Showing posts with label Corporate Power. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Corporate Power. Show all posts

Thursday, April 26, 2012

CISPA & C-30: Joined at the hip . . . .

From OpenMedia.ca today:



And from BGR today:


Thousands rally against CISPA cybersecurity bill

By: Dan Graziano | Apr 26th, 2012
The controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which is supported by more than 100 members of the House of Representatives, is scheduled to be discussed in Congress on Friday, where it will be the first bill to go to a vote since the collapse of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in January. The bill looks to give businesses and the federal government legal protection to share cyber threats with one another in an effort to prevent online attacks. Internet privacy and neutrality advocates, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, feel the bill does not contain enough limits on how and when the government may monitor private information . . . .


Stay informed and stay involved . . . .

Monday, November 07, 2011

Have a koch and a $mile ? ? ? ?

The right-wing-billionaire-zealot brother$ koch are about to fully engage their database war on the rest of the civilized world.

Feature article in today's GuardianUK reveals the details:

The secretive oil billionaires the Koch brothers are close to launching a nationwide database connecting millions of Americans who share their anti-government and libertarian views, a move that will further enhance the tycoons' political influence and that could prove significant in next year's presidential election.
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The database will bring together information from a plethora of right-wing groups, tea party organisations and conservative-leaning thinktanks. Each one has valuable data on their membership – including personal email addresses and phone numbers, as well as more general information useful to political campaign strategists such as occupation, income bracket and so on.
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At their most recent billionaires' gathering in Vail, Colorado in June, Charles Koch described next year's presidential contest as "the mother of all wars". A tape of his private speech obtained by Mother Jones said the fight for the White House would be a battle "for the life or death of this country".
Exhorting the 300 guests in attendance to open their sizeable wallets and donate to the Koch election coffers, he went on: "It isn't just your money we need. We need you bringing in new partners, new people. We can't do it alone. We have to multiply ourselves."

"We have to multiply ourselves."

Not unlike rats in a garbage dump . . . .


(Alison has more on how everything really does go better with koch here.) 


 

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

99% Action from Home . . . .

Something we all can do from home to annoy the 1%:



H/T BTO

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Coming to Canada Soon ? ? ? ? Part II . . . .

Thanks to an email "heads up" from good friend Joylene, the following CBC "The Current" broadcast was brought to my attention.

Chris Hedges was interviewed on the November 2nd show and it blew me away. Hedges gives - in a 26-minute interview - the cause, effect and chilling prediction of the "Death of the Liberal Class" - the title of his new book.

With history on the side of what occurs in the Excited States soon creeps across the 49th parallel, the broadcast and Hedges' book are well worth paying attention by Canadians.

Forewarned is forearmed?

Let's hope so . . . .

H/T Joylene


Thursday, September 02, 2010

Keep Your 'Net Neutral . . . .

Corporate USA is doing their damnedest to mess with your Internet for the benefit of their profit structure. You now have another chance to express your displeasure at this prospect.

Via PC World today:

September 02, 2010 6:18 AM

FCC Takes Net Neutrality to Court of Public Opinion (Again)


By Tony Bradley, PC World


The FCC has opened the next chapter in the debate over net neutrality with a
new Notice of Inquiry seeking public comments and feedback on specific aspects of the proposed rules. Net neutrality advocates, however, are becoming increasingly frustrated with the FCC dragging its feet rather than implementing change.

The new FCC inquiry is in pursuit of specific feedback to clarify opinion on a couple of "under-developed issues" that came up during the negotiations with the ISPs and broadband industry, and as a result of the
controversial Google-Verizon proposal. Specifically, the FCC wants input to get consensus on the concept of "specialized services" and application of net neutrality to wireless broadband service.

The electronic filing process is fairly simple - see page 6 of
this PDF.

Here's the link for the e-file. (International comments are accepted.)

Don't let the corporate behemoths control your access to information based on their $hareholder'$ pur$uit of the almighty dollar . . . .


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Don't Worry . . . .

about "turrerists" from the "axis of evil" nations, Gang.

We can accomplish our own undoing.


All in the name of corporate profits.

Check out pale's and Alison's commentary on the topic.

Once again: Corporatists - 1, The Public - 0 . . . .

