Thomas with this very expensive gift, AEI president Christopher DeMuth explained that the bust was “cast in 1914 by the great neo-classical sculptor Adolph Alexander Weinman.”
AEI, however, is not simply in the business of giving luxurious gifts to Supreme Court justices — it is also in the business of litigating before the United States Supreme Court. ThinkProgress uncovered three briefs that AEI filed in Thomas’ Court after Thomas received their $15,000 gift. Thomas recused from none of these three cases, and he either voted in favor of the result AEI favored or took a stance that was even further to the right in each case:
- Riley v. Kennedy: AEI filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to reverse a lower court decision preventing a change in Alabama’s voting law from going into effect. Justice Thomas did not recuse, and he joined the Supreme Court’s decision reversing the lower court.
- Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1: AEI filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to reverse a lower court decisionupholding a local school district’s desegregation plan. Thomas joined the majority opinion reversing the lower court’s decision, and he filed a lengthy concurrence defending that result.
- Whitman v. American Trucking Association: AEI joined a brief asking the Supreme Court to allow the EPA to consider the costs of implementing new air quality standards before it issued them. Thomas’ concurring opinion went much further than AEI asked him to go, suggesting that the law authorizing EPA to issue these standards is unconstitutional.
Although there is no evidence that AEI gave Thomas the $15,000 gift specifically to buy his vote in a particular case, Thomas’ decision to sit on cases where his benefactor has a demonstrated interest creates a very serious appearance of impropriety. No one would trust a judge to hear their case if they learned that someone on the other side of the case had given that judge a rare and expensive gift.
What do you get when you donate $100k to a Rethugly?
Maybe a nice job for you underachieving get.
Corrupt government… Indeed.
Why isn’t Scott Walker in an Orange Jumpsuit yet?
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-basedWisconsin 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. Even more impressive, members of the trade group funneled more than $92,000 through its conduit to Walker’s campaign over the past two years.
Total donations: $121,652.
As we all know, there is little to no chance Dick Cheney will be prosecuted for his many crimes, despite the fact that there is ample legal precedent for his extradition based on the very same legal precedents set by Republicans in prosecuting Bill Clinton after he left office…
I say, turn him over to Nigerian authorities!
Nigerian investigators say they have filed charges against former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and others connected to the energy services company Halliburton, accusing them of paying bribes to secure a lucrative natural gas project in the 1990s.
Cheney and nine others are accused of charges that include “conspiracy and distribution of gratification to public officials,” Femi Babafemi, a spokesman for the country’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, said Wednesday.
The investigation is part of a long-running case involving Halliburton and a subsidiary firm, Kellogg, Brown and Root, over alleged bribes paid to Nigerian officials to secure $6 billion worth of contracts for a liquefied natural gas project in the Niger Delta.
Now we got the Chamber of Commerce and Republicans taking money from Communist China and India to sell American jobs…
The United States has dropped out of the “top 20” in a global league table of least corrupt nations, tarnished by financial scandals and the influence of money in politics, Transparency International said on Tuesday.
Somalia was judged the most corrupt country, followed by Myanmar and Afghanistan at joint second-worst and then by Iraq, in the Berlin-based watchdog TI’s annual corruption perceptions index (CPI).
The United States fell to 22nd from 19th last year, with its CPI score dropping to 7.1 from 7.5 in the 178-nation index, which is based on independent surveys on corruption.
This was the lowest score awarded to the United States in the index’s 15-year history and also the first time it had fallen out of the top 20.
In the Americas, this put the United States behind Canada in sixth place, Barbados at 17th and Chile in 21st place.
Jointly heading the index — in which a score of 10 indicates a country with the highest standards, and 0 as highly corrupt — were Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore with 9.3. They were also at the top of the table last year.
Somalia scored 1.1. The watchdog group said its table was based on “different assessments and business opinion surveys carried out by independent and reputable institutions.”
U.S. “INTEGRITY DEFICIT”
Nancy Boswell, president of TI in the United States, said lending practices in the subprime crisis, the disclosure of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme and rows over political funding had all rattled public faith about prevailing ethics in America.
“We’re not talking about corruption in the sense of breaking the law,” she said. “We’re talking about a sense that the system is corrupted by these practices. There’s an integrity deficit.”
Various financial scandals at state and city level had encouraged the impression that the regulatory oversight was weak and that influence could be bought, she added.
The index showed a number of countries — including Iran — climbing up the chart significantly from 2009, though TI said this could often be ascribed to the fact that different surveys were being used that offered no direct comparison to last year.
The fact that nearly three quarters of the countries scored 5.0 or less showed corruption was still a major global problem, said Robin Hodess, director of policy and research at TI.
However, the watchdog identified Bhutan, Chile, Ecuador, Macedonia, Gambia, Haiti, Jamaica, Kuwait, and Qatar as states where improvement had been made over the past year.
By contrast, it highlighted the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Madagascar, Niger and the United States as nations where perceptions had deteriorated.
Same as the old slavery, except there’s no cotton involved…
The prison industrial complex profits from high numbers of convictions and long prison sentences. Privatizing the jail system has led to widespread abuse – and the United States incarcerating a larger portion of their population than Communist countries ever did.
Human rights organizations, as well as political and social ones, are condemning what they are calling a new form of inhumane exploitation in the United States, where they say a prison population of up to 2 million – mostly Black and Hispanic – are working for various industries for a pittance. For the tycoons who have invested in the prison industry, it has been like finding a pot of gold. They don’t have to worry about strikes or paying unemployment insurance, vacations or comp time. All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems; moreover, if they don’t like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells.
