By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 8, 2022 ~
Increasingly, Americans are telling us that they no longer listen to the news – because they feel it is a threat to their peace of mind and wellbeing. That might be a short-term fix but working diligently each day to make one’s society less dystopian is likely a better long-term plan.
Everything crazy and corrupt and Orwellian about life in the United States in this era of corporate and billionaire control feels like it is coming to a head today – for better or worse.
Crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, who has sluiced tens of millions of dollars into this year’s elections (hoping to make crypto more dangerous than it already is) is today watching a major run on his crypto exchange, FTX. According to analytics firm, Nansen, in the past 24 hours FTX has witnessed an outflow of $653 million.
Reuters reports the problem like this:
“Crypto enthusiasts had raised questions on Twitter last week about FTX’s token, following a report from crypto news website CoinDesk about a leaked balance sheet from Alameda Research, a crypto trading firm founded by Bankman-Fried that maintains close ties with FTX.
“According to CoinDesk’s report, much of Alameda’s $14.6 billion in assets are held in FTX’s token, which is called FTT. Reuters was unable to independently verify the accuracy of the report or the origin of the leaked balance sheet.”
Those rumors led to Changpeng Zhao, the founder of competing crypto exchange, Binance, dumping the FTT token and Tweeting about it. As of 7:17 a.m. ET this morning, the FTT token had lost 22.6 percent of its value in the past 24 hours.
For a quick course in everything you need to know about crypto, see our report: Over 1,600 of the Brightest Scientific Minds in Technology Have Signed a Letter Calling Both Crypto and Blockchain a Sham. Despite this, crypto billionaires are still allowed to infuse their ill-gotten gains into U.S. elections and put their sycophants in Congress.
Then there is the forecast that Subtropical Storm Nicole may become a hurricane and hit Florida’s heavily populated East Coast sometime within the next 24 to 48 hours. This news comes as the folks on the Gulf Coast of Florida are still cleaning up from the devastating effects of Hurricane Ian. This latest news may impact voter turnout in Florida, the third most populous state in the U.S., as people have to choose between putting up hurricane shutters or going to the polls.
Donald Trump won Florida in the 2020 presidential election – despite the fact that the state is heavily impacted by climate change and Trump removed the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord on June 1, 2017, after barely four months in office. Trump was following the demands of a Koch Industries fossil fuels front group, Freedom Partners, which provided the Trump administration with a list of environmental regulations it wanted gutted. Freedom Partners threatened those lawmakers who didn’t get on board, writing that “Freedom Partners will hold lawmakers who oppose regulatory relief accountable for their positions.”
Why did Koch want to gut environmental regulations? Koch Industries has been serially charged, including a criminal conviction, with dangerously polluting the environment. On January 13, 2000, the Justice Department and the EPA announced the largest civil fine ever imposed against Koch Industries to resolve claims related to its “more than 300 oil spills from its pipelines and oil facilities in six states.” The company agreed to pay a $30 million civil penalty and spend $5 million on environmental projects.
Koch Industries is headed by a billionaire, Charles Koch, who has notoriously set up front groups to get his way in Congress for the past forty years. He’s also branched out to getting his way on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Another U.S. billionaire behaving badly is Elon Musk, who just chaotically fired half of Twitter’s staff after taking the company private last week. Musk is also Chief Executive Officer of Tesla, the electric car manufacturer which has a Code of Business Ethics which Musk violates on a regular basis with seeming impunity from the publicly-traded company’s Board of Directors (one of the Board members is his brother, Kimbal Musk).
The Tesla Code of Business Ethics requires the following:
“Tesla has been, is and always aspires to be a Do the Right Thing company—in other words, engaging in conduct that you and your family would be proud of.”
“Each of us has a responsibility to maintain trust and protect Tesla’s reputation.”
Despite that code, Musk has smoked marijuana on a widely circulated podcast and called the Securities and Exchange Commission “bastards” at a TED conference because it charged Musk in 2018 with fraud for falsely Tweeting that he had secured financing for taking Tesla private at $420 per share. The SEC case was quickly settled with Musk and Tesla each paying $20 million in penalties. Musk was also removed as Tesla’s Chairman as part of the SEC settlement and the Board was forced to “establish a new committee of independent directors and put in place additional controls and procedures to oversee Musk’s communications.”
Despite this 2018 settlement with the SEC, Musk Tweeted a link to an unconscionable false claim about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, bringing the man who attacked him home from a gay bar. Musk eventually removed the Tweet. The Capitol Police, which had surveillance cameras on the Pelosi home, have video of the attacker breaking into the Pelosi home and the San Francisco Police have video of the man attacking Paul Pelosi with a hammer as they arrived at the scene.
Tesla’s stock has fallen 50 percent year-to-date versus 20 percent for the S&P 500. Inevitably, shareholders pay the price for unaccountable CEOs just as citizens pay the price for unaccountable Presidents who foment an attack on the seat of government and steal Top Secret documents.