Sunday, September 21, 2008
Popular Scams of the Rich and Famous
By Richard Backus
21/09/08 "ICH" --- There are an ever-increasing number of linkages between politicians, big businesses, and rich individuals designed to promote their joint prosperity at the expense of the general public. Money flows in both directions between these “players” under various “pay for play” schemes. Because they unfairly absorb federal tax revenue or deprive the general public of legitimately earned benefits, I refer to these schemes as “scams'. Most are technically “legal' being based upon law or statute, or founded upon government policy and practice, but have been set up in ways designed to benefit favored individuals. In most cases, these practices are promoted by Republican politicians serving their primary clients, rich individuals and “big business”. Hopefully, in the coming elections, legislators will be chosen which will have the courage to rectify these abuses. The following are just a few of the more popular scams.
Social laws, uncertain as to constitutionality, have been passed to control the general populace, and are generally ignored by those creating them, as evident in many recent court cases. Prostitutes do quite a brisk business during political party conventions, and a “madam” recently interviewed claimed that the "family values" group, the Republicans, are the the best customers. But all this has been pretty well hidden from public awareness by the establishment media, and grudgingly and belatedly disclosed, if at all, after previously promulgated on blogger sites. This situation was not reported during the 2004 conventions by a single major U.S. media, and I read about it only in foreign news sources, the Guardian and Reuters. So much for the fearless American press! But news media in the U.S . practice self-censorship because they are fully aware of what they can and cannot report. Anything critical of the rich and famous is forbidden.
There has been no effort to contain medical expenses that have caused a great many of the financial problems currently plaguing the U.S. The AMA and ADA have so well financed the campaigns of our legislators that we are now facing multiple financial crises substantially directly cause by health care costs. The 2007 federal government deficit of approximately $180 billion would have become a $300 billion surplus simply with a reform of this sector. Americans pay, on average, nearly $7,000 per person for medical costs, whereas citizens in the next-highest-cost developed pay around $3,200 per person. Bringing the U.S. health costs in line with those of the rest of the western world would save U.S. citizens directly $720 billion and the federal government $480 billion more. The U.S. physician's claim is that costs are so high because we get the best health care in the world. This is a real con job. The World Health Organization ranks the U.S. 26th in quality of health care of the advanced countries. The major problem is that a monopoly has been created by limiting the number of teaching hospitals as well as the number of students who are entitled to enroll. The selection process for medical school positions involves the usual custom of picking predominantly children of those politically connected. The "special" qualifier for positions in the few medical schools places offered, that determines appointment more often than demonstrated academic excellence, is participation in extra-curricular activities indicating "leadership" abilities. This is a standard trick for all appointments in this vast conspiracy, made to benefit unqualified candidates supported by political elites. It avoids the serious business of determining the truly deserving (who are frequently passed over because they are considered “nerds” (because they study so much)) and for admission committees to give preference to candidates whose academic performance is not quite up to par. George W. qualified as a possible “leader” because he was a cheerleader at Andover, and others are selected because of their participation in college political activities. When training people for highly technical and critical jobs (e.g., physicians), the last thing the candidate should be doing is playing political tricks or scheming for political office. They should be studying.
The whole system of "globalization" is simply a way to exploit workers worldwide thereby maximizing the profits of essentially western-owned multinationals. The results are now coming in, as demonstrated by the current disinflation in the western countries. By allowing multinationals special tax breaks and accounting practices the U.S. government has encouraged the transfer of almost all high wage U.S. jobs overseas to low wage (exploited) workers. By simply calling these lost jobs "low skilled" they have convinced U.S. workers that they really deserve less for their labor, which in many cases were the most stressful and demanding in the country, Soon middle level professional jobs will be moved overseas as well, and similarly described, no doubt, as "low skilled". This includes engineering and product design, paralegal and brokerage back office jobs, and accounting and auditing jobs as well. Even radiologists will miraculously end up as "low tech" workers.
Still extant farm subsidies unfortunately not only violate those “economically sacrosanct” principles of globalization but result in higher prices for the American consumer as well as increased cost to the American taxpayer. As a bonus, they frequently produce serious economic consequences for other "global" players, especially for our South American "partners" (and incur their resentment).
The U.S. government has made no effort whatsoever to assist in providing support for displaced U.S. workers by demanding reciprocity of employment opportunity with those countries whose citizens are flooding the U.S. labor market. While surveying foreign papers in Europe and Australia/New Zealand for jobs in the IT business, I found loads of ads promising unlimited amount of IT opportunities in the U.S. But ads for IT jobs in these same countries all ended with statements that these local jobs are reserved for their own citizens. Recently the U.S. government passed an amendment to its visa rules allowing other country's workers to enter the U.S. for 6 months without a prior job offer. Most other western countries did the same I believe, offering job opportunities for U.S. workers. But there was a limit to the ages of these workers, 27 years I believe, suspiciously approximating the average age of the children of our current members of Congress. These job opportunities can not possibly benefit those most damaged by U.S. outsourcing policies, those who had irreplaceable (at their ages) experience, without finances to retrain, and facing huge and continuing family bills in the U.S. They still have no realistic possibilities to work overseas even though the great god “globalization” based its legitimacy on the free movement of capital and labor. What a joke!
The entire USAID program has become an excellent way to feed money to political supporters. This scam involves granting taxpayers money as USAID “aid money” to friendly foreign governments with "tied" aid (agreements to purchase in most cases U.S.-made products and services). The so-called "aid" money never reaches the country supposedly receiving it. The "receiving" country gets products and "advice" from U.S. corporations and individuals selected from the U.S. governments "preferred list" of suppliers. The organizations providing these services and products are basically weapons suppliers and "international" accounting and law firms providing "advice" to the recipient country's government. These “select” suppliers and “advisers” are, of course, those companies and individuals who are the major suppliers of campaign finance funds. The recipient country gets weapons systems and armaments used by the local military to control discontented locals (and also expected to support U.S. regional political goals). The result is a lot of money is transferred to American multinationals and private companies located in the U.S. with the bill payed out of taxpayers funds. This is an excellent way to create campaign finance funds with the bill paid by U.S. taxpayers.
