Posts filed under ‘Corporatocracy’
Does your doc take money from drug companies? One of mine got $13,000+ last year, most of it from Pfizer. Verrry interesting.
Thought I’d put this outrageous clip up for the record. I have a feeling historians will marvel at it and I don’t mean in a good way:
Chuck Grassley: On the issue of bank prosecution, I’m concerned that we have a mentality of too big to jail in the financial sector of spreading from fraud cases to terrorist financing and money laundering cases and I cite HSBC. So, I think we’re on a slippery slope so then that’s background for this question: Ah, I don’t, I don’t have recollection of ah the DOJ prosecuting ah, any high-profile financial criminal convictions in either companies or individuals.
Assistant general, ah, attorney general brewer said that one reason why DOJ has not brought these prosecutions is that it reaches out to “experts” to see what affect the prosecutions would have the financial markets. So then on January 29, Senator Brown and I requested details on who these so-called experts are. So far we’ve not received any information. Ah, maybe you’re going to, buy why have we not yet ah, been provided the names of the experts that DOJ consults with as we requested on January 29 because we need to find out ah, why we aren’t having these high-profile cases.
And then I’ve got one follow-up so maybe you can answer that quickly.
Eric Holder: Well, we’ll endeavor to answer your letter ah, Senator.
Ah, we did not, as I understand it, retain experts outside of the government in making determinations with regard to HSBC. Now if we could just put that aside for a minute though, the concern that you have raised is one that I frankly share, and I’m not not talking about HSBC now. That may be, not be appropriate. But I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, ah, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy, and I think that is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large.
Again, I’m not talking about HSBC. This is just a more general comment. I think it has an inhibiting influence, impact on our ability to bring resolution that I think would be more appropriate and I think that is something that we, you all need to consider. So the concern that you raise is actually one that I share.
Is he saying the banks have blackmailed the government?
I just watched Miles Nadal, the founder and CEO of MDC Partners,
MDC Partners Inc. (NASDAQ: MDCA, TSX: MDZ.A) is a holding company based in New York City, United States and Toronto, Canada. It was founded as Multi Discipline Communications Inc in 1980 by Miles Nadal who is also the CEO of MDC Partners.
They are the 8th largest advertising holding company in the world. Unlike other holding companies, MDC positions itself as a “partner,” taking majority stakes, generally 51%. It has invested in companies in many sectors: advertising, B2B, branding, crisis management, digital/interactive, direct marketing, experiencial marketing, entertainment, investor relations, media buying, media planning, multicultural advertising, PR, product innovation, publishing, social media, strategic planning.
on “Morning Joe” talking about the need to cut
entitlements earned benefits by raising the retirement age.
Nothing infuriates me more than millionaire businessmen who don’t have a financial care in the world, telling me I’ve got to work three, four, five more years before I can retire to a retirement income of something like $24,000.
Silly, greedy, spoiled brat, moocher me.
Oh, and here’s more on Mr. Nadal. In 2011 he got a 278% pay raise: From just over $6 million to just under $24 million.
My Tweet of the Day:
New group Wants to Raise Water Levels in Lakes Michigan, Huron
A newly formed coalition is demanding action to raise water levels in Lakes Michigan and Huron.
Restore Our Water International is an alliance of U.S. and Canadian groups worried about declining levels in the two lakes over the past 14 years. Its members represent shoreline property owners and commercial interests.
The chairman is Roger Gauthier, a retired U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hydrologist.
He says dredging and mining in the St. Clair River corridor years ago reduced Lakes Michigan and Huron by at least 20 inches. He says that has combined with a warmer and drier climate to keep the levels abnormally low.
Existing law allows the government to place structures in the river to slow the flow of water out of Lake Huron. But it’s never been done.
I just had a creepy thought. As the effects of climate change become more and more pronounced, “shoreline property owners and
commercial interests corporations” will ask We the People to pay for hugely expensive stuff like this — so they can maintain their lake-front views — while they blackmail us into doing so by saying we’ll “lose jobs” if we don’t.
Say it ain’t so already.
Memo to Government Officials Everywhere: Want Your Sons to Have Malformed Genitals and Small Penises?
Insofar as most government officials around the world are men, maybe this will get their attention when it comes to dealing with water pollution and food additives:
A new study in Wales has uncovered a disturbing connection between pollution and shrinking penis size in otters. The report, from the Cardiff University Otter Project and Chemicals Health and Environment Department, found that chemicals present in both the environment and the food chain could be altering the hormones of the water mammal, causing a smaller penis bone. Aside from affecting the future spawn of otters, the scientists also worry that these ever-present chemicals could have serious effects on other mammals.
