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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 03/11/2012 - 03/18/2012
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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Corporate malfeasance

on a rotten weather day, we might as well make it worse by soaking up some of the sordid history of our capitalist system...
10 Great Moments in Corporate Malfeasance

1: IBM's Tech Support for the Holocaust

2: Union Carbide's Bhopal Disaster

3: Wal-Mart Janitor Lock-ins

4: Yaguarete Pora S.A. Bulldozing Protected Amazon Tribe's Land

5: Goldman Sachs Sells Investors its Doomed-to-Fail Fund

6: Visits from Ford Motor Company's Sociological and Service Departments

7: WellPoint's Breast Cancer Algorithm

8: United Fruit's Overthrow of the Guatemalan Government

9: Halliburton's Spoiled Food for Soldiers

10: Pharmaceutical Maker Roche: "Saving lives is not our business"

it's an ugly system we've been fighting and dying for...

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Friday, March 16, 2012

After Goldman, another whistleblower steps forth

this one from jpmorgan chase...
Comment for Public Information Collection 77 FR 8817

From: Z A N
JPMorgan Chase

Comment No: 57019
Date: 3/14/2012

Comment Text:

Dear CFTC Staff,

Hello, I am a current JPMorgan Chase employee. This is an open letter to all commissioners and regulators. I am emailing you today b/c I know of insider information that will be damning at best for JPMorgan Chase. I have decided to play the role of whistleblower b/c I no longer have faith and belief that what we are doing for society is bringing value to people. I am now under the opinion that we are actually putting hard working Americans unaware of what lays ahead at extreme market risk. This risk is unnecessary and will lead to wide-scale market collapse if not handled properly. With the release of Mr. Smith’s open letter to Goldman, I too would like to set the record straight for JPM as well. I have seen the disruptive behavior of superiors and no longer can say that I look up to employees at the ED/MD level here at JPM. Their smug exuberance and arrogance permeates the air just as pungently as rotting vegetables. They all know too well of the backdoor crony connections they share intimately with elected officials and with other institutions. It is apparent in everything they do, from the meager attempts to manipulate LIBOR, therefore controlling how almost all derivatives are priced to the inherit and fraudulent commodities manipulation. They too may have one day stood for something in the past in the client-employee relationship. Does anyone in today’s market really care about the protection of their client? From the ruthless and scandalous treatment of MF Global client asset funds to the excessive bonuses paid by companies with burgeoning liabilities. Yes, we at JPMorgan that are in the know are fearful of a cascading credit event being triggered in Greece as they have hidden derivatives in excess of $1 Trillion USD. We at JPMorgan own enough of these through counterparty risk and outright prop trading that our entire IB EDG space could be annihilated within a few short days.


It is rather surprising that what should be well known liabilities on our balance sheet have not erupted into wider scale scrutinization. I call all honest and courageous JPMorgan employees to step up and fight the cronyism and wide-scale manipulation by reporting the truth. We are only helping reality come to light therefore allowing a real valuation of our banking industry which will give investors a chance to properly adjust without being totally wiped out. I will be contacting a lawyer shortly about this matter, as I believe no other whistleblower at JPMorgan has come forward yet. Our deepest secrets lie within the hands of honest employees and can be revealed through honest regulators that are willing to take a look inside one of America's best kept secrets. Please do not allow this to turn into another Enron.

keep 'em coming...

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

So much for protesting ACTA, PIPA and SOPA; the MPAA and RIAA have colluded with the ISPs to spy anyway

can't catch a break...
American ISPs to launch massive copyright spying scheme on July 12

If you download potentially copyrighted software, videos or music, your Internet service provider (ISP) has been watching, and they’re coming for you.

Specifically, they’re coming for you on Thursday, July 12.

That’s the date when the nation’s largest ISPs will all voluntarily implement a new anti-piracy plan that will engage network operators in the largest digital spying scheme in history, and see some users’ bandwidth completely cut off until they sign an agreement saying they will not download copyrighted materials.

Word of the start date has been largely kept secret since ISPs announced their plans last June. The deal was brokered by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and coordinated by the Obama Administration. The same groups have weighed in heavily on controversial Internet policies around the world, with similar facilitation by the Obama’s Administration’s State Department.

