Black and White Sea Coast wallpaper – “It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our enemies…”

ocean rocks, landscapes, nature, beautiful views

Black and White Sea Coast wallpaper

 

While I wish the OccupyWallStreet protesters the best I still have reservations at the effectiveness of protests on long-term change. They are a modern-day David versus Goliath and this is just one major example of how rigged the game is – Is JP Morgan Getting a Good Return on $4.6 Million “Gift” to NYC Police? (Like Special Protection from OccupyWallStreet?)

[  ]…JPMorgan Chase recently donated an unprecedented $4.6 million to the New York City Police Foundation. The gift was the largest in the history of the foundation and will enable the New York City Police Department to strengthen security in the Big Apple. The money will pay for 1,000 new patrol car laptops, as well as security monitoring software in the NYPD’s main data center.

…But what, pray tell, is this about? The JPM money is going directly from the foundation to the NYPD proper, not to, say, cops injured in the course of duty or police widows and orphans. But that is how the NYPD Police Foundation works.

…So while this effort to supplement taxpayer funding has a certain logic, it raises the nasty specter of favoritism, that if private funding were to become a significant part of the Police Department’s total budget, it would understandably give priority to its patrons.

Every city and state has had cutbacks. Sometimes cutting hours, sometimes cutting pay and sometimes laying police and other public service workers off. One can imagine the NYPD ( with an annual budget of around $4 billion dollars) heaving a big sigh of relief at this donation. It would not be the first time in America’s troubled history of money and politics creating dubious outcomes for average and relatively powerless folks. Even if that is not the case with this donation – it looks awfully unethical. I doubt that every front line police officer is cool with a lot of what is going on – macing, creating combative situations, throwing people down on the pavement, possibility luring protesters into situations where an arrest can be justified( more on that at the link). There is certainly some irony here and some of those union officers have to be aware of it. This is from a statement of grievances of the General Assembly of Occupy Wall Street:

[  ]…They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.

hey have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.
They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.
They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.

There is no in other words, part of what the protesters are after is protection of police rights as workers, as public employees, as parents, as consumers and as investors ( police unions frequently invest their funds in mutual funds). So the police are actively working to stop people from acting on behave of their best interests. maybe they think some big donations now will save them from Wall Street’s rapacious behavior. Looking back over how powerful financial interests have treated organized labor and public employees I tend to doubt JP Morgan or anyone else on Wall St has their best interests in mind.

Koch Brothers Flout Law With Secret Iran Sales

In May 2008, a unit of Koch Industries Inc., one of the world’s largest privately held companies, sent Ludmila Egorova-Farines, its newly hired compliance officer and ethics manager, to investigate the management of a subsidiary in Arles in southern France. In less than a week, she discovered that the company had paid bribes to win contracts.

“I uncovered the practices within a few days,” Egorova- Farines says. “They were not hidden at all.”

She immediately notified her supervisors in the U.S. A week later, Wichita, Kansas-based Koch Industries dispatched an investigative team to look into her findings, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its November issue.

By September of that year, the researchers had found evidence of improper payments to secure contracts in six countries dating back to 2002, authorized by the business director of the company’s Koch-Glitsch affiliate in France.

“Those activities constitute violations of criminal law,” Koch Industries wrote in a Dec. 8, 2008, letter giving details of its findings. The letter was made public in a civil court ruling in France in September 2010; the document has never before been reported by the media.

Egorova-Farines wasn’t rewarded for bringing the illicit payments to the company’s attention. Her superiors removed her from the inquiry in August 2008 and fired her in June 2009, calling her incompetent, even after Koch’s investigators substantiated her findings. She sued Koch-Glitsch in France for wrongful termination.

This is a very long investigative piece. Some people seem to be reading the headline and then skimming. I am not taking up for Koch, I just want to note that since they initiated some investigations into these illegal sales they may have provided some plausible claim of being caught up in the schemes of one of their subsidiaries. Though it is rather amazing for two control freaks like the Kochs not to know that Koch industries made various incentive payments(bribes) in 6 countries over 8 years. Which as noted above they knew was in violation of federal law. A  Senate investigation found did find the Koch’s stole 1.95 million barrels of crude oil pumped from federal lands by falsifying purchasing records. This kind of fraud and thief was described by the whistleblower as the “Koch Method”. Ignoring safety regulations they are responsible for the deaths of at least two people in 1996.

