Commentary - 06/20/2008

Missourians Sells U.S. Out

This New York Times' headline tells the story: Deal Reached in Congress to Rewrite Rules on Wiretapping

WASHINGTON — After months of wrangling, Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress struck a deal on Thursday to overhaul the rules on the government’s wiretapping powers and provide what amounts to legal immunity to the phone companies that took part in President Bush’s warrantless eavesdropping program after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The deal, expanding the government’s powers in some key respects, would allow intelligence officials to use broad warrants to eavesdrop on foreign targets and conduct emergency wiretaps without court orders on American targets for a week if it is determined important national security information would be lost otherwise. If approved, as appears likely, it would be the most significant revision of surveillance law in 30 years.

Here's the version from CNN Money: FISA Deal Will End Court Cases Vs Phone Cos - GOP Lawmakers
At a press conference, House Minority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Sen. Christopher Bond, R-Mo., said the only result that could occur from a court review of the lawsuits against the companies would be that plaintiffs would be prevented from pursuing the cases.

Bond is vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and was the primary Republican senator involved in the negotiations over the deal.

"The lawsuits will be dismissed, and we feel comfortable that the standard of evidence that the law requires will be easily met," Blunt said.

If I sound angry, I certainly am. 'Cause I'm FROM Missouri. This is not Congressmen representing citizens. It's simply selling out to the highest bidder, just like they have for many years.

Here's another quote from New York Times article above:

With some AT&T and other telecommunications companies now facing some 40 lawsuits over their reported participation in the wiretapping program, Republican leaders described this narrow court review on the immunity question as a mere “formality.”

“The lawsuits will be dismissed,” Representative Roy Blunt of Missouri, the No. 2 Republican in the House, predicted with confidence.

The proposal — particularly the immunity provision — represents a major victory for the White House after months of dispute. “I think the White House got a better deal than they even they had hoped to get,” said Senator Christopher Bond, the Missouri Republican who led the negotiations.

So first these giant telecommunications corporations break the law, then they ask for immunity. Someone's doing a whole lot of sucking up, and selling not only their soul, but millions of people they're supposed to represent. I don't care about me, I'm 60. But what about the next generation, and those that follow? Do we dare allow these few men to sell out our American' birthright? Is this why so many brave soldiers have died? At least one senator, NOT from Missouri, is trying to stand up for American citizens.
Senator Russ Feingold, the Wisconsin Democrat who pushed unsuccessfully for more civil liberties safeguards in the plan, called the deal “a capitulation” by his fellow Democrats.
Bloomberg follows up with this version, which names both AT&T and Verizon:
U.S. Lawmakers Agree on Ending Phone-Wiretap Lawsuits
June 19 (Bloomberg) -- Congressional negotiators announced a bipartisan compromise to end privacy lawsuits against telephone companies that helped President George W. Bush wiretap suspected terrorists without court warrants.

The agreement clears the way for a vote tomorrow by the U.S. House, which in March refused to protect AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and other telephone companies from multibillion-dollar privacy lawsuits.

The compromise legislation, announced by Republican and Democratic negotiators, will place the interception of suspected terrorists' telephone calls under supervision of a secret court that oversees intelligence gathering.

Yeah, right! Just what we need: More secret courts. Didn't we learn anything from Russia's god-forsaken Soviet history?
Although I don't always agree with the ACLU, this time they've got it right-on!
``This bill allows for mass and untargeted surveillance of Americans' communications,'' said the ACLU's Caroline Fredrickson.

So just who controls these two gigantic corporations that handle most of America's communications? Let's see, the TOP 10 Major Holders make up less than one percent of over a thousand institutional holders of both corporations, but they control over 31% of the AT&T shares, and almost 36% of Verizon's shares. Just a little bit of concentrated power there, huh folks?

Now take a look at the Major Holders of the largest investment banks and the major money center banks. See the pattern? One cozy little financial club.

About a year ago I pointed out that even though Christopher "Kit" Bond denied knowledge of the so-called NAFTA super-highway, he was a speaker (photograph in the annual report) at the first North American Works meeting held in Kansas City. You'll find the commentary here.

