Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Posts Tagged ‘fraud’

Congressional Pay: Too Much, Too Little, or Just Right?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, July 7, 2014

Years ago, I said “build a Federal Barracks for members of Congress, and have them march to work.” I still think having modest Federal Housing for members of Congress is a good idea.

Regarding their level of pay/compensation, the article’s point – that D.C. is an expensive place to live – is well taken, and it is my considered opinion in light of that fact which gives further credence to the idea of modest Federal Housing for members of Congress. In fact, if their salaries were, by law, capped at twice the median American household income (which, according to the article is now approximately $51,000), it could be an even better idea.

And, the value of the housing they would receive from the Federal Government could also be be considered a type of income. Perhaps even they could be paid a Basic Allowance for Housing in a similar fashion to our military service members for such housing.¹ An apartment building complex would most likely be the best option for in-town accommodations, which could be convenient to their work location, and it could be jointly managed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the National Park Service.

However, with this present miasmatic congress, I hold out little hope for any such creative laws limiting congressional compensation, or introducing Federal Congressional Barracks/Housing to be introduced – though I believe it should be done, and is long overdue, along with Term Limitations. A total of 20 years elected federal service is long enough for anyone. Two terms in the Senate (12 years), and four terms in the House (8 years) should be enough for anyone, would reintroduce vibrancy into the process of national governance, and introduce more people to the process of elected public service.

Congressman’s Lament: $174,000 Isn’t Enough To Make Ends Meet

by Liz Halloran
April 04, 2014 3:05 PM ET

In what world does an annual salary of $174,000 meet the definition of underpaid?

That would be in the nation’s capital, where soon-to-be-retired Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., said Americans should know that their members of Congress — as the board of directors for the “largest economic entity in the world” — are underpaid.

The longtime congressman made his comments Thursday after the House voted for the sixth straight year to deny members an automatic cost-of-living raise they’re entitled to under law.

Not surprisingly, reaction to Moran’s assertion was Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Secretary of State Errs in Poll Watcher Guide: Photo Voter ID Law Disenfranchises Elderly Voters in June Primaries

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, June 3, 2014

{Tuesday, 10 June 2014: Update/Annotation/Correction noted in response #2. Ed.}

Today (June 3, 2014) in Alabama was primary election day. It is a day the party faithful – Democrats and Republicans – went to the polls to cast ballots for the candidates of their choice.

In Alabama, citizens cannot vote for candidates of their choice in both parties. They must choose either/or. Only in the November General Election can they “split the ticket” and vote for Democrats and Republicans.

In my way of thinking, that is a shame… and a crime, because it disenfranchises those whom would vote by requiring them to identify – against their will – as a member of a political party.

As I write, the polls have closed (they’re open from 0700 – 1900… or if you prefer, 7AM – 7PM), and already, there have been reports throughout the state that irregularities have occurred. Some voters – specifically, the elderly – have been denied the right to vote.

Voter fraud? 92-year-old great-grandmother’s expired driver’s license unacceptable for voter ID

http://blog.al.com/breaking/2014/06/voter_fraud.htm

AL Ballot Security Manual

Photograph of the “Alabama Ballot Security Manual: A Practical guide for Poll Watchers, Alabama Primary Election, June 3, 2014

93-year-old black man disenfranchised by Alabama voter ID law

http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/voter-id-law-disenfranchises-93-year-old-black-man

As well, there are inconsistencies in official information produced by the Secretary of State specifically for the purpose of Poll Watching & Voter Identification.

In a document entitled “Alabama Photo Voter ID Guide” available on the Alabama Secretary of State’s website Read the rest of this entry »

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Did Costco destroy 25 tons (1,000,000 jars) of perfectly good peanut butter worth $2,600,000 just to spite their corporate face?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, March 29, 2014

In a nutshell, “yes,” they did.

So much for good corporate citizenship, and poor hungry people.

Thanks for nothing, Costco!

Million jars of peanut butter dumped in New Mexico

By JERI CLAUSING, Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Nearly a million jars of peanut butter were dumped at a New Mexico landfill this week to expedite the sale of a bankrupt peanut-processing plant that was at the heart of a 2012 salmonella outbreak and nationwide recall.

Bankruptcy trustee Clarke Coll said he had no other choice after Costco Wholesale refused to take shipment of the Sunland Inc. product and declined requests to let it be donated to food banks or repackaged or sold to brokers who provide food to institutions like prisons.

