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Tycho
06-29-2002, 05:05 PM
Enron....Pinnacle....Sempra Energy......Martha Stewart....J.P. Morgan even....


Aurther Anderson......


It just goes on and on! Developers in San Diego County where I live are refusing to create affordable housing and resist paying for infrastructure improvements as part of the taxation on new developments, when all they are creating is developing homes that start at $300,000.00 or apartments that rent for over $1200 a month. They defend that.

People here drive from Riverside County to work in the city. That can be a 2 hour commute if there's traffic. When do they spend time with their children? (Riverside is a methamphetamine capital for Southern California!)

And speakers with clout are coming out so anti-Union that it's sickening!

Why don't the defenders of so-called pure capitalism realize what they are creating in their own lifetime?

The next revolution? At least the next Watts Riots? Or at the very least the next high school shooter and the generation of tomorrow's teen pregnancies, drug addicts, and dumb criminals?

I say dumb criminals because it seems like the smart criminals have been running our country and buying our politicians.

Why is so much of this crap coming to the surface now?

Is it actually worse than any time before (in our lifetimes) for the majority of us 20-somethings, and I suppose 30-somethings and early 40-somethings (Star Wars generationers who'd likely be posting here)???

2-1B
06-29-2002, 05:09 PM
But yet "big business" wants complete autonomy to operate as they please. :rolleyes:

I hope this is my last post in this thread, wait'll Swaffy gets here! :D

QLD
06-29-2002, 05:12 PM
I think most of it is from the last 25 years, and it is now starting to catch up with them. About time too. It's just greed, and now in the information age, it's practically impossible to hide anything.

SWAFMAN
06-29-2002, 06:05 PM
wait'll Swaffy gets here!

LOL!!

I agree with tycho. I'd be surprised to see anyone come up with a valid argument in disagreement.

On the infrastructure problems in San Diego:
I lived in the san diego area in the mid-'80's, and went to LA at least every other weekend to see family & my business partner.
Even then, getting a few measly miles during rush hours was impossible. Where there were no freeways, the surface street routes were totally insufficient for the number of commuters, and where there were freeways, in most cases it was just a linear parking lot during peak hours. Whenever possible & practical, I used my motorcycle and split lanes (rode down the lane-dividing lines) between traffic. The commute to LA was the same if you left Fridays after work. 2 to 3 hours in a car to get less than 100 miles. On the bike, I could do it in an hour and a half. But the morning I got the call in san diego that my son was about to be born in Glendale (an L.A. suburb), I got there on my bike in one hour! (triple digits the whole way up the 15 to the 210, laying flat on the gas tank of my GPz750, feet on the rear pegs, and not a single chp) -- sorry - major flashback there...

Yep, the fit's gonna hit the shan when the have-nots get fed up with desperation and envy. You can imagine countless variations of that scenario, and none of the outcomes look fun.

I could blather about how the failed social welfare programs of the last half of the last century have created a segment of our society totally dependent upon - and brainwashed into believing they're entitled to - handouts, unequipped and uninspired to even attempt to take responsibility and work hard and thanklessly in an effort to improve their lives.

I could blather on about that stuff, but it wouldn't matter. Defining the causes of where we're at today is not going to help those most painfully effected by the problem.

I'd rather read some ideas on how we might resolve the issues.

...well???

wedgeA
06-29-2002, 06:41 PM
SWAFMAN,

I am not sure anything can really be done, the system itself has become so rotten. I think that one day, it will collapse and society will start from scratch. I do not advocate more government regulation. I work for a state agency, and I think that adding more levels to a bureaucracy does not help.

I am a proponent of the free market system, but in order for it to function properly, parties need equal bargaining power. In today's world, no has equal bargaining power with a multinational corporation, except other corporations.

Tycho
06-29-2002, 06:42 PM
I've been looking at the problem for some time as both a resident and in the capacity of my job.

I think some suggestions deserve debating. Rent control with clear punishments for lack or maintainence and allowance of slum situations to arise need to be explored. But we can't stifle private enterprise.

At the same time, rent raises on those already occupying apartments up and to the point of eviction for failure to pay the rent (at the newer rates) does merit discussing should this be held in check by the parties responsible for public welfare (the government).

When I rented my 2 bedroom, I could afford the $750 I signed a lease for. It is now $1100 and new tenants are paying $1250 for units in my same building.

For $350 a month more, what am I getting? (They added a weight room, though I have 2 gym memberships, and they renovated the tennis courts / basketball courts. We have a lap / racing lane pool that's well maintained, and landscaped grounds, but all that was in place when I moved in for $750 and this complex is not new).

Keep in mind that most of the tenants I've known that have lived here while I have, move out. College students break up with boyfriends and girlfriends, best friends, and "find-a-roommates" all the time. They drop out of school, go back to school, etc. Retirees and families live here too. There are divorces, or others move to be closer to relatives. Apartments are more transient occupied than not. Right?

Now some of us cannot afford to move. If I leave, I will pay comparable prices for an even smaller place. Whereas they can let market rates decide what new residents will pay, why raise the old rates on good tenants, especially working families?

Keep in mind, I'm getting established and starting to work my way to jobs that will allow me to afford to buy a home and earn in an investment versus pouring money into rent. Then I'm looking towards a bigger place. If I went smaller, I have too much Star Wars stuff (bought mostly on credit I am paying off) to not have to pay for storage and chance losing it, having it ruined, or at least having it away from where I can appreciate it while I'm still paying for it.

Other people don't have the luxury of having SW collections to worry about. They have families, or at least themselves that they are hard-pressed to take care of.

Good Tenant Rental Freezes might be a good idea. Many renters are transient and market rates will come to clear as inhabitants change. Families with roots, retirees, others with long term residency established should not be punished.

Moving away from the city causes transit congestion problems such as what Swafman was describing.

Jason B
06-29-2002, 09:35 PM
...

SWAFMAN
06-30-2002, 11:16 AM
I think this edtorial (http://home.adelphia.net/~jr44772/Pipelineistan.htm) dovetails with Tycho's original post on corporate greed run amok.

dr_evazan22
06-30-2002, 01:49 PM
Some kind of rent control is needed! My rent goes up only $10 a year(which doesn't seem as high as Tycho's rent increases), and I'm into my third year here. It's not a bad place to live, but it's not the best either. I think the services that I get could be a lot better for what I'm paying.

