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Gender: Male
Current location: Potlandia
Member since: Fri Sep 28, 2007, 04:39 PM
Number of posts: 9,711

Journal Archives

Forbes: The 147 Companies That Control Everything

The 147 Companies That Control Everything
by Bruce Upbin, Forbes Staff Writer * Forbes Magazine * Sept. 7, 2013

Three systems theorists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich have taken a database listing 37 million companies and investors worldwide and analyzed all 43,060 transnational corporations and share ownerships linking them. They built a model of who owns what and what their revenues are and mapped the whole edifice of economic power.

They discovered that global corporate control has a distinct bow-tie shape, with a dominant core of 147 firms radiating out from the middle. Each of these 147 own interlocking stakes of one another and together they control 40% of the wealth in the network. A total of 737 control 80% of it all. The top 20 are at the bottom of the pos. This is, say the paper’s authors, the first map of the structure of global corporate control.

The #occupy movement will eat this up as evidence for massive redistribution of wealth. The New Scientist talked to one systems theorist who is “disconcerted” at the level of interconnectedness, but not surprised. Such structures occur commonly in biology, things like fungus, lichen and weeds. Economists say the danger comes when you combine hyperconnection with the concentration of power. The Swiss scientists warn that this can lead to an unstable environment. No Scheisse, Sherlock.

But the web of corporate control is not de facto a conspiracy of world domination. There are many reasons for tightly bundled nodes and connections: anti-takeover strategies, reduction of transaction costs, risk sharing, increasing trust and groups of interest.

A few caveats with the data set: It excludes GSEs and privately-held companies and is dominated by banks, institutional investors and mutual funds that don’t always have much in the way of control over assets. Reader danogden left an especially good comment below: “…pension plans, corporate 401(k) plans and individual funds..manage trillions in assets ultimately belonging to individuals who are predominantly not in the “1%”. …There are a number of “custodian banks” in the list — companies who hold the assets of asset managers to ensure timely processing of things like foreign dividend and bond interest, name changes (due to mergers, etc.), foreign currency conversion and the like…Again, they do not own the assets, or even really control the assets — they merely house the assets. A better list would be the actual asset OWNERS, rather than the vendors who manage, house and clear said assets.”


The Top Fifty Corporate Owners

1. Barclays plc
2. Capital Group Companies Inc
3. FMR Corporation
4. AXA
5. State Street Corporation
6. JP Morgan Chase & Co
7. Legal & General Group plc
8. Vanguard Group Inc
10. Merrill Lynch & Co Inc
11. Wellington Management Co LLP
12. Deutsche Bank AG
13. Franklin Resources Inc
14. Credit Suisse Group
15. Walton Enterprises LLC (holding company for Wal-Mart heirs)
16. Bank of New York Mellon Corp
17. Natixis
18. Goldman Sachs Group Inc
19. T Rowe Price Group Inc
20. Legg Mason Inc

3 Simple Questions/3 Answers: The USA has no moral standing to lecture or attack Syria re: CWs

Q: Is Depleted Uranium (DU) considered to be a chemical weapon? A: YES.

Q: Is white phosphorus considered to be a chemical weapon? A: YES.

Q: Does the US Military routinely use DU -- and occasionally use white phosphorus -- on our ME battlefields? A: YES.

So I submit to you that the US has absolutely NO moral standing to be lecturing -- much less bombing -- Syria about the chemical weapons recently used on Syrian civilians. We've compromised our "moral authority" into the toilet of MIC greed & avarice.

Optional Reading: And this is ESPECIALLY true, since we are not even certain HOW this CW attack happened. Instead, we’re told the US intel is “classified”. So they are saying “trust us, Assad did it”. Really? Trust us? Trust us, despite the evidence or lack thereof? Trust us, that this was NOT a false flag (by Saudi/Mossad/CarlyleIA) designed to gin-up the MIC/war-machinery/lobbyists & M$M propaganda factories to reflexively launch a US missile attack on Assad?

Please forgive me for not falling in line to "trust" official appearances.

Perhaps there's an important "Upside" re: Obama's Syrian Death Wish

Is there any way to snap Obama out of this war trance?

As if things weren't bad enough a few years ago, with the endless ME wars dragging on, letting war criminals run free, Gitmo still open, Seigelman still in prison, etc. But then on top of all that we got the Manning/Snowden memos about torture and other war crimes, corruption with corporate subcontractors, the NSA bombshell opening a whole new vistas of citizen-abuse via our new draconian surveillance & security state.

And now, as if THAT weren't bad enough, NOW WE HAVE BOMBING SYRIA on Obama's To Do List?

Why in God/dess' name is he doing this to his "legacy"?

