Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Privileged, Powerful, and Prosperous Don't have to Obey the Law!

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Corruption Rises Over 3 Years, More People Paid Bribes
By Maria Ermakova and Chris Spillane
Dec 10, 2010
Corruption increased globally over the last three years as more people paid bribes in countries across the world, according to a Transparency International survey.
A quarter of 91,500 people surveyed reported paying a bribe to an institution or for services from health to education to tax authorities in the last year, Berlin-based Transparency said in the 2010 Global Corruption Barometer report on its website.
Some 60 percent of people believe corruption has risen since 2007, according to the report, which covered respondents from 86 countries and territories.
“Corruption is insidious,” Huguette Labelle, chairwoman of the monitor group, said in the report. “The good news is that people are ready to act.”
The biggest increases in petty bribery were in Chile, Colombia, Kenya, Macedonia, Nigeria, Poland, Russia, Senegal and Thailand.
More than half of Sub-Saharan Africans surveyed paid a bribe in the past year -- the highest in the report -- compared with 23 percent in Latin America, 19 percent in the Western Balkans and Turkey and 5 percent in European Union Countries and North America.
Danes reported no bribery followed by Norway with 1 percent of respondents reporting paying bribes. Nearly 90 percent of Liberians questioned had paid a bribe, the highest of all countries, followed by Uganda with 86 percent, according to the report.
An October poll by Transparency found that Denmark was the least corrupt country, followed by New Zealand, Singapore, Finland and Sweden. The most corrupt nations were Somalia, Afghanistan, Burma, Iraq, Uzbekistan, Sudan and Turkmenistan.
Talking Point
Corruption is the most talked about global issue, according to a separate poll by the state-funded British Broadcasting Corp. Around 20 percent of more than 13,300 people across 26 countries surveyed had discussed corruption and greed with friends and family over the past month.
Majorities in all but four of the countries surveyed rated corruption as a very serious problem with Brazilians, Egyptians, Colombians, Filipinos and Kenyans most likely to rate it as “very serious,” the BBC said in a report on its website.
Corruption was rated among the most serious issues in China, the U.S., Russia and India. In Europe, Italians were the most concerned about corruption, the broadcaster found.
Environmental pollution, terrorism, human-rights abuses and the rising cost of food and energy were rated as the next most serious issues.
Police Bribes
Bribes to the police have almost doubled since 2006 and more people report paying bribes to the judiciary and for registration and permit services than five years ago, Transparency said.
Eight of 10 people surveyed said political parties are corrupt, and half of the people saw their government’s action to stop corruption as ineffective.
“Governments should do more to identify corruption risks in basic services and to protect their citizens,” Labelle said. “Better whistleblower protection and greater access to information are crucial.”
Almost half of all respondents said they paid bribes to avoid problems with the authorities and a quarter said it was to speed up processes, according to the survey.
Seven out of 10 said they would report a corrupt act if they witnessed one, though this drops to around half if they are the victim.
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Silent Scandals
An unusual number of what were formerly regarded as scandals went unnoticed and largely unreported by the old media
By Nancy Morgan
Friday, June 19, 2009
http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/12124
Most Americans love a good scandal. Schadenfreude, the taking of pleasure from the misfortunes of others, is a basic element of human nature. Granted, not the prettiest, but nonetheless, there is something deeply satisfying about seeing the mighty brought low, the arrogant humbled and the wrongdoer getting his just dessert. A reminder to us all that misfortune is not ours alone.
