strong>New Book Now From Cosimo Books[/caption
The Boss is Back: Springsteen Lashes Out at Bankers in Berlin Show
No Medal of Freedom for Him!
And so is Bush: WASHINGTON (AP) - This is a little awkward. President Barack Obama can't seem to stop bad-mouthing the record (And perpetuating it? DS) of former President George W. Bush. But on Thursday, Obama is going to welcome his predecessor and proudly preside as Bush's image and legacy are enshrined at the White House forever. Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will join Bush and his wife, Laura. Its portrait time!
New Western Tactic in Economic War on Iran: Cut Off Insurance For Oil Delivery
Bloomberg: With a month to go before the start of a full European embargo on Iranian oil, ship owners seeking to keep hauling the crude by switching insurance provider risk having their tankers seized by lenders.
Most loans to buy vessels require insurance against risks including spills and collisions, and banks will normally only accept cover provided by members of the International Group of P&I Clubs, according to Harry Theochari, a London-based shipping and asset-finance lawyer at Norton Rose LLP. The group’s members insure about 95 percent of the tanker fleet and follow European Union law, which will prohibit all such cargoes from July 1 as part of international efforts to curb Iran’s nuclear program.
Oil shipments from Iran, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ second-largest producer, already declined 23 percent this year, Barclays Plc estimates. While ship owners in China, Japan and India, the biggest buyers of the crude, have said they will seek alternative insurance, switching cover would require the assent of lenders. European banks finance about 80 percent of the world’s fleet, according to Petrofin Research, an Athens-based industry consultant.
“If the insurances are not in a form that’s acceptable to the bank, that’s an immediate event of default and the bank would have the right to foreclose,” Theochari said by phone. “It’s sort of the atomic-device option. The insurances are just so fundamental there’s never any grace period.”
Reuters: EU: More Time for Spain
As of last Friday, Spain is now the biggest threat to the euro zone, which has offered the country an extra year to reduce its budget deficit on conditions that it installs further financial-sector reforms and recapitalizes its downgraded banks. Italy will not be given the same extension, since its economy is forecast to begin growing again next year. The EU also called for a banking union to help break the cycle of indebted states’ bailing each other out. Meanwhile, the U.S. Treasury sent a top official to discuss plans for managing the debt crisis in Germany, Spain, France, and Greece, which would face an economic catastrophe if it were forced out of the euro.
What Now for Julian Assange After British Courts Extradite Him To Sweden?
•John Pilger: Why The Assanage Case Is Important
Because the attempt to extradite Assange is unjust and political. I have read almost every scrap of evidence in this case and it's clear, in terms of natural justice, that no crime was committed.
•Comments via Institute for Public Accuracy
David MacMichael, former CIA analyst. "There is a strong possibility that if Assange is extradited to Sweden that the U.S. will have him extradited here. It's widely thought that there is already a U.S. government secret indictment against Assange in the Alexandria, Virginia, federal court. This would be part of a pattern of the Obama administration's unprecedented attacks on whistleblowers, using the 1917 Espionage Act to pursue them. So are we going to see an extraordinary prosecution of Assange from this? This is a strong possibility, I believe.
"The U.S. government, like any other, seeks to avoid transparency in the conduct of its foreign policy. The Obama administration is no different in this than its predecessors. Yesterday the New York Times published a piece on the way Obama personally approves the so-called 'kill lists.' of individuals being targeted in the Middle East and elsewhere. During the Vietnam war, it was widely accepted: 'If he's dead, he must be Viet Cong,' hence the notorious body counts of that conflict -- and that's essentially what the Obama administration is doing: If a foreign male who is of broadly-considered military age is killed as a result of U.S. operations -- drone strikes, helicopter strafings, etc., he must have been a 'militant' (interesting definition, that) and not a civilian. Because, of course, we (our military and intelligence forces) don't kill civilians. That would be wrong."
Glenn Greenwald at Salon, author of "With Liberty and Justice for Some. “Remember, Julian Assange is one of the most hated people by Western governments because of the transparency that he brought. ... Typically, and unfortunately, judicial branches in the United States and in the United Kingdom do the opposite of what they’re intending to do, which is protecting the institutional power, and help to punish and deprive those who are most scorned. So I would have been shocked had the court ruled in favor of Assange, even though, as the two opposing judges on the high court pointed out, the argument for Sweden and those who argued extradition is directly antithetical to what the statute said. No one thinks that a prosecutor is a judicial authority. He hasn’t been charged with a crime, and therefore, there is no courtroom judge seeking his extradition. ... But the law in these cases is not what typically governs. What governs is political consideration and views of the party. ...
"[Sweden has] a very oppressive, I would even say borderline barbaric, system of pretrial detention.” Greenwald noted that Assange, since he is not a Swedish citizen, will be “automatically consigned to prison, and not released on bail. … The pre-trial hearings in Sweden are private. … And given how sensitive this case is, the idea that judicial decision in Sweden will be made privately and secretly is very alarming. …The concern is that Sweden will hand him over [to the U.S] without much of a fight and that he will face life imprisonment under espionage statute when he is doing nothing more than what newspapers do everyday.”
EJC: Israel is to put a journalist on trial for receiving secret military documents from a former soldier. The country’s justice ministry said charges will soon be filed against Uri Blau, an investigative reporter for paper Haaretz, “for the offence of possession of secret information by an unauthorised person”.
Blau used some of the documents in a 2008 article which claimed that troops had been ordered to carry out targeted killings of Palestinian militants in violation of a supreme court order. They were among thousands of Israeli Defence Force (IDF) documents passed to him by a former Israeli soldier, Anat Kamm, who was sentenced in February last year to four-and-a-half years in prison for unauthorised distribution of classified material. In a statement explaining its decision, the Israeli state prosecutor’s office insisted that it had taken all “relevant considerations”- including press freedom – into account before concluding “that this case is an extreme one in terms of the severity of Blau’s actions.” The statement added that Blau had “betrayed his duty – and later his commitment before the state… and could have easily prevented harm to Israel’s security without hurting his sources.” Press freedom watchdogs have called on Israel not to charge Blau. Blau faces up to seven years in prison if convicted. (The Guardian)
Preemptive War: Sound Familiar ?
Guardian: Moscow pledges to block UN over foreign intervention in Syria
NYTeXaminer.com: The Coverage of President Obama’s New Policy of Targeting Who Will Live or Die in Terror War
I must, at last, admit defeat. I simply have no words, no rhetorical ammunition,
no conceptual frameworks that could adequately address the total moral nullity
exposed in Monday’s New York Times article on the death squad that Barack Obama
is personally directing from the White House. It is not so much a newspaper story
as a love letter – a love letter to death, to the awe-inspiring and fear-inducing
power of death, as personified by Barack Obama in his temporary role as the manager
of a ruthless, lawless imperial state. In the cringing obsequiousness of the multitude
of insiders and sycophants who march in goose-step through the story, we can see
the awe and fear – indeed, the worship – of death-dealing power. This enthrallment
permeates the story, both in the words of the cringers and in the giddy thrill the
writers display in gaining such delicious access to the inner sanctum. Read the
rest of this article.
The big story on the front page of The New York Times yesterday about the decision-making
process involved in putting together the White House “kill list” – and I’m old enough
to remember those romantic days when the only one involved was Gordon Liddy and
the only name on the list was Jack Anderson’s – is not about the means of killing
and the relative merits of killing from afar, or even about what the story refers
to as the president’s “own deep reserve” about the possibility that he might have
to drop a Hellfire on some teenagers. (Let’s face facts: If he didn’t have a “deep
reserve” about this, he’d be a sociopath and, as it is, the available evidence indicates
that he seems to overcome his deep reserve fairly readily.) It’s really not about
what he does. It’s about what we tolerate.
•Kevin Gosztola: Obama’s Personal Role in Drone Executions
Described by the New York Times as a “sloppy strike,” on December 17, 2009, a US
drone launched a cruise missile carrying cluster bombs and hit al-Majalah in the
Abyan province of southern Yemen. The attack targeted Saleh Mohammed al-Anbouri,
who allegedly had been bringing people from different countries to train them to
become members of al Qaeda. It did not only kill Anbouri but also forty-one civilians
including twenty-two children and a dozen women (five who happened to be pregnant).
Global Views From ICH:
•Tony Cartalucci: Muslim Brotherhood Are Western Proxies
After a long campaign of feigned anti-American, anti-Israel propaganda during the Egyptian presidential run-up, the Muslim Brotherhood has joined US, European, and Israeli calls for an “international” intervention in Syria.
•Glenn Greenwald, “Militants”: Media Propaganda
To avoid counting civilian deaths, Obama re-defined “militant” to mean “all military-age males in a strike zone”
•Yvonne Ridley: Obama’s God Complex
If he was the head of a banana republic the UN Security Council would be meeting as I write to bring about regime change, with the International Criminal Court on standby with a writ to charge Obama with war crimes.
•The Atlantic: Fox Remake GOP ads
http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2012/05/foxs-anti-obama-ad-just-remake-romneys-ads/52978/ If you’d like to get your own iPad issue of The Atlantic magazine,
•Vanity Fair: Where did the Birther Movement Come from
•National Journal: The Un-Movement Election
The 2012 electorate is narrowly and deeply divided – about half will vote for Obama, about half for Romney, and the very few in the middle are likely turned off by the entire debate. That suggests we won’t see the kind of movement that swept Obama into the White House. That means campaign strategies geared toward turning out respective bases, and a lack of attention being paid to the undecided.
Russ Baker, Whowhatwhy.com: Is The Government Holding Back Crucial Documents?
Would you like to know what the government really knows about the death of JFK? About 9/11? Other big mysteries? It’s “eat your broccoli time!” Here’s why you should pay attention to federal policy on releasing-and not releasing-documents.
*LBN: The day before Memorial Day, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan lamented that Mexico had lost territory to America due to the Mexican-American War and disparaged American military action around the globe. (He spoke in) in San Diego in front of a partially Hispanic audience. The oft controversial minister began by disparaging White Mexicans of Spanish decent before announcing that Africans were in that part of the World [Mexico] maybe before [Mexicans] got there. The minister lamented that illegal Mexicans are called aliens and declared that Americans ought to be praising the Mexicans because we living on land that was once theirs.
•BBC: Andy Coulson charged with perjury
Prime Minister David Cameron’s former director of communications Andy Coulson is arrested by police and charged with perjury.
Jeanne Echard and others are circulating this letter:
Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) has directed his administration to purge the state’s voting rolls of thousands of registered voters prior to the November election. But his list, which purports to include only “non-citizens,” targets mostly Democrats and Hispanics and, as has been documented, may disenfranchise hundreds of citizens who are eligible to vote.
The story of a sitting governor of a state with a history of presidential election shenanigans knowingly purging his own, eligible constituents from the voter rolls is the definition of major news, and yet remarkably, in the first five months of the year, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today have published a total of zero articles about Scott’s actions. The New York Times did slightly better, printing one story on page 16 of the Friday, May 18th edition. The article ran under the credulous headline: “Florida Steps Up Effort Against Illegal Voters.”’
Hahaha: The Onion: Unemployment Rate Linked To One Man with 42,000 Jobs
Your Comments on this blog always welcome to email@example.com
My latest commentary on Huffington Post: Predator Nation
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Julian Assange Loses Extradition Appeal
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden to face sex crime allegations, the Supreme Court has ruled. Seven Supreme Court judges gave their judgment in a move that ends a marathon battle in the UK courts. Lawyers for the WikiLeaks chief had argued that the European arrest warrant issued against him is "invalid and unenforceable".
***Release from Wikileaks: US GOVERNMENT ATTACK ON WIKILEAKS
* WikiLeaks is under attack. The United States is seeking to charge Julian
Assange - a journalist and publisher - with espionage.
* The US Grand Jury reportedly possesses a sealed indictment, which could be
used to extradite Assange to the United States.
* Secret subpoenas have been served on ISPs and online services for the private
data of WikiLeaks staff and supporters.
* Special task-forces have been setup by various various US intelligence
agencies, including the Pentagon, CIA, FBI, and the US State Department.
* Associates of WikiLeaks have been detained and interrogated at US and UK
airports, their equipment confiscated, and attempts have been made to turn them
* If the indictment is unsealed upon Assange's extradition to Sweden he faces
further removal from Sweden to the United States.
* Meanwhile, an unprecedented extralegal denial of service by Visa and
Mastercard has cut off funding to WikiLeaks, almost shutting down WikiLeaks'
THREAT OF EXTRADITION
* If the extradition to Sweden is quashed in the outcome of the court
judgement, he faces extradition from the United Kingdom.
* Both Swedish and UK governments have been coordinating with the US, taking
steps to facilitate a US extradition request in either eventuality. Assange
cannot take steps to avoid either risk. For 539 days he has been detained
without charge in the UK under house arrest.
* Under US pressure the Australian government has relaxed its own extradition
law, smoothing any possible extradition from Assange's home country. The
Gillard government has also amended legislation to give Australian intelligence
agencies powers of surveillance over WikiLeaks supporters.
Barack Obama, Killer in Chief?
"Mr. Obama is the liberal law professor who campaigned against the Iraq war and torture, and then insisted on approving every new name on an expanding 'kill list,' poring over terrorist suspects' biographies on what one official calls the macabre 'baseball cards' of an unconventional war."
New York Times
What is it with Democrats in power? Most are so insecure about their values and ideologies, so cowed by criticisms on the right and so unwilling to respond in kind, that they try to outflank their critics by going to their right to show how tough they are, how patriotic, how gung ho, how patriotic.
Its these attitudes that insures a lack of leadership from the party that claims to stand for peace and a sensible foreign policy. According to David Swanson, this kowtowing suck up to the Pentagon and the foreign policy establishment is alive and well in what used to be known as a liberal state, Massachusetts which once stood up against the Vietnam War that President Obama also seems to be glorifying in the name of trying to win the Vietnam veteran vote.’
Funny, how in my office, an Obama supporters speaks affectionately about the recent reports that he used to smoke weed in what they called a CHOOM bus, with lots of passing of joints with Obama saying “interception” to get a quick toke.
That’s an image the campaign wants to erase in part by positioning him a hardline advocate of intervention, not interception.
David Swanson points out that Obama is not the only “liberal” to play hawk. In Massachusetts today, Elizabeth Warren, who is so good on financial reform is toeing the line on Iran, calling for “Action” along the lines AIPAC would be pleased with.
He also writes about the President arrogating to himself the right to decide who will live and who will die in the terror war. Talk about an abuse of power.
“The New York Times chose this "terror Tuesday" to publish an article called "Secret 'Kill List' Proves a Test of Obama's Principles and Will," a bizarre article that never explains what Obama's principles or will are or even offers any evidence that Obama has any principles or will.
There is one section in which the authors point out that Obama went out of his way to sneak the despicable John Brennan into his White House despite Congressional opposition, and that none other than Harold "these bombs are not hostilities" Koh swears Brennan is a moral man. Perhaps we should assume that Brennan's morality oozes upward from his "cave-like office in the White House basement" since his support for Bush's crimes is redeemed by Koh who only supports Obama's crimes.
Early on the article refers to "American values," suggesting that Obama's royal dilemma has been to defend not his principles, but America's principles. The trouble, of course, is that the New York Times never explains what those are. This being the New York Times, one would naturally assume that wars and killing and lies about wars and killing form the core of those values, but this goes unstated.
Obama is depicted as "keeping the tether short" by personally deciding on each and every drone kill. And yet, despite this personal care and attention, Obama has dramatically increased drone kills.
Other comments, thanks to the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Former FBI agent Colleen Rowley: These New York Times reporters do a good job explaining how Obama’s political calculations and desire to show toughness in the 'war on terror' has led him to his role as judge, jury and executioner. Whereas Bush detained and tortured, Obama impresses the former Bush officials with his taking of no prisoners, thus avoiding all the messy legal questions that tend to arise in court. This, however, is the only little bit of transparency that exists so far showing how this new type of 'due process' functions.
