Tag: profit

Opening the Floodgates for Profiteers of War

If the powerful leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Jim Inhofe (R-OK), have their way, Congress will soon invoke wartime emergency powers to build up even greater stockpiles of Pentagon weapons.

Source: Opening the Floodgates for Profiteers of War

How the Military-Industrial Complex Gets Its Power and Harms Workers, in 6 Graphs

The military-industrial complex generates death and destruction abroad while also harming workers at home: it funds politicians and think tanks, siphons off money from pro-worker programs, and turns the public coffers into a slush fund for war profiteering.

Source: How the Military-Industrial Complex Gets Its Power and Harms Workers, in 6 Graphs

‘That’s not sustainable’: Big Oil squeezes green energy profits

Offshore wind sites sell for record prices as oil companies battle for the right to develop renewable energy projects.

The world’s largest oil companies are bidding up prices for renewable energy projects, squeezing profits from wind and solar farms just as they’re needed most to avoid climate catastrophe. Companies from BP to TotalEnergies are paying top dollar for clean energy assets as they transition away from fossil fuels, boosting competition and compressing margins for developers. Wind giants Orsted and Vestas Wind Systems reported lower returns in the first quarter, while turbine maker Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy lost money as materials rallied.

Source: ‘That’s not sustainable’: Big Oil squeezes green energy profits

Australia the big winner from Trump’s disastrous trade wars

If Australia is leading the world in export growth, then where is all this wealth ending up? As shown in multiple publications, the large foreign mining companies and other big exporters seldom pay anywhere near the tax they should. There are no other mechanisms for retaining the vast wealth in Australia. So most of the wealth gets shunted straight offshore into tax havens or to make mega-rich foreigners richer still.

via Australia the big winner from Trump’s disastrous trade wars

War is Good for Business & Organized Crime: Afghanistan’s Multibillion Dollar Opium Trade. Rising Heroin Addiction in the US – Collective Evolution

America protects its drug business in Aghanistan which began in the 70s could one imagine the profits made over that period. budget The global monetary value of the heroin market is of the same order of magnitude as the defense budget of the USA $717 billion .

Needless to say, the Pentagon not to mention the CIA which launched the opium economy in Afghanistan in the late 1970s are intent upon protecting this multibillion dollar industry. The proceeds of the Afghan drug trade were initially used to finance the recruitment of Al Qaeda Mujahideen mercenaries to fight in the Soviet-Afghan war.

War is Good for Business & Organized Crime: Afghanistan’s Multibillion Dollar Opium Trade. Rising Heroin Addiction in the US – Collective Evolution

Great Australian Bight the site of nation’s other great reef, where oil companies want to drill – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Common kelp is seen on the ocean floor while a school of fish swim above.

Now, part of this unique environment could be developed to become one of Earth’s biggest offshore oil fields, with a string of about six Australian and international oil companies lined up to drop exploratory drills into its sea floor in search of fossil fuels.

Despite its relative obscurity, it is estimated to generate $10 billion each year for the Australian economy through fisheries and tourism. That’s about 50 per cent more than its more famous cousin, the Great Barrier Reef.

It is becoming known as the Great Southern Reef.

via Great Australian Bight the site of nation’s other great reef, where oil companies want to drill – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

International students are flocking to Australia, but the country’s infrastructure is not ready – Politics – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Students wearing mortarboards and gowns seen from above at a university graduation ceremony

Australia has taken in 525,000 international students this year, a 12 per cent increase compared to last year, itself a record.

Glen Searle, honorary associate professor in planning at Sydney University, said the Federal Government’s response to immigration so far has been “totally inadequate” and it now has a “moral responsibility” to deliver investment required by Australia’s immigration program.

“I would be strongly urging people to be considered when they look at these figures,” she said, “and not blame migrants, but rather hold politicians to account”.

Annual education exports in 2016-17 were valued at $28 billion by the ABS.

This equates to a profit where as ultra conservatives like Dutton, Abbott and right-wing  media men like Andrew Bolt call this an Immigration problem and expense and not an asset.

