Crime Inc.: Redistribution of wealth


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All the President's Men

What do the players behind Crime, Inc have to say about the redistribution of wealth...

 

Andy Stern


Former president of SEIU

On redistributing the wealth: "Clearly government has a major opportunity to distribute wealth... through tax policies, minimum wages, living wages, the government has a role in distributing wealth for social benefits... There are opportunities in America to share better in the wealth, to rebalance the power. And unions and government are part of the solution. But we need big answers not small ones." | Watch the clip

"There are opportunities in America to share better in the wealth, to rebalance the power. And unions and government are part of the solution." | Watch the clip




Cass Sunstein


Administrator for the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs

On redistributing the wealth: "Redistribution from the United States to poor people in poor nations would be highly desirable, but expenditures on greenhouse gas reductions are a crude means of producing that redistribution. It would be much better to give cash payments directly to people who are now poor."

"We agree, however, that if the United States does spend a great deal on emissions reductions as part of an international agreement, and if the agreement does give particular help to disadvantaged people, considerations of distributive justice support its action even if better redistributive mechanisms are imaginable."




Van Jones


Environmental advocate

On gray capitalism: "Inside that minimum demand was a very radical kernel that eventually meant that from 1954 to 1968 complete revolution was on the table for this country. And, I think that this green movement has to pursue those same steps and stages. Right now we say we want to move from suicidal gray capitalism to something eco-capitalism where at least we're not fast-tracking the destruction of the whole planet. Will that be enough? No, it won't be enough. We want to go beyond systems of exploitation and oppression altogether, but that's a process." | Watch the clip




Maurice Strong


Former director, U.N. Environmental Program

On a collapsed economy: "Paradoxically, the way to remove the threat of climate change is for the economy to continue to degenerate, because as the economy degenerates of course there are fewer emissions, and that's actually happening. But to use that as a pretext for saying, 'well, now we don't have to worry about it.' The cost to our economy would be — would we really want to do that? I want to see climate change corrected. In fact, I believe very strongly in it, but I don't want to do it at the expense of a collapsed economy, but a collapsed economy would certainly produce that effect."

On population growth: "Licenses to have babies, incidentally, is something that I got in trouble for some years ago for suggesting, even in Canada, that this might be necessary at some point." | Watch the clip




Al Gore


Former vice president and environmental activist

On global government: "But it is the awareness itself that will drive the change, and one of the ways it will drive the change is through global government and global agreements." | Watch the clip




Joel Rogers


Law professor at the University of Wisconsin—Madison

On population growth: "Every kid should be fed, clothed, housed, decently fed and insured. Eventually they'll grow up and then vote for national health insurance and minimally we deserve that in this country."

On redistribution of wealth: "I think ultimately, the rate of growth of material consumption is going to have to come down and there's going to have to be a degree of redistribution of how much we consume in terms of energy and material resources in order to leave room for people who are poor to become more prosperous."




John Holden


White House director of Science and Technology Policy

On population control: "Of course, a government might require only implantation of the contraceptive capsule, leaving its removal to the individual's discretion but requiring re-implantation after childbirth. Since having a child would require positive action (removal of the capsule), many more births would be prevented than in the reverse situation."

On redistributing wealth: "I think ultimately, the rate of growth of material consumption is going to have to come down and there's going to have to be a degree of redistribution of how much we consume in terms of energy and material resources in order to leave room for people who are poor to become more prosperous." | Watch the clip




CRIME INC. BIOS




Emerald Cities Collaborative


The Emerald Cities Collaborative (ECC) describes itself as a “start-up, national coalition of diverse groups that includes unions, labor groups, community organizations, social justice advocates, development intermediaries, research and technical assistance providers, socially responsible businesses, and elected officials.” The group’s goal is to make metropolitan areas green. Members sitting on the board of directors include representatives from Green for All (Van Jones co-founded), SEIU, AFL-CIO, Goldman Sachs and Enterprise Community Partners.

