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  1. Atypical is offline
    08-17-2011, 03:27 PM #101

    Is the SEC Covering Up Wall Street Crimes?

    A whistleblower claims that over the past two decades, the agency has destroyed records of thousands of investigations, whitewashing the files of some of the nation's worst financial criminals.

    __________________________________________________ _________________________

    This article is a must-read for anyone who wants to know how business controls our country and how government enforcement of regulations against wrong-doing is essentially a joke.

  2. Atypical is offline
    08-17-2011, 03:49 PM #102
    U.S. Buys $40 Million Of Chicken To Stabilize Market

    __________________________________________________ _


    Love that corporate welfare.

    People in need? F... em!

    PS. No "liberal schmuck gifting it" here. Companies surely deserve it more than people. It's what makes this country great, dont'cha know. It's what the investor class prefers. It says so right here.

    Liberals are such a-holes cause they don't like this crap.
    Last edited by Atypical; 08-18-2011 at 06:02 PM.

  3. SiriuslyLong is offline
    SiriuslyLong's Avatar
    Joined: Jan 2009 Location: Ann Arbor, MI Posts: 3,560
    08-17-2011, 07:02 PM #103
    I understand your outrage, but still would like to consider the question; what model is better than capitalism where businesses create tax revenue for our government to operate?

  4. Atypical is offline
    08-19-2011, 03:08 PM #104

    3 Ways To Have Economic Success Without Greedy Corporations and Huge Wealth


    Some business communities have achieved significant impact and scale, broadly distributing wealth rather than concentrating it.

    We know there's something seriously wrong with our economy. Our system of economic rules and incentives was developed, and continues to be molded, by large multinational companies and implemented by politicians eager do whatever it takes to raise money and ensure that they never have to leave office.

    This unholy symphony, orchestrated by the US Chamber of Commerce, working hand-in-hand with other trade associations, has ensured that the rich keep getting richer to the astounding point that America now ranks as a less equal country than Egypt and Tunisia. (According to the CIA's World Fact Book, which ranks countries in terms of how "equally" wealth is distributed, the US is the 42nd most unequal country in the world.) This system moves us ever closer to such severe inequality that social disruption is an increasing risk. (Consider the London riots against the fact that, in Great Britain, one million people from the ages of 16 to 24 are officially unemployed, the most since the deep recession of the mid-1980s.)

    Yet, it doesn't have to be this way.

    Examples of business communities that have achieved significant impact and scale, broadly distributing wealth rather than concentrating it, exist all across the globe under a header one might best describe as economic democracy. One thinks of Mondragon in Spain, Legacoop in Italy and the Co-operative Group in the UK. The Evergreen Cooperative in Ohio is our own homegrown American version.

    Having recently returned from Mondragon, I had the opportunity to experience firsthand the principles and values that underlie their practice of economic democracy. In our now post-industrial age that has turned people into disposable assets, mere tools at the service of capital, it is breathtakingly hopeful to experience business that chooses to honor the essence of humanity over the accumulation of wealth in service of capital.

    The Promise of Worked-Ownership Models

    Mondragon, Legacoop, the Co-operative Group, and the Evergreen Cooperatives have structured their businesses around a socio-economic arrangement in which the enterprise is democratically controlled.

    This limits the primacy of the profit-maximization motive that currently drives the way most businesses engage with the market. Though the form and structure of control varies -- think worker cooperatives, consumer cooperatives, employee stock ownership programs (ESOPs) and credit unions -- these businesses are organized to benefit a group of stakeholders, primarily worker owners, rather than outside investors.

    This shared ownership helps diversify rather than concentrate wealth, rooting the value it generates in communities and keeping assets and resources from being transferred away from local communities and low-wage employees to multinational corporations and their owners.

