Government Corruption Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Government Corruption Media Articles in Major Media
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Pragmatism may be a tougher sell in the Donald Trump era, but with the 2020 presidential race just around the corner, moderate Democrats know they are running out of time to reassert themselves. The ["Opportunity 2020" convention] was just that - an effort to offer an attractive alternative to the rising Sanders-style populist left in the upcoming presidential race. Where progressives see a rare opportunity to capitalize on an energized Democratic base, moderates see a better chance to win over Republicans turned off by Trump. The fact that a billionaire real estate developer, Winston Fisher, co-cohosted the event and addressed attendees twice underscored that this group is not interested in the class warfare. The invitation-only gathering brought together about 250 Democratic insiders from key swing states. Third Way unveiled the results of focus groups and polling that it says shows Americans are more receptive to an economic message built on "opportunity" rather than the left's message about inequality. With much of the recent policy innovation on the Democratic side happening on the left, the "Opportunity Agenda" unveiled here tries to equip moderates with their own big ideas. Some of the key initiatives are a massive apprenticeship program to train workers, a privatized employer-funded universal pension that would supplement Social Security and an overhaul of unemployment insurance to include skills training.
With few exceptions, today’s populist insurgents are more concerned with immigration and sovereignty than with the top rate of income tax. This disconnect may be more than an oddity. It may be a sign of the corrupting influence of inequality on democracy. Rather than straightforwardly increasing pressure on politicians to do something about skewed income distributions ... rising inequality might instead boost the power of the rich, thus enabling them to counter the popular will. Research in political science gives substance to the impression that America’s rich wield outsize influence. The relation between concentrated wealth and the political power of the rich is scarcely limited to political spending, or to America. The rich have many means to shape public opinion: financing nominally apolitical think-tanks, for instance, or buying media outlets. Although their power may sometimes be used to influence the result of a particular vote, it is often deployed more subtly, to shape public narratives about which problems deserve attention. Rising inequality ... is associated with political agendas more focused on matters related to “social order”, such as crime and immigration. Issues such as economic justice are crowded out. As their wealth increases, [the rich] have a greater ability to press politicians to emphasise some topics rather than others. The rich are powerful, but not all-powerful. If political leaders tried it, they might well find that redistribution is a winner at the ballot box.
Tax-exempt nonprofit organizations supposedly devoted to “social welfare” can spend large amounts of money to influence elections without publicly disclosing the identities of their donors. But instead of cracking down on the use of “dark money” for political purposes, the Internal Revenue Service has decided to stop requiring these groups to reveal even to the government the sources of their funding. On Monday, the IRS and the Treasury Department announced they would no longer require 501(c)(4) groups ... to supply the government with the identities of donors who gave more than $5,000 in a single year. It’s a step backward that could make it easier for money from foreign sources to find its way into U.S. elections. But while this week’s policy change may not affect what the public may learn about political spending by so-called social welfare groups, it could make it more difficult for the government to police laws against spending by foreigners on U.S. elections. Fred Wertheimer, president of the campaign reform group Democracy 21, warned that, with the end of the reporting requirement, “there is no way to determine if a 501(c)(4) advocacy group that is spending money to influence federal elections is taking that money from [a] foreign interest.”
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Elections Information Center.
One of the country’s largest voting machine makers has admitted in a letter to a U.S. senator that some of its past election-management systems had remote-access software preinstalled, despite past denials that any of its systems were equipped with such software. Election Systems and Software (ES&S) told Democratic Senator Ron Wyden ... that the company provided election equipment with remote connection software to an unspecified number of states from 2000 to 2006. “ES&S provided pcAnywhere remote connection software on the [Election-Management System] workstation to a small number of customers between 2000 and 2006,” wrote Tom Burt, ES&S president. The election-management system is used to count official election results and sometimes to program voting machines. PcAnywhere was the name of the remote-access software made by Symantec. In 2012, Symantec told all of its customers to disable or to uninstall the software after admitting it had been hacked in 2006, at the same time that ES&S was selling election-management systems with pcAnywhere preinstalled. ES&S would not say how many systems were sold with the software from 2000 to 2006 but stressed the company stopped using it in 2007, after it was prohibited by the Election Assistance Commission. A computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University discovered in 2011 that the technology was pre-installed on an election-management system that was sold to a Pennsylvania county.