The health of otters is not the only concern in this study, but of male sexual health across the species. The presence of endocrine disrupting chemicals in the water and environment will affect humans as well, and the study questions the link with EDCs and the increasing number of human males with undescended testicles, low sperm count and malformed genitals.
Think about this for a minute:
Jack Lew’s Golden Parachute
Treasury secretary nominee Jack Lew’s original employment contract at Citigroup included a bonus guarantee if he left the bank for a “high level position with the United States government or regulatory body,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
So, the thinking apparently is if Lew got a “high level position” he’d be able to influence the making of laws and policy such that they would benefit Citigroup. If this isn’t illustrative of how government is in bed with corporations I don’t know what is.
And to think a guy — Lew — who came from that culture has been nominated Treasury secretary. Citi must be jumping for joy.
Apropos of this, there’s this:
Fla. Medicaid Privatization Plans Moving Forward
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Federal health officials said Wednesday they expect to approve Florida’s request to privatize Medicaid statewide as long as the state resolves several outstanding issues, including hiring an independent entity to monitor the process and having a robust plan to measure the quality of patient care in the controversial program.
Rick Scott, Florida’s Tea Party Governor, the guy who’s moving this along should be in prison. If you’ve got time, read this: Rick Scott’s Dirtiest Deeds.
I predict Scott will privatize Medicaid in Florida right into the hands of his hospital chain / insurance company buddies and three, four years from now the “Medicare” system in Florida will be a corrupt mess. And people will have died as a result, including Tea Partiers who voted for this narcissistic monster.
Here’s the ad ExxonMobil doesn’t want you to see:
Flames come out of my ears when I hear folks in D.C. talk about “adjusting” Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid because closing loopholes that allow things like this outrageousness to happen should be way higher on the list of things to “adjust” than the income of people who are teetering on the edge:
Last year at this time, CTJ predicted, based on Facebook’s IPO paperwork, the company would get a federal tax refund in 2012 approaching $500 million, and the company’s SEC filing this month tells us we were right: Facebook is reporting a $429 million net tax refund from the federal and state treasuries. And it’s not because they weren’t profitable. Indeed, Mark Zuckerburg’s little company earned nearly $1.1 billion in profits.
Facebook’s income tax refunds stem from the company’s use of a single tax break, that is the tax deductibility of executive stock options. That tax break reduced Facebook’s federal and state income taxes by $1,033 million in 2012, including refunds of earlier years’ taxes of $451 million.
Don’t get me started…
I just came across this great quote:
When a government becomes invisible, it becomes unaccountable. To expose its lies, errors, and illegal acts is not treason, it is a moral responsibility. Leaks become the lifeblood of the Republic.
– Daniel Ellsberg and John Perry Barlow
The article from which this quote comes is about the White House’s “White Paper” on targeted killings and drones but its wisdom applies across the board. As the government becomes more and more secretive (as in the kill list, drone strikes* and its deliberation on approving (or not) the Keystone XL pipeline, for example), the less, obviously we know. And as those things happen under the ever-creeping tendency of our government to side with the corporatocracy and against the people, leaks become more and more important. We have a right to know what our government is doing because after all, it works for us and if it won’t tell us so we can hold it accountable, we need leakers who will.
Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, John Bolton, Lindsay Graham and Erick Erickson Praise Obama’s Drone Plan/Kill list
They’re all warmongers so if they love it, I don’t!
To wild GOP crowd cheers, Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachman vehemently defend Obama’s assassination policy.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) will offer a resolution next week commending President Barack Obama’s use of drones and the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki.
We no longer have to transport ourselves to a magical alternate reality to ponder what a love child between Richard Nixon and Dick Cheney would look like. Given a Justice Department memo obtained by NBC News, we can conclude that child would look like none other than President Barack Obama.
“Just kill the terrorists before they kill us.” Land of the free and home of the brave? No. When I saw folks tearing up at the Super Bowl over those words I gagged.
We’re a scared bunch of sheeple. We stood by while almost 60,000 Americans were killed in Vietnam because our leaders told us the commies were coming to get us. Ten years ago yesterday, Colin Powell lied his face off in front of the United Nations Security Council and as a result, we invaded Iraq because they (I’m gagging again) supposedly had WMD and were ready to send a mushroom cloud over the U.S.
None of that was true.
Yet, again, we’re so scared of the lies we’ve told ourselves, all in the name of kill them before they kill us.
Defense spending — our tax dollars! — has doubled since 2001.
Ten years ago there was no such thing as the Department of Homeland Security but now we’re dumping untold billions dollars into that agency because it’s supposedly keeping us “safe.
