The war between the Banksters and the People really gets going

A couple of posts from the Financial Frontier:

First, from the it isn’t over yet department, the housing market collapses in the UK:

UK house prices fall by record 3.6pc in a month
The UK housing market has suffered a shock as figures from the Halifax revealed the average price of a property dropped more than £6,000 in September [2010].

And from the good government department:

Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner on the Foreclosure Crisis and Her State’s Lawsuit Against Ally Financial

Calls are growing for a nationwide moratorium on home foreclosures following the recent revelations that major lenders may have committed fraud while forcing thousands of people out of their homes. On Thursday the White House announced President Obama will not sign a bill approved by Congress that could have made it easier for banks to foreclose. We discuss the latest in the foreclosure crisis with Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner. This week, Ohio filed a lawsuit accusing the lender Ally Financial and its GMAC Mortgage division of fraud in approving scores of foreclosures.

Next, there will some interesting decisions the banksters have to make, all centering around the question of how dirty do they want to fight. These debates won’t want to take place in public, but thanks to wikileaks and others we can expect more revelations like Bernie Marcus’ memorable appeal “to shoot” any business leader who does not oppose the Employee Free Choice Act. Of course, anyone like the Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner who tries to stop the foreclosures that are destroying neighborhoods will be accused of starting a “class war.”  But asking for those who don’t oppose legislation to be shot isn’t inciting a class war, it is doing something truly noble.

The war between the Banksters and the People really gets going

Greece, more Lies and still more Clues

It is surprising that those who are “managing” the economy are still sticking to the same formulas even though it has been shown that they are failures.  They are tightening their seat belts as they drive the bus off the edge of a cliff.  Much better plan would be to get of the bus!

May 6, 2010, 6:11 am <!– — Updated: 3:52 pm –>

It’s Not About Greece Anymore


The Greek “rescue” package announced last weekend is dramatic, unprecedented and far from enough to stabilize the euro zone.

The Greek government and the European Union leadership, prodded by the International Monetary Fund, are finally becoming realistic about the dire economic situation in Greece. They have abandoned previous rounds of optimistic forecasts and have now admitted to a profoundly worse situation. This new program calls for “fiscal adjustments” — cuts to the fiscal deficit, mostly through spending cuts — totaling 11 percent of gross domestic product in 2010, 4.3 percent in 2011, and 2 percent in 2012 and 2013. The total debt-to-G.D.P. ratio peaks at 149 percent in 2012-13 before starting a gentle glide path back down to sanity.

This new program is honest enough to show why it is unlikely to succeed.

Daniel Gros, an eminent economist on euro zone issues who is based in Brussels, has argued that for each 1 percent of G.D.P. decline in Greek government spending, total demand in the country falls by 2.5 percent of G.D.P. If the government reduces spending by 15 percent of G.D.P. — the initial shock to demand could be well over 30 percent of G.D.P.

ITS NOT ABOUT GREECE ANYMORE. Well, duh was it ever? The riots in Greece were all about the oppression of people by an unjust economic system, and if you don’t believe these words of mine, just look at the pictures in this post from 16 December 2008:  Greece, Clues and Lies

Greece, more Lies and still more Clues

Laws used againts the Mafia are also useful to bring other criminal organizations to justice

Finally, a conviction of a corporation under RICO.  Should give some other big corporations a little pause, but of course now that they can can use their money without limit to bribe public officials, the RICO statues will probably either be overturned, or (more likely) corporations will be declared exempt from RICO:

Pfizer Hit With $141 Million RICO Penalty Over Neurontin Promotion
Plaintiffs argued that Pfizer’s own research showed Neurontin was ineffective for certain unapproved uses, but it suppressed that evidence and misrepresented its findings
Tresa Baldas

The National Law Journal

March 29, 2010

Pfizer Inc. has been socked with an eye-popping $141 million penalty for unlawfully promoting its epilepsy drug Neurontin for unapproved uses for which, the plaintiffs said, it didn’t even work.

