PUBLIC ADVOCACY: We are all Disenfranchised!

March 31, 2014

Let me count the ways. In today’s NY TIMES, 3/31/14, several articles appeared detailing, the isolation of the individual , while Corporate rights are ascendant at Taxpayer expense. There are solutions using ” the rule of Law”. Since 1961, we, the Middle Class have abrogated our rights by ” silently” agreeing to Laws favoring The Corporation. The Solution is up to US.

1. The Latinos feel there is no purpose in registering to vote because their voice is not counted or heard .

The Solution: Overturn Citizens United and Re-instate one man one vote.
For further in depth reading, google, The Brennan Law School’s review of Citizen’s United and Voting Rights Law.

2. General Motors was aided and abetted by Regulators when their ignition flaw problem was covered up.

The Solution: close the revolving door between regulators and industries regulated. Including, but not limited to Lawyers defending Corporations , Lobbyists, etc. Government is not a training ground for Private abuse of the law at taxpayer expense. Previously under Bill Clinton, there was a 5 year waiting period between Government Employment and ” the revolving door ” to Business Employment , somewhat limiting  the ” conflict of interest” at the Public’s expense.

3. New Bedford, Pa., 4 people wished to opt out of fracking in the Marcellus Shale area. However, since 99% of the folks in the area had agreed to this process, they have no right to opt out under a 1961 law which allows “fringe parcels” to be included without property owners’ agreement?  This ” Forced pooling”  law exists in 40 States and was ” creatively” designed to benefit large Corporations as they drill for every last drop of ” oil and gas”?  The Corporations claim they were beneficent?

The Solution: Debate all Laws that mandate the loss of individual rights at the taxpayers expense. Every time we favor a Corporation with tax incentives, the Middle Class pays!  Remember the Lobbyists  creed? Aptly cited in today’s Times, 4/2/14, if you don’t have a seat at the table, you are on the menu!

4. LOL: Heard on Bill Moyers, 3/30/14, Diane Ravitch speak on behalf of the Public School system. When she speaks, she makes common sense, fund our schools with our tax dollars.

The Solution: use all good ideas, like Charter schools to help failing schools. Stop penalizing our teachers for poverty stricken neighborhoods and kids. See  John Elfrank’s blog, linked below.   This is one teacher’s opinion.    What solution would you propose to create a more effective  “the Public School System”?   Get involved, our kids are our future!  Always room for debate!


Public Advocacy: A brief interlude to follow my “passion” for Glass

March 22, 2014
Chihuly sculpture

Chihuly sculpture

Hi there everyone:

Thanks for your many supportive comments.

  •   I’m taking a short holiday to Seattle , Washington, the home of Chihuly, et al. on Sunday.
  •  returning by the 1st.  I do hope to keep everyone entertained upon my return.
  •  Serious “stuff” to follow, as always.

Wishing you all the best.  Please continue to read my archival Posts, comment and share.

Looking forward to continuing our journey.


PUBLIC ADVOCACY: Where are the People?

March 19, 2014

I am consumed with a desire to do more then write.  Though writing has turned into “my” calling, it isn’t enough.  I’ve lost patience with the establishment.  Daily, I read about egregious behavior, building collapses, disruption of vital rail services, more money for rent for those victims of Super storm Sandy?  The plight of the people, here and around the  World continues, unabated, as those still required to earn a living, can’t do so.  Not for Lack of Trying!   With the Middle Class demise, the real engine of growth in all our economies, we have come to a standstill.  Those who have made money, vast sums of money, do not have the mettle or the desire to Lead.  They have become “fat cats”, wallowing in their wealth , holding on for their lives, while the rest of us covet, not  all their wealth, or the ability to have generated their income, but a small slice of their pie, to live and thrive also.  Where are the People?  How long do you want to remain the Silent Majority?  When do you become “Mad as Hell”?

Where are the people?

Where are the people?






PUBLIC ADVOCACY: Happiness is…..

March 18, 2014

Listening to Bloomberg News on the way home from the Bronx Botanical Gardens and hearing a reporter state, ” Eric Schneiderman , the NY STATE AG, is ” looking at Fast Trades ” to determine if they have a ” competitive advantage”. This is the first step in analyzing “dark pools ” with broader powers then the SEC.

Let’s hope there is a basis for significant revenue recapture !
Let’s hope , after shining the light on ” dark Pools” of money, the risky trades are curtailed, leading to a more normalized market.

This is a good beginning.
All the best.
Have a great day.

