Tag Archives: corruption

As watertiger put it, grifters gotta grift

Here again cometh Christian pin-up Ralph Reed and this time with More-Deity-For-Your-Dollars! He had to shut down that Indian Tribe swindle he had going – and damn but that was good money! Former partner Jack Abramoff went and changed careers after getting himself convicted and sent to jail. Jack’s into redemption now, so Ralph is back to plain old huckstering, an ancient, if dishonorable, profession. (See those annoying little points on the pocket handkerchief? There’s yer proof that Ralph’s the too too smooth sort.)

Does make me wonder where is Tom DeLay these days?

Now this IS big news

pope%20francis%20laughingPope Francis has formed a commission to investigate the Vatican Bank. What makes this move very important is that the commission is to report to him directly, and bypass the Vatican bureaucracy.

Pope John Paul I a man with a very kind face

John Paul I (he had such a kind face)

 

 

 

A number of books have been written about the corruption – and sometimes criminality – emanating from that bank.

It’s long been rumored that Pope John Paul I was murdered (in 1978) because he was about to focus attention on the bank. He was a humble man, perhaps in the style of Francis –  the first pope to forego a ‘coronation’. John Paul I lasted 33 days. He was 55 when he was found dead in his bed. (Some of the theories about his death are here.)

So this is a big deal.

Governor Voldemort has a better idea because he knows all about health care.

My Gov don’t like him none of that Muslim-Keynan Obamacare stuff. He’s no fan of Medicare/Medicaid either (even though his criminal abuse of both made him and his co-conspirators millions). Nevertheless, we the people chose him to run things here in Florida, trusting, I assume, that he’d gotten ethically born-again.

He knows – made it clear on Day One – that Obamacare is not for Florida and so has refused to institute any of the legally mandated reforms. He has a better idea. States, he says:

. . . can do a better job . . . we should have 50 laboratories to see which is the best approach.

Yeah, that’ll work.

Here’s a little summary of his earlier career as head of Columbia/HCA (that’s Health Corporation of America):

On March 19, 1997, investigators from the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Health and Human Services served search warrants at Columbia/HCA facilities in El Paso and on dozens of doctors with suspected ties to the company.[21] The Columbia/HCA board of directors pressured Scott to resign as Chairman and CEO following the inquiry.[22]He was paid $9.88 million in a settlement. He also left owning 10 million shares of stock worth over $350 million.[23][24][25] In 1999, Columbia/HCA changed its name back to HCA, Inc.

I always like that getting rewarded with $10million dollars for screwing up your company part. It’s the new American way you know. Also, job creators.

In the settlements,  Columbia/HCA pled guilty and agreed to a $600+ million fine in the largest fraud settlement in US history. They admitted systematically overcharging the government . . . They also admitted fraudulently billing Medicare and other health programs by inflating the seriousness of diagnoses and to giving doctors partnerships in company hospitals as a kickback for the doctors referring patients to HCA. They filed false cost reports, fraudulently billing Medicare . . .  In addition, they gave doctors “loans” never intending to be repaid, free rent, free office furniture, and free drugs from hospital pharmacies.

That ‘overcharging the government’ part? That’s us, that’s taxpayer money he stole.

In late 2002, HCA agreed to pay the U.S. government $631 million, plus interest, and pay $17.5 million to state Medicaid agencies, in addition to $250 million paid up to that point to resolve outstanding Medicare expense claims.[26]In all, civil law suits cost HCA more than $2 billion to settle, by far the largest fraud settlement in US history.[27]

 

Clear enough? Any questions?

This is Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, testifying in front of Congress today. See the cufflinks? Like them? They carry the seal of The President of the United States. Doesn’t matter which president – could be any one of them. (Good looking guy though . . . )

You gets whay you pays for. And climate skeptics pay.

