HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Divernan » Journal
Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 22 Next »


Profile Information

Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 11,722

Journal Archives

Hedge fund managers: grifters widening inequality through insatiable avarice

Robert Johnson, president of the Institute of New Economic Thinking, told attendees at the World Economic Forum in Davos that many hedge fund managers were already planning their escapes, should widening inequality fuel civil unrest. “I know hedge fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand because they think they need a getaway."

This raises a number of questions: (1) Wouldn’t it be cheaper for hedge fund managers to simply stop paying politicians to rig the economic game on their behalf? (2) Do they really need their “carried interest” tax loopholes and their easy access to insider information? (3) Wouldn’t they rather live on $5 million a year in peace, rather than $500 million and worry about civil unrest? (4) Why do they suppose widening inequality won’t create civil unrest in New Zealand?


Ah yes, Hedge Fund Vultures are raping America, one tax loophole at a time. Read the following article to learn the incredible amounts these grifters pay themselves and learn some eye-popping facts about "these smarmy fuckwads who operate said Hedge Funds and do it with little, if ANY, regulatory oversight." From Leopold’s writeup, via Alternet, (http://www.alternet.org/story/151569/how_dracula_hedge_funds_are_sucking_us_dry), one eye-popping fact:

the top 10 hedge fund elites make on average nearly $1 million an HOUR.

As Leopold points out..those guys are trying real hard to maintain a low profile. But he managed to find data on their pay scale, in relation to other rich folks, for 2010 and included the median family income level here in these United States in the following chart:
The Highest Income Celebrities, CEO and Hedge Fund Managers (2010)

The Top Ten------------------ Average Yearly Income---- Years for average American family to earn as much.

Hedge Fund managers --------$1,753,000,000-------- 35,217 years
Movie directors/producers------ $126,000,000 --------- 2,531
Top celebrities from all fields ----$119,800,000-----------2,407
Pop musicians------------------------$87,200,000---------- 1,752
Non-financial CEOs------------------$47,100,000------------- 946
Movie stars----------------------------$42,600,000-------------856
Authors-------------------------------- $26,900,000-------------402
Lawyers-------------------------------- $20,000,000------------402


Corporate vultures who are betting against us really do not deserve that level of pay.

In economics, there’s supposed to be a connection between what you earn and the economic value you produce. Otherwise, it’s called an economic “rent” – which is just a polite way of saying it’s an outright rip-off. These guys (and they are all guys) are ripping off our economy, and it’s up to us to put a stop to it.

Why am I so sure they’re ripping us off? I’ve had the dubious honor of exploring some of their biggest deals, including the “Greatest Trade Ever,” in which hedge funds bet against the housing bubble and won big. It turns out those bets were rigged. Hedge funds brazenly colluded with big investment banks to create securities that were designed to fail, so they could bet against them. So far the SEC has forced Goldman Sachs to pay $500 million in penalties and JP Morgan recently coughed up $153.6 million. This was to settle charges that these banks failed to inform investors that hedge funds had a heavy hand in constructing securities so that they would fail.

In fact, we can now show that hedge funds helped to prolong the housing bubble, deepen the crash and profit along the way. No matter what their apologists say, those hedge fund profits came from trash securities that never should have seen the light of day. Not only didn’t they create positive value for the economy, they created billions of losses that led to bailouts, unemployment and massive public debt. Whether any of them engaged in outright fraud, we leave to the courts. It doesn’t matter. It was a monumental economic rip-off, whether legal or illegal.

To really get your goat..let me tell you what tax rate they get to use, drumroll please…

To add enormous insult to our grievous injuries, these hedge funds managers only pay a 15 percent federal income tax rate (instead of 35 percent) on nearly all of their obscene incomes. That’s because of a tax loophole that allows them to declare their income as capital gains — they call it “carried interest.”

Scotland: Total Ban on Fracking & Unconventional Gas In Sight

I really love the Scots. With both the SNP and Labour opposed to fracking, things are looking good for a nationwide ban. First they kicked Wee Donald (Trump) out when he opposed Wind Farms; now this! We should all sing a chorus of Scots Wha Hae:

Lay the proud usurpers low,
Tyrants fall in every foe,
Liberty's in every blow! -
Let us do or dee.

