By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – Greed, we’re told, is human nature.

But tolerance for greed, especially when it’s your own officials, who are supposed to be protecting your interests but are really just intent on ripping you off, may be growing short.

After years of tolerating the outright theft of the country’s wealth by former president Hugo Chavez, Venezuelans seem to be running out of patience with his partner in crime and successor, President Nicolas Maduro. He was pelted with rocks and eggs by citizens there the other day after finishing the work Chavez began of ruining the economy and stifling human rights.

But Venezuela is a civics class compared with Brazil, where a judge cleared the way Wednesday for just about every major politician to be investigated for corruption in the scandal that led to their president’s recent impeachment.

It seems wired-in businessmen were laundering the people’s money into the pockets of wired-in pols and their operatives.

Sound familiar?

You can see comparable behavior detailed in a New York Times report on Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, who is now registering as a foreign agent.

Manafort’s been tight with wealthy Russian oligarchs and their cronies for years, and the Times documents how the same day he gave up his supposedly-unpaid job with Trump, he was moving to collect “$13 million in loans from two businesses with ties to Mr. Trump, including one that partners with a Ukrainian-born billionaire.”

Get the picture?

Political power and connections are turned into “loans” and other eyebrow-raising gains, with the public interest often a casualty.

But nothing to see here really, move along.

After all, it’s just human nature.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:


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