Pension fund sues Qualcomm for records of investors’ money used to fund political campaigns

New York State’s $150-billion public pension fund has sued Qualcomm, seeking to force the chipmaker to reveal its political spending, according to the state comptroller.

The suit was filed late on Wednesday in Delaware Court of Chancery, after Qualcomm refused the request by the New York State Common Retirement Fund — a Qualcomm shareholder — to inspect records detailing the use of corporate resources for political activities, said state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who oversees the fund.

“Without disclosure, there is no way to know whether corporate funds are being used in ways that go against shareholder interests,” DiNapoli, a Democrat who is up for re-election in 2014, said in a statement.

The suit opens a new front in the fight over corporate political spending, which has risen dramatically since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in Citizens United.

That decision lifted restrictions on corporate political spending and led in part to an unprecedented $6 billion of spending on the recently held U.S. elections.

While other companies have agreed to increase their disclosure of political spending, Qualcomm has not…

Since at least August 2012, the pension fund has repeatedly attempted to get the information from Qualcomm, but the company has refused to divulge it, the suit claimed.

New York’s pension fund is “concerned that it cannot determine whether senior executives and directors of Qualcomm are spending corporate resources to support their favored political candidates” or on causes that aren’t focused on boosting shareholder value, the complaint said.

Other sources show that in 2012, Qualcomm spent more than $4.7 million on federal lobbying efforts, according to the complaint.

Delightful. Glad to see this approach/attack getting started.

Ever since the conservative flunkies on the Supreme Court decided “corporations are people, too” – and started the tsunami of corporate cash flowing into the coffers of SuperPACS – the American electorate has been stymied by Congressional hacks. This tactic is one that has been considered as having the potential to lift the veil of secrecy the same “justices” obediently handed over.

RTFA for the details.

Al Jazeera goes for an end run around the Blacklist

Al Jazeera has announced a deal to take over Current TV, the low-rated cable channel that was founded by Al Gore, a former vice president, and his business partners seven years ago. Al Jazeera plans to shut Current and start an English-language channel, which will be available in more than 40 million homes, with newscasts emanating from both New York and Doha, Qatar.

For Al Jazeera, which is financed by the government of Qatar, the acquisition is a coming of age moment. A decade ago, Al Jazeera’s flagship Arabic-language channel was reviled by American politicians for showing videotapes from Al Qaeda members and sympathizers. Now the news operation is buying an American channel, having convinced Mr. Gore and the other owners of Current that it has the journalistic muscle and the money to compete head-to-head with CNN and other news channels in the United States…

“Compete?” A farce. There aren’t any news channels in the United States. There are entertainment media channels masquerading as news – and there are political opinion channels; some, like CNN, which flip flop as the winds change direction.

Going forward, the challenge will be persuading Americans to watch — an extremely tough proposition given the crowded television marketplace and the stereotypes about the channel that persist to this day…

With a handful of exceptions (including New York City and Washington), American cable and satellite distributors have mostly refused to carry Al Jazeera English since its inception in 2006. While the television sets of White House officials and lawmakers were tuned to the channel during the Arab Spring in 2011, ordinary Americans who wanted to watch had to find a live stream on the Internet

Some activists accused distributors like Comcast and DirecTV of blacklisting a channel that is widely respected elsewhere in the world. But the distributors said there was scant evidence that many American viewers wanted to watch…

Ever hear one of the cowards who blacklist individuals and organizations admit it?

Current, similarly, has suffered from paltry ratings. “Nobody’s watching,” one of the channel’s prime-time hosts, Eliot Spitzer, quipped to a reporter last month…

By selling Current, Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt are giving up their vision for an alternative to MSNBC, which has much higher-rated liberal hosts…

RTFA for details, more info on style and substance. The blacklist continues with Time-Warner dropping the Current channel in mid-sentence, literally. Cowards and craven corporate thugs like Time-Warner are the types who deserve to be boycotted.

Years on the road made me a news junkie. Fortunately, most of that time was when Ted Turner was building CNN as a legit 24/7 news channel. He admits selling out to Time-Warner was the biggest mistake in his business life. They destroyed one of the best news sources in the world.

