Tagged Corruption

Democrats Should Hold the Gorsuch Nomination Hostage

Judge Neil Gorsuch is a genuinely outstanding jurist, who would be a superb addition to the United States Supreme Court. All Americans can and should be deeply proud that his intellect, his devotion to scholarship, and his fidelity to original public meaning jurisprudence has brought him to this extraordinary moment in his career and his life. I greatly respect his ability, his jurisprudential philosophy, and his character, which by all accounts is beyond reproach. I suppose this sounds as though I am putting aside my Never-Trumpism for a moment and supporting the Trump administration in its nomination of Judge Gorsuch.…

Inequality in Iran

This is what happens when a government is not only massively totalitarian, but also corrupt beyond belief: The nouveaux riches in Tehran drive Porsches, Ferraris and Maseratis and live in multimillion-dollar luxury apartments replete with walk-in closets, Bosch appliances and computerized shower systems. I was stunned when I caught a glimpse of what Iran’s megarich can afford — on, of all things, a program made by Press TV, an English-language news organization sponsored and monitored by the Iranian state. It was not just the wealth that struck me, but how freely Iran’s “one percenters” flaunted the symbols of Western decadence without fear…

Iran Is Not a Theocracy. It Is a Theocratic Mafiocracy.

To wit: The 82-year-old Iranian woman keeps the documents that upended her life in an old suitcase near her bed. She removes them carefully and peers at the tiny Persian script. There’s the court order authorizing the takeover of her children’s three Tehran apartments in a multi-story building the family had owned for years. There’s the letter announcing the sale of one of the units. And there’s the notice demanding she pay rent on her own apartment on the top floor. Pari Vahdat-e-Hagh ultimately lost her property. It was taken by an organization that is controlled by the most powerful…

Boeing Has a Friend in High Places

And that friend may want to go to higher places still: On a trip to Moscow early in her tenure as secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton played the role of international saleswoman, pressing Russian government officials to sign a multibillion-dollar deal to buy dozens of aircraft from Boeing. A month later, Clinton was in China, where she jubilantly announced that the aerospace giant would be writing a generous check to help resuscitate floundering U.S. efforts to host a pavilion at the upcoming World’s Fair. Boeing, she said, “has just agreed to double its contribution to $2 million.” Clinton did not point…

The Next Time Harry Reid Attacks the Koch Brothers . . .

Someone should slip him a copy of this article and ask him whether he really is in any position whatsoever to throw stones at anybody. Of particular interest are the parts of the article that detail the degree to which members of the Reid family have profited off of their political connections, and the fact that Reid uses campaign funds in order to buy gifts for campaign staff and supporters. Of course, the Koch brothers would be raked over the coals if they did that sort of thing, but since they don’t–and Harry Reid does–perhaps it is time for the media…

How Free Is the United States?

Freer than most, but not nearly as free as we ought to be. In a rational world, these kinds of surveys would prompt some kind of discussion, at the very least, but I suppose that is not going to happen anytime soon; why distract from yet more talk about Duck Dynasty, after all?

Blackouts in Venezuela

If you are a Venezuelan citizen, you might be forgiven for thinking that it’s not even close to being 2014 for your country: Large parts of Venezuela, including the capital city, were plunged into darkness Monday night after a power outage, government officials said, in what appeared to be the latest failure of the nation’s overwhelmed electricity grid. President Nicolás Maduro, who was speaking on television a little after 8 p.m. local time when the lights went off, said the blackout appeared to be caused by a failure in the same power substation west of Caracas that in early September…

“This Is Legalized Looting”

When the Venezuelan regime gets in a hole, it keeps digging: The Venezuelan government has expanded the scope of a crackdown on soaring inflation after sending troops into appliance stores over the weekend to slash prices. Large, sometimes unruly crowds massed outside such chain stores, hoping to take advantage of huge markdowns mandated by the government. President Nicolas Maduro said Sunday he was extending the crackdown, which so far has focused on appliance stores, to textiles, footwear, toys, hardware and automobiles. He also said he would use special powers that he is seeking from the National Assembly to impose caps…

The Venezuelan Government Believes that Shooting Yourself In One Foot Is Not Enough

Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro–who is Hugo Chávez without the charisma, and with an even more diminished intellect–believes (or would have Venezuelans believe) that the key to economic growth in Venezuela is to have the government occupy stores in the country with military forces, and then compel the stores to sell their products at below-the-center-of-the-earth prices. Apparently, he doesn’t understand–or pretends not to understand–that allowing businesses to make a profit means allowing businesses to have enough money with which to employ people. And apparently, he doesn’t understand–or pretends not to understand–that price controls don’t work, never have worked, and never will work. At least…

I Wish This Story Were a Hoax

But in Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, it’s all too true: Poor women have been exploited at their most vulnerable time by a hospital that charged them $5 every time they screamed during child birth.  The shocking discovery was made by a U.S. group that campaigns against corruption, as it released its annual Global Corruption Barometer.  At the hospital in Zimbabwe, one of the poorest countries in the world, the fine was said to be for ‘raising a false alarm’, according to Transparency International. Women who were unable to pay the fine were allegedly kept in the hospital until their families could…