    Cooperatively owned businesses can range from small-scale local companies to multi-million-dollar global businesses, such as Organic Valley, the $500 million leader in the organic dairy industry; Nationwide Mutual Insurance, an 80-year-old Fortune 500 company, with more than $135 billion in statutory assets; and Land O'Lakes, Inc., a farmer-owned food and agricultural cooperative with $12 billion in sales.

    Throughout the world, cooperatives employ more than 100 million people and have over 800 million members. In the U.S., nearly 14 million employees participate in 9,650 employee stock ownership programs at public and private firms with combined assets of over $925 billion.

    According to Worker Cooperatives for the 21st Century by Nicholas Luviene, Amy Stitely and Lorlene Hoyt, U.S. cooperative businesses serve over 120 million members, or four in 10 Americans. The top 100 co-ops generate more than $150 billion in revenues, and there are more than 72,000 cooperative establishments in the U.S. providing over 2 million jobs. Two-hundred-and-fifty-five telephone cooperatives provide service to 964,000 households; 6,400 housing cooperatives provide homes for 1.5 million households; and 30,000 U.S. credit unions have 91 million members and assets in excess of $760 billion.

    The numbers prove that worker-owned models aren't merely a wishful possibility, they are enduring and sustainable realities for workers and consumers.

    Lessons from European Models

    In Europe, Italy's Legacoop, Spain's Mondragon and the UK's Co-operative Group multi-sector cooperatives have been able to both reach significant scale and demonstrate long-term sustainability.


    Legacoop, founded in 1886 in Milan, now has over 15,000 member cooperatives and employs 485,000 people, and represents businesses in every industry from banking and insurance to retailing, construction, agriculture, travel and manufacturing. Legacoop's role is to advocate, represent, protect cooperative values, build the movement by developing new businesses, and work for laws that provide preference to cooperatives, nationally and internationally.

    Italian co-ops have engaged in a decentralized strategy, creating "flexible manufacturing networks" comprised of the highly skilled work forces of small and mid-sized manufacturers. This approach has helped Italian cooperatives take advantage of labor flexibility and, as Tim Huet pinpoints, "leverage niche markets created by the volatility of the global market." Huet is director of the Center for Democratic Solutions, a nonprofit in San Francisco that advises co-ops. He explains, "Cooperatives are particularly adept at fostering the critical relationships because of their collaborative cultures. The small size of the productive plants in flexible manufacturing networks facilitates robust democracy for cooperatives involved."

    Legacoop's accomplishments, particularly the strength the movement has exhibited in the face of the impending European economic meltdown, and its deep commitment to values that seem vibrant despite a century of extraordinary growth, are to be deeply admired.

    The Co-operative Group

    Based in the UK for more than 150 years, the Co-operative Group is owned and democratically controlled by its members and is now the largest consumer cooperative in the world, with over six million members.

    The Co-operative Group has 117,000 employees and operations that include 4,500 U.K. retail outlets serving around 21 million customers per week. In 2009, gross sales at the Co-operative Group grew 31 percent from £10.4 billion to £13.7 billion. (See Johnston Birchall's 2011 book, People Centered Business; Co-operatives, Mutuals and the Idea of Membership, to understand the history, impact and global scope of this movement.)


    Mondragon, founded in 1956, now holds 33.3 million euros in assets and employs over 85,000 people internationally.

    Solidarity is at the heart of the Mondragon model. Without it they would not survive as businesses, or as a community. Solidarity is an expression of commitment to the common good. It is given the highest priority. Solidarity insists upon democratic methods in all aspects of business and management and in the process of dialogue that precedes every major decision.

    Solidarity is specifically expressed in compensation where the maximum salary differential from the lowest to the highest paid worker is now 7-to-1. Never in Mondragon's history has any worker ever been laid off for financial reasons.

