At a Koch Brothers-hosted secret strategy conference of right-wing millionaire and billionaire political activists in June, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) promised that if his party wins control of the United States Senate this November, the Senate will not waste time on things like increasing the minimum wage for people making only about $15,000 annually. Instead, audio of his remarks obtained by The Nation reveals, his Senate will focus on repealing Wall Street reforms, environmental protections, and affordable healthcare.
McConnell spoke at an annual event hosted by oil billionaires Charles and David Koch at the St. Regis Monarch Bay resort in Dana Point, CA. The conference, titled “American Courage: Our Commitment to a Free Society,” reportedly attracted hundreds of the nation’s wealthiest individuals and aimed to raise $500 million toward making McConnell the Senate majority leader next year and another $500 million to defeat a potential Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.
The Koch brothers obviously enjoy their notoriety. And they want to shove their money in our collective faces. It’s like saying, we’re going to buy America and what are going to do about it. What are we going to do about it? Is America for sale?
The Koch brothers are showing up in so many campaign ads for Democrats, you’d think they were on the ballot.
The commercials are full of images designed to make ordinary Americans bristle, from private jets to limousines to handshakes in dark rooms. They often feature the same images of Charles and David Koch in blazers and ties — portraits that could have appeared in the billionaires issue of Forbes magazine. And many of the ads point out that the wealthy industrialist brothers are behind rival ads that support Republicans.
American journalism has entered highly dangerous terrain.
A tip-off is that the Washington Post refuses to face up to a conflict of interest involving Jeff Bezos — who’s now the sole owner of the powerful newspaper at the same time he remains Amazon’s CEO and main stakeholder.
The Post is supposed to expose CIA secrets. But Amazon is under contract to keep them. Amazon has a new $600 million “cloud” computing deal with the CIA.
After some scarifying teething problems, the Boeing Dreamliner now seems to be becoming belatedly accepted as the wonder plane it was always cracked up to be. Though that is excellent news, it says far less about the health of the U.S. aerospace industry than Boeing executives would have you to believe.
The fact is that the Dreamliner is probably the most extensively outsourced American passenger plane in history – and that is just the beginning of a bewildering story of globalism-gone-mad that is now threatening the future of America’s last remaining serious manufacturing industry.
Here’s a thoughtful discussion on Melissa Harris-Perry on the evils of one-party rule in America. And is it fueled by the too much money in politics:
Despite the incredible suffering the 2008 financial crisis caused on the traditional constituents of the Democratic Party it seems Wall Street still calls the shots. A letter sent to federal regulators from so-called progressive Democrats calling for weaker investor protections for retirement accounts was actually written by a Wall Street lobbyist.
Not only do we have to worry about the government spying on us, but also the private sector:
Google doesn’t believe that people can reasonably expect their emails to stay private.
At least, that’s what the internet giant articulated in a brief that was filed last month in federal court and recently surfaced by Consumer Watchdog. The document was written in response to a class-action lawsuit accusing Google of violating wiretap law when it scans emails to serve up targeted ads.
Plantiffs accuse Google of violating the privacy of its users by mining their personal messages for information that it uses to inform which targeted ads it displays. The suit calls for Google to fully disclose exactly what information it’s taking from emails, and to pay damages for these alleged violations of privacy. (You can read a redacted version of the complaint here).
The company argued in its motion to dismiss the lawsuit that “all users of email must necessarily expect that their emails will be subject to automated processing.” (You can read the full motion here).
Google asserts that, in principle, if you entrust your personal messages to a third party, you can’t expect that the third party won’t touch any of that information…
This 60 Minutes report is chilling. Our health is at the mercy of greedy profiteers. And the government seems unable or unwilling to do something about it.
MANHATTAN (CN) – ExxonMobil owes more than $104 million to New York City for poisoning the groundwater with the gasoline additive MTBE, the 2nd Circuit ruled.
New York City had sued the oil giant over its release of the additive into six wells in the Jamaica section of Queens from the mid-1980s through the mid-2000s. The wells had been designated for emergencies.
Source: WordPress.com Blog – Ampoch
Their anger has been stoked by what they see as a glaring disconnect: their wages have flatlined, while median pay for chief executives at the nation’s top corporations jumped 16 percent last year, averaging a princely $15.1 million, according to Equilar, an executive compensation analysis firm.
