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Posts Tagged ‘corruption’

How things have changed! Back in the 1960’s, Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring warned about the human health dangers caused by insecticides. Industrial pollution ensured that US lakes and rivers caught fire. In 1970, conservative Republican US President Richard Nixon signed the legislation creating the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA’s job was to clean up the pollution. The result is that much of that US industrial pollution has been exported to China, India and elsewhere.

US business leaders have long chafed under the chains of the EPA. The more pollution these folks are allowed to create, the more profits their corporations earn, the higher corporate share and bond prices rise. So big business has conspired to takeover the EPA, so as to bend the rules to their favor.

Scott Pruitt, a loyal servant of the profit needs of big oil now heads the EPA. President Franklin Roosevelt once said that businessmen had made certain that government had become an appendage of their profit making before he took office. Pruitt is now in position to ensure the EPA does not do its job in the USA. So expect human health considerations to be shunt aside in favor of the profit desires of big oil and Koch Industries, because as Attorney General of Oklahoma, that is precisely how he defined his job, as you can see from the video above.

Most of the politicians governing the US today are among the most corrupt in world history, and that includes US corporate apparatchiks, such as Mitch McConnell and Ron Wyden.

Think about this. Nixon is considered to have been one of the most corrupt president’s in US history. He was a man who’s crimes were considered so great that he was forced to resign from his office. Yet he ignored the advice and bribes of his corporate sponsors to create the EPA. And the crimes he committed pale in comparison to President Bush lying us into war, or to embroil us in the Iran-Contra scandal.

Something has gone terribly wrong with the USA since Nixon. Crimes are committed by people in high office, and there is no concern for punishment, because the criminals are in charge of the white house, the senate, the US house of representatives, and the US supreme court. There’s no one to answer to for ones crimes in government nowadays. The US government is rotten through the core with corruption.

Yet, there is an economic hurricane just around the corner. When that hits, we’ll be able to clean house, like FDR did in 1933. Get ready.

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As President-elect Donald Trump takes office today, January 20, 2017. the Pew Research Center reports “the public has starkly different expectations about which groups in society will gain influence – and those that will lose influence – under his administration.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans (64%) say wealthy people will gain influence in Washington when Trump takes office. Just 8% say they will lose influence, while 27% expect the wealthy will not be affected.”

I agree with the 27 percent who say the wealthy will not be affected. The reason is simple. The rich already control both major political parties, and through them, the rich control the federal government, virtually all state governments, and most big city governments, as well as a lot of local governments.

The wealthy are not going to improve upon that score a whole lot under Trump. Control of the legislative process has been the primary means by which the 1 percent has methodically increased its share of wealth and income of the United States year after year for the last thirty-five years.

That’s why the 64 percent who say wealthy people will gain influence are wrong inasmuch as wealthy people have so much power they can’t possibly gain anymore.

The difference is that those rich folks who use the Democratic Party as a vehicle to control the mechanisms of government and to profit via those mechanisms, have lost influence. Think Warren Buffett, George Soros, Bill Gates and other Democratic Party billionaires. Their rivals who control the Republican Party will gain influence at their expense.

Those Republican billionaires include Sheldon Adelson, Donald Trump, Charles and David Koch, hedge fund managerz Paul Singer and Robert Mercer, and a lot of other Wall Street investors.

Together, the billionaire Democrats and billionaire Republicans form a kind of good old boy network with some rivalries among them. They also control the media in such a way as to ensure we don’t see this, although it’s pretty obvious.

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20150224_problemThe financial collapse of 2008 was the worst recession since the Great Depression. Give President Obama and his administration credit for saving the economy from the depredations of Wall Street despite massive Republic resistance to resuscitating it, which they did solely for political gain. However, this historically weak recovery masks a startling reality.

Only one perpetrator of Wall Street crimes was ever brought to justice, and he wasn’t a big figure in the massive corruption going on. In March 2009, Obama met with Wall Street leaders and said, “I stand between you and the pitchforks. I am on your side and I will protect you.”

Only one banker from that era was prosecuted. That was Bernie Madoff, and the only reason he was carted off to prison was because he stole from rich people. And not one other Wall Street criminal executive went to jail after stealing billions via fraud, money laundering of Mexican drug cartel profits, and numerous other crimes. Many became his financial advisers, which meant Obama pursued policies to redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent for eight long years.

At all times, Obama refused to bite the hand that funded his past, present and future, as well as funding much of the Republican and Democratic Parties. In other words, Obama was largely, if not completely, in the back pocket of Wall Street as were President Bill Clinton, both President’s Bush, Ronald Reagan, Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, Wall Street Senator’s Ron Wyden, Mitch McConnell and Orrin Hatch.

Obama operated in a cesspool corruption. He was part of the problem, not the solution.

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edward-snowden

Under President Obama, your civil liberties were redistributed to the 1 percent via your tax dollars.

Edward Snowden earned $200,000 a year working for a corporation called Booz Allen Hamilt (BAH). BAH is a publicly traded corporation that derives 99 percent of its income from US government contracts, and its stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

The primary purpose of BAH is to illegally spy on US citizens on behalf of the United States government. The federal government contracts with dozens of corporations to illegally spy on US citizens within the United States, and without warrants, as required by the US Constitution. This is a very profitable business.

