Posts filed under ‘Corporatocracy’
Here’s a fascinating 3:43 minute video about how wealth is distributed in the United States and about how ignorant Americans are of how dramatically unequal it is.
Nothing speaks to the plight of the working poor better than this, which I read early this morning. It has haunted me all day. The poor are, well, poor; vicious shysters are (legally) taking advantage of them, lawmakers are sitting around at the beach somewhere and yes, this is supposedly the Greatest Country on Earth. My God:
When the tires on their Dodge Caravan had worn so thin that the steel belts were showing through, Don and Florence Cherry couldn’t afford to buy a new set.
So they decided to rent instead.
The Rich Square, N.C., couple last September agreed to pay Rent-N-Roll $54.60 a month for 18 months in exchange for four basic Hankook tires. Over the life of the deal, that works out to $982, almost triple what the radials would have cost at Wal-Mart.
“I know you have to pay a lot more this way,” said Florence Cherry, a 57-year-old nurse who drives the 15-year-old van when her husband, a Vietnam veteran, isn’t using it to get to his job as a prison guard. “But we didn’t really have a choice.”
Socked by soaring tire prices and short on funds, growing numbers of Americans are renting the rubber to keep their cars rolling.
Rent-to-own tire shops are among the newest arrivals to a sprawling alternative financial sector focused on the nation’s economic underclass. Like payday lenders, pawn shops and Buy Here Pay Here used-car lots, tire rental businesses provide ready credit to consumers who can’t get a loan anywhere else. But that access doesn’t come cheap.
Customers pay huge premiums for their tires, sometimes four times above retail. Those who miss payments may find their car on cinder blocks, stripped of their tires by dealers who aggressively repossess. Tire rental contracts are so ironclad that even a bankruptcy filing can’t make them go away.
Still, with payments as low as $14 a week, rent-to-own — long the province of sofa sets and flat-screen TVs — is proving irresistible for consumers desperate for safe transportation.
I guess renting tires is something you have to do if a nurse doesn’t get paid enough to buy new ones (Problem #1) but if that’s the case, let’s put limits on the amount of interest folks like Rent-N-Roll can charge these poor people (Problem #2).
Ugh. This just makes me sick.
My quote of the day from venture capitalist and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer who testified before the Senate a few days ago on income inequality:
I’ll argue here that prosperity in capitalist economies never trickles down from the top. Prosperity is built from the middle out. As an entrepreneur and investor, I have started or helped start, dozens of businesses and initially hired lots of people. But if no one could have afforded to buy what we had to sell, my businesses would all would have failed and all those jobs would have evaporated.
That’s why I am so sure that rich business people don’t create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small. What does lead to more employment is a “circle of life” like feedback loop between customers and businesses. And only consumers can set in motion this virtuous cycle of increasing demand and hiring.That’s why the real job creators in America are middle-class consumers. The more money they have, and the more they can buy, the more people like me have to hire to meet demand.
Exactly. So let’s put this trickle-down BS to bed, once and for all. I mean, how long are we going to wait before we say: Hello! It ain’t workin’.
On a related note, check out this post: Labor’s Falling Share, Everywhere
Here’s the money quote. Prosperity is, in fact, trickling up:
The share of income going to labor as a whole is falling, and also a greater share of labor income is going to those at the highest levels of income. Both trends mean that those with lower- and middle-incomes are having a tougher time.
Love this. Now if we here in the U.S. could only get our s*it together on this issue:
Monsanto doesn’t plan to apply for the approval of new genetically modified seeds in Europe due to low demand from farmers and stiff opposition from the general public, the U.S. agricultural company’s German spokeswoman said Sunday.
“As long as there’s not enough demand from farmers for these products and the public at large doesn’t accept the technology, it makes no sense to fight against windmills,” Ursula Luettmer-Ouazane said Sunday, confirming a report in Berlin-based German daily TAZ newspaper.
Ms. Luettmer-Ouazane said, however, this is nothing new, as Monsanto hasn’t applied for growing modified plant varieties in Europe for the past two or three years.
“It’s obvious that Europe needs more time, while other regions have embraced our concepts more readily”, she said.
Translation: We need more time to brainwash the people into thinking GMO seeds are, wink wink, “safe.”
However, public protests in Europe have continued to hamper the company’s situation in countries like Germany. Eight national governments in the European Union have already banned Monsanto’s MON810 maize and other forms of genetically modified crops in Europe. Germany banned MON810 in 2009. Currently, the corn is only grown in Portugal, Spain and some Eastern European countries.
