'Dump Trump': Tens of thousands join global march

'Dump Trump': Tens of thousands join global march
Demonstrators arrive on the National Mall in Washington, DC, for the 'Women's March on Washington' on January 21, 2017 (AFP Photo/Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS)

March for Science protesters hit the streets worldwide

March for Science protesters hit the streets worldwide
Thousands of people in Australia and New Zealand on Saturday kicked off the March for Science, the first of more than 500 marches around the globe in support of scienceThousands of people in Australia and New Zealand on Saturday kicked off the March for Science, the first of more than 500 marches around the globe in support of science

Bernie Sanders and the Movement Where the People Found Their Voice

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)

Hong Kong's grandpa protesters speak softly but carry a stick

Hong Kong's grandpa protesters speak softly but carry a stick
'Grandpa Wong' is a regular sight at Hong Kong's street battles (AFP Photo/VIVEK PRAKASH)
A student holds a sign reading "Don't shoot, listen!!!" during a protest
on June 17, 2013 in Brasilia (AFP, Evaristo)

FIFA scandal engulfs Blatter and Platini

FIFA scandal engulfs Blatter and Platini
FIFA President Sepp Blatter (L) shakes hands with UEFA president Michel Platini after being re-elected following a vote in Zurich on May 29, 2015 (AFP Photo/Michael Buholzer)
"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Wall Street's 'Fearless Girl' statue to stay until 2018

Wall Street's 'Fearless Girl' statue to stay until 2018
The " Fearless Girl " statue on Wall Street is seen by many as a defiant symbol of women's rights under the new administration of President Donald Trump (AFP Photo/ TIMOTHY A. CLARY)

“… The Fall of Many - Seen It Yet?

You are going to see more and more personal secrets being revealed about persons in high places of popularity or government. It will seem like an epidemic of non-integrity! But what is happening is exactly what we have been teaching. The new energy has light that will expose the darkness of things that are not commensurate with integrity. They have always been there, and they were kept from being seen by many who keep secrets in the dark. Seen the change yet?

In order to get to a more stable future, you will have to go through gyrations of dark and light. What this means is that the dark is going to be revealed and push back at you. It will eventually lose. We told you this. That's what you're here for is to help those around you who don't see an escape from the past. They didn't get their nuclear war, but everything else is going into the dumper anyway. … “

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Goldman CEO can testify in insider case: judge

Reuters, by Grant McCool, NEW YORK | Wed Nov 30, 2011

Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein testifies before the 
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Investigations
Subcommittee hearing on ''Wall Street and the Financial Crisis: The Role of
 Investment Banks'' on Capitol Hill in Washington April 27, 2010.
(Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed)

Related News

(Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein may be asked to testify in a market regulator's insider-trading case against a former director of the Wall Street bank, a judge ruled.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has accused Rajat Gupta, a former board member at Goldman and Procter & Gamble, of giving inside tips about the two companies to his friend Raj Rajaratnam in 2008 and 2009.

Rajaratnam, founder of the Galleon Group hedge fund, was convicted of 11 criminal counts in May. Blankfein testified for the prosecution at that trial.

Gupta denies the charges in the SEC's civil lawsuit. He also is contesting criminal insider-trading charges brought by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan.

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff identified Blankfein and six others, including some former Galleon traders, as people who could be interviewed under oath in the SEC case. The written order was dated Tuesday.

Goldman Sachs spokesman David Wells declined to comment.

Gupta's lawyer, Gary Naftalis, had told the judge he wanted to depose Blankfein and other Goldman executives.

The judge has scheduled start dates of April 9 for Gupta's criminal trial and October 1 for the civil trial. Rajaratnam is also a defendant in the SEC case against Gupta.

Typically, when there are parallel cases by the SEC and the Department of Justice, the regulator's case is suspended until the end of the criminal trial.

However, Rakoff's order said there was "sufficient time after the completion of the criminal case to complete all discovery while at the same time assuring that the parallel civil case will go forward to trial promptly."

The cases are SEC v Gupta and Rajaratnam, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 11-07566, and USA v Rajat Gupta, No. 11-907, in the same court.

