Fraud in America

Stephen Lendman

A systemic problem, it's everywhere, especially in savage capitalism's greed-driven system, enriching a global royalty at the expense of most others. In his book "On Fact and Fraud: Cautionary Tales from the Front Lines of Science," David Goodstein examined examples from centuries back to more recent times, including some accusations turning out to be false.

Trinity University's Bob Jensen maintains fraud updates through June 2009 on his web site, accessed through THIS link.

He also reviewed a "History of Fraud in America," starting in colonial (and pre-colonial) times, saying the earliest kinds involved "phony health cures," including snake oil ploys, medical frauds, and other deceptions transitioning to today's "miracle cures and Internet charlatanism."

Largely agricultural early America saw land schemes as well as "deceptive rural living and farming products." Con men either bought or sold land. Victims were often immigrants and Indians. The one best remembered was the 1626 Manhattan Island purchase "for trinkets valued at 60 guilders," about $24. Ironically in a sense, Carnarsie Indians were the culprits as the land wasn't part of Manhattan. Usually, however, indigenous people were victimized, land scams expanding the country west and south, accompanied by others at the expense of the unwary.

Frontier history got crooked politicians and bureaucrats involved, accepting bribes collaboratively with land swindlers. It got worse during corporate America's early days. In 1787, less than 40 existed, mostly to build roads, bridges, canals, and other public projects. Many involved "bribes, kickbacks, and inflated prices" like today but for smaller stakes.

Checks and balances also arose, significantly in free press reporting, but not enough to curb greed or notorious "robber barons" like Jay Gould, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Cornelius Vanderbilt, JP Morgan, and others, perhaps inspiring Honore de Balzac's maxim that "Behind every great fortune lies a great crime," or words to that effect.

The landmark 1886 Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad gave corporations personhood under the 14th Amendment. It also helped proliferate fraud, including stock scams, land grabs, labor exploitation, various types of product and pricing swindling, and much more.

Now recognized as legal persons with full rights without obligations, corporations were on a roll, heading them towards monopoly or oligopoly power. Today more than ever globally with interlocking directorates, market dominance, and complicit governments arranging things their way.

Robert Gates: 'We're not ever leaving' Afghanistan

Department of Monitoring
Kavkaz Center

"You have to recognize that I don't think you win this war. I think you keep fighting. You have to stay after it. This is the kind of fight we're in for the rest of our lives and probably our kids' lives". ~ Gen. D. Petraeus

In a shocking indication of a split between the White House and the Pentagon over the war in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert Gates unexpectedly announces that the US military will never leave the country.

During a dinner hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for Afghan puppet president Hamid Karzai in May, Gates reminded the group that he still feels guilty for his role in the first President Bush's decision to pull out of Afghanistan after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, according to Bob Woodward's new book, "Obama's Wars."

And to express his commitment to not "letting down" the country again, he emphasized:

"We're not leaving Afghanistan prematurely", Gates finally said. "In fact, we're not ever leaving at all".

Woodward notes that the group was shocked by the blunt comment:

"At least one stunned participant put down his fork. Another wrote it down, verbatim, in his notes".

The New York Times defends assassinations

Patrick Martin

In its main editorial Sunday, the New York Times, the major voice of what passes for liberalism in America, openly defends the right of the US government to assassinate anyone it pleases. The only restriction the Times suggests is that the president should be required to have his selection of murder victims rubber-stamped by a secret court like the one that now approves 99.99 percent of all electronic eavesdropping requests.

The apologia for killing begins with a blatant lie about the US assassination program using missiles fired from CIA-operated drone aircraft flying along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. The Times claims, citing official US government sources:

“The drone program has been effective, killing more than 400 Al Qaeda militants this year alone, according to American officials, but fewer than 10 noncombatants.”

Actually, Pakistani government officials estimated the number of civilians killed by drone attacks in 2009 alone at more than 700, with an even higher figure this year, as the Obama administration has rained missiles and bombs on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region.(See “US drone missiles slaughtered 700 Pakistani civilians in 2009” .)

A report in the Pakistani newspaper Dawn concluded,

“For each Al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorist killed by US drones, 140 innocent Pakistanis also had to die. Over 90 per cent of those killed in the deadly missile strikes were civilians, claim authorities.”

The Times editors cannot be unaware of these well-established figures, since their own journalists have reported a civilian death toll from US missile strikes in Pakistan of some 500 by April 2009, and 100 to 500 more through April 2010. They lie shamelessly and deliberately in order to conceal the significance of their endorsement of such widespread killing.