…Many low-paid workers feel their employers have put an invisible ceiling on their wages, with little prospect of ever making more than $10 or $11 an hour, as corporations have focused on keeping wages competitive and maximizing profits to benefit shareholders. The richest Americans have benefited mightily from corporate America’s record profits and the stock market’s repeated highs.
The numbers tell the story — in votes and dollars. On Wednesday, the house voted 217 to 205 not to rein in the NSA’s phone-spying dragnet. It turns out that those 217 “no” voters received twice as much campaign financing from the defense and intelligence industry as the 205 “yes” voters.
That’s the upshot of a new analysis by MapLight, a Berkeley-based non-profit that performed the inquiry at WIRED’s request. The investigation shows that defense cash was a better predictor of a member’s vote on the Amash amendment than party affiliation. House members who voted to continue the massive phone-call-metadata spy program, on average, raked in 122 percent more money from defense contractors than those who voted Wednesday to dismantle it.
This is the latest installment of a major U.S. corporation that commits a crime without anyone going to jail. Like so many times, eleven human beings died with no one is being held accountable even though the deaths were the result of negligence. At this point is clear that the criminal justice exists only for the unfortunate masses. The rich get a pass. The Constitution calls for the “establishment of justice.” This is not justice. It is government of and by the corporations:
Halliburton Energy Services has agreed to plead guilty to destroying evidence in connection with the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the Department of Justice said Thursday.
Federal officials said in a news release that a criminal information charging Hallburton with one count of destruction of evidence was filed in federal court in Louisiana.
Halliburton has agreed to pay the maximum fine, be on probation for three years and continue to cooperate with the government’s criminal investigation, said the news release, which did not spell out the fine amount.
The Houston-based company has also made a $55 million voluntary contribution to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. It was not a condition of the court agreement, the news release says.
Halliburton was BP’s cement contractor on the drilling rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The blowout triggered an explosion that killed 11 workers and spilled millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf.
What makes it so outrageous is that they only have to pay $200,000 in fines. That’s pocket-change for this giant business:
The oil services company said it would pay the maximum allowable fine of $200,000 and will be subject to three years of probation. It will also continue its cooperation in the government’s criminal investigation. Separately, Halliburton made a voluntary contribution of $55 million to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
The Justice Department filed one criminal charge against the company. In a statement, Halliburton said that the violation was a misdemeanor associated with the deletion of records created after the accident. Additionally, the company said, “The Department of Justice has agreed that it will not pursue further criminal prosecution of the company.”
Once again another example of too-big-to-jail. Lie under oath. Ripoff the public. No problem. The bank pays a fine and moves on. Until the next financial scam. This is a practice we have seen many times before. If you are a big enough corporation breaking the law is not really a crime. All they have to do is payoff the government:
Even as the nation’s top energy regulator is poised to extract a record settlement from JPMorgan Chase over accusations that it manipulated power markets, the agency is expected to spare a top bank lieutenant who federal investigators initially contended made “false and misleading statements under oath,” according to people briefed on the matter.
Blythe Masters, a seminal Wall Street figure who is known for developing exotic financial instruments, emerged this spring at the center of an investigation by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission into accusations of illegal trading in the California and Michigan electricity markets.
One day after we learn that Citigroups income went up 42%, we are learning another financial banking interest is making obscene profits. And no one in government is asking the obvious question: How could they be making so much money while so many Americans are suffering?
Goldman Sachs says its second-quarter profit doubled, boosted by a surge in stock and bond underwriting.
Profit was $1.9 billion after payments to preferred shareholders, compared with $927 million a year ago.
At what point do these massive profits become obscene; especially given the nature of this weak economy. Most Americans aren’t seeing anywhere near the kind of income rise that the corporations are enjoying. The obvious conclusion is that these gains are made at the expense of the American people. In fact, we should consider it a rigged game. That’s what makes it so outrageous. There is no fairness here. After the near collapse of the financial markets in 2007 the government came to aid of the banks. Similar assistance was not accorded the great majority of Americans–even though it was our money. And we are seeing the results. When will we see similar rewards? It won’t happen. There was never really an attempt to help the 99%. And that’s because we don’t have money to buy the politicians in Washington like Citibank does:
Citigroup posted a 42 percent rise in second-quarter earnings on Monday, handily beating expectations, as the sprawling bank worked to cut costs and expand its international lending operations.
