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Posts Tagged ‘Influence

Koch Foundation Hires and Fires Economists at Public University

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by Rebekah Wilce on May 12, 2011     PR Watch    

According to news reports, the Charles G. Koch Foundation has bought “the right to interfere in faculty hiring at a publicly funded university.” Kris Hundley of the St. Petersburg Times reports that the elder Koch brother’s foundation “pledged $1.5 million for positions in Florida State University’s economics department. In return, his representatives get to screen and sign off on any hires for a new program promoting ‘political economy and free enterprise.'”

Unlike most university donors, who retain little control over chairs they’ve funded lest universities be seen to lose academic freedom, the Times reports that the Charles G. Koch Foundation’s “contract specifies that an advisory committee appointed by Koch decides which candidates should be considered. The foundation can also withdraw its funding if it’s not happy with the faculty’s choice or if the hires don’t meet ‘objectives’ set by Koch during annual evaluations.”

Apparently, the deal was signed in 2008 with little public controversy. However, on May 1 two FSU professors — Ray Bellamy and Kent S. Miller — revived the issue in a letter to the Tallahassee Democrat. In their letter, Bellamy and Miller point out that “George Mason University received over $23 million from Koch brothers foundations to hire seven libertarian professors, subjecting the college to the charge that the university had been ‘bought'”.

David W. Rasmussen, dean of the College of Social Sciences, responded to the letter on May 10 by saying, “I’m sure some faculty will say this is not exactly consistent with their view of academic freedom…. But it seems to me it would have been irresponsible not to do it.”

But FSU is not the only school where the Charles G. Koch Foundation has made such arrangements. The Times article adds that, “In addition to FSU, Koch has made similar arrangements at two other state schools, Clemson University in South Carolina and West Virginia University.”

One wonders how many Koch economists there are in the world.

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The Oily Billionaire Koch Bros’ Obscene Game of Monopoly

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AlterNet

Here’s an infographic from  friends at The Other 98%:

US Hypocrisy Scuttles its Own Sinking Ship

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The worm turns….or twists in the wind, according to your view. It really was international Banksters that lit the fuse under Mubarak with their wholesale looting, so it’s almost fun to watch them scurry around trying to find someone to bail them out of this mess.  Too bad power and wisdom don’t go together. And in the end the people pay with misery for the blunders of their bosses.

US envoy’s business link to Egypt : Robert Fisk

“Obama scrambles to limit damage after Frank Wisner makes robust call for Mubarak to remain in place as leader…..Frank Wisner, President Barack Obama’s envoy to Cairo who infuriated the White House this weekend by urging Hosni Mubarak to remain President of Egypt, works for a New York and Washington law firm which works for the dictator’s own Egyptian government. Mr Wisner’s astonishing remarks – “President Mubarak’s continued leadership is critical: it’s his opportunity to write his own legacy” – shocked the democratic opposition in Egypt and called into question Mr Obama’s judgement, as well as that of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The US State Department and Mr Wisner himself have now both claimed that his remarks were made in a “personal capacity”. But there is nothing “personal” about Mr Wisner’s connections with the litigation firm Patton Boggs, which openly boasts that it advises “the Egyptian military, the Egyptian Economic Development Agency, and has handled arbitrations and litigation on the [Mubarak] government’s behalf in Europe and the US”.”

US Warships Signal Washington’s Intervention to Save its Egyptian Garrison by Finian Cunningham

Three US warships dispatched to Egypt signal that Washington is stepping up efforts to secure the embattled regime of Hosni Mubarak.

The IMF’s Epic Fail on Egypt (naked capitalism)

Over the last week, we’ve had the spectacle of the Western media speculating about what is going on in Egypt in the absence of much understanding of the forces at work (this article by Paul Amar is a notable exception).

Needless to say, there has also been a great deal of consternation as to how the West’s supposedly vaunted intelligence apparatus failed to see this one coming. This lapse is as bad as the inability to foresee the collapse of the Soviet Union (it’s arguably worse: a lot of people profited from the Cold War, and they’d have every reason to fan fears and thus look for evidence that would support the idea that the USSR was a formidable threat. By contrast, one would think that conveying word that the domestic situation in Egypt was charged would have led to more intense scrutiny which ought to have served some interests (like various consultants and analysts). That suggests the US was so wedded to Mubarak that anyone who dared say his regime was at risk would get “shoot the messenger” treatment, and thus nary a discouraging word was conveyed).