    Mondragon's values follow those of the cooperative movement in general. Business in America would benefit greatly by following them. Some of these values include:

    1) Democratic Organization. Every important decision is made through a democratic process. Sometimes this is slow and painful, but the principle is never violated.
    2) Sovereignty of Labor. Mondragon ensures that capital never drives decisions that are detrimental to workers.
    3) Participatory Management. You are expected to participate. While no one is forced to, increased responsibility and promotion are based on participation.
    4) Social Transformation. This is a global aspiration to transform the relationship between business and society into one that makes capital subservient to humanity, the environment and the well-being of all.
    5) Education. Second to mission and values, education emerges as the second most amazing aspect of the Mondragon community. They understand the transformative power that lies within education.

    Economic Democracy as a New Foundation for Civic Life

    Building upon the foundation of economic democracy we have already developed in the US is our best hope of restraining the negative forces of the marketplace that have been unleashed to generate increasing environmental devastation, social inequity and the end of democracy as we were as a country founded to practice.

    Cooperatively owned and democratically managed business provide our citizens with what is often their first real experience of democracy, an experience that hopefully they will then bring into life outside work and an increasing engagement with civic life.

    Resources and examples abound to support the development of economic democracy; however, a central organizing entity has yet to emerge in the US. Worker cooperatives remain separate from producer cooperatives and cooperatives in general don't see their natural alignment with ESOPs and even not-for-profits.

    Building on the foundation that already exists to create a social, economic and political movement is perhaps the greatest opportunity that lies ahead.


    This would be a good start.
    Last edited by Atypical; 08-19-2011 at 03:12 PM.

  5. SiriuslyLong is offline
    SiriuslyLong's Avatar
    Joined: Jan 2009 Location: Ann Arbor, MI Posts: 3,560
    08-20-2011, 09:19 AM #105
    It would be a good start, but it is a choice unless a "central organizing entity" dictates otherwise, then freedom is eroded.

    One of the nicest things I've ever seen is when a founder, president and owner of a small injection molding facility retired and "gave" (i.e. sold for personal enrichment) the company to the employees.

    I love the tone of the article, "ensure the rich keep getting richer..", "large multinational companies..." These are clearly idealistic flags to me.

    Most corporations are decent. The multinational corporation I work for provides me an excellent wage, benefits, retirement savings, career training (just got back)..... With corporations, the $5000 PC I bought in 1989 is now $50 (more like $5). Without corporations, the advances we've made in health care and pharmaceuticals would not exist. Corporations bring about progress for mankind, and yes, they do use resources. They also learn and improve.

    Anyway, thanks for your answer.

  6. Atypical is offline
    08-26-2011, 01:10 PM #106
    Why Perry Hates Regulators: They’re Bad for (His) Business

    By Joe Conason

    Like so many Republican officials of the tea party persuasion, Rick Perry despises the Environmental Protection Agency—a feeling he has expressed repeatedly in speeches, lawsuits, legislation and even a book titled “Fed Up!” Perhaps that is only natural for the governor of Texas, a “dirty energy” state where the protection of air, water and human health rank well below the defense of oil company profits for most politicians.

    But Perry has at least one other reason for smacking down those bureaucrats so eagerly. When environmental regulators do their job properly, that can mean serious trouble for Perry’s largest political donors.

    The outstanding example is Harold Simmons, a Dallas mega-billionaire industrialist who has donated well over a million dollars to Perry’s campaign committees recently. With Perry’s eager assistance—and despite warnings from Texas environmental officials—Simmons has gotten approval to build an enormous radioactive waste dump over a crucial underground water supply.

    “We first had to change the law to where a private company can own a license, and we did that,” Simmons boasted in 2006, after the Texas legislature and the governor rubber-stamped initial legislation and approvals for the project. “Then we got another law passed that said (the state) can only issue one license. Of course, we were the only ones that applied.”

    Most Americans have never heard of Simmons, despite his fantastic wealth, because he wisely keeps his head low, generally refusing press interviews and avoiding media coverage. Last year, a local monthly in his hometown published the headline “Dallas’ Evil Genius” over a scathing and fascinating investigative profile that examined not only the peculiar history of litigation between Simmons and his children (who no longer speak to him), but his political machinations, corporate raiding and continuing corporate penchant for pollution.

