1678 Chapters
Medium 9781626566743

43 Who Are Today’s Economic Hit Men?

Perkins, John Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Back in the 1970s, economically developing countries were looked upon as nests of corruption. People like me plied our trade quietly, but just about everyone assumed that Latin American, African, and Asian government officials thrived on bribes. The image of the banana republic politician accepting an envelope stuffed with dollars in exchange for favors granted was ingrained in the press and in Hollywood. The United States, on the other hand, was considered to be — and for the most part was — above such massive corruption.

That has totally changed. Drastically. Activities that would have been viewed as immoral, unacceptable, and illegal in the United States in my EHM days are now standard practice. They may be covered in a patina of oblique rhetoric, but beneath that surface, the same old tools — including a combination of threats, bribes, falsified reports, extortion, sex, and sometimes violence — are applied at the highest levels of business and government. EHMs are ubiquitous. They stroll from the corridors of the White House through the US Congress, along Wall Street, and into the boardrooms of every major company. Corruption at the top has become legitimized because corporate EHMs draft the laws and finance the politicians who pass them.

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Medium 9781574415971

3. The Case of Robert F. Kennedy

Paul Santa Cruz UNT Press ePub

Chapter Three

There is such a thing as evocation of the great dead, and there is also such a thing as the exploitation of corpses. Senator Kennedy seems appallingly far from recognizing the difference.

—Journalist Murray Kempton, on Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s announcement on his candidacy in the 1968 presidential election.1

It is ironic that the chief source of grief for Robert F. Kennedy during the 1960s also proved to be perhaps his greatest asset when he decided to run for president in March 1968. His brother’s assassination left him in charge of not only the Kennedy family, but also the Kennedy legend: the unfulfilled “promise of greatness” that John Kennedy had left behind.2 Like Lyndon Johnson, RFK tried to capture for himself the benefits of the public’s memory of the late president. As one historian on the two Kennedy brothers has written, “He could convert the adoration of JFK, Robert came quickly to realize, into a power base sufficient to challenge Johnson and ultimately regain what he felt was rightfully his…Kennedy turned to the task of preserving JFK’s memory and fashioning a JFK mystique and legacy.” His central objective was “to see that legacy transmitted into the political culture, embraced by political survivors (beginning with himself) and kept alive for future progeny.”3

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Medium 9781576753033

Chapter Nine Corporate Structure and Power

Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

IN DECEMBER 2001, shock waves rippled first through the business world and then through all segments of society. The front-page story of almost every newspaper in every country shifted from the war on terror to another: one of the most dominant and successful energy companies in the world had suddenly filed for bankruptcy. Enron Corp., once celebrated as the leader of a new wave of innovative enterprise, had managed to spearhead the conversion of electricity provision in much of the United States into a privatized speculative commodity, contributing to big energy problems in California while avoiding government oversight. It had also brilliantly contributed toward and then exploited the global deregulation juggernaut that accompanied the new rules of the WTO, the GATS, and other agreements in order to gain entry into foreign countries and gather up tens of billions of dollars in overseas assets, while causing grave social and environmental problems in such countries as India, Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, and over two dozen others.

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Medium 9780253019394

7 “The Status Quo Is Not So Bad”: Détente

Borhi, László Indiana University Press ePub

It is hard to disagree with historian Geraint Hughes’ assessment that “throughout the late 1960s, Britain and other Western powers were above all concerned that the status quo in Europe should be upheld.”1 The European status quo would be sanctioned by an unlikely candidate. Richard Nixon had been known for his uncompromising anticommunist stance, but as president he espoused an unabashed realism. He and Henry Kissinger formed a tandem that would redefine American Cold War politics and treat the division of Europe as if it were permanent. Stability was to prevail at the expense of the independence of old nation-states. Nixon and Kissinger re-established contacts with China and negotiated a far-reaching if flawed agreement on strategic nuclear arms with the Soviets, thereby enshrining the doctrine of mutually assured destruction. One historian has argued that the State Department was prepared to accept the status quo as a first step in the process of overcoming it.2 Yet State Department officials never clearly defined what they wished to achieve in Eastern Europe. Their goals remained vague, and there is no indication that they ever envisioned multiparty democracy or anything resembling the restoration of independence and sovereignty in the Soviets’ satellites. Moreover, under both Nixon and Carter, the White House, and not the State Department, formulated policy toward Eastern Europe. For both administrations, the primary goals were liberalization and greater autonomy, though the meanings of these terms were left unexplained. Not for the first time in the twentieth century, the people of Eastern Europe were abandoned.

