Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Occupy LA Raid: Police Arrest Protesters Who Defied Eviction Notice (LIVE BLOG)

Occupy LA Raid: Police Arrest Protesters Who Defied Eviction Notice (LIVE BLOG): "Police Chief Charlie Beck praised the officers and the protesters for their restraint and the peaceful way the eviction was carried out.

Officers flooded down the steps of City Hall just after midnight and started dismantling the two-month-old camp two days after a deadline passed for campers to leave the park. Officers in helmets and wielding batons and guns with rubber bullets converged on the park from all directions with military precision and began making arrests after several orders were given to leave.

There were no injuries and no drugs or weapons were found during a search of the emptied camp, which was strewn with trash after the raid. City workers put up concrete barriers to wall off the park while it is restored. As of 5:10 a.m. PST, the park was clear of protesters, said LAPD officer Cleon Joseph."

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Occupy Wall Street And Homelessness: Millions Spent To Evict Camps, While Cutting Shelter Funds

Occupy Wall Street And Homelessness: Millions Spent To Evict Camps, While Cutting Shelter Funds: "After Atlanta's Mayor Kasim Reed forcibly evacuated Occupy Atlanta from a public park, protesters moved into a homeless shelter. As it turned out, the shelter had been tied up in court battles with the city for a few years, and the city had planned to close it. The shelter was scheduled to be shut down a few days after the protesters moved in, but that date has since been postponed indefinitely and protesters have taken up the shelter's cause.


Local stakeholders -- including city officials, the local business development group Central Atlanta Progress, Emory University and other business interests -- have been trying to boot the Task Force homeless shelter from its home as it sits on a valuable piece of real estate.
"

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Robert Reich: Restore the Basic Bargain

Robert Reich: Restore the Basic Bargain: "New data from the Commerce Department shows employee pay is now down to the smallest share of the economy since the government began collecting wage and salary data in 1929.

Meanwhile, corporate profits now constitute the largest share of the economy since 1929.

1929, by the way, was the year of the Great Crash that ushered in the Great Depression.

In the years leading up to the Great Crash, most employers forgot Henry Ford's example. The wages of most American workers remained stagnant. The gains of economic growth went mainly into corporate profits and into the pockets of the very rich. American families maintained their standard of living by going deeper into debt. In 1929 the debt bubble popped.

Sound familiar? It should. The same thing happened in the years leading up to the crash of 2008."

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THE BANKERS’ MANIFESTO OF 1892

THE BANKERS’ MANIFESTO OF 1892: "THE BANKERS’ MANIFESTO OF 1892

"We [the bankers] must proceed with caution and guard every move made, for the lower order of people are already showing signs of restless commotion. Prudence will therefore show a policy of apparently yielding to the popular will until our plans are so far consummated that we can declare our designs without fear of any organized resistance. The Farmers Alliance and Knights of Labor organizations in the United States should be carefully watched by our trusted men, and we must take immediate steps to control these organizations in our interest or disrupt them."

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Quotes on Banking and the Federal Reserve

Quotes on Banking and the Federal Reserve: "James Madison
"History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and it's issuance." — James Madison"

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Secret Fed Loans Undisclosed to Congress Gave Banks $13 Billion in Income - Bloomberg

Secret Fed Loans Undisclosed to Congress Gave Banks $13 Billion in Income - Bloomberg: "The Federal Reserve and the big banks fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout in U.S. history a secret. Now, the rest of the world can see what it was missing.
The Fed didn’t tell anyone which banks were in trouble so deep they required a combined $1.2 trillion on Dec. 5, 2008, their single neediest day. Bankers didn’t mention that they took tens of billions of dollars in emergency loans at the same time they were assuring investors their firms were healthy. And no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its January issue.
Saved by the bailout, bankers lobbied against government regulations, a job made easier by the Fed, which never disclosed the details of the rescue to lawmakers even as Congress doled out more money and debated new rules aimed at preventing the next collapse."

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

The shocking truth about the crackdown on Occupy | Naomi Wolf | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

The shocking truth about the crackdown on Occupy | Naomi Wolf | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk: "In New York, a state supreme court justice and a New York City council member were beaten up; in Berkeley, California, one of our greatest national poets, Robert Hass, was beaten with batons. The picture darkened still further when Wonkette and Washingtonsblog.com reported that the Mayor of Oakland acknowledged that the Department of Homeland Security had participated in an 18-city mayor conference call advising mayors on "how to suppress" Occupy protests.

To Europeans, the enormity of this breach may not be obvious at first. Our system of government prohibits the creation of a federalised police force, and forbids federal or militarised involvement in municipal peacekeeping."

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Industrial Workers of the World | One Big Union!