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Have a Coke and a "What" ? ? ? ?


The Lady Alison posted a few days back about Coca Cola bottlers in Columbia and a documentary on same.

As luck would have it, my friend PC and her Solidarity Notes Choir had a live performance on the same topic at the Granville SkyTrain Station on Sunday. Enjoy, and think about that the next time you enjoy a beverage from an "Owe-lympic" sponsor:


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hollow "Victory," Mr. President . . . .

Check out Matt Taibbi and Robert Kuttner on Bill Moyers Journal Friday night.

They explain the clusterf_ck in Washington for what it is: a sell-out to Corporate America. What a surprise, eh?

It's about 30 minutes, but well worth it. The dems and the "o-team" need to pay attention. S'pecially the comments regarding rahm.


I knew that guy was gonna be trouble, and guess what ? ? ? ?


Sunday, October 25, 2009

"Hope and Change." Right . . . .

Stuff like this is really pissing me off.

From The Huffington Post yesterday:

Leaderless: Senate Pushes For Public Option Without Obama's Support
HuffPost | 10-24-09

President Barack Obama is actively discouraging Senate Democrats in their effort to include a public insurance option with a state opt-out clause as part of health care reform. In its place, say multiple Democratic sources, Obama has indicated a preference for an alternative policy, favored by the insurance industry, which would see a public plan "triggered" into effect in the future by a failure of the industry to meet certain benchmarks.

The administration retreat runs counter to the letter and the spirit of Obama's presidential campaign. The man who ran on the "Audacity of Hope" has now taken a more conservative stand than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), leaving progressives with a mix of confusion and outrage. Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill have battled conservatives in their own party in an effort to get the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster. Now tantalizingly close, they are calling for Obama to step up.

_______________



On Thursday evening, after taking the temperature of his caucus, Reid told Obama at a White House meeting that he was pushing a national public option with an opt-out provision. Obama, several sources briefed on the exchange, reacted coolly.

"He certainly didn't embrace it and he seemed to indicate a preference for continuing to work on a strategy that involved Senator Snowe and a trigger," said one aide briefed on the meeting. Several other sources, along with independent media reports, confirmed the exchange.

_______________


It is not philosophical, one White House aide explained, but is a matter of political practicality. If the votes were there to pass a robust public option through the Senate, the president would be leading the charge, the aide said. But after six months of concern that it would be filibustered, the bet among Obama's aides is that Reid is now simply being too optimistic in his whip count. The trigger proposal, said Democratic aides, has long been associated with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

_______________


Advocates of a public option largely consider a "trigger" the equivalent of no public option at all . . . . "The current state of our health system should be trigger enough for anyone who's paying attention," said a congressional aide in the middle of the health care battle. "The American people pulled the 'trigger' in November."


If Obama is going to renege on promises he made in his campaign, what exactly is the "change" he advocated? Change of party, yes, but no substantial change of policies as of yet.

He's the president, fer krissakes! Should he not be the one making the decisions and not his chief of staff?!? Listening to rahm emanuel and "Queen Olympia" is not what the USian voters wanted when they elected the man president. A strong public option in health care legislation should be the minimum he demands his party's Congress do. It's the least he can do since he took the only real reform of Single Payer off the table as soon as he got the office.

If you still vote in the US you might want to contact the White House with your thoughts. Apparently, people in the administration are becoming as much or more a barrier to reform than is Congress. You can email them here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

It may be time to change the slogan from "Hope and Change" to "Despair and M.O.T.S.*" . . . .

* More of the Same

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Well, That's Depressing . . . .


Reuters has this depressing bit of news following Obama's health care speech last night:

Wall Street sees few surprises in Obama speech
Thu Sep 10, 2009
| By Lewis Krauskopf and Susan Heavey

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Shares of U.S. health insurers climbed on Thursday after analysts saw no "game changers" from President Barack Obama's highly anticipated speech on health reform.

Following the speech, analysts predicted any changes to the system would be moderate, with Obama backing many initiatives put forth earlier this week by a leading Senate committee. The possibility a threatening public health plan would be enacted also now seemed doubtful, analysts said.


"There wasn't anything said that is drastically changing the outlook as to what might come out of Congress," said Steve Shubitz, an analyst with Edward Jones.