(Reporting by Grant McCool; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

Related Articles:

Crisis: The stupidity of the western approach

Pravda.RuTimothy Bancroft-Hinchey, 29.11.2011, opinion

So blind are the blinkered pupils of Milton Friedman, so stupidly obedient are the Thatcherites and the pith-brained followers of the market-economy approach that they are unable to see the idiocy of their policies in handling the global financial and economic crisis.

It is clear that taking money out of the economy is not an option. Europe and its mentor across the seas could learn a lesson from Latin America.

As Britain's Chancellor (Finance Minister) delivers his Autumn speech today, no doubt replete with self-justification and blaming everything on everyone else but himself as Britain is set to ask for a further 100 billion pounds in borrowing over and above what it had planned (what was that they were saying about Labour?), we take a look at the sheer idiocy of the policies adopted to handle the crisis not only in the UK but across Europe.

The bottom line is "we are all in this together and we all have to pay". Now just a minute there, who put us in "this, together"? Was it the working (wo)man who studied hard, got a job, saved to buy a house, worked hard and paid taxes and did everything that was asked? Or was it some po-faced simpleton with University degrees as long as your arm, apparently pulled from packets of soap, implementing laboratory policies from some office, protecting banks and bankers while leaving the person in the street to pick up the tab?

What have Governments done to protect the people they are supposed to be protecting? It is not the people's fault that economies have been mismanaged, for nobody ever asks the people to make a decision through a referendum and nobody ever bothers to explain the issues and choices open to them. It is not the fault of the private sector that the public sector has been irresponsible, become top-heavy and in many cases filled with people who appear to earn a lot for doing very little.

And now, precisely when the mismanagement bubble of previous years bursts before our very eyes, what happens? The price of utilities is sky-rocketing, the ratings agencies are allowed to directly interfere in our daily lives by dictating the price (interest rate coupon) at which a country sells bonds and borrows funds, public spending is being cut, salaries are being reduced, pensions are being lowered and benefits are being withdrawn. Precisely the social policies which could and should be implemented as a safety net are being taken away.

It is as if the trapeze artist is told to perform, with the tightrope raised to 300 feet, without a safety net while all the time he is being pelted with broken bottles and stones by a jeering crowd of suited officials standing on a raised platform. It is as if the man lying in the street dying of hunger is being treated by kicking the plate of bread crusts away from him, denying him access to water and thrashing him with chains.

It comes as no surprise at all that these types of policies are adopted by those faceless cliques who serve the lobbies who in turn have seized positions of power in most countries, on either side of the political divide, offering cynical choices for "change" which as we saw in Obama's case was a raspberry in the face of Humankind. Is there any difference between Democrat and Republican, between Labour and Tory, between Socialists and Social Democrats?

How can countries be expected to overcome the crisis when money is being taken out of the economy in increased taxation, when more money is being taken out of the economy by cutting public spending and when yet more money is being taken out of the economy by reducing salaries and benefits? And on top of that, how are countries to reach the heady growth rates needed to service their debt repayments when these are linked to staggeringly high interest repayments? Add to this the poisoned chalice that countries taking IMF medicine receive and that kills any hope of progress or growth for decades to come. Taking the IMF pill is like being force-fed an overdose of strychnine.

Are these people stupid, or what?

It does not take a rocket scientist to understand that the man dying of hunger in the street must be treated by providing him with food and water, it goes without saying that the trapeze artist has to work in safe conditions, in a work-easy environment which will allow him/her to perform to the best of his/her ability.

Forcing the economy to the limits pushes people over the edge, more days are taken off work, the number of people requesting psychological leave or treatment skyrockets, companies are forced to close, States have to make more payments in sickness pay and unemployment benefit; conversely, by curtailing these, the already elevated social cost rises, translated into cycles of crime and violence which also have a cost.

What is the alternative?

Contrary to what western governments are claiming all the time, that there is no alternative and there is no money, then suppose we treat the world economy as if it were a bank and the national economies as if they were bankers, and lo and behold, trillions will suddenly become available. When it is to save a bank, there is money and a lot of it, but when it comes to building a hospital or saving jobs, it vanishes.

