Posts Tagged ‘Congress’
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, March 26, 2017
As of today – Sunday, March 26, 2017 – we are less than 100 days into President Donald Trump’s term in office, and his approval ratings – so far, a low of 37% – are practically subterranean. According to Gallup, his highest approval rating thus far has been 46%, which was a three-day average shortly after he was inaugurated, from January 23-25, 2017. An average of all presidents from 1938-2017 at this point in their presidency (first year, first term) is 53%. Two-term Republican Dwight David Eisenhower (previously former Supreme Allied Commander during WWII) was the highest with a 74% approval rating in March 1953. Oft-maligned Democrat President Jimmy Carter had a 72% approval rating March 1977, and JFK had 73% in March 1961. A reminder that JFK was later assassinated November 22, 1963. More recently however, Barack Obama had a 62% approval rating March 2009.
A reminder also that the 2018 Election (aka “Midterm”) is arriving quickly, and for many, it will be one of THE MOST SIGNIFICANT elections in a lifetime, because ALL 435 seats in the House of Representatives and Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in - Even MORE Uncategorized!, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home. | Tagged: 2016 Election, absentee voting, Congress, Democrats, election, House of Representatives, midterm election, motor voter, politics, Republicans, senate, Trump, turnout, vote fraud, voter, Voter registration, Voting, voting rights | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, March 11, 2017
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, aka ACA, or more often as “ObamaCare”) might be analogized to an onion, insofar as:
1.) It has many layers, and;
2.) Peeling back the layers may cause tears.
Enacted in 2010, it has been decried primarily by Republicans, none of whom voted for the bill’s passage, either in the House, which approved it 219-212 with 34 Democrats voting “NO” – or in the Senate, which approved it 60-39 along party lines, with 1 Republican (Jim Bunning, KY) “Not Voting.”
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act contains nine titles, each addressing an essential component of reform:
1.) Quality, Affordable Health Care For All Americans
2.) The Role Of Public Programs
3.) Improving The Quality And Efficiency Of Health Care
4.) Prevention Of Chronic Disease And Improving Public Health
5.) Health Care Workforce
6.) Transparency And Program Integrity
7.) Improving Access To Innovative Medical Therapies
8.) Community Living Assistance Services And Supports
9.) Revenue Provisions
Immediate improvements through reform included:
• Eliminate lifetime and unreasonable annual limits on benefits
• Prohibit rescissions of health insurance policies
• Provide assistance for those who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition
• Require coverage of preventive services and immunizations
• Extend dependent coverage up to age 26
• Develop uniform coverage documents so consumers can make apples to apples comparisons when shopping for health insurance
• Cap insurance company non-medical, administrative expenditures
• Ensure consumers have access to an effective appeals process and provide consumers a place to turn for assistance navigating the appeals process and accessing their coverage
• Create a temporary re-insurance program to support coverage for early retirees
• Establish an Internet portal to assist Americans in identifying coverage options
• Facilitate administrative simplification to lower health system costs
While no law is perfect – and the ACA is not perfect – there are provisions within it which many think worthy of keeping, notable among them, provisions for guaranteed coverage, prohibiting cancellation, extending dependent’s coverage, removing annual & lifetime limits, Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in - Do you feel like we do, Dr. Who?, - My Hometown is the sweetest place I know, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home. | Tagged: ACA, Adiministrative Code, Affordable Care Act, AL, Alabama, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Children's Health Insurance Program, CHIP, CMS, Code of Alabama, Congress, GOP, health, health insurance, healthcare, House, insurance, law, Medicaid, Medicare, Obama, Obamacare, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, politicians, politics, PPACA, public health, reform, Republicans, senate, sunshine laws | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, March 6, 2017
Imagine, or pretend for a moment that you were President of the United States.
You would be literally be “the boss of” and have access to a vast trove of over 14 different American Intelligence & National Security agencies.