Industrial Workers of the World | One Big Union!: "As the attacks on public and private sector unions escalate, the racist scapegoating, exploitation, and deportation of immigrant workers continues apace. Right-wing legislators in states across the country are pursuing the Arizona show-me-your-papers racial profiling model which undermines the liberty and offends the dignity of every working person. Employers enrich themselves for years on the hard work of immigrant employees only to cynically raise status issues when confronted with demands for stolen wages or for decent working conditions. Yet still, immigrant workers of color are routinely demonstrating the courage to lead some of the most profound and hard-fought labor campaigns in the United States."

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

POLITICO Forums:Politics: Is Newt as smart as he thinks? - POLITICO.com

POLITICO Forums:Politics: Is Newt as smart as he thinks? - POLITICO.com: " Newt is at best a pseudo intellectual. Just because he has a Phd. doesn't make him 'automatically' intellectual. I've known and heard of many Phd's who, though they managed to slog their way up the academic ladder, were, basically, dumb. If African Grey Parrots were just a little brighter, we would have thousands of feathered Phd's. I also wonder about the real reason he was not tenured. I cannot see him being a good History teacher, as a History teacher must be able to put themselves into another place and time, and see it through that society's eyes, in order to make it understandable in the present. Newt cannot even see the present through eyes other than his own, so how could he have an understanding of people long dead? "

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Debtors' Prison Legal In More Than One-Third Of U.S. States

Debtors' Prison Legal In More Than One-Third Of U.S. States: "As well as a return of 18th century debtors prisons we have the return of "special treatment" jail (for a price. I believe it's $185 per day in Pasadena, CA) where you get a private room, better food, internet, etc. if you can pay. They even have an add campaign; "Bad things can happen to Good people too". By "good" they obviously mean rich. Maybe we can buy naming rights to one of these Gaols. We could call it "The Charles Dickens Memorial Prison". "

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Fox News Viewers Know Less Than People Who Don't Watch Any News: Study

Fox News Viewers Know Less Than People Who Don't Watch Any News: Study: "Dan Cassino, a political science professor at Fairleigh Dickinson, explained in a statement, "Because of the controls for partisanship, we know these results are not just driven by Republicans or other groups being more likely to watch Fox News. Rather, the results show us that there is something about watching Fox News that leads people to do worse on these questions than those who don’t watch any news at all."

This isn't the first study that has found that Fox News viewers more misinformed in comparison to others. Last year, a study from the University of Maryland found that Fox News viewers were more likely to believe false information about politics."

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Occupy Belfast protesters carry on camping at St Anne's Cathedral - Northern Ireland, Local & National - Belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Occupy Belfast protesters carry on camping at St Anne's Cathedral - Northern Ireland, Local & National - Belfasttelegraph.co.uk: "Galway woman Stiofinin Furlong (20), an Occupy Belfast organiser, said: “I just couldn't do nothing, our accident and emergency departments are shutting, university fees are going up, we are paying for the mistakes of the banks.”

At the side of Writers’ Square 17 tents, two gazebos and a few log burners make up the camp.

In contrast to claims of heavy-handedness in New York, and legal threats in London, the Belfast contingent seem to be having an untroubled time.

Ms Furlong said: “All of the food, heaters, firewood, everything, has been donated by the people of Belfast and without them we wouldn't be here.”"

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UC Davis Police Pepper-Spray Seated Students In Occupy Dispute (VIDEO) (UPDATES)

UC Davis Police Pepper-Spray Seated Students In Occupy Dispute (VIDEO) (UPDATES): "At Occupy Davis, relations with the democratically elected city council and local police forces have been genial and productive. The authorities have worked continuously to harmonize the occupation's presence with the park and surrounding businesses and ensure that all aspects of the encampment remain non-violent. Those in charge of using force are aware that they are democratically elected officials that are directly accountable to the people.
Occupy UC Davis, a mere three blocks away, is under the jurisdiction of an undemocratic, appointed regime of force over which its subjects have no meaningful democratic control. The authorities there attacked non-violent protesters with indifference, and, in some cases, a clear display of sadistic pleasure.
There could be no better illustration of the differences between a democratic, accountable public safety effort and a fascist, totalitarian, unaccountable police state. The students of UC Davis have no meaningful voice, and that is reflected at the very top of the administration down to the officer on the ground who can spice up his day with a confident sense of utter, unassailable impunity."

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Lobbying Firm Memo To Advise Wall Street Clients On Occupy Movement

Lobbying Firm Memo To Advise Wall Street Clients On Occupy Movement: "Leading Democratic party strategists have begun to openly discuss the benefits of embracing the growing and increasingly organized Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement to prevent Republican gains in Congress and the White House next year. We have seen this process of adopting extreme positions and movements to increase base voter turnout, including in the 2005-2006 immigration debate. This would mean more than just short-term discomfort for Wall Street firms. If vilifying the leading companies of this sector is allowed to become an unchallenged centerpiece of a coordinated Democratic campaign, it has the potential to have very long-lasting political, policy and financial impacts on the companies in the center of the bullseye.
It shouldn't be surprising that the Democratic party or even President Obama's re-election team would campaign against Wall Street in this cycle. However the bigger concern should be that Republicans will no longer defend Wall Street companies -- and might start running against them too."