“We considered all options,” Coll said. “They didn’t agree.”

Peanut butter is disposed of Friday March 28, 2014 at the dump in Clovis, N.M. Nearly a million jars of peanut butter are being dumped at a New Mexico landfill to expedite the sale of a bankrupt peanut-processing plant that was at the heart of a 2012 salmonella outbreak and nationwide recall. (AP Photo/Clovis News-Journal, Tony Bullocks)

Peanut butter is disposed of Friday March 28, 2014 at the dump in Clovis, N.M. Nearly a million jars of peanut butter are being dumped at a New Mexico landfill to expedite the sale of a bankrupt peanut-processing plant that was at the heart of a 2012 salmonella outbreak and nationwide recall. (AP Photo/Clovis News-Journal, Tony Bullocks)

MelindaJoy Pattison, executive director of the Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico, on Friday called the dumping of the peanut butter “horrendous.” She said as long as there was nothing wrong with the peanut butter, her operation would have found a way to store it, remove the labels and distribute it to the people who depend on the food bank.

“Those trucks carrying it to the dump went right by the front door of my food bank,” she said. “It wasn’t like it would have been out of the way.”

Pattison said peanut butter is a major source of protein and a staple for hungry people. Her food bank places single-serve peanut butter cups in packages it gives to children whose parents rely on its services.

“For it to just be deliberately thrown away is disappointing,” she said.

Costco officials did not return telephone calls seeking comment. But court filings indicate the product was made with $2.8 million worth of Valencia peanuts owned by Costco and had been sitting in the warehouse since the company shut down and filed for bankruptcy last fall.

After extensive testing, Costco agreed to a court order authorizing the trustee to sell it the peanut butter. But after getting eight loads, Costco rejected it as “not merchantable” because of leaky peanut oil.

Coll said “all parties agreed there’s nothing wrong with the peanut butter from a health and safety issue,” but court records show that on a March 19 conference call Costco said “it would not agree to any disposition … other than destruction.”

So instead of selling or donating the peanut butter, with a value estimated at $2.6 million, the estate paid about $60,000 to haul the 950,000 jars of nut butter — or about 25 tons — to the Curry County landfill in Clovis, where Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Medicaid Incompetency: State must repay Federal Childrens Health Insurance Program $88,197,498

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, December 20, 2013

Did you know? (No, you probably didn’t.)

In a report dated August 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS OIG) conducted a criminal and administrative investigation and found that Alabama claimed, and was paid millions in unallowable performance bonus payments under the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIRPA).

This FRAUD was because of INCOMPETENCY in Alabama governance.

The HHS OIG found that the Alabama state agency overstated its FYs 2009 and 2010 current enrollment in its requests for bonus payments. The State agency overstated its current enrollments because, rather than Read the rest of this entry »

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Your Tax Dollars at Work: U.S. Air Force Mothballs $1.6 BILLION of New Aircraft

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Your Tax Dollars at Work: U.S. Air Force Mothballs $1.6 BILLION of New Aircraft

Nearly 13 years ago, in a speech given at the Pentagon, Monday, September 10, 2001, then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said in part that, “We cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions. We maintain 20 to 25 percent more base infrastructure than we need to support our forces, at an annual waste to taxpayers of some $3 billion to $4 billion.”

As part of the Joint Cargo Aircraft Program, the Air Force ordered  $1,600,000,000 worth of Read the rest of this entry »

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That was the best SPAM I’ve ever seen!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, July 16, 2013

SPAM

comes in the most interesting flavors.

The Many Flavors of SPAM

The Many Flavors of SPAM

This is some of the BEST SPAM I’ve ever seen!

Now, for those who don’t know, here are a couple give aways to discern and detect SPAM.

Number One:
Examine the Read the rest of this entry »

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GAO Report: Pentagon spending out of control – Rumsfeld reported same in 2001

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, May 27, 2013

What does Senator Sessions think about the March 2012 Government Accountability Office report to Congress that found the 96 highest-priority defense programs in the Pentagon acquisitions system represented an estimated total cost of $1.58 trillion, and had actually “grown by over $74 billion or 5 percent in the past year”?

The report, entitled DEFENSE ACQUISITIONS: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs – may be downloaded from the GAO website: http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/589695.pdf

Or from this blog: GAO 3/12 report – DEFENSE ACQUISITIONS Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs

And then, there are the Remarks as Delivered by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, The Pentagon , Monday, September 10, 2001 entitled DOD Acquisition and Logistics Excellence Week Kickoff—Bureaucracy to Battlefield, in which he said “According to some estimates, we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions.”

