Archive for the ‘Wealth and Power’ Category

 

A Brazil city council candidate has been arrested after she was caught allegedly handing out cocaine with her election leaflets, according to reports.

Carme Cristina Lima, 32, was running for councillor of Itacoatiara, in Brazil’s northern state of Amazonas.

Police became suspicious when they saw a crowd allegedly gathering around Ms Lima’s car on the morning of election day on Sunday.

Officers searched her car and allegedly found hundreds of packets of cocaine attached to the candidate’s leaflets with instructions on how to vote for her.

Speaking to Brazil’s TNOnline website, police chief Daniel Ottoni said: “There was a large gathering of people around Ms Lima, but when they saw the police they all ran away.

“The candidate and another man also fled by car but officers caught up with them.

“According to locals, she had been distributing the drugs since early in the morning, on condition that people vote for her.”

Ms Lima was arrested for electoral corruption and drug dealing.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/brazil/9593442/Brazil-candidate-handed-out-cocaine-with-election-leaflets.html

Jon Hubbard, a Republican member of the Arkansas House of Representatives, has written a new book in which he says slavery was “a blessing” for African-Americans, among other questionable statements.

Hubbard, a first term Republican from Jonesboro, Ark., makes a series of racially charged statements in the self-published book, including saying that integration of schools is hurting white students, that African slaves had better lives under slavery than in Africa, that blacks are not contributing to society, and that a situation is developing the United States which is similar to that of Nazi Germany.

The questionable statements in Hubbard’s book, “Letters to the Editor: Confessions of a Frustrated Conservative,” were first reported by Arkansas Times and TalkBusiness.net.

Regarding slavery, Hubbard wrote:

“… the institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise. The blacks who could endure those conditions and circumstances would someday be rewarded with citizenship in the greatest nation ever established upon the face of the Earth.” (Pages 183-89)

On the subject of school integration, Hubbard described black students as having a “a lack of discipline and ambition,” which he said has hurt the entire educational system.

Hubbard also tackled immigration and said that Christians in America are in a similar position to that of Germans during Hitler’s rise to power.

… the immigration issue, both legal and illegal … will lead to planned wars or extermination. Although now this seems to be barbaric and uncivilized, it will at some point become as necessary as eating and breathing.” (Page 9)

Hubbard declined to comment on the book when contacted by The Huffington Post, saying that he did not have time.

An Air Force veteran, Hubbard sells insurance in Arkansas and Missouri. He serves on several legislative committees, including ones dealing with issues related to aging, insurance, telecommunications, and waterways and aeronautics policy.

On his campaign website, Hubbard says he will defend Christianity as a state lawmaker.

“And perhaps the most important pledge I can make to the people of District 58, the citizens of Arkansas, and to myself, is to do whatever I can to defend, protect, and preserve our Christian heritage,” Hubbard says on his website. “Regardless of one’s religious beliefs, if we as a nation continue to turn away from those Christian principles and values upon which this great nation was founded, we will have truly lost everything worth saving!”

Hubbard has a history of taking conservative stances in the legislature. In June, he called for the University of Arkansas to be audited to see if tax money had been spent on a panel discussion about undocumented immigrants. In February, he asked the state Department of Health to implement a policy that would require birth certificates be produced by anyone seeking non-emergency medical care in a hospital in order to prove their citizenship.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/05/jon-hubbard-arkansas-slavery-book_n_1943661.html

 

 The daughter of the tycoon who on Tuesday offered HK$500 million (US$64 million) to any man who would marry her found the proposal “quite entertaining,” she told CNN.

Gigi Chao said her father, property developer Cecil Chao Sze-tsung, “loves her very much” and was aware of the cash offer before it was first reported Tuesday by local Hong Kong media.

The tycoon’s offer came after Chinese media reports last week that she married another woman, her long-time companion Sean Eav, in a civil ceremony in Paris last week. Asked by CNN to confirm her civil union, Chao said she was “not in a position to verify that.”

Her father, however, was unequivocal, telling CNN “reports of Gigi being married is not true, it’s a rumor.” However, he did confirm that he is offering the multi-million dollar bounty for a future son-in-law: Any nationality or wealth of the suitor is fine, the only requirement is that the man “loves my daughter, and she loves him.”

Asked if she would consider her father’s offer, Chao said, “we will see.”

The 76-year-old tycoon himself has never married, and has long earned a reputation on the pages of local newspapers and magazines in the arms of beautiful women, having once bragged of having had 10,000 girlfriends, the South China Morning Post reported.