Hopefully there will be judges asking to see the secret memo inventing the new 'due process' (written by the same Office of Legal Counsel that OK’d waterboarding). How have they decided that CIA and Pentagon Power point presentations can fully substitute for the entire body of law governing American judicial process?"
Former CIA briefer Ray McGovern is ballistic:
So THAT’S it. New York Times writers Jo Becker and Scott Shane today provide insight into how President Obama is helped to resolve the 'moral and legal conundrum' of ordering 'kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical.' Counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, is 'beside the president at every step.' Colleagues compare Brennan’s role to that of a 'priest whose blessing has become indispensable to Mr. Obama, echoing the president’s attempt to apply "just war" theories of Christian philosophers to a brutal modern conflict.'
"So that's why Brennan's alma mater, Fordham University, last week conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, and asked him to deliver the commencement address. Many graduates had greeted the honoring of Brennan with astonishment, and strongly criticized him for his key role in 'justifying' things like drone killing and 'mosque crawling' (infiltrating mosques with pretend-Muslims from NYPD/CIA). A few of the Fordham's justice-oriented graduating students faced into the prevailing winds with exceptional courage, and a few days later wrote about it."
"White House 'Assassination Czar' Confronted at Fordham" by Ayca Bahce
"Counterterrorism Adviser Non-Transparent at Fordham" by Michael Pappas
•Democracy Now has more on This assassination program:http://newsdissector.net/wp-admin/edit.php
•New Scalp Claim
LBN: The U.S.-led NATO force in Afghanistan killed al-Qaidas second-highest leader in the country in an airstrike in eastern Kunar province, the coalition said Tuesday. Sakhr al-Taifi, also known as Mushtaq and Nasim, was responsible for commanding foreign insurgents in Afghanistan and directing attacks against NATO and Afghan forces, the alliance said. He frequently traveled between Afghanistan and Pakistan, carrying out commands from senior al-Qaida leadership and ferrying in weapons and fighters.
•US warns of military option in Syria: America's top military officer has warned Syria it might face armed intervention as international outrage grows over the massacre of women and children by tanks and artillery in the central town of Houla.
Is Their Another Side To This Story
Syrian Foreign Ministry to UNSC: Militants Committed Massacres with Cold Blood: "The children, women and men were assembled at specific areas, and had they been killed by shellfire as biased channels claim, there would have been dust all over them, while the images show that the m
WhoWhatWhy.com: Russ Baker: Are We Getting The Full Story?
We keep getting reports of atrocities committed by the Syrian government. Those reports may well be accurate. But the truth is usually a bit more complicated in war zones. If news organizations don’t start adopting a higher standard for their reports, another Libyan-style intervention, complete with massive bombing and untold civilian casualties, may be inevitable.
The news out of Syria gets more and more appalling. But so does the quality of the journalism. Here’s an example, from the BBC dated May 26:
At least 90 people, including many children, have been killed in Syria’s restive Homs province, opposition activists say, calling it a “massacre”.
They said scores were wounded in the violence in Houla, as government forces shelled and attacked the town.
Shocking footage has emerged of the bodies of children killed as part of one the bloodiest attacks in one area since a nominal truce began in April.
The UN said international monitors were heading to the area.
BBC then quotes the wire service AP:
An activist in Houla told the Associated Press news agency that troops began the assault on Houla after an anti-regime demonstration following Muslim prayers on Friday.
The assault began with artillery shelling which killed 12, he said – but scores more were butchered when pro-regime thugs known as “shabiha” then stormed the area.
And here’s UPI:
DAMASCUS, Syria, May 26 (UPI) — At least 88 people, many of them children, were killed in a town in the restive province of Homs in Syria in an attack by government forces, activists said.
All these reports were based almost entirely on the word from activists on one side in the conflict, not from journalists or neutral observers. That is not journalism. Why are there not more journalists actually in these places reporting? In the past, reporters always managed to get into conflict zones. And, notwithstanding Syrian government controls on access to these areas and the obvious physical dangers attendant to work in such places, news organizations should be able to hire Syrians who will be diligent, careful and precise.
This fast-moving story has already led to a follow-up from BBC here that raises questions about the earlier assertion of culpability:
The village of Taldou, near the town of Houla in Syria’s Homs province was the scene of one of the worst massacres in the country’s 14-month-long uprising on Friday.
United Nations observers on the ground have confirmed that at least 108 people were killed, including 49 children and 34 women. Some were killed by shell fire, others appear to have been shot or stabbed at close range.
But at whose hands they died remains a matter of contention. Anti-government activists and eyewitnesses interviewed by a limited number of journalists and human rights groups at the scene point the finger at the Syrian army and the shabiha, a sectarian civilian militia that supports the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
The government however denies all responsibility, saying its soldiers were attacked and armed terrorists went on to shoot and stab civilians.
*ICH: Kill Syrian president and get $450,000:
Saudi scholar announces reward after massacre in Syrian town
•Engineering Consent For An Attack On Syria: Syrian army rebels will secure chemical weapons following Assad's fall: report: Once the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad collapses, the Syrian opposition plans to take control of the regime's chemical weapons depots and secure them, an Israeli daily reported citing a top opposition figure.
*Iran warns West: New sanctions will jeopardize talks over nuclear program: "This approach of pressure concurrent with negotiations will never work. These countries should not enter negotiations with such illusions and misinterpretations," foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told a news conference.
•Cyber 'superweapon' virus uncovered: Russian firm: A Russian computer firm has discovered a new computer virus with unprecedented destructive potential which could be used as a "cyberweapon" by the West and Israel against foes such as Iran.
•AP: Iran and other Middle East countries have been hit with a cunning computer virus that can eavesdrop on computer users and their co-workers and filch information from nearby cellphones, cybersecurity experts said Tuesday.
Iran says it has developed tools that can defend against and remove the sophisticated cyber attack tool known as Flame.
Is Israel Behind This?
•Netanyahu deputy hints at Israeli involvement in Iran cyber attack: Vice Prime Minister and Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon hinted on Monday at possible Israeli involvement in the Flame bug, which was revealed to have targeted computers in Iran and the West Bank on Monday.
•Israel builds up shadow war against Iran's nuclear program: Report:
In a video report titled "Shadow War," broadcast by the German TV network ZDF, Christian Sievers, the reporter, portrayed an array of anti-Iran plots, hatched by Israel, that "have been running for years - unnoticed by the general public."
*Release: President Obama Blasted by Civil Rights Activists for Secretive Support of Indefinite Detainment
250,000 Americans Call for an End to Indefinite Imprisonment without Trial, but President Obama Moves to Uphold the Practice
Washington, DC: President Obama used the cover of the holiday weekend to undermine the right to a speedy trial, drawing fire from journalists and civil liberties activists. Late Friday, the President moved to protect provisions of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act that allow for indefinite military detainment of civilians, including American citizens, without charge or trial.
“President Obama’s support for indefinite detention is utterly tone deaf. His position flies in the face of our Constitution, our basic civil rights, and our common sense.” Said Tangerine Bolen, a Plaintiff in the lawsuit under consideration and director of RevolutionTruth.
An earlier decision by Judge Kathryn Forrest granted a temporary restraining order against indefinite detention, but the President has requested a reversal of that decision.
Continued Bolen, “Judge Forrest's ruling was unequivocal: Indefinite detention without trial or charge is unconstitutional. We will not stop fighting until we stop President Obama and Congress from undermining our basic rights.”
The President’s move comes as the US Senate prepares to debate the 2013 NDAA. Earlier this month the House failed to pass an amendment which would have barred the indefinite detention of Americans and those on American soil, and the Senate will likely take up a similar amendment as early as next week.
BBC: Master of War Gives Medal to Sing of Masters of War
President Barack Obama has bestowed the nation's highest civilian honor on political and cultural figures in a ceremony at the White House.
Musician Bob Dylan, astronaut John Glenn, and Israeli President Shimon Peres were among the Medal of Freedom recipients.
The award is given to people from all walks of life who have made exceptional contributions to society.
The 13 people awarded the Medal of Freedom at Tuesday's ceremony in the East Room of the White House included:
• Writer Toni Morrison
• Madeleine Albright, secretary of state from 1997 to 2001 and the first woman to hold that post
*John Doar, assistant attorney general in charge of civil rights at the Department of Justice during the 1960s
* William Foege, physician and former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who led the campaign to eradicate smallpox
•Gordon Hirabayashi, who fought the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II and died in January
•Dolores Huerta, community activist and co-founder of the National Farmworkers Association in 1962
*Jan Karski, officer in the Polish Underground in World War II and later a professor at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, who died in 2000
*Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts in 1912, who died in 1927
*John Paul Stevens, associate justice of the US Supreme Court from 1975 to 2010
*Pat Summitt, basketball coach who has won more games than any other coach, and spokeswoman against Alzheimer's disease
Previous honorees include Mother Teresa, Margaret Thatcher, Stephen Hawking, Walt Disney, Doris Day, Duke Ellington and Aretha Franklin.
*Obama Praises Dylan, Seems to forget anti-war content of songs: "By the time he was 23, Bob's voice, with its weight, its unique gravelly power, was redefining not just what music sounded like, but the message it carried and how it made people feel," Obama said.
"Today, everybody from Bruce Springsteen to U2 owes Bob a debt of gratitude," he continued. "There is not a bigger giant in the history of American music. All these years later, he's still chasing that sound, still searching for a little bit of truth, and I have to say that I am a really big fan."
"I remember in college listening to Bob Dylan and my world opening up, because he captured something about this country that was so vital," Obama concluded.
*The New York Daily News notes that Dylan wore "sunglasses, [a] bow tie and black suit embellished with shiny buckles and buttons”
•Bob Dylan Quoted By Judges More Than Any Other Singer
*Story On Gawker with Comments
*News Republic: White House, Obama misspoke on ‘Polish death camp’
•EJC: Russian journalist attacked in Moscow
A Russian journalist is in hospital after being lured out of his home and stabbed 20 times late on Monday night in the latest attack on a member of the press. Sergei Aslanyan, 46, works for Radio Mayak and spent 10 years as a presenter on Echo Moskvy, Russia’s leading liberal radio station. Police sources said Aslanyan received a call from an unknown number just before midnight, inviting him outside for a chat. After leaving his home in southern Moscow, he was stabbed repeatedly in the chest, neck and arms by a man, or several men, wielding a knife. Police have opened an investigation into the attack. The Izvestiya newspaper suggested the attack could have been linked to a recent radio appearance during which Aslanyan insulted the prophet Muhammad. The programme prompted an angry response among some Muslims, with an imam in the eastern city of Kazan asking prosecutors to investigate the journalist. Others linked the attack to Aslanyan’s reporting on Russia’s auto industry and corrupt traffic police. (The Guardian)
Romney Wins Texas, Wins Nomination.
•Atlantic: Why Won’t Romney Disavow Donald Trump?
That’s all the dissecting I have tine for today. I will be heading to the memorial service for l04 year old Rhea Tauber later today.
To comment or offer to help me prepare the NewsDissector blog: write firstname.lastname@example.org
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In case you Missed It: A Dissector Essay On Middle-East Online on the Politics of Mythology.
For Memorial Day: Remember Sitting Bull]
••The Telegraph: Nelson Mandela to move back to childhood home
•Announcement Made as New Film Based on Mandela’s Book, “Long Walk To Freedom” Begins Shooting
“…Mr. Obama has placed himself at the helm of a top secret “nominations” process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical. He had vowed to align the fight against Al Qaeda with American values; the chart, introducing people whose deaths he might soon be asked to order, underscored just what a moral and legal conundrum this could be.
Mr. Obama is the liberal law professor who campaigned against the Iraq war and torture, and then insisted on approving every new name on an expanding “kill list,” poring over terrorist suspects’ biographies on what one official calls the macabre “baseball cards” of an unconventional war.
•News Republic, Not To Be Outdone: Romney promises world’s strongest military
EJC: New Cyber Weapon Called FLAME Targeting Iran
Security experts said on Monday a highly sophisticated computer virus is infecting computers in Iran and other Middle East countries and may have been deployed at least five years ago to engage in state-sponsored cyber espionage. Evidence suggest that the virus, dubbed Flame, may have been built on behalf of the same nation (ISRAEL, THE US???) or nations that commissioned the Stuxnet worm that attacked Iran’s nuclear program in 2010, according to Kaspersky Lab, the Russian cyber security software maker that took credit for discovering the infections. Kaspersky researchers said they have yet to determine whether Flame had a specific mission like Stuxnet, and declined to say who they think built it. Iran has accused the United States and Israel of deploying Stuxnet. Cyber security experts said the discovery publicly demonstrates what experts privy to classified information have long known: that nations have been using pieces of malicious computer code as weapons to promote their security interests for several years. Kaspersky Lab said it discovered Flame after a U.N. telecommunications agency asked it to analyze data on malicious software across the Middle East in search of the data-wiping virus reported by Iran. (Reuters)
•Annan Blasts Syria
The brutal massacre in the town of Houla has been internationally denounced, and special envoy Kofi Annan traveled to the fractious nations capital Monday even as other leaders said his attempts to forge a peace plan had failed. The U.K. foreign secretary backed the Annan initiative at a press conference, however, saying the alternative is ever-increasing chaos and a descent closer and closer to all-out civil war and collapse. While most nations have heaped the blame for the massacre on President Bashar al-Assads forces, Syrias ally Russia said both sides shared responsibility for the killings.
•Charge Of Phony Atrocity Pictures From Syria
DISSECTOR ESSAY: Pulling Punches? Inside Job Director Charles Ferguson Indicts Our ‘Predator Nation’
By Danny Schechter
Hail Caesar! The circle of those of us crusading for a jail-out of banksters, and not another bailout for them is widening, Our newest Commissar of Condemnation, Charles H. Ferguson, director of the film Inside Job is in the house with a new must-read book, Predator Nation, that documents and details how the financial elite and its values took over our culture and country.
When I first saw Ferguson’s film, coming out two years after my Plunder: The Crime Of Our Time on a similar subject, I was a bit jealous because of all the support he attracted from Sony and Hollywood insiders who waged a successful Oscar campaign on its behalf. He had access to big money for a film on big money, after selling a software company. He e could afford high production values but also the kind of marketing that Indy filmmakers like myself dream about.
As a PhD, former business executive and government advisor, Ferguson had developed a keen skill for synthesizing information and creating a filmic “explainer,” almost like a big screen power-point presentation, that recounts how we got into this financial crisis through government deregulation/complicity.
A member of the elite himself, he is well schooled in how to talk to his counterparts.
Given the devolving state of our media and the fact that these issues are mostly covered in an arcane and superficial stashed away in business sections, he was able to create a chronology-driven narrative by connecting facts that are often hidden in plain sight.
His was a top down but lucid film that treated the harmful impact of the crisis in great detail but the impact on ordinary people was almost an afterthought. There was more on government than banks; it is more intellectual than emotional with more on protests in Iceland than America.
At the same time, because it had mainstream, if still far too limited distribution, it was as an eye-opener to people who weren’t paying attention or being informed even when they should have been thanks to media blindness.
At least he wasn’t being totally ignored as were my film and companion book, The Crime of Our Time, on pervasive Wall Street fraud that predated his work. Not only wasn’t I a “name” but since I did not have insider credentials as an academic or financial journalist, I could be ignored, by the press and even Ferguson.
Besides I only have a Masters degree and an honorary PhD, not the full card Monte that Ferguson sports. All you get are brownie points for being first. I have written about this rejection by a media elite that looked the other way for Harvard’s Neiman Foundation in Journalism,
To my knowledge, Charles never claims to be on the left. When he was at MIT, Ferguson’s hero/advisor was not the Institute’s most famous professor, Noam Chomsky, who blurbed my book, but economist Karl Kaysen, a WW2 intelligence office who later worked for JFK on nuclear policy.
