An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
3. Wells Fargo got $8 billion in tax breaks, even as executives at its subsidiary Wachovia avoided indictment for laundering money for the Mexican drug cartels!
That’s right. Wells Fargo paid a negative tax rate of -1.4 percent between 2008 and 2010 while Wachovia, a Wells Fargo subsidiary, admitted to laundering more than $378 billion for Mexican drug gangs.
We’re talking about crazed killers like “El Loco” and gangs like “Los Zetas” – gangs who cut people’s heads off and toss them out onto disco dance floors or display them in the town square.
Wachovia bankers ignored repeated warnings from law enforcement officials, and continued to launder money for cartels that have murdered tens of thousands.
And yet no criminal indictments were handed down because, as a Senate investigator told Bloomberg News, “There’s no capacity to regulate or punish them because they’re too big to be threatened with failure.”
“Throughout history, Adam Smith observed, we find the workings of “the vile maxim of the masters of mankind”: “All for ourselves, and nothing for other People.” He had few illusions about the consequences. The invisible hand, he wrote, will destroy the possibility of a decent human existence “unless government takes pains to prevent” this outcome, as must be assured in “every improved and civilized society.” It will destroy community, the environment and human values generally — and even the masters themselves, which is why the business classes have regularly called for state intervention to protect them from market forces.” – Noam Chomsky from his March, 1993 The Nation magazine article titled “Notes of NAFTA: “The Masters Of Man””
People who serve power are special. Bill Clinton saw that he could become a rich, powerful player by giving corporations what they wanted and he acted. Corporations wanted someone who would sell Free Trade to the people. Bill’s intention was to enrich and glorify himself, which his capitalist friends could help him accomplish if Bill, the politician (with a homey, friendly air about him), could give them a Trojan horse free trade deal that would in fact give them cheap labor and more freedom generally, which NAFTA would do. But NAFTA proved to be harmful not only to Americans, but to all three signatories to the deal, as was predicted. (That prediction and assessment, by the defunct Office Of Technology Assessment, along with alternatives to the free trade regime proposed by labour and others, was hidden from the public and to this day is only mentioned by critics of free trade.)
Bill Clinton, the friendly looking and sounding ex pres may not have publicly paraded and clamored for the rape of his female political opponents the way that Malalai Joya’s fellow male Parliamentarians did, but his intention to serve power, and by extension himself, were clear. He betrayed his people just as surely as he betrayed his wife when he had sex with Monica Lewinsky in the White House. And I don’t recall anyone ever suggesting that the Clintons had an open marriage.
Like all ex presidents, Clinton rakes in huge talking fees when he gives talks all over the place. His popularity was, and still is, huge. And he’s a darling of the compliant media which is instrumental in keeping the bovine segment of American society bovine and the rest of us elated, if we’re rightwing and enjoy echo chambers, and aggravated and alarmed, if we are leftwing or just normal and paying attention.
“In Afghanistan, the media is only “free” unless it tries to criticize warlords and officials. Mentioning any warlord by name will cause problems and even bring death threats… Some government ministers own TV stations to broadcast propaganda…
“Unfortunately, at this moment in our history, the only people who will get to serve as president are those who are selected and backed by the U.S. government and the mafia that holds power in Afghanistan…
“Many women groups have hosted me abroad, but my trips to various countries have also been sponsored by peace and human rights groups, antiwar movements, and progressive political parties. All the messages of support I have received have been invaluable for me to bring back to my people. From these trips, the Afghan people have received moral support, material support – often in the form of generous donations dropped into simple donation boxes passed around at meetings – exchanges of experience, and exchanges of culture. This is the helping hand we need from the people of the NATO and other Western countries – the honest and disinterested support that we have never received from the governments of the big powers…
“My enemies have tried to discredit me by spreading the lie that my trips abroad are like luxury vacations, and that I am only traveling to have an easy time. These people are not speaking about reality but rather [are] holding up a mirror that reflects their own mind-set and priorities. In fact, my trips are often sponsored by groups with very limited financial resources, and are made possible by the dedication and commitment of activists. In some cases, if a group does want to take me out to have an expensive meal, or to buy something for me, I ask them not to and tell them it is better to save the money and donate it to projects that benefit the Afghan people.” -pages 161 & 162 of “A Woman Among Warlords” by Malalai Joya
Bill Clinton, and his generous corporate friends who wanted NAFTA, got what they wanted by hiding, by obfuscating. Bill gave corporations NAFTA and the cheap labor and investment opportunities that went with it. Bill also began the deregulation of the financial industry, a task which Obama has carried on with gusto.