The bank, which has hitched much of its hopes for growth to emerging markets, reported a profit of $4.18 billion, or $1.34 a share, compared with $2.94 billion, or $1 a share, in the period a year earlier. Citigroup, the nation’s third-largest bank by assets, reported revenue of $20.5 billion, up 12 percent from the period a year earlier.
Watch as the Senator defends her proposal to the pro-crony capitalist CNBC panel. Ms. Warren is one of the very few members of Congress actually fighting for the people of this country. If you don’t believe that watch this video. She needs our support. Let’s fight with her as she fights for us.
Despite all their griping about the U.S.’s highest-in-the-developed-world 35% federal corporate income tax rate, big profitable U.S. companies paid just 12.6% of their reported worldwide profits in federal income taxes in 2010, a study released today by Congress’ Government Accountability Office shows. That low-sounding number is likely to fuel the debate over whether U.S. companies, after using all the tax breaks and ploys at their disposable, are really overtaxed. One point of comparison: last fall, Mitt Romney’s campaign produced a notarized letter from accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers stating that over the last two decades the Republican Presidential candidate had never paid personal income tax at below a 13.66% effective individual rate.
WHEN we made our annual foray into the executive pay gold mine in April, chief
executives’ earnings for 2012 showed what appeared to be muted growth on the year. The $14 million in median overall compensation received by the top 100 C.E.O.’s was just a 2.8 percent increase over 2011, the figures showed.
Well, what a difference a few months and a larger pool of C.E.O.’s make. According to an updated analysis, the top 200 chief executives at public companies with at least $1 billion in revenue actually got a big raise last year, over all. The research, conducted for Sunday Business by Equilar Inc., the executive compensation analysis firm, found that the median 2012 pay package came in at $15.1 million — a leap of 16 percent from 2011. .
So much for the idea that shareholders were finally getting through to corporate boards on the topic of reining in pay.
Just another example of how powerful the banks are. They can steal from the American people and never face jail time. But someone protesting against that theft is thrown in prison without the ability to defend themselves in a court of law:
Jeff Olson, the 40-year-old man who is being prosecuted for scrawling anti-megabank messages on sidewalks in water-soluble chalk last year now faces a 13-year jail sentence. A judge has barred his attorney from mentioning freedom of speech during trial.
According to the San Diego Reader, which reported on Tuesday that a judge had opted to prevent Olson’s attorney from “mentioning the First Amendment, free speech, free expression, public forum, expressive conduct, or political speech during the trial,” Olson must now stand trial for on 13 counts of vandalism.
In addition to possibly spending years in jail, Olson will also be held liable for fines of up to $13,000 over the anti-big-bank slogans that were left using washable children’s chalk on a sidewalk outside of three San Diego, California branches of Bank of America, the massive conglomerate that received $45 billion in interest-free loans from the US government in 2008-2009 in a bid to keep it solvent after bad bets went south.
Of course she does. Pritzker is part of the elite ruling class that runs this country. And where was the Left and the unions? They didn’t even put up a fight. It seems there is still the foolish belief that Obama is good guy simply because he is not a Republican. This despite the President’s 4+ years of spitting in the eye of his supporters:
Pritzker, whose family founded the Hyatt Hotel chain, had butted heads with Obama’s union supporters and initially understand her by income by $80 million in a disclosure form required for her nomination.
Republicans also raised questions about her use of off-shore tax havens–something that the Obama campaign blasted Republican nominee Mitt Romney for during last year’s campaign, and she faced scrutiny at a Senate confirmation hearing for her ties to a subprime mortgage lender that failed in 2001.
Despite the issues, Pritzker sailed through confirmation.
Pritzker raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Obama’s two presidential campaigns. She served as national finance chair of President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign and co-chair of his 2012 re-election bid. Her personal fortune is estimated at $1.85 billion, and she is listed among the 300 wealthiest Americans by Forbes magazine.