Tag Archives: corruption

Corruption gets new poster boy

Political corruption has displayed many faces over many decades as politics has been practiced in the United States of America.

The latest face now just might belong to a New Jersey Democratic U.S. senator, Bob Menendez. The federal government has indicted Menendez and his wife, Nadine, on charges that they took bribes.

Here’s what is so astonishing: FBI agents searched the couple’s home and found gold bars and cash-stuffed envelopes hidden in clothing in the couple’s closet. Oh, and get a load of this: Agents discovered that many of the envelopes had Menendez’s name on them … implying strongly that, well, the cash was placed there for nefarious purposes. The loot totaled hundreds of thousands of dollars!

The question that goes far beyond the Menendez scandal deals with just how widespread is this kind of behavior. I won’t believe it is endemic among politicians. Although as it involves a guy who has faced questions such as this before, I am struck by the alleged hubris Sen. Menendez has exhibited.

Pressure is mounting for Menendez to resign. It is coming from Democrats, which tells me that the New Jersey lawmaker has — shall we say — zero friends/allies in the Senate. He cannot continue to work effectively representing New Jersey residents while also voting on laws that affect all of Americans. He needs to go!

There also needs to be some serious soul-searching among pols, along with those who support our pols. This level of corruption simply cannot be allowed to stand.

The problem that awaits? Preventing this kind of bald-faced greed remains arguably the most awesome task awaiting those who remain in office.

Trump ‘defenders’ go on attack

Donald J. Trump’s “defenders” have a curious and frankly ingenious method of standing behind their cult hero.

Many of them acknowledge Trump’s multiple failings, but then engage in that curious game of “whataboutism” relating to President Biden.

They say things like, “Sure, Trump is crooked … but what about Joe Biden? He is, too! You know?”

A fellow with whom I am acquainted only casually is a frequent critic of this blog. He keeps insisting he doesn’t “give a sh**” about Trump. Except that he does. How do I know that? Because whenever I post a critical blog item about Trump — calling attention to his crooked past — this fellow jumps out of his skin long enough to tell me that Biden is even more crooked than Trump.

He mentions the Hunter Biden stuff (of course!) and then declares that Daddy Biden must be corrupt as well because someone alleges some connection between Hunter Biden’s business dealings and the president, who once served as VP.

The intent of this fellow’s whataboutism is to harm President Biden and benefit Trump. So … he doesn’t “give a sh** about Trump?” Of course he does! Just as I, too, “give a sh** about the ex-POTUS, although certainly not for the same reasons.

I simply must applaud the Trump cultists, though, for devising this strategy, which is proving to be effective. It has kept President Biden’s approval ratings down from where I believe they should be.

In the final analysis, though, this non-defense defense of an ex-POTUS will not return him to the White House. I take considerable comfort in believing that Donald John Trump is toast.

Trump may invoke his M.O. and actually ‘concede,’ sort of

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Let’s flash back for a moment.

Donald Trump spent about five years fomenting the lie that Barack Obama was born overseas and was not a U.S. citizen, meaning he couldn’t run for president of the United States. It was a blatantly racist attack on someone who was born in Hawaii to an American woman; thus, he was a citizen by birth.

Then came a one-sentence admission in 2016 that Obama “is a U.S. citizen.” That was it. End of discussion, more or less. Trump demonstrated his shameless modus operandi.

Now he is continuing to challenge the results of an election he clearly lost to President-elect Joe Biden. He is ranting. He is riffing. He is bitching about all the grievances over alleged “corruption” in the electoral process which he continues to label as “rigged.”

Hmm. How might this play out? Here’s a thought.

The Electoral College is meeting in about nine days to certify Joe Biden’s victory. He has accrued 306 electoral votes; he needs just 270 of them.

When the Electoral College certifies Biden’s victory, I believe it is entirely possible that Trump could issue a terse statement that declares Biden is the duly elected president of the United States. He won’t concede in the traditional sense.

There likely won’t be a phone call to the winner, congratulating him and pledging his support for the remainder of the time he is president. He won’t say a word about the rigorous campaign that Biden waged.

He’ll just say that Biden won. Then he’ll be done.

Trump might not show up for President Biden’s inaugural. Indeed, I do not expect him to be there. Trump will get on Air Force One and jet off to Mar-a-Lago to play some golf and schmooze with his cronies.

Is that out of the question? I don’t think so. Nothing this guy Trump does should surprise anyone on Earth.

