italco's Place

Government information blog with an Anti-Corruption agenda.

  • View all my Pages

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 5 other followers

  • My Posts

  • Ed’s Stuff

  • Advertisements

Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

“Tories to Obama: Bugger off” WTF?

Posted by italco on June 11, 2010

          

 This is what greed and corruption looks like…..

“It seems the conservatives in Britain are not amused at the Americans’ criticism of BP, and particularly Obama’s. Former Conservative chairman Lord Tebbit judged Obama to be “despicable.”

Here in America, where BP’s oil has wrecked the Gulf Coast and caused ecological and financial calamity, we have a word for people like Lord Tebbit: wanker.”

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/roughsketch/2010/06/goat_spears_rep_weiner_bushs_i.html

This is the direct result of “corruption”. BP paid our government agency to look the other way and our “Fellow Americans” took their money and allowed the Gulf of Mexico to become an Oil Slick…SHAME ON YOU!!

As for any Britain who thinks we are being to hard on BP…Quit hidding from your responsiblities…accept fault and help us get it fixed!! This is what happens when you are un-ethical and corrupt.

As for our Government agency who accepted their gifts and cash…you bear 50% of the blame….I hope they prosecute you to the full extent of the law. This attitude of “entitlement” needs to stop!

 

Update:

 BP chief Tony Hayward sold shares weeks before oil spill!

 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/oilandgas/7804922/BP-chief-Tony-Hayward-sold-shares-weeks-before-oil-spill.html

 

“Beat The Drum”

 

 

Advertisements

Posted in news, Politics, Scandalous | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Utah Reforms Government Ethics

Posted by italco on January 21, 2010

House GOP rolls out ethics reform package!
 
Republican lawmakers are formulating their own ethics reform package.The Deseret News reports House Republicans rolled it out after a closed-door caucus session Wednesday.

The package includes a constitutional amendment to create a five-member, independent ethics commission. The commission would consist of three retired judges, a retired House member and a retired state senator.

House Republicans also are pushing for four other changes:

  • Monthly campaign finance reports
  • More information included on conflict of interest forms — including ownership of stock above $5,000
  • Further disclosure of gifts, and a ban on all gifts over $10
  • Campaign donation limits — $10,000 for statewide races and $5,000 for senators and representatives

House Majority Leader Kevin Garn, R-Layton, calls the proposal “unprecedented.” http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=9414357

This is exactly what the State of Utah needs. I am very happy to see new “ethics reform” bills being rolled out on a local level.

Utah can now serve as an example of what we need on a national level.

I realize we already have ethics rules on the books but the part about “stock ownership” transparency has been one of my biggest issues and one of the most un-regulated forms of government corruption.

This is not a party issue. Ethic issues exist on a bipartisan level and need to be reined in on a bipartisan level.

Ethics reform is something we can all come together on!!

“Beat The Drum”

Posted in Feel Good Stories, news, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

2010 In Da House!!

Posted by italco on January 2, 2010

 

While all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are theoretically up for grabs next year. In reality, however, only 10-15% are actually contested in most years. Many seats are held by deeply entrenched incumbents (such as John Murtha in Pennsylvania’s 12th District and Don Young in Alaska) who have been in their seats for decades, have a track record of bringing home the goods for their constituents, and are therefore so popular with their constituents that they can stay in office as long as they want to. Others, like John Lewis (GA-5) and Jason Chaffetz (UT-3) represent districts with a very strong partisan lean and face little or no opposition from the other party.

This year, however, could be different. The electorate is very divided. Conservatives will be very motivated after two consecutive bruising election cycles. Progressives may be disappointed in what they see as the failure of the current government to go far enough and stay home next November. And there is a higher number of freshmen representatives seeking their second-term and retiring representatives leaving open seats than is normal. While 2010 might not be a repeat of 1994, the Republicans still stand to make significant gains, even more so than the President’s party usually loses in his first midterm elections. http://www.examiner.com/x-32222-Philadelphia-Elections-2010-Examiner~y2010m1d2-2010-US-House-races-preview

The above article is an excellent read and I can agree with most of what it says but feel the need to add my own opinion to key elements that are going to affect this years race.

