November 25, 2011
By paul craig roberts
The Germans bond auction failure, an orchestrated event to punish Germany and to warn the German government not to obstruct “unity” or loss of individual country sovereignty. Who will rule the New Europe? Obviously, the private European banks and Goldman Sachs.
On November 25, two days after a failed German government bond auction in which Germany was unable to sell 35% of its offerings of 10-year bonds, the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble said that Germany might retreat from its demands that the private banks that hold the troubled sovereign debt from Greece, Italy, and Spain must accept part of the cost of their bailout by writing off some of the debt. The private banks want to avoid any losses either by forcing the Greek, Italian, and Spanish governments to make good on the bonds by imposing extreme austerity on their citizens, or by having the European Central Bank print euros with which to buy the sovereign debt from the private banks. Printing money to make good on debt is contrary to the ECB’s charter and especially frightens Germans, because of the Weimar experience with hyperinflation.
The violent police assaults across the US are no coincidence. Occupy has touched the third rail of our political class’s venality
US citizens of all political persuasions are still reeling from images of unparallelled police brutality in a coordinated crackdown against peaceful OWS protesters in cities across the nation this past week. An elderly woman was pepper-sprayed in the face; the scene of unresisting, supine students at UC Davis being pepper-sprayed by phalanxes of riot police went viral online; images proliferated of young women – targeted seemingly for their gender – screaming, dragged by the hair by police in riot gear; and the pictures of a young man, stunned and bleeding profusely from the head, emerged in the record of the middle-of-the-night clearing of Zuccotti Park.
But just when Americans thought we had the picture – was this crazy police and mayoral overkill, on a municipal level, in many different cities? – the picture darkened. The National Union of Journalists and the Committee to Protect Journalists issued a Freedom of Information Act request to investigate possible federal involvement with law enforcement practices that appeared to target journalists. The New York Times reported that “New York cops have arrested, punched, whacked, shoved to the ground and tossed a barrier at reporters and photographers” covering protests. Reporters were asked by NYPD to raise their hands to prove they had credentials: when many dutifully did so, they were taken, upon threat of arrest, away from the story they were covering, and penned far from the site in which the news was unfolding. Other reporters wearing press passes were arrested and roughed up by cops, after being – falsely – informed by police that “It is illegal to take pictures on the sidewalk.”
Why are the police out-of-control? Or are they in control and doing just what they were ordered to do? Mike interviews former Seattle Police Chief, Norm Stamper (who was Police Chief during the demonstrations at the WTO meeting in Seattle in 1999). Mike also speaks with reporter Chris Steele …
|By Bob Chapman|
|Global Research, November 27, 2011http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=27890|
In Europe each time a new player is presented we find he is a Goldman Sachs’ alumnus. Recent entries are Mario Monti appointed PM of Italy, Lucas Papademas appointed PM of Greece and Mario Dragahi appointed President of the European Central Bank. The banks blatantly control governments and agencies presenting us with an oligarchy, which controls most of the nations on the planet. In America politicians are bought and paid for. In Europe there is a different mind set, a shared worldview of bureaucrats, technocrats, politicians and the elite bankers of world government and domination. What has happened in this process is that Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and other mega-banking has retained power for decades. They control all the players in the field, so the outcome is always in their favor. The bankers and others in turn are paid via billions of dollars in bonuses. Banks are now bank holding companies having become that to avoid failure as brokerage firms. That is the case in the US, UK and Europe.
One of our subscribers in Brussels sent us a copy of A European Mechanism for Financial Stability. The present danger is seen in sovereigns heavily in debt and the heard effect of hedge funds. They say they won’t allow speculators to govern their societies. If they are serious why don’t they ban them from their markets? A universal ban would be even better and they could throw in derivatives for good measure.
Europe still does not have a longer-term structural solution to their debt crisis and none is in the offering. Germany cannot sell its total tranche of bonds and Mrs. Merkel says that if Germany can only sell 65% of its bonds how can Eurobonds or bonds of the six insolvent nations sell theirs? The debt crisis is burrowing even deeper like a large worm undermining the entire continent. Worse yet, we just found out that the Bundesbank usually holds back bonds for market making operations, thus, they only sold about half of the issue. If the crisis continues to deepen Germany and the other euro zone nations will have to reexamine where they are headed. As we know all currencies and debt rates are increasing, which ties the banks of all the participants, including the solvent ones. Even with the German bunds, who is going to want to hold debt in a country that will have to guarantee one-half or more of the debt of other countries? At the same time the call goes out for strict supervision and enforcement of budget discipline. We have lived in these countries and that is not possible for any sustained period of time.