The July 12 date was revealed by the RIAA’s CEO and top lobbyist, Cary Sherman, during a publishers’ conference on Wednesday in New York, according to technology publication CNet.

The content industries calls this scheme a “graduated response” plan, which will see Time Warner Cable, Cablevision, Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and others spying on users’ Internet activities and watching for potential copyright infringement. Users who are “caught” infringing on a creator’s protected work can then be interrupted with a notice that piracy is forbidden by law and carries penalties of up to $150,000 per infringement, requiring the user to click through saying they understand the consequences before bandwidth is restored, and they could still be subject to copyright infringement lawsuits.

Participating ISPs have a range of options for dealing with customers who continue to pirate media, at that point: They can require that an alleged repeat offender undergo an educational course before their service is restored. They can utilize multiple warnings, restrict access to only certain major websites like Google, Facebook or a list of the top 200 sites going, reduce someone’s bandwidth to practically nothing and even share information on repeat offenders with competing ISPs, effectively creating a sort of Internet blacklist — although publicly, none of the network operators have agreed to “terminate” a customer’s service.

It is because of those reasons that the content industries believe this program achieves much more than what might have been possible in the realm of public policy, and the ISPs appear to agree. The voluntary scheme will be paid for mostly by the content industries, which will share some costs with the ISPs.

swell... just swell... what the government doesn't do in the way of spying, our isp's will take care of for them...

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Counterpunch: It’s the system that’s toxic. Goldman Sachs merely operates well within the toxicity.

darwin bond-graham posting in counterpunch...
Whether Goldman Sachs is or isn’t an organization gripped by a toxic culture isn’t all that important when one considers the destructive impact that derivatives have had, and continue to have upon society. Capitalism as it functions today is completely dependent upon derivatives. Interest rates swaps are the single largest type of derivative, measured by notional amount, because they achieve an integration of different national, regional, and sectoral financial markets into one global financial system. It’s in the genetics of the project of financial globalization, fueled by derivatives, that the real problem lies, not in the internal culture of Goldman Sachs, or the illegal behaviors of some bankers across many firms. The real crime lies in perfectly legal and legitimated activities whereby a few powerful corporations design a system that puts the welfare of the world’s vast majority at grave risk. It’s the system that’s toxic. Goldman Sachs merely operates well within the toxicity.

repeating myself - which i am wont to do - it's absolutely the system...

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Reverend Billy and his gospel choir join OWS in targeting Romney fundraiser

reverend billy and the gospel choir of the church of stop shopping sings outside the waldorf astoria hotel in new york city where a fund-raiser was being held for mitt romney...
On March 14, 2012, over one hundred people from Occupy Wall Street and other groups rallied against corporate tax breaks, against corporate spending in politics, in support of the Dream Act, and AGAINST Mitt Romney (because he is on the wrong side on all those issues).

Mitt Romney was holding a $2,500-a-plate fundraiser at the Waldorf Astoria for his presidential campaign.

i'm a self-confessed fan of the reverend billy and his gospel choir...

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Top Goldman Executive Director quits: "It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off"

if a top goldman exec quitting and splashing it all over an nyt op-ed doesn't cause a tsunami, it should...
When the history books are written about Goldman Sachs, they may reflect that the current chief executive officer, Lloyd C. Blankfein, and the president, Gary D. Cohn, lost hold of the firm’s culture on their watch. I truly believe that this decline in the firm’s moral fiber represents the single most serious threat to its long-run survival.


It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off. Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as “muppets,” sometimes over internal e-mail. Even after the S.E.C., Fabulous Fab, Abacus, God’s work, Carl Levin, Vampire Squids? No humility? I mean, come on. Integrity? It is eroding. I don’t know of any illegal behavior, but will people push the envelope and pitch lucrative and complicated products to clients even if they are not the simplest investments or the ones most directly aligned with the client’s goals? Absolutely. Every day, in fact.

even though smith doesn't touch on the damage goldman and its ilk have created in the larger world, even a focus on the greed relationship goldman has created with its clients is something coming from an insider... it's good to have perceptions validated...

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Foreclosure fraud, false claims and stonewalling by Wells Fargo

marcy wheeler...
[T]he government has been sitting on evidence of significant crime for the last 18 months–crime that resulted in people losing their homes and the government being defrauded.

she's got more and it makes for distressing reading...