Going back to the corporate greed...

I used to work for a major retailer that would give bonus' if the company's earnings goal was met. The last year I was there we didn't make the goal, the company had profits of $900M, not the $1B they had planned.

As for all these companies w/ accounting scandals, I think that some laws should be changed so that the people making the decisions can be held criminally accountable.

It's one thing when some one takes advantage of insider trading to make (or save) some bucks, but when you cook the books of a corporation and it leads to what happened to Enron, where it affects the lives and well being of thousands of employees and their families, then people need to be responsible, and the CEO's and former CEO's who gave themselves golden parachutes shouldn't be allowed to profit from it.

mabudonicus
06-30-2002, 02:09 PM
I RETIRED.... anyways I just wanted to add that greed is taking over up here too. Most of our land has been sold to ther countries. That's what you get when our whole North American continent was basically set up as a moneymaker for fatcats overseas so they could buy Sea Otter hats and daffodils and stuff,
now they just buy factories in countries where life itself is cheap, and somehow expect that the people living here will still come up with ways to participate, even though it will likely, eventually, mean that they must devalue thier own lives for the sake of keeping the "priveledged" fraction outlandishly outfitted.....
Okay, that's it. I mean that for Canada too- our landlord is a jerk who raises the rent by exactly how much he can get away with EVERY YEAR- about 20 bucks or so- and he grinds us so he can drive a MERCEDES SUV and some kind of Jaguar or something, and the guy, intellectually, is a stupid bonehead, and HE's USING UP OUR PLANET TO SATISFY HIS OWN EGO...
Okay, I sound like a communist, but I want things to be okay for all of us.
I've been too stressed out lately, and this topic isn't helping. Sorry.

Vortex
06-30-2002, 04:18 PM
I can only guess greed and the distorted value of mounds of money is the cause.

I think our economy and capitalist market need a serious over haul and some government regulations and watch dogging. But its hard when the government is part of the corruption, like with Enron and whitewater.

I could see the gap between the middle class and the rich getting huge, but leave it to credit to save the day...

People have forgotten how to live within their means, and money is really no longer a concern. But I do think its time for an overhaul.

SWAFMAN
06-30-2002, 04:33 PM
I agree there has to be sharper teeth put into laws concerning how top brass of major corporations seem to nearly always escape with their wealth intact when their business tanks.

And it's not just the rest of that company's employees and their families who can be devastated financially. In cases like Enron, entire states' employees via their retirement mutual fund investments lost money, too.

But here's where the problem gets sticky. Yes, we need to make sure laws are in place and enforced to keep businesses honest in reporting their true performance and worth, and we need to prevent top execs from profiting or even not losing anything when their companies go under, leaving their employees and stockholders with all the losses.

***But*** we cannot allow this to extend, as it already has in many instances, to the government using our tax money to bail out businesses or entire industries who fail due to poor management.

One of the scariest things like this to ever happen received nearly no major media coverage, and that was a few years back when the Mexican stock market collapsed. The United States government GAVE $400 BILLION in U.S.A. citizens' tax dollars to prop the Mexican market back up. Almost HALF A TRILLION DOLLARS. And it wasn't done to help the average Juan and Maria Martinez in Mexico. It was done to protect the major U.S. corporations who would have lost billions in high-risk investments in Mexico. Would the ripple-effects of the collapse of the Mexican market, and the staggerig losses to U.S. corporations caused a devastating blow to these companies' U.S. stock values and the U.S. economy, harming U.S. citizens by threatening their investments? YES!! Would there have been a potentially even greater flood of desperately impoverished Mexicans flooding across our border, crippling our social services? YES!!

But, if the U.S. government starts bailing out U.S. corporations with taxpayer money every time there's a threat of major loss, then the entire premise of Capitalism and free market economics ceases to exist.

The market is based on a risk-reward system. You risk money by investing, taking an (hopefully) educated chance that the entitiy you've invested in will increase in value, through responsible managment and performance.

But there is no risk, if it's a wink-wink, nudge-nudge secret joke between big business and the federal government that, no matter how idiotically or even criminally our major corporations are managed, the stockholders in the company are indemnified from any serious losses because the government will always come through with a bail out.

When bad leadership decisions, simple bad luck, or outright criminal wrongdoings by corporate management end up collapsing the value of a major corporation or industry, stockholders DO lose money. If it's from criminal acts by management, the stockholders can seek redress through the civil courts.

But when we invest, it is by definition Risk, and losses have to be allowed to occur. Yes, there will be damaged lives - perhaps even on hugely devastating scales. But the Risk is incalcuably greater if we corrupt our economic model of the market system to one where taxpayers end up being effectively the FDIC of the investment markets.

Taken to its extreme (and this is an extreme that is already happening to some degree) you would have every U.S. worker paying tax money that is pumped into artificially supporting corporate stock values & protecting the stockholders from any losses.

Ergo, since only a small number of the wealthiest people in the country own the overwhelming majority of stock in our major corporations, their wealth is effectively protected and increased by confiscating tax money from the under-class.

Um, can you say, "Plutocracy" ???

I mentioned earlier that the nearly half-Trillion dollar Mexican market bailout by the U.S. government received frighteningly little coverage by the major media. Why was such an outrageous, arguably criminal act against the U.S. taxpayers by our own government swept under the rug?
Yep!!! Because all the major media news outlets are owned by the largest U.S. corporations, who were being protected from huge losses by the bail-out.

You seeing the bigger picture now?

A more recent example is the airline industry's federal bailout.
The airline industry was tanking WAY BEFORE 9/11/01.
The airlines were in trouble because they had not even the smallest care about, or concept of, customer service.
Plus, the supply of airlines and planes was/is greater than the demand of people wanting to fly (at least domestically - I don't know for sure about international flights).

