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The Divine Comedy

By Dante Alighieri

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Tag: Corruption

The A Word

Recently, I’ve been groping for the precise word to characterize the zeitgeist of this (unfortunately) historic moment—a word I finally found during a visit last week to central Mexico.

Posted on Mar 5, 2009 READ MORE

AP photo / J. Scott Applewhite

Sen. Burris: Symbolism Over Substance

As Sen. Roland Burris’ listening tour apparently deteriorates into a dismissing tour, perhaps black voters will finally abandon the politics of symbolism that Burris has eagerly manipulated. 

Posted on Feb 21, 2009 READ MORE

Sen. Burris

First Blagojevich, Next Burris?

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich didn’t go down without a big fight (or a full-on media assault), and judging by the comportment of his controversial Senate pick, Roland Burris, we can expect another show of defiance if Burris is put on trial for perjury.

Posted on Feb 20, 2009 READ MORE

Stop Explaining, Start Packing

Roland Burris, the woefully forgetful Illinois senator, should go home and stay there, and I’d advise taking a vow of silence as well.

Posted on Feb 19, 2009 READ MORE

Flickr / debaird

Congress for Sale

Nearly a quarter of the members of the House of Representatives find themselves embroiled in a lobbying scandal, with Rep. John Murtha at the center. One hundred four representatives earmarked more than $300 million in just one bill, allegedly in exchange for campaign contributions from a lobbying firm founded by a former Murtha protégé.

Posted on Feb 19, 2009 READ MORE

Jailing Kids for Cash

As many as 5,000 children in Pennsylvania have been found guilty, and up to 2,000 of them jailed, by two corrupt judges who received kickbacks from the builders and owners of private prison facilities that benefited.

Posted on Feb 17, 2009 READ MORE


Burris Did More for Blagojevich Than He Let On

Surprise! Roland Burris has no credibility. The man who condemned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich for allegedly trying to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat—until he was appointed to it—has revealed that, contrary to what he told the United States Congress in sworn testimony, he tried to raise money, as requested, for the governor-turned-auctioneer.

Posted on Feb 17, 2009 READ MORE

AP photo / Petros Giannakouris

Bad News From America’s Top Spy

It turns out that Wall Street, rather than Islamic jihad, has produced our most dangerous terrorists. Just ask the new director of national intelligence, who warned that the deepening economic crisis could trigger a return to the “violent extremism” of the 1920s and 1930s.

Posted on Feb 16, 2009 READ MORE

Mugabs and Tsvans

Tsvangirai to World: ‘Get Over’ Mugabe

Much like an unsympathetic friend counseling you after a breakup, recently installed Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is calling on the world to “get over” the wrongs of President Robert Mugabe.

Posted on Feb 13, 2009 READ MORE

America Faces the Music in Davos

The American participants in this year’s World Economic Forum have been the first to confront the full international blowback to the U.S.-created world economic crisis, which has devastated the nation’s reputation for competence, along with the justification for its six-decade role as world leader.

Posted on Feb 1, 2009 READ MORE

Tsvangirai Beaten

Mugabe Learns How to Share ... Maybe

The ever-unfolding democratic drama in Zimbabwe has revealed a new, potentially less contentious chapter. Opposition leader and once-exiled politician Morgan Tsvangirai has said he will join a government as prime minister with President Robert Mugabe in a power-sharing agreement between the two rival parties.

Posted on Jan 30, 2009 READ MORE


Blagojevich Pleads His Case

It was just politics as usual, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Thursday of the corruption allegations that seem all but certain to upend his political career.

Posted on Jan 29, 2009 READ MORE

Protecting the Homeland From Homeland Security

As previously reported on Truthdig, there’s a lot going on in Homeland Security that doesn’t make it onto the reality show of the same name. The Center for Investigative Reporting’s G.W. Schulz continues to dig into the department’s unsavory bits, including an immigration officer who was arrested for allegedly having sex with an 11-year-old girl in Rio while there on official business.

Posted on Jan 27, 2009 READ MORE

Blago Tapes Played at Impeachment Trial

Previously unreleased audio recordings of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich talking gambling legislation and campaign contributions were played in all their ignominy during his impeachment trial Tuesday. There’s a lot more going on here than a vacant Senate seat.

Posted on Jan 27, 2009 READ MORE

AP photo / Mary Altaffer

Illinois Senate Takes Up Blagojevich’s Case

He’s been airing his side of the story to the press; now it’s time for the Illinois Senate to actually decide Rod Blagojevich’s fate. On Monday, the impeached Illinois governor went on trial, and his prospects aren’t looking good.

Posted on Jan 26, 2009 READ MORE


Blago Compares Himself to Gandhi, MLK and Mandela

A confession: We’ve been avoiding the news about embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, whose impeachment trial begins Monday. There are too many storm clouds on the horizon to waste time on this man’s circus. But we couldn’t help but pause to marvel at the chutzpah of the governor, who dropped this bombshell on Sunday.