That indicates that it’s useful to know when someone, or some organization, has bad intentions. If we can say that a person has bad intentions then we can also try to avoid enabling them. Of course, A society with a free (well intentioned) press would greatly assist in that. And that’s why elites, who do ‘not’ believe in equality or freedom for everyone, own media. With major media in their hands, they can proceed to manufacture consent, as long as having fake democracy is more preferable to elites than something more honest. Today, They not only own major media but through governments they’ve captured are making efforts to discipline journalists so that they not only self-censor and only say the right things, but also fear being arrested and treated harshly should they even talk to whistleblowers, even though that is traditionally the route that a whistleblower, having inside knowledge, would take to inform the public about serious matters that powerful players (the whistleblower’s employer) would otherwise keep secret, such as for example something criminal that a government is doing. This arrangement – even though it involves corporate owned media – until now was accepted more or less by all as a necessary check on the powerful, and on government, and a hallmark of what a functioning democracy should look like, not that I would say we’ve had that here in North America for a long time.
Bill Clinton and his friends and allies lied to the people, of course. Bill hid. Our task is to uncover the lies, to know that the liar’s intentions are bad and to avoid enabling him. Because liars can be destructive. If they don’t care about principles, like honesty, Do they care if the implementation of their plans will harm innocent people? No.
Liars are unprincipled and perverted. Look at the spectacle of lawless law and order governments before us! Obama, an out and out murderer, is a constitutional lawyer! He violates his own country’s constitution and shows, like his predecessors, zero regard for international law. His hypocrisy is astounding. While he’s berating China for it’s hacking activities in the US, Edward Snowden has to hide from American authorities for revealing that the NSA, and corporate partners, are doing massive, illegal surveillance on not just all Americans but everyone, including China.
There was another video where the above one is. I don’t remember what it was exactly. I can only guess. When YouTube kills users’ accounts and videos those users put up that I’ve used disappear, there is no trace left of what the video was. I have over 500 posts on my blog. Remembering every YouTube video I’ve embedded is impossible. So I’m always replacing YouTube videos because of this problem. Sometimes I don’t replace the video. And when I replace a video, sometimes I’m just guessing what might have been there. What else can I do? The above video is such a guess.
Edward Snowden isn’t hiding the way liars like Obama hide. Edward Snowden simply revealed the truth about the lies of a powerful, malevolent state and must run from it in the hope that he can at least escape into a position of comfortable incarceration, like Julian Assange is ‘enjoying’ but like Bradley Manning, who did not escape the same forces, is ‘not’ enjoying. Edward Snowden didn’t sell his information for gain. He sacrificed his freedom for the gain of all, not including criminals. That was his intention. Malalai Joya isn’t lying either. She tells us that Malalai Joya isn’t her real name and she tells us why, although I don’t fully understand how her enemies are not able to find it out. Regardless, She moves around, with her bodyguards, who her uncle is in charge of, using a name that won’t bring attention to her family, her main concern, which she is forced to do because she spoke truth to power. She called the American spade a spade. She pointed to it’s support for an Afghan government consisting of terrorists and rapists. Uncle Sam, whose ultimate goal is control of everything – nothing too ambitious – and easy access to the mid east region’s natural resources, doesn’t like that. Nor do his brutal allies in Afghanistan, where the American-led corporatocracy’s goal includes being able to lay pipelines to transport oil, which is what planners have in mind for Afghanistan specifically.
“…The Afghan people have been betrayed once again by those who are claiming to help them… You may be shocked to hear this, because the truth about Afghanistan has been hidden behind a smoke screen of words and images carefully crafted by the United States and its NATO allies and repeated without question by the Western media.
“You may have been led to believe that once the Taliban was driven from power, justice returned to my country… But it is all a lie, dust in the eyes of the world.
“I am the youngest member of the Afghan Parliament, but I have been banished from my seat and threatened with death because I speak the truth about the warlords and criminals in the puppet government of Hamid Karzai. I have already survived at least five assassination attempts…
“And I am not afraid of an early death if it would advance the cause of justice.” – pages 1 & 2 of “A Woman Among Warlords,” by Malalai Joya.
People like American presidents or CEOs may be terrorists and liars whose intentions are not immediately clear, but they’re special. They aren’t special in any positive sense of course. That’s just how they feel about themselves. And that’s how they treat each other. They may have power and riches because they are willing to break rules and spill blood to acquire it, but hey, You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs as they say. And crap sticks together. It’s just interesting how seemingly unrelated information shows connections, such as with Malalai’s mention of the US’s friendship with the barbarians running and, without the Americans’ help, ruining, her country. And running throughout all of the darkness we are gazing into here is the theme of hiding. Criminal-minded leaders hide by lying to their people and by attacking whistleblowers, and even unsuspecting journalists who those whistleblowers reach out to, in an effort to terrify any would-be squealers into silence. That’s reaching stasi levels now that the tech personnel operating the surveillance machinery have been threatened and ordered to watch each other. If they didn’t care before about what they were doing to others for their paycheques, Do they now?