_______________



Shares of UnitedHealth Group (UNH.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and WellPoint Inc (WLP.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the two largest health insurers, rose about 1 percent and 2 percent, respectively. Aetna Inc (AET.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) rose more than 2 percent and Cigna Corp (CI.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) jumped more than 4 percent.

Obama "demonized insurers several times but didn't add anything new to the debate," Wells Fargo analyst Matt Perry said in a research note. "Overall we view the speech as neutral to insurers."


_______________



Concern remains over the possibility of a public insurance option and how alternatives that could be less threatening, such as non-profit cooperatives, would operate. But there is a growing sense that the government's role may not be as big as once feared.


Investors "are probably most concerned about how strong a government-run option to compete with commercial health insurers might be in a final bill, and ... Obama signaled yet again that he recognizes there's going to have to be compromise," said Paul Heldman, a senior healthcare policy analyst at Potomac Research Group in Washington.


Ana Gupte, a Sanford Bernstein analyst, said in a research note she was "even more confident after the Obama speech that the legislative outcomes will be moderate with no threat of a Medicare-like public plan."


So after all the tough talk to repuglicans, reassurances to "grandma," and clarifications to the USian public, it now appears Wall Street has weighed in. Since there are quite a few administration officials with Wall Street connections, this can't be good.

Say it ain't so, Barack . . . .


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Money for Vote$ . . . .




The answer to the question asked at the end:

"Whoever contribute$ the mo$t $$$ to my re-election campaign!"

Silly voter. What was he thinking ? ? ? ?


Monday, August 17, 2009

The "Three C's" . . . .

Once again, the group over at The Progressive Economics Forum has a great post.

This one references the historical profiteering from US-inspired coups overseas. Why are we not overly surprised?


A tidbit:


It turns out that the stock of several companies rose sharply after secret meetings in which high government officials decided to give the green light to coup plans. For example, United Fruit Company’s stock rose when plans were made for the 1954 coup in Guatemala that ousted the regime that intended to nationalize its extensive banana –producing lands.


Check out the whole post and it's related New Yorker post.

Good stuff . . . .


Friday, July 31, 2009

Oy Vey . . . .

A trip south of the 49th to the United States of Expensive Health Care was required due to some still-retained properties in Florida.

While here, between accomplishing some outside chores in the 90+F (32+C) heat and matching humidity, I dash in to the air-conditioned comfort of the house for a break periodically. I flip the TV on to check on the local news, weather, etc. Typically, the ads on TV here are mainly promoting the wonder drug du jour to fix your restless leg, fungus-infected toe nail or limp penis. To my surprise (?) the past couple of days the local television station has been running nearly non-stop advertisements for the "Gun and Knife Show" that is to be held this weekend. Please note how they cater to the "ladies."

Can I go home to Vancouver now, please ? ? ? ?


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Taibbi on Goldman & Government . . . .


Upon the release of the Matt Taibbi article on Goldman Sachs in "Rolling Stone" I devoured every word of it. Guess I must have been asleep at the switch when this video of Matt discussing the article was released.

At any rate, here goes: (There are five parts, but the whole video totals less than 11 minutes. Check the bottom of the screen as each video stops to find the next in the series.)






Nice to know there are still some real journalists out there . . . .


Monday, July 27, 2009

Money, Military and Madness . . . .


Currently I'm reading and just about to finish
The Sorrows of EMPIRE – Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic by Chalmers Johnson.

It's a great book with a look at US militarism and global monetary manipulation and their results both at home and abroad. The author's explanation and history of the Pentagon's influence on US government policies is eye-opening for the those not familiar in the ways of Washington. Written in 2004, some of his references are uncanny in their relevance today.

Some excerpts follow as a teaser for you:


After the 1992 election, Cheney left the Defense Department, and between 1995 and 2000 he was the chief executive officer of Halliburton. Under his leadership, Brown & Root took in $2.3 billion in government contracts, almost double the $1.2 billion it earned from the government in the five years before Cheney arrived. Halliburton rebuilt Saddam Hussein's war-damaged oil fields for some $23.8 million, even though Cheney, secretary of defense during the first Gulf War, had been instrumental in destroying them. By 1999, Halliburton had become the biggest nonunion employer in the United States, although Wal-Mart soon replaced it. Cheney also appointed Dave Gibben, his chief of staff when he was at the Pentagon, as one of Halliburton's leading lobbyists. In 2001, Cheney returned to Washington as vice president, and Brown & Root continued to build, maintain, and protect bases from Central Asia to the Persian Gulf.

