Daily Archive: November 2, 2011

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The Stars Hollow Gazette

Occupy Wall St. Livestream: Day 47

Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at livestream.com

OccupyWallStreet

The resistance continues at Liberty Square, with free pizza 😉

“I don’t know how to fix this but I know it’s wrong.” ~ Unknown Author

Occupy Wall Street NYC now has a web site for its General Assembly  with up dates and information. Very informative and user friendly. It has information about events, a bulletin board, groups and minutes of the GA meetings.

NYC General Assembly #OccupyWallStreet

New York’s Village Halloween Parade Gets Occupied

Call To Action – Join The Month Of Global Uprising

On November 1st, Israel organized a general strike to fight back against global neoliberal machine.

On November 2nd, Oakland will join the month of global uprising with a city-wide general strike during which the people will converge on downtown Oakland to shut down the city and its port.

While these assemblies are calling for general strikes, they are also calling for much more. Schools, community organizations, affinity groups, workplaces and families are encouraged to self-organize to shut down their cities and rebuild their communities in whatever manner they are comfortable with and capable of.

Following Israel and Oakland’s example, we join this month of global uprising. We stand in solidarity with those who are organizing the actions that are creating the fabric of our new movement.

It is time for us to come together and build a new world through the power of the individual and the community. We are not here to make requests of a corrupt political system – we are here to take our lives back into our own hands. We are not acknowledging subservience. There is no higher power than the power of the people. We are not asking for assistance. We are declaring independence. Our demand is not to those in power, it is to those individuals still silenced. Join us.

We are the 99%. We are not afraid. We are not waiting. We are working to make a better world.

Occupy Wall Street. Occupy Everywhere

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Oakland from the Oakland Police Officers’ Association

1 November 2011 – Oakland, Ca.

We represent the 645 police officers who work hard every day to protect the citizens of Oakland. We, too, are the 99% fighting for better working conditions, fair treatment and the ability to provide a living for our children and families. We are severely understaffed with many City beats remaining unprotected by police during the day and evening hours.

As your police officers, we are confused.

Read more . .

‘Occupy’ targets Iowa caucuses

The Occupy movement has a new goal – shut down the Iowa caucuses.

The state’s protesters are inviting fellow Occupiers from across the country to “occupy” the campaign offices of the Republican presidential candidates and President Barack Obama in the first-in-the-nation presidential caucus state, The Des Moines Register reports.

“You go inside, or if they won’t let you in, you shut ’em down. You sit in front of their doors,” Frank Cordaro of Des Moines, the man credited for the idea of the “First in the Nation Caucus Occupation,” told the Register. “Who knows? It could be a very big deal.”

The plan, Cordaro told CNN, is “people coming to Iowa, occupying every presidential [candidate’s] office, shutting them down until they start talking real turkey about what’s going on in this country, where the 99 percent of the people who are not benefiting, at the expense of the 1 percent who are getting away with murder.”

City and St Paul’s suspend legal action against Occupy London – Tuesday 1 November 2011

   The Chapter of St Paul’s Cathedral has unanimously agreed to suspend its current legal action against the protest camp outside the church, following meetings with Dr Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, late last night and early this morning.

   The resignation of the Dean, the Rt Rev Graeme Knowles, has given the opportunity to reassess the situation, involving fresh input from the bishop. Members of Chapter this morning have met with representatives from the protest camp to demonstrate that St Paul’s intends to engage directly and constructively with both the protesters and the moral and ethical issues they wish to address, without the threat of forcible eviction hanging over both the camp and the church.

   It is being widely reported that the Corporation of London plans to ask protesters to leave imminently. The Chapter of course recognises the Corporation’s right to take such action on Corporation land.

   The bishop has invited investment banker Ken Costa formerly chair of UBS Europe and chairman of Lazard International, to spearhead an initiative reconnecting the financial with the ethical. Mr Costa will be supported by a number of City, Church and public figures, including Giles Fraser, who although no longer a member of Chapter, will help ensure that the diverse voices of the protest are involved in this.

   The Bishop of London, Dr Richard Chartres, said: “The alarm bells are ringing all over the world. St Paul’s has now heard that call. Today’s decision means that the doors are most emphatically open to engage with matters concerning not only those encamped around the cathedral but millions of others in this country and around the globe. I am delighted that Ken Costa has agreed to spearhead this new initiative which has the opportunity to make a profound difference.”

