AT&T promises new jobs, gets tax break — cuts thousands of jobs!


AT&T Liar-in-ChiefBloomberg/Getty

❝ AT&T in November 2017 pushed for the corporate tax cut by promising to invest an additional $1 billion in 2018, with CEO Randall Stephenson saying that “every billion dollars AT&T invests is 7,000 hard-hat jobs. These are not entry-level jobs. These are 7,000 jobs of people putting fiber in ground, hard-hat jobs that make $70,000 to $80,000 per year.”

❝ The corporate tax cut was subsequently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump on December 22, 2017. The tax cut reportedly gave AT&T an extra $3 billion in cash in 2018.

But AT&T cut capital spending and kept laying people off after the tax cut. A union analysis of AT&T’s publicly available financial statements “shows the telecom company eliminated 23,328 jobs since the Tax Cut and Jobs Act passed in late 2017, including nearly 6,000 in the first quarter of 2019,” the Communications Workers of America (CWA) said…

AT&T’s only expansion in total workforce came from acquisition of Time-Warner and two smaller companies. The existing workforce was cut.

Ruling class takes care of their own and no one else. For example —


Illustration from BIDNESSETC.COM

Bob Dudley, the chief executive of BP, earned nearly $20 million last year – at a time when the company ran up the biggest losses in its financial history and axed thousands of jobs.

The $19.6 million remuneration bonanza was condemned by the High Pay Centre as another example of a company losing “contact with reality” when it came to handing out fortunes to top executives.

The 20% year-on-year increase in salary, shares and pension payments was revealed in the oil group’s annual report.

Plunging crude prices and continuing liabilities emanating from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2011 led BP to report a record 2015 deficit of $6.5 billion.

The company said Dudley deserved his increase in total remuneration because he and his fellow directors had performed strongly at a difficult time…

Does anyone think the 7,000 workers who lost their jobs are off on holiday on the Riviera? They’re going on the dole. Making do until another job comes available in this stellar global economy managed from one disaster to another by pointy-heads on Wall Street and the City of London.

Who will continue to take care of their own.

Monsanto fined for phony accounting – Corporate executives return their bonuses!

roundup
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

When Monsanto agreed to pay regulators $80 million Tuesday for accounting missteps, the giant agribusiness’s chief executive also chipped in: He voluntarily agreed to return his bonus for the years the problems allegedly occurred.

Hugh Grant, who has served as Monsanto’s CEO for more than a decade, will return more $3,165,852 in cash bonuses and stock awards to the company. Carl Casale, the company’s former chief financial officer, will give back $728,843. It is the first time in memory that senior executives voluntarily agreed to return their bonuses in such a case…

Monsanto was accused of booking millions of revenue after launching a rebate program for one of its popular herbicide products, Roundup, but not properly accounting for the cost of the promotion. By 2009, according to the SEC, Monsanto’s Roundup was losing ground to cheaper competitors. It began to offer retailers or distributors rebates in order to encourage them to carry the herbicide despite its higher prices. The program helped boost sales, but when reporting its profits to shareholders, Monsanto did not reflect the cost of the effort, the SEC says.

❝“As a result of the improper accounting, Monsanto met consensus earnings-per-share analyst estimates for fiscal year 2009,” according to the SEC filing on the case.

“This type of conduct … is the latest page from a well-worn playbook of accounting misstatements,” SEC Chair Mary Jo White said in a statement…

Grant, 57, should be able to recoup his losses quickly. Monsanto increased his base pay 6.5 percent last year to $1.6 million. He also received a $1.9 million bonus and is eligible for nearly $10 million in “long-term incentives.”

Same as it ever was.

An internal whistleblower could collect up to $24 million of the $80 million penalty imposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission against agribusiness giant Monsanto…

The SEC said Tuesday that the St. Louis-based company agreed to pay the $80 million penalty and retain an independent compliance consultant to settle charges that it violated accounting rules and misstated company earnings pertaining to its flagship herbicide product Roundup…

The case came to the SEC’s attention as a result of a whistleblower complaint, according to Stuart D. Meissner, whose…firm Meissner Associates represented the unidentified whistleblower. He noted that the SEC’s whistleblower program allows a whistleblower to collect between 10 to 30 percent of the penalty.

The kind of motivation that scares the crap out of corporate giants like Monsanto.

Billionaire surprised that American voters are unhappy — this is news?