The conservative party has severely damaged its creditability in their efforts to derail and oppose every bill congress tried to pass this past year. The most critical damage was their opposition to the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor. The GOP took a hard-line against an entire race when they opposed her nomination. The hispanic community is not going to be very forgiving of the GOP over this.  The other key eliment is the Black community. All the grandstanding comes across as prejudice and does not set well with the “majority” of Americans who have been bearing witness to it all. 

In the past, there has been a division of the two races within the two parties. It should be interesting how well the Democrats come out of this with the majority of the 2 races in their camp.

Another area of concern and interest to me is the “Palin Factor”. While most of us view her as a bit of an airhead and don’t take her too seriously, there is a faction out there who worship the ground she walks on. 

My take on the effect she will have is based on her past. She and Todd have a history of going against the political grain and may very well be attempting to form a 3rd party, which in turn, would divide the GOP to even lesser strength than it has already has lowered itself to.

I believe the Democrat’s will become stronger and the GOP will lose additional seats.

I said this a year ago and will say it again. Stop focusing on President Obama and focus on your country. We need to be “United”.

We are not the “Divided States Of America” please quit trying to make us that way.

 

 

Posted in news, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Is “Fear” The GOP’s Only Weapon?…

Posted by italco on January 1, 2010

 

Political furor over the attempted bombing of Northwest Flight 253 has thrust national security back to the center of American politics, with Republicans and the White House scrambling to blame each other for intelligence lapses and present themselves to voters as tougher on terrorism.

GOP opinion leaders such as former Vice President Dick Cheney have seized on the attack to question President Barack Obama’s grasp of foreign affairs. Republican Party officials have sent fund-raising appeals that take aim at Mr. Obama’s response to the episode.

Republican strategists said in interviews that they saw an opportunity to regain the traditional advantages on security issues that failed them in the past two national campaigns, as the economic downturn and public opposition to President George W. Bush’s policies in Iraq took primacy in voters’ minds. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126239113219413017.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_MIDDLTopStories#articleTabs%3Darticle

Wasn’t “fear” the weapon of choice to take us into Iraq?

Wasn’t “fear” the weapon of choice during the 2004 and 2008 elections?

I have noticed this tactic being used in GOP politics throughout my entire life and have finally come to realize that this party of “NO” is also the party of “FEAR”.

VP Cheney, you and the GOP have lost credibility with the american voters. 

Try getting behind our President and help us re-build our country. Leave your personal agenda at the door.

The GOP has had many opportunities to step up to the plate and join the rest of America. It is obvious you can do nothing to stop the Democrats from achieving their goals. I would think you would want to be part of the solution instead of always being the Party that does nothing but vote NO.

President Obama is the President Of The United States of America. Isn’t it time to show some support?

“Fear” isn’t going to work anymore and your “NO” vote has no teeth.

Now what you going to do? Lie to us some more?

Posted in news, Politics, Scandalous | Tagged: , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

The GOP may be excused…

Posted by italco on December 19, 2009

Congress in-action

With all its flaws, the Senate health bill would be the biggest expansion of the social safety net since Medicare, greatly improving the lives of millions. Getting this bill would be much, much better than watching health care reform fail.

At its core, the bill would do two things. First, it would prohibit discrimination by insurance companies on the basis of medical condition or history: Americans could no longer be denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition, or have their insurance canceled when they get sick. Second, the bill would provide substantial financial aid to those who don’t get insurance through their employers, as well as tax breaks for small employers that do provide insurance.

All of this would be paid for in large part with the first serious effort ever to rein in rising health care costs.