And now we have drones — millions going to defense contractors for their new toys that we’re paying for — AGAIN, out of our tax dollars that — and President Obama’s kill list predicated on his supposed authority to kill Americans without their Constitutional right to be charged and tried by a jury of their piers.
They tell us these drone strikes are keeping us safe. But they aren’t: “Drone attacks are doing nothing but inciting more hatred” say Pakistani protesters. Google it yourself. There’s a whole bunch of info out there about how drone attacks are actually making us less after
So when will be again become the land of the free and the HOME OF THE BRAVE and when will we stop being scared little people who sacrifice their future for defense contractors and politicians who want to enrich them?
So what else is new America? As usual We the People are to blame for everything:
Compare this 1971 commercial for Coca-Cola titled, “Buy the World a Coke,”
to this dark, violent “Coke Chase” ad the company aired during tonight’s Super Bowl:
IMHO, these ads highlight how the U.S. has changed, and there’s nothing good about it.
I heard something about this shocking factoid a few days ago but I forgot to look into it so I’m glad this came across the internets just now:
With the debate over gun control headed to the Senate Judiciary Committee today, it’s worth recalling that the NRA has successfully gutted the government’s ability to sponsor research into the actual effects that guns have on public health.[...]
Governmental research into gun mortality shrunk by 96 percent since the mid-1990s, according to Reuters.[...]
Prior to 1996, the Center for Disease Control funded research into the causes of firearm-related deaths. After a series of articles finding that increased prevalence of guns lead to increased incidents of gun violence, Republicans sought to remove all federal funding for research into gun deaths. In 1996, Republican Rep. Jay Dickey removed $2.6 million from the CDC budget — the precise amount the CDC spent on gun research in 1995 — at a time when the center was conducting more studies into gun-related deaths as a “public health phenomenon,” according to The New York Times.[...]At the behest of the NRA, Congressional Republicans successfully removed all federal funding to the Center for Disease Control that would have gone into researching the effect of guns and the root causes of gun violence.
That funding was eventually reinstated, but has been decreasing since, and eventually the CDC re-designated the money to conduct research on traumatic brain injuries.
Because of the NRA’s successful campaign to eliminate the scientific research into the public health effect of firearms, very few researchers specialize in the field anymore, University of California Davis Professor Garen Wintemute told Reuters.
Imho, the big news here isn’t that the NRA per se won this fight, it’s that D.C. politicians enabled it. Organizations are free to lobby for whatever they want, of course, but that lobbying doesn’t go anywhere unless lawmakers enact laws the lobbyists want. So I hold our congresspeople directly responsible for this shameful state of affairs.
We. Have. Got. To. Get. Money. Out. Of. Politics.
Wayne LaPierre, the vice president of the National Rifle Association is on Capitol Hill as I write, testifying before a Senate committee on gun control and advocating against — against — universal background checks.
Knowing LaPierre, he’s probably exaggerating by two or three fold the number of laws on the books but never mind that. Check this out from a poll released on January 17:
Support for universal background checks went across party lines: 89 percent of Republicans and 93 percent of Democrats and independents were in favor, as well as 93 percent of gun households and 85 percent of those living in a household with a member of the National Rifle Association.
Wayne LaPierre isn’t representing NRA members at this hearing. He’s representing the gun industry. I hope everyone in that room and everyone watching knows that.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest translates Coca-Cola’s new kumbaya-like “Coming Together” ad:
I have to think Rupert Murdoch is smarter about climate change than his most recent tweet suggests; that his aim at playing dumb is to protect his corporate buddies who stand to lose big if we seriously tackle that issue.
I mean, does one of the most powerful information and news purveyors on the planet really think
global warming climate change simply means it doesn’t get cold anymore?
I wish the term “global warming” had never come into common use because it lets the likes of the Rupert Murdochs of the world imply that very thing — that it’s only about warming.
Mother Jones has assembled a fascinating series of vintage sugar industry ads designed to convince us that eating sugar was just about the best thing we could do for our health:
Good. Maybe this will help bring an end to the practice of maiming human beings and wringing the last drop out of them so NFL owners can make a fortune:
The family of Junior Seau has sued the NFL, claiming the former linebacker’s suicide was the result of brain disease caused by violent hits he sustained while playing football.
The wrongful death lawsuit, filed Wednesday in California Superior Court in San Diego, blames the NFL for its “acts or omissions” that hid the dangers of repetitive blows to the head. It says Seau developed chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) from those hits, and accuses the NFL of deliberately ignoring and concealing evidence of the risks associated with traumatic brain injuries.
