Corrupt Politicians & Extortion Money

Discussion in 'World News, Current Events & Politics' started by SG854, Apr 10, 2019.

  1. supersonicwaffle

    supersonicwaffle GBAtemp Regular

    Oct 15, 2018
    Things are not as easy as they look on the surface. I'm not gonna lie, I have a preference for open source software but for a lot of use cases Microsoft has the better products - period. The cost savings estimations that were published are also very misleading IMO. They assumed the same labor cost for both Windows and Linux while they were maintaining their own Linux distro and developing in-house software to facilitate a migration to OpenOffice. However, they also estimated the cost for personell training to be the same for both scenarios where I believe it would be much higher for Windows.
    They estimated they saved 10 million Euros with LiMux over the course of 10 years in an infrastructure of a scale of 15,000 desktop PCs. That's not that much if you consider the cost of organizational issues that surely came up along the way that haven't been factored in at all.
    Another thing that simply isn't mentioned is that you buy support from Microsoft along with most licences but that has not been quantified in the LiMux reports at all. They did not buy commercial third level support for Ubuntu or OpenOffice and assumed there's no cost savings with Microsoft products here.
    They also only considered the cost of hardware upgrades necessary for windows without looking at energy savings as hardware has become a lot more energy efficient during the timeframe that the LiMux project lasted.
    Low user acceptance and growing pains will also lower productivity but that is very hard to quantify. In some cases you're saving money by replacing hardware outright.
    The point is that something with the scope of LiMux really only gets viable in large scale deployments where labor cost is becoming less of an issue compared to licensing cost, LiMux also committed them to maintaining their customized solutions for an unforseeable time. It makes sense, especially for a private entity, to avoid this scenario. Another thing to consider with private entities is that they tend to get more and more decentralized as they grow, which is another point where a city administration has better chances at success because they can keep a centralized IT department.

    Microsoft recently revoked CERN's status as an educational organization and require them to pay full price for licensing now. CERN has announced that they are looking for open source alternatives. They have been blogging about it here:
    I'll cheer them on!
    Last edited by supersonicwaffle, Jul 22, 2019
  2. notimp

    notimp GBAtemp Psycho!

    Sep 18, 2007
    Closed formats. Lock in. Predatory practices. Consultant Companies, that build direct business relationships with the monopolist in the field in countertrade deals. I'm not interested in User expectation or support cost. At all.

    A small part of me is miffed, that there was no state sponsoring to keep something going that was a beacon project in terms of publicly funded software development in germany - on scale - on a project that was actually in use. While currently every not so bright political planner in the EU is looking at estonia and praising them, for what they were able to do - while even as VW, you get into partnerships (fancy word for "marketing opportunity for both, but its client/customer"), with MS yet again - when you want to tackle industry 4.0 - the buzzword you beat to death for years, over how far ahead german manufacturing was in that instance?

    Regardless - thats not the point, the point was, how Accenture was used and let themselves being used as a company in this instance. Its a development over time - that company potentially was corrupt. Got kickbacks. Took special status. Microsoft used their "independent" status and name - to benefit both of them. And after all that they got themselves into a legal case with a sum of 32 Mio USD at dispute - over having charged inflated prices, for ficticious services.

    I recognize, that for the munich government it was potentially exploding costs, and end users complaints. But for MS it was a nudge in the belt. A prestige project. Something they let themselves cost some kickbacks, maybe a few fancy dinners. Nothing too outrageous in terms of 'corruption'. But then the behavior of Accenture in this case - was.

    Stating the obvious here. I'm not considering blowing this up and making Microsoft the bad guy here.

    They acted like a monopolist, wanting to get the "we supply the entire german government" achievement back under lock.

    They've done things far worse - which all would fall under "normal competitive behavior" just with the push of - we already are the monopolist in this sector behind their actions. I dont even blink at that - thats not stuff this thread should be concerned about - imho.

