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Tag Archives: Corruption

How Deep Is the Rot in America’s Institutions? by Charles Hugh Smith

The rot is so deep that expecting the current system to address it is akin to hoping water will run uphill. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

Either we root out every last source of rot by investigating, indicting and jailing every wrong-doer and everyone who conspired to protect the guilty in the Epstein case, or America will have sealed its final fall.

When you discover rot in an apparently sound structure, the first question is: how far has the rot penetrated? If the rot has reached the foundation and turned it to mush, the structure is one wind-storm from collapse.

How deep has the rot of corruption, fraud, abuse of power, betrayal of the public trust, blatant criminality and insiders protecting the guilty penetrated America’s key public and private institutions? It’s difficult to tell, as the law-enforcement and security agencies are themselves hopelessly compromised.

If you doubt this, then please explain how 1) the NSA, CIA and FBI didn’t know what Jeffrey Epstein was up to, and with whom; 2) Epstein was free to pursue his sexual exploitation of minors for years prior to his wrist-slap conviction and for years afterward; 3) Epstein, the highest profile and most at-risk prisoner in the nation, was left alone and the security cameras recording his cell and surroundings were “broken.”

If this all strikes you as evidence that America’s security and law-enforcement institutions are functioning at a level that’s above reproach, then 1) you’re a well-paid shill who’s protecting the guilty lest your own misdeeds come to light or 2) your consumption of mind-bending meds is off the charts.

How deep has the rot gone in America’s ruling elite? One way to measure the depth of the rot is to ask how whistleblowers who’ve exposed the ugly realities of insider dealing, malfeasance, tax evasion, cover-ups, etc. have fared.

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Bad Law Keeps People Poor, by John Stossel

It’s amazing how few people ever ascribe pervasive poverty to bad laws, which produce bad governments and corruption. From John Stossel at townhall.com:

Why does most of Africa stay poor while other parts of the world prosper?

People blame things like climate, the history of colonialism, racism, etc.

But I say Senegalese businesswoman Magatte Wade gives the right explanation: too many rules.

“Once you hire someone, good luck getting rid of them for any reason,” Wade complains. Her government must approve every firing.

“Then the tax code is so complicated… worth at least two or three truckloads of paper.”

Wade started a lip balm company. Some of her ingredients are not made in Senegal, so she imports them. To “protect” Senegalese manufacturers, the government makes importing ingredients expensive.

“Some have a 70% import tariff on them!” she says.

President Donald Trump now threatens similar taxes on imports from China. In Africa, people sometimes escape such taxes by paying bribes. We hear a lot about African corruption.

“People complain about corruption as if corruption is a root problem,” says Wade. “I say no. Corruption is a natural consequence of stupid, senseless, idiot laws.”

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Is the U.S. Becoming a Third World Nation? by Charles Hugh Smith

You don’t have to look too hard to uncover many similarities between the US and a typical banana republic. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

This is a chart of an informal kleptocracy which cloaks itself in the faux finery of democracy and a (rigged) “market” economy.

Back in the day, nations that didn’t qualify as either developed (First World) or developing (Second World) were by default Third World, impoverished, corrupt and what we now refer to as failed states–governments that were incapable of improving the lives of their people and the machinery of governance, generally as a result of corruption and self-serving elites, i.e. kleptocracies.

Is the U.S. slipping into Third World status? While many scoff at the very question, others citing the rise of homelessness, entrenched pockets of abject poverty and the decaying state of infrastructure might nod “yes.”

These are not uniquely Third World problems, they’re symptoms of a status quo that’s fast losing First World capabilities. What characterizes Third World/Failing States isn’t just poverty, crumbling infrastructure and endemic corruption; at a systems level these are the key dynamics in Third World/Failing States:

1. The status quo protects insiders at the expense of everyone else.

2. There is no real accountability; failure has no consequences, bureaucrats are never fired for incompetence, reforms are watered down or neutered by institutional sclerosis.

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How To Inoculate Yourself From Establishment Bullshit, by Caitlin Johnstone

So much of what the establishment and its press purveys is, if you think about it all, absolutely horrible. From Caitlin Johnstone at medium.com:

In a recent interview with CBS This Morning host Gayle King, former First Lady Michelle Obama contrasted her husband’s presidency with that of his successor by claiming that unlike Trump, the Obama family had had “no scandal”.

“I had to sit in [Trump’s inauguration] audience, one of a handful of people of color and then listen to that speech, and all that I had sort of held onto for eight years, watching my husband get raked over the coals, feeling like we had to do everything perfectly, you know, no scandal,” Obama said.

“Yeah,” King responded.

“No nothing,” Obama said “No nothing!”

