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Category Archives: American Greed

“Hiawatha” Goes to War

The reason Republicans despise Elizabeth Warren (and thus the “Hiawatha” jab) is she is effective at demanding accountability for the biggest thieves, liars, and crooks in the country. Wll Street, and heads of the major banks.

Here – she lights a fire under Wells Fargo President Stumph for crooked dealing, and profiteering.

I hope like hell for a change, the DOJ prosecutes and sends this sucker to jail where he belongs. Folks are getting real tired of this “special justice” for “special people.” crap.

 

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2016 in American Greed

 

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Half of America’s 330 Million+ Guns Owned By 3% of the Population

Hard to believe isn’t it?

A very small group of “Gun Nuts” who own each over 17 guns apiece, owns over half the guns in the country.

Not surprisingly, many of the folks who own multiple guns live in the country. That is because they are hunters, and hunting different types of game require different types of guns.  A guy who hunts Birds is going to have a shotgun. If he hunts deer, in many areas he will have a rifle. Rabbits and squirrels? Generally a smaller shotgun, or a small caliber rifle. So – having 6 or 8 long guns around the house isn’t at all unusual. Kind of silly to have a pistol in the country, especially in a lace like I live in, where most folks don’t even lock their front door or cars. But – never underestimate the fear-mongering of Faux News and the NRA… They are coming to get you!

Now – most of the gun deaths in the US are actually Suicide… By a ratio of well over 2-1. And the majority of those gun suicide victims…

Are white males.

50% of American guns owned by 3% of population – study

Half of America’s guns are owned by just 3 percent of the population – and those people own an average of 17 firearms each, a new survey says. It also found that the number of male gun owners is decreasing, while female ownership is on the rise.

The unpublished Harvard/Northeastern survey – which was obtained by the Guardian and the Trace – estimates that America’s gun stock has increased by 70 million guns since 1994, with the current number totaling 265 million.

However, the rise in guns hasn’t come with a rise in owners. In fact, the number of people owning guns has actually decreased from 25 percent to 22 percent.

Females v males

The 3 percent drop in gun owners was heavily influenced by a dramatic decrease among men. In 1994, 42 percent of American men described themselves as gun owners, compared to 32% of in the new study.

Meanwhile, female gun ownership is on the rise, with 12 percent saying they own guns in the new survey, versus 9 percent in 1994. Females were also most likely to be in the category of those who only owned handguns.

However, the researchers were quick to stress that the jump is not significant, as female gun ownership has fluctuated between 9 percent and 14 percent in various surveys since the 1980s.

But the numbers do align with the National Rifle Association (NRA) figures which claim that the number of women enrolling in its pistol course almost doubled from 2011 to 2014, from about 25,000 a year to nearly 46,000 a year.

Political & racial trends

Despite any increase in female gun owners, the majority of owners tend to be white, male, conservative and live in rural areas.

Thirty percent of conservatives said they were gun owners, compared to just 19 percent of moderates and 14 percent of liberals. The strongest predictor of ownership was military service, with 44 percent of veterans saying they owned a gun.

Twenty-five percent of white and multi-racial Americans said they owned a gun, compared with just 16 percent of Hispanics and 14 percent of African-Americans.

Those most likely to only own handguns were African-American (44 percent) and Hispanic (33 percent). People in the“handgun only” category were also more likely to live in an urban area, and were less likely to have grown up in a house with a gun. Only 21 percent of whites fell into the “handgun only” category.

What fuels gun ownership?

Lead author Dr. Deborah Azrael, a Harvard School of Public Health firearms researcher, said the data points to gun ownership being driven by “increasing fearfulness” which must be addressed.

“If we hope to reduce firearm suicide, if we hope to reduce the other potential dangers of guns, my gut is, we have to speak to that fear,”Azrael said.

She went on to state that the answer is not to focus on the gun owners with dozens of weapons, but on the nearly 50 percent of gun owners who have just one or two firearms.

“To change their behavior with respect to guns, and the ways in which they store them, or their decision-making – we could have a really big impact on suicide,” she said.