The alternative was ably demonstrated by forward-seeing and socially progressive policies adopted in Latin America, which is no oasis on the world stage and which is as intrinsically tied into the global economy as anyone else. Yet in 2010, exactly through the adoption of social policies which put money into the economy, creating jobs, getting people back to work so as to contribute towards and not take from the economy, Latin America and the Caribbean region reached GDP growth rates of some six per cent (1) (2).

Unemployment fell in the region by 0.2% in 2010 and is set to register a higher decrease in 2011 (between 0.2 and 0.4%). Macroeconomic policies stimulating growth created jobs, and a lot of these jobs are related to the green economy. By strengthening and investing in factors which fostered greater social equality, Latin America created a growing middle class which in turn has made an increasing contribution to the economy. In the west, the divide between haves and have-nots is widening, and those without are increasing in number.

So if Latin America can create sustainable green economies which respect its population, which respect the environment and the planet, why can't the west? Do we conclude that the Governments in Latin America and the Caribbean knock streaks off the idiots running western governments? Probably. And if we accept the adage "where there is a will, there is a way" we can see that those who govern western countries could not care less about the people they are responsible for, being instead far more tied to pandering to the whims of the lobbies they represent.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what they call democracy.

(1)   Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)

(2)   International Labour Organisation (ILO)

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Big auditors face being split up, renamed

Reuters, By Huw Jones, LONDON | Wed Nov 30, 2011

(Reuters) - The world's top four audit firms will have to split up and rename themselves under a draft European Union law to crack down on conflicts of interest and shortcomings highlighted by the financial crisis.

"Investor confidence in audit has been shaken by the crisis and I believe changes in this sector are necessary," Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier said on Wednesday.

Policymakers have questioned why auditors gave a clean bill of health to many banks which shortly afterwards needed rescuing by taxpayers as the financial crisis began unfolding.

Barnier said recent apparent audit failures at AngloIrish and Lehman Brothers banks, BAE Systems (BAES.L) and Olympus (7733.T) "would strongly suggest that audit is not working as it should."

More robust supervision is needed and "more diversity in what is an overly concentrated market, especially at the top end," he said.

Just four audit firms -- Ernst & Young, Deloitte, KPMG, and PwC -- check the books of most blue-chip companies in the world, a situation the Commission said was "in essence an oligopoly."

Under Barnier's plan big audit firms -- the four top ones -- will have to separate audit activities from non-audit activities, such as tax and other advisory services -- "to avoid all risks of conflict of interest."


Claire Bury, one of Barnier's top officials, said the plans, if approved by EU states and the European Parliament, would have an impact on the business models of the Big Four.

The audit and non-auditing operations of the big firms, defined as having a revenues of more than 1.5 billion euros in the EU, would have to have separate legal ownership structures.

"The will have to change names as well. I suppose we will have branding issues at the end of the day," Bury told a press briefing.

Public tendering of audit work by listed companies would be compulsory and include consideration of second-tier auditors.

Commission officials indicated that as the measure dealt with major structural reform of the market, the industry would need time to adapt but they hoped the new rules would be in place within 3-5 years.

"It's not something that can be rushed through," Barnier's spokeswoman said.

EU states and the European Parliament will have the final say on Barnier's draft law, a process that involves haggling and likely changes.


Barnier, under pressure from some fellow commissioners, dropped at the last minute a key element of his plans -- mandating "joint audits" of listed companies as a way to improve audit quality and help smaller auditors have experience of checking the books of big companies.

Instead, he has tried to introduce incentives to encourage joint audits by finessing another part of the measure -- the mandatory switching or rotation of auditors.

A sole auditor would only be allowed to audit the same firm for up to eight years but, if a joint audit was being done, this mandate could be extended up to 12 years.

An audit firm would not be allowed to offer non-auditing services, such as tax and other consultancy services, to a company it is auditing.

The EU plan also bans so-called loan covenants whereby banks lend money to companies on condition they are audited by one of the Big Four.

Officials from the big audit firms have warned that audit costs will increase and quality could suffer but their smaller rivals welcome Barnier's plans, which would open the door to new business for them.

The UK Competition Commission is already probing the sector and regulators in the United States are looking at audit firm rotation as well.