Why is he doing this to his country? He's gone completely off the rails.


I think it's possible that what it happening really, is we are in beginning stages of re-birthing a whole new ground-up grassroots solidarity, broadly reaching across isles, across numerous ideologies, across an array of sectors of US society, and strains of humanity everywhere, and all these strands are all saying pretty much the same thing:

"Hell no. We will not be bullied into another bloody pointless war again... not ever again".

This may be the start of something big.

Masters of War

The audio is by Dylan, from a recent live performance. And the video montage is awesome.

If YOU were in Congress, what possible incentive would there be to attack Syria? *

1) POTUS and Kerry have both made it abundently clear that with or without Congress,
they are going to bomb
the shit out of Syria ANYWAY,


2) The Public is ademently and overwhelmingly opposed to attacking Syria.

If I were sitting in Congress and had ANY concerns about re-election, I wouldn't touch
a "Yes" vote with a 10-foot pole.

* footnote: "Of course, there are incentives and then there are in$intive$" <--MIC speaks

UN: Press should NOT be 'intimidated into silence' over state secrets

UN: press should not be 'intimidated into silence' over state secrets
Representatives criticise UK government following detention of David Miranda, and call for public debate over NSA surveillance
Josh Halliday and Ewen MacAsk * The Guardian, Wednesday 4 September 2013

Two senior UN representatives have warned the British government that the protection of state secrets must not be used as an excuse to "intimidate the press into silence" following the detention of David Miranda under the Terrorism Act.

Frank La Rue, the UN special rapporteur on freedom of expression, issued the caution as he called for a public debate on the mass surveillance revelations exposed by the National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

"The protection of national security secrets must never be used as an excuse to intimidate the press into silence and backing off from its crucial work in the clarification of human rights violations," said La Rue. "The press plays a central role in the clarification of human rights abuses."

La Rue and Ben Emmerson, the UN special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, have written to David Cameron's government requesting further information on the legality of Miranda's detention at Heathrow airport on 18 August.

Documents and electronic devices carried by Miranda, the partner of the Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, were seized by the Metropolitan police when he was held for questioning for nine hours under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act. La Rue said: "It is clear that the revelations on the extensive mass surveillance initiatives implemented by some governments needs to be widely debated.

"The intimidation of journalists and newspapers questioning alleged abuses by intelligence bodies is certainly not a contribution to the open debate that needs to take place. Under no circumstances, journalists, members of the media, or civil society organisations who have access to classified information on an alleged violation of human rights should be subjected to intimidation and subsequent punishment."


The Nation/John Nichols: Attack Syria? 'Nobody Wants This Except the Military-Industrial Complex'

Attack Syria? 'Nobody Wants This Except the Military-Industrial Complex'
Wednesday, September 4, 2013 * The Nation (via Common Dreams) * by John Nichols

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, backs President Obama’s request for authorization to intervene militarily in Syria, as does House Democratic Minority Nancy Pelosi, D-California.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, is similarly “in,” while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, in mum. The president has done a pretty good job of selling his plan to congressional leaders. He has not, however, sold it to the American people.

Thus, when members of Congress decide which side they're on in the Syrian intervention votes that are expected to take place next week, they will have to consider whether they want to respond to pro-war pressure from inside-the-Beltway – as so many did when they authorized action against Iraq – or to the anti-war sentiments of their constituents.

Reflecting on the proposed intervention, Congressman Alan Grayson, D-Florida, allowed as how: "Nobody wants this except the military-industrial complex.” The level of opposition might not be quite so overwhelming. But it is strikingly high. And, even as the president makes his case, skepticism about intervention appears to be growing.

A Pew Research survey released Tuesday found support for air strikes had collapsed from 45 percent to 29 percent, while opposition had spiked. “The public has long been skeptical of U.S. involvement in Syria, but an April survey found more support than opposition to the idea of a U.S.-led military response if the use of chemical weapons was confirmed,” Pew reported Tuesday. “The new survey finds both broad concern over the possible consequences of military action in Syria and little optimism it will be effective.”


How Israel Is driving the US to War in Syria

How Israel Is driving the US to War in Syria
The threat of a unilateral Israeli strike on Iran if the US does not act on Syria is slowly seeping into American media.
September 3, 2013 * by Max Blumenthal * Alternet

Editor's note: What is the driving force in the building U.S. campaign to launch attacks on Syria? Max Blumenthal below argues that Israel's military intelligence and political leadership are forcing the issue, and a recent New York Times article described the Israel lobby as a powerful presence in the White House's deliberations. Other journalists, like the Guardian's Nafeez Ahmed have suggested that the impetus for attacking Syria is part of a larger regional multi-year project to sustain control over the production of oil and gas by Western oil companies. Noam Chomsky, long-time scholar and commentator on the Mideast has argued persuasively that the Israel lobby's influence in the United States is overstated; essentially arguing that Israel is a satellite of US power, and that its priorities are addressed to the extent that the US is in agreement with its wishes.