Mainstream media obliges and indulges this base emotion, as ever more ‘news’ concentrates on he said, she said imbroglios. Ratings soar as the latest Palin/Letterman twist is breathlessly reported. Internet news providers join in by posting the most lurid and shocking aberrations of the unlucky few who had the misfortune to get caught in what the media decides is a ‘scandal’. Oddly enough, despite the guaranteed ratings that accompany most scandals, the media is choosing to ignore what many consider major scandals - or would consider major scandals if they were actually reported. But they’re not. The media, working in tandem with liberals, oops, progressives, now decide which scandals get coverage, raising the question, ‘Is it still a scandal if its not reported?’ Inquiring minds want to know. In just the last month, an unusual number of what were formerly regarded as scandals went unnoticed and largely unreported by the old media, to wit: Obama recently fired an Inspector General of Americorps, giving him one hour to resign or be fired. This, in direct contradiction to legislation Obama co-sponsored as Senator, requiring 30 day notice and an explanation. Obama, after railing at Fox News for their audacity in pointing this out, declared that he didn’t fire Gerald Walpin because he was investigating a friend and contributor of Obama. No, he was firing him because the Inspector General was ‘confused and disoriented’. Needless to say, if Obama took the time to personally fire everyone who was ‘confused and disoriented’, he’d start with his own press secretary and then go on to, well, I digress. Despite the numerous and ongoing media stories regarding former President Bush’s perfectly legal firing of US attorneys years ago, the media, with a handful of exceptions, has decided not to report that Obama’s firing of Gerald Walpin was not an isolated incident. Two other IGs have been dismissed in the past two weeks. The media has ignored this alarming trend, focusing instead on Donald Trump’s firing of Miss California. Moving on…
Monica Conyers, the wife of longtime Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) received a letter Tuesday indicating a pending indictment from federal authorities on corruption-related charges. Yawn. Good thing it wasn’t Newt Gingrich’s wife. News briefly surfaced that Senator Dick Durbin, after a closed door meeting with the Federal Reserve right before the economic crash, quickly cashed out his stock holdings, raising the question of insider trading. A question which will most likely go unanswered. Martha Stewart must be fuming. A report detailing how UN workers are actually stealing food from the starving people for whom it was intended and selling it on the black market was merely a blip on the radar. The UN said it had no idea that the food wasn’t getting to the starving people of Somalia until shown pictures of UN-packaged goods on sale. Yawn. Likewise a report detailing about $55 billion worth of fraud to date in the handling of the so-called stimulus funds went virtually unreported. Billions of our tax dollars, down a black hole. A non-event. And remember ‘Cold Cash’ Jefferson? The Democrat caught with a cool $90,000 in his freezer? He’s currently on trial. The media has chosen not to cover the story. Moving on… What about Barney Frank? He blasted President Obama yesterday over a controversial anti-gay marriage court filing and is calling on the commander in chief to explain himself. Something Barney has yet to do when the rare reporter dares to question him about his role in promoting Fannie Mae, to the detriment of thousands of shareholders. (Or his earlier scandal, when it surfaced that his town home was being used as a gay cathouse by his boyfriend of the moment.)
When’s the last time you heard about the ACORN scandal? This organization, a recipient of our tax dollars, is under investigation for voter fraud. The media reporting to date would lead one to believe that its all the fault of a few rogue employees, despite evidence to the contrary, which was reported only by Fox News.
House Democrats just crushed a GOP amendment to cut funding to this scandalous organization. At the same time, they halted a GOP amendment to investigate Speaker Pelosi’s claim that the CIA lied to her. Don’t bother looking for this on the nightly news.
The list goes on. Sen. Ronald Burris, caught on tape in a lie regarding his new Senate seat. Likewise down the memory hole are Charlie Rangel’s tax ‘misstatements’, Harry Ried’s questionable land deal, and Obama’s questionable land deal. Democrats, all.
Oh, and let’s not forget all the questions, unreported by the media, regarding why Obama has refused to release his birth certificate. Or his college transcripts. Here’s another scandal. A huge scandal that affects each and every one of us. The media’s selective reporting, and non-reporting, that has resulted in many Americans actually believing that the GOP is the party of scandal, the party of the ethically challenged. I find this scandalous. But then, I’m just an average American in flyover country, one of the peons the media is supposed to keep informed.
The real scandal is: Its not a scandal if a Democrat does it, if it involves a progressive cause, or if the media decides not to report it. This effectively denies every American the right to enough information to make an informed decision. Yawn.
