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EditorBlog (1839)


koch7 23David Koch and his brother are leading proponents of what could be called anarcho-capitalism.On a Sunday inside the DC beltway talk show, "Face the Nation," Speaker of the House John Boehner responded to questioning about a do-nothing Republican dominated House of Representatives this way:

House Speaker John Boehner says Congress "should not be judged on how many new laws we create" but on "how many laws ... we repeal."

Boehner was, of course, re-inforcing the perennial GOP posture that government is too big and too regulatory -- that government itself is the problem, as Ronald Reagan declared.

It's not just coincidental that the current five-decade long assault on government (and remember how active ALEC is at the state level dismantling regulations) coincided with the rise of the uber-capitalist jihad of the wealthy to seize even more of the nation's assets while pushing the middle class into the lower class and the unemployment line.

In short, the infamous 1971 Lewis Powell memo to the Chamber of Commerce that is considered the blueprint for the increasing concentration of wealth in a few hands showed the true intentions of the GOP anti-government fervor: the attaining of a free market without constraints.

Such a marketplace is an ideal that one can call anarcho-capitalism.


banksters7 22Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase...Just Fill in the Blank. Card is Transferable to Any Wall Street Master of the Universe.No, this is not yet another commentary about a top Wall Street player escaping potential criminal charges.  Criminal charges? Are you kidding?  Going to jail or even being criminally indicted is about as likely for a Wall Street master of the universe as Edward Snowden getting a free ride on Air Force One and joining the Obama family on a Christmas vacation trip to Disney World.

No this column is about a key Wall Street executive, Blythe Masters, who the New York Times (NYT) reports is likely to escape even US government-assessed civil damages for what is alleged fraudulent trading (to increase profit) of electricity prices in California and Michigan:

Even as the nation’s top energy regulator is poised to extract a record settlement from JPMorgan Chase over accusations that it manipulated power markets, the agency is expected to spare a top bank lieutenant who federal investigators initially contended made “false and misleading statements under oath,” according to people briefed on the matter.

Blythe Masters, a seminal Wall Street figure who is known for developing exotic financial instruments, emerged this spring at the center of an investigation by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [FERC] into accusations of illegal trading in the California and Michigan electricity markets.

Of course, BuzzFlash at Truthout cannot say whether or not the allegations against Ms. Masters are accurate or provable, but the NYT notes:


martin7 21In one respect -- amidst an acquittal verdict of George Zimmerman that has been interpreted depending upon the prism through which one sees racism in America -- what Trayvon Martin did when encountered by the stalking, armed-vigilante who defied police orders to stop following Martin, was quite simple: Martin followed the ALEC-NRA sponsored law.  He "stood his ground."

A Turner Broadcasting HLN article states the legal base for a "Stand Your Ground" right to kill someone (and ironically details the double standard of the application of the law as applied to a black woman):

The “Stand Your Ground” doctrine in can be found in Florida Statute § 776.013(3) (2012).  Here are some key parts of the legislation:

§ 776.013.  Home protection; use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm 

(3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

The “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida essentially gives individuals the right to protect themselves or others from serious bodily harm or death, and it gives them the right to use deadly force if no other non-lethal options are available. Most states give people this right within their own home, but Florida permits individuals to stand their ground anywhere they have a right to be without requiring them to retreat first.

In Florida, you can use deadly force anywhere as long as you:

--Are not engaged in an unlawful activity

--Are being attacked in a place you have a right to be

--Reasonably believe that your life and safety is in danger as a result of an overt act or perceived threat committed by someone else toward you.

By any account, munching on a packet of skittles and walking not far from the gated community his father lived in -- the same one where Zimmerman resided -- Trayvon Martin fits these criteria for having had the right, under Florida law, to kill Zimmerman, except he wasn't armed with anything but some candy.  Zimmerman had the official NRA apparel strapped onto him: a loaded handgun.


censorstop7 19The Washington Post recently obtained a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memo that warned staff not to read articles -- get this -- printed in the Washington Post that covered whistleblower revelations about classified information.

Specifically, DHS -- and we are not making this up -- implied that there could be legal repercussions for employees who read Washington Post stories about whistleblowers and the information that they disclose.  In particular, a DHS memo prohibited reading of such articles from any computer outside of the DHS office:

The Department of Homeland Security has warned its employees that the government may penalize them for opening a Washington Post article containing a classified slide that shows how the National Security Agency eavesdrops on international communications.

An internal memo from DHS headquarters told workers on Friday that viewing the document from an “unclassified government workstation” could lead to administrative or legal action. “You may be violating your non-disclosure agreement in which you sign that you will protect classified national security information,” the communication said.

The memo said workers who view the article through an unclassified workstation should report the incident as a “classified data spillage.”

"Classifed data spillage."  This "data spillage" is in the press and on the web around the world -- and DHS is implying that the NSA is monitoring employees use of computers outside the office to see if they are reading such media coverage, so much for not spying on Americans.


dumpphil7 17Poor rummage through garbage to survive in the PhilippinesAs we repeatedly focus on wealth inequality in the United States (i.e.; just four hundred persons in the US have as much in assets and income as the bottom 50% of Americans), a video points out the even more extreme global wealth disparity.

There are many reasons for this.  Take for example institutional sources that contribute to this trend.  The World Bank, for interest, oversees "loans" to developing nations.  But by creating long-term indebtedness, these struggling counties end up owing at least $600 billion dollars in interest on loans whose principals have, in essence, already been paid off in actual dollars.

These usorious interest rates end up in the hands of the bankers and the shareholders of the financial institutions that are inter-related with the World Bank through the nations that govern it, particularly the United States which calls the shots.  Criticisms of the World Bank focus on how it creates financial conditions that result in debt dependency: of the nations that borrow from it, therfore negatively impacting the economic prospects of the vast majority of its residents.


taxdodgers7 17American citizens are paying an increasingly higher percentage of taxes as effective corporate tax rates fall during a period of soaring profits.  The key word here is effective, as in taxes actually paid by corporations to the federal treasury. (Advocates for cutting corporate tax rates cite the official government levies, not what corporations actually pay for the right to do business as US companies.)

What this means in plain English is that you and I are paying more to the government, on a relative basis, than big business, a lot more.

Long-time resource for BuzzFlash, Pulitzer Prize winning economic reporter David Cay Johnston explains how we are being hoodwinked by the "America can only remain competitive with lower official corporate tax code" arguments (made by DC politicians "rented" by corporations, according to Johnston):

Individual income tax payments have been rising fast since the economy began to recover, even though wages have hardly budged. But the same isn’t true for taxes for most corporations.


valdez7 16With the BP Gulf of Mexico ecological catastrophe perhaps 20 times the size of the Exxon Valdez spill, it may take decades to proceed with comprehensive restoration efforts in the Gulf, if the Valdez spill is an example.

According to the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER):

In 1989, the tanker Exxon Valdez spilled more than 11 million gallons of crude oil on the Alaska coast. The $1 billion 1991 settlement with Exxon (now ExxonMobil) called for an added payment of up to $100 million for environmental damages unknown at the time of the settlement.  In 2006, the U.S. and Alaska jointly submitted a demand that ExxonMobil pay $92 million to fund recovery for these injuries.

That $92 million government “Reopener” claim has never been collected.

Is government bureaucracy holding up this relatively small change in Exxon's compensation for massive ecological and economic loss in Alaska?  It's not entirely clear.  Much of the disastrous damage will never be resolved, but nearly 25 years later why is almost $100 million dollars in restoration funds uncollected and unused?


It would be wrong to assert that all people of means who hire undocumented workers exploit them.  A few we suspect are even generous, but in an age of greed in the United States there is plenty of evidence that many undocumented workers are -- from farmworkers to restaurant grunge workers to day laborers -- knowingly exploited.

After all, the US employer has a big advantage over the undocumented worker: blackmail.  Even if the employer is committing a crime by not reporting payments to an undocumented worker -- which is often the case unless the worker has false papers -- the fear factor is sufficient to keep many of those in the US illegally willing to work for the most meager of wages, long hours and in poor working conditions.

In the past couple of years, one group of such vulnerable individuals forced to seek work in the US has become more vocal, even going public and exposing themselves to possible exportation: domestic workers and nannies.


bank337 12If you are a working stiff and can squirrel away $250 to put in a Chase "savings account," Chase will pay you 12.5 cents a year (.05 % APY at a "standard rate"). Furthermore, if you don't make any transactions, they will charge you $4 a month, meaning that you will be left with $202 at the end of a year, plus your 12.5 cents.

It's all right here on a Chase website marketing page for what is called "Chase Savings." But a closer look at the fees and disclosures page indicates that if you are a consumer not used to reading the footnotes, you could end up losing your savings through add-on fees (including potentially the $4 a month "service" fee).

The oligarchy doesn't keep its money at Chase we bet, at least in savings accounts. We doubt that JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has a standard savings account at his own firm, the parent company of Chase. Why? Because according to the Chase rate chart, any sucker who puts $5 million into even the premium "Chase Savings Plus" still only gets .15% interest. To break that down, that would equal a $150.00 return on every $100,000 lent to Chase each year. Do you think Dimon is a master of the universe with those kind of investment returns?

We call savings at Chase lending because the bank takes your money and charges credit card holders up to around 30%, yielding enormous profits at your expense and the indebtedness of the credit card holders.  Meanwhile, you end up as a "good" American saver with literally pennies in interest on your nest egg.  Consumer savers at banks like Chase are paying for providing the banks to big to fail with the capital to lend out funds at usurious interest rates for a variety of purposes -- or financing their risky investment ventures.


paramilitary7 112Actual hired paramilitary "guard" at northern Wisconsin mining site. (Photo: Jim Limbach, Blue Cheddar)According to The Chippewa Harold, heavily armed and masked guards have been removed from an exploratory mine in northern Wisconsin, but it appears only temporarily. The use of disguised, camouflaged "security consultants" with high-powered weaponry has raised concerns in the Badger State, as two state legislators officially raised objections to their prescence.

Talking Points Memo (TPM) also wrote an article simply entitled, "Rent-a-Paramilitaries Freak Out Wisconsin":

There's been a battle royale up in Wisconsin over an effort to establish a big iron mining operation near Lake Superior, to be owned and operated by a company called Gogebic Taconite. The Republican legislature approved the mine in March over environmentalists’ objections. Some protests have been staged since the operation got started. But people started to get freaked out over the weekend when the company brought in what the Wisconsin State Journal calls “masked security guards who are toting semi-automatic rifles and wearing camouflaged uniforms.”

Gogebic Taconite "is conducting test drillings for an eventual 4½-mile-long open-pit iron ore mine."  Environmental protests have been continuing against the mine, including a June "flash mob" romp through the work site.

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