Friday, September 28, 2012

Obama's Penny Pritzker-Hyatt and Robert Wolf-UBS-32 Advisors Wall Street Connections

“More than 5,000 supporters of Chicago's teachers rallied and picketed outside the Hyatt Regency…in a…show of solidarity with the Chicago Teachers Union…The protesters had a strong message for Penny Pritzker, the billionaire member of the Chicago Board of Education whose family owns the Hyatt: taxpayer funds are going to your hotel chain while our schools are crumbling, and that is unacceptable….`We're not in a budget crisis – we're in a crisis of priorities’," said Regis Banks, a member of SEIU Local 73…`While Penny Pritzker will benefit from the use of our tax money for her hotel chain, 160 schools still don't have libraries, and 150 those schools are in brown and black neighborhoods.’

“$5.2 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds are being used to build a new Hyatt hotel in Hyde Park…During Pritzker's tenure on the Board of Education, she has allowed hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to be siphoned…into the TIF program….`I am not pleased to see how the teachers are being disrespected by our city's elected officials and CPS board members like Penny Pritzker,’ said Will Longwe, a student at Northeastern Illinois University and a member of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)…”

--from a September 14, 2012 Grassroots Collaborative press release

“One of President Obama's biggest supporters on Wall Street is about to leave his perch at UBS, one of the world's largest banks.

Robert Wolf, who is the UBS chairman for the Americas, is leaving at the end of the month to set up his own advisory shop. He will retain close ties to UBS, which will be the first client of his firm.

“A 28-year veteran of Wall Street, Mr. Wolf has…has garnered more than $500,000 to re-elect the president this year, and regularly plays golf and vacations with Mr. Obama on Martha's Vineyard….As a top banker at UBS, the Swiss bank, Mr. Wolf has built his business on relationships, relying on contacts spanning Wall Street and Washington….Mr. Wolf said…he hoped his Wall Street and Washington experience, and his strong ties to both worlds, would `bring a unique perspective to my clients.’

“Mr. Wolf makes more than $5 million a year at UBS...Mr. Wolf's friendship with the president began before other financiers were seeking to curry favor with Mr. Obama during the 2008 campaign. The two met at a 2006 fund-raiser hosted by the billionaire George Soros and quickly became friends. During the financial crisis, he regularly advised Mr. Obama…While he will no longer work at UBS, he is expected to continue to accompany its bankers to meetings and help it attract new clients….By striking out on his own, Mr. Wolf will also have more time for his side project: helping the president win re-election….

--from the July 19, 2012 issue of the New York Times

Robert Wolf is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of 32 Advisors, LLC, a consulting and advisory firm…In addition to his role at 32 Advisors, Robert is a member of President Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. From 2009-2011 he was a member of the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board…”

--from the 32 Advisors, LLC website

Obama’s Penny Pritzker-Hyatt and Robert Wolf-UBS-32 Advisors LLC Wall Street Connections

Between 2009 and 2012 the Democratic Obama Administration seemed more interested in using public money to help the Wall Street bankers at firms like Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and UBS make more money for their executives, stockholders, investors and clients than using public money to help public school students and teachers improve the quality of under-financed public school education in cities like Chicago. One reason might be because large amounts of campaign funds for Obama’s election campaigns for federal offices were raised, historically, by Chicago Billionaire Penny Pritzker and a Wall Street banker Robert Wolf. As Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter recalled in his 2010 book The Promise: President Obama, Year One:

“…Secretary of Commerce was a post worth having. Penny Pritzker, who helped run her family’s multibillion-dollar conglomerate, was ambivalent about Obama’s offer, which would mean leaving her corporate…obligations in Chicago…Pritzker’s support had been critical to Obama since he first decided to run for the Senate, but there were appaearance problems…Obama…called Pritzker on November 20 [2008] to tell her…the Senate hearings would be unpleasant and distracting. They agreed that the timing was wrong for her to take a Cabinet post…Pritzker…would continue to stay inc lose touch with Obama…

“…Obama…was close to Pritzker and to Robert Wolf of UBS, and he had friendly relationships with…Warren Buffett, Jeff Immelt of GE, Eric Schmidt of Google, and Howard Shultz of Starbucks…In his early 20s he had…experienced working for a corporate advisory firm in New York…”


Thursday, September 27, 2012

New York Times and Goldman Sachs-Linked Foundations (and Mutual of America Life Insurance Company) Sponsor `Moyers and Company' Television Show

Carnegie Corporation of New York today announced a grant of $2 million to support the return of Bill Moyers to public television in 2012 with a new weekly program…Earlier this year, Carnegie Corporation’s Board of Trustees approved a two-year, $2 million grant for the production of this program…The program will be aimed at core public television viewers who have long followed Moyers’s work but will also seek new digital audiences who expect to watch programming via the Internet, apps or social media….Bill Moyers was an aide to President Johnson at the White House and staffed the president on the work that led to the establishment of public media.”

--from an August 22, 2011 Carnegie Corporation of New York press release

Janet L. Robinson became president and chief executive officer of The New York Times Company on December 27, 2004 and retired from that position on December 31, 2011….Previously, she had served as chief operating officer and executive vice president since February 2004. From February 2001 until January 2004, she served as senior vice president, newspaper operations for The New York Times Company. In this role, she led the operations of all of the Company’s newspaper properties, which included The New York Times, The Boston Globe, the International Herald Tribune and the regional newspapers. In addition, she was responsible for all digital and broadcast operations. She also held the position of president and general manager of The New York Times newspaper from 1996 until 2004. Ms. Robinson was elected director of the Company in December 2004…"

--from the Carnegie Corporation of New York website

MissionPoint Capital Partners is a private investment firm established by Mark Schwartz, former President and Chief Executive Officer of Soros Fund Management and former Chairman of Goldman Sachs (Asia); Jesse M. Fink, co-founder and former Chief Operating Officer of; and Mark J. Cirilli, former Chief Investment Officer of Marshall Street Management…Our LP base is comprised of like-minded, sophisticated investors and include HNW individuals, institutions, endowments, foundations, and partnerships.”

---from the MissionPoint Capital Partners website

New York Times and Goldman Sachs-Linked Foundations (and Mutual of America Life Insurance Company) Sponsor `Moyers and Company’ Television Show

Besides being sponsored by the Mutual of America Life Insurance Company, former Johnson White House Chief of Staff and Schumann Center for Media and Democracy President Bill Moyers’ Public Affairs TV media firm also was given a $2 million “charitable grant” in 2011 by the tax-exempt Carnegie Corporation of New York’s board of trustees to produce the “Moyers and Company” public television show. Coincidentally, the chairperson of the Carnegie Corporation of New York’s board of trustees was also a New York Times Company president, chief executive officer and corporate board member between 2004 and 2011.

