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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

MARGATE FILES SUIT IN FEDERAL COURT TO STOP THE BEACH PROJECT !!

   



 It's happened! Margate announced today that its filing suit in Federal Court to try and  resolve the ongoing stand off with the State of NJ DEP , and the A.C.O.E. over their attempt to FORCE their Beach Project down the throat of the community, against its expressed will in two referendums this past year. A cease and desist order has been granted Margate by the Federal ct. halting any further attempt by the State or the Army to move ahead with the project until the underlying legal issues in the case are resolved. Follow the link to the online story in the AC Press this afternoon. http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/breaking/margate-files-suit-to-stop-dunes-project/article_81232f52-7434-11e4-8bcb-ebe7653485c6.html  

FIFTEEN YEARS

   The fight over this project will be entering its fifteenth yr. in 2015. Its really no surprise to me that its finally ending up in court.  Gov. Christie decided after Sandy that he had the right to essentially over turn  any laws or rules in the State that got in the way of his ambition, to he says, build a line of artificial dunes from Sandy Hook to Cape May Pt. There's one problem, he also apparently decided that equality before the law in this issue was also not applicable and that among many other points of law need to be resolved before this ill fated project can proceed through Margate. I must say its gratifying to see that at least in some respects  we're  still a country of laws, not men.  The Gov. has tried to bluster and bully Margate and its citizens into this Project , but to their credit they've stood firm and shown the world what its like to say NO to a BULLY. No matter what happens in this case the citizens of Margate should be proud of what they've already accomplished here.  A case like this one is precisely what the rule of law is all about. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

CORPORATE CRIMINALS OF THE YEAR

7 Candidates for Corporate Rip-Off of the Year

When corporations write their own rules, it's no wonder the common good is kicked to the curb. (Image: occupy.com)
There are so many to choose from. Every one of these selections is an act of corporate treachery that takes billions of dollars from the American people. 

1. Selling Medication For Up To 100 Times More Than It's Worth 

Pharmaceutical companies reap billions of dollars in subsidies for research and development, but they've successfully lobbied Congress to keep Medicare from bargaining for lower drug prices. An extreme example is Gilead Sciences, the manufacturer of the drug Sovaldi, which charges about $10 a pill to its customers in Egypt, then comes home to charge $1,000 a pill to its American customers. Other outrageous examples are noted by Ralph Nader. 

As a further insult, Americans are cheated when corporations pay off generic drug manufacturers to delay entry of their products into the market, thereby forcing consumers to pay the highest prices for medicine. 

2. Paying Their Employees With Our Tax Money 

Walmart made $19 billion in U.S. profits last year, and the four Walton siblings together made about $29 billion from their personal investments. That's about $33,000 per U.S. employee in profits and family stock gains. Yet they pay their 1.4 million American employees so little that the average Walmart worker depends on about $4,000 per year in taxpayer assistance, for food stamps and other safety net programs. 

3. Giving Money to Executives Rather Than Investing in the Future 

Corporations are spending trillions of dollars on stock buybacks, which use potential research and development money to pump up the prices of executive stock options. Apple alone is spending $90 billion to repurchase its own stock through 2015. Walmart doesn't provide a living wage for its workers, but its company management spent $7.6 billion, or about $5,000 per U.S. employee, on stock buybacks, in order to further boost the value of their stock holdings. 

The buyback surge is dramatic. In 1981, major corporations were spending less than 3 percent of their combined net income on buybacks, but by 2008-9 they were spending 75 percent of their profits on this greed-driven process

4. Making Money on Dirty Air and Water 

Charles Koch once said, "I want my legacy to be...a better way of life for...all Americans." 

Koch Industries dumps more pollutants into rivers and streams than General Electric and International Paper combined. One of Koch's products is petcoke, which Rolling Stone notes is "denser, dirtier and cheaper than coal." Too toxic to burn in U.S. coal plants, it's sold instead to countries with weaker environmental regulations, like Mexico and China. But storage facilities are needed. So the besieged city of Detroit became the dumping ground for a three-story pile ofpetroleum coke covering an entire city block near the Detroit River. The mound of toxic matter spewed thick black "fugitive dust" over the homes of nearby residents. The ugliness was later repeated in Chicago

5. Making the Highest Profit Margin in the Corporate World -- And Demanding a Tax Cut 

The trading volume on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) reached $1 quadrillion in notional value last year. That's a thousand trillion dollars, about ten times greater than the world economy

With the collection of transfer fees, contract fees, brokerage fees, Globex fees, clearing fees, and surcharges, the company achieved a profit margin (54%) higher than any of the top 100 companies in the nation from 2008 to 2010, and in the past three years it's risen to nearly 60%

Despite being the most profitable big firm, CME complained that its taxes were too high, and they demanded and received an $85 million tax break from the State of Illinois. 