The result would be a huge increase in the availability and affordability of health insurance, with more than 30 million Americans gaining coverage, and premiums for lower-income and lower-middle-income Americans falling dramatically. That’s an immense change from where we were just a few years ago: remember, not long ago the Bush administration and its allies in Congress successfully blocked even a modest expansion of health care for children. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/18/opinion/18krugman.html

We are just lucky to get something out of all the deals that have been made.

All this came down to conservative and liberal Democrats filling each other’s stockings for Christmas. I sure am glad we didn’t have to fill the stockings of the GOP to get this Health Care Bill passed….LOL. 

 There wouldn’t have been anything left over for us “Citizens” if we had to buy their support as well.

Posted in Feel Good Stories, news, Politics, Scandalous | Tagged: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Congress and Insider Trading

Posted by italco on August 10, 2009

Congress

“The federal government has finally got the message that it’s time for stronger oversight of Wall Street and the financial services sector.  It’s also time to put an end to secret spending and insider trading,” the e-mail reads. “A dangerous legal loophole still exists which allows members of Congress and high-powered executive branch appointees to exploit ‘insider’ knowledge of the financial industry in order to turn personal profit.”
 
It goes on to describe an army of lobbyists and traders who “haunt the halls of Congress seeking insider tips from staff – known as ‘political intelligence consultants'” who may also use the confidential information.
 
The e-mail asks supporters to write their representatives to support the Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, a bill sponsored by Reps. Louise Slaughter of New York and Brian Baird of Washington, that would ban insider trading by lawmakers, members of the executive branch and staff, and require that they publicly disclose stock trades of more than $1,000 within 90 days. It would also require the “political intelligence consultants” to register as lobbyists in both chambers of Congress.

Thomas Newkirk, a partner with the law firm Jenner and Block, told us that indeed there’s some uncertainty about how insider trading rules impact members of Congress and their staff.

For example, in 2001, a financial consultant meeting with the Treasury Department learned that the department planned to kill off the 30-year bond. In turn, the consultant tipped off traders at Goldman Sachs who proceeded to use that information to make the firm lots of money. It was considered insider trading because the consultant knew he was not supposed to release the information, Newkirk said. Federal regulators settled with Goldman Sachs and the consultant for about $10.3 million in September 2003.

But with members of Congress, it’s different. Unless lawmakers have some express confidentiality agreement — whether it’s in writing or in word — they can do whatever they want with the information they obtain on Capitol Hill, Newkirk said. 

Bruce Carton, a former Senior Counsel with the SEC’s enforcement division and current editor of Securities Docket, agreed there is uncertainty about the rules. “Insider trading depends on some kind of duty. You can steal information, but unless you have some sort of duty of confidentiality to it, you’re not going to be held liable,” Carton said.

Right now, there is no duty of conflict for Congress, their staff or executive branch employees, he said.

“It may be unethical, and it may be unseemly, but it’s not illegal,” Carton said. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2009/aug/06/public-citizen/public-citizen-gets-it-right-about-insider-trading/

I have written many blogs concerning congress having personal holdings in the corporations they govern. I am in shock that those we send to Washington wouldn’t show more restraint and close any and all loop holes connecting Congress with Wall-street.

Isn’t that what the ethics committees are suppose to do? They shouldn’t have to prove if insider information is being utilized…the fact a member of congress has holdings in the corporations they govern should be concern enough to imply a conflict of interest exists.

If you are serving in congress and set on a committee then you should not be invested in the corporations your committee governs. To me, this is common sense ethics. The Ethics committee needs to make it a rule since they can’t be trusted to govern themselves.  

Its not just in the financial sector either….look what is going on with Health Care Reform…the committee members have personal holdings in the insurance companies. It is time to close the loop holes and bring true ethics to American Government. Use your vote to help bring ethical members to Washington!!

 

Why are we tolerating this?    Vote Them Out!!

