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Detroit: The Final Solution?

Detroit: The Final Solution?

What remained of democracy in Detroit has now been usurped under corporatist rule by Michigan’s Governor, Rick Snyder.

Atty. Kevyn Duane Orr (55)...

Atty. Kevyn Duane Orr (55)…

Snyder, a venture-capitalist CPA who made his $millions as a Gateway board-director and other enterprises that exported jobs overseas, has appointed Attorney Kevyn Orr to lead point in the latest phase of the corporatist plan: America, Inc. More →

How ALEC Subverts Democracy

How ALEC Subverts Democracy

I just saw a nasty ad about Jay Nixon, the very popular democratic governor of Missouri, being paid for by an organization called United for Missouri.  Letunited for missouri me tell you they are not united for Missouri, at least not the Missouri we want.  It affects us all on a national level because it’s happening all over the country. I’m just using my home state as an example.  If you’ve wondered why your representatives never seem to be concerned about your issues and national politicians seem to blithely ignore what the voters say then you need to read this.

The Executive Director of United for Missouri and United for Missouri’s Future Carl Beardenis Carl Bearden, who is a Republican politician and also a member of ALEC.  He also runs a “consulting firm” in Missouri and I’ll guarantee you have some like this in your state too.  Both of these organizations are classified as non-profit even though through ALEC they probably see more money changing hands than we, and everyone we know, will see in a lifetime combined.  ALEC stands for the American Legislative Exchange Council so let’s look at what they’re “exchanging.”

Let’s start with the definition of subvert and you can tell me at the end if you think it appropriate in this case.

sub·vert

tr.v. sub·vert·ed, sub·vert·ing, sub·verts

1. To destroy completely; ruin: “schemes to subvert the liberties of a great community” (Alexander Hamilton).

2. To undermine the character, morals, or allegiance of; corrupt.

3. To overthrow completely: “Economic assistance … must subvert the existing … feudal or tribal order” (Henry A. Kissinger). See Synonyms at overthrow.

Briefly, ALEC is a clearing house where our elected officials (nearly all poster 12Republicans) get together with big business lobbyists to auction off our interests by letting them write the law in their favor including tax law, labor laws, regulations, etc.  There were more than 2400 state legislators as members in 2002, nearly a third of the nation’s total.  (Mother Jones, 2002)  In return they get megabucks thrown at their campaigns and who knows what other “perks.”

You can look for yourself to see who the members of ALEC are.  They are all of the companies destroying our economy and environment while they run away with the bank.  They are bankers, Exxon-Mobile, AT&T/telecom, big oil/energy, pharmaceuticals, insurance, the Koch brothers, etc.  Foreign interests are even represented, but you and I don’t have a voice there and we’re footing the bill.  That is the problem in a nutshell.

(editors note:  “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of State and corporate power.”
 — Benito Mussolini)

You’ll also notice that there are many members who aren’t actually businesses but right wing groups promoting their agenda such as the Cato Institute, Americans for Prosperity, the Heritage Foundation, Crossroads GPS, etc.  They kochtopusclaim to be non-partisan but I think it’s clear that they’re not and it’s all one big nasty batch of snakes twisted together with the Koch brothers.  Their tentacles reach all the way from the federal government down to local school boards strangling the voice of the people and choking the life from our democracy.

Some businesses bailed out of ALEC when it was first exposed but the others seem to think we’re too stupid to understand what’s going on—or too powerless to stop it. Here is a link that shows who the business lobbyists are, who they work for and which of our legislators are meeting them to sell out our interests.  Adding insult to injury, in at least 3 states they can do it on the taxpayers’ dime.  These are “the powers that be” that we’re so angry about.  This is who we need to “take our country back” from because they hold it in a vicious grip.  They are still controlling public policy in secret with money and influence to make sure they retain the money and influence.

Billionaires control the political conversation by staying hidden and paying others to promote their brutal agendas (The Guardian, 2013)

Anybody who is part of this organization is the problem.  They need to be targeted in their districts and thrown out like the sold-out scum they are. If you don’t know for sure about your legislators call them and ask them if they are members of ALEC.

If we want to see government that listens to the people we have to get rid of all of these unprincipled, unethical, and subversive politicians be they Republican, Democrat or whatever.  Throw them out of office and let them go to work directly for their true bosses, like Scott Brown did, so we at least know who they’re representing.