Mouthpieces are a dime a dozen. But they do get busy and quite obedient when the pay is really good. Like $8.6 million. From a single donor. Ever hear of the Heartland Institute? They are a right-wing think tank whose mission is to “cast doubt on climate science”. They’ve been around for a while, doing the dirty, making the world safe for fossil fuels, the ‘free market’ and the extraction industries. But a rash of newly leaked memos and reports – in a world of curtains to hide behind, that’s how we get our information now – gives us a glimpse of what’s behind that curtain . Who funds Heartland?

Most eyes will probably fall first on the “Anonymous Donor” who, the documents show, personally funded Heartland’s “climate change projects” to the tune of $8,602,267 between 2007 and 2011. The largest donation came in 2008 when “he” donated $3.3m – the same year that Heartland began its annual climate change conferences which have attracted just about every prominent climate sceptic since. This mystery donor has apparently pledged a further $1m for “climate change projects” during 2012.

That’s ‘personally funded’. A man. One person. Until now information about their funding had been sparse. The story in The Guardian doesn’t name anyone, but they hint rather nakedly that the wampun comes from  one of those famous American Libertarian brothers, whose ’causes’ usually align well with the growth of their personal wealth. (To be polite, Koch Industries makes some proper token public donations.

Click the chart for a clearer version.

From Greenpeace - IRS data

Of course, they get a little help from their friends.

Many of the Republican Senate candidates are signatories of the Koch Industries’ Americans For Prosperity No Climate Tax pledge and the FreedomWorks Contract From America.

Heartland is also committed to creating an alternate science curriculum in K-12 classrooms – which would be cool, eh? Combined with the ‘creationism’ curriculum, we could produce an entire generation scientifically illiterate.  (Now that’s the way for a world power to stay on top!)

So, we have an anonymous millionaire donor – whose agenda and/or vested interest we know not – funding an effort to discredit the teaching of climate science in schools? How can that ever be justified or considered democratic, let alone judged to be in the pupils’ best interests?

But the dropping of jaws doesn’t end there. Next up, we learn that Heartland paid a team of writers $388,000 in 2011 to write a series of reports “to undermine the official United Nation’s IPCC reports”. Not critique, challenge, or analyse the IPCC’s reports, but “to undermine” them. The agenda and pre-ordained outcome is clear and there for all to see.

The leaked documents are here.

“Find on this page” doesn’t bring up ‘historian’. Must be something wrong with my computer.

Following up on the earlier post – when you’re hired as a strategist for a company’s top lobbyist, this is the job description.

Consultant will provide consulting and related services as requested by Freddie Mac’s Director, Public Policy in exchange for which Freddie Mac will pay Consultant $25,000 per each full calendar month during which Consultant provides Services.

Kos had a comment,

. . . there you go. That’s the whole thing. When you cut out the 14 other pages of boilerplate terms and conditions, generic stuff that is copy and pasted into every contract, that’s the actual meat of it. Wow. A whole sentence—I think I even see a comma in there.

If you can win Jeopardy, I’m aboard with ya’

Elizabeth Warren and Richard Cordray

Wow. Here‘s a story from Business Insider, via Raw Story about that devil Obama appointed to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency. Until I read this, about the only thing I knew about Richard Cordray was that he was not Elizabeth Warren.

So who is he?

We’ve written a lot about him at Business Insider. Partly because, no matter what side of the aisle you’re on, there’s no denying he’s incredibly impressive. Cordray is an undefeated, five-time Jeopardy! champion (he won $45,303), has a masters in economics from Oxford University, and was also editor-in-chief of the University of Chicago Law Review.

After law school he clerked for Supreme Court for a Reagan appointee, and represented the U.S. government before the Supreme Court there three times — once for George H.W. Bush and twice for Bill Clinton. That was all before running for AG of Ohio (a swing state) as a Democrat.

So what’s the problem with Cordray? There are two, one is an old Washington problem, and the other is purely Wall Street’s:

  1. Republicans said they would never support anyone to head the CFPB — Period —that is, unless the White House made serious changes to the agency. (Politico)
  2. He doesn’t just go after Wall Street Institutions. He goes after individual executives as well.