Al Gore


Al Gore’s main claim to fame is his role in our nation’s history, as Vice President of United States. Prior to his role in the White House, Gore served eight years in the US House of Representatives, and two terms as a U.S. Senator. In more recent times his environmental activism has made him a proponent of spreading the green way of life. His movie, An Inconvenient Truth, warned people of the serious dangers of global warming, climate change and the future of our Earth. Critics have noted several significant errors in his movie ranging from, the drowning of polar bears to the melting of snow on Kilimanjaro and drying of Lake Chad. As the Chairman of the Board for the Alliance for Climate Protection, his lifestyle is not always representative of a greener good. Under speculation for years, he’s been given the nickname “carbon billionaire” for making money off his preaching of carbon emissions into the environment. Gore is also the co-founder of the private investment firm, Generation Investment Management. He holds an undergraduate degree in government from Harvard University .

Goldman Sachs


Goldman Sachs is a publicly held global investment banking and securities firm. Unlike a traditional bank, Goldman connects investors and money to the businesses and governments in need of it. In 2006, Goldman Sachs purchased a 10% stake in Climate Exchange, PLC.

The Joyce Foundation


A private U.S. foundation which provides funding and support to initiatives focusing on education, environment, and employment in the Great Lakes region. The Joyce Foundation was established in 1948 by Beatrice Joyce Kean of Chicago. Since its inception the Foundation has made grants of more than $600 million. Some of those grants include $1.1 million to Richard Sandor in 2000-2001 to create the Chicago Climate Exchange; $175,000 in 2008 to the Tides Center for the Apollo Alliance; and $200,000 in 2009 to Enterprise Community Partners to launch the Emerald Cities Collaborative.


Former Board of Directors’ members include President Barack Obama (1994-2002) and Valerie Jarrett (2003-

President Barack Obama


Barack H. Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States on November 4, 2008, and sworn in on January 20, 2009. Before becoming President, he served four short years in the U.S. Senate. He cut his political teeth as an Illinois State Senator from 1997-2004. Active in the Chicago community, he served on the board of the progressive Joyce Foundation from 1994-2002. The future President was the first African American editor of the Harvard Law Review and received his undergraduate degree from Columbia University in 1983. The son of black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas, he was mainly raised by his grandmother in Hawaii. His father wrote of socialist policies as an economist for the Kenyan government, while his mother identified with Marxism.

Richard Sandor


Richard Sandor is the Chairman and founder of the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), the only voluntary trading system of greenhouse gases in North America. He also serves as Chariman of the Chicago Climate Futures Exchange (CCFE) and Executive Chairman of Climate Exchange, PLC.


Sandor is also a research professor at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University where he teaches environmental finance. He’s the former Chairman of the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) Clean Air Committee and vice president and chief economist of the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT).

Chicago Climate Exchange


A U.S. corporation, the CCX is the only trading system for greenhouse gases in North America. The idea of Chairman & CEO Richard Sandor, CCX was created through $1.1 million in grants from the Joyce Foundation. It’s trading officially launched in 2003. Since then, the CCX has grown to include 300 members worldwide. CCX, along with the European Climate Exchange (ECX) and the Chicago Climate Futures Exchange (CCFX) were operated by Climate Exchange, PLC until April 2010 when the company was sold to Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) for $606 million.

Climate Exchange, PLC


Climate Exchange (CLE) is a publicly traded company on the London Stock Exchange. Its three core businesses are the European Climate Exchange (ECX), Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) and the Chicago Climate Futures Exchange (CCFX). The company is also developing in China, Canada and Australia. CLE was sold to InterContinental Exchange (ICE) in April 2010 for $606 million. ICE previously held a 4.79% stake in CLE.

InterContinental Exchange


InterContinental Echange (ICE) is a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange. Based in Atlanta, ICE operates trading platforms and clearing houses globally for agricultural, credit, currency, emissions and energy markets. Established in 2000, the company’s goal was to “transform OTC energy markets by providing an open, accessible, around-the-clock electronic energy marketplace to a previously fragmented and opaque market.”

Generation Investment Management (GIM)


Generation is a privately owned investment company with offices in London and New York. The company invests in global, public entities with an emphasis on climate. The firm was co-founded in 2004 by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and David Blood, former CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management. GIM had a 2.98% stake in Climate Exchange, PLC, which operated the Chicago Climate Exchange. InterContinental Exchange (ICE) purchased Climate Exchange, PLC in April 2010 for $606 million.

David Blood


Along with Gore, David Blood co-founded Generation Investment Management and acts as the firm’s Senior Partner. Blood is the former co-CEO and CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management. After growing up in Brazil, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Hamilton College and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Graduate School of Business.