Tomgram: Engelhardt, Goodbye to All That

Pox Americana
Driving Through the Gates of Hell and Other American Pastimes in the Greater Middle East

State Department offers to attack France for Monsanto

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Max Keiser and co-host, Stacy Herbert discuss the US State Department’s planned retaliation against France for daring to reject Monsanto’s toxic GMO corn seeds. This operation was revealed by WikiLeaks but has not been reported by the media.

Also discussed are the economic dangers of GMO agriculture, and Monsanto’s ability to subvert the US government to do their dirty work via placing their operatives in government oversight positions. In the second half of the show, Max talks to author and blogger, James Howard Kunstler, about shopping stampedes and revolutionary times.

Sadly Keiser is a bit hyper, but the info is still very important. See also:

WikiLeaks: US Ambassador Planned “Retaliation” Against France Over Ban on Monsanto Corn

Lobbyists making legislators obsolete?

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It happens just like this in Congress too!

Jul. 10, 2010   By Karen de Sa / San Jose Mercury News

SACRAMENTO — Imagine: At a time when California is lurching from crisis to crisis, a legislator has an idea to make life better. He puts together a bill, gathers support and shepherds it into law.

If only Sacramento worked like that. Instead, it often works like this: A lobbyist has an idea to make life better — but only for his client. The lobbyist writes the bill, shops for a willing lawmaker to introduce it and lines up the support. The legislator? He has to do little more than show up and vote.

This is the path of the “sponsored bill,” a method of lawmaking little noticed outside California’s capital but long favored on the inside. In many states lobbyists influence legislators; in California, they have — quite baldly — taken center stage in lawmaking.

Although lawmakers in recent years have routinely failed to grapple with health care, the state budget and other matters of public interest, they’ve managed to do the bidding of the private interests who tout sponsored bills at an impressive clip.

A Mercury News analysis found that in 2007-08, the most recent complete two-year legislative session, more than 1,800 bills — about 39% of the total — were sponsored by outside interests. And those sponsored bills made up 60% of legislation passed into law.

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Wealthy Reap Rewards While Those Who Work Lose

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By Adrianne Appel    IPS

BOSTON, Jul 9, 2010 (IPS) – Times are tough for workers in the U.S. where a recession has a stranglehold on much of the economy, but life is perfectly rosy for those at the top.

The riches of the wealthiest North Americans grew by double digits in 2009, primarily from interest their money earned when it was invested in the stock market and elsewhere, according to a report by the Boston Consulting Group.

Millionaires in the U.S. and Canada saw their wealth increase 15 percent in 2009,  to a total of 4.6 trillion dollars, the report found.

Worldwide, 11 million – or less than 1 percent of all households – were millionaires in 2009. They owned about 38 percent of the world’s wealth or 111 trillion dollars, up from about 36 percent in 2008, according to Boston Consulting Group.

About 4.7 million millionaires live in the U.S., four percent of the population and more than anywhere else in the world. Japan, China, Britain and Germany followed the U.S. in the number of millionaires.

Their fortune is a stark contrast to the lives of more than 15 million people in the U.S. who are unemployed and searching for work, and the eight million more who are just getting by with a part-time job, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. More than two million more people were working prior to the recession but have now dropped out of the labour force.

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1967 USS Liberty survivor also aboard flotilla ship

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How on earth is it possible that this amazing story never made it to the US news?

A survivor of the 1967 Israeli attack on the USS Liberty, Joe Meadors, was also on the Gaza relief ship.

Info about the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty here

On June 8, 1967, US Navy intelligence ship USS Liberty was suddenly and brutally attacked on the high seas in international waters by the air and naval forces of Israel. The Israeli forces attacked with full knowledge that this was an American ship and lied about it. Survivors have been forbidden for 40 years to tell their story under oath to the American public. The USS Liberty Memorial web site tells their story and is dedicated to the memory of the 34 brave men who died.