Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Posts Tagged ‘corruption’

Who is running the Red Cross? Fake administrators

Posted by Charles II on December 15, 2015

Via Atrios, Justin Eliott, ProPublica:


When Gail McGovern was picked to head the American Red Cross in 2008, the organization was reeling. Her predecessor had been fired after impregnating a subordinate. The charity was running an annual deficit of hundreds of millions of dollars.

McGovern and her handpicked team of former AT&T colleagues have presided over a string of previously unreported management blunders that have eroded the charity’s ability to fulfill its core mission of aiding Americans in times of need.

Under McGovern, the Red Cross has slashed its payroll by more than a third, eliminating thousands of jobs and closing hundreds of local chapters. Many veteran volunteers, who do the vital work of responding to local fires and floods have also left, alienated by what many perceive as an increasingly rigid, centralized management structure.

Far from opening offices in every city and town, the Red Cross is stumbling in response to even smaller scale disasters.

Driving the alienation, longtime employees and volunteers say, is a gulf that has opened up between McGovern’s executive suite and the rank and file who have spent decades in the mission-focused nonprofit world.

She has surrounded herself with a tight-knit group of former telecom colleagues, they say. “They’re all people from the period when AT&T imploded,” said one former senior official. “The priorities seem to be a reflection of what that team is comfortable with: sales and marketing.”

While McGovern has angered many employees and volunteers, she has maintained the support of the constituency that matters most for her job: the Red Cross’ board of governors, which hires and can fire the CEO. The board includes current and former executives from Goldman Sachs, Eli Lilly and Home Depot along with the chairwoman, McElveen-Hunter, a successful businesswoman and former ambassador to Finland.

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Who is tracking down fake Chinese goods? Fake investigators.

Posted by Charles II on December 15, 2015

Via Ritholtz, Erika Kitz of AP.


Person who makes or resells counterfeits presents themselves to a company as an investigator

Investigator is hired by company to hunt down counterfeiters

Investigator presents bribe to government officials to make sure no real investigation happens

Investigator produces fake documents to claim that a raid has been done.

Investigator presents counterfeits to company as proof that counterfeiting has been halted.


It’s a brilliant, efficient economic system. If the goal of the economy is to produce fake goods. It should teach Western companies that if you want to do business in China, you better have roots in China.



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Brazilian trainwreck

Posted by Charles II on December 9, 2015

Jonathan Watts, The Guardian:


Brazil desperately needs strong leadership to overcome the country’s worst economic crisis in decades, but the most powerful figures in the country’s government and legislature – president Dilma Rousseff and the speaker of the lower house Eduardo Cunha – are inching ever closer to an impeachment showdown. razil’s fighter survive the turmoil?

It is a spectacularly unedifying spectacle …

Last week, Rousseff’s government was found guilty of fudging public accounts to cover up shortfalls, raising the possibility that she could face an ouster vote in a hostile congress. Days later, Cunha was revealed to have several undeclared Swiss bank accounts.

According to Sylvio Costa, the editor of Congresso em Foco, almost 200 parliamentarians are currently facing criminal charges. “The worst rises to the top because of the way we do politics, exchanging money for power.”

Cunha – the speaker of the house – is allegedly the master of this dark art. In the Brazilian media, he is presented as a figure so sinister he is almost comical, resembling the Simpsons’ Mr Burns but acting like Frank Underwood in House of Cards. His fellow deputies speak of him in awed – almost fearful – tones.

“In all my time in politics, he’s the most machiavellian figure,” says Ivan Valente, who has served seven terms as the president of leftwing opposition party PSOL. “Cunha is a politician who is opportunistic, intelligent, ambitious and corrupt. People can’t claim to be against corruption and then support Cunha. But that’s what the rightwing opposition do. They close their eyes.”

It has become increasingly difficult to do that. An informer in the Lava Jato investigation claims Cunha took $5m in kickbacks. Opponents this week lodged a motion in the lower house ethics committee demanding that he be removed from office.

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Corrupt, from top to bottom

Posted by Charles II on December 4, 2015

The Wisconsin Republican Party really is completely corrupt, from top to bottom. Brendan Fischer f PRWatch, via The Madison CapTimes (h/t noblejoanie of the Eschatonians):

In ‘extraordinary’ move, WI Supreme Court fires Scott Walker prosecutor to stave-off SCOTUS review: Brendan Fischer of PR Watch writes: “‘What a mess this court has wrought!’ Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson declared in the latest chapter in the state’s John Doe legal saga. On Wednesday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s majority contorted itself to find a new way to protect both Scott Walker and the Court’s biggest supporters–not to mention itself–following its decision in July rewriting the state’s limits on money in politics and ending the ‘John Doe’ investigation into Walker’s campaign coordinating with dark money groups. Wednesday’s ruling was supposed to be a straightforward decision on a motion to reconsider, in light of additional evidence that Walker and his allies had violated the campaign finance laws that the Court upheld in July. The Court denied that motion, but then (in a lengthy unsigned opinion) went further, rewriting its July decision to fire the Republican Special Prosecutor who had led the investigation, Francis Schmitz, making it harder for him to challenge the justices’ conflicts-of-interest by appealing the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Those conflicts arise from the fact that the same groups that coordinated with Walker’s campaign were among the majority’s biggest financial supporters, raising concerns under U.S. Supreme Court precedent about whether the justices should have heard the case at all. ‘The miscalculation I made in this investigation was underestimating the power and influence special interest groups have in Wisconsin politics,’ said Schmitz, a retired U.S. Army colonel and former counter-terrorism prosecutor.”

the Court’s four-justice majority was elected to the bench with at least $10 million in spending from precisely the same groups accused of coordinating with Walker, and precisely the same groups that were under investigation in the John Doe–namely, Wisconsin Club for Growth and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. –

The majority’s “rationale simply seems invented to justify the pre-ordained desired result,” Justice Abrahamson wrote in dissent.