Azrael also noted that she doesn’t “know anybody who thinks or talks seriously about confiscating guns,” but went on to compare the situation to that of cigarettes.

“From a public health perspective – you don’t seize cigarettes.” But, she said, “You do try to make good science available. You do try to help people think about the risks and benefits of the behavior they choose to undertake.”

Approximately 20,000 of America’s more than 30,000 annual gun deaths are suicides.

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2016 in American Greed, Domestic terrorism

 

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The Star Spangled Banner…Made by Slave Owners

As usual, there were black hands behind the creation of the US Flag which flew over Ft  McHenry and inspired the Star Spangled Banner.

The Slave Owner Who Stitched the Original Star-Spangled Banner

Mary Young Pickersgill’s deeds made herself an American icon. The name of the slave who aided in her most famous labor has been lost to history.

Image result for Ft MchenryThe 30-foot by 42-foot star spangled banner that inspired the national anthem was made in the summer of 1812 by a 37-year-old Baltimore widow named Mary Young Pickersgill.

She completed the task in six weeks, working late into the night with the assistance of her 13-year-old daughter Caroline Pickersgill, 13-year-old niece Eliza Young, and 15-year-old niece Margaret Young. They were joined by a 13-year-old indentured servant, Grace Wisher, who was African-American, but not a slave and likely working under the same arrangement as she would have been had she been white. 

By some accounts, they were also aided by an African-American who was a slave and who is listed by the census as living in the rented premises that served as Pickersgill’s residence as well as place of business.  The slave’s name is lost to history.

The flag was commissioned at the start of the War of 1812 by U.S. Army Major General George Armistead, the commander at Fort McHenry at the entrance to Baltimore Harbor. Armistead wrote in his instructions: “It is my desire to have a flag so large that the British will have no difficulty seeing it from a distance.”

That meant Pickersgill needed a bigger space than the flag-making shop she had opened after the death of her husband to support herself and the only one of her four children to survive past infancy. Her daughter would write in a letter to Armistead’s daughter:

The flag being so very large, mother was obliged to obtain permission from the proprietors of Claggetts brewery which was in our neighborhood, to spread it out in their malt house; and I remember seeing my mother down on the floor, placing the stars.”

The task would later be termed Herculean, but Hercules was a guy and therefore not likely to have been able to demonstrate such precision along with considerable endurance. Call it Pickersgill-ean. She added a final touch, without which Francis Scott Key might never had been inspired to write the poem that became the lyrics for “The Star Spangled Banner.”

“After the completion of the flag, she superintended the topping of it, having it fastened in the most secure manner to prevent its being torn away by (cannon) balls,” the daughter reported in the letter. “The wisdom of her precaution was shown during the engagement: many shots piercing it, but it still remained firm to the staff.”

Following the battle, Armistead must have understood that this was not just any flag and that Pickersgill was not just any flag maker. Pickersgill’s daughter would write to Armistead’s daughter:

“Your father (Armistead) declared that no one but the maker of the flag should mend it, and requested that the rents should merely be bound around.”

With her renown as the maker of the original star spangled banner, Pickersgill prospered enough to purchase the building where she lived and worked. She was also able to found America’s first organization dedicated to assisting women who had fallen on hard times. Her Impartial Female Humane Society arranged for employment and housing for its beneficiaries, as well as school vouchers for their children. She subsequently established a home for aged women and then one for men.

Pickersgill was a pioneering feminist ideal of all-American entrepreneurship and civic responsibility and she would have seemed the perfect person to have made the Star Spangled Banner were it not for a document dated April 14, 1857. 

As cited in the book Mary Young Pickersgill Flag Maker of the Star-Spangled Banner,” the document passed title of Pickersgill’s building to her daughter at the time of her death six months later. It added:

“Also the following described or mentioned Negro slaves for life to wit: Emily aged thirty years, Jane aged twenty four, and Julia aged twenty four years and Maurice boy three years and also all the furniture goods and chattels and effects belonging to me and now in the dwelling house.”

