Sunday And Thoughts

My Sunday and I have very little to amuse my reader….I try to be as an FYI blog on weekends so my friends and readers learn something they may not be aware of…..

Did anyone see the original “Rollerball”?

In that world corporations control everything including the sport of Rollerball.

I brought this up because corporations are becoming so powerful that they control everything….and I mean everything….

“There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today … The world is a collage of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable by-laws of business.” 

The famous monologue from the film Network delivered by actor Ned Beatty in 1976 reflected growing anxiety at the time that corporate power could eventually overturn democracy. Today, what was feared 40 years ago is becoming a reality. Corporations have become the nations of the world and they increasingly act as such.

Last month, Facebook announced that it is introducing its own currency, Libra, which the more than two billion users (or “citizens”) of the platform will be able to use to pay for goods and services.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/07/24/rise-corporate-nations

Let me wax political for a moment…..

It is the 2020 election cycle and the big decision for the American people is a form of Left populism or a continuing of the control by corporations through the corporatist candidates that the media labels as “centrists”

It is time for the corporations to go back to their function….the business world and leave the democratic stuff to the people and the election process.

More thoughts…..recently the president of Brazil was in DC for a visit and as he walked u to a near-by mic he gave his idea on saving the Earth…..

Bolsonaro’s comment was the result of a reporter asking him about whether Brazil can simultaneously grow more food while protecting the environment. And this question is the crucial context to understand Bolsonaro’s reply: “It’s enough to eat a little less. You talk about environmental pollution. It’s enough to poop every other day. That will be better for the whole world.”

‘Poop every other day’ to save Earth says Brazilian president as he destroys the Amazon

One of those probing question in life….we have been told by Trump that he is a genius, a really smart person and went to the best schools…..shall we look into that claim?

President Donald Trump spends a lot of time talking about what a “genius” he is. Even before running for office, Trump liked to tout his intelligence. Over the years, Trump also claimed that he “went to the best schools,” and that he “got good marks.” So where did Donald Trump go to college? Before he rose to prominence as a celebrity businessman, Trump attended two different universities, including an Ivy League school.

According to The Washington Post, spent two years at Fordham University — a Jesuit college in New York — before transferring to the University of Pennsylvania. Trump graduated from UPenn in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in economics. During his time at UPenn, he took undergraduate classes at the highly regarded Wharton School of business, though he did not obtain an MBA.

https://www.elitedaily.com/p/where-did-donald-trump-go-to-college-he-doubled-up-1823671

A thought from a library to illustrate how much you can save by using a library for your reading pleasures…..

receipt from a public library that displays and keeps track of the amount of money saved by patrons who borrow books instead of buying them is sparking debate online about the thousands of dollars that some say should be going back to authors.

The viral screenshot of a Wichita Public Library receipt was first posted by a Reddit user who had recently noticed that the library was keeping track of the member’s savings throughout the year and since they’ve been using the library. According to the user, who added context in the post’s replies, it is money that’s been accumulated by a six-person family that goes to the library on a weekly basis. Still, the $7,078.76 savings since they have been going to the library is leaving people in shock.

“Wow that’s brilliant! Seeing those figures might encourage more people to use a library!” another Redditor commented.

https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/library-receipt-goes-viral-7000-savings-214356680.html

Most of us know how much Trump hated/hates Obama….he has tried to undo everything Obama accomplished….and now a bit of karma could be on the horizon…..

Trump Tower’s current address is 725 5th Avenue in New York City. But if thousands of petitioners have their way, it will be 725 President Barack H. Obama Avenue, the Huffington Post reports. More than 130,000 people have so far signed a MoveOn.org petition to rename the portion of Manhattan’s 5th Avenue that is between 56th and 57th streets—where Trump Tower sits. “The City of Los Angeles recently honored former President Barack Obama by renaming a stretch of the 134 Freeway near Downtown LA in his honor,” the petition reads. “We request the New York City Mayor and City Council do the same.”

