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Thread: You Mean Our Corporate Overlords Don't Really Care About Us?

  1. #131
    Atypical is offline

    Bloomberg Eyes Bank of America’s Derivatives Move

    Columbia Journalism Review

    Bloomberg News reports that Bank of America (with Federal Reserve approval) put Merrill Lynch credit-default swaps into BofA’s deposit-holding arm after a credit downgrade caused counterparties to demand it put up billions more in collateral.

    Got that? Probably not, so let’s put it another way: Bank of America moved risky insurance contracts to a taxpayer-insured company, ostensibly to save money. The FDIC, which would now be on the hook for losses if the derivatives collapse, is not happy, and the move raises more questions about the health of Bank of America, which has already seen its market value sliced in half this year.

    Bill Black puts it this way in a Bloomberg quote:

    “The concern is that there is always an enormous temptation to dump the losers on the insured institution.”

    And Yves Smith says this:

    So this move amounts to a direct transfer from derivatives counterparties of Merrill to the taxpayer, via the FDIC, which would have to make depositors whole after derivatives counterparties grabbed collateral.
    Bob Ivry, Hugh Son, and Christine Harper report that the downgrade would have required BofA to put up more than $3.3 billion in collateral to back up the credit-default swaps it bought when it purchased Merrill Lynch in 2008. They report that JPMorgan Chase already holds virtually all of its massive derivatives portfolio in its deposit-taking arm. Has it always done that?

    Meantime, The New York Times’s Binyamin Appelbaum reports this on Twitter:

    Simon Johnson, throwing bombs at Boston Fed conference, says @bobivry story “looks terrible” for Fed, asks audience if it’s true. Silence.

    At base, the question here is why is Bank of America only now moving these derivatives to its depositary institution and why the Fed is willing to help it do so, despite the fact that its own rules are designed to prevent it.

    Smith and Black say that this move smacks of “desperation” on the part of Bank of America. If so, it does for the Fed too, which Bloomberg says wants “to give relief to the bank holding company.”

    Good work by Bloomberg here keeping an eye out for taxpayers.

    http://www.cjr.org/the_audit/bloombe...of_america.php

    __________________________________________

    Anyone who thinks that we don't live in a corporate cesspool should...
    Last edited by Atypical; 10-20-2011 at 05:40 PM.

  2. #132
    Atypical is offline
    Mortgage CEO Gets 40-Month Sentence for $3 Billion Fraud, Homeless Man Gets 15 Years for Taking $100

    This image has been making the rounds this week, and for good reason. It elegantly illustrates how our nation treats the haves vs. the have-nots -- the 1% vs. the 99%, if you will. We live in a country where white collar criminals convicted of multi-billion-dollar fraud schemes get less than 3.5 years in prison, while homeless men who take a hundred bucks (and feel bad about it) are tossed behind bars for 15 years. The stories aren't new (the first is from June and the second from 2009), but it hardly matters; you could sub in any of the numerous stories of white collar criminals getting away with enormous crimes, and of poor people being targeted because of their class, and you'd get a similar result.

    If anyone you know still doesn't understand what the Occupy Wall Street protesters are angry about, please point him to this.

    http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews...00/#paragraph2
    _____________________________________________

    Read this at the link. Evidence.
    Last edited by Atypical; 10-21-2011 at 04:51 PM.

  3. #133
    Atypical is offline

    A Voice From the 1%

    The impetus behind the Occupy Wall Street movement - a vague sense that the rich are getting ever richer while everyone else suffers - was confirmed by a recent report from the Social Security Administration showing that while total employment and average wages remained stagnant, the number of people earning $1 million or more grew by 18% from 2009 to 2010. Those figures give real substance to the "We are the 99%" slogan, yet Republicans continue to insist, despite all evidence to the contrary, that if anything those "job creators" deserve an even greater share of our national income. The Tea Party, meanwhile, has launched its own "53%" movement, inexplicably rallying the working class to the defense of the wealthy. The one group rarely heard from in this rancorous debate is the 1%, whose incomes and taxes are its focus. I am one of them, and here is my perspective, which may surprise you.

    First let me note that I am not part of the yacht and private jet set, which represents an even smaller subset of incomes than mine. The threshold for inclusion in the top 1% of income earners in 2008, the most recent year for which published data is available from the IRS, was $380,354, enough for an extraordinary life but nowhere near enough for a harbor berth in St. Moritz. Nevertheless, I am - for now - comfortably ensconced in that demographic. Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan would save me roughly $400,000 a year in taxes, and President Obama's tax proposals would cost me more than $100,000, yet I support the latter and consider the former laughable.