Franklin Raines


The disgraced former Fannie Mae CEO resigned in 2004 amid a SEC investigation into the company’s accounting practices. Raines inflated earnings, costing the company about $9 billion. Despite his actions, he walked away making close to $90 million in pay and stock during his 5 years at the company. A year after his resignation, a U.S. patent was approved for a “System and method for residential emissions trading.” Both Raines and Fannie Mae were named on the patent. Raines currently sits on the board of trustees of Enterprise Community Partners. He formerly served as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget from 1996-1998 during the Clinton Administration.

Fannie Mae


Fannie Mae is a government sponsored company that was created by Congress in 1983. It works with mortgage brokers to create “affordable” mortgages for home owners. Since 2008, Fannie Mae has received $137 billion in federal aid. The Treasury Department has agreed to fund Fannie Mae through 2012. Its brother company is Freddie Mac.

Enterprise Community Partners


Enterprise is a private company dedicated to helping individuals and families find affordable homes. Enterprise claims to have the first national green building program specializing in affordable housing. The Enterprise Green Communities’ goal is “to fundamentally transform the way we think about, design and build affordable homes” by providing funding and technical assistance to developers to create low-income housing which is environmentally friendly. It’s also an advocate for federal policy on affordable housing and community development.

Emerald Cities Collaborative


The Emerald Cities Collaborative (ECC) describes itself as a “start-up, national coalition of diverse groups that includes unions, labor groups, community organizations, social justice advocates, development intermediaries, research and technical assistance providers, socially responsible businesses, and elected officials.” The group’s goal is to make metropolitan areas green.

Joel Rogers


Joel Rogers is the man behind the curtain. Well known throughout the world of political activism, he’s practically a stranger to the public . His main causes revolve around the redistribution of wealth through a green society. The University of Wisconsin professor is the creator of the Apollo Alliance, dedicated to the promotion of clean energy and the creation of green-collared jobs. Championed by John Sweeney, Andy Stern and Van Jones, Rogers also serves on the board of Emerald Cities Collaborative and acts as the director of COWS. Additionally, he’s a senior policy adviser to Green for All, a group under the wing of Van Jones. Rogers co-founded the now defunct New Party, a progressive political party started in the early 1990s which was sympathetic to the advancement of labor unions. The party dissolved in 1997 and was reinvented a year later as the Working Families Party. Rogers’ wife, Sarah Siskind, a partner at the law firm Miner, Barnhill and Galland, defended Acorn in 2002.

Apollo Alliance


Inspired by the Apollo space program, the alliance is made up of business and community leaders looking to “catalyze a clean energy revolution.” The Alliance created the “New Apollo Program,” an economic plan of its priorities including a “cap and invest” program to reduce carbon emissions. The Program claims it will generate and invest $500 billion into the economy over the span of ten years. The Alliance released its program to coincide with the Obama Administration’s call for a stimulus plan. Because of this, the Alliance is said to have strongly shaped the $787 billion Stimulus Plan in 2009. The Apollo Alliance is a project of George Soros’ non-profit Tides Center.

Green for All


Green for All is a national organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty through a green economy. It works alongside government, grassroots and labor organizations to increase job opportunities in green industry. Green for All was co-founded by former White House Environmental Adviser Van Jones.

Stop trying to be right and think of the children

Mario Tama/Getty Images

All the outrage this week has mainly focused on one thing: the evil Trump administration and its minions who delight in taking children from their illegal immigrant parents and throwing them all in dungeons. Separate dungeons, mind you.

That makes for a nice, easy storyline, but the reality is less convenient. Most Americans seem to agree that separating children from their parents — even if their parents entered the US illegally — is a bad thing. But what if that mom and dad you're trying to keep the kids with aren't really the kids' parents? Believe it or not, fraud happens.

RELATED: Where were Rachel Maddow's tears for immigrant children in 2014?

While there are plenty of heartbreaking stories of parents simply seeking a chance for a better life for their children in the US, there are also corrupt, abusive human traffickers who profit from the illegal immigration trade. And sorting all of this out is no easy task.

This week, the Department of Homeland Security said that since October 2017, more than 300 children have arrived at the border with adults claiming to be their parents who turned out not to be relatives. 90 of these fraud cases came from the Rio Grande Valley sector alone.

