Why don’t Berkshire Hathaway billionaires stop war criminals? Munger preaches the Golden Rule … but what about practicing it?


There is a rich guy named Munger who has some connection to Berkshire Hathaway, an organization that is rich beyond the dreams of avarice.

And Munger gave a persuasive little speech about the Golden Rule.

(I tip my chapeau to Isegoria, who posted a link.)

When I read Isegoria’s original post, I thought that Munger was pushing a version of Christianity, and I wondered why he didn’t use his Golden Rule to stop war criminals. Then a bit of research revealed that Munger works for Berkshire Hathaways, whose connections to war criminals are explained below.

Munger presented himself as a charming, neighborly practitioner of the Golden Rule in the following words:

To get what you want, deserve what you want. Trust, success, and admiration are earned. 

It’s such a simple idea. It’s the golden rule so to speak: You want to deliver to the world what you would buy if you were on the other end. There is no ethos, in my opinion, that is better for any lawyer or any other person to have.

 

By and large the people who have this ethos win in life and they don’t win just money, not just honors. They win the respect, the deserved trust of the people they deal with, and there is huge pleasure in life to be obtained from getting deserved trust.

 

 

Avoid intense ideologies. Always consider the other side as carefully as your own.

[Berkshire Hathaway avoids intense attachment to principles such as Christianity and patriotism. It is single-minded in its accumulation of money, however – perhaps that doesn’t count as an ideology?]

Get rid of self-serving bias, envy, resentment, and self-pity. 

Generally speaking, envy, resentment, revenge and self pity are disastrous modes of thought. Self-pity gets pretty close to paranoia, and paranoia is one of the very hardest things to reverse. You do not want to drift into self-pity.

 

And of course self-serving bias, you want to get that out of yourself; thinking that what’s good for you is good for the wider civilization and rationalizing all these ridiculous conclusions based on the subconscious tendency to serve one’s self.

At the same time, allow for the self-serving bias in others who haven’t removed it.

[The rebuttal from velcraft below will address some issues that suggest Berkshire Hathaway is rife with self-serving bias, and that it might be morally better if it had pity for some people it ignores.]

Avoid being part of a system with perverse incentives.


[The rebuttal will address some of the perverse incentives at work in Berkshire Hathaway.]

 

 …

The highest reach of civilization is a seamless system of trust among all parties concerned. 

…. Not much procedure, just totally reliable people correctly trusting one another. That’s the way an operating room works at the Mayo Clinic.

Taken from farnamstreetblog.com/2016/04/munger-operating-system/


And now, please consider a few words about Berkshire Hathaway from Political Velcraft:


According to http://warren-buffett-portfolio.com/, the #1 corporation in Warren Buffet’s stock portfolio is Coca Cola.  Coca Cola has an abysmal human rights record, most noteworthy thanks to its colorful history of repressing labor organizing.  According to an article by Jeremy Rayner for the John F. Henning Center for International Labor Relations:

There is mounting evidence that American companies are complicit in the persecution of trade unionists at their Colombian operations. In the case of the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Carepa, where Isídro Segundo Gil was murdered, the union Sinaltrainal argues that Coca-Cola knowingly stood by and allowed the plant’s manager to bring in paramilitaries to destroy the union.

The workers at the Carepa plant had been asking both Coca-Cola and its bottler, Bebidas y Alimentos, to intervene on their behalf two months before Isídro Segundo Gil’s murder. The plant manager, Ariosto Milan Mosquera had announced publicly that he had asked the paramilitaries to destroy the union.

His declaration had been followed by a series of death threats from the paramilitaries, which had prompted the union to send letters to both Coca-Cola and Bebidas y Alimentos asking that they intervene to secure their workers’ safety. And this was not the first time that threats against workers had been carried out. Just two years before, in 1994, the paramilitaries had killed two trade unionists at the same plant. It should have surprised no one when two and a half months after the union’s plea for help, Isídro Segundo Gil was murdered and the union busted.

Unionists have also been assassinated at other Coca-Cola bottling plants in Colombia, both before and after the incident at Carepa. One unionist, José Avelino Chicano, was killed at a Coca-Cola plant in Pasto in 1989.

In 2002, despite the limited publicity surrounding the events at Carepa, a union leader named Oscar Dario Soto Polo was killed during the course of contract negotiations at the plant in Bucaramanga. Despite the remarkable courage and perseverance of Colombia’s labor activists, the campaign of intimidation has necessarily taken its toll on worker organizing.

The president of Sinaltrainal, Javier Correa, reported last year that the number of unionized workers at Coca-Cola plants had dropped by more than two thirds since 1993-from 1,300 workers to only 450.

Such campaigns of violent intimidation have been aided and abetted by US tax dollars.  Many of those involved with these anti-union campaigns of violence were graduates of the Defense Department’s infamous School of the Americas.

