IT’S A MYSTERY TO ME


Among the many mysteries of America, for me, is just how “stuff” that should belong to “the nation”, or “the people”, or “the government”, or “the citizens”, or whichever non-private entity you might choose to designate, came to fall into the hands of the oligarchs? There are other questions related to that.

1. How did Standard Oil and those who walk in its footsteps come to “own” the oil that they refine and sell to the 300 million members of “We, the people……?”

2. Same as question 1, except as the question relates to the mining industries.

3. It costs about 37 CENTS to refine a gallon of gasoline from crude oil. By the time all the “middle men” get their cut, you and I pay $3.45 PER GALLON. WHY?

4. How did the Department of Water and Power in Los Angeles and similar entities in other places come to “own” the water and the electricity which is delivered and/or produced? The infrastructure for delivery of these services is usually paid for with taxpayer dollars and tax benefits. Shouldn’t the taxpayers own the end product?

5. Why is it that Public Utility Commissions are always largely composed of members of the industries that they are “regulating”? Should that not represent a criminal conflict of interest?

6. Why are increases in “public utility” fees almost always approved?

7. Why are some “Public Utility” CEOs paid FORTY TIMES the annual amount paid each year to the President of the United States? From Forbes Magazine, April 7, 2013:

“FierceEnergy.com tallied it all up for 2011: First Energy Corp.’s Anthony Alexander was paid the most, it says, earning $1.3 million in salary and $18 million in total executive compensation. Dominion’s Thomas Farrell was paid $1.2 million and got $14 million overall. And, Wisconsin Energy Corp.s Gale Klappa was paid $1.2 million and earned $11.3 million in total comp.

8. If the “airwaves belong to the public”, how does the Federal Communications Commission “sell/lease” these airwaves to companies such as NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, Verizon, Comcast, et.al., at a price that is miniscule when compared to the financial benefits the “purchaser/lessor” gains from the acquisition? The notion that these companies use their investor dollars to develop the end product that they sell to you and me falls by the wayside when you consider that all their “investment” is deducted when they file their tax returns as a “business expense”?

9. Assuming that land owned by the “government”, the “people”, the “nation”, the “citizenry”, and “managed” by the Bureau of Land Management, truly does belong to “the people”, what then is the justification for selling that land in parcels sized so that only financial institutions and the wealthiest 95% of Americans can afford to buy them? The investors then re-parcel the land, build commercial property and houses on it, and then re-sell it to “the people” who owned it a few months ago at a tremendous profit, with no benefit of the larger transaction accruing to “the people”.

10. Why was not the Homestead Act of 1862 perfected, then continued?

And, finally, two more questions? The first question is, why are laws crafted to enable these entities to avoid paying taxes on the income that they generate from these assets that should, rightfully, belong to “the people”? And the second question is, why do “we the people” tolerate such?

Summers worried about shadow banking – By MJ LEE | 2/24/14 5:59 PM EST Updated: 2/24/14 9:46 PM EST


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His critics say he was responsible for deregulating Wall Street.

But ask Larry Summers now — more than five years after the onset of the financial crisis — and he’ll tell you that more needs to be done to better oversee financial markets.

In an interview Monday, the former Clinton-era Treasury Secretary said he would give the 2010 Dodd-Frank law – Democrats’s remedy for preventing another financial crisis – a grade of “incomplete.”

“The impulses behind Dodd-Frank were sound. I think you’ve seen a lot of change towards increased capital; increased liquidity in the financial system,” said Summers, who was in Washington to attend the National Association for Business Economics policy conference. “It is deeply demoralizing that the SEC has not been able to act yet on money market funds and I think that the Achilles heel going forward may be the shadow financial system — shadow banking system.”

The Harvard University professor, once considered a frontrunner to replace former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, was passed up for the job last year after his potential nomination angered those who believe that Summers’ support for banking deregulation during the Clinton administration was partly responsible for a 2008 financial meltdown.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/02/larry-summers-shadow-banking-103882.html#ixzz2uKATRuYg

 

Consultants Are Cashing In On Campaigns’ Dark New Economics – Robert Maguire 02.22.14


Photo by Fotosearch/Getty

This report is cross-posted at the Center for Responsive Politics.

