Toyota

Since the Dilly, Dally, Delay & Stall Law Firms are adding their billable hours, the Toyota U.S.A. and Route 44 Toyota posts have been separated here:

Route 44 Toyota Sold Me A Lemon



Thursday, November 25, 2010

Koch heads the list

Among the most environmentally irresponsible, Koch heads the list.

Koch has been included in other comments posted here and Repower America offered the following:


Koch is responsible for over 300 oil spills in the U.S. and has leaked 3 million gallons of crude oil into fisheries and drinking waters.

That's just one example of what you'll find on KochIndustriesFacts.com
-- a new website that pulls back the curtain on the winner of this year's Snake Oil Award from Repower America. I invite you to visit this website to learn more facts about Koch Industries.

Since we launched this website, supporters like you have been submitting new facts each day, and we've been posting them. Take a look at what we've made together.

Koch Industries is one of the biggest funders of groups that deny the science of climate change. Every day, Koch puts our planet's future at risk in order to keep the profits flowing from their oil pipelines and refineries.

But clean energy supporters like you can fight back. You can help Repower America spread the word about Koch Industries' shameful record.

Get the facts about Koch Industries and share them with your friends and family today.

In case you didn't get a chance to read it yet, I'm forwarding you a message from Dave Boundy about Koch Industries. Find out what you need to know about this company and its record of deception. Get the facts.

Thanks for standing up to the big oil companies and fighting for a clean energy future.





One thing is for certain: you're angry. When I tallied the votes for the 2010 Snake Oil Awards, I found myself nodding my head as I read your comments. Massey Energy, API, Koch Industries and BP America spew lies so they can pollute the air and line their pockets with profits.

Each of the four nominees received a large number of votes, but now it's time to announce the "winner" It's Koch Industries -- the notorious pipeline and refinery company that pours money into groups that defend the interests of big oil.

Find out more about Koch Industries here.

Here are the final vote totals for our four nominees:

Koch Industries: 5,552 votes (42%)
BP: 5,119 votes (39%)
API: 1,347 votes (10%)
Massey Energy: 1,216 votes (9%)

We set out to determine the worst offender so we could spread the word about this dirty energy company's history of pollution and lies.

That's why we made this site: KochIndustriesFacts.com

KochIndustriesFacts.com is a catalog of lies and environmental offenses by Koch Industries and its owners, the brothers Charles and David Koch. What we've listed on the site is just the beginning. Click around for a bit, and if you see something that's missing, make sure to let us know by submitting your own facts about Koch Industries.

Over the years, Koch Industries has spent nearly 50 million dollars funding climate change deniers, while running a very environmentally dangerous company at a high profit. So I'm sure there are new facts for you to add based on their long history of wrongdoing.

Can you help us spread the word about Koch Industries by sharing this website on Facebook and Twitter? Your help will go a long way in making sure Koch Industries is exposed to the American people.

Thanks for all that you do,

Dave Boundy
Campaign Manager
Repower America

Friday, November 19, 2010

Make sure kids have a Christmas!

As the holidays approach, local families need assistance to assure that Santa visits children. Adopt a family, buy warm clothing and offer to help.

What better gift could you teach your child than the importance of giving?

Making Christmas Wishes come true in Lakeville, Middleboro
Program’s been helping families for 18 years

The Christmas Wishes Program has been making sure the kids of Lakeville and Middleboro have warm clothes, presents under the tree and full tummies for the holiday season for almost two decades.

This is an especially difficult year for many families due to the state of the economy, said volunteer Louise Cowan, who has been with the program since its inception 18 years ago.

“The biggest thing right now is unemployment, and unemployment has run out for some people,” Cowan said.

Each year Christmas Wishes provides needy families from Lakeville and Middleboro with a two-week supply of groceries and a gift box with clothes and toys for each child.

Last year, the program assisted 163 families, and the all-volunteer operation has already received 100 applications this year, Cowan said.

The program receives donations from area residents, businesses, churches, schools, scouts and other organizations to meet the need each year, Cowan said.