    Thus you can imagine my amazement this summer when I watched the Republicans in Congress push the United States to the brink of default - and the world to the brink of ruin - over whether to repeal a portion of the Bush tax cuts and raise my taxes by 3.5%. I know a lot of people with high incomes and even the conservatives among them were confused by that sequence of events. Here is a secret about rich people: we wouldn't have noticed a 3.5% tax increase. That is not only because there isn't a material difference between having $1 million and $965,000, which is obvious, but also because most of us don't actually know how much money we are going to make in a given year. Most income at that level is the result of profits rather than salary, whether it comes in the form of bonuses, stock options, partnership distributions, dividends or capital gains. Profits are unpredictable and they tend to vary wildly. At my own firm, the general rule of thumb is that if we are within 5% of our budget for the year, everyone is happy and no one complains. A variation of 3.5% is merely a random blip.

    I was not amazed but disgusted when John Boehner and his crew tried to justify the extremity of their position by rebranding the wealthy as "job creators." While true in a very basic sense, it obscures the fact that jobs are a cost that is voluntarily incurred only as a result of demand. Hiring has no correlation at all to profits or to income - none. Let me keep more of my money without increasing customer demand and I will do just that - keep it. Perhaps I will spend a little more of it, though probably not, but even if I do it won't help the economy very much. Here is another secret of the well-to-do: we don't really buy much more stuff than everyone else. It may be more expensive stuff, sure, but I don't buy cars, or appliances, or furniture, or anything else more frequently than the average consumer. The things I do spend more money on are services such as travel, entertainment, restaurants and landscaping, none of which generate well-paying middle class jobs. There, in a nutshell, is the sad explanation of what has happened to the American economy over the last 25 years of "trickle down" economics.

    That's why I was so pleased when the Occupy Wall Street protests began. I support them wholeheartedly, for several reasons. First, because I fervently believe in the exercise of first amendment rights, and I have been waiting for years for the American people to wake up from the torpor of the Bush years, when they were seemingly cowed into submission to corporate authoritarianism. Second, because I am dismayed by the thuggish tactics of the NYPD. I would have expected as much from Michael Chertoff or Dick Cheney, but not from the Bloomberg administration. Third, there is no question that the increasing income inequality in our society is a bad thing, in the short-term and the long-term, for both workers and for business. It is bad in every way and for everyone, with the sole exception of Wall Street itself. Fourth, I love the hysterical reaction it has provoked from arch-conservatives such as Eric Cantor and Glenn Beck. As George Orwell wrote in "Homage to Catalonia" about fighting fascists, I don't always need to know what I am fighting for when it is clear what I am fighting against. Fifth, and most important, it changed the national media narrative and sucked almost all of the energy out of the tempest that was the Tea Party.

    It is the Tea Party's effort to recapture that energy, through the "We Are the 53%" movement, that has truly bewildered me. I have spent far more hours than I should have these last few weeks puzzling over the postings on that website, trying to understand who these people are and why they would possibly care about my taxes. I don't really have an answer to those questions, but I do have a few insights.

    To begin with, a fair number of the posters there don't seem to understand the actual issues, or even the meaning of "53%," which is supposed to refer to the percentage of people in recent years who actually owed - and paid - federal income taxes. From their own descriptions of themselves as unemployed, underemployed, or struggling to raise families, it seems likely that many of these posters actually AREN'T part of that 53%, but rather, like most of the 47% they complain about, receive full refunds of their taxes each year, or perhaps even more thanks to the Republican-sponsored family tax credits. I suspect they think that because they work, and have taxes withheld, and file a tax return, they are different than the "47%" they decry as lazy layabouts. Of course they are not, but sadly they don't even realize it.

    Next, ALL of the posters there seem quite proud of themselves. No doubt they should be, but they seem to have derived very different conclusions from their life experiences than I have from mine, which could read like an exaggerated version of one of their posts. My family is from one of the poorest counties in the country, in rural Appalachia. My grandfather was a coal miner who left school after 5th grade to help support his impoverished family. My grandmother wasn't allowed to attend high school because according to her parents women didn't need an education. I never knew my father. My mother and I subsisted on food stamps for several years. I got my first job at 13, working as a bus boy for $2 an hour, and I have never been unemployed in the 37 years since. I worked my way through college, which I paid for myself. When I started my career I worked 60+ hour weeks every week for nearly 15 years before that effort began to pay off. I employ nearly 20 people, I have no debts, and I have no doubt that I have earned every penny I have.

