Posts Tagged regulation

Giants Unite To Shove Dangerous Pollutant Down Poor People’s Throats

In a massive whitewashing campaign of the most callous kind, Peabody Energy Corp., the world’s largest private-sector coal company, launched a public relations and advertising campaign last month extolling the virtues of coal energy for poor people.

A Peabody press release announcing the campaign, called Advanced Energy for Life, argues that lack of access to energy is “the world’s number one human and environmental crisis.”

Peabody’s proposal to solve this crisis? Asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to stop setting pollution limits on coal-fired power plants. Those pollution rules are meant to address climate change caused by greenhouse-gas emissions, a global problem that has the . Burning coal generates carbon emissions as well as hazardous pollutants such as mercury, lead, and benzene, .greatest effect on poor countries according to the American Lung Association

Burson-Marsteller, the world’s largest PR firm, and its subsidiary, Proof Integrated Communications, are working behind the scenes on Peabody’s PR effort. Burson-Marsteller spokesman Paul Cordasco confirmed to The Huffington Post that the company is working on behalf of Peabody. Peabody spokeswoman Beth Sutton said “Burson-Marsteller and several other firms are providing support for the campaign.”

Burson-Marsteller has a long history of working on PR campaigns that downplay or contradict established health concerns. The Guardian has described Burson-Marsteller as “the company that governments with poor human rights records and corporations in trouble with environmentalists have turned to when in crisis.”

The firm worked for Union Carbide after its poison gas disaster in Bhopal, India, killed 3,800 people in 1984. It has also worked on behalf of governments accused of human rights abuses, including Nigeria and Indonesia.

Environmental groups said Burson-Marsteller’s role in Peabody’s campaign isn’t surprising:

Burson-Marstellar has spent decades working for some of the world’s worst perpetrators of human rights and environmental abuses,” said Kert Davies, director of the Climate Investigations Center. “So Burson-Marsteller are well suited to help Peabody push dirty coal to the world’s poorest people, at a time when everyone from the World Bank to the U.N. are warning us climate change will hit the poor first, and hardest.”

But, let us keep voting against government regulation of such things because they are so bad and socialist and take away our god-given freedoms as Americans (to be exploited…) blah blah blah yawn.

Yes, the government giving money to people so they can eat is a hand-outs and a giant waste of taxpayer money. And the government enacting policies and regulations that protect the air you breathe, the water you ingest, and the food you eat is, at best, nothing of value—and, at worst, a job-killing regulation that impedes the success of people who want to get rich dumping toxic waste into the ground, in the air and soil, food and water where people getting hand-outs live. Let them eat toxic-waste laced bootstraps.

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Things To Regulate

Nothing gets a Conservative’s juices flowing harder than government regulation and a social safety net. The anti-Christ himself could not have been a worse nemesis than regulation. Not being able to subjugate, abuse, pollute, steal or else abuse people and the environment at will cuts into profits, so naturally greedy, church-going, amoral Conservatives cannot have that.

But a woman’s uterus? Yes, that needs to be regulated. Regulate it long, regulate it hard, regulate it deep. In fact, for Conservatives, the words “regulate” and “women” go together like a wink and a smile. Or maybe like an ultrasound and a vagina?

Do you have binders full of women that need regulating? Then you will be hard pressed to not find a Conservative who is more than willing to step in and regulate them for you. Conservatives will not vote for such things as, oh I don’t know,  free daycare offered by the government so that mothers can work and pull themselves up by their bootstraps, but they will vote for the government forcing women to have as many children as possible.

They will not vote for stricter regulation of air and water pollutants but they will make sure that a lot of children are born to parents who live in areas with some of the nation;’s worst air and water pollution.

See how being pro-life works?

Yeah, duplicity is a highly traded Conservative value with institutions couched in colorful myths and ardent sentiment to conceal bigotry, intolerance, greed and misogyny.

things t oregulate

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Isn’t Greed…I Mean Capitalism Great?