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When it comes to corruption, Dems can match Republican wrong doers -- and then some
Democrat Corruption
By Douglas Turner
Friday, May 15, 2009
http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/11111
WASHINGTON, D.C. — At his press conferences, President Obama gets quizzed on what humbles and enchants him. Nobody asks Obama about Steve Rattner, Adolfo Carrion or Ronald Sims.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi fields tough questions on grading fellow Democrat Obama. She gives him an “A.” No reporter dares ask about what kind of grades she’s post for Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL), Rep. Charles Rangel, (D-NY) or Rep. John Murtha (D-PA). Pelosi doesn’t like nosy questions about them or other House Democrats who operate under an ethical cloud, any more than Obama’s communications operators welcome such distractions. Both have bigger fish to fry. Besides, no matter what’s wrong, it’s going to be OK. Rattner is Obama’s adviser on the auto industry retrofit — the so-called “car czar.” New York State Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo is probing an investment house, which Rattner founded and ran, for offering kickbacks to state officials who pick which bankers handle money for the state retirement system. Rattner says he didn’t know anything about it. So it’s OK. Rattner is now in a scrum over a reported threat that he would bring down the full force of the White House press corps on investors who balked at going along with Obama’s arrangements on the Chrysler bankruptcy. Why on earth would anybody think that the Obama Administration has influence over this press corps? Carrion is Obama’s urban affairs director. As former Bronx Borough president, Carrion waited two years to pay an architect who did a private job for him. The architect needed permits influenced by Carrion’s office. Carrion says there’s nothing unusual about the delay. So move on. Sims will be Obama’s deputy housing secretary. He was county executive in Seattle, Wash. His office was handed the largest fine in U. S. history, $124,000, for covering up records on the price of a new stadium for the Seahawks. Sims says it was his office that was fined, not him. So that’s apparently OK with the Obama camp, which promised voters a new era of transparency. Hey! Turn the page. Jackson is being scrutinized for possible involvement in former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s plan to sell Obama’s Senate seat. Murtha is chairman of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, and is an ever-flowing conduit of federal funds to firms linked to his relatives, but most of all his campaign contributors. Federal agents recently raided a Murtha-connected political consulting firm that played a role in Murtha’s earmarks. He is, however, a confidant of Pelosi, and directs defense appropriations handed out to his Republican colleagues. So there doesn’t seem to be any hurry about the Ethics Committee jostling him. No more than with Rangel, chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. Because of newspaper articles alleging Rangel irregularities on taxes and misuse of House resources, Rangel last year threw himself on the mercy of the Ethics Committee. It was a gamble that has so far paid off. Pelosi said the Rangel probe would be finished in 2008. It isn’t yet. The ethics panel could announce something as soon as next week. It could also wait until Labor Day, or later. After all, we have change you can believe in: From a Republican culture of corruption to a Democratic one.
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Hovind Still in Prison: Jerks Still in Office!
By Dr. Don Boys
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/8212
It seems the political left has no shame, no self respect, no character, and no consistent principles. You want proof? Easy. Recently Tim Geithner was approved by the U.S. Senate to be the Secretary of the Treasury. Senator Collins had the courage to vote against him saying, “I can’t vote for a tax cheat.” Hurray for her. Tim had refused to pay his taxes until he was tapped by President Obama to become the enforcer of U.S. tax laws! He did not spend any time in prison. The loonies have taken over the asylum.
I suggest if an American citizen forgets, overlooks, neglects, refuses, etc., to pay his taxes and ends up in court, he might try to plead the “Geithner Exception.” After all, if it works for a Patrician, it should work for a peon. However, if you try this, it might be wise to plan on a year away from home living at government expense in government housing.
Then there is the “Rangel Exception.” Powerful Democrat, Congressman Charles Rangel of New York, heads up the House Ways and Means Committee whose job is to write legislation dealing with the IRS and he refused to pay taxes for years. The Honorable Congressman admitted that he failed to pay taxes on real estate income and finally paid more than $10,000 without paying any penalties. See if you can get away with that. Remember, he sets IRS policies that govern your life. He did not spend any time in prison nor did he get a slap on the wrist.
Now we discover that former senator Tom Daschle withdrew his name to be head of Health and Human Services because he cheated on his taxes! He refused to pay about $125,000 until after his appointment but he will spend no time in prison! He and other senator/friends admit he made a “mistake” and was in “error.” You try the “Daschle exception” at your next audit and see how it flies! Tom made a cogent statement in the Congressional Record May 7, 1998 when he said, “Make no mistake, tax cheaters cheat us all, and the IRS should enforce our laws to the letter.” That’s one time I agreed with Daschle. He won’t be in the President’s cabinet but he should be in the calaboose.