    And yet, I am living proof of Elizabeth Warren's maxim that no one gets rich on their own. If not for the UMWA helping to secure a living wage for my grandfather, I would probably have had to leave school to help support my family, as he had done. If not for my grandmother's passionate belief in the value of the education she was denied I would never have aspired to go to college at all, and if not for my mother teaching me to love books, I would never have been able to succeed there. If not for my wife I would never have been inspired to work as hard as I did to see what I could become in life. How many smart, talented children don't have those positive influences? How many have exactly the opposite?

    My good fortune did not end there. It was sheer luck, rather than moral virtue, that I never had the criminal record many of my less fortunate friends did when I was young. It was sheer luck that neither I nor any of my family members ever had a major illness, or accident, or disability, despite lacking health insurance much of the time. How different my life could easily have been! How different the lives of others still could be.

    I understand too that but for food stamps, I would have gone hungry as a child, that but for public subsidies and federally guaranteed loans I could never have afforded college. I know that without the internet and airports, both of which were developed with federal taxes, I could not earn an income even close to what I make today. That all seems so obvious to me that I don't understand how anyone could question it, and those are just a few of the many reasons I am happy to pay my fair share of taxes, whatever that share maybe. Paying a lot of taxes just means you make a lot of money, and it is hard, frankly, to complain about that.

  4. #134
    Atypical is offline

    Conclusion

    One last observation. Many of the 53% crowd seem quite proud of their Christian faith. I am not religious myself, but I am reasonably certain that Jesus would not respond to the poor and unemployed with shouts of "Get a job!" I vividly remember what it was like to be poor. To be concise, it sucked, and my heartfelt sympathies automatically go out to anyone who has to experience it, especially children who are blameless for their circumstances. Whenever I meet someone who has not been as lucky as I have been, I recognize how easily our roles could have been reversed by the random forces of fate. And despite my lack of religion, I instinctively think "There but for the grace of God go I." If only those who actually believe in God would think the same thing more often they might not be so eager to cut my taxes.

    http://act.alternet.org/go/12467?aki...018.lP4g3R&t=6

    __________________________________________________ ____

    There are wealthy people who are intelligent, reasonable, analytical and empathetic enough to know what is happening in this country.

    More should speak out to shame the greedy.

  5. #135
    SiriuslyLong is offline
    Guru
    SiriuslyLong's Avatar
    Joined: Jan 2009 Location: Ann Arbor, MI Posts: 3,560
    Quote Originally Posted by Atypical View Post
    One last observation. Many of the 53% crowd seem quite proud of their Christian faith. I am not religious myself, but I am reasonably certain that Jesus would not respond to the poor and unemployed with shouts of "Get a job!" I vividly remember what it was like to be poor. To be concise, it sucked, and my heartfelt sympathies automatically go out to anyone who has to experience it, especially children who are blameless for their circumstances. Whenever I meet someone who has not been as lucky as I have been, I recognize how easily our roles could have been reversed by the random forces of fate. And despite my lack of religion, I instinctively think "There but for the grace of God go I." If only those who actually believe in God would think the same thing more often they might not be so eager to cut my taxes.

    http://act.alternet.org/go/12467?aki...018.lP4g3R&t=6

    __________________________________________________ ____

    There are wealthy people who are intelligent, reasonable, analytical and empathetic enough to know what is happening in this country.

    More should speak out to shame the greedy.
    Shame the greedy? Nice. How about "shame those that have acheived?"

    There is a liberal in every segment of wage earners. I need every penny of my wage for my own children.

  6. #136
    Atypical is offline

    Corporate Taxpayers and Corporate Tax Dodgers, 2008-2010

    Washington, DC – A comprehensive new study that profiles 280 of America’s most profitable companies finds that 78 of them paid no federal income tax in at least one of the last three years. Thirty companies enjoyed a negative income tax rate over the three year period, despite combined pre-tax profits of $160 billion. These are among the findings in “Corporate Taxpayers and Corporate Tax Dodgers, 2008-2010,” released today by Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

    “These 280 corporations received a total of nearly $223 billion in tax subsidies,” said Robert McIntyre, Director at Citizens for Tax Justice and the report’s lead author. “This is wasted money that could have gone to protect Medicare, create jobs and cut the deficit.”