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Paul Martin: Former PM Comes Out In Favour Of Occupy Wall Street And 'Redistribution Programs'

Paul Martin: Former PM Comes Out In Favour Of Occupy Wall Street And 'Redistribution Programs': "An unexpected voice is joining the chorus of support for the Occupy movement — former prime minister Paul Martin.

Martin says protesters have sparked a global debate that may help save the free market system.

“This idea that [the Occupy protestors] don’t have clear goals, I don’t think anybody buys it,” Martin told The Huffington Post, even as city governments across Canada step up their efforts to end the occupation.

“These young people have touched a chord that is being discussed in every family across North America and in Europe, as well. I think it’s a very important thing they’ve done.”"

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Sen. Bernie Sanders: Democrats, Stop Caving In

Sen. Bernie Sanders: Democrats, Stop Caving In: "Here is something we all can agree on: Federal deficits are a serious problem.

Here is something no one seriously disputes: Today's big deficits were caused mainly by big tax cuts for the wealthy, two unpaid-for wars, a horrible recession caused by Wall Street greed, and an expensive prescription drug program rigged to favor pharmaceutical companies.

Here is something we should not agree to do: Cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits."

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Chris Hedges: This Is What Revolution Looks Like - Chris Hedges' Columns - Truthdig

Chris Hedges: This Is What Revolution Looks Like - Chris Hedges' Columns - Truthdig: "Welcome to the revolution. Our elites have exposed their hand. They have nothing to offer. They can destroy but they cannot build. They can repress but they cannot lead. They can steal but they cannot share. They can talk but they cannot speak. They are as dead and useless to us as the water-soaked books, tents, sleeping bags, suitcases, food boxes and clothes that were tossed by sanitation workers Tuesday morning into garbage trucks in New York City. They have no ideas, no plans and no vision for the future. "

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Robert Scheer: The Villain Occupy Wall Street Has Been Waiting For

Robert Scheer: The Villain Occupy Wall Street Has Been Waiting For: "But only in America is the arrogance of the super-rich so perfectly concealed by the pretense of democracy that the 12th richest man in the nation can suppress dissent against corporate rapacity and expect his brutal actions to be viewed not as a means of preserving his own class privilege but as bureaucratically necessary to providing sanitary streets."

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Millionaires On Capitol Hill: Tax Us More

Millionaires On Capitol Hill: Tax Us More: "What a bunch of crap the Repubs are handing out. These people, as members of a group (millionai­res), are saying that the group as a whole are not paying their fair share in taxes. It doesn't have anything to do with their personal situations but their group as a whole. What the Repubs are saying is much like telling people who have denounced the majority of their group as criminals, that then they, themselves­, should voluntaril­y go to jail and leave the other group members alone. Crap! Pure, unadultera­ted Crap!"

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Robert Creamer: Mayors Who Attempt to End Occupy Protests Are on the Wrong Side of History

Robert Creamer: Mayors Who Attempt to End Occupy Protests Are on the Wrong Side of History: "The pundits who charge that the Occupy Movement doesn't have demands must be on another planet. They may not like their demand -- but the Occupy Movement has a very clear demand: end that inequality of wealth and power -- and end it now.

Protest movements that change history are always "disruptive" of the status quo. The mayors who are so concerned that Occupy is "disruptive" should instead turn their attention to the level of disruption caused by Wall Street, when its greed and reckless speculation collapsed the world economy cost eight million Americans their jobs and caused a recession that has lasted over three years. Now that's "disruption." And that's exactly what the Occupy Wall Street Movement is demanding be changed."

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As Zuccotti Park Is Cleared, Congress Moves to Gut Financial Reform | Truthout

As Zuccotti Park Is Cleared, Congress Moves to Gut Financial Reform | Truthout: "In the dead of night last night, the movement to hold big banks accountable for their crimes took two major hits. Occupy Wall Street activists were swept from Zuccotti Park as radical members of Congress moved to gut funding for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and advance a series of shocking proposals to roll back financial reform."

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Paula Gordon: Who is "We"?

Paula Gordon: Who is "We"?: "There are two major conditions affecting America today, conditions from which flow much else which troubles the nation.

First, large, multi-national corporations are in effective control of the government.
Second, large, multinational corporations are in effective control of the economy.

On January 21, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Just as occurred in the other judicial coup d'├ętat of the decade (Bush v. Gore being the other), in a split 5-4 decision that Court ratified and further enabled the corporatization of American politics.