The warlord buddies of the US and Hamid Karzai, as well as the Taliban who they mixed it up with, certainly know who the masters are, who are the special people and who are their (all the above) victims. Their victims are – besides each other, assorted American soldiers (not generals, to be sure), mercenaries and others – mainly their Afghan female victims, some whom are worse off than just murdered. If they aren’t tortured, raped and murdered, literally, then they are treated so badly that to be left alive is not even preferable. They are alive, but dead. The rules that males with authority in godless Afghanistan make for their female population, namely rules that include such perverse restrictions as having to wear clothes and shoes that cannot make noise, turn females into ghosts (which don’t actually exist). And if women have to speak, they have to speak at low volume. To be honest, I don’t know exactly where things stand now in Afghanistan in regard to those barbaric laws. I know conditions there are not good however. Going forward, maybe I can find some useful info on conditions in Afghanistan from Malalai’s website: “Defense Committee For Malalai Joya”
I can only assume that there’s all kinds of pathology at work here, maybe even something having to do, not with what the criminals see others doing but what they see when they look in a mirror, as Malalai notes. Powerless Afghan males – pushed around, killed and terrorized – raped? – by successive invading armies, including Soviets and, following their contribution to development in Afghanistan, Americans – need to make others powerless in order to not feel their own powerlessness, I guess. Women and children will do nicely. And with females there’s the added bonus of feeling sexual satisfaction when you rape them or pay them for their services. Women are forced to turn to prostitution and sometimes sell their children because of the position that their misogynist leaders put them in. Which reveals, again, astonishing pathology. The illiterate extremists, when angered by any sign of independence by women (and men), often resort to screaming abuses at them, calling them communists (hilariously) and prostitutes. But I think I get it. They are giving themselves license to rape. Because it’s not rape if the woman’s business is to put out. (Malalai recounts one hilarious incident in which she observed one of her enemies in Parliament pretending to read a paper, but it was upside down. Yep. Let’s give clowns like that power and weapons. I’m sure that Afghanistan will develop nicely with them there.)
If it’s possible for men to enjoy sexual gratification through rape, then they are truly screwed up. The silence imposed on the women makes me think of ghosts, as I noted. In Hollywood and according to some people’s beliefs, when you die, you then become a ghost. Living in Afghanistan, as a female, can only be described as the opposite of living in any positive sense. It’s death of sorts, although normal Afghans will always resist such death.
Afghan warlords, Taliban and Afghan allies of the US play the great game of ‘riches for the strongest’ that their country’s successive invaders play. They don’t have the wisdom, nor the moral foundation, to learn from their experiences at the hands of invaders that imperialism is wrong. They can’t grasp that ‘riches for the strongest’, which is in play in all that they do, is no good. Imperialism of any sort is no good, whether it is national or religious or cultural imperialism. You can’t have, or claim you care about, human rights when you help make and support a society in which there are unequal social relations, with some people having power over others. You have that everywhere of course, in some form. And it’s bad everywhere that it exists. Afghan barbarians lack the wisdom to see that the great Darwinian game of ‘riches for the strongest’ is a losing proposition, a game that needs to be replaced by one in which there are no losers. Therefore they must be corrected and they will be corrected in due course. They are ‘not’ being corrected at present. Conflict that they engage in with each other and others isn’t true correction, by which I mean judgment ‘and’ sentencing by an untainted source, followed by global peace and security for all those who thirst for that. Conflict that they engage in at present is merely a result of the absence of God’s blessing which is a result of the presence of their great foolishness.
Afghans may have a proud history of repelling invaders – according to some of those recounting Afghanistan’s history – but What does it matter if all that means is that they are ‘like’ the invaders, which is to say equally violent, lawless and godless? And hasn’t Afghanistan always been meddled with? One invader is repelled by Afghans with assistance, it seems, from another invader-in-waiting, in the background. Certainly not all Afghans are evil and violent like those who meddle with and invade Afghanistan. And the peace, security and prosperity for all that peaceful Afghans should want for their country should be the peace, security and prosperity that such ones want for those who are deserving wherever they reside, which is another way of saying everywhere. We need to lose the national and individual beasts.
