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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 07/01/2012 - 07/08/2012
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"Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it."
- Noam Chomsky
Send tips and other comments to: profmarcus2010@yahoo.com

And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Occupy is poised to wash over American society vs. If ever I saw a dead movement, it is surely Occupy

take your pick...

bill zimmerman in truthout...

The Aftermath of Occupy Will Surpass the Gains of 1960s Activism

A tsunami of citizen activism, initiated by Occupy Wall Street, is poised to wash over American society. The coming battle to correct the grotesquely unequal distribution of wealth and power in this country is likely to have an even more profound impact on our society than what occurred in the 1960s.

[...]

But the difficulty in actually achieving economic reform leaves many skeptical that a new movement can succeed. Granted, true economic reform is a greater challenge than the battles for political and human rights that we waged in the 1960s. But the other side of that coin is that such a movement can have tremendous staying power because the economic conditions provoking it are unlikely to change and the supply of ready new protesters will not diminish.

Skeptics also argue that the activists of the Occupy demonstrations and foreclosure protests are incapable of forging lasting organization, that despite their tactical creativity and their remarkable impact on the national dialogue, they lack leadership and a systematic analysis. True enough, but today's activism remains in the first blush of its growth and is still perfecting its social media organizing techniques. Political movements can mature with blistering speed.

[...]

A new movement is being born. Jobless young troublemakers being thrown away by society understand that the extreme disparities in wealth and power that are the cause of their problems will not disappear on their own. Behind these young people will be millions of dissatisfied workers pursuing the American dream denied. That is why the coming era of citizen activism is likely to dwarf what my generation accomplished in the 1960s. We altered the country, culturally, socially, sexually and spiritually. The next wave of activism will change it economically.

or alexander cockburn in counterpunch...

Biggest Financial Scandal in Britain’s History, Yet Not a Single Occupy Sign; What Happened?

People have written complicated pieces trying to prove it’s not over, but if ever I saw a dead movement, it is surely Occupy.

Has it left anything worth remembering? Yes, maybe.  With Bob Diamond squirming before British MPs, and politicians jostling to apportion blame for the Barclays scandal, memories of the 99 per cent and the one per cent are surely at least warm in the coffin.

Everything leftists predicted came true, just as everything hard-eyed analysts predicted about the likely but unwelcome course of ecstatic populism in Tahrir Square also came true. ·I do think it’s incumbent on those veteran radicals who wrote hundreds of articles more or proclaiming a religious conversion to Occupyism,  to give a proper account of themselves, otherwise it will  happen all over again.

to me, zimmerman sounds like he's whistling past a graveyard and cockburn sounds like an arrogant, cranky old man...

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This isn't the kind of "freedom" we want

this graphic was sent to me by an afghan friend along with his 4th of july best wishes...

Photobucket


says a lot, doesn't it...?

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The Libor criminal banking fraud crosses the pond

as far as i'm concerned, the libor scandal is the last straw... many trillions of dollars have been literally stolen from people around the world and if this goes unpunished, we might as well kiss our asses goodbye because we will be forever owned by our super-rich elites and the criminal bankers...

Libor rate-fixing scandal spotlight now on Citi, JPMorgan

The harsh light of the Libor rate-fixing scandal has crossed the Atlantic, with both Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase saying regulators and investigators have requested information from them in a so-far preliminary probe of the case.

Share prices for both — as well as Bank of America, which has not said if it was asked for information — have fallen sharply this week amid worries they could be in line for the type of heavy fines laid on Britain’s Barclays Bank, at the center of the scandal.

break out the rakes and hoes... it's time to go on the attack...

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Chomsky: Our super-rich elites are perfectly happy if your "significant other" is a TV set

from the guardian...

Noam Chomsky: 'The Occupy movement just lit a spark'

'If you're rich and powerful you never have enough'. In this full-length interview, Gary Youngetalks to US historian and philosopher Noam Chomsky about why the Occupy movement is so important, where it goes from here, and how it will affect the election.

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Friday, July 06, 2012

Robert Scheer on Libor: Modern international bankers form a class of thieves the likes of which the world has never before seen - on a scale that is almost impossible to comprehend

how massive does the fraud have to be, how many trillions of dollars does it have to involve, how many millions of people have to be ripped off, and how many more of these mega-crimes have to surface before these global criminals are stopped, and by stopped, i mean arrested, indicted, convicted and put away...?

robert scheer in truthdig...
The current Libor interest rate scandal, involving hundreds of trillions in international derivatives trade, shows how the really big boys play. And these guys will most likely not do the time because their kind rewrites the law before committing the crime.