Pickersgill apparently no longer had the unnamed female slave, who would have been older than those who are listed. The new slaves – for whom no last names are listed — were all born subsequent to the making of the Star Spangled Banner. …More Here

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2016 in American Greed, Black History, Women

 

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More Massive Corruption at Wells Fargo Bank

I have said here that Wells Fargo is the most corrupt bank in America. They paid $1.2 billion a few years ago, then the largest fine ever levied on a financial institution for their part in the Mortgage scams leading up to the Great Depression of 2009. IN 2013 the Bank was forced to pay $203 million in restitution and penalties for fake overdraft fees in Gutierrez vs. Wells Fargo. In 2012, the Justice Department ( Justice Dept. vs.Wells Fargo) the court reached a verdict based on Discrimination against African-American and Hispanic borrowers who were steered into high-cost, subprime mortgages. $175 million to be paid to the victims – 34,000 black and Hispanic Mortgage holders.

Here they are again paying a record fine for screwing the customers again…

Supposedly the company has terminated 5,300 employees as part of an internal review. How much you want to bet not a single one of them is one of the crooks at the top?

Image result for wells fargo

Wells Fargo making a get away after a robbery…

 

Wells Fargo Fined $185 Million Over Creation Of Fake Accounts For Bonuses

Wells Fargo Bank has been ordered to pay $185 million in fines and penalties to settle what the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau calls “the widespread illegal practice of secretly opening unauthorized deposit and credit card accounts.”

Thousands of Wells Fargo employees opened the accounts in secret so they would get bonuses for hitting their sales targets, according to investigators. More than 2 million deposit and credit card accounts may have been created without customer authorization.

The bank must pay $100 million to the CFPB — the largest fine ever levied by the federal consumer watchdog. It also will pay $50 million to the City and County of Los Angeles, along with a $35 million penalty to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

It’s also on the hook to pay full restitution to all victims of the scheme.

“Because of the severity of these violations, Wells Fargo is paying the largest penalty the CFPB has ever imposed,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Today’s action should serve notice to the entire industry that financial incentive programs, if not monitored carefully, carry serious risks that can have serious legal consequences.”

The CFPB’s consent order says the bank has already terminated 5,300 employees as part of an internal review.

Wells Fargo said in a statement that it has fired managers and employees “who acted counter to our values” in carrying out the schemes. It also refunded $2.6 million in fees it collected from customers. The bank said that “accounts refunded represented a fraction of one percent of the accounts reviewed, and refunds averaged $25.”

In addition, the Sioux Falls, S.D.-based bank says it is taking steps to keep this type of scheme from occurring again, noting that it will now send a customer an email confirmation shortly after a deposit account is opened.

“This is a major victory for consumers,” said Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, whose office sued Wells Fargo in 2015 after a Los Angeles Times investigation into the fake accounts. “Consumers must be able to trust their banks. They should never be taken advantage of by their banks.”

Feuer’s office says that after the suit was filed, the city attorney received “more than 1,000 phone calls and emails from customers and current and former Wells Fargo employees across the nation about the issues raised in the litigation.”

 

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2016 in American Greed

 

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NBC’s “Pity” Olympics

NBC’s ratings for this Olympics have been in free fall. Even great performances by American athletes, and the amazing performance by Usain Bolt couldn’t drag them out of the doldrums. Now admittedly, a number of the Olympic sports just don’t convert to television, and those that do have been expanded to the point of pointlessness. I mean when you have 50, 100, 200, 400 meter events in each of the swim forms freestyle, breaststroke, butterfly, and backstroke – not to forget the individual medley, it is not hard to see why swimmers garner so many medals. It is sort of like expanding the shot-put to use 1, 3, 5,8, 10, 20 lb balls thrown backwards, forwards, and to each side. Many Olympic athletes compete in sports where there is only one opportunity to win a medal. Some of the “bloated” sports offer 10 or more opportunities…

Which devalues the accomplishment, and audience interest.

I mean, imagine the Decathlon, where a gold medal is not only awarded for the best cumulative score in the 10 events…But for each and every one of the 10 events themselves done backwards, forwards….

It’s getting like a Montessori Kindergarten where every kid gets a ribbon for “Best Effort”.