I can’t yet get BBC World on DirecTV; but, they just resumed carriage of the new and improved CCTV from China – with centers added in London, Nairobi and Washington. And it’s broader and better than any previous state-owned network in my experience. NPR/PBS is fine; but, news offerings are few.

Folks interested in learning what’s going on in the whole world are beginning to have access missing since the destruction of CNN. I’m looking forward to every minute.

Foreign Direct Investment by China in the US hits record level


We’ll be brainwashed by subversive movies any minute now

Chinese foreign direct investment in the United States hit record levels in 2012 and shows little sign of slowing, despite lingering worries among some that the inflow of Chinese money presents a growing security risk to the country.

Chinese companies concluded deals worth $6.5 billion in 2012, an increase of 12 percent from the record $5.8 billion in 2010, according to a new report by New York-based Rhodium Group, which tracks Chinese FDI…

The most appealing US sectors to Chinese investors were oil and gas exploration, advanced manufacturing that helps Chinese firms move up the value chain, and assets that allow investors to gain solid returns such as utilities, real estate and hospitality, according to the report.

Headlining the year’s activities were Dalian Wanda Group’s $2.6 billion acquisition of AMC Entertainment, the second largest US theater operator, Sinopec Corp’s $2.5 billion investment in a third of Devon Energy’s five shale gas assets in the US, and auto parts maker Wanxiang Group’s $420 million investment in GreatPoint Energy, a company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that converts coal into cleaner-burning natural gas.

Meanwhile, a number of major Chinese FDI deals are still awaiting regulatory approval in the US, signaling that the growth is expected to continue into 2013.

For example, a group of Chinese investors has agreed to buy an 80.1 percent stake in American International Group’s aircraft leasing unit for $4.2 billion, and Wanxiang has already been announced as the winner of a bid for battery producer A123 Systems, in a bankruptcy auction.

The Rhodium report highlights that the fast-growing Chinese FDI was in fact one of the few bright spots in a gloomy year for the US economy, which has seen overall global FDI decline sharply since 2009 and the outbreak of global financial crisis.

RTFA. Think about the details. Reflect upon the two-faced hypocrites in Congress who complain, first, about Chinese investors who take profits from the United States without investing in our economy – and, then, run whining to Homeland Security whenever investors from China make an offer to buy into any American corporation – pissing their pants over security concerns.

In Europe, Chinese FDI has topped $10 billion for the second year in a row, well ahead of what the US received over the past two years. They’re not overly worried about Chinese wind farrms blowing an ill wind on their airplanes or tobacco crops.

Hundreds of children dying in Pakistan measles outbreak

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Measles cases in 2012 have surged by almost five times of that the previous year in Pakistan, leading to the deaths of hundreds of children, according to an international health body.

Maryam Yunus, a spokeswoman for the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Tuesday that 306 children died in Pakistan because of the infectious disease in 2012, a dramatic surge from to the 64 children in 2011.

The WHO said the jump was most pronounced in southern Sindh province, where measles killed 210 children in 2012. Twenty-eight children died there the year before.

The organisation did not give a reason for the increase in deaths, but a provincial health official in Sindh said that the disease hit areas where poor families did not vaccinate their children.

A provincial health minister said 100 children died in Sindh province in December alone, mostly in areas where many people were not vaccinated.

He said health officials recently launched a campaign to vaccinate 2.9 million children in the affected areas of the province and urged parents to get their children vaccinated.

“We are vaccinating more than 450 patients per day. We are working on vaccination since the outbreak of measles in the area,” Dr Shahid Hafeez Shahani, a government official, said.

Do the math. At the current rate, they will have vaccinated 2.9 children in just under 18 years. Some of them will already have children of their own – halfway through the project.

Pakistan has a poor health care system, unsanitary conditions in many regions due to poverty, and a lack of education about how to prevent disease.

Pakistani officials believe that the worst-hit areas are poverty stricken areas where children did not receive vaccination.

Many Pakistanis, especially in rural areas, view vaccination campaigns with suspicion as a western plot to sterilise Muslims…

Most people who contract the disease recover, but it can be fatal for malnourished children.

Ignorance, poverty, religion. You can pick the order of responsibility, which needs to be dragged into modern life, first. They all share the blame – and the same clueless government.