Archive for profit

"Everybody wants a little piece of that gay money."

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money gay weddings marriage equality

Marriage equality.

Marriage.

Equality.

Both of those words are as beautiful as they are meaningful. And now they're becoming lucrative, at least for states, businesses, and enterprising people that support them.

Lisa Phillian is one of those people. She is a professional in Southern California's wedding industry, and has been since before it became legal for every consenting adult to marry the one he or she loves.

Via the Los Angeles Times:

"Everybody wants a little piece of that gay money," said Phillian, who has offices in Rosemead and Palm Springs. "It's going to really open up the wedding business." [...]

About 37,000 same-sex couples are expected to marry in California over the next three years, potentially generating $492 million in revenue for businesses, according to the Williams Institute, a think tank at UCLA School of Law that studies lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.

The state could also get a $40-million infusion from wedding-related tax revenue over the next three years [...]

To market her services, Phillian lists herself on websites such as Equally Wed that target gay couples. Thousands of businesses, including jewelers, videographers and musicians, market themselves to same-sex couples on similar sites.

Phillian is now fielding as many as 25 calls a day from lesbian and gay couples planning to marry, compared with about three a week she used to get for commitment ceremonies.

Now here are some Fun Facts:

  • 86% of gay couples pay for the majority of the wedding themselves, compared with 40% of straight couples.
  • About 37% of same-sex couples walk down the aisle together. 74% of straight couples walk down the aisle with family members.
  • 40% of gay couples plan a more casual and less traditional wedding, as opposed to 16% of straight couples.

Good for relationships, check. Good for businesses, check. Good for California (and other states), check.

So what's the down side of marriage equality again? Oh yeah. There is none.

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Wisconsin cashes in on selling voter rolls

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Via nutsandolts.com

Via nutsandolts.com

This report makes me really uncomfortable whether or not collecting information is legal or commonplace or useful or whatever. It's not like we don't already know that voter info is gathered, dissected, and exploited, but Gov. Scott Walker's state (and others) making money off confidential details like, you know, home addresses pushes my already squeamish buttons.

Via the Post Crescent:

APPLETONComputer files kept in Madison with detailed information on Wisconsin’s 3.7 million registered voters now fuel a healthy revenue stream for the state.

State law allows the Government Accountability Board to sell the public information in bulk with a $12,500 price tag or in pieces to individual candidates looking to target specific voters in an election. Last year the state took in $269,000 by selling the data, a review by Post-Crescent Media has found. Since 2011, 585 individual sales led to $388,595 in revenue.

Some people get mad that we’re selling their information, but we’re required to do so by state law,” said Reid Magney, spokesman for the GAB. “We don’t sell birthdates and we don’t sell phone numbers or email addresses.”

Again, what is for sale are the voter's addresses and voter participation history, and that is information that campaigns can use to target specific areas.

Those who took advantage of the data sales were primarily political organizations, including the Republican National Committee, Democratic National Committee, and state parties. Equal opportunity privacy invasion for cash.

Who purchased Appleton data?

Post-Crescent Media requested a list of all voter data purchases between 2011 and this spring. Here is a list of who purchased Appleton-related data in that period. This does not include the 24 individuals who purchased statewide rolls.

Name Subject of purchase Amount paid Voters Date

Ed Baranowski,

Aldermanic district 5 $30 957* 3/18/13
Curt Konetzke Aldermanic district 3 $40 3,104 3/4/13
Kathy Plank Aldermanic district 7 $40 3,475 1/30/13
Mark Priddis Aldermanic district 3 $40 3,111 1/28/13
Pam Holdorf Aldermanic district 13 $30 1,016* 1/15/13
Tim Hanna City of Appleton $220 38,931 3/13/12
John Hill Aldermanic district 2 $40 2,759 3/13/12
Tom Goehler Aldermanic district 12 $40 2,540 2/28/12
John DeVantier Appleton school district $145 24,207 2/8/12
Dave Broker City of Appleton $190 33,012 2/6/12
Jeff Lutz Aldermanic district 4 $40 3,039 1/30/12
Tom Van Susteren Aldermanic ward 2 $35 1,522 1/12/12
Michael Smith Aldermanic district 10 $40 2,571 1/6/12

*active voters spring only

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VIDEO: United Auto Workers, 6 more organizations file ethics complaint against Mitt Romney

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In a previous post, "UAW Charges Romney With Profiteering From Auto Bailout," Greg Palast's report that Romney secretly made millions, and his biggest donors billions, off the taxpayer funded auto bailout got some attention.