How many variety of voices over an extended period of time do we need before we heed their warnings?

His speech, in it’s entirety follows. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fraud, Waste and Abuse… in the Pentagon. Is ANYONE surprised?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, January 13, 2013

Here’s the one-liner you’ll remember, albeit one with significant truth:

“There’s more pork in the Pentagon budget than a Smithfield corporate hog farm feedlot in North Carolina.”

Or, if you prefer:

“There’s more pork in the Pentagon budget than a Paula Deen Christmas recipe.”

And if the Pentagon budget were a recipe, it’d be a recipe for disaster.

The budget for the United States Department of Defense accounts for very nearly 6% of our nation’s budget. It is THE SINGLE LARGEST BUDGET ITEM in the entire budget. The amount of money sifting through the Pentagon’s hands is more than the combined defense budgets of the world’s top 15 wealthiest nations. And, it accounts for 4.7% of our nation’s economy. Late former President Dwight David Eisenhower was spot-on accurate in his Farewell Address to the nation 17 January 1961 when he warned us saying:

“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society.

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

“We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

None of this is to say, of course, that any kind of spending on national defense is somehow a bad thing, for it is not. Yet Eisenhower specifically warned about even the spiritual implications of the DoD spending “Gone Wild.” However, the last time the people, the Congress, the President or anyone else – including the Comptroller General, the Office of the DoD Inspector General, or the Secretary of Defense ever said anything about being budget hawks on the use of the people’s taxes was September 10, 2001 when SecDef Donald Rumsfeld spoke to the Department of Defense, and announced that the Department of Defense “cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions.” Not only was that money MIA, but he added that…

“The technology revolution has transformed organizations across the private sector, but not ours, not fully, not yet. We are, as they say, tangled in our anchor chain. Our financial systems are decades old. According to some estimates, we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions. We cannot share information from floor to floor in this building because it’s stored on dozens of technological systems that are inaccessible or incompatible.

“We maintain 20 to 25 percent more base infrastructure than we need to support our forces, at an annual waste to taxpayers of some $3 billion to $4 billion. Fully half of our resources go to infrastructure and overhead, and in addition to draining resources from warfighting, these costly and outdated systems, procedures and programs stifle innovation as well. A new idea must often survive the gauntlet of some 17 levels of bureaucracy to make it from a line officer’s to my desk. I have too much respect for a line officer to believe that we need 17 layers between us.”
-Donald Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, September 10, 2001

He discovered $2.3 Trillion in the DoD budget of taxpayer monies which had no accounting. It was “Missing In Action.” The next day, the World Trade Centers suffered terrorist attacks. We never heard anything ever again. [Read the text of his speech here: http://www.defense.gov/speeches/speech.aspx?speechid=430]

Here’s a video of the CBS news report.

And now, here’s a jet plane that is the veritable aircraft version of a Jack-of-all-Trades-and-Master-of-None, which our nation’s military has previously said they do not need, and already have other more durable, reliable and operable aircraft. And this is a thing that they have continuously said they want, rather than need.

Wants and needs are two entirely different things.

And not only that, but that the entire bidding process related to Defense contracts is fraught with cost overruns, late deliveries and more – all of which would NOT be, and is NOT tolerated in private enterprise. And yet, we somehow think that the sacred cow of Pentagon spending is somehow exempted from the normal rules of operation.

And now, with the budget items heating up again, it would be ludicrously preposterous to presume that the sacred cow of Pentagon slush funds slop trough is in pristine condition.

Other agencies, like American businesses and families throughout, have learned to live within their means, and make do with less.

Why can’t the Pentagon?

F-35 Marine Model Stress Testing Halted Over Cracks

By Tony Capaccio – Jan 12, 2013

Durability testing on the most complicated version of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s (LMT) F-35 was halted last month after “multiple” cracks were discovered in the fighter jet, according to the Pentagon’s testing office.

The previously undisclosed halt in high-stress ground testing involves the F-35B, Read the rest of this entry »

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Investigation: Twinkies maker Hostess Brands stole employee pension funds.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, December 29, 2012

It’s been amazing to me to hear that many who have followed this issue – or even had some passing familiarity with the story – have been so blatantly ignorant of the abuses and frauds perpetrated by the corporate executives of the Hostess Corporation. Frankly, those who demonized the unfortunate demise of this iconic American enterprise blamed unions, and completely overlooked corporate malfeasance. However, this enterprise, which, in the course of their operations, once treated their employees well, was miserably raped by greedy and incompetent executives. Why they have not been charged with theft or fraud is beyond my comprehension.