LONDON – While workers protest against austerity measures on the streets, cash-strapped Europeans are feeling the pain at home, struggling to pay for heating as winter approaches, reviving soup kitchens for the poorest and getting rid of costly pets.
The debt crisis now ravaging the euro zone has seen governments cut spending, including to welfare programs, and raise taxes. Unemployment is rising and many Europeans are planning for a bleaker future.
Romanian mayor Florin Cazacu staged a six-day hunger strike last week over cuts to heating subsidies which meant his town of Brad could not afford fuel oil and 10,000 of its residents, public institutions and hospital faced a bitter winter.
“My hunger strike was an extreme solution, a mayor’s cry for help for the community,” Cazacu told Reuters by phone on Sunday.
He called off the strike on Saturday after central government agree to pay 1 million lei ($304,000), but said that would only cover 15-20 days of heating for the town where temperatures can fall as low as minus-30 degrees Celsius.
When the Martin Luther King Jr. monument was dedicated recently in Washington DC, I was reminded that the civil rights movement in America was led not by a politician fulfilling campaign promises, nor by a popular evangelist bent on saving souls, but by a highly trained theologian who put his religious teachings into practice with a demand for justice for those who had suffered at the hands of the rich and the powerful.
The Rev. King was a Baptist preacher who took his religion into the arena of racism, economics and social disparity. However, hatred caught up with him, and he was killed.
Now, nearly a half century later, there is another broad-based protest that is gaining momentum. The Occupy Wall Street protests echo some of King’s complaints about economic inequality and social injustice – and the message can no longer be ignored.
The significance of this latest public protest movement, erupting all over the country, may eventually rival the impact of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, yet when comparing the two movements, there is one glaring difference: priests, pastors and clergy of every stripe are rarely in the forefront of Occupy protests.
Instead, secular young people are doing the very work that Jesus from Nazareth would urge us to do. Just as Jesus condemned the injustices of his own day – and overturned the money-changing tables at the Temple – the Occupy protesters are challenging how Wall Street bankers and today’s rich and powerful are harming the masses of people.
November 24, 2011
By Peter Michaelson
Superficial psychology is an enemy of progress. We have to see deeper into human nature, and overcome our own emotional weaknesses, if we are going to prevail in the political struggle to save and enhance our democracy.
Most everyone is looking for happiness. The shopping malls of the self-help industry feature thousands of different methods, beliefs, and practices for finding it. Many of these approaches are of limited value, and we do ourselves a big favor by avoiding them.
According to Martin E.P. Seligman, founder of positive psychology, people who apply his method “are the people with the highest well-being I have ever known.” Seligman’s approach encourages us to apply determination and grit in order to increase our positive emotions and relationships. We flourish, he claims, when we focus on engagement, accomplishment, and a sense of meaning. His latest book is titled, Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being (Free Press, New York, 2011).
Darcy Parmer ran into trouble soon after she started her job as a fraud analyst at Wells Fargo Bank. Her bosses, she later claimed, were upset that she was, well, finding fraud.
Company officials, she alleged in a lawsuit, berated her for reporting that sales staffers were pushing through mortgage deals based on made-up borrower incomes and other distortions, telling her that she didn’t “see the big picture” and that “it is not your job to fix Wells Fargo.” Management, she claimed, ordered her to stop contacting the company’s ethics hotline.
In the end, she said, Wells Fargo forced her out of her job.
Parmer isn’t alone in claiming she was punished for objecting to fraud in the midst of the nation’s home-loan boom. iWatch News has identified 63 former employees at 20 financial institutions who say they were fired or demoted for reporting fraud or refusing to commit fraud. Their stories were disclosed in whistleblower claims with the U.S. Department of Labor, court documents or interviews with iWatch News.
“We did our jobs. We had integrity,” said Ed Parker, former fraud investigations manager at now-defunct Ameriquest Mortgage Co., a leading subprime lender. “But we were not welcome because we affected the bottom line.”
These ex-employees’ accounts provide evidence that the muzzling of whistleblowers played an important role in allowing corruption to flourish as mortgage lenders and their patrons on Wall Street pumped up loan volume and profits. Codes of silence at many lenders, former employees claim, helped discourage media, regulators and policymakers from taking a hard look at illegal practices that ultimately harmed borrowers, investors and the economy.