    “Corporate Taxpayers and Corporate Tax Dodgers, 2008-2010” is the tenth comprehensive publication on corporate taxes from Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP). The two groups released their first major study on the federal income taxes that large, profitable American corporations pay on their U.S. pretax profits in 1984.

    The newest study, released today, is online at www.ctj.org/corporatetaxdodgers.

    The study examines 280 corporations, all from the Fortune 500 list. All of the companies were profitable in each of the last three years and provided sufficient and reliable information in their financial reports about their pretax U.S. profits and their U.S. federal income taxes.

    Corporations are lobbying for lower corporate rates and an exemption for profits they shift offshore. McIntyre, however, says “Our study provides proof that too many corporations are already being coddled by our tax system.”

    _________________________________

    Business as usual from our corporate overlords.
    Last edited by Atypical; 11-03-2011 at 12:01 PM.

  7. #137
    Atypical is offline

    Europe Bans X-Ray Body Scanners Used at US Airports

    Michael Grabell, ProPublica: "The European Union on Monday prohibited the use of X-ray body scanners in European airports, parting ways with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, which has deployed hundreds of the scanners as a way to screen millions of airline passengers for explosives hidden under clothing. The European Commission, which enforces common policies of the EU's 27 member countries, adopted the rule 'in order not to risk jeopardizing citizens' health and safety.' As a ProPublica/PBS NewsHour investigation detailed earlier this month, X-ray body scanners use ionizing radiation, a form of energy that has been shown to damage DNA and cause cancer."

    More...

    http://org2.democracyinaction.org/di...Q2FVt/xYP9z0Nu

    ____________________

    We would never do what the Europeans have done. Why? Because this is a corporatocracy and we have to be servile to our corporate overlords. Profit before safety concerns. (the company that makes this equipment and the marketers have known conservative connections. I've posted details before.)

    There are hundreds of examples of corporate indifference; like contaminated food, dangerous pharmaceuticals, use of chemicals, etc.

    It's just business, folks. Move along.

  8. #138
    SiriuslyLong is offline
    Guru
    SiriuslyLong's Avatar
    Joined: Jan 2009 Location: Ann Arbor, MI Posts: 3,560
    Quote Originally Posted by Atypical View Post
    Michael Grabell, ProPublica: "The European Union on Monday prohibited the use of X-ray body scanners in European airports, parting ways with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, which has deployed hundreds of the scanners as a way to screen millions of airline passengers for explosives hidden under clothing. The European Commission, which enforces common policies of the EU's 27 member countries, adopted the rule 'in order not to risk jeopardizing citizens' health and safety.' As a ProPublica/PBS NewsHour investigation detailed earlier this month, X-ray body scanners use ionizing radiation, a form of energy that has been shown to damage DNA and cause cancer."

    More...

    http://org2.democracyinaction.org/di...Q2FVt/xYP9z0Nu

    ____________________

    We would never do what the Europeans have done. Why? Because this is a corporatocracy and we have to be servile to our corporate overlords. Profit before safety concerns. (the company that makes this equipment and the marketers have known conservative connections. I've posted details before.)

    There are hundreds of examples of corporate indifference; like contaminated food, dangerous pharmaceuticals, use of chemicals, etc.

    It's just business, folks. Move along.
    Hmm, the TSA is a federal agency............ I thought you government afiocionadas would appreciate their efferts to keep the public safe? Silly me. Move along. Yipeeeeeeee.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/20...lus-boondoggle

    Ok, I'll be impartial. Here's the whole search.

    http://search.yahoo.com/search?type=...y+scans+safety

    So, move on folks. Nothing but complainers complaining here. We need to be like the EU I suppose.

    If you want to understand the real motive of the liberal movement, here we are.... Yipppeeeeeeeeeee.

    "Capitalism is neither moral nor immoral. It is amoral, concerned only with profit. Capitalism with a social conscience offends its shareholders; if I want to contribute to charity, I want it to be my nickel, not withheld from my dividends. Therefore we need a check and balance mechanism to prevent the selfishness of capitalism from harming society. This can be provided only by government, by regulation, by taxation and by police powers. Europe learned this the hard way, sixty years ago, on the heels of two bloody world wars and two bloody totalitarian tyrannies, for all of which capitalism is responsible. The European response, the welfare state, has been an excellent model. We need not be concerned with some of their ill-conceived attempts at economic union/integration. All in all, they have created a model that we should follow."

