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Archive for February, 2016

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was a steadfast friend and ally of the rich and powerful, and that was reflected in many of the votes he made while on the court. Now that he’s gone, and with a massive fight between Republicans and Democrats on the next nominee likely to take a bit of time, Scalia’s loss is having profound effects.

The Minnesota Tribune reported Friday,

“Dow Chemical said Friday it will pay $835 million to settle a long-standing class action lawsuit, after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia decreased its chances of prevailing at the Supreme Court.”

That announcement shows how corporations are shifting their legal strategy following the loss of the court’s 5-4 conservative majority.

“I think most corporations facing class actions regarded Justice Scalia as a friend,” said Robert Peck, president of the Center for Constitutional Litigation in Washington. “He has been a thoroughly consistent vote on their side of the equation.”

Dow was found liable in 2013 by a Kansas jury of conspiring to fix prices for polyurethane, an industrial chemical used in everything from packaging to car interiors. The judgment dealt with alleged actions by Dow and several other companies between 2000 and 2003. Dow had petitioned the Supreme Court to reconsider the judgment, until Scalia died.

A company spokesman said Friday the court’s current lineup has “increased the likelihood for unfavorable outcomes for business involved in class action suits.”

Now that the Supreme Court has an even split between perceived liberals and perceived conservatives, any tie in the supreme court would automatically shift the decision to the previous lower court ruling against Dow. In other words, the decision against Dow in the lower court would stand, and this case could never again be brought to the supreme court. Dow was going to be a winner with Scalia, and without him, the company is a loser.

This is just one example of the wonderful legal acumen of Scalia. If a company ripped off employees or customers, killed them, maimed them, violated their legal rights, or stole from them, Scalia could always be counted on to vote for corporations, their CEOs, and their rich shareholders regardless of the evidence or the law. This was only natural, I suppose, since Scalia was often seen in the company of the rich and powerful, such as the Koch Brothers.

Click the following link for more on the story.

Dow Chemical Settles Case–Minnesota Star Tribune

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Sanders_meme_2

One of those older folks on Facebook, who calls himself Jimmy Rat, ridiculed Bernie Sanders supporters for wanting free college education on one of his posts. That guy got schooled.

Rat showed a photo of a military recruiting station, and called upon Sanders supporters to sign up and get their free education there. Then somebody pointed out that he wasn’t looking for a free education, but an affordable one, like Rat’s generation had. Then Jimmy Rat retorted with some ultra bull shit, and that triggered an interesting and well thought out response from the other guy, who only wants the same deal that Jimmy Rat and his generation had back in the day.

That guy buried Jimmy Rat with an avalanche of statistics and facts. He showed the annual tuition for Yale in 1970 was $2500, compared to $45,000 nowadays. He also showed the minimum wage in 1970 could purchase many more things than the minimum wage can today. There are a few things this person didn’t mention.

In 1970, 61 percent of US adults were located right there in the middle class. Nowadays, less than 50 percent of adults are in the middle class. In 1970, the 1 percent took home only 8 percent of the total annual income produced in the United States compared to 37 percent today. Those figures are intertwined with each other, because the rich have used the federal government to redistribute income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent. So those two figures are the primary reasons why Jimmy Rat’s generation had it so much better than today.

Then Jimmy’s generation made all the wrong choices, according to the respondent, and the result is the sole reason why US higher education costs so much more today than in 1970, why the social security trust fund will lose its surplus by 2041, why corruption is rampant in both major political parties, and so much more.

Check out the entire exchange on Facebook below.

 

Lazy bastards

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If President Obama was a serious Democratic Party president, and he wanted to wipe out Republican Party majorities in the US house and senate, it would be a simple thing to do.

Republican Party leaders, such as Wall Street Senator’s Mitch McConnell and Orrin Hatch, are desperate to get the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) passed through congress. The TPP is a massive scam to redistribute income and political power from the 99 to the 1 percent. It involves 11 nations around the Pacific Rim. The TPP will export hundreds of thousands, and perhaps millions upon millions (which is more likely), of US jobs to China and Vietnam (Click https://johnhively.wordpress.com/2016/02/12/the-trans-pacific-partnership-the-op-ed-the-liberal-and-conservative-corporate-media-doesnt-want-you-to-see/. The difference between the old US higher wages and the new lower wages over there will go straight into the pockets of the rich via higher corporate earnings, share prices and dividends. The stock markets will then shoot up, like what occurred under the same income redistribution scam called NAFTA.

Obama should have Democratic Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden introduce the TPP out of committee and into the senate for debate. Wyden is a long time supporter of redistributing income, wealth and political power from the 99 to the 1 percent. That’s why I call him Wall Street Ronnie. Republicans will try to block the TPP in committee for a simple reason.