Former Koch employees in the U.S. and Europe have testified or told investigators that they’ve witnessed wrongdoing by the company or have been asked by Koch managers to take what they saw as improper actions.

Sally Barnes-Soliz, who’s now an investigator for the State Department of Labor and Industries in Washington, says that when she worked for Koch, her bosses and a company lawyer at the Koch refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas, asked her to falsify data for a report to the state on uncontrolled emissions of benzene, a known cause of cancer. Barnes-Soliz, who testified to a federal grand jury, says she refused to alter the numbers.

“They didn’t know what to do with me,” she says. “They were really kind of baffled that I had ethics.”

Because of the recent resurgence of a conservative-libertarian fixation on Friedrich Hayek and the anti-Keynesian Austrian economists I’ve been reading various articles on Hayek to refresh my memory. While liberals and progressives would certainly have problems with some of Hayek and also agree with some elements of his economics (“Was Hayek really a minimal state theorist? After all, he thought that we
needed the state, not only as protector but also as provider of public goods.” – Gerard Radnitzky,Professor of Philosophy and friend of Hayek), one thing that Hayek and most of the Austrian school would condemn along side liberals is this deeply corrupt corporatism. The Kochs may be beyond simply corruption and believe themselves to be something like feudal overlords for who laws and rules of decency do not apply.

Whose Economy? GOP Pins the Tail on the Donkey. For eight years Bush 43 and the Republicans who ruled Congress for 6 of those years with an unprecedented level of gross incompetence, maliciousness and wild spending, blamed everything on Bill Clinton. Bush 43 leaves office, the conservative masses blame everything on President Obama. I know four-year olds who are better at owning their behavior. Conservatives are never accountable or they want credit where it’s not do. I know their moral compass has been shattered since the 1950s. It seems their sense of responsibility and civic duty is equally dysfunctional.

Just this past September 25 was the anniversary of the first proposal of the Bill of Rights ( September 25, 1789). The very first article in that Bill contains the free exercise clause. Herman Cain Defends His Sharia Conspiracy: ‘Call Me Crazy’

On ABC’s This Week, host Christiane Amanpour confronted Herman Cain about a comment he made to ThinkProgress. “There’s this creeping attempt…to gradually ease Sharia Law and the Muslim faith into our government,” Cain told us in March.

After showing Cain his quote, Amanpour asked him to respond to Chris Christie, who has said, “This Sharia law business is crap, it’s just crazy, and I’m tired of dealing with the crazies.” Cain responded:

CAIN: Call me crazy. … Some people would infuse Sharia Law in our courts system if we allow it. I honestly believe that. So even if he calls me crazy, I am going to make sure that they don’t infuse it little by little by little. … American laws in American courts, period.

AMANPOUR: American laws are in American courts. So the people of this country should be safe for the moment.

Cain pretends to be an expert on the Constitution. he might want to actually read it sometimes and the laws which served to inspire certain inalienable rights such as religion. If Sharia law ever conflicts with the Constitution, that law will be struck down. The people who will be the first to see to that are old guard liberals that conservatives such as Cain hate, like the ACLU. Actually an odd assortment of liberals, progressives, libertarians and moderate Republicans would never let any religion legislate itself into our courts. That is of course if there was an actual threat of Sharia law –

As the ACLU has explained in a thorough legal analysis, the “creeping Sharia” rhetoric is a mythical menace and a fabricated threat:

There is no evidence that Islamic law is encroaching on our courts. On the contrary, the court cases cited by anti-Muslim groups as purportedly illustrative of this problem actually show the opposite: Courts treat lawsuits that are brought by Muslims or that address the Islamic faith in the same way that they deal with similar claims brought by people of other faiths or that involve no religion at all. These cases also show that sufficient protections already exist in our legal system to ensure that courts do not become impermissibly entangled with religion or improperly consider, defer to, or apply religious law where it would violate basic principles of U.S. or state public policy.

Why does Herman Cain continue to have such contempt for American values, history and law. This nutcake is moving up in the wing-nut straw polls. Since Cain has little grasp of the nation’s history and the basic rights and protections spelled out in its legal framework is probably oblious to some cultural cutoms. Among some religious communties such as Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Hasidic Jews, Quakers and Native American religions we do allow people to settle many personal issues according to their religious customs ( fundamentalist Pat Robertson recently informed his listeners that divorce was OK when one partner gets Alzheimer’s is just one example). Cain and the Rights reactionary bent is a threat to everyone’s religious freedom.

 

“It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our enemies…” – Benjamin Franklin.

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