Hostess Maneuver Deprived Pension

By JULIE JARGON, RACHEL FEINTZEIG And MIKE SPECTOR

  • Updated December 9, 2012, 8:03 p.m. ET

Hostess Brands Inc. said it used wages that were supposed to help fund employee pensions for the company’s operations as it sank toward bankruptcy.

Ryan Nicholson for The Wall Street Journal

After nearly 22 years at Hostess, former forklift operator Craig Davis is pondering his future on the front porch of his home in Emporia, Kan.

It isn’t clear how many of the Irving, Texas, company’s workers were affected by the move or how much money never wound up in their pension plans as promised.

After the company said in August 2011 that it would stop making pension contributions, the foregone wages weren’t put toward the pension. Nor were they restored.

After nearly 22 years at Hostess, former forklift operator Craig Davis is pondering his future on the front porch of his home in Emporia, Kansas. Ryan Nicholson for The Wall Street Journal

After nearly 22 years at Hostess, former forklift operator Craig Davis is pondering his future on the front porch of his home in Emporia, Kansas. Ryan Nicholson for The Wall Street Journal

The maker of Twinkies, Ho-Hos and Wonder Bread filed for bankruptcy protection in January and shut down last month following a strike by one of the unions representing Hostess workers. A judge is overseeing the sale of company assets.

Gregory Rayburn, Hostess’s chief executive officer, said in an interview it is “terrible” that employee wages earmarked for the pension were steered elsewhere by the company.

“I think it’s like a lot of things in this case,” he added. “It’s not a good situation to have.”

Mr. Rayburn became chief executive in March and learned about the issue shortly before the company shut down, he said. “Whatever the circumstances were, whatever those decisions were, I wasn’t there,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Hostess’s previous top executive, Brian Driscoll, declined to comment.

Hostess hasn’t previously acknowledged that the foregone wages went toward its operations.

The maneuver probably doesn’t violate federal law because the money Hostess failed to put into the pension didn’t come directly from employees, experts said.

“It’s what lawyers call betrayal without remedy,” said James P. Baker, a partner at Baker & McKenzie LLP who specializes in employee benefits and isn’t involved in the Hostess case. “It’s sad, but that stuff does happen, unfortunately.”

The decision to cease pension contributions angered many employees. After the bankruptcy filing, Hostess tangled with Read the rest of this entry »

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Huntsville Hospital Kills Child: Permanently Disabled 1y/o Child Later Died

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Welcome to Alabama, where the legal concept of respondeat superior apparently does NOT apply.

Some would call this murder.

If a person driving drunk kills someone, nowadays, they’re charged with murder – even though they did not plan, or intend upon killing someone (the element of premeditation, or forethought).

But why isn’t Huntsville Hospital charged with murder? (It’s kinda’ difficult to charge a corporation with murder, but it’s quite possible that the officers can be indicted or charged.)

And why aren’t those directly responsible (those in the Recovery Room who were responsible for Gracie’s care) charged with Murder?

It’s painfully obvious some things MUST change in Alabama regarding healthcare.

Girl disabled, later dies, after tonsillectomy at Huntsville Hospital; Alabama public hospitals‘ liability capped at $100,000

By Challen Stephens | cstephens@al.com on December 03, 2012 at 1:03 PM, updated December 03, 2012 at 4:18 PM

Randy Smith and Deedee Smith talk about raising a child with disabilities while Gracelynn, 5, sits in her wheelchair during an interview in their home Monday, November 19, 2012 in Athens, Ala. (Eric Schultz / eschultz@al.com)

Randy Smith and Deedee Smith talk about raising a child with disabilities while Gracelynn, 5, sits in her wheelchair during an interview in their home Monday, November 19, 2012 in Athens, Ala. (Eric Schultz / eschultz@al.com)

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — Four years ago, Gracie knew a few dozen words and had just learned to walk backwards. But Gracie had a little trouble breathing at night. Doctors said it would only get worse, so they decided to remove her tonsils.

The surgery lasted less than 15 minutes.

