Tuesday, November 25, 2008

EU Suspends Aid For Bulgaria-- Corruption, Graft, Conflict Of Interest... Hmmmmm


How different are Paulson and Bernanke from Bulgarians?

As Obama and the lame duck Bush Regime make a show of working together to stave off complete economic paralysis and financial collapse, is anyone watching to see where the billions and billions of dollars-- taxpayer dollars-- are winding up? I don't know if you noticed but the last time the Bush criminals got their hands on this kind of money, immense amounts "went missing." I'd feel a lot better if newly elected Florida congressman, Alan Grayson, were sworn in and hunting the profiteers. He's one of the people in government we can trust to not have sticky fingers-- or friends with sticky fingers-- or be bamboozled by banksters and slimy lobbyists with sticky fingers.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic a not unrelated kind of corruption scandal is unfolding. The EU just stripped nearly $300 million in rescue aid from Bulgaria, the poorest of all the EU countries. It's also the most corrupt, or at least the most blatantly corrupt. (Corruption usually follows the big money and I'm guessing that if you strip away the niceties you'd find the most corruption in the richer countries like England, Germany, France and Italy where they're more practised at covering it up.) Anyway, the stunning announcement that Bulgaria isn't getting the much-needed dough would be like if Bush were to say, that he'd handing out all this cash to stave off disaster but because one of our own most backward and corrupt states-- say Louisiana, which is very similar to Bulgaria when it comes to corruption-- isn't getting any.

Like Louisiana, the Bulgarian government hasn't done anything to fight the systemic corruption that pervades their society. And, like Louisiana, it is widely suspected that that is because the entire government, from top to bottom, is in on the scam. Another $400 million is also is suspended until Bulgaria can show that it is addressing the problems. Does this sound like Louisiana or what? (Or maybe Nevada?)
The fate of a further 340 million euro, which have been contracted and payment of which has been frozen at the request of the European Commission, remains unclear.

The EC suspended the accreditation of the two agencies in July, saying that Bulgaria's administrative capacity was weak and that there were strong suspicions of fraud and conflict of interest in awarding the funds. Furthermore, the EC said at the time, there appeared to be no political will to eradicate fraud, while the lack of tangible results in the fight against corruption was causing serious concerns.

Bulgaria's Cabinet answered with a bloated action plan that comprised more than 350 pages of measures it would undertake to address the issues highlighted by the EC, which now appears to have fallen of the Commission's expectations.

AP is reporting that "the action against an EU member state is without precedent in EU history." The money was meant to aid farmers and go into infrastructure projects which has been a source of fraud, conflict of interests and graft. Bulgaria responded last month by setting up a special investigation unit to look into "mismanagement of E.U. money" and Sofia also passed the country's first conflict-of-interest law. No one took these moves any more seriously than the Bush Regime's investigations into the mismanagement and theft of billions of dollars in Iraq War funds.

So who's watching the Citi Banksters again? Let's hope it isn't Paulson or we're all likely to end up living like Bulgarians.

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