To qualify as a coup d'├ętat, it is not necessary for the actions of the Supreme Court to result in immediate and radical change in our day to day lives. All that is required is that political power be emphatically shifted from one entity (the people) to another (the corporation)."

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FDR's 1944 State of the Union Address, better known as the Second or Economic Bill of Rights | OccupyWallSt.org

FDR's 1944 State of the Union Address, better known as the Second or Economic Bill of Rights | OccupyWallSt.org: "In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education."

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Occupy Wall Street 'Media Blackout': Journalists Arrested, Roughed Up, Blocked From Covering Clearing

Occupy Wall Street 'Media Blackout': Journalists Arrested, Roughed Up, Blocked From Covering Clearing: "The surprise raid on the Occupy Wall Street encampment included an aggressive, sometimes violent approach to the journalists covering the event.

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, the NYPD moved into Zucotti Park and forcibly cleared it of the encampment that had been there for nearly two months. Naturally, journalists flocked to Lower Manhattan to witness what was going on. When they got there, though, most of them were barred from getting too close.

Reporter after reporter — many using the hashtag "#mediablackout" — tweeted through the night, saying that police had either blocked them from seeing what was happening or had acted violently towards them. Some correspondents were also among the scores of people arrested by police.

At his press conference about the raid on Tuesday morning, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said journalists were barred from covering the raid "to protect members of the press," and "to prevent a situation from getting worse.""

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Why inequality in America is even worse than you thought - Salon.com

Why inequality in America is even worse than you thought - Salon.com: "There has been no shortage of headlines this week about the growing income and wealth inequality in the United States. A new study from the Congressional Budget Office, for example, found that income of the top 1 percent of households increased by 275 percent in the 30-year period ending in 2007. American households at the bottom and in the middle, meanwhile, saw income growth of just 18 to 40 percent over the same period

But less attention has been paid to the fact that not only are the numbers bad in America, they’re particularly bad when compared to other developed nations.

A new report (.pdf) by the Bertelsmann Foundation drives this point home. The German think tank used a set of policy analyses to create a Social Justice Index of 31 developed nations in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The United States came in a dismal 27th in the rankings. Here, for example, is a graph of one of the metrics, child poverty, in which the U.S. ranked fourth-to-last "

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Looting Social Security » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Looting Social Security » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names: "Hank Paulson, the Gold Sacks bankster/US Treasury Secretary, who deregulated the financial system, caused a world crisis that wrecked the prospects of foreign banks and governments, caused millions of Americans to lose retirement savings, homes, and jobs, and left taxpayers burdened with multi-trillions of dollars of new US debt, is still not in jail. He is writing in the New York Times urging that the mess he caused be fixed by taking away from working Americans the Social Security and Medicare for which they have paid in earmarked taxes all their working lives.

Wall Street’s approach to the poor has always been to drive them deeper into the ground."

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Occupy Wall Street: New York Police Department Evicts Protesters, Clears Zuccotti Park [LATEST UPDATES]

Occupy Wall Street: New York Police Department Evicts Protesters, Clears Zuccotti Park [LATEST UPDATES]: "Not only did the police, at the orders of billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg, abruptly move on the protesters, they are alleged to have deliberately kept the press away, which is clearly unconstitutional if true.

The U.S. Constitution prohibits Congress from restricting the right of citizens to assemble peacefully and to petition for redress of grievances. For a history of the relevant U.S. Supreme Court cases, see this link.

The government is also forbidden to interfere with the workings of the free press, so that the NYPD’s attempt to keep reporters away from the scene of their unprovoked attack on the demonstrators compounds the unconstitutionality of it all.

One of the ways that the First Amendment has been constrained is that fewer and fewer public spaces are still considered “public” (Zucotti Park is privately owned even though it is a park in a city)."

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Tom Coburn: $30 Billion In Millionaires Aid Is 'Sheer Washington Stupidity'

Tom Coburn: $30 Billion In Millionaires Aid Is 'Sheer Washington Stupidity': "WASHINGTON -- Millionaires are receiving billions in taxpayer-funded support every year that helps them pay for everything from child care to bad debts to boats and vacation homes, according to a report released Monday by Sen. Tom Coburn.

People who individually earned more than a million dollars in 2009 even managed to collect a total of nearly $21 million in unemployment insurance.

"From tax write-offs for gambling losses, vacation homes, and luxury yachts to subsidies for their ranches and estates, the government is subsidizing the lifestyles of the rich and famous," wrote Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, in an accompanying letter. "Multimillionaires are even receiving government checks for not working. This welfare for the well-off -- costing billions of dollars a year -- is being paid for with the taxes of the less fortunate."

Calling the giveaways "sheer Washington stupidity," Coburn detailed in the study more than $30 billion a year that comes out of the U.S. Treasury to aid people who make more than a million a year."