During Cheney's term as Halliburton's CEO, the company advanced from seventy-third to eighteenth on the Pentagon's list of top contractors. Its number of subsidiaries located in offshore tax havens also increased from nine to forty-four. As a result, Halliburton went from paying $302 million in company taxes in 1998 to getting an $85 million tax refund in 1999.

_______________

In other words, feed at the taxpayer's trough, but never replenish it. Perish the thought, that would be un-American! “Profit=Good, Taxes=Bad” . . . .

_______________


Dick Cheney, Bush Senior's secretary of defense and Bush Junior's vice president, helped broker the deal, while out of office, between Chevron and Kazakhstan as a member of Kazakhstan's Oil Advisory Board. James A. Baker III, former secretary of state, mastermind of the scheme to get the Supreme Court to appoint bush Junior president in 2001, and senior partner of the Houston and Washington law firm of Baker Botts, had a hand in the negotiations. Baker's firm maintains an office in Baku staffed by five attorneys. He is a member of the U.S.-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce's advisory council, as is Cheney. During the 1990s the council's cochairman was Richard Armitage, a veteran administrator of the American-sponsored anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan during the 1980s and undersecretary of state in the second Bush administration. Brent Scowcroft, Rice's boss and mentor when he was Bush Senior's national security adviser, is a member of the board of Pennzoil, an active investor in the Caspian Sea oil consortia.

_______________

Is anyone else seeing a pattern here? High government positions and multi-national contracts. Who woulda thunk it ? ? ? ?

_______________


Clinton camouflaged his policies by carrying them out under the banner of “globalization.” this proved quite effective in maneuvering rich but gullible nations to do America's bidding – for example, Argentina – or in destabilizing potential rivals – for example, South Korea and Indonesia in the 1997 economic crisis – or in protecting domestic economic interests – for example, in maintaining the exorbitant prices of American pharmaceutical companies under cover of defending “intellectual property rights.” During the 1990s, the rationales of free trade and capitalist economics were used to disguise America's hegemonic power and make it seem benign or, at least, natural and unavoidable. The main agents of this imperialism were Clinton's secretary of the Treasury, Robert Rubin, and his deputy (today, president of Harvard University), Lawrence Summers. The United States ruled the world but did so in a carefully masked way that produced high degrees of acquiescence among the dominated nations.

_______________

Now where have we heard those last two names? Oh yeah, I know: Rubin was also a former Goldman Sachs and Citigroup big wheel and advisor to the current US president on the economic crisis, and Summers is actually a member of the current administration. Great how this is working out so far . . . .

_______________


Starting in approximately 1981, the United States introduced, under the cover of globalization, a new strategy intended to accomplish two major goals: first, to discredit state-assisted capitalism like Japan's and prevent its spread to any countries other than the East Asian NICs, which had already industrialized by following the Japanese model; and second, to weaken the sovereignty of Third world nations so that they would become even more dependent on the largesse of the advanced capitalist nations and unable to organize themselves as a power bloc to negotiate equitable with the rich countries.

The United States's chosen instruments for putting this strategy into effect were the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Like the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the World Bank and the IMF were created after World War II to manage the international economy and prevent a recurrence of the beggar-thy-neighbor policies of the 1930s. What has to be understood is that both the fund and the bank are actually surrogates for the U.S. Treasury. They are both located at 19th and H Streets, Northwest, in Washington, DC, and their voting rules ensure that they can do nothing without the approval of the secretary of the Treasury. The political scientist Thomas Ferguson compares the IMF to the famous dog in the RCA advertisements listening to “his master's voice” - the Treasury – on a Victrola.

_______________

Appears to be a bit incestuous, don't you think? Probably not too much of a problem, though. These guys are trustworthy, or they wouldn't be in these positions, right ? ? ? ?

