Aw, ya selfish greedy bastards ya

12 Corporate Espionage Tactics Used Against Leading Progressive Groups, Activists and Whistleblowers…


 From AlterNet

Corporate spies for Dow, Kraft and others have tried to discredit, shame and infiltrate civic groups using an array of dirty tricks.

Posing as volunteers. Stealing documents. Dumpster diving. Planting electronic bugs. Hacking computers. Tapping phones and voicemail. Planting false information. Trailing family members. Threatening reporters. Hiring cops, CIA officers and combat veterans to do all these dirty deeds—and counting on little pushback from law enforcement, mainstream media or Congress.

These are some of the ways that many of America’s largest corporations have spied on nonprofits for years, according to a detailed new report from the Center for Corporate Policy tracing decades of corporate espionage where tactics developed for American intelligence agencies have been imported by a long list of corporate giants for use against progressives.

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Walmart, Monsanto, Bank of America, Dow Chemical, Kraft, Coca-Cola, Chevron, Burger King, McDonald’s, Shell, BP, BEA, Sasol, Brown & Williamson and E.ON have all been linked to espionage against non-profit organizations, activists and whistleblowers,” the report said, noting that its targets are “environmental, anti-war, public-interest, consumer, food safety, pesticide reform, nursing home reform, gun control, social justice, animal rights and arms-control groups.”

“There’s so many different tactics,” said Gary Ruskin, the center’s director and the report’s author. “It’s so important to talk about the effects on our democracy and privacy.

Let’s Get This Class War Started…


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From CHRIS HEDGES
Truthdig

“The rich are different from us,” F. Scott Fitzgerald is said to have remarked to Ernest Hemingway, to which Hemingway allegedly replied, “Yes, they have more money.”

The exchange, although it never actually took place, sums up a wisdom Fitzgerald had that eluded Hemingway. The rich are different. The cocoon of wealth and privilege permits the rich to turn those around them into compliant workers, hangers-on, servants, flatterers and sycophants. Wealth breeds, as Fitzgerald illustrated in “The Great Gatsby” and his short story “The Rich Boy,” a class of people for whom human beings are disposable commodities. Colleagues, associates, employees, kitchen staff, servants, gardeners, tutors, personal trainers, even friends and family, bend to the whims of the wealthy or disappear. Once oligarchs achieve unchecked economic and political power, as they have in the United States, the citizens too become disposable.

The public face of the oligarchic class bears little resemblance to the private face. I, like Fitzgerald, was thrown into the embrace of the upper crust when young. I was shipped off as a scholarship student at the age of 10 to an exclusive New England boarding school. I had classmates whose fathers

Obamacare website woes: another sign of out-of-control private contractors…


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From The Guardian

The Obama team outsourced Healthcare.gov to big corporations that rang up large bills without delivering what they promised

Whatever the ultimate benefits of Obamacare, it’s clear that the rollout of its $400m registration system and website has been a disaster. Healthcare.gov was unusable for millions who visited the site on launch day earlier this month, and the glitches reportedly continue. What went wrong?

Of course, the Obama administration is to blame for the botched rollout, but there are other culprits getting less attention – namely, global tech conglomerate CGI, which was responsible for the bulk of the execution, and in general the ability of big corporations to get massive taxpayer-funded contracts without enough accountability.

Government outsourcing to private contractors has exploded in the past few decades. Taxpayers funnel hundreds of billions of dollars a year into the chosen companies’ pockets, about $80bn of which goes to tech companies. We’ve reached a stage of knee-jerk outsourcing of everything from intelligence and military work to burger flipping in federal building cafeterias, and it’s damaging in multiple levels.

‘A Corporate Trojan Horse’: Obama Pushes Secretive TPP Trade Pact, Would Rewrite Swath of U.S. Laws…


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From DEMOCRACY NOW
Thanks to Rosalind Peterson

As the federal government shutdown continues, Secretary of State John Kerry heads to Asia for secret talks on a sweeping new trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The TPP is often referred to by critics as “NAFTA on steroids,” and would establish a free trade zone that would stretch from Vietnam to Chile, encompassing 800 million people — about a third of world trade and nearly 40 percent of the global economy. While the text of the treaty has been largely negotiated behind closed doors and, until June, kept secret from Congress, more than 600 corporate advisers reportedly have access to the measure, including employees of Halliburton and Monsanto. “This is not mainly about trade,” says Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “It is a corporate Trojan horse. The agreement has 29 chapters, and only five of them have to do with trade.

Tomorrow Is D-Day for the Totally Superfluous Health Insurers: The Beginning of Disintermediation…


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From WENDELL POTTER
HuffPost

I’ve often said that the Affordable Care Act is the end of the beginning of reform. Starting tomorrow, October 1, 2013, that law will signify the beginning of the end of the health insurance industry as we know it.

As I’ve noted previously, my former CEO at Cigna said at a leadership retreat that what kept him up at night was the fear that big health insurance corporations might someday be viewed as unnecessary middlemen, that their “value proposition” would come under scrutiny and found to be wanting. That insurance companies would, to use his term, be disintermediated.