Modern international bankers form a class of thieves the likes of which the world has never before seen. Or, indeed, imagined. The scandal over Libor—short for London interbank offered rate—has resulted in a huge fine for Barclays Bank and threatens to ensnare some of the world’s top financiers. It reveals that behind the world’s financial edifice lies a reeking cesspool of unprecedented corruption. The modern-day robber barons pillage with a destructive abandon totally unfettered by law or conscience and on a scale that is almost impossible to comprehend.

here's more from al jazeera...



and here's a longer treatment of the scandal from al jazeera's inside story with economist bill black making a guest appearance...




and, finally, this from current tv's viewpoint...


"Viewpoint" host Eliot Spitzer, Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone contributing editor, and Dennis Kelleher, president and CEO of Better Markets, analyze the Libor interest rate--rigging scandal engulfing the banking industry.

Barclays CEO Bob Diamond recently resigned after the bank was fined $453 million for its part in the scandal, which involved manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor), a key global benchmark for interest rates, by essentially "faking their credit scores," according to Taibbi. And as Taibbi explains, Barclays couldn't have acted alone.

"It can't just be Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland. In fact, it can't even be four banks or even five banks," he says. "Really, in the end it's probably going to come out that it's going to be all of them ... involved in this. And that's what's critical for people to understand: that this is a cartel-style corruption."

Kelleher argues that the Libor scandal is proof that the financial industry "is corrupt and rotten to its core." "The same executives [using] the same business model that crashed the entire financial system in '08 are still running these banks," he says.

 

why does accountability and the rule of law only apply to the peasants...?

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Thursday, July 05, 2012

More Alyona talking with Chris Hedges on the global trainwreck of unfettered capitalism

maximizing profits in a marketplace that recognizes no constraints...
That's what our guest tonight argues in his latest book, by travelling to, and documenting life and the destruction of it in so called, "sacrifice zones". This includes the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota; the city of Camden, N.J.; the now leveled mountains of West Virginia; and the migrant-worker camps that resemble modern day slavery of southwest Florida. So why are they sacrifice zones? Because both human beings and the natural world have been used and then discarded to maximize earnings in a marketplace that rules without constraints. They're perhaps the most shocking and in your face examples, but should they be used as a warning sign as to where the rest of the country, and the world are headed? Alyona discusses his new book "Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt" with Chris Hedges Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and Senior Fellow at the Nation Institute.



consider this an antidote to the mindless 4th of july celebrations of an america that doesn't exist...

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Glenn on the Surveillance State - "There is virtually no communication among Americans that is not beyond the reach of the NSA"

rt's alyona talks to glenn greenwald...
This Monday, Twitter released it's first ever transparency report. It revealed that just in the first six months of 2012, they've received more demands from governments for user data, than all of last year. And surprise, surprise, the United States made up the majority of the 849 requests, with a whopping 679. Alyona talks to Salon's Glenn Greenwald about the growing surveillance state and what can be done about it.



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Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Why LIBOR may be the biggest bank fraud ever and why we should be paying attention

from euronews...



matt taibbi...
The LIBOR manipulation story has exploded into a major scandal overseas. The CEO of Barclays, Bob Diamond, has resigned in disgrace; his was the first of what will undoubtedly be many major banks to walk the regulatory plank for fixing the interbank exchange rate. The Labor party is demanding a sweeping criminal investigation. Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, responded the way a real public official should (i.e. not like Ben Bernanke), blasting the banks:
It is time to do something about the banking system…Many people in the banking industry are hardworking and feel badly let down by some of their colleagues and leaders. It goes to the culture and the structure of banks: the excessive compensation, the shoddy treatment of customers, the deceitful manipulation of a key interest rate, and today, news of yet another mis-selling scandal.

The furor is over revelations that Barclays, the Royal Bank of Scotland, and other banks were monkeying with at least $10 trillion in loans (The Wall Street Journal is calculating that that LIBOR affects $800 trillion worth of contracts).

The banks gamed LIBOR for two semi-overlapping reasons. As noted here last week, there were instances of Barclays traders badgering the LIBOR submitters to "push down" rates in order to fatten their immediate bottom lines, depending on what they were trading or holding that day. They also apparently rigged LIBOR downward in order to produce a general appearance of better health, essentially tweaking their credit scores a few ticks upward.