Monsanto’s rivals, most notably Bayer AG’s CropScience unit, Syngenta and BASF, have already largely pulled out with genetically modified crops from markets like Germany, as most consumers remain skeptical about the use of these organisms. BASF announced in January it has given up seeking approval for genetically modified potatoes in Europe, after concerted opposition from consumers, farmers and lawmakers.
You go Europe!
Not a whole lot of guts being shown here but it’s a start:
The Connecticut Senate on Saturday approved a compromise bill that would require special labels on food that contains genetically modified ingredients, so long as other states pass similar legislation.
The compromise legislation, which moves to the House of Representatives for further action, requires food that is entirely or partially genetically engineered to be labeled with the words ‘‘Produced with Genetic Engineering’’ on the packaging. The mandate would take effect after four other states, including one that borders Connecticut, enact a similar law. Also, it requires the aggregate population of any Northeast states (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania or New Jersey) that enact such labeling laws to comprise a population of more than 20 million people.
Senate President Donald Williams Jr., D-Brooklyn, said if New York, which has a population of about 19 million people, passes a similar labeling requirement, the new Connecticut law would take effect given his state’s population is about 3.5 million people. There have been concerns that Connecticut consumers might face higher prices if the state was the first to require labeling.
The food industry scared the bejesus out of California voters last year by claiming that to put one sentence (like the one above) on their GMO-containing products (cans, plastic bags) would increase the cost of food by hundreds of dollars per family per year. Apparently the Connecticut legislature bought into that bull as well.
Besides, manufacturers change their labeling all the time—anytime their product is “new and improved” or they change a logo or a box design—and those costs are not passed on to the consumer. When the government required nutritional information to be posted on each container, prices didn’t go up because of it.
But hey, it’s a start. As Winston Churchill said: “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing — after they’ve tried everything else.” Oy.
I saw this commercial the other day and I literally couldn’t believe my eyes.
I though wow. Bravo to Cherrios for going there; for showing an interracial couple in a television commercial. Hell yeah. Let’s bust through that door too.
But, predictably, not everyone saw it that way:
A nice Cheerios advertisement whose only discernible difference from other Cheerios commercials is that it depicts an interracial family was forced to disable its YouTube comments section today after it became inundated with virulent racism.
Despite the hate, Camille Gibson, vice president of marketing for Cheerios, told us in a statement, “Consumers have responded positively to our new Cheerios ad. At Cheerios, we know there are many kinds of families and we celebrate them all.”
Anyway, bravo to Cherrios!
I listened to an interview with author Alice Walker this morning on DemocracyNow! She talked about how this planet is ours — We the People’s — and those who think they have a right to own everything go so against what is meant to be:
Well, I see myself in all the people in the world who are suffering and who are very badly treated and who are often made to feel that they have no place on this Earth. And this Earth actually belongs to all of us. The universe belongs to all of us. And we mustn’t forget it, you know. And I know firsthand how it feels when people tell you and make you think that, you know, they can have everything, they can have as much as they want, they can buy everything they desire, and you are supposed to have nothing. Well, this is not—it’s not right, and we must not accept it.
With that in mind, this is what’s happening in Greece:
Standing up to Golden Dawn in Greece
The economic crisis in Greece has led to a rise in support for the far-right Golden Dawn and an increase in racist attacks. Jamal Osman talks to one man who is fighting back.
Michael Chege and his friends patrol their neighbourhood in Athens, Greece, most nights. After many encounters with the neo-Nazi group, Golden Dawn, they set up their own brigade, nicknamed the Black Panthers.They want to protect themselves from the fascists who are targeting people who are not ethnic Greeks.
Since the economic crisis tore Greece apart, people have been trying to find someone to blame. Some blame immigrants for the high unemployment and crime. Racist attacks against immigrants have been rising steadily. In the last year alone, more than 150 racist attacks were recorded by police, but most go unreported.
Greece is a gateway to Europe and many immigrants travel there as an entry point in the hope of reaching the richer nations on the continent.
Newly arrived immigrants, who do not speak the language or have proper documentation, live in fear. But Michael and his friends are taking on the extremists.
‘We will exterminate them’
“I’m not afraid of this neo-Nazi, stupid, idiotic group,” he told me. “In WW2, they were crushed. In WW3, we will exterminate them out of the face of the earth.