My friend, Dr. Kent Hovind, a very effective debater in the creation/evolution issue has a ministry in Pensacola, FL and failed to collect FICA taxes on his employees who worked for his 508 (c) (1) (a) ministry, leaving it up to his workers to make the payments. He asked the IRS three times if that was permissible because of the legal status of his ministry. He never received an answer from our valued public servants!
If tax protesters (and Kent has declared he is not one) can demonstrate the absence of criminal intent by asserting that they “sincerely believe” that they are not required to pay taxes, there is no criminal law broken; however, they cannot escape the taxes owed. Well, Kent asked three times for a ruling as to his tax obligation and got no answer until the federal boys in jackboots broke into his home early one morning and arrested him and his wife. Moreover, he can prove he “sincerely believed” he was doing what was right because lawyers and CPAs told him he was legal. Moreover, thousands of other ministries were doing as he was. Yet, Kent sits in prison (with a ten-year sentence!) and jerks sit in Congress, the Cabinet, and other High Places.
Kent’s wife made trips to their bank to get cash to pay their ministry employees and just last week went to prison for a year! Note that it was their hard-earned money, from their own bank account but she was charged with trying to circumvent banking laws! If a person deposits or withdrawals $10,000 the bank must inform federal authorities, but Mrs. Hovind did not need that much money so the feds read her mind and determined that she took out less than the threshold amount to not have to inform nosy federal officials what she was going to do with their own money. She is now sitting in a federal prison. If such injustice does not make you spitting angry, you have a major problem.
Washington D.C. mayor, Marion Barry pleaded guilty in 2005 to two misdemeanor tax charges and admitted to not filing his taxes from 1999 to 2004. His income was more than $500,000. He is still free and has not indicated that he will pay his legitimate taxes now way past due. Why is he not in prison?
Wesley Snipes, 45, a black entertainer, was indicted in October 2006 on two felony charges: fraud for filing a false claim for a $7 million refund (of taxes paid in 1997, before he stopped paying taxes), and conspiracy to defraud the government. Mr. Snipes was also charged with six misdemeanor counts of failing to file tax returns or to pay taxes on at least $58 million he and his film company earned from 1999 to 2004.
Mr. Snipes was found not guilty on two felony charges of fraud and conspiracy. He was also acquitted on three misdemeanor charges of failing to file tax returns or to pay taxes, but was convicted on three others. He was sentenced to three years in prison but has spent no time in prison as of today. His case is being appealed and he is free. Kent has been in prison for two years while his appeal was being made!
Question: Are Kent and Jo Hovind sitting in federal prisons today because they are Fundamental/ evangelical Christians and Tim Geithner, Charles Rangel, Tom Daschle, Marion Barry, Wesley Snipes are all free because they are privileged, powerful, prosperous?
It is my opinion that the Hovinds’ judge, federal attorney, and IRS agent should be in prison, not the Hovinds. And while I am having this seizure of delusion (expecting fair and equal treatment—justice) maybe the above Congressman, mayor, entertainer, and Treasury Secretary could also spend a few months in prison! Kent needs some cellmates and it my opinion that he has more character than all the above jerks combined!
Haven’t Federal officials been aloof, arbitrary, and arrogant long enough? Why not chain them down with the laws they are supposed to obey? Or is it now a one-way street where only non-privileged citizens are held accountable?
Where is the outrage from all decent, honest, fair-minded people over the injustice of it all? And the Fundamentalist/evangelical wimps who are incapable of showing a little anger are a disgrace to the cause of Christ and should rush to identify with churches that have no convictions.
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Raw Deal for Ramos and Compean
By Jon Christian Ryter
January 22, 2009
NewsWithViews.com
http://www.newswithviews.com/Ryter/jon270.htm
On his final full day in office, Mon., Jan. 19, 2001, outgoing President George W. Bush commuted the 11 and 12 year sentences of Ignatious "Nachos" Ramos and Jose Alonzo Compean, respectively. The act of clemency, which leaves their convictions—and their status as "convicted felons"—intact, goes into effect on March 20 when their prison sentences will simply "expire." Bush's decision came two years after the agents began serving their prison sentences on Jan. 17, 2007 for shooting Mexican drug runner Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila. On Feb. 17, 2005 drug cartel drug-runner Aldrete-Davila loaded up his van with 743-lbs of marijuana in a small village near Juarez, Mexico and headed for Fabens, Texas where he planned to dispose of his million dollar cargo.