6. Skipping Out on the Country that Made Their Business Possible 

Walgreens (which later backed down), Burger King, and Medtronic are the biggest names in the so-called inversions that allow companies to desert the country that made them successful. They don't want to pay for decades of publicly funded research in technology and medicine; a legal system that protects patents and intellectual property; infrastructure, including roads and seaports and airports to ship their products; unprecedented amounts of local and nationalsecurity, and a nationwide energy grid to power factories. 

7. Group Ripoff: $74 Billion in Profits...and a Tax Refund 

It seems incomprehensible that Boeing, Ford, Chevron, Citigroup, Verizon, JP Morgan, and General Motors, with a combined income last year of $74 billion, would pay no taxes, and in fact receive a combined refund of nearly $2 billion. The data comes from a new study called Fleecing Uncle Sam, which goes on to note that the unpaid taxes of almost $26 billion could pay for Pre-K education for every 4-year old in America. 

Is there an answer to all this? Only if we victims work together toward the singular goal of stemming corporate power, especially in the financial industry. To do this, as Les Leopold says, "we will need something like an Occupy 2.0." 

Otherwise the ripoffs will continue.
Paul Buchheit is a college teacher, an active member of US Uncut Chicago, founder and developer of social justice and educational websites (UsAgainstGreed.org, PayUpNow.org, RappingHistory.org), and the editor and main author of "American Wars: Illusions and Realities" (Clarity Press). He can be reached at paul@UsAgainstGreed.org.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

TAJ MAHAL CASINO CLOSING DEC. 12th - FIFTH CASINO CLOSING IN 2014 IN AC


 On Dec. 12th, Taj Mahal Casino/Hotel in AC. will become the fifth Casino/Hotel to close in AC in 2014.  In what has now become the greatest calamity in the history of the  Hospitality Industry,  another 3,000 people will lose their jobs, bringing the total of Casino/Hotel jobs lost in AC this year to over 12,000.  To put this no. in perspective, there are just over 250,000 people in Atlantic County. By the close of 2014 unemployment county wide will be over 25% the worst in any county in America, except for a few in Mississippi.

CHRISTIE SAVES AC?

   How Gov. Christie even has the gall to show his face around here is beyond me. 5  yrs. after taking control of the town by declaring another one of his Emergencies, he created the so called Tourism district by placing his own hand picked flunkies and shills in charge, this is the out come.  

WHAT NEXT?

The question now are who and what is next? If I had to guess I'd say Ballys  and Resorts are both  not long to this world either. After that Caesars and the  Trop will survive for awhile , maybe. In the end,  AC will be lucky if it  has the  3 Casinos on the Marina side of town. By then for all practical purposes though, the rest of AC will become just another decaying urban slum, this one with a beach. 

WHY ON THE BEACH SIDE?

   Its no surprise to me that all of the failed Casinos are on the Beach side of town. Once the ACOE / NJDEP  built its  leeve / beach project in front of the boardwalk back in 2003-2004,  essentially destroying the views and removing the cool ocean breezes from the boardwalk , it was almost inevitable that this once World famous boardwalk would decline. Add to this disaster what happened to Pacific ave., which was allowed to become a rundown slum filled with whores, drug dealers, pawn/gold shops and nudie / girlie bars and the fate of the Beach side Casinos was sealed.  Just to add insult to injury, until this year the City couldn't even be bothered to maintain the road surface itself and let it gradually turn into a axle bending ride through hell.  Oddly, Pacific ave. has become the perfect metaphor for the final descent to where AC has arrived at today.  


IT WASN'T JUST BECAUSE OF THE OTHER CASINOS


Contrary to popular opinion, it wasn't just the competition of the surrounding Casinos in other States that killed AC. AC had a 35 yr. lead on all these places and had the town been developed properly and not allowed to descend into a seedy slum we might have avoided the mass exodus of the gaming Industry were seeing this year. Sadly, a BIG part of the problem was baked into the system from the start. Mandating that Casino/Hotels had to be huge with a min. of 500 rooms set a standard that essentially favored large Corp. enterprises and their economic power over everyone else in the marketplace. Many people see that now, but its too late. Hopefully , as the Casino era fades what will happen is a "new" generation of small and mid-sized businesses will slowly return and fill in the gaping hole these places are going to leave in the short term. Its to be seen. What we all have to realize is that there are plenty of other seaside resorts up and down the East Coast that have thrived these past 30 yrs. and done it without CASINO/HOTELS.  
  In AC it could now be argued that gaming industry has destroyed the town in the short run and is leaving it now having sucked the life out of it. 

A WARNING!

My warning to other towns and cities in NJ and there residents, whatever you do, don't buy into the slick false promises of this Industry, stay as far away from gaming as you can. They will promise you jobs and other big benefits, the truth is they don't deliver !!




Friday, November 14, 2014

NRO - GOV. CHRISTIE'S DUNEBOGGLE !!