“I am a member of the Black Panthers and everybody knows that. So I am giving them (Golden Dawn) a straight warning – don’t mess with black people, anyhow. And I mean it.”
This Earth belongs to all of us but some of us are trying to take it all for themselves.
Let us not forget. This isn’t a Republican / Democratic thing. This is about the 1% versus We the Little People and it’s a global war. It’s happening all over the planet.
Wow. This is huge:
The shocking minutes relating to President Putin’s meeting this past week with US Secretary of State John Kerry reveal the Russian leaders “extreme outrage” over the Obama regimes continued protection of global seed and plant bio-genetic giants Syngenta and Monsanto in the face of a growing “bee apocalypse” that the Kremlin warns “will most certainly” lead to world war.
According to these minutes, released in the Kremlin today by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation (MNRE), Putin was so incensed over the Obama regimes refusal to discuss this grave matter that he refused for three hours to even meet with Kerry, who had traveled to Moscow on a scheduled diplomatic mission, but then relented so as to not cause an even greater rift between these two nations.
At the center of this dispute between Russia and the US, this MNRE report says, is the “undisputed evidence” that a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically related to nicotine, known as neonicotinoids, are destroying our planets bee population, and which if left unchecked could destroy our world’s ability to grow enough food to feed its population.
Most perplexing in all of this, the MRNE says, and which led to Putin’s anger at the US, has been the Obama regimes efforts to protect pesticide-producer profits over the catastrophic damaging being done to the environment, and as the Guardian News Service detailed in their 2 May article titled “US rejects EU claim of insecticide as prime reason for bee colony collapse” and which, in part, says:
“The European Union voted this week for a two-year ban on a class of pesticides, known as neonicotinoids, that has been associated with the bees’ collapse. The US government report, in contrast, found multiple causes for the collapse of the honeybees.”
To the “truer” reason for the Obama regimes protection of these bio-tech giants destroying our world, the MRNE says, can be viewed in the report titled “How did Barack Obama become Monsanto’s man in Washington?”
This is beyond shameful. Obama is in the process of establishing an awful legacy for himself.
This is a mind blowing chart. Don’t miss it — the USA is waaay over there on the right with zero mandatory paid vacation days or holidays.
The corporate lobby wins again!
We the People think we’re paying the police out of our tax dollars and that they work for us but gosh golly gee wiz, something happened along the way:
As Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has said, the nation’s biggest banks have essentially gained “too big for trial” status, and the federal government has failed to prosecute any executive at a Big Bank for financial fraud.
While Wall Street has escaped prosecutions, thousands of Americans have been arrested in the course of protests against the banks. As of May 2013, that number is 7,736 — according to the website Occupy Arrests, which tracks arrests.
On Monday, dozens of homeowners who have faced abuses by Big Banks rallied outside the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Washington, D.C. They demanded that the agency finally prosecute Wall Street banks who have become, as Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has said, “too big for trial.”
The demonstrators marched to the Department of Justice, where they rallied outside the main entrance. At that entrance, several police armed with pepper guns and other crowd control weapons at first pushed the demonstrators back, and began arresting several activists. But they soon abandoned the entrance and retreated inside; this prompted protesters to place tents outside the door marked, “Foreclose on Banks.”
Protesters split up and blockaded all three major entrances of the Department of Justice building, and at least 17 – mostly homeowners who had lost their homes thanks to abuses by the Big Banks — were arrested by police, who utilized tasers, batons, and other weapons on the protesters.
Do policepeople join police departments these days because they want to “serve and protect” the people who pay their salaries or do they join because they want to be thugs who protect corporate money and power?
Are our neighborhood cops working for us, again — to serve and protect — or their corporate masters?
The Canadian government works for oil companies and it’s spending millions trying to convince we Americans that constructing the Keystone XL pipeline right through the heart of our country (only to be shipped off to who knows where) would be a lovely thing.
Gee. I used to have a lot of respect for the Canadian government — like when it gave refuge to Vietnam war resisters back in the 60s and 70s — but now they’re owned by you-know-who. Disheartening:
Combating the growing global apprehension over Alberta crude oil has become a major policy initiative of the Harper government. Federal ministers along with provincial premiers from Alberta and Saskatchewan have been visiting Washington, D.C. and key US states to promote the embattled Keystone XL pipeline which will carry Alberta crude to US oil refineries.