There is no specific income ceiling for eligibility. Requests are evaluated based on need on a case-by-case basis, Cowan said.

She said one family is coping with a life-threatening medical crisis and a lay-off at the same time and has a clear need despite an income higher than might qualify under an arbitrary cut off, she said.

Christmas Wishes sets up shop every year in the Masonic Lodge at 46 South Main St. in Middleboro. The office, which opened its doors on Nov. 1, is manned by volunteers Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Parents in need of assistance are invited to stop by and fill out an application. They will be asked to provide the clothing size of each child and toy each child is hoping to receive for Christmas.

Applicants should bring a photo ID and proof of address, such as a bill, if the photo ID doesn’t contain their current address, Cowan said.

Christmas Wishes then makes up a tag for each child with the child’s first name, clothes size and toy wish for the donor to use when shopping for the child.

Cowan said many of the applicants are single moms struggling to make ends meet who might otherwise not be able to give their children anything on Christmas morning.

One woman, who has been raising her grandchildren, has been coming to Christmas Wishes since it was founded and now has just one grandchild left in the program, Cowan said.

“She writes the most beautiful, poetic, religious thank yous. We all cry when we read them,” Cowan said.

Christmas Wishes will be accepting applications through Nov. 26 and will be distributing gift boxes and food baskets on Dec. 16, 17 and 18.

For more information about making a donation, call Cowan at 508-946-1568 or the Christmas Wishes office at 508-947-3579 or mail donations to: Christmas Wishes, P.O. Box 406, Middleboro, MA 02346.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Waging Peace

Some issues are too important for partisanship!




Get Our Nuclear Arms Inspectors Back on the Ground in Russia

The original Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) between the U.S. and Russia expired on December 5, 2009. For nearly one year, there has been no monitoring of Russian nuclear activities or stockpile. To remedy this, President Obama and Russian President Medvedev negotiated the New START agreement, which was signed in April 2010. Currently, two key members of the Senate, Sen. McConnell of Kentucky and Sen. Kyl of Arizona, are preventing the New START agreement from coming before the full Senate for ratification.

In a statement released on November 17, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, “It is vitally important to America’s national security for the Senate to ratify the new START treaty before Congress adjourns this year. We need our inspectors back on the ground and the critical information they can provide about Russia’s nuclear capabilities. Ratification of this treaty would accomplish both.”

The New START agreement is about more than bringing down strategic nuclear arsenals on each side to 1,550. It is also about building cooperation and showing the world that we are taking steps toward fulfilling our disarmament obligations. It will allow an important component of Ronald Reagan’s philosophy on nuclear arms reduction to continue: “Trust, but verify.”

Write to your Senators today and ask them to pressure Senators McConnell (R-KY) and Kyl (R-AZ) to allow the New START agreement to come before the full Senate for ratification.

While New START may not be a perfect treaty, the consequences of a failure to ratify would be a severe setback to global nuclear disarmament. The treaty has strong support from the U.S. military and a recent poll shows that nearly three-fourths of Americans want to see it ratified.

Please take a moment to
write your Senators today and tell them to do what is needed to ratify this treaty now.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wall Street and Casino Gambling

Credible explanations of the financial meltdowns have been reduced to inaccurate sound bytes and misinformation. The following offer some detailed albeit lengthy explanations worthy of consideration --


Matt Taibbi: Courts Helping Banks Screw Over Homeowners
Retired judges are rushing through complex cases to speed foreclosures in Florida

By Matt Taibbi

The following is an article from the November 25, 2010 issue of Rolling Stone.