Kaysen’s claim to ‘fame’, according to Wikipedia was bizarre. He “was asked to prepare a report on how to utilize the US nuclear arsenal to preemptively destroy the Soviet Union’s nuclear capacity and its ability to retaliate with nuclear weapons. … (His) report, which envisioned ‘only’ half a million to a million Soviet casualties, caused outrage and disgust within the administration, with White House Chief Counsel Ted Sorensen calling him crazy.”
Ferguson is not crazy but calculating when it comes to getting attention. To his credit, once he won the documentary Oscar, he used his fifteen seconds of global visibility to call for the prosecution of Wall Street executives, not a major theme of his movie, but a gutsy and widely quoted news making move.
“Three years after a horrific financial crisis caused by massive fraud, not a single financial executive has gone to jail, “ he told the world. ”And that’s wrong!” (In fact, one Mortgage exec, exposed by ML-implode.com is doing time along with many smaller fish with whom the government would not reach “settlements” as they have with bigger corporate criminals.)
If Michael Moore has said what Ferguson had, he would have been dismissed as a rabble-rouser. Ferguson’s business background and low-key style shielded him from ridicule. Alas, there was no extra Academy airtime to explain that over 1500 “banksters” had gone to prison years earlier after the far less serious S&L crisis or urge support for the many organizations battling fraudulent foreclosures.
Suddenly, he most visibly joined the ranks of journalist Matt Taibbi, former federal regulator, William Black, the blogger Mandelman, former IMF economist Simon Johnson, Aaron Krowne of Ml-implode, Yves Smith and a handful of others, myself among them, who have, for years, repeatedly called for prosecuting financial criminals, a course of action that does not win any favor in a Obama White House too busy ‘bundling” Wall Street largesse for the President’s re-election campaign.
When Inside Job came out, we contacted him to see if he might be interested in supporting a petition campaign against banks not too big to jail, as well as join a speaking tour on the issue. He never called back.
More recently, his publicist wrote me to see if I might be interested in having him on my radio show. After reading the book, I jumped at the chance, and we even discussed a possible date. The next thing I heard was that he was no longer interested, no reason given! Alternative media is not on his radar! Dismissed!
When I read his bio and the acknowledgements in his book, I guessed why. It is a class thing. Not only does he thank top execs in Hollywood for help and express appreciation to two gourmet restaurants in Berkeley, Chez Panisse and Oliveto, for feeding him well, but also curries favor with well- known millionaires who he assures he is not against before announcing he is voting for Obama.
Perhaps he should read a newer expose, Bailout by Neil Barofsky, who was the Inspector General on the TARP bank giveawa, and whose work was sabotaged by the Obama Administration. Writes Naked Capitalism editor Yves Smith of his work, “His revelations show in stark detail just how captured by Wall Street our political system is; why the banks have not been held accountable; and how the failure to enact effective regulation has put the country in danger of an even bigger crisis in the future.”
Nominally against the system, Ferguson still curries favor with it, a smart maneuver to position himself as the “reasonable” alternative to more strident “crazies”—while selling movie tix and, now, books., of course.
The words capitalism and imperialism do not appear in the book’s index. He makes only a fleeting positive reference to Occupy Wall Street and ignores all of the other nationwide anti-bank grassroots activism.
At points, he comes off as a one per center but I don’t really care about that. We need more one per-centers to turn against their class interest, as he seems to have.
While his social critique is trenchant, including attacks on corruption, greed, university complicity with the financial elites etc—he offers no deep understanding of the system or call for its replacement by another. He exposes university-based economic think tanks for not disclosing who subsidizes their research—what they don’t say— while I take on the mainstream media industry that distorts the news, what they do say, showing our different orientations. And just for the record, I worked in corporate network news.
Ferguson speaks briefly and approvingly, (maybe patronizingly) of Occupy, but the elite is his primary frame of focus. He is earnest and almost evangelical in his indictment. His analysis is often provocative and always well – written, but there is no real call to action, only some modest policy prescriptions.
His key points are these:
• “The financial sector has become increasingly criminalized, with the widespread fraud that caused the housing bubble going completely unpunished.
· Federal tax collections as a share of GDP are at their lowest level in sixty years, with the wealthy and highly profitable corporations enjoying the greatest tax reductions.
·Most shockingly, the United States, so long the beacon of opportunity for the ambitious poor, has become one of the world’s most unequal and unfair societies.”
The promo material does indict President Obama who he plans to vote for because, “the Obama Administration… has allowed financial criminals to continue to operate unchecked, even after supposed “reforms” installed after the collapse of 2008.”
“Predator Nation reveals how once-revered figures like Alan Greenspan and Larry Summers became mere courtiers to the elite. (DS: Revered by whom?) Based on many newly released court filings, it details the extent of the crimes—there is no other word—committed in the frenzied chase for wealth that caused the financial crisis. And, finally, it lays out a plan of action for how we might take back our country and the American dream.”
So far, a half dozen prominent economists and financial writers for elite publications seem enamored with him.
Simon Johnson writes, “Charles Ferguson makes a convincing case that the world’s banking system was brought to the brink of complete collapse in 2008–09 by a virulent combination of unchecked greed and criminal behavior.
Predator Nation provides a roadmap for prosecution, systematically covering the banks involved, the names of culpable executives, the obvious crimes, the precise laws broken, and the evidence hiding in plain sight. No doubt it will be widely ignored by our legal officials.”
We need to ask ourselves why this liberal critique will be widely ignored and what we can do to insure it won’t be.
It is deserving of attention. I respect the prodigious effort, but what is also true is that the elite with whom he eats, or does business, is unlikely to be the agency for change.
Hopefully, he will realize that analysis often leads to paralysis without action, and that he has to get down with the 99% to raise hell with the hell his book denounces.
News Dissector Danny Schechter blogs at newsdissector.net. For more on his book and film on financial crime, visit plunderthecrimeofourtime.com. He also wrote Occupy: Dissecting Occupy Wall Street (Cosimo Books). He hosts a weekly show on ProgressiveRadioNetwork.com (PRN.fm.) Comments to email@example.com
Comment by Aaron Krowne of ML-implode.com
“So your question of whether Ferguson is really willing to shake up the 1% — removing their gravy train, rather than just having them pay a slightly larger “protection fee” — is the key one, in my view.
So your question of whether Ferguson is really willing to shake up the 1% — removing their gravy train, rather than just having them pay a slightly larger “protection fee” — is the key one, in my view.”
•U.S. National Security Budget in Fiscal 2013 Will Be Nearly $1 Trillion
In fact, with projected cuts added in, the national security budget in fiscal 2013 will be nearly $1 trillion – a staggering enough sum that it’s worth taking a walk through the maze of the national security budget to see just where that money’s lodged.
If you’ve heard a number for how much the US spends on the military, it’s probably in the neighborhood of $530 billion. That’s the Pentagon’s base budget for fiscal 2013, and represents a 2.5% cut from 2012. But that $530 billion is merely the beginning of what the US spends on national security. Let’s dig a little deeper.
•FT: Turmoil at TNK-BP as chief steps down
Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman has resigned as chief executive of BP’s Russian joint venture TNK-BP, plunging relations between the UK oil group and its local partners into fresh turmoil. …
FT SCOOP: Goldman delays trading platform launch
Goldman Sachs GS has been forced to delay the launch of its new corporate bond trading platform after a series of “logistical issues” beset the investment bank’s foray into electronic fixed-income trading …
•Bloomberg View: GOP Threat To Derail Economy AGAIN
John Boehner’s familiar threat of a fight with the White House over the debt ceiling could have different repercussions this time around. “Our analysis of [last year’s] episode leads to a troubling conclusion: It almost derailed the recovery, and this time could be a lot worse.”
*BaselineScenario.com: The End Of The Euro: A Survivor’s Guide
By Peter Boone and Simon Johnson
In every economic crisis there comes a moment of clarity. In Europe soon, millions of people will wake up to realize that the euro-as-we-know-it is gone. Economic chaos awaits them.
•Bizjournals mobile: Atlanta: IRS to close 43 offices nationwide, one in Georgia
WATCH: And a small child will lead them. Canadian teen leads fight against Banks
Meet and see Victoria Grant, the anti-banks little girl :
•Tony Blair: Admits Fear of Media
AP: Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has said that he couldn’t stand up to Britain’s media tycoons while in power, telling an official media ethics inquiry that doing so could have dragged his administration into a political quagmire. Blair’s testimony on Monday, briefly interrupted by a heckler who burst into the courtroom to call him a war criminal,
RSN: “An antiwar protester broke into Britain’s long-running judicial inquiry into press ethics through a supposedly secure corridor on Monday as former Prime Minister Tony Blair was giving evidence, accusing him of being in the pay of JPMorgan Chase when he sent British soldiers in support of American troops during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.”
•Politico: Scott Brown-Elizabeth Warren Senate race. Boston dailies duke it out
•Fluent: ‘Tuna carry Fukushima radiation across Pacific to US’
•YES: Israel Loves Iran.com
• USA Today: Many unemployed facing early end to benefits
•Washington Times: High School Students Facing Fewer Jobs Than Ever
Chinese Villagers Back Falun Gong With Petition
A well-placed source has told The Epoch Times newspaper that top-level Communist Party officials, including Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang (who are expected to replace Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao later this year) are debating the petition. Officials at the highest levels of the Party are “talking about this event and most of them are urging for a peaceful resolution,” this source said. However, the faction within the Party loyal to former-head Jiang Zemin, who personally launched the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999, is fiercely trying to suppress the petitioners. According to Minghui.org (an overseas Falun Gong website with a wide network of sources in China), Jiang’s faction has issued orders to officials in Botou City to coerce the villagers into rescinding the petition, and furthermore, to sign a statement adopting the Party line on Falun Gong. “This is the latest in a string of cases where townspeople and villagers are stepping out from under the 13 years of persecution against Falun Gong, and saying they won’t toe the line anymore…Falun Gong practitioners should be free,” says Falun Dafa Information Center executive director Levi Browde. “But they need our help.”">
•Globe and Mail: China’s Ai Weiwei, ‘Why do they still have to spy on me?’
*Guardian Eyewitness: Photo Of The Day From Redneck Games
Thanks for Reading the News Dissector Blog.Help Us tell others about it. Comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Memorial Day Quote: Robert Reich, Op-Ed, “We can best honor those who have given their lives for this nation in combat by making sure our military might is proportional to what America needs. The United States spends more on our military than do China, Russia, Britain, France, Japan, and Germany put together. With the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, the cost of fighting wars is projected to drop – but the ‘base’ defense budget (the annual cost of paying troops and buying planes, ships, and tanks – not including the costs of actually fighting wars) is scheduled to rise.”
•AP: America’s newest veterans are filing for disability benefits at a historic rate, claiming to be the most medically and mentally troubled generation of former troops the nation has ever seen. A staggering 45 percent of the 1.6 million veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now seeking compensation for injuries they say are service-related.
•The Nation: Top Ten Memorial Day Songs
NYT: Now at another critical moment in American military history, the faculty here on the commanding bend in the Hudson River is deep in its own existential debate. Narrowly, the argument is whether the counterinsurgency strategy used in Iraq and Afghanistan — the troop-heavy, time-intensive, expensive doctrine of trying to win over the locals by building roads, schools and government — is dead.
Broadly, the question is what the United States gained after a decade in two wars.
“Not much,” Col. Gian P. Gentile, the director of West Point’s military history program and the commander of a combat battalion in Baghdad in 2006, said flatly in an interview last week. “Certainly not worth the effort. In my view.”
•Democracy Now: Tune In Today for Special Memorial Day Special
Political Quote of the Day: Dan Rather on CNN on the current elections, “There have been bad ones before, but this is by far the worst so far…”I hope I’m wrong about this,” he continued, “but I think by the time we finish with this campaign, not only will it be a three billion dollar presidential campaign
FT: UN’s Syria plan in disarray
The UN-backed peace plan for Syria was in disarray yesterday after armed rebels said they would no longer abide by a ceasefire and a local network of protesters demanded the departure of UN observers
Via DXM: Obama Appoints “Assassination Czar” Invites (April) Glaspie to the Party”
•This morning: Blast Rocks Nairobi: May be Tied To Somalia War And Kenya’s Support for US Intervention
•AP: US To Punish Starving North Korean People For Action By Government
AMPHO, North Korea (AP) — North Korea is reporting a serious drought that could worsen already critical food shortages, but help is unlikely to come from the United States and South Korea following Pyongyang’s widely criticized rocket launch.
North Korea has had little rain since April 27, with the country’s western coastal areas particularly hard hit, according to a government weather agency in Pyongyang. The dry spell threatened to damage crops, officials said, as the country enters a critical planting season and as food supplies from the last harvest dwindle.
Report: Masters of The Universe Stuck In HS Locker room Mentalities
Last week, I was back in the Soundview section of the Bronx to attend the annual De Witt Clinton Alumni Association dinner. I am a Clinton grad who is now making a film about this exceptional High School, founded in 1897, with another grad: my brother Bill. (Disclosure: our father and uncle also want there.)
Soundview nestled between The Whitestone and Throggs Neck Bridge to Queens is still scenic but has seen better times. The medium annual income for families is $20,000, a sign of the growing poverty in New York’s outer-borough neighborhoods. The area’s State Senator was just convicted of corruption including stealing from a local health care facility.
The Clinton graduates are facing a dire future when it comes to finding jobs and opportunities; The Middle Class that welcomed earlier generations of students is itself shrinking.
The camaraderie of the annual dinner could not mask the growing economic inequality in the Bronx or the country.
Among the alumni honored was one of the heroic black Tuskegee airmen who fought the Nazis and the racial segregation in the military. He wasn’t alive to receive his certificate of appreciation.
Another grad was” Henry Cornell, now a managing director of Goldman Sachs, who got his start as a manipulator back in the classroom where he boasted that he negotiated with bigger boys he was scared of, and offered to do their homework, in exchange for their protection.
His bio: “Henry Cornell ’72 has been with Goldman Sachs & Co. since 1984. He was made a partner in 1994 and assumed the duties of Managing Director in 1998. His leadership role in the firm’s investments in Asia has long been admired by the international financial community.
Mr. Cornell also serves on the Board of Directors of The Ping An Insurance Company of China, The Kookmin Bank of Korea, The Dusit Thani Group, and Rajadamri Public Company Ltd.
His commitment to Asian culture, his efforts to expand cultural and social ties between the peoples of Asia and the United States, and his involvement in the Citizens Committee for New York City represent the very best in “giving back.”
Mr. Goldman Sachs left before eating his roast beef entré. HE gave that back to the waiters. A few days later, the New York Times Business section carried a story about another New York City high school grad done good who who went to Clinton’s arch football rival, Stuyvesant. He had been a summer intern at Goldman before using his skills as a chess player to move into the high stakes world of hedge funds.
His name is Boaz Weinstein and he was in the news because his trades for his company called Saba Capital Management outmaneuvered the man JP Morgan called the “London Whale” whose sloppiness cost the bank as much as $7 billion buying investment grade Series 9 10 year Index CDS.
Don’t ask me what they are but this savviest of the savvy traders brought Jamie Dimon and his Chase team down, just like the Red and Black Clinton Football team beat Stuyvesant year after year at the annual gridiron classic and post game fight on Randall’s Island.
Stuyvesant has since dropped football to play other games in the market.
It’s been “revenge of the nerds” time ever since.” Stuyvesant, like Clinton went co-ed. One of our later female grads became an international chess champion! Their students just got a brand new building up the street from the World Trade Center. It had to be closed on 9/11.