The right wing paramilitaries which regularly slaughter labor organizers are closely connected to the Colombian military, which receives huge amounts of aid from the US government so as to fight the drug war as well as a dirty war against the anti-capitalist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Thus, even if Warren Buffett were to pay more in taxes, at least some of that money would go to violence against labor organizers.

In addition to brutality in Colombia, Coca Cola has been implicated in violence and intimidation against unionists in Guatemala. These and other Coca Cola human rights violations are profiled in detail at http://killercoke.org/Watch the movie trailer

Note that, contrary to Buffett’s progressive image, he profits immensely off of Coca Cola’s human rights violations.

If Buffett really wants to “get serious about shared sacrifice,” he should sacrifice the profits he has gained through the corrupt tactics of Coca Cola and use some of his immense wealth to help the Coca Cola workers suffering throughout the globe thanks to those tactics.  He should also repudiate the US government’s military aid and imperialist intervention in countries like Colombia.

 


The number two corporation in Warren Buffet’s stock portfolio is Wells Fargo.   Wells Fargo is a major beneficiary of corporate welfare.  For instance, they received $43.7 billion in federal taxpayer bailout money. But far more destructive is Wells Fargo’s investment in prison profiteers.

Wells Fargo owns 4 million shares in the Geo Group, the second largest private prison corporation in America, and 50,000 shares in the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the largest private prison corporation in the country.

These shares combined are valued at more than $120 million

(Source: http://www.cjjc.org/en/news/50-immigrant-rights/215-wells-fargo-divest-from-prisons).

Companies such as the Geo Group and CCA do not earn their money by providing goods or services to customers.  Rather, they make their money solely from the government, and solely for locking human beings in cages, mostly for non-violent offenses.  Further, these companies actively lobby for unjust laws, largely using the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a corporatist conservative political group.  As Bob Elk and Mike Sloan wrote in a recent article for The Nation:

ALEC helped pioneer some of the toughest sentencing laws on the books today, like mandatory minimums for non-violent drug offenders, “three strikes” laws, and “truth in sentencing” laws.

In 1995 alone, ALEC’s Truth in Sentencing Act was signed into law in twenty-five states. (Then State Rep. Scott Walker was an ALEC member when he sponsored Wisconsin’s truth-in-sentencing laws and, according to PR Watch, used its statistics to make the case for the law.) More recently, ALEC has proposed innovative “solutions” to the overcrowding it helped create, such as privatizing the parole process through “the proven success of the private bail bond industry,” as it recommended in 2007. (The American Bail Coalition is an executive member of ALEC’s Public Safety and Elections Task Force.)

ALEC has also worked to pass state laws to create private for-profit prisons, a boon to two of its major corporate sponsors: Corrections Corporation of America and Geo Group (formerly Wackenhut Corrections), the largest private prison firms in the country.

An In These Timesinvestigation last summer revealed that ALEC arranged secret meetings between Arizona’s state legislators and CCA to draft what became SB 1070, Arizona’s notorious immigration law, to keep CCA prisons flush with immigrant detainees.

ALEC has proven expertly capable of devising endless ways to help private corporations benefit from the country’s massive prison population.

These laws increase the number of peaceful people locked in cages, as well as the lengths of their sentences.  Those they lock up are almost without exception members of the working class, and they are disproportionately people of color.

Meanwhile, Geo Group and CCA gather obscene profits from these racist and classist laws.   Wells Fargo then profits by investing in these firms, and Warren Buffett profits by investing heavily in Wells Fargo.

If Warren Buffett were to pay more in taxes, at least some of those taxes would go to the prison industrial complex and then head straight back to Warren Buffett’s unfathomably large bank account.


According to http://warren-buffett-portfolio.com/, Buffett owns 7.8 million shares of General Electric stock.   GE produces a wide variety of products, and their war profiteering portfolio is no less diverse.  General Electric has sold the US military aircraft, missiles, bombs, and battlefield computer systems, to name a few.  Further, GE has been charged multiple times with defrauding the US government in relation to their defense contracts.

  1. Obama Cuts Welfare, While His Economic Advisory Board Chairman Increases American Poverty: Jeff Immelt, CEO Of General Electric & Owner Of NBC Urges More Welfare Debt For America ~ While Receiving $Billions In Taxpayer Bailout Money From Obama & Then Moves American Jobs Out To Other Countries, While Obama Nullifies Tax Oblgations For G.E.
  2. Head Of Obama’s Economic Advisory Board: Jeffrey Immelt Of G.E., Stabs The United States In The Back!
  3. Worst Bailout In U.S. History: General Electric Gets $182.5 Billion In Obama Buddy Bailout: Project Calls For Jeffery Immelt’s Immediate Resignation.
  4. Naming Names ~ Your Hijacked Government: The Revolution Will Commence When We Identify!

Warren Buffett also owns 34.2 million shares in ConocoPhilips and 0.4 million shares in Exxon Mobil, both of which are oil companies which have profited from the invasion of Iraq.  Earlier this year Buffett seriously considered investing in General Dynamics, a company which earns all of its revenue through military contracts.