1) It’s a cover up of decades political inactivity, the failure largely of the LNP to invest in infrastucture. 2) It’s an opportunist conservative tactic to turn Immigration into a political strategy because the congestion is obvious immediate and easily felt while it’s cause needs time and not just sound bytes to be explained and that takes reasoned analysis that can easily be countered with News Corp support and anti- Immigration sloganeering and blame. (ODT)










via International students are flocking to Australia, but the country’s infrastructure is not ready – Politics – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Bankers for a gangster: Commonwealth lenders help mafia boss do laundry


“I’ll organise it with the banker,” Arico was recorded telling his mate. “You come in the Commonwealth Bank, we see Hasan* the bank f—ing guy, give your details, sign the documents, to go for the loan and let me worry about it.”

“Even better … We go and see Peter*… [he] is a hundred percent. This guy is the best … and whatever he’ll need to do, he’ll do.”

via Bankers for a gangster: Commonwealth lenders help mafia boss do laundry

A focus on responsible lending will uncover huge problems for the banks – Analysis & Opinion – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Key points:

42 per cent of home loan customers told banks they had incomes in excess of $500,000 last year
Westpac is the first bank to face ASIC court action over irresponsible lending allegations
Mortgage contracts can be voided if the bank provides credit to someone who cannot afford it

via A focus on responsible lending will uncover huge problems for the banks – Analysis & Opinion – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Privatising prisons ensures increased reasons to incarcerate victimising the poor for profit. Cutting costs and enslaving labour.

St. Louis Suburbs Ferguson and Jennings Sued Over ‘Debtors Prisons’ Criminalizing Poverty

By Alice Speri

February 10, 2015 | 10:53 am

Two class action lawsuits filed on behalf of residents of St. Louis County on Sunday accuse the cities of Ferguson and neighboring Jennings of profiting off of poverty by running the modern-day equivalent of “debtors prisons.”

Eleven county residents sued the City of Ferguson and nine sued the City of Jennings, each lawsuit seeking class status on behalf of all persons jailed for non-payment of debt and fees from traffic violations and minor offenses. The plaintiffs claimed that they were held in jail indefinitely, denied court hearings, and not informed of their right to a lawyer or provided one while detained.

Both lawsuits were filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri by the ArchCity Defenders, a nonprofit organization serving the homeless and working poor, professors at St. Louis University Legal Clinic, and the DC-based group Equal Justice Under Law.

Debtors prisons are taking the US back to the 19th century. Read more here.

“The City’s modern debtors’ prison scheme has been increasingly profitable… earning it millions of dollars over the past several years,” the lawsuits claim about Ferguson and Jennings. “It has also devastated the City’s poor, trapping them for years in a cycle of increased fees, debts, extortion, and cruel jailings.”

“The families of indigent people borrow money to buy their loved ones out of jail at rates arbitrarily set by jail officials, only for them later to owe more money to the City… from increased fees and surcharges,” the complaints add.

The filings allege that the cities kept debtors in “squalid” and “inhumane” conditions, and that residents whose only crime is the inability to pay a debt owed to the city are held “in overcrowded cells; they are denied toothbrushes, toothpaste, and soap; they are subjected to the stench of excrement and refuse in their congested cells; they are surrounded by walls smeared with mucus, blood and feces; they are kept in the same clothes for days and weeks without access to laundry or clean undergarments.”

Adding insult to injury, the plaintiffs claim that guards at both jails “routinely laugh at the inmates and humiliate them with discriminatory and degrading epithets about their poverty and their physical appearance,” and that at the Jennings court “courtroom staff often walks down the hallway spraying Fabreze [sic] because the stench emanating from the inmates is unbearable.”

The strange case of Darren Wilson’s mysterious disappearing duty belt. Read more here.

The Ferguson government informed VICE News that the city does not discuss lawsuits that are pending in litigation. Jennings officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

“We believe this lawsuit is disturbing because it contains allegations that are not based on objective facts,” Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III said in a statement. “It is our hope that the suit will be handled according to the rule of law and the rules of procedure in the federal courts, and not through the media.”

Critics of the situation in and around Ferguson point to the impact on the community of what some refer to as “poverty violations” — citations that effectively criminalize poverty while providing municipalities with a considerable source of revenue. In 2013, Ferguson derived 14 percent of its revenues from fines and asset confiscation, amounting to $2.6 million. The city of 21,000 has been hard hit economically — a quarter of its citizens are under the poverty level, and 49 percent of its homes have underwater mortgages. Half of the houses in Jennings are also worth less than their owners owe on them.