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Update from Adbusters following the move of the G8 to Camp David

i am a huge fan of humor as a way to address situations and issues that would otherwise be too fraught with tension and polarization to be addressed directly...


In a sudden about-face, the United States has conceded a victory to Occupy and moved May’s G8 summit to Camp David, an impenetrable military base in rural Maryland. Wow! Looks like the specter of 50,000 occupiers ready to swarm with a list of demands has turned the climactic Showdown in Chicago into a humiliating G8 Backdown. Bravo! Splitting the G8 and NATO summits was a deft move… but now we’ve got a major tactical rethink on our hands.

The big question is do we follow Mao’s advice (“when the enemy retreats, we pursue”) or Sun Tzu’s (“Do not pursue an enemy who simulates flight”)? We’ve heard persuasive arguments on all sides. Some occupiers say the movement should lay chase and go for #OCCUPYCAMPDAVID against all odds … a month of tree-sits, lockdowns and nomadic encampments in the woods and nearby Thurmont. Others believe it’s best to up the ante with #OCCUPYCHICAGO: an even bigger mobilization beginning with the May Day General Strike. Still others advocate an unpredictable everywhere-at-once global insurgency of anarchic swarms throughout the month of May.

When Ben Ali first attacked then tried to hide from his people, he was toppled. When Mubarak refused to negotiate and tried to beat his people back into line, he was deposed. Now the White House and the G8 are repeating the mistakes of last year’s autocrats … first they try to scare us with tough talk of repressive anti-Occupy ordinances, crowd suppression technologies and paramilitary policing, then they make a hasty retreat to the safety of Camp David.

The world’s leaders flee from us … so what do we do? Maybe we just laugh at them?

On May 18, the day the G8 leaders meet in Camp David, why don’t we, the people of the world have a #LAUGHRIOT. Let roars of laughter rise up from towns and cities everywhere at the spectacle of the world’s leaders trying to crisis manage the economy from behind closed doors and razor wire fences.

Laughter is one of the most powerful tactical weapons of memewar … it signals supremacy and loss of fear. So let’s pull off the greatest comedy of howling flash mobs, riotous street parties and hysterical pranks the world has ever seen. May 18 could be a monumental tipping point… an ahahaha! moment when the people of the world have a collective epiphany, and from that point on start thinking differently about how the world should be governed.

Jammers, whatever we do this Spring, let’s float like butterflies and sting like bees! Let’s bend the G8 and NATO to our will with shock tactics and audacious culture jams that capture the imagination of the world. We may be far closer to a Global Spring than any of us has so far dared to imagine …

"an ahahaha! moment"... love it...!

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Monday, March 12, 2012

Paul Craig Roberts: The US is well on its way to becoming a third world country

writing in counterpunch, roberts once again confirms what we already know...
US economic policy continues to focus on the mega-rich at the expense of 99% of the population. US interest rates are kept at, or near to, zero in order to maximize mega-bank earnings, while depriving tens of millions of retired Americans of interest income on their lifetime savings, forcing them to spend their capital in order to live, thus depriving their heavily indebted children of inheritance.

In short, the US is well on its way to becoming a third world country, as I predicted would be the case in 20 years at a Brookings Institution conference in Washington DC early in the 21st century.

America is no longer the land of the free and independent. It is the land of the 1% mega-rich.

he further comments on the report last week of 227,000 new non-farm payroll jobs reported by the bureau of labor statistics...
Of the new jobs reported by BLS, 92% are in services. Of this 92%, only 7% could possibly relate to exportable services–architectural, engineering, and computer systems services.

Of the reported new service jobs, 29% are in health care and social services. The categories that account for the health services jobs are ambulatory health care services and hospitals. Waitresses and bartenders account for 20% of the reported new jobs.

Employment services account for 29% of the new reported jobs. Transportation and warehousing accounted for 5% of the reported new jobs, despite a loss of 60,000 jobs in general merchandise and department stores.

In other words, the vast majority of the new jobs are low paying jobs, except for a few truck drivers.

Other conclusions that we can draw are:

The US has nothing to export to reduce its massive trade deficit, which has, sooner or later, disastrous implications for the US dollar.

Middle class income jobs are declining, with polarization at the two extremes.

is this a great country or what...?

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