  1. Slavery By Consent: “Every War In The Past 50 Years Is A Result Of Media Lies” ~ Julian Assange Movie
  2. United States Marines Waking Up To Rothschild Scheme: Usurped U.S. Military Industrial Complex!

An increase in Warren Buffett’s tax burden would not change this dynamic in the slightest.  Indeed, the bulk of tax dollars go to so called “defense spending,” which amounts to nothing more than blood stained subsidies to these and other military industrial complex corporations.

 


CNN Money reported in 2010 that Warren Buffett owned stock in Monsanto.  Monsanto is a controversial agribusiness and biotechnology firm, best known for developing genetically modified organism (GMO) crops. For this reason, they have been strongly opposed by many environmental groups.  The impact of GMO crops is a topic for scientific debate which I will not discuss here.  However, it is incredibly noteworthy that Monsanto has enlisted patent law to crush small producers, in a dramatic illustration of the ”patent monopoly“ long written about by individualist anarchists such as Benjamin Tucker.

  1. Deadly Levels Of Radiation Found In Food 225 Miles From General Electric Designed Fukushima: General Electric Media Blackout On Nuclear Fallout Continues!
  2. Waco Texas Fertilizer Company Hit By Drone/Laser Strike After Lawsuit Filed Against Monsanto!
  3. Monsanto Waco Missile Strike For Vermont? Monsanto Threatens To Sue Vermont If It Passes Transparent GMO Labeling Bill.
  4. Barry Soetoro aka; Obama Streamlines Killer Monsanto Through Canadian Border: Monsanto People Killer!
  5. Deadbeat Senator Barbara Mikulski Snuck Deadly Monsanto Rider In 2013 Budget Resolution: An Illegal Act In Congress!
  6. Monsanto Has Been Removed And Banned By: Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, Madeira, New Zealand, Peru, South Australia, Russia, France, and Switzerland!

Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds are all patented, granting the company monopoly privileges and the ability to use state violence to harass any farmers who save seeds, or even those whose fields are cross pollinated by Monsanto’s GMO crops.

Monsanto has filed over 100 patent lawsuits against farmers.  One, Kem Ralph, has had to pay $3 million dollars and serve prison time, simply for saving seeds, a common agricultural practice.   Such aggressive tactics from Monsanto have prompted a group of farmers represented by the Public Patent Foundation to fight back:

  1. Waco Texas Fertilizer Company Hit By Drone/Laser Strike After Lawsuit Filed Against Monsanto!
  2. U.S. Corporate Media Blackout On Waco Missile Attack: Corporate “Act Of Terror” Leaves 14 Dead!
  3. Big Milk & Big Dairy To Add Monsanto’s Aspartame!
  4. Monsanto’s Diet Sweetener Aspartame Linked To Leukemia & Lymphoma In Landmark Study On Humans
  5. Monsanto Found Guilty In France For Chemical Poisoning: French Court Rules Against Monsanto.
  6. Obama Appoints Monsanto Employees Into The U.S. Halls of Government
  7. Russia Kicks Out Monsanto 2012: Russia Kicks Out Rothschild 2006 ~ Obama Ushers In Monsanto VIA ‘North American Union’ Ploy 2011 .
  8. 80% Of Obama Farm Bill Going To Food Stamps: Thats $770 Billion [Charged To Tax Payers] & Then Diverted To Companies Like Monsanto!
  9. When Obama Strikes In Earnest Against The United States: The Coming EBT (ELECTRONIC FOOD STAMP) Riots ~ When Food For 47.3 Americans Is Stopped By A Push Of A Computer Button ~ Why Its Important To Understand!

On behalf of 22 agricultural organisations, 12 seed businesses and 26 farms and farmers, the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) is suing the biotech company in the federal district court in Manhattan and assigned to Judge Naomi Buchwald.

The organic plaintiffs had to pre-emptively protect themselves from potential patent infringement in case of accidental contamination of their crops by genetically modified organisms (GMOs), said PUBPAT.

“This case asks whether Monsanto has the right to sue organic farmers for patent infringement if Monsanto’s transgenic seed should land on their property,” said Dan Ravicher, PUBPAT’s executive director and a law professor at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York. PUBPAT is a non-profit legal services organisation based at Cardozo law school. Its stated mission is “to protect freedom in the patent system.”

“It seems quite perverse that an organic farmer contaminated by transgenic seed could be accused of patent infringement, but Monsanto has made such accusations before and is notorious for having sued hundreds of farmers for patent infringement, so we had to act to protect the interests of our clients,” he said in a press release.

It is disturbing that such a lawsuit is necessary. It is disturbing that a corporation can use the state to exercise this sort of control and intimidation against small farmers. It is perhaps more disturbing that a billionaire who invests in and profits from these coercive business practices is being held up as a progressive icon.


America’s Hemorrhoid Warren Buffett Back In The News: Buffett Bilks America ~ Profits $49.1 Billion While His Private Prisons Grow!

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