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Sorry, Charlie...but, I'm even more sorry
for America. Starkist.
donations and Nancy Pelosi. And
scandals that never become scandals.

In 2009, Dongwon Industries of Seoul, South Korea, the larges marine distribution company in the world, bought one of the three largest canned tuna producers in the United States: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based Starkist for $363 million. Bumble Bee canned salmon (also a tuna packer), the second largest marine foods canner was created in 1924 as Columbia River Packers Association. In 1946 TransAmerica acquired controlling interest in CRPA. Through a series of mergers between 1961 to 1989, the bankrupt Bumble Bee Seafood Co. was sold to a Thai company, Unicord. Eleven years later Bumble Bee became a ConAgra brand. In 2014 with a slight name change, Bumble Bee Foods, now owned by British Lion Capital LLC, began talks with investment bankers being courted to dispose of Bumble Bee to either an American or Asian buyer.

In December, 2014 Bumble Bee, whose US headquarter is located in San Diego, California, was sold to Thai Union. Bumble Bee, which makes a much tastier tuna product than Starkist, has trouble competing with the largest marine processor in the world. We have, in this country, what appears to be shaping up as "Starkist Wars." Although all three of the giant marine food processors Starkist cleans, processes and cans its tuna in American Samoa (an unincorporated territory of the United States), and it's primary competitors, Bumble Bee Foods and Chicken-of-the-Sea do the labor-intensive cleaning and processing of their marine products in Thailand, but they can their tuna and other marine products in the United States. As a result, the cost per can for Bumble Bee and Chicken-of-the-Sea is higher than Starkist, so when those companies bid for contracts for school lunches and other USDA food programs, Starkist always win not because of cost differences, but because the law Congress enacted mandates that all seafood the USDA buys must be 100% U.S. produced.

Even though Bumble Bee and Chicken-of-the Sea are processed in Thailand, their products are canned under FDA supervision in the United States. Starkist, while only technically processed and canned in the United States, is viewed as a 100% American product although every step in the production and canning of Starkist tuna is done in American Samoa. Most of the workers who process Starkist tuna actually live in Samoa and not in American Samoa. Why? Because Samoans work cheaper than the workers in American Samoa. Which brings us to Nancy Pelosi. American Samoa is covered by US law, Samona is not. Congresswoman Pelosi, who campaigned heavily on "honesty in government" to win the job as Speaker of the House on Jan. 8, 2007, inserted a rider into the new minimum wage law enacted by Congress two days later which, exempted American Samoan workers from the law which, for the first time, established a minimum wage for the Northern Marianas Islands. What does that mean? It means Starkist and Chicken of the Sea could pay American Samoan workers whatever they wanted since almost 90% of the workers working in American Samoa work for the tuna packers.

One of the biggest opponents to the new minimum wage law, which raised the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour was Delmonte, whose headquarters at that time was located in San Francisco—in the heart of Pelosi's 12th US congressional district in California. Starkist owned one of the two tuna processing and canning plants in American Samoa. Chicken of the Sea owned the other one.

On Thursday, Jan. 11, 2007 as the House began its debate on stem cell research, Congressman Patrick McHenry [R-NC] raised a parliamentarian question with Barney Franks [D-MA]—whether or not an amendment could be offered to exempt American Samoa from stem cell research. It was at that moment that most Republicans learned that the minimum wage bill exempted Nancy Pelosi's largest campaign donor. When McHenry spilled the beans, Barney Franks shouted him down on the floor. When social progressives control everything in Washington, they have no problem helping themselves to the political spoils that will enrich them. Pelosi, of course, argued that she never lobbied on behalf of either Starkist or Delmonte. She just wanted to vote on the bill so she could, I imagine, find out what was in it.

In Peter Schweizer's 2011 best seller, Throw Them All Out, Schweizer revealed that Nancy Pelosi invested somewhere between $1 million and $5 million in VISA stock and then blocked a major credit card industry reform bill. I'm not a securities lawyer, but isn't that called insider-trader? Or did she not know what was in the bill until Obama didn't signed it into law, and she didn't read about it in the Congressional Record? Well, thankfully, Scheizer caught it since you won't ever read what didn't happen with credit card reform in the New York TImes. A bill which helps the taxpayers that didn't make it to the floor for a vote—in New York Times parlance—just isn't news that's fit to print.