Note: For more on this threat to democracy, see this excellent essay. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Elections Information Center.
Israel’s parliament has passed a law that could ban groups critical of the armed forces or the state from entering schools and speaking to students. As an amendment to the country’s education act, the law grants extensive powers to Education Minister Naftali Bennett, the education minister and head of the religious-nationalist Jewish Home party. He can decide to ban groups, the bill states, if they “actively promote legal or international political actions to be taken outside Israel against soldiers of the Israel Defence Forces ... or against the state of Israel”. However, critics warn the law is so vague that it could apply to any person or body that criticises Israel to a foreign entity or government – for example, an Israeli rights group that submits an unfavourable report to a UN agency. The legislation has been dubbed the “Breaking the Silence” bill, a reference to an anti-occupation Israeli human rights group run by military veterans that collects and publishes testimony on army abuses. Bennett has been deeply scathing of the organisation, accusing it of damaging Israel’s image abroad and putting soldiers and officials at risk of prosecution for alleged war crimes. Yehuda Shaul, one of the founders of Breaking the Silence, said the law was “the broadest restriction on freedom of expression for political reasons ever put into Israeli law”. He said its goal was to silence criticism of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
A survey of school districts around the country finds that less than half test their water for lead, and among those that do more than a third detected elevated levels of the toxin. The report, released by the Government Accountability Office, is based on a survey of 549 school districts across the United States. It estimates that 41 percent of school districts, serving 12 million students, did not test for lead in the water in 2016 and 2017. Of the 43 percent that did test for lead, about 37 percent reported elevated levels. Sixteen percent of schools said they did not know whether they test for lead. A 2005 memorandum signed by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Education and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides guidance to schools, including a testing protocol and suggestions for disseminating results, educating the school community about the risks and health effects of exposure and what actions should be taken to correct the problem. But there are still major information gaps, the report says, and no federal law that requires schools to test for lead.
Detaining immigrant children has morphed into a surging industry in the U.S. that now reaps $1 billion annually — a tenfold increase over the past decade. Health and Human Services grants for shelters, foster care and other child welfare services for detained unaccompanied and separated children soared from $74.5 million in 2007 to $958 million dollars in 2017. The agency is also reviewing a new round of proposals amid a growing effort by the White House to keep immigrant children in government custody. Currently, more than 11,800 children, from a few months old to 17, are housed in nearly 90 facilities in 15 states. By far the largest recipients of taxpayer money have been Southwest Key and Baptist Child & Family Services. From 2008 to date, Southwest Key has received $1.39 billion in grant funding to operate shelters; Baptist Child & Family Services has received $942 million. International Educational Services also was a big recipient, landing more than $72 million in the last fiscal year before folding amid a series of complaints about the conditions in its shelters. The recipients of the money run the gamut from nonprofits, religious organizations and for-profit entities. They are essentially government contractors for the Health and Human Services Department — the federal agency that administers the program keeping immigrant children in custody. In a recently released report, the State Department decried the general principle of holding children in shelters, saying it makes them inherently vulnerable.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The indictment was damning enough: A former police chief of Biscayne Park and two officers charged with falsely pinning four burglaries on a teenager. But the accusations revealed in federal court last month left out far uglier details of past policing practices in tranquil Biscayne Park, a [suburb] of Miami. Records obtained by the Miami Herald suggest that during the tenure of former chief Raimundo Atesiano, the command staff pressured some officers into targeting random black people to clear cases. “If they have burglaries that are open cases that are not solved yet, if you see anybody black walking through our streets and they have somewhat of a record, arrest them so we can pin them for all the burglaries,” one cop, Anthony De La Torre, said in an internal probe ordered in 2014. “They were basically doing this to have a 100% clearance rate for the city.” In a report from that probe, four officers — a third of the small force — told an outside investigator they were under marching orders to file the bogus charges to improve the department’s crime stats. Only De La Torre specifically mentioned targeting blacks, but former Biscayne Park village manager Heidi Shafran, who ordered the investigation after receiving a string of letters from disgruntled officers, said the message seemed clear for cops on the street. The federal case doesn’t raise allegations of racial profiling, but records show the false charges were filed against a black Haitian-American teen identified only as T.D. in the indictment.