Along with Harper’s visit to New York City, the Canadian government has opened a new front in Europe to fight the FQD. Last week, Natural Resource Minister Joe Oliver travelled to Brussels, Paris and London in a round of high-level visits to EU members, disputing the possible designation of Alberta oil sands crude as dirty and claiming the move is “discriminatory and non-science based.”
“While we do not object to real, tangible measures to reduce GHG emissions for transportation fuels, we do object to discriminatory treatment currently contemplated in the FQD, singling out Canada’s oil sands–derived fuels without sound scientific justification,” said Oliver in a statement.
The government argues Alberta crude is no dirtier than oil produced by other nation such as Russia, Venezuela and the state of California, yet it’s Canada that’s being penalized. Ottawa is asking for “fair and equal treatment.”
The takeover by the corporatocracy is moving like a tsunami across the planet. Now we wait to see what Obama does regarding Keystone XL. He put off making a decision, again.
The pressure on him to say yes to it is probably overwhelming. You know, that corporatocracy thing again.
First, as background, there’s this from a few weeks ago:
Hospitals Fail to Take Simple Measures to Thwart Deadly Infections, Survey Says
Many hospitals fail to take simple measures to prevent infections of a new strain of Clostridium difficile that’s hard to track and at least in part responsible for skyrocketing infection rates in U.S. hospitals.
Now think about this for a minute:
Johns Hopkins researchers report that hospitals may be reaping enormous income for patients whose hospital stays are complicated by preventable bloodstream infections contracted in their intensive care units.
In a small, new study, reported online in the American Journal of Medical Quality, the researchers found that an ICU patient who develops an avoidable central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) costs nearly three times more to care for than a similar infection-free patient. Moreover, hospitals earn nearly nine times more for treating infected patients, who spend an average of 24 days in the hospital.
So, potentially, hospitals have no incentive whatsoever to reduce the incidents of infections. Hey, why would they if they’re making big bucks off of them?
It might be time for insurance companies to step in:
The researchers also found that private insurers, rather than Medicare and Medicaid, pay the most for patient stays complicated by CLABSIs — roughly $400,000 per hospital stay — suggesting that private insurers would gain the most financial benefit from working with hospitals to reduce infection rates.
We’ll see what happens.
The folks over at Scientific American have written a tongue-in-cheek article – from the perspective of the food industry — about how it is freaking out at the prospect of Americans becoming more discriminating about the food they eat:
Dear Consumers: A disturbing trend has come to our attention. You, the people, are thinking more about health, and you’re starting to do something about it. This cannot continue.
Sure, there’s always been talk of health in America. We often encourage it. The thing is, we only want you to think about and talk about health in a certain way—equating health with how you look, instead of outcomes like quality of life and reduced disease risk. Your superficial understanding of health has a great influence over your purchasing decisions, and we’re ready for it, whether you choose to go low-calorie, low-fat, gluten-free or inevitably give up and accept the fact that you can’t resist our Little Debbie snacks, potato chips and ice cream novelties.
Whatever the current health trend, we respond by developing and marketing new products. We can also show you how great some of our current products are and always have been. For example, when things were not looking so good for fat, our friends at Welch’s were able to point out that their chewy fruit snacks were a fat free option. Low fat! Healthy! Then the tide turned against carbohydrates. Our friends in meat and dairy were happy to show that their steaks, meats and cheeses were low-carb choices. Low carbs! Healthy!
Of course, we don’t necessarily want you to be unhealthy. It’s just that it’s so much more profitable to provide foods that happen to be unhealthy. We’ve been able to industrialize the food system so that we can produce massive amounts of the cheapest ingredients available, in the cheapest, most efficient way possible.
I can’t figure out what to cut and paste and what not to cut and paste. The whole article is really good. Read the rest of it here.
Wow. This is fantastic news, especially in light of the fact that I read something the other day about how President Obama is surrounded by pro-Keystone corporate types:
With President Obama preparing to return to California on June 6 for fundraising in the Bay Area, a crowd of major donors — including from California — have signed a strong letter urging his rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline extension.
The letter comes in a week when it appears Vice President Joe Biden may have tipped his hand regarding his opposition to the pipeline.
On June 6, the President will travel to the Bay Area for a DSCC event in the evening, White House officials have said.
On June 7, the President will travel to Los Angeles for a DNC lunch event.
The letter on Keystone includes signatures of major California deep pocketed donors who regularly write big checks to the Democratic party — folks like San Francisco Democrat Susie Tompkins Buell, one of the Party’s most generous donors, Silicon Valley venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, and CREDO Mobile’s Michael Michael Kieschnick, among many others.
