Monthly Archives: November 2011

Another reason to hate Wall Street bankers

Ocwen Loan Servicing

I know, I know. As if you didn’t have reason enough to hate bank executives for the economic collapse. The fact that a mortgage company preyed on a 96-year-old woman and then tried to foreclose on her, makes those occupying their cities and towns all the more important. Luckily we learn that the 96-year-old woman has been able to temporarily keep the tentacles of Ocwen Loan Servicing at bay. A judge granted her a temporary restraining order against the company.

This is how the woman and her son were snookered:

Washington and her Alzheimer’s-afflicted son, Hobert (now deceased), signed mortgage papers in late 2006 only to learn afterward that the monthly payment and fees were far larger than they had understood. Washington claims that the people who sold her the loan purposely deceived her about the costs and that their deception constituted predatory lending and fraud.

Can you imagine how many other people were taken advantage of this way?

Hank Paulson: Criminal? Insider Trading?

If Martha Stewart went to jail for engaging in some friendly insider trading, what about the former Goldman Sachs CEO and Secretary of the Treasury?

After a perfunctory discussion of the market turmoil, the fund manager says, the discussion turned to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Paulson said he had erred by not punishing Bear Stearns shareholders more severely. The secretary, then 62, went on to describe a possible scenario for placing Fannie and Freddie into “conservatorship” — a government seizure designed to allow the firms to continue operations despite heavy losses in the mortgage markets.

Apparently one fund manager in attendance was shocked that Paulson would divulge such information to them. Of course there is no way to know whether those present at this little insider training happy hour actually acted on the information.

Freeport-McMoRan: Paying the police that strikers deal with


Imagine If the Koch brothers were paying the NYPD as Occupy Wall Street protesters were camping out in Zucotti park? This is what Freeport-McMoRan a Phoenix, AZ corporation is doing in Indonesia.

The strikers have a reason to be wary for their safety: Freeport is paying millions of dollars directly to the police officers who guard its mine, although Indonesia’s police force has a history of brutality and corruption. When the National Police chief admitted to these payments last month, he called it “lunch money,” writing it off as “operational funding given directly to police personnel to help them make ends meet.” A 2005 investigation by the New York Times found that individual military commanders had received tens of thousands of dollars, in one case up to $150,000, from Freeport. Ironically, the mining company allowed the officers to eat lunch (and breakfast and dinner) in the company mess hall.

So who are those cops and military brass going to show favoritism towards? It won’t be those strikers that are costing Freeport-McMoRan eighteen to nineteen million a day. These strikers currently make between $1.50 to $3 an hour. You would think with the amount of money this corporation is hauling in it would buy itself some labor peace and pay their workers decently.

Global solidarity helps paper worker union correct management mistake

USW Paper Worker
cliff1066™ /Foter

It’s as if these corporations cannot think on their own. Aren’t they supposed to be all about saving money and keeping the peace so that profit making goes on undisturbed? Huhtamaki saw that their health care plan was financially a problem for them, so they gave workers the shaft and sought to introduce a deductible plan that was horrible.

It took USW local 4-54 reaching out to unions overseas to get results that were palatable for everyone.

USW linked up the local with the Finnish union and the Australian Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), Local 4-54 President Al Smith said.  Those unions put pressure on Huhtamaki’s Finnish parent firm. CFMEU told Huhtamaki it was treating its U.S. workers unfairly on health care. All that forced Huhtamaki to junk its health care scheme and bargain reasonably.

Then USW went one step further, and helped its local find a replacement health care administrator, POMCO. It could save the Huhtamaki $500,000 a year by taking over management of the Fulton plant’s current HMO plan from a company-wide administrator, Smith explained.

The take away I get from all of this is be reasonable!

Secret Fed Loans: Why it’s OK to hate bankers

The Fed gave secret loans to banks
wallyg /Foter

Yep. It’s still aright to think that the banks are the scum of the earth. It’s still alright for the Occupy movement to do what they do and harass bankers if they can. I say all this because today we learn that the Federal Reserve gave 13 billion in secret loans to these bankers banksters.

Bankers didn’t mention that they took tens of billions of dollars in emergency loans at the same time they were assuring investors their firms were healthy. And no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its January issue.

Saved by the bailout, bankers lobbied against government regulations, a job made easier by the Fed, which never disclosed the details of the rescue to lawmakers even as Congress doled out more money and debated new rules aimed at preventing the next collapse.