There are approximately 2 million inmates in state, federal and private prisons throughout the country. According to California Prison Focus, “no other society in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens.” The figures show that the United States has locked up more people than any other country: a half million more than China, which has a population five times greater than the U.S. Statistics reveal that the United States holds 25% of the world’s prison population, but only 5% of the world’s people. From less than 300,000 inmates in 1972, the jail population grew to 2 million by the year 2000. In 1990 it was one million. Ten years ago there were only five private prisons in the country, with a population of 2,000 inmates; now, there are 100, with 62,000 inmates. It is expected that by the coming decade, the number will hit 360,000, according to reports.
What has happened over the last 10 years? Why are there so many prisoners?
“The private contracting of prisoners for work fosters incentives to lock people up. Prisons depend on this income. Corporate stockholders who make money off prisoners’ work lobby for longer sentences, in order to expand their workforce. The system feeds itself,” says a study by the Progressive Labor Party, which accuses the prison industry of being “an imitation of Nazi Germany with respect to forced slave labor and concentration camps.”
The prison industry complex is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States and its investors are on Wall Street. “This multimillion-dollar industry has its own trade exhibitions, conventions, websites, and mail-order/Internet catalogs. It also has direct advertising campaigns, architecture companies, construction companies, investment houses on Wall Street, plumbing supply companies, food supply companies, armed security, and padded cells in a large variety of colors.”
According to the Left Business Observer, the federal prison industry produces 100% of all military helmets, ammunition belts, bullet-proof vests, ID tags, shirts, pants, tents, bags, and canteens. Along with war supplies, prison workers supply 98% of the entire market for equipment assembly services; 93% of paints and paintbrushes; 92% of stove assembly; 46% of body armor; 36% of home appliances; 30% of headphones/microphones/speakers; and 21% of office furniture. Airplane parts, medical supplies, and much more: prisoners are even raising seeing-eye dogs for blind people.
CRIME GOES DOWN, JAIL POPULATION GOES UP
According to reports by human rights organizations, these are the factors that increase the profit potential for those who invest in the prison industry complex:
. Jailing persons convicted of non-violent crimes, and long prison sentences for possession of microscopic quantities of illegal drugs. Federal law stipulates five years’ imprisonment without possibility of parole for possession of 5 grams of crack or 3.5 ounces of heroin, and 10 years for possession of less than 2 ounces of rock-cocaine or crack. A sentence of 5 years for cocaine powder requires possession of 500 grams – 100 times more than the quantity of rock cocaine for the same sentence. Most of those who use cocaine powder are white, middle-class or rich people, while mostly Blacks and Latinos use rock cocaine. In Texas, a person may be sentenced for up to two years’ imprisonment for possessing 4 ounces of marijuana. Here in New York, the 1973 Nelson Rockefeller anti-drug law provides for a mandatory prison sentence of 15 years to life for possession of 4 ounces of any illegal drug.
. The passage in 13 states of the “three strikes” laws (life in prison after being convicted of three felonies), made it necessary to build 20 new federal prisons. One of the most disturbing cases resulting from this measure was that of a prisoner who for stealing a car and two bicycles received three 25-year sentences.
. Longer sentences.
. The passage of laws that require minimum sentencing, without regard for circumstances.
. A large expansion of work by prisoners creating profits that motivate the incarceration of more people for longer periods of time.
. More punishment of prisoners, so as to lengthen their sentences.
HISTORY OF PRISON LABOR IN THE UNITED STATES
Prison labor has its roots in slavery. After the 1861-1865 Civil War, a system of “hiring out prisoners” was introduced in order to continue the slavery tradition. Freed slaves were charged with not carrying out their sharecropping commitments (cultivating someone else’s land in exchange for part of the harvest) or petty thievery – which were almost never proven – and were then “hired out” for cotton picking, working in mines and building railroads. From 1870 until 1910 in the state of Georgia, 88% of hired-out convicts were Black. In Alabama, 93% of “hired-out” miners were Black. In Mississippi, a huge prison farm similar to the old slave plantations replaced the system of hiring out convicts. The notorious Parchman plantation existed until 1972… (more)
The wife of Justice Clarence Thomas has started a “non-profit” to set up a Tea Bagger branch, violating every single rule of non-partisanship and comity. Supreme Court Justices are supposed to maintain a distance above politics, but as we all know the SCUMUS 5 is anything but apolitical.
Uncle Tommy Clarence recently attended CPAC, to “see his wife speak” at one of the most extremist political events in the country.
As Virginia Thomas tells it in her soft-spoken, Midwestern cadence, the story of her involvement in the “tea party” movement is the tale of an average citizen in action.
“I am an ordinary citizen from Omaha, Neb., who just may have the chance to preserve liberty along with you and other people like you,” she said at a recent panel discussion with tea party leaders in Washington. Thomas went on to count herself among those energized into action by President Obama’s “hard-left agenda.”
But Thomas is no ordinary activist.
She is the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and she has launched a tea-party-linked group that could test the traditional notions of political impartiality for the court.
In January, Virginia Thomas created Liberty Central Inc., a nonprofit lobbying group whose website will organize activism around a set of conservative “core principles,” she said.
The group plans to issue score cards for Congress members and be involved in the November election, although Thomas would not specify how. She said it would accept donations from various sources — including corporations — as allowed under campaign finance rules recently loosened by the Supreme Court. Read the rest of this entry »