Most intriguingly, or perhaps disturbingly, there were revelations last week that Bank of England deputy Governor Paul Tucker had a conversation with Diamond at the peak of the crisis in 2008. The conversation reportedly left Diamond, and subsequently his traders, with the impression that the bank had carte blanche to rig LIBOR downward in order to help allay spiraling public fears about the banks’ poor financial health.
British officials, and Tucker individually, deny that Tucker gave Diamond permission to rig rates. But a report by British regulators did conclude that the two were talking about Barclays LIBOR submissions on October 29, 2008, and that as a result of that conversation, Diamond came away with a “misunderstanding.” The Daily Mail quotes the Financial Services Authority report:
However, as the substance of the telephone conversation was relayed down the chain of command at Barclays, a misunderstanding or miscommunication occurred.
This meant that Barclays’ submitters believed mistakenly that they were operating under an instruction from the Bank of England (as conveyed by senior management) to reduce Barclays’ Libor submissions.

That is explosive stuff. Members of Parliament will be grilling Tucker tomorrow about those events in what is sure to be a far more combative and entertaining legislative inquiry than the Jamie Dimon dog-and-pony show we just went through here in the states in recent weeks.

The implications of that part of the story should be particularly chilling to Americans, who in recent years have been party to a number of revelations about strange and seemingly inappropriate contacts between senior regulatory officials and big bankers during the heat of the crisis.

We know that American officials in 2008-2009 were extremely concerned about the appearance of weakness in the financial markets, so much so that they may have resisted pursuing criminal prosecutions against big banks, and we also know that they spent a lot of time commiserating with Wall Street figures before and during the crisis.

If Bob Diamond and Paul Tucker were having these talks about LIBOR, is it fair to wonder what else Hank Paulson and Lloyd Blankfein were talking about in the 24 discussions they had in the six days following the AIG disaster? When Paulson had a secret meeting with the entire board of Goldman Sachs in, of all places, his hotel suite in Moscow, in June of 2008? Or what other material nonpublic information was exchanged when Paulson met with a gang of hedge fund chiefs at the offices of Eton Park management in July 2008, and laid out for them a possible scenario for putting Fannie and Freddie into receivership?

[...]

This story is so outrageous that it shocks even the most cynical Wall Street observers. I have a friend who works on Wall Street who for years has been trolling through the stream of financial corruption stories with bemusement, darkly enjoying the spectacle as though the whole post-crisis news arc has been like one long, beautifully-acted, intensely believable sequel to Goodfellas. But even he is just stunned to the point of near-speechlessness by the LIBOR thing. “It’s like finding out that the whole world is on quicksand,” he says.

c'mon, house of cards... fall already...

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Some good news on the 4th of July

hey...! yay...!

European Parliament votes against controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

ACTA, the controversial online piracy treaty, was dealt a blow on Wednesday when the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to reject it.

The European Parliament voted 478 to 39 against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which was drawn up in secret and had been protested by hundreds of thousands across the EU who saw the treaty as an infringement on internet freedom.

President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz welcomed the decision and stated that "ACTA is the wrong solution to fight online piracy." He said that the treaty negotiations had lacked transparency and acknowledged the massive public mobilizations against the treaty.

"The majority of the parliament is of the opinion that ACTA is too vague - leaving room for abuses and raising concerns about its impact on privacy and civil liberties, on innovation, creativity and the free flow of information," wrote Schulz.

"We have to take all possible measures to fight piracy, but this should never be done at the cost of what has made the internet one of the most revolutionary technologies in history: the EP wants the web to remain free and open," he added.

now, let's make sure SOPA, PIPA and CISPA never see the light of day...

 

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The first two paragraphs of The Declaration of Independence

read the entire document here...

The Declaration of Independence


When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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 whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Outrageous inequality facts

from information clearing house... 

Some Outrageous Facts about US Inequality

By Paul Buchheit

July 03, 2012 "Common Dreams" -- Studying inequality in America reveals some facts that are truly hard to believe. Amidst all the absurdity a few stand out.

1. U.S. companies in total pay a smaller percentage of taxes than the lowest-income 20% of Americans.

Total corporate profits for 2011 were $1.97 trillion. Corporations paid $181 billion in federal taxes (9%) and $40 billion in state taxes (2%), for a total tax burden of 11%. The poorest 20% of American citizens pay 17.4% in federal, state, and local taxes.

2. The high-profit, tax-avoiding tech industry was built on publicly-funded research.

The technology sector has been more dependent on government research and development than any other industry. The U.S. government provided about half of the funding for basic research in technology and communications well into the 1980s. Even today, federal grants support about 60 percent of research performed at universities.

IBM was founded in 1911, Hewlett-Packard in 1947, Intel in 1968, Microsoft in 1975, Apple and Oracle in 1977, Cisco in 1984. All relied on government and military innovations. The more recently incorporated Google, which started in 1996, grew out of the Defense Department's ARPANET system and the National Science Foundation's Digital Library Initiative.

The combined 2011 federal tax payment for the eight companies was just 10.6%.