Public esteem for whistleblowers reached its high water mark in 2002. That’s when three whistleblowers were named Time’s Persons of the Year. Their employers were the corrupt companies Enron and WorldCom and the pre-9/11 FBI. Since that time, corporate managements and government agencies have become more secretive, making whistleblowing even more crucial for exposing wrongdoing. But the people who sacrifice their jobs and careers to bear witness are commonly viewed as turncoats or even traitors, ending up in jail or exile. Plainly, whistleblowers need help. Gilles Raymond is stepping forward. Raymond is the founder of the Signals Network, which is just beginning operations in San Francisco as a support organization for whistleblowers. The network ... will help whistleblowers find legal help and PR representation, work to build secure communications systems, and provide temporary housing to shield a whistleblower from harassment and threats. Signals ... has reached cooperative agreements with five international news organizations, including Germany’s Die Zeit, Britain’s Daily Telegraph, and the Intercept, a U.S.-based investigative news source. In the 16 years since that Time magazine cover, secrecy has become not only embedded more deeply in business and government practice, but safeguarded by law and administrative fiat.
Note: Read an excellent essay by CIA whistleblower Kevin Shipp on the many ways the US government prevents its employees from exposing illegal government activities. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the corporate world.
Which is worse, corruption you can see or corruption you can't? In Dark Money, a documentary about invisible corporate shenanigans in her home state of Montana, director Kimberly Reed makes the incisive case that the latter threatens to sink our democracy outright. Dark Money opens and closes with a flock of geese flying over a toxic copper quarry. As Reed's story unfolds, we learn that the beautiful birds' mass demise is only a tiny fraction of the wreckage caused by shady money moguls tinkering with electoral campaigns over a hundred years of Montana history. Montana is also ... the only state, according to Reed, to have fought back locally against the U.S. Supreme Court's 2010 rollback of laws preventing corporations and unions using their treasury funds for electioneering. Reed shows how Democrats and Republicans running for political and judicial office found themselves targeted by vicious attack ads from deep-pocketed non-profits with blandly vanilla names like Citizens United or Americans For Prosperity, or strategically crowd-pleasing monikers like Mothers Against Child Predators. No one had ever heard of these shape-shifting advocacy groups, and it was difficult to track the money back to the shadowy ideologues hiding behind them. [The] film shows how, with the Internet's global reach and the ever-growing concentration of money and power, dark money is redrawing the political landscape in ways that render parties irrelevant and imperil democracy itself.
Note: Find out more about this important documentary on the film's official website. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Elections Information Center.