Click on “More…” immediately above to read the letter and to see the huge list of signatories. Fantastic.
WASHINGTON (AP) — It seems like a simple proposition: give employees who work more than 40 hours a week the option of taking paid time off instead of overtime pay.
The choice already exists in the public sector. Federal and state workers can save earned time off and use it weeks or even months later to attend a parent-teacher conference, care for an elderly parent or deal with home repairs.
Republicans in Congress are pushing legislation that would extend that option to the private sector. They say that would bring more flexibility to the workplace and help workers better balance family and career.
The push is part of a broader Republican agenda undertaken by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., to expand the party’s political appeal to working families. The House is expected to vote on the measure this week, but the Democratic-controlled Senate isn’t likely to take it up.
“For some people, time is more valuable than the cash that would be accrued in overtime,” said Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., the bill’s chief sponsor. “Why should public-sector employees be given a benefit and the private sector be left out?”
But the idea Republicans promote as “pro-worker” is vigorously opposed by worker advocacy groups, labor unions and most Democrats. These opponents claim it’s really a backdoor way for businesses to skimp on overtime pay.
Ah, yeah. Additionally, bosses would control when and if a worker took comp time and I can imagine all kinds of problems with that.
It’s 7:12 p.m. MDT where I am. I’ve had a day. The hubby’s in bed already so maybe I’ll watch some TV while I eat dinner. Let’s see what’s on:
Hillbilly Blood is on Discovery
America’s Worst Tattoos is on TLC
Swamp People is on the History Channel
Rehab Addicts is on HGTV
Wife Swap is on ABC
Big Bang Theory (and no, it isn’t a science show) is on CBS
Never mind. I think I’ll take Al (the lover puppy above) for a walk.
Geezus H. Christo.
My cable bill is 95.00+ a month? For what — I ask — every time I pay the f**king bill.
The Senate has rejected a bipartisan proposal to expand background checks on gun sales, handing President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders a major defeat on one of the key pieces of the president’s second-term agenda.
The vote was 54-46, with only four Republicans crossing the aisle and voting with the Democrats in favor of the bipartisan proposal by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). Sixty votes were needed.
Ricin letter sent to Sen. Wicker
A letter addressed to Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) tested positive for Ricin on Tuesday according to lawmakers.
U.S. Capitol Police intercepted a letter at an off-site postal screening center Tuesday morning and advised senators in an evening briefing that none of their offices were in danger, according to Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.).
News of the letter comes one day after two bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in a terrorist attack that killed three people and injured more than 170.
“There was a letter sent to a member that had gone through our processing facility — not on-site here, but in the area — and it was identified as containing Ricin, which is a dangerous substance,” Landrieu said following a briefing for senators on the investigation of the Boston bombings.
So, letters to senators are delivered to an “off-site postal screening center” that’s “not on-site here,” meaning the screening center is somewhere away from the Capitol and the Very Important Senators. That means We the Little People open mail for senators and we drop dead first as, you know, a warning to the people who are more important than we are. Like canaries in a coal mine.
I wonder how much the workers at those “screening centers” are paid.
A medical examiner says a man who died in the infield during a NASCAR race at Texas Motor Speedway shot himself in the head.
The Tarrant County medical examiner’s office on Sunday said the death of 42-year-old Kirk Franklin of Saginaw was a suicide.
Fort Worth police have said a man who was camping in the infield died of a “self-inflicted injury” after getting into an argument with other campers. The incident happened late in the Spring Cup race.
My sympathies to Mr. Franklin and his loved ones.
I you’re like me, you’ve seen the word “Bitcoin” pass before your eyes quite a bit lately, especially over the last week or two. So what the hell IS Bitcoin?
Here’s a primer:
I know. That didn’t help me understand it all that much either but other attempts at making it easy to understand that I’ve seen are even worse.
How this is is supposed to work in the real world is beyond me but there’s incredible buzz about it on the internets and people are investing huge bucks in it so it’s something to watch. (Maybe this will be the new new thing that brings the global economy crashing down next time.)
Read this article from the WashingtonPost about that ExxonMobil oil spill in Mayflower, Arkansas. It’s based entirely on what Karen Tyrone, ExxonMobil’s “on-scene coordinator” tells the reporter:
MAYFLOWER, Ark. — Some people whose homes were evacuated when an oil pipeline ruptured in central Arkansas could go home as early as Thursday, officials said.