The foreclosure lawyers down in Jacksonville had warned me, but I was skeptical. They told me the state of Florida had created a special super-high-speed housing court with a specific mandate to rubber-stamp the legally dicey foreclosures by corporate mortgage pushers like Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan Chase. This "rocket docket," as it is called in town, is presided over by retired judges who seem to have no clue about the insanely complex financial instruments they are ruling on — securitized mortgages and laby­rinthine derivative deals of a type that didn't even exist when most of them were active members of the bench. Their stated mission isn't to decide right and wrong, but to clear cases and blast human beings out of their homes with ultimate velocity. They certainly have no incentive to penetrate the profound criminal mysteries of the great American mortgage bubble of the 2000s, perhaps the most complex Ponzi scheme in human history — an epic mountain range of corporate fraud in which Wall Street megabanks conspired first to collect huge numbers of subprime mortgages, then to unload them on unsuspecting third parties like pensions, trade unions and insurance companies (and, ultimately, you and me, as taxpayers) in the guise of AAA-rated investments. Selling lead as gold, shit as Chanel No. 5, was the essence of the booming international fraud scheme that created most all of these now-failing home mortgages.

The Real Reason America’s Cities and Towns Are Broke

The rocket docket wasn't created to investigate any of that. It exists to launder the crime and bury the evidence by speeding thousands of fraudulent and predatory loans to the ends of their life cycles, so that the houses attached to them can be sold again with clean paperwork. The judges, in fact, openly admit that their primary mission is not justice but speed. One Jacksonville judge, the Honorable A.C. Soud, even told a local newspaper that his goal is to resolve 25 cases per hour. Given the way the system is rigged, that means His Honor could well be throwing one ass on the street every 2.4 minutes.

Journalist Matt Taibbi Describes ‘Rocket Docket’ Court Rubber Stamping Questionable Foreclosures


Wall Street and Gambling Addiction - Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Bethany McLean & Joe Nocera Extended Interview


The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Bethany McLean & Joe Nocera Extended Interview
http://www.thedailyshow.com/
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity

Friday, November 5, 2010

Whitman Library Hosts Harry Markopolos

http://www.facebook.com/whitmanpubliclibrary

Whitman Public Library Halloween might be over, but we've got a big treat this week! Harry Markopolos, the Bernie Madoff whistle-blower and author of "No One Would Listen", is speaking this Saturday at 1:00 p.m. Our registration is almost full, so call today to reserve your spot!


No more seats for Harry Markopolos’ talk on Saturday


By Mike Melanson

ENTERPRISE CORRESPONDENT

WHITMAN – Town resident Harry Markopolos, who blew the whistle on convicted Wall Street fraudster Bernard Madoff’s multibillion- dollar global Ponzi scheme, will speak at the Whitman Public Library on Saturday.

Madoff, a former Wall Street money manager, was sentenced to 150 years in prison last year after pleading guilty to securities fraud and other charges in connection with a scheme that swindled thousands of victims out of billions of dollars.

Markopolos and a team of investigators worked for 10 years to expose Madoff’s massive scheme. However, their repeated attempts to alert the Securities and Exchange Commission before the 2008 collapse of the financial markets seemed to fall on deaf ears, according to Markopolos.

More than 75 people will listen to Markopolos speak on Saturday, said Samantha Duckworth, Whitman Public Library adult services and reference librarian. The free 90-minute talk, to start at 1 p.m., is sold out, she said. “I hope people see Harry as the hero that he is,” she said. “Maybe people will learn a little bit more about the intricacies of the financial world that they didn’t know before.” Duckworth said Markopolos’s book, “No One Would Listen; A True Financial Thriller,” is a must-read among library patrons. “We have five copies. They go out frequently,” she said. A number of local people are in the book, including Whitman Police Sgt. HarryD. Bates. Markopolos, fearing for his family and his life, met with Bates in the Whitman police station. Bates helped Markopolos select a handgun model, work out a safety plan and reassured him, according to Markopolos.

“No one cares more about the citizens of the town of Whitman more than our local police department,” Markopolos wrote.

Duckworth, who has read the book, said it reflects well on Whitman.

“It’s wonderful that he trusted our local Police Department more than the federal agencies that were supposed to be superhuman and protect the nation,” she said.