Guantanamo Bay detainees who have been held for as long as 16 years without being charged cannot be imprisoned indefinitely, attorneys argued in federal court Wednesday. Speaking before U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan in Washington, attorneys representing eight men detained at the military facility said the Trump administration had violated prisoners’ rights because it did not intend to try them or resettle them overseas. The case shines a light on the few remaining prisoners at Guantanamo, which President Trump has promised to keep open and potentially use to house new suspects, reversing his predecessor’s failed quest to shutter the facility. The men’s collective challenge ... is a reminder of the unsettled questions that continue to surround the prison, which for critics symbolizes what they see as excesses that followed the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. At its peak, the military facility ... held more than 700 prisoners. After 2009, President Barack Obama, seeking to close the prison, resettled close to 200 more but was unable to overcome congressional opposition to shutting the prison. Two of the men whose challenge was heard Wednesday, Tofiq Nasser Awad al-Bihani and Abdul Latif Nasser, have already been deemed eligible for resettlement overseas by a government panel, but they remain at Guantanamo. Much of the hearing revolved around the government’s assertion that it could continue to hold the detainees until hostilities against the United States cease, no matter how long that takes.
Note: A letter written by Al Hajj, a Yemeni citizen detained without charges for over 15 years, sheds further light on the plight of these prisoners. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the intelligence community.
Ecuador's highest court has upheld a $9.5 billion judgment against oil giant Chevron for decades of rainforest damage. Plaintiffs celebrated the constitutional court's decision announced Tuesday night, saying it should pave the way for indigenous tribes to receive compensation for oil spills that contaminated groundwater and soil in their Amazon home. But the ruling is largely symbolic as Chevron no longer operates in the South American country. That means Ecuador's government will have to pursue assets owned by the ... company in foreign courts, where it so far has had little luck. Last week, an appeals court in Argentina rejected an attempt by Ecuador to collect on its award, echoing earlier rulings by courts in Canada, Gibraltar and Brazil. In 2014, a U.S. court of appeals ... also denied Ecuador's request, arguing that the original judgment was obtained through bribery, coercion and fraud. In an added twist, the American lawyer who for years represented Ecuador in the matter was barred Tuesday from practicing law in New York state. The New York state appeals court found Steven Donziger guilty of professional misconduct, saying that in his appeal of the 2014 ruling he did not challenge the judge's findings of bribery, witness tampering, and the ghostwriting of a court opinion.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
President Donald Trump has pardoned two Oregon cattle ranchers whose sentence for arson led armed militiamen to seize control of a wildlife refuge in 2016. Dwight Hammond, 76, and his son Steven Hammond, 49, were convicted in 2012 after a prescribed burn on their land spread to nearby public lands. The pair served time in jail, but a judge later ruled that they must serve their full five-year sentence. The ruling sparked anti-government protests that left one rancher dead. The case had drawn the attention of limited-government proponents, including the family of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy who was himself facing charges relating to an armed standoff with law enforcement. His son, Ammon Bundy, then began a social media campaign backing the Hammonds, and travelled to Burns, Oregon, to organise protests calling for their release. On 2 January, 2016 [Mr Bundy and his group] took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and widened the range of demands. The standoff ended when police arrested several members and fatally shot the group's spokesman, LaVoy Finicum. The Obama administration insisted the Hammonds receive a mandatory minimum sentence of five years - but Mr Trump has other ideas. Tuesday's announcement marks seven pardons by Mr Trump, as well as two commuted sentences. Last month, Mr Trump granted clemency to 63-year-old Alice Johnson after meeting with celebrity Kim Kardashian, who lobbied the president for her release.
Note: The above article fails to mention that a mistrial was declared in the case against Cliven Bundy after prosecutors were caught withholding massive amounts of evidence undermining federal charges. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
China is reversing the commonly held vision of technology as a great democratizer, bringing people more freedom and connecting them to the world. In China, it has brought control. Cameras scan train stations for China’s most wanted. Billboard-size displays ... list the names of people who don’t pay their debts. Facial recognition scanners guard the entrances to housing complexes. Already, China has an estimated 200 million surveillance cameras. Such efforts supplement other systems that track internet use and communications, hotel stays, train and plane trips and even car travel. Invasive mass-surveillance software has been set up in the west to track members of the Uighur Muslim minority and map their relations with friends and family. [At] the intersection south of Changhong Bridge in the city of Xiangyang ... police put up cameras linked to facial recognition technology and a big, outdoor screen. Photos of lawbreakers were displayed alongside their names and government I.D. numbers. China’s surveillance companies are also looking to test the appetite for high-tech surveillance abroad. At home, China is preparing its people for next-level surveillance technology. A recent state-media propaganda film called “Amazing China” showed off a ... virtual map that provided police with records of utility use. “If there are anomalies, the system sends an alert,” a narrator says, as Chinese police officers pay a visit to an apartment with a record of erratic utility use.