In addition to being funded these days by Mutual of America and the New York Times-linked Carnegie Corporation of New York, left-liberal media gatekeeper and funder Moyers’s “Moyers and Company” television show has also been receiving “charitable grants” from a foundation, the Fink Foundation, that apparently holds, through a business arrangement with Goldman Sachs, over $6 million worth of corporate stocks and corporate bonds. According to its Form 990 financial filing for 2010, for example, the $18.5 million worth of assets of the tax-exempt and “non-profit” Betsy and Jesse Fink Foundation included:

1. Over $1.1 million worth of corporate stock “held thru Goldman Sachs;”

2. $3 million worth of corporate bonds held through the “Goldman Sachs Enhanced Income Fund;”

3. $1.5 million worth of corporate bonds held through the “Goldman Sachs Strategic Income Fund;”

4. $1.1 million worth of corporate bonds held through the “Goldman Sachs Core Fixed Income” fund; and

5. $101,000 worth of corporate bonds held through the “Goldman Sachs Emerging Markets Debt Fund.”

In addition, the Fink Foundation that helps to fund the “Moyers and Company” tv show also is apparently obtaining some of its “charitable grant” money by investing in the “Goldman Sachs Developing Market Real Estate” fund.

Coincidentally, the chief financial officer of the MissionPoint Capital Partners investment firm (of which Fink Foundation Manager Jesse Fink is board chairman), Len Nero, “most recently served as a vice president at Goldman, Sachs and Co where he was a member of the Investment Management Division’s Private Equity Group which manages over $20 billion in private equity funds, direct investments and secondary transactions,” according to the MissionPoint Capital Partners website. In addition, Fink Foundation Manager Jesse Fink, himself, is also“President and Chief Executive Officer of Marshall Street Management, a family office established in 1999” and apparently used to work for Citicorp.

So don’t expect the “Moyers and Company” television show to allow many critics of either the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the New York Times/Boston Globe mass media conglomerate's manipulation of U.S. public opinion or the Fink Foundation’s Goldman Sachs’ links and investments to appear on its programs in 2012 or 2013.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Obama's Jacobson-SNR Denton and Gips-LightSquared Connections

“Some of President Barack Obama’s choices for U.S. ambassador have touched off foreign concerns over nominees being better known as FOOs (friends of Obama) or big-time fundraisers... Jacobson worked briefly at a prominent New York law firm before accepting a job at Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal LLP, an international law firm with operations in Europe and the United States, including a lobbying office in Washington, DC, that worked on behalf of failed insurance giant AIG…. Jacobson ended up making partner at Sonnenschein and spending 30 years at the firm, specializing in complex commercial, class action, securities, insurance and business litigation, including E-commerce. His clients included prominent companies like Prudential, Allstate, Travelers, The Chicago and North Western Railway, and General Motors.

“…Before meeting Obama Jacobson raised money for Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton...After joining the Obama camp, Jacobson forged “Lawyers for Obama” and became deputy finance chair for the national campaign. He helped raise between $50,000-$100,000, according to
“Following the presidential transition, Jacobson joined the White House in January [2009] as a special assistant to the president for the Office of Presidential Personnel. His focus was on filling slots on executive branch boards and commissions.”

--from an Aug. 2, 2009 site blog post

“…Huron, which seeks $30 million in damages, accuses Sonnenschein of tortious interference for encouraging Huron employees to contact their current and former coworkers and persuade them to come work for Sonnenschein.

“It accuses five ex-Huron executives, now all at Sonnenschein, of recruiting coworkers in violation of a nonsolicitation agreement, downloading confidential Huron documents and client lists, and soliciting Huron clients after leaving the company.

“It also accuses them of keeping Huron laptops filled with client lists and confidential information about clients like the city of Chicago well after they were allowed to have them...Among the juicier details, the complaint says the alleged ringleader of the Huron group, a partner in Sonnenschein's health care group, told colleagues the firm was a place to get easy money….A second defendant, a managing director at Sonnenschein's health care group, assured one Huron employee that she could expect a 62 percent raise if she jumped to the law firm, the complaint says….The tortious interference aspect of the case centers around...Sonnenschein's health care practice…"

--from the AmLaw Daily website on June 11, 2009

SNR Denton announced today that former US Ambassador Robert S. Gelbard has joined the firm as a senior advisor in the firm’s Public Policy and Regulation practice. He will be resident in the Washington, DC office.

"`With the ever growing importance of government in both regulating and driving commerce, Bob’s seasoned background in business and diplomacy throughout the world will prove an invaluable resource to our clients and colleagues worldwide,’ said Mike McNamara, SNR Denton’s US Managing Partner.

“During his career in the United States Foreign Service, Ambassador Gelbard held numerous senior foreign policy positions, including the President’s Special Representative for the Balkans, Ambassador to Indonesia and Bolivia, Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement...and Deputy Director for Western European Affairs. Gelbard also served as…President George H.W. Bush’s personal representative for the 1992 San Antonio Summit…. Gelbard received the Presidential Meritorious Award...

"`SNR Denton brings a world-class sector focus to serving clients globally,’ said Gelbard. `My longstanding relationship with a number of the Firm’s partners and engagement on projects throughout Asia and the Middle East will facilitate our work together.’

“Gelbard is a member of the Boards of Directors of Raydiance, Data Technologies & Analytics, and P.T. Toba Bara (Indonesia), and the Boards of Advisors of PAE, Good Technology and Atlas International Investments….His non-profit activities include the… Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the Atlantic Council, the Boards of Directors of Phelps Stokes and the US-Serbia Business Council...

SNR Denton is a client-focused international legal practice...We serve clients in key business and financial centers from more than 60 locations worldwide, through offices, associate firms and special alliances across the US, the UK, Europe, the Middle East, Russia and the CIS, Asia Pacific and Africa... Joining the complementary top tier practices of its founding firms—Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP and Denton Wilde Sapte LLP—SNR Denton offers business, government and institutional clients premier service…in eight key industry sectors: Energy, Transport and Infrastructure; Financial Institutions and Funds; Government; Health and Life Sciences; Insurance; Manufacturing; Real Estate, Retail and Hotels; and Technology, Media and Telecommunications…. “

--from a Feb.22, 2012 SNR Denton press release

SNR Denton announced today that Lisa M. Ledbetter has joined the firm as a partner in its Financial Institutions Regulatory practice. Ledbetter joins SNR Denton from Freddie Mac where she was most recently vice president and deputy general counsel. She previously served in several senior positions at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Ledbetter is resident in the firm's Washington, DC, office.

“`Lisa is one of the financial services industry's top bank regulatory and legislative lawyers,’ said Robert Bostrom, co-head of SNR Denton's global Financial Institutions and Funds sector and former Freddie Mac executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary, who himself joined the firm in the past six months. `…Her experience has given her a wealth of contacts in various financial institution regulatory agencies and on Capitol Hill,’ added Bostrom….Prior to Freddie Mac, Ledbetter held several senior positions at the FDIC…. As senior counsel for FDIC legislation and regulation, she was responsible for bank safety...Ledbetter's extensive responsibility for regulatory and legislative initiatives involving banks and financial institutions included banking reform, the thrift cleanup, Glass-Steagall and interstate banking….

"`I am energized to use my 25 years of experience in financial services to help SNR Denton manage the extraordinary challenges clients face…’ said Ledbetter...”

