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TGIF: Financial Crisis Has Barely Begun, Courts Configure Future, Busted: CIA In Syria War

June 22nd, 2012 - by:

Friday June 22, reporting from Cape Town, South Africa

••••What a deal! Special Offer:: Download My Film Plunder For Cheap!

•••Thank you Polar Levine/Polarity1 for this hip and critical collage for my upcoming birthdayPolarity 1 – Dissector

Listen Up: Podcast of Latest News Dissector Radio Hour On PRN.fm

Some personal reflections and readings from my recent books. Lots of intensity and passionate conviction.

•••PalTalk News Network: Interview on My Two New Books

Just Out From Cosimo Books: Occupy, Dissecting Occupy Wall Street

New Book: OCCUPY: Dissecting Occupy Wall Street

The Other New Book From Your News Dissector Now From Cosimo Books

Commentaries, Analysis, Rants, Dissections

Both books can be ordered on Cosimo.com or from Amazon.com.

In Case You Missed This: New Essay on AlJazeera: President Obama as ‘warrior-in-chief’

Reuters: The Financial Crisis Has Barely Begun

•Down Down Again: NEW YORK (AP) – Relentlessly gloomy reports about the health of the world economy rocked Wall Street on Thursday, stirring more worry about the stalled recovery and sending the stock market to its second-worst decline this year. The bad economic reports kept piling up: Manufacturing slumped in China. A closely watched unemployment figure jumped to its highest level in nine months.

*Rolling Stone/RSN, Matt Taibbi: The Scam Wall Street Learned From the Mafia

•Moodys Cuts Credit Ratings Of Big Banks

NEW YORK (AP) – Moody’s Investors Service has lowered the credit ratings on some of the world’s biggest banks, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, reflecting concern over their exposure to the violent swings in global financial markets. The downgrades late Thursday ultimately are a measure of Moody’s view on the ability of the banks to repay their debts.

•IMF Chief Warns Of Great Stress On Euro

LUXEMBOURG (AP) – The head of the International Monetary Fund warned Thursday that the euro is under “acute stress” and piled pressure on Germany by advocating a series of measures to pull Europe out of its crisis that its Chancellor Angela Merkel has strenuously opposed. Christine Lagarde urged leaders of the 17 countries that use the euro to consider jointly issuing debt…

At Home: Judges Dominate the News

LBN: The judge overseeing Penn States former assistant football coach Jerry Sanduskys child sex abuse trial has thrown out three of the 51 charges. (Sandusky’s Adoptive Son says he was abuses and is willing to testify.)

The Supremes

l. Make it harder for unions to assess their members for political activism

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that unions must give nonmembers an immediate chance to object to unexpected fee increases or special assessments that all workers are required to pay in closed-shop situations.

2. Dump Fines For Indecency

Daily Beast: FCC Indecency Policy Tossed Out

WSJ: Lewd, crude, and SCOTUS-approved—the Supreme Court tossed out Federal Communications Commission prohibitions on nudity and naughty words on Thursday in a decision that avoided ruling on what some saw as First Amendment issues tied to the case. Broadcasters including Fox and ABC had been found in violation of FCC regulations dating back to 2002 and 2003. In the court’s opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the FCC “failed to give Fox or ABC fair notice prior to the broadcasts in question that fleeting expletives and momentary nudity could be found actionably indecent.”Kennedy said that the FCC remained “free to modify its current indecency policy.”

Comment: In response to decision in Fox v. F.C.C. by the Supreme Court of the United States, the following statement was issued by Jonathan Rintels, Executive Director of the Center for Creative Voices in Media:

The Center for Creative Voices in Media welcomes today’s ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States in Fox v. F.C.C. overturning the Commission’s findings of “indecency” against Fox in the Billboard Music Award cases and ABC in the NYPD Blue case. Creative Voices was an intervening party in the case, arguing forcefully that the lack of adequate Commission notice on what constituted indecency had a “chilling effect” on protected First Amendment speech, negatively impacting creative media artists and the American public.

We regret, however, that the Court declined to overturn the Commission’s indecency policy as an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment, which it certainly is. As a result of the Court’s actions, creative media artists now likely face many more years of uncertainty as to what precisely is or is not “indecent” under FCC policy, and whether that policy is consistent with the First Amendment.

Daily Beast Exposes: “America’s Robed Radicals”

As the Supreme Court prepares to drop major decisions on Obamacare and Arizona’s controversial immigration law, conservative complaints about the court’s “judicial activism” are hollower than ever. The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky shows why the Roberts court is one of the most radical in American history, and how its decisions are dividing the country.