Authorities evacuated more than 20 homes in Mayflower, about 25 miles northwest of Little Rock, after an ExxonMobil pipeline ruptured March 29, spilling thousands of barrels of oil.
The residents of four of those homes could be allowed back on Thursday, federal on-scene coordinator Nick Brescia said Thursday. The residents of eight or nine more homes could return in the coming days, Brescia said.
It’s not clear when the rest could come back, but some people may not want to return as cleanup crews and their heavy equipment are still trying to get rid of what’s left of the spill.
“We have not had a strong interest to get back into homes,” Karen Tyrone, ExxonMobil’s on-scene coordinator, told reporters.
So far, crews have recovered about 28,200 barrels of oily water and about 2,000 cubic yards of oiled soil and debris, according to a statement from ExxonMobil and local officials. Officials estimate that about 5,000 barrels of oil spilled, though a final number isn’t expected until the pipeline has been repaired and refilled.
Officials hope to remove the ruptured part of the Pegasus pipeline in the next few days, Tyrone said. Then, investigators may be able to piece together why it burst.
“You cannot know what happened until you get this piece of pipe out and you get it to a lab,” she said.
ExxonMobil said the spill has not affected Mayflower’s drinking water supply, which comes from a lake about 65 miles northeast of the city. But that hasn’t put a stop to concerns about drinking water in other parts of the region.
Officials with another water system — Central Arkansas Water — are slated to meet Thursday afternoon to discuss asking ExxonMobil to move the Pegasus pipeline away from an area that drains into a drinking water source.
“We understand their concerns,” Tyrone said. “We have spoken with them. They understand that we’re in a recovery effort right now and our focus right now is the Mayflower community.”
Geezus. Why send a reporter down there at all? Just print ExxonMobil press releases under the banner of a so-called news article.
The next time you look at the list of what’s “trending” on Twitter, bear this in mind (disgusting):
Twitter has been building up its ad business for 3 years, but early on it figured out that it had a hit with “Promoted Trends“. That’s the ad unit that lets a brand occupy the top spot on Twitter’s “Trends” list for a day; Twitter recently started asking $200,000 a day for the privilege.
In retrospect it’s easy to see why this works — while “Promoted Tweets”, the format the company describes as its “atomic unit” of its ad business, requires a lot of testing and experimentation, buying a trend for the day is a familiar concept for ad buyers.
Anyone who logs on to Twitter for the day will see the promotion, which makes it roughly similar to a homepage takeover on Yahoo or YouTube - it’s a digital billboard.
So who’s buying?
A one-month survey, conducted by CNBC social media strategist Eli Langer, offers some clues. By Langer’s count, Twitter sold 26 promoted trends in U.S. the last 32 days — at rate card prices, that $5.2 million, plus whatever the advertisers paid for in promoted tweets to support the campaign (bear in mind that Twitter sells trends in many other territories worldwide).
Nearly half of those came from Big Media companies pushing movies and TV shows; another chunk came from food and beverage marketers.
Here’s the latest on that ExxonMobil pipeline spill in Arkansas:
The central Arkansas spill caused by Exxon’s aging Pegasus pipeline has reportedly unleashed 10,000 barrels of Canadian heavy crude – but a technicality says it’s not oil, letting the energy giant off the hook from paying into a national cleanup fund.
Legally speaking, diluted bitumen like the heavy crude that’s overrun Mayflower, Arkansas, is not classified as ‘oil’. And it’s that very distinction that exempts Exxon from contributing to the government’s oil spillage cleanup fund.
ExxonMobil has already confirmed that the compromised pipeline was transporting “low-quality Wabasca Heavy crude” from Canada’s Alberta region. That particular form of crude contains large quantities of bitumen – a “thick, sticky, black semi-solid form of petroleumwhich is transported in a diluted form (dilbit) as it makes its way from Canada to US refineries,” explains Oil Change International, which has brought attention on the strange legal exemption.
Companies that transport oil are required to pay $.08 per barrel into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. The cash is used by the US government to respond to oil spills. But there’s a catch – Exxon is exempt from paying into the fund, because its pipelines aren’t considered to be carrying “conventional oil.”
“Strange legal exemption?” Too kind. The exemption is a result of great lobbying work on behalf of ExxonMobil’s lobbyists and of D.C. lawmakers who let themselves be bought off.
ExxonMobil wins. We the People lose. What a country.