That ought to get his juices flowing red……

Finally….the Kingdom of Jordan has come up with a unique museum to attract tourists…..the museum is in the waters off the resort town of Aqaba…..photos tell the story…..

https://www.middleeasteye.net/discover/in-pictures-jordan-underwater-museum-aqaba-tanks

My Sunday now begins with MoMo and her walk….and her game she plays with that damn pesky squirrel.

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

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Farmers Get Help

Yesterday Our Beloved Supreme Leader had a presser to announce his aid to the American farmer that may have trouble with the tariffs……and they all bow down……

With more than a dozen farmers at his side, President Trump announced a $16 billion aid package to compensate farmers for their losses in the trade war with China. “This support for farmers will be paid for by the billions of dollars the Treasury takes in” from China, he said. That’s not the way it works, the Washington Post points out: China does not pay the tariffs; importers do. Some importers then pass the cost on to American consumers. The administration had announced $12 billion in emergency measures in July. The relief announced Thursday will be distributed to farmers in three installments, with the first payment in July or August, the others in November and January 2020, if the tariffs are still in place.

Randy Spronk, a hog farmer and past president of the National Pork Producers Council who attended the White House meeting, said farmers realize the aid will not make up for their losses in a trade war. “But it makes enough of a difference to keep a lot of farmers so they can survive,” Spronk said, per the Post. The aid for farmers will ultimately come from taxpayers, said one expert, ABC reports. “Do the Chinese pay some of the tariff? Yes, probably in specific cases,” he said. “Do they pay most of it? No, the consumer pays most of it ultimately.” The American Farm Bureau and the National Farmers Union said that they appreciate the help, but that farmers would prefer to have a long-term trade deal with China.

This money was offered last Summer….and I agree with whoever said…”if tariffs hurt farmers then welfare is not the answer”……as always…I have written about the announcement a year ago……https://lobotero.com/2018/09/21/closing-thought-21sep18/

God knows our farmers need the help….but not everyone sees this politicial ploy as the answer to that problem……

President Donald Trump’s snap decision to send billions of dollars in new aid to farmers could be bad for the farm economy and the federal budget.

Many farmers are still deciding what to plant this spring and could be swayed toward crops that receive higher payouts from the aid package, such as soybeans. That would add to already record supplies and further depress prices that have been falling for five year

But the Trump administration’s decision to roll out the program now is drawing critics.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, told reporters Wednesday that the White House should have been more cautious about the timing of the announcement because farmers are still planting.

“[W]e want farmers to make decisions on how many acres of corn and soybeans to plant based on the market and not something the government’s doing,” he said.

“The timing couldn’t have been worse,” said Jonathan Coppess, an agricultural policy professor at the University of Illinois, and a former head of the USDA Farm Service Agency during the Obama administration.

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/05/23/trump-farmer-bailout-trade-usda-1459840

Our farmers do not want the ‘welfare’ they prefer to earn their money….keep one thing in mind….agri-business also will get this ‘welfare’ and that who it is truly protecting.

Where are the deficit hawks?  They have plenty to say when food stamps are on the agenda….where are they now?

Facebook In The News

Closing Thought–03May19

Everybody’s favorite site, Facebook, well almost everyone’s….I have NEVER used Facebook and will never in the future….I do not feel the need to share that much of my life……

Poor Zuck has had his bad news in the past couple of years….from investigations to calls for his baby, Facebook, to be broken up…..The Zuck has fought governmental control until recently…..with all his troubles he now wants the government to handle all of it for him…….typical BS as usual from him.

Facebook made the news by banning hate speech and hate sites from their media……

Facebook announced Thursday afternoon that it had designated some high-profile people, including Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who’s notorious for using anti-Semitic language, and right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, as “dangerous” and said it will be purging them from its platforms.Jones and his media outlet InfoWars had previously been banned from Facebook (FB) in August 2018, but had maintained a presence on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook. On Thursday, Jones and InfoWars will be barred from Instagram as well. Other people banned on Thursday included Paul Nehlen, an anti-Semite who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2016 and 2018, and fringe right-wing media personalities Laura Loomer, Milo Yiannopoulos and Paul Joseph Watson.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/02/tech/facebook-ban-louis-farrakhan-infowars-alex-jones-milo-laura-loomer/index.html

Of course I think this is a good thing….but I also see where a 1st amendment battle may ensue…..