In the recovery room at Huntsville Hospital, Gracie was standing on her bed calling for her mother. “We were told she was having difficulty coming out of anesthesia,” said her father Randy Smith. Nurses said the girl needed to rest to recover. In the recovery room, the family says, she was allowed to stop breathing for more than 10 minutes.

Dan Aldridge, attorney for the Smiths, said Gracie “was not connected to the customary monitoring equipment that sounds an alarm if vital signs reach a dangerous zone.” He said the nurses, three of them, were in the recovery room. At one point, her mother voiced concern. “I was told, ‘Mom, now don’t wake her up, if we get her up, we will never calm her down,” said Dee Dee Smith. “My response was she was not breathing.”

Dee Dee said one of the nurses touched the girl’s foot. It was cold. Aldridge said “code” was called. Medical staff poured into the room. Gracie would spend the next 18 hours in a coma. When Dee Dee finally got to hold her girl again, the girl’s eyes were open but Read the rest of this entry »

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Research: WalMart’s Low Wages Burden Taxpayers

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, November 23, 2012

The high cost of low living…

“Walmart’s employees receive $2.66 billion in government help every year, or about $420,000 per store.
They are also the top recipients of Medicaid in numerous states.
Why does this occur?
Walmart fails to provide a livable wage and decent healthcare benefits, costing U.S. taxpayers an annual average of $1.02 billion in healthcare costs.

This direct public subsidy is being given to offset the failures of an international corporate giant who shouldn’t be shifting part of its labor costs onto the American taxpayers.”

You’re the life of the party, everybody’s host
Still you need somewhere you can hide
All your good time friends
And your farewell to has-beens
Lord knows, just along for the ride

You think you’re a survivor
But boy, you better think twice
No one rides for nothin’
So, step up and pay the price

Dedicated to the GOP & other radical TEApublicans who worship the “almighty” dollar, tax cuts for the über wealthy, and their multinational corporate prophets.


Hidden Taxpayer Costs

Disclosures of Employers Whose Workers and Their Dependents are Using State Health Insurance Programs

Updated January 18, 2012

Since the mid-20th Century, most Americans have obtained health insurance through workplace-based coverage. In recent years there has been a decline in such coverage caused by a rise in the number of jobs that do not provide coverage at all and growth in the number of workers who decline coverage because it is too expensive.

Faced with the unavailability or unaffordability of health coverage on the job, growing numbers of lower-income workers are turning to taxpayer-funded healthcare programs such as Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

This trend is putting an added burden on programs that are already under stress because of fiscal constraints caused by medical inflation and federal cutbacks. Many states are curtailing benefits and tightening eligibility requirements.

It also raises the issue of whether states are being put in a position of subsidizing the cost-cutting measures of private sector employers.

Across the country, policymakers and others concerned about the healthcare system are pressing for disclosure of information on those employers whose workers (and their dependents) end up in taxpayer-funded programs.

The following is a summary of the employer disclosure that has come to light so far. It includes two cases (Massachusetts and Missouri) in which the information was produced as a result of legislation. The other cases involved requests by legislators or reporters. The latter situations have sometimes resulted in data that are incomplete or imprecise, which suggests that only legislatively mandated, systematic disclosure will tell the whole story.

This compilation was originally produced by Good Jobs First as part of its preparation of testimony given before the Maryland legislature on an employer disclosure bill. A version of that testimony can be found here [1].

Alabama
In April 2005 the Mobile Register published an article citing data from the Alabama Medicaid Agency on companies in the state with employees whose children are participating in Medicaid. The newspaper obtained a list from the agency of 63 companies whose employees had 100 or more children in the program as of mid-March 2005. At the top of the list was Wal-Mart, whose employees had 4,700 children in the program. Following it were McDonald’s (1,931), Hardee’s (884) and Burger King (861). The data were similar to information obtained from the same agency by the Montgomery Advertiser two months earlier.

Sources: Sean Reilly, “Medicaid Providing Health Care for Kids of Working Families,” Mobile Register, April 17, 2005 and John Davis and Jannell McGrew, “Health Plans Not Family Friendly,” Montgomery Advertiser, February 22, 2005, p.B6.

Arizona
In July 2005 the state Department of Economic Security issued data on the largest private employers with workers receiving taxpayer-financed medical insurance through the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System. At the top of the list was Wal-Mart, with about 2,700 workers–or 9.6 percent of its Arizona workforce–participating in the program. It was followed by Read the rest of this entry »

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Hostess with the mostess? Try CEO with the mostess. Hostess executives attempted to deceive investors, creditors & legal system before filing bankruptcy.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, November 19, 2012

As the saying goes, It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings.”