PUBLIC ADVOCACY: Part ll : A Conversation with Joseph Stiglitz

March 16, 2014

Joseph StiglitzInequality, Corporate Welfare , an in balance in our Political Power has occurred as the Silent Majority remained Silent.  With the coming correction in the Market, the Middle Class may finally get a chance to have a seat at OBAMA’s Table.  Let’s decide what’s important to US and ask for a “change in the laws” creating a more equal balance of power.    This may be our “golden” ticket out of stagnation paving the way towards Middle Class sustainability?

  • When Davidson (see NY Times article by Gretchen Morgenson previously cited) , was denied the right to question compensation at Chase, why didn’t other shareholders join the “fight for accountability”?   Are the Banking leaders beyond reproach or accountability for their actions.   Have they earned their enormous compensation packages?  According to the NY Times on 3/14/14, claw backs, are being considered  in the EU & UK to curtail risky trades leading to losses.  The  Banks original mandate was:  take in deposits and lend money against those deposits.  No “fancy” products.  A simple system.  Yet, this responsibility to Banking customers has been abrogated, as the Banks, seek higher profits and risk.  The flow of credit to small and medium sized businesses has decreased 20% according to Stiglitz.  Apparently , small and medium size business loans are too “risky”?

But,  in their quest for higher profits, Banks participate in trades and leverage, that is truly risky.  TBTF has become Too Big To Manage.  Those “deals”, deemed too risky, even for Banks, have  now been shifted to Equity Firms, like Apollo and Black Rock, who control Trillions of assets: ranging from loan portfolios, mortgages, real estate, commodities and other debt obligations, including derivatives.  Since these entities are not Banks, they are “lightly regulated”.   What happens when the Market Corrects?  It is Joseph Stiglitz’s fear, that they will request the Middle Class to bail them out once again.  To his knowledge, there is no mechanism in place to wind down the Banks.  He thinks, the Market is a Casino, capable of taking down the Monetary System, once again.  However; this time, I propose that the Middle Class has a seat at the table, when the fate of Banks, Bankers and Corporations are to be bailed out a 2nd and last time.    Emulating Buffet, The Middle Class should extract  changes in law and compensation for 6 years of stagnation, creating a Blueprint for revenue generation through the following reforms and legislation.  What do you think, dear reader?

  • Financial Reform :  Cap on Executive Compensation, Bank risk to be paid for by Executives.  Separate Banks from preforming proprietary trading, which is really Insider Trading, from Customer accounts.  Eliminate products that cause a conflict of interest.
  • Interview with John Reed/Bring back Glass Steagall
  •   Equity Firms controlling Trillions of assets to be regulated similar to Banks.
  • If and when the Banking sector has to be bailed out:  consider an equal bailout of Student and credit card debts.
  • Restructure mortgages to reflect  appraisal levels, independent of the Equity Stakes in the neighborhoods.
  • US housing: Content to rent?
    By Anjli Rava Financial Times/investors vs home ownership
    Read the full article at:
  • Target “rent seeking income” for tax reform.
  • Financial Times, 
    Dave Camp tax plan cuts through web of US interests
  • --
    By James Politi in Washington
    A Republican tax reform plan, basis for debate
    Read the full article at:
  • Financial Times 
    Nine private equity founders share $2.5bn payday
    By Henny Sender
    Reason to convert carried interest, to taxable income!
    Read the full article at:
  • Encourage competition by breaking up Monopolies.
  • Stop Corporate tax breaks at the expense of the Middle Class.
  • This is a beginning.
  • Promote job training and education for new “skills” for new jobs.
  • Overturn Citizens United.    No more Supreme Court for the Big Corporations and Big Money?

I’m Mad as Hell!  What about you?  How long will the Silent Majority remain Silent?

PUBLIC ADVICACY: A conversation with Joseph Stiglitz

March 12, 2014

Bob Herbert/ColumnistJoseph StiglitzA thoughtful conversation by  Bob Herbert with  Joseph Stiglitz at the NY Historical Society on March 1st.  Part of my series on current events, bringing the latest news and thinking on Economics as it affects US.

“Well the good news is we’re better off then Europe, whose Economy has reached depression levels.  We’ve got almost 20 million without jobs in the USA.  Those between the ages of 50-60  are no longer employable.  There are no jobs for them!  While kids growing up in poor neighborhoods remain unemployed and uncounted. ” Listen to the news and none of this is apparent.  Only the “good” news gets through, “unemployment” is less then before?  Sure it is,” no one is counting the Millions falling into debt, poverty, homelessness on a daily basis”.  It’s our “dirty little secret”.  Earned Income credits don’t help those in need as much as cash and a job.  Instead, we are hiring “kids” as unpaid interns, is that our future?