This is going to sound callous, but 9/11 was a Godsend to the airline industry. Suddenly, every cent of loss to every airline corporation became the fault of terrorism. And, how can We allow the airlines to suffer financial loss due to terrorism?
Oh Heavens No!
It would not be very hard to come up with a REALISTIC dollar figure of what the U.S. airline industry lost as a direct result of the events of 9/11/01. Flights grounded by order of the FAA on that day. Existing reservations canceled within the next 48 hours, less whatever cancelation fees the consumers paid the airlines.
That would probably be an eight-digit figure, industry-wide.
But whatever terrorism's effect on the airline industry was past that, should (IMO) not be the responsibility of every U.S. taxpayer.
We've had airlines claiming they need BILLIONS of dollars in federal bail out money. And the government gave it to them!!!!WHAT A LOAD OF BULL CRAP!!!!!!
The taxpayers got scammed AGAIN!!!

Does anyone honestly believe that the U.S. domestic airline industry is ever going to collapse - to cease to exist unless it gets handouts (of our confiscated tax dollars) from the government?
Of course not!!!

Could some airlines go out of business? Sure!! The ones who were managed poorly and didn't treat their customers well.

Would airlines who offer excellent customer service at fair rates go out of business? Of course not!!

okay, I'll stop.

well, Caesar, I guess you were right!! ;)

mabudonicus
06-30-2002, 04:42 PM
Well, man, I guess that covers it. All's I'll say is, go back and read SWAFman's last post until it sinks in, then apply it to whatever.
Gotta say, EXCELLENT post man. Now what do we DO??

Tycho
06-30-2002, 06:26 PM
A very sharp analysis, SWAFman. Very insightful with actually either some interpretation going on, or some things (yes actually) omitted, still. I need to re-read his work, as right now I'm flying through my subscribed posts, but I'll be back here.

At face-value, I think I completely agree with SWAFman but would introduce elements of social control and "supposed" trickledown welfare for the American masses into the equation, with responsibilities being passed off to the corporations versus the government which has a larger, and more egalitarian responsibility. But the government is shirking its responsibility, as SWAFman suggested, but even moreso than he elaborated on.

Anyway, did I use the word 'egalitarian' correctly here though? I meant across a broad public spectrum, all inclusive, without passion or prejudice, but equal. And no, the dictionary's in the other room and I'm in a little bit of a hurry right now ;)

SWAFMAN
06-30-2002, 07:58 PM
Tycho, there's a difference between egalitarianism and radical egalitarianism.

Egalitarianism is a equal opportunity for all.

Radical Egalitarianism is regulated equality of outcome, by penalizing the more successful to reduce them to the status of the lowest common denominator.

Sorta like forcing only the smarter people to listen to loud, distracting noise while taking a test, to level the field for the less smart people.

This is not to object to, or rebut anything you'd post. Just offering some background.

Tycho
06-30-2002, 08:32 PM
Without getting into at all for the moment (I need to leave on a personal business trip - well, to visit my mother in the hospital as I haven't gone yet this weekend), I support proactive egalitarianism.

That being said, I do not believe there is equal opportunity for all. Definitely not. Nothing is equal and every individual case has its differences. We all should be able to think of examples of that.

The radical egalitarianism Swafman spoke about (taken to its extreme) is like when the revolution took over Russia and made it the Soviet Union. All private property rights were seized. There was no due process, there was so social mobilization for such a maneuver. It was taken by military force by radical revolutionaries.

I am not against what Karl Marx and even Lenin tried to achieve. Marx was a theorist whom Lenin and later Stalin listened to, but either never fully understood, or warped into what they wanted him to be interpretted as saying. Lenin (and Trotsky) took the Soviet Revolution to a certain point well beyond what that society was ready for: a command economy - which I don't believe can work. A DEMAND economy defines capitalism and usually works. There are many, many occasions when it doesn't though, and the state can intervene with positive results if it keeps the general welfare of the public's best interests at heart (not the corporations or even just their wage-earning employees). There are many other people besides those who lost jobs in these corporations, or who have nothing to do with the airlines and tourism business who still have a hard time finding opportunities to achieve the American dream (which needs some definition and re-definition here, as well as has to be acknowledged that this dream is not the same for all families here. Not by a long shot).

But with understanding that there is not equal opportunity, and with moderation and common sense and not radicalism, we can still make improvements to the playing field. But let's not pick on the rich either, but definitely scrutinize them and channel the non-social concientious amongst them to do good by their community. Afterall, it is all the tax payers who are supporting the government that keeps the looters and rioters who can't see their legal opportunities, away from taking the private property of the rich by way of illegal opportunities. In other words the rich can call the police to keep those that think they are entitled to steal away from where they will cause harm. As population increases and the lower classes become alienated amongst themselves and these corporate playing fields, we must ask ourselves as a society if we should build more prisons (at tax payers' expense) and hire more police (at tax payers' expense) or if we should create more egalitarian opportunities so we can advance in society, and gross domestic income, not per capita incarcerated.

mabudonicus
07-01-2002, 02:38 AM
Again, read SWAFman's Post til it makes real sense.... there is no defense of greed, and Tyco, I wish you were right, but I can't follow..... the whole "infrastructure" of NA society is based on us all believing a real tricky, complex series of lies.
It is our duty to get past this. That's why I keep emphasizing THAT POST. It is Brilliant, succint(sp,damit!!) and so true that it hurts me..... WE are the solution, let's do what we can, we know better.....

Jonna
07-01-2002, 12:36 PM
Originally posted by Tycho


I say dumb criminals because it seems like the smart criminals have been running our country and buying our politicians.



What do you mean "buying" them!?! The politicians ARE the smart criminals.:evil:

Tycho
07-01-2002, 12:56 PM
That's a common mistake based on the popularity and humor in the joke, but think about it:

CEO's of big corporations make far more than the President.

If you want to pollute, destroy the environment, not pay taxes, etc., you have to get someone into office who will let you. Who'll play the part of an actor and make the people think or say it's alright.

How do you do that? Offer them money. Somebody will want to hold office so badly that they'll represent the corrupt.

The Republican Party has become great at it.

How do you sell it? Appeal to conservatism values like religion and freedom (to do whatever and not be government regulated).

Get back to traditional values... freedom and being loyal by praying to God and knowing your place in society. Be humble before God. Be a follower, not a leader.

Our churches' biggest philanthropist donors are those from big corporations. They also hire the politicians who either believe, or fake it so well, just as Machiavelli wrote they have to, nearly 400 years ago.

Just like Palpatine working behind the scenes... I wonder if he'll even sell Vader to his public ...you know: The Chosen One - all hail the Messiah, the embodiment of our Lord. Lord Vader. What does he tell us? "Long Live the Emperor."

