Hawkish US Senator Charged with Corruption
by Stephen Lendman
No nation in world history matches US private and public corruption. Corporate giants have virtual license to steal.
Grand theft is core Wall Street operating policy. This writer's book titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America" discusses it. It's now in its second edition in China.
Goldman Sachs is like other Wall Street crime families. It profits hugely by swindling clients it calls "muppets." Small-time con artists rip off marks.
Goldman and other Wall Street crooks loot on a grand scale. GS chairman/CEO Lloyd Blankfein calls it "doing God's work." Which one he didn't say.
When corporate giants control federal, state and local government, anything goes is policy. Ordinary people lose out altogether.
The entire political establishment in Washington is corrupt beyond fixing. It shouldn't surprise when someone gets caught.
Following a two-year investigation, reports indicate Justice Department officials intend charging Senator Robert Menendez (D. NJ) with corruption.
DOJ and US Attorney's spokespersons neither confirmed or denied reports circulating throughout the media.
CNN reported Attorney General Eric Holder OK'd proceeding with filing charges to be revealed perhaps before end of March.
They include information on allegations about Menendez getting illegal gifts and lavish vacations in return for political favors.
They relate to his improperly pressuring Medicare to change its reimbursement policy amounting to millions of dollars for longtime friend ophthalmologist/financial benefactor Dr. Salomon Melgen. He's one of its largest recipients. More on him below.
Menendez's spokeswoman Tricia Enright issued a statement saying "(w)e believe all of the senator's actions have been appropriate and lawful and the facts will ultimately confirm that."
Menendez said "(l)et me be very clear. I have always conducted myself appropriately and with accordance with the law."
"Every action that I and my office have taken…has been based on pursuing the best policy for the people of New Jersey and this entire country. I am not going anywhere."
Menendez is accused of using his political position to promote Melgen's business interests in exchange for illegal gifts, free vacations and underage prostitutes.
Melgen is accused of over-billing Medicare by $8.9 million. He contributed over $700,000 to Menendez's 2012 reelection campaign.
He provided free flights on his private plane and generous hospitality at his Dominican Republic vacation home.
Menendez masquerades as a paragon of democratic virtue. He's tainted by Washington's dealmaking culture - including aggressive fundraising giving voters the best democracy money can buy.
Menendez formerly chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He's now its highest ranking Democrat.
The New York Times
said charges against him were long anticipated. For over a year, he's been "aggressively raising" legal defense funds.
In a state known for political corruption, The Times called his case "jarring."
"Mr. Menendez accepted two round-trip flights aboard Dr. Melgen's private jet for personal vacations in the Dominican Republic in 2010, but failed to report them as gifts or to reimburse Dr. Melgen at the time, as required under Senate disclosure rules," said The Times.
It reported New Jersey plotting how "to move a lot of the pieces around the board" if Menendez is forced to step down.
Republicans called for his immediate resignation. He'll likely have no choice if charges stick.
According to The Times, investigating Menendez began "with a (so far unproved) salacious tip (about) Melgen…pay(ing) for underage prostitutes for the senator in the Dominican Republic."
"The women (accusing him) recanted, but the (FBI) continued its inquiry." It shifted to his relationship with Melgen.
In January 2013, federal agents raided his South Florida office. He denies any wrongdoing.
DOJ's case will most likely center on whether the Constitution's speech-or-debate privilege prohibits prosecutors from interfering with congressional lawmaking.
DOJ and Congress disagree over how broadly this protection applies. If criminality is involved, none should exist.
If Menendez is forced to step down, Republican Governor/presidential aspirant Chris Christie would name a temporary replacement.
According to New Jersey law, US Senate seats open over 70 days before the next election will be filled when they occur. In this case, in November 2016 unless a special election is called.
Menendez mocks democratic governance. He strongly opposes Obama's Cuba policy.
He criticized releasing the three remaining wrongfully imprisoned Cuban Five political prisoners in return for US spy Alan Gross.