Then there is more bad news for Facebook….it appears that their platform has been used for the sell of illegally obtain artifacts from Iraq and Syria……….

Facebook is being used by networks of traffickers to buy and sell looted antiquities, the BBC has learned.

Private groups also discuss how to illegally excavate ancient tombs, according to research by academics.

Facebook says it has removed 49 groups following the BBC’s investigation.

The BBC has also seen evidence that antiquities are still being smuggled from Iraq and Syria into Turkey, despite a police clampdown and the retreat of the Islamic State group.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-47628369

Read that!

Facebook closed down 49 sites after the BBC investigation. They do not act until someone else does the heavy lifting for them.

Sorry…time for Facebook to be broken up into manageable sites for they are not so today. What do they do for the money they make?

The time for me to step back and get my stuff ready for the weekend…..

Closing Thought–26Mar19

This post illustrates just how accurate the saying is…”You Can’t Fix Stupid!”

I read a great story about how some guy milked $122 million out of Google and Facebook….that is $122 million!

Last week, Evaldas Rimasauskas of Lithuania plead guilty to US wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering charges, admitting that he had stolen $99m from Facebook and $23m from Google between 2013 and 2015.

Rimasauskas’s grift was pretty bold. He merely sent Google and Facebook invoices for items they hadn’t purchased and that he hadn’t provided, which the companies paid anyway. The invoices were accompanied by “forged invoices, contracts, and letters that falsely appeared to have been executed and signed by executives and agents of the Victim Companies, and which bore false corporate stamps embossed with the Victim Companies’ names, to be submitted to banks in support of the large volume of funds that were fraudulently transmitted via wire transfer.” He also spoofed emails that appeared to come from corporate execs.

Apparently, no one checked first to see if these corresponded to invoices/POs that had been issued within the companies.

Rimasauskas was pretending to be the giant Taiwanese hardware manufacturer Quanta Computer Inc, and had registered a company in Latvia with the same name.

He’s agreed to forfeit about $50m. It’s not clear what’s happened to the other $73m, but Rimasauskas was a prolific and baroque money-launderer who squirreled cash away in Cyprus, Lithuania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Latvia. Google has said that “We detected this fraud and promptly alerted the authorities. We recouped the funds and we’re pleased this matter is resolved.”

Rimasauskas will be sentenced on July 29. He faces up to 30 years.

Say if Google and Facebook did not vet the bills they received then I say let the guy keep his ill-gotten gains…

But they is just me.

Corporate Death Penalty

Think back to the 2008 collapse of the economic structure….it was the banks that lead the way and yet they were not punished for killing so many pensions….at best there was a slap on wrist and they promise not to do it again…..and if you will notice they are doing it again,

It is time for the government to bring the pain to these lousy players in our economy.

Bring back a corporate death penalty……

Let’s begin with a SCOTUS dissenting opinion from 1935…..

“The prevalence of the corporation in America has led men of this generation to act, at times, as if the privilege of doing business in corporate form were inherent in the citizen, and has led them to accept the evils attendant upon the free and unrestricted use of the corporate mechanism as if these evils were the inescapable price of civilized life, and, hence to be borne with resignation.

“Throughout the greater part of our history, a different view prevailed.

“Although the value of this instrumentality in commerce and industry was fully recognized, incorporation for business was commonly denied long after it had been freely granted for religious, educational, and charitable purposes.

“It was denied because of fear. Fear of encroachment upon the liberties and opportunities of the individual. Fear of the subjection of labor to capital. Fear of monopoly. Fear that the absorption of capital by corporations, and their perpetual life, might bring evils similar to those which attended mortmain [immortality]. There was a sense of some insidious menace inherent in large aggregations of capital, particularly when held by corporations.”

—U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, 1933 dissent in Liggett v. Lee

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/01/08/its-time-bring-back-corporate-death-penalty

The limp wrist attempt to make corporations, especially the banks, was quickly pushed aside as soon as another corporate titan comes to power….time to make any penalties permanent…..time for the government to work for the people and not just the corporations.