Driving the same levee road near the Rio Grande that fateful night was "Border Patrol Agent of the Year" nominee Jose Compean, an agent with over 100 arrests under his belt. When Compean spied Aldrete-Davila, the drug-running was barreling north at high speed. Compean radioed for back-up. When Aldrete-Davila reached the outskirts of Fabens, he suddenly realized he couldn't outrun the Border Patrol. He decided to try to get his contraband—which didn't belong to him—back across the river into Mexico to avoid arrest and the seizure of his cargo. By this time, however, a second and third agent had joined the chase.
Realizing he could not save his cargo and himself, Aldrete-Davila abandoned his car on the levee and fled to the river on foot—into the waiting hands of Compean who correctly surmised what the drug smuggler would do. Only, at that moment, none of the agents knew they had a career drug smuggler within their grasp. As far as they knew, this was just an illegal. Perhaps a coyote with a vanload of illegals. A foot pursuit took place. Had Compean been a bigger, heavier man, the chase might have ended differently.
As he neared the levee, Ramos later testified to his superiors that "...at some point during the time where I'm crossing the canal, I hear shots. Later, I see Compean on the ground, but I keep running after the smuggler..." (who, at that moment, he did not know was a smuggler). This would be a sticking point for US Attorney Johnny Sutton who prosecuted them. Sutton argued since they did not know the suspect was a drug runner, they could not use lethal force to stop him; and the fact that Ramos and Compean fired he him was not mitigated by the fact that Aldrete-Davila was a drug smuggler with a million dollars worth of contraband. Both Ramos and Compean affirmed that Aldrete-Davila had a weapon and as he was running to the river, and that he turned to fire at them. They fired. And, even though there was no blood trail from the spot where Aldrete-Davila was running to the river, Aldrete-Davila insisted the wound he suffered was caused by an assault by the Border Patrol agents and that he did not have a weapon. Ramos testified that he saw Aldrete-Davila holding a nickle-plated handgun. Believing his life was in danger, Ramos fired. "But I didn't think he was hit because he kept running into the brush and disappeared. Later we all watched as he jumped into a van [on the other side of the border]. He seemed fine. It didn't look like he'd been hit at all."
While both Ramos and Compean told their field supervisors that they discharged their weapons, that information did not appear in the supervisor's report. Further, since Compean policed his brass, both were charged with conspiracy to conceal evidence of a crime. Under the Immigration Control & Enforcement Protection Table of Offenses and Penalties, failure to report that a weapon had been discharged in the line of duty was punishable by suspension without pay for 5 days. At most, this was the only "crime" of which Ramos and Compean should have been charged.
Aldrete-Davila suffered a wound caused by a 40-caliber Smith & Wesson jacketed hollow-point that entered the left buttock, passed through his pelvis and lodged in his right thigh, damaging the drug smuggler's urethra. (The agents carried 40 caliber Berettas.) Aldrete-Davila claims he suffered the wound at the hands of the Border Patrol while fleeing, unarmed. US Army Col. Winston Warme, MD of the William Beaumont Army Medical Center, who repaired Aldrete-Davila's urethra, testified that the bullet entered his body at an angle suggesting that the person who was shot was turning, like he was firing at the officers as he was fleeing. Nevertheless, the fact that Aldrete-Davila was shot with a 40 caliber slug, based on the lack of a blood trail, and without a ballistics match, does not confirm that either agent shot him. It 's just as likely that Aldrete-Davila was short by the drug lord whose marijuana it was that Aldrete-Davila lost when he dumped his cargo and dashed back across the river as a warning to other drug runners to protect their cargoes with their lives.