    When we talk about big companies interacting with politics in matters touching on corruption, there are far more noteworthy cases out there. For once - what do we classify as corruption? Because its normal day to day politics at this point to have Angela Merkel, or someone from her office intervene in the political law making process in Brussels - direct as can be. With letters of intent in the mix that were signed from heads of industry - with change proposals that were worded by the lobbying party... I mean...

    So - is that 'national interest' is it corruption, is it politics as usual? Is it lobbying at work (informing policy). Lets set MS aside for a moment, its not that company I'm after.

    Accenture was just a juicy case of a company that probably received kickbacks for shady advising contracts (after the LiMUX stuff), and then got sued for what very much looked like fraudulent behavior in another case.

    Best business partners. Still. Here - watch their webinar:

    — Posts automatically merged - Please don't double post! —

    We also havent talked about revolving door as a political concept I believe? (Have to reread the thread.)

    We didn't talk about regulatory institutions just giving a green light for mergers, when they are of prominent national interest. We havent talked about...

    Direct relationships of politicians to 'jetsets', political favors. The business of being and staying informed on decisions in the making.

    We havent talked about centers of 'elite' education. We havent talked about thinktank financing. We havent talked about political influence on media (in the publicly financed model (tax, without calling it that)). We havent talked about agenda setting. The importance of agenda setting. Public image. Role of the public in managed interactions with politics or the private sector (PR basically).

    We havent talked about networks. We havent talked about interest group financing, political campaign financing, or why every politician worth his salt seems to positively loooove watching soccer matches (The greens, the greens. The blues, the blues. We didn't just take our legal system from the romans - positively so.)

    My problem is certainly not with Microsoft in particular here. :)
    Last edited by notimp, Jul 22, 2019
  3. supersonicwaffle

    supersonicwaffle GBAtemp Regular

    Oct 15, 2018
    I‘m not justifying what happened in Munich, all I‘m saying is that there‘s legitimate reasons to arrive at the conclusion that Microsoft is the better option.
    I‘m also not trying to defend Accenture either but what has come forth from Munich’s IT staff has been highly misleading.

    Vendor lock in can always happen, to a certain degree even with open source software. The other side of the coin that you don’t mention is that staying within the ecosystem gives you a level of integration that simply isn’t available anywhere else. Sometimes you just can’t reach that unless you’re driving your own standards and disregard other vendors. These sorts of arguments happen in the open source community as well with lots of disgruntled users, while certain approaches are directly driven by huge enterprises in the technology space.
    You can tell us how little you care about user experience as much as you want but the only thing you make evident with that is that you should never be in a position that has responsibility for employees. You’re never gonna hold on to talent if you mandate using the command line for browsing the web.

    One Problem I see is that technology has a tendency to create monopolies because there’s a desire to standardize things. Usually you have multiple approaches competing until the hivemind announces its preference, the rest is discontinued or relegated to a niche.
  4. notimp

    notimp GBAtemp Psycho!

    Sep 18, 2007
    There are.

    I'm not vilifying MS (or any large multinational) on such a small (comparatively) incident. There are better ones you could choose. ;)
  5. notimp

    notimp GBAtemp Psycho!

    Sep 18, 2007
    I'm currently reading

    Close to Zero by Nathan Dubovitsky (2009)

    Which, I just learned, was Vladislav Surkovs take on russian power structures under capitalism (oligarchy, state), which he wrote under a pseudonym. Wikipedia states that its disputed - but a middling documentary on theatre arts in russia that ran on Arte had a russian art manager just state it as a fact. Whatever that is worth. ;) The german Feuilleton loved it as well, when it was released.. ;)


    Maybe there are some similarities.. ;)

    Like Born Rich, read it as a culture study. ;) Of uncertain origin.
    Last edited by notimp, Aug 21, 2019
  6. notimp

    notimp GBAtemp Psycho!

    Sep 18, 2007
    Ok, so far the book is... ehm *special*. Its currently hanging in my 'insane BS' filter, and I actually would want to kick it by the wayside.