As income inequality and healthcare costs rise in the United States and as an economic slowdown may be on the horizon, one of the world’s richest men expressed surprise that U.S. voters seem so angry in advance of the 2016 presidential election. Speaking at a gathering of corporate and government leaders in Switzerland, Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman told Bloomberg Television that he is bewildered about why Americans seem so discontented.

I find the whole thing astonishing and what’s remarkable is the amount of anger whether it’s on the Republican side or the Democratic side,” the Wall Street mogul said at the World Economic Forum in Davos. “Bernie Sanders, to me, is almost more stunning than some of what’s going on in the Republican side. How is that happening, why is that happening?”

On the eve of the conference, the nonprofit group Oxfam released a report showing that the richest 62 people on the planet now own more wealth than half the world’s population. In the United States, recent data from Pew Research shows the average American’s median household worth has stagnated, as the median household worth of upper-class Americans increased 7 percent. Schwarzman, though, expressed surprise that people are enraged…

Schwarzman’s private equity firm, Blackstone, manages — and makes fees from — billions of dollars of pensioners’ assets, and was recently fined by federal regulators for not properly disclosing fee terms to its investors. The investors harmed by Blackstone’s conduct included public retirement systems in California, Florida and New Jersey.

Schwarzman has donated $100,000 to a super PAC supporting Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign and reportedly organized a meet-and-greet session between John Kasich and Wall Street executives, but Schwarzman said on Wednesday that he would ultimately support Donald Trump should his fellow Republican billionaire win the GOP nomination for president. In recent years, Schwarzman has made national headlines likening tax increases on the wealthy to the Nazi invasion of Poland.

Same as it ever was.

CEO retirement savings: Top 100 = what 41% of US families have

The retirement savings accumulated by just 100 chief executives are equal to the entire retirement accounts of 41 percent of U.S. families — or more than 116 million people…

In a report, the Center for Effective Government and Institute for Policy Studies found that the 100 largest chief executive retirement funds are worth an average of about $49.3 million per executive, or a combined $4.9 billion. David C. Novak, the recently departed chief executive officer of Yum! Brands Inc., is at the top of the list, with total retirement savings of $234.2 million.

In recent years, pay and income inequality across different income groups have received increasing attention in the U.S. Significantly less attention has been focused on the growing gulf in retirement savings, a lack of focus that the study’s authors say they are attempting to address.

“This CEO-to-worker retirement gap is a lot bigger than the pay gap and one more indicator of the extreme level of inequality that is really tearing the country apart,” said Sarah Anderson, the report’s co-author…

Some of the chief executives with the biggest retirement stashes are at companies that have cut retirement benefits for new employees.

For many chief executives, the bulk of their pay often used for retirement comes from deferred compensation plans that permit executives to set aside salaries and bonuses on a pretax basis, with no limits. Lower-paid employees with 401(k) accounts can only set aside $18,000 a year and an additional $5,000 if they’re 50 or older. Many companies offer different investment options to executives for their deferred compensation plans than those offered to 401(k) participants.

In addition to deferred compensation plans, about 30 percent of Fortune 1000 companies in 2013 offered supplemental executive retirement plans, usually calculated by multiplying years of service and the average pay earned during executives’ final years of service.

The report’s authors called for a number of policy changes, including applying to executive compensation plans the same annual contribution limits that cover 401(k) plans and preventing companies from deducting from their taxes contributions to executive pension plans if the employee pensions have been frozen.

You won’t find this discussed in any of the Republican so-called debates. They’re idea of entitlement “reform” is taking social security, medicare and medicaid benefits away from workingclass families.

The Democrat so-called debates? Well, Bernie might bring it up. So might Larry Lessig.

RTFA for a few individual examples of pampered executives.

USDA scrambles to investigate egg lobby


Joshua Tetrick showing yellow peas which are the base for his egg substitute

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has opened an investigation into the American Egg Board (AEB) after revelations by the Guardian that the USDA-appointed group conducted a months-long campaign against a San Francisco food startup called Hampton Creek.

Joanne Ivy, CEO of the AEB and 2015’s Egg Person of the Year, has stepped down and taken early retirement. She was originally due to leave at the end of the year.

The investigation comes after Utah senator Mike Lee called for an investigation into reports that the government-backed egg lobby had organized a concerted effort to tackle Hampton Creek, a company described in leaked emails as a “major threat” and “crisis” for the $5.5 billion-a-year egg industry…

A USDA official confirmed an investigation was now under way by its agricultural marketing service (AMS) arm, which carries out the day-to-day oversight of boards…

Emails obtained through a Foia request by attorney Jeffrey Light and passed to the Guardian showed what Lee called “a strategic, multifaceted campaign to use the power and resources of the federal government to undermine the economic prospects of Hampton Creek”.