If so desired, you could watch video of the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, see photographs of his corpse and burial at sea, and examine the report made of his DNA following his death and capture. By virtue of the Office of the President, there would be virtually nothing to which you would not entitled to know, or view in the agencies of the United States government. You would be able to see the code-named TOP SECRETS of our government. You would have full and unfettered access to the highest levels of secret information… including Nuclear Access Codes.
The Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Energy, State, and Justice, along with all their myriad divisions and offices – ALL Executive level agencies – which includes the FBI, US Marshals Service, Secret Service, DEA, ATF, Coast Guard, and more – would ALL be under your ultimate control, and you would be their Boss.
The CIA is an independent agency.
Because the FBI and the NSA are Executive level offices/agencies, it is NOT a stretch to imagine that the President ~COULD~ Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in - Did they REALLY say that?, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home., - Read 'em and weep: The Daily News | Tagged: 45, banking, BHO, Breitbart, business, Chief Justice, CIA, CJ John Roberts, computer, Congress, court, Death of Osama bin Laden, defense, Department of Justice, DJT, DoD, DOJ, FBI, FISA, FISA Court, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, fraud, GOP, intelligence, John Roberts, judge, justice, law, lies, money, National Security Agency, NSA, Obama, Osama bin Laden, POTUS, president, Russia, SCOTUS, server, spy, surveillance, terrorism, Trump, United States Code, USA, USC | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, February 6, 2017
Nick Hanauer, a multi-billionaire about whom few have likely heard, authored a highly publicized article not too long ago warning about wealth inequity. Increasingly, the wealthy are realizing that a strategy of cutting taxes upon the wealthy and their corporations is not a recipe for American success, precisely for the reason that it adversely affects economic infrastructure, and jobs, among other damages.
However, one needn’t be wealthy to realize and understand that money, and the unreasonable desire for it known as avarice (an extreme form of greed), and the unwieldy power that accompanies it, are corrupting influences in any nation, and particularly in our United States because of SCOTUS ruling in the 2010 Citizens United v Federal Election Commission decision which Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in - Business... None of yours, - Did they REALLY say that?, - Faith, Religion, Goodness - What is the Soul of a man?, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home. | Tagged: 14th Amendment, avarice, billionaire, business, Canadian Alliance candidates 2000 Canadian federal election, capital, Citizens United, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Congress, Constitution, Constitutional rights, economic infrastructure, entrepreneurship, equal protection, Equal Protection Clause, Federal Election Commission, First Amemendment, freedom, greed, income, Jeff Bezos, jobs, justice, law, Liberty, money, Nick Hanauer, poor, poverty, rights, SOCTUS, state, taxes, Washington, wealth, wealthy | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, December 5, 2016
A man named John Goodwin made a public post on FaceBook, which also included a link to an OpEd published in the Washington Post on November 9, 2016, which was written by Charles Camosy (PhD, University of Notre Dame), and entitled “Trump won because college-educated Americans are out of touch.” Dr. Camosy is an Associate Professor of Theological and Social Ethics at Fordham University, and the author of a book entitled “Beyond the Abortion Wars: A Way Forward for A New Generation.”
Mr. Goodwin’s FaceBook profile is sufficiently ambiguous of himself, though in his public post which is time & date-stamped 9:45AM, November 10, 2016, and ostensibly geolocated from Washington, D.C., he wrote of himself that, “I haven’t posted about the election mostly because 1) I do this for a living and most of you don’t,” which would lead one to suppose that at some level, he works in or with public policy, or more likely, with politicians.
I do not.
However, suffice it to say, that for many, many, many years, I have remained immensely interested in public policy, though I do not now, nor have I ever made my living from it, or influencing, or attempting to influence others in elected office.
In other words, I have taken the high road.
Mr. Goodwin’s public post to FaceBook is linked herein, as is the article upon which he expounded.
