Wednesday, December 12, 2012

SAR #12346

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.

Reality Check: Green power will, by 2040, play an increasing role in the US energy mix. Two percent more than today, according to the US Department of Energy. Maybe three percent.

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:



Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

Recoveryless Recovery - Your comment was deleted as being in poor taste - and, yes, I get to make that decision. ckm.

Anonymous said...

Really? So congratulating you for your choice of headlines today -as opposed to previous ones- reflects "poor taste?"

You really haven't changed at ALL have you?

Why would I (or ANYONE else for that matter) want to continue to participate in a forum where the administrator unilaterally decides how people should express themselves? Removing inappropriate language is called MODERATION ...removing what you consider to be inappropriate THOUGHTS is called CENSORSHIP.

I need to get the fuck out of this country ASAP ...while the gettin's still good.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

No, no, RR, moderation is what you should be practicing. Good luck, bon voyage & don't let the door hit you on the way out. ckkm

tulsatime said...

well it looks like he deleted mine from yesterday, or i may not have hit save the right way

I think is a hoot about the oil pipelines, of course with the collapse in demand, the product would just sit somewhere else

does anybody notice the echo and rhyme between Afghanistan and Vietnam? Tons of cash and bloody treasure poured into 'our' side and all they want to do is stash it away in the Caymans or Switzerland, of all the ways to show gratitude, they have been taking MITT lessons

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

tulsatime - nope, never deleted yours - you might have messed up, or I might have gotten overenthusastic about deleting RRs, but not yours, good sir. ckm

Sukh Hayre, CGA said...


Let me know when you've bought your one-way ticket out. Until then, stop saying you can't wait to leave.

tulsatime, you may have typed in the two words incorrectly and then closed the window. I did that the first time and learned my lesson the hard way. Now, I always hightlight and copy before I submit my comment so tht if anything does go wrong, I can just paste and try again.


OkieLawyer said...

Re: Betrayal

I was writing about the use of "retention bonuses" (related to taking worker's pension funds) well before it was on the fringes of public discourse (as it is now).

As I said on another blog: the real crime is that this practice of taking a worker's pension money is not defined under embezzlement statutes. Furthermore, the repayment of such debt should be required as at least a priority debt (and as a "bonus" should be paid back in full prior to the payment of any executive bonuses).

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

OkieLawyer: Any background / explanation as to why taking pension money isn't theft? Aside from the obvious, of course... Is there some actual bit of case or common law that can make it at least appear,\ explicable?


OkieLawyer said...

The argument goes that the payment of a worker's pension is a future contractual obligation and therefore an unsecured debt in bankruptcy. Steps are then taken to convert the executive retirement plan to a higher status than that of the worker and executives get "retention bonuses" to stay on at the company and then foisting the worker on the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC), a little-known government insurance company.

See the book "Retirement Heist" for more information.

Retirement Heist

It is an outrage that this is allowed to continue.

Some of these problems from the past were supposed to be repaired by the Employee Retirement Income Securities Act (ERISA), but alas, many of these schemes do an end-run around ERISA, too.

I suspect these laws were written this way by design. (You know, "it's a feature, not a bug.") said...

Thank you for using the phrase "Who took home", when referring to CEO company resource extraction, instead of the usual "earned" which is so infuriating.
That you allow commnets at all is a service, not a right. I have a blog myself, and wish it was as good as yours. I come here everyday, and have for years, because of the succinct nature of the format, and the access to data it would otherwise take me too long to find on my own. This is a real service you provide, and it's unique. Naked Capitalism and zerohedge (who's comments are infamous for their nastiness), along with the Energy bulletin (now do like you, and I love 'em, too. Kudos!

greatblue said...

"The argument goes that the payment of a worker's pension is a future contractual obligation and therefore an unsecured debt in bankruptcy."

I suppose the same argument will apply when the government reneges on its Social Security and Medicare obligations :-(

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

I suspect there is a diffrence between 18,000 twinkie makers and tens of millions of Social Security expectees. Also there's the nagging fact that the Social Security Trust Funds are invested (be that the word) in US Treasuries and I suspect there'll be quite a bit of angst before the government decides not to honor them.

Medicare, not so much. No Trust Fund. Little trust. ckm