Monday, August 22, 2011

Points of Interest 08/22/2011


"Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s unprecedented effort to keep the economy from plunging into depression..."
...included lending banks and other companies as much as $1.2 trillion of public money, about the same amount U.S. homeowners currently owe on 6.5 million delinquent and foreclosed mortgages. The largest borrower, Morgan Stanley (MS), got as much as $107.3 billion, while Citigroup took $99.5 billion and Bank of America $91.4 billion, according to a Bloomberg News compilation of data obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, months of litigation and an act of Congress.
One may ask how it is possible that Japan, after its experience with the atomic bombings..."
...could allow itself to draw so heavily on the same nuclear technology for the manufacture of about a third of its energy. There was resistance, much of it from Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors. But there was also a pattern of denial, cover-up and cozy bureaucratic collusion between industry and government, the last especially notorious in Japan but by no means limited to that country.
"At a time of harsh austerity, high unemployment and a recession that never ended for most people, workers on the picket line at Verizon pointed to the company’s flagrant greed and union-busting."
While it made $10 billion in profits last year and paid its top five executives $258 million over the last four years, Verizon hasn’t paid a dime in federal income taxes in two years. In fact, it received a $1.3 billion federal tax rebate for 2010.

Despite its success, the company has cried poverty and is seeking big concessions from workers, including massive cuts to health benefits, pensions, job security protections and sick days. Striking workers had the advantage of wide public support—including solidarity pickets far beyond the East Coast—as they highlighted these facts about Verizon’s hypocrisy and anti-worker attacks. Having ended the strike prematurely, however, many workers feel union leaders have squandered that crucial advantage.
Considering things like this, I'm entirely comfortable questioning the impact a candidate's religious beliefs has on their approach to governance.

"A clash between these two newly created legal entities — children and corporations — was, perhaps, inevitable."
Century-of-the-child reformers sought to resolve conflicts in favor of children. But over the last 30 years there has been a dramatic reversal: corporate interests now prevail. Deregulation, privatization, weak enforcement of existing regulations and legal and political resistance to new regulations have eroded our ability, as a society, to protect children.
"The Big Three are well aware that their fates rest, in part, on the outcome of this SEC study, due out next year."
And the S&P's recent downgrade may well have been the industry's shot across the bow, an attempt to intimidate SEC regulators. It appears that the rating agencies have essentially gone from being recipients of bribery to the perpetrators of extortion.

When the Big Three's house of cards finally collapsed, the rest of America paid the price. Until we rein in the corruption of the credit rating agency industry, we are just asking for it to happen all over again.
Texas politics does have this amazing pay-to-play culture...

"If you're a moderate Republican in West Bend, you're a liberal..."


"“Bank of America. We’ll help you out...”

Only about the Benjamins.

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