The Times had a lot of fun with its story called “The Hunch, The Pounce, And The Kill.” (Wait for the motion picture)
The story all but lionized Boaz’s brilliance. (As a lad, he had been thrown out of a Las Vegas casino for counting cards.) Now he is buying a new apartment for $24 million, not I am sure, in Soundview, thanks to his skills in a business in which the NY Times says “ruthlessness is prized and money is the ultimate measure. Mr. Wesinstein is what is known as a “monster:–an aggressive trader with a preternatural appetite for risk and a take no prisoners style.”
These are the kind of people NY Times adores.
No fear that the Obama Administration’s “investigation” into the billion dollar bets that went south will lead to much. The article tells us that Boaz’s bride is a “rising lawyer” in the Obama Justice Department that has yet to pursue justice when it comes to Wall Street.
Last year Boaz earned $90 million. Can you imagine what good use De Witt Clinton High School could do with that?
NT Times: Iran Will Continue Enriching Uranium to Higher Grade
TEHRAN — Iran will not halt its 20 percent enrichment of uranium, the country’s nuclear chief said Sunday on state television, backing away from an earlier offer that suggested Tehran might be prepared to cease production of the higher-grade nuclear material.
The official, Fereydoon Abbasi, also announced that Iran would start building two nuclear power plants in 2013, and he said that its only active nuclear reactor was near full production after a delay of many years.
He made clear that there would be no suspension of enrichment by Iran, a crucial demand of a handful of United Nations Security Council resolutions. “We have no reason to retreat from producing the 20 percent because we need 20 percent uranium just as much to meet our needs,” Mr. Abbasi said, according to Iranian state television.
Note: So Far, there is still no evidence that this is for an Iranian bomb even as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta vows U.S. military action to prevent Iran from developing one.
•More on Floiduh in Huffington Post
•National Journal: DNC Chair Downplays Wisconsin Recall Election ( Is This a DNC Sellout?)
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Sunday attempted to mitigate the potential fallout of a Democratic loss in the Wisconsin gubernatorial race next month, saying that the race has no national implications.
•John Cassidy, The New Yorker: Is Obama Muddled?
In attempting to rally the base and raise money, Obama has moved from one issue to another over the past few weeks. Surely, he needs to articulate a clearer vision of where he intends to take the country and how he intends to kick-start a slowing economy. But just because Joe Biden can’t keep quiet and Corey Booker and Steve Rattner object to attacks on Romney’s record at Bain Capital, it doesn’t mean that Obama’s campaign is imploding. Biden is Biden. Seizing an early opportunity to try and define the presumptive G.O.P. candidate as an out-of-touch rich guy makes strategic sense—even if it causes some dissension in the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party.
Much of what is happening in the media has nothing to do with the President’s I.Q., or with poor old Joe Biden, or with the missteps of David Axelrod, Jim Messina, and the rest of Obama’s campaign Rottweilers out in Chicago. It is about commentators catching up with the polling numbers and the economic data, which have been indicating for some time that this is going to be a very close race. Having largely written off Romney’s chances in the first few months of this year, the pundits now have to explain why he is suddenly leading Obama in some polls and running very close in others. One obvious, but not necessarily accurate, explanation is that Obama is screwing up.
NYT: Labor Board Member Resigns Over Leak to G.O.P. Allies
The National Labor Relations Board announced on Sunday that one of its five members, Terence F. Flynn, had resigned after the board’s inspector general found that Mr. Flynn, a Republican, leaked documents to G.O.P. allies.
The board’s chairman, Mark Gaston Pearce, said Mr. Flynn, who joined the board in January, had submitted his resignation on Saturday evening by fax and e-mail.
The N.L.R.B.’s inspector general, David P. Berry, issued a report in early May that found that Mr. Flynn had committed serious ethical violations by leaking drafts of board decisions and details of internal deliberations to Peter Schaumber, a former labor board chairman who had been co-chairman of Mitt Romney’s labor advisory committee.
Mr. Berry’s report said, “Mr. Flynn’s public statement that he has engaged in no wrongdoing strikes at the very heart of the board and all but eviscerates the due process procedures that the board has established.” The labor board oversees union elections, organizing drives and labor-management relations at private sector employers.
Mr. Flynn has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
•Russell Brand: YES
•Media Co-op on Student Protest: From the Chilean Winter to the Maple Spring
•The Atlantic: Whats Behind the Euro Collapse –one View
NakedCapitalism.com: New Book of Note: BAILOUT
BAILOUT: Former Bailout Watchdog Neil Barofsky to Release Tell-All Account Of Bush/Obama Administration Banking
Neil Barofsky, a former official who actually put bankers in jail (imagine that!) is coming out with a tell-all book called “Bailout” about his experience as the Special Inspector General for TARP. I don’t normally put up press releases, but this book will be upsetting to the administration because this is someone who was involved in the decisions, and Barofsky did not play ball with the Wall Street crowd. Here’s the announcement.
“From December 2008 until March 2011, Barofsky was the Special Inspector General charged with oversight of TARP, working to ensure against fraud and abuse in the spending of the $700 billion allocated for the bailouts. From the start he was in constant conflict with the officials at the Treasury Department in charge of the bailouts who were in thrall to the interests of the big banks and steadfastly failed to hold them accountable, even as they disregarded major job losses caused by the auto bailouts and failed to help struggling homeowners.
Barofsky recounts how his reports of a wave of criminal mortgage fraud and other abuses being perpetrated against homeowners in connection with programs that the Treasury itself set up were ignored time and again.
Barofsky offers detailed accounts of the behind-the-scenes conflicts and his struggles with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the Bush appointed “TARP Czar” Neel Kashkari and his successor, the Obama appointed Herb Allison, and others. His revelations show in stark detail just how captured by Wall Street our political system is; why the banks have not been held accountable; and how the failure to enact effective regulation has put the country in danger of an even bigger crisis in the future.
There are two broad narratives about Barack Obama from American elites. On the right, there’s a racist narrative about Obama’s socialist Kenyan origins, with offshoot dishonest arguments about his policies. He’s anti-corporate! He’s gone on a government spending frenzy! He’s going to cut the size of the military! These are not true. On the Democratic side, there’s an equally dishonest set of arguments. He’s not bold enough! Congress is holding him back from his progressive instincts! We haven’t made him do what we know he wants to do! The real Obama is hidden behind a racist veneer on the right, that he’s a Kenyan socialist, and a fake narrative on the left, that he’s not bold enough.
The third narrative, which you can find on this blog, is that Barack Obama is a great deceiver, with a charming and cool demeanor that mask his ruthlessness and bank-friendly neoliberal ideology. It’s hard to talk to this third narrative, because Democrats overwhelmingly approve of Obama, and Republicans simply cannot countenance the idea that their socialist enemy is as friendly or even more friendly to corporate power than they are.”
•Etan Patz: Debate continues over why the NYPD waited so many years to arrest the suspect in his killing. My daughter reminded me that she went to public school in New York with Etan’s younger brother, and that his mom, Julie, was there every day to bring him to school and stay as as a volunteer
•Remember: Hal Jackson, NY Radio Pioneer, Dead at 96
Have a happy day off, that is, if you don’t think too much about the origins of Memorial Day in the aftermath of the Civil War and all the war casualties since and ongoing. Comments to email@example.com Media News at: http://mediachannel1.org
strong>New Book Now From Cosimo Books[/caption
Jay Janson for VEterans for Peace: Vets Ask “Mourn For Those Killed By Americans in Battle in US Wars of Aggression!”
“On this Memorial Day, Veterans For Peace asks you to mourn not only for Americans killed in battle, but also for those killed by Americans in battle, to accept that these war deaths did not have to happen—that they are actually in vain. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people have died in American wars of aggression. That is a tragedy and is a truth that must be accepted and for which we must take responsibility.” VFP Pres.
Listen up: I join Reverend Jesse Jackson on his Keephopealiveradio.com show this Sunday Morning at 9 AM EST. Tune In
•Rhea Tauber died Saturday at home on a Jewish holiday, no less. The only person I knew personally who lived passed a hundred. She was 104 and going strong until she wasn’t. The mother of my friend June and her sisters, grandmother to Dave Golden and others and a remarkable source of light and wisdom, former school teacher here in New York City, and the oldest newspaper columnist I knew. She wrote for a Jewish newspaper in Westchester until her age forced her to move back to New York. The last time I saw her, she was lively, cogent if memory challenged and still kibitzing although she hadn’t criticized my dirty finger nails for a while.
What a force of nature and one woman phenomenon. I was blessed to have met her.
*A funeral service will be held at Plaza Jewish Community Chapel, 630 Amsterdam Ave., NYC at noon on Wed., May 30
Holiday Not So Festive, Weather Glum
The city empties out on these holidays like Memorial Day. The traffic is light, and the rain brought down the temperature, Unfortunately a dissectors’s work is never done and I spent Saturday working on a TV series I am directing on Who Rules America. It’s a lot of work. Fortunately I have a terific assistant producer and editor and so feel like I an getting it done, subject to the approval of the broadcaster I am working for who may or may not like it.
Some of colleagues of mine are off to Virginia to protest a meet by the elite, an event called the Bilderberg Conference of the rich and powerful at at a hotel in Chantilly VA.
Here’s some info:
The scene on opening day of the now renown (previously secretive) Bilderberg meeting in Chantilly Virginia on May 31st might actually feel surreal as activists and members of the alternative media converge on the property line of the Westfields Marriott to document the event as over 130 of the worlds most predominant businessmen, financiers, and oligarchs gather behind closed doors to discuss the future of the planet amongst themselves.
In fact, the meeting will be the 60th annual meeting of the Bilderburgers and some of the most predominant alternative members in the world will be on location to try and grab their shot at exposing the elites agenda and gain explicit intel on the attendees, topics, and highlights of the meeting.
Egypt: CAIRO (AP) – The two surviving candidates in Egypt’s presidential election appealed Saturday for support from voters who rejected them as polarizing extremists in the first round even as they faced a new challenge from the third runner-up who contested the preliminary results. Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, vowed he won’t revive the old authoritarian regime
*Syria: US Hopes Russia Will Help Push Assad Out
•BEIRUT (AP) – Gruesome video Saturday showed rows of dead Syrian children lying in a mosque in bloody shorts and T-shirts with gaping head wounds, haunting images of what activists called one of the deadliest regime attacks yet in Syria’s 14-month-old uprising.
Was this incident a pretext for intervention?
•Syria’s Response–NY Times: “We completely deny responsibility for this terrorist massacre against our people,” the spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, Jihad Makdissi, told reporters Sunday during a news conference. Among the dead were at least 32 children under the age of 10.
The Syrian government, he told reporters, was being subjected to a “tsunami of lies.”
“Women, children and old men were shot dead,” Mr. Makdissi said, according to Reuters. “This is not the hallmark of the heroic Syrian army.”
¨US/NATO stepping up Campaign Against Syria, Media Mum
•Portside: Is Alexis Tsirpas a Danger for Europe?
The leader of Greece’s leftist alliance SYRIZA is the new bright hope of Greek politics. Steering a course between pragmatism and the rhetoric of class warfare, he has unsettled Berlin, and not just those who back Angela Merkel’s austerity policies.
• Greece: Austerity Leading To Suicides in Greece
•Headline in NY Times: US EFFORTS FAIL TO CURTAIL TRADE IN AFGHAN OPIUM
•China Daily: US concludes China isn’t a currency manipulator
The United States on Friday declined to name China a currency manipulator but said it would “press for policy changes that yield greater exchange rate flexibility” in the yuan.
The Chinese currency remains “significantly undervalued” and “further appreciation of the RMB (renminbi) against the dollar and other major currencies is warranted,” the US Treasury Department said in its latest semiannual report to Congress on international exchange-rate policies.
•China Daily reports on US infant mortality
Ellen Brown, writes: “As our political system sputters, a wave of innovative thinking and bold experimentation is quietly sweeping away outmoded economic models.” (Note, the building I live in has a mortgage from the National Co-op Bank in Washington DC, an institution my late Uncle George Schechter helped found. I wish I could say they were more responsive and less bureaucratic than non-Co-op Banks. Cautionary Note: They Aren’t.
•The (Burn) Pits of Hell | Common Dreams
•Press TY: Remains Of Bosnia War Victims Buried
*Greg Palast, Killings, cancer, corruption and Azerbaijan: Eurovision in the Islamic Republic of BP
Will “Beyond Petroleum” oil giant BP pick the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest today in Baku, Azerbaijan? If so, I wouldn’t be surprised.
•Globe and Mail: Sweden feels Euphoria of victory at Eurovision
•Our FBI at Work, The Vegas sting: A cunning FBI trap set by a cocaine-addicted stool pigeon ensnared this British businessman and destroyed his life. The only problem? He was innocent
•Michigan is Burning: Michigan wildfire grows to more than 21,000 acres
*News Republic: Embittered Facebook investors ponder next move
Shelly Palmer: Blackberry RIP
I very rarely call the “time of death” of a company. It’s really not my place. But, after my customer service experience with RIM (Research In Motion, the makers of BlackBerry smart devices) the other day, I think it’s safe to say that BlackBerry has passed on! RIM is no more! It has ceased to be! It’s expired and gone to meet its maker! It’s a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! If you weren’t holding it in your hand it’d be pushing up the daisies! Its metabolic processes are now history! It’s off the twig! It has kicked the bucket, shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisibile!! This is an ex-Parrot! Err, um … smartphone.
•Techcrunch: 10 Reasons To Quit Your Job Right Now!
In April of this year, the FBI and NYPD descended on an apartment building.. in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood, half a block from the Patzes’ house. Prosecutors brought a formal murder charge against the man who allegedly confessed to murdering 6-year-old Etan Patz in New York City in 1979, but will face challenges trying a decades-old case with little evidence…said Bennett Gershman, a law professor at Pace University and a former prosecutor. “A confession is not enough to prove guilt without proving that the confession is credible.” …
NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly said it was highly unlikely Etan’s body would ever be recovered but expressed confidence in Mr. Hernandez’s confession. According to the New York State Criminal Code, “a person may not be convicted of any offense solely upon evidence of a confession or admission made by him without additional proof that the offense charged has been committed.”
.. the case is wrought with legal pitfalls, including: his confession came days before the anniversary of the child’s disappearance; others have previously come forward to falsely admit to the crime; and that questions have been raised about the defendant’s mental health.[*note State/media silence that in “May 2004 the judge declared Jose R. Ramos responsible for Etan Patz’ boy’s because he disobeyed her orders to answer deposition questions under oath for a lawyer representing Etan’s parents.”
“The boy’s remains have not been recovered, there is no forensic or DNA evidence and I am unaware of anything in the admission that is fact specific beyond what anyone could read in the newspaper or gather from other media sources over the years,” said Jeremy Saland, a criminal defense attorney and former Manhattan prosecutor.
Parody: Bill Maher On The Birthers
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•Yes, Obama Smoked Weed. The Atlantic Reports on The Latest “Expose.”
•BusinessInsider: Marc Faber Guarantees A Global Recession.
In an interview on CNBC’s Fast Money Halftime Report, Marc Faber of the “Gloom, Boom, and Doom Report” stated that a global recession in the final quarter of this year or any time next year is certain.
“I think we could have a global recession either in Q4 or early 2013. That’s a distinct possibility.”
When asked what were the odds, Faber replied, “100%.”
•WSJ: Billion Dollar Bank Bailout in Spain
•Fluent: ‘Airlines’ New Reality: Fees for Carry-Ons, Pillows, Water, Once Included, Now New Revenue’
•3000th casualty om Afghanistan noted
•CLG: U.S. asks judge to undo ruling against military detention law
Federal prosecutors on Friday urged a judge to lift her order barring enforcement of part of a new law that permits indefinite military detention [of US citizens]. Manhattan federal court Judge Katherine Forrest this month ruled in favor of activists and reporters who said they feared being detained under a section of the law, signed by President Barack Obama in December. The judge’s preliminary injunction bars the government from enforcing section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act’s “Homeland Battlefield” provisions. The section authorizes indefinite military detention for those deemed to have “substantially supported” al Qaeda , the Taliban or “associated forces.