“Beat The Drum”

 

 

Posted in news, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Congress Accepting Gratuities? Noooooo!!

Posted by italco on July 27, 2009

Senators Mortgages

Despite their denials, influential Democratic Sens. Kent Conrad and Chris Dodd were told from the start they were getting VIP mortgage discounts from one of the nation’s largest lenders, the official who handled their loans has told Congress in secret testimony.

Both senators have said that at the time the mortgages were being written they didn’t know they were getting unique deals from Countrywide Financial Corp., the company that went on to lose billions of dollars on home loans to credit-strapped borrowers. Dodd still maintains he got no preferential treatment.

• Dodd heads the Banking Committee and is a major player in two big areas: solving the housing foreclosure and financial crises and putting together an overhaul of the U.S. health care system. A five-term senator, he is in a tough fight for re-election in 2010, partly because of the controversy over his mortgages.

• Conrad chairs the Budget Committee. He, too, shares an important role in the health care debate, as well as on legislation to curb global warming.

Both senators were VIP borrowers in the program known as “friends of Angelo.” Angelo Mozilo was chief executive of Countrywide, which played a big part in the foreclosure crisis triggered by defaults on subprime loans. The Calabasas, Calif.-based company was bought last July by Bank of America Corp. for about $2.5 billion.

Mozilo has been charged with civil fraud and illegal insider trading by the Securities and Exchange Commission. He denies any wrongdoing.

Asked by a House Oversight investigator if Conrad, the North Dakota senator, “was aware that he was getting preferential treatment?” Feinberg answered: “Yes, he was aware.”

Referring to Dodd, the investigator asked:

“And do you know if during the course of your communications” with the senator or his wife “that you ever had an opportunity to share with them if they were getting special VIP treatment?”

“Yes, yes,” Feinberg replied. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090727/ap_on_go_co/us_senators_mortgages

UPDATE:  08/07/09

The Senate Ethics Committee on Friday dismissed complaints against  Sens. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) and  Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) that they used their positions of power to obtain special deals on home loans from lender Countrywide Financial. After a year-long investigation, the committee told Dodd and Conrad that it found “no substantial credible evidence” that they violated the Senate’s ethics rules. The committee found that the senators’ loans were processed through the special program, but that they didn’t appear to profit financially from it.

But the committee also admonished the senators, saying they “should have exercised more vigilance in your dealings with Countrywide in order to avoid the appearance that you were receiving preferential treatment based on your status as Senator.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/07/AR2009080703015.html?hpid=moreheadlines

 

Why are we tolerating this?    Vote Them Out!!

“Beat The Drum”

(go here to get info on Congress Members in your area)  https://italco.wordpress.com/politics-anti-government-corruption/ 

Posted in news, Politics, Scandalous | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

HealthCare Reform vs Industry Payoff and GOP Spin

Posted by italco on July 21, 2009

Congress

As liberal protesters marched outside,  Sen. Max Baucussat down inside a San Francisco mansion for a dinner of chicken cordon bleu and a discussion of landmark health-care legislation under consideration by his Senate Finance Committee.  At the table on May 26 were about 20 donors willing to fork over $10,000 or more to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, including executives of major insurance companies, hospitals and other health-care firms.

As his committee has taken center stage in the battle over health-care reform, Chairman Baucus (D-Mont.) has emerged as a leading recipient of Senate campaign contributions from the hospitals, insurers and other medical interest groups hoping to shape the legislation to their advantage. Top health executives and lobbyists have continued to flock to the senator’s often extravagant fundraising events in recent months. During a Senate break in late June, for example, Baucus held his 10th annual fly-fishing and golfing weekend in Big Sky, Mont., for a minimum donation of $2,500. Later this month comes “Camp Baucus,” a “trip for the whole family” that adds horseback riding and hiking to the list of activities.

