Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Is There any Truth in Media?

Some tell me to get over it. The media is out to make money just like any other corporation.

But, the Media is Not Like any Other Corporation

You and I own the airwaves.... We do not own any patents or oil. But, we do, collectively own the air waves.

This is the reason that news, was once regulated, and could be again if corporations didn't own too many American politicians. The FCC is charged with insuring that the "public" airwaves show only what's appropriate....

The same media that yells and screams about how we are losing our freedoms is at the same time happily internalizing the rewards and profits of using the public airwaves to dupe the public!

Is this what you want? Just because it has happened doesn't mean you have to allow it to continue.

issues licenses and
coordinates telecommunications policy efforts with industry and with other governmental agencies — federal, tribal, state and local — in serving the public interest.

In exchange for those licenses, they used to require some period of time each day that was for truth, rather than profit.

Isn't it in the interest of a democracy to have some period of truth available each day.

If all the media is free to tell whatever lies they chose to tell, how can the public ever know who to vote for?

I am not ready to give it up to the corporations just yet. I would like to see the American public make some demands in exchange for using the airwaves and in exchange for having their vote as they have done in Europe.

Sherman Anti-trust Laws

There are laws to allow competition and to give a fighting chance to the little guy. Are you writing to your Congressmen and Senators to enforce the anti-trust laws?

Since we're talking about the media, the ownership of media outlets (tv stations, radio stations, newspapers and magazines) used to be regulated so that there could not be a concentration if a few hands. In Italy, one man just bought up most of the outlets and then tried to get himself elected "God".

In the US, there were hundreds of owners of TV stations, with many local owners. Now, there are 7 corporate owners I believe.

The internet is, right now, free. But, now that corps can put unlimited funds into politicians' reelection efforts, how long do you think the FCC (the only control we have) is going to protect the freedom of the internet?

Bectel owns all the water rights in Iraq.

As Steve Pavlina says, "I am here to wake you up."

"Too Big to Fail

I decided to take a look at the history of this....

The first major bank to fail in the US since the FDIC was established was United States National Savings Bank, worth $1.5 billion. Shortly thereafter, on October 8, 1974, the Franklin National Bank in New York also failed. -- This was not a bailout but the FDIC insured depositors. Caused by mismanagement and fraud, it was at the time the largest bank failure in the history of the U.S. Out of the debacle came disgrace and jail sentences for several bankers, a suicide in Italy, huge losses for the bank's stockholders -- but not its depositors -- and a black eye for the federal bank regulatory system. A couple of months after Franklin was declared insolvent on Oct. 8, 1974, most of its assets were taken over by European-American (now known as EAB).

The United States Congress granted all thrifts in 1980, including savings and loan associations, the power to make consumer and commercial loans and to issue transaction accounts. This was the beginning of bank deregulation. Those regulations had kept us from another great depression.

In the 1980's there were increasing bailouts. In early May, 1984 Continental Illinois National Bank and Trust was seized by the US government as "too big to fail". Lytle later pleaded guilty to a count of defrauding Continental of $2.25 million and receiving $585,000 in kickbacks for approving risky loan applications. Lytle was sentenced to three and a half years in a federal prison. The US government remained in control until 10 years later when it was acquired by what is now Bank of America.

Lincoln Savings and Loan

The Lincoln Savings led to the Keating five political scandal, in which five US senators were implicated in an influence-peddling scheme. It was named for Charles Keating, who headed Lincoln Savings and made $300,000 as political contributions to them in the 1980s. Three of those senators—Alan Cranston (D-CA), Don Riegle (D-MI), and Dennis DeConcini (D-AZ)—found their political careers cut short as a result. Two others—John Glenn (D-OH) and John McCain (R-AZ)—were rebuked by the Senate Ethics Committee for exercising "poor judgment" for intervening with the federal regulators on behalf of Keating.

Silverado Savings and Loan

Silverado Savings and Loan collapsed in 1988, costing taxpayers $1.3 billion. Neil Bush, son of then Vice President of the United States George H. W. Bush, was Director of Silverado at the time. Neil Bush was accused of giving himself a loan from Silverado, but he denied all

The US Office of Thrift Supervision investigated Silverado's failure and determined that Neil Bush had engaged in numerous "breaches of his fiduciary duties involving multiple conflicts of interest." Although Bush was not indicted on criminal charges, a civil action was brought against him and the other Silverado directors by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; it was eventually settled out of court, with Bush paying $50,000 as part of the settlement, the Washington Post reported.

As a director of a failing thrift, Bush voted to approve $100 million in what were ultimately bad loans to two of his business partners. And in voting for the loans, he failed to inform fellow board members at Silverado Savings & Loan that the loan applicants were his business partners.

Neil Bush paid a $50,000 fine and was banned from banking activities for his role in taking down Silverado, which cost taxpayers $1.3 billion.

If you are interested in the numbers rather than in some of the details, this site has the numbers from 1930 to now.

You will see the big increase during the 1980's and again in 2008 and 2009.

Note that the "Too big to fail" expression was only coined by the Reagan government. Before that FDIC protected depositors, but not investors or officers. In the 1980's the process of protecting officers and investors began.

This was not the intention of the original bank regulations. Of course this would lead investors to want to invest in banks that are "too big to fail." -- This was the beginning of our present troubles and can be reversed....

Oh, please note also that when the US government managed Continental Illinois National Bank and Trust, no one was screaming about Socialism. It was smarter than to leave the crooks in charge as Bush and Obama did this time.

And, BTW, Neil Bush, brother of George W Bush, was the first banker convicted of fraud who didn't go to jail. -- Prior to that, when fraud was uncovered, Bankers paid for their costs to the US Taxpayer....

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Americans Don't Feel Health Care Reform Goes Far Enough

Listen up Congress and Senate!

In a new CBS poll , most Americans believe that the Health Care Reform doesn't go far enough, with the next highest marks going to those who believe it goes too far and the least number believing that it is about right. When asked about how it does in controlling costs, the greatest number believe it does not go far enough with the second highest number believing it goes too far and the least again believing that it is about right. The numbers break out the same way when asked whether the current legislation is regulating health insurance costs as it should.

When asked about their support of Democrats or Republican handling of health care reform, the Democrats come out a little better with 57% disapproving of their handling while 61% disapprove of how the Republicans are handling it.

This Industry Does NOT Honor It's Contracts

Some Americans have been caught up in the "anti-government" modality and I honor their commitment, but the health insurance industry testified before Congress that they had the right, and would not give up the right, to cancel the contracts of those who got sick. This they call Rescission of Coverage. Fancy name or not, it means they won't pay your bills if they don't want to.

This industry does not deserve to be supported by government, but yet, there are many Republican and Democratic Blue Dog politicians, and one Independent (Lieberman) who have supported them. Americans are sick and tired of taking second place to Corporations. The poll above shows that although some are cautious of Government regulations, more are fed up with the health insurance industry in the US. The question about regulating this industry had the highest "not far enough" ranking of all the questions above.