_______________


Thus was born the weird phenomenon of “moral hazard,” meaning American bankers could make outrageously irresponsible loans without any risk of having to absorb the loss or make good the money they had mismanaged. Before it was over, the 1970s loan bonanza produced a disaster of exactly the sort Keynes and the reformers at the end of World War II had sought to avoid. Virtually every country in Africa and Latin America was deeply in debt. In August 1982, Jesus Silva Herzog, the Mexican minister of finance, announced that his country was bankrupt and would no longer be able to pay interest on any of its loans. Just as the bankers had assumed, the U.S. Government stepped in – not to save Mexico but to ensure that American banks did not collapse. At no time, then or later, did our government suggest that the people who made the bad loans bore some responsibility for the results.

_______________

Well, golly gee whiz. Where have we heard that tune before? Perhaps during the end of the bush regime and now at the beginning of the new one? One would think that learning by past mistakes would be a no-brainer, but I guess not . . . .

(Remember this book was written in 2004, not 2009.)

_______________


The United States was the architect of and main profiteer from these efforts. From 1991 to 1993, Lawrence Summers was the chief economist at the World Bank and the man who oversaw the tailoring of “austerity measures” to each country that needed a loan. He decided exactly what a country had that Washington wanted to open up. On December 12, 1991, Summers became notorious for a leaked memo to senior officials of the bank encouraging polluting industries in the rich nations to relocate to the less developed countries. He wrote, “I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage countries is impeccable and we should face up to that.” Brazil's secretary of environment, Jose Lutzenburger replied, “The best thing that could happen would be for the Bank to disappear.”

_______________


There's that Summers guy's name again. What's he doing nowadays? Oh yeah, he's currently the Director of the White House's National Economic Council. This oughta work out just great . . . .

As my friends hear me say on a semi-regular basis:

We're doomed! Doomed!”

Get the book or check it out at your local library like I did.

Then, tell your friends . . . .


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Moyers on Health Care Winners & Losers . . . .

Once again, Bill Moyers of PBS puts current events in their respective places.

His essay this week was on the winners and losers in the debate over US health care "reform."

If anyone has doubts that there will be substantial "reform" I'm with 'ya. There is WAY too much $$ involved on the corporate side to allow it. That $$ funnelled to elected "representative's" political campaign funds was and is not $$ wasted. Politicians know it, lobbyists know it, political "talking heads" know it and the for-profit health industry knows it.


So why does the MSM continue to report the story like there is actually a snowball's chance in hell of "reform"? Probably the same reason they:

Insisted there were meaningful debates during the presidential campaign;
Had wall to wall coverage of Michael Jackson's death;
Cover Britney Spears' lastest breakdown ad nauseum;
Convince everyone to run for cover from swine flu H1N1;
Warn that professional sports is coming to an end due to steroid use by the athletes;
Blah, blah, blah, blah blah.*

It all boils down to ratings/commercial ad rates which - as is the case with the for-profit health industy - means profit$.

They're all playin' for the same team.

Wanna know who the losers are gonna be in this "debate"?

Look around. Unless you're in the corporate boardroom, you are . . . .


*(As a side note, can you imagine Walter Crokite reporting on MJ's funeral or BS' breakdowns in any way, shape or form? Nah, me neither . . . . )


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

"Poor" Exxon . . . .

The corporate power$-that-be decided to give up their fight and pay out $ome of their enormou$ profit$.

From the Anchorage Daily News:

Company decides not to fight to bitter end on interest payment

(06/30/09)


Exxon Mobil's decision to accept an appeals court judgment that it owes $470 million in interest to those hurt by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill is cause for celebration. The oil giant could have carried the battle to the Supreme Court but did not.

No explanation.

That's OK. Deeds count more than words anyway.


When added to $507.5 million in punitive damages, the interest payments will nearly double the award for the average claimant.


Well, it'$ not like they can't afford it . . . .


Monday, February 09, 2009

Kucinich is Like Kojak: "On the Case" . . . .



Just one more reason we were Dennis Kucinich supporters 'way back when.

Those hearings could be quite interesting.

Get the popcorn ready . . . .


You, Me and the SPP . . . .


With all the world economic turmoil, it's easy to forget about corporate intrusion into Canada's sovereignty. Go see our friend Alison for all the details on the preview below.





Paul Manly's detailed page is here.


Off to order the CD now . . . .