I wonder if people catch that undertone?

Jedi Clint
07-01-2002, 01:34 PM
Originally posted by Tycho
If you want to pollute, destroy the environment, not pay taxes, etc., you have to get someone into office who will let you. Who'll play the part of an actor and make the people think or say it's alright.

How do you do that? Offer them money. Somebody will want to hold office so badly that they'll represent the corrupt.

The Republican Party has become great at it.


Oh? And the Democratic party is innocent of corruption? Bull Crap! Bad people permiate all of society. What you present above is a stereotype......a slant on the truth. Certain individuals in the (R) party may have traded their honor for influence, but there are plenty on the other side of the isle doing THE EXACT same thing. I seem to remember that Enron, while donating the majority of it's political contributions to Republicans, didn't have any trouble getting Democrats to take money either! Let's not foget how much money DNC chair Terry McAuliffe DIDN'T lose when Global Crossing took a dive. Did Bill Clinton really believe that Marc Rich deserved the Presidential pardon he recieved based on his idealistic liberal view of the world, or was it the enormous contributions that Denise made to the Democratic party......or perhaps the "contribution" that Bill made to Denise?! The point is that I am sick of seeing my party demonized by Democrats who seem to think their party has a spotless record on the issues.

2-1B
07-01-2002, 01:46 PM
Dennis Miller on Denise Rich:
"You know, there's nothing worse than a star f'er who thinks she's a patriot." :D

I'd be embarrased to call either the GOP or the Dems my party . . . . vote Green in '04 ! ! ! :D

Tycho
07-01-2002, 01:50 PM
Oh, Jedi Clint is right. Democrats are plenty guilty, especially in the cases he mentioned.

There is less of two distinct parties, than there is "The Corporate Party" in America today.

Personally, I like what the Democrats say they stand for, more than what the Republicans do. Egalitarianism in ideals, though Jedi Clint is right: corporatism is more what they practice.

It just seems more low-level politicians with good ideals at heart, become Democrats than Republicans for reasons I cited. Good religious idealists are often attracted to the Republicans. They might think they are serving God, but their leaders they look up to say one thing, then only serve themselves. But if the new Republicans elected don't understand what they are voting on when they vote with their party-line, as each party encourages its new members to do, then they contribute to the same crap that Republicans in top positions have been promoted to service in the first place: promote the corporations, along with their contributions to military spending, and tax leniency on the rich, while police are underpayed, but expected to keep those even less well-off, from breaking and entering, and stealing from the rich in less subtle terms than the very same accuse Democrats from doing by taxing them.

Just curious, Jedi Clint, but why are you a Republican? What attracted you to the party? (There are some good elements) and I'm not at all avoiding what I do NOT like about my own party, the Democrats.

Jedi Clint
07-01-2002, 03:01 PM
It isn't an issue of "agreeing" as much as it is an issue of "disagreeing".

Don't get me wrong, I don't simply spout the party's agenda. There are definitely things I dislike about the actions of the Republican party. In fact I mentioned that there are (R) hands dirty from the affair with Enron just the same as (D) hands were. It is my goal to effect change within my party as well. I would like to see a nation wide change in the way we treat chemical dependency, and that is an area where my party seems to be dead set on fighting a losing battle. There are other issues I disagree with them on, but by far I disagree with the Democratic party's positions on the issues a majority of the time. My opposition to those positions (from abortion to military fortitude) keeps me loyal to the (R) party far more than my agreement with each and every decision the (R) party makes. The bias that (IMHO) exists in the news and media has made a major difference in my politics as well. I HATE being treated like a child when I watch TV. I really don't wish to go through every issue and give a dissertation on each one, but if you pick a specific issue where there is a divide between the ideals of both parties, I will respond with why I chose the side I'm on.

Tycho
07-01-2002, 03:44 PM
Well, we've been through the abortion debate before and it's going in the Pledge of Allegiance issue thread. We'll skip that one for now, as it could go on and on (as it has outside of these forums in our streets, our hospitals, and our legislatures).

How about why is the Democratic Party perceived as weak on national defense / military fortitude? Is it? And how does the factors that military contractors (hardware suppliers) are strong campaign contributors to Republicans affected by this? If the Democrats were to have courted the military personnel, no doubt through their superior officers who evaluate civilian contractors' equipment when it is tested (I'm talking about tanks, planes, helicopters, guns - these are made by private civilian companies which get government permission to make such devices), would the Democrats have held the military vote had they made this offer to act in collusion?

Is that not the same as how the Democrats have courted the Black vote, and the vote of Hispanics? Aren't the Republicans trying to court that vote now? To be competative, should not the Democrats court military contractors? (corporations) Are junior officers and enlisted men influenced by their superior officers (both politically, and possibly religiously)? Does this go down the chain of command from the Admiral or General as it was passed down to them from their "Superior Corporate CEO?"

Do retiring military Generals get positions as consultants to civilian contractors doing business with the military? Do these corporations pay more than the military?

Again, would our national readiness be impacted better by Democrats if they took more campaign money from corporations seeking military contracts? Or is the size of the military and its readiness best evaluated by military officers objective to their duty and a little further down the ranks of command than those rubbing shoulders with perspective employers' CEO's?

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Next, why is the war on drugs a losing battle for the Republicans? Are way-liberal Democrats who've advocated legalizing certain recreational drugs right? (this is not a main-Democratic party platform, but I do not find myself in agreement with social-liberals in my party far as often as I do with economic-liberals). It seems education spending and trying to really further cut demand for drugs would go a longer way than building more jails and spending more on policing in the long one (if we don't want to have a police state). Why are Democrats so into gun control? Don't millions of Americans have guns and not use them to kill people? Don't criminals who plan to kill people get guns illegally so they can't be traced as successfully? Doesn't spending more money on counseling, and instructing teachers in public schools how to grow kids' confidence and teach them to make friends and include and accept others who are awkward or facing other adverse circumstances (which could be abuse or neglect in the home) make more sense than gun control to prevent school shootings? All I see then are unhappy kids who WISHED they could be responsible for school shootings. So leaving razor blades on school playgrounds, meddling with anthrax and home-made mailbox bombs and other things becomes their way of venting in private, versus coming out in public (with their parents' guns). Don't you think the Dems have it backwards on gun control? But the Republicans have it wrong by spending the money on police forces versus counselors in public education?