Madoff whistle-blower: ‘No One Would Listen’
Harry Markopolos on investigating one of the biggest frauds in history

Harry Markopolos is the whistle-blower who uncovered Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme 10 years before the rest of the world learned of the biggest financial crime in history. While a lot has been written about Madoff’s scam, few actually know the dramatic details of how Markopolos and a small group of sleuths went about investigating the fraud that reached around the globe. In “No One Would Listen,” Markopolos shares his story. An excerpt.

On the morning of December 11, 2008, a New York real estate developer on a JetBlue flight from New York to Los Angeles was watching CNBC on the small seat-back television. A crawl across the bottom of the screen reported that Bernard Madoff, a legendary Wall Street figure and the former chairman of NASDAQ had been arrested for running the largest Ponzi scheme in history. The developer sat silently for several seconds, absorbing that news. No, that couldn’t be right, he thought, but the message streamed across the screen again. Turning to his wife, he said that he knew that she wasn’t going to believe what he was about to tell her, but apparently Bernie Madoff was a crook and the millions of dollars that they had invested with him were lost. He was right — she didn’t believe him. Instead, she waved off the thought. “That’s not possible,” she said, and returned to the magazine she was reading.

The stunned developer stood up and walked to the rear of the plane, where the flight attendants had gathered in the galley. “Excuse me,” he said politely, “but I’m going to be leaving now. So would you please open the door for me? And don’t worry — I won’t need a parachute.”

At about 5:15 that December afternoon, I was at the local dojo in my small New England town watching my five-year-old twin boys trying to master the basic movements of karate. It had been a gloomy day. Rain continued intermittently, and there was a storm in the air. I noticed there were several voice mails on my cell phone. That’s curious, I thought; I hadn’t felt it vibrate. I stepped into the foyer to retrieve the messages. The first one was from a good friend named Dave Henry, who was managing a considerable amount of money as chief investment officer of DKH Investments in Boston. “Harry,” his message said clearly, “Madoff is in federal custody for running a Ponzi scheme. He’s under arrest in New York. Call me.” My heart started racing. The second message was also from a close friend, Andre Mehta, a super-quant who is a managing director of alternative investments at Cambridge Associates, a consultant to pension plans and endowments. I could hear the excitement in Andre’s voice as he said, “You were right. The news is hitting. Madoff’s under arrest. It looks like he was running a huge Ponzi scheme. It’s all over Bloomberg. Call me and I’ll read it to you. Congratulations.”


Nwehrkamp I was staggered. For several years I’d been living under a death sentence, terrified that my pursuit of Madoff would put my family and me in jeopardy. Billions of dollars were at stake, and apparently some of that money belonged to the Russian mafia and the drug cartels — people who would kill to protect their investments. And I knew all about Peter Scannell, a Boston whistleblower who had been beaten nearly to death with a brick simply for complaining about a million-dollar market-timing scam. So I wouldn’t start my car without first checking under the chassis and in the wheel wells. At night I walked away from shadows and I slept with a loaded gun nearby; and suddenly, instantly and unexpectedly, it was over. Finally, it was over. They’d gotten Madoff. I raised my fist high in the air and screamed to myself, “Yes!” My family was safe. Then I collapsed over a wooden railing. I had to grab hold of it to prevent myself from falling. I could barely breathe. In less time than the snap of my fingers I had gone from being supercharged with energy to being completely drained.

The first thing I wanted to do was return those calls. I needed to know every detail. It was only when I tried to punch in the numbers that I discovered how badly my hand was shaking. I called Dave back and he told me that the media was reporting that Bernie Madoff had confessed to his two sons that his multibillion-dollar investment firm was a complete fraud. There were no investments, he had told them; there never had been. Instead, for more than two decades, he had been running the largest Ponzi scheme in history. His sons had immediately informed the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and agents had shown up at Madoff’s apartment early that morning and arrested him. They’d taken him out in handcuffs. It looked like many thousands of people had lost billions of dollars.

Video: Were SEC’s Madoff probes incompetent?
It was exactly as I had warned the government of the United States approximately $55 billion earlier. And as I stood in the lobby of that dojo, my sense of relief was replaced by a new concern. The piles of documents I had in my possession would destroy reputations, end careers, and perhaps even bring down the entire Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the government’s Wall Street watchdog — unless, of course, the government got to those documents before I could get them published. I grabbed my kids and raced home.

