US President Donald Trump subverted official foreign policy for his personal gain, undermined American national security and engaged in an unprecedented attempt to obstruct an impeachment investigation, according to a pivotal report released by Democrats.
The report by the Democrat-controlled House Intelligence Committee, released on Tuesday (Wednesday Australian time), provides a likely blueprint for forthcoming articles of impeachment against Trump over his dealings with Ukraine.
Victoria’s anti-corruption commission has raided the offices of Ferrari-driving property developer and political donor John Woodman and the homes of local councillors as it prepares to publicly grill politicians and property players over land deals in Melbourne’s sprawling south-east.
What’s not so obvious is that this conspiracy extends to the rule of law. According to this skewed version of reality, corruption has penetrated the bedrock institutions of American society: the political sphere, the intelligence agencies, the mainstream media. Corruption has transformed the very fabric of politics, culture, and law.
To root out corruption, then, it’s necessary to step outside the rule of law. Donald Trump hasn’t declared a state of emergency. But he is acting as if he has (which, in case you’re wondering, is illegal). His decision not to cooperate with congressional inquiries, including the most recent impeachment inquiry, is also part of this unstated state of emergency.
Conclusion: The Way Forward
You can see the problem and its solution coming, can you not? The issue is corruption: money in politics. Corporations would never have been granted the degree of influence they have were it not for our corrupt politicians. The deregulation and increasingly fascist relationship between corporations and government would never have been allowed to happen if it were not for corruption.
The purpose of this piece has been to outline three main industries were profits are determined by negatively impacting people’s lives: health, prison and armed combat. As long as these facets of society remain subject to the rationales of private industry (profit at all costs) there can, and will, be no progress.
To end, two quotes from people who get it
Jailing people, really, when you think about it, turned out to be a for-profit industry. I don’t know how we didn’t see it all these years
But my favourite has to be Star Trek DS9’s Quark, who said
No-one ever went broke selling weapons
An investigation by The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and 60 Minutes can reveal that a criminal syndicate known as “The Company” used Crown-linked bank accounts and high-roller rooms to launder its funds, with Crown licensing and paying syndicate members to generate turnover in its Melbourne and Perth casinos.
So there was a problem a bigger one than they made Peter Slipper face, (ODT)
These are the issues that count to voters snouts in the trough and value for money from our paid politicians. (ODT)
There was a time, unimaginable now, when a cabinet minister and his wife were found by a customs officer to be carrying in their luggage a stuffed Paddington Bear when they arrived in Australia after an overseas trip.The toy, upon which duty was payable, did not appear on the minister’s custom’s declaration.And so Mick Young, minister for state in Bob Hawke’s government, stood aside from the frontbench while the matter was investigated.Peter Dutton, Michaelia Cash, Tim Wilson and Mathias Cormann.Peter Dutton, Michaelia Cash, Tim Wilson and Mathias Cormann.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen, AAPIt was 1984, Hawke, just a year into his administration, wanted no more scandal, and Young’s sacrifice was disproportionate to the crime.AdvertisementIt was, however, a memorable example of the concept of a minister taking responsibility for impropriety, even if it was inadvertent.Illustration: John Howard tried early in his term and lost seven ministers in less than a year for various sins relating to conflicts of interest and expenses and travel rorts.The current Australian government, however, has turned the concept on its head.With fast-gathering regularity, ministerial responsibility appears to have all but decayed to no responsibility.Daily now the nation is assaulted by revelations of conduct that would get the cold shoulder in a shearer’s pub.
Royal Commissions into Australian Financial Sector and the Murray Darling have shone a spotlight on Corporate Crime and political corruption. Morrison is concerned not about the criminality referred to but the rash response to it. No such concerns for Indigenous Australians who are jailed for not paying their bills or any similar concern for Asylum Seekers or African Immigrants is there. Will anyone be charged over the fact that politics protects and is entrenched in the inherent corruption of a sick system? Who is going to be charged? (ODT)
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the Australian economy faces “significant consequences” if the banking royal commission triggers a credit crunch, while warning an election contest over which party is tougher on the beleaguered financial services industry risks undermining the system.