Catherine Austin Fitts describes her fiasco with HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) here:

"In 2000 I visited with a senior staff assistant to [Senator] Kit Bond, the chairman of one of the appropriations committees for HUD," remembers Fitts. "I asked her what she thought was going on at HUD, and she said, 'HUD is being run as a criminal enterprise.' Then Bond, the committee, and my congressional delegation, all Republicans, all voted a $1.7 billion increase in HUD's appropriation."
Representative Ike Skelton is also from Missouri. He has a picture of a B2 Stealth Bomber flying over Lexington, Missouri on his web page. Why? Skelton is the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Skelton's district is home to Fort Leonard Wood, Whiteman Air Force Base, and the Missouri National Guard Training Center. Skelton, a native of Lexington, is a graduate of Wentworth Military Academy, also in Lexington. The school's mascot is the Red Dragon.

Last, it just so happens that James "Bud" Walton, younger brother of Sam Walton and cofounder of Wal-Mart, who also went to Wentworth Military Academy. Look who involved in Wal-Mart
Same bed-fellows, huh. Amazing, no?
Sometimes The Dragon Wins is happening way too often.

Symbol Name Of Corporation

AT&T (As of 31-Mar-2008) (As of 30-Jun-2007)
Top 10 Institutional HoldersShares2008Value2007
Barclays Global Investors UK Holdings Ltd263,025,8084.43%$10,073,888,446-.--%
State Street Corporation202,993,6163.42%$7,774,655,492-.--%
Capital World Investors186,838,6943.14%$7,155,921,980-.--%
Vanguard Group, Inc. (The)186,501,8213.14%$7,143,019,744-.--%
Capital Research Global Investors142,100,0402.39%$5,442,431,532-.--%
AXA (Paris, France)130,020,9092.19%$4,979,800,814-.--%
FMR LLC (Fidelity)125,464,7402.11%$4,805,299,542-.--%
Wellington Management Company, LLP100,120,2811.69%$3,834,606,762-.--%
Bank of New York Mellon Corporation81,526,1821.37%$3,122,452,770-.--%
Northern Trust Corporation66,377,2711.12%$2,542,249,479-.--%
% of Shares Held by All Insider and 5% Owners:0%-.--%
Top 10 [0.7%] of 1389 Institutional Holders Control25.00%-.--%
Percentage of Barclays and "Associates" Control10.34%-.--%
NOTE: Capital Group manages four funds that control 4.99%.
Washington Mutual manages a fund that controls 1.37%.
Vanguard manages two funds that control 1.65%.
Therefore, the TOP 10 Major Holders control 31.64%, and
Barclays/Associates control 11.71% of AT&T.
Capital Group controls 10.52%.

Symbol Name Of Corporation

Verizon Communications Inc. (As of 31-Mar-2008) (As of 30-Jun-2007)
Top 10 Institutional HoldersSharesPct.Value
Barclays Global Investors UK Holdings Ltd139,972,5774.91$5,102,000,431
State Street Corporation99,322,0303.48$3,620,287,993
Vanguard Group, Inc. (The)88,331,8263.10$3,219,695,057
Capital World Investors87,528,4503.07$3,190,412,002
AXA (Paris, France)85,067,2402.98$3,100,700,898
FMR LLC (Fidelity)73,670,6322.58$2,685,294,536
Capital Research Global Investors66,687,4932.34$2,430,759,119
Morgan Stanley55,955,6011.96$2,039,581,656
Barrow, Hanley Mewhinney & Strauss, Inc. (Old Mutual)43,873,5191.54$1,599,189,767
Bank of New York Mellon Corporation40,434,1731.42$1,473,825,605
% of Shares Held by All Insider and 5% Owners:0%
Top 10 [0.8%] of 1180 Institutional Holders Control27.38%
Percentage of Barclays and "Associates" Control6.86%
NOTE: Capital Group manages three funds that control 5.33%.
Vanguard manages four funds that control 3.13%.
Therefore, the TOP 10 Major Holders control 35.84% of Verizon.
Capital Group controls 10.74%.

© 2008 by Edward Ulysses Cate
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