Posted on Jan 25, 2009 READ MORE

General Motors Lobby

Post-Bailout, Lobbying Continues

Without skipping a beat, once-troubled financial entities are continuing to spend big to lobby Congress as they pocket billions in TARP bailout money. The lobbying is defended by the bail-outted firms as a “transparent and effective way” to be heard on policy issues.

Posted on Jan 23, 2009 READ MORE

The Economist

The Road to Impeachment

The Illinois House has voted to impeach Gov. Rod Blagojevich on charges of corruption—like, for example, trying to sell a U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder. The road to impeachment now leads to the Illinois state Senate, where a two-thirds majority is needed to boot Blagojevich.

Posted on Jan 9, 2009 READ MORE

‘Homeland Security USA’: The Outtakes

The inaugural episode of ABC’s newest reality television series did exactly as producer Arnold Shapiro told viewers it would: unabashedly celebrated the Department of Homeland Security. It also failed in every conceivable way to critically examine the largest reorganization of the federal government since World War II.

Posted on Jan 9, 2009 READ MORE

Now Is No Time for Phony Thrift

As the government contemplates spending very large sums of money, it is reassuring to know that somebody still worries about waste. Or it would be reassuring, if only that somebody were not Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader.

Posted on Jan 8, 2009 READ MORE

Yukking It Up at the Blago Show

I am supposed to be typing out words that articulate a highly audible and terribly alarmed tsk tsk. Instead, I am laughing with unrestrained amusement at the farce that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has engineered. Honestly, I haven’t had this much fun since New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s implosion.

Posted on Jan 6, 2009 READ MORE

AP photo / Paul Beaty

Burris: ‘I Am the Junior Senator From Illinois’

Despite clear indications that not everyone on Capitol Hill is ready to acknowledge him as a U.S. senator, Roland W. Burris headed to Washington from Illinois on Monday, announcing that he was, in fact, the rightful new occupant of the seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

Posted on Jan 5, 2009 READ MORE

AP photo / M. Spencer Green

Blagojevich vs. the Senate

Some have argued that the Senate does not have the right to reject embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s pick to replace Barack Obama. However, history clearly disagrees.

Posted on Jan 5, 2009 READ MORE

AP photo / M. Spencer Green

Blagojevich Gets Blagoje-Ditched

Rod Blagojevich, the most recent Illinois governor to be mired in scandal, is finding himself at odds with his own party after Democratic leaders announced Tuesday that Blagojevich’s attempt to fill Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat will be blocked, much to the disappointment of Blagojevich and his appointee, Roland Burris.

Posted on Dec 31, 2008 READ MORE


Posted on Dec 22, 2008 READ MORE    

AP photo / Khalil Hamra

Man Is a Cruel Animal

We fool ourselves into believing we are immune to the savagery and chaos of failed states. Take away the rigid social structure, let society continue to break down, and we become, like anyone else, brutes.

Posted on Dec 22, 2008 READ MORE

Blagojevich painting

Blagojevich Immortalized in Nude Painting

The good news for embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich in this report is that a Chicago artist is using the governor’s likeness as inspiration for his latest painting.

Posted on Dec 20, 2008 READ MORE

There May Be GOP Gold in the Blago Scandal

The troubles of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich have endangered one of the Democratic Party’s safest U.S. Senate seats.

Posted on Dec 15, 2008 READ MORE

Flickr / jburwen

In Illinois, They Love Blagojevich Not

How many Illinois state House members voted Monday to begin impeachment proceedings against Gov. Rod Blagojevich? 113. How many Illinois state House members are there? 113. But in a twist, the governor retains the power to name Barack Obama’s successor, although the U.S. Senate has no intention of recognizing a Blagojevich appointee.

Posted on Dec 15, 2008 READ MORE

Dennis Kucinich
AP photo / Kevin Wolf

Rep. Dennis Kucinich on His Battle With the Banks

Once they were as gods, but the deities of the American banking system are now in ruins, plunged from their pedestals into the maw of taxpayer largesse. There was a time when their power was real. Come with me to Cleveland 30 years ago today.

Posted on Dec 15, 2008 READ MORE

This Isn’t a Time to Be Coy, Mr. Obama

Obama’s statements in the Blagojevich case have been cautious and precise. For most politicians, that would be good enough. For the man who inspired the nation with a promise of “change we can believe in,” it’s not.

Posted on Dec 11, 2008 READ MORE

Gov. Blagojevich Plea Bargain

Posted on Dec 10, 2008 READ MORE

Warren I. Cohen on China’s ‘Factory Girls’

There’s a revolution underway in Chinese culture as young women flock from villages to factory employment in the cities, leaving traditional values behind.

Posted on Dec 5, 2008 READ MORE

AP file photo

Confronting the Terrorist Within

The world is far more complex than our childish vision of good and evil. We as a nation and a culture have no monopoly on virtue. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, when viewed from the receiving end, are state-sponsored acts of terrorism.