English: Lucy the Margate Elephant, Atlantic A...
 Lucy the Margate Elephant, Atlantic Avenue & Decatur Street, Margate City, Atlantic County, NJ. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
 
     It seems Margate's little kerfuffle with the Gov. of NJ has now gained a Nat'l and Int'l audience thanks to the Conservative online daily National Review Online ( AKA NRO .) Check out the article that just appeared there today http://www.nationalreview.com/article/392636/duneboggle-chris-christies-sandstorm-against-shore-town-tim-cavanaugh#comment-1692980066 Looks like the Gov. is going to start paying a steeper price for the sand he's been trying to kick into Margate's voters faces this past year. Hopefully, the price will be that his behavior in Margate coupled with Bridgegate and other such scandals now surfacing in NJ will help reinforce an image of Gov. Christie, as the bully he really is , not that of the strong confident leader he try's to project of himself. It seems even Conservative voters have little stomach for such a person to lead them. A few weeks ago the first IOWA straw poll of possible GOP Presidential candidates had Gov. Christie in 16th place of the 16 possible candidates.

"LUCY" ABIDES 


   Keep it up Governor, your enemies are going to love the vision of you trying to bully the world famous roadside attraction "Lucy the Elephant" your own party's symbol. What makes it especially sweet for them is  that "Lucy" just happens to be standing keeping watch over Margate's beaches.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

MARGATE VOTES TO DEFEND ITSELF FROM A POSSIBLE STATE TAKEOVER OF IT'S BEACHES

Lucy the Elephant in Margate City, New Jersey ...
Lucy the Elephant in Margate City, New Jersey (photo taken July 2004) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
       Margate Mayor Becker and Com.Taube have now had their two referendums on the Beach Project. The first was about whether we should join the ongoing Federal / State Project ( the AISPP) and the second held Tues. was about whether or not Margate should, if necessary mount a legal defense against the State's pending  takeover of our beach. In Nov. 2013 we voted over overwhelmingly in a 2 to 1 rout to stay out of the Project. This year by 52% to 48%  we voted to make a legal stand if need be. In short, the majority of those who voted on these issues have asked Margate's leadership to fight to maintain our beaches as is. I would hope that the Mayor now takes these votes  to heart and goes forward knowing that the people of Margate expect him and the Commission to stand firm for us , even if it means having to go as far as Federal court to stop this takeover. I would also, respectfully request that the Mayor  stop saying in public that we can't win such a challenge in court. The simple truth is that he doesn't know that for sure. Unless of course he knows something the rest of us don't know, or he claims prophetic powers. In any event, waving a white flag to your adversaries ( in this case the State of NJ) is certainly not a great way to inspire your own  troops and strike fear into the heart of your adversary. My Dad Louis "Red" Klotz was once asked by a NY Times reporter if he purposely lost every game his team the Wash. Generals played against the Harlem Globetrotters and his response was, NEVER. He never ever told the Press he was going to lose even though we all knew other wise and lo and behold he actually did win twice, even considering the situation. So, Mayor, please STOP telling everyone that we can't win, your not a lawyer or a judge or a legal expert, so stop playing one in front of the cameras. Just do what the voters have asked you to do twice now
FIGHT !!

Friday, October 31, 2014

AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR MARGATE VOTERS !!


  NO!!  WE DON'T WANT THE DAMN PROJECT & YES WE WANT THE CITY COMMISSION TO START LISTENING TO US !!

    Last year at this time our Gov. Chris Christie was telling Margate's voters they were stupid if they voted against his goal of imposing the AISPP ( Absecon Island Shore Protection Project) on us. I guess, were stupid because 65% of us ignored the Governor's threats to ignore us, if we voted against his plans. We thought it was pretty obvious then, that if we rejected the Governor's Project it would require some kind of legal defense to sustain our will in that vote. Well, at least it was obvious to most of us, but not everybody it turns out. So here we are again, a year later voting on essentially the same topic again. This time its supposedly to authorize the City of Margate to spend up to $200,000 to hire outside legal counsel in this matter. The truth is the Margate's  Commission already has the power to authorize such a defense with just two votes. Obviously, that wasn't going to happen, because one of those two votes was stridently for the Beach Project from the beginning of all of this. Another is stridently against it  and the third says he's against it, but that we can't win in court against the State. So, The one  for the Project and the One against it (only if we don't have to fight to stay out) have decided that any defense against the State has to be ok  again by the voters next Tues.


ITS A NON-BINDING VOTE AGAIN

    Of course, like last year's vote  this year's vote is also non-binding, which means the same two Commissioners who are putting the town through this again this year can just ignore the results again if they don't like them. So, why are we bothering to do this, you might wonder? Because, the one that says he against it but not if we  have to fight, is hoping we'll say we want to give up and not spend anymore $$ fighting what he considers a hopeless cause. Makes you wonder what he and the one that wants it will do if we vote Yes we do want the city to fight? Doesn't matter, if your still against joining or allowing this Project to happen on Margate's beaches just come out and vote.

     PLEASE VOTE ON NOV. 4TH    -  VOTE YES on Question No. #3 !!