(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)

Related Article:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

S&P downgrades top US banks' credit ratings

Associated Press, Nov 29, 2011

Latest News

NEW YORK (AP) -- Standard & Poors Ratings Services is adjusting the ratings on 37 of the world's largest financial institutions, including downgrading the biggest banks in the U.S.

Bank of America Corp. and its main subsidiaries were among those cut at least one notch on Tuesday, along with Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo & Co.

S&P says the changes reflect its new ratings criteria for banks, which incorporate shifts in the worldwide financial industry and macroeconomic trends, including the role of governments and central banks in industry funding.

Top U.K. downgrades include Barclays, HSBC Holdings, Lloyds Banking Group and The Royal Bank of Scotland.

Ratings for several big European banks, including Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, ING and Societe Generale are unchanged.

Civil Action #8500, United States District Court for Southern District of New York,Nov 23, 2011

Fed secretly handed out $8 trillion


  • Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria S.A.
  • Bank of America Corp.
  • Bank of New York Mellon Corp.
  • Barclays Plc
  • Citigroup Inc.
  • Rabobank Nederland
  • Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
  • HSBC Holdings Plc
  • JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  • Loyds Banking Group Plc
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Royal Bank of Scotland Plc
  • UBS AG
  • Wells Fargo & Co.


  • Bank of China Ltd.
  • China Construction Bank Corp.

Occupy Wall St - The Revolution Is Love (Video)

Monday, November 28, 2011

JPMorgan's Dimon's aggressive style may hurt bank cause

Reuters, by Rachelle Younglai and Philipp Halstrick, Washington/Frankfurt,Thu Sep 29, 2011

Jamie Dimon, CEO and chairman of JPMorgan Chase & Co., poses for
 a portrait in his office in New York, in this photo taken December 22, 2010.
(Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson)

(Reuters) - Masters of the universe are not always so masterful after all.

JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Jamie Dimon's squabble with the head of the Bank of Canada over bank regulation managed to achieve only one thing -- angering the central banker.

Once viewed as a star for helping the U.S. government prop up the now-defunct Bear Stearns during the 2008 financial crisis, Dimon is in danger of becoming a pariah among global regulators.

At a meeting last week between the world's most powerful bankers and Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney, Dimon tried to tell the central banker that banks were suffering under the weight of all the new bank rules. But his aggression drove a red-faced and visibly angry Carney out of the room, according to people familiar with the encounter.

Dimon referred to new global bank liquidity rules as "cockamamie nonsense," according to one of the attendees at the closed-door meeting held by the Institute of International Finance on Friday.

Dimon also said the rules did not bear any relation to financial reality and that they were constructed by regulators, academics and people who did not have any market experience, the attendee said.

Major banks have lashed out at the slew of new rules being implemented in response to the financial crisis. They contend higher capital standards and other new regulations will impede their ability to lend and hurt the already-fragile economy, although their arguments appear to be falling on deaf ears with regulators.

Another person at the meeting said Dimon acted very aggressively and complained about a plan from the Basel committee of global regulators to force the world's biggest banks to hold up to 2.5 percent in extra capital.

Carney, who spent more than decade at Goldman Sachs before becoming Canada's central banker, was calm at first and tried to appease Dimon, responding: "I hear what you are saying. I don't think it will surprise you that I am taking a different view. These are reasonable responses to the financial crisis," one of the attendees recalled.

But Dimon grew increasingly aggressive, prompting Bank of Nova Scotia CEO Rick Waugh to jump in to try to smooth relations, the source said.

The outspoken Dimon has already blasted the new international bank rules as anti-American and went a step further at the meeting. "I have called it anti-American. The only reason I am calling it anti-American is because I am American. I also think it's anti-European," the attendee recalled him saying.

In the end, an agitated Carney left in the middle of Dimon's tirade. Other chief executives such as Goldman Sachs' Lloyd Blankfein and Deutsche Bank's Josef Ackermann looked stunned, the sources said.

Ackermann tried to explain why Carney left abruptly, saying the central banker was on a tight schedule.