Posted on Dec 1, 2008 READ MORE


Ted Stevens Bows Out of Senate

After 40 years in the U.S. Senate, the Alaska Republican bid his Capitol Hill colleagues goodbye on Thursday and was given a standing ovation as he finished his speech.

Posted on Nov 20, 2008 READ MORE

It’s All Over for Stevens

Ted Stevens will not be returning to work in the Senate after surviving there longer than any Republican ever. The convicted felon lost his re-election battle with Democrat Mark Begich by a few thousand votes after leading on election night. The news came on Stevens’ 85th birthday.

Posted on Nov 18, 2008 READ MORE

This Is What He’s Sorry About?

It was nothing Bush did—no decision he made, no policy he pursued, no faith that he placed in ideological dogma—that he finds regrettable. Bush told a cable network, “I regret saying some things I shouldn’t have said” over the course of eight tumultuous years.

Posted on Nov 13, 2008 READ MORE

AP photo / Al Grillo

Homeland Security Pays Dividends for Alaska

When Sarah Palin brags about the self-reliance of her state, she doesn’t mention the mobile command communications vehicle, bought with federal dollars to help keep her home town of 7,028 safe from terrorism. Thanks in part to an anti-terrorism bonanza, Alaska is one of the greatest per-capita beneficiaries of federal funding among the 50 states.

Posted on Oct 31, 2008 READ MORE

Stevens’ Corruption Was About the Little Things

For a steel sculpture of migrating salmon, amongst other goodies, Ted Stevens—one of the lions of the Senate—was willing to forfeit the kingdom.

Posted on Oct 30, 2008 READ MORE

Stevens Won’t Back Down

Even as his conviction has politicos rethinking Senate filibuster math, Ted Stevens of Alaska says he’ll fight the verdict and continue campaigning for re-election. It’s not all bad news for the longest serving Senate Republican—and you really can’t make this up—the Senate doesn’t ban convicted felons.

Posted on Oct 28, 2008 READ MORE

Stevens Goes Down

Sen. Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in the Senate, has been convicted on seven counts of lying about gifts he received while in office. Unless he steps down, the Republican Party will be running a convicted felon for the Senate in the Nov. 4 election.

Posted on Oct 27, 2008 READ MORE

Wikimedia Commons / edited for effect

Populism Arising—but Will It Be the Killer Kind?

The old assumptions and paradigms about capitalism and free markets are dead. A new, virulent populism, still inchoate, is slowly and painfully rising to take their place. This populism will determine the future of the country. It is as likely to be right-wing as left-wing.

Posted on Oct 26, 2008 READ MORE

Obama Doesn’t Need Your Money

After the eye-popping fundraising revelations of the past couple of days, the need that’s far more pronounced is the imperative of acting quickly after November’s election to restore some common sense to the presidential campaign finance system—before we don’t have any system at all.

Posted on Oct 22, 2008 READ MORE

Change Big Donors Can Believe In

The candidates’ coffers are swelling with larger and larger bundles of cash, but don’t hold your breath waiting for the extended television discussions of this, because it’s the broadcasters who profit the most.

Posted on Oct 22, 2008 READ MORE

Ted Stevens

Stevens Defends Himself, Blames Others

Alaska’s Sen. Ted Stevens (the Internet as a “series of tubes” guy) testified in his own defense at his corruption trial Friday, blaming the fact that he received $250,000 in free house renovations and gifts first on his wife, then family friends, and ultimately on the many responsibilities of a U.S. senator.

Posted on Oct 17, 2008 READ MORE

The House That Todd Palin’s ‘Buddies’ Built

First Dude Todd Palin has said he and some “buddies” built his lakefront home in Wasilla, Alaska, but an investigation by the Village Voice connects the home’s construction, if circumstantially, to the beneficiaries of a local boondoggle championed by his wife.

Posted on Oct 13, 2008 READ MORE

It’s Henry Paulson’s Move

Is Henry Paulson a crony communist or a businessman? The answer could be the difference between economic disaster and recovery.

Posted on Oct 10, 2008 READ MORE

AIG Execs Enjoy Sun and Fun on Your Dime

What’s $85 billion if you don’t get to spend it? Just days after taxpayers saved AIG from ruin, executives of the insurance giant spent $440,000 pampering themselves at the exclusive St. Regis resort in Monarch Beach, Calif.

Posted on Oct 8, 2008 READ MORE

Saying ‘No Deal’ to This New Deal

The marriage of American capitalism and democracy has always been a Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee affair—stormy and erratic since its hasty wedding. But during the debate over a Wall Street bailout this week, we watched that matrimonial knot unwind into a tangled tale of terror.

Posted on Oct 2, 2008 READ MORE

From Fired U.S. Attorneys to Sarah Palin

A new internal report confirms our fears about the politicization of the Justice Department. That same contempt for government can be found in the current financial crisis as well as the meteoric rise of the former mayor of Wasilla.

Posted on Sep 30, 2008 READ MORE

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