Flight of capital from the U.S., (unrestrained by laws regularly established by other more prudent governments) is increasing the risk of a banking default in the U.S. and a drastic drop in the dollar. It is accelerating at the same time that foreigners dollar holders (private and public) are thinking twice about keeping their funds here because the U.S. government has shown no interest or willingness to restrain this process.
The much ballyhooed one-man, one-vote election under a democracy simply does not exist. With the caucus system still being practiced in many states, the candidates the public finally gets to vote for (essentially one of 2 choices) have been chosen by the powers-that-be within each state, and under these conditions, the private citizen's vote is practically meaningless.
Most of the efforts of the U.S. government to contain Communism have involved the setting up of American-friendly foreign governments who were willing to turn a blind eye to exploitation of their country's resources and populace by U.S. corporations. To make matters worse, the U.S. Government, which has established these regimes, insist on calling the resulting U.S.-friendly governments (oligarchies of the rich at best) as "democracies" when,in reality, the government which it replaced was far more democratic than the one established by the U.S. government. This was all done under the pretext of constraining Communism, but was also a handy scheme for U.S. businesses to gain possession or control of the few assets these poor countries possessed and a new supply of exploitable local workers. Now that Communism is no longer a realistic treat there is no longer any pretext for doing this. No governments should be overthrown by actions of the U.S. government regardless of its having a political or economic system inimical to presumed western interests, and certainly no one should be going around bragging about setting up a "democracy" when the opposite occurred.
Bidding on all levels of government contracts is also riddled with ways to allow the contract manager to give the contract to a friend. If the manager's friend is not the low bidder, the manager can simply reopen the bidding on any number of pretexts and advise his friend what he needs to bid to get the contract. Bids can be thrown out as "non-serious" bids without notice, on the basis that the bidder is incapable of performing at that price. This device is used when the winning bid is so low that even the manager's friend can't compete even knowing the prospective winning bid price. This is because he is really a 'prime contractor', won't be doing the work, and needs extra funds to cover his “cut” and to cover possible gratuities for the contract manager. The government has even set up a separate agency, at taxpayer expense, to "prove" this type of fraud can not occur. All the public exposure over the years of these practices puts the lie to the honesty of this organization.
The FED's constant claim of incipient inflation over the last 18 years (when none has ever materialized) has finally resulted in our current economic crises. The latest FD-sponsored recession might well be the final straw that breaks the back of U.S. consumers. There is a serious "moral hazard" involved in improper disclosures of these continuing, unpredictable, and totally uncalled- for adjustments in interest rates as well.
The federal government has been playing footsie with fascism for quite a long time, supported only by the inability of the general public to recognize it. Ecclesiastic appointments, corporate management, charity, "brain trust" ,foundations, university appointments, and even scholarship awards are controlled by political elites, with the consequent assurances that these appointees will play ball with the politicians and their “sponsors”. The Pols now essentially control everything under the direction of the rich and famous.
The “justness” of the U.S. legal system can be compromised by anyone with unlimited funds. The Constitution certainly would not have countenanced the use of multiple lawyer (with political connections) for any one case, for jury selection advisors, and the abusive use (and misuse) of expert witnesses.
Foundations, “brain trusts”, charities, and other non-profits are the most dangerous potential source of political influence-buying of all these “scamers”. Foundations, formed by individuals to avoid inheritance taxes, can provide jobs, grant contracts, and purchase goods and services from a large number of politically-sponsored individuals and companies. They pay no taxes even when they accumulate funds, which they call “surplus”. These surpluses can be invested with the proceeds not subject to taxes. Their employees are well compensated and live quite luxuriously while on 'company business'. Contract awards and grants tend be generous, and the foundations can purchase supplies and services without oversight. Most recipients of this largess are politically-connected and are expected to promote political goals and to funnel funds to political campaigns.
There are literally hundreds of thousands of other varieties of non-profits, categorized as NGOs, which conduct their businesses in essentially the same way. They are set up to perform certain socially-beneficial services, but after all the above-mentioned expenses, only a small percentage of their income are used in this way. Typically, 30 percent of their income (tax deductible write offs from corporations and individuals, and government giveaways) are spent on salary and payroll taxes to top employees and their generous “business expenses” (5-star hotel accommodations, chic restaurant and 1st class air travel costs). The remaining 70 percent can be used for “public relation fees” (to supporters) and some is even spent on legitimate promotion programs. What is left, perhaps 50 percent, can, by the “50 percent rule” be passed on to another tax-exempt having similar expenses, with the result that the claimed public-service, used to obtain tax-exempt status, can end up with practically nothing. Certain charities are particularly offensive perpetrators of this same scheme, disbursing for political purposes the monies donated for the most-needy individuals of all, the poor and defenseless, mostly children. Principles of those organizations practicing this blatant “welfare to the rich” scheme should be, but seldom are, prosecuted.
All in all, most of the American populace's problems derive from a lack of understanding of how their job opportunities and financial success are being jeopardized by these practices. A great deal of the blame for these scam's success can be attributed to the establishment media's self-censorship on these important issues, with a consequent inability of the public to correctly determine what is going on. Thankfully, there is now a self-appointed group who are now providing the news so instrumental in allowing the public to make necessary political decisions. They are called "blog sites" and are America's version of the old soviet "samizdat". Hopefully the government can be prevented from meddling with them.
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)
The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.