Some bankers were shaking their heads. "It was Dimon's style that astonished all bankers, not the content," said one banker familiar with the meeting. Another voiced concern that Dimon's anger hurt his message. Others said they thought Dimon's comments were appropriately delivered.

Once singled out by President Barack Obama for running a well-managed bank, Dimon has become increasingly more vocal in his opposition to the new bank rules. For over a year, he has fought the administration privately and publicly over the Dodd-Frank regulation bill.

In June, Dimon took U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to task and said new financial regulations could jeopardize the country's economic recovery and job creation.

At the time, he was praised for speaking out. But Dimon may have exacerbated the already-tense relations between the banking community and its financial supervisors with his latest exchange, first reported by the Financial Times.

On Monday, Dimon called Carney to put his comments in context, a source close to Dimon said. Dimon told the central banker that he had the utmost respect for him and that he thought the world of him, the source said.

But that was too late for Carney, who is rumored to be in line to become the next head of the Financial Stability Board -- a body of international regulators that makes policy recommendations to the Group of 20 economies.

The Bank of Canada and JPMorgan both declined to comment.

Two days after the encounter, Carney rejected bankers' complaints in a public speech to the IIF, a lobby group for global banks.

"If some institutions feel pressure today, it's because they have done too little for too long rather than being asked to do too much too soon," Carney said on Sunday.

"While the worsening global economic outlook has implications for bank performance, it does not provide a rationale for delaying the implementation of Basel III (bank capital rules,)" he said.

(Additional reporting by Louise Egan in Ottawa, Lauren LaCapra in New York and CameronFrench in Toronto; Writing by Rachelle Younglai; Editing by Dan Grebler)

Fed secretly handed out $8 trillion

RT.com, 28 November, 2011, 20:24

An anti-Wall Street demonstrator shouts slogans in front of the
Federal Reserve Bank (AFP Photo / Frederic J. Brown)

We knew the last bailout from the Federal Reserve was pretty big, but not until now did we have statistics on the actually tally. If you thought that the $700 billion bailout for TARP was big, get a load of this.

Just exactly how big was the Federal Reserve’s bailout of the banks between the years of 2008 and 2010? Thanks to a Federal Request of Information Act gone fulfilled, America now knows the truth behind a colossal cover-up: almost $8 trillion.

Ever since the Fed stepped in to bail out the biggest banks in the country, Ben Bernanke and company have gone to great lengths to keep the exact details of the transactions a secret, citing that the truth would cause concern for the world financial crisis far greater than what was already at hand, saying in particular that investors would step away from the “too big to fail” banks that were benefiting from the bailout. And while Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke went on the record to call the bailouts to even the most “sound institutions” only “marginal,” details of the FOIA request obtained by Bloomberg News now reveals that the Federal Reserve spent nearly half of the entire production output of the US during that span of less than two years — the biggest bailout in the country’s history — while going to great lengths to keep Congress and the American people in the dark.

By March of 2009, the Fed had already dished out $7.77 trillion to save the US financial system, dwarfing other assistance programs several times over. As the financial sector was on the brink of collapse, neither the Fed nor the banks involved came clean with the truth, instead lying through their teeth to keep the total facts a mystery. Until now.

While the banks kept the bailout a secret from Congress, they lobbied to the Legislative Branch to imply more lax governmental regulations on the industry, something that would haven arguably been near impossible had the truth surfaced at the time.

The website Naked Capitalism explains it pretty clearly in not so many words: “The bottom line is everybody close to the process lied like crazy.”

On November 26, 2008, Bank of America Chief Executive Officer Kenneth D. Lewis told shareholders that he ran “one of the strongest and most stable major banks in the world.” On that very day, BofA was indebted to the Fed something to the tune of nearly $90 billion. Less than two weeks later, the Federal Reserve blew $1.2 trillion total in a single day to bail out the breaking financial institutions.

All the while, of course, banks were borrowing loans at interest rates of as low as 0.01 percent. “No one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates,” writes Bloomberg now.