    Will finish it anyhow - and then edit this posting again, because I'm interested - but so far... Ehm. Sorry for the recommendation. :) I take that one back. :)

    edit: So here is the deal. The book is a collection if literally insane dialogues, interrupted with pretty specific sounding tales of russian oligopoly business (and more shady) deals. So make of it what you will. :) I'm no expert in russian censorship circumvention, I don't know what to make of it. Discard.
    Last edited by notimp, Aug 22, 2019
  7. chrisrlink

    chrisrlink Intel Pentium III Hamster inside

    Aug 27, 2009
    United States
    inside your crappy old PC
    apple not a monopoly what have you been smoking? they are 100% anti right to repair going as far as putting lockout chips in their shit and suing anyone who bypasses them small shops that offer repair services for cheaper then the crapple store (talking hundreds of dollars cheaper) are pulling out cause of the lockout chips and fear of being sued for bypassing them Bernie and other dems who support rtr will force apple's hand and depending on penilties (say 1bil fine a DAY) that would either change apples tune or bankrupt them in a year
  8. notimp

    notimp GBAtemp Psycho!

    Sep 18, 2007
    Here you see a current example of structural corruption:

    Meaning businesses planning in corruption costs into their business relations cost. This is business as usual as far as they are concerned, in germany alone we now had, maybe three, four top level scandals for this practice in the last 20 years or so. Nothing is ever changing in that regard.

    Use this as a primer on structural corruption in business relations (usually with certain countries).
    Last edited by notimp, Oct 16, 2019
  9. notimp

    notimp GBAtemp Psycho!

    Sep 18, 2007
    First an article on Viktor Orbán, the Prime Minister of Hungary.

    The EU gives out compensation payments to farmers, once their country enters the EU, because compared to the other productivity sectors in a country they cant compete on an 'international level' in an open market. This is basically done to prevent revolts in rural regions. :)

    The subsidies are tied to land ownership.

    In the former eastern block countries, land was owned by the state. So the state had the rights to sell it away. What happened in the eastern european countries, that now are EU members, shortly before they entered the EU?

    Magic. :)

    Victor Orban, his family, and his schoolfriends own land, that nets them 42million USD a year in EU subsidies.

    The NYT posted a google earth infograph. ;)



    Second story:

    Soros in a (rare) The Guardian Interview, if you want to read it.
    Last edited by notimp, Nov 5, 2019
  10. notimp

    notimp GBAtemp Psycho!

    Sep 18, 2007
  11. notimp

    notimp GBAtemp Psycho!

    Sep 18, 2007
    This one is more 'Power Politics' - but it doesnt happen all the time, that a 403 page transcript on a government doctrine leaks from China.

    Something to read:

    edit: You can get past the nagwall by putting it in google translate and letting it translate to 'original' english, btw. :) Or removing the nag layer in any other way. :) The text is still in the page.
    Last edited by notimp, Nov 19, 2019
  12. KHEOPS

    KHEOPS GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Aug 29, 2018
    Thank you this thread is interesting
    Lots of information here thanks to all for posting on this feed
    What do I think about it?
    Well, I'll pass....
    We are all ONE, I do not judge and never without knowing the bottom of things, analyzed, verification of sources that is how I live in conscience..... In the laws of the universe. I love humans, I know their shortcomings, but everything on this earth has a reason the light does not exist without darkness,

    politicians if they do things against the progress of man, they will no longer hold out, see around you as everything collapses, the korea, the yellow jackets, the climate, so be positive, think positive, be in the moment present, while informing yourself in search of truth,

    Monsanto? There are bad people on earth, but as they are the equilibrium universe, and so there are people controlling these practices result? The company will start again on a good basis.... It is a fact, the collective awareness acts, I by being positive I contribute to the balance.
    Man only uses 10% of his brain, what you take for granted does not exist, it is just that we cannot interpret all the interractions that lead to a final result, we see the result of the event and we believe in luck and chance?
    Research the pineal gland
    The organ that pumps the most blood after the kidneys, and what other living species has this organ? Absolutely none, only the human.
    See also the quantum progressives, the yang window for example, the observer modifies the result of the experiment by the thought.
    I'm not off topic here, what you needs to understand in concrete terms, an example
    Our French president, if he does anything wrong, the French will be against it, and the result? The yellow jacket, and the result? Macron loses points in the polls, and the result?