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Ten Ways the Occupy Movement Changes Everything | Truthout

Ten Ways the Occupy Movement Changes Everything | Truthout: "Before the Occupy Wall Street movement, there was little discussion of the outsized power of Wall Street and the diminishing fortunes of the middle class.

The media blackout was especially remarkable given that issues like jobs and corporate influence on elections topped the list of concerns for most Americans.

Occupy Wall Street changed that. In fact, it may represent the best hope in years that “we the people” will step up to take on the critical challenges of our time. Here’s how the Occupy movement is already changing everything:"

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Robert Kuttner: The Superfluous Super Committee

Robert Kuttner: The Superfluous Super Committee: "If the election is fought over Democratic austerity versus Republican austerity, President Obama might limp to victory over a weak and fragmented GOP field, but the economy he inherits will be no prize. But if Democrats run as the party of the 99 percent versus the 1 percent, and the party of possibility versus penury, then they just might win a mandate worth having.

I would not have written such a piece even two months ago, but the Occupy movements have opened up some new, heartening political space. The victories last Tuesday confirm that most people do not buy the union-bashing, belt-tightening vision for America. Ordinary people are leading, and change is in the air. As someone said, politicians need to get out of the way if they can't lend a hand."

'via Blog this'

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Occupy Portland Protesters Face Showdown With Police Over Eviction Order

Occupy Portland Protesters Face Showdown With Police Over Eviction Order: "We were talking about what we were going to do and then they just started hitting people. Seems like a waste of resources to me," protester Mike Swain, 27, told the AP.

One man was taken away on a stretcher; he was alert and talking to paramedics, and raised a peace sign to fellow protesters, who responded with cheers.

Choya Adkison, 30, said police moved in after giving demonstrators a false sense of calm. They thought they had time to rest, relax and regroup, she said

"Camp was completely vulnerable, completely defenseless" when police moved in, she said. "I'm disappointed that they created a sense of trust by walking away and then completely trampled it.""

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The GOP's 'Uncertainty' Talking Point, Debunked

The GOP's 'Uncertainty' Talking Point, Debunked: "The Federal Reserve, however, has options. The Fed has kept interest rates low for years, and resorted to exotic maneuvers to encourage consumers and companies to spend money and boost the economy. But since 2008, the Fed has actually paid banks to park their excess reserves at the central bank, rather than lend them out into the economy. If the Fed wanted that money to make its way to consumers and businesses and stimulate job growth, it could simply reverse its policy -- instead of paying banks interest on excess reserves, it could charge them fees. At present, banks can actually make money by doing nothing with their money. If there were a penalty for doing nothing, banks would work harder to find good loan candidates."

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Robert Creamer: Progressive Victories in Ohio, Mississippi, Maine, Arizona Provide Seven Key Lessons for 2012

Robert Creamer: Progressive Victories in Ohio, Mississippi, Maine, Arizona Provide Seven Key Lessons for 2012: "Lesson #5: Progressives win when we stand up straight. We won last night where we stood proudly for progressive values -- planted the flag -- mobilized our forces and took the offensive.

People in America are not looking for leaders who apologize for their progressive beliefs or are willing to compromise those principles even before they enter the fight. They want leaders who will fight for the middle class, and fight for change; who stand up against the big Wall Street banks and the CEO class that they believe - correctly - have siphoned off the nation's wealth, and whose greed has caused the economy to collapse.

People are willing to compromise when it seems to advance the common good -- but only after their leaders have done everything in their power to defend their interests -- and have mobilized them to defend their own interests."

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Arthur Bruzzone: Wall Street Cynicism Is What Has 'Trickled Down'

Arthur Bruzzone: Wall Street Cynicism Is What Has 'Trickled Down': "I read the first article about a poll in which over 50 percent of generally conservative financial planners supported the basic core protest of the Occupy WS movement.

But here's where it got interesting. Another article had this headline. "Best Short EVER! Ends up Costing Citicorp $285M."

It told how Citicorp, Inc. agreed to pay $285 million for betting that a $ 1 billion mortgage investment that they sold to investors, would fail. What's worse is that Citicorp helped pick half the mortgages they bet against and failed to tell the investors. This describes it graphically. On the day the transaction closed, an experienced trader wrote in an email that the portfolio was "dog sh*it" and "possibly the best short EVER!"

So, as I'm reading this I say to myself, the demonstrators outside got it right -- more than they could imagine. It wasn't just the foreclosures, bailouts and high executive salaries. Some financial institutions made huge profits bundling the bad mortgages and selling them to investors, then betting that the bundle would lose value."

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Voters reject ideological agendas of both parties - Darrell Delamaide's Political Capital - MarketWatch

Voters reject ideological agendas of both parties - Darrell Delamaide's Political Capital - MarketWatch: "In Ohio, voters handed a stinging rebuke to Gov. John Kasich and repealed his law restricting the right of public-sector unions to collective bargaining. These rights were won at too high a cost to give them up so easily.

