Daily Archives: October 5, 2006

The tide of corruption threatening China’s prosperity

Financial Express | Oct. 3, 2006

THE sudden sacking of Chen Liangyu, the Communist party boss of Shanghai and a member of the powerful politburo, for alleged involvement in a pensions scandal has exposed the twin faultiness in China’s political economy: fragile unity among the ruling elites and pervasive official corruption.

Much of Mr Chen’s case remains murky. The evidence provided by the Chinese government for his dismissal is so sketchy that cynics might treat this case as just another example of unremitting rivalry within the Chinese leadership; especially because the political demise of Mr Chen, rumoured to have fallen foul of his senior colleagues in Beijing, has long been expected.

While Mr Chen’s alleged misdeeds provide juicy material on intrigues in Beijing, official corruption is a serious matter. For the Chinese Communist party, it poses the most lethal threat to its survival. By all accounts, Beijing is losing the battle against graft. Despite introducing hundreds of rules banning officials from engaging in shady activities and occasionally executing the worst offenders, the Chinese government has barely made a dent in curbing the rapacious appetite of many of its agents. Hardly a day goes by without a shocking scandal coming to light in the media. On the day of Mr Chen’s downfall, China’s auditor-in-chief disclosed that an unnamed company defrauded $140m from Chinese banks and spent nearly $40m on bribes.

Democrats Hypocrites on Sex Scandals

While they react with fury over the scandal involving former Rep. Mark Foley, Democrats maintain a discreet silence over the numerous sex scandals that have rocked their own party.

And unlike Republican scandals like Foley’s, where shame and resignation were the outcome, the Democrats’ shameful behavior were either blithely ignored or jocularly accepted.

For example, former Chicago Democratic Congressman Mel Reynolds received a commutation of his six-and-a-half-year federal sentence for 15 convictions of wire fraud, bank fraud and lies to the Federal Election Commission. He also was convicted of having sex with an underage campaign volunteer. But Jesse Jackson added Reynolds to Rainbow/PUSH Coalition’s payroll.

Moreover, Reynolds was among the 176 criminals excused in President Clinton’s last-minute pardon spree.

As Deroy Murdock, a columnist for Scripps Howard News Service, wrote back in 2002: “This is a first in American politics: An ex-congressman who had sex with a subordinate, won clemency from a president who had sex with a subordinate, then was hired by a clergyman who had sex with a subordinate. His new job? … Youth counselor.”


N. American students trained for ‘merger’

10 universities participate in ‘model Parliament’ in Mexico to simulate ‘integration’ of 3 nations
In another example of the way the three nations of North America are being drawn into a federation, or “merger,” students from 10 universities in the U.S., Mexico and Canada are participating annually in a simulated “model Parliament.”

Under the sponsorship of the Canadian based North American Forum on Integration, students met in the Mexican Senate for five days in May in an event dubbed “Triumvirate,” with organizers declaring “A North American Parliament is born.”

A similar event took place in the Canadian Senate in 2005.

The intentions of organizers are clear.

“The creation of a North American parliament, such as the one being simulated by these young people, should be considered,” explained Raymond Chretien, the president of the Triumvirate and the former Canadian ambassador to both Mexico and the U.S.

White House deny receiving CIA warning of attacks

Secretary of state Condoleezza Rice said she could not recall then-CIA chief George Tenet warning her of an impending al-Qaida attack in the United States, as a new book claims he did two months before the attacks on September 11, 2001.

The book also alleged that the White House had considered possible replacements for defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld.


Foley says he was abused by a clergyman

Disgraced former Rep. Mark Foley (news, bio, voting record) said through his lawyer Tuesday that he was sexually abused by a clergyman as a teenager, but accepts full responsibility for sending salacious computer messages to teenage male pages.

Attorney David Roth said Foley was molested between ages 13 and 15. He declined to identify the clergyman or the church, but Foley is Roman Catholic.

He also acknowledged for the first time that the former congressman is gay, saying the disclosure was part of his client’s “recovery.”

“Mark Foley wants you to know he is a gay man,” Roth told reporters as Republicans struggled with fallout from Foley’s resignation.

Foley “does not blame the trauma he sustained as a young adolescent for his totally inappropriate e-mails” and instant messages, Roth said. “He continues to offer no excuse whatsoever for his conduct.”


Forecast sees housing prices falling in worst decline since the Great Depression of the 1930s

Housing prices, slumping after a five-year boom, are projected to decline in more than 100 of the nation’s metropolitan areas, with the Northeast, Florida and California among the areas hardest hit. The forecast by Moody’s Economy.com, a private research firm, presents one of the starkest views yet of the housing slowdown that has been gathering force in recent months.

The West Chester, Pa., forecasting firm projects that the median sales price for an existing home will decline in 2007 by 3.6 percent, which would be the first decline for an entire year in home prices since the Great Depression of the 1930s.


“Occult Crimes Taskforce” to hit big screen


Dark Horizons reports that Dimension Films has acquired the movie rights to the comic O.C.T.: Occult Crimes Taskforce. Actress Rosario Dawson, the co-creator and co-writer of the comic with David Atchison and Tony Shasteen, is slated to produce and star as a “New York City police detective who, after stumbling upon a gruesome and bizarre crime scene, is enlisted for a covert squad that uses black arts and mystical weaponry to hunt down and kill soul-sucking ghouls”.