--from a March 6, 2012 article

Sonnenschein reported gross revenue of $472.5 million in 2009 and profits per partner of $780,000…”

--from a May 26, 2010 article in The American Lawyer

Donald Gips, the top Obama aide who became ambassador to South Africa, cashed in his stock options for LightSquared, a new wireless Internet firm, for as much as $500,000 ten days after the company won a favorable decision from the Federal Communications Commission, newly released documents show.

Gips, a friend and major campaign fundraiser of President Obama, was the White House personnel chief until being appointed ambassador to South Africa in 2009.

“In his 2009 personal financial disclosure form, Gips reported owning stock options for 176,250 shares of the wireless firm. At the time, the FCC was weighing a request by hedge fund billionaire Philip Falcone to take over the company, then known as SkyTerra.

“According to the proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Falcone offered the owners of SkyTerra stock $5 a share. The sale was subject to several conditions, including FCC consent.

“The FCC staff gave Falcone its approval on March 26, 2010.

Gips’ 2010 financial disclosure, newly obtained by iWatch News, shows that he sold his shares on April 5, 2010—ten days after the FCC okayed the merger. Gips reported earning between $250,000 and $500,000 from the sale.

“iWatch News recently reported that LightSquared’s ties to Obama’s supporters and the administration’s policy interests run deep and that several major Democratic campaign contributors and longtime Obama supporters have held investments in the company and its affiliates during its tangled decade of existence.

"Obama installed one of his biggest fundraisers, Julius Genachowski, a campaign `bundler' and broadband cheerleader, as chairman of the FCC, which granted LightSquared a special waiver to operate…

"Gips served on the Obama transition team with Genachowski before they were appointed to top administration positions…"

.—from a July 22, 2011 Center for Public Integrity article

Obama’s Jacobson-SNR Denton and Gips-LightSquared Connection

Between 2009 and 2012 the Democratic Obama Administration failed to produce much radical change in either the militaristic foreign policy of the U.S. government or the special influence of U.S. corporations, Wall Street banks and white U.S. corporate lawyers over U.S. federal government policy. One reason might be because Obama apparently appointed corporate lawyers from firms that hire ex-U.S. government officials to represent corporate clients before federal government regulatory agencies (like SNR Denton) or white corporation executives from firms that benefit from FCC decisions (like LightSquared)—but who were either members of the 2008 Obama Campaign National Finance Committee or big campaign contributors—to both apparently recommend appointees to federal regulatory agencies and to be U.S. ambassadors to countries like Canada and South Africa—despite their lack of much diplomatic experience. As Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter noted in his 2010 book The Promise: President Obama, Year One:

“…For…political sports…a Chicago lawyer named David Jacobson (soon joined by Donald Gips, director of presidential personnel) identified a small handful of standouts among the 500 members of the campaign’s National Finance Committee…Jacobson and Gips…accepted ambassadorships themselves, Jacobson to Canada and Gips to South Africa…”

Friday, September 21, 2012

Obama's Clinton Administration Connection

Former president Bill Clinton stepped up the pace of his paid speaking engagements in 2009, bringing his total haul from these speeches to $65 million since leaving office in 2001.

“According to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's annual financial disclosure report released Monday, the former president earned $7.5 million from 36 paid speeches last year, up from the $5.7 million he earned for 25 speeches in 2008….Almost two-thirds of President Clinton's earnings from 365 paid speaking engagements since leaving the White House have come from overseas. Since 2001, he has earned $40.1 million from 197 speeches in 45 foreign countries...The $7.5 million Clinton earned in speeches in 2009 tops by almost $2 million the amount he earned the previous year...Since Hillary Clinton suspended her presidential campaign on June 7, 2008, her husband has earned $12.3 million in speaking fees for 56 events...

“When President Obama first nominated then-Sen. Clinton, his former rival, to be the nation's top diplomat in December 2008, the former president agreed to a number of steps to guard against possible conflicts of interest...Secretary Clinton's financial report also indicates the couple owns assets valued at between $10.8 million and $51.8 million, not including the value of their primary residence…”

--from a June 29, 2010 CNN Politics blog post

Obama’s Clinton Administration Connections

Former Democratic President Bill Clinton has been collecting a lot of money from speaking in foreign countries since he moved out of the White House in 2001 and the former Arkansas governor’s wife, Hillary Clinton, began using one of New York State’s seats in the U.S. Senate to unsuccessfully seek the 2008 Democratic Party presidential nomination. Coincidentally, after his wife was appointed U.S. Secretary of State by Barack Obama, the amount of money that Bill Clinton collected annually from his speaking engagements jumped by nearly $2 million between 2008 and 2009.

During both the Democratic Clinton Administration and the Democratic Obama Administration economic inequality in the United States has continued to increase. One reason might be because there was not much change in who got appointed to official positions in the U.S. federal government between 2009 and 2012-- when Obama was in the White House-- compared to who got appointed to official positions when the Clintons were in the White House. As Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter recalled in his 2010 book The Promise: President Obama, Year One:

“…The so-called plum book, published every 4 years by Congress lists…about 7,000 political positions available for a new president to appoint…For the sub-Cabinet and other positions requiring Senate confirmation…about 40 percent of the Obama appointees had worked for the Clinton administration…with 5 Cabinet-rank appointments…true Clinton-era veterans…When Congresswoman Barbara Lee, chair of the Congressional black Caucus, complained that not enough of the caucus’s recommendations were getting hired, Obama was…unmoved…”

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Obama's Vanguard Group/`Vanguardgate' Scandal Wall Street Connection

In 2008 some anti-corporate left supporters of Barack Obama’s candidacy claimed that a Democratic Obama Administration was going to represent the economic and class interests of U.S. working-class and lower middle-class people who don’t own any Wall Street corporate stock because “Barack used to be a community organizer” in the 1980s.

Yet between 2009 and 2012, the Democratic Obama Administration has generally just represented the special economic interests of the white U.S. upper-class and upper middle-class folks who invest in the mutual funds of firms like the Vanguard Group, which profit from their ownership of big chunks of Wall Street stock in corporations that exploit both U.S. and foreign workers and U.S. and foreign consumers. One reason might be because, according to Obama's 2011 financial disclosure form, Democratic President Obama and his wife, coincidentally, have had a personal investment of between $200,000 and $450,000 of their money in the Vanguard Group’s Vanguard S and P 500 Fund in recent years.