In order to fully understand the matter of discussion herein, I encourage the reader to fully read this item following herein, as well as Mr. Goodwin’s post, and the OpEd upon which he opined
I have responded to Mr. Goodwin’s post as follows:
His words appear italicized, and in “quotation marks.”
My commentary follows immediately after.
“…not everyone lives in big cities.”
• That is correct. The United States Census Bureau says that 80.7% of American reside in urban areas. In fact, they report that “the population density in cities is more than 46 times higher than the territory outside of cities.” So that leaves a whopping 19.3% in rural areas.
“I didn’t grow up with money.”
• Money had been invented by the time I was born. But seriously, someone votes for Donald Trump as if the wealthy are advocates for the impoverished or even the average American? C’mon. Mr. Born-With-A-Silver-Spoon-In-His-Mouth? Really?
“…not everyone went to elite colleges.”
• According to the United States Census Bureau, “in 2015, almost 9 out of 10 adults (88 percent) had at least a high school diploma or GED, while nearly 1 in 3 adults (33 percent) held a bachelor’s or higher degree.” I’m in the 33%. So I’m an elite. Thanks!
“You think they (people who eat at Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in - Did they REALLY say that?, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home., - Read 'em and weep: The Daily News | Tagged: "Once upon a time NASCAR had glory. Those days are gone.", AK-47, AK47, AR-15, AR15, Catholic, CDC, Center on Education and the Workforce, Charles Camosy, Christ, Coal, college, Congress, Congressional Research Service, CRS, Democrat, Donald Trump, Duck Dynasty, editorial, education, election, ethics, FaceBook, facts, figures, fly ash, Fordham, Gatlinburg, GOP, guns, Guy Fieri, Hamilton, Hillary, Jesus, John Goodwin, Knoxville, laboratory, liberal, musical, NASCAR, Notre Dame, Oak Ridge, OpEd, opinion, policy, politics, pollution, post, POTUS, president, public, religion, Republican, research, science, shooting, slurry, Smoky Mountains, statistics, Tennessee, theology, TN, Trump, University of Notre Dame, Wal Mart, Walmart, WMT | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, October 31, 2016
Some have accurately, and justifiably observed that the Affordable Care Act, also colloquially known as “ObamaCare,” is a big fat, sloppy wet kiss to the Big Insurance industry and their for-profit, Wall $treet corporate masters, because their profits have continued to soar since it’s inception. Note that UnitedHealth Group reported a profit of $11 billion (on revenues of more than $157 billion) in 2015, up from $10.3 billion (on revenues of $131 billion) in 2014. Consider also how Anthem’s business changed in just one recent year. At the end of 2014, the majority of Anthem’s revenues still came from its Commercial Health Insurance customers. During 2015, however, revenues from their commercial operations actually declined 4.2%, to $37.6 billion, while revenues from their government operations skyrocketed 21%, to $40.1 billion. A significant reason why, is because of the big investments Insurance Companies continue to make in House and Senate campaigns. As a result, the Insurance Industry’s tentacles will likely only get deeper into both the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
Medical equipment is pictured on the wall of an examination room inside a Kaiser Permanente health clinic located inside a Target retail department store in San Diego, California November 17, 2014. Four clinics are scheduled to open to provide pediatric and adolescent care, well-woman care, family planning, and management of chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure for Kaiser members and non-members. REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES – Tags: HEALTH BUSINESS SOCIETY) Fair Use
It’s that time of year again. Insurance companies that participate in the Affordable Care Act’s state health exchanges are signaling that prices will rise dramatically this fall.
And if insurance costs aren’t enough of a crisis, researchers are highlighting deficiencies in health care quality, such as unnecessary tests and procedures that cause patient harm, medical errors bred by disjointed or fragmented care and disparities in service distribution.
While critics emphasize the ACA’s shortcomings, cost and quality issues have long plagued the U.S. health care system. As my research demonstrates, we have these problems because insurance companies are at the center of the system, where they both finance and manage medical care.