In early June 2013, Snowden released thousands of government documents showing the existence of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) illegal domestic spying program. He feared for his life and fled the country.

Snowden was not the first to reveal classified information. The New York Times reported the existence of this program in 2005. Shortly afterwards, two time Pulitzer prize winner New York Times reporter James Risen released his book State of War revealing the NSA’s illegal program. The Bush administration made threats against the Times and Risen, but did nothing.

As a true patriot, Risen refused to divulge the sources for his information even under threats of jail by the Obama administration.

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And this all goes to the main point. The NSA still continues to spy on US citizens in violation of the US constitution, even going to the point of burglarizing the homes of US citizens without even so much as a warrant. This corruption is all about corporate profits at taxpayer dollars and civil liberties.

The reason Obama continues to steal our civil liberties is simple. It’s all about money, profits, campaign contribution, political corruption and corporate share prices.

According to a report by The Washington Post, BAH’s Chairman, Ralph W. Shrader, was given $3.1 million in compensation during the fiscal year of 2012. The Post reported that the company has 24,500 employees, and a market cap of $2.5 billion. They reported $5.8 billion in revenue for 2013, of which $219 million were profits. And profits have been rising considerably in recent years. Net operating income was $200 million in 2010, off of $5.1 billion in revenue. Three years later revenue had grown to $5.8 billion, while operating income had doubled to $446 million.

In other words, while their business with the government remained steady, earnings increased considerably.

According to the BAH 10-K filing, “we have strong and longstanding relationships with a diverse group of clients at all levels of the U.S. government. During fiscal 2013, we derived 99% of our revenue from services under more than 5,700 contracts and task orders. The single largest entity that we served in fiscal 2013 was the Army, which represented approximately 16% of our revenue in that period. We derived 91% of our revenue in the fiscal 2013 from engagements for which we acted as the prime contractor.”

Of that revenue, a further 23%, or $1.3 billion, came from U.S. Intelligence agencies.

At the time Snowden made his revelations of corruption, BAH’s share price stood at $17.38 a share. The price has steadily risen until it jumped over $38 a share recently. Chasing Snowden out of the country and using a steady propaganda campaign of painting him as a traitor to the US government, while ignoring that he was defending the US constitution, helped to steady the BAH share price.

Had the US government decided to no longer violate the US constitution based on Snowden’s revelations, the BAH share price, and the shares of all those other corporations that contract with the US government to illegally spy on US citizens, would’ve become valueless.

That was something Obama’s Wall Street masters could not tolerate. So he clamped down on all forms of dissent and whistle blowers within the US government. That is one of his chief achievements as US president.

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The Epipen delivers a dose of epinephrine, otherwise known as adrenaline, to treat extreme allergic reactions. It’s been around for more than a century. And the pen that delivers the medication has been around since the 1970s, when it was first developed by the US military with taxpayer dollars.

Epinephrine was invented in Japan. This jump-started other areas of emergency medication for heart and lung problems. The hormone is now used in hospitals around the world, and is included on the WHO’s list of essential medicine. It only costs a few dollars for a vial.

Mylan, which is the corporation with the legal right to the taxpayer funded Epipen, recently relocated outside the United States to avoid paying taxes.

Proxy filings show that from 2007 to 2015, Mylan CEO Heather Bresch’s total compensation went from $2,453,456 to $18,931,068, a 671 percent increase. During the same period, the company raised EpiPen prices, with the average wholesale price going from $56.64 to $317.82, a 461 percent increase, according to data provided by Connecture.

Mylan was able to rip off the public because it bought legislation through corrupt politicians, and let’s face it, the US government from the White House to almost every US senator and almost every US member of the House of Representatives have been bought and packaged by big business so as to increase their profits at the expense of the 99 percent.

According to NBC News, “After Mylan acquired EpiPen the company also amped up its lobbying efforts. In 2008, its reported spending on lobbying went from $270,000 to $1.2 million, according to opensecrets.org.

Legislation that enhanced its bottom line followed, with the FDA changing its recommendations in 2010 that two EpiPens be sold in a package instead of one and that they be prescribed for at-risk patients, not just those with confirmed allergies. And in 2013 the government passed a law to give block grants to states that required they be stocked in public schools.

In 2007 the company bought the rights to EpiPen, a device used to provide emergency epinephrine to stop a potentially fatal allergic reaction and began raising its price. In 2008 and 2009, Mylan raised the price by 5 percent. At the end of 2009 it tried out a 19 percent hike. The years 2010-2013 saw a succession of 10 percent price hikes.

The stock price more than tripled, going from $13.29 in 2007 to a high of $47.59 in 2016.”

In other words, the US government aided and abetted a monopoly so that it could redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent. Furthermore, as a complete monopoly, the US government allowed Mylan to rip off the needy in violation of the numerous US laws, which include the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.

That’s how corrupt your government is.