Banks like Goldman Sachs are the enemy. Did you know Goldman actually took back money from a community bank that had opened an account for Occupy Wall Street?

Gas station workers treated unfairly in Christie’s New Jersey

NJ Gas Station Workers Treated Unfairly
The U.S. National Archives /Foter

 So tell me why did it take the Department of Labor to get to the bottom of this?

The Wage and Hour Division’s ongoing enforcement efforts in New Jersey’s gas station industry have revealed consistent and widespread noncompliance with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions. To combat this culture of noncompliance, the division is conducting a multiyear enforcement initiative aimed at remedying systemic violations, informing gas station workers of their rights, and educating employers of their responsibilities under the FLSA. Under this initiative, the division conducted 74 investigations of gas station facilities throughout the state of New Jersey in 2011, recovering $1,014,895 in back wages for 295 workers who were denied fair compensation for all hours of their work.

It would seem to me that this is an issue that the Christie administration could have easily taken care of. Gas stations are a huge business in New Jersey it’s not like this issue was hiding under the radar.

The founder of Adbusters on Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street
Rob Sheridan /Foter

The New York Times just posted a piece to their website about the founder of Adbusters Kalle Lasn. There’s one paragraph in the article where Lasn outlines his goals that he’d like to see OWS achieve.

Mr. Lasn has long believed that Wall Street and vast corporate wealth have sent the United States into what he calls “terminal decline.” But unlike many people involved in the protests, he also has specific goals he would like to see reached. He wants to see, among other things, “a Robin Hood tax” on all financial transactions, a restoration of the Glass-Steagall Act that erected barriers between banking and investing, a ban on certain types of high-frequency trading and the overturning of the Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case.

And who said the movement didn’t have any goals? I’m quite sure there are many who would agree with Mr. Lasn.

I hate Pfizer for their Chantix evilness

Chantix Kills
The Doctr /Foter

For the amount of pain Pfizer has caused people you would think that their profits would be seriously impacted. The audacity of drug makers needs to be more widely known. They will put a drug out there knowing about some of the bad effects it can have on people. Even when they genuinely don’t foresee something going wrong with a drug released to market, they will often use PR to spin or cover up the mater while continuing to make millions in profits off the drug.

Take a look at Chantix:

Over 90 percent of the reported suicides of people taking anti-smoking drugs over the last 13 years were people taking the drug Chantix (varenicline). And the drug was on the market for only four of those years. Add in other safety concerns about varenicline, and you’re left with an extremely poor choice for people who want to quit smoking.

It’s really a shame because what this will do is stop people from seeking to quit the habit of smoking cigarettes.

Why don’t the US, EU and UK believe in climate change?

EU, US and UK don't believe in climate change

Disgusting. If these governments actually beleived in climate change and sought to do something about it, they wouldn’t be bullying poorer developing nations.

Murray Worthy, of the World Development Movement, said: “The US, UK and EU are using the same strong-arm tactics to bribe developing countries that we saw at Copenhagen. Abandoning their previous commitments to provide finance to help developing countries deal with climate change, they are now saying finance will only be available to countries that agree to a new deal that effectively abandons the Kyoto treaty.”

Basically the US, EU and UK are talking out both sides of their mouths. If I were in control of the Durban conference I’d ban these three entities from even having a chance to speak. They’re actually trying to get countries to agree to deals that are weaker than Kyoto!

In China workers go on strike – The world is not flat

Chinese workers on strike

I’m sure this probably comes as a blow to Mr. Friedman’s – The World is Flat thinking, but workers in China are not happy.

In Shenzhen, 1,000 workers went on strike Nov. 22 at a factory owned by a Taiwanese computer-parts maker after the company required staff to work overtime from 6 p.m. to midnight, New York-based China Labor Watch said in a statement. A day earlier, workers at a Shenzhen factory owned by lingerie-maker Top Form International Ltd. struck over wages and “unachievable” production quotas, the group reported. Last week, 7,000 workers at a shoe factory struck in Dongguan, the Hong Kong-based China Labor Bulletin reported.

It looks like in the global race to the bottom many corporations are probably going to leave China. They’ll look to relocate to some new country where they can start all over again. They’ll keep this up until oil prices rise to a level where off shoring becomes uneconomical.