Members of AEB leadership are alleged to have tried to prevent the sale of Hampton Creek’s product Just Mayo at Whole Foods; to have advised Unilever on its lawsuit against the company (including suggesting Unilever solicit action from the Food and Drug Administration); and to have assessed the company’s patents for flaws.

They also joked about killing Joshua Tetrick himself: “Can we pool our money and put a hit on him?” asked Mike Sencer, executive vice-president of AEB member organization Hidden Villa Ranch. Mitch Kanter, executive vice president of the AEB, jokingly offered “to contact some of my old buddies in Brooklyn to pay Mr Tetrick a visit”. (AEB apologized for those statements when contacted by the Guardian.)

While the Egg Board is a “checkoff” organization into which egg farmers are required to pay, it is specifically prohibited from influencing governmental action or disparaging non-egg commodities

Just Mayo, a plant-based egg substitute, does not fall under the jurisdiction of the American Egg Board. But it caused consternation among its members, especially when Hampton Creek began to win lucrative industry contracts. The product became the mayonnaise of choice for the Compass Group, a catering firm that provides food for school cafeterias and smaller restaurant groups.

I’ve been looking forward to trying Just Mayo since I first saw interviews on AlJazeera America’s TechKnow program. Since then, I’ve seen positive reviews from other folks – and interest in other vegetarian replacements they’re developing for everything up to and including cheeseburgers. A significant part of their mission statement is to diminish and displace the energy wasted by commercial giants like the battery egg producers and feedlot cattle.

Glad to see they’re doing well enough to raise the ire of scumbags like the American Egg Board. Now, we just need to see the USDA do something for American consumers instead of the Agribusiness Mafia.

Tim Cook: “I’m Proud to be Gay”


Tim Cook, CEO of Apple

Throughout my professional life, I’ve tried to maintain a basic level of privacy. I come from humble roots, and I don’t seek to draw attention to myself. Apple is already one of the most closely watched companies in the world, and I like keeping the focus on our products and the incredible things our customers achieve with them.

At the same time, I believe deeply in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, who said: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ ” I often challenge myself with that question, and I’ve come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important. That’s what has led me to today.

For years, I’ve been open with many people about my sexual orientation. Plenty of colleagues at Apple know I’m gay, and it doesn’t seem to make a difference in the way they treat me. Of course, I’ve had the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people’s differences. Not everyone is so lucky.

While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.

Being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day. It’s made me more empathetic, which has led to a richer life. It’s been tough and uncomfortable at times, but it has given me the confidence to be myself, to follow my own path, and to rise above adversity and bigotry. It’s also given me the skin of a rhinoceros, which comes in handy when you’re the CEO of Apple.

Continue reading

Oil Patch CEO turns into a NIMBY – Presto! Just like that.

Exxon Mobil’s CEO has joined a lawsuit to stop construction of a water tower near his home that would be used in the fracking process to drill for oil…While fracking — hydraulic fracturing of rock to release pockets of oil — has raised complaints from environmentalists around the country, Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson’s opposition to a project in his own neighborhood is interesting, given how deeply Exxon Mobil is involved in the process.

Tillerson appeared at a Town Council meeting in Bartonville, Tex., the wealthy enclave near his Dallas home last November to join in the protest over the water tower…The lawsuit contends the project would create “a noise nuisance and traffic hazards.” Trucks would be needed to haul and pump water.

The tower, being built by Cross Timbers Water Supply, would rise 15 stories, the Journal says. It’s adjacent to Tillerson’s 83-acre horse ranch and not far from an 18-acre homestead. Tillerson is devoting considerable time to the matter: he sat for three hours in the lawsuit last May and attended an all-day mediation session in September, besides his Town Council appearance.

Among the others opposing the project are those who are not exactly known for environmental crusading: former U.S.House Majority Leader Dick Armey and his wife are the lead plaintiffs.

Creeps like Tillerson and Armey – especially the latter – are up to their armholes in scumsucking rightwing politics. That they are hypocrites enough to join the Not In My BackYard brigade shouldn’t surprise anyone. They are stellar examples of the sort of thugs who will embrace the words of constitutional freedom – while denying them to anyone who questions the royal entitlements of their wealth.

Armey in particular – since he chose the jive designation of Tea Party for the current incarnation of the Confederate White Citizens’ Council – and picked out the flunkies who “spontaneously” brought it to the public ear and eye.

Thanks, Mike