In Maine, voters whistled back an overenthusiastic Gov. Paul LePage and vetoed the Legislature’s repeal of the provision allowing voters to register on Election Day. There is no more fundamental right in a democracy than being able to vote, and the diverse efforts by Republicans to restrict voting rights are misguided.

In Mississippi, one of the most conservative states in the nation, voters rejected the so-called “personhood” amendment that attempted to impose a single, simplistic concept of life, ignoring the entire legal, philosophical and social debate on this vexed subject and infringing what has been established as a woman’s right to choose.

Voters have caught on that some of these ideologues are willfully misinterpreting supposed “mandates” and exploiting an electorate looking for some simple governance by imposing an extremist agenda."

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Robert Reich: The Corporate Pledge of Allegiance

Robert Reich: The Corporate Pledge of Allegiance: "The Corporate Pledge of Allegiance to the United States

The [fill in blank] company pledges allegiance to the United States of America. To that end:
We pledge to create more jobs in the United States than we create outside the United States, either directly or in our foreign subsidiaries and subcontractors.
If we have to lay off American workers, we will give them severance payments equal to their weekly wage times the number of weeks they've work for us.
We further pledge that no more than 20 percent of our total labor costs will be outsourced abroad.
We pledge to keep a lid on executive pay so no executive is paid more than 50 times the median pay of American workers. We define "pay" to include salary, bonuses, health benefits, pension benefits, deferred salary, stock options, and every other form of compensation.
We pledge to pay at least 30 percent of money earned in the United States in taxes to the United States. We won't shift our money to offshore tax havens and won't use accounting gimmicks to fake how much we earn.
We pledge not to use our money to influence elections.
Companies that make the pledge are free to use it in their ads over the Christmas shopping season."

'via Blog this'

Most Americans Say Economic Structure Favors 'Very Small Portion Of The Rich': WSJ/NBC Poll

Most Americans Say Economic Structure Favors 'Very Small Portion Of The Rich': WSJ/NBC Poll: "Sixty percent of Americans said they think the country's economic structure is "out of balance" and that it favors a "very small portion of the rich" over everyone else, according to a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll. The majority of Americans also said they believe the government should not financially help corporations or cut taxes on the rich.

The findings mirror other surveys indicating that Americans are fed up with the widening gap between the rich and the poor. Fifty-five percent of Americans said they think income inequality is a big problem for the country, according to a recent poll by The Hill. In addition, the wealth gap is one of the major focuses of the Occupy protests taking place across the country."

'via Blog this'

Wall Street Transaction Tax Would Raise $350 Billion

Wall Street Transaction Tax Would Raise $350 Billion: "The Wall Street Trading and Speculators Tax Act would impose a tax of 0.03 percent on financial transactions, meaning that longterm investors would barely notice it, but traders who move rapidly in and out of positions would feel its sting and, the authors hope, reduce the volume of their speculation in response.

The European Union is pressing forward with a financial transaction tax, though it is encountering some resistance from the United Kingdom, the financial center of Europe.

In order to be effective, the tax would need to be implemented in most major industrial countries where trading is done."

'via Blog this'

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Police arrest protesters in Atlanta, Honolulu – USATODAY.com

Police arrest protesters in Atlanta, Honolulu – USATODAY.com: "n Atlanta, a crowd of several hundred protesters had gathered at Woodruff Park, the scene of about 50 arrests of demonstrators last month, and set up tents. Organizers had said they planned to stay overnight despite warnings from the mayor and police that anyone there past the 11 p.m. EDT closing would be arrested."

'via Blog this'

Saturday, November 5, 2011

More Small Businesses Are Pulling Their Accounts Out Of Big Banks

More Small Businesses Are Pulling Their Accounts Out Of Big Banks: "Tired of bad relationships with big banks, a growing number of small-business owners seem ready to make the switch to small local banks, community banks or credit unions. Lauri Kaye, owner of Create Cafe in Tucson, Ariz., thought it was ridiculous when she got charged a fee by Wells Fargo for depositing more than $2,500 into her business account. But she drew the line at fees affecting her employees. About three weeks ago, an employee told her that Wells Fargo was charging him $5 to cash his paycheck. When she contacted Wells Fargo, "They said there was nothing they could do about it," Kaye says. "It was non-negotiable. It's incredibly manipulative -- those who have no voice are getting pushed around.""

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Friday, November 4, 2011

Occupy Wall Street's Message: Senate Democrats Say It Will Dominate 2012 Elections

Occupy Wall Street's Message: Senate Democrats Say It Will Dominate 2012 Elections: "WASHINGTON -- Democrats' strategy for keeping control of the Senate next year includes running on the message of Occupy Wall Street, minus the drums and hemp necklaces.