After a flurry of announcements and counter-announcements this week the campaign to ban toxic and risky forms of gas drilling in Scotland may be almost won. The SNP have just announced their support for an amendment in Westminster to have a moratorium on all forms of on-shore unconventional gas extraction. Earlier this morning Scottish Labour announced they would ban fracking with existing powers in Scotland if they controlled the Scottish Parliament after the 2016 elections.

The speed with which the parties have upped their game following each other’s moves shows how anger over fracking plans is close to the surface in Scotland. Hundreds rallied against fracking December and are returning for another rally at Grangemouth refinery tomorrow. A much larger march is planned in just over a month.

Although today’s new policy positions fall short of a total ban, they remain a huge victory for Scotland’s broad alliance against unconventional gas who are fighting a wide ranging campaign against the Scottish and UK governments, local authorities, and fossil fuel companies.

Mary Church, Friends of the Earth Scotland, said the sudden policy changes “are a direct response to the passionate and informed opposition from community groups and concerned citizens.”

GOP Sen. Ernst’s family actually received nearly $1/2 million in federal subsidies

Even within the GOP, Ernst is a world class hypocrite!


Sen. Joni Ernst’s family actually received more than $460,000 in federal subsidies (Headline)

Despite Sen. Joni Ernst’s (R-IA) rhetoric about growing up poor on Tuesday night, her family actually received hundreds of thousands of dollars in government aid between 1995 and 2009, the District Sentinel news co-op reported.

Farm subsidy records indicate that the freshman senator’s father, Richard Culver, has received $38,395 in commodity subsidies and conservation payments, with all but $12 of the money being used for support of his corn crops. Ernst’s uncle, Dallas Culver, has reportedly received $250,000 in federal corn subsidies and $117,141 in additional aid. And her paternal grandfather, Harold Culver, got an additional $57,479 in aid between 1995 and 2001.

Ernst did not mention her family’s use of federal programs during her response to the State of the Union. Instead, she said she was raised “simply” and taught to live within her means.

EXCLUSIVE: Iowa Senate shocker — contracts awarded to Joni Ernst’s father raise conflict of interest questions
Father of GOP nominee won $200,000 in contracts when Joni Ernst was in office, despite conflict of interest rules. Salon reported last October that Ernst’s father received more than $200,000 in contracts for his construction company during her stint as auditor for Montgomery County, despite a state rule requiring that contracts be voided if a county official or employee “had an interest” in the contractor.

Radio Iowa reported last May that Ernst said she was “philosophically opposed” to federal farm subsidies during a GOP primary debate. However, she added, she would continue to support them if elected.

Joni Ernst of Red Oak said she is “philosophically opposed to subsidies” but supports continuing the subsidy farmers get to buy crop insurance.

(And note ALL FIVE of the Republicans in Ernst's primary contest supported continued farm subsidies! A veritable grasping clutch of hypocrites.

Chelsea's hubby's the hedge fund trading son of 2 failed grifter/politicians.

Look up her in-laws - both former members of congress. Her father-in-law, or as some refer to him "felon-in-law" is Ed Mezvinsky

(F)ederal prosecutors said Ed Mezvinsky habitually dropped the Clintons' names and boasted of their friendship during the 1990s as he defrauded friends, family members and institutions out of more than $10 million.

Ed Mezvinsky was sentenced in 2003 to serve 80 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to a massive fraud that prosecutors said amounted to a Ponzi scheme. He was released from custody in April 2008, but remains under federal probation supervision.
Read more at http://www.snopes.com/politics/clintons/mezvinsky.asp#W86TSmhCqGEkOYkR.99

After serving five years in federal prison, he was released in April 2008. He remained on federal probation until 2011, and still owes $9.4 million in restitution to his victims.

And the groom's mother, Marjorie Margolies? Well, she tried to file for bankruptcy but the bankruptcy judge wasn't having it. Somehow the female bankruptcy judge didn't believe a woman who had served in the US Congress when said woman whined that she had no knowledge of her family's finances because her husband took care of all finances.