    A little like trump right now we are talking about his destitution, so deny that everything is connected is a pity, because in the universe chance does not exist, if the earth is placed where it is, is it luck? By chance? If it were further away from the sun we wouldn't be here.
    Then I do not criticize humans, I accept their defect, because thanks to the negative the positive is born,
    From the neant the matter is born
    If you are negative, you make progress in negative things, that makes sense.

    , from the darkness the light comes out, then be positive, empathetic, love yourself, because we are all one, the same blood, the same DNA, just that some men think differently of each other,
    Last edited by KHEOPS, Nov 19, 2019
  13. notimp

    notimp GBAtemp Psycho!

    Sep 18, 2007
    On the current influx of protest movements world wide.

    I see it structurally.

    In germany the head of the Bundesbank just confirmed, that the ECB made a mistake in not reacting at all to the immense split of wealth distribution between globalized interests (situated, or operating out of) germany, and everyone else in the country.

    While the underlying fiscal policy for years was to entice people to spend their money now and not later (no interest on savings) to get peoples money into circulation.

    He then simply hinted at "but thats easily fixed with social spending.." - which it is not.

    Lets just say - when the "dream" of a millennial becomes to have a stable job perspective and an affordable flat - something went wrong.

    So all those 'climate protests' - at least for some - are an opportunity to vent, experience community, and badmouth politicians - even though, none of what they could actually demand will tackle the underlying cause of the issue.

    And even if I'm wrong - and this is not causally related... There is just something in the air.

    In other countries its easier to explain. Tackling climate change is a new cost factor thats not easily explained to people. So they rebell, when gas or subway prices are raised.

    In western europe (climate protests) its not the same cause, but the same underlying 'dread'.

    In large parts of the working population.

    It will pass. :) The chance, that something substantial will change in the short term is almost none. People are venting their anger in the streets. Basically.

    On climate change in general. The current outlook is that the 'minimum necessary' steps will be tacken to tackle it. And to be honest, from my perspective that always was what was most likely.

    In germany - if you get old folks to invest their money in climate funds now - so they expect less return on investment, you minimize the next issue of - what about when those savings get drawn to be used. Because then you have a real social devide - and that time will come within the next 20 years. Also - most future investments will be made oversees. Europe structurally has become uninteresting for investors, and even the climate change ones - will invest in second or third world countries first - to get most done on the issue. So social devide very much is one of the issues of our age. Still. (Where will growth come from.) Even though people like to do climate change drum cycles right now. ;)

    Also - the stuff I've accumulated here is not something I've collected to find any meaning in it - its just, reading the news as usual, and copy pasting some of the stuff that relates to this theme in here.

    Mainly to show our very eclectic audience, that this gets tackled in mainstream media. That none of it is as easy as a simple 'conspiracy' - and mostly, that its even 'strangely normal' from a societal perspective.

    Don't worry, world isn't going away anytime soon.. ;)
    Last edited by notimp, Nov 19, 2019
  14. notimp

    notimp GBAtemp Psycho!

    Sep 18, 2007
    Here is what structural corruption looks like, and how its being tackled -

    Most boring topic imaginable. But that way you can concentrate on the structural principle. :)

    Now thats the next step. So imagine, if corruption wasnt just a character defect, but rather what humans kind of tend to want to do, if you dont design society around it.

    (Its the systems, stupid.)

    Have fun. :) (Its so boring, though.. ;) )
    Last edited by notimp, Nov 28, 2019
  15. notimp

    notimp GBAtemp Psycho!