When Sutton issued an arrest warrant for the agents, Ramos and Compean were not given the courtesy of surrendering to their supervisors in the US Border Patrol, or even quietly to US Marshals. Sutton arranged for simultaneous SWAT teams to stage assaults on their homes, deliberately traumatizing their families and very deliberately sending a message to every Border Patrol agent that attempting to arrest those who violate our borders has a horrible price. (It worked. Arrests along the border by Border Patrol agents plummeted. They simply turned their backs on illegals crossing into the United States, images of Ramos and Compean etched into their minds.)
President Bush's decision on Monday was an answer to the prayers not only of the families of the two agents, but to thousands of conservatives who have been petitioning the White House to pardon the pair. Patty Compean, the wife of Jose Compean, learned her husband's sentence had been commuted from reporters who called to ask for a statement. She immediately called the prison in Ohio where her husband, like Ramos, has been held in solitary confinement since shortly after their convictions but was not allowed to speak with him even though his sentence had just been commuted by the President of the United States. Ramos was assaulted shortly after being confined. Both men were moved to solitary to protect their lives due to the danger they faced because they were law enforcement officers before thier convictions.
Monica Ramos said she had faith that Bush would "...help free her husband." In point of fact, Bush engineered the prosecution and conviction of her husband as a favor to Fox. Monica Ramos said "...[i]t's like a the nightmare will finally be over. We can have a new life, a new beginning."
Bush relented only because, over the last six months, he was flooded with requests from scores of members of Congress—both Republicans and Democrats—to pardon the Border Patrol agents. In a statement issued on Monday after the commutation, Sutton said "...the president has concluded that Compean and Ramos have been sufficiently punished," adding that the two agents "...had been justly convicted and that their status as convicted felons should remain in place." Think about that. Compean and Ramos were convicted of criminal assault and using a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence, and civil rights violations.
They were railroaded by the US Attorney and maliciously prosecuted at the insistence of the Attorney General of the United States. US District Court Judge Kathleen Cardone, a Bush-43 judicial appointment, railroaded the defendants. During the trial, Sutton attempted to inflame the non-sequestered jury by issuing a three page statement to the media that he could not legally enter into evidence in which he said the two agents "...fired their weapons at a man who was attempting to surrender by holding his open hands in the air."
During jury deliberation, three members of the jury, believing Ramos and Compean were innocent, held out for a not guilty verdict against nine jurors who were convinced the agents would never have been charged if they weren't guilty. That fact notwithstanding, at 2:15 p.m. on March 15, 2006 the jury found them guilty. When the verdict was read, the three jury members began to cry.
A few days later Ramos' lawyer, Mary Stillinger, contacted the jury members whom she witnessed crying. They agreed to speak to her on the record. They told Stillinger the jury foreman was told by Judge Cardone that the jury would vote either "guilty" or "not guilty." She would not accept a hung jury. If the three couldn't convince the other nine, they would have to vote guilty. The three should have insisted on seeing the judge's instructions in writing. If she did tell the jury foreman that, Cardone would never put such a demand in writing. The judge was engaging in jury intimidation.
Constitutionally, under our jury system, the judge does not have the power to tell a jury how they will or will not vote. The people constitutionally have the final word in the fate of those charged with violating the laws of this country. That's why the rule of law works. Conversely, when judges attempt to intimidate juries, or when prosecutors misrepresent the evidence, miscarriages of justice like the Ramos and Compean convictions happen. Bush's commutation is a further miscarriage of justice. Ramos and Compean deserve nothing short of a presidential pardon simply because they are innocent of the crimes for which they were accused and convicted. However else history judges former President George W. Bush, he will carry the stain of this deliberate miscarriage of justice, engineered by his presidency, into history.
For the sake of "jury unity," and not because they were convinced the pair was guilty of anything, Ramos and Compean were wrongfully confined in federal prison on Jan. 17, 2007 and will remain there until March 20. They will have spent 792 days in prison for a crime that did not happen just to fulfill an international political mandate to create a world with open borders. Of anyone who has ever sought a presidential pardon, no one has ever been more deserving of one than Ignatious Ramos and Jose Compean. Perhaps when Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin wins the White House in 2012 Ramos and Compean will win their pardon and be restored to service in the US Border Patrol with back pay and all privileges that go with the badge.