If this system is so flawed, how did we get stuck with it in the first place?
Answer: Organized physicians.
As I explain in my book, “Ensuring America’s Health: The Public Creation of the Corporate Health Care System,” from the 1930s through the 1960s, the American Medical Association, the foremost professional organization for physicians, played a leading role in implementing the insurance company model.
What existed before health insurance companies?
Between the 1900s and the 1940s, patients flocked to what were called “prepaid physician groups,” or “prepaid doctor groups.”
Prepaid groups offered inexpensive health care because Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in - Business... None of yours, - Do you feel like we do, Dr. Who?, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home. | Tagged: ACA, Affordable Care Act, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, business, campaign, Campaign finance, Congress, cost, exchanges, Harry Truman, health, Health Business Society, healthcare, House, insurance, law, LBJ, Lyndon B. Johnson, Medicaid, medical care, Medicare, medicine, money, Obamacare, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, PPACA, senate, single payer, Truman, universal healthcare | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, September 3, 2016
Executive Excess 2016: The Wall Street CEO Bonus Loophole
This 23rd annual report reveals how taxpayers are subsidizing financial crisis windfalls.
By Sarah Anderson and Sam Pizzigati, August 31, 2016
This report is the first to calculate how much taxpayers have been subsidizing executive bonuses at the nation’s largest banks.
The study focuses on a 1993 Clinton administration reform that was intended to rein in runaway CEO pay by capping the tax deductibility of executive compensation at $1 million. But the new rule included a huge loophole for stock options and other “performance” pay. As a result, the more corporations hand out in executive bonuses, the lower their tax bill. This perverse incentive for excessive compensation has been a major factor in the explosion of CEO pay.
The financial bailout program closed this loophole for recipients, but only until Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in - Business... None of yours, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home., - Read 'em and weep: The Daily News | Tagged: #BonusLoophole, 2016, abuse, bailout, banks, Big Banks, Bill Clinton, bonus, bonus loophole, CEO, CEO Bonus, CEO Compensation, Clinton, Congress, executive excess, fraud, free ride, government, law, legislation, loophole, money, pay, policy, report, research, study, subsidize, subsidy, tax deduction, tax dollars, tax free, taxes, taxpayer bailout, Wall Street, waste, Wells Fargo | Leave a Comment »
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 »
Posted in - Did they REALLY say that?, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home., - Read 'em and weep: The Daily News | Tagged: abuse, capitol, COLA, compensation, Congress, Cost Of Living Adjustment, Democrat, Do Nothing Congress, excess, excessive, expense, fraud, GOP, housing, income, law, limits, money, news, Republican, salary, taxes, taxpayer, term, term limitation, term limitations, Washington D.C., waste | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, June 30, 2014
We’re good with Sharia Law as long as it’s for business purposes.
Think about that next time someone’s favorite religious nut job goes to court.
Because of extremist, right-wing religious radicals, women are again being relegated to second class citizens, WITHOUT full rights and being further victimized by having access denied to birth control/oral contraceptives – i.e., Ortho Novum 777, progesterone, estrogens, etc. – NOT abortion.
Those medications also treat other diseases exclusive to women, including polycystic ovarian disease, endometriosis, amenorrhea/ dysmenorrhea, etc.
The question before the court was this:
“At issue here are regulations promulgated by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA), which, as relevant here, requires specified employers’ group health plans to furnish “preventive care and screenings” for women without “any cost sharing requirements,” 42 U. S. C. §300gg–13(a)(4). Congress did not specify what types of preventive care must be covered; it authorized the Health Resources and Services Administration, a component of HHS, to decide.”
One’s private personal religious beliefs should never be on trial.
Yet now, because of extremist right-wing radicals, the door is now opened wide to mandate any employee of a “closely held” multi-national corporation, to FORCE them to adhere to THEIR religious beliefs… even when it jeopardizes their health.