Just be gone … Donald.

Trump = law and order? Bwahahaha!

When I hear Donald J. “Criminal in Chief” Trump proclaim himself to be the “law and order president,” I cannot stop thinking of all the individuals who helped elect him and who served in the government who are, um, fighting to stay out of prison … or who actually are serving prison terms.

He channels another crooked president, Richard Nixon, who made many of the same proclamations while running for president in 1968 and again in 1972. It didn’t work out well for President Nixon, whose attorney general went to prison along with his chief of staff, chief domestic policy adviser and an assortment of campaign flunkies. Nixon, of course, quit the presidency just as the House of Representatives was preparing to impeach him. The Senate was sure to convict him as well of obstruction of justice and abuse of power. So the president, cutting his losses, high-tailed it to San Clemente, Calif.

So, I guess Trump is channeling Nixon, all right. You see, he is facing the same sorry outcome for his various minions, too. Yet he continues to declare he is going to bring “law … and order” to America “right here and right now.” Give me a break, dude.

I actually am believing that Donald Trump is outperforming Richard Nixon in the Crooked Presidency Sweepstakes. Good grief, I have lost count of the criminal indictments that have landed in the laps of Trump toadies. Some of them have resulted in guilty pleas and prison time.

So, when Donald Trump makes his “law and order” declarations, I am inclined to suppress derisive laughter. Except that it isn’t funny. The presidential imposter is a disgrace to the office he occupies.

Mr. POTUS, doesn’t Bibi’s indictment matter?

Hey, wait a second!

Donald John Trump allegedly is so worried about corruption in Ukraine that he decided to ask the Ukrainians to investigate whether a potential political foe here at home, Joe Biden, was stained by ill deeds.

It has gotten the nation’s current president into a heap of trouble. The House of Representatives impeached him for it and the Senate is conducting a trial this very moment.

However, why isn’t our president concerned about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s indictment for — um, let’s see — oh yeah, corruption? The indictment alleges fraud, bribery and breach of trust. That’s a big deal, right?

He and Bibi stood in the White House to announce a draft Middle East peace plan. Netanyahu calls Trump the best friend Israel can possibly have.

The Israeli courts have indicted him, though, on corruption charges that one would think should rankle the world’s No. 1 corruption fighter, Donald Trump.

Wouldn’t they?

Corruption, Mr. President? That really concerns you?

Donald J. Trump’s proclaimed interest in rooting out government corruption around the world rings about as hollow as anything the president has declared since he entered the political world.

Trump has asserted that corruption in Ukraine was at the root of his concern over former Vice President Joe Biden’s business concerns and those of his son, Hunter. It was corruption that prompted the president to ask the Ukrainian president for help in investigating the Bidens before he would release money for weapons that Congress had appropriated for use by Ukraine in its struggle against Russia-backed rebel forces.

Oh … really?

Let’s take a quick look at some indisputable facts.

  • Russia is among the most corrupt nations on Earth. Strongman Vladimir Putin orders the killing of those who oppose him. He runs the nation with an iron fist. Organized crime has run rampant ever since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Where is Donald Trump’s outrage there? Once again, why hasn’t the president condemned the Russians for their blatant and malicious attack on our electoral system in 2016 and their effort to do the same thing, or maybe worse, in 2020?
  •  Turkey also is corrupt. It also is run by a strongman. It has slaughtered Kurds along its border with Syria and Iraq; and the Kurds have been allied with the United States in the never-ending struggle to put down the Islamic State.
  •  North Korea is the world’s pariah state. It is a chief sponsor of international terrorism. Kim Jong Un orders the murder of opponents. His government allows mass starvation of North Koreans. Has the U.S. president ever tied his “love affair” with Kim Jong Un with demands to bolster human rights?

All of this just touches the outlines of corruption in governments on every continent on Earth. Why has the president remained silent on the issue … until now?

It’s more than just a wild coincidence, it seems to me, that Donald Trump’s interest in “Ukrainian corruption” just happens to involve business dealings concerning a potential political rival; that would be Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Donald Trump is no more interested in curbing corruption than he is in apologizing for defaming his fellow Americans.

He is a disgrace.

Now it’s Zinke who’s gone from Trump orbit

They’re leaving seemingly in droves. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is departing from the Trump administration at the end of the year, which is about two weeks from now.

That means to me that he was canned. Booted. Pushed out the door by the president of the United States, Donald Trump.