According to the Vanguard Group’s website, on June 30, 2012 the Vanguard S and P 500 Fund in which the Obamas have a personal economic investment owned billions or millions of dollars worth of Wall Street stock in companies like the following transnational corporations:

1. $4.9 billion worth of Apple Inc. stock (8.4 million shares);

2. $3.5 billion worth of Exxon Mobil stock (42 million shares);

3. $2 billion worth of Microsoft stock (67.2 million shares);

4. $2 billion worth of IBM stock (10.3 million shares);

5. $1.9 billion worth of General Electric (GE)/NBC stock (95.3 million shares);

6. $1.8 billion worth of AT&T stock (52.7 million shares);

7. $1.8 billion worth of Chevron stock (17.7 million shares);

8. $1.6 billion worth of Johnson & Johnson stock (24.7 million shares);

9. $1.5 billion worth of Wells Fargo & Co. stock (47.8 million shares);

10. $1.5 billion worth of Coca-Cola stock (20.2 million shares);

11. $1.5 billion worth of Pfizer stock (67.3 million shares);

12. $1.5 billion worth of Procter & Gamble stock (24.6 million shares);

13. $1.3 billion worth of Philip Morris International stock (15.3 million shares);

14. $1.3 billion worth of Google Inc. stock (2.2 million shares);

15. $1.2 billion worth of JP Morgan Chase stock (34.2 million shares);

16. $1.2 billion worth of Intel stock (45.2 million shares);

17. $1.1 billion worth of Berkshire Hathaway stock (14.2 million shares);

18. $1.1 billion worth of Merck & Co. stock (27.3 million shares);

19. $1.1 billion worth of Verizon stock (25.5 million shares);

20. $1 billion worth of Wal-Mart stock (15.5 million shares);

21. $1 billion worth of Oracle Corp. stock (34.9 million shares);

22. $994 million worth of PepsiCo stock (14 million shares);

23. $912 million worth of Abbott Laboratories stock (14.1 million shares);

24. $858 million worth of QUALCOMM stock (15.4 million shares);

25. $827 million worth of Cisco Systems stock (48.1 million shares);

26. $809 million worth of McDonald’s stock (9.1 million shares);

27. $793 million worth of Bank of America stock (96.9 million shares);

28. $779 million worth of Disney/ABC stock (16 million shares);

29. $778 million worth of Schlumberger stock (11.9 million shares);

30. $740 million worth of stock (3.2 million shares);

31. $733 million worth of Comcast/NBC stock (22.9 million shares);

32. $729 million worth of Home Depot stock (13.7 million shares);

33. $723 million worth of Citigroup stock (26.3 million shares);

34. $679 million worth of United Parcel Service stock (8.6 million shares);

35. $635 million worth of ConocoPhillips stock (11.3 million shares);

36. $632 million worth of Altria Group stock (18.3 million shares);

37. $625 million worth of Occidental Petroleum stock (7.2 million shares);

38. $619 million worth of United Technologies stock (8.1 million shares);

39. $616 million worth of Kraft Foods stock (15.9 million shares);

40. $559 million worth of 3M stock (6.2 million shares);

41. $553 million worth of Visa stock (4.4 million shares);

42. $548 million worth of US Bancorp stock (17 million shares);

43. $546 million worth of Bristol-Myers Squibb stock (15.1 millions shares);

44. $546 million worth of UnitedHealth Group stock (9.3 million shares);

45. $538 million worth of CVS Caremark stock (11.5 million shares);

46. $524 million worth of American Express stock (9 million shares);

47. $511 million worth of Union Pacific stock (4.2 million shares);

48. $511 million worth of Amgen stock (6.9 million shares);

49. $500 million worth of Boeing stock (6.7 million shares);

50. $498 million worth of Caterpillar stock (5.8 million shares);

51. $424 million worth of Simon Property Group stock (2.7 million shares);

52. $424 million worth of Goldman Sachs stock (4.4 million shares);

53. $422 million worth of News Corp/Fox News stock (18.9 million shares);

54. $363 million worth of Starbucks stock (6.8 million shares);

55. $338 million worth of Dow Chemical stock (10.7 million shares);

56. $332 million worth of Time Warner/CNN stock (8.6 million shares);

57. $329 million worth of Ford Motor stock (34.3 million shares);

58. $309 million worth of Apache Corp. stock (3.5 million shares);

59. $235 million worth of Halliburton stock (8.6 million shares);

60. $213 million worth of General Dynamics stock (3.2 million shares);

61. $208 million worth of Lockheed Martin stock (2.3 million shares);

62. $173 million worth of Yahoo Inc. stock (10.9 million shares); and

63. $169 million worth of Raytheon stock (2.4 million shares).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Obama's Geithner-Froman/Citigroup-Kissinger Associates Connection

Michael Froman ’91 has been named deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs, a position to be held jointly at the National Security Council and the National Economic Council….A former chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin during the Clinton administration, Froman also served in the Treasury as deputy assistant secretary for Eurasia and the Middle East. He was also director for international economic affairs on the National Economic Council and the National Security Council…. Most recently, Froman was a managing director of Citigroup’s Citi Alternative Investments Institutional Clients Group, where he was head of infrastructure and sustainable development. He also served on 12-member advisory board of the Obama campaign’s transition team.”

--from a Feb. 3, 2009 news item on the Harvard Law School website

Even more intriguing is Geithner’s informal brain trust, loaded with Wall Street luminaries. Since coming to the Fed in November 2003—recruited by then-New York Fed chairman Pete Peterson, co-founder of the Blackstone GroupGeithner has learned the ways of the financial industry…He was almost immediately taken under the wing of Gerald Corrigan, a…former New York Fed chief who is now a managing director of Goldman Sachs. Corrigan describes his relationship with Geithner as close, and it has flourished since Geithner’s first days at the Fed. Another frequent adviser—`you don’t want those things to get too formal,’ Corrigan notes—is also a preeminent banker, Merrill Lynch C.E.O. John Thain, a Goldman alumnus and former head of the N.Y.S.E.  Over the years, Thain has often talked to Geithner—`sometimes I talk to him multiple times a day’ Thain says. Geithner’s network also includes former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan, an old acquaintance, as well as the heads of the European central banks, hedge fund managers, academics, and his immediate predecessor, William McDonough, architect of the 1998 Long-Term Capital Management bailout and now a vice chairman of Merrill."

--from Gary Weiss’s May 12, 2008 Upstart Business Journal article

"...Geithner was born in Brooklyn in 1961, and grew up in a series of far-flung, exotic locales…Hhis father, Peter Geithner, joined the United States Agency for International Development and moved his family…to Salisbury, Rhodesia. Peter Geithner came from Columbian Carbon International, a Fortune 500 conglomerate…,In 1968, Peter Geithner accepted a position with the Ford Foundation and the family moved…to New Delhi...After graduate school, his father had deferred going into government to gain private-sector experience; so did the son, landing a job in 1985 at Kissinger Associates, the consulting firm founded by Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft, and Lawrence Eagleburger.
“…This was a stroke of almost unimaginable good fortune. It did not come by chance. Scowcroft had called the dean at Johns Hopkins and asked him to recommend an Asia specialist; he recommended GeithnerKissinger took note of his young charge. Geithner was asked to write a series of longer papers, not for the firm but for Kissinger personally…Although Geithner moved on to the government after three years, Kissinger remains an enthusiastic backer…."

--from an April 2010 article in The Atlantic magazine

Obama’s Geithner-Froman/Citigroup-Kissinger Associates Historical Connection

Not much change in either the high U.S. unemployment rate or the special influence of white Wall Street bankers over U.S. government policy was produced by the Democratic Obama Administration between 2009 and 2012.