   The Rt Rev Michael Colclough, Canon Pastor of St Paul’s Cathedral and a member of Chapter, added: “This has been an enormously difficult time for the Cathedral but the Chapter is unanimous in its desire to engage constructively with the protest and the serious issues that have been raised, without the threat of legal action hanging over us. Legal concerns have been at the forefront in recent weeks but now is the time for the moral, the spiritual and the theological to come to the fore.”

On this Day In History November 2

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

November 2 is the 306th day of the year (307th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 59 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1777, the USS Ranger, with a crew of 140 men under the command of John Paul Jones, leaves Portsmouth, New Hampshire, for the naval port at Brest, France, where it will stop before heading toward the Irish Sea to begin raids on British warships. This was the first mission of its kind during the Revolutionary War.

After departing Brest, Jones successfully executed raids on two forts in England’s Whitehaven Harbor, despite a disgruntled crew more interested in “gain than honor.” Jones then continued to his home territory of Kirkcudbright Bay, Scotland, where he intended to abduct the earl of Selkirk and then exchange him for American sailors held captive by Britain. Although he did not find the earl at home, Jones’ crew was able to steal all his silver, including his wife’s teapot, still containing her breakfast tea. From Scotland, Jones sailed across the Irish Sea to Carrickfergus, where the Ranger captured the HMS Drake after delivering fatal wounds to the British ship’s captain and lieutenant.

In September 1779, Jones fought one of the fiercest battles in naval history when he led the USS Bonhomme Richard frigate, named for Benjamin Franklin, in an engagement with the 50-gun British warship HMS Serapis. After the Bonhomme Richard was struck, it began taking on water and caught fire. When the British captain of the Serapis ordered Jones to surrender, he famously replied, “I have not yet begun to fight!” A few hours later, the captain and crew of the Serapis admitted defeat and Jones took command of the British ship.

John Paul Jones (July 6, 1747 – July 18, 1792) was the United States’ first well-known naval fighter in the American Revolutionary War. Although he made enemies among America’s political elites, his actions in British waters during the Revolution earned him an international reputation which persists to this day.

Captain Jones’s is interred at the US Naval Academy in a marble and bronze sarcophagus.

Cartnoon

China Jones

Keystone XL Treason?

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Haupt v. United States, 330 U.S. 631-

(A)lthough the overt acts relied upon to support the charge of treason-defendant’s harboring and sheltering in his home his son who was an enemy spy and saboteur, assisting him in purchasing an automobile, and in obtaining employment in a defense plant-were all acts which a father would naturally perform for a son, this fact did not necessarily relieve them of the treasonable purpose of giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Speaking for the Court, Justice Jackson said: “No matter whether young Haupt’s mission was benign or traitorous, known or unknown to the defendant, these acts were aid and comfort to him. In the light of this mission and his instructions, they were more than casually useful; they were aids in steps essential to his design for treason. If proof be added that the defendant knew of his son’s instruction, preparation and plans, the purpose to aid and comfort the enemy becomes clear.”

Tar sands pipeline will comfort our enemies

By Steven M. Anderson, The Hill

10/25/11 11:21 AM ET

The Keystone XL pipeline doesn’t help.  This pipeline would move dirty oil from Canada to refineries in Texas and would set back our renewable energy efforts for at least two decades, much to our enemies’ delight.  It would ensure we maintain our oil addiction and delay making the tough decisions regarding energy production, management and conservation that we need to start making today.

Transcanada, the company that would own the pipeline, makes various claims about the pipeline’s supposed security benefits.   It claims the pipeline will reduce dependence on Mideast oil, that tar sands will feed a growing US demand, and that it will provide a supply cushion in times of natural or man-made disasters. None of these claims holds up. Transcanada says the project will supply roughly half of the amount of oil the US imports from the Middle East and Venezuela – but conveniently leaves out a crucial detail:  This tar sands oil will not reduce imports from those nations.

The Keystone XL is an export pipeline. Valero Energy Corporation, the pipeline’s largest customer, has explicitly told investors that it plans to focus its Port Arthur refinery on exports.  Canadian oil won’t replace imports from hostile countries because Texas refiners are serving global demand rather than domestic need.

Steven M. Anderson is a retired Army brigadier general, and senior mentor with the Army’s Battle Command Training Program.

Former Keystone pipeline lobbyist hired by Obama campaign

The L.A. Times

October 24, 2011, 5:13 pm

President Obama’s reelection campaign has hired a former lobbyist for the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline as a top adviser.

