Category Archives: Uncategorized

Koch Industries Involved In Fracking Boom

By: Kourosh Behnam
March 6, 2012

The construction of this facility was made for transporting crude oil and natural gas

The construction of this facility was made for transporting crude oil and natural gas

Lee Fang, at the Republic Report, has found convincing evidence that Koch Industries is involved in the boom in natural gas fracking.

Koch Industries has funded many of the pro-fracking think tanks , like the Heartland Institute and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  Koch investments have fueled the creation of these think tanks which promote climate denial.

A in house newsletter from October 2011 explains Koch Industries “discoveries” of crude oil and natural gas in the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas.

1. Koch Pipeline: is partnering with NuStar Energy to develop a dormant pipeline from Pettus, TX to refineries in Corpus Christi. The pipeline will transport natural gas from fracking sites in southern Texas. Koch Pipeline is a Koch Industries subsidiary.

2. Flint Hills Resources: recently purchased a small craft pier and wharf in Ingleside, TX to store shipments of natural gas from fracking operations in the Eagle Ford shale formation. Flint Hills Resources is a Koch Industries subsidiary.

3. Koch Supply & Trading: a Koch Industries company that deals with commodity trading and financial products, is “already trading Eagle Ford crude” to help supply Koch companies and other customers, according to a Koch Industries newsletter.

4. Koch Chemical Technology Group: is designing a processing facility near Yoakum, TX to help process natural gas fracked in southern Texas. Koch Chemical is a subsidiary of Koch Industries.

5. John Zink: a Koch Industries company, is providing flares for a natural gas processing plant in Helena to service the fracking industry.

6. Georgia Pacific: produces resins used for chemicals used to prop open micro-fractures, an important process for fracking to occur. GP is a Koch Industries subsidiary.

7. Koch Fertilizer: a Koch Industries company, has tapped into increased natural gas production from fracking to develop fertilizer.

As of November 2011 the combined wealth of Charles and David Koch is $50 billion.  There investments benefit from climate change and their influence networks block efforts to phase out pollution from fossil fuels.

Read More: Heartland Institute: A Manifestation of the Kochtopus Empire, How The Kochs Are Fracking America , Who Are The Koch Brothers

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Billionaires And Super PACs Endorsing Obama

By: Kourosh Behnam
March 3, 2012

Last month, the Obama reelection team endorsed the use of Super PACs. Super PAC’s are political action committees that have the ability to raise limitless amounts of money from individuals, corporations, and unions and spend it on behalf of political candidates – however they cannot directly be in contact with those candidates.  Super PACs have become the new campaign finance tool since the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision that allows unions and corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money in federal elections.

What is interesting to note here is that Obama has criticized the Citizens United decision and the use of Super PACs.  In addition, the White House believed that Citizens United could be a political opportunity for Obama, “a powerful rhetorical opportunity to decry the influence of corporate money in politics”.  But why has he changed his mind?

The reality is, running for President is not a easy feat.  It seems that every candidate this election needs a billionaire.  The pro Obama Super PAC Priorities Action USA has raised a total of $4,459,431 in comparison to the pro Mitt Romney Super PAC Restore Our Future which has raised $36,797,202.  The billionaire behind Priorities Action USA is Jeffery Katzenberg, chief executive of Dreamworks Animation who has donated $2,000,000.

Obama has contradicted himself.  I do not agree with the decision his campaign team has made.  According to Jim Messina, Obama’s  campaign manager, “We’re not going to fight this fight with one hand tied behind are back . With so much at stake, we can’t allow for two sets of rules.  Democrats can’t be unilaterally disarmed.”  This is a big excuse to go after money.

The oligarchic influence is too powerful to deny.  These Oligarchs don’t care who wins the election.  They have bought both sides and average people will have to suffer from their decision making . They have set up a “show election” for us and Obama is part of this production.