Finally, in education, this privitization and voucher non-sense can never be achieved in ways which are egalitarian, can it? The Republicans are ludicrous if they think it can be! Isn't there a hidden agenda with intent of religious subjugation involved in the whole vouchers for private schools agenda?

Well, that should be enough to start there! LOL

Jedi Clint
07-01-2002, 04:55 PM
Would the (D) party be recognized as pro-military if they courted military contractors? I don't think so, but I don't think the (R) party loses any political ground doing the same. I think the difference is more of a fundamental issue. Liberals and their representation in the Democratic party have historically come down against U.S. military action (I am not discrediting their arguments, but I'm not qualifying any at this point either). In debating the issues I find the position taken by liberals to be anti-military at times as well. The argument has been presented that the (R) party pumps gov't money into the private sector for the purpose of increasing the potency of the military and in turn they receive political favor. Which is worse? On one hand we have a political power that bucks the military machine, and on the other we have one that indulges it. The reasons they do this aside, I would much rather have a strong military and retain our place at the top of the food chain. Is that wrong? I've asked myself that before. In a way it is, but at the same time there are other world powers that would like to be numero uno and they don't have our best interests at heart. On this issue, I believe the Democrats are their own worst enemy.

If the Democratic party has taken up the charge to change the law on any illegal drug issues, I missed the show entirely. For the most part, both parties walk in locked-step on the issue of drug decriminalization......solidly against it. I believe this is because the majority of Americans see no need for a policy change on these issues........too bad.


Why are Democrats so into gun control? Don't millions of Americans have guns and not use them to kill people? Don't criminals who plan to kill people get guns illegally so they can't be traced as successfully? Doesn't spending more money on counseling, and instructing teachers in public schools how to grow kids' confidence and teach them to make friends and include and accept others who are awkward or facing other adverse circumstances (which could be abuse or neglect in the home) make more sense than gun control to prevent school shootings? All I see then are unhappy kids who WISHED they could be responsible for school shootings. So leaving razor blades on school playgrounds, meddling with anthrax and home-made mailbox bombs and other things becomes their way of venting in private, versus coming out in public (with their parents' guns). Don't you think the Dems have it backwards on gun control? But the Republicans have it wrong by spending the money on police forces versus counselors in public education?"

I agree with the majority of what is quoted above. If one person wants to kill another, they don't have to use a gun to accomplish that goal. Current events have demonstrated this. I am not entirely sure what you meant in the last sentence though.

As long as the decision is in the hands of the child's parents as to how their child will be educated, I don't see how private education could turn out people that are any more or less ignorant than those that the public education system is producing. Your point is that everyone will not receive the same level of education....right? I think that is much more dependent upon the individual child's motivation and the importance that their family and community place upon their education. An individuals attitude toward a situation is often the largest deciding factor in whether they will be successful. I can see the benefit to a free market system of education where the School's that are the most effective have the highest enrollment. Competition is created and no matter who the victor is, the pupil wins. It will be necessary to discuss the practical side of this ideal in order to ascertain the most effective implementation of it. I don't have a problem with parents choosing a religious school for their child as long as it meets the needs of the pupil.

mabudonicus
07-01-2002, 05:36 PM
Just a "topical" quote from Motorhead- "Politician eat your words, Prohibition that's a JOKE, put your children in jail, what a shame, you CAN take the money, but can you take the BLAME?"
That's it, in a steel nutshell.

anarky
07-01-2002, 05:45 PM
what's going on with corporate america?

EVIL

Jonna
07-01-2002, 05:48 PM
I'm staying out of this one. It's Monday and I don't have the energy.

Tycho
07-01-2002, 06:03 PM
I still need to respond to Jedi Clint, but that must come tonight after work gets done.

Anarky, it's all of us that are out of touch with how things are really being run. And that's what those in power are counting on.
The truth is with those who use it against those who know no better. Such is why Knowledge is power.

mabudon: Sometimes, Motohead rocks. I listen to Anthrax more often:

To the public:

"Take your head out from up your azz!"

"Right here, right now, for it won't last!"

and to the corporate types and their ministers that keep the people praying versus revolting....

"Faith no more...

Face the w_hore...

Your faith's for cash...

You make me laugh!

Faith no more...

you create the horror....

but it won't last...

Then I'll laugh!"


But quoting songs really can't solve the America's problems unless you type the entire transcripts to Queensryche's Operation: Mindcrime. There is the most truth in words ever sung.

A small sample:

"Religion and sex are power plays,
manipulate the people for the money it pays;
for selling skin or selling God,
the numbers look the same on the credit card!

The politicians say no to drugs,
while we pay for war in Saudi Arabia;
They're fighting fire with empty words
While the banks get paid,
and the poor stay poor,
the rich get richer,
and the cops get paid,
to look away...
as the One Percent rules America!"


But my quoting song lyrics tells you nothing other than I could be letting that stuff influence me. Conversely, I found music that reinfoces my own beliefs AFTER I'd learned about the world and studied it, got angry, and found music that creates a catharsis with my anger.

Now on to JediClint...

SWAFMAN
07-01-2002, 06:33 PM
......trying to r e s i s t another gazillion-word rant-a-thon....

.....internal cranial pressure building......

......c a n ' t

t a k e

m u c h

m o r e -

h e a d

a b o u t

t o

e x p l o d e.....


I think I'm gonna try to let Tycho & JediClint hash this one out.

Are you a republicrat or a demublican?

hint: it isn't a multi-party political system, and it is barely even a two-party system. it's mostly a scam.

2-1B
07-02-2002, 01:55 AM
I like the way George Carlin sometimes talks in his act about how there are over 30 available cereals (he's counted them in the cereal aisle :D ) but only (realistically) only 2 political parties to choose from.