Coming Soon: Repeal of Health Care Reform?

Right-wing Now Going After Financial Reform in the Courts

CEI: Unchecked Power of Consumer Financial Protection Board Unconstitutional

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 21, 2012 – The State National Bank of Big Spring, Texas, today filed a lawsuit asking the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to hear its case challenging the constitutionality of provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The Competitive Enterprise Institute (SIC) and the 60 Plus Association are also joining this community bank as plaintiffs in the same action, requesting the Court to invalidate the law because of the unprecedented, unchecked power it gives the government.

“No other federal agency or commission operates in such a way that one person can essentially determine who gets a home loan, who can get a credit card and who can get a loan for college,” said Jim Purcell, CEO of State National Bank.

“Dodd-Frank effectively gives unlimited regulatory power to this so-called Consumer Financial Protection Board, also known as CFPB, with a director who is not accountable to Congress, the President or the Courts. That is simply unconstitutional.”


Europe: Greek Government Expected To Unravel

World Affairs Journal: Was The Vote in Greece Really for The Euro?

“The results of Sunday’s legislative elections in Greece have been widely hailed as a vote “for the euro,” with news services painting the elections as a virtual “referendum” on eurozone membership. Oddly enough, last fall, when then Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou proposed holding an actual referendum on eurozone membership, the move was greeted with horror by the entirety of the European establishment, and Papandreou was forced to beat a hasty retreat.

“Backin the euro” in the present context means, more precisely, for the austerity measures that the European powers-that-be have made clear are the condition both for European bailout funds and for continued Greek euro membership. If the elections indeed represented a “referendum” on the euro, however, upon closer examination of the results, it is by no means obvious that the euro won.

The official winner of the elections was New Democracy: along with the Greek socialists of Pasok, one of the two parties that have traditionally dominated Greek politics. Both parties signed off on the bailout deal. On Sunday, New Democracy managed to eke out a slim victory over the anti-austerity leftist coalition Syriza. It did so, however, with less than 30 percent (29.66 percent) of the vote. Pasok obtained barely 12 percent (12.28 percent) of the vote. This represents a decline of a whopping 32 percentage points from its 44 percent score in the pre-bailout 2009 elections.

Together, the two euro-austerity parties thus garnered a mere 42 percent of the vote. It is only the peculiarities of Greek electoral law, which gives the first party past the post a 50-seat “bonus” in Parliament, that will allow the two supposed ideological rivals now to form a coalition.

BaselineScenario.com: Simon Johnson, What’s Austerity Got To Do With It?

Most of the current policy discussion concerning the euro area is about austerity. Some people – particularly in German government circles – are pushing for tighter fiscal policies in troubled countries (i.e., higher taxes and lower government spending). Others – including in the new French government — are more inclined to push for a more expansive fiscal policy where possible and to resist fiscal contraction elsewhere.

The recently concluded G20 summit is being interpreted as shifting the balance away from the “austerity now” group, at least to some extent. But both sides of this debate are missing the important issue. As a result, the euro area continues its slide towards deeper crisis and likely eventual disruptive break-up.

The underlying problem in the euro area is the exchange rate system itself – the fact that these European countries locked themselves into an initial exchange rate, i.e., the relative price of their currencies, and promised to never change that exchange rate. This amounted to a very big bet that their economies would converge in productivity – that the Greeks (and others in what we now call the “periphery”) would in effect become more like the Germans. Alternatively, if the economies did not converge, the implicit presumption was that people would move – i.e., Greek workers go to Germany and converge to German productivity levels by working in factories and offices there.

It’s hard to say which version of convergence was more unrealistic.

In fact, the opposite happened. The gap between German and Greek (and other peripheral country) productivity increased, rather than decreasing, over the past decade. Germany, as a result, developed a large surplus on its current account – meaning that it exports more than it imports. The other countries, including Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland, had large current account deficits – they were buying more from the world than they were selling. These current account deficits were financed by

Egypt On The Edge

AP: CAIRO (AP) – Authorities delayed Thursday’s planned announcement of the winner of Egypt’s presidential election, likely for several days, hiking tension as allegations of fraud swirled and each candidate declared he was the victor. Amid the atmosphere of political confusion, the Muslim Brotherhood claimed there was an organized campaign of allegations against it to mar the election

LBN: Tahrir Square was alive again with demonstrators overnight, and Egyptian voters continued to wait Thursday for a result in the countrys presidential election as anxieties mounted in the country. As government officials counted votes after allegations of fraud in the Egypts run-off between a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and former intimate of ousted ruler Hosni Mubarak, one member of the election committee said not to expect results before Sunday, at the earliest. The delay has put Cairo and all of Egypt on edge, with members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a powerful Islamist group, saying that they were prepared to stage street protests against the country’s military rulers.