President Barack Obama’s August 31 announcement that he would seek congressional authorization to strike Syria has complicated an aggressive Israeli campaign to render a US attack inevitable. While the Israelis are far from the only force in bringing the US to the brink of war – obviously Assad’s own actions are the driving factor – their dubious intelligence assessments have proven pivotal.

On April 25, the head of the Israeli army’s Military Intelligence research and analysis division, Brig. Gen. Itai Brun, delivered a high profile lecture at the military-linked Institute for National Security Studies. “To the best of our professional understanding, the regime has used lethal chemical weapons,” Brun declared, referring to March 19 attacks near Damascus and Aleppo.

“The very fact that they have used chemical weapons without any appropriate reaction,” Brun said, “is a very worrying development, because it might signal that this is legitimate.”

The stunning statement by the Israeli army’s top intelligence analyst was significantly stronger than suspicions expressed days before by the UK and France about the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons. It was clearly aimed at Obama, who had declared in the summer of 2012 that chemical weapons attacks on civilian targets would transgress a “red line” and trigger US military action. But the White House pushed back against the Israeli ploy, dispatching Secretary of State John Kerry to demand Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu supply more conclusive evidence.

“I don’t know yet what the facts are,” Kerry said after a phone call with Netanyahu, “I don’t think anybody knows what they are.”

Meet Barret Brown: Jailed Anti-surveillance state activist, now has been gagged!

This is getting so obscene and blatantly Orwellian.

Jailed Activist Barrett Brown Fights Government Attempt to Gag Him
Anti-surveillance state activist already faces 100 years—now prosecutors want to silence him as well.
The Guardian * Sept. 4, 2013 * By Ed Pilkington

Federal prosecutors will attempt to place a gag order on the jailed activist-journalist Barrett Brown and his legal team on Wednesday that would prevent them from talking to the media about his prosecution.

The US attorney Sarah Saldana will call on the federal court for the northern district of Texas, in Dallas, to impose a stringent gagging order on Brown and his lawyers. Brown faces up to 100 years in prison for alleged offences relating to his work exposing online surveillance.

In legal papers lodged with the court last month, the government asked the judge to instruct the defence to refrain from making "any statement to members of any television, radio, newspaper, magazine, internet(including, but not limited to, bloggers), or other media organization about this case".

Media observers will be watching the hearing closely as it is widely seen as the latest in a succession of prosecutorial moves under the Obama administration to crack down on investigative journalism, official leaking, hacking and online activism.

Brown's lead defence attorney, Ahmed Ghappour, has countered in court filings, the most recent of which was lodged with the court Wednesday, that the government's request for a gag order is unfounded as it is based on false accusations and misrepresentations. The lawyer says the attempt to impose a gagging order is a breach of Brown's First Amendment rights as an author who continues to write from his prison cell on issues unconnected to his own case for the Guardian and other media outlets.

Chomsky: Bombing Syria Would be a "War Crime"

Noam Chomsky: Bombing Syria Would Be a 'War Crime'
The nation's leading left-wing thinker had harsh words on the plans to bomb Syria.
September 3, 2013 * Altenet * By Alex Kane

A U.S. strike on Syria without a United Nations mandate would be a war crime, Noam Chomsky told the Huffington Post. The nation’s leading left-wing thinker made the comments after President Barack Obama announced that he would go to Congress to ask for authorization for an attack on Syria in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack.

“As international support for Obama’s decision to attack Syria has collapsed, along with the credibility of government claims, the administration has fallen back on a standard pretext for war crimes when all else fails: the credibility of the threats of the self-designated policeman of the world,” said Chomsky. “That aggression without UN authorization would be a war crime, a very serious one, is quite clear, despite tortured efforts to invoke other crimes as precedents.”

Before he decided on a Syria strike, President Barack Obama weighed in on the UN mandate issue in an interview with CNN.Obama said that “ if the U.S. goes in and attacks another country without a U.N. mandate and without clear evidence that can be presented, then there are questions in terms of whether international law supports it.” While the president has presented evidence that he says shows the Assad regime carried out a chemical weapons attack, there’s no chance of a UN resolution authorizing force. Russia and China are adamantly opposed to striking Syria.

Chomsky’s comments come as Congress is debating whether to approve Obama’s resolution that would authorize a Syria strike. The legality of the strike under the laws of war, though, is not something that has been a key point of debate.


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