President Trump has made eliminating federal regulations a priority. His administration ... has often targeted environmental rules it sees as overly burdensome to the fossil fuel industry. To date, the Trump administration has sought to reverse more than 70 environmental rules, according to a New York Times analysis, based on research from Harvard Law School’s Environmental Regulation Rollback Tracker, Columbia Law School’s Climate Tracker and other sources. The Environmental Protection Agency has been involved in more than a third of the policy reversals. Scott Pruitt, the head of the E.P.A. who spearheaded the administration’s agenda of environmental deregulation, resigned after facing a number of ethics scandals. The new acting chief of the agency is a former coal lobbyist. Rules targeted for reversal so far include ... air and water pollution controls and protections for threatened animals and habitats. The Trump administration has, in many instances, pared back these regulations in favor of more expansive energy extraction policies — often as a direct response to petitions from oil, gas and coal companies. All told, the Trump administration’s environmental rollbacks could lead to at least 80,000 extra deaths per decade and cause respiratory problems for more than one million people, according to a recent analysis. That number, however, is likely to be “a major underestimate of the global public health impact,” said Francesca Dominici, a professor ... at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Note: The Department of Agriculture, Department of Health and Human Services and Environmental Protection Agency have all reportedly been "gagged" by the Trump administration. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and climate change.
One of the children separated from his parents at the US-Mexico border was returned months later with lice, looking as if he hadn’t been bathed in weeks, and with irrevocable changes to his personality ... according to documents filed in a lawsuit against the Trump administration. The lawsuit, from 17 states and the District of Columbia, calls for an end to Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy and demands the administration reunite all families that were separated at the border. One mother, Olivia Caceres, alleged that she was separated from her son in November at a legal point entry ... and wasn’t with him for 12 weeks. When he was returned to her custody, Caceres’s son was infested with lice and appeared as though he had not been bathed for the entirety of their separation. "[My son] is not the same since we were reunited. I thought that, because he is so young he would not be traumatized by this experience, but he does not separate from me. He cries when he does not see me. That behavior is not normal.” The stories about what happens to children who are reunited with their families are playing out as still hundreds more kids remain separated from their parents. On June 26, HHS was given a deadline to reunite children under the age of 5 to their families within 14 days and all children within 30 days. HHS Secretary Alex Azar ... admitted that they don’t know which of the nearly 3,000 migrant children in HHS’s custody have been separated from their parents.
A 2014 federal report found that St Louis area police’s use of traffic stops to raise revenue through fines was an underlying cause of racial unrest. A study published last month by the state attorney general’s office confirmed what many fear about “driving while black” in Missouri. It concluded black motorists were 85% more likely to be pulled over in traffic stops last year. It is the highest disparity since stops data began being collected 18 years ago. “There’s still an idea that cities should be using the municipal courts as a grab bag to help their coffers, and black Missourians are disproportionately on the other end of that,” said Nimrod Chapel, president of the Missouri chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Last summer, Chapel was one of the primary agitators behind the NAACP’s first ever statewide travel advisory, issued for Missouri. This extraordinary advisory warned black drivers that “they are traveling and living in Missouri at their own risk and subject to unnecessary search, seizure and potential arrest”.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing civil liberties news articles from reliable major media sources.