Read More: Obama Gives Blessing To A Super PAC, We Will Not Play By Two Sets of Rules , Obama Plays The Super PAC Game, Endorses Priorities USA

Obama Campaign: Sparring With The Koch’s Publicly

By: Kourosh Behnam
March 1, 2012

Obama Biden

The Obama re-election team has been trying to engage Charles and David Koch in a public argument which they hope can bring more donations to their campaign.  Last Friday Obama campaign manager Jim Messina accused the billionaire brothers of “jacking up prices at the pump” and bankrolling “Tea Party extremism.”

In addition, he also said the Koch Brothers have pledge $200 million to Americans For Prosperity, to defeat Obama in November.  Koch money has provoked the Solyndra Attack Ad on Obama.

Koch money is fueling the anti Obama campaign.  Earlier this year, the Koch Brothers held a private three-day retreat in California where 250-300 individuals pledged $100 million dollars to defeat Barack Obama.  Of that $100 million,  the Koch Brothers pledge $60 million.

Philip Ellender, Koch Companies spokesman, had a sharp response to Messina in a public letter.  He stated, “It is an abuse of the President’s Position and does a disservice to our nation for the President and his campaign to criticize private citizens simply for the act of engaging in their constitutional right of free speech about important matters of public policy.”  To the best of my knowledge, I didn’t think “bully ads” are important matters of public policy.

The Obama Biden Campaign has raised $118 million for the 2012 election which was mostly raised from individuals donors giving $200 or less, according to the Campaign Finance Institute.

Read More: Heartland Institute: A Manifestation of the Kochtopus Empire, Obama Campaign, Billionaire Koch Brothers Spar Publicly

Wealth and Power Today

By: Kourosh Behnam
March 1, 2012

Contrary to what people think, extreme concentrations of wealth are bad for society, the economy, and the planet.  Concentrations of wealth are unjust, it allows certain individuals to have oligarchic power over others.  These individuals use their wealth primarily to influence the democratic process and to accumulate more wealth at the expense of the majority and the planet.

There is no economic or moral justification for oligarchs.

Globalization has concentrated financial wealth and political power in the hands of increasingly fewer individuals at the top, who in turn exert undue influence over policy-making processes that are meant to protect people and the planet.

In this video Victor Menotti, Executive Director of IFG,  explains wealth and power today in less than 2 minutes and 45 seconds:

Read More: IFG Plutonomy Program , Sustainable Capitalism , Growing Number Of Americans Can’t Afford Food, Study Finds

Warren Buffet Says That Corporate Taxes Are Not High

By: Kourosh Behnam
February 27, 2012

Warren Buffet and Barack Obama

Warren Buffet and Barack Obama

During President Obama’s State of the Union Address he mentioned a new provision that he wanted to include in the corporate tax reform plan.  He called it the Buffet Rule, which would require Americans making more than $1 million a year to pay an effective tax rate of 30%.

On Monday Warren Buffet explained to the american people that the rich and corporations do not pay their fair share of taxes.

Corporations have been enjoying record profits ($1.97 trillion in 2011) while the rest of us have been trying to make ends meet.   According to the Congressional Budget Office, corporations payed an effective tax rate of 12.1% from their earnings.  Warren Buffet, for one, who is not mentioned in IFG’s oligarchy report stated, “It’s a myth that American corporations are paying 35% or anything like it”  He is referring to the top corporate tax rate. “Corporate taxes are not strangling Americans competitiveness.”   This quote from Buffet was directed towards Rick Santorum on his article in the Wall Street Journal today about restoring American competitiveness.

It’s a good sign to hear one of the richest men in the world calling for higher taxes on the ultra rich and corporations.  I just hope that our government can act fast before we fall behind in the global economy.

Read More: Warren Buffet: High Corporate Taxes An American “Myth”, Bureau Of Economic Analysis, Obama Corporate Tax Plan Would Create Big Winners And Big Losers

Forbes Journalist Mis-interprets IFG Oligarchy Report

By: Kourosh Behnam
February 25, 2012

Fails to understand who is blocking climate change.

Fails to understand who is blocking climate change.