That’s not the worst part, either. As the Fed continues to operate without oversight from the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches, further bailouts are guaranteed to keep being generated at the cost of the American taxpayer while a recession still seems imminent — if not already occurring. Critics including presidential hopeful Congressman Ron Paul have lobbied to abolish the Federal Reserve once and for all. Could the next president help make that dream a reality? In the meantime, don’t be surprised if billions get borrowed at America’s expense minute by minute.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

J&J starts removing toxins from baby products

Associated Press, Nov 16, 2011 

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) -- Johnson & Johnson has begun removing two harmful chemicals from its iconic baby shampoo and other baby products in the U.S.

An international coalition of consumer and environmental groups had pressed the company since May 2009 to remove the toxins from all personal care products, including Johnson's Baby Shampoo.

Two weeks ago, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics was emboldened after finding the health care giant had removed the two chemicals from products in several other countries. But in the U.S., the products contain trace amounts of potentially cancer-causing chemicals.

Johnson & Johnson now says it expects to remove formaldehyde-releasing preservatives from baby products within about two years and is reducing traces of the other chemical.

Occupy London sets out agenda on how it wants to change the economic world

Campaigners' policy statement calls for an end to tax havens and tax avoidance

guardian.co.uk, Peter Walker, Sunday 27 November 2011

Occupy London protesters have been camping outside St Paul's Cathedral
 in London for more than a month and have now issued a statement on how
 they want to end the injustices of the global financial system.
Photograph: Paul Hackett/Reuters

The Occupy London movement has agreed its first specific set of proposals about corporations, just over six weeks since it first set up camp outside St Paul's cathedral to campaign against the perceived excesses and injustices of the global financial system.

While the protest has gathered considerable publicity and expanded to three sites – as well as St Paul's, there are offshoot camps in Finsbury Square, further east, and inside a vacant office complex nearby owned by the Swiss bank USB – it has faced criticism about a lack of concrete demands. Agreeing these has proved a complicated process, as all decision are reached by consensus at mass meetings.

The first policy statement on corporations calls for an end to tax havens and tax avoidance, more transparency over business lobbying, and legal reforms to make individual executives more liable for the consequences of their decisions.

"Globally, corporations deprive the public purse of hundreds of billions of pounds each year, leaving insufficient funds to provide people with fair living standards. We must abolish tax havens and complex tax avoidance schemes, and ensure corporations pay tax that accurately reflects their real profits," the statement said.

On lobbying, it calls for laws to ensure "full and public transparency of all corporate lobbying activities". Finally, the statement argues that executives must be "personally liable for their role in the misdeeds of their corporations and duly charged for all criminal behaviour".

Soon after the first camp was set up on the western edge of St Paul's, after police prevented activists basing themselves near the headquarters of the London Stock Exchange, the group issued a general list of proposals, calling the current economic system "unsustainable" and opposing public spending cuts. The only other such statement called for more transparency and democracy within the Corporation of London, the governing authority within the City district, which owns some of the land adjoining St Paul's and which is taking legal action to evict the campers.

"From the moment the Occupy London Stock Exchange occupation started, in the full glare of the media and in the court of public opinion, we have continually been asked, 'What do you want?' "What are your demands?'" said Jamie Kelsey, a member of the corporations policy group.

"We are calling time on a system where corporates and their employees pursue profit at all costs. Just as corporates have played their role in the iniquities of the current system, they are also part of the solution and we invite them to join this important conversation."

Saturday, November 26, 2011

For Occupying Protesters, Deadlines and Decisions

The New York Times, by BRIAN STELTER, November 26, 2011

Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa of Los Angeles said Friday that the city's 
protest encampment would be closed down by Monday.
(Photo: Danny Moloshok/Reuters)

PHILADELPHIA — Cooperative is the word usually used here to describe the relationship between the campers of Occupy Philadelphia and the city, a birthplace of the constitutional right to free speech and assembly.

The arguments and arrests that have occurred at protests in New York and other cities have been largely absent. Mayor Michael A. Nutter even visited the encampment on its first night and pledged to work with the movement when possible.

But the limits of that cooperation are about to be tested. Following the example of other cities that have taken steps to evict the Occupy camps, Mr. Nutter, citing health and safety concerns and an imminent construction project, said the protesters must pack up and leave the steps of City Hall by Sunday evening.