There is nothing in the constitution that gives any elected official the right to meet in the dark to do dirty business with a select group of mega-rich people giving them power over the rest of us.  It’s a shame Nixon’s dead because slush funds are evidently legal now or might as well be.

Contrary to their opinion we are the government; we just need to take back the reins.

References

ALEC Thought of Non-Profit — Then Thought Not – Bloomberg. (n.d.). Bloomberg – Business, Financial & Economic News, Stock Quotes. Retrieved April 7, 2013, from http://go.bloomberg.com/political-capital/2012-12-13/alec-thought-of-non-profit-then-thought-not/

Biography of Missouri Governor Jay Nixon. (n.d.). Governor Jay Nixon. Retrieved April 7, 2013, from http://governor.mo.gov/about/Jay-Nixon.php

Carl Bearden | United for Missouri. (n.d.). United for Missouri | The Missouri Minute – covering grassroots and political issues in the state of Missouri. Retrieved April 6, 2013, from http://www.unitedformissouri.org/about/carl-bearden

Carl Bearden – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved April 6, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Bearden

clever, w. d., well-trained., dustbin, w. u., taxes, w. w., Anger, d. t., unions, t., et al. (n.d.). The educational charities that do PR for the rightwing ultra-rich | George Monbiot | Comment is free | The Guardian . Latest US news, world news, sport and comment from the Guardian | guardiannews.com | The Guardian . Retrieved April 7, 2013, from http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/18/charities-pr-rightwing-ultra-rich

http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2013/02/28/173170193/after-tough-2012-conservative-koch-brothers-regroup

Olsson, K. (n.d.). Ghostwriting the Law | Mother Jones. Mother Jones | Smart, Fearless Journalism. Retrieved April 7, 2013, from http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2002/09/ghostwriting-law

subvert – definition of subvert by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.. (n.d.). Dictionary, Encyclopedia and Thesaurus – The Free Dictionary. Retrieved April 6, 2013, from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/subvert

The separation of profit and state – chicagotribune.com. (n.d.). Chicago Tribune: Chicago breaking news, sports, business, entertainment, weather and traffic – chicagotribune.com. Retrieved April 7, 2013, from http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/sns-201302271700–tms–rkoehlerctnbk-a20130228-20130228,0,2907076.column

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This article is written by cherisplace and is posted at http://thebigslice.org/how-alec-subverts-democracy/

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The Criminal Justice Industrial Complex: Seeking Transparency Through Revelation

The Criminal Justice Industrial Complex: Seeking Transparency Through Revelation

By Bob Sloan

Like the military/industrial complex, the criminal justice industrial complex is an interweaving of private business and government interests. Its twofold purpose is profit and social control. Its public rationale is the fight against crime.  To accomplish the goals the public must be made to fear their neighbors, fellow employees…to walk in a public park or to the corner store.  If the public is not made to fear all these things, they will not acquiesce to spending billions in tax dollars on more and more police, more judges, jails or prisons.

The business niche created to profit from imprisoning fully 5% of all Americans has become hugely rewarding.  Companies have pumped billions into expanding “system-gulag” here in the U.S. to generate similarly huge rewards in profits and investor dividends.  Companies such as Corrections Corporation of America have provided an incentive and way for the “small” individual investor to share in the wave of money made off of incarceration in all it’s forms.  Corporations long ago learned that to enable such schemes it was important to get the word “fear” – and what to fear – out to the public.

To accomplish this, those being made wealthy off incarceration diversified and began to buy media outlets; a newspaper here, a radio or tv station there, digital media was created and is now controlled by a handful of such individuals.  Now entire broadcast networks are owned by criminal justice entrepreneurs and they keep Americans fearful and willing to spend billions to overcome that fear…billions that flow smoothly into company coffers and can be used to continue to expand and enlarge revenue streams. Surrounding this criminal justice industry is a curtain that keeps society’s eyes from penetrating a web of intentionally created disinformation.  Think tanks such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have been swept into the fold and used to craft and lobby for ever harsher laws, longer sentences and to “legalize” more privatization efforts.