If nothing else, this war has been effective at one thing: it gives cover for the steady erosion of human rights. Indefinite detention and surveillance — is there reason to believe any of this will end so long as the U.S. is at war?
•Chris Marsden, ICH: US Prepares Multi-front Proxy War Against Syria
The UN is well aware that Washington is pursuing a deliberate policy of destabilisation in Syria in order to justify a war for regime change waged by its allies-above all in Riyadh, Ankara and Doha-with Washington’s military support.
David Swanson: Lies and Consequences in Our Past 15 Wars
Prior to 2001, the Taliban was willing to turn Osama bin Laden over to a third country if he was promised a fair trial and no death penalty, and if some evidence of his guilt of crimes were offered. In 2001, the Taliban warned the United States that bin Laden was planning an attack on American soil. In July 2001 the United States was known to have plans to take military action against the Taliban by mid-October.
When the United States attacked Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, the Taliban again offered to negotiate for the handing over of bin Laden. When President George W. Bush refused, the Taliban dropped its demand for evidence of guilt and offered simply to turn bin Laden over to a third country. Bush rejected this offer and continued bombing. At a March 13, 2002, press conference, Bush said of bin Laden “I truly am not that concerned about him.” When President Barack Obama announced, in May 2011, that he had killed bin Laden, the war didn’t even slow down.
Bin Laden, as a justification for the longest war in U.S. history, had always had weaknesses. As with Saddam Hussein or Muammar Gadaffi or Manuel Noriega, past U.S. support for bin Laden had to be kept out of the discussion. And a crime had to be transformed into an act of war. A crime by a non-state group was used to implicate the nation of Afghanistan, even though 92% of Afghans not only didn’t support the crime of 9-11, but they have to this day never heard about it.
If bin Laden was not the reason for over a decade of war in Afghanistan, perhaps al Qaeda more generally was the cause. When President Obama continued the war in 2009 and tripled the number of U.S. troops in it, he and his subordinates argued that if the Taliban had power it would work with al Qaeda, and that would allow al Qaeda to endanger the United States. Some of the same officials who made this claim, including Richard Holbrooke, at other times admitted that al Qaeda had virtually no presence in Afghanistan, that the Taliban was not likely to work with al Qaeda, and that al Qaeda could easily plan attacks on the United States in a dozen nations other than Afghanistan, just as the 911 attack had been planned, in part, in Europe and the United States….
The Hill: House GOP plans July vote to extend Bush tax rates
House Republican leaders on Friday unveiled a legislative calendar for the summer, revealing plans to hammer President Obama and Democrats on the economy, energy, taxes and other divisive issues in the months leading up to November’s elections.
The schedule includes a July vote to extend the Bush-era tax rates for all Americans.
Talks With Iran Sputter, will Continue, BUT NOW– UN claims to find Enriched Uranium in Iran
As it happens, I spoke with the head of an Iranian news agency last night who said that people there saw the sudden “discovery” of enriched uranium as a part of a renewed media war to keep tensions high as part of a strategy to pressure Iran. He dismissed it as inaccurate
•Institute of Public Accuracy: AdditionalComment by Investigative Journalist Gareth Porter:
“Negotiations between Iran and the United States and other members of the P5+1 group in Baghdad ended in fundamental disagreement Thursday over the position of the P5+1 offering no relief from sanctions against Iran. The two sides agreed to meet again in Moscow Jun. 18 and 19, but only after Iran had threatened not to schedule another meeting, because the P5+1 had originally failed to respond properly to its five-point plan. The prospects for agreement are not likely to improve before that meeting, however, mainly because of an inflexible U.S. diplomatic posture that reflects President Barack Obama’s need to bow to the demands of Israel and the U.S. Congress on Iran policy.” http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=107920
Raghida Dergman: The infatuation with Iran Arab Concern over the West’s Infatuation with Iran
Talk of the “Grand Bargain” is once again finding its way to theories on the relationship between the United States and Iran, in light of their mutual desire to build bridges of trust on the nuclear issue, and of the repercussions of their understanding over regional issues, from Iraq to Syria. Iran’s leadership knows exactly what its priorities are now, starting from a strategic bilateral relationship with the United States on the basis of pledges not to change the regime in Tehran. At the regional level, the Iranians speak at times the language of a regional apparatus or system for cooperation that would include Iran, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Iraq, and at other times the language of superiority and of dictates, due precisely to the possession of nuclear capabilities, as well as that of forcing the major powers to take the demands of the Islamic Republic of Iran into account. The factors that have led Tehran to hint to its willingness to give and take on the nuclear issue are linked to the impact of sanctions, which represent the backbone of President Barack Obama’s policy towards Iran. Yet what hastened the Iranian decision to show some flexibility was the success of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at toppling the policy of “containment”, which Obama had adopted, driving the United States to settle the issue militarily if the option of convincing through negotiations were to fail.
This is on the one hand. On the other, Iran’s leadership has found itself in tremendous international isolation, and has found in talk of the “Grand Bargain” an opportunity to break not only its own isolation, but also that of its Syrian ally, which for it represents a foothold for regional hegemony and the dismantlement of pan-Arabism. This also suits Israel and Turkey to a certain extent, bearing in mind that they both share with Iran the desire to take control of the balance of power in the region and exclude Arab players from it. While Egypt currently stands outside of the balance of power.
•HP: New Murdoch Scandal
Apple’s boss, Tim Cook, turns down a payout worth about $75m (£48m) that he was due from the technology giant’s upcoming dividend.
. NYT: Patz Suspect On Suicide Watch
Pedro Hernandez, the man who has been arrested in connection to the 1979 death of Etan Patz, was transferred Friday morning was placed under suicide watch Friday at Bellevue Hospital and will be arraigned from his hospital bed. Hernandez had been scheduled to be arraigned on Friday morning—the 33rd anniversary of the day that Patz disappeared—and is expected to be charged with second-degree murder. Hernandez said he strangled the six-year-old to death after luring him to the basement of a bodega with the promise of a soda.
• Donald Trump Is Still a Birther
A birth certificate and confirmation from Hawaii’s Health Department may be enough to convince Arizona’s Secretary of State that President Obama is a natural-born U.S. citizen, but Donald Trump’s no fool. Recently, a former literary-agency assistant admitted that, at the time Obama’s first book was published, she had mistakenly written he was born in Kenya. But Trump insists, “that’s what he told the literary agent. That’s the way life works … he didn’t know he was running for president, so he told the truth.” He told The Daily Beast, “His mother never spent a day in the hospital.”
•Media Ternor Analysis:Coverage of politics in US TV news, May 1 – 20, 2012
Boston, May 25, 2012: Although foreign affairs are not traditionally at the forefront of voter concern, international politics have increased their visibility on the media agenda in 2012 at the expense of coverage on the economy, according to research institute Media Tenor International.
“This is largely attributed to Obama’s recent agreement with Afghanistan to pull US troops out of the region by 2014,” says Casey Smith, analyst at Media Tenor. “Historically, foreign policy issues have taken a back seat to voter concerns over the health of the domestic economy and job security, but candidate stances on international politics will be a platform for assuring voters that vital economic resources will be committed to home.”
Up until now, Romney has been fairly silent on foreign policy issues compared to President Obama, who is under more pressure to deal with the ongoing troop presence in Afghanistan.
Overall, media tonality on international politics, and the debate over Afghanistan and relations with Iran has been negative, as Americans evaluate the costs of US foreign policy taking away from money spent on creating jobs and improving healthcare.
“Presidential candidates are still vulnerable to tonality on foreign issues even though they are secondary to economic concerns,” adds Smith. “With the media keeping international conflicts on the agenda, it will influence the election and have an effect on the ratings of both Obama and Romney.”
ABC is the only TV network with a positive tonality on international affairs relating to Obama, while all other networks frame the issues negatively for both candidates.
Meanwhile, consumer confidence is still stalled as media tone on the economy continues on a downward trend.
Top 10 TV StoriesL Ad Hopper Dispute Heads for Court
Fox, NBC and CBS filed separate lawsuits against Dish Network for its ad-zapping DVR but the ever-litigious Charlie Ergen, who heads up Dish Network, filed suit his own suit against the networks.
Why This Matters: The networks want to protect the commercial television eco-system and claim the Auto Hop DVR violates their copyrights and contractual agreements to retransmit programming. For his part, Ergen, who has never shied away from a big fight, is ready to rumble claiming Dish is in compliance with its agreements with the nets.
•Project for Excellence in Journalism: Pop Culture is King in Social Media: May 14-20, 2012
The naming of new celebrity judges for a popular reality show generated major attention in both the blogosphere and Twitterverse last week. And for the second week in a row, events related to the 2012 Mexican presidential election registered as the top news video on YouTube.
This week, YouTube announced the launch of a new Human Rights channel in partnership with advocacy nonprofit WITNESS, and social news-gathering service Storyful. The new channel is “dedicated to curating hours of raw citizen-video documenting human rights stories that are uploaded daily and distributing that to audiences hungry to learn and take action,” and “aims to shed light on and contextualize under-reported stories, to record otherwise undocumented abuses, and to amplify previously unheard voices.”
*For More On The International Criminal Court: A Resource Page
Hollis Stewart writes:
Long time since I sent you any communication. Good to see the Syracuse CATC/SCDA etc organizers are still at it — or at least you are. I am now retired from work but keeping active through several senior organizations and through union retiree group and so forth. Just keeping on keeping on. I watch for your comments and enjoy them. It is disturbing that in our country we see the effects of dummy-ing down leading to a possible social disaster unparalleled in human history. If the trend here toward authoritarianism/totalitarianism continues we could become a menace to the world that was worse than those of the 30s. A nuclear armed almost sole superpower under a totalitarian government would wield death and destruction on all sides. Yet much of the populace lets things just drift to the right while they tell themselves that we are different than other nations that have tried to control the world because we are “democratic” and of high moral virtue.
Mark Pedelty writes from University of Minnesota
We met at Jake Lynch’s Peace Journalism event at that amazing estate outside London in the late 90′s. I was there to talk about my research regarding war correspondents in El Salvador. I’m a big fan of your documentaries and news dissector. Last I night was recommending a fiction film to a friend that my very imperfect memory had you directing it. It was a wonderful film about an ex-war correspondent back in the USA who strikes up a relationship with younger woman. I believe it was set in NYC? For the life of me I can’t find the title on the web. Am I going insane or did you direct, write, or consult on the film in question. Been trying to remember the title for years to watch it again. Send me the info to help calm my fears of early onset.
•Yes, The film is INTERVIEW
Thanks for being here.Ponder The Meaning of Memorial Day. Comments to Dissector@mediachannel.org
News Dissector Radio Today at 1 PM on PRN.fm: Guests and Subjects: News Anchor Dan Rather, Focus on Bildeberg meeting this weekend in Virginia; Coca-Cola Workers Charge Discrimination
Is A Collapse Coming?
•Wall Street Journal: Global Economic Slowdown Is Here
•New York Times: XI’AN, China — A nationwide real estate downturn, stalling exports and declining consumer confidence have produced what a Chinese cabinet adviser, quoted on the official government Web site on Thursday, characterized as a “sharp slowdown in the economy.”
…China’s unexpected economic difficulties are starting to unnerve investors in world markets, especially commodity markets, as China is the world’s largest consumer of most raw materials and the second-largest consumer of oil.
A deepening slowdown would ripple across the world economy.
HP, Watch: Tony Soprano Explains Bain Capital
Obama Vs Corey Booker: Who Is Right?
Frank Rich, New York Mag via RSN, On Obama, Bain and Romney
As everyone now knows, Newark Mayor Cory Booker broke rank on Meet the Press last Sunday, saying that the Obama campaign’s attacks on Romney’s Bain record were a “nauseating” distraction from the real issues. (Booker did not specify what those “real issues” were.) Why’d he do that? I hope no one is nauseated if I suggest that this was idle self-promotion on Booker’s part. His message was: I am the reasonable, above-the-fray, bipartisan statesman who will deign to serve as the adult in the room while the two presidential campaigns throw dirt at each other like kids in a sandbox. Booker is a smart and capable leader but I fear he may have spent too many mornings drinking the “Why can’t we just all get along?” Kool-Aid (or should I say Starbucks?) at Morning Joe.
To my ear, this seemed more about his own narcissism than about Obama, Romney, or the country. It was equally embarrassing, if not exactly nauseating, to watch him back down on his Twitter feed and in a YouTube video that left you wondering if he had the courage of any of his convictions or was ready for prime time on the national stage.
Obama quickly rebuffed Booker, saying that the Bain attacks were very much what the campaign was about. Is he going to keep hammering on this until election day? I was heartened that Obama didn’t run away from his point, which is not to attack business in general or the private equity business in particular, but to go after Romney’s own record — the main record Romney is running on, which is his career at Bain. Romney has steadily misrepresented that history in his effort to position himself as a Mr. Fix-it for the economy and a brilliant exemplar of job creation in the private sector. Job creation was not Romney’s mission at Bain, as Obama has pointed out.
And as if to inadvertently prove Obama’s point, the Romney campaign has from the start given wildly varying and highly suspicious figures of how many jobs he “created” at Bain — it’s been as high as 100,000 and as low as unspecified “thousands.” (Romney’s record as governor of Massachusetts, which ranked 47th in the country in job creation on his watch, was arguably even worse.) So why shouldn’t Obama go after Romney’s loosey-goosey specifics?
•NY Observer: Mark Zuckerberg’s $100 Million Newark Gift May Be Used To Get Rid Of Underperforming Teachers
by Hunter Walker 05/24 1:36pm
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg gave a $100 million grant to the public school system in 2010. Now, according to CBS News, officials are considering using some of that cash on buyouts to get rid of poorly performing teachers.
•Release: Frank and Levin Call on Administration to Clarify Position on Capital Controls
WASHINGTON — Congressman Barney Frank, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Financial Services, and Congressman Sander Levin, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, today released a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, expressing concern over future U.S. free trade agreements if the very important subject of capital controls is not addressed. Levin and Frank are leaders in the U.S. House on trade and international economic issues.
In their letter to the Administration, Frank and Levin ask Secretary Geithner to affirm that specific provisions in U.S. trade and investment treaties would allow governments to use controls to protect and strengthen the stability of their financial systems, or if that is not the case, to work to change…
Frank and Levin have long been concerned that the language in U.S. trade and investment treaties was too restrictive and did not leave adequate flexibility for governments to use controls to stem the massive flows of speculative capital that can exacerbate economic crises, especially in developing economies. In response, the Administration has claimed that its interpretation of the language in U.S. trade treaties already allows partner governments the flexibility they need to use controls to deal with rapid flows of money.
•Simon Johnson, BaselineScenario.com: Jamie Dimon And The Legitimacy Of The Federal Reserve System
There are two diametrically opposed views of how the largest financial companies in our economy operate. On the one hand, there are those like Charles Ferguson, director of the Academy Award-winning documentary “Inside Job” and author of the new book, “Predator Nation.” Mr. Ferguson takes the view that greed and immorality now prevail to an excessive degree at the heart of Wall Street.
Academics and other experts have become corrupted, the responsible regulators have been intellectually captured, and law enforcement officials refuse to act – despite the accumulation of evidence before their eyes.
“Inside Job” was gripping and emotional; “Predator Nation” contains many more specific details and evidence, as this excerpt dealing with academics (one Republican and one Democrat) makes clear.
The second view is that the people in charge of large banks and bank holding companies have done nothing wrong. To see this view in action, look no further than this week’s debate about whether Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, should resign from the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The New York Fed oversees his organization, including assessing whether it is taking dangerous risks, so there are reasonable questions about whether this creates a potential conflict of interest.