Gigi Chao is an executive director of Cheuk Nang Holdings, a luxury property development company run by her father.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/27/business/hong-kong-tycoon-daughter-reward/index.html?hpt=hp_t3

Thanks to Ray Gaudette for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.

Authorities in Carson City recently made an astounding discovery in the home of a local recluse whose body was found in his residence. Walter Samaszko Jr. had left only $200 in his bank account. But hidden throughout the house were other treasures – including gold bars and coins valued at $7 million.

“You never anticipate running into anything like this,” Carson City Clerk-Recorder Alan Glover told the Los Angeles Times. “It was a run-of-the-mill 1,200-square-foot tract home that still had orange shag carpet. This guy was everybody’s next-door neighbor.”

Samaszko, 69, was described by officials as a loner who went about his business and had few friends. He had been dead at least a month when neighbors called authorities. The victim, who suffered from heart trouble, had lived in the house since the 1960s, and his mother lived with him until her death in 1992.

Glover, who also serves as the local public administrator, was tasked with dealing with the effects of a man who had left no will and had no known living relatives. But during the home cleanup, workers struck gold.

“He was a hoarder – there was everything inside that home you could think of,” Glover said. “The workers found a crawl space from the garage. That led to everything else.

“He was apparently buying gold from a local coin dealer. We found it in sealed boxes marked ‘books.’ We also found gold wrapped in tinfoil stored in ammunition boxes,” Glover told The Times. “There was just more and more. We found a family silver set with rolls of U.S. $20s and Mexican five peso coins.”

The gold coins had been minted as early as the 1840s in such countries as Mexico, England, Austria and South Africa, he said.

Based on just the weight of the gold, Glover estimates the value at $7 million. Because some of the coins appear to be collector items, the value could go much higher, he said.

Officials eventually used a metal detector to search the backyard to make sure they had left no coin uncovered. Samaszko also had stock accounts of more than $165,000 and another $12,000 in cash at the house.

Then came the task of finding relatives. Investigators used list of people who attended Samaszko’s mother’s funeral to track down a first cousin who lives in San Rafael, Calif.

“This will be good for her,” Glover said. “She’s a substitute school teacher who lives in an apartment.”

He said the deceased remains an enigma. “He didn’t socialize. He wasn’t exactly a hermit – he shopped for groceries and talked with at least one elderly neighbor. In his garage was a 1968 Mustang he bought new.”

“He didn’t belong to anything. He just went his own way, with all that gold.”

http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-carson-city-gold-20120917,0,5763811.story

Let’s imagine that yesterday there was a front page story in The New York Times that read the following:

“The recent economic crisis left the top 1% of Americans in 2010 with no more wealth than in the early 1990s, erasing almost two decades of accumulated prosperity, the Federal Reserve Monday.

“A hypothetical family richer than the median net worth of the top 1% of the nation’s families had a net worth of $77.3 million in 2010, compared with $126.4 million in 2007, the Fed said. The crash of the stock market, in addition to the collapse of housing prices in Greenwich, Connecticut, the Upper East Side of New York City, Beverly Hills, Highland Park in Dallas and the North Shore of Chicago, directly accounted for three-quarters of the loss.”

What do you think the reaction would be to that?

The elite would call for the suspension of habeas corpus, the government would call out the National Guard, invade Honduras and the Supreme Court would announce that it is in session 24/7 to take any action deemed necessary to help their friends.

The Wall Street Journal would have a black border on the newspaper. The Financial Times would go from pink to gray. CNBC would play funeral music for nine months. Steve Schwarzman would compare it to the H-word. Cable networks would roadblock all coverage.

Minimum wage laws would be suspended, the 40-hour work week would be thrown out, perhaps they would even do away with child labor laws to get productivity up so profits could increase to make up for lost revenue.

OK, we know that story did not appear in Wednesday’s New York Times, and we would certainly agree that a massive loss of wealth in the top 1% would wreak economic havoc on the country. But there was, if anything, a worse story on that front page with only minor variations from our hypothetical scenario.

The story said that the recent economic crisis left the average American family in 2010 with no more wealth than in the early 1990s, erasing almost two decades of accumulated prosperity, reducing their net worth by almost 40%.

How are you coping? Share your economy story with CNN iReport

And the response of the national elite, the people Paul Krugman refers to as “very smart people” or I like to call the “chin-scratchers,” was a barely audible whimper.

To put it bluntly, the middle class in this country has been screwed, blued and tattooed.

Rising health care costs, job insecurity, declining real estate values, massive cuts to public education and public safety (no Mitt, we don’t need fewer police officers, we actually need more of them and yes, the federal government has a large hand in this.)