Any well-read, well-studied Christian should be familiar with Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in - Did they REALLY say that?, - Faith, Religion, Goodness - What is the Soul of a man?, - Lost In Space: TOTALLY Discombobulated, - Read 'em and weep: The Daily News | Tagged: "Are you stupid or what!?" Jesus, abortion, Apostle Paul, bigot, bigotry, birth control, blood transfusion, case decision, Catholic, Christian, closely held, Congress, contraception, diabetes, extremists, faith, fight, geotag, geotagged, health, healthcare, Hobby Lobby, House of Representatives, insulin, Islam, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jewish, Jews, law, Muslim, pigs, Protestants, radical, religion, religious, Religious Freedeom Restoration Act, reproduction, Reproductive Health, RFRA, right wing, saints, Scientology, SCOTUS, sex, sexual reproduction, Sharia, Sharia Law, sinners, Supremes, U.S. Supreme Court, unclean, United States Supreme Court, war, women | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, June 28, 2014
“How much is enough?” is a qood question to ask many folks, especially some among the Wall $treet crowd.
And to be certain, the two principles of “the worker is worthy of their hire,” and “You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain” are equally compelling ethics.
As those two ethics concern our nation’s economy, we can point to times in history where various nations suffered revolution, and the most common causes of revolution.
In fact, I wrote at length about it in this blog in 2011, and observed in part that, “…it’s not as if uproars have never happened before. They happen with great regularity and frequency. In fact, they’re quite predictable. Yes, predictable. It’s called “history.” The maxim goes something like this: “Those who forget the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them.” And so, any reasonable or prudent person should ask, “What are the lessons of history?””
Just remember this: Food, Clothing, Shelter. If you can’t get them with what you have, you’ll fight, kill, go to war, or civil insurrection, to obtain the basic necessities of life.
The Pitchforks Are Coming… For Us Plutocrats
By NICK HANAUER
Nick Hanauer is a Seattle-based entrepreneur.
Memo: From Nick Hanauer
To: My Fellow Zillionaires
You probably don’t know me, but like you I am one of those .01%ers, a proud and unapologetic capitalist. I have founded, co-founded and funded more than 30 companies across a range of industries—from itsy-bitsy ones like the night club I started in my 20s to giant ones like Amazon.com, for which I was the first nonfamily investor. Then I founded aQuantive, an Internet advertising company that was sold to Microsoft in 2007 for $6.4 billion. In cash. My friends and I own a bank. I tell you all this to demonstrate that in many ways I’m no different from you. Like you, I have a broad perspective on business and capitalism. And also like you, I have been rewarded obscenely for my success, with a life that the other 99.99 percent of Americans can’t even imagine. Multiple homes, my own plane, etc., etc. You know what I’m talking about. In 1992, I was selling pillows made by my family’s business, Pacific Coast Feather Co., to retail stores across the country, and the Internet was a clunky novelty to which one hooked up with a loud squawk at 300 baud. But I saw pretty quickly, even back then, that many of my customers, the big department store chains, were already doomed. I knew that as soon as the Internet became fast and trustworthy enough—and that time wasn’t far off—people were going to shop online like crazy. Goodbye, Caldor. And Filene’s. And Borders. And on and on.