A balanced account of this debate appeared in American Banker, which kindly agreed to bring the entire article out from behind its paywall. The strongest statement from the pro-Dimon corner comes from Ernest Patrikis, a partner with White & Case L.L.P. and former general counsel of the New York Federal Reserve:
“I don’t see Jamie Dimon’s conflict of interest. What’s the conflict? He’s expected to represent the banks’ view, the lenders’ view.”
•eWallStreeter.com: Mark Cuban Sounds Off
1. Say goodbye to the individual investor on Wall Street. Whatever positive impression they had of the IPO market and the stock market in general was just torched to the ground. When everyone you know associated with the stock market is telling you and the media is confirming that this could be a huge IPO that will make money for those lucky enough to get shares and the opposite happens, goodnight. All confidence in the stock is destroyed. Put your money in the bank or if you want to gamble, at least slot machines in Vegas pay out 98pct.
2. The Valuation Bubble in Silicon Valley is bursting – but not for the reasons you think. Historically IPOs function as a means of getting stock to outsiders. People who were not sold/assigned/granted shares could only buy shares once they reached the public markets. The new secondary markets in private shares changed that. They allowed outsiders to purchase shares in a market with very little liquidity.
The demand for shares outstripped the supply and you know what happens when demand outstrips supply ? The price goes up. So shares of FB on secondary market went up and up and up. (Just as LinkedIn had done before them, but it greater volumes) When it was time to go public the IPO had to be priced higher than the prevailing share price on the secondary market.
To make matters worse, those folks who bought shares in the secondary private market, driving up the share price now had the shares they wanted to buy , so they were no longer going to be the buyers the IPO counted on to eat up shares in the open market.
Can you imagine how pissed you would be if you bought a boatload of Facebook thinking you got in at a better than IPO price only to watch the price on the open market post IPO drop below the price you paid in the private market ? Ouch.
•Press TV: Israel Tries To Hush Flotilla Victims
On Iran Talks
•Press TV: Iran’s View
Detroit is Shrinking
LBN: Detroit, whose 139 square miles contain 60 percent fewer residents than in 1950, will try to nudge them into a smaller living space by eliminating almost half its streetlights.
As it is, 40 percent of the 88,000 streetlights are broken and the city, whose finances are to be overseen by an appointed board, cant afford to fix them. Mayor Dave Bings plan would create an authority to borrow $160 million to upgrade and reduce the number of streetlights to 46,000. Maintenance would be contracted out, saving the city $10 million a year.
TIME TO RECALL THE LAND GRABBERS
An extract from ‘The Great Food Robbery’: Right Livelihood Award 2011
GRAIN’s acceptance speech, 5 December 2011
People who just want to grow food and make a living from the land are
being expelled, criminalised, and sometimes killed, to make way for
land grabbers. It is nothing less than an assault on peasants.
THE GREAT FOOD ROBBERY TARGETS AFRICA
Interview with Devlin Kuyek by Molly Kane
‘Who gets to eat and who doesn’t is decided in a few rooms by boards
of directors composed mainly of rich men. A handful of people in
Northern countries deciding whether Africa is going to eat or not is
Mission accomplished! Iraq acquiring drones from US to guard oil installations
•Iraq is acquiring unmanned surveillance drones from the United States as part of efforts to boost bilateral relations and also to beef up security of its oil installations and energy fuel exports amid growing tensions in the region. The US drones will help to protect the southern oilfield around Basra, which have become vulnerable after the withdrawal of the last American troops, U.S. and Iraqi officials said on Monday. “Iraq’s navy has purchased U.S. drones to protect the country’s oil platforms in the south, from where most of Iraq’s oil is shipped,” said an official from the Office of Security Cooperation in Iraq, reported Reuters.
•Alarm Over Arming of Domestic Drones
With the use of domestic drones increasing, concern has not just come up over privacy issues, but also over the potential use of lethal force by the unmanned aircraft. The Federal Aviation Administration has allowed several police departments to use drones across the U.S. They are controlled from a remote location and use infrared sensors and high-resolution cameras. Chief Deputy Randy McDaniel of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office in Texas told The Daily that his department is considering using rubber bullets and tear gas on its drone. The use of potential force from drones has raised the ire of the American Civil Liberties Union.
*EJC: Press freedom watchdogs demand release of Palestinian broadcaster
Press freedom watchdogs have called on the Israeli military to release the director of a Palestinian TV station who was detained last Thursday 17 May. Israeli soldiers arrested Baha Khairi Moussa, who runs the Palestine Prisoner Channel, a satellite broadcaster based in the West Bank. They also confiscated the station’s equipment. But the reason for his arrest remains a mystery, as do his whereabouts.
•EJC: Al Jazeera wants to build a sports broadcasting empire
Al Jazeera, best known for its Middle Eastern news coverage, aims to become a global powerhouse in sports broadcasting over the next five years, its director said. The Qatar-based broadcaster will launch its new sports channel dubbed ’beIN Sport’ in France next week and plans for two more channels in the United States in August. It is also currently weighing whether to bid for the UK rights to the English Premier League, said Nasser al-Khelaifi, director of Al Jazeera Sports, in an interview.
•Atlantic: Executives Sleeping With Their Phones
•WATCH: Next Media Animation on The Issue
Your comments welcome: Write Dissector@mediachannel.org, Read the latest media news on Mediachannel1.org
Ponder the Meaning of Memorial Day.
Tomorrow, Friday: News Dissector Radio, PRN.fm, 1-2 PM
In Case You Missed It, Real News Carries My Essay: Don’t Let The Facts Get In The Way….
New Book Now From Cosimo Books[/caption
•News Republic: Europe Solves Nothing
•The Real Race for Money: Obama fundraises hard as super-PACs boost Romney's cash
•Yahoo News: Man in custody implicates himself in Etan Patz death
The New York City police commissioner says a man in custody has implicated himself in the death of Etan Patz, the boy whose disappearance 33 years ago sparked the movement to put the faces of missing children on milk cartons.
Elections in Egypt
Center For Public Accuracy: Seif Da'Na is an associate professor of sociology and international studies at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside specializing in the Mideast and North Africa comments: "The Egyptian presidential election are being held today and tomorrow, with a highly possible run-off on June 16 and 17, is a significant step in Egypt’s political and democratic transformation. However, the multi-candidate presidential election, including two high ranking officials of the ousted Mubarak regime (Ahmad Shafiq, former prime minister, and Amr Mousa, former foreign minister and secretary general of the League of Arab States) might not put an end to the control of the SCAF [Supreme Council of the Armed Forces].
“The new president will have to take on serious challenges from day one (regional, economic, political, and administrative, etc.) but the president faces the ambiguity of his role and limits of his power. The new constitution has not been drafted and SCAF will still hold the real power. It is unlikely that the presidential election will put an end to the ongoing protests in Egypt, as long as people realize that SCAF is still the real ruler of Egypt and that their demands have to be negotiated in the street.”
•Africa: Political leaders ‘learn little’ from North African uprisings
Cape Town (South Africa) — Spurred by popular uprisings in North Africa, pressure to respect the human rights of all Africans is growing across the continent, but political leaders are standing in the way, says the internationally-respected lobby group, Amnesty International.
Violence breaks out after inflammatory speeches as protesters join politicians to demonstrate against rising Israeli immigration
WhoWhatWhy.com: Burying the “Lockerbie Bomber”—And the Truth
Everyone’s in a hurry to say goodbye to the “Lockerbie bomber,” the man convicted of bombing Pan Am 103. But a closer look is warranted—as usual—when the stakes are so high. Was Libya really behind the atrocity, or was some other country or element involved?
•Foreclosure amnesia — California distressed inventory still larger than non-distressed properties. Wed, 23 May 2012
People suffer from a sort of amnesia when it comes to the economy. For example, the low mortgage rates are now used as the major reason to buy in spite of weak employment reports, major budget deficits, and lower incomes for younger Americans. In other words, the major reason to buy today is the low interest rate. But even 10 years ago, the 30 year fixed rate mortgage was at 7 percent or nearly twice as high as the current rate. The entire housing market is being held up by a string and that string is the artificially low rates.
Wisconsin Recall Update: John Nichols: Failure to focus on labor rights hurts Dems
With the release last week of the Marquette University Law School poll that had Scott Walker leading Tom Barrett by a 50-44 margin, Walker’s most naive enthusiasts expressed delight while Barrett’s supporters panicked.
Both were wrong.
In the latest Marquette Poll, almost half of the 600 likely voters surveyed identified as conservatives, while 30 percent identified as moderates and 20 percent identified as liberals.
But the pattern of exit polls conducted in major elections over the past decade suggests that the accurate breakdown is far different. One of Wisconsin’s savviest number crunchers, Jud Lounsbury, notes that “if we average the last three exit polls in Wisconsin (2006, 2008 and 2010), we find that the actual breakdown of the Wisconsin electorate is 22.7 percent liberal, 46.7 percent moderate, and 31 percent conservative.”
But there’s an even more significant divergence in the new Marquette poll.
The previous Marquette poll, which showed a dead heat between Walker and Barrett, found that 43 percent of those identified as conservatives, while 32 percent identified as moderates and 22 percent as liberals.
In other words, the new poll upped the number of conservatives interviewed — those most likely to support Walker — by five percentage points while it reduced the percentage of liberals polled — those most likely to vote for Barrett — by two points.
When we figure in the slight shift among moderates toward Barrett in the newer poll, the divergence in sample groups (upping the conservative percentage while reducing the liberal percentage) accounts for the entire boost in Walker’s number and the entire drop in Barrett’s number.
In other words, there is good reason to conclude that the race remains a dead heat — despite the fact that, in the period immediately prior to the latest round of Marquette polling, Walker outspent Barrett by roughly 25-1.
Robert Parry: What Really Happened At Watergate
•The Atlantic: The Sad 6 Days of Facebook
•Robert Weissman, Public Citizen: Learning from Facebook
Whether or not you’re an investor, it’s important to grasp the significance of what’s happened with the Facebook initial public offering (IPO).
In the few days since its IPO, Facebook’s stock price has fallen almost 20 percent amidst news that underwriters led by Morgan Stanley and perhaps Facebook itself shared negative assessments of the company only with big, institutional investors — not with the broader investing public.
It’s going to take some time to suss out exactly what happened with the Facebook IPO, but step back and consider the broader implications. They are staggering.
The most hyped IPO in history has turned into a debacle marred by insider dealing. It’s no exaggeration to say the whole world was watching — and still the decks were stacked against average investors.
This is remarkable commentary on the untrustworthiness of Wall Street. If anyone had any doubts, it shows the utter folly in relying on Wall Street to police itself.
•Reuters: Facebook: The List of Incompetents – Murphy’s Law
It’s going to be a long time before the various lawsuits shake themselves out, but one thing’s already clear with respect to the Facebook IPO: absolutely no one has come out of it looking good. It’s worth going down the List of Incompetence here, because regardless of whether any of this was illegal, there are a lot of extremely well-compensated people who, to use a technical term, screwed the pooch on this one.
U.S. APPROACHES TO FINANCIAL REGULATION ARE INCOMPLETE AND INADEQUATE, NEW LEVY ECONOMICS INSTITUTE STUDY SAYS
Until Regulation Reforms Incorporate Hyman Minsky’s Theory that Instability Is an Inherent Part of the Financial System, They Will Fail to Head Off Future Crises
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.— Analyzing U.S. policy responses to the global financial crisis over the past five years, chiefly the Dodd-Frank Act, a new paper from the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College argues that the approach has been incomplete and inadequate, very much like the “piecemeal” and “patchwork” pattern of reform that Hyman Minsky cautioned against in his 1986 book Stabilizing an Unstable Economy.
“As Minsky emphasized, you cannot adequately design regulations that increase the stability of financial markets if you do not have a theory of financial instability,” write Senior Scholar Jan Kregel and President Dimitri B. Papadimitriou in their new paper, “Building Effective Regulation Requires a Theory of Financial Instability.” “If the ‘normal’ precludes instability, except as a random ad hoc event, regulation will always be dealing with ad hoc events that are unlikely to occur again. As a result, the regulations will be powerless to prevent future instability.”
Matt Stoller: Naked Capitalism: Over 99% of Federal Reserve Bank Enforcement Actions Are Resolved Without Admission of Guilt
In a hearing last week titled “Examining the Settlement Practices of U.S. Financial Regulators”, various regulators tried to justify their practice of settling with financial firms and not requiring them to admit wrongdoing. In that hearing, Federal Reserve General Counsel Scott Alvarez, stated that only seven of the roughly one thousand enforcement actions taken in the last decade were resolved without consent.
The vast majority of the Federal Reserve’s formal enforcement actions are resolved upon consent, which is fully consistent with the goal of resolving supervisory concerns with bank management quickly and firmly. In crafting enforcement actions that are entered by consent, the Federal Reserve typically sets out summary recitations of the relevant facts in “Whereas” clause provisions; however, like our fellow banking regulators, it has not been our practice to require formal admissions to the misconduct addressed in our enforcement orders given the remedial nature of our enforcement program. Requiring admission of fact and legal conclusions as a condition of entering into a consent action is likely to have a deleterious effect on our supervisory efforts by causing more institutions and individuals to challenge the requested relief in contested administrative proceedings, which typically takes years to reach final resolution, and which could delay implemenatation of necessary corrective action.
In other words, the Federal Reserve will only punish banks who break the rules if those banks consent to punishment. This attitude is pervasive among all regulators.
•US Condemns Wikileaks for Hacking And Then Boasts of Hacking Yemeni Sites
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – The State Department has launched a different sort of raid against al-Qaida – hacking into al-Qaida websites in Yemen. In a rare public admission of the covert cyber war against extremists, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says cyber experts based at the State Department hacked Yemeni tribal websites,
•New Media Scandal on the Right: ‘De Borchgrave’s work goes offline’ on Fluent News. Here is the link:
New Record On Mt Everest
Tamae Watanabe, who 10 years ago became the oldest woman in the world to summit Mount Everest, has broken her own record, reaching its 29,035-foot (8,850-meter) peak for the second time at the age of 73. Everest has been scaled by some 3,700 climbers since Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay first climbed it in 1953. The oldest person to successfully make the dangerous climb is a Nepalese man, Min Bahadur Sherchan, who did so in 2008 at the age of 76.
EJC: 1000s of students protest media in Mexico
Thousands of university students marched through central Mexico City on Wednesday to protest media coverage that they say favors the candidate of the former ruling party in upcoming presidential elections. The students say newspapers and television stations are tilting their coverage toward Enrique Pena Nieto, who is leading polls by double digits ahead of the July 1 vote. Many of the students were from the elite Iberoamerican University, where a May 11 appearance by Pena Nieto set off a rare wave of protests by young people against a return to the presidency of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which ruled Mexico for 70 years before it was voted out in 2000.
Yesterday I attended a meeting of pro-choice colleagues working to
ensure women throughout this country get safe, compassionate
abortion care. Today, I received an email from one of those
colleagues, detailing the ordeal through which she was put by
American Airlines on her flights home. They actually forced her to
miss her connecting flight and demanded she change her top. The
reason? Her politically salient pro-choice t-shirt was offensive
to the flight crew.
That sign said: “If I wanted the government in my womb, I’d fuck a
senator.”The t-shirt is the now-popularized version of a sign held
by Oklahoma state senator Judy McIntyre (D) at a pro-choice rally
in early March to protest Oklahoma’s so-called personhood law,
which in conferring the rights of a living, breathing person on a
fertilized egg denies all rights of personhood of women, full
Kerry Kennedy On Mary Richardson Kennedy
Like millions of Americans, Mary suffered from depression. She had it for as long as I knew her, and as it reared up in high school, college and beyond, she fought it back, for a day, a week, a month. These last 6 years or more, she fought it as hard as she knew how.
But that disease was not Mary herself. She was deeply Catholic, and she was an angel. And like the archangel Michael, who battled Satan when he tried to take over Heaven, Mary fought back the demons who were trying to invade the Paradise of her very being. She fought with everything she had. And I think God said to her “Mary, you have been my warrior on the front lines for too long, you have fought valiantly, and now I am bringing you home.”