    Pretty nice eh? We need to follow them... Many of which left "them" for "us". yay.

    http://community.nytimes.com/comment...ldest&offset=2

  9. #139
    Atypical is offline

    What Drugs Was Your Thanksgiving Turkey On?

    Antibiotics and other drugs are common in the turkey that thousands of Americans eat every day.


    So far, 2011 has not been a great year for turkey producers. In May, an article in Clinical Infectious Diseases reported that half of U.S. meat from major grocery chains--turkey, beef, chicken and pork--harbors antibiotic resistant staph germs commonly called MRSA. Turkey had twice and even three times the MRSA of all other meats, in another study.

    In June, Pfizer announced it was ending arsenic-containing chicken feed which no one realized they were eating anyway, but its arsenic-containing Histostat, fed to turkeys, continues. Poultry growers use inorganic arsenic, a recognized carcinogen, for "growth promotion, feed efficiency and improved pigmentation," says the FDA. Yum.

    And in August, Cargill Value Added Meats, the nation's third-largest turkey processor, recalled 36 million pounds of ground turkey because of a salmonella outbreak, linked to one death and 107 illnesses in 31 states. Even as it closed its Springdale, Arkansas plant, steam cleaned its machinery and added "two additional anti-bacterial washes" to its processing operations, 185,000 more pounds were recalled the next month from the same plant.

    Since the mad cow and Chinese melamine scandals of the mid 2000's, a lot more people think about the food their food ate than before. But fewer people think about the drugs their food ingested. Food animal drugs seldom rate Capitol Hill hearings which is just fine with Big Pharma animals divisions since if people knew the antibiotics, heavy metals, growth promotants, vaccines, anti-parasite drugs and feed additives used on the farm, they would lose their appetite. Besides, people aren't Animal Pharma's primary customers anyway and the long term safety of animals drugs isn't an issue, since patients (are) supposed to die.

    Many more important details...

    http://act.alternet.org/go/13160?aki...18.ECnwUR&t=13

    ________________________

    I have occasionally posted articles on what is done to our food and what is done to the animals that we eat. It is ugly - and dangerous. Dangerous to our health and viciously indifferent to the animal's suffering. Sadism and greed combine to make this one disgusting industry.

    I would have underlined the especially unpleasant parts but can't post all of it.

    Please read the entire article. And remember it for the upcoming holiday and forever.

    And if you care, do something about it. Complain and only buy from good sources and those that are humane to animals. Be concerned with additives. Your health depends on it.

    Be aware.
    Last edited by Atypical; 11-21-2011 at 05:22 PM.

  10. #140
    Atypical is offline

    Corporations Are Patenting Human Genes and Tissues -- Here's Why That's Terrifying

    A medical ethicist explains the dark implications of corporate medical patents and the nightmarish scenario of our medical-industrial complex.

    Do you think that granting corporations the rights of people in the Citizens United case is disturbing? Then contemplate the fact that corporations have been patenting human genes and tissues at alarming rates -- in the last 30 years, more than 40,000 patents have been granted on genes alone.

    As the Occupy movement fights against the unmitigated influence of corporations on our lives, author and medical ethicist Harriet Washington's new book, Deadly Monopolies: The Shocking Corporate Takeover of Life Itself--And the Consequences for Your Health and Our Medical Future, is a timely wakeup call to protect the very essence of human life from the medical-industrial complex.

    In a recent phone interview with AlterNet, Washington discussed the dark implications of corporate medical patents, how we find ourselves in this nightmarish scenario and what needs to be done to stop medical research profits from trumping human health. Washington is also the author of Medical Apartheid, which received the National Book Critics Circle Award. She has been a fellow in medical ethics at Harvard Medical School, a senior research scholar at the National Center for Bioethics at Tuskegee University and a fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health.

    http://act.alternet.org/go/13346?aki...018.x7aT4M&t=3

    ________________________

    This is truly scary. Corporations are controlling medical practices by patenting processes/genes/tissues and then restricting the use of them unless they approve. To get the MONEY.

    Reading the article you will learn again why this is a corporatocracy and what that means. We are all at risk from these vultures.

    Don't get sick.
    Last edited by Atypical; 11-26-2011 at 02:28 PM.

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