It is a depressing state of affairs when about two-thirds of our fellow citizens are caught in an economic trap that is wrecking their lives financially and emotionally.

And the reaction to all of this has been limp at best.

The Republicans say that if we just give the rich more tax cuts, it will make everyone’s life better — seems as though we’ve tried this before, doesn’t it?

The Democrats have done some things that have been helpful, such as payroll tax cuts and the Affordable Care Act, but there is much more work to be done. As far as other institutions around the country, the response has been pathetic.

Opinion: Why the middle class has taken a big hit

There is an entire industry devoted to denying that this is even a problem.

I read a piece written by Andy Kessler in The Wall Street Journal, stating that thanks to “consumption equality,” the wealthy work their 60- to 80-hour weeks inventing things for the masses, but there’s not much they can buy with their money that the middle class can’t afford.

You can only afford a product, because some rich person invented it for the masses, just like they did with smartphones, hard drives and affordable air travel.

Who cares if you can’t afford to send your children to college or pay for your health insurance premium or what you owe on your house is more than what it’s worth? Hey, you can buy them a cell phone, now that they don’t cost $4,000, and talk to them as they stand in line for a job interview at McDonald’s.

Where are our nation’s institutions that should be raising holy hell about this? Lets start with my own Catholic Church: They are spending all of their time hunting down masturbators and birth-control takers.

Academics: Have you ever heard of the Princeton Center for Middle Class Studies? Not hardly.

The press: There is much more coverage on George Zimmerman’s wife than on the destruction of the middle class in this country.

The lobbyists: Give me a break. When was the last time you heard of a lobbyist for the middle class? The point here is that we are reading the most significant economic story of our time and its effect on the psyche of the people who should know better is minimal.

In the words of Warren Buffett, “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

The big scandal in America is that our middle class is shrinking, and no one seems to care. Maybe someone somewhere somehow should consider doing something else.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/14/opinion/carville-middle-class/index.html?hpt=hp_c1

 

A new study from researchers at Jay W. Forrester’s institute at MIT says that the world could suffer from “global economic collapse” and “precipitous population decline” if people continue to consume the world’s resources at the current pace.

Smithsonian Magazine writes that Australian physicist Graham Turner says “the world is on track for disaster” and that current evidence coincides with a famous, and in some quarters, infamous, academic report from 1972 entitled, “The Limits to Growth.

Produced for a group called The Club of Rome, the study’s researchers created a computing model to forecast different scenarios based on the current models of population growth and global resource consumption. The study also took into account different levels of agricultural productivity, birth control and environmental protection efforts. Twelve million copies of the report were produced and distributed in 37 different languages.

Most of the computer scenarios found population and economic growth continuing at a steady rate until about 2030. But without “drastic measures for environmental protection,” the scenarios predict the likelihood of a population and economic crash.

However, the study said “unlimited economic growth” is still possible if world governments enact policies and invest in green technologies that help limit the expansion of our ecological footprint.

 

The Smithsonian notes that several experts strongly objected to “The Limit of Growth’s” findings, including the late Yale economist Henry Wallich, who for 12 years served as a governor of the Federal Research Board and was its chief international economics expert. At the time, Wallich said attempting to regulate economic growth would be equal to “consigning billions to permanent poverty.”

Turner says that perhaps the most startling find from the study is that the results of the computer scenarios were nearly identical to those predicted in similar computer scenarios used as the basis for “The Limits to Growth.”

“There is a very clear warning bell being rung here,” Turner said. “We are not on a sustainable trajectory.”

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/next-great-depression-mit-researchers-predict-global-economic-190352944.html

Thanks to Ray Gaudette for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.

A wealthy polo club owner in Florida has legally adopted his longtime adult girlfriend as his daughter in a legal maneuver that critics say is an attempt to shield his assets ahead of a civil lawsuit over a deadly car crash, The Palm Beach Post reports.

John Goodman, 48, is being sued by the parents of Scott Wilson, 23, who was killed in a traffic accident last February. The newspaper, quoting a sheriff’s report, says Goodman ran a stop sign and hit Wilson’s car in Wellington, Fla.

Wilson’s parents have sued Goodman. The trial is set for March 27.

The newspaper says Goodman also faces a criminal trial on March 6 on charges of DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a crash. He could face up to 30 years in prison, the Post says.

Goodman, founder of the International Polo Club Palm Beach, legally adopted Laruso Hutchins, 42, as his daughter on Oct. 13 in Miami-Dade County, according to court documents, the Post reports.

West Palm Beach Judge Glenn Kelley wrote in a court order that the legal twists in the case “border on the surreal and take the Court into a legal twilight zone.”