A federal jury in Boston on Thursday concluded that the pharmaceutical giant had violated federal racketeering laws in promoting the drug for so-called off-label uses that were ineffective. The jury’s verdict was actually $47 million, but the penalty was automatically tripled under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

The plaintiffs, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, argued that Pfizer duped them into believing that Neurontin could effectively treat conditions such as migraines and bipolar disorder. Neurontin was approved to treat epilepsy in 1993 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“What was at stake here was evidence-based medicine versus marketing-based medicine,” said Thomas Greene of Boston’s Greene LLP, one of several lawyers who represented the plaintiffs. During trial, Greene argued that Pfizer’s own research showed that Neurontin was not effective for certain unapproved uses, but it suppressed that evidence and misrepresented its findings.

At closing arguments, Linda Nussbaum of New York’s Kaplan Fox, Kaiser’s lead counsel, compared the case to the Bernie Madoff scandal.

“This was really about greed,” Nussbaum said in an interview. “To the defendants here, this was simply a product that they marketed to make as much money as they possibly could.”

Laws used againts the Mafia are also useful to bring other criminal organizations to justice

The 28th Amendment is needed. Now. Just do it.

At Yes magazine, there is an article about the recent disaster decision in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission which outlines several possible solutions to the imminent sell-out of the USA to a few powerful corporations.  They are all half-measures, full of unintended consequences, and inadvertent loopholes, except for one.  The one real solution, that would also solve many other problems, is to amend the constitution so that Corporations don’t have all of the rights of natural people. It is just barely possible that the critical momentum to do it is available now.

This needs to be the number one priority of all progressives, everywhere.  Without it, healthcare reform, public accountability for things like wars and poor disaster responsee, will all collapse or become captured by the industries they would otherwise regulate, under the overwhelming pressure of the avalanche of Corporate money that will certainly rain down.  Note that a US subsidiary of a foreign Corporation will be a loophole through which a foreign government can begin to have their influence felt.  Students of history should remember the collapse of the elected monarchy of Poland as a possible example of what can happen to an electoral process, when it can be corrupted by an unlimited flow of foreign capital.

1. Amend the U.S. Constitution to declare that corporations are not persons and do not have the rights of human beings. Since the First Amendment case for corporate spending as a free speech right rests on corporations being considered “persons,” the proposed amendment would strike at the core of the ruling’s justification. The push for the 28th Amendment is coming from the grassroots, where a prairie fire is catching on from groups such as Public Citizen, Voter Action, and the Campaign to Legalize Democracy.

Another excellent article, documenting both Justice Alito’s poor behavior towards President Obama and his hypocrisy in his holding in that decision is here: Thank You, Justice Alito by E. J. Dionne.

The 28th Amendment is needed. Now. Just do it.

Stock Markets Fall sharply on . . . Bankster’s Manipulation of the News

The media is in the hands of the Banksters, obviously. There’s a financial crises, car plants are closing right and left, employment is way down, home prices are at a nadir, and what causes a downturn in the stock market, according to Wall Street Journal and Reuters..?

Obama. Right.  How can they getting away with this completely unproven assertion?  Simple: Americans are sheep.

Shares fall on Obama bank plans

Stock markets have fallen sharply in response to far-reaching plans by Barack Obama to curb the activities of the biggest US banks.

The Dow Jones closed down 2%, its worst fall since October, while Japan’s Nikkei was down early on Friday.

Shares in major US banks Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Bank of America all fell.

Mr Obama – who said he was “ready for a fight” with banks – plans to limit the size of banks and impose restrictions on risky trading.

“Never again will the American taxpayer be held hostage by banks that are too big to fail,” Mr Obama said.

Of course when it is the auto industry that is hurting it is ascribed to the “current business environment” as if that business environment had just materialized right out of thin air, and the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Banking Act of 1933 by the business elites in 1999 had nothing whatsoever to do with the current business environment, right?

GM confirms Opel factory closure in Antwerp

General Motors (GM) has confirmed it will close a Belgian plant at its European arm Opel, cutting 2,300 jobs.

The CSC metalworkers’ union said the carmaker had told staff it would shut down its factory in Antwerp.

“It is the tough reality of the current business environment,” Opel president Nick Reilly said.

So, let’s get this straight: if an autoworker is out of a job, it is a tough business environment.*   If, though, a Bankster has his bonus threatened, he should destroy the economy. After all that is what the economy is for: generating bonuses for banksters.  Too bad if you thought the economy should provide jobs for autoworkers or universal healthcare. You see those things are evil.