Palast had written about how Mitt and “Ann, personally gained at least $15.3 million from the bailout—and a few of Romney’s most important Wall Street donors made more than $4 billion. Their gains, and the Romneys’, were astronomical—more than 3,000 percent on their investment.” And the UAW and others listened.

Bob King, President of the United Automobile Workers pointed out that Mitt Romney was busy writing op-eds opposing the Detroit auto rescue, but was even busier making money with his Delphi investor group “off the misfortunes of others.”

In the video below, you'll hear King's first hand account of how the UAW and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) “have filed a formal complaint with the US Office of Government Ethics in Washington stating that Gov. Romney improperly hid a profit of $15.3 million to $115.0 million in Ann Romney’s so-called ‘blind’ trust.”

Here is Ed Schultz interviewing him on last night's "The Ed Show":

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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UAW Charges Romney With Profiteering From Auto Bailout

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Greg Palast previously reported that Romney secretly made millions, and his biggest donors billions, off the taxpayer funded auto bailout. He wrote about how Mitt and “Ann, personally gained at least $15.3 million from the bailout—and a few of Romney’s most important Wall Street donors made more than $4 billion. Their gains, and the Romneys’, were astronomical—more than 3,000 percent on their investment.”

As Bob King, President of the United Automobile Workers pointed out, Mitt Romney was busy writing op-eds opposing the Detroit auto rescue, but was even busier making money with his Delphi investor group "off the misfortunes of others."

Greg Palast now has a follow-up at Truthout:

[Mitt Romney] has just learned that tomorrow afternoon (November 1) he will be charged by the United Automobile Workers (UAW) and other public interest groups with violating the federal ethics in government law by improperly concealing his multi-million dollar windfall from the auto industry bailout.

King said that the UAW and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) "have filed a formal complaint with the US Office of Government Ethics in Washington stating that Gov. Romney improperly hid a profit of $15.3 million to $115.0 million in Ann Romney's so-called 'blind' trust."

The UAW complaint calls for Romney to reveal exactly how much he made off Delphi -- and continues to make.  The Singer syndicate, once in control of Delphi, eliminated every single UAW job --25,000-- and moved almost all auto parts production to Mexico and China where Delphi now employs 25,000 auto parts workers.

More details here.

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VIDEO: "You know what women Romney loves? Women who are working in factories, living in subhuman conditions, making low wages."

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This is the second impressive video in the past week or so from one of my favorites on Twitter, @liberalease. The other is "If you like having sex..." which is also must-see. Please share both, because the points she makes are absolutely dead-on.

"When I hear Ann Romney claim, 'I love women!' I say to myself, 'Really??' If you love women, why are you and your husband trying to set back the women's movement by 50 years? I don't think these people love women, I think these people love money, as long as it's in their pocket."

"You know what women Romney loves? Women who are working in factories, and living in subhuman conditions, and making low wages.... Because you know what? They improve his bottom line."

"Mitt Romney's about profit, no matter what the cost to human dignity... Cheap labor is what it's all about for Mitt Romney."

"If you care about equal pay, you will NOT vote for Mitt Romney."

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Does Mitt Romney have an in-law problem? They "might try and capitalize on a Romney presidency" despite "embarrassing business, legal difficulties."

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Mitt Romney has a lot of problems, not just an in-law problem. Matthew Mosk (@mattmosk) joins Greg Palast in writing about the Romney family (and extended family) today, and all their little business antics.

In case you missed it, Romney secretly made millions, and his biggest donors billions, off taxpayer funded auto bailout.

