Nine out of 10 people
in finance don’t have your best interest at heart.
Geography Lesson: Workers protesting government denial of their basic rights have been trampled by mounted police, while other officers pepper sprayed a former member of the national legislation who was protesting the anti-labor government putsch. In Michigan.
And So It Goes: Internal emails show that BP knew the enormity of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout much earlier than they claimed when maintaining that they had provided prompt and complete information to both the public and the government. In fact, they did neither.
I Heard It On The
Grapevine Grey Line: Across the US, government officials are installing listening devices on public buses. Go ahead, speak out. That's what they're looking for, and like Santa, they're making a list.
Quote: “The City of London, in recent years, has become a criminal sink, populated by a criminogenic community of spivs and wideboys made wealthy beyond the dreams of avarice, by the ludicrous pay schemes and bonus awards, made possible in an environment where all sense of worth, value, and ordinary law-conformity, has been jettisoned, in return for vast sums of money far and beyond anything that might normally have been paid only a few years ago. The entire financial sector has become an organized criminal entity.” He's upset that HBSC and Standard Chartered are only paying fines, not going to jail for laundering drug money for the cartels.
Betrayal: Executives at Hostess Brands looted the workers pension fund and paid themselves $1.8 million in bonuses. No one knows how much money was "diverted", but lawyers agree that there is no remedy available - which means they get away with it, and with blaming it on the 18,000 union employees who have been thrown into the street.
Without Comment: The family of an American subjected to indefinite detention without trial, without formal charges and without legal representation is asking for international rights organizations to intervene.
It is becoming ever harder to tell who the good guys are, but
Eye On The Prize: Walmart employs about 11.4 million Americans, paying the average full-time worker $12 an hour - $25,000 a year. Walmart itself made $27 billion in operating profit last year. They could have given each employee a $5,000 raise and cut their profits to a measly $20 billion. The same general data would apply to many (most?) other gigantic American corporations that are so diligent in finding ways to cut costs and fire people.
Passing In Review: After 10 years and over $20 billion, the US Army has managed to bring one of Afghanistan's 23 combat brigades to a level of proficiency that would permit it to operate without US hand-holding.
This Little Piggy: Increased production from the oilfields of West Texas and North Dakota's Bakken Shale has resulted in production capacity that overwhelms the transmission capacity of existing pipelines. That in turn has driven down the prices paid by about $10 a barrel. Canadian oil sands production is also running into similar problems. The lower prices may cut the enthusiasm (and profitability) for many of these undertakings. Sort of a self-hoisting petard.
Theme Song: Enormous amounts of US funds provided to Afghanistan continue to be stolen and flown out of the country. At least $4.5 billion in 2011 and at least that much again this year. It would be easy to stop, but our boy Karzai isn't interested.
Wink As Good As A Nod: Ohio's Republican Secretary of State, who did everything possible to place roadblocks in the path of voters, now admits that voter fraud is "very rare." Republican political consultant Scott Tranter acknowledged that long lines at polling places and the voter ID requirements helped the Republican candidates, as intended.
The Parting Shot: