Monday, October 18, 2010

America's Real Enemy: The Banks

If there is any doubt about the sickening power the banks have over our country, this video and investigation should remove all doubt:


Thursday, October 14, 2010

2010 Midterms: Brought to You by Foreign Countries

From Think Progess, yesterday:

"Last week, ThinkProgress published an exclusive story about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s foreign fundraising operation. We noted the Chamber raises money from foreign-owned businesses for its 501(c)(6) entity, the same account that finances its unprecedented $75 million dollar partisan attack ad campaign. While the Chamber is notoriously secretive, the thrust of our story involved the disclosure of fundraising documents U.S. Chamber staffers had been distributing to solicit foreign (even state-owned) companies to donate directly to the Chamber’s 501(c)(6).

We documented three different ways the Chamber fundraises from foreign corporations: (1) An internal fundraising program called “Business Councils” used to solicit direct, largely foreign contributions to the Chamber, (2) Direct contributions from foreign multinationals like BP, Siemens, and Shell Oil, and (3) From the Chamber’s network of AmCham affiliates, which are foreign chambers of the Chamber composed of American and foreign companies. The Chamber quickly acknowledged that it receives direct, foreign money, but simply replied, “We are not obligated to discuss our internal procedures.” Instead of providing any documentation or proof to demonstrate foreign money is not being used for electioneering purposes, the Chamber launched an aggressive media strategy to first, attack ThinkProgress with petty name-calling and second, to confuse the media by highlighting the Chamber’s relatively minor AmCham fundraising, which the Chamber says (also without documentation) totals “approximately $100,000” from all 115 international AmCham chapters. The Chamber and the media largely ignored ThinkProgress’ revelation about the Chamber’s direct foreign fundraising to its 501(c)(6) used for attack ads.

A new ThinkProgress investigation has identified at least 84 foreign companies that actively donate to the Chamber’s 501(c)(6). Below is a chart detailing the annual dues foreign corporations have indicated that they give directly to the Chamber (using information that is publicly available from the Business Council applications and the Chamber’s own websites):
Company Location Money/Level
4G Identity Solutions Hyderabad, India $7,500
A2Z Maintenance & Eng. Gurgaon, India $7,500
Amarchand Mangaldas Mumbai, India $15,000
Apollo Hospitals Chennai, India $7,500
Arshiya International Mumbai, India $15,000
Astonfield Management Mumbai, India $7,500
AXA Group Paris, France $7,500
Avantha Group India $7,500
Avasarala Technologies Bangalore, India $7,500
AZB & Partners Mumbai, India $15,000
Azure Power New Delhi, India $7,500
Bharat Forge Pune, India $15,000
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP Toronto, Canada $7,500
Brookfield Asset Management Toronto, Canada $7,500
Cameco Corporation Saskatoon, Canada $7,500
Credit Suisse Z├╝rich, Switzerland $15,000
Devas Multimedia Bangalore, India $15,000
DSK Legal Bombay, India $7,500
Dua Associates Hyderabad, India $15,000
Educomp Solutions Ltd Delhi, India $7,500
Essar Group Mumbai, India $7,500
Fox Mandal Little India $7,500
GMR Bangalore, India $15,000
Hindalco Group, The Mumbai, India $15,000
Hinduja Group, The London, UK $15,000
Hindustan Construction Company Mumbai, India $15,000
HSBC London, UK $15,000
ICICI Bank Mumbia, India $7,500
Infosys Bangalore, India $15,000
Infotech Enterprises Hyderabad, India $7,500
International SOS Assistance Singapore $7,500
Ireo Management Gurgoan, India $15,000
ITC Group Kolkata, India $15,000
J. Sagar Associates Mumbai, India $15,000
J.B.Boda Insurance Mumbai, India $7,500
J.M. Baxi & Co. Mumbai, India $15,000
Jagran Prakashan Kanpur, India $7,500
Jindal Power New Delhi, India $15,000
Jubilant Organosys Noida, India $7,500
Kimaya Energy New Delhi, India $15,000
Kotak Mahindra Mumbai, India $7,500
KPIT Cummins Pune, India $7,500
KPMG Amstelveen, Netherlands $15,000
Lahmeyer International Frankfurt, Germany $7,500
Larsen & Toubro Mumbai, India $15,000
Leela Hotels Bengaluru, India $7,500
Linklaters LLP London, UK $7,500
Luthra & Luthra New Delhi, India $15,000
Macquarie Capital Sydney, Australia $15,000
Majmudar & Company Mumbai, India $7,500
NIIT Technologies Delhi, India $15,000
Nishith Desai Associates Mumbai, India $15,000
Novartis Basel, Switzerland $15,000
Oberoi Group Dehli,India $7,500
Patni Americas Mumbai, India $15,000
Punj Lloyd Gurgaon, India $15,000
QuEST Global Singapore $7,500
Ranbaxy, Inc. Gurgaon, India $7,500
Reliance Industries Mumbai, India $15,000
Reliance Communications Navi Mumbai, India $7,500
Rolta Mumbai, India $7,500
Sanofi-Aventis Paris, France $7,500
SKP Crossborder Consulting Mumbai, India $7,500
SNC Lavalin Montreal, Canada $7,500
State Bank of India Mumbai, India $15,000
Sun Life Financial Toronto, Canada $7,500
Tata Group Mumbai, India $15,000
Tatva Legal India $15,000
Urenco Investments Slough, UK $7,500
Trilegal India $7,500
Walchandnagar Industries Mumbai, India $7,500
Welspun Mumbai, India $7,500
Wipro Bangalore, India $15,000
TAIB Bank* Dubai $20,000
Aluminum Bahrain B.S.C Kingdom of Bahrain $10,000
Bahrain Financial Harbour Holding Company Kingdom of Bahrain $10,000
Gulf Air Kingdom of Bahrain $10,000
Midal Cables Kingdom of Bahrain $10,000
The Nass Group Kingdom of Bahrain $10,000
Bahrain Maritime & Mercantile International Kingdom of Bahrain $5,000
The Bahrain Petroleum Company Kingdom of Bahrain $5,000
First Leasing Bank Kingdom of Bahrain $5,000
Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company Kingdom of Bahrain $5,000