Ethiopia’s new prime minister has been urged to investigate a raft of gruesome torture and abuse allegations involving senior officials in the country’s most notorious prison. Jail Ogaden, officially known as Jijiga central prison, is home to thousands of prisoners and lies at the heart of Jigjiga, the capital of Ethiopia’s eastern Somali region. According to a report by Human Rights Watch ... prisoners are routinely brutalised and denied access to adequate medical care, family, lawyers, and sometimes food. Many have never been convicted of any crime. Former prisoners claimed they saw people dying in their cells after being tortured by officials. The report provides the most extensive catalogue to date of human rights abuses in eastern Ethiopia under Somali regional president Abdi Mohamed Omar, commonly known as Abdi Iley. The study documents alleged abuses including rape, sleep deprivation, long-term arbitrary detention, collective punishment and forced confessions between 2011 and early 2018. It highlights, in particular, the role of a 40,000-strong Somali special police unit known as the Liyu, which Abdi, then head of regional security, established in 2008 as part of a brutal counter-insurgency campaign targeting the Ogaden National Liberation Front, a secessionist rebel group. Most Jail Ogaden inmates are accused of some affiliation to the group. “Torture in detention is a serious problem throughout Ethiopia, but Jail Ogaden is in a class of its own,” said Felix Horne, the report’s author.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prison system corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
War rains down from the sky in Yemen, where an aerial bombing campaign by Saudi-led and American-backed coalition hammers much of the north. The U.S. military supports the campaign against the Houthi rebels with logistics and intelligence, and sells the Saudis many of the bombs it drops on that country. In the mountains outside the capital, we gained exclusive access to the site where the Houthis store unexploded American-made bombs, like this 2000 pound Mark 84 bomb made in Garland, Texas. It landed in the middle of the street in the capital, we are told. The Houthis also let us see a storage site with the remains of American-made cluster bombs. Cluster bombs are amongst the most deadly to civilians, filled with baseball-sized smaller bombs that scatter over a larger area. Any that don’t explode stay where they fell, primed, and often wounding civilians like land mines. Deep into Yemen’s countryside ... I found a Doctors Without Borders cholera treatment center completely destroyed by an airstrike the day before. It was just about to open its doors to patients. The war has made it harder for people to access clean running water, leading to the worst cholera outbreak in modern history. Most people here, whether they support the Houthis or not, know that many of the bombs being dropped are American. It provides a strong propaganda tool for the Houthi rebels, who go by the slogan “Death to America.”
Note: PBS special correspondent Jane Ferguson smuggled herself across the front lines into Yemen to report this series. In 2015, the New York Times was caught making false claims about US-made cluster munitions. The international trade in cluster bombs is funded by major banks. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Chinese researchers are working on a new handheld laser weapon capable of burning skin and clothing from up to half a mile away. Boasts about the ... laser rifle's capabilities come amid a diplomatic row between the US and China over the use of blinding lasers on military aircraft. The new laser rifle will be used by anti-terrorism squads in the Chinese Armed Police, the South China Morning Post reports, with prototypes of the device already being tested ... at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The ZKZM assault rifle causes "instant carbonisation" of human tissue, according to the researchers behind it, and will "burn through clothes in a split second. " The unnamed researcher from the Chinese Academy of Sciences added: "If the fabric is flammable, the whole person will be set on fire." While the gun is not powerful enough to kill someone, the researcher said: "The pain will be beyond endurance." Aerospace and defence giant Lockheed Martin has previously developed laser beam systems that can be attached to planes or ground-based vehicles. In May, the Pentagon made a formal complaint to the Chinese government over Chinese nationals allegedly pointing lasers at US planes in east Africa. While there has been no word on when China's new laser gun might see service, the US Navy recently announced its own $300 million research fund aimed at creating a family of laser weapons for its fleet. In 2016, the US military said it would be deploying laser weapons as early as 2023.
Note: China was reported in 2006 to be using lasers to blind American spy satellites. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing non-lethal weapons news articles from reliable major media sources.
Important Note: Explore our full index to key excerpts of revealing major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.