Even in conservative states like Nebraska and Montana, candidates will be talking about income inequality and corporate excess, said Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee director Guy Cecil on Thursday.

"Whether they go to an Occupy Wall Street [protest], that'll be up to them," Cecil said at a breakfast hosted by the nonpartisan think tank Third Way. "But I think the message of income disparity, of how do we make sure that working-class families and middle-class families have a chance, how do we make sure their kids get to college, is going to resonate in almost every state.""

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Jobless Protesters Occupy Mitch McConnell's Office As Congress Dithers On Jobs

Jobless Protesters Occupy Mitch McConnell's Office As Congress Dithers On Jobs: "WASHINGTON -- Roughly 30 jobless protesters from D.C. neighborhoods occupied Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's office in the Russell Senate Office Building Thursday, saying they wanted to talk to him about jobs.

But McConnell was busy at the Capitol Building, where he led Republicans in blocking a $60 billion infrastructure bill. The protesters said they supported the measure.

McConnell's legislative director offered to sit down with the group, but they declined, saying they'd rather wait for the senator himself. So they sat in his office, taking up every chair and lots of floor space while McConnell's staff went about its business. A Capitol Police officer scoped the situation and said her heart went out to them for losing their jobs."

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Perspectives: What Occupy Oakland demonstrators are saying | KALW | an SFGate.com blog

Perspectives: What Occupy Oakland demonstrators are saying | KALW | an SFGate.com blog: "“Had a lot of friends out here last night. Some people got arrested. Some people got gassed. And I thought I probably better get off the couch and get down here.”

“Unfortunately I’m employed, or fortunately – I don’t know what to say about it. But I got a kid at home so I’m… the other part of the 99%.”

“I have to get up at 6:30 tomorrow for one of the most busy clinics – I’ll have 16 patients between 8 and 12, and I have to get up at 6:30. But I’m here right now at 11:15 because I’m just gonna be out here.”

“I work fulltime and didn’t really have the time or the extra energy to do it. But it’s kinda seeming important.”"

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Thirty Of America's Most Profitable Companies Paid 'Less Than Zero' In Income Taxes In Last 3 Years: Report

Thirty Of America's Most Profitable Companies Paid 'Less Than Zero' In Income Taxes In Last 3 Years: Report: "Nearly 300 of the nation's most profitable companies paid an average tax rate of 18.5 percent from 2008 to 2010, less than half of the 35 percent corporate tax rate, according to a study by the Citizens for Tax Justice released Thursday. Of the 280 companies, 78 studied paid a tax rate of zero or less during at least one year of the three year period.

And thirty companies, the report says, had a negative income tax rate from 2008 to 2010, even though they took home a combined $160 billion in pre-tax profits."

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Occupy protesters disavow Oakland violence - Nation - The Boston Globe

Occupy protesters disavow Oakland violence - Nation - The Boston Globe: "The protest outside the Port of Oakland, which reopened Thursday, represented an escalation in tactics as a movement that had largely been about marches, rallies and tent camps targeted a major symbol of the nation’s commerce.

The violence that followed, however, raised questions about the direction of the movement and whether the clashes, so far mostly isolated in a city with a history of tensions between residents and police, will galvanize protesters or hurt their cause.

Nicholson blamed the violence on a small group of young people just there for violence — ‘‘Some kids looking to blow off some steam.’’"

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dan Solin: The Citigroup Settlement: Legal Fiction Exposed

Dan Solin: The Citigroup Settlement: Legal Fiction Exposed: "Judge Rakoff is a Clinton appointee who joined the federal bench in 1996. He was previously a federal prosecutor and a defense attorney in white collar criminal cases. He has a long history of asking prickly questions about settlements with big Wall Street firms, and the Citigroup case was no exception.

He wants an explanation of how Citigroup can be accused of serious securities fraud, but not be required to admit or deny wrongdoing. The response will be interesting. To the average citizen, engaging in the kind of conduct alleged in the Citigroup complaint looks like fraud. If they are guilty, why shouldn't they admit their guilt?

He would like to know if the public interest would be better served by a trial, which would determine conclusively whether the charges are true. He is right. Either Citigroup should admit its guilt or there should be a trial where all the evidence will be made public and a jury can determine guilt or innocence.

He is concerned that the amount of the proposed $95 million penalty might not have deterrent effect. It won't. It is a drop in the bucket for Citigroup, which reported third quarter 2011 revenues of $20.8 billion."

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Occupy Wall Street's Message Gains Momentum In Congress

Occupy Wall Street's Message Gains Momentum In Congress: "WASHINGTON -- Occupy Wall Street is finding a louder voice in Congress as lawmakers invoked its rhetoric repeatedly Wednesday in attempts to crack down on speculation, punish dangerous mine operators and pass a jobs bill.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) acknowledged that the Occupy movement could help advance legislation they rolled out designed to "squeeze ... volatility out of the market."