My name is Harry Markopolos. It’s Greek. I’m a Chartered Financial Analyst and Certified Fraud Examiner, which makes me a proud Greek geek. And this, then, is the complete story of how my team failed to stop the greatest financial crime in history, Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. For the previous nine years I had been working secretly with three highly motivated men who worked in various positions in the financial industry to bring the Bernie Madoff fraud to the attention of the SEC. We had invested countless hours and risked our lives, and had saved no one — although eventually, after Madoff’s collapse, we would succeed in exposing the SEC as one of this nation’s most incompetent financial regulators.

For example, it was well known that Madoff operated his legitimate broker-dealer business on the 18th and 19th floors of the Lipstick Building on New York’s East Side. But what was not generally known was that his money management company, the fraud, was located on the 17th floor of that building. Months after Madoff’s collapse, the FBI would reveal to my team that based on our 2005 submission providing evidence that Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme, the SEC finally launched an investigation — but that its crack investigative team during the two-year-long investigation “never even figured out there was a 17th floor.” I had provided all the evidence they needed to close down Madoff — and they couldn’t find an entire floor. Instead they issued three technical deficiency notices of minor violations to Madoff’s broker-dealer arm. Now, that really is setting a pretty low bar for other government agencies to beat. But sadly, all of this nation’s financial regulators — the Federal Reserve Bank, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Office of Thrift Supervision — are at best incompetent and at worst captive to the companies they are supposed to regulate. As I would later testify before Congress, “The SEC roars like a mouse and bites like a flea.” In retrospect, considering how much I have learned since then, and how much my team has learned, that probably was inaccurate: I was being too kind. Tens of thousands of lives have been changed forever because of the SEC’s failure. Countless people who relied on that agency for the promised protection have lost more than can ever be recovered. In some cases people lost everything they owned. And truthfully, the SEC didn’t even need to conduct an extensive investigation. My team had given them everything they needed. With the materials we submitted, it would have taken investigators no more than the time it took to ask Madoff three questions for his fraud to be discovered and his operation to be shut down. The magnitude of this Ponzi scheme is matched only by the willful blindness of the SEC to investigate Madoff.

Excerpted from "No One Would Listen," by Harry Markopolos. Copyright (c) 2010, reprinted with permission from Wiley.

Monday, November 1, 2010

State Auditor Debate

This was posted on Facebook, worth listening to from NECN:

Broadside: State Auditor debate



The Donut Fund And Other Holes In Connaughton’s Story

The state auditor’s race is tight by all accounts, especially the account the Boston Globe provided in last Sunday’s poll. Suzanne Bump, the Democrat, led Mary Z. Connaughton, the Republican, by three points with a huge undecided vote. This means nobody, other than your humble servant, is paying any attention to this race.

For the first time ever, a woman is guaranteed to hold statewide office. (A third candidate, physics Prof. Nat Fortune, has, unfortunately for him, no chance.) Judging from their caustic debates, the principal candidates are putting the lie to the notion that women don’t like to criticize other women publicly.

Connaughton’s bad air day. She looked like a complete airhead on Jim Braude’s NECN TV show when he asked her several yes-or-no questions and every single time she robotically answered, “I am the only candidate for state auditor who is a trained auditor.” It was unsettling to watch.

A Mama Grizzly? In another interview, Connaughton said that she would be happy to have Sarah Palin’s support. “I need all the help I can get.” Hope former Gov. Mitt Romney didn’t hear that.

On Romney’s payroll. After promising not to accept contributions from political action committees (PACs), Connaughton admitted to being paid by Romney’s Free & Strong America PAC. While she claims to be a professional, not a politician, she worked on a political campaign and showed a political sense of timing, saying she would stop taking the money after — not before — next week’s election. She said accepting contributions from employees and consultants involved with the Romney PAC was “inadvertent.” Isn’t catching stuff like this what professional auditors are supposed to do?