With over 30 years of experience across a broad range of industries including manufacturing, retailing, e-commerce, digital media and advertising, software, aerospace, health care, and finance. Hanauer’s experience and perspective have produced an unusual record of serial successes. Hanauer has managed, founded or financed over 30 companies, creating aggregate market value of tens of billions of dollars. Some notable companies Include Amazon.com, Aquantive Inc., (purchased by Microsoft in 2007 for $6.4 billion), Insitu group (purchased by Boeing for $400 million), Market Leader (purchased by Trulia in 2013 for $350 million). Some other companies include Marchex, Newsvine, Qliance, Seattle Bank and Pacific Coast Feather Company. – Photo by Robbie McClaran
Realizing that, seeing over the horizon a little faster than the next guy, was the strategic part of my success. The lucky part was that I had two friends, both immensely talented, who also saw a lot of potential in the web. One was a guy you’ve probably never heard of named Jeff Tauber, and the other was a fellow named Jeff Bezos. I was so excited by the potential of the web that I told both Jeffs that I wanted to invest in whatever they launched, big time. It just happened that the second Jeff—Bezos—called me back first to take up my investment offer. So I helped underwrite his tiny start-up bookseller. The other Jeff started a web department store called Cybershop, but at a time when trust in Internet sales was still low, it was too early for his high-end online idea; people just weren’t yet ready to buy expensive goods without personally checking them out (unlike a basic commodity like books, which don’t vary in quality—Bezos’ great insight). Cybershop didn’t make it, just another dot-com bust. Amazon did somewhat better. Now I own a very large yacht.
But let’s speak frankly to each other. I’m not the smartest guy you’ve ever met, or the hardest-working. I was a mediocre student. I’m not technical at all—I can’t write a word of code. What sets me apart, I think, is a tolerance for risk and an intuition about what will happen in the future. Seeing where things are headed is the essence of entrepreneurship. And what do I see in our future now?
I see pitchforks.
At the same time that people like you and me are Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in - Business... None of yours, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home., - Read 'em and weep: The Daily News | Tagged: Amazon.com, aQuantive, billionaire, business, Capitalism, capitalist, Civil War, Clothing, Congress, creative, Economic inequality, economy, employees, entrepreneur, food, Franklin D. Roosevelt, government, healthcare, Henry Ford, House, House of Representatives, housing, income, income taxes, insurrection, iphone, Jeff Bezos, middle class, millionaire, Minimum wage, money, Nick Hanauer, Occupy, occupy movement, Pacific Coast Feather Company, peace, plutocrat, policy, politics, polity, poverty, Qliance Medical Management, representative, Seattle, senate, shelter, taxes, United States, Wage, wealth, wealth gap, wealthy multi-billionaire | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, March 7, 2014
The SEC could help tackle corruption in resource-rich countries around the world — but the oil industry is getting in the way.
Angola, Africa’s second-largest oil producer, is regarded as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. And American oil lobbyists are only making the situation worse: They are exploiting Angola by seeking to delay and weaken the implementation of a crucial U.S. transparency law.
That law, Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act, also known as the Cardin-Lugar amendment, promises a breakthrough in preventing dirty deals and illicit payments being made for natural resources around the world, similar to the shady transaction recently uncovered by Foreign Policy. If implemented fully, the law would make U.S. oil and mining companies disclose the payments they make to governments across the world, including in Angola. However, oil lobbyists have been making misguided arguments that laws in Angola and three other countries prevent the required disclosures.
Off Shore Oil Drilling Rig – MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images
Angolan officials secretly profiting from the country’s oil riches is not a surprise. It is only the latest episode in a sad history that goes back for decades. Global Witness, where we work, began exposing the complicity of the international oil and banking industries in the plundering of state assets during Angola’s 40-year civil war in our 1999 report A Crude Awakening. This was followed by our 2002 report All the Presidents’ Men, which called on the oil companies operating in Angola to “Publish What You Pay” (PWYP). Under this rallying call, Global Witness co-launched the PWYP campaign, which is now an international coalition of more than 790 civil society organizations in over 60 countries, including Angola, advocating for transparency laws such as Section 1504.
These efforts are intended to prevent scandals similar to the Trafigura deal covered in Foreign Policy, which provide a glimpse of the endemic corruption in Angola‘s oil industry. Only a few days before Foreign Policy published its story, media reports about leaked documents relating to other corruption claims caused the share price of SBM Offshore, a Dutch oil services company operating in Angola, to plummet 17.9 percent when markets opened. SBM released a statement challenging the validity of the leaked documents, saying that they are partial, taken out of context, contain outdated information, and are not representative of the facts. SBM had also already disclosed to its investors that it was conducting an internal investigation into questionable payments in Angola. However, the dramatic stock drop suggests that SBM investors had not anticipated the scale of the corruption risk exposure.