Shortly thereafter, she filed for bankruptcy, but failed to receive a discharge from her debts, based on 11 U.S.C. §727(a)(5). The court found Mezvinsky had failed to satisfactorily explain a significant loss of assets in the four years prior to her bankruptcy filing. The bankruptcy judge stated, in her published opinion, "I find that the Debtor has failed to satisfactorily explain the loss of approximately $775,000 worth of assets (the difference between the $810,000 represented in May 1996 and the $35,000 now claimed in her Amended Schedule B)." Sonders v. Mezvinsky (in re Mezvinsky), 265 B.R. 681, 694 (Bankr. E.D. Pa. 2001).

When she filed for bankruptcy, a judge rejected her assertion of ignorance in a scathing decision that, depending on how you read it, either calls her feminism into question or suggests she knows more than she’s letting on. “Her consistent response to questions asked by her creditors about the disposition of her assets is lack of knowledge or ‘my husband handled it,’ a mantra that is completely at odds with her public persona, background, and accomplishments,” the judge wrote.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2013/12/the-clinton-in-law-marjorie-margolies-100696_Page3.html#ixzz3PH7Y4Lsv

Who would HRC seat these 2 grifters next to at state dinners? Whomeve they might be, they'd better hang onto their wallets. Oh, and since Ed Mezvinsky's own mother-in-law was one of his fraud victims, HRC would be smart not to invest in her son-in-law's hedge fund.

63% want "ideological purity"; they won't vote for a DINO-1%-Wall Street BFF

There's an obvious inconsistency in the results of this poll, which can only be explained by the fact that the 63% of registered Democrats, or self-identified Dems who responded "it's more important to have a nominee who agrees with them" have not yet been made aware of HRC-Sach's intimate ties with and kow-towing to Wall Street, Big Banks and the One Percenters.

She poor-mouthed the Clintons' dire financial straits because she measures her and Bill's $80 million net worth (http://www.therichest.com/celebnetworth/politician/president/bill-clinton-net-worth/) against the One Percent crowd, which the Clintons are lusting to join. They're on the fringes of that group now, but only in the sense of being bought-and-paid-for politicians. Because to the 1 %ers, politicians are people one hires (like a well-dressed, well-spoken servant) to act in one's best interests - not social equals. In Bill's case, amusing to have as a guest at a party, but for god's sakes don't leave him alone with your wives or daughters.

As far as the really wealthy go, the Clintons will always be parvenues, arrivistes and NOKD (Not Our Kind Dear, as they say in St. Barths and Palm Beach). A parvenue is someone who has risen to a higher economic class but not gained social acceptance.
An arriviste is a person who has recently acquired unaccustomed status, wealth, or success, especially by dubious means and without earning concomitant esteem. "Dubious" is appropriate re the Clintons' wealth because that + $100 million the 2 of them have raked in for speaking fees can accurately be considered as $100 million of debt they have incurred to sponsors expecting payback if HRC makes it to the Oval Office.

(As far as the poll goes, no 1%ers were contacted. They don't have listed numbers and they have people who answer their phones.)

Bottom line: HRC's "ideological purity" as that is defined by Democrats, will not pass the test of either a primary or final campaign for the presidency.

Your choice of quoted paragraphs is disingenuous & deceptive

This in depth article of some 40 paragraphs has significant insight into the force for change Elizabeth Warren exerts on the Democratic party, not least of which is wanna be candidate Clinton. That is why the article is headlined as it is by the WaPo. But you delve nearly to the bottom to quote 2 critics - an anonymous sore loser supporter of Weiss and MOST AMAZINGLY, you include a nasty quote from that name-calling columnist Sorkin, well known for his friendship with Wall Street. If you want to attack Warren, have the guts & integrity to spell it out in your thread title. To do otherwise destroys your credibility on DU.

New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin has earned a reputation over the years for being friendly with the Wall Street giants he covers. If you read his bizarre rant against Senator Elizabeth Warren, it's not hard to see why.