Benny Gantz is seen as the main contender to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel’s upcoming elections.
But the former Israeli army chief is currently being sued in the Netherlands for bombing the home of the Ziada family during Israel’s 2014 onslaught in Gaza.
An Israeli airstrike destroyed the house in the al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza on 20 July 2014, killing six members of the Ziada family and a seventh person who was visiting at the time.
Palestinian-Dutch citizen Ismail Ziada lost his 70-year-old mother Muftia Ziada, three brothers, a sister-in-law and a 12-year-old nephew.
Ziada holds Gantz and Amir Eshel, then air force chief, responsible for the decision to drop the bomb.
Last year, Ziada’s lawyers summoned Gantz and Eshel to appear on 27 June in a Dutch court to answer the charges. The lawsuit demands more than $600,000 in damages plus court costs from the Israeli generals.
Shortly before that date, the commanders appointed a lawyer to represent them, thus avoiding a default judgment in Ziada’s favor.
In this recent South African case we see yet another example of corruption between government connected people and the coal Industry. Trying to prop up a dying industry requires desperate measures and the hunt is on for pollies open to “incentives” to promote their product.
Australia finds itself in exactly this position and personally, I want to see a Federal ICAC in place to deal with the growing influence being exerted by the Coal industry because things are only going to get worse. Clearly the product is already too expensive and smoke appears to be seeping out from under under the door leading to the Coalition Party Room. I’m sure there’s a fire in there somewhere.
Nor might we have heard of his submission to build a third childcare unit, which is a remarkable interest in children despite his ongoing and robust resistance to other children in his care receiving medical care. Perhaps his interest is not the children, one might speculate?
Nor might we hear about:
Ex-MP Bronwyn Bishop’s questionable use of helicopters;
The $443 million been given to six people in a laughably named group called the “Barrier Reef Foundation” to get rid of money that might jeopardise an “on paper” budget surplus proposal;
Tony Abbott’s enormous expenses claims, or just about any politician’s expenses nowadays;
Sussan Ley’s coincidental and very rapid decisions on the purchase of Gold Coast property while funded by parliamentary travel entitlements;
Assistant treasurer, Stuart Robert’s family company, receiving 356 Government contracts worth more than $37 million.
Or again, Stuart Robert’s elephantine internet bills;
Nationals MP David Gillespie’s postal office profits which were the subject of an unsuccessful reference by Labor to the High Court.
To have fallen to 7th to 13th on the International Transparency Index – although to over a hundred other nations we are still remarkably high – it is indicative of a systematic weakening of our democracy. We are on a downward track which our Government is responsible for. We are a lucky country compared to so many, a fact we have taken for granted.
The wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went on trial Sunday for allegedly using state funds to fraudulently pay for hundreds of meals, part of a list of legal troubles facing the family.
The start of Sara Netanyahu’s trial was the latest chapter in a saga intensely scrutinised in Israel but dismissed by the Netanyahus as another “absurd” attempt to discredit them.
Let’s face it we’ve just seen how politicians have interfered with the Independance of the ABC on behalf of the MSM.Isn’t that illegal? (ODT)
By far the biggest share of declared federal donations comes from highly regulated industries – mining, property construction, gambling, finance, media and telcos – then unions.
This appalling record on federal disclosure, accountability and transparency tells us the public’s perception that our politicians are dishonest is of the politicians’ own making.
They do tout for donations. They could agree to end the election advertising war by imposing limits on donations and no longer have to prostitute themselves.
When both sides finally decide there’s not much glory in being in a despised and distrusted occupation, nor much joy in basing policy decisions on rewarding the most generous vested interests, they know where to start in restoring their reputation.
A Woolworths worker has applied to terminate a national agreement on wages and conditions and claim back an alleged $1 billion in underpayments for up to 100,000 employees.
Matthew the Mafia Guy’s Man delivered on a Liberal Roll
A Liberal Party figure appointed by Opposition leader Matthew Guy to lead the state’s property development agency personally promoted the alleged head of the Calabrian Mafia in Australia to a prominent business body.