In 2017, DHS reported 46 causes of fraudulent family claims. But there have already been 191 fraud cases in 2018.

Shouldn't we be concerned about any child that is smuggled by a human trafficker?

When Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen pointed out this 315 percent increase, the New York Times was quick to give these family fraud cases "context" by noting they make up less than one percent of the total number of illegal immigrant families apprehended at the southern border. Their implication was that Nielsen was exaggerating the numbers. Even if the number of fraud cases at the border was only 0.001 percent, shouldn't we be concerned about any child that is smuggled by a human trafficker?

This is the most infuriating part of this whole conversation this week (if you can call it a "conversation") — that both sides have an angle to defend. And while everyone's busy yelling and making their case, children are being abused.

What if we just tried, for two seconds, to love having mercy more than we love having to be right all the time?

Remember when cartoons were happy things? Each panel took you on a tiny journey, carrying you to an unexplored place. In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud writes:

The comics creator asks us to join in a silent dance of the seen and the unseen. The visible and the invisible. This dance is unique to comics. No other artform gives so much to its audience while asking so much from them as well. This is why I think it's a mistake to see comics as a mere hybrid of the graphic arts and prose fiction. What happens between . . . panels is a kind of magic only comics can create.

When that magic is manipulated or politicized, it often devolves the artform into a baseless thing. Yesterday, Occupy Wall Street published the perfect example of low-brow deviation of the artform: A six-panel approach at satire, which imitates the instructions-panel found in the netted cubbyhole behind seats on airplanes. The cartoon is a critique of the recent news about immigrant children being separated from their parents after crossing the border. It is a step-by-step guide to murdering US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents.

RELATED: Cultural appropriation has jumped the shark, and everyone is noticing

The first panel shows a man shoving an infant into a cage meant for Pomeranians. The following five panels feature instructions, and include pictures of a cartoonish murder.

The panels read as follows:

  1. If an ICE agent tries to take your child at the border, don't panic.
  2. Pull your child away as quickly as possibly by force.
  3. Gently tell your child to close his/her eyes and ears so they won't witness what you are about to do.
  4. Grab the ICE agent from behind and push your knife into his chest with an upward thrust, causing the agent's sternum to break.
  5. Reach into his chest and pull out his still beating heart.
  6. Hold his bloody heart out for all other agents to see, and tell them that the same fate awaits them if they f--- with your child again.

Violent comics are nothing new. But most of the time, they remain in the realms of invented worlds — in other words, not in our own, with reference to actual people, let alone federal agents.

The mainstream media made a game of crying racism with every cartoon depiction of Obama during his presidency, as well as during his tenure as Senator, when the New Yorker, of all things, faced scrutiny for depicting him in "Muslim clothing." Life was a minefield for political cartoonists during the Obama era.

Chris Hondros/Getty Images

This year, we saw the leftist outrage regarding The Simpsons character Apu — a cartoon representation of a highly-respected, though cartoonishly-depicted, character on a cartoon show composed of cartoonishly-depicted characters.

We all remember Charlie Hebdo, which, like many outlets that have used cartoon satire to criticize Islam, faced the wrath and ire of people unable to see even the tamest representation of the prophet, Muhammad.

Interesting, isn't it? Occupy Wall Street publishes a cartoon that advocates murdering federal agents, and critics are told to lighten up. Meanwhile, the merest depiction of Muhammad has resulted in riots throughout the world, murder and terror on an unprecedented scale.

The intersection of Islam and comics is complex enough to have its own three-hour show, so we'll leave it at that, for now. Although, it is worth mentioning the commentary by satirical website The Onion, which featured a highly offensive cartoon of all the major religious figures except Muhammad. It noted:

Following the publication of the image above, in which the most cherished figures from multiple religious faiths were depicted engaging in a lascivious sex act of considerable depravity, no one was murdered, beaten, or had their lives threatened.

Of course, Occupy Wall Street is free to publish any cartoon they like. Freedom of speech, and so on—although there have been several instances in which violent cartoons were ruled to have violated the "yelling fire in a crowded theater" limitation of the First Amendment.