All of this has been rolled into a cabal of companies, individuals, organizations and institutes dedicated to keeping the criminal justice industry functioning flawlessly and generating ever growing profits.  Articles and studies sometimes written by those who have had a taste of this industry from the inside, are kept from the public by the mainstream media refusing to print them.  Even when alternative outlets publish such articles and attract attention, the MSM immediately goes all out to discredit the facts given and the author.  In just such a non-MSM posting from “Transmissions”, the truth about the criminal justice industry was eloquently and factually stated back in 2001.  Don’t look for the subject or discussion reported by the MSM over the last dozen years, you won’t find it.  I’ve taken the liberty of quoting from that decade old article here:

“Not so long ago, communism was “the enemy” and communists were demonized as a way of justifying gargantuan military expenditures. Now, fear of crime and the demonization of criminals serve a similar ideological purpose: to justify the use of tax dollars for the repression and incarceration of a growing percentage of our population. The omnipresent media blitz about serial killers, missing children, and “random violence” feeds our fear. In reality, however, most of the “criminals” we lock up are poor people who commit nonviolent crimes out of economic need. Violence occurs in less than 14% of all reported crime, and injuries occur in just 3%. In California, the top three charges for those entering prison are: possession of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance for sale, and robbery. Violent crimes like murder, rape, manslaughter and kidnapping don’t even make the top ten. Like fear of communism during the Cold War, fear of crime is a great selling tool for a dubious product. As with the building and maintenance of weapons and armies, the building and maintenance of prisons are big business. Investment houses, construction companies, architects, and support services such as food, medical, transportation and furniture, all stand to profit by prison expansion. A burgeoning “specialty item” industry sells fencing, handcuffs, drug detectors, protective vests, and other security devices to prisons…

Research shows that many of the hundreds of companies holding memberships in ALEC, the NCIA, American Correctional Association or other affiliates, have been involved and raking in money off of incarceration in several ways.

“…Communication companies like AT&T, Sprint, and MCI are getting into the act as well “ gouging prisoners with exorbitant phone calling rates, often six times the normal long distance charge. Smaller firms like Correctional Communications Corp., dedicated solely to the prison phone business, provide computerized prison phone systems” fully equipped for systematic surveillance. They win government contracts by offering to “kick back” some of the profits to the government agency awarding the contract. These companies are reaping huge profits at the expense of prisoners and their families; prisoners are often effectively cut off from communication due to the excessive cost of phone calls…

In February of last year CCA’s extensive lobbying contributions to Florida’s Governor Scott and the GOP led legislature in an effort of privatizing the state’s entire southern prison system, failed.  In response, CCA distributed a letter to all Governors offering to buy their state owned prison facilities.  This proffer included terms that CCA would have an exclusive 20 year contract for managing and operating each facility and requiring the state to guarantee to keep the prisons at 90% of capacity during the term of the contract.

ALEC’s Public Safety and Elections “Task Force” is responsible for writing nearly every law that has been adopted nationwide to incorporate Three Strike (Habitual Offender Act), Mandatory Minimum sentences, Truth in Sentencing, Private Correctional Facility ActTargeted Contracting for Certain Correctional Facilities and Services Act,  Prison Industries Act…all to incarcerate more men and women, keep them in prison for the longest term possible and to replace parole with “privatized parole” in the form of a “Conditional  Early Release Bond Act” to allow profiting off the release of offenders prior to end of sentence completion.

“… Like any industry, the prison economy needs raw materials. In this case the raw materials are prisoners. The prison/industrial complex can grow only if more and more people are incarcerated even if crime rates drop. “Three Strikes” and Mandatory Minimums (harsh, fixed sentences without parole) are two examples of the legal superstructure quickly being put in place to guarantee that the prison population will grow and grow and grow…

It is no longer a “U.S.” effort.  This cabal or network of companies and investors micro-managing the criminal justice industry have realized the potential for an additional windfall of profits if expansion to the EU, UK, Poland, New Zealand, Australia and beyond can be accomplished.

“Correctional Corporation Of America, one of the largest private prison owners, already operates internationally, with 48 facilities in 11 states, Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Under contract by government to run jails and prisons, and paid a fixed sum per prisoner, the profit motive mandates that these firms operate as cheaply and efficiently as possible… The basic transnational corporate philosophy is this: the world is a single market; natural resources are to be exploited; people are consumers; anything which hinders profit is to be routed out and destroyed. The results of this philosophy in action are that while economies are growing, so is poverty, so is ecological destruction, so are sweatshops and child labor. Across the globe, wages are plummeting, indigenous people are being forced off their lands, rivers are becoming industrial dumping grounds, and forests are being obliterated. Massive regional starvation and “World Bank riots” are becoming more frequent throughout the Third World.