He lied calling him an "international aid worker" - at the same time saying Cuban Five patriots were "convicted spies who were found guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage against our nation."
Rigged kangaroo proceedings denied them due process and judicial fairness. They were wrongfully declared guilty by accusation.
On February 24, they were honored with the title Hero(s) of the Republic of Cuba. Fidel Castro met with them at his Havana home.
Menendez strongly supports Washington's imperial adventurism. He's mindless of international, constitutional and US statute laws.
He's in lockstep with Obama's proxy war on Syria - naked aggression by any standard.
He wants pro-Western stooge governance replacing its sovereign independence. He wants Syrians having no say over who'll lead them.
He supports Obama wanting congressional authorization for unlimited war - the right to wage it extrajudicially against any adversary he designates for any reason or none at all.
He co-sponsored the Ukraine Freedom Support Act (UFSA) of 2014. It authorized heavy weapons and other aid for its illegitimate fascist regime besides what's already supplied.
He bashes Russia irresponsibly. He lies about nonexistent "Russian aggression." He supports more illegal sanctions.
In mid-January, he lied claiming "Russian-supplied proxies in eastern Ukraine continue to cause havoc on the lives of innocent people in the region, as well as impede prospects for regional peace."
He shamelessly accused Putin of "upending the international order." He calls US-installed Kiev Nazis "democrats."
He backs Obama's Iraq aggression - short of "hav(ing) open-end conflict without limitations." He supported his lawless Libya war.
On March 2, he addressed AIPAC’s national convention. He supports Israel's worst crimes. He calls its naked aggression self-defense.
He said he'd "proudly…escort…Netanyahu to the House Chamber" for what critics called the most outrageous congressional joint session address ever by a foreign leader.
He and Republican Senator Mark Kirk introduced the Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act of 2015. It authorizes tougher sanctions if P5+1 talks fail to achieve final agreement.
It includes support for Israel if it feels "compelled (to take) military action in legitimate self-defense against a (nonexistent) nuclear threat from Iran."
New language calls for "revers(ing) (Iran's) illicit nuclear infrastructure and permit(ting) on-site and short-notice inspections."
Initial language stipulated "dismantl(ing)" Iran's "illicit nuclear infrastructure" and maintaining "continuous, around-the-clock" monitoring.
Nonbinding "sense of Congress" stipulations include:
- reinstituting frozen sanctions if no deal is reached by July 6;
- new sanctions on Iran's energy sector without resolution by August 3;
- countries buying Iranian oil would have to reduce purchases by September 7 if no deal is reached;
- additional Iranian officials will be sanctioned without resolution by October 5;
- foreign banks doing business with Iran's central bank or other Iranian financial institutions will be sanctioned if no deal by November 2; and
- additional sanctions will be imposed on other "strategic sectors" of Iran's economy if no resolution by December 7 - Including automotive, construction, engineering and mining.
Legislative language prevents Obama from waving sanctions until Congress has "30 days of continuous session" to review any agreement reached.
Menendez lied saying "Iranians are playing for time…(They're) deceiv(ing) the international community and violat(ing) UN Security Council resolutions to arrive within weeks of achieving nuclear break-out capacity."
He offered no corroborating evidence supporting his baseless accusations. Nor do other congressional or administration members.
He told AIPAC he supports "an agreement that dismantles Iran's illicit program and ensures that it will not have to be a military response. A good deal, not just any deal, is what we need."
In other words, a deal depriving Iran of its legitimate rights despite knowing its nuclear program is entirely peaceful in accordance with Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) provisions.
New late February anti-Iranian legislation introduced by Menendez, Republican Senator Bob Corker, and other senators from both parties requires Obama to give Congress 60 days to vote up or down on any P5+1 deal reached.
It would give the Israel Lobby power to sabotage administration Iranian policy.
Menendez is fighting for his political life. He may think hawkishness and anti-Iranian toughness is a good way to save it.
He's like hundreds of other lunatics infesting Washington. Their policies may launch WW III.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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