Joined by Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), the chairman of the Populist Caucus, Harkin and DeFazio introduced the Targeted Wall Street Trading Tax bill. It would levy a tax equivalent to three cents for every $100 on transactions like stock trades, credit swaps and derivatives that were largely blamed for the mortgage market meltdown and financial crisis of 2008 that plunged the economy into recession."

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Former Marine's injury spurs vets to join Occupy movement – USATODAY.com

Former Marine's injury spurs vets to join Occupy movement – USATODAY.com: "Wednesday on Wall Street, the New York City chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War and dozens of other uniformed veterans known as "Veterans of the 99%" are expected to mass near Wall Street, where Occupy began Sept. 17.
Although they've been participating in Occupy protests throughout the country, vets say their ranks have been swelling since last week, when former Marine and Iraq War vet Scott Olsen sustained a skull fracture when he was hit by a police projectile at an Occupy Oakland protest . Although still hospitalized, Olsen, 24, is expected to make a full recovery."

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Citizens United Going Down? Democrats Introduce Constitutional Amendment To Overturn Ruling

Citizens United Going Down? Democrats Introduce Constitutional Amendment To Overturn Ruling: "WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court may treat corporations like people who can spend whatever they want on elections, but the American people don't have to accept it, said Democratic senators who proposed a constitutional amendment Tuesday to retake control of campaign spending.

The amendment, introduced by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), doesn't directly address the justices' legal finding that corporations have a right to free speech that was curtailed by election law. Instead, it would add to the Constitution language that says Congress and the states can regulate campaign contributions and expenditures.

The amendment would effectively reverse two landmark Supreme Court decisions -- the 1976 ruling in Buckley v. Valeo, which said spending money in elections is a form of speech, and the 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which ruled it unconstitutional to regulate the money spent to influence elections by corporations and unions."

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At Occupy Oakland It's Police Who Are Breaking the Rules - Conor Friedersdorf - National - The Atlantic

At Occupy Oakland It's Police Who Are Breaking the Rules - Conor Friedersdorf - National - The Atlantic: "At minimum, that police officer should be fired. Two weeks ago, in response to another instance of police brutality, I wrote that "if anyone, whether police officer or civilian, needlessly and premeditatively disperses pepper spray to incapacitate people who present no threat to anyone, the arrest should be swift, the charge assault, and the perpetrator convicted and jailed." The act in the video above is much more serious. It could've killed the man laying on the ground, or seriously injured the folks trying to help him. And it clearly violates official police policy.

We know that because, after mistreating anti-war protesters in 2003, the Oakland Police Department was sued, and ultimately agreed to a legally binding settlement that included these crowd control policies (emphasis added):"

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Oakland Police Association Attacks Mayor Over Occupy Protests

Oakland Police Association Attacks Mayor Over Occupy Protests: " The Oakland Police Officers' Association sent an open letter to city Mayor Jean Quan, criticizing the mayor's response to Occupy Oakland protests. Officers also expressed some degree of solidarity with the protesters, declaring, "We, too, are the 99 percent fighting for better working conditions, fair treatment and the ability to provide a living for our children and families.""

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Union support bolsters Occupy Oakland strike

Union support bolsters Occupy Oakland strike: "The Wednesday strike being called by anti-Wall Street demonstrators in Oakland is getting a big boost from organized labor.

The unions that represent Oakland's public school teachers and city government workers have endorsed the protesters' call to march, picket outside banks and attempt to shut down the Port of Oakland in the evening.

Oakland Education Association Secretary Steve Neat says that as of Tuesday afternoon, the staffs at two elementary schools and a small high school had decided to close their campuses for the day.

At least 182 school district employees, the vast majority classroom teachers, had asked to be replaced with substitutes for the day.

A spokesman for the city workers union says the city is allowing non-emergency employees to use vacation or personal days so they can participate.

"

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Two Santa Clauses or How The Republican Party Has Conned America for Thirty Years | Common Dreams

Two Santa Clauses or How The Republican Party Has Conned America for Thirty Years | Common Dreams: " virtually all the Republicans since reconstruction with the exception of Teddy Roosevelt), market fundamentalism was a virtual religion. Economists from Ludwig von Mises to Friedrich Hayek to Milton Friedman had preached that government could only make a mess of things economic, and the world of finance should be left to the Big Boys – the Masters of the Universe, as they sometimes called themselves – who ruled Wall Street and international finance.

Hoover enthusiastically followed the advice of his Treasury Secretary, multimillionaire Andrew Mellon, who said in 1931: "Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate. Purge the rottenness out of the system. High costs of living and high living will come down... enterprising people will pick up the wrecks from less competent people.""

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