Speaking to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Knowles denied that profit motivated the traffic stops and cycles of fines.

“Absolutely not. As far as the application of fines, the setting of bails, etcetera, that’s not something determined in conjunction with city budget demands,” he said.

The Ferguson jail is closed for renovation.

“I know that we just underwent a massive renovation of the police department, including the jail facilities,” Knowles said. “I can tell you the city has spent a lot of time and money investing in those facilities and when they reopen… they will be top of the line.”

In the aftermath of the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown at the hands of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, local residents denounced widespread harassment and profiling by police — including frequent traffic stops and heavy penalties for minor violations.

‘This is similar to the way Jesus was treated’: Letters to Missouri governor shed light on racial tensions in Ferguson aftermath. Read more here.

As people’s frustration at police erupted in the streets, the ArchCity Defenders published a scathing report, accusing St. Louis County — an intricate maze of some 90 municipalities — of heavily subsidizing city budgets by fining mostly poor and black residents.

“Although these practices are not new, many in the region just recently became aware of the ways in which municipal courts make people poor and keep them poor, especially in communities of color,” said Thomas Harvey, the group’s executive director. “These new lawsuits shine a light on the unlawful practices in these courts and the conditions the poor face when they are arrested and jailed for failing to pay fines because they do not have the means to pay them.

“Because they generate so much revenue, many towns in our region attempt to squeeze every dollar possible out of defendants and their families by jailing citizens who are not criminals, and who are not a threat to society,” he added.

Ferguson’s traffic revenue increased 44 percent since 2011. When residents fail to show up in court to pay, the municipalities issue arrest warrants — at a pace of 3.6 per household in Ferguson and 2.1 in Jennings, according to the lawsuits.

“When cities operate their police departments and municipal courts for profit, they ignore constitutional protections for defendants and jail them in squalid conditions in the hope those defendants will beg relatives and friends to pay their fines to obtain their release,” said Brendan Roediger, one of the St. Louis University Legal Clinic lawyers who filed the complaints. “These suits are another step in making the public aware of the abuses which result from for-profit policing and illegal practices in many municipal courts.

Herbert Nelson Jr., a Ferguson resident suing the city, told the New York Times that he was repeatedly jailed for failing to pay traffic tickets and court fines that kept piling up because he couldn’t afford to pay them off.

“I’ve been trying to imagine a way out of this for years,” he said. “Something has to happen where you separate minor cases from serious cases. You can’t keep treating normal people with traffic tickets like felons.”

His sister Allison was swept up in the same cycle, getting arrest warrants for failing to pay fines, continuing to drive to work in order to be able to pay those fines, and being stopped, jailed, and fined over and over again.

“You drive to work so you can pay the fines, but then you get pulled over, so you owe even more,” Allison, who makes $7.75 an hour, told the Times. “Anytime I go outside, I fear that I’ll be stopped by the police.”

) KEILEE FANT, ROELIF CARTER, ) ALLISON NELSON, HERBERT )  NELSON JR., ALFRED MORRIS, ) ANTHONY KIMBLE, DONYALE ) THOMAS, SHAMEIKA MORRIS, ) DANIEL JENKINS, RONNIE TUCKER, ) TONYA DEBERRY, et al., ) ) Plaintiffs, ) ) v. ) ) Case No. ________________ THE CITY OF FERGUSON ) ) (Jury Trial Demanded) Defendant. )  ___________________________________ )
1.The Plaintiffs in this case are each impoverished people who were jailed by the Cityof Ferguson because they were unable to pay a debt owed to the City from traffic tickets or other minor offenses. In each case, the City imprisoned a human being solely because the person could not afford to make a monetary payment. Although the Plaintiffs pleaded that they were unable to  pay due to their poverty, each was held in jail indefinitely and none was afforded a lawyer or the inquiry into their ability to pay that the United States Constitution requires. Instead, they were threatened, abused, and left to languish in confinement at the mercy of local officials until their frightened family members could produce enough cash to buy their freedom or until City jail officials decided, days or weeks later, to let them out for free.
Case: 4:15-cv-00253 Doc. #: 1 Filed: 02/08/15 Page: 1 of 55 PageID #: 1