One reason might be because a white Citigroup managing director named Michael Froman—apparently one of Barack Obama’s close friends at Harvard Law School—successfully pushed Obama to appoint a white former Federal Reserve Bank of New York president and Kissinger Associates executive named Timothy Geithner to be the Obama Administration’s Secretary of the Treasury between 2009 and 2012. As Newsweek magazine columnist Jonathan Alter recalled in his 2010 book The Promise: President Obama, Year One:

Obama…knew that as president of the New York Fed, Tim Geithner was right at the center of the bailout action, consulting closely with [George W. Bush’s Secretary of the Treasury] Paulson…Obama and Geithner had met for the first time during the fall campaign [in 2008], in a secret meeting at the W Hotel in New York…Like Obama, Geithner had grown up abroad in Zimbabwe, Zambia, India and Thailand…During the early 1980s, Geithner’s father, Peter Geithner, oversaw the Ford Foundation’s micro-credit program and had…met once with one of its Indonesian program officers, S. Ann Dunham-Ssotero, Obama’s mother…Trained well by his years under Henry Kissinger in the consulting business, Geithner played hard-to-get…

“…Michael Froman, a…Citi banker and one of the transition chiefs, was pushing hard for his old friend Geithner. Froman had become close friends with Obama at Harvard Law School…Obama bonded with Geithner personallyGeithner gave what critics called `backdoor bailouts’ of tens of billions to some of the wealthiest financial institutions in the world…

“…[Center for American Progress CEO and Obama Transition Co-Chief John] Podesta, a major link to the Clintons, favored Geithner…Even after the vetters discovered disturbing tax problems on Geithner’s record—problems that would cause Obama considerable embarrassment six weeks later…he [Obama] stuck with his choice…Obama…lobbied a huge bank rescue bill through Congress…His advisors rejected WPA-style direct government hiring…Government jobs would have attacked unemployment immediately. (In 1934 FDR and his relief administrator, Harry Hopkins, created 4 million jobs in two months…The failure to think more boldly about creating jobs fast would haunt the administration…The Obama advisors figured that as long as unemployment stayed under 10 percent for the year, they could slide through…

“…Obama worked the phones…Tim Geithner made the rounds of the Senate Democrats and told them he had made mistakes…while still in his job as head of the New York Fed…The second bailout was approved…5 days before the Inauguration [in 2009]…Even before becoming president, Obama was drawing from his political capital to win approval for Bush’s bailouts…

“…Geithner paid only what he owed [in taxes] for the years that he was audited, 2003 and 2004. He had also worked as a consultant in 2001 and 2002 and knew perfectly well that he owed back taxes for those years too…”

So don’t expect the second term of a Democratic Obama Administration to be anymore successful in producing a change in in either the high U.S. unemployment rate or the special influence of white Wall Street bankers over U.S. government policy between 2013 and 2017 than it was between 2009 and 2012.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Obama Campaign National Finance Chair Barzun's Brown-Forman Liquor Industry Connection

“…The founding Brown family…owns more than 70 percent of Brown-Forman’s voting shares…In 1995 Brown-Forman formed a joint venture with Jagatjit Industries, India’s third-largest spirit producer…”

--Hoover’s Handbook of American Business in 2008

Obama Campaign National Finance Chair Barzun’s Brown-Forman Liquor Industry Connection

Transnational liquor corporations like the Louisville, Kentucky-based Brown-Forman Corp. exercise a special influence in the world of U.S. politics. As Evan Mackinder observed in a Mar. 23, 2011 article, titled “Politics on Tap: Alcohol Producers Pour Out Campaign Cash for Parties,” that was posted on the Center for Responsive Politics’ Open Secrets blog:

"Whether you prefer your wine red or white, your spirits on the rocks or your beer frosty cold, chances are your bartender is pouring a drink infused with politics.

“Many of the most recognizable brands lining store shelves are made by companies that contribute heavily to federal-level politics, according to a Center for Responsive Politics analysis of campaign finance data…Sometimes an alcohol company's partisan preference isn't easy to discern.

“Anheuser-Busch…has given fairly evenly to Democrats and Republicans during the past two decades….The company has…veered toward Democrats, giving 55 and then 60 percent of contributions to the party during the 2008 and 2010 election cycles.

“And then there's Brown-Forman Corp., which owns two popular brands in Jack Daniels whiskey and Southern Comfort liqueur. The Louisville, Ky.-based company with operations throughout Appalachia has contributed slightly more to Democrats in recent years...Phil Lynch, vice president of corporate communications and public relations of Brown-Forman, says there is no partisan bent to his company's political action committee giving -- just a focus on influencing topics that affect the alcohol industry.

“`We base our contributions not on whether the politician is a Democrat or a Republican or an independent, but on where they stand on our issues,’ he told OpenSecrets Blog.

“Lynch argues that the alcohol industry is highly regulated and heavily taxed by the federal government, and that Brown-Forman wants to make sure that `if new regulations are proposed, [it] can present [its] case.’ And to that degree, the company focuses its giving on politicians in states such as Kentucky or Tennessee, where it's based, and on the chairmen of influential congressional committees….”

  And, coincidentally, the wife of 2012 Democratic Obama Presidential Campaign National Finance Chair Matthew BarzunBrooke Brown Barzun—apparently still owned over 3. 9 million shares of Brown-Forman corporate stock, worth over $350 million, in July 2012, after selling over $27.2 million worth of her Brown-Forman stock on June 26, 2012, according to a recent SEC filing.

In an obituary for former Brown-Forman CEO and Chairman Owsley Brown II (who also sat on the corporate boards of Louisville Gas & Electric, NACCO Industries, Hilliard Lyons Trust, E.O.N.U.S. Capital and River Fields Inc. in recent years) that appeared in the Sept. 29, 2011 issue of the New York Times, Susanne Craig indicated in the following way how Obama Campaign National Finance Chair Barzun has been connected to Brown-Forman in recent years:

Owsley Brown II, who expanded his family’s Kentucky liquor company to reach a global market for its brands, among them Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, Southern Comfort and Finlandia vodka, died on Monday in Louisville, Ky…. Matthew Barzun, a son-in-law, said the cause was complications of pneumonia.

Mr. Brown was a former chief executive of Brown-Forman, the company founded in Louisville in 1870 by his great-grandfather George Garvin BrownMr. Barzun, a former United States ambassador to Sweden and now President Obama’s national campaign finance chairman, said Mr. Brown `deserves credit for turning a great American company into a great global company.’