Today the same cabal that created initiatives to outsource American jobs to foreign countries for cheap labor,  tax breaks and the ability to not pay taxes on foreign income, are hard at work here in the U.S. – again, led by ALEC – and working hard to take their network international.  They have been writing and lobbying for legislation to end collective bargaining, union organizing, to restrict or abolish minimum wage requirements and eliminate union dues – worldwide.

All over the world, more and more people are being forced into illegal activity for their own survival as traditional cultures and social structures are destroyed. Inevitably, crime and imprisonment rates are on the rise. And the United States law enforcement establishment is in the forefront, domestically and internationally, in providing state-of-the-art repression. For private business, prison labor is like a pot of gold. No strikes. No union organizing. No unemployment insurance or workers’ compensation to pay. No language problem, as in a foreign country. New leviathan prisons are being built with thousands of eerie acres of factories inside the walls. Prisoners do data entry for Chevron, make telephone reservations for TWA, raise hogs, shovel manure, make circuit boards, limousines, waterbeds, and lingerie for Victoria’s Secret. All at a fraction of the cost of “free labor.

Prisoners can be forced to work for pennies because they have no rights. Even the 13th Amendment to the Constitution which abolished slavery, excludes prisoners from its protections.”

The influx of manufacturing and service jobs to nations such as China has led to the creation of working or middle classes in those countries, just as it did in America in the middle of the 20th century.  Wages of these foreign nations have been climbing, labor has begun to organize and CEO’s of companies that have been created due to the integration of American manufacturing in their nations, have begun to seek – and receive – larger and larger salaries and benefits.  The cabal has realized it is no longer logistically possible to continue to manufacture overseas and transport products back to the U.S. due to increasing labor, utility and other costs associated with overseas production.  These rising costs cut into profits and have caused many of these labor-exploiting companies to contemplate a return to the U.S. with their manufacturing.

In order to do this, American worker’s wages must be controlled.  Through hidden legislation they have found a way to bring their manufacturing needs back to America and do it in a way that provides a huge, silent, captive and hugely underpaid workforce: prisoners serving sentences in state and federal prisons.  Through authorization from Congress in 2011 UNICOR secured the ability to participate in the Prison Industries Enhancement Certification Program (PIECP).  This allows all federally owned and operated prison factories the ability to “partner” with private companies, lease them manufacturing space and provide adequate labor via inmate workers.

Along with this new authorization came another “innovative” program titled: Repatriation.  Repatriation as used in this context is the return of U.S. manufacturing jobs to America – under a provision that products no longer made in the U.S. by American companies (or that a company says “may be moved offshore”) can be brought back to the U.S. by those companies.  The products will be made within the industrial facilities of the federal prison industries (UNICOR) by federal prisoners. at wages of between $.23 and $1.35 per hour:

“Federal Prison Industries — also known by the trade name UNICOR — is a self-sustaining, self-funding company within the US Bureau of Prisons. It is owned wholly by the US government and was created by an act of Congress in 1934 to function as a rehabilitative tool to teach real-world work skills to federal inmates. These inmates were historically limited to producing goods for government use, such as furniture, uniforms, even, believe it or not, components for Patriot missiles. “Indeed, FPI/UNICOR’s 2012 annual report states that the board of directors “has approved 14 pilot programs for repatriated products.”  It also details “substantial losses” incurred and asserts that “inmate employment levels have dropped precipitously.” To be sure, not every job being reshored will be filled by an inmate. But according to the report, “FPI anticipates these pilot projects will assist in further reducing its losses,” which would logically induce the Bureau of Prisons to funnel as much business as possible to its 109 existing UNICOR factories, which currently employ just over 21,000 inmates.”

Today with minimum wage jobs disappearing and no longer available to those without degrees or diplomas, work for young men and women has become harder to find.  Employers can pick and choose who to hire and how much they’re willing to pay in wages.  A young Black or Hispanic man with education but few skills, has little value to employers…but they do to the criminal justice industrial complex.  With each new admission to a private prison, taxpayers fork over an average of $32,000 per year for housing, feeding, medical care and clothing. Because of this, poor people of color are being locked up in grossly disproportionate numbers, primarily for non-violent and drug possession crimes. On average they serve 3.5 years of a 5 year sentence for the first offense.  Meals, health services and transportation needs, canteens, personal clothing and banking have all been outsourced so in addition to the private prison company, several other private companies profit off of providing those “services.”