“We cannot allow current conditions, including masses of tents and 24-hour-a-day camping, to continue,” Mr. Nutter said at a news conference on Friday.

Saturday, however, looked nothing like a moving day at the plaza, where protesters said the deadline had focused the local movement’s otherwise disorganized energies. “Having this kind of pressure is a good thing,” Michael Pierce, 50, a member of Occupy Philadelphia’s information working group, said between conversations with campers and the occasional lost tourist looking for the Reading Terminal Market or Rittenhouse Square.

“Without some of the struggles that the other cities have had, we’ve been sitting around, drinking coffee,” Mr. Pierce said. “This is bringing us back together.”

On Saturday, amid unseasonably warm temperatures, informal brainstorming and an “eviction planning meeting” took place.Come Sunday, should the protesters accept the city’s proposal for a part-time occupation across the street, bringing a new phase of the movement without overnight camping? Should they stay at the site, inviting an attention-getting confrontation with the police? Or should they join a march of the homeless to a nearby rail yard? (Dennis Payne, a homeless man who was spreading the word about the march, said he wanted to move other homeless people “out of the way” of a potential clash.)

“This is a village trying to determine where to go next,” said Chris Goldstein, a member of a public relations group for Occupy Philadelphia, who expects some to leave and some to stay on Sunday.

Partly joking, Mr. Pierce said he would like to see protesters move to Rittenhouse Square, one of the city’s wealthiest pockets. There, he said, “a lot more of the right kind of people would get annoyed.”

Similar conversations were taking place in Los Angeles, where Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa said Friday that protesters, who had been allowed to remain on the lawn outside City Hall for almost two months, had to disperse by 12:01 a.m. Monday. In Philadelphia, Mr. Nutter gave the group a deadline of 5 p.m. Sunday. Dilworth Plaza, where hundreds have been staying since Oct. 6, is about to become a construction site. Mr. Nutter, adopting the movement’s language, said the project would be “built by the 99 percent for the 99 percent.”

Some of the protesters said they were aware when they set up their tents in October that the construction project — a $50 million refurbishment that will replace the concrete plaza with green space and, in the winters, an ice skating rink — might be imminent. That they chose to set up there anyway set off one of the initial disagreements within the movement.

“All along, like in other cities, there have been factions that have wanted to compromise with the authorities and factions that have wanted to be more disruptive,” said Jim MacMillan, a journalist-in-residence at Swarthmore College who has observed the occupation since the beginning.

After about a month, city officials started to speak about what they considered unsanitary conditions at the site. Police were called on Nov. 12 after a female protester said she was sexually assaulted in her tent.

On Saturday, there were about 250 tents still at the site, although one group, which calls itself Reasonable Solutions, pulled out recently. Will Tucker, 33, one of the organizers of Reasonable Solutions, said he felt that some of the other protesters were “looking for conflict” and refusing to communicate with the city.

Last week, the city approved a demonstration permit for Mr. Tucker’s group and rejected one submitted by a rival organization, which led to accusations that Reasonable Solutions had been co-opted. The new permit, effective Monday, allows for protests at a plaza across the street from City Hall, but only between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. No overnight activity would be allowed, though three daytime tents and an office trailer would be.

Referring to overnight camping, Mr. Tucker said, “We thought that wouldn’t be logical in the wintertime anyway.”

Others, however, have vowed to try to stay at the plaza 24 hours a day, just as protesters in other cities have.

At a Methodist church festooned with Christmas trimmings several dozen protesters met on Saturday afternoon and discussed potential responses to the eviction. Some suggested a sit-down protest to show nonviolent resistance. Others recommended holding hands around the plaza. One person said that whatever they do, they should coordinate with the Los Angeles protesters so that they appear united before the television cameras in each city.

Given the peaceful history of the local protests, Mr. MacMillan said he thought that some would resist the eviction on Sunday, but that the number would be small. He predicted that the police would not clear the plaza until after the 11 p.m. local newscasts.

In the meantime, said Dave Burnett, 38, a protester who is a meat clerk at a local grocery store, “it’s a great advertisement for us.”

“It’s one of those protests we don’t have to organize,” he said. “The city’s doing it for us.”

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