3. The sales tax on a quadrillion dollars of financial sales is ZERO.

The Bank for International Settlements reported in 2008 that total annual derivatives trades were $1.14 quadrillion. The same year, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange reported a trading volume of $1.2 quadrillion.

A quadrillion dollars is the entire world economy, 12 times over. It's enough to give 3 million dollars to every person in the United States. But in a sense it's not real money. Most of it is high-volume nanosecond computer trading, the type that almost crashed our economy. So it's a good candidate for a tiny sales tax. But there is no sales tax.

Go out and buy shoes or an iPhone and you pay up to a 10% sales tax. But walk over to Wall Street and buy a million dollar high-risk credit default swap and pay 0%.

4. Many Americans get just a penny on the dollar.

  • For every dollar of NON-HOME wealth owned by white families, people of color have only one cent.
     
  • For every dollar the richest .1% earned in 1980, they've added three more dollars. The poorest 90% have added one cent.
     
  • For every dollar of financial securities (e.g., bonds) in the U.S., the bottom 90% of Americans have a penny and a half's worth.
     
  • For every dollar of 2008-2010 profits from Boeing, DuPont, Wells Fargo, Verizon, General Electric, and Dow Chemicals, the American public got a penny in taxes.
5. Our society allows one man or one family to possess enough money to feed EVERY hungry person on earth.

The United Nations estimates that $30 billion per year is needed to eradicate hunger. Several individuals have more than this amount in personal wealth.

There are 925 million people in the world with insufficient food. According to the World Food Program, it takes about $100 a year to feed a human being. That's $92 billion, about equal to the fortune of the six Wal-Mart heirs.

One Final Outrage...

In 2007 a hedge fund manager (John Paulson) conspired with a financial company (Goldman Sachs) to create packages of risky subprime mortgages, so that in anticipation of a housing crash he could use other people's money to bet against his personally designed sure-to-fail financial instruments. His successful gamble paid him $3.7 billion. Three years later he made another $5 billion, which in the real world would have been enough to pay the salaries of 100,000 health care workers.

As an added insult to middle-class taxpayers, the tax rate on most of Paulson's income was just 15%. As a double insult, he may have paid no tax at all, since hedge fund profits can be deferred indefinitely. As a triple insult, some of his payoff came from the middle-class taxpayers themselves, who bailed out the company (AIG) that had to pay off his bets.

And the people we elect to protect our interests are unable or unwilling to do anything about it.

yes, indeed... truly outrageous...

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With a hat tip to Atrios, simple answers to simple questions

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Monday, July 02, 2012

Stiglitz: 'Send Bankers to Jail'

evidently, with the latest breaking scandal involving barclays and the manipulation of the libor rate, joseph stiglitz has had enough...
Nobel Prize winner and former World Bank economist Joseph Stiglitz has called recent revelations that Barclays and other large banks colluded to defraud their costumers by artificially leveraging international interest rates a "textbook illustration" of how banks use privileged information and lax oversight to reap rewards for themselves while savaging the wider societies in which they operate.

In an interview with The Independent on Monday, Stiglitz argued (with Barclay's as just the most recent example) that bankers -- without threat of prosecution or jail time -- would continue to use their elevated status to exploit weak regulations, consolidate power, and avoid accountability.

The scandal at Barclays claimed the resignation on Sunday of Chairman Marcus Agius after traders at the bank admitted manipulating Libor, a baseline interest rate used by banks to set lending costs around the world and which acts as the benchmark, according to an estimate by Reuters, on $350 trillion in derivatives and other financial products.

Stiglitz argues, in paraphrase by interviewer Ben Chu, "that breaking the economic and political power that has been amassed by the financial sector in recent decades, especially in the US and the UK, is essential if we are to build a more just and prosperous society. The first step, he says, is sending some bankers to jail."

the lack of accountability and the wholesale refusal to apply the rule of law to our criminal super-rich elites is nothing less than outrageous...

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Sunday, July 01, 2012

Bernie Sanders: The American people are angry

from senator sanders youtube site...



yes, indeed, the american people ARE angry and rightfully so... we've been screwed sixteen ways from sunday by our super-rich elites, their criminal banker colleagues and their bought-and-paid-for government officials... it's all part of the grand plan to control all the world's money and resources while keeping the peasant class in thrall to keep it all running to their benefit...

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Moyers to Americans: Read the Declaration of Independence this July 4

as always, good stuff from bill moyers...

from raw story...

Bill Moyers Essay: The Difficult Truths Behind Independence Day

June 29, 2012
It’s important to remember that, behind the July 4th holiday, are human beings who were as flawed as they were inspired.



for a very long time, i have wished bill moyers would run for president...


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