    In D magazine, reporter Laray Polk explained how Simmons and a company he owns—innocuously named Waste Control Systems—manipulated state and federal law to allow him to build a nuclear-waste disposal site in West Texas. But construction has been delayed for years in part because the site appears to overlay the Oglalla Aquifer, an underground water supply that serves 1.9 million people in nine states, raising obvious concerns over radioactive contamination. In the Simmons profile and subsequent posts on the Investigative Fund website last year, Polk explored the controversy over the proposed WCS facility, including strong objections by staff analysts at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality who found evidence that atomic waste might indeed leach into a huge pool of drinking water.

    Now reporters for the Los Angeles Times have revived, advanced and updated the WCS story with much additional detail, including interviews with the Texas environmental officials who oversaw the approval process for the facility. For a period last summer, that process appeared to have been slowed down to allow serious consideration of the scientific data collected by the commission’s staff.

    In other words, the regulators were trying to do their job, which meant expensive delays and perhaps an eventual ruling against the nuclear waste site. That would have protected the Oglalla Aquifer and cost Simmons hundreds of millions in lost investment and profit. But then Perry’s appointees on the commission voted by two to one to issue licenses for the WCS site.

    This year, officials on another Texas commission appointed by Perry—who oversee low-level radioactive waste in the state—voted to allow the WCS site to accept nuclear waste from 34 other states in a highly controversial decision later ratified by the state legislature and signed by Perry himself. Not long after that, according to the Los Angeles Times report, Simmons gave $100,000 to Americans for Rick Perry, an “independent” committee supporting his presidential candidacy. (Back in 2004, Simmons was a major contributor to another “independent” political committee, the notorious Swift Boat Veterans group that distorted Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry’s war record in a series of TV ads.)

    According to a spokesman for WCS, the Texas governor’s happy and lucrative relationship with Simmons did nothing to help the company except to turn the billionaire into “an easy target. ... It made the state redouble its efforts to be thorough.” But the Texas officials who opposed the approval on principle have since quit their jobs with the state. As one of them told the Times reporters, “This is a stunningly horrible public policy to grant a license to this company for that site ... . Something had to happen to overcome the quite blatant shortcoming of that application. ... The only thing I know in Texas that has the potential to do that is money in politics.”As for the Texas official (and Perry appointee) who overruled his own scientists and approved the deal, he left state government, too—to work as a lobbyist for Simmons. He says that no undue influence led to the favorable outcome for his new employer.

    Texas must be the only place on earth where anyone would believe that.


    These are the kinds of people that run for office. And they get votes!
    Last edited by Atypical; 08-26-2011 at 01:14 PM.

  7. Havakasha is offline
    Havakasha's Avatar
    Joined: Sep 2009 Posts: 5,358
    08-26-2011, 01:54 PM #107
    Good info on Perry. Thanks Atypical.

  8. Atypical is offline
    09-05-2011, 04:40 PM #108

    Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult

    by: Mike Lofgren, Truthout | News Analysis

    Mike Lofgren retired on June 17 after 28 years as a Congressional staffer. He served 16 years as a professional staff member on the Republican side of both the House and Senate Budget Committees.

    __________________________________________________ _________

    This essay, as it says, is by a Republican with long experience in government. It is rather long but worth even skimming. It exposes the aims of the modern Republican party for what they are; ruinous for all but the wealthy and corporate elites they serve. It has harsh words for Democrats as well for their lack of principle and interest in fighting these cretins to protect the 98% of us that make up the real America.

    When will many of us learn that you don't have to support liberalism in its entirety to see the Republicans for what they are; hateful and destructive manipulators who will stop at nothing until their benefactors have erased anything that resembles justice and fairness for the average person.
    Last edited by Atypical; 09-05-2011 at 05:35 PM.