“Yes. No scandal,” King said.

You hear this claim a lot from Democrats. There was a viral tweet with tens of thousands of shares shortly before the 2016 election which read, “8 years. No scandals. No mistresses. No impeachment hearings. Just class and grace, personified.” It’s a very common refrain which resurfaces in memes and tweets periodically, usually as criticisms of the sitting president.

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30 Blocks of Holes, by Jim Quinn

Jim Quinn explores the hell-hole that much of Philadelphia has become under decades of the Democrats’ misrule. From Quinn at theburningplatform.com:

“If you have been voting for politicians who promise to give you goodies at someone else’s expense, then you have no right to complain when they take your money and give it to someone else, including themselves.”Thomas Sowell

Image result for phila corrupt politicians

“The fact that so many successful politicians are such shameless liars is not only a reflection on them, it is also a reflection on us. When the people want the impossible, only liars can satisfy.”Thomas Sowell

My original title for this article was going to be 30 Blocks of Potholes, Shitholes, and Assholes, but I didn’t want to offend the sensibilities of my highbrow readership. The trigger for that title was my morning commute on 34th Street in West Philly near the Philadelphia Zoo. This extremely well-traveled four lane highway resembles a moonscape of craters capable of blowing a tire (which I did a few years ago while turning onto Girard Avenue).

As I swerved through this obstacle course of government incompetence, I reflected upon how Philadelphia was a real shithole city run by Democrat asshole politicians (those not in prison yet). I’ve written dozens of articles about the 30 Blocks of Squalor over the last decade and one thing remains constant – West Philly is still a shithole, occupied by low income, low IQ, low morality, welfare state slaves who continue to vote for the same assholes who have enslaved them in squalor.

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Afghanistan, the Longest War in American History, by Doug Bandow

Afghanistan is not only the longest war in American history, it may be the most senseless. From Doug Bandow at theamericanconservative.com:

A Marine says goodbye to 1st Lt. Scott J. Fleming during his memorial service at Patrol Base Jaker, Afghanistan, Sept. 25, 2010.  Official U.S. Marine Corps photo/Sgt. Mark Fayloga

When President Donald Trump announced that he was withdrawing troops from Syria, shock and hysteria filled Washington. The screaming grew louder when it was reported that the president also intended to remove half of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, with the rest likely to come home at the end of 2019.

Afghanistan is the longest war in American history, outlasting the Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, and Korean War combined. U.S. soldiers will soon be deploying to a war that started before they were born. Today the Taliban is advancing while the Kabul government is in disarray. Few believe that the latter, irrespective of who is president, can survive absent Washington’s support.

Both President Barack Obama’s and President Trump’s Afghan strategy appeared designed to push the inevitable collapse onto a future administration. Never mind that Americans still die in Afghanistan. No official wants to be the one to declare that thousands of lives and billions of dollars to have been wasted.

Yet going into his presidency Trump stated: “Let’s get out of Afghanistan.” However, he surrounded himself with conventional thinkers as national security advisers, unwilling to admit the obvious. Then he allowed himself to be talked into temporarily increasing U.S. force levels.

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The Pentagon Fails Audit – $21 Trillion in Transactions Could Not Be Traced, Documented, or Explained, by Michael Krieger

What do you do with a department that can’t account for $21 trillion it spent? Increase its budget, of course, which is exactly what President Trump and Congress did this past year. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

WAR is a racket. It always has been.

It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

– From Major General Smedley Butler’s War is a Racket

The following story’s been on my radar for a while, but it wasn’t until I read the fictional-sounding article published in The Nation yesterday that I finally turned my focus on the issue.

To give you a sense of what’s going on when it comes to the unimaginable levels of waste, secrecy and probable fraud occurring at the U.S. Department of Defense, check out the first couple of paragraphs from this must read article:

On November 15, Ernst & Young and other private firms that were hired to audit the Pentagon announced that they could not complete the job. Congress had ordered an independent audit of the Department of Defense, the government’s largest single cost center—the Pentagon receives two of every three federal tax dollars collected—after the Pentagon failed for decades to audit itself. The firms concluded, however, that the DoD’s financial records were riddled with so many bookkeeping deficiencies, irregularities, and errors that a reliable audit was simply impossible.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan tried to put the best face on things, telling reporters, “We failed the audit, but we never expected to pass it.” Shanahan suggested that the DoD should get credit for attempting an audit, saying, “It was an audit on a $2.7 trillion organization, so the fact that we did the audit is substantial.” The truth, though, is that the DoD was dragged kicking and screaming to this audit by bipartisan frustration in Congress, and the result, had this been a major corporation, likely would have been a crashed stock.

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