“He said his father-in-law favored tradition and quality, be it in his choice of drink, his vision for Brown-Forman or his hopes for Louisville….”
According to an August 20, 2012 article by Professor David Jernigan of the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health’s Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth [CAMY], in the United States alcohol is “responsible for 4,700 deaths among those under 21 every year,” “alcohol kills more teenagers every year than any illegal drug,” and “adolescent alcohol use plays a substantial role in all three leading causes of death among youth -- unintentional injuries (including motor vehicle fatalities and drownings), suicides, and homicide.” Yet according to the same article:
“Youth exposure to alcohol advertising on U.S. television increased 71 percent between 2001 and 2009…In 2009, 13 percent of youth exposure came from advertising placed in violation of the [liquor] industry's voluntary threshold….Close to one-third of alcohol advertising placements [on U.S. radio] occur when proportionately more youth were listening than adults age 21 and above. Approximately 9 percent of all alcohol product advertisements aired on programming with underage audiences in violation of the industry's voluntary standard…The content of alcohol ads placed in magazines is actually more likely to be in violation of industry guidelines if the ad appears in a magazine with sizeable youth readership. Examples of violations include showing ads appearing to target a primarily underage audience…”

  In a May 14, 2012 Advertising Age article, titled “Hard Time: Liquor Advertising Pours Into TV,” E. J. Schultz also described how liquor industry corporations like Brown-Forman have been allowed to use the profits they obtain from their sale of alcoholic beverages around the globe to spend a lot more money on television commercials during the U.S. election year of 2012:
“…Broadcast networks have loosened their rules, creating more opportunities for national buys. CBS, for instance, began accepting liquor ads during late-night programming within the last year. ABC has been taking hard-booze during "Jimmy Kimmel Live" for several months. And this spring, NBC began accepting spirits shows airing after 11 p.m. astern as long as 90% of the audience is of legal drinking age…. More broadcast deals are `in the works,’ one industry insider told Ad Age.

“TV grabbed $142 million in advertising from liquor brands in 2010, or about 34% of all media spending by the category. That's up from $102 million and 23% just five years earlier, according to the latest data available provided to Ad Age by the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. (Discus), a liquor trade group. Magazines led with a 41% share, though that was down from 58% in 2005.

“Liquor brands' TV spending fell to a little more than $141 million last year, according to Kantar Media. But it seems poised to grow again in 2012… Liquor ads did not appear on any TV, national or local, for much of the 20th century, with the industry honoring a self-imposed ban from 1948 to 1996….A growing number of TV affiliates have begun taking ads in recent years, and marketers have found more opportunities on cable networks such as Comedy Central, E! and ESPN. Cable still gets more than 90% of the spending, according to Kantar.

“But the new acceptance from broadcast networks is a victory for the spirits industry, which has sought parity with beer and wine since it lifted the ban…. TV is benefiting from aggressive innovations as marketers seek awareness on fresh offerings such as flavored whiskeys and other line extensions…Even brands that swore off TV are back.

"Take Brown-Forman's Southern Comfort. It moved to an all-digital strategy in 2009, telling Ad Age then that it was having a hard time breaking through the spirits brands crowded into a few nightly cable shows. But SoCo returned to TV in 2010 and 2011 to launch lime- and pepper-flavored versions.

“The brand's TV investment will grow this year, a spokesman said, because `we've seen increased consumer response during the time periods when we are on air.’"

  According to a 2006 study by Columbia University’s National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse [CASA], titled “The Commercial Value of Underage Drinking and Adult Abusive and Dependent Drinking to the Alcohol Industry,” underage drinkers and pathological drinkers (those that meet the clinical DSM-IV criteria for alcohol abuse or addiction) consume between 37.5 percent and 48.8 percent of the value of alcohol sold in the United States and are apparently the U.S. liquor industry’s most valuable customers.

As a “bundler” for Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, Obama Campaign National Finance Chair Barzun has personally raised over $899,000 in campaign contributions for the Obama Campaign according to the Center for Responsive Politics’ Open Secrets website. And Garvin Brown of Brown-Forman made a $30,800 campaign contribution to the DNC Services Corporation on January 21, 2012, while George Garvin Brown IV of Brown-Forman made a $30,800 campaign contribution on December 19, 2011 to the DNC Services Corporation, according to the same website.

So a re-elected Democratic Obama Administration is not likely to work too hard to decrease the special influence of liquor industry firms like Brown-Forman in the U.S. political or media world, tax its alcohol industry profits too heavily, or legalize marijuana—even though the use of marijuana would be likely to reduce the amount of pathological drinking among youth.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Obama Appointed Bush's Defense Secretary To Be Obama Administration Defense Secretary

“…Gates is the only U.S. secretary of defense ever to be asked to remain in office by a newly elected president. The 2008 election was an unambiguous popular rejection of the Bush administration and its imperial foreign policy. The people of the United States, including the majority of people in the military, wanted to sweep out the Bush team. But President Obama asked Gates, a key architect of the current conflicts, to stay….”

--from a January 2, 2010 open mike blog post by Michael Prysner on the website

“Starbucks Corporation announced today that Robert M. Gates, former U.S. Secretary of Defense and current chancellor of the College of William & Mary, was elected to the Starbucks Board of Directors. He will serve on the Board’s Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee….Secretary Gates served in numerous roles in the Executive Branch of the U.S. government for nearly half a century, culminating as Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011. He was the first defense secretary to serve under presidents from both political parties – President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama. Upon Secretary Gates’ retirement in June 2011, he was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor a president can bestow on a civilian.

“In September 2011 he was named the 24th chancellor of the College of William & Mary…

“`I am deeply honored to have been asked to join Starbucks Board of Directors,” said Secretary Gates…’”

--from a May 2, 2012 Starbucks Corporation press release

Obama Appointed Bush’s Defense Secretary Gates To Be Obama Administration Defense Secretary

When the 2012 Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama campaigned in 2008 he promised to “change” U.S. government foreign policy and claimed to represent an anti-war alternative in Washington, D.C. to the Republic administration of George W. Bush that had brought “permanent war” abroad to countries like Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet the militaristic foreign policy of the U.S. government did not change much between 2009 and 2012 during Obama’s first term as U.S. president. And there is still not much peace with justice for people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries (or in places like Gaza) in 2012.

One reason the Democratic Obama Administration failed to radically change U.S. government foreign policy between 2009 and 2012 might be because it failed to change the U.S. official in charge of the Pentagon after Obama was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2009. Coincidentally, the same Pentagon official who was George W. Bush’s Secretary of Defense in 2008—former CIA Director and current College of William & Mary Chancellor and Starbucks Corporation Director Robert Gates—was reappointed by 2012 Democratic presidential candidate Obama to be the Democratic Obama Administration’s Secretary of Defense in 2009. As Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter’s 2010 book The Promise: President Obama, Year One recalled:

“…Obama beat McCain 53 percent to 46 percent…Virginia, North Carolina, Indiana, and other states that had long been comfortably Republican fell to the Democrats as…discouraged conservatives stayed home. The 63 percent turnout of eligible voters was small by international standards…131 million Americans…voted…with Obama carrying women by 13 percent and men by 1…Obama carried 95 percent of African American voters…The Latino vote…went 2 to 1 for Obama…Obama carried voters…making more than $200,000…Obama…won 54 percent of young white men…

“Obama…had run no state or local government…For months Obama had worked through Senator Jack Reed (a West Point grad and early supporter) to convince Robert Gates to stay on as Secretary of Defense…He [Obama] offered Gates the job at a secret meeting held at a fire station on the grounds of Reagan National Airport…Gates provided continuity on Iraq…Nobody in the Obama circle much cared that Gates had been tarnished by the Iran-Contra affair in the 1980s and by his record as George H.W. Bush’s CIA director…”

  Coincidentally, former CIA Director Leon Panetta is the current Obama Administration Secretary of Defense in 2012.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Are Both GOP and Democratic Party-Appointed Judges Anti-Labor?