  9. Atypical is offline
    09-09-2011, 07:07 PM #109
    It's Time to Declare a Corporation Day to Bow Before the Real Power Brokers Who Run Our Lives (Satire)


    It's time to end this silly farce of Labor Day.

    No one celebrates labor.

    I mean no one. A few months back I suggested to Arianna Huffington that Huffington Post have a Labor section. They have business - as do all major publications - style, black, latino, green, religion, good news, travel, weird news, comedy, celebrity, parents - but not labor. They have recipes, home, do it yourself, body, spirit, and mind, they have tech, engadget, techcrunch, joystiq, and an apple blog - but not labor. They have New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver - but not labor.

    Let's give the day to the people we actually admire, look up to, and support. We could have a Broker and Bankers Day, Hedge Fund Day, Big Banks Day, Billionaires Day, Multinationals Day.

    The best replacement would be Corporation Day.

    We need to celebrate corporations because we love and admire them so very much. We feel beholding to them for giving us 'jobs' and gadgets and stuff.

    Plus they need a special day, like Martin Luther King Day, to celebrate their admission to full personhood after hundreds of years of not being persons, being just, well, corporations.

    The amazing, and wonderful, thing is that they have already become not just our equals, but our superiors in every way.

    First off, they are immortal, which is always an advantage.

    As noted, at last they have all the rights of people. They have achieved that status without our human limitations or our social and legal liabilities. They have no sentimental attachments to human values. They need not care for family, relatives, friends, or neighbors. No obligation is so important that if it's to their financial advantage they won't seek to get out of it.

    Their sole goal is to make money, at any cost to others, and they need not apologize for that.

    They cannot go to prison for their crimes. They can kill, rob, steal, chisel, cheat, defraud, poison, pollute, wreck, and ruin. But they cannot be contained, even for that most valid of reasons for imprisoning people - to stop them from doing it again.

    Corporate commercial interests have more status in our courts than human interests.

    A human falsely imprisoned and tortured in the name of national security can't sue because the suit might expose government secrets. But a private airline that flew such people to secret prisons and to countries where they would be tortured can expose the entire operation in court in a lawsuit over getting paid.

    A high school student has no right to make jokes - like holding up a sign 'Bong Hits for Jesus' - but corporations have a right to spend unlimited money on political campaigns.

    The results of political campaigns are largely determined by how much money is spent. That makes corporations into super-voters. The more money they have, the more super they are.

    When it comes time to pass legislation a normal person can't tell their congress person how to write the bill. They can't get anywhere near their senator (try it sometime if you doubt me.). But corporations hire lobbyists to write the bills for congress and the senate and guide them on how to vote yes for their bills and then give them the sound bites to explain to us why they were good bills.

    Let's get real, folks. We hate and despise regular working people, they're not rich!

    Let's have a day for the übermenchen we truly love and adore, Corporation Day!


    A lot of truth here, folks.

  10. SiriuslyLong is offline
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    Joined: Jan 2009 Location: Ann Arbor, MI Posts: 3,560
    09-09-2011, 08:47 PM #110
    "Their sole goal is to make money, at any cost to others, and they need not apologize for that"

    Once again, far left rigor at its finest. Nothing about innovation. Nothing about how competitiveness brings about innovation. Nothing about competitive rationality......... all left wing whining.........

    Yes, the government improved hip transplants and antibiotics................ Yes, the government innovated plastics that the puke Jack Walsh positioned in applications that purify water TODAY (as in right now). I doubt you have a water softener in NYC, but should you, please thank Jack Walsh. It's made of the plastic that started his career

    Yes, the culprit of all our problems are big bad "corporations". The same ones that employ the "sheeple" and provide them wages and benefits.

    I know, I know, the government is best suited for this endeavor..................

    So let's sing.

    Kumbya my government, Kumbya

    Kumbya my government, Kumbya

    Dear government, Kumbaya....................
    Last edited by SiriuslyLong; 09-09-2011 at 10:09 PM.

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