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Just when you thought John O’Quinn couldn’t get any more interesting…

…even when he died in 2009, his legacy continues to live on.  John O’Quinn is remembered for his large litigation win against tobacco and is thought to have won over $1.5 billion for his law firm over his career (Wikipedia’s biography).

In the news this week, a former client of John O’Quinn sued O’Quinn’s law firm.  You’re hearing about it here as the client, Eagletech Communications, Inc., was in litigation to stop “naked short selling”, which is a huge institutionalized problem that we are still dealing with today.  Here are the stories that came out this week:

To get more information on the Eagletech Communications, Inc. case and the issues involved, take a look at this movie, The Wall Street Conspiracy:

More information available:

 

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2014 in BLOG, Business, Public markets

 

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In the U.S., the age of lawlessness…

In the U.S., the age of lawlessness…

Preface

Some of you may think that this post has to do with politics, but I would disagree with you.  Some of you will think that I am “throwing the first stone“, as in Jesus’ statement in John 8:7 when the Pharisees were going to stone a woman caught in adultery and he said, “…Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (New International Version of the Bible), but they would be wrong as well.  I freely admit that I am as guilty as any and all in the United States of what I will talk about next…

My Supposition

For some time, something has been rumbling around in my mind.  Something unsettling.  Something I have had a hard time distilling down into a concise statement that I could then ponder what’s next.  Something that is effecting everyone in this country, the United States of America (“USA“).  Something that will effect my children, and their children, and their children’s children.  Something that I believe WE, the citizens of the USA need to be mindful of, address in our discussions, and start to address in our actions. So what is this “supposition” that I set forth?

  1. The Founding Fathers of the USA founded this country on the “rule of law“.
  2. As a people, We flourished as We allowed this principle to take root in our every day life, our political life, our religious life, and our personal lives.
  3. When We shared our values – and that word is key, “shared“, not “forced down their throats” not “conquered them and forced them to acknowledge” and not “used our superiority to show that we are right and they are wrong” – the rest of the world listened.
  4. When We showed our values by helping the rest of the world, sharing of our bounty (sorry for using the old fashioned word, but that captures my thought), the rest of the world saw what the “rule of law” could do for them.

Am I getting old?  Am I yearning for a better time, a time of my youth?  Nope, I think that we have been missing the boat for some time now (and I mean decades beyond my lifetime), and now the “chickens are coming home to roost“.  So I would like to explore, first my supposition and its individual pieces.  Then, in future blog posts, I would like to set forth some points for us all to start a discussion around and hopefully right the ship…

Rule of Law

So what do I mean by the “rule of law“?  On the surface, it sounds simple but man has been struggling with these issues since Socrates in ancient Greece, or if you are technically inclined, by Plato‘s and Xeonphon’s writings referencing Socratic ideas and discussion (see Plato’s Republic as one of the best known of these).  If we break this down into three distinct contexts, it becomes somewhat easier:

  • Rules according to law“;
  • Rules under law“; and
  • Rules according to a higher law“.

Rules according to law” states that the government will act only under clearly written rules, regulations, and legal principals.  But most importantly, “Well established and clearly defined laws allow individuals, businesses, and other entities to govern their behavior according (United States V. E.C. Investments, Inc., 77 F. 3d 327 [9th Cir. 1996]).  Before the government may impose civil or criminal liability, a law must be written with sufficient precision and clarity that a person of ordinary intelligence will know that certain conduct is forbidden.”

Rules under law” states that no one is above the law.  In England, this started with a group of 13th century Barons protecting themselves from a tyrannical monarch with the Magna Carta (the English Monarch is subject to the law).  Following this tradition, the U.S. Declaration of Independence had a group of Colonial rebels throwing off the yoke of injustice by a king who suspended the very laws that the Magna Carta started and the English Parliament enacted.  The Constitution of the United States of America established the American codified laws, with the Bill of Rights enumerating them further.

There is no better example of how the U.S. government should work than the impeachment of Richard M. Nixon – it reigned in the executive branch of the U.S. government and held out that even the President of the United States is still subject to the law (UNITED STATES V. NIXON, 418 U.S. 683, 94 S. Ct. 3090, 41 L. Ed. 2d 1039 (1974)).

And finally that “rules according to a higher law” pertains to the what is alluded to in the Declaration of Independence when it says,

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,…

That the written laws require governments to treat all persons equally under the law.  Now we all know that the U.S. Civil War pertained to this, but maybe not the way we were taught in elementary school – property rights were at risk.  I’m not saying that slavery was right or wrong (BTW, I personally think that it was wrong), I’m saying that Abraham Lincoln stole property from U.S. citizens without recompense.  This of course sets up a huge issue for government – if a law is morally wrong, should they still be required to uphold it?