President Barack Obama’s Nov. 21 pardons of three marijuana offenders are extremely unlikely to indicate any shift in the White House’s pot policies. The three had already served their sentences.
More important is his commutation of crack dealer Eugenia Jennings’ sentence, the first clemency request Obama has granted since he took office. Groups that advocate eliminating the difference between penalties for crack and powder cocaine pointed to her case as an example of the system’s injustice.
“Her case screamed out for commutation,” said Kara Gotsch of the Sentencing Project in Washington, DC.
Jennings, 34, of Alton, Illinois, will be released next month after serving 10 years in prison. A mother of three children, she was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. Convicted of selling slightly less than a half-ounce of crack (actually, trading it to an undercover informant for designer clothing), she received a mandatory minimum sentence of 21 years and eight months because she had two previous convictions for selling about a gram of crack.
“Now is that fair? It’s not,” the judge who sentenced her in 2001 stated, “Your whole life has been a life of deprivation, misery, and whippings, and there’s no way to unwind that. But the truth of the matter is it’s not in my hands. As I told you, Congress has determined that the best way to deal with people who are troublesome is we just lock ‘em up.”
The cowardly, nocturnal destruction of more than 5,000 volumes of “the People’s Library” last week, a repository of knowledge gathered by the Occupy Wall Street assembly at Zuccotti Park requires the most vigorous push-back. Mayor Bloomberg of New York ordered the destruction which was certainly coordinated with Wall Street and the White House.
Let the number 451 become his license plate; let it become his Social Security Number; let it become the password to his billions; let it become his total ID, for now the world knows him as the one who realized the dystopia of book-burning described in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 (1953) known to every American high school student.
Or, one might liken the destruction at Zuccotti Park to the burning of the books in Germany in 1933. The German burning inspired a comrade of 1968 to place at the site of the Nazi’s hideous deed a plaque with Heinrich Heine’s words, written in 1821,
By Washington’s Blog
November 27, 2011
If You Thought Police Brutality Was Bad … Wait Until You See What Congress Wants to Do Next Week
But next week, Congress will vote on explicitly creating a police state.
The ACLU’s Washington legislative office explains:
By Brad Jacobson, AlterNet
Posted on November 23, 2011, Printed on November 26, 2011
Do you think that granting corporations the rights of people in the Citizens United case is disturbing? Then contemplate the fact that corporations have been patenting human genes and tissues at alarming rates — in the last 30 years, more than 40,000 patents have been granted on genes alone.
As the Occupy movement fights against the unmitigated influence of corporations on our lives, author Harriet Washington’s new book, Deadly Monopolies: The Shocking Corporate Takeover of Life Itself–And the Consequences for Your Health and Our Medical Future, is a timely wakeup call to protect the very essence of human life from the medical-industrial complex.
In a recent phone interview with AlterNet, Washington discussed the dark implications of corporate medical patents, how we find ourselves in this nightmarish scenario and what needs to be done to stop medical research profits from trumping human health.
Brad Jacobson: The main piece of legislation that opened the door for corporations to begin patenting human life was the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980. Can you tell us how this law was sold to the American people?
November 25, 2011
By Ray McGovern
During recent presidential debates, moderators have asked mostly predictable questions and–except for some notable gaffes—have elicited mostly talking-point answers. It’s time for citizens to put politicians on the spot with some more pointed questions.
Pity the pundits. It must be hard to pretend to be a journalist and live in constant fear of being one question or comment away from joining the jobless.
This Thanksgiving holiday weekend we can be thankful for the obscene transparency of the “mainstream” pundits’ efforts to avoid at all cost offending the corporations that own and use them.
Rather, media personalities who wish to be around for a while must do what they can to promote the notion of American exceptionalism and the need to sacrifice at home in order to defend and expand the Empire — “so that we don’t have to fight them here.”
Deborah invites Planet Dog back for a look at what you can gift this year that gives back; Pet gifts where proceeds go to service dogs and specially picked heartwarming charities. Did you know that service dogs work for police departments helping victims of violence and especially kid victims of …
This week Sandy LeonVest talks about the UN climate conference in Durban, South Africa, which most human rights and climate activists believe is destined for failure. The show features audio segments from Samson Malesi, human rights activist and coordinator of South Africa’s “Caravan of Hope” and Bongani Mthembu, campaigner …