Drug, alcohol and other counseling and rehab programs have been cut.  Education – especially higher education – have all been eliminated and no longer available to prisoners.  So there is no real effort of rehabilitation.  Instead they rely upon the possibility of a job paying as little as $20.00 every other week to keep prisoners behaving in the hope of getting such work – eventually.  And when they’re finally released it is back into the same community with now even fewer jobs and for the ex-convict with a record, any hope of acquiring work to support themselves or even a small family is nonexistent.

In this manner the cycle of incarceration is begun and becomes perpetual.  Those invested in incarceration continue to rake in huge profits as more than 6 out of every 10 prisoners released return to prison within 3 years and are put back to work churning out products and generating income for investors and corporate owners who reinvest their earnings by contributing to campaigns of those legislators responsible for creating more laws, harsher and longer sentences and other means of profiting off human miseries. As the article linked to above, “Prisons are Big Business” informed readers over a decade ago:

As “criminals” become scapegoats for our floundering economy and our deteriorating social structure, even the guise of rehabilitation is quickly disappearing from our penal philosophy. After all: rehabilitate for what? To go back into an economy which has no jobs? To go back into a community which has no hope? As education and other prison programs are cut back, or in most cases eliminated altogether, prisons are becoming vast, over-crowded, holding tanks. Or worse: factories behind bars.  And, prison labor is undercutting wages –something which hurts all working and poor Americans.

Those among our society who have supported “tough on crime” legislation and adopted the “lock ’em up and throw away the key” mantra have helped enrich those individuals and companies profiting off the hard earned tax dollars spent on incarceration.  That philosophy has to be stopped by citizens realizing how they have been manipulated by the MSM and others reaping huge rewards from imprisonment.  To those involved in incarceration, it is no longer a moral or societal duty, it has become a business and like any other business, it exists to make a profit for owners and investors.

Profiting off the misery of fellow human beings is immoral and creates the incentive to imprison more – for additional profit.

VLTP would urge readers to help us battle this means of widening the gap of inequality in our culture and society.  Spread the word about profiting off incarceration, the use of prisoners to rob us of our jobs and how this “system” has developed and works against us all.  Contribute to support our continued research, studies and reporting on this topic.  We do not have paying memberships, receive no corporate contributions or government grants to support our work.  You could not receive a better return for your investment in our work and your society.

Judge finds for banks, dismisses most claims in LIBOR lawsuits

Judge finds for banks, dismisses most claims in LIBOR lawsuits

A judge on Friday dismissed a “substantial portion” of claims facing a number of banks in a barrage of lawsuits accusing them of interest-rate rigging.

U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in Manhattan ruled for the banks, which include Bank of America Corp (BAC.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and others, of allegedly manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate, commonly known as Libor.

The judge granted the banks’ motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ federal antitrust claims and partially dismissed their claims of commodities manipulation. She also dismissed racketeering and state-law claims.

The decision is a significant setback for private plaintiffs, whose lawsuits had been consolidated before the New York judge as part of a multidistrict litigation proceeding.

In a 161-page opinion, Buchwald said she recognized her ruling might be “unexpected,” since several defendants had paid billions of dollars in penalties to government regulatory agencies.

But she said unlike government agencies, private plaintiffs needed to meet many requirements under the statutes to bring a case.

“Therefore, although we are fully cognizant of the settlements that several of the defendants here have entered into with government regulators, we find that only some of the claims that plaintiffs have asserted may properly proceed,” she wrote.

The lead lawyers for the plaintiffs, Bill Carmody of Susman Godfrey and Michael Hausfeld of Hausfeld LLP, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

More than a dozen banks and brokerages are under investigation by regulators worldwide for manipulating benchmark rates such as Libor, which have been the basis for more than $550 trillion in financial products.

Three banks have reached settlements with authorities to date. Most recently, Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (RBS.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) agreed to pay $612 million to U.S. and British authorities. UBS AG (UBSN.VX: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) agreed in December to pay $1.5 billion. Barclays (BARC.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) agreed to pay $453 million in June.

Other defendants facing private lawsuits included Citigroup Inc (C.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN.VX: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Deutsche Bank AG (DBKGn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), HSBC Holdings PLC (HSBA.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Royal Bank of Scotland, WestLB AG, and Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), among others.