•John Pilger: U.S. Crimes Against Humanity?
History is the Enemy as ‘Brilliant’ Psy-ops Become the News

History is buried with the dead and deformed of Vietnam and Bhopal. And history is the new enemy.

* Eric Schmitt, NYT: U.S. Arming Syrian Opposition Fighters

C.I.A. officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government, according to American officials and Arab intelligence officers.

•David Usborne, ICH: Tensions Between UK and Russia Soared Over Syria-bound Helicopters

Britain came alarmingly close to a dangerous clash with Moscow when David Cameron was asked to consider giving an order to forcibly board a ship headed towards the English Channel carrying three Russian-made helicopters for delivery to Syria.

•John Bryson Resigns As U.S. Commerce Secretary

••Essay on Consortium News: Strangling The Republic

CN: For several decades, Corporate America has been squeezing the life out of what’s left of the democratic Republic, applying steady pressure from well-funded right-wing media and political groups. This year, under the cloak of Citizens United, the deed might finally be completed, observes Beverly Bandler.

“The Hostile Takeover” of the United States by Corporate America and the plutocrats is now well advanced and brazen. Corporations and their CEOs have achieved unprecedented power. Of the world’s 100 largest economies, 51 are now global corporations. And they have created a different world. A 2005 Citigroup report to its investors advised: “the World is dividing into two blocks — the Plutonomy and the rest.” [Plutonomy is defined as a country where economic growth is powered by and largely consumed by the wealthy few, a condition now associated with the United States.] Thomas Jefferson in a 1800 portrait by Rembrandt Peale. A super-elite has been created that, writes Chrystia Freeland, view themselves “increasingly as a global community, distinguished by their unique talents and above such parochial concerns as national identity, or devoting ‘their’ taxes to paying down ‘our’ budget deficit.” In the United States, the super-rich of Corporate America, who seem to have detached themselves from national loyalty and obligations, can now promote or destroy a U.S. politician or a political party.”>The End of Democracy

A 2005 Citigroup report to its investors advised: “the World is dividing into two blocks — the Plutonomy and the rest.” [Plutonomy is defined as a country where economic growth is powered by and largely consumed by the wealthy few, a condition now associated with the United States.]

A super-elite has been created that, writes Chrystia Freeland, view themselves “increasingly as a global community, distinguished by their unique talents and above such parochial concerns as national identity, or devoting ‘their’ taxes to paying down ‘our’ budget deficit.”

In the United States, the super-rich of Corporate America, who seem to have detached themselves from national loyalty and obligations, can now promote or destroy a U.S. politician or a political party.

•Via Portside, Adele M. Stan, WaPo’s Dana Milbank Pushes Lie About Van Jones and Occupy

On June 18, Van Jones gave a hard-hitting speech to
progressive activists in which he praised the Occupy movement
while chiding the older, more established iterations of left-
wing activism for abandoning the cause because of
disappointment in President Barack Obama. But if you read Dana
Milbank’s coverage in the Washington Post, you’d think
precisely the opposite had happened. In a piece representing
either the worst of lazy-reporter hackery or outright
dishonesty, Milbank wrote that Jones used his speech to slam
the Occupy movement — a false charge if there ever was one.

Letter: Another Embarrassment in Obama land:

Jackie Newberry writes;

“Does Meth & Heroin Cause More Deaths Than Marijuana?”

Congressman Steve Cohen asks fact-based questions to DEA Chief Leonhart. This is a 5+ minute excerpt, and her defensive misinformation and level of ignorance is quite telling and, frankly stunning. This is her job, about which she should be an informed expert. It’s what happens when law enforcement instead of health and treatment experts are in charge. http://is.gd/pqiP6T

And this is where billions of our tax dollars are going every year
I’m watching the full 1 1/2 hours. http://www.c-span.org/Events/DEA-Administrator-Testifies-at-House-Judiciary-Oversight-Hearing/10737431736/#

Ciao for Now. Thanks for being here. Is this blog still of use/value? Comments/thoughts/Stories. I am missing the New York heat wave while experiencing South Africa’s cold wave. Write dissector@mediachannel.org