Seau died at age 43 of a self-inflicted gunshot in May. He was diagnosed with CTE, based on posthumous tests, earlier this month.
Instead of paying us a living wage, the corporatocracy wants to make us think we’re peachy lucky. From the New York Times:
The apartment of New York City’s future, as the city imagines it, has all the amenities of modern life: wheelchair-accessible bathroom, a full kitchen, space for entertaining and access to a gym, communal lounge, front and back porches and a rooftop garden — all in 250 to 370 square feet.
Meanwhile, in China:
Stretching as far as the eye can see in rows upon rows of arrow-straight uniformity, this development conjures images of a concrete slum or a prison block rather than a plush new housing estate.
They are among more than 1,000 grey houses, each spaced just a few feet apart, that have been built in Lingshui County in the Hainan Province of China.
Around 3,500 villagers have started to move into 1,029 new apartments, each of which measures 253 square metres.
Tonight’s edition of FRONTLINE looks good:
FRONTLINE investigates why Wall Street’s leaders have escaped prosecution for any fraud related to the sale of bad mortgages.
Jorge Parra started working as a welder at General Motors’ Colmotores plant in Colombia in 2001. For nine years, he worked 10 to 12 hour shifts, 6 days a week, lifting auto parts and machinery that can each weigh hundreds of pounds. He complained about pains, but doctors in the factory clinic kept sending him back to work. Then one day in 2010, at the end of a shift, he couldn’t move.
Even after surgery, Parra, who’s only 36, had trouble walking, standing, or using his hands. Then, just as he was recovering, GM fired him. He discovered that more than 200 workers had also been injured and fired. Many of these workers banded together and started demanding compensation, but GM refused to negotiate with them in good faith. So in November, Parra went on hunger strike and stitched his lips shut until GM agrees to sit down with workers and negotiate.
In days, Parra will confront GM executives directly, at the North American International Auto Show, a massive auto industry trade show in Detroit that attracts media attention from all over the globe. We’d like to make sure he goes to the Auto Show with tens of thousands of signatures of SumOfUs.org members in hand, so we can show GM that its customers and potential customers expect it to treat its workers fairly.
To read more and to sign SumOfUs’s petition in support of Jorge Parra go here.
FYI, SumOfUs was founded by Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, Aaron Swartz‘s partner.
This is what happens when, in essence, government regulation and oversight is thrown out the window, something conservatives think is a great idea:
Airline manufacturer Boeing’s newest plane, the 787 Dreamliner, is grounded around the world due to concerns over the lithium battery on which it relies. On January 7, a battery caught fire inside a parked Dreamliner in Japan, raising concerns that similar problems may be prevalent in the new planes.
The Federal Aviation Administration, the airline industry’s regulator, relied heavily on data provided by Boeing showing that the lithium batteries “featured redundant safeguards that were essentially foolproof.” … And though the airline industry is safer today that it has ever been, the FAA is increasingly relying on airline manufacturers to regulate themselves because it has “neither the budget nor the expertise” to test battery systems and other aircraft features itself.
And so, last week, Boeing debuted an aircraft featuring never-before-used technology that it seemingly developed, certified, and regulated itself, with the FAA performing only in an “oversight” role.
It’s just amazing that Boeing came up with a totally new way of powering an airplane — the mysterious lithium battery (that keeps catching fire) — yet the FAA shrugged and stepped back. Not even that caused it to get involved.
Letting an industry regulate itself never works (think: banks). Corporations can’t be trusted. In the end, they’re greedy and self-serving.
So far, nobody has died as a result of this fiasco but there’s still time.
Nearly three years after a deadly mine explosion in West Virginia, a former Massey Energy mine superintendent has been sentenced to prison and federal regulators have toughened a regulation that could have helped prevent the disaster.
Today in federal court in Beckley, W.Va., former Upper Big Branch coal mine superintendant Gary May was sentenced to 21 months in prison and ordered to pay a $20,000 fine.
The sentencing was part of a plea agreement in which May is cooperating with federal prosecutors as they continue to investigate the April, 2010, explosion that killed 29 coal miners at Massey’s Upper Big Branch mine.
May pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and admitted to ordering a company electrician to disable a methane monitor on a mining machine so it could continue to cut coal without automatic shutdowns. The monitor is a safety device that senses explosive amounts of methane gas and automatically shuts down mining machines when dangerous levels of gas are present.
Man, if that isn’t a white-collar, corporate-friendly sentence I don’t know what is. May ordered a methane monitor to be turned off and then a methane explosion kills 29 people and he gets less than two years in jail. Sweet. For May.