From “A Woman Among Warlords,” by Malalai Joya, the following:
As early as May 1992, Ayatolla Asif Mohseni, the interim governing council spokesman (now a close friend of Karzai and the United States in Kabul), and Sayed Ali Javed (now a member of Parliament) publicly announced a new set of rules governing the conduct of women: the “Ordinance on the Women’s Veil.” It proclaimed, “A denier of the veil is an infidel and an unveiled woman is lewd,” and outlined the conditions of wearing a veil:
1. They must not perfume themselves.
2. They must not wear adorning clothes.
3. They must not wear thin clothes.
4. They must not wear narrow and tight clothes.
5. They must cover their entire bodies.
6. Their clothes must not resemble men’s clothes.
7. Muslim women’s clothes must not resemble non-Muslim women’s
8. Their foot ornaments must not produce sound.
9. They must not wear sound-producing garments.
10. They must not walk in the middle of streets.
11. They must not go out of their houses without their husband’s
12. They must not talk to strange men.
13. If it is necessary to talk, they must talk in a low voice and
14. They must not look at strangers.
15. They must not mix with strangers.
In most parts of Afghanistan women now had to wear a burqa because of the fear of being kidnapped, raped, and murdered. Young girls were forcibly married to the jihadi commanders. These so-called Muslims married four women in public, which is permitted in Islam, but most of them had more than four wives. They used rape as a weapon to dominate and terrorize the people. Their men raped children as young as four, and cut off the breasts of the women. There were even reports reaching Pakistan of these criminals raping the dead bodies of women and the old grandmothers – which is beyond imagination.
Well, I just now thought I’d look up this Asif Mohseni on Wikipedia. He wasn’t there, exactly. I was re-directed to an entry for Muhammad Asif Muhsini. I figured that this must be the same guy and to confirm that I read the shortish entry. I was surprised to find that the entry had nothing critical to say of this man. Rather, He was presented as being a moderate and something of a hero for his resistance to the communists. As usual, You can believe what you want, as long as it’s what the rich and powerful approve of. Anyway, I wondered whether I had found the same fellow whom Malalai was writing about, so I searched a little further and I came across a number of articles talking about him and his role in spreading darkness. He might disagree with me about the subject of darkness (and I don’t even know if he’s still alive), but I guess it all hinges on one’s definition of darkness. He might call it God’s inspiration when, one moment he’s writing up rules for women that include doing nothing that might make them attractive to ‘any’ male and then the next moment he’s arguing that they need to wear makeup so as to be more appealing to their husbands who they should give sex to whether they want to or not. But I would have to disagree with him. I don’t think he’s found the light. But I do think he’s inspired, as long as we are referring to Satan’s inspiration.
From The Telegraph article by Ben Farmer titled “Shia cleric defends law said to legalise marital rape,” the following:
Ayatollah Mohammed Asif Mohseni defended a clause requiring a woman to wear make-up if her husband wished, saying it was designed to encourage men to take an interest in their spouses…
“Why should a man and woman get married if there is no need for a sexual relationship? Then they are like brother and sister,” he said. Men and women should negotiate the frequency of conjugal relations, and a woman should not be forced to say yes all the time, he said. However he added that women do have a duty to meet their husband’s needs. “If a woman says no, the man has the right not to feed her,” he said. The make-up clause would protect relationships he added. “When men venture outside, they see lots of other women with makeup, but he comes home and finds his own wife with a dirty face,” Mohseni said. “This is mentioned to encourage men to have more interest in a social and personal life with his wife.”
I had no luck figuring out who Sayed Ali Javed is. I just now took a stab at finding him online. Even on Malalai Joya’s website, using the search feature, nothing comes up.
From an August 14, 2009 Human Rights Watch report titled “Afghanistan: Law Curbing Women’s Rights Takes Effect,” the following:
==== === == =
President Karzai Makes Shia Women Second-Class Citizens for Electoral Gain
Karzai signed the Shia Personal Status Law in March, prompting a national and international storm of protest. The law regulates the personal affairs of Shia Muslims – who make up between 10 and 20 percent of the population – including divorce, separation, inheritance, and the minimum age for marriage. The initial version of the law included articles that imposed drastic restrictions on Shia women, including a requirement to ask permission to leave the house except on urgent business, and a requirement that a wife have sex with her husband at least once every four days.
The law was designed in secret by a powerful and hard-line Shia leader, Ayatollah Asif Mohseni, and supported by conservative Shia leaders in parliament. Many women activists have accused Karzai of abandoning his previous moderate views on women’s rights to help him secure votes in the presidential election.
In a rare move, Afghan women took to the streets in April to protest, braving threats and violence. President Barack Obama of the United States, Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada, Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the United Kingdom, the NATO secretary general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, and many other world leaders condemned the legislation. As a result of pressure, Karzai submitted the law to a consultation process with civil society groups in May, which resulted in some improvements. The legislation still contains some of its most repressive measures, though.