The Secret Big-Money Takeover of America

Robert Reich
Robert Reich's Blog

Not only is income and wealth in America more concentrated in fewer hands than it’s been in 80 years, but those hands are buying our democracy as never before – and they’re doing it behind closed doors.

Hundreds of millions of secret dollars are pouring into congressional and state races in this election cycle. The Koch brothers (whose personal fortunes grew by $5 billion last year) appear to be behind some of it, Karl Rove has rounded up other multi-millionaires to fund right-wing candidates, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is funneling corporate dollars from around the world into congressional races, and Rupert Murdoch is evidently spending heavily.

No one knows for sure where this flood of money is coming from because it’s all secret.

But you can safely assume its purpose is not to help America’s stranded middle class, working class, and poor. It’s to pad the nests of the rich, stop all reform, and deregulate big corporations and Wall Street – already more powerful than since the late 19th century when the lackeys of robber barons literally deposited sacks of cash on the desks of friendly legislators.

Credit the Supreme Court’s grotesque decision in Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission, which opened the floodgates. (Even though 8 of 9 members of the Court also held disclosure laws constitutional, the decision invited the creation of shadowy “nonprofits” that don’t have to reveal anything.)

According to FEC data, only 32 percent of groups paying for election ads are disclosing the names of their donors. By comparison, in the 2006 midterm, 97 percent disclosed; in 2008, almost half disclosed.

Lieberman and the Jewish Political Continuum

Gilad Atzmon
Gilad Atzmon's Blog

Following Israeli FM Avigdor Lieberman’s address at the UN last week, Aluf Benn wrote (1) in Haaretz:

“During the past few weeks, Netanyahu invested a great deal of effort in trying to convince the leaders of the world that he is serious about peace with the Palestinians. He asked them to ignore the resumption of settlement construction, and convinced Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas not to quit the negotiations.

Now comes Lieberman, Israel’s most senior diplomat, and tells all those leaders that… Netanyahu is faking. Even worse: the foreign minister is implying that Netanyahu’s demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state is merely cover for the expulsion of Arab citizens.”

Netanyahu, Barak and many other Israelis are often ‘outraged’ by FM Lieberman. I guess that Israelis grasp that their senior diplomat exposes the Israeli ploy: when Israelis talk peace -- what they really mean is war with no end. When Israeli government spokesmen insist that Lieberman “misrepresents Israeli Government’s policies” -- what they really mean is that he fails to repeat the Israeli official lies. As it stands, Lieberman’s UN speech few days ago, conveys not only Israeli cabinet vision, it is also a devastating glimpse into the Israeli mindset, worldview and spirit. Lieberman is a transparent image of the Israeli desire for racial and cultural homogeneity. Many Israelis claim to detest him and his ideas: but my guess is that they grasp that Lieberman is actually their true mirror. Otto Weininger wrote in “Sex & Character” that people hate in others that which they detest in themselves. Many Israelis ostensibly oppose Lieberman because he reminds them of the bigot whom they can’t stand in themselves. Some people do not like to look in the mirror; others are devastated when the mirror gazes back at them with pity.

If you aren’t rich you should always look useful

Andrew K. Jeromski
The Fifth Dentist

Louis-Ferdinand Celine always understood this, and now I am coming around as well.

There are only two kinds of people left in America: the wealthy and, well, everyone else. The middle class has been systematically destroyed, and there is little sense in looking to Washington for relief, as the crooked bankers and CEO’s that comprise the real power structure are balls deep in the arse of liberty and will never, ever pull out before dropping a big fucking load of misery all over everyone not rich enough to afford an umbrella.

Open your ignorant eyes America! Take an honest look around you, it doesn’t hurt, I promise. The ancient infrastructure of this country is failing way faster than our capacity to fix it, and yet, we continue to pay taxes that are to facilitate just that. Health care and medicine are now for-profit enterprises, like stock trading or drug dealing … Big Pharma is just a faceless version of Avon Barksdale, and every citizen of this nation will soon be gobbling anti-something-or-others by the handful each morning with their breakfast. The entity which controls interest rates and essentially, our entire economy, is not part of the government, and is not answerable to Congress or under any obligation to disclose its profits, although it is a privately held company of the highest public interest. It is easier in most major cities to find heroin than the local library, and thanks to the shoddy condition of urban American public schools, most kids have a better idea of what to do with the former than what to do in the latter. Books that are never on the shelves at the library because of demand include: the “Twilight” series, books with zombies in the title and anything by Stieg Larsson–all tragically terrible tomes that make heroin addiction look somewhat appealing by contrast. (disclaimer: I am against heroin use as a life decision, and struggled with it myself for many years–akj)

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