With Schmitz off the case, it is unclear who can represent the prosecution moving forward. The Court previously denied motions by other members of the prosecution team to intervene in the case, even for the limited purpose of preserving evidence.

See more at:

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Tuesday Morning News Roundup

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 13, 2012

— Looks like Florida Republican Vern Buchanan is a sleazebag on the order of Darrell Issa. Quelle surprise — not.

Could this be the end of the most powerful man in the Republican Party? reports that Premiere Networks, which syndicates the Rush Limbaugh show, told its affiliate radio stations that they are suspending national advertising for two weeks . Rush Limbaugh is normally provided to afflilates for free in return for running several minutes of national advertisements provided by Premiere each hour. These ads called “barter spots.” These spots are how Premiere makes its money off of Rush Limbaugh and other shows it syndicates.

But without explaination, Premiere has supended these national advertisements for two weeks. calls the move “unusual .” The development suggests that Rush Limbaugh’s incessant sexist attacks on Sandra Fluke have caused severe damage to the show.

So Premiere’s taking a huge bath just to keep Rush on the air? How can they afford this? Is Rush himself dipping into whatever savings he might not have blown on Viagra and trips to the Dominican to help out Premiere?

— The world’s largest network of pedophile enablers is now taking off the gloves in its legal fight to make its critics go away:

Turning the tables on an advocacy group that has long supported victims of pedophile priests, lawyers for the Roman Catholic Church

and priests accused of sexual abuse in two Missouri cases have gone to
court to compel the group to disclose more than two decades of e-mails
that could include correspondence with victims, lawyers,
whistle-blowers, witnesses, the police, prosecutors and journalists.

The group, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests,
known as SNAP, is neither a plaintiff nor a defendant in the
litigation. But the group has been subpoenaed five times in recent
months in Kansas City and St. Louis, and its national director, David
Clohessy, was questioned by a battery of lawyers for more than six hours
this year. A judge in Kansas City ruled that the network must comply
because it “almost certainly” had information relevant to the case.

The network and its allies say the legal action is part of a campaign by
the church to cripple an organization that has been the most visible
defender of victims, and a relentless adversary, for more than two
decades. “If there is one group that the higher-ups, the bishops, would
like to see silenced,” said Marci A. Hamilton, a law professor at
Yeshiva University and an advocate for victims of clergy sex crimes, “it
definitely would be SNAP. And that’s what they’re going after. They’re
trying to find a way to silence SNAP.”

Lawyers for the church and priests say they cannot comment because of a judge’s order. But William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights,
a church advocacy group in New York, said targeting the network was
justified because “SNAP is a menace to the Catholic Church.”

Mr. Donohue said leading bishops he knew had resolved to fight back more
aggressively against the group: “The bishops have come together
collectively. I can’t give you the names, but there’s a growing
consensus on the part of the bishops that they had better toughen up and
go out and buy some good lawyers to get tough. We don’t need altar

You shouldn’t be talking about altar boys, Mr. Donohue. No, really, you shouldn’t.

UPDATE: I am reminded that I should be providing a way for you all to get in touch with SNAP to help them fight off Donohue and the bishops for whom he fronts:

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
PO Box 6416
Chicago, IL 60680-6416

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David Dreier’s Special Dispensation, Allowed Only To Republicans: Re-Closeting

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 29, 2012

This news item caught my attention:

Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., ranking member of the House Committee on Rules announced he will not run for reelection February 29, 2012.


Dreier was redistricted out of his seat, and he had no stomach for running where he wasn't an incumbent. But here's the interesting part. Pay close attention:

Dreier was first elected to Congress in 1980. Now in his 16th term, he was considered a top choice in 2005 to take the Majority Leader position, which was instead given to Roy Blunt reportedly because of Dreier’s more moderate views. Dreier has been chairman of the House Rules Committee — which regulates House floor proceedings, debates and votes — since 1999.

“Moderate” my ass. Dreier had one of the most conservative voting records in Congress at the time, and still rates as a very conservative congresscritter. No, Dreier was bounced because too many of his fellow Republicans thought he was gay, just because he was a bachelor who lived with his Chief of Staff, Brad Smith, widely believed (and reported by various publications) to be his live-in lover.

In the spring and summer of 2004, two elected officials were accused of having same-sex lovers on the public payroll.

One of them, Jim McGreevey, was the center of a GOP/Media shitstorm that kept his face on the evening TV news — the national evening TV news, mind you — nearly every day, and in the most unfavorable way, for months on end, even after he’d announced that he wasn’t running for another term as governor of New Jersey. He loses everything: His job, his career, his wife, his family, the works. His life’s in ruins at the end of it all.

The other, David Dreier, got comparatively bupkis in terms in ill effects; only a few gay publications, blogs, and alternative weeklies bothered to mention the accusations, and they never made the evening TV news once, much less for months on end. In fact, the only real harm to come to Dreier manifested a year later, when the extremely conservative Dreier was denied the chance to succeed his friend Tom DeLay as House Majority Leader because of his alleged “moderate” tendencies. (Openly gay congressman Barney Frank quipped that in this case, the House Republicans meant “Yes, in the sense that I [Frank] marched in the moderate pride parade last summer and went to a moderate bar.”)

Don’t be surprised if this blog is the only place you see this news today.

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