The campaign said that Broderick Johnson, founder and former principal of the communications firm the Collins Johnson Group, would serve as a senior adviser for the campaign. Before founding the firm this spring, he worked for the powerhouse lobbying firm, Bryan Cave LLP, where his clients included Microsoft, Comcast and TransCanada, the company planning to build the $7-billion pipeline to carry crude from Alberta’s oil sands to the Texas Gulf Coast.



An Obama campaign official said that in his new role Johnson would “serve as a national surrogate for the campaign and our representative in meetings with key leaders, communities and organizations.  Broderick will be an ear to the ground for the campaign’s political and constituency operations, helping to ensure that there is constant, open communication between the campaign and our supporters around the country.”

Given his ties to Keystone XL, Johnson is bound to get an earful when meeting with some in Obama’s constituency.

The pipeline needs a permit from the State Department because it would cross a federal border. For more than a year, Keystone XL has been mired in controversy. TransCanada, the oil industry and several labor unions have said the project would create thousands of jobs in the United States and reduce the country’s dependence on oil from hostile or unstable countries. Environmentalists, including many Obama supporters, have argued that the extraction of the crude in Alberta lays waste to the land and increases greenhouse gas emissions. They caution that the proposed route would take the pipeline over the Ogallala Aquifer in Nebraska, the main source of drinking and irrigation water in the High Plains states, and they argue that the number of jobs created would be far fewer than claimed by the project’s backers.

Moreover, in the last several months, emails and other documents have raised questions about the State Department’s impartiality as it weighs Keystone’s permit application. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said late last year that her agency was “inclined” to grant the permit, although environmental reviews had not yet been completed.

TransCanada has hired a phalanx of former Democratic operatives since 2009 to lobby for Keystone XL, including Paul Elliott, the former deputy chairman for Clinton’s failed presidential campaign. Recently released emails show that the diplomat working on energy issues at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa had an unusually warm and collaborative relationship with Elliott. Another top State Department official worked with the Canadians to hone their message about the environmental impacts of developing oil sands. The outside contractor for the State Department’s environmental impact statement also counted TransCanada among its clients. The document was harshly criticized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Nebraska Legislature plans special session on Keystone XL project

The L.A.Times

October 24, 2011, 6:10 pm

The action throws a potentially significant new stumbling block into a Canadian company’s hope of winning approval before the end of the year for the 1,700-mile pipeline, which would move diluted bitumen — often heavy in sulfur, nickel and lead — from Alberta to the Texas coast.

“The key decision for current pipeline discussions is the permitting decision that will be made by the Obama administration, which is why I have urged President Obama and Secretary of State [Hilary] Clinton to deny the permit,” the governor, a Republican, said in a statement Monday.

“However, I believe Nebraskans are expecting our best efforts to determine if alternatives exist. Therefore, I will be calling a special session of the Nebraska Legislature to have a thoughtful and thorough public discussion about alternative solutions that could impact the route of the pipeline in a legal and constitutional manner.”

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

Time for a break from poetry…in order to create some art.

First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.

–Epictetus



Eerie 2

Federal Reserve In Need Of Supervision

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Preferably some independent adult supervision

Audit of the Federal Reserve Reveals $16 Trillion in Secret Bailouts

What was revealed in the audit was startling: $16,000,000,000,000.00 had been secretly given out to US banks and corporations and foreign banks everywhere from France to Scotland. From the period between December 2007 and June 2010, the Federal Reserve had secretly bailed out many of the world’s banks, corporations, and governments. The Federal Reserve likes to refer to these secret bailouts as an all-inclusive loan program, but virtually none of the money has been returned and it was loaned out at 0% interest. Why the Federal Reserve had never been public about this or even informed the United States Congress about the $16 trillion dollar bailout is obvious – the American public would have been outraged to find out that the Federal Reserve bailed out foreign banks while Americans were struggling to find jobs.

To place $16 trillion into perspective, remember that GDP of the United States is only $14.12 trillion. The entire national debt of the United States government spanning its 200+ year history is “only” $14.5 trillion. The budget that is being debated so heavily in Congress and the Senate is “only” $3.5 trillion. Take all of the outrage and debate over the $1.5 trillion deficit into consideration, and swallow this Red pill: There was no debate about whether $16,000,000,000,000 would be given to failing banks and failing corporations around the world.

In late 2008, the TARP Bailout bill was passed and loans of $800 billion were given to failing banks and companies. That was a blatant lie considering the fact that Goldman Sachs alone received 814 billion dollars. As is turns out, the Federal Reserve donated $2.5 trillion to Citigroup, while Morgan Stanley received $2.04 trillion. The Royal Bank of Scotland and Deutsche Bank, a German bank, split about a trillion and numerous other banks received hefty chunks of the $16 trillion.