I am not advocating dropping some of the more obscure sports – the Olympics committee does that anyway by some inscrutable formula.

NBC’s coverage is the second issue. Their incessant “Human interest” stories often pivot on some personal tragedy in the athletes life. “My dog died, so I am inspired to beat the world!” It got so bad in the 2012 Olympics, it was hard to watch at all. I mean “I’m really sorry about your dog, dude…But I really didn’t turn on the TV to watch your sob story about Rover.”

How about some useful information without the fluff? How about figuring out a way to make those lesser sports interesting?

NBC knows who to blame for poor Olympics ratings — millennials and their “Facebook or Snapchat bubbles”

Not even Usain Bolt’s race for a 8th career gold medal could salvage the network’s ratings

After the Super Bowl, the Summer Olympics have long been considered the safest bet in television, which is why NBC and its parent company, Comcast, paid $12 billion for exclusive broadcast rights to them through 2032.

The problem for NBC is that broadcast rights don’t produce the same revenue streams they once did, especially not among that most coveted 18-49-year-old demographic. As Bloomberg’s Gerry Smith noted, NBCUniversal’s CEO Steve Burke joked in June that his Olympic nightmare would be to “wake up someday and the ratings are down 20 percent.”

“If that happens,” he added, “my prediction would be that millennials had been in a Facebook bubble or a Snapchat bubble and the Olympics have come, and they didn’t know it.” Ratings are only down 17 percent from the London Olympics, so his nightmare scenario is technically incomplete — but that’s the equivalent of claiming a dream in which your teeth are falling out while standing naked before a classroom doesn’t qualify as a “nightmare” because you’re not also being chased.

NBC foresaw this possibility, and charged up to 50 higher rates to online advertisers — but the problem isn’t necessarily the platform, as 98 percent of those watching the Olympics are doing so on traditional television.

The problem NBC faces is a general disinterest among members of the non-traditional television-watching demographic for sporting spectacles. This apathy could be because of the rise of alternative viewing options — Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu have each grown substantially in the years since the London games — or it could simply be that the nature of NBC’s coverage doesn’t resonate with the younger generation.

Every athlete is introduced according to the conventions of programming that doesn’t appeal to millennials — a “Dateline”-esque account of triumph in the inner city, for example, or a heartwarming “Hallmark Hall of Fame” tale about losing a parent at a young age. It’s difficult to capture an audience by selling it a product it’s already indicated an unwillingness to buy.

In the end, what cannot be doubted, only lamented, is that on the night Usain Bolt — widely considered to be one of the last “must-see” draws of the 2016 games — won his 8th career gold medal, NBC’s rating among those between 18 and 49 dipped to 7.0.

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2016 in American Greed

 

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How “Outsourcing” Has Killed the Middle Class

The twin demons destroying the American Middle Class are Offshoring, and “Outsourcing”. They call it the “Gig economy”, and to be honest it is pretty f’cked up for the employees.

Offshoring is responsible for the massive growth of the Chinese economy. Back during Clinton and Bushit American companies off shored all of the computer chip Foundries. This resulted in a massive growth in the Chinese economy, and left America without a foundry on American soil capable of producing the high density chips used in everything from TVs to our most advanced weapons systems. No wonder the Chinese Military has been able to upgrade their weapons systems and  launch Astronauts into space. We gave them the technology, all because of Wall Street greed and corporate avarice.

People work at SITEL, an outsourcing call center provider, in Managua, Nicaragua on July 3, 2012. [AFP]

A sweatshop call center in Nicaragua.

Worse was the loss of American jobs, manufacturing through the movement of factories off shore, and high tech through a combination of H1b Visas enabling companies to bring cheap workers over from India and other countries to displace American Graduates, and second “Outsourcing” where either American jobs were shipped overseas, or to sweat shops on American soil. This is the driver behind Trump, and Sanders, Unfortunately in Trump’s supporter’s case they would rather cling to their racism and blame minorities – than blame who is actually screwing them. Stupid is and Stupid does.