Nancy Patricia D'Alasandro was born in Baltimore, the youngest of six children. Her "New Deal" father served as a US Congressman from Maryland's 3rd Congressional District from 1939-1947, and in 1946, he was elected mayor of Baltimore, a job he held until 1959. Pelosi was raised in an upper middle class FDR-liberal family.

Thomas D'Alasandro, Pelosi's father, launched a bid for Maryland governor in 1954, but was forced to drop out of the race after he was implicated for receiving illegal campaign contributions (quid pro quo expected) from Dominic Piracci, a parking garage owner. Piracci was convicted of fraud, conspiracy and obstruction of justice. When D'Alasandro tried to run for re-election as mayor in 1959, he was defeated for renomination. In 1958 D'Alasandro ran for the US Senate. He lost.

And, what was the point of that verbal exercise which I know you didn't really want to know? There was no "silver spoon," and no family trust fund financing a rich family's inheritance in Nancy Pelosi's life. You might say Pelosi was a self-made woman who learned you can go from rags to riches by serving her country. In 2012, Pelosi's net worth was estimated between $58 million and $87,997,030.00 with the latter number being the correct one..

While Pelosi acts like the family wealth was created by her husband who failed in more ventures than he succeeded (the big dollar, pipedream, personal ones), Paul Pelosi (Mr. Nancy Pelosi), a real estate and venture capital investment broker, stiffed the head coach of the United Football League's Sacramento Mountain Lions, Dennis Green of almost $990,000 in earned pay. At least, that's Green's claim. Oops...it was a "claim" until Green was awarded a judgment against Pelosi. Thus far, 80 UFL players, including legendary San Deigo Charger head coach Marty Schottenheimer have filed suit against Pelosi and multimillionaire William Hambrecht for failing to honor their contracts.

Pelosi agreed to pay Green, the former head coach of the Minnesota Vikings and the Arizona Cardinals $62,500.00 bi-weekly to become the head coach of the Mountain Lions. In his complaint, filed when Green sued Pelosi, Green said all he received from Pelosi was $5,000 every two weeks. When the UFL was created by Hambrecht, Pelosi bought into the League for a million dollars, then purchased the Mountain Lions for $12 million. When the league, founded in 2009, floundered in 2012, Pelosi lost not only his $13 million investment but he stands to lose substantially more when the UFL players win judgments against the league owners.

As Pelosi Sr. was losing his shirt in football, Pelosi, Jr. lost his in environmental-friendly capitalism. Paul Pelosi, Jr., former New Mexico governor Tony Anaya, James E. Cohen and Joseph Corazzi, were charged with securities fraud in a venture called Natural Blue Horizons. The year his father lost his $13 million investment in the United Football League, Junior held 10 million shares of stock and the title of President of Natural Blue Horizons. However, the real principle players of the company, the Securities Exchange Commission said, were James E. Cohen and Joseph Corazzi, both of whom had previously been convicted of securities fraud and both had been barred from acting as an officer or director of any publicly held company. The SEC told the Washington Times that Cohen, Corazzi, Anaya and a former Natural Blue executive, Erik Perry were all charged with federal fraud violations. The SEC said that Anaya and Perry misled investors by failing to disclose that Cohen and Corazzi were actually running Natural Blue Horizons in spite of their criminal histories.

While BusinessWeek listed Joseph Montalto as the president of Natural Blue on Jan. 11, 2010, the Mountain View Telegraph cited Pelosi, Jr. as the President of Natural Blue in 2013. Still other reports cited Anaya as the CEO at the same time. The Washington Times reported last July that there is still some dispute about Pelosi, Jr.'s current and past association with Natural Blue with regard to when he was there and when he left.

I guess in some of America's best known political families, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Well, for whatever it's worth, once again, you have my two cents worth on this subject. Until next time...





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