Sorkin admits that Warren could have had a better argument if she wasn't so blinded by her rage:
"It is true that Mr. Weiss doesn't have a lot of experience in the regulatory arena, and at least part of the role he is nominated for involves carrying out the remaining parts of the Dodd/Frank overhaul law. It is also true that Mr. Weiss, if confirmed, will be the beneficiary of a policy at Lazard that vests his unvested shares–some $20 million in stock and deferred compensation–by taking a government job. That creates its own conflicts. Ms. Warren might be more persuasive if she focused on those issues."

Good point: Warren should have focused on his lack of regulatory experience. Oh wait, she did. Right there in the fourth paragraph: "
That raises the first issue. Weiss has spent most of his career working on international transactions–from 2001 to 2009 he lived and worked in Paris–and now he's being asked to run domestic finance at Treasury. Neither his background nor his professional experience makes him qualified to oversee consumer protection and domestic regulatory functions at the Treasury."

Free tip for Andrew Ross Sorkin: Don't say someone should have emphasized a point they in fact raised as "the first issue." It makes it seem like you didn't read the article you're critiquing.

In my opinion, these are the paragraphs you should have quoted, if your intent was to convey the meat of the article, as promised by the headline.
No small amount of speculation has centered on whether Warren herself will run for the White House in 2016. She insists that she will not. But her advisers and longtime allies say that she intends to keep the pressure on Clinton, to make sure the former secretary of state pays more than lip service to the issues that matter to Warren.

She is training her heat vision not on the Oval Office, but two doors down the hall on the Cabinet Room. Warren wants to make sure that Wall Street-aligned figures who have shaped the Clinton and Obama brand of economic policy for the past quarter-century, going back to former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, are not the only ones at the oval mahogany table.

“The worst case for us is that gives a feisty speech now and then, but surrounds herself with the same old” economic gurus, said one longtime Warren ally, insisting upon anonymity to speak frankly.

Former Steeler Dwayne Woodruff seeking state Supreme Court seat

Source: Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Allegheny County Common Pleas Court Judge Dwayne Woodruff showcased his bid for a Supreme Court nomination today with a black-and-gold-tinged news conference in the Allegheny County Courthouse.

Judge Woodruff ceremoniously kicked off his run for one of the nominations for the high court, joining a big field of contenders in a year in which three of the court's seven seats will be decided.

He was joined by his wife, Joy, Judge Livingston Johnson, the chairman of his campaign, and a collection of his former teammates from the Super Bowl-winning Steelers of old. Mr. Woodruff earned his law degree while playing as a cornerback for the team from 1979 through 1990.

More than a dozen candidates have already lined up for the race that could determine the character of the court for a generation. Among the other Democrats seeking the nominations are three sitting Superior Court judges --David Wecht, Christine Donahue, and Anne Lazurus -- and Jefferson County Common Pleas Court Judge John Foradora.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/news/politics-state/2015/01/13/Former-Steelers-player-Dwayne-Woodruff-seeking-Pennsylvania-Supreme-Court-seat/stories/201501130177

I practiced law for the same firm as Dwayne back in the 90's, so knew him from that time period. He was introduced at the conference by his former law partner and my former law school classmate, Shawn Flaherty (son of former Pittsburgh mayor, Pete Flaherty).

From Wikipedia:
Career after football:
During his football career, Woodruff obtained his Juris Doctor from Duquesne University School of Law, subsequently becoming a founding member of the law firm Woodruff, Flaherty & Fardo, LLC out of Shadyside in Pittsburgh. Woodruff was elected in 2005 to be a Judge in the Court of Common Pleas in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Woodruff announced in November 2014 that he would seek a seat on the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in the 2015 election.

Woodruff is a 1979 graduate of the University of Louisville in Kentucky, where his football jersey hangs in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium and where athletes study at the Woodruff Academic Center, named in Woodruff's honor in 2007 upon a significant monetary donation.