Tony De Domenico used his position last October as president of the Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Melbourne to make alleged mafia boss Tony Madafferi, a chamber member.
Shlomo Filber, the suspended Communications Ministry director and former chief of Mr Netanyahu’s bureau, signed an agreement to become a state witness. He turned on his former boss less than a week after police recommended pressing charges against Mr Netanyahu in two other influence-peddling cases – and a day after news broke that police were investigating whether another long-time Netanyahu associate sought to bribe a judge.
Unfortunately it’s up to the Israeli Attorney General
Feb 13, 2018 – Promoted by Netanyahu, Israel’s Attorney General Must Now Scrutinize Him. JERUSALEM — Israel’s attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit, was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s favored candidate for the country’s top legal job. Now, Mr. Netanyahu’s fate lies in Mr. Mandelblit’s hands.
Thousands of Israelis took to the streets of Tel Aviv calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over corruption charges.
Saudi Arabias leadership has arrested 11 senior princes, four current ministers and tens of former ministers.
Critics raised suspicions on Tuesday over a $300 million no-bid contract that was awarded to a small, two-year-old private energy company to restore Puerto Rico’s electrical grid. The company is financed by a major donor to the Trump campaign and the Republican Party, and also has connections to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.Whitefish Energy, based in Whitefish, Montana, had only two full-time employees when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico over a month ago, leaving about 75 percent of the island still without power.
Two members of a cell of allegedly corrupt border force officers have been arrested this week.
Leaked confidential government documents and briefings from senior officials suggest the pair who were arrested – one a current officer, Craig Eakin, and one a former officer, Johayna Merhi – were just the latest of several alleged corrupt insiders in Border Force and Customs who have allegedly compromised Sydney Airport or Port Botany since as early as 2003.
Police are likely to recommend Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is indicted following an investigation into bribery allegations, national broadcaster Channel 2 has reported. Multiple investigations into the leader were opened, but Case 1000 – which allegedly involves illegal gifts – was being treated as separate to the other ongoing investigations.
Indian authorities investigate Adani companies for siphoning money offshore and artificially inflating power prices in India.
The stench of corruption is in the air as we learn more about Stuart Robert, his mates Sunland, and the shady players of Gold Coast politics, writes Judy Spence.
Australia is no longer viewed as one of the least dishonest countries in the world.
Damien Mantach told police no one in the Liberal party raised red flags about his false invoices as he used holes in its financial system to siphon off money
From memory John Howard was the first to say, “Disunity is death” when referring to political parties, although just about everyone in politics says it now. And, as it happens, the Liberals have buckets of it. If you read Mike Seccombe’s column in the The Saturday Paper this week you will get some idea of…
A Jerusalem court found former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert guilty of corruption Monday over allegations that he received envelopes of cash from a US businessman, Israeli media reported.
The former premier, who already faces a six-year prison sentence in a separate bribery case that he has appealed to the supreme court, will be sentenced on May 5, the reports said.
Olmert’s lawyers said he would appeal the latest conviction.
The 69-year-old had initially been acquitted of fraud and corruption in the case, escaping with a $19,000 fine and a suspended jail sentence for breach of trust in 2012.
But new evidence came to light during his trial in the other corruption case and prosecutors again pressed the two more serious charges.
In return for a reduction in sentence, his former secretary and confidante Shula Zaken revealed that secret tape recordings existed of conversations between her and Olmert about the tens of thousands of dollars that he was alleged to have received from businessman Morris Talansky while trade and industry minister in the early 2000s.
The six-year prison sentence handed down against Olmert in May last year was the first ever against a former Israeli premier for corruption.
After a two-year trial, he was convicted of taking bribes to the tune of 560,000 shekels (now $160,000/116,000 euros) while mayor of Jerusalem between 1993 and 2003 from the developers of the city’s massive Holyland residential complex.
The towering construction project, which dominates the city’s skyline, is seen as a major blot on the landscape and widely reviled as a symbol of high-level corruption.
The veteran centre-right politician, who was first elected to parliament in 1973, became premier in 2006 but resigned in September 2008 after police recommended that he be indicted in several graft cases.