Why even the United Nations, an organization that I don’t particularly feel embodies anything close to what I would hold the United States of America accountable to states as part of its website:

Promoting the rule of law at the national and international levels is at the heart of the United Nations’ mission.  Establishing respect for the rule of law is fundamental to achieving a durable peace in the aftermath of conflict, to the effective protection of human rights, and to sustained economic progress and development.  The principle that everyone – from the individual right up to the State itself – is accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated, is a fundamental concept which drives much of the United Nations work.

I think that much of the world understands, at least with their head, what the “rule of law” should me, but the problem right now is that every one applies it to everyone else and not themselves – either individually, state wise or nationally.

Coming soon…

Later this week, more on my supposition #2, #3, and #4.


 

Citations

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2014 in BLOG, Business, Entrepenuers

 

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New Brown Book Shop owners plan to adapt to the digital age

 
Brown Book Shop, founded in 1946, has sold technical publications at its store in downtown Houston. It has grown into one of the world’s largest bookstores that cater to the niche of oil and gas companies. Pictured is the new owners Steven Plumb and​ Noah Davis.
As seen in the Houston Chronicle By Erin Mulvaney
February 11, 2014 | Updated: February 11  
The Brown Book Shop has evolved over nearly seven decades from an art, poetry and fiction salon for the city’s elite to a specialty outlet for technical handbooks, manuals and industrial codes for the booming energy sector.

Now, the downtown institution at 1517 San Jacinto is poised for the next stage in its transformation. It has been sold, and new owners Stephen Plumb and Noah Davis hope to expand the Brown Book Shop’s customer base and move it into the digital age.

“We realized the business had a lot of potential,” Plumb said. “We wanted to use the success as a spring board to launch it into the digital media age.”

The shop will keep its name and continue in the downtown location it has operated in since 1987.

But the focus will increasingly be online. Plumb and Davis were hired by Pat Ginther, the second owner in the store’s 68-year history, in July to help reverse a downward sales trend that Davis said had Ginther within a week of closing the doors.

Over the last six months, Brown Book Shop’s online presence has increased significantly and the store also now offers tools, supplies and maps for engineers. Sales have since doubled, Davis said.

The new owners also plan to begin publishing books through the new Brown Publications.

Brown Book Shop carries about 10,000 titles, including many hard-to-find titles for engineers, electricians and architects with titles such as “Drilling Data Handbook,” “Pipe Fitters Manual” and “Handbook for Riggers.” Books cost on average between $200 and $300.

The new owners feel confident enough in their business plan to renew Brown’s lease until 2019 and doubling the staff to 10 employees. They are remodeling the offices and a portion of the building and plan to add a daily feed of industry news to the website.

“The idea is to make Brown a resource for people in the field,” Davis said.

Last year, the shop generated $1.65 million in sales. The new owners estimate that will double in 2014 and continue to double annually for the next five years.

When original owner Ted Brown opened the shop in 1946, well-heeled Houstonians visited the shop for rare leatherbound books and first-editions, and the store would host famous authors for book signings.

He likely saved the store from going out of business by radically adapting the focus to technical books from oil and gas companies. He purchased books from across the United States, in Canada, Europe and South America.

Ginther bought the business from Brown in 1980 and moved it to its current location in 1987, maintaining the technical focus.

The new owners say its one of the only remaining technical bookstores in the world and that it has about 3,000 active accounts with oil and gas, petroleum engineering and marine industry companies. Many of their existing customers are based in Houston.

Irwin Miller of The Service Corps of Retired Executives said he thinks brick and mortar and online can work together in retail. He said although the Brown name is well known in Houston, the owners need to market themselves to a broader customer base.

“The world is changing and you have to change with the world,” he said. “Their accessibility will be way beyond just Houston. I think their market is larger. People all over the world would need technical books.”

About 30 percent of business still comes from walk-in customers, Davis said.

“I think it’s a testament to the Houston area,” he said, “and how strong the market is here and how strong the energy industry is here.”

 

http://www.clearfinancials.com/​
 
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Posted by on February 13, 2014 in News

 

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SEC halts trading in a number of micro-cap companies yesterday

Yesterday, the United States Securities & Exchange Commission (“SEC”) halted trading in 255 securities, mostly micro-cap dormant shell companies.  Per Laura Anthony, Founding Partner and Attorney at Legal & Compliance, LLC (legalandcompliance.com):

On February 3, 2014, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) suspended the trading in 255 dormant shell companies.  The trading suspensions are part of an SEC initiative tabbed Operation Shell-Expel by the SEC’s Microcap Fraud Working Group.  In May 2012, the SEC suspended the trading on 379 shell companies and in June 2013, it suspended 61 shell companies as part of the initiative.  Each of the companies was a dormant shell that was not current in its public disclosures.  Each of the companies failed to have adequate current public information available either through the news service on OTC Markets or filed with the SEC via EDGAR.

