Tag Archives: crony capitalism

WILL TRANSATLANTIC TRADE AGREEMENT HARM YOUR HEALTH?

Will Food, Drugs, Cosmetics, Pesticides Escape Regulation?

FDA microbiologist

FDA microbiologist working in a biosafety laboratory Photo credit: US Food and Drug Administration / Wikimedia
In 1960, one courageous Food and Drug Administration official refused to approve a drug that had already been used widely abroad. Frances Kelsey insisted she needed more information before she could be satisfied it was safe. The drug maker accused her of being a petty bureaucrat. But Kelsey was right to be cautious. That drug was thalidomide and pregnant women who took the sedative gave birth to thousands of children with terrible birth defects in Europe, the UK, Canada, and the Middle East. Because of Kelsey’s vigilance, however, America was spared that tragedy.

If the US and EU agree on a new trade deal in the works — the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) — it would be very difficult for one watchdog on either side of the Atlantic to have the same life-saving impact.

Instead, business interests would wield far greater influence on the quality of our food, drugs, cosmetics, and pesticides, and the presence of toxic chemicals in our environment. It would be very difficult for any regulator to resist that corporate influence, or to buck the collective judgment of more compliant regulators in other countries.

How corporations will wield that influence is suggested in the fine print of trade proposals advanced by the US Trade Representative (USTR) and strongly endorsed by the international business community.

The proposed trade deal would affect 820 million consumers, and thousands of the corporations doing business in the 28 EU countries and the United States.

It should come as no surprise  that the agreement has been largely shaped by business interests. As The Washington Post reported in 2014, 85 percent of the individuals serving as trade advisors to the USTR represented either corporations or business trade groups.

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Despite More than a Billion Dollars in Government Subsidies Largest Renewable Energy Company Filing for Bankruptcy

May 3, 2016

SunEdison, which bills itself as the largest green energy company in the world, a company the National Review reports has received more than $1.5 billion in state and federal government subsidies and loan guarantees, is preparing to file for bankruptcy protection from its creditors.

SunEdison’s financial collapse would rank as one of the largest in recent years. The company had a market value of more than $10 billion in July of 2015 with its stock trading at approximately $32 per share. Now the company, saddled with nearly $8 billion in long-term debt, is valued at just $150 million, with its stock trading at less than $1.00 per share.

According to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), SunEdison is considering a mass liquidation of its assets, noting the company is delaying its annual financial reports to the SEC.

Compounding SunEdison’s financial difficulties, the company is also being investigated by the Justice Department and the SEC concerning its finances and disclosures made to its investors.

Record of Green Energy Failure

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Why Has An “Apolitical” Fed Governor Donated To Hillary Four Times?

Tyler Durden's picture

Any time a Fed president, governor or chairman trots out the trite cliche that the Fed is “apolitical” we can’t help but laugh for one simple reason: not only is the Fed not apolitical, but is very closely ideologically tied with whichever party promotes deficit spending which by definition is inflationary: more deficits mean more debt, means more opportunity for the Fed to show off its “inflation” creating skills; and in a Keynesian world, a stable 2% inflation is the lubricant that drives and stabilizes the financial system – the Fed’s true mandate. There is a reason why central bankers call deflation a “monster” which must be slayed, as per Haruhiko “Peter Pan” Kuroda.

However, it is one thing to note the obvious, it is different to have proof that Fed members have a clear ideological bias. Thanks to recent Fed appointee Lael Brainard, we have just that.

According to Bloomberg, recent Treasury staffer and current Fed Governor Lael Brainard gave $1,950 to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in February, Federal Election Commission records show.

While campaign contributions from federal government employees are legal, donations to a presidential candidate by a senior Fed policy maker are unusual. Brainard is the only member of the policy making Federal Open Market Committee to donate to any federal election candidate this year, according to FEC data.

 

Brainard’s fourth donation since November brings her total contributions to Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner, during this election campaign to $2,700, the limit for individual candidate donations in the cycle.Brainard’s previous contributions in that time span, totaling $750, were reported by Bloomberg in March, before the Feb. 1 donation appeared on the FEC’s website.

 

Senator Richard Shelby, the Alabama Republican who heads the Senate Banking Committee, has said the contributions “call into question the political independence” of senior Fed officials.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in March that legal donations from central bank employees don’t undermine the Fed’s standing as a non-partisan agency. Fed spokesman David Skidmore declined to comment.

ny time a Fed president, governor or chairman trots out the trite cliche that the Fed is “apolitical” we can’t help but laugh for one simple reason: not only is the Fed not apolitical, but is very closely ideologically tied with whichever party promotes deficit spending which by definition is inflationary: more deficits mean more debt, means more opportunity for the Fed to show off its “inflation” creating skills; and in a Keynesian world, a stable 2% inflation is the lubricant that drives and stabilizes the financial system – the Fed’s true mandate. There is a reason why central bankers call deflation a “monster” which must be slayed, as per Haruhiko “Peter Pan” Kuroda.

THE ANDROID ADMINISTRATION

THE ANDROID ADMINISTRATION

Google’s Remarkably Close Relationship With the Obama White House, in Two Charts

Illustration by The Intercept. Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Apr. 22 2016, 9:00 a.m.

WHEN PRESIDENT OBAMA announced his support last week for a Federal Communications Commission plan to open the market for cable set-top boxes — a big win for consumers, but also for Google — the cable and telecommunications giants who used to have a near-stranglehold on tech policy were furious. AT&T chief lobbyist Jim Cicconi lashed out at what he called White House intervention on behalf of “the Google proposal.”

He’s hardly the first to suggest that the Obama administration has become too close to the Silicon Valley juggernaut.

Over the past seven years, Google has created a remarkable partnership with the Obama White House, providing expertise, services, advice, and personnel for vital government projects.

Precisely how much influence this buys Google isn’t always clear. But consider that over in the European Union, Google is now facing two major antitrust charges for abusing its dominance in mobile operating systems and search. By contrast, in the U.S., a strong case to sanction Google was quashed by a presidentially appointed commission.

It’s a relationship that bears watching. “Americans know surprisingly little about what Google wants and gets from our government,” said Anne Weismann, executive director of Campaign for Accountability, a nonprofit watchdog organization. Seeking to change that, Weismann’s group is spearheading a data transparency project about Google’s interactions in Washington.

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from a decidedly male perspective