Indeed, the president’s milquetoast announcement this weekend thanking Zinke for his service to the nation suggests that the interior boss’s ethical troubles have, um, made him expendable.

As if that was the worst of Donald Trump’s troubles.

Zinke has been under a cloud since he took office in early 2017. There have been allegations of ethical abuses involving expenditure of public money. Now he’s gone. The president says he will find a new Interior secretary in a few days.

So, if you’re keeping score, we have seen the departure of: Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was fired; FBI director James Comey, who was fired; Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who was asked to resign; EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, who also was asked to resign; press secretary Sean Spicer, who was fired; numerous communications directors; senior policy adviser Steve Bannon, who was fired; two White House chiefs of staff, both of whom were fired; Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was fired. And all of this happened before the first half of Donald Trump’s term as president.

Do I have ’em all? Probably not. You get the point. The White House is a chaotic blend of incompetence and corruption.

Oh, and let’s not forget about Donald Trump’s own difficulties, which are mounting by the hour.

This is not how you make America “great again.”

A more relevant question regarding Hastert

A blog that I follow, Bell Book Candle, has offered an interesting question regarding the growing scandal involving former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

Hastert has been indicted on felony accusations involving sexual abuse of a student back when Hastert was a wrestling coach at an Illinois high school.

The media need to focus not on the sex, but on the money. According to the blog:

“The media will focus on Dennis Hastert’s past indiscretions if they are of a sexual nature. However, the real question that they should be asking is how a relatively obscure public servant can afford to pay $3,500,000 to buy the silence of one person. Our politics and our politicians are being corrupted by the huge amounts of cash available to them. We must rid our democracy of the ability of some to buy favoritism for themselves, be they corporations or be they the 1%.”

The media won’t trouble themselves quite so much with the money part of this matter.

As the saying goes: Sex sells.

However, money does have a corrupting influence at many levels involving those who make public policy.

This is one of the stranger stories I’ve heard in many years.

A big part of me hopes that it doesn’t pan out. A bigger part, though, fears that it will.


Yep, Sen. Menendez ought to quit

The curious world of politics at times deprives politicians of the presumption of innocence granted to “ordinary citizens.”

Such is the case with U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., who’s been indicted on a host of corruption charges.

He ought to quit the Senate and pursue his defense as a private citizen.


A federal grand jury indicted Menendez on felony counts relating to his close relationship with an eye doctor, Soloman Melgen, who flew Menendez to the Dominican Republic on his private jet — trips that Menendez failed to disclose to congressional ethics officials.

There’s a lot of other allegations involving favors exchanged between the men. The amazing detail of the indictment suggests there’s considerable fire under all that smoke.

Is the senator guilty? I have no clue.

This much is clear: His service in the U.S. Senate will be clouded forever by this indictment. How in the world can this man conduct the public’s business when he is defending himself against a federal indictment?

Why does this matter to anyone outside of his home state? Well, he’s a federal official himself and he votes on laws that affect all Americans, even those of us out here in Flyover Country.

As the New York Time editorialized in calling for his resignation: “Mr. Menendez is evidently not in a hurry to get to the stage of contrition, having warned on Wednesday that he’s ‘not going anywhere.’ He would be doing a disservice to New Jersey by clinging to power as a disgraced politician. His colleagues in the Senate should demand that he step aside.”

Politics can be a dirty business. It doesn’t allow for the normal presumptions of innocence granted to non-politicians. That’s the way it is.


Menendez indictment seems oddly 'normal'

My proverbial trick knee is throbbing again.

It’s sending me a grim message that the federal indictment of Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey on corruption charges signals a hunt for others who are might be involved in the same kind of cozy relationships alleged in the 68-page indictment against the Democratic lawmaker.


You hear about these kinds of things occasionally involving senators and House members. They do favors for pals, develop relationships that raise a lot of questions — not to mention eyebrows.

Is Menendez alone in this? That trick knee of mine tells me “No. Not by a long shot.”

Menendez is the leading Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He’s stepping down from his leadership positions in the Senate until this matter gets resolved.

Also indicted is Dr. Solomon Melgen, a Florida ophthalmologist and longtime friend of Menendez. The indictment goes into great deal about the emails exchanged over several years between the men, suggesting alleged criminal activity, deal-making and favors.

It’s pretty salacious stuff.

I’m wondering this morning if all this will lead investigators down a lot of other paths, toward the doorsteps of other members of Congress.