So he makes it personal – something we’ve all been yearning for:

Knock ’em dead Richard. Go in there and stand up for us! And Godspeed.

Newt keeps a straight face. Lessons from Mrs. G the Third?

Gingrich’s characterization of his activities at his own lobbying firm is simply breathtaking. The media should be on the floor and laughing out loud at this one.

Just saw this at The Washington Examiner (new conservative paper in DC, headed by Micahel Barone and Byron York). Good for them. They took a look, stepped back and took another look, and then headlined their story:

Newt Gingrich was a lobbyist, plain and simple.

. . . we know he was paid consultant for drug makers. That’s the first criterion for being a drug lobbyist.

Here’s the second criterion: While some consultants simply provide strategy or advice, Gingrich directly contacted lawmakers in an effort to win their votes.

Three former Republican congressional staffers told me that Gingrich was calling around Capitol Hill and visiting Republican congressmen in 2003 in an effort to convince conservatives to support a bill expanding Medicare to include prescription-drug subsidies. Conservatives were understandably wary about expanding a Lyndon Johnson-created entitlement that had historically blown way past official budget estimates. Drug makers, on the other hand, were positively giddy about securing a new pipeline of government cash to pad their already breathtaking profit margins.

One former House staffer told me of a 2003 meeting Continue reading

Say it ain’t so Newt

I know it’s hard to believe, but The Newtster is a hypocrite.

Newt Gingrich slammed Democrats in 2008 as wholly owned subsidiaries of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Guess it takes one to know one.

As Republicans presidential nominee John McCain struggled to match his opponent in the polls, Newt Gingrich urged the Senator to reboot his campaign by relentlessly attacking Democrats for being too close to housing giant Freddie Mac.

That would be the same Newt Gingrich who took a reported $1.6 million in “consulting fees” from Freddie Mac during an eight-year relationship that had ended only months earlier.

He says today he was a consultant to Freddie Mac/Mae. I think last week he thought he’d been engaged as an historian.

Income gap – no comment

h/t mac at Talk & Politics

Speaking of Glenn Beck

. . . which I was, if you count saying (two posts below) that he doesn’t matter anymore. Anyway, speaking of Glenn . . .

// Goldline, a company that used endorsements from Glenn Beck and other conservative icons to sell hundreds of millions of dollars to consumers, has been charged with theft and fraud in a 19-count criminal complaint filed Tuesday by local officials in California.

. . . marks the latest in a series of allegations leveled against the gold dealer, which pioneered the practice of weaving its sales pitches into broadcasts by popular conservative political personalities — including two former presidential candidates — to sell hundreds of millions of dollars worth of gold every year.

The complaint alleges that Goldline “runs a bait and switch operation in which customers, seeking to invest in gold bullion, are switched to highly overpriced coins by using false and misleading claims,” according to a statement released by the consumer affairs division of the Santa Monica City Attorney’s office.

I grabbed this little something from Goldline’s website; I’m sure Beck’s lawyers are screeching their outrage even now, insisting it be taken down – even though I thought I once heard Glenn say that Jesus wanted us to buy from Goldline.

Actual. Good. News.

One down – far too many to go. Story here.

 

FL 13 is just bursting with pride

My very own congressman, Vern Buchanan (R), has made yet another ‘most corrupt’ list. And this time he’s Number Two! (Vern is often under investigation right here at home too.)

This from The Street, the investment newsletter:

2011’s Most Corrupt

  • Rep. Charles Bass (R-N.H.)
  • Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fl.)
  • Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.)
  • Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.)
  • Rep. Frank Guinta (R-N.H.)
  • Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.)
  • Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.V.)
  • Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.)
  • Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.)
  • Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Oh.)
  • Sen. David Vitter (R-La.)
  • Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.)
  • Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.

He did it

Tom DeLay convicted. By a jury of his peers under the American system of law. Bet he’s glad he got his turn on Dancing with the Stars before heading to the pokey.

Money laundering. (Tom was reinvesting national Republican money into local races in TX is my memory.)