classical economics
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Policing Global Graft

Odds Favored The Grafters, Until Now
By Wayne Jett © September 26, 2019

     National republics, like all forms of government, must provide effective means of policing and punishing graft and corruption by their officials. Anything short of fully efficient justice will produce a fallen government in short order, because appetites of grafters are insatiable when corruption infects the highest levels of government power.
Experienced politicians learn at a still-productive age that complications of partisan politics and international relations sharply increase the odds that crimes of self-enrichment will never be discovered or punished.

Meet The Bidens

     Meet Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. Joe was U. S. Senator from Delaware long enough to be put on the national ticket as Vice President, and he served eight years in that high office while Barack H. Obama held the presidency. Being VP provided what was easily recognized as a target-rich environment for eliciting “emoluments” capable of enriching Joe’s personal financial condition.

     Say, for example, that Joe noticed a country on the other side of the world, Ukraine, had experienced a bloody coup which overthrew its elected government. Joe would know the coup was sponsored (secretly, but in-your-face) by the U. S. State Department, and that the new government (though some described it as “Nazi”) was “friendly” and beholden to the U. S. government. In short, Joe might easily identify Ukraine as a likely prospect in that target-rich environment mentioned earlier.

Assessing The Risks

     If Joe were to decide to ply such an opportunity, say for self-enrichment, what would be his chances of getting away with it? While still in office, his chances would be practically a 100% sure-thing, because no one in that administration would call Joe out for measly (some say $50,000/mo, some say $166,000/mo) payments to his son from an energy company in Ukraine. Same answer if his own party’s candidate were to win the next presidency, which appeared to be a “lock” as late as November 6, 2016.

      Even if a Republican were to win election to the presidency in 2016, chances are the new president would be Establishment and would not touch one of their cohorts (Joe) for harvesting targets of opportunity available through his public service. What could go wrong?

Things Go Wrong

      Well, there was one messy little thing – though it might have seemed fun at the time. A public prosecutor in Ukraine began showing interest in Hunter collecting those monthly payments. Joe had to make a personal visit to Ukraine and threaten to withhold a billion dollar loan guarantee by the U. S. if that prosecutor was not fired before Joe’s plane took off at 6 pm. Luckily for Joe and Hunter, Joe’s threat worked, thanks in part to Ukraine’s desperate need for the loan guarantee.

      More recently we learned what else could go wrong with the Bidens’ activities. A Republican candidate, Donald J. Trump, was elected president. What must have been a much greater shock is that Trump was not an Establishment operative, as almost every U. S. president had been for nearly two centuries!

House Establishment To The Rescue

      But the Establishment is not leaving Joe Biden alone to twist in the wind – yet. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week climbed out on the limb to twist with him. Democrats (and the few remaining Establishment Republicans) perhaps hoped to shield the Bidens from criminal investigation and prosecution for their activities in Ukraine. They acted by opening yet another inquiry into whether President Trump has committed an impeachable offense.

      Establishment politicians and media operatives contend Trump encouraged the newly elected Ukraine president to investigate the activities of Joe and Hunter Biden in Ukraine. Remember, those activities enabled Hunter to collect substantial payments from the Ukrainian energy company in which Hunter allegedly invested and was elected to the board of directors.

      The Establishment seems insistent that a binding legal precedent was set in 2016 when the U. S. Attorney General and FBI declined to investigate or prosecute a Democrat presidential candidate for allegedly criminal or corrupt activities while serving as Secretary of State. If a mere cabinet member is shielded from criminal prosecution for corrupt activities while in office, surely a vice president would be as well.

The CFR Video

      Joe Biden is on video (to 59:49) at the Council on Foreign Relations bragging that he had caused a Ukrainian prosecutor to be fired. That prosecutor was investigating activities in Ukraine of Hunter Biden and, perhaps, of Joe Biden himself. And, in the course of his CFR comments, Joe stated that he leveraged his demand for firing of the prosecutor by threatening to withhold U. S. government guarantee of a loan of $1 billion to Ukraine already authorized by U. S. law.

       Do these recorded admissions by Joe Biden incriminate him under U. S. law, considering that his activities occurred within auspices of his activities as Vice President and representative of the U. S. government? President Trump may have had that issue in mind when encouraging the U. S. Attorney General to communicate with the government of Ukraine, and when informing the new president of Ukraine to assist those communications.

Establishment’s Confrontation Of Justice

       Is Speaker Nancy Pelosi, leader of the Democrat majority in the House, now authorizing an inquiry into grounds for impeaching President Trump as a means of blocking further investigation of the Bidens’ activities in Ukraine? Are Establishment politicians in government threatening a duly elected president with removal from office for proceeding with investigation of past official corruption by a high U. S. official? Indeed, the alleged potential corruption implicates a past official presently leading the Democrat primary campaign to become president!

    Imagine the passion evoked from the Establishment (including Romney, et al.) if President Trump’s law enforcement officials were to inquire into potentially corrupt activities of a former Democrat president. Or a former Democrat secretary of state. Would that demand impeachment?

      Such is the level of protection against prosecution for corruption while holding high office in America. At least, that has been the case in the past. No wonder we still have so much of it.