The sector gave nearly $170 million to federal lawmakers in 2007 and 2008, with 54 percent going to Democrats, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks money in politics. The shift in parties was even more pronounced during the first three months of this year, when Democrats collected 60 percent of the $5.4 million donated by health-care companies and their employees, the data show.

Many of these contributions have been focused on Baucus,  Charles E. Grassley(R-Iowa) and other senators in the moderate camps of their respective parties, whose votes could prove crucial in a final health-care reform deal, as well as the leaders of five key committees leading the debate. Grassley, the Finance Committee’s ranking Republican, received more than $2 million from the health and insurance sectors since 2003. House Ways and Means Chairman  Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) took in $1.6 million from the health sector and its employees over the past two years; ranking Republican  Dave Camp (Mich.) received nearly $1 million.

Top out-of-state corporate contributors included Schering-Plough, New York Life Insurance, Amgen, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield; individual executives such as Richard T. Clark, chief executive and president of drugmaker Merck, have also made regular donations. Most of these companies, particularly major insurers, strongly oppose a public insurance option, which is favored by President Obama and top House Democrats but has not received support from Baucus’s committee. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/20/AR2009072003363.html?wpisrc=newsletter

Emboldened by divided Democrats and polls that show rising public anxietyabout President Obama’s handling of health care and the economy, Republicans on Monday launched an aggressive effort to link the two, comparing the health-care bills moving through Congress to what they labeled as a failed economic stimulus bill.

“The last time the president made grand promises and demanded passage of a bill before it could be reviewed, we ended up with the colossal stimulus failure and unemployment near 10 percent,”  Sen. Jim DeMint(R-S.C.) said. “Now the president wants Americans to trust him again, but he can’t back up the utopian promises he’s making. “He insists his health-care plan won’t add to our nation’s deficit, despite the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office saying exactly the opposite,” DeMint added. “And today we learn that the president is refusing to release a critical report on the state of our economy, which contains facts essential to this debate. What is he hiding?”

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele said in a speech Mondaythat Obama is “conducting a dangerous experiment with our health care.” Steele added: “He’s conducting a reckless experiment with our economy.”

Lacking unity on an alternative agenda to Obama’s health-care plans, Republicans have instead focused on a strategy of rallying public opposition and wooing the conservative Democrats in Congress, whose votes will ultimately determine the fate of any health-care bill. That plan depends in large part on Congress going on break before it votes on a bill. On Monday, though, Republicans made clear that they see an opportunity to derail the legislation now.

The RNC started running ads blasting the Democratic proposals, and William Kristol, editor of the conservative magazine the Weekly Standard, implored Republicansto “go for the kill.” “We have plenty of time to work next year on sensible and targeted health reform in a bipartisan way. But first we need to get rid of Obamacare. Now is the time to do so,” Kristol wrote on his magazine’s blog.

Democrats, meanwhile, say that Republicans are offering few ideas to improve the health-care system.

“Despite the crisis that confronts American families, the GOP continues to argue for the status quo on behalf of the special interests,” said Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. “If we do nothing, as the Republican ‘Party of No’ would have us do, we not only will ensure more of the same but guarantee a growing crisis that will put a burden on our children that they will never overcome.”

“Instead of doing nothing and using insurance industry talking points to defend the broken health-care system we currently have, Republicans should work with us or at least put forward some new ideas,” said Doug Thornell, a spokesman for  Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), a Democratic leader in the House. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/20/AR2009072002273_2.html?wpisrc=newsletter&sid=ST2009072003679

I am disgusted with our law makers. This is the reality of how business is obviously being conducted in Washington. I remember my business ethics instructor attempting to teach us the meaning of ethics and the conflict of interest involved in being in a decision making position and accepting gratuities. This is the heart of it all. This is why our country was economically destroyed. Senators accepting money from lobbyist and holding fundraisers for political and personal gain. Fundraisers should be for charity, not for special interest groups to have the ear of the Board who govern them in exchange for money.