On December 8, 2011, Tim Worstall took a chance at understanding the meaning of IFG’s new report “Outing The Oligarchy: Billionaires Who Benefit from Today’s Climate Crisis”.  I’m responding to his post because he completely and utterly failed.  He says, “For the people who most profit from and are most responsible for the deepening climate crisis are not the people who supply fossil fuels. It’s the people who use fossil fuels: that’s you and me by the way.”  This is a horrible interpretation of the report.

What he missed in his review are the following:
1. We all benefit from and participate in the serious degradation of the environment by the lifestyle we engage in. Majority of Americans (65%) are concerned that climate change is affecting US weather.
2. However, there are few individuals who benefit considerably more than the rest of us; by accumulation of wealth and political power.
3. A large majority of Americans (66%) believe that the US should sign an international treaty requiring emissions cuts of 90% by 2050;  most of us are willing to make changes in our own lives but we require our government to facilitate change.
4. Oligarchs have the power and wealth to prevent governments from deciding on crucial climate policies; they use their power to influence democratic decision making to maintain their own postions of power and authority.
5. Oligarchs understand the destruction they are causing to the planet and its people or perhaps they fully do not understand the consequences of their actions and should take a honest look at the evidence.  They would rather retain their wealth and power than use their significant influence with governments to support what most of us want (climate change).
6. Many of us have woken to the fact that these oligarchs are preventing these urgent changes because of their greed and drive for power.  People are uniting to force these oligarchs to make the right decisions that are important for human survival.
7. IFG’s report is an appeal to the oligarchs to make sustainable decisions.  It’s also for the rest of us to note who is blocking progress on the changes we need.

We cannot be cynical about climate change.  I’m afraid that Mr. Worstall should do his research and take a look at the evidence thoroughly before writing any other response.

Read More: The Billionaires Who Benefit From Today’s Climate Crisis  , Outing The Oligarchy: 50 Billionaires Who Profit From Todays Climate Crisis , What’s Next Now That the Durban Climate Negotiations are Behind Us?

What You Should Know About Wells Fargo Bank (WFB)

Bloated Banksters

Bloated Banksters

By: Kourosh Behnam
February 24, 2012

HISTORY: Bloody from the beginning

  • Henry Wells and William Fargo founded WFB in 1852 when California’s Gold Rush needed to move the money made from mining  the Sierra Nevada and violently evicting its indigenous people;
  • WFB bought the subprime mortgage monster Wachovia in the 2008 financial panic for $15.1 billion;
  • WFB is now America’s biggest bank, by market capitalization of $161 billion, and the highest rate of profitability.

BLOATED BANKSTERS: Too Big to Jail

  •  Federal taxpayer bailout received, $36.9 billion;
  • Effective tax rate in 2008, 18.5%, almost half of what the average person pays;
  • Offshore subsidiares in tax havens, 77;
  • Campaign contributions in 2008 federal elections, $4.7 million.

FORECLOSE FAMILIES: Growth from Homelessness and Hopelessness

  • WFB originated or co-issued $74.2 billion worth of subprime loans, making it one of the top subprime lenders in the country;
  • WFB was one of the 5 big banks who “robo-signed”, or foreclosed on houses with forged or unreviewed documentation, on countless families;
  • WFB is the second largest mortgage servicer in the nation; they also used the “robo signer”.

HOLDING YOUNG PEOPLE HOSTAGE: Profits from Indentured Students

  • WFB holds $10 billion in private student loans, the average American student graduates $25,000 in debt;
  • Interest rates on WFB student loans are near 18%; unlike credit cards, these loans are impossible to discharge in bankruptcy, and WFB is not offering to reduce the principal or interest rates;
  • Outstanding student loans total more than $979 billion; WFB financies today’s “education bubble.

RIGGING GLOBAL FINANCE RULES:
WFB sponsored the global banking lobbyist group, the International Institute for Finance, 2011 annual meeting in Washington, where the world’s most powerful banks tell government regulators what they want.

Read More: Auction 2012: Greedy Bastards and Student Debt, Big Bank Profile: Wells Fago , Average Student Loan Debt