At this point, apparently, she’s not yet begun, although she is “in the house.”

And, from our “WTF?!?” files, comes this item:

In early February, Hostess had asked the bankruptcy judge to approve a sweet new employment deal for Driscoll. Its terms guaranteed him a base annual salary of $1.5 million, plus cash incentives and “long-term incentive” compensation of up to $2 million. If Hostess liquidated or Driscoll were fired without cause, he’d still get severance pay of $1.95 million as long as he honored a noncompete agreement.

The committee representing Hostess’s unsecured creditors alleges that information it has gathered suggests “the possibility” that the company converted a chunk of its top executives’ pay from performance-based bonuses to salary, “at least in part to sidestep” rules designed to ensure that companies in bankruptcy aren’t enticing their employees to stay on board with the promise of cash, according to documents filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, N.Y.

This solitary example is a wonderful one for illustrating what is WRONG with corporate governance and corporate operations in the United States. It’s an even more sad commentary that laws must be enacted to require people to do the right thing. At this juncture, the judge overseeing the Hostess Brands Inc. bankruptcy is doing precisely that.

Hostess and Bakers Union Asked Accept Strike Mediation

The judge overseeing Hostess Brands Inc. declined to approve the company’s liquidation today and asked management and the bakers’ union to enter mediation tomorrow to resolve the strike that the maker of Twinkies and Wonder bread said forced it to shut.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain said at a hearing in White Plains, New York, that there are “serious questions as to the logic behind the decision to strike.” Hostess and the bakers’ union agreed to Drain’s request to enter confidential mediation under his supervision.

“To me, not to have gone through that step leaves a huge question mark over this case which I think will only be answered in litigation,” Drain said. “My desire to do this is prompted primarily by the potential loss of over 18,000 jobs, as well as my belief that there is a possibility to resolve this matter, notwithstanding the losses the debtors have incurred over the last week or so.”

Hostess CEO & executive pay outrageous

asdfasdf

Hostess hasn’t spoken with the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union since August, said Heather Lennox, a lawyer for the company. Hostess is seeking permission from Drain to pay bonuses to key managers while closing operations that will leave most of its 18,500 workers unemployed. Any agreement arising from the mediation would probably come too late to save the company, Lennox said.

“Things have gone too far to repair themselves under the current form,” Lennox, a partner at Jones Day, told Drain. “It would be very hard for us to recover from this damage even if there were to be an agreement in the near term.”

‘Best Shot’

“Our best shot is to see what we can sell as going concerns and have the company continue that way,” she said. The hearing to consider Hostess’s request to wind down was postponed until Nov. 21.

Hostess said Nov. 16 that it would shut, claiming that a weeklong strike by the bakers’ union forced liquidation. The union blamed management’s concession demands, while some employees blamed both sides. Strikers were still outside the company’s facilities today, Hostess’s lawyers said.

Corrina Christensen, a spokeswoman for the bakers’ union, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the mediation.

Teamsters

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, whose members distribute Hostess products, had ratified a new contract with 8 percent in wage concessions and 17 percent in benefit reductions.

“The Teamsters will closely monitor the mediation between the BCTGM and Hostess management and assist in any way we can to help the two sides reach an agreement that keeps the company’s doors open,” Ken Hall, the Teamsters general secretary- treasurer, said today in a statement.

The judge may be creating risk for both sides that encourages them to reach a deal, Ken Russak, a bankruptcy attorney at Frandzel Robins Bloom & Csato in Los Angeles, said today in an interview. “The bankruptcy judge would much prefer to have the parties work something out than having to Read the rest of this entry »

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Paul Ryan & campaign bum rush Ohio Catholic charity soup kitchen for Fake Photo Op (fauxtaux)

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, October 15, 2012

“Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels.”
-Jesus Christ, Matthew 23:5 (NLT)

Charity president unhappy about Paul Ryan soup kitchen ‘photo op’

By Felicia Sonmez , Updated: October 15, 2012

Paul Ryan & wife wash clean dishes

Paul Ryan & wife “wash” already clean dishes for a fake photo op in Youngstown, OH.

The head of a northeast Ohio charity says that the Romney campaign last week “ramrodded their way” into the group’s Youngstown soup kitchen so that GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan could get his picture taken washing dishes in the dining hall.