Let’s not forget they were only demons, not Mary herself, and it’s everything else about Mary that is important, and for me, will abide. She was an angel, a gift from the Heavens. So let’s not remember her for her despair, but let’s take inspiration from her determination to heal the woundedness in herself and in those she loved.
And let’s live our lives, remembering hers, with tenderness towards one another and affirmation for our feelings, and go forth with compassion, exhilaration, laughter and joy.’
RIP: Paul Fussell
NYT: Paul Fussell, the wide-ranging, stingingly opinionated literary scholar and cultural critic whose admiration for Samuel Johnson, Kingsley Amis and the Boy Scout Handbook and his withering scorn for the romanticization of war, the predominance of television and much of American society were dispensed in more than 20 books, died on Wednesday in Medford, Ore. He was 88.
•Gotcha: Mike Occupies Airspace, is Busted
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is rich, and New Yorkers often forgive him for it. His rarefied life of weekend homes in Bermuda and private jet flights to Paris has not stopped him from earning the votes of constituents who give him credit for competence and leadership.
But being a billionaire is one thing, and breaking the rules another. So it was on Wednesday that Mr. Bloomberg, an experienced pilot, found himself under fire after he was discovered flying his private helicopter where he was not supposed to.
An amateur video, filmed by an annoyed Manhattanite and broadcast Tuesday on WABC-TV, showed the mayor landing and taking off several times over the weekend from the East 34th Street helipad, where trips on Saturday and Sunday have been expressly banned for more than a decade.
On Wednesday, a City Hall spokesman said Mr. Bloomberg would not be flying from the helipad on weekends any longer
•Guardian: How Us Prisons Gouge Inmates
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Note from City Lights Press
Thank you so much for posting your podcast interview with O’Connor. We included this interview on our website: http://www.citylights.com/book/?GCOI=87286100981880&fa=RelatedPress.
I am an editorial intern here at City Lights Publishing, and it would be fantastic if you could include a reciprocal link on your site. If you could include it in the following section of your piece (http://prn.fm/2012/05/18/news-dissector-051812/) : “With Rory O’Connor, author of Friends, Followers and the Future: How Social Media Are Changing Politics, Threatening Big Bramds and Killing Traditional Media (City Lights).” We would appreciate it if you could create a reciprocal link on the section reading, “(City Lights),” so that it directs the reader to the following: http://www.citylights.com/book/?GCOI=87286100981880&fa=description .
WATCH: Just Released on You Tube: Deep Dish TV Interviewed Me At The Left Forum
New Book Now From Cosimo Books[/caption
The crisis at JP Morgan escalated yesterday as it emerged its trading losses in London could rise to as much as $7bn (£4.5bn) and the US bank cancelled a share buyback. Fears were growing that the losses could spiral from an initial $2bn, which was declared on 10 May, as JP Morgan struggles to unwind the massive bets made by the so-called “London Whale” trader Bruno Iksil.
In a further blow, chairman and chief executive Jamie Dimon has suspended plans to use the US bank’s own funds to buy back $15bn worth of shares. Buybacks are a popular way for firms to use up cash sitting on the balance sheet and prop up the share price.
JP Morgan shares tumbled 82 cents or 2.45 per cent to a new six month-low of $32.67. The bank’s value has fallen by a quarter in a year. Mr Dimon insisted that the decision to cancel the buyback was not linked to fears about a possible increase in losses. “You should not interpret this as anything about the size of the loss,” he said.
But as doubts persisted that the crisis has not yet abated, speculation was mounting that Mr Dimon could be forced to give up at least one of his dual boardroom roles. He has previously been regarded as the savviest banker on Wall Street as JP Morgan survived the credit crunch without a bailout.
•Office of Senator Bernie Sanders: Bill Introduced to End Conflicts of Interest at the Federal Reserve
WASHINGTON, May 22 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today introduced legislation to prohibit banking industry executives from serving as directors of the 12 Federal Reserve regional banks.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) is an original co-sponsor of the measure to end conflicts of interest involving regulators and the financial institutions they regulate. She joined Sanders at a Capitol news conference. Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) also is a co-sponsor of the bill.
A Government Accountability Office audit – conducted pursuant to a Sanders provision in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform law – found that allowing members of the banking industry to both elect and serve on the Federal Reserve’s board of directors creates “an appearance of a conflict of interest” and poses “reputational risks” to the Federal Reserve System.
The recent multi-billion-dollar trading loss at JPMorgan Chase underscored the need to structurally reform the Federal Reserve System to make a more democratic institution responsive to the needs of ordinary Americans, not just Wall Street CEOs.
•US News/Portside: Poverty Increasing Among Retirees
•Matt Stoller, Naked Capitalism: Greece Will Go Left or Right:In Greek Humanitarian Crisis, It Will Be Leftists Or Neo-Nazis
Austerity doesn’t just lead to unemployment and misery. If it goes on long enough, it will inevitably lead to the emergence of “swamp thing” extremists into positions of power. Take the situation in Greece, a country which until recently was a wealthy Western democracy with a relatively stable political system. After five years of depression, voters in Greece just fired their equivalent of the Democrats and Republicans, and replaced them with anti-bailout groups, mostly on the left (Syriza and Communists), but also with the neo-Nazi group Golden Dawn on the right.
This should be a wake-up call to political elites globally, because Greece could simply be the start of a trend of collapsing centrist politics and the rise of dangerous political actors. 7% of Greeks, including a substantial number of the police, voted for a fascist anti-immigrant party whose platform is a mixture of economic populism and xenophobic racist lunacy. 21 Golden Dawn members were elected to Parliament. Golden Dawn political machine includes roving gangs of thugs that routinely beat up immigrants, and its political platform includes placing mines on the border between Greece and Turkey to prevent immigrants from coming into the country.
This is what austerity produces – extremism. Fortunately, Golden Dawn only got 7% of the vote, and only 21 seats in Parliament. And mostly, the Greeks voted for parties on the left who reject austerity. Greeks don’t want neo-Nazi groups running the country, they just don’t want corrupt bankers running it either. The man who garnered the most power from the election, leftist Alexis Tsipras of Syriza, has called the situation in Greece a “humanitarian crisis”. That’s just reality. Greece has a large, untouchable patronage system, a big defense sector, wealthy who escape from taxation – and yet international bankers are demanding radical cuts in wages, pensions, and jobs for honest workers.
So people voted for the political parties who rejected the banks. Greek leftist leader Alexis Tsipras is proposing to actually deal with the country’s problems head-on.
By not paying its debts, the country would have enough cash to pay its workers and retirees, he said. He also proposes cuts in defense spending, cracking down on waste and corruption, and tackling tax evasion by the rich.
“Whatever we do, things will be difficult. But it will also be difficult at the same time for all of Europe because the euro will collapse” if Greece’s funding is cut off, said Mr. Tsipras. Both sides should step back “before we reach that point,” he said, and find a “European solution.”
Mr. Tsipras, an engineer by training, recommends a stimulus package to boost the Greek economy and has called for tearing up the country’s existing austerity-for-loans program. He has suggested scrapping plans to lay off 150,000 public-sector workers by 2015, and repealing recent measures to push down private-sector wages. He favors nationalizing the banking system so as to better direct lending policies, and speaks favorably of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Depression-era New Deal program and President Barack Obama’s stimulus package—something Mr. Tsipras said is lacking in Europe.
Given the dire situation in the country, this is a sensible, even moderate, set of proposals. And in fact, all of the anti-bailout parties, from Golden Dawn to Independent Greeks (right-wing but not fascist) to Syriza, share the goal of having the Greek state take control of its political order and move on a populist economic platform.
•Even as NY Times Reports Iran May Agree To Allow Inspectors in, Press TV Reports US Escalates Pressure
•WSJ: Obama, Romney “Toe to Toe” In Early Poll
•Boston Globe: The number of Massachusetts supporters contributing the maximum to President Obama’s campaign fund has plunged nearly 50 percent compared with his 2008 fledgling run, reflecting a sharp drop in enthusiasm after the president’s first term.
•National Journal: Obama’s Private Equity Dilemma:Dems on the Take Too
Roughly $40 million of private equity industry money has landed in the pockets of Democratic candidates. That kind of financial muscle helps explain the backlash against President Obama as he takes on Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital, and the tightrope Obama is walking as he tries to keep the money flowing even as he dismisses Romney’s job as no qualification to be president.
•Facebook: First The Buzzz, Then The Hype, Then The IPO, Now: Shares Drop 18% in Value, Investigations Underway
AP: WASHINGTON (AP) — Regulators are examining whether Morgan Stanley, the investment bank that shepherded Facebook through its highly publicized stock offering last week, selectively informed clients of an analyst’s negative report about the company before the stock started trading.
•LBN: Powell Not Ready To Renew Obama Endorsement
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell is declining to renew the endorsement he gave Barack Obama four years ago, when he called Mr. Obama a transformational figure. Pressed in a network interview to say whether hes backing Mr. Obama, Mr. Powell, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, demurred Tuesday. Mr. Powell told NBCs Today show, I always keep my powder dry, as they say in the military. He credits Mr. Obama with stabilizing the financial system and fixing the auto industry but said he should have spent more time on the economy.
•HP: Garfield County Sheriff Accused Of Referring Domestic Violence Victims To ICE For Deportation Hearings
•LA Times: Put gays, lesbians behind electric fence? Pastor’s sermon goes viral
•Al Jazeera: On Europe’s Econony
•Financial Sense: The Unraveling Of Europe
Egypt Votes Today: Upsurge in Crime A Big Issue
NYT: On the eve of the vote to choose Egypt’s first president since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, this pervasive lawlessness is the biggest change in daily life since the revolution and the most salient issue in the presidential race. Random, violent crime was almost unheard-of when the police state was strong.
Now all the presidential candidates vow to make the restoration of security their top priority — pledging to get the police back to work, restore their morale and teach them about human rights. But the tone of their approach to the problem could not be more different.
While the two Islamist contenders talk about reforming the police force, Mubarak-era officials in the running emphasize cracking down with a strong hand. Amr Moussa, a former foreign minister under Mr. Mubarak, accused an Islamist opponent of fomenting anarchy by attending a protest, while Ahmed Shafik, a former Air Force general, has bragged that he could clear the streets of downtown Cairo in a matter of hours by turning off the power.
•BBC: One of the two South African farm workers accused of murdering white supremacist leader Eugene Terreblanche in 2010 has been found guilty.
The court convicted Chris Mahlangu, but acquitted a second accused, Patrick Ndlovu, who was just 15 at the time.
The 2010 killing highlighted South Africa’s fragile race relations, 16 years after white minority rule ended
When news emerged of Eugene Terreblanche’s violent death in April 2010, South Africa braced itself for racial tensions. But as the trial of the two farm workers progressed, it became clear that this was nothing more than a grisly criminal case
However, the BBC’s Karen Allen, who is in Ventersdorp, says fears that the killing could trigger political violence, dividing the country along racial lines, have not been realized.
She says the case has brought to the fore allegations of wage exploitation and a sexual motive, along with claims of a botched police investigation.
•News Republic: Blogs: ‘The Spear’ causes controversy in South Africa
AJE: Where is Occupy At?
•Arun Gupta,AlJazeera: What Occupy Needs
Anti-war protest has little impact anymore, because it has devolved into gathering on a weekend in the political capital, marching around empty streets with pre-printed signs, mouthing toothless chants and listening to cliched speeches. It is too predictable and too easy to ignore, by rulers who are insulated from the ruled by dollars and truncheons.
On the other hand, occupying space in the heart of a city without end is a challenge to state power. One activist said of the encampment on Wall Street: “At any moment, you could call for an impromptu march on Goldman Sachs and a hundred people would join you.” The night of October 5, 2011, was a spectacular example of this. After a union-led rally in downtown Manhattan, thousands of people surged through the financial district in breakaway marches for hours. With so many people in the streets feeling the wind of public support at their backs, Wall Street felt fragile and the New York Police Department was under siege. Keeping a space continually, and using democratic forms of self-governance recreates the commons, which has been colonised over decades by full-spectrum consumption – shopping, eating, drinking, entertainment and paid spectacle.
Occupy Wall Street attracted throngs of journalists and the curious because it was a completely different spectacle. It was a miniature society that rejected the private, individualism and capitalism. The scene of hundreds of people exchanging food, art, music, knowledge, politics, healthcare, shelter, anger, ideas, skills and love was unlike anything else in our consumer societies – because not one exchange was lubricated by money (of course the goods were paid for at some point). Within the occupation, thousands shared the experience of having a direct democratic stake in a society they were helping to build from scratch. These democratic societies, more than 300 of which popped up around the United States by October 2011, propelled Occupy by enticing a huge number of political neophytes to join an organic movement. The real power of a social movement, from the 1960s to the Tea Party, is not to recombine existing activists in a new formation but to bring in the previously non-political.
At occupations, experienced organizers marveled at the ability to have meaningful conversations with people of radically different backgrounds and politics. Having visited nearly 40 occupations across the US, I encountered many self-identified conservatives and Republicans and even a few Tea Party members who said they were part of the 99 per cent.
“Occupy is very odd right now. The people who have stayed are the cream of the crap, and the brilliant. The rank-and-file in between are at home.
•Indypendent: Occupy From May Day to Every Day
•Fox News: Will Obama Denounce Occupy Protests?
•Guest Poem by Bill Schechter, Education Week: On Cory Booker’s Nausea: A Teacher’s Meditation
So who dares criticize Private Equity?
Who has the temerity to malign Private Enterprise,
- or suggest that Bain actually was a bane?
But when it came to trashing Public Education & Unions
the businessmen were first in line, with their Roundtables, their Councils, their Chambers, their PACS, followed by their Hedge Fund and Equity colleagues, with their phony grassroots groups, their bought education commissioners, their for-profit charters, their testing companies feeding at the public trough, their dollars counting double our votes,
and the bashing of teachers — fifteen long years now — why not?
Let the mandatory assessments proceed:
Wasn’t it teachers whose voracious greed drove the economy off the Wall St. \cliff?
Didn’t my kids’ teachers deceive us into a war in Iraq?
Isn’t it their munificent salaries that have enthroned vast inequalities and
Haven’t their callous lesson plans condemned millions to poverty?
Aren’t they the ones who refuse to invest or hire, while they calmly sit and
Isn’t it they who are raking in gads of unprecedented profits?
And the Achievement Gap? Didn’t millions of uncaring teachers cause it?
You say, no?
Perhaps one day, the mayor of an American city, let’s
call it Newark, New York, or Boston, or a school committee
member, or a town selectman, or the even the President of the United
States will have the guts to speak out/say/state/declaim
at a press conference, in a meeting, or on Meet The Press,
that attacks on America’s teachers are
“nauseating” and must stop.
Bill Schechter was a high school teacher for 35 years at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional H.S., in Sudbury, Mass. He attended Cornell University, Harvard University, and U.C.- Berkeley, but nothing made him prouder than graduating from DeWitt Clinton H.S. in the Bronx. He now volunteers as a tutor and mentor in the Boston Public Schools.
•Rally At City Hall in Bekeley: Is City Buying An Urban Warfare Truck?
Appeal For Support: “Besides the “Mutual Aid”, NCRIC & UASI – all of which we need to take a HUGE STAND against – the Berkeley City Council is also supposedly considering “investing” our money into purchasing an “urban warfare” armored vehicle, maybe like the one we witnessed May Day.”
•News Republic: New ad zapper has TV networks worried about sales
Advice from Eric Botticelli on dealing with the TSA
What you need to be doing while being “humiliated” is explain to anyone who looks like they’ll listen that the TSA dragnet search is unconstitutional and/or that you believe the Microwave Radiation Chamber causes cancer. Or whatever else your reasons are for not complying.
I guarantee you this will speed things up for you. It hasn’t backfired for me once.
