Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 8, 2013/ 28 Shevat, 5773

Corrupting We Will Go

By Mona Charen




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey is having a bad month. He recently wrote a check to a large donor for nearly $60,000 reimbursing him for the generous gift of trips on a private jet. The paperwork had "fallen through the cracks," an aide explained. Under investigation by the FBI regarding allegations that he engaged underage prostitutes during visits to the Dominican Republic (the destination of those jet trips), the senator was also recently embarrassed when it emerged that an 18-year-old intern on his staff who was helping with immigration issues was 1) an illegal alien and 2) a registered sex offender. Two AP stories suggest that the young man's arrest was delayed by federal officials until after Nov. 6, when Menendez was safely reelected to a second 6-year term.

None of this came up when Menendez, the presumptive new chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was interviewed on ABC's "This Week." Martha Raddatz confined her questions to immigration and such. The press often claims that scandal stories are interesting chiefly if they involve "hypocrisy" — as when a senator who voted for the Defense of Marriage Act was caught attempting something in an airport men's room.

The definition of hypocrisy is slippery. Though misbehavior in men's rooms is never a good thing, it is theoretically possible to be homosexual (closeted or otherwise) and genuinely support the Defense of Marriage Act.

Maybe the Craig story was too salacious for the press to resist — Craig was a Republican after all. But here's the confusing part: Why is it not hypocrisy for a liberal Democrat to use underage prostitutes? Are Democrats in favor of this kind of exploitation of girls?

The non-lewd aspects of the Menendez unspooling scandal are actually more important because they illuminate the absolutely inescapable corruption that accompanies the expansion of government.

To its credit, The New York Times has reported that the New Jersey senator was the guest of Dr. Solomon Melgen on those visits to the Dominican Republic. Melgen, a generous donor to Menendez's campaigns and to the Democratic Party — he contributed more than $700,000 to a PAC aimed at helping Democrats win the Senate — recently purchased a company that provides port security. His company had apparently offered its services to a reluctant Dominican Republic. The Dominican customs inspector described the contract, estimated to be worth $500 million over 20 years, as "exorbitant." The American Chamber of Commerce on the island opposed the deal. Melgen, an ophthalmologist, is nobody's idea of a security specialist. The Chamber's executive vice president told the Times that Melgen "has, to my knowledge, no previous experience in port security."

Enter Senator Menendez. He reportedly asked officials at the State Department to lobby Dominican officials to approve the deal. Menendez's chief of staff explained that the senator did nothing unethical. He has always "fought for U.S. companies that are not being treated fairly or have issues pending in other countries."

Except it also emerges that another key beneficiary of the port deal would be Senator Menendez's aide and close associate of 20 years, Pedro Pablo Permuy. Permuy was tapped to run the security company's operations.

It's certainly possible that Senator Menendez always speaks up for abused American companies that aren't getting fair treatment in other countries. But then, there are other explanations for his behavior. Consider that in 2009, according to the Washington Post, Menendez intervened in a federal audit of Dr. Melgen. Melgen was being investigated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for fraud. Menendez protested to investigators that the billing rules were ambiguous.

Last week, the FBI descended upon Dr. Melgen's offices in Miami and carted off dozens of boxes of documents. The FBI may be investigating Medicare fraud, the ports deal, the underage prostitutes or matters we have not yet heard about.

What the story illustrates is the way government power is bent to private purposes. President Obama entered office boasting that lobbyists would be prohibited from serving in his administration — thus keeping corruption at bay. In fact, the White House has freely granted waivers for the people it wanted, and at least 374 Obama administration officials have cycled through the revolving door.

But as the Menendez story shows, the presence of lobbyists in key posts is beside the point when elected officials misuse their power for friends and cronies. Barring lobbyists is window dressing. Corruption is the handmaiden of government. Remember that on Tuesday evening when the president sings its praises.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


Comment on JWR contributor Mona Charen's column by clicking here.

Mona Charen Archives

© 2006, Creators Syndicate

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles

Quantcast