Check out her BLOG and post concerning this important happening at http://securities-law-blog.com/2014/02/04/shell-companies/?utm_source=SEC+Files+Administrative+Proceedings+Against+19+S-1+Companies+And+Suspends+Tradi&utm_campaign=Shell+Companies&utm_medium=email#sthash.zxGi1Ndv.dpuf

Here is the SEC’s announcement at www.sec.gov/litigation/suspensions/2014/34-71465.pdf.


© 2014 by Rhodes Holdings LLC, all rights reserved. Quote from Laura Anthony’s BLOG as referenced above.

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2014 in BLOG, Business, Public markets

 

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BenchMark Signs Manufacturing Agreement in Mexico for Antifreeze Production

Coldspring, Texas (January 14, 2014) – BenchMark Energy Corporation (OTC Pink:BMRK, a refiner and supplier of Glycerin for commercial processes, announced it has signed agreements with a processing company in Mexico to provide them with refined Glycerin, and for the production and shipment of BenchMark’s own brand of antifreeze for resale to consumer market here in North America.

Under the agreement, BenchMark Energy will supply increased shipments of refined Glycerin to its Mexican partner, and in return will be provided manufacturing, production, and shipment of BenchMark’s own brand of antifreeze, now to be marketed under the new brand name Timberline Antifreeze.

Once in full production, our Mexican production facilities should be on course to ship up to 150,000 gallons of antifreeze to the company per month. The Company anticipates that the first shipments of their new Timberline Antifreeze product should be on store shelves by the end of January 2014.

Mark Bateman, the CEO of BenchMark Energy Corp. commented, “We are very excited to announce our contracts with our Mexico partners for the production of Timberline Antifreeze as our first commercial Glycerin-based retail consumer product. We feel by utilizing our secure supply of Glycerin, and the environmental aspects of using our Glycerin-based product as opposed to Ethylene Glycol, that BenchMark will be providing a cutting edge new product within the antifreeze market.”

ADVANTAGES OF GLYCERIN BASED ANTIFREEZE

- Less corrosive on engine parts
– More cost-effective than Ethylene Glycol based Antifreeze
– Close to neutral on a corrosive scale
– Better for the environment (less toxic)
– Supportive of the renewable fuels industry

UNIT SIZES TO BE MARKETED

Timberline Antifreeze will be marketed in both 1 gallon containers, 55 gallon drums and bulk ISO containers. The 1 gallon containers will be focused on the retail market, providing a superior product at a lower cost per container than conventional antifreeze. Through internal and marketing price reviews they feel Timberline Antifreeze will be extremely competitive price wise to current antifreeze products on the market.

The 55-gallon drums and ISO containers will be marketed towards transportation companies, farmers, school systems, automotive repair shops, and other enterprises that service fleets of vehicles. Although launch is still pending for January 2014, BenchMark has already received indications of interest from transportation companies as potential pre-orders.

Additional blends of Timberline Antifreeze are expected in the coming weeks and months ahead.

Photos of the recent signing of this agreement will be posted shortly on our official Twitter account at https://twitter.com/BenchMarkE

ABOUT BENCHMARK ENERGY CORPORATION

“BenchMark Energy Corporation (OTC Pink:BMRK) is the source for glycerin and related refined components, providing value through our industry knowledge.” – Our mission statement starts the story, but the rest is available at http://benchmarkenergy.com.

SAFE HARBOR STATEMENTS

The statements in this release that relate to the Company’s expectations with regard to the future impact on the Company’s results from new products in development are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The results anticipated by any or all of these forward-looking statements may not occur. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly release the result of any revisions to these forward-looking statements that may be made to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof, or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events or changes in the Company’s plans or expectations.

INVESTOR RELATIONS

Ashlee Guzman
Phone: (832) 691-0011
Email: investorrelations@benchmarkenergy.com

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2014 in Business, News, Public markets

 

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Glycerin as a Greener Alternative to Ethylene Glycol in Antifreeze

Coldspring, Texas (January 09, 2014) – BenchMark Energy Corp (OTCPink:BMRK), a supplier of Glycerin for commercial processes refiner and supplier of Glycerin for commercial processes, announces that the use of Glycerin in BenchMark’s upcoming Timberline Antifreeze product line is a greener alternative to Ethylene Glycol in antifreeze and engine coolant products.  ASTM International recently announced standards wherein the use of Glycerin within antifreeze and engine coolant products is seen as a much more environmental friendly and cost-effective alternative than Ethylene Glycol, which is the most prevalent component today. Glycerin, which is nontoxic to the environment, was used as a heat transfer agent in antifreeze formulations as early as 1920, but was eventually replaced by Ethylene Glycol in the 1930’s due to cost considerations.