It doesn’t matter if you are republican or democrat. This is un-acceptable behavior. We need to stop corruption in Congress and only have our votes to do it with. 88% of congress is up for re-election in 2010. Pay attention to how the Representatives and Senators in your area are behaving…vote out those who engage in un-ethical and corrupt behavior.

“Beat The Drum”

Posted in news, Politics, Scandalous | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Paulson On The “HOT” Seat

Posted by italco on July 16, 2009

Paulson

The hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform was convened as part of an investigation into one episode in the crisis: the government’s push to secure the acquisition of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America. The companies struck a deal in September to merge without government aid but only completed the deal in January after the Treasury agreed to invest $20 billion and to help limit Bank of America’s losses on a portfolio of troubled loans.

Democrats on the committee have pursued the theory that Bank of America chief executive Kenneth D. Lewis manipulated the government into providing additional aid by threatening to walk. Republicans have countered that the government forced Bank of America to complete a deal the company no longer wanted.

“The problem is that while all of this was going on, the American people, investors and economists were kept in the dark,” the committee’s chairman, Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), said yesterday. “There was no oversight to determine whether this arrangement made sense. In my view, this is unacceptable and must be prevented from happening in the future.”

The committee increasingly is focused on internal Fed documents that appear to show that other regulatory agencies were intentionally kept out of the loop, including the Securities and Exchange Commission and an interagency panel created by Congress to coordinate the government’s response to the crisis, the Financial Stability Oversight Board. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/16/AR2009071600190.html?hpid=sec-business

I am very happy to see our congress investigating the causes of our economic crisis. I am not surprised to see no one taking responsibility for their actions. That tells me the crisis was not an accident. If I held a position that was responsible for the well being of the financial security of an entire country and my screw up caused an entire system to fail, I would apologize.

Yet in his own words…our beloved, “Former Treasury secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr.” said, “No one was tougher than I was in trying to protect the American taxpayer”

If this is a correct statement, then why all the secrecy…why exclude all the professionals from the meetings?

You should be ashamed of yourself!

 

“Beat The Drum”

Posted in news, Politics, Scandalous | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

No Bid Contracts & Bonuses?

Posted by italco on July 6, 2009

42-15212559

Government-wide guidance issued in 2007 by the Office of Management and Budget recommended that agencies link award fees to results and prohibit payments for poor performance. That policy has saved hundreds of millions of dollars, the GAO reported.

But the office found that many officials at several major agencies, including the departments of Energy, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services, were “unaware” of the guidance. Others, including the Pentagon and NASA, have done more to make changes, but they have done so inconsistently, according to the GAO report, released June 29.

An Air Force contracting official told GAO investigators that a contractor “has to do a pretty bad job to receive a rating of ‘good’ ” — a rating that pays in excess of 85 percent of the award fee.

“The Pentagon and other federal agencies seem to live in a world where every contractor is above average,”  Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) said in a statement after the report’s release.

The Office of Science at the Energy Department uses a scoring system that allows for payment of as much as 84 percent of an award despite a performance below expectations, according to the GAO report. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/05/AR2009070502520.html?wpisrc=newsletter&wpisrc=newsletter&wpisrc=newsletter

I have an idea!! How about doing away with bonuses?? A contractors incentive for doing a good job should be it’s participation in future contract biding. If the contractor isn’t incensed to do a good job then earmark that contractor and don’t allow them to participate in future bids.

This policy was enacted in 2007…seems odd, wasn’t that about the time our country started falling into an economic pit fall?? No bid contracts and rewarded for ripping America off.  I pray all those involved get their “just” rewards!!!

No bid contract = Just do the work and bill us what you feel it is worth

Performance Bonuses = Then double it

Talk about opening ourselves up for corruption. I wonder how many pockets were lined??? I sure hope we find out….follow the money!!

“Beat The Drum”

Posted in news, Politics, Scandalous | Tagged: , , , , , | 18 Comments »