Woodruff is married to Joy Maxberry Woodruff. They are the parents of three children; Jillian an Ob/Gyn Physician, Jenyce an attorney and John a law student at the Duquesne University School of Law.
Charitable Work

Woodruff and his wife Joy are currently chairpersons of the "Do The Write Thing" in Pittsburgh. The program is an Initiative of the National Campaign to Stop Violence (NCSV). The Do the Write Thing Challenge gives middle school students an opportunity to examine the impact of youth violence on their lives in classroom discussions and in written form by communicating what they think should be done to change our culture of violence. By encouraging students to make personal commitments to do something about the problem, the program ultimately seeks to empower them to break the cycles of violence in their homes, schools and neighborhoods.

Pittsburgh mayor goes undercover collecting garbage; handling chainsaw on reality show.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto donned a wig with shoulder-length gray hair and a scraggly, long gray beard to star on an upcoming hourlong episode of the CBS Emmy-winning show “Undercover Boss.” The episode is scheduled to air 8 p.m. Dec. 21.

Peduto spent four days collecting garbage, working as a carpenter hanging doors with the Pittsburgh Housing Authority, cutting logs with a chain saw with Department of Public Works employees and posing as a “self-sufficiency coordinator helping community members who are breaking out of the chain of poverty.”

The days were long, Peduto said. He was up at 5 a.m. putting on makeup from a location in Green Tree, where he stayed during the October filming. It took two hours to apply makeup. “Each one of those hairs were put on separately,” he said. He worked from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. and conducted mayoral business until 9 or 10 p.m.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/7307404-74/peduto-cbs-undercover#ixzz3L6nRkAjG
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

I have a law degree, but as a teenager worked one summer as a migrant farm worker & post retirement/post 2008 loss of retirement savings worked as a door to door census worker and one holiday season as a postal worker in a mail processing center (handling heavy packages and machinery). I am absolutely convinced that every person from first level management up to board member, and every elected politician, should work for at least 3 months at a physical labor job to understand physical stress and exhaustion as it relates to the length of shifts plus commuting time, workers' needs for paid sick days & vacation days, and the impact of age and health upon one's work capacities, i.e., appropriate retirement age. At least I was not subject to forced overtime, double shifts and unpaid overtime as are many workers.

I don't agree with Mayor Peduto on every single policy, but kudos to him for his decision to experience labor outside the office environment. How many of the commenters to this article, ridiculing Peduto, have ever worked at jobs like collecting garbage or handling chainsaws? And I don't mean hauling your trash to the curb one day a week or cutting up some downed tree on your property, but working 8 hour shifts with a dangerous piece of machinery. Every mayor in the country ought to do what Peduto did. I'm really looking forward to watching this program.

"A 2016 Ballot Without Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush"

Charlie Cook, one of the most respected political experts in the country, believes Hillary Clinton has only a 25-30 percent chance of running for president, and in any case he thinks she is either “rusty” or “she has lost her fastball.” He bases that on her disastrous book tour, in which she said some very inappropriate things and also did not sell many books.

The author of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report newsletter for almost 30 years also disappointed a local audience when he did not give Jeb Bush much of a chance of gaining the Republican nomination.

Bush has two issues working against him to win the Republican primary for the 2016 presidential election,” Cook said. “One is immigration reform, which he favors; and two, is his advocacy of education reform.”

Neither of those causes would sit well with Republican primary voters, Cook said.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/steve-rose/article4189947.html#storylink=cpy

I came across this article on the front page of Huffington Post. The entire article is chock full of commentary on demographics, young voters, voter turnout & causes of Obama's disapproval ratings. The author is Charlie Cook: Charlie Cook is Editor and Publisher of The Cook Political Report, and political analyst for National Journal, where he writes two weekly columns . He also writes a regular column for Washington Quarterly, published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and is a political analyst for NBC News. In 2010, Charlie was a co-recipient of the American Political Science Association's prestigious Carey McWilliams award to honor "a major journalistic contribution to our understanding of politics." http://www.nationaljournal.com/reporters/bio/2

The National Journal is owned and published by David Bradley:
Politically, Bradley considers himself a centrist, although he has also described himself as "a neocon guy" who was "dead certain about the rightness" of invading Iraq. In the 2008 U.S. presidential primaries he donated $4,300 to Hillary Clinton and $2,300 to Barack Obama and to Mitt Romney. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Journal

Nation of Change website sells out to Big Oil/Keystone - I'm very disappointed.