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House Arrest for Madoff in $7 Million ApartmentSEC Chairman Says No Staff Wrongdoing Found Yet, But Internal Inquiry Will Investigate
By Richard Esposito and Brian Ross
Dec. 17, 2008
http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/WallStreet/story?id=6480363
Bernard Madoff, accused of the largest fraud in U.S. history, will be allowed to remain in his $7 million Park Avenue apartment instead of being sent to jail, under terms of an agreement announced today by federal prosecutors.
Click here to see Madoff being pushed by a photographer upon returning to his residence.
Madoff was unable to meet the bond conditions set last week by a federal magistrate which required him to get four people to sign his personal recognizance bond.
According to the U.S. Attorney's office, only Madoff's wife and brothers were willing to sign the document. But instead of ordering him held in jail, prosecutors agreed to home detention with electronic monitoring.
In related news, the Securities and Exchange Commission chairman said today the agency has found "no evidence of wrongdoing by any SEC personnel" in connection with Madoff's alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme and that the SEC intends to get to the bottom of where it may have gone wrong.
"I was very concerned to learn this week that credible allegations about Mr. Madoff had been made over nearly a decade and yet never referred to the commission for action," Commissioner Christopher Cox said at a press conference.
Yesterday, Cox acknowledged what amounted to a generational failure on the part of the SEC to discover any hint of Madoff's scheme, despite allegations dating back to 1999. In his statement, Cox said that he had turned the investigation into what might be an institutional lack of rigor over to the inspector general for the SEC.
"We have asked, in addition to investigating the allegations that had been made, over a period of many years, about Mr. Madoff and the way that they were handled," Cox told reporters today. "Also questions about the policies under which they were handled, whether or not all of the actions of SEC professionals were in compliance with those policies and, if so, what changes need to be made to the policies to make sure that we can get better results with such information in the future."
Having received the case less than 24 hours ago, Security and Exchange Commission Inspector General David Kotz told ABC News that his office has barely begun the process of selecting the staff, identifying the key areas to target, and determining the way in which the IG will proceed in attempting to unravel what other authorities have termed "nearly a generation of systemic and policy failure" at the SEC.
In terms of his new bond conditions, Madoff and his luxury apartment on Manhattan's upper east side will be fitted with an electronic monitoring device by the court's pre-trial services and Madoff will be under a curfew of between 7 p.m. through 9 a.m.
Madoff's wife agreed to post the mansions in her name in Palm Beach, Florida and in Montauk on New York's Long Island.
Madoff reportedly admitted to FBI agents last week that he had single-handedly pulled off a $50 billion scheme, defrauding a long list of investors.
Was Madoff Running a Ponzi Scheme?
Madoff made headlines last week when an unsealed criminal complaint in federal court in New York charged that he has been running a decades long Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors of $50 billion dollars.
A former chairman of NASDAQ, Madoff was an investment advisor who catered to a handful of high net worth clients, one of whom told ABC News that Madoff was so sought after that, as recently as two months ago, he was turning down potential new business. His handful of clients routinely expected -- and received -- double digit returns, up market or down.
Bernard Madoff Investment Securities and the SEC
According to a SEC document filed in Jan. 2008, and cited in the complaint, the firm had between 11 and 25 clients for the fiscal year ending Oct. 2007 and managed about $17 billion in assets in 23 different accounts.
Bernard Madoff Investment Securities, in addition to that private client practice, is also a market maker that trades with other dealers in bonds, the S&P 500 and NASDAQ, according to Bloomberg News.
The firm was the 23rd largest market maker on NASDAQ in October, handling a daily average of about 50 million shares a day. The firm specialized in handling orders from online brokers in some of the largest U.S. companies, including General Electric Co. and Citigroup Inc., Bloomberg News reported.
But on Dec. 10, Madoff allegedly told senior employees at his firm that his entire business was a fraud. According to the federal complaint, Madoff told those employees that he was "finished" and that "it's all one big lie." Madoff estimated "the losses from the fraud to be at least approximately $50 billion," the complaint states.
At that time Madoff also told those employees that he intended to surrender to authorities, but before he did he planned to use $200-300 million he had left to make payments to "selected employees, family and friends," the complaint states.