Again, all of these annual dues are collected in the same 501(c)(6) the Chamber is using to run partisan attack ads. The data above reflects information from public sources, and the Chamber likely has many more foreign corporations as dues-paying members — but refuses to divulge any of the funders for their ad campaign. Unfortunately, many reporters in the traditional press covered the Chamber story, but missed the entire point of our reporting. Most reporters (from the New York Times, McClatchy, the Associated Press, etc.) never contacted ThinkProgress, instead opting to only interview Chamber officials."

I wonder what the founding fathers would have thought about England dumping money into 18th-early 19th century campaign coffers?


Friday, October 1, 2010

Voter Anger

I keep hearing about voter anger this, voter anger that... and it got me thinking about a few things.

Who started this anger? The Tea Bag "movement" (and I must admit, I cannot call it a "movement" without an immature grin) started to gain more media attention after the election in November 2008. Can we all say a collective 'Thanks, Dick" to Dick Armey for lining his own pockets by preying on the most feeble-minded among us?

Make the GOP squirm by voting them out of office in two of three branches on government? NO way! We'll show you how mad... we can tell people... they should be.

We'll cook up some cockamamie story about how the gubment is going to put bar codes on your bullets, and lock you in internment camps for conservatives, and convince you that *you* are paying more taxes even tho' you are not (if you only knew how to read your paycheck), and that you need to be MAD! MAD! MAD! that a group of religious people would DARE! to build a cultural center with a basketball court within 5 million light years of lower Manhattan, and convince you that returning the income-tax to pre-Bush era levels will annihilate the smoldering cinder that is our economy.

Really? Most of those baggers don't even understand how the tax code works. First, those folks in the highest brackets pay taxes only on the amount *over* their first million dollars of income. See, if you make $1,000,001 only that extra *buck* is taxed at the higher rate. Second, most of those in the highest tax bracket haven't created significant jobs in years (I need to do some research on this and post a source, but my work impedes me from doing much more than observing at the moment). But, seriously. When was the last time someone like Paris Hilton created *a* job that didn't involve her hands, mouth, and her boyfriend's sex tool?

I am *almost* as sick of hearing how mad voters are as I am about how folks want their country back. Back from what, may I ask? From the previous administration (the threat of the almighty presidential veto) and the 109th and 110th Congress' crappy policies both domestic and foreign that have crippled our economy and hamstrung our ability to house, feed, educate, and employ a rather frightening percentage of Americans?

Really? Are you mad?

When I ask myself that question the answer is simple: Yup.

I am mad that the bankers on Wall Street are back sitting high on the hog while most Americans (read 98%) fret about their savings, mortgages, health insurance, and livelihoods. Have you seen the stock market lately? It's not a barometer of how healthy the *economy* is; it tells us peons how rich the rich are.

And I am mad that I keep hearing about really fucking stoopid people (see Paladino or O'Donnell or Angle or Palin ) and knowing that the sheeple in the scared 20% are going to once again fuck the rest of us come November if we don't keep off our asses and get to the polls in a few weeks.

In my opinion, it's a good idea to ask who is *profiting* from all of this pissed-offness... and the answer to that question will tell you who the real target for all of that misplaced voter anger should be.

*Post Script* October 2: Apparently, Tea Baggers are facing some backlash about their views from neighbors and friends. They liken it to "coming out" and say they have been "persecuted" for unpopular views. Karma is a bitch, huh?


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