Brian J. Antal, president of the Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society, said that he was not contacted by the Romney campaign ahead of the Saturday morning visit by Ryan, who stopped by the soup kitchen after a town hall at Youngstown State University.

“We’re a faith-based organization; we are apolitical because the majority of our funding is from private donations,” Antal said in a phone interview Monday afternoon. “It’s strictly in our bylaws not to do it. They showed up there, and they did not have permission. They got one of the volunteers to open up the doors.”

He added: “The photo-op they did wasn’t even accurate. He did nothing. He just came in here to get his picture taken at the dining hall.”

Ryan had stopped by the soup kitchen for about 15 minutes on his way to Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in - Faith, Religion, Goodness - What is the Soul of a man?, - Lost In Space: TOTALLY Discombobulated, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home., - Read 'em and weep: The Daily News | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

U.S. Attorney General Charges 530 in Mortgage Probe With $1 Billion in Fraud Losses

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, October 9, 2012

U.S. Charges 530 in Mortgage Probe With $1 Billion in Losses

The U.S. brought charges against 530 people over mortgage schemes that cost homeowners more than $1 billion, Attorney General Eric Holder said today.

More than 73,000 homeowners were victims of various frauds for which charges were filed during a year-long crackdown, including “foreclosure rescue schemes” that take advantage of those who have fallen behind on payments, the Justice Department said in a statement.

“These comprehensive efforts represent Read the rest of this entry »

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Taxpayers’ $182B TARP bailout of AIG Now Fully Recovered

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, September 11, 2012

As the president and others – nonpartisan and partisan alike – have noted, BIG BUSINESS should NOT need a bailout. They should be operated in such a manner as to allow the Free Market to decide how, to what extent, and if they prosper. As part of that process, ironclad and strong regulation to prevent fraud and abuse should be vigorously enforced. And chief executives Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home., - Read 'em and weep: The Daily News | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pharmaceutical Firms Lie, Cheat & Steal from America’s Elderly, Orphans, Poor and Helpless

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, September 8, 2012

A few points for the reader to consider:
This fraud was national in scope, involving a $3 BILLION settlement, of which the North Carolina Attorney General was able to recoup $31.8M. Pfizer, Abbott, Johnson & Johnson, Forest Labs, Eli Lilly, Astrazeneca have also all plead guilty to deceptive and fraudulent marketing. It’s very likely a drop in the bucket in comparison with the greater scope.

The four most expensive Pharmacy frauds in the United States history have occurred since George W. Bush oversaw the rewriting of the Medicare Part D drug benefit in 2003. In order of their value, they are:
GlaxoSmithKline – $3 Billion, 2012
Pfizer – $2.3 Billion, 2009
Abbott Laboratories – $1.5 Billion, 2012
Eli Lilly – $1.4 Billion, 2009

The so-called “doughnut hole” in the Medicare prescription Part D drug plan was closed by President Obama. That “doughnut hole” was created under the George W. Bush administration, who caved in to lobbyists from BIG PHARMA, and allowed them to write much of that aspect of the 2003 revision of the Medicare Part D law (also known as the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act (MMA), and refused to allow Medicaid the opportunity to bargain for prices with pharmaceutical firms.

Advertising is expensive. Advertising for medications on television, radio, Internet, magazines, billboards, buses, and any other place where advertising is sold, is illegal in some nations. It was once illegal in the United States, until the 1980′s when the FDA OK’d it under pressure from the Reagan administration.

IMS Health, a medical data firm, calculates that drug companies’ business in the United States alone earns more than $300 billion a year.

Last year, GSK had $20 Billion gross profits on $27 Billion in revenue. So don’t let anyone EVER fool you into believing that drug companies don’t make enough money, don’t have enough profits, or enough profit margin.

Pharmaceutical companies spent Read the rest of this entry »

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Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, September 2, 2012

Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital

How the GOP presidential candidate and his private equity firm staged an epic wealth grab, destroyed jobs – and stuck others with the bill

by: Matt Taibbi

Rolling Stone 20120827-mitt-romney-x306-1346104394

Mitt Romney illustration / Illustration by Robert Grossman

The great criticism of Mitt Romney, from both sides of the aisle, has always been that he doesn’t stand for anything. He’s a flip-flopper, they say, a lightweight, a cardboard opportunist who’ll say anything to get elected.