This is an election year and there are more Republican seats up for grabs in the senate than there are Democrats. Voting yes for the TPP before the elections in November will be a deathblow to any candidate who votes yes, except for Wyden, who has a carefully and fraudulently cultivated reputation for caring about the aged, the poor, and the middle class, while carefully voting to redistribute their income to the 1 percent time and time again.

Obama, however, wants the TPP badly, and so most likely will wait with his Republican Wall Street allies until after the November elections to bring the TPP out of committee.

On the other hand, the economic winds already began shifting toward recession late last summer. Those winds will become more readily apparent by November to the great mass of US citizens. The president, Wyden and the Republican leadership will try to ram the TPP through congress then, but this international income and political power redistribution scam will come under intense opposition the like of which has not been seen for decades.

The result should be the death of the TPP, but only if pressure is continued until the bitter end, because most Republicans and Democrats in the US house and senate work for the 1 percent, and against the interests of the 99 percent. Anything to keep those corporate share prices rising, and those campaign contributions, lobbying jobs, vacations and other perks coming.

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Scientists employed by Exxon Mobile had the data showing climate change was occurring back in the 1970s. They also came to the conclusion that carbon dioxide emissions were the cause of it. Recently, the internal documents were leaked to the public.

This blog is about income redistribution, political power and corruption. Climate change isn’t a thing of interest for this blog, but corporate corruption is. This conspiracy is complete corruption.

According to the internal Exxon memo, Exxon executives decided to follow the path of Big Tobacco, which denied the link between tobacco and a variety of ailments, such as lung cancer, despite their own studies demonstrating these links. The GMO corporations are also following this format of lies when it comes to their products.

So Exxon executives began elevating offshore drilling platforms more than thirty years ago to prepare for rising sea levels while following a sustained public relations campaign to deny the relationship between their products and climate change.

“Here’s what senior company scientist James Black told Exxon’s management committee in 1977: “In the first place, there is general scientific agreement that the most likely manner in which mankind is influencing the global climate is through carbon dioxide release from the burning of fossil fuels.” To determine if this was so, the company outfitted an oil tanker with carbon dioxide sensors to measure concentrations of the gas over the ocean and then funded elaborate computer models to help predict what temperatures would do in the future.

The results of all that work were unequivocal. By 1982, in an internal “corporate primer,” Exxon’s leaders were told that, despite lingering unknowns, dealing with climate change “would require major reductions in fossil fuel combustion.” Unless that happened, the primer said, citing independent experts, “there are some potentially catastrophic events that must be considered…. Once the effects are measurable, they might not be reversible.” But that document, “given wide circulation” within Exxon, was also stamped “Not to be distributed externally.”

So here’s what happened. Exxon used its knowledge of climate change to plan its own future. The company, for instance, leased large tracts of the Arctic for oil exploration, territory where, as a company scientist pointed out in 1990, “potential global warming can only help lower exploration and development costs.” Not only that but, “from the North Sea to the Canadian Arctic,” Exxon and its affiliates set about “raising the decks of offshore platforms, protecting pipelines from increasing coastal erosion and designing helipads, pipelines and roads in a warming and buckling Arctic.” In other words, the company started climate-proofing its facilities to head off a future its own scientists knew was inevitable.”

Last fall, a Yale study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that money from the Koch Brothers and Exxon played a key roll in polarizing the climate debate within this nation, even though Exxon’s own science showed the climate change was on the rise due to CO2 emissions.

The company’s sins—of omission and commission—may even turn out to be criminal. New York Attorney General Eric Scneiderman has launched a criminal investigation into this matter. This may account for why Exxon’s current CEO, Ray Tillerson, no longer claims the world is cooling, and that CO2 emissions “are having an impact” on global warming.

The Washington Post reported two months ago that ExxonMobil has a far saner view of global warming than the national Republican party.

Fred Hiatt, the paper’s centrist editorial page editor, drops this bombshell:

With no government action, Exxon experts told us during a visit to The Post last week, average temperatures are likely to rise by a catastrophic (my word, not theirs) 5 degrees Celsius, with rises of 6, 7 or even more quite possible.

Exxon Mobile website states the issue clearly;

“The risk of climate change is clear and the risk warrants action. Increasing carbon emissions in the atmosphere are having a warming effect. There is a broad scientific and policy consensus that action must be taken to further quantify and assess the risks.”

For more on this, check out the following link.

Ecowatch Reporting

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Last week, seven US marshals, in full combat gear, arrested Paul Acre at his home in Houston Texas over a 29-year-old unpaid $1500 student loan. Reports are coming in that other people have been arrested for the same thing, as well.