I'd love to dive in here, but I'm just too drained . . . :(
I'll ride the pines with Swaffy.

scruffziller
07-02-2002, 05:57 PM
8 years of Billy Boy that's what!!!!!!

scruffziller
07-08-2002, 02:57 AM
Well I can definately say that hopefully the economy structure is getting a good weeding out. Make the FAT CATS up above trim their own fat. Unfortunately with the Enron, Worldcom etc. scandals the little man is getting stepped on in the process where it really hurts. I mean the people who were responsible for these happenings, getting "let go" with a million dollars a year severence pay. I can't believe this. Truely evil. These investigations revealing these shortcomings will be painful as a whole but hopefully it will make things better for the future. Kind of like cutting out a tumor. It will hurt to do but if not done it will get worse.

SWAFMAN
07-09-2002, 10:49 AM
You may not agree with all, or even any of what he has to say, but this interview with Gore Vidal (http://laweekly.com/ink/02/33/features-cooper.php) makes for interesting reading. I think he does make a couple valid arguments.

(If the link says "page cannot be displayed, just hit refresh and it should come up. I don't know why that is, but it worked for me several times)

SWAFMAN
07-11-2002, 12:03 PM
Here's (http://home.adelphia.net/~jr44772/AUDREY_GIANT_PREDATORS.htm) another news item that fits this thread topic....

JediCole
07-21-2002, 12:00 AM
Okay, I will admit I have not taken time to read every single post yet, but then that is not necessary to voice my thoughts. So at the risk of repeating someone elses thoughts, here goes...

Though laws are being introduced that may or may not have teeth, that may or may not be enforced, you have to understand something. In this country it is all too easy to imagine that our legal system has anticipated every singele iteration of possible nefarious act that the worst amoungst us can conceive. However, what we see today is what is all too typical, what I call "Legislation in Response". Quite literally, when a new problem rears its ugly head, lawmakers scramble to correct the lack of forethought and make a law to correct the problem, often after irreperable damage has been done.

The other thing we have to bear in mind is that corporate shenanigans like this did not just start this year. Oh quite the contrary. The 80's did not gain the unfavorable monicre of the "Decade of Greed" for nothing. Mrs. JediCole's dad worked in the once powerful Texas oil industry for many years. He saw first-hand how a lot of dirty deals were done in the realm of finding value in the valueless. Back in those "good ol' days", one of the favorite tricks was for companies to scratch each other's backs by selling each other a piece of property (like a building or other real estate holding) that was worth far less that the mutual selling price, like perhaps $1 Million. So it works out like this: Company A has a building they sell to Company B for $1 Million and Company B sells Company A a building for $1 Million. That way, neither one is out any real money, but the end result, on paper, is that each now own property valued at $1 Million. Now the practical off-shoot of this is that both companies can secure loans using thier "$1 Million" properties as collateral. Money they can now use to buy whatever they want to boost the business. And if they fail to pay up? Well, the lender can just take over the collateral property. And soon discover that the paper value and the actual value may not quite be the same. The unreality of that value can then be chocked up to a bad business deal with another company. This is an undoubtedly oversimplified version of the kind of dealings that were all too common back then.

What we are seeing today is the new birds coming home to roost. The types of financial magic that replaced the now outlaw tricks of the 80s. And with Enron, the first domino in the delicate blancing act that was running rampant in contemporary corporate America. The bottom line is, we need to keeep a much closer eye on what corporations are doing all the time, and ammend the laws before disaster strikes, not after the "goodl ol' boy" networks all have a big financial laugh at the nations expense.

Deckard Smith
07-21-2002, 02:18 AM
This is a very enjoyable read. I enjoy both sides of the argument and appreciate the fact that everyone is so civil. It is my perception of the current political landscape that both parties are landsliding towards a moderate middlegroud where it is difficult to tell them apart. I honestly believe many candidates choose a party as a political strategy rather than as a reflection of their ideals. If they believe they can get more votes as a Democrat, they will proclaim themselves one and vice versa. The problem with the political structure in today's society is the sort of moral character it attracts to its ranks. I vaguely remember a Thomas Jefferson quote about Ambition in Politics. I feel public service should be seen as a sacrifice, not a reward, or a career, or a lifestyle. Term limits and steady rotation would prevent the flagrant corruption we see in today's political system and the corporate greem mentality that it reflects.

Also a caveat on the Drug War comment. The two most deadly addictive substances are already legal. It seems a bit silly to keep other controlled substances illegal.

JON9000
07-21-2002, 04:01 PM
As I understand it, part of the problem these days is stock options offered to Corporate fatcats. In theory, it is a nice idea- give the manager a vested interest in how the company performs- he will do his best to steer the company in the right direction.

But what happens in reality? The manager does everything necessary to artificially inflate the price of the stock as quickly as possible by hiding debt, inflating profits, and assorted other tricks. Then, right before the jig is up and the bottom drops out, he quits and sells, making a mint.

This happens because the system, as designed now, rewards this behavior. To stop the behavior, one must remove the reward or make the consequences frightening enough to deter it.

Right now, execs just have to give the money back. So if they get caught, they are no worse off then before! Gee- what a deterrent!

What we need is:

1) mandatory long term jail time- like what I would get if I decided to walk into a bank and steal 10M.

2)our laws need to be flexible enough to allow a lighter burden of proof standard in corporate malfeasance suits. As far as I'm concerned, if there is a huge drop in price and someone on the inside sold everything the day before combined with any other shred of proof of fraud, that should be enough.

3) They should be stripped of every piece of property the government can get its hands on.

Make no mistake- many at Enron lost their life savings, their children's education funds, and a great deal of their future while a couple of bums are laughing all the way to the bank.

You better not count on your local politician to help- as Obi-Wan told Anakin- they are only concerned with the interests of those who fund their campaigns, i.e. corporate types! CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM IS A TOP PRIORITY!

SWAFMAN
07-23-2002, 08:27 PM
another news story that tracks with this topic... (http://www.nationalreview.com/levin/levin072302.asp)

JON9000
07-23-2002, 09:44 PM
Sorry Swaffy, but National Review Online? Isn't that up there with the 700 Club when it comes to balanced reporting? :)

Democrats yelling that Phil Gramm tried his darndest to kill the Sarbane's Bill and Republicans yelling that Liebermann is buddy-buddy with ne'er-do-wells as well are all simply seeking to get on top of the issue.

I'm sorry, but smear articles against the President or Senator Leibermann really don't track the issue, IMHO, they merely try to point the finger at who is more corrupt.