Discovery Communications, with its stock price up more than 50 percent in the past year, paid president and CEO David Zaslav total compensation of $49.9 million for 2012.
The cable TV network powerhouse’s compensation disclosure came in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Many companies whose fiscal year coincides with the calendar year are making these disclosures around this time of year.
Zaslav made a base salary of $3 million and earned a bonus of $5.3 million. He also got a stock award worth $25.3 million and an option grant worth $15.8 million. He also received additional compensation to cover the cost of his car, a home office and personal security worth more than $400,000.
Last year Zaslav made $52.4 million, so his compensation actually fell a little because of a complicated formula for stock options that was impacted by the higher stock price. He made $42.6 million in 2010.
What a mind-blowing salary. Hopefully the roughly $2 million drop from last’s “compensation” won’t hurt the guy too much.
Shorter: Let our Discover card nickle and dime you to death while you try to stay afloat during a job loss. We’ll pretend to be your friend but in the end, we’ll own you:
Disgusting. Oil companies are poisoning our planet one oil spill, pipeline and drilling well at a time.
Exxon Mobil Corp. says crews are working to contain and clean up an oil spill near Mayflower, Arkansas after its Pegasus pipeline ruptured Friday afternoon.
The pipeline carries Canadian heavy crude oil from Patoka, Illinois to refineries on the Texas Gulf coast.
Exxon Mobil issued a release that said the company was responding to a spill of more than 10,000 barrels, and that some 4,500 barrels of oil and water had been recovered.
The company said the 20 inch pipeline had been shut down as crews tried to prevent the spilled oil from reaching a nearby lake.
It said cleanup operations were being co-ordinated with the Department of Emergency Management and other local authorities, and that the cause of the spill was being investigated.
On Monday federal regulators proposed that Exxon Mobil pay $1.7 million in civil penalties for safety violations linked to a pipeline rupture that spilled an estimated 238,000 litres of crude oil into Montana’s scenic Yellowstone River in July 2011.
This is what a Comcast ad would look like if the company was being honest:
New Inroads In Exploitation: Wal-Mart Thinking of Having Customers Deliver Other Customer’s Packages
Geezus. Wal-Mart already exploits its workers, now it’s thinking of exploiting its customers:
(Reuters) – Wal-Mart Stores Inc is considering a radical plan to have store customers deliver packages to online buyers, a new twist on speedier delivery services that the company hopes will enable it to better compete with Amazon.com Inc.
Tapping customers to deliver goods would put the world’s largest retailer squarely in middle of a new phenomenon sometimes known as “crowd-sourcing,” or the “sharing economy.
Wal-Mart has millions of customers visiting its stores each week. Some of these shoppers could tell the retailer where they live and sign up to drop off packages for online customers who live on their route back home, Anderson explained.
Wal-Mart would offer a discount on the customers’ shopping bill, effectively covering the cost of their gas in return for the delivery of packages, he added.
Isn’t that unbelievable? Sure, they’ll “offer a discount” on the delivering-customers shopping bill but undoubtedly the amount offered will be less than it would cost Wal-Mart to ship the package via UPS or whatever so it’ll make money off that person. And what if the person who’s supposed to deliver the package — ahem, on his way home — damages or loses it or flat out steals it? What a mess that will be. Will Wal-Mart sue that person and what recourse will the customer who didn’t get their package have? Etc., etc., etc.
I mean, what could possibly go wrong?
This infuriates me:
Food, shelter, and clothing are often considered the three basic needs by humans and the actions by President Obama on Tuesday have now left millions of Americans across the land in shock as the very first tenet has been horrifically jeopardized by his signing the Monsanto Protection Act into law (H.R. 933) as mentioned on the Facebook page for Food Democracy Now.
For those that are new to this situation, the Monsanto Protection Act is the name given to what’s known as a legislative rider that was inserted into the Senate Continuing Resolution spending bill.
Using the deceptive title of Farmer Assurance Provision, Section 735 of this bill actually grants Monsanto immunity from federal courts pending the review of any GM crop that is thought to be dangerous.
Under the section, courts would be helpless to stop Monsanto from continuing to plant GMO crops that are thought — even by the US government — to be a danger to human health or our cherised environment.
Oh my God! What. Is. Obama. Thinking?
The gun industry has immunity from the courts too. Look how well that’s workin’ out for us.
Unbelievable. Obama’s brain has been taken over by the corporatocracy.