Surge in outsourcing wipes out middle-class jobs

For nearly 20 years Alfredo Molena made a middle-class living repairing bank ATMs in Los Angeles, despite being a high school dropout and immigrant from El Salvador.

By 2000 he was earning about $45,000 a year, enough to support his wife and two children in a spacious apartment and take periodic vacations to El Salvador and Hawaii. He had health insurance, a matching 401(k) plan, and a company-supplied cellphone and vehicle. But it all unraveled in 2005 after his employer, Bank of America, subcontracted the work to Diebold Inc., a firm specializing in servicing ATMs.

Today Molena drives a truck long-haul for about $30,000 a year, putting him in the bottom third of household incomes. He has no medical insurance. “I cannot afford it,” he snapped.

Globalization and the offshoring of U.S. manufacturing jobs to China and other cheap-labor countries are commonly blamed for driving down the wages and living standards of ordinary American workers, but there is another, less-known factor behind the shrinking middle class: domestic outsourcing.

Many jobs have been farmed out by employers over the years. No one knows their total numbers, but rough estimates based on the growth of temporary-help and other business and professional service payrolls suggest that one in six jobs today are subcontracted, or almost 20 million positions, said Lynn Reaser, economist at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego.

Separate Labor Department data show that some of these occupations have seen a significant decline in inflation-adjusted, or real, wages over the last decade.

In 2005, there were 138,210 workers nationwide who repaired ATMs, computers and other office machines, earning a mean annual salary of $37,640.

Ten years later, the number of such jobs had shrunk to 106,100, with most of them subcontracted at annual pay of $38,990. But after accounting for inflation, that’s a drop of about 15 percent from 2005.

By contrast, real wages for all occupations rose 1.3 percent between 2005 and 2015 � itself a tiny gain over the last decade, but still significantly more than those hit by domestic outsourcing.

“If a firm wants to save labor costs, outsourcing is just a way of resetting wages and expectations,” said Susan Houseman, a senior economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in Kalamazoo, Mich.

Unlike the effect of offshoring, with its relocation of jobs and plants abroad, economists know relatively little about the extent and effects of decades of subcontracting production and services to third parties in the U.S. But what research has been done suggests the practice has played a significant role in the nation’s troubling trends of stagnating wages and rising inequality.

Rosemary Batt and other researchers at Cornell University found that large employers at subcontracted call centers, for instance, paid their workers about 40 percent less than comparable workers employed in-house at large firms, not including the value of health and retirement benefits…Read the Rest Here

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2016 in American Genocide, American Greed

 

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Trump Uses Charity Money to Buy Himself Goodies!

The CHumph’s Charity scams are increasingly being exposed a no more than efforts to fund his lavish lifestyle and failing companies – with little or no money going to the actual charities…

trump_helmet_flickr

Trump used $12,000 in charity money to buy himself a souvenir helmet autographed by Tim Tebow

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee  Donald Trump — already under attack for using charity money for lavish galas and not to help those in need — may have run  afoul of IRS rules by buying himself a Tim Tebow-autographed helmet at an auction by using money from his Trump Foundation.

According to the Washington Post,  the New York businessman placed a $12,000 bid at a charity auction in Palm Beach four years ago that won him the Denver Broncos helmet personally signed by the former quarterback.

But when the time came to pay for helmet, auctioned off by the breast-cancer nonprofit Susan G. Komen organization, Trump sent a check drawn on his own non-profit, The Donald J. Trump Foundation.

According to the Komen Foundation, it was the only contribution they have ever received from Trump.

Trump auction’s win was heralded in the Palm Beach Post, which noted, “The Donald giveth, and The Donald payeth,” although that proved to not be entirely true.

According to experts in non-profit law, Trump could be in violation of IRS laws involving “self-dealing,” if he kept the helmet for himself.

“That would be a classic violation of the prohibition on a charity being operated for the private inurement (benefit) of the charity’s creator,” explained Brett G. Kappel, an expert on tax-exempt organizations.

According to the Post, the  Trump Foundation does not appear to have offices of its own and is headquartered at Trump’s business offices in New York.

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2016 in American Greed, The Clown Bus

 

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