The Obama administration clearly has its priorities straight. Arrest student loan defaulters, who clearly cannot make significant campaign contributions, take them to the judge, and force them into a legally binding repayment contracts. That’s what happened to Acre.

On the other hand, the Obama justice department has been careful not to investigate or charge with any crime a single Wall Street banker, or any of their underlings. You know those people even if you don’t know their names. These are the folks at Citigroup, JP Morgan/Chase, Goldman Sachs, a variety of hedge funds, and others who can and do make significant campaign contributions. They get the cash to do so through illegal activities, such as laundering Mexican drug cartel drug money, committing fraud, ripping off billions from consumers and investors, tanking the economy with illegal actions, and corrupting the US government completely.

Wall Street investment corporations have been caught doing all of this illegal stuff, and more, and have been fined by the US government, but not a single person has been charged with a crime, or arrested.

We clearly have a duel system of justice; one for the rich and powerful, and one for the rest of us.

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The H1B Visa: Killing US Jobs: the case of Disneyland

23 IT workers were laid off at Disneyland Florida, and replaced with foreign workers. The 23 are now suing Disneyland.

The former employees have filed complaints with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging that they are victims of national origin discrimination. The EEOC will investigate, and can bring its own lawsuit, or issue a right-to-sue letter.

Sara Blackwell, the Florida attorney representing the former Disney workers, appeared on Sirius XM’s Breitbart News Daily and discussed the problem of H-1B visas.

“Right now all of the technology jobs, 90 percent of them are being filtered to H-1B visa holders here and then off-shoring to other countries” said Blackwell.”Knowledge transfer is what we’re doing.”

Blackwell also argued that H-1b visas are being abused:

The purpose of H-1B is if there is no qualified American then the H-1B person can come over and fill that position because we need them. Well, there are qualified Americans because they’re being fired, but guess what, if this keeps going there aren’t going to be any qualified Americans because we’re training all our knowledge — sending it overseas and we’re training all the H1B workers here and we’re not giving Americans the opportunity to make a decent wage or have a job so America has no future in technology, at this point.

Leo Perrero, one of the former Disney workers, told Breitbart News Daily how he was laid off even after receiving a great performance review.

“We thought we were being called into a last minute meeting for pats on the back and bonuses but it turned out to be the complete opposite. We were called into a room of about two dozen people to be told we had to train our foreign replacements and if we didn’t, we wouldn’t get a bonus.”this case, even as the Obama administration and some congressional Republicans are trying to expand the H-1B program. They want to reduce worker wages and increase corporate profits by doing so even though there is no shortage of high skill tech workers in the United States. There’s not even a shortage of low skill workers.

Various studies show that three out of four US IT workers are unemployed in their fields, and wages have remained stagnant in the IT field for 26 years. Sound familiar?

According to USA Today, “If a shortage (of tech workers) did exist, wages would be rising as companies tried to attract scarce workers. Instead, legislation that expanded visas for IT personnel during the 1990s has kept average wages flat over the past 16 years. Indeed, guest workers have become the predominant source of new hires in these fields.”

The H1B visa is being used to keep Americans unemployed, wages down, and corporate profits up. In other words, H-1B is an income redistribution scam. Money is redistributed from the 99 to the 1 percent. Apparently, US economic policy is simple. It’s used to only benefit the 1 percent at the expense of the 99 percent.

Wall Street profits handsomely from these visas. Higher profits mean more stock transactions, corporate bond issues, more highly profitable IPOs. Tech corporations see their stock prices soar, due to their artificially higher profits caused by their government induced artificially lower labor costs.

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Honest Gil Fulbright For President: Eight Candidates Rolled Up Into One

With the exception of Donald Trump and US Senator Bernie Sanders, all of the presidential candidates pretty much are backed by the same corporations, whether it’s big oil, or Wall Street. That’s why they all all kind of sound the same. There is virtually no difference in what they support between Hillary and Jeb, although the Bush man did oppose border fences. With exception of the deep pockets of Trump, and the massive grassroots network being developed by Sanders, the other candidates are toadies to big business, of one kind or another. This suggests that Trump and Sanders are the only two candidates with any independence from the big money boys. Stunningly, both Sanders and Trump support raising taxes on the rich, and for Trump, that means raising his own taxes. Hillary and Jeb are part of presidential dynasties and are worth millions. Bernie, by comparison, is a pauper whose total net work is close to the average citizen. Trump’s billions allow him to say anything to anybody since he is the principal financier of his campaign. Everybody else needs to be careful about who they offend.

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