Representatives for the various banks either did not immediately respond to LIBOR Scandal requests for comment or had no immediate comment.

The cases are In Re: Libor-Based Financial Instruments Antitrust Litigation, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 11-md-2262.

(picture added by editor.)
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This article was written by Nate Raymond in New York, additional reporting by Luciana Lopez; editing by Leslie Gevirtz, G Crosse).  It is available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/29/us-libor-lawsuits-banks-idUSBRE92S0HE20130329?feedType=RSS&feedName=businessNews

Reuters

Why Do You Obey The Law When They Don’t Have To?

Yes, that’s the question to consider.

Why do you obey the law, when the largest financial institutions in the United States break the law at will?

Serious laws.  Laws against, for example, money laundering for drug gangs — the same gangs that buy guns with that money and shoot innocent people.

These are the same supervisors and department (Treasury), I remind you, that run the BATFE.

These are laws that would land you or I in prison for decades were we to similarly violate them.

These institutions simply get a fine that they can (and do) lay off on their customers buy Adderall online.

This is how civil wars occur — when injustice reaches the point that certain “big people” get to break the law with wild abandon while ordinary people violating the same or similar laws are arrested, indicted, tried, convicted and imprisoned.

Please click here to watch the video Senate Banking Committee Hearing – Bank Money-Laundering and cheer on Elizabeth Warren.

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This article is posted by 4closureFraud  and can be seen at http://4closurefraud.org/2013/03/07/why-do-you-obey-the-law-when-they-dont-have-to-elizabeth-warren-senate-banking-committee-hearing-bank-money-laundering/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=why-do-you-obey-the-law-when-they-dont-have-to-elizabeth-warren-senate-banking-committee-hearing-bank-money-laundering
4closure fraud

 

So, You Moved your Savings from a Big Bank to a Credit Union. Well…

CUNA MUST #DumpALEC

From the CUNA webpage

NCUA: CU growth accelerated in Q3

WASHINGTON (11/30/12)–America’s federally insured credit unions took in 742,847 new members in the third quarter of 2012, representing a quarterly growth rate of 0.8%, and these National Credit Union Administration-reported numbers show that “something remarkable is clearly happening,” Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney said.

The third-quarter membership increases brought the total number of federally insured credit union members nationwide to 93.9 million, the NCUA reported. The 742,847 gain is up from 643,322 net new members in the second quarter.

For about a month now I have planned to do a follow-up to a previous blog entry I had done and I have kept pushing it back on the to-do list.  Today I ran into a series of really old tweets that was just happened to be out of order (chronologically) on a tweet roll.  That was the universe’s way of telling me – I have to do the follow-up entry.

I am at the point where the financial planners say I should be taking most of my retirement money (what little there is) out of the stock market and putting it into safer investments.  I want to sell some of my stock holdings and roll them over into a CD IRA at the credit union that I belong to (that I joined during the Move Your Money campaign).

BUT,  I don’t really trust my credit union anymore.

Here’s the reason why. More →

Does Macy’s Deserve YOUR Business? Hell No!

Macy’s CEO to American People: Drop Dead

As a Thanksgiving treat, Terry Lundgren wants to gut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security

…Lundgren and a coalition of other big-time CEOs are lobbying Congress to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits so that they can enjoy tax breaks. Obviously, Lundgren did not take Econ 101, which would have demonstrated to him that reaching into the pockets of people will leave them without enough dollars to buy your products. It’s very simple, Mr. Lundgren. Your job and your stores are supported by the spending power of the American consumer. Robbing that consumer by hacking away at hard-earned retirements and healthcare is not going to help your bottom line.

…Such is the spirit of giving in the world of big business. Many Americans are outraged and cutting up their Macy’s cards and signing petitions in protest. You can actually choose among petitions. There’s the Macy’s v. Medicare petition, or if you prefer, there’s also a petition urging Macy’s to end its partnership with the race-baiting Donald Trump. The “Dump Trump” petition has already collected over 650,000 signatures, but Lundgren stands by the loopy real estate mogul .

The Fix the Debt coalition, unsurprisingly, features a heaping helping of fat cat financiers (whose names should be familiar to all of you): More →

NOT a Rumor – Bank of America Quits ALEC

Yesterday we posted a rumor that Bank of America was quitting ALEC, as confirmed by Walden Management.  Turns out, it was not a rumor

Today we learn Bank of America dropped its membership in ALEC, the secretive corporate lobbying group that writes much of the anti-worker legislation passed in state legislatures these days.