I am shocked and disillusioned that Nation of Change pushes an article based on research by the climate change denier/Big Oil shilling Manhattan Institute, an organization dedicated to denying climate change. It's article, published on line this morning, cleverly uses a legitimate attack on the dangers of transporting oil by rail, to push it's true agenda, which is pro Keystone pipeline. It particularly pisses me off that the article fails to name it's own research source, a conservative think tank, and insteads lurks behind legitimate Pro Publica data on the dangers of rail shipment, without of course mentioning that Pro Publica is also anti-Keystone pipeline.

See for yourself and click on the link provided in the 4th paragraph of the pro-fracking Nation of Change article at this sentence."Researchers estimates that trains are three and a half times as likely as pipelines to suffer safety lapses." http://www.nationofchange.org/2014/11/28/govt-data-sharpens-focus-crude-oil-train-routes/ This will take you to the Manhattan Institute generated "research". Then look at this description of the Manhattan Institute from the reputable Media Matters.

Media Matters describes the
Manhattan Institute as a free-market think tank that advocates a "pro-growth" agenda on fossil fuels and downplays the scientific consensus on climate change. The Institute's website states that it is "unclear" whether human activity is contributing to rising global temperatures, adding: "Despite the certitude with which the media and politicians treat the issue, the science remains muddled." Media Matters gives us the down and dirty on the Manhattan Institute.


The Manhattan Institute has received funding from ExxonMobil and the Koch Family Foundations over the last decade. It previously questioned the science on the health effects of tobacco after receiving funding from the tobacco industry. Robert Bryce, a Senior Fellow at the think tank, regularly authors op-ed pieces for prominent mainstream and conservative publications and appears on Fox News promoting fossil fuel production and downplaying the potential of renewable energy.

On climate change, Bryce has said: "I don't know who's right. And I don't really care." In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Bryce claimed that the "science is not settled, not by a long shot." He went on to suggest that a report of neutrinos that travel faster than the speed of light is sufficient reason to question climate science.

Yes, rail transport of oil products is dangerous, and the well-respected Pro Publica does us all a favor by providing the train routes and other data on such transportation. But what an insulting act to hide behind Pro Publica's good name. Pro Publica does not support fracking, irregardless of HOW its product is transported through the U.S. to be processed and shipped overseas to the profits of Big Oil. Google "fracking Pro Publica" and see the many, many articles warning of the dangers of fracking! Then google "Pro Publica" and "Keystone Pipeline". I particularly refer you to http://www.propublica.org/article/explainer-what-is-the-keystone-xl-pipeline-and-why-is-it-so-controversial, to see how anti-Keystone-Pipeline Pro Publica has LONG been!

Media Matters' article, Meet the Climate Denia Machine lists the Manhattan Institute along with the usual suspects:
Despite the overwhelming consensus among climate experts that human activity is contributing to rising global temperatures, 66 percent of Americans incorrectly believe there is "a lot of disagreement among scientists about whether or not global warming is happening." The conservative media has fueled this confusion by distorting scientific research, hyping faux-scandals, and giving voice to groups funded by industries that have a financial interest in blocking action on climate change. Meanwhile, mainstream media outlets have shied away from the "controversy" over climate change and have failed to press U.S. policymakers on how they will address this global threat. When climate change is discussed, mainstream outlets sometimes strive for a false balance that elevates marginal voices and enables them to sow doubt about the science even in the face of mounting evidence.

Here, Media Matters looks at how conservative media outlets give industry-funded "experts" a platform, creating a polarized misunderstanding of climate science.

Heartland Institute And James Taylor
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Chris Horner And The American Tradition Institute
Manhattan Institute And Robert Bryce
Heritage Foundation
Cato Institute And Patrick Michaels
American Enterprise Institute
Go to Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 22 Next »