On January 4, the Wall Street Journal ran an article titled, How Much Will Your Taxes Jump? It talked about how “millions of people soon will feel something less than relief from the new law.” As a way to illustrate how those “millions of people” will see their taxes change, this chart was included:
The lowest income on this chart is that of the retired couple at $180,000. They must have some incredible investments if they’re making that much which is way, way, WAY higher than that of any retired couple I know now or that I’ve ever known in my life. Not only that, the median U.S. income is $52,762 so who exactly was the WSJ thinking of when they put this thing together? No one I know, that’s for sure.
Under “anti-business” Obama,
Corporate profits have soared:
Tom Donohue, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, last week said higher taxes and a “flood of new regulations” will damage an already subpar economy. “In many ways, we’re going backwards,” he said.
There’s no end to the greed.
Such complaints, echoed by corporate executives throughout President Barack Obama’s first term, obscure one fact: American business has never had it so good.
U.S. corporations’ after-tax profits have grown by 171 percent under Obama, more than under any president since World War II, and are now at their highest level relative to the size of the economy since the government began keeping records in 1947, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
And the Dow Jones Industrial average is up 5,550 points since he took office.
The business world has done very, very well. On the other hand, we the people? Not so much.
Yesterday we learned a kid in Florida killed himself trying to prove how safe guns are. Today we hear about a guy who killed himself while cleaning a loaded gun. Who cleans a loaded gun?
Police continue to investigate the Sunday afternoon shooting death of a 55-year-old man who was reportedly cleaning his gun.
Police were called on Sunday at around 2 p.m. to the 300 block of East La Vista in connection to an accidental shooting said Police Chief Victor Rodriguez.
At the scene officers found the man who appears to have accidentally shot himself while cleaning a handgun. The man was rushed to McAllen Medical Center where he later died as a result of his injuries, Rodriguez said.
I swear, people are starting to believe the NRA’s bs about how guns don’t kill people, people do.
Yesterday we heard AIG was considering suing
the federal government We the People because the $182 billion bailout we sprang for in 2008 had some glitches in it they’ve decided they don’t like.
Understandably, and rightly, there was a huge outcry. I particularly like this letter to AIG from Democratic Reps. Peter Welch of Vermont and Michael Capuano of Massachusetts:
According to The New York Times, AIG is actively considering suing the U.S. government for monetary damages after American taxpayers rescued your company from its reckless conduct with a $182 billion bailout.
Don’t do it.
Don’t even think about it.
AIG became the poster company for Wall Street greed, fiscal mismanagement, and executive bonuses – the taxpayer and economy be damned.
Now, AIG apparently seeks to become the poster company for corporate ingratitude and chutzpah.
Taxpayers are still furious that they rescued a company whose own conduct brought it down. Don’t rub salt in the wounds with yet another reckless decision that is on par with the reckless decisions that led to the bailout in the first place.
Anyway, to make a long story short, AIG has decided not to sue.
Hey guys, GOOD THINKIN’ for once.
Word is out that President Obama intends to nominate Jacob Lew to replace Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary.
Get a load of this from Lew’s 2010 Senate confirmation hearing to head the Office of Management and Budget:
A former top executive at Citigroup who participated in the deregulation of Wall Street during the Clinton administration and recently was tapped by President Barack Obama for a top White House post told a Senate panel last week that deregulation didn’t lead to the recent financial crisis.
Jacob “Jack” Lew, Obama’s nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget, the White House agency entrusted with ensuring that federal regulations reflect the president’s agenda, was asked Thursday during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Budget Committee by Sen. Bernie Sanders whether he believed that the “deregulation of Wall Street, pushed by people like Alan Greenspan [and] Robert Rubin, contributed significantly to the disaster we saw on Wall Street.”
Lew, a former OMB chief for President Bill Clinton, told the panel that “the problems in the financial industry preceded deregulation,” and after discussing those issues, added that he didn’t “personally know the extent to which deregulation drove it, but I don’t believe that deregulation was the proximate cause.”
The White House declined to clarify Lew’s remarks from last week, instead writing in an e-mail that “Mr. Lew gave a nuanced and thoughtful answer to a question on a matter on which he, admittedly, is not an expert,” said Kenneth Baer, communications director for OMB.
If you have time, read the whole article. It documents how wrong Lew is regarding deregulation and the “problems in the financial industry preceding deregulation.”
Not only that, the White House admitted that Lew “is not an expert” on banks and regulations? Great. He sounds like the perfect guy to be in charge of ah, banks and regulations. That is, if you’re a bank.