Shock Doctrine: The Motive

Money.

(CBS) Several financial giants that received federal bailout money in the last year paid out bonuses to employees in 2008 that greatly exceeded the amount of profit generated by the banks, according to a study on executive compensation released by New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo Thursday. Despite claims by bank executives that bonuses are tied to the company’s performance, the report states that “there is no clear rhyme or reason to how the banks compensate or reward their employees.” Cuomo’s investigation “suggests a disconnect between compensation and bank performance that resulted in a ‘heads I win, tails you lose’ bonus system.”

According to the report:

  • Goldman Sachs, which earned $2.3 billion last year and received $10 billion in TARP funding, paid out $4.8 billion in bonuses in 2008 – more than double their net income.
  • Morgan Stanley, which earned $1.7 billion last year and received $10 billion in bailout funds, handed out $4.475 billion in bonuses, nearly three times their net income.
  • JPMorgan Chase, which earned $5.6 billion in 2008 and received $25 billion from the government, paid out $8.69 billion in bonus money.
  • Citigroup and Merrill Lynch lost a combined $54 billion last year. They received a total of $55 billion in bailouts and paid out $9 billion in combined bonuses. ($5.33 billion for Citigroup; $3.6 billion for Merrill Lynch, which was subsequently acquired by Bank of America.)

If you haven’t read Matt Taibi’s exposé of Goldman Sachs, what’s stopping you!?!?!?!

The People Don’t Get What The People Want

AMY GOODMAN: Why can’t it happen, since polls show most people are for it?

SEN. RUSS FEINGOLD: I guarantee you. I know the members of Congress, and it’s not going to pass in this Congress. So, there are certain things that can’t happen right away, and this is one of them. But I do support a single-payer idea.

Um, democracy anyone? Anyway the fix is in, single payer healthcare is being kept off the ‘table’ (crowded out by nukes earmarked for bombing Iran or not prosecuting war criminals, there’s only so much room on ‘the table’ and we must look forward dontcha know)

Health care activists disrupted a Senate Finance Committee hearing Tuesday, standing up one after the other as Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) tried to restore order. As soon as police escorted one protester out of the room, another would stand up, criticizing the committee for convening a panel of 15 experts and excluding witnesses who support creating a Medicare system for all Americans. About eight were led out of the hearing.

Baucus’ response? “We need more police.”

Baucus eventually quieted the crowd, and said, “I want you to know I care deeply about your views.”

Is it getting boring putting the regulation sardonic Change after every example of continuity of corporate empire? Still, I guess they had to use that as- Suckers! would have blown the whole caper. Whatevs.

PS. Report from the scene-

It has finally happened right here in the United States. Citizens who believe healthcare is a human right have been arrested and are being processed like criminals through the Southeast District of Columbia police station. Their crime? Asking for single payer healthcare reform – publicly funded, privately delivered healthcare – to be discussed during the Congressional hearings on reform.

Doctors and other single payer activists were handcuffed and went to jail today speaking up for single payer to be at the table in the Senate finance Committee’s roundtable discussion on healthcare access and coverage. In stark contrast, Karen Ignagni, head of the industry lobby group American Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) was escorted into the room like royalty by staff members of the Senate committee. Clearly, the position of the United States Senate is not with the majority of Americans who support a national, public insurance system.

It made me physically ill to see Maryland pediatrician Margaret Flowers cuffed like a criminal and pushed out the door as the Senators waited to begin their staged roundtable discussion. It made me want to scream. It made me proud of them for being bold but ashamed that not one Senator spoke up for their own citizen-protestors and asked that they at least be allowed to speak. But the insistence that the citizens rising in protest be arrested continued from the chair with each incident.

Corporate Media Covers Up Its Corruption

Journo wins Pulitzer prize for investigation that found the massive coordinated Pentagon program to feed retired military into the media as pundits, whom the media welcome to pimp the Iraq war, media don’t mention it, try to act surprised, Glenn Greenwald

Awarded to David Barstow of The New York Times for his tenacious reporting that revealed how some retired generals, working as radio and television analysts, had been co-opted by the Pentagon to make its case for the war in Iraq, and how many of them also had undisclosed ties to companies that benefited from policies they defended.