* And that is probably the autoworker’s fault anyway, as he had the chutzpah to join a union.  It is an unwritten rule of journalism to always mention the word ‘union’ in the first 30 words of a story about an auto plant closing.  It is forbidden, of course, to use phrases like ‘poor management,’ ‘bad design,’ ‘poor fuel economy,’  anywhere at all in a story of a plant closing, as that might lead someone to the erroneous (and forbidden) conclusion that those failings could ever lead to a plant closing.

Stock Markets Fall sharply on . . . Bankster’s Manipulation of the News

Wikileaks makes the nightly television news in Iceland (Updated 2X)

Note: The Kaupthing report is no longer on wikileaks, but can be found here:

Leaked Kaupthing report is here (.pdf)

Since this story was published, the Kaupthing directors have changed their minds–they are no longer opposing the publication of the leaked information regarding who had gotten loans from the bank just before it collapsed.  Also note the UK Serious Fraud Office has launched an investigation, because of the information published on wikileaks…

Iceland court lifts gag order after public outrage
From Wikileaks
Tuesday August 4, 2009
Herdis Sigurgisdottir (Associated Press)

REYKJAVIK, Iceland – A court in Iceland lifted a gag order Tuesday that allowed Kaupthing Bank to prevent media coverage of a leaked file that discloses details of the bank’s weak position shortly before it collapsed in October.

The Reykjavik district magistrate lifted the order only hours after Kaupthing itself yielded to public pressure to stop pushing for the ban. The injunction had forbidden further coverage of a risk analysis report that had been leaked via the WikiLeaks whistleblower Web site.
******END UPDATE ****************

The attempt by the remnants of the collapsed Icelandic Bank Kaupthing to keep a lid on information about all the loan activity that lead up to their collapse, while predictable, is a lost cause. They should just give up.

First, from a practical standpoint, you can’t put the genie back in the bottle. What’s out is out.

Second, from a moral standpoint, it is obvious that it is wrong to supress this information.  The information Kaupthing is trying to supress is critical to an informed public debate regarding the bailout that is underway in Iceland.

It appears that there were a whole bunch of insider sweetheart loan deals, and many of those were with those related to the management of the Bank.  All those loan details are all out there now, after being posted on wikileaks.  So the bank, learning that there was going to be a broadcast news story about this, served the TV station with an injunction, preventing them from covering any of the details.

So, in a stroke of genius, the TV station just displayed the link to the wikileaks story, which also contains a link to the leaked report. Continue reading “Wikileaks makes the nightly television news in Iceland (Updated 2X)”

Wikileaks makes the nightly television news in Iceland (Updated 2X)

Pirate Party has arrived. Thank you, Microsoft.

The Pirate Party in Sweden now won a seat at the EU parliament.   This is in the wake of their loss at a trial in Sweden, the one that they “lost.”  It did come out later that the judge had a whole bunch of undisclosed links to a Microsoft-funded organization.  That made the news in Sweden big-time.   Now the Pirate Party is enormously popular.  No one ever predicted that they would win a seat in parliament. But they have.  More than 2 years ago I’d blogged here, noting that those who enacted the DMCA couldn’t afford to actually use it, because they would morally isolate themselves.  The strong IP folks, of course, told me I was wrong etc etc. Who was right? You be the judge:

The group – which campaigned on reformation of copyright and patent law – secured 7.1% of the Swedish vote.

The result puts the Pirate Party in fifth place, behind the Social Democrats, Greens, Liberals and the Moderate Party.

Rickard Falkvinge, the party leader, told the BBC the win was “gigantic” and that they were now negotiating with four different EU Parliamentary groups.

“Last night, we gained political credibility,” said Mr Falkvinge.

“People were not taken in by the establishment and we got political trust from the citizens.”

The profile of the Pirate Party and issues surrounding copyright law have dominated headlines in Sweden over the past few months.

Rallying cry

In April, a court in Sweden sentenced the four men behind The Pirate Bay, the world’s most high-profile file-sharing website, to a year in jail and ordered them to pay $4.5m (£3m) in damages.

Mr Falkvinge said it had played a significant role in getting them the vote.

Mr. Falkvinge was right!

See related posts:

Pirate Party has arrived. Thank you, Microsoft.