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Archive for the ‘corruption’ Category

Libertarians who say we don’t need government police, intelligence agencies, etc. because private enterprise can do all of that forget that their proposal was the norm for the United States until after WW2. The reason why we quit doing that is that we learned that the private police and intelligence agencies were corrupt and selling their services on behalf of the highest bidder even if the highest bidder was asking them to violate the law, and in the process were harming innocents with no recourse.

Equifax is a perfect example of that. Equifax started out as sort of a private Stasi intelligence agency, gathering files of dubious integrity on people via various means both legal and illegal and selling them to the highest bidder with no regard for privacy or accuracy. If you wanted to make sure you weren’t about to rent an apartment to a gay or an atheist or a Communist, you paid Equifax to find out whether the renter was one of those things, and Equifax in turn paid your neighbors to inform on you, just like the Stasi did. And if a neighbor you had a feud with decided to tell them you were a Communist even if you weren’t, well, you had no way of knowing that this was why you couldn’t get anybody to rent to you, and no right to see what information they had on file on you and correct it.

It wasn’t Utopia, regardless of what the libertarians whine about, and that’s why the credit reporting agencies are regulated now and only allowed to collect financial information, not information about your politics or sexuality or religion or whatever, and why they’re required to give you access to your file and required to correct information if it’s incorrect (though you may have to sue them in some cases). Libertopia just *doesn’t work*. Invariably it ends up with corruption, thuggery, and fraud. The fact that corruption, thuggery, and fraud might work better than the former government of Somalia is not a rousing statement. Giardia is preferable to cholera too. But you don’t see me running out to contract giardia…

— Badtux the Non-libertarian Penguin

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So a New York housing development that is half-financed by HUD is up for sale and Trump stands to get millions if the sale goes through. And who approves the sale? Well, Donald Trump’s HUD, of course. Nope, no possibility of corruption there, nosirree!

All of this could have been avoided if Trump had sold his properties and interests in properties and put it all into a blind trust that invested it in an index fund before running for President. But he couldn’t do that, because he’s insolvent — he owes more on his properties than they’re worth. He claims all these billions of assets, but what he doesn’t tell you is that every single one of them is mortgaged to the hilt.

Which of course is why he ran for President in the first place — as a scam to get money out of people. Then his ego wouldn’t let him quit when, to everybody’s surprise, he won the Republican nomination. And then with a little help from his Russian friends and Wikileaks plus a little help from FBI director James Comey (who got fired by Trump for his help in electing Trump), he got elected President. And now he can really run some scams…

– Badtux the Corruption-smellin’ Penguin

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The rats are surely deserting the ship.

Of course Trump has Mafia connections. He’s a real estate developer in NYC and New Jersey. He couldn’t do that if he didn’t have Mafia connections. All the real estate developers there are mobbed up, it’s how things are done.

The real story isn’t Trump’s Mafia connections. It’s about how voices on the right are now feeling their way towards directly criticizing Trump, rather than the sort of lukewarm faint praise that they previously gave him out of fear of Trump’s MAGAts. Apparently despite Charlottesville, the sharks are smelling blood in the water coming from the direction of the Trump administration. And where there’s blood, eventually there will be a feeding frenzy….

– Badtux the Swimming Penguin

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A spoon, you say? A spoon with spaghetti sauce residue on it? What’s that got to do with the drug war, you say?

Ask Ashley Gabrielle Huff about that.

After a spoon was found on her during a traffic stop, a spoon she insisted was last used to eat Spaghetti-O’s at the office for lunch, Ashley Gabrielle Huff was kept in jail awaiting trial on bogus meth charges due to astonishingly high bail despite the fact that she had no criminal record, was married, had children in the schools, and otherwise was no flight risk. She was ready to plead guilty and forever give up her voting rights just to get out of jail if they gave her time served. Then the lab results came back, months after the spoon had been submitted to the state crime lab: Spaghetti sauce.

Just as she’d insisted from the beginning.

Our drug war is ridiculous. A spoon? That was all they had, a spoon, and purported residue on said spoon? Yet that was all it took to deprive her of her rights and put her in a cage for months.

The reason I bring this up is because there is now a widespread movement amongst progressives to reform the bail system to do away with injustices like that. Bail bondsmen in the state of California are outraged about it, but the fact of the matter is that most people in jail are not there because they’ve been sentenced for a crime. They’re there because they can’t afford bail. And while they’re in jail, they’ve lost their job, their children may be in foster care, their home was repossessed or they were evicted with no ability to retrieve their belongings, their college kicked them out for non-attendance and kept their tuition money, and otherwise had their lives destroyed.

It’s one of the few things that the progressive Left and the libertarian Right agree on: the bail system is broken, it enriches bail bondsmen and local sheriffs who run jails at the expense of poor people and taxpayers, and needs to be fixed so that people who aren’t a flight risk have bail set according to their income, not according to some fixed schedule writ in stone.

Which means: entrenched people who benefit from the current system are keeping it from happening.

For now.

— Badtux the Criminal Injustice Penguin

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In Thailand, a corrupt official was found guilty of human trafficking.

Seems pretty straightforward, if unusual. How often do corrupt officials end up going to jail, anyhow? Not darn often.

But reading more on the case, I found out something interesting: In Thailand, if you are a government official and are convicted of a crime committed while in office, your punishment is automatically doubled. We need a law like this here in the United States. Maybe that would keep some of our corrupt politicians from going bad so fast.

Of course, first we would have to actually have convictions for our politicians who are corrupt…

– Badtux the “Well, there goes THAT suggestion!” Penguin

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This seems to be a thing with the Trumps. Fucking over Veterans, I mean.

In this case, Trump funnels money into one of his own golf courses at the expense of a veterans program for disabled veterans that uses the Potomac River for kayaking. It turns out you don’t need legs to kayak. Who coulda thunk?! So anyhow, Camp David has a world-class golf course maintained at taxpayer expense and is a thirty minute helicopter ride from the White House, but Trump golfs at his own golf course instead, forcing the Secret Service to lease the golf course for a day and close the nearby river in order to secure the President. Free government money into Trump’s pockets! What a deal — for Trump. Not for anybody else.

Needless to say, nobody’s calling this outright corruption what it is — outright corruption. Trump could do like Ike and Gerald Ford and golf at Camp David. Ike built a pretty good golf course there, Gerald Ford renovated it to be world-class. But that wouldn’t funnel money into his own pockets. Fuck the taxpayer, right? And fuck those veterans too.

– Badtux the Corruption Penguin

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Ordered by a court to release his list of Russia contacts from his security clearance form, Attorney General Jeff Sessions instead releases a page from the form that is redacted to the point of basically being a blank sheet.

Oh Jeffy, puh-LEEZE. It’s not as if it’s a secret that you met with multiple Russian officials during the course of the Presidential campaign. Hell, we even have pictures of you talking with them:

Not to mention that you’ve even said yourself that you talked them them “as part of your Senate duties”. So you producing this blank sheet of paper? Total dick move. Total. Dick. Move.

If the plaintiffs in this FOIA lawsuit don’t file a petition for contempt of court with that evidence above, their lawyers ain’t doin’ their job. And guess what, Jeffy? It’s likely that you’ll get to spend a few days in Graybar Motel, like that woman in Kentucky who thought she could defy a court order to issue marriage certificates and changed her mind swiftly after spending some time in Club Fed for contempt of court. Let’s see what gets produced after a few days contemplating your navel in the Graybar Motel….

– Badtux the Popcorn-Munchin’ Penguin

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