Anti-gay groups and lobbyists can’t stop giving her money. Try as she might to avoid taking lobbyist money or argue that the office doesn’t deal with social issues, lobbyist and anti-gay money keeps finding her. Eager Connaughton donors include Coalition for Marriage and Family political operative Christen Varley and Evelyn Reilly, a registered lobbyist for the Massachusetts Family Institute — a leading force in trying to ban same-sex marriage. Connaughton signed their petition. Our sharp-eyed auditor had to return contributions from Reilly as well as lobbyist Thomas Trimarco, a former Malone Treasury deputy. She says she will also return contributions from lobbyists Frank Mahoney, Stephen Silveira and Wendy Monahan. Lots of mistakes by the auditor-wannabe.

From donuts to dollars. While she was a top financial manager in the state Lottery office, Auditor Joe DeNucci’s team uncovered a “donut fund,” which was used to hide hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of improper expenses, such as BSO tickets and expensive parties. All under the blind eye of Connaughton, who promises ceaselessly to bring “sunshine” to state government.

The audit report said that Lottery officials used “poor accounting practices that violated state law and cost the state more than $1.6 million in lost revenue,” the Globe reported. “Connaughton was in charge of the agency’s financial operations for most of the period of the audit… and was responsible for answering the auditors’ concerns. The audit report noted that the agency refused to cooperate and turn over requested documents.” So much for Miss Sunshine.

Wait, it gets better. Also at the Treasury, Connaughton was preoccupied with getting the cheapest prices from vendors, no matter what the cost. This led her to dump the only qualified, experienced company that had successfully recovered millions in unclaimed property funds, which go to the state. Over the objections of the head of the unclaimed property division, she picked four cheaper but inexperienced competitors. The difference to taxpayers: $16 million. Win some dimes, then lose tons of dollars.

Mary’s pop-ins. Republican Connaughton — in case you’d forgotten, the only auditor in the auditor’s race — sees the job as a glorified field auditor. She talks about popping into state agencies and looking at the books. That’s like the attorney general popping into a crime scene and dusting for fingerprints.

Bump takes on Wall Street accountants. Bump has pointed out persuasively that “accountants can only take us so far in fixing government. Accountants reviewed the books at Enron. Accountants reviewed the books at the banks and investment firms that led to the current recession. You need another set of skills.” Bump has those skills.

Bump has handled big jobs. Before she decided to run for auditor, Bump ran the state’s Labor Department for Gov. Deval Patrick. And she managed it effectively without a hint of scandal that tainted Connaughton’s time at the Lottery. Bump wants to take the Auditor’s Office “beyond simple financial accounting and focus on what we’re getting from government, how well is government meeting our needs, spending our dollars, what do we do to make it better.”

Her toughness got Bump bumped off. Never one of the boys on Beacon Hill, Bump lost a seat in the Legislature after taking on trial lawyers and sponsoring a measure to overhaul the state’s workers’ compensation system. As Labor secretary, she got the last word when she reformed the program anyway, saving money and cutting waiting periods.

So why didn’t the Globe endorse Bump? In the Sen. Scott Brown era, the paper obviously wanted to find one Republican it could support. She wasn’t a birther (Bill Hudak), hadn’t stood idly by while a teenage girl was strip-searched (Jeff Perry) and hadn’t been an executive at AIG, arrested for drunk driving and smoking weed and hadn’t bothered to vote in the last decade (Jon Golnik).

Bump hurt herself at the Globe and elsewhere with a tax maneuver claiming two primary residences which allowed her to get a property tax break from the City of Boston.

The Boston Phoenix got it right. In endorsing Bump, the paper said, “She has served the commonwealth as legislator, private advocate, and cabinet secretary — in each case, acting with independence, integrity, and competence. She will do so again as the state’s auditor.

“Bump has laid out an impressive plan for updating and refocusing the long-stagnant office. She understands the possibilities of the position, and its limitations. She deserves your vote.”

Amen and pass the donuts.