Human Rights Watch said that the law directly contravenes rights provided under the Afghan constitution, which bans any kind of discrimination and distinction between citizens of Afghanistan. Article 22 states that men and women “have equal rights and duties before the law.” The law also contravenes the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, to which Afghanistan is a party.
“Afghanistan’s parliament should overturn this law, and its constitutional court should throw out provisions that violate the constitution and its international legal obligations,” Adams said. “And the other presidential candidates should promise Afghan women that, if elected, they will make it a priority to amend or repeal this abhorrent law.”
= == === ====
The warlords and Taliban may feel like they’re powerful and holy when they force the burqas etc on their trapped women, but those women in hiding will be rescued when their jailers, who have no way to flee from God’s eyes and hands, meet with the justice that they have earned.
Stinky stuff this. It may change before you look at it dear readers, but today, June 29, 2013, as I am looking at it, that nice rightwing-flavored entry for Asif Mohseni/ Asif Muhsini notes that: “This page was last modified on 23 June 2013 at 14:30.” Wikipedia is handy, but it’s also terribly susceptible to spinmeisters’ machinations.
I have been a long time non expert, follower of news about tax havens. It started many years ago when I when I read Ken Silverstein’s “Trillion Dollar Hideaway” in Mother Jones, Lucy Komisar’s “Explosive Revelations,” in In These Times and, later, Marc Schapiro’s reports showing how Big Tobacco influenced the final form of The Patriot Act. It distressed me that more people (here) weren’t talking about tax havens. Europe is a different story. People and journalists there were more aware of the problem and more willing to talk about it. That’s changed. Thanks to the efforts of people like Richard Murphy and John Christensen, and organizations with which they are associated, the word has spread. Canada and the US have affiliated organizations and our alternative and major media now tend to say more to say about tax havens.
Obviously, there’s only reason for a corporation or individual to avoid paying the tax rate designated for their home country and that’s in order to avoid paying the full amount of tax that they owe. Little people can’t do that. They don’t even have money to hide. In this era of ‘law and order’ governments, it’s striking that the basic laws around how we, as individuals and corporations, will financially contribute to society’s upkeep are allowed to be broken by special people. But that’s darkness for you. It is perverted. It’s cruel. It’s standard. While some powerful, rich special interests break more than a few rules, use governments they’ve captured to get around others and make rules that give them inordinate freedom, the people who actually need and desire law and order get punishment for the crimes committed by a minority of uncaring special interests. The rich get prosperity and the people get austerity, in various forms, which means a society stripped of it’s civilizing features via a lethal restriction of democracy and social spending. In some places, like Afghanistan, often the civilizing features that get stripped from the nation are stripped from it by invading nations, like the Soviet Union and the United States. As a result of their invasions of Afghanistan, and Iraq (United States), all indicators of social and economic health have plummeted.
I didn’t publish this post in a timely fashion, always a problem. Posts that I spend more time on than I intended to tend to acquire add-ons that give them a lopsided appearance. And then I get working on more than one, which I’m doing now. Apologies. Part of my problem is that I’m living in a closet-sized oven. And the roomer who I share facilities with isn’t all there. I can’t function properly here. I have to do extra cleaning all the time because he won’t do any and he horks all over our bathroom and kitchen counters and doesn’t wipe it up. My stress level goes up whenever I’m out and I’m merely thinking of returning home. And then when I’m here, and it’s hot, I die.
I was reading around today when I happened upon a Guardian article by Spencer Ackerman titled “Edward Snowden is a whistleblower, not a spy – but do our leaders care?” Here’s an excerpt:
When asked directly if there was any evidence that Snowden had cooperated with any intelligence service or American adversary, the administration and Congress declined to provide any. The office of the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, declined to comment for this story. The Justice Department and the House intelligence committee didn’t even respond to inquiries.
By all means, consider Snowden a hero, a traitor or a complex individual with a mixture of motives and interests. Lots of opinions about Snowden are valid. He is a necessarily polarizing figure. The information he revealed speaks to some of the most basic questions about the boundaries between the citizen and the state, as well as persistent and real anxieties about terrorism.
What isn’t valid is the blithe assertion, absent evidence, that the former NSA contractor actively collaborated with America’s enemies. Snowden made classified information about widespread surveillance available to the American public. That’s a curious definition of an enemy for US legislators to adopt.
My online response to the above linked-to article follows. It’s a response to both the article and another poster’s comment:
I flit around from website to website. It’s the same. We are in