That day has arrived.

Most of the attention this week will be focused on the glitches that will inevitably occur when the switch is flipped and the long-awaited health insurance marketplaces (also called exchanges) finally go live.

Yes, there will be technological snafus, just as there will be some people upset to find that the relatively cheap policies they have now will be unavailable next year because they don’t meet the Affordable Care Act’s standards. As of January 1, 2014, the law outlaws policies pretty much guaranteeing that people will be underinsured if they get sick or injured — underinsured because those policies have inadequate benefits and outrageously high deductibles.

So expect to hear plenty of squawking, especially from those who have made a career out of opposing “Obamacare.” But before long, the snafus will be resolved and people will realize that the newly available coverage in the marketplaces will provide better protection and actually cost them less after the tax credits and subsidies are factored in.

The Dirty F@#*ing Hippies Were Right!


[Repost: This gives me both deep sorrow, and a great, sustainable joy! Living here among the last outposts in Ecotopia, we should always celebrate our fun-loving creativity, foresight, and wisdom, and never, never, never let down the good fight. -DS]

It’s hard to believe but there is still a lot of hippie hating going on. It can even be found here at daily kos from time to time. How ignorant or brainwashed does one have to be to rail against those who tried to save us from the fate that bedevils us now? If we’d heeded their cries for sanity and change we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in. Not saying it would be utopia but it wouldn’t be the hell on earth the establishment conservatives have created for us.

Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can, No need for greed or hunger, A brotherhood of man. Imagine all the people Sharing all the world.

John Lennon – Imagine

The hippies were powerful proponents of universal brotherhood, peace, love, tolerance, understanding and ecological stewardship. They tried to change our culture and point out that it was superficial, mean, hateful, wasteful, rapacious, violent, greedy, selfish and unsustainable.

And that, I think, was the handle – that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of old and evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look west, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark – that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.

Hunter S. Thompson

If the hippies and their message had prevailed we wouldn’t be pouring trillions of dollars into stupid and immoral wars of choice.

‘The Republicans in Congress are poisoning Obamacare, then trying to claim it’s sick…’


THE PRESIDENT: Look, part of the reason I need your help to make this law work is because there are so many people out there working to make it fail. One of the biggest newspapers in the country recently published an editorial I thought was pretty good. They said, the Republicans in Congress are poisoning Obamacare, then trying to claim it’s sick. (Laughter.) That’s exactly what’s been happening.

I mean, they have tried to put up every conceivable roadblock. They cut funding for efforts to educate people about what’s in the law. Some of them said if their constituents called them, we won’t even try to explain to them what’s in the law. They actually opened up an investigation into people who try to help churches and charities understand how to help people sign up for the law.

Some of the tea party’s biggest donors — some of the wealthiest men in America — are funding a cynical ad campaign trying to convince young people not to buy health care at all. I mean, think about it. These are billionaires several times over. You know they’ve got good health care.

AUDIENCE: Right! (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: But they are actually spending money on television, trying to convince young people that if you’ve got the choice between getting affordable health care or going without health care, you should choose not having any health care. Now, do you think if you get sick or you get hurt, and you get stuck with a massive bill, these same folks, they’re going to help you out?

Exposing America’s Outsourcing Giants…


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From OUTSOURCING AMERICA EXPOSED

When Wall Street collapsed the economy in 2008, one company eager to buy public assets from cash-strapped governments proclaimed, “Desperate governments are our best customer!” Across the country, for-profit companies are engaged in a hostile takeover of our schools, roads, prisons, drinking water, and even government itself. CMD’s “Outsourcing America Exposed” project will give taxpayers the tools they need to identify these privatizers and profiteers, their eye-popping salaries, the “fine print follies” contained in their contracts that put taxpayers on the hook — even for work not done — and how taxpayers can take back control of public assets and public services.

Outsourcing Company Sodexo

For our first profile of America’s big 12 outsourcing firms, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) focuses on Sodexo, a multinational company based in France that provides food services to schools, college campuses, the U.S. military, and other government entities across the United States. With about $8.8 billion in annual revenues from operations in North America, Sodexo is a primary driver of outsourcing of food services in America.

But Sodexo has taken the low road to profitability.

Privatization debacle costs taxpayers, harms workers…


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From SFGate

In their obsession with privatization as the cure-all for government and bureaucratic inefficiencies, Big Business and its political allies continue to beguile the American public with promises that this is the way to save tax dollars, provide better services or products and, in some cases, create jobs.

But taxpayers, Congress and the Obama administration would be wise to do more than beware of these pledges; they should take a look at what happens when private corporations become government contractors. Unencumbered by scrutiny and driven by self-interest and short-term profit, they flout the nation’s fair-employment laws and dodge accountability.

A case in point: Several years ago, the U.S. Department of Energy put management of our nuclear weapons research and development labs out for bid. Against the advice of many, DOE awarded the contract for both labs (Lawrence Livermore in the Bay Area and Los Alamos in New Mexico) to a single private partnership comprising the University of California Regents, Bechtel Corp.