By whom were these “ties to companies” undisclosed and for whom did these deeply conflicted retired generals pose as “analysts”?  ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN and Fox — the very companies that have simply suppressed the story from their viewers.

Corporate Governance

Government officials handed confidential police intelligence about environmental activists to the energy giant E.ON before a planned peaceful demonstration, according to private emails seen by the Guardian.

Posted in Authoritarianism, Surveillance State. Tags: . Comments Off on Corporate Governance

Virgin Begins Assault on Net Neutrality

Virgin Media CEO Neil Berkett has attacked the principle of net neutrality, whereby internet service providers do not interfere with or degrade the speed at which content is delivered from websites to consumers, branding it as “bollocks”.

Berkett’s cable operator ranks as the second largest internet service provider in the UK with approximately 3.6m customers.

In an interview with the Royal Television Society’s Television magazine, Berkett said that “this net neutrality thing is a load of bollocks”, and revealed that Virgin is already in talks with unnamed content providers about paying to have their content delivered faster than others.

Feeding into the debate between internet service providers and the BBC over iPlayer, Berkett even warned that public service broadcasters who choose not to pay for faster access to Virgin’s subscriber base would end up in “bus lanes”, effectively having their content delivered to consumers at a lower speed.

Thus far, Ofcom has made little comment on the network neutrality debate. In 2007, long before the current iPlayer discussions, the then Ofcom policy chief Douglas Scott indicated that the regulator planned a “hands off” approach to the issue. Scott has since departed the regulator for Channel 4.

[nb. in original article ‘bollocks’ was censored, I however filled in the full word as I hate censorship like a motherfucking cunt].

Note how a regulator has joined a corporation directly involved in the sector he was paid to regulate on the public behalf, the corporatocracy abide! Also via the same Boing Boing post that alerted me to this some history of what Virgin media really is (although I hold no affection for Branson, a public school elite egomaniac -if you think he is a friendly beardy man of the people, then go see Marie Antoinette, I hear she has some cake for you- so you can stick the brand up your arse)-

Charlie’s Diary: Around 1997, the UK installed a cable TV and cable internet infrastructure. Digging up hundreds of thousands of streets is expensive, so two limited-term regional monopolies were granted to cable operators, NTL and Telewest. After a while they began rolling out broadband internet on their networks (around 2000, if memory serves), and underwent the harsh learning curve associated with becoming an ISP. Then something obvious happened. In 2006, the two loss-making cablecos merged to form one mammoth blundering mess, NTL/Telewest. And also in 2006, the new hybrid purchased Branson’s Virgin Mobile brand (then a cellphone franchise) and began the process of rebranding, from February 2007, as Virgin Media.

So tediously here we go for the UK, corporations want to turn this into a class/capital stratified web. The people most responsible for the internet are steadfastly against this and enthusiastically back net neutrality, only money grubbing suits want to wreck this and turn it into a McInternet. At a time when corporate dominance in the world is starting to be challenged as people awake to the hateful ideology behind it for the internet to fall to them would be terrible.

A friend of mine used to rent a flat in central London that overlooked what was then the ITC’s offices (they were absorbed into Ofcom a few years ago, 03). We could see in quite easily and observed that the senior management were rarely there and enjoyed lunch breaks of an average 3 hours, a lot of the rest of the staff also enjoyed very flexible lunches. We concluded it must be a great job and maybe a lot of the people they regulate were anxious to be friendly with them and invited them to long lunches, who knows? Anyway Ofcom taking a hands off approach is tantamount to doing the corporations jobs of destroying Net Neutrality. We must insist on legislation enshrining the NetNeutral principle in law before they surreptitiously do away with it. What this ultimately shows is how crucial infrastructure should be publicly owned in a democratic context and responsive to the citizen’s, paid for by just and redistributive taxes on …corporations. That would require a government of, by and for the people, not the corporate incest we have now.  Oh well you can dream.