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Medium 9780253018632

On the Sounds of Haiti · Fiction

IU Press Journals Indiana University Press ePub

excerpt from La belle amour humaine (2011)

Lyonel Trouillot

Translated from French by Laurent Dubois

IN THIS EARLY passage from Lyonel Trouillot’s recent novel La belle amour humaine, a Haitian guide, who has just picked up a European visitor at the airport, offers this typology of the sounds of Port-au-Prince.

. . . HERE, WHERE life is afraid of silence. Here, if you wake up unprepared to go into battle, there is no life ahead. Bread is hunted like prey, and since there is not enough for everyone, noise has replaced hope. What you saw at the airport, twenty porters for a single suitcase, babbling in every language, that’s nothing. Wait until you see the city center. We’ll have to cross it, wade through the noise until we get to the Northern station. Despite their best efforts, foreigners often lose their sense of hearing as they confront things, animals, humans all equal in their right to make a din. Pots and pans. Mufflers. Shouters selling everything, from elixirs to antibiotics by way of skin-lightening cream and pills that make you fat. Bureaucrats from the mayor’s office chasing away market-women selling grains, fruits, and vegetables on the sidewalk. The speeches of volunteers from the Public Health department celebrating the virtues of mother’s milk and hand-washing. No one can listen all at once to so much noise in opposition, in contradiction, puncturing your eardrums to stuff your head with the illusion of movement. The lines in front of the Immigration Office and the Ministry of Social Affairs, the threats of security agents and the reactions of the crowd—go screw yourself, we’ve been waiting for weeks. Motorcycle-taxis threading their way between cars. Money-changers who sell you counterfeit money at the precise daily rate and wave their bills in the faces of passersby to attract clients. Traffic police chatting with their mistresses in the middle of the street. Pedestrians who run into each other and argue about whose fault it was. In the city center, noise is like poverty, you never get to the end of it. Whenever you think you’ve circumscribed poverty in the neighborhoods built for it, it overflows and stands up elsewhere. Noise, here, is the same way. There’s no way to make a list. The cistern trucks that whine and drip as they climb the hills. Big children. Little children. The still-children who make children. Errant bullets. Crazy prophets announcing the end of the world and reproaching you for not having accepted Jesus as your personal savior. The sirens of official motorcades. Sidewalk vendors’ radios, spitting out the cycle of bad news and winning lottery numbers. The crowd shouting after a thief. The thief who slips into the crowd and shouts louder than anyone else. Dog fights—on one side the small ones, on the other the big, just as it is among human beings, the small ones who run away crying about their defeat before charging back to be beaten once again by the big ones. The audience made up of porters, and the unemployed who are sick of seeing the same spectacle, even if it’s free, and pick up sticks to disperse the crowd. And like life, noise has its moods. If you pay attention, you’ll be able to distinguish between sounds of rage and those of waiting or fatigue. Here, noise is the only proof of the difficult duty of existing, and it never rests. When you’ve lost everything else, there’s nothing but time to lose. Listen to the sound of lost time. Soul-less shoes scraping the pavement. Droves. Demonstrations. Widows marching on the Champ de Mars demanding justice for their assassinated husbands, for whom living didn’t do them much good but whose tragic death has made sympathetic; victims of swindlers at the Treasury waiting in vain for their investments to be reimbursed; garbage collectors demanding a month of back pay walking in the garbage. Soccer-game commentators advertising imported rice and mantègue and bark even when nothing is happening on the field. Compas. The crazed decibels of public buses. The sizzle of wrought-iron welders’ soldering irons plugged into clandestine outlets. The agents from the electrical company unplugging the cables. Gatherings around epileptics fallen stiff in front of stores. Even death and nostalgia are part of the concert . . . Listen. All these sounds of life making fun of life. What it was and what it still is . . . The ‘yesterday it was’ of old men who cross the street with eyes lost in the paradise of memory and get yelled at by drivers. The fans of Vieux Tigre (le Violette) and the fans of Vieux Lion (le Racing) who talk only about old times because, today, despite their pompous names of jungle animals, Vieux Lion, my ass, Vieux Tigre, my eye, are nothing more than peaux de chagrin. The sad steps of shoes white with dust of poor parents following the sluggish hearse of the funeral procession. A naked woman, crying and telling passersby—pray for me, mister, understand me madam—the story of a mad love affair. Roving music bands who don’t wait for Mardi Gras to offer music. Students sent home from private schools because of lack of payment wandering the streets and making up new nicknames for the mad. The mad who turn around and pursue the students, throwing stones and insults. The . . .

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