Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Views from a Corrupt Nation

I live in a nation determined to test whether kleptocracy is a viable form of government. So far, it seems to be working well for rogues and thieves, who are thriving. Honest folk, for the most part, are having a tough go.

A True Heroine
Bunnatine “Bunny” Greenhouse was, and is, a 20-plus year career civil servant with the Army Corps of Engineers. She had the misfortune to be an honest and honorable woman working at a time and in a government where those traits are held in the deepest contempt. Her job once entailed reviewing and approving the massive contracts the Army Corps of Engineers makes with private corporations. Ms. Greenhouse, during the course of her work, discovered a $7 billion no-bid contract between the Army and then Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR). The "Restore Iraq Oil" contract was, basically, a gift to Halliburton. Ms. Greenhouse did the job she was paid to do and objected to the KBR contract. As a result, she has been demoted and relegated to a position where she can no longer trouble the thieves both in and outside government.

Ms. Greenhouse has stayed on the job doing the now menial tasks she is assigned. I believe she is hoping that one day sanity will be restored to our government and she will once again be able to use her considerable intelligence and integrity in the service of the nation. Ms. Greenhouse is a true American hero.

Sources: Joshua Frank, Sherwood Ross, Washington Post, San Diego Union

Definition of Bribery
Bribery (n): The practice of offering something (usually money) in order to gain an illicit advantage
Earmarks are a form of payoff, the service rendered for a successful bribe to a congressman. It doesn't matter who has done the earmark, what party he or she belongs to. Both Democrats and Republicans play this corrupt little game. Whenever you see an earmark you have a congressman who believes that he has been bribed.

Mind you, it is almost always perfectly legal. The bribe may be in the form of campaign contributions, donations to faux charities the congressman has, or hiring a congressional relative to a lucrative, do-nothing job. The payoff, the earmark, is inserted into a law passed by Congress, by definition it is perfectly legal.

As an example, from the San Diego Union is a story of one Duncan Hunter earmark. Congressman Hunter, who is running for president to enhance his marketability to potential bribers, is my congressman. I have described him previously as being just as crooked as his best friend Duke Cunningham, only smarter.

Over the years, the California business duPont Aerospace has given Congressman Hunter over $36,000 is campaign contributions. In return, Hunter has earmarked $63 million for the company to produce a piece of crap call the DP-2 airplane. Repeatedly, the Pentagon has opined that the DP-2 is a waste of money. Repeatedly, Hunter, and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), have earmarked more money for the project. This $63 million is money that duPont Aerospace would never have received based on the merits of their work. They would not have received a penny of this money were it not gifted to them through congressional earmarks.

Making campaign contributions to congressmen is a great investment. DuPont has received a 1700 to 1 return on their investment in perfectly legal bribes to Duncan Hunter. Try doing that well in the stock market.

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