Angry? Check out page 131 of the GAO Audit to see the actual amounts that each institution received.

Senator Bernie Sanders released his report on Friday and appeared with Dylan Ratigan to discuss the problems and conflicts within the Fed.

GAO Finds Serious Conflicts at the Fed

October 19, 2011

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 – A new audit of the Federal Reserve released today detailed widespread conflicts of interest involving directors of its regional banks.

“The most powerful entity in the United States is riddled with conflicts of interest,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said after reviewing the Government Accountability Office report. The study required by a Sanders Amendment to last year’s Wall Street reform law examined Fed practices never before subjected to such independent, expert scrutiny.

The GAO detailed instance after instance of top executives of corporations and financial institutions using their influence as Federal Reserve directors to financially benefit their firms, and, in at least one instance, themselves.  “Clearly it is unacceptable for so few people to wield so much unchecked power,” Sanders said. “Not only do they run the banks, they run the institutions that regulate the banks.”

Sanders said he will work with leading economists to develop legislation to restructure the Fed and bar the banking industry from picking Fed directors. “This is exactly the kind of outrageous behavior by the big banks and Wall Street that is infuriating so many Americans,” Sanders said.

The corporate affiliations of Fed directors from such banking and industry giants as General Electric, JP Morgan Chase, and Lehman Brothers pose “reputational risks” to the Federal Reserve System, the report said. Giving the banking industry the power to both elect and serve as Fed directors creates “an appearance of a conflict of interest,” the report added.

The 108-page report found that at least 18 specific current and former Fed board members were affiliated with banks and companies that received emergency loans from the Federal Reserve during the financial crisis.

In the dry and understated language of auditors, the report noted that there are no restrictions in Fed rules on directors communicating concerns about their respective banks to the staff of the Federal Reserve. It also said many directors own stock or work directly for banks that are supervised and regulated by the Federal Reserve.  The rules, which the Fed has kept secret, let directors tied to banks participate in decisions involving how much interest to charge financial institutions and how much credit to provide healthy banks and institutions in “hazardous” condition. Even when situations arise that run afoul of Fed’s conflict rules and waivers are granted, the GAO said the waivers are kept hidden from the public.

The report by the non-partisan research arm of Congress did not name but unambiguously described several individual cases involving Fed directors that created the appearance of a conflict of interest, including:

   

  • Stephen Friedman In 2008, the New York Fed approved an application from Goldman Sachs to become a bank holding company giving it access to cheap Fed loans. During the same period, Friedman, chairman of the New York Fed, sat on the Goldman Sachs board of directors and owned Goldman stock, something the Fed’s rules prohibited. He received a waiver in late 2008 that was not made public. After Friedman received the waiver, he continued to purchase stock in Goldman from November 2008 through January of 2009 unbeknownst to the Fed, according to the GAO.
  •    

  • Jeffrey Immelt The Federal Reserve Bank of New York consulted with General Electric on the creation of the Commercial Paper Funding Facility. The Fed later provided $16 billion in financing for GE under the emergency lending program while Immelt, GE’s CEO, served as a director on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  •    

  • Jamie Dimon The CEO of JP Morgan Chase served on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York at the same time that his bank received emergency loans from the Fed and was used by the Fed as a clearing bank for the Fed’s emergency lending programs. In 2008, the Fed provided JP Morgan Chase with $29 billion in financing to acquire Bear Stearns.At the time, Dimon persuaded the Fed to provide JP Morgan Chase with an 18-month exemption from risk-based leverage and capital requirements. He also convinced the Fed to take risky mortgage-related assets off of Bear Stearns balance sheet before JP Morgan Chase acquired this troubled investment bank.
  • Lets not forget who President Obama chose to replace Rahm Emanuel, Bill Daley, son of legendary Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley (D) and brother of the more recent Mayor Richard M. Daley (D). Oh, I forgot, Geithner is also the architect of Bill Clinton’s NAFTA Agreement that Obama promised to fix and Midwest Chairman of JPMorgan Chase.

    Then there is our Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner, a protĂ©gĂ© of Lawrence Summers and Robert Rubin, who while president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, played a large role in directing the Federal Government’s spending on the late-2000s financial crisis, including allocation of $350 billion of funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program enacted during the previous administration.

    None of these people should be allowed anywhere near either the Federal Reserve or the Treasury. Most of them should be in jail.

    Late Night Karaoke