The critics couldn’t be more wrong. Mitt Romney is no tissue-paper man. He’s closer to being a revolutionary, a backward-world version of Che or Trotsky, with tweezed nostrils instead of a beard, a half-Windsor instead of a leather jerkin. His legendary flip-flops aren’t the lies of a bumbling opportunist – they’re the confident prevarications of a man untroubled by misleading the nonbeliever in pursuit of a single, all-consuming goal. Romney has a vision, and he’s trying for something big: We’ve just been too slow to sort out what it is, just as we’ve been slow to grasp the roots of the radical economic changes that have swept the country in the last generation.

The incredible untold story of the 2012 election so far is that Romney’s run has been a shimmering pearl of perfect political hypocrisy, which he’s somehow managed to keep hidden, even with thousands of cameras following his every move. And the drama of this rhetorical high-wire act was ratcheted up even further when Romney chose his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin – like himself, a self-righteously anal, thin-lipped, Whitest Kids U Know penny pincher who’d be honored to tell Oliver Twist there’s no more soup left. By selecting Ryan, Romney, the hard-charging, chameleonic champion of a disgraced-yet-defiant Wall Street, officially succeeded in moving the battle lines in the 2012 presidential race.

Like John McCain four years before, Romney desperately needed a vice-presidential pick that would change the game. But where McCain bet on a combustive mix of clueless novelty and suburban sexual tension named Sarah Palin, Romney bet on an idea. He said as much when he unveiled his choice of Ryan, the author of a hair-raising budget-cutting plan best known for its willingness to slash the sacred cows of Medicare and Medicaid. “Paul Ryan has become an intellectual leader of the Republican Party,” Romney told frenzied Republican supporters in Norfolk, Virginia, standing before the reliably jingoistic backdrop of a floating warship. “He understands the fiscal challenges facing America: our exploding deficits and crushing debt.”

Debt, debt, debt. If the Republican Party had a James Carville, this is what he would have said to win Mitt over, in whatever late-night war room session led to the Ryan pick: “It’s the debt, stupid.” This is the way to defeat Barack Obama: to recast the race as a jeremiad against debt, something just about everybody who’s ever gotten a bill in the mail hates on a primal level.

Last May, in a much-touted speech in Iowa, Romney Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home., - Read 'em and weep: The Daily News | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Bain Capital among firms subpoenaed by NY AG – suspected of tax evasion

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, September 2, 2012

The noose tightens.

UPDATE 2-New York probes private equity tax strategy – source

Sun Sep 2, 2012 8:00am IST

* NY AG subpoenas at least 12 private equity firms
* AG probing conversion of fees into fund investments
* Bain, Romney’s former firm, among those subpoenaed
* KKR, Apollo, Silver Lake, TPG also get subpoenas

By Karen Freifeld and Greg Roumeliotis

Sept 1 (Reuters) – At least a dozen U.S. private equity firms have been subpoenaed by the New York state attorney general as part of a probe into whether a widely used tax strategy that saved these firms hundreds of millions of dollars is proper, a source familiar with the situation said on Saturday.

Among the firms that were subpoenaed are Bain Capital LLC, KKR & Co LP, TPG Capital LP, Apollo Global Management LLC and Silver Lake Partners LP, the source said.

Bain was once headed by Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate who hopes to unseat President Barack Obama in the Nov. 6 election.

The subpoenas, which were sent out in July, seek documents related to Read the rest of this entry »

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It’s still true: Alabamians are “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command.”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, August 22, 2012

One must understand the audience to whom Mr. Archibald writes his Birmingham News OpEds.

They’re the same ones who found hometown favorite criminal Richard Scrushy – monikered as “America’s First Oblivious CEO” – “Not Guilty” of violating the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, who to date, remains the solitary individual ever charged with its violation. Alice Martin, then Federal Prosecutor for the Northern District of Alabama, who failed to obtain a guilty verdict in the case, could have moved the trial to New York City – home of Wall Street – or “in Washington, D.C., or in New York City where pecuniary intricacies are understood,” but rather chose Birmingham, Alabama as the trial venue. John C. Coffee, professor of securities law at Columbia Law School, accurately said of the case, that “much of the information was over their heads” and jurors were “sick of trying to understand evidence that was beyond them.”

This remark – right, or wrong (but mostly right) – remains true for Alabama:
Citizens in the state are “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command.

In context of course, historically, one should recognize Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in - My Hometown is the sweetest place I know, - Read 'em and weep: The Daily News | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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