    Sep 18, 2007
    Ex-CEO of Siemens Greece convicted to 15 years of jailtime by greek court of law, for paying bribe money to be allowed to digitize the greek telecommunications infrastructure.

    Hes going to appeal the sentence.

    Article in german:

    I think I commented once, that I've learned 10 years ago that Siemens had entire departments for bribery in international relations. Here is just more proof of what this looks like. The thing is, that this is very much still industry practice for big multinationals, with entire public governmental structures in different countries expecting cuts for brokered deals.
    Last edited by notimp, Dec 3, 2019
  16. LonelyPhantom

    LonelyPhantom Golden Wind

    Mar 26, 2017
    United States
    Beyond The Sun
    More than anything, the biggest problem is not so much an issue about ethics of individual Politicians & Special Interest Groups, but more about the ever increasing centralization of political power at the Federal Level & The lack of physical proximity between DC Politicians and their voting base(s).

    Starting with cost vs benefits from the perspective of a Large Business/Special Interest Group, which do you believe would be the more worthy investment as far as gaining the largest benefit from their bribery?

    A State Governor's Political power would only extend to within their State's lines, making any deals they could provide of limited use to Big Businesses or other such Special Interest Group seeking or wanting to retain whatever benefits they desire.

    A member of Congress on the Other hand, while only worth a single vote, can potentially provide infinitely more benefit to such groups by making wide sweeping changes to federal law(s), which inevitably will impact the entire nation (As desired). Sadly, these very same Politicians are the one's who are the least likely to ever be held accountable (as their constituents have long since been forgotten at this stage), which brings me to my next point regarding the lack of physical proximity and why this is a contributing factor to such rampant corruption.

    Consider the following analysis of costs vs benefits (This time from the perspective of Politicians of varying levels of Government); Which political figure would have an easier time detaching themselves from their constituents & Which one is also far more likely to face any real danger or risks from accepting such bribes in the first place?

    A State's Governor, who has spent most if not all their life in their State, and by law is required to live within the confines of said State?

    Or a DC Politician, who at one point was voted into power by their local community but instead of remaining in their community, they have been whisked away hundreds if not thousands of miles from those very same people with the power to end their reign of governance?

    Probably the DC Politician as the pressure to uphold their oath is just not there in the same way it would be for a local politician who by design has to interact with their constituents potentially on a day to day basis & thus cannot so easily distance themselves emotionally, much less physically; DC Politicians on the other hand are by design severely detached from their constituents, and could never possibly feel comparable levels of attachment/fear of the entire nation's population that a local politician could ever feel for their own community (which would make it easier to keep them in check otherwise).

    One more point I have to add regarding the problem with the lack of physical proximity is that logistically speaking if shit really went down and the betrayal was that sinister, the odds of the politician(s) in question ending up at the bad end of an angry mob is just that much more likely for the local politician than the federal one.

    Both of these principles make any benefit derived from bribery that much more of an unattractive proposition for local politicians to take, and would arguably necessitate a higher fee in correspondence to the risks taken, which would only further make them an undesirable investment to such groups as DC Politicians would costs less individually while conferring more power overall... It's simple economics!

    None of this is to say that the has never been a corrupt local politician, but clearly there are inherently more risks involved for those local politicians & relatively lesser benefit to be derived for the briber in question. For those statistical outliers whom are either brazen enough to turn corrupt in spite of these obvious pitfalls or have simply failed to learn from history will rightfully face these consequences the hard way; there is simply no such parallel for those so severely detached from their voting base, particularly those with so much more to gain than to lose (At least in the short term).
  17. notimp

    notimp GBAtemp Psycho!

    Sep 18, 2007
    Again, as far as I know, thats by design as well. At least the centralization part.

    Lack of physical proximity then follows suit. Because if you create centers of political importance - you have interest brokers, that now got a vested interest in reaching you in a timely matter - and they will pay for it. This will totally dislodge local housing economies, for example, so thats what follows in the wake of simply creating those power centers.