Traditionally, Republicans and libertarians (conservatives) are adverse to Federal government regulation of business, ostensibly because the Constitution limits the Fed's intervention to matters of interstate commerce. Whether that is the true motive is a question I won't go into.

Liberal democrats construe the commerce clause of the Constitution to allow Federal regulation of any aspect of business that could have any effect on interstate commerce, no matter how tenuous adn ridiculous the link. They will regulate at the drop of a hat, and they are more than happy to drop it themselves!

Based on this fundamental difference in philosophy, the Democratic party is more likely to initiate regulation. BUT- the Accounting firms have donated big bucks to BOTH parties to keep the status quo going- that is- self regulation.
Eventually politics rules everything, however. When things get this bad, both parties know the consequences of failure to act.

I am pleased to say that things are looking up for the Sarbane's Bill, which would strengthen the SEC, restrict accounting firms' ability to act as consultants and auditors for the same client, and impose conflict of interest rules on investment banking.

In addition- it would close the practice that the Enron execs are using to hold onto their loot- namely, buildings houses worth up to $50 million in Florida that are exempt from seizure in bankruptcy.

SWAFMAN
07-24-2002, 02:09 PM
J9K, I thought the linked story was relevant on-balance for those forumers who get most or all their "news" from the mainstream media outlets, as it showed that collusion between politicians and big business interests is not as partisan an issue as those sources are spinning it to be.

Yes, NRO is blatantly partisan. But that doesn't make their story untrue, and it sure as heck doesn't offset the gross imbalance of anti-conservative, anti-Republican and anti-Bush (yes, I consider those to be three separate categories) coming from the mainstream media.

For those unfortunates who rely solely on ABC, CBS, NBC & CNN, or their radio's national news feeds that are provided by these same sources, it would be easy to buy-in to the brainwshing that this is a partisan issue, when it isn't.

I applaud your awareness of this issue. If you look at my posts, I think you'll find that I've been following the issue fairly closely myself. And it does appear that both the house & senate have gone tougher, rather than more lenient, in the bills announced this afternoon. Hopefully the laws can be signed by Bush on Friday.

By the way, did you catch the story about how K-Mart's executive committee forgave every cent of the debts owed by their board members for their huge loans just before they filed for bankruptcy? Amazing.

JON9000
07-24-2002, 04:24 PM
Yeah, I heard about K-Mart being in trouble.

And when the company eventually goes belly up, all the employees will be put out to pasture! The vast majority of retail employees are low income folks. All the talk about corporate taxes and regulation being class warfare is looking pretty cheap right now. When filthy rich executives declare bankruptcy for 10s of millions of dollars, guess who pays? Everyone in this forum and the rest of the country. I feel like the war has already been declared by the new age rail barons against the taxpayer. They might as well have come directly into my home and stolen money.

What I love most about the system is that the wealthiest people pay the least for services. When I was in health insurance, most corporations had 2 plans- one for the execs, and one for the other employees. Exec plans covered everything and allowed them to see any doc they chose- free health care. Other employees had to deal with what you and I have to.

So why steal? Because what they are doing is technically not illegal in some cases, they will likely face no penalty, and the laws of personal economics substitute for morality.

But its all over now- we're going to get them, and their little dogs too!

SWAFMAN
07-24-2002, 07:07 PM
Watch the fine print closely in this week's legislation on corporate responsibility, folks. There's a provision in there to create a federal fund to protect stockholders from losses in certain circumstances. If you have any doubt how dangerous a move this could be, please read this post (http://www.sirstevesguide.com/forums/showthread.php?postid=122482#post122482).

-------

re: J9K's: Yeah, I heard about K-Mart being in trouble.

The slimebags who voted to let the board members keep their millions in loan money without paying it back need to go to prison for that.

--------

re: But its all over now- we're going to get them, and their little dogs too!

It will be good and proper to prosecute corporate officers and accounting firms who have truly defrauded stockholders, or otherwise violated the law. But we also have to watch out for letting this boil over into an envy-fueled feeding frenzy of "let's soak the rich!' wherein the only standard of guilt is one's wealth or success. J9K, you mention the playing of the class warfare card. Whether you or I like it or not, exploiting envy to drive a wedge between the classes and polarize the "have-nots" to vote in lockstep with the Donkeys is an Absolute Reality, to borrow a phrase. It sounds like the laws coming forward this week are, mostly, well-intentioned. But we're also going to see bigger federal government to enforce the new laws, as well as greatly expanded budgets to the existing SEC bureaucracy.

To pay for this, they are basically going to be coming directly into your home and stealing money.

Again, I'm behind the moves to tighten corporate accounting responsibility, I just think we have to beware of letting the foxes guard the henhouse when we get public officials too involved in regulating private businesses. The federal government doesn't exactly have a proven successful track record in responsible financial accounting practices.

Finally, on the disparity between corporate execs vs. rank & file employees in things like health insurance plans, etc.. The best example of this sort of elitism is within the federal government itself! You want to see Congress pass a law making social security cover medical prescriptions? It'll happen overnight if Congress is forced to live under the same social security rules as the rest of the U.S. people. The House of Representatives just voted themselves a pay raise, for God's sake! Forget all the news lately about the costs of the Afghanistan campaign and other stuff adding to the deficit / national debt. They still gave themselves a ~ 4% pay hike. And that was under Republican control, so I'm not playing favorites here. Richard Armey was downright brazen in his comments about it, saying something to the effect of, "we'd be idiots to not give ourselves a raise when the law gives us the power to do so." I have paraphrased his remarks greatly, but that was the general idea.

Lowly Bantha Cleaner
07-24-2002, 11:40 PM
I am sure some of you have read or seen the story out in Manhattan today. The Rigas family, who founded and ran Adelphia, the 6th largest cable company in the country, were lead away in handcuffs and were arrested. The arrestees include founder John, 77 and two of his sons Timothy and Micheal, as well as two executives within the company. The family is accused of using the company as "it's own personal piggy bank," buying things like golf courses, homes and even a professional hockey team with investor's money. The total they spent may have been close to a billion dollars. Each of the family members were freed after posting $10 million dollars each in bail.