This may be wishful thinking but I do feel the country is starting to realize just how bad corporations are acting and want accountability for their CRIMES.

2020 could be the beginning of the revolution to get the greed and corruption out of our society, especially from the corporations.

But first we must VOTE!

Closing Thought–12Mar19

I have listened to our Beloved Leader on many occasions and his use of simplistic language leads me believe that he has NO grasp on complex ideas or thoughts.

My daughter and I were discussing our Beloved Leader and I told her that he says he is a”really smart person” but I think that if he is a grad of Wharton, probably the 2nd best business school, then daddy bought his degree.

Then I read something his professor i marketing had to say about student Trump……

Donald J. Trump was an undergraduate student at Wharton for the latter two of his college years, having graduated in 1968

Professor Kelley told me 100 times over three decades that “Donald Trump was the dumbest goddam student I ever had.” I remember his emphasis and inflection — it went like this: “Donald Trump was the dumbest goddamn student I ever had.” Kelley told me this after Trump had become a celebrity, but long before he was considered a political figure. Kelley often referred to Trump’s arrogance when he told the story that Trump came to Wharton thinking he already knew everything. 

https://www.alternet.org/2017/10/former-wharton-professor-trump-was-dumbest-gddam-student-i-ever-had/

I knew it!

Who needs to study hard to get ahead when Daddy has money and the school needs a new classroom?

 

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Take a moment and wax nostalgic…….a song from my youth…..ah the memories!

But in this case it is not some song from my past but rather a proposal from 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, Elizabeth Warren……

She has a proposal to break-up giants like amazon, Google and Facebook……along the lines of the break-up of AT&T in the 1980s into regional entities……

Sen. Elizabeth Warren unveiled her plan for how to break up the nation’s technology behemoths on Friday. 

The Democratic senator from Massachusetts, who’s seeking the Democratic nomination for president, laid out her proposal in a Medium post entitled “Here’s How We Can Break Up Big Tech.” In the post, Warren argued that it’s essential to crack down on the unfair market advantage enjoyed by Amazon, Facebook, and Google in order to boost competition and fuel innovation.

Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout praised the plan, calling it as a sign that a “new anti-monopoly movement is happening, and Warren is coming out swinging at the right targets!” Agreeing with Warren, she added, “The big tech monsters are conglomerates with too much power that they use to extract wealth and data from all us of us as if we are subjects in their feudal regimes.”

 
Personally, I like the idea…..but if her consumer protection agency from the 2000s is any indication this will nit go very far…….if the Senate does not crap on the proposal then the big money donors will chip away at it until it is just a shadow of the original proposal.
 
Elizabeth Warren wants a fair playing field in the marketplace—and she’s going after Big Tech to make it happen. “To restore the balance of power in our democracy, to promote competition, and to ensure that the next generation of technology innovation is as vibrant as the last, it’s time to break up our biggest tech companies,” she said in a statement Friday, per the New York Times. Her plan to bust up giants like Facebook, Google, and Amazon is a two-tiered one: First, large firms with annual global revenue of $25 billion or more that offer an online marketplace or other type of platform that connects third parties would have to “structurally separate” their products from that marketplace. What that means, for example, is that if you do a Google search for a restaurant, Google can’t give its own ratings priority over, say, Yelp’s, notes Vox.
 
The second tier—companies with annual revenue between $90 million and $25 billion—wouldn’t be subject to that same sort of product-marketplace separation, but they would have to adhere to certain fair-use regulations. Another big move Warren’s plan is pushing for: reversing some recent mergers that the 2020 presidential candidate says cut down down healthy competition, including Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram, as well as Amazon scooping up Whole Foods. This move, Warren says, “will put pressure on big tech companies to be more responsive to user concerns, including about privacy.” Critics commenting on Warren’s proposal fear such a plan could lead to the “weaponizing” of antitrust laws (lawmakers could go after companies they don’t like), per the Times, or reduce convenience for consumers, Ars Technica notes
 
This is fascinating……I want to see where it will go……I like it, as I have said…..this should have been done years ago…..
 
Any thoughts out there?