Remember when we had such things as antitrust and monopoly laws to promote fair competition for the benefit of the consumer? Because isn’t that the core of what capitalism is, namely each business acting as an independent unit on the market to earn its profits by providing better priced and quality products than its competitors?

Apparently in a country that claims to have one of the most effective and prosperous economic systems in the world  where opportunity is galore and you just need to pull yourself up by your bootstraps by virtue of your efforts, such antitrust laws that grossly exploit consumers while enriching a small elite do not really apply, because how else could one explain Comcast’s legal $45 billion buyout of rival provider Time Warner Cable?

o-COMCAST-BEFORE-570

As you can see from the two charts, a merger would mean Comcast would control more than half of all American cable subscribers.

Originally posted on Reddit, the data comes from the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the trade association for the cable industry.According to some experts, this majority could mean slower speeds and fewer good choices on streaming services like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. Because Comcast considers Netflix a competitor, the company doesn’t have any reason to put effort into remedying congestion and the slow speeds it produces on these streaming services. A company as big as the one in the graph above might also pressure content providers not to offer their shows to its competitors, leaving us with fewer good choices when we fire up our streaming services.

o-COMCAST-AFTER-570

And of course, a company that doesn’t have to work for millions of new subscribers may not be that interested in lowering prices. Some predict prices will inevitably rise for consumers if the merger goes through.

For the record, these are the kind of systemic issues that individuals cannot overcome by sheer will-power or “by virtue of their efforts” as the President put it in his State of the Union Address, unless with hard work and effort he meant working hard to find ever more creative and brilliant ways to exploit the American people, such as blatantly violating monopoly laws.

And you can bet your  35% -tax -paying-tutu that this monstrous Comcast cartel will be paying pretty much nothing in taxes, as they, like most corporations in this country, are the beneficiaries of massive loopholes inherent in our skewed tax code as well as government subsidies paid for by tax dollars.

But I guess it is easier to focus on bumper-sticker length, feel-good slogans about bootstraps while romanticizing the dishwasher-to-millionaire metaphor, as opposed to actually examining what is truly behind the mess we’re in.

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JPMorgan’s $7 Billion In Penalty Payouts Pale In Comparison To Its Monstrous Profits

jp morgan graph 1

This is an example of how regulation has completely and utterly failed, despite it being there technically and looking like it has succeeded by mere virtue of existing. In other words, regulations have to be meaningful otherwise their mere existence is just lip service.

Case in point: JP Morgan Chase’s $410 million deal to settle charges it manipulated electricity markets in California and Michigan. This brings the amount the bank has paid in fines and settlements in the past couple of years to nearly $7 billion.

That may sound like a lot, until you consider the metric fuck tons of money the bank has made during that time.

The Daily Beast recently did the hard legwork of compiling all of these settlements into one helpful post, which are summarized in these charts.

JP Morgan chart 2

See, if you keep breaking the law and pay the fine while continuing to break the law because you recognize that paying the “fine” is still more profitable than obeying the law, then that fine is no longer a fine, but a tax or a fee. In other words, the fines imposed on these banks are not harsh enough so they are seen by the company just as a fee or tax they have to pay so they can continue violating the law. In essence, therefore, they are just basically paying a fee for a license to break the law. Thing is, if the “fine” does not hurt the company, it is not a punishment.  Seven billion may seem a lot to you and I, but for a company that makes above $50 billion, the fine they have to pay is a drop in the bucket.

And this is pretty much what it comes down to. We do have regulations which the GOP and its peons like to cite, but they are not really stringent enough. They are more like a slap on the wrist. Because that is the case, the thinking by such companies is “well, let’s just pay the fine and break the law.”

(I am using hypothetical figures to illustrate the point):

Option A: Don’t break the law = $40 billion profit

Option B: Break the law: $ 75 billion profit 

Option C: Pay a fine, break the law:  $75 billion minus $7 billion fine = $68 billion profit.

In conclusion: choose Option c: Break the law, pay the fee for the licence to break the law.

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