SWAF, I know you are from Western PA, and you may be following this story more closely since Adelphia was started there. I am not sure if you live near Coudersport but if you do and you've followed the story, can you gauge the general reaction among residences of the area? Are they glad at what happened today? Do many still feel loyal to the company for it was rather a generous corporation in regards of giving back to the community and keeping it's operations right in it's hometown? Or are many angry because they perceive the government is making a scapegoat out of Adelphia and the Rigas family rather than arresting Enron or Worldcom executives (apparently they were not allowed to turn themselves in because the government wanted to showcase the family in front of the media, so it would prove their point that they are cracking down on corporate corruption). I bet it might be a mixture among the three.

For the most part, I bet you that they are all saddened. In the Buffalo area where I live, I just couldn't believe the allegations against the family, when they were first revealed. This was a company that was intent on revitalizing the sagging Buffalo area. Many city leaders and residents pinned their hopes on Adelphia because they promised to build a new company headquarters building that would bring much needed jobs to the area. This was a family that bought the Buffalo Sabres, a team that always had mediocre talent (besides goalies), and promised the city they would bring the tools to help the city win a championship.

I am not at all defending the company. What they did is highly wrong and it cost many people their jobs. It is time that the government takes a hard stance on corporate America and other white collar criminal offences because frankly they never have in the past. I can't picture John Rigas, a 77 year old man who I thought was incapable of doing such things, go to jail for the rest of his life. I am just utterly shocked at how a company that seemed on the up-and-up fell so miserably to the bottom.

SWAFMAN
07-25-2002, 08:55 PM
another good analysis (http://home.adelphia.net/~jr44772/AUDREY_DOWNWARD_SPIRAL.htm) by Audrey...

SWAFMAN
08-04-2002, 10:15 PM
deja (http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20020804/ap_on_bi_ge/us_latin_troubles_4)

vu (http://www.sirstevesguide.com/forums/showthread.php?postid=122482#post122482)

JON9000
08-04-2002, 10:32 PM
I am not sure how to feel about those stories. I do not have enough information. I believe the reasoning behind bailouts of other economies is the desire to keep stagnation from spreading to other countries, thereby weakening the consumption of our exports, which would hurt us. Perhaps the bailouts represent pennies on the dollar?

I do feel, however, that if these countries need American assistance, we should have very tight control over how the money is spent- and we should get the money back when they turn it around. I don't expect my education loans to be forgiven, and I don't think their's should be either!

SWAFMAN
08-04-2002, 10:44 PM
Well, China has been gaining ground for years in Latin & South America, buying influence in an attempt to drive a wedge between those countries and the U.S., so in addition to your good points on the possible benefits of averting financial and social chaos in the region, there's the motivation to deny China the opportunity to be their "white knight."

Unfortunately there have been so many legitimate causes to be skeptcal of Administration foreign policy, that my first instinct is to question if there's any oil exploitation going on there by the Friends of Bush, or any other areas of the Uruguay business / financial markets where major U.S. corporations were exposed to losses if GW didn't bail out the market with our tax dollars?

I just sure hope that the promised repayment in "a matter of days" get as much press verification as this loan.

Lowly Bantha Cleaner
08-04-2002, 11:41 PM
Well, I guess this is nothing new. We've been dishing out $$$ to the Third World for years. Sometimes this is more of a burden to the countries we help, as in Brazil and Argentina who owe us huge amounts of money. I think they even have to take loans just to make payments on the interest they owe us. I think it would be a wise idea to forgive some part of the massive debt those countries owe us in exchange for something like protection of the rain forest, cooperation or support in the war on terrorism, drugs, or possibly oil? If I were president, I'd just forgive most of their debt because of the meddling and intrusions we have done in that part of the world.

I agree SWAF that Bush didn't give this loan out of the goodness of his heart. There was some ulterior motive there like to help out a hurt business or oil.

Some good things can come out of this though. The Clinton Administration sidestepped Congress in 95' by bailing out Mexico, which was on the brink of economic collapse. From what I read, the money actually did a lot of good and the money was paid in full. Let's cross our fingers and hope that the loan helps Uruguay and hopefully in time, this will help them get financially stable and they will repay us.

SWAFMAN
08-12-2002, 12:14 AM
Originally posted by SWAFMAN
By the way, did you catch the story about how K-Mart's executive committee forgave every cent of the debts owed by their board members for their huge loans just before they filed for bankruptcy? Amazing.

Originally posted by JON9000
Yeah, I heard about K-Mart being in trouble.
....So why steal? Because what they are doing is technically not illegal in some cases, they will likely face no penalty, and the laws of personal economics substitute for morality.

On-Topic excerpts from today's Detroit News:
Nests feathered as Kmart failed
....When Conaway got his $5 million loan, Schwartz pressed for a forgivable loan of his own. Schwartz' own restricted stock package was tanking. In August of 2001, Conaway approached Kmart's board to expand the loans to Schwartz and other officers.
Yet throughout the fall of 2001 Conaway lobbied the board for a retention loan program that would cover dozens of executives. Some of the execs, brought in from Wal-Mart by Schwartz, had been with Kmart only a few months. In November, amid plunging sales and a dismal start to the holiday selling season, Kmart's board approved a broad executive loan program to be administered by Conaway and human resources chief David Rots.
Within days, on Dec. 3, the cash started flowing.
One after another, 20 executives received loans ranging from $300,000 to the $3 million given to Schwartz. Kmart would also paid him an additional $2.4 million to cover his taxes in 2001.
On Jan. 14, the Kmart board convened for a tense, two-day meeting. At the end, Schwartz was fired. He walked away with his $3-million retention loan.
A week later, Conaway cut a last deal, or so he thought. Stripped of his chairman's title -- which was given to Adamson -- Conaway negotiated a $6.5-million lump-sum payout if he was "terminated" within 18 months. The following day, Kmart filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Less than two months later, Conaway was out. His last employment contract was rejected by the bankruptcy court. He left with a cash severance of $4 million -- and, in final negotiations, Kmart forgave his $5-million retention loan.
Kmart's creditors and shareholders vehemently protested the final payouts to Conaway and Schwartz, and the money isn't necessarily gone for good.
"The court has broad powers to recover money paid out in the months leading to bankruptcy," said Michael Sirkin, a compensation expert with the New York law firm Proskauer Rose LLP.
Conaway has kept a low profile since his firing. Security guards watch over his $5.8 million estate, reportedly up for sale.