Mosk reports:

Mitt Romney's rise in business and politics has served as a marketing bonanza for two of his wife's closest relatives, both Utah-based businessmen who have benefited from, and are said to have traded on, their connection to the presidential candidate even as they suffered a succession of embarrassing business and legal difficulties.

Ann Romney's brother Roderick Davies, who filed for bankruptcy in 2010, and nephew Ryan Davies, who oversaw a now-bankrupt green energy venture, have both been out on the campaign trail to offer support for Romney. But back in Utah, the two men have left a trail of unhappy business partners, a number of whom spoke with ABC News to express concern about how the two might try and capitalize on a Romney presidency.

The family that messes up together rarely fesses up together.

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Romney secretly made millions, and his biggest donors billions, off taxpayer funded auto bailout

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Bain Capital photo via Boston.com

One of my favorite investigative reporters is Greg Palast. He's got a new piece up at The Nation that is a must-read. For that matter, let's hope the so-called mainstream (corporate) media reads it and blows this story up (or maybe we'll have to do that for them), because it could make a difference in the election.

It turns out that the father of the angry young man who fantasizes about slugging our president made a whole lot of money off the the very auto bailout that he objected to (remember the November 2008 New York Timesop-ed, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt”?):

In fact, as Greg writes, Mitt and "Ann, personally gained at least $15.3 million from the bailout—and a few of Romney’s most important Wall Street donors made more than $4 billion. Their gains, and the Romneys’, were astronomical—more than 3,000 percent on their investment."

Please read the whole thing, but in the meantime:

One of the hedge funds profiting from that bailout—
$1.28 billion so far—is Elliott Management, directed by 
Paul Singer. According to The Wall Street Journal, Singer has given more to support GOP candidates—$2.3 million—than anyone else on Wall Street this election season. [...]

One of President Obama’s first acts in office, in February 2009, was to form the Auto Task Force with the goal of saving GM, Chrysler, their suppliers and, most important, auto industry jobs. Crucial to the plan was saving Delphi [Delphi Automotive, a former General Motors subsidiary whose auto parts remain essential to GM’s production lines], which then employed more than 25,000 union workers.

Obama hired Steven Rattner, himself a millionaire hedge fund manager, to head the task force that would negotiate with the troubled firms and their creditors to avoid the collapse of the entire industry. In Rattner’s memoir of the affair, Overhaul, he describes a closed-door meeting held in March 2009 to resolve Delphi’s fate. He writes that Delphi, now in the possession of its hedge fund creditors, told the Treasury and GM to hand over $350 million immediately, “because if you don’t, we’ll shut you down.” His explanation was corroborated by Delphi’s chief financial officer, John Sheehan, who said in a sworn deposition in July 2009 that the hedge fund debt holders backed up their threat with “an analysis of the cost to GM if Delphi were unwilling or unable to provide supply to GM,” forcing a “shutdown.” It would take “years and tens of billions” for GM to replace Delphi’s parts. At that bleak moment, GM had neither. The automaker had left the inventory of its steering column and other key components in Delphi’s hands. If Delphi laid siege to GM’s parts supply, the bailout would fail and GM would have to be liquidated or sold off—as would another Delphi dependent, Chrysler.

Rattner could not believe that Delphi’s management—now effectively under the hedge funders’ control—would “want to be perceived as holding GM hostage at such a precarious economic moment.” One Wall Street Journal analyst suggested that Singer was treating Delphi “like a third world country.” Rattner likened the subsidies demanded by Delphi’s debt holders to “extortion demands by the Barbary pirates.” [...]

In their 2011 and 2012 Federal Financial Disclosure filing, Ann Romney’s trust lists “more than $1 million” invested with Elliott. This is the description for all of her big investments—the minimal disclosure required by law. (Had Romney kept the holding in his own name, he would have had to reveal if his investment with Singer had made more than $50 million.) [...]

To invest in Elliott is essentially a “Delphi play”: that is, investing with Singer means buying a piece of the auto bailout.

Please share this one with everyone you know.

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