More than eight months out from Election Day, voters around the country are already being peppered with political attack ads like this one from a 501(c)(4) social-welfare organization, whose address is a post-office box in Des Moines, Iowa. In this second midterm election since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, nonparty groups such as super PACs and politically active nonprofits have already spent nearly $31 million on these kinds of ads, three times more than they had dumped into congressional races at this point in the 2010 cycle.

It’s not just the amount of money pouring into states like North Carolina, New Hampshire, and Alaska that is startling. Voters are increasingly left in the dark about where it’s coming from. That’s because the “dark money” nonprofits, primarily 501(c)(4) social-welfare organizations and 501(c)(6) trade associations, neither of which must disclosure their donors, are playing an increasingly prominent role in the fight to control Congress. By themselves, they have already spent 75 percent more at this point than in the record-shattering 2012 cycle, in which they would ultimately spend a whopping $310 million.

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The often negative and misleading ads these groups put out may be little help to voters trying to make informed decisions, but the increased spending is a boon to the consultants who make millions no matter who wins. Just how much money these political entrepreneurs take home each cycle is difficult to say, though, and a paper just published by Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy chides the U.S. press for being “oddly complacent” about this gap in political coverage. The paper, by former Thomson Reuters editor Lee Aitken—using data supplied by the Center for Responsive Politics—argues that the ability of a political operative to pocket so much money in a single election cycle may be skewing the national discourse toward more extreme views.

The media’s relative indifference to this self-enrichment may stem, in part, from the fact that consultants “are great sources and valued customers of the big media companies,” Aitken writes. But it’s also true that the sheer number and growing complexity of the networks into which the money is being poured, along with weak disclosure at the FEC and IRS, make it exceedingly difficult to follow the money all the way to someone’s bank account.

The IRS requires the nonprofits to provide almost no information about contractors they pay—only lump sums paid to the top five “independent contractors” that earn more than $100,000.

The roadblocks are many, Aitken writes, starting with the massive payments that campaigns and outside groups make to large “banquet” firms—one-stop shops for electioneering. The Obama campaign paid more than $300 million to one such firm, GMMB, in 2012, but knowing that lump sum gets one no nearer to discovering who in particular made a profit from the firm’s various services to the campaign. Similarly, the Romney campaign paid some $265 million to a shell company set up expressly to manage its media, which hid from view the remuneration of the campaign’s senior advisers.

Article continues:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/22/consultants-are-cashing-in-on-campaigns-dark-new-economics.html

The Success Curve For Bullies


The more a bully is tolerated, the more emboldened he becomes.  Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, with significant assistance from the Koch brothers, was able to call the bluff of the people of his state and they chose not to recall him.  They daily live with the consequences of their decision.

Today MSNBC reports that he (Governor Walker) has told others that Governor Christie called him on the same day of Governor Christie’s “famous” press conference and reiterated Governor Christie’s account of betrayal by his staff. Governor Walker supports a decision by his colleague to remain at the head of the Republican Governors Association.  He successfully bullied, then bluffed the people of Wisconsin.  He now encourages the same behavior on the part of Governor Christie in regard to those in his party – and others who believe that there should still be a “dignity” qualification for leadership –  who are of the mind that Governor Christie should resign his leadership position in that association.

Governor Walker proved that he was “man” enough to bully and bluff Wisconsin.  We will now find out whether or not Governor Christie is “man” enough to bully and bluff the Republican Party.  If he is successful, his next target will be the American electorate.

Success, truly, tends to predict future success, even for bullies.

Just sayin….

Congressman Cummings on Issa’s Deviousness.


It pains me that Inspector General George is a negro who is going out of his way and violating long-standing protocols to assist an Obama-hater in his hatred.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/02/07/1275822/-Issa-Busted-for-Secret-Meetings-with-Stay-Behind-IRS-Inspector-General?detail=facebook