ASTM International, formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), is a globally recognized leader in the development and delivery of international voluntary consensus standards. Today, some 12,000 ASTM standards are used around the world to improve product quality, enhance safety, facilitate market access and trade, and build consumer confidence.

ADVANTAGES OF GLYCERIN BASED ANTIFREEZE

- Close to neutral on a corrosive scale
– Glycerin is less corrosive to engine parts than Ethylene Glycol
– More cost-effective than Ethylene Glycol
– Better for the environment
– Supportive of the renewable fuels industry

UNIT SIZES TO BE MARKETED

Benchmark’s Antifreeze product line will be marketed in both 1 gallon containers and 55 gallon drums. The 1 gallon containers will be focused on the retail market, and through internal review, we feel could be very price competitive to current antifreeze products on the market.  55-gallon drums will be marketed towards transportation companies, farmers, school systems, automotive repair shops, and any enterprise that services fleets of vehicles. Although the launch is still pending for January 2014, Benchmark has already received indications of interest from transportation companies for pre-orders.

Mark Bateman, CEO of Benchmark Energy Corp. commented, “We are excited to announce the upcoming launch of Benchmark’s Antifreeze product line as its first commercial retail consumer product.  By utilizing our Glycerin supply and the positive environmental aspects of using Glycerin instead of Ethylene Glycol, we feel Benchmark is embarking on a cutting edge new product within the antifreeze market.”

ABOUT BENCHMARK ENERGY CORPORATION

“BenchMark Energy Corporation (OTC Pink:BMRK) is the source for glycerin and related refined components, providing value through our industry knowledge.” – Our mission statement starts the story, but the rest is available at http://benchmarkenergy.com.

SAFE HARBOR STATEMENTS

The statements in this release that relate to the Company’s expectations with regard to the future impact on the Company’s results from new products in development are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The results anticipated by any or all of these forward-looking statements may not occur. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly release the result of any revisions to these forward-looking statements that may be made to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof, or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events or changes in the Company’s plans or expectations.

INVESTOR RELATIONS

Ashlee Guzman
Phone: (832) 691-0011
Email: investorrelations@benchmarkenergy.com

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2014 in Business, News, Public markets

 

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Ludlow Research Issues Opinion on BMRK Based on Pending Launch of Commercial Antifreeze Product

NEW YORK, (December 27, 2013) – BenchMark Energy Corporation (OTC Pink:BMRK, a refiner and supplier of Glycerin for commercial processes, announces research report on company, based on pending commercial launch of retail brand antifreeze product called BenchMark Antifreeze.
 

REPORT HIGHLIGHTS

- Top Supplier of Raw and Refined Glycerin
– Launching Commercial Antifreeze Product in mid-January 2014
– Strong Contacts with Transportation Fleet Shippers
– 24 Million Shares Outstanding
– Public Float only 1.1 Million
– Valuation Target $1.00 ($24 million market cap)

Benchmark Energy is one of the largest traders of both refined and raw Glycerin in North America, which is a by-product of biofuel production. They hold partnerships with nearly 60 biofuel production facilities across the US as suppliers of raw Glycerin, which is then resold to industrial manufacturers for the commercial process of other end use products.

Through their years of operation, and wide-scope of distribution through both rail and freight transportation across North America, the Company has established a number of contacts within their transportation and freight hauling network. The Company is in the process of launching their first brand retail antifreeze product in January 2014, to be marketed under the brand name ‘BenchMark Antifreeze’ towards a number of fleet transportation operators.

VALUATION POTENTIAL

As of Dec. 2013, the Company had approximately 23.5 million common shares issued and outstanding, with a public float of around 1.1 million shares. Along with BenchMark’s extensive network of trucking and fleet transportation contacts, their commercial retail antifreeze product expected for commercial launch in mid-January, potential for pre-orders to their transportation network, and a tight public float of just around 1.1 million, there is real potential for a sharp appreciation in their overall market capitalization value at these levels.

For more information of this research valuation report please visit http://www.wallstreetnewscast.com/profile/bmrk.html

ABOUT BENCHMARK ENERGY CORPORATION

“BenchMark Energy Corporation (OTC Pink:BMRK) is the source for glycerin and related refined components, providing value through our industry knowledge.” – Our mission statement starts the story, but the rest is available at http://benchmarkenergy.com

SAFE HARBOR STATEMENTS

The statements in this release that relate to the Company’s expectations with regard to the future impact on the Company’s results from new products in development are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The results anticipated by any or all of these forward-looking statements may not occur. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly release the result of any revisions to these forward-looking statements that may be made to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof, or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events or changes in the Company’s plans or expectations.

INVESTOR RELATIONS

Ashlee Guzman
Phone: (832) 691-0011
Email: investorrelations@benchmarkenergy.com

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2013 in Business, News, Public markets

 

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