In a previous ruling, Kelley said a trust set up for Goodman’s two minor children could not be considered as part of his financial worth if a jury awarded damages to the Wilsons. According to the adoption papers, Hutchins is immediately entitled to at least a third of the trust’s assets as his legal daughter since she is over the age of 35, the Post reports.

Attorneys for the Wilsons tell the Post that the adoption is an attempt by Goodman to shield assets from potential lawsuit damages.

Dan Bachi, Goodman’s civil attorney, says the adoption was done to ensure the future stability of his children and family investments and has nothing to do with the lawsuit.

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2012/02/wealthy-florida-man-adopts-adult-girlfriend-as-his-daughter/1?csp=34news&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter#.T02CVyM2GRB

Apple’s stock market value topped the $500 billion mark in early trading Wednesday, another record high for what was already the world’s most valuable company.

The half-trillion dollar valuation puts Apple in some extremely exclusive territory, making it one of the five most-valuable companies at any point in history. Only Microsoft, ExxonMobil, Cisco (CSCO, Fortune 500) and General Electric (GE, Fortune 500) have ever surpassed that mark.

Exxon did it most recently in late 2007, when oil prices were soaring. Microsoft, Cisco and GE reached half a trillion dollars in market capitalization in 1999 during the height of the tech bubble.

Microsoft was the only company ever to have a valuation of $600 billion. Its market cap now sits about $267 billion.

Apple’s valuation is now higher than the gross domestic product of Poland, Belgium, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, or Taiwan. (For more comparisons, check out this excellent blog: Things Apple is Worth More Than.)

 

The ACLU Wednesday filed a lawsuit against various agencies of the Obama administration — the Justice and Defense Departments and the CIA — over their refusal to disclose any information about the assassination of American citizens. In October, the ACLU filed a FOIA request demanding disclosure of the most basic information about the CIA’s killing of 3 American citizens in Yemen: Anwar Awlaki and Samir Khan, killed by missiles fired by a U.S. drone in September, and Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman, killed by another drone attack two weeks later.

The ACLU’s FOIA request sought merely to learn the legal and factual basis for these killings — meaning: tell us what legal theories you’ve adopted to secretly target U.S. citizens for execution, and what factual basis did you have to launch these specific strikes? The DOJ and CIA responded not only by refusing to provide any of this information, but refused even to confirm if any of the requested documents exist; in other words, as the ACLU put it yesterday, “these agencies are saying the targeted killing program is so secret that they can’t even acknowledge that it exists.” That refusal is what prompted Wednesday’s lawsuit (in December, the New York Times also sued the Obama administration after it failed to produce DOJ legal memoranda “justifying” the assassination program in response to a FOIA request from reporters Charlie Savage and Scott Shane, but the ACLU’s lawsuit seeks disclosure of both the legal and factual bases for these executions).

Thanks to Kebmodee for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community:  http://kebmodee.blogspot.com/2012/02/aclu-sues-obama-administration-over.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Kebmodee+%28kebmodee%29

read more here:  http://www.salon.com/2012/02/02/aclu_sues_obama_administration_over_assassination_secrecy/singleton/

 An email was sent out to members of the Crystal Cathedral congregation in Orange County requesting meals for founder Robert H. Schuller’s wife Arvella, who is ill with pneumonia.  The request was that meals for the reverend’s wife be dropped off at the cathedral’s Tower of Hope where the Schullers’ limo drivers will be waiting to pick them up at the designated time.

Member Bob Canfield says he was outraged when he got the message.

“These are millionaires who have limos and chauffeurs,” he said. “Why in God’s name would they want the congregants to deliver meals? It’s ludicrous.”

The email states that the Schullers do not want get-well cards sent because they would like to “keep her situation under the radar.”

“However, they would appreciate meals over the next three to four weeks,” the email states. “They are to be sent to the church in order to be transported to Arvella. The limo drivers could pick up the dinners or meet in the Tower Lobby around 4:30 p.m.”

The message also requests that the meals be low in sodium and include items such as fruit, meats, soup and egg dishes such as quiches.

 

Thanks to Mr. C for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.

 

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/bankrupt-church-wants-donations-pastor-sick-wife-ferried-182015520.html;_ylc=X3oDMTNuODNpN2Q0BF9TAzIxNDM2ODQ3NjEEYWN0A21haWxfY2IEY3QDYQRpbnRsA3VzBGxhbmcDZW4tVVMEcGtnAzY0M2IxNjkwLTk4ODQtMzdkYy04ZTM4LWUxMjk5ZWRiOTcyNQRzZWMDbWl0X3NoYXJlBHNsawNtYWlsBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3