As States vie for jobs, skill sets that were formed in one part of the Country have  shifted the burden to other states.  It’s like 3 card Monty, nothing has changed, except the players.  So, the engineers in the East, need to migrate to new jobs in the South and West.  This is not a Win Win for anybody.  Taxpayer dollars are paying for this “job” shift, where do you think the revenue comes from to “lure” a Corporation from one state to another”?

Worse, the Corporations are so dependent on Corporate Welfare, at our expense, they no longer spend money on training or R & D.    In the “old days”,  1970’s, Corporations spent money on R & D, they hired “kids” directly from College, gave them a “good paying”  job and an Education.  No strings attached.  Grant money was  also, available for graduate Education from NIH and National Science Foundation, enough to cover the cost of your education plus a stipend.  I know, I received grants at the Masters and PhD levels.

Gone, but not forgotten.  When a Corporation wanted you to relocate, in the 70’s and 80’s , they paid all relocation expenses.  It was expected.  So where is it written, we give “big ” tax incentives to Corporations to relocate, but they in turn, keep their profits and don’t extend a hand to a new hire?  Something is rotten in this Country and it’s not the “tomatoes”.  It’s the total lack of business responsibility and accountability to a Public that provides them  with tax breaks and asks no questions.  A win win for them, zero for US.

When I worked for Ford Motor Co. , Ford elected to close the Mahwah Plant, many reasons were given, but I can attest, “the people and level of quality control” led to a non profitable Plant.  However, though Ford thought it was in the right, the Country came down hard on Ford Motor Co.  Laws were changed to provide safeguards to a “fragile and cared for” workforce.  Never again, could a plant layoff 1000’s of workers without notice.

After Ford, I went to Pfizer in charge of their Diagnostics division.  It was my job to make a quality product that was profitable.  I had P &L responsibility.    Pfizer’s intent was to sell this division to Warner Lambert in the Mid West.  6 months prior to the transfer, I  was told to set up counseling for my workforce .  First calm their fears about job loss.  Next Pfizer offered a relocation package or the ability to be absorbed in to another operation within the Brooklyn Plant.  Did we lose profits because of this humane decision?  No way.  At one point I traded 1000’s of shares of stock and made money for years.  It was a win win for the company and a win win for the employees.

If our Corporations were so progressive, it would be a pity to tamper with their role model and  I wouldn’t be writing these columns.  Instead we have stagnation, fewer firms competing and little product development.  It’s time, past time,  to shake up the Giant’s slumber.  Instead of offering tax incentives to stay the same, offer tax incentives when the Corporation behaves in an ethical manner and guarantees jobs to thousands instead of obliterating those jobs.  Stop giving in to Corporate Blackmail.  No one likes a  “Putin”  bully, why should we tolerate this behavior in large Corporations.  They have maximized their profits and  offer remuneration for their upper echelons at the expense of ordinary Americans .  ” Stiglitz , stated, ” the pay extreme has gone from 30:1, to 250:1, not counting retention pay, bonus’ and other perks, independent of the “health and profitability of the Corporation”.  As Corporate Profits soar,    the Cost to Public Health  and education will be equally  enormous, as the results of unemployment and poverty ripple through our system for years.  Where’s the proportionality?

Corporate welfare has created a Countrywide welfare system at great cost to our Nation.  6 years into this recession and we’re still tinkering with proposals as Millions fall into poverty and the Middle Class remains devastated.

  • We have choices to make as Politics affects US.
  • What kind of Leaders do we want?
  • Financial Times, 
    We do not have to live with the scourge of inequality
    By Jonathan Ostry
    Making the tax system "more progressive, leads to higher growth"
    Read the full article at:

PUBLIC ADVOCACY: Washington the City on the Hill

March 3, 2014
By Justin Weingartner "Crabs in the Barrel"

By Justin Weingartner
“Crabs in the Barrel”

Fish in the barrel, crabs on the net, it’s all the same to US. We’re stuck behind the net, we have no way to reach Washington, to tell them of our plight. It’s a walled off city representing themselves. No more pretense. No more government by the people , for the people. Instead we’ve got many $’s per vote. Is this 1776, taxation without representation? Feeling ” Mad as hell yet”?

Whether it’s protecting the Country from the Bankers or the Country from the Monopolies or Oligopolies or increasing unemployment, poverty, debt; credit card, mortgage, student loans: Washington turns a deaf ear to US. Yet government actively supports all these groups because they benefit directly from them. The monopolies, the Bankers, the Lobbyists are rewarded at our expense.

I’ve provided 2 links, showing our loss of power, while we directly pay for The Middle Class demise. Read and become ” Mad as hell!”

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