Some U.S. labor union officials are apparently still going to spend a lot of their labor union members' money on helping to fund the campaigns of certain Democratic Party politicians. Yet there's apparently some historical evidence that, when the lawyers for U.S. labor unions oppose the anti-labor policies of U.S. corporate managers in the U.S. courtroom, judges appointed by Democratic Party elected officials are often as likely as judges appointed by GOP-elected officials to make anti-labor judicial decisions. As Joe Burns' 2011 book Reviving The Strike: How Working People Can Regain Power and Transform America observed:

"...While today's trade unionists have had no trouble recognizing the clear anti-worker bias present in the judicial appointees of convervative presidnts such as Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, many fail to see that Democratic-appointed judges are no friends of working people either. While Democratic appointees may differ from their Republican counterparts on issues that reside on the periphery of labor law, such as whether graduate students are eligible to join unions, on the questions paramount to the labor movement--whether unions should be allowed to engage in effective strike tactics, the mobility of capital, and the outlawing of solidarity--one finds little disagreements among judges, no matter their party affiliation.

"Because of this, the system of labor control cannot be altered simply by electing new politicians, or appointing different judges...Merely electing Democrats instead of Republicans will not change the basic rules of bargaining...There is no evidence that Democratic judicial appointees are even interested in altering the fundamentals of labor policy. Federal judges, and in particular, those who make it to the Federal Courts of Appeals and Supreme Court, are not drawn from the ranks of progressive lawyers. Whether appointed by Democrats or Republicans, they tend, at best, to be corporate liberals sympathetic to the arguments of business. They are not the sort to wrench the steering wheel soldily in labor's direction by reversing Supreme Court decisions reaching back a half century....

"...Even in the unlikely event that the Supreme Court were to reconsider many of its past labor decisions, it is highly unlikely that Democratic appointees to the Court could be counted on to make the sharp turn in labor policy necessary to restore the right to engage in effective strike tactics.

"Nor can changing membership of the National Labor Relations Board help the labor movement, as...Democratic appointees have shown no inclination to radically change direction. And, even if they were, their rulings are subject to review by the federal courts..."

Friday, September 7, 2012

Black Female Worker `Not Seasonally Adjusted" Unemployment Rate Increases To 13.2 Percent In August 2012

The official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for Black female workers over 20 years-of-age in the United States increased from 12.7 to 13.2 percent between July and August 2012; while the number of unemployed Black female workers over 20 years-of-age increased by 64,000 (from 1,190,000 to 1,254,000) during the same period, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics “not seasonally adjusted” data.

The “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Black youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age increased from 38.1 to 38.8 percent between July and August 2012; while the number of Black youths who still had jobs decreased by 142,000 (from 604,000 to 462,000) during the same period. In addition, the “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for all Black workers in the United States (female, male, and youth) was still 14.5 percent in August 2012; while the “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Black male workers over 20 years-of-age was still 13.8 percent during the same month.

The official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for Latina female workers over 20 years-of-age was still 10.3 percent in August 2012; while the number of Latina female workers over 20 years-of-age who still had jobs decreased by 33,000 (from 8,788,000 to 8,745,000) during the same month, according to the “not seasonally adjusted” data.

The “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Latino youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age was still 29 percent in August 2012; while the number of Latino youths who still had jobs decreased by 118,000 (from 979,000 to 861,000) between July and August 2012. In addition, the “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for all Latino workers in the United States (female, male and youth) was still 10.1 percent in August 2012; while the “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Latino male workers over 20 years-of-age was still 8.1 percent during the same month.

The official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for white youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age increased from 21.7 to 22 percent between July and August 2012; while the number of white youths who still had jobs decreased by 579,000 (from 4,553,000 to 3,974,000) during the same period, according to the “not seasonally adjusted” data.

The “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for all white workers in the United States (female, male and youth) was still 7.2 percent in August 2012; while the number of white workers who still had jobs decreased by 360,000 (from 115,255,000 to 114,895,000) during the same month, according to the “not seasonally adjusted” data. The “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for white female workers over 20 years-of-age was still 6.9 percent in August 2012; while the number of white male workers over 20 years-of-age who still had jobs decreased by 150,000 (from 60,588,000 to 60,438,000) between July and August 2012, according to the “not seasonally adjusted” data. In addition, the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for Asian-American workers in the United States was still 5.9 percent in August 2012; while the number of Asian-American workers who still had jobs decreased by 136,000 (from 7,830,000 to 7,694,000) between July and August 2012, according to the “not seasonally adjusted” data.

The official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for all female workers over 16 years-of-age in the United States (Black, Latino, Asian-American and white) was still 8.4 percent in August 2012; while the official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for all male workers over 16 years-of-age was still 8 percent in the same month. In addition, the official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for all workers in the United States was still 8.2 in August 2012; while the “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for white male workers over 20 years-of-age was still 6.3 percent in the same month. And between July and August 2012 the total “not seasonally adjusted” number of U.S. workers who still had jobs decreased by 568,000 (from 143,126,000 to 142,558,000); and 12,696,000 U.S. workers were still officially unemployed.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ September 7, 2012 press release:

“…In August, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 5.0 million. These individuals accounted for 40.0 percent of the unemployed…Both the civilian labor force (154.6 million) and the labor force participation rate (63.5 percent) declined in August…The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed at 8.0 million in August. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

“In August, 2.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force…These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey…

“Among the marginally attached, there were 844,000 discouraged workers in August…Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them…

“…Employment in temporary help services changed little over the month and has shown little movement, on net, since February.

“Manufacturing employment edged down in August (-15,000). A decline in motor vehicles and parts (-8,000) partially offset a gain in July…Employment in other major industries, including mining and logging, construction, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information and government, showed little change over the month…
“…In August, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees edged down by 1 cent to $19.75…The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for June was revised from +64,000 to +45,000, and the change for July was revised from +163,000 to +141,000…”


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Obama's Clinton Family Connection Historically

Chelsea Clinton has joined the board of IAC/InterActiveCorp, the Internet media company controlled by Barry Diller….Ms. Clinton, 31, is now a director of the company, whose portfolio of Web sites includes the Daily Beast, CollegeHumor and It also publishes Newsweek magazine.

“Ms. Clinton will earn $50,000 per year as an IAC board member. The company also granted Ms. Clinton $250,000 worth of IAC shares that vests in equal installments over three years…Ms. Clinton, 31, is…working with the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative…Her business experience consists of stints in her 20s at the consulting firm McKinsey & Company and the hedge fund Avenue Capital.

“Mr. Diller, the chief executive of IAC, was a supporter of Ms. Clinton's father, Bill Clinton, in the 1992 presidential election. He also supported Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign.

“Also joining the IAC board is Sonali De Rycker, 38, a partner at Accel Partners, the venture capital firm….In March, Michael D. Eisner, the former chief executive of the Walt Disney Company, became a director. Other members of the prominent board include Edgar Bronfman Jr., the music executive…and Alexander von Furstenberg, the son of Mr. Diller's wife….Ms. Clinton also recently celebrated her one-year wedding anniversary to Marc Mezvinsky, a former Goldman Sachs executive. Mr. Mezvinsky most recently worked at 3G Capital, the private equity firm controlled by Brazilian billionaires that last year acquired Burger King. He is now starting his own investment firm, according to several reports….”