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NYTeXaminer.com: News Dissector commenting on NY Times Coverage of NATO Summit
AP: NATO War Powwow Admits War Can’t Be Won, Say They Will Get Out
CHICAGO (AP) – President Barack Obama and leaders around the globe locked in place an Afghanistan exit path Monday that will still keep their troops fighting and dying there for two more years, acknowledging there never will be point at which they can say, “This is all done. This is perfect.”
•¨Daily Beast: US Ambassador Sees Hand Writing on Wall: Quits
•Chicago Journalist and Political Consultant Don Rose reports from the suites in Chicago:
When history judges this past weekend of the G8 meeting at Camp David and the NATO summit in Chicago, the potentially fearsome demonstrations at the latter will barely be a footnote. There was some needless, brutal head-bashing by police late day Sunday and several arrests will turn out to be unwarranted, but compared with previous Chicago police attacks and protests in other cities hosting international events, it was much smaller than expected and all came off relatively peacefully.
The only unknown is the result of the widely publicized police break-in and arrest of three young men allegedly assembling Molotov cocktails and planning attacks on police stations, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s home and other sites. The “official” story suggests a genuine danger was nipped in the bud—but as history has shown us more often than not, it could all be a phony, rigged distraction. We must wait and see.
For me, the most important demonstration was staged on the opening Friday by the National Nurses Union, focusing clearly and directly on the need for an international financial transactions tax they call a “Robin Hood” tax (which to my mind is not necessarily the best term to sell this important idea).
The most impressive thing about the NATO summit itself was the presence of Pakistan with Afghanistan—seen by many to be a sign Pakistan may end its double game of supporting both the US and the Taliban. Again, we must wait and see. Pakistan has a long history of lies.
The most important news, however, came out of the G8 with seven of its members calling for a reversal of Europe’s failing austerity program in favor of a policy of growth and investment—which, put into effect, could halt the slide to recession that might take us down with it.
Pepe Escobor on Nato’s Missile Shield
As expected, this Sunday in occupied Chicago NATO approved – better yet, US President Barack Obama and his allies “just decided” – to go with the first phase out of four of the US missile shield for Europe.
This means in practice an American warship armed with interceptors stationed in the Mediterranean, and a NATO, Turkey-based radar system controlled out of the headquarters in Ramstein, in Germany. The sprawling Ramstein base is led by an American general. Now, according to the Turkish newspaper Zaman, a Turkish general will be his second-in-command. This is the kind of carrot Turkey gets for campaigning for regime change in Syria.
Those who believe NATO’s spin – this shield is not aimed at Russia, but as a defense against “evil” Iranian missiles – may join Alice in Wonderland. For all practical purposes, Russian military chief General Nikolai Makarov has already said Russia is bound to respond by stationing short-range Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad, near the Polish border. You can take NATO out of the Cold War but you can’t take the Cold War out of NATO.
RSN: David Swanson reports from the streets of Chicago
A huge crowd gathered for several hours and marched for over two miles in the hot sun to oppose NATO and U.S. wars on Sunday in Chicago. Finishing the march outside the NATO meeting, numerous U.S. veterans of current wars denounced their previous “service” and threw their medals over the fence, a scene not witnessed since the U.S. war on Vietnam.
This event, with massive turnout and tremendous energy, saw the participation of numerous groups from Chicago and the surrounding area, including students, teachers, and activists on a variety of issues, as well as anti-war activists and Occupiers from around the country and the world. No one can have been disappointed with the turnout, but it might have been bigger if not for the fear that was spread prior to Sunday. In the face of that fear, Sunday’s action was remarkable.
The fear was the result of a massive militarized police build up, rumors of evacuations, the boarding up of windows, brutal police assaults on activists, preemptive arrests, disappearances, and charges of terrorism. A segment of the activist world plays into these police tactics, wearing bandanas, shouting curses, antagonizing police, and eroding credibility for claims that violence is all police-initiated.
Yet the vast majority of the crowd was disciplined, nonviolent, and effective. It is critical that the people of Afghanistan know the people of the U.S. oppose what NATO is doing to them. Speaking at the end of the march were members of Afghans for Peace, who read a message from Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers.
•Mark Karlin, Buzzflash: Criminalizing Dissent Is a Travesty to Democracy: Chicago is Only the Latest Example
“Frankly, one has to be a mental/legal/constitutional contortionist to criminalize dissent while claiming to spread democracy around the world through wars for natural resources and military hegemony. Since 9/11 in particular, the United States has been on an accelerating road to make all but the tamest protest illegal. Isn’t this what happened in Tiananmen Square?
• Common Dreams: In Chicago, Entrapment To the Highest Degree
•Jake Olzen, Waging Nonviolence: Police Entrapment of Cleveland 5 and NATO 3 is Nothing New
The old trope of the bomb-throwing anarchist is back in
the news, with a round-up in Ohio on May 1 and the
three would-be NATO protesters arrested on Wednesday
who are now charged with conspiracy to commit
terrorism. While the impression that appears in the
media is one of remnants of the Occupy movement verging
toward violence, the driving forces behind these plots
are the very agencies claiming to have foiled them.
The five activists arrested in Cleveland, Ohio, are
facing multiple charges for conspiring and attempting
to destroy the Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge
on May Day to protest corporate rule. According to the
FBI press statement released shortly after the May 1
arrests, FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen D. Anthony
said “the individuals charged in this plot were intent
on using violence to express their ideological views.”
But that is only one side of the story.
The mainstream media and blog reports, both nationally
and in Cleveland, have emphasized that the young
activists were part of Occupy Cleveland and
•Bernard Harcourt, Guardian: Mayor Rahm’s Police State
With NATO delegates arriving Saturday night, the City of Chicago has been turned into a police state. Courtesy of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who several months ago began implementing new draconian anti-protest measures, Chicago has gone on security lockdown. Starting early Friday night, 18 May 2012, the Chicago Police Department began shutting down – prohibiting cars, bikes, and pedestrians – miles and miles of highways and roads in the heart of Chicago to create a security perimeter around downtown and McCormick Place (where the Nato summit is being held).
Eight-foot tall, anti-scale security fencing went up all over that perimeter and downtown, including Grant Park; and the Chicago police – as well as myriad other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI and the US secret service – were out in force on riot-geared horses, bikes, and patrols – batons at the ready. Philadelphia Police Department is sending over reinforcements to help out; Chicago has also asked for recruits from police departments in Milwaukee and Charlotte-Mecklenburg, NC. Meanwhile, F-16 warplanes “screamed through the skies as part of a pre-summit defense exercise” and helicopters hovered incessantly.
The Chicago Police Department has spent $1m in “riot-control equipment” in anticipation of the Nato summit
•Washington’s Blog: Police Club Protesters With Batons, Arrest Others With Beer-Making Equipment
•Local Blog:Chicago Resident Sylvia Ewing’s blog
•Occupy Holds First Feminist Assembly
Basher Was a “Victim.” : Fox’s O’Reilly Says “Terrorists” Threatened Him
•WSJ: Facebook Shares Lose Value
•ALG: Conservatives Worry About US Lending to the IMF
“The past two months has seen a steady rise in U.S. lending to the IMF, with an additional $3.5 billion, undoubtedly to help prop up Europe as it struggles through its sovereign debt crisis. This brings U.S. crisis lending to the Fund up to about $32.7 billion.
“Overall, the IMF has expanded total lending by $9.1 billion in the past two months, with $6.78 billion for Portugal and $2.13 billion for Greece alone. That means the U.S. in the past two months has provided over 38 percent of funds to prop up Europe, well in excess of our 17.72 percent quota obligation to the Fund. The IMF could not bail out all of Europe if it wanted to. It was never designed to be used by advanced economies in the first place. Yet, here we are.
“If the European Central Bank, Germany, and others in Europe do not want to borrow and print their own money to prop up Greece and Portugal, why should the rest of the world go into debt to prop up a sinking ship?
Report: Lawmakers Seeking to Weaken Volcker Rule Receive More Than Four Times as Much From Industry as Those Asking for Stronger Measure
Public Citizen Study Analyzes Contributions to Members of Congress Who Submitted Comments to Agencies
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Members of Congress who submitted comments asking federal agencies to weaken the proposed regulations for the Volcker Rule have on average received more than four times as much in campaign contributions from the financial sector as those who asked agencies to strengthen the rule, a Public Citizen study released today shows.
The study, “Industry’s Messengers,” found that those seeking a weaker rule have received an average of $388,010 from the financial sector since the 2010 election cycle, compared to an average of $96,897 received by those seeking a stronger rule. Cumulatively, members asking for a weaker rule have received more than 35 times as much ($66.7 million) from the sector as those seeking a stronger rule ($1.9 million).
The Volcker Rule was one of the most important reforms of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. It prohibits federally insured banks from engaging in proprietary trading, participating in complex securitizations, owning hedge funds or private equity funds, or engaging in any other high-risk activities. It also prohibits banks from taking actions that conflict with the interests of their customers.
• BBC: US senate approves bill to tighten Iran sanctions (Even as there are reports of an imminent deal with Iran on its nuclear program)
LBN: The Mexican government detained three high-ranking army generals this week
including a former second in command at the Defense Ministry, suggesting the depths to which drug cartels have gone in trying to infiltrate one of the primary forces President Felipe Calderón has counted on to combat them. On Friday night, a fourth Army official, a retired lieutenant colonel, was also detained for questioning in the case. The arrests of such high-ranking officers were without precedent in recent memory, and local news reports suggested that a corruption investigation was continuing and could involve other important figures in the drug war.
Barry James Dyke: New Book Warns Student Loans With Over $1 Trillion are Likely One of the Next Hindenburg Zeppelin Financial Infernos
(Hampton, NH, May 22, 2012). Barry James Dyke, author of The Pirates of Manhattan II: Highway to Serfdom predicts that student loans, in excess of $1 trillion, will likely be one of the country’s next financial infernos. www.thepiratesofmanhattan.com.
Federal student loans interest rates will rise to 6.8% on July 1st 2012 from their current 3.4% base if Congress does not act. Banking lobbies oppose any reduction in interest rates. If Congress does nothing, the average student $23 thousand subsidized loan costs will increase an additional $5,000 over a ten year period.
The author states, “Student loans are a treacherous minefield. Faculty and admission staffs urge students to purse their dreams rather than focus on the sticker price of college. Student loans are a form of indentured servitude as student loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. Student loans do not die with death. Collection agencies can call day and night to collect student loan debts. Garnishment to pay student loan debt is common. Students are not getting enough well-paying jobs to pay back these enormous loans, yet The Department of Education through the Department of Treasury can attach tax refunds to pay off student loans. What is more, our Congress drove the getaway car for academia and the banks in 2005 with the Bankruptcy Abuse and Consumer Protection Act of 2005—which turned student loans into non-dischargeable debt.”
According to the Department of Education, two thirds of students who earn a bachelor degree use some type of loan to finance their education with an average loan of roughly $23 thousand. The New York Times recently reported that as much as 94% of students borrow to get a college degree.
The taxpayer underwrites roughly $105 billion a year in Title IV student loans a year, with $24 billion going to for profit schools owned by Wall Street asset managers. Student loans guaranteed by the taxpayer are a major source of revenue for the U.S. higher educational system and if default rates accelerate, it could bring about a Greece like debt problem to the nation’s colleges.
“Excessive borrowing for an education will be a dark cloud hanging over this generation for decades,” claims Dyke.
•CJR: Rupert Murdoch’s News International might be considering surgery to extract The Times of London, The Sunday Times, and The Sun from its company, according to competitor The Daily Telegraph. Emily Bell writes that the hacking scandal hasn’t dented News Corp.’s profitability in the US, but sale speculation has increased in the UK.
•Prof. James F. Tracy, ICH: Suppressing Information Public Opinion in America’s 21st Century Police State
It is not beyond reason to point out that America is one serious terrorist attack or mass civil disturbance away from the implementation of policies to seriously limit or curtail the traffic of ideas.
•Paul Craig Roberts, ICH: Recovery or Collapse? Bet on Collapse
When the dollar goes, interest rates will escalate, and bond prices will collapse. Everyone who sought safety in US Treasuries will be wiped out.
We should all be aware that such outcomes are not part of the public debate.
As central bankers from China to Venezuela and from Argentina to Japan are seeking ways to exit from the contagion of the speculative trading of US bankers, progressive forces must renew the call for the nationalization of the big banks, which are supposed to be too big to fail.
•Raw Story: Pomegranate juice claims deceptive, U.S. rules
• DISGUST AND SADNESS:Greg Palast on the Death of Robert F.Kennedy Jr’s Estranged Wife
What a terrible task to take on at such a dark moment when I would prefer to keep my thoughts private, but someone must speak.
I am, and I hope you are, sickened to see Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post savage our colleague Robert F. Kennedy Jr. while he and his children are in great distress.
I will not answer, and thereby repeat, the cruel libels thrown at Kennedy by the Post.
But let me get this on the record: Kennedy is, and this is no exaggeration, the most committed family man I know. Every single day, he shuts down work, no matter the flood of urgent demands from around the world, for family time, for his kids. He is deeply religious, with a piety and intelligence he communicates with his family so impressive it makes me doubt my atheism.
Kennedy uses his family name, not to further his career, but to widen his children’s understanding and involvement in the world and to try to teach our ignorant nation lessons in moral conduct that his kids have already learned well.
To blame Kennedy for his wife’s illness is just further proof of the conclusion of Britain’s Parliament that Murdoch is “unfit to run a newspaper.” But then, no one would say the NY Post is a newspaper.
Again, I want to extend the condolences of the entire Palast crew to Mary Richardson Kennedy’s family.
When Bobby’s grief and mourning pauses––because it will never end––we look forward to resuming our partnership with him.
* WE SECOND THIS EMOTION!
DJ Green Arrow On Those That Honor Malcolm X
On Saturday, May 19th, four buses were lined up at the Adam Clayton Powell building in Harlem, ready to take the largest group in years to visit Malcolm X’s gravesite. I rode in a bus with Zayid Muhammad of the new black Panther Party and various folks from the original Panthers, Black Spades, and Universal Zulu Nation. (Green Arrow was one of 5 whites to join the sojourn.)
Fernlawn Cemetary is a gorgeous place, with many luminaries buried there, including Duke Ellington, John Lennon, and Paul Robeson.
A huge crowd gathered in lines to pour libations for Malcolm, as well as for his wife, Betty Shabbazz, who is buried right beside him.
Dr. Leonard Jeffries pleaded to the youth who wear their pants ‘sagging’ “Show Me Your Mind, Not Your Behind”
(Jeffries also made a demand for reparations!). Community Activist Brother D, who released one of the first political rap songs, “How We Gonna Make The Black Nation Rise”, spoke with the crowd, urging us to “Educate, Agitate, Organize”, as his 1980 song did.
Another elder quoted the lyrics to the Earl Robinson composition recorded by Paul Robeson and Joan Baez, “Joe Hill”.
When we got back to Harlem, local CD venders had Public Enemy’s “Fight The Power” playing on loop.
EJC: Iran starts legal case against Reuters
Iranian authorities said on Monday they have formally started legal proceedings against the international news agency Reuters, after suspending its Tehran bureau over a report about female ninjas. Sources close to the case told AFP the charges being considered were threatening Iran’s national security, propaganda against the regime, or others yet to be declared. No charges have been made public. Reuters employees in Tehran and elsewhere declined to comment, saying they had instructions from their management not to do so.
•UN action plan offers strategy for protecting journalists
Highlighting the need to celebrate journalists’ work as way of creating a country- and world-wide atmosphere respecting freedom of expression, Guy Berger, director of UNESCO’s Division of Freedom of Expression and media development, briefly outlined the UN Plan of Action on the Safetyof Journalists and the Issue of Impunity during the first day of the 10th annual Austin Forum on Journalism in the Americas.
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