Posting it to Twitter is another issue — this is surely in violation of Twitter's violent content policy, but something tells me nothing will come of it. It's a funny world, isn't it? A screenshot of a receipt from Chick-fil-A causes outrage but a cartoon advocating murder gets crickets.

RELATED: Twitter mob goes ballistic over Father's Day photo of Caitlyn Jenner. Who cares?

In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud concludes that, "Today the possibilities for comics are — as they've always been — endless. Comics offers . . . range and versatility, with all the potential imagery of film and painting plus the intimacy of the written word. And all that's needed is the desire to be heard, the will to learn, and the ability to see."

Smile, and keep moving forward.

Crude and awful as the Occupy Wall Street comic is, the best thing we can do is nod and look elsewhere for the art that will open our eyes. Let the lunatics draw what they want, let them stew in their own flawed double standards. Otherwise, we're as shallow and empty as they are, and nothing good comes of that. Smile, and keep moving forward.

Things are getting better. Show the world how to hear, how to learn, how to see.

People should start listening to Nikki Haley

ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

Okay. Let's take a vote. You know, an objective, quantifiable count. How many resolutions has the UN Human Rights Council adopted condemning dictatorships? Easy. Well. How do you define "dictatorship"?

Well, one metric is the UN Human Rights Council Condemnation. How many have the United Nations issued to China, with a body count higher than a professional Call of Duty player?

Zero.

How about Venezuela, where socialism is devouring its own in the cruelest, most unsettling ways imaginable?

Zero.

And Russia, home of unsettling cruelty and rampant censorship, murder and (actual) homophobia?

Zero.

Iraq? Zero. Turkey? Iraq? Zero. Cuba? Zero. Pakistan? Zero.

RELATED: Nikki Haley just dropped some serious verbal bombs on Russia at the UN

According to UN Human Rights Council Condemnations, 2006-2016, none of these nations is as dangerous as we'd imagined. Or, rather, none of them faced a single condemnation. Meanwhile, one country in particular has faced unbelievable scrutiny and fury — you'll never guess which country.

No, it's not Somalia. It's Israel. With 68 UN Human Rights Council Condemnations! In fact, the number of total United Nations condemnations against Israel outnumbers the total of condemnations against all other countries combined. The only country that comes close is Syria, with 15.

The Trump administration withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday in protest of what it perceives as an entrenched bias against Israel and a willingness to allow notorious human rights abusers as members.

In an address to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Nikki Haley said:

Let's remember that the Hamas terrorist organization has been inciting violence for years, long before the United States decided to move our embassy. This is what is endangering the people of Gaza. Make no mistake, Hamas is pleased with the results from yesterday... No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.

Maybe people should start listening to Haley. Hopefully, they will. Not likely, but there's no crime in remaining hopeful.

Here's a question unique to our times: "Should I tell my father 'Happy Father's Day,' even though he (she?) is now one of my mothers?"

Father's Day was four days ago, yes, but this story is just weird enough to report on. One enjoyable line to read was this gem from Hollywood Gossip: "Cait is a woman and a transgender icon, but she is also and will always be the father of her six children."

RELATED: If Bruce was never a he and always a she, who won the men's Olympic gold in 1976?

Imagine reading that to someone ten — even five — years ago. And, honestly, there's something nice about it. But the strangeness of its having ever been written overpowers any emotional impact it might bring.

"So lucky to have you," wrote Kylie Jenner, in the Instagram caption under pre-transition pictures of Bruce Jenner.

Look. I risk sounding like a tabloid by mere dint of having even mentioned this story, but the important element is the cultural sway that's occurring. The original story was that a band of disgruntled Twitter users got outraged about the supposed "transphobic" remarks by Jenner's daughter.

But, what we should be saying is, "who the hell cares?" Who cares what one Jenner says to another — and more importantly and on a far deeper level — who cares what some anonymous Twitter user has to say?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob? Because, at the moment, they've got it pretty good. They have a nifty relationship with the mainstream media: One or two Twitter users get outraged by any given thing — in this case Jenner and supposed transphobia. In return, the mainstream media use the Twitter comment as a source.

Then, a larger Twitter audience points to the article itself as proof that there's some kind of systemic justice at play. It's a closed-market currency, where the negative feedback loop of proof and evidence is composed of faulty accusations. Isn't it a hell of a time to be alive?