--from a Sept. 26, 2011  New York Times article by Peter Lattman

Obama’s Clinton Family Connection Historically

Recently, the father of Barry Diller’s IAC/Interactive Corp./Daily Beast/College Humor/Newsweek corporate board member Chelsea Clinton and the father-in-law of former Goldman Sachs executive Marc Mezvinsky—Bill Clinton—gave a speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte in which he nominated Barack Obama to be the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate in the 2012 U.S. presidential election. Coincidentally, after Obama was elected to his first term as U.S. president in November 2008, Bill Clinton’s wife was named by Obama to be the Democratic Obama Administration’s Secretary of State—despite her lack of diplomatic experience or knowledge of how to bring peace to the world through peaceful negotiations. As Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter recalled in his 2010 book The Promise: President Obama, Year One:

“The idea of choosing Clinton for Secretary of State was first raised by John Podesta in small meetings over the summer [of 2008]…The former president [Bill Clinton] had a complex relationship with Ted Kennedy…Over the first three weeks of 2008 Bill Clinton and Kennedy had several tense telephone conversations…As Kennedy lavishly praised Obama’s Iowa [primary] victory speech the night before, an angry Bill Clinton interjected, `Gimme a break!’ He was enraged at Obama’s nerve—that he thought he could just drop his bags off at the Senate and run for president…The guy had done nothing! `Nothing!’ Clinton said…The former president would tell people privately that Kennedy had chosen race over gender and endorsed Obama mostly because he was black…

“…Bill [Clinton] went quiet for the rest of the primaries [in 2008]…He campaigned for Hillary [Clinton] but talked to no reporters. The former president had been muzzled, though Obama was convinced he was still spreading rumors about him. When the liberal talk show host Ed Schultz asked him off the air who was stirring up opposition in the Jewish community, Obama replied, `It’s the f—king Clintons.’

“…Obama courted Hillary intensely. They talked by phone before and after the [2008] election on a variety of subjects…Obama asked her to come to his transition office in Chicago on November 13 [2008].

“Philipp Reines, Hillary’s press secretary, kept telling his boss that Obama wanted her for Secretary of State…When she arrived for their one-on-one at the Kluczynski Federal Building in downtown Chicago, Obama offered her the jobBill Clinton…wanted her to take the job…He was confident that the new relationships Hillary would establish as Secretary of State could keep what would someday be known as the William Jefferson Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton Foundation vital for another 15 years…After the [2008] election it still didn’t take much to set him on a tear about how the Obama folks played dirty pool in the [2008] primaries, how Obama didn’t work hard enough, how Obama still thought he was the `Messiah'…”

  Given the lack of diplomatic experience and the lack of negotiation skills possessed by the wife of former Democratic President Bill Clinton, it’s not surprising that the Democratic Obama Administration’s State Department failed to bring peace with justice to the Middle East, to Africa, to Afghanistan or to Pakistan between 2009 and 2012 under Secretary of State Clinton’s leadership. And it’s also not surprising that the Obama Administration’s incompetent Secretary of State also failed to finally normalize diplomatic and economic trade relations between the United States and Cuba or create a disarmed, nuclear-free planet between 2009 and 2012. Perhaps the Nobel Peace Prize that was awarded to the 2012 Democratic presidential candidate in 2009 should be returned to the Nobel Peace Prize committee of judges by the Clintons or the Clintons' daughter in 2013?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Anti-Labor Hyatt Hotels Director Penny Pritzker Raised Funds for Obama's 2008 Campaign

“Union leaders representing employees of Hyatt Hotels are calling for a global boycott of the hotel chain they've been in a dispute with for years.

“The NFL Players Association, UNITE HERE, and the AFL-CIO were among the groups that descended upon the nation's capital Monday to demonstrate against the Chicago-based company. They called for a week of demonstrations at Hyatt Hotels in 20 U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Baltimore, and Boston. And they urged travelers not to stay at any Hyatt Hotels `to send a clear message to Hyatt that its abuse and exploitation of hotel workers will not be tolerated,’ according to a press release.

"`The global boycott marks the largest escalation to date in an ongoing campaign for basic workers rights,’ the organizers said in the release. `Hyatt has singled itself out as the worst employer in the hotel industry by abusing its housekeepers and other hotel workers, replacing long-time employees with minimum wage temporary workers, and imposing dangerous and health-threatening workloads on those who remain.’…”

--from the July 23, 2012 issue of USA Today

“Joining President Obama on his short flight from San Francisco to Portland, Ore., today was Penny Pritzker, his 2008 campaign finance chairwoman and one of his earliest supporters…Pritzker, whose family owns the Hyatt hotel chain…is a member of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness…”

--from the July 24, 2012 issue of USA Today

Anti-Labor Hyatt Hotels Director Penny Pritzker Raised Funds For Obama’s 2008 Campaign

The Democratic Obama Administration failed to create the radical democratic change required to restore economic prosperity for U.S. working-class people, dramatically lower the U.S. unemployment rate and reduce the political and economic power of U.S. billionaires and their corporations between 2009 and 2012. One reason might be because a member of the board of directors of the anti-labor Hyatt Hotels corporation, Billionaire Penny Pritzker, raised funds in a big way for the Democratic Party’s 2008 Obama presidential campaign. As Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter recalled in his 2010 book The Promise: President Obama, Year One:

“The Obama fund-raising juggernaut was often seen as a social-networking phenomenon, but it was actually more like an Internet startup. Obama and [Penny] Pritzker knew that they needed the equivalent of venture capitalists to put in seed money before their enterprise could `go public.’…In the National Finance Committee tent [on Election Night in November 2008], the big donors, the ones whose early money had made it possible for him to win, climbed up on table and chairs to get a glimpse of the president-elect as he thanked them. Penny Pritzker, the…Chicago businesswoman who spearheaded his record fund-raising, sat on the cold ground, out of view. Obama expected to see her there, and when he didn’t he emailed her at 2 a.m. asking where she’d been…”

  The same book also noted that “in the presidential campaign” in 2008, Obama “pandered to younger voters by opposing a mandate requiring everyone to buy health insurance,” although the health reform/obamacare plan [which is expected to create more super-profits for both pharmaceutical corporations and health insurance corporations than a Single-Payer/Medicaid for All plan would create] that Obama eventually pushed through Congress between 2009 and 2012 did contain a mandate requiring younger voters to buy costly, but sub-standard health insurance from private health insurance companies.; and that “Obama was too competitive to consign himself to being a one-termer.”

Sitting next to 2008 Obama Campaign National Finance Chairperson and President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness Member Pritzker on the Hyatt Hotels corporate board in recent years have been former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs and former International Advisor to Goldman Sachs Bernard Aronson (who also sits on the board of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs), Goldman Sachs Managing Director Richard Friedman and former Goldman Sachs Executive Byron Trott. In addition, a director of the anti-union/anti-labor Wal-Mart Stores Inc. named Gregory Penner has also been sitting next to Penny Pritzker on the Hyatt Hotels board of directors in recent years.