Another oil services company active in Angola, Weatherford International, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and headquartered in Switzerland, has recently pleaded guilty to violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), including bribery of the executives of Sonangol, Angola’s state oil company. It has agreed to pay fines of $253 million to settle the case, one of the largest FCPA settlements ever.
These cases illustrate the urgent need for transparency in Angola’s oil sector. The successful implementation of Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in - Business... None of yours, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home., - Read 'em and weep: The Daily News | Tagged: abuse, Africa, Angola, BIG OIL, bribe, business, Congress, continent, corruption, Dodd-Frank, Dodd-Frank Act, drill, Energy, enterprise, European Union, Foreign Policy, gas, Global Witness, government, greed, history, human rights, ilicit, illegal, influence, international finance, law, lobby, lobbyist, Mining, money, New York Stock Exchange, news, NYSE, Offshore drilling, oil, politics, power, regulation, resources, SBM Offshore, SEC, Securities & Exchange Commission, Stock Exchange, Switzerland, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, UBS, United States, Wall Street, war, wealth, Weatherford International | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, February 22, 2014
At the federal level, TEApublican types have decried our national deficit, much – if not most – of which came about as a result of placing the price of a decade of warfare on a proverbial credit card. I refer, of course, to the Persian Gulf War, Gulf War II, Operation Desert Shield/Storm and the invasion of Afghanistan, etc., all of which occurred during the previous administration.
Compounding that problem was that corporate and personal income tax rates upon the wealthiest was cut, while simultaneously, the veritable house of cards was crumbling, having been built upon the miry, sinking sands of Wall Street deregulation & greed gone wild.
Nevertheless, as our nation has struggled and clawed its way back to some semblance of fiscal sanity, there have been voices arising whom assert that the federal government’s “bailout” of banks & other large, corporate enterprise has been a gross mistake, and that such a bailout should have never occurred. And, while there will doubtless be volumes written, and debates held about the good and the bad of the ordeal, what’s been done, has been done, and it’s practically all over, but the crying. So the only thing we can do now, is live & learn, and move on.
And yet, respecting one underlying problem which arose corollary to the matter, is the loss of jobs here at home. Again, it was complicated by ‘globalization,’ which – good, bad, or indifferent – is Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in - Even MORE Uncategorized!, - My Hometown is the sweetest place I know | Tagged: Alabama, Congress, David Nuttall, Democrats, economic, economic expansion, economic infrastructure, economy, entrepreneurship, Federal government of the United States, government, High-speed rail, history, infrastructure, Interstate Commerce, Interstate Highway System, law, local, maglev, money, monorail, north Alabama, people, politics, private enterprise, Republican, Russia, safety, tax policy, taxes, tea party, train, transportation, United States, Wall Street | Leave a Comment »
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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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?
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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Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, December 31, 2012
This Do-Nothing Congress is, without question, the absolutely WORST Congress EVER!
More filibustering & taxes, less law-making, less-governance.
That must be what they mean when they talk about “smaller government,” or “less laws.”
By Alan Bjerga & Derek Wallbank – Dec 31, 2012 12:01 AM ET
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow are backing a short-term extension of a farm law that lapsed Sept. 30 as the Obama administration warns that without congressional action, retail milk prices could almost double.
“I would hope that as soon as is humanly possible, a decision will be made to allow us to take action” on the extension, Lucas told reporters off the House floor. “We need to take positive action, put this issue to rest, and make sure that it is clear to everybody in this country that the farm bill policy has certainty and that we will not have $8 or $9 milk.”