    (Read Machiavelli ;) )

    I agree, that it is an issue.

    Another issue (think europe) is, that press has 'regional closeness' as one of its news factors, and that in europe there is a language barrier (down to 'the people') as well. So on essentiall processes you are missing more transparency than you'd like.

    Another issue is size. Because the more important your power center becomes, the less you can expect 'normal citizens' to make structural decisions in their favor. Which means that you've now resorted to 'representative democracy' almost exclusively - and that transparency gets kicked to the wayside. (The concept of 'topic of national security' exists in all western civilizations.)

    The 'its designed that way' point is less popular, but still is pretty obvious to me. Lets use the aid concept of 'pillars of society' (companies, or people), if you've got the money, you want to matter to keep it, you will always use it in that way, you will always be able to inform decision processes better - because you are a partial expert in your field... And what follows is, that its more opportune - to create legal venues for those influence attempts to flow in.

    Revolving door is the best example for that, its openly and obviously buying favors for favors. So much so, that you have to implement cool off periods (between switching jobs) and such for it not to become too big of an issue.

    The balancing out comes from elections, activism campaigns, journalism, whistleblowers, the legal system (but only if you bribe stupidly) - it doesnt come from people 'being expected to behave morally good'.

    Because in essence, what that is - even means different things to different constituencies. So moral flexibility is needed (not on a personal level (because you want to trust that the politicians do what you voted them in for), but on the system level).

    On the Greece case specifically. State corruption, usually is a factor of institutional politics becoming bloated. So - if economy sucks. As one of the potential measures, state might employ a third of the country (if it has natural resources, or open credit line). If everyone has a cousin in politics, they start asking for favors, and pretty soon you've got a favors against favors economy going.

    Again - businesses don't care, if the outcome for them is cheaper than the alternative. And if f.e. public perception doesnt impact their bottom line. Which (all kidding aside) it still seldomly does.

    There are ways to construct working institutions - without having them resort to corruption, basically you increase oversignt, opportunity cost, shame, ...

    Also institutional politics, vs. party politics also is a necessary distinction. Institutions basically hold the knowledge and saveguard the process, and whoever gets elected can steer the thing into a new direction, but doesnt get to replace it structurally without running it for decades.

    There are different reasons why you need larger groups of states with a central political power hub. One of them is globalization. Another one is multinationals that have become larger and larger. Yet another one are issues that cant be solved on a state level.

    The thing is, if you increase that - you increase certain issues with it as well. EU basically is a structure that aims to align the economical interests of 28 member states, which means its utterly pragmatic and slow moving. If you now - for whatever reason have to move fast on a certain issue, you beat down smaller particular interests and discontent starts to grow.

    So its all a trade off. There is no 'whats best'.

    edit: Ah, one more thing - really read the counter deals of Deutsche Bank to become an important player in China (I should have linked them in here, NYT article - afair), this gives you a sense of the inner logic of structural corruption for business development gains.

    And another concept. If you want to control a country through trade. Corrupt dictator is the easiest to deal with long term. He's so reliable.. ;) So suddeently - you don't want for democracy to develop in your 'former colonies' for instance. Thats part of the two faced nature of western democracy. (There usually are at least two value systems. Also foreign policy never acts on moral grounds. As in - it isnt part of foreign policy. (People dont get to vote for that, thats simply not part of election debates. To an almost exclusive extent. Thats why you needed universal declaration of human rights in that sector for example. (In Europe one monarchy would always kill off the other one, in a happy circle of events, and all of it was extremely morally just in the value system of the time.. :) (Fun with foreign politics.. ;) ) ))))

    Institutions like the the International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA), or the International Anti-Corruption Court (IACC) are basically a joke, as far as I can tell. A good will initiative.. ;) edit: Or, usually more often a way to impose certain doctrine over smaller state players.
    edit: See also f.e.:
    Last edited by notimp, Dec 7, 2019 at 7:56 AM
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