Madoff started his business in 1960 with $5000 in savings. He resides in New York City and, according to clients, also maintains a posh waterfront home. Known to his clients as Bernie, he has a long and significant history on Wall Street and has been a chairman of the board of the NASDAQ and was a founding member of the board of the International Securities Clearing Corp. in London.
The Web site for Madoff's firm, in its company profile, says, "Clients know that Bernard Madoff has a personal interest in maintaining the unblemished record of value, fair-dealing, and high ethical standards that has always been the firm's hallmark."
Madoff was arrested last Thursday morning by FBI agents and charged with criminal securities fraud by federal prosecutors in Manhattan. The complaint states that he used "manipulative and deceptive practices." The complaint cites two senior employees in describing how Madoff kept his client records "under lock and key" and how he left them in the dark about how he managed the private client funds. One of those employees, in interviews with the FBI, said that Madoff was "cryptic" in his statements. This, according to clients, is in keeping with the aura that Madoff cultivated among his clients, some of whom have kept funds under management with him for generations.
Madoff Struggled to Obtain Liquidity in December, Complaint Says
But by the first week of December, when clients began clamoring for redemptions -- to the tune of $7 billion -- the complaint states that Madoff began a struggle to obtain the necessary liquidity. The stress began to show, the employees said.
In a meeting at their boss's Manhattan apartment -- held there following a confrontation in the office Wednesday because Madoff wasn't sure "he would be able to "hold it together" if the conversation took place in the office -- the employees came away believing that Madoff was "saying, in substance that he had for years been paying returns to certain investors out of the principal received from other, different investors."
The next day, Dec. 11, Madoff spoke with FBI agent Theodore Cacioppi and invited the agent and another agent to his apartment. Cacioppo stated in the complaint that he told Madoff he came by to see if "there's an innocent explanation."
"There is no innocent explanation," Madoff replied, according to the sworn complaint.
Madoff's lawyer, Dan Horwitz, a partner at Dickstein Shapiro in New York, said his client is cooperating fully with the federal investigation.
"Bernie Madoff is a long-standing leader in the financial services industry and he is cooperating fully with the government investigation into this unfortunate set of events," Horwitz said.
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U.S. Department of Defense Web Site
http://solari.com/archive/missing_money/
"The technology revolution has transformed organizations across the private sector, but not ours, not fully, not yet. We are, as they say, tangled in our anchor chain. Our financial systems are decades old. According to some estimates, we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions. We cannot share information from floor to floor in this building because it's stored on dozens of technological systems that are inaccessible or incompatible."
- Remarks as Delivered by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, The Pentagon, Monday, September 10, 2001
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The War on Waste
Defense Department Cannot Account For 25% Of Funds — $2.3 Trillion

$2.3 trillion — that's $8,000 for every man, woman and child in America. To understand how the Pentagon can lose track of trillions, consider the case of one military accountant who tried to find out what happened to a mere $300 million.
"We know it's gone. But we don't know what they spent it on," said Jim Minnery, Defense Finance and Accounting Service.
Minnery, a former Marine turned whistle-blower, is risking his job by speaking out for the first time about the millions he noticed were missing from one defense agency's balance sheets. Minnery tried to follow the money trail, even crisscrossing the country looking for records.
"The director looked at me and said 'Why do you care about this stuff?' It took me aback, you know? My supervisor asking me why I care about doing a good job," said Minnery.
He was reassigned and says officials then covered up the problem by just writing it off.
"They have to cover it up," he said. "That's where the corruption comes in. They have to cover up the fact that they can't do the job."
The Pentagon's Inspector General "partially substantiated" several of Minnery's allegations but could not prove officials tried "to manipulate the financial statements."
Twenty years ago, Department of Defense Analyst Franklin C. Spinney made headlines exposing what he calls the "accounting games." He's still there, and although he does not speak for the Pentagon, he believes the problem has gotten worse.
"Those numbers are pie in the sky. The books are cooked routinely year after year," he said.
Another critic of Pentagon waste, Retired Vice Admiral Jack Shanahan, commanded the Navy's 2nd Fleet the first time Donald Rumsfeld served as Defense Secretary, in 1976.
In his opinion, "With good financial oversight we could find $48 billion in loose change in that building, without having to hit the taxpayers."
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