The proposal is one of three farm-related draft bills released over the weekend in the House of Representatives; all of them would stave off the potential jump in consumer milk prices should government commodity programs begin to lapse tomorrow. Photographer: Scott Olson/Getty Images
The proposal is one of three farm-related draft bills released over the weekend in the House of Representatives; all of them would stave off the potential jump in consumer milk prices should government commodity programs begin to lapse tomorrow. Photographer: Scott Olson/Getty Images
The draft bill would extend current law, along with disaster aid for producers affected by this year’s U.S. drought and changes to current milk policy, through Sept. 30. It would reduce mandatory outlays by $30 million through fiscal 2022, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The bulk of the spending would come in the first year, and as such it would actually increase spending by an estimated $555 million through fiscal 2017.
The proposal is one of three farm-related draft bills released over the weekend in the House of Representatives; all of them would stave off the potential jump in consumer milk prices should government commodity programs begin to lapse tomorrow.
The second measure would extend most of the current law through Jan. 31, and the third would protect only against possible dairy-price spikes. Those two are opposed by House and Senate Democratic agriculture leaders. Representative Collin Peterson of Minnesota, the top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, called a 30-day extension a “poor joke on farmers that offers no certainty.”
The most recent farm law, enacted in 2008, expired after attempts to pass a new five-year proposal failed. Without that plan, agricultural programs automatically return to rules passed in 1949, the basis of all subsequent legislation.
The effects of that transition have been delayed because of the growing seasons of different crops. Dairy production, a year-round business, is the first major commodity affected. In November, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Read the rest of this entry »
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Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, November 8, 2012
Not too long ago, I asked someone – just an average person, someone unknown to me – what they thought were Alabama’s two greatest problems.
Their amazing response was “I don’t know, and I don’t care.”
Naturally, that was the correct answer.
The problem was, that those were the problems – ignorance and apathy.
Of course, that Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in - Even MORE Uncategorized!, - Faith, Religion, Goodness - What is the Soul of a man?, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home. | Tagged: 80th United States Congress, Alabama, apathy, Congress, education, email, friends, Harry Truman, ignorance, Mitch McConnell, politics, problems, reason, Roy Moore, United States, United States Constitution, United States Supreme Court | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Regardless whether global climate change is man-made, or cyclical… it’s going to affect us all, and we would be wise to DO SOMETHING to PRESERVE, PROTECT and DEFEND ourselves NOW!
Milk-Cow Drought Culling Accelerates as Prices Jump: Commodities
U.S. milk production is headed for the biggest contraction in 12 years as a drought-fueled surge in feed costs drives more cows to slaughter.
Output will drop 0.5 percent to 198.9 billion pounds (90.2 million metric tons) in 2013 as the herd shrinks to an eight- year low, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates. Milk futures rose 45 percent since mid-April and may advance at least another 19 percent to a record $25 per 100 pounds by June, said Shawn Hackett. The president of Boynton Beach, Florida-based Hackett Financial Advisers Inc. correctly predicted the rally in March.
Dairies in California, the top milk-producing state, are filing for bankruptcy, and U.S. cows are being slaughtered at the fastest rate in more than a quarter century. Corn surged to a record in August as the USDA forecast the smallest crop in six years because of drought across the U.S. Global dairy prices tracked by the United Nations rose 6.9 percent last month, the most among the five food groups monitored, and that will probably mean record costs next year, Rabobank estimates.
“Farmers can’t afford to buy as much grain and protein, and that affects milk production,” said Bob Cropp, an economist at the University of Wisconsin in Madison who has been following the industry since 1966. “In California, there’ve been some foreclosures and some sell-off of cows quite heavily. You’re going to see that in other parts of the country.”
Class III milk, used to make cheese, jumped 22 percent to $21.05 on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange this year. That’s more than 21 of the 24 commodities in the Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index, which rose 1.8 percent. The MSCI All-Country World Index (MXWD) of equities climbed 12 percent, and Treasuries Read the rest of this entry »
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