In an age of near-total uncertainty, there’s an upswing of ugly sweaters for the holidays and a worldwide view of a growing, unstoppable corruption.
(Illustration found here).
A survey for the times — 60 percent of the world’s peoples say all kinds of unofficial/official corruption has increased in the last three years, at least to the 2010 Global Corruption Barometer conducted by the anti-corruption group, Transparency International.
Some key findings:
Views on corruption were most negative in Western Europe and North America, where 73 per cent and 67 per cent of people respectively thought corruption had increased over the last three years.
“The fall-out of the financial crises continues to affect people’s opinions of corruption, particular in North America and Western Europe. Institutions everywhere must be resolute in their efforts to restore good governance and trust,” said Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International.
Poorer people are twice as likely to pay bribes for basic services, such as education, than wealthier people.
A third of all people under the age of 30 reported paying a bribe in the past 12 months, compared to less than one in five people aged 51 years and over.
Most worrying is the fact that bribes to the police have almost doubled since 2006, and more people report paying bribes to the judiciary and for registry and permit services than five years ago.
Sadly, few people trust their governments or politicians.
Eight out of 10 say political parties are corrupt or extremely corrupt, while half the people questioned say their government’s action to stop corruption is ineffective.
“The message from the 2010 Barometer is that corruption is insidious. It makes people lose faith. The good news is that people are ready to act,” said Labelle.
“Public engagement in the fight against corruption will force those in authority to act – and will give people further courage to speak out and stand up for a cleaner, more transparent world.”
There are no official statistics for these homeowners, but lawyers, real estate agents and consumer advocates say their ranks are growing.
In November, during foreclosure hearings on Capitol Hill, senator after senator scolded the banks about wrongful foreclosures.
They said their offices were deluged with complaints from people who had done everything right but were being treated by banks as if they had done everything wrong.
And the Florida attorney general’s office is also investigating the issue as part of its foreclosure probe.
“This is the worst I’ve ever seen it,” says Ira Rheingold, an attorney and executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates. Diane Thompson, a lawyer with the National Consumer Law Center, has defended hundreds of foreclosure cases.
“In virtually every case, I believe the homeowner was not in default when you looked at the surrounding facts. It is a widespread problem throughout the country.”
And this from US Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee:
“Building the capacity to address corruption worldwide is both a daunting challenge and an absolute imperative, and we must be united and unequivocal in our response,” (Leahy told more than 240 corruption fighters from 134 countries at the World Bank).
“For influential countries like the United States, that means first and foremost leading by example, which we have not always done in recent years,” he said.
“It is an endemic problem that touches every country in the world, which we must face head on, together,” he said.
And corruption begats some dumb-ass situations — take (please!) Rep. Hal Rogers of Kentucky, the so-called ‘prince of pork,’ piling government monies all over his district (asÂ much as 135 earmarks worth $246 million in just two years), as shifty, self-centered as they get, who’s been named chief of the House Appropriations Committee — where the fox controls the hen-house and all the hens.
Rogers, however, claims he’s cured.
From ABC News:
“No more earmarks,” he said. “I’ll be the enforcer of the moratorium.”
“The electorate told us, I think, the number one thing they want is to cut spending,” he said. “And that’s what we’ll do.”
The Nigerian government has filed charges against former US vice president Dick Cheney, who was the head of the US oil services firm Halliburton Inc, and eight others in an alleged bribery scandal related to a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Nigeria.
Canker on the ass of the public.