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As this coming Great Depression nears (See The Coming Recession–JohnHively.Wordpress.cm, the corporate press will want you to believe that deflation (a decrease in overall prices) is bad. Sometimes, and for some people, it will be. Deflation will deflate the current stock market bubble, and the current housing bubble. A lot of rich people are heavily invested in these two sectors. The rich folks are mainly invested in mortgage backed securities (bonds backed by outstanding mortgages). The more the big banks illegally manipulate housing prices upward, the more bonds can be sold to the rich. See The Big Banks Are Illegally Manipulating the House Prices Upward–JohnHively.Wordpress.com

By some estimates, an 8 percent decline in the value of houses sends the values of tens of trillions of dollars of mortgage backed securities plummeting to zero. That’s a bad thing for the rich, but a good thing for everybody else.

That’s tens of trillions of dollars the rich won’t have to corrupt your federal, state and local governments with. That’s tens of trillions of dollars the affluent won’t have to corrupt both major political parties. And when the values of stocks drop with deflation, for the same reason, that’s good too, at least for 99 percent of us.

Our spending power increases when the price of goods and services drop, especially if those things are made outside of the United States, which is where most US corporations manufacture their stuff.

Yes, there are some down sides to deflation for the rest of us. More corporations operating in the US are likely to lay off people. On the other hand, small business is the fastest growing sector for employment in the US, and these businesses are less likely to be impacted by deflation.

Just take a look at the recent deflation in the prices of oil and gasoline. That spurred the profits of the Airlines upward. That helped a lot of travelers of the 99 percent, but it hurt rich shareholders in the oil and gasoline industries. It also helped the rich shareholders in the airline industry.

Good things and bad things can occur with deflation. Most of the bad things will happen to the rich, especially to those who corrupt government, and use that corruption to rob from the 99 percent. So deflation can’t be all bad.

Check out the link below for more information.

World faces deflation shock as China devalues yuan at accelerating pace–Daily Telegraph

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Is Verizon Communications stealing from its customers? And just what is Verizon anyway?

Verizon is a publicly traded limited liability corporation. As such, it is a business idea given legal structure through the creation of law in a representative democracy. The government that brought this idea to legal fruition was supposed to represent all of the people, not just the rich ones.

A publicly traded corporation is nothing more than an idea to allow investors to unionize without having to produce anything with their labor or their ingenuity, which if you look at some of the writings of original capitalist economic thinkers, like Adam Smith and John Locke, was and should be the cornerstone of all economic activity in the creation of wealth.

The problem is that publicly traded corporations allow for the organizing of money, rather than forcing that money to compete in smaller business units, as idealized by Smith and Locke. Organized money on the scale of what’s going on today is the primary problem with the economy and government, and both have been corrupted by the influence of organized money.

As such, organized labor is at a serious disadvantage in competition in the political markets with organized money because labor doesn’t have the financial muscle that rich investors possess to compete. Not only that, money is always much more potent in its organized form than is organized labor, especially in the political markets.

“Government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob,” President Franklin Roosevelt said 80 years ago. At that time, “organized mob” meant “organized crime.” That’s what we’ve got today, effectively “organized mob” given legal cover as federal officials look the other way at corporate lawbreakers.

Verizon is organized money in that its investors don’t need to compete with one another.

That’s one of the reasons Verizon earned $4.31 billion dollars from its customers during the first quarter of 2016. It also earned $19 billion in profits for all of 2015. How can a corporation in a competitive environment earn so much money? Oh wait! Verizon operates pretty much as a monopoly, as well as being an organized mob.

In other words, Verizon’s products are seriously overpriced by any real market standards. The price of its products, like products throughout most of the economy and the political markets (yes politicians are products with price tags), is rigged against the 99 percent.

This suggests that the strike by 39,000 Verizon and Verizon Wireless workers could be made a little stronger and perhaps more effective.

The strike continues into its third week, and efforts are undertaken to broaden picketing at Verizon Wireless stores across the country. Workers at seven Wireless stores in Brooklyn, New York, and Everett, Massachusetts, are on strike, along with wireline workers from Massachusetts to Virginia.

The Communication Workers are working with Jobs with Justice to get local unions and community groups across the country to “Adopt-a-Store”—meaning they would agree to picket and leaflet outside Verizon Wireless corporate stores at least twice a week for two to three hours.

But the strikers could begin targeting Verizon customers, and perhaps leaflet stores showing how customers are being overpriced, in addition to picketing stores. Why can’t a monopoly getting $19 billion in profits a year lower its prices? If Verizon were in a competitive industry it would lower its prices because it would be forced to.

If anything, Verizon management should be willing to bend to union demands, if only because the money is there, and the money is there because Verizon’s competition doesn’t really exist all that much. In other words, giving a little back to the community would be in the interests of Verizon, and the communities in which it operates, rather than give all that unearned income to rich investors via rising share prices and surging dividends, none of which is funneled back into the communities from which they are effectively stolen through a duel monopolistic fraud.

Otherwise, what’s the purpose of allowing this legal fiction to exist if it can’t give back to the community? Or if it doesn’t benefit the community in which it operates, but is always taking out income, thereby financially weakening the community? That doesn’t make any economic sense.

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