A Bank of America representative confirmed the company will not renew its membership in ALEC due to budgetary reasons. The bank was responding to investor letters asking that it dump ALEC.

To read the rest of Whoa! Bank of America Cuts Ties to ALEC from Teamster Nation, please click here

BofA to Quit ALEC?

Last summer, a cousin who is a stockbroker, sent me a link from a group called Social Funds.  (http://www.socialfunds.com/news/article.cgi/3592.html

As I’ve followed the corporate defections from ALEC and Heartland, Walden Management kept coming up in the conversation. I’ve not found a great deal about them that is not in the Social Funds article linked to and shown above.  Hadn’t really given them much thought lately as the exodus of corporations from ALEC and fellow cabal member Heartland had quieted down.

Well, the same folks who organized the large BofA protest at the BofA Shareholder’s Meeting here in Charlotte earlier this year, are apparently looking at keeping up the pressure on BofA and organizing a follow-up protest.  As I was going through my archives to review the process that they used to organize their protest–a very effective process, by the way–I ran across some notes I had that mentioned Walden Management.  Having just heard some rumors during last Saturday’s “Who is Controlling your Politicians” rally about the relationship between Bank of America and ALEC, I decided to look up Walden Management to see if perhaps they knew anything about this.

I spoke with Tim Smith, identified in the Social Funds article as Walden’s “Senior Vice President and Director of ESG Shareholder Engagement for Walden Asset Management, (who had) urged the companies “to examine safeguards and processes in place to ensure that membership in and support for organizations that influence public policy do not undermine” their reputations.

(The letter was signed by 41 investors with approximately $25 billion in assets under management.)

I reached Tim Smith by telephone late this afternoon and asked him about the rumor I had heard,  He confirmed to me that BofA will be leaving ALEC in 2013 “for budgetary reasons”.  Tim told me that he had sent out an e-mail to someone involved in the exposing ALEC movement that he worked with, notifying him/her about Walden’s success with BofA.  (Talk about timing!)  He said he would send me a copy of the e-mail, but I suspect that the 5:00 bell rang before he could do it.

For whatever reason, there is no mention of this anywhere that I can find on the internet, despite his assurance that he had notified people yesterday.  And that is why I am calling this a rumor as I have not seen any written confirmation at this moment–just the word of the person who apparently worked to secure this incredibly great action.

Living in Charlotte, Bank of America is a subject of great interest as it has been the target of numerous protests by a number of different groups, most notably the Pushback Network (Brigid Flaherty), Occupy Wall Street, and the Occupy groups in North Carolina–Winston-Salem, Charlotte, Greensboro, Asheville, Durham, Raleigh, Carrboro…all the way out to Occupy Wilmington (NC) on the coast.

As Bank of America is of such great interest in Charlotte— and should be of interest to all following the ALEC Insurrection– I thought I would go public with this as a “rumor” until I get written confirmation.

My personal thanks to Tim Smith at Walden Management for his efforts to use the power of their portfolio to communicate with the shareholders of many corporations involved in ALEC and the Heartland Institute. 

As for Social Funds, I’ve got to find out more about their socially responsible investment management,

 

Goldman Sachs Asks Supreme Court to Dismiss Mortgage Class-Action

While on September 6, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York allowed a mortgage class-action lawsuit to go ahead with the lawsuit accusing Goldman of misleading investors about the securities risk, Goldman wants to take no risks and is urging the Supreme Court to throw out the lawsuit. It’s arguments are brilliant – allowing the lawsuit could cost Wall Street tens of billions of dollars, and therefore the U.S. Supreme Court must trash the interests of a class, from which money could have been taken by deceit by Wall Street, in order to protect the interests of Wall Street.

And of course, lawyers in pay of Goldman have also found technical questions of law: They argue that the 2nd Circuit allowing the NECA-IBEW Health & Welfare fund to move ahead with the class action on behalf of investors, though the NECA-IBEW did not own any of the controversial mortgages, conflicts with a precedent from the federal appeals court in Boston. In that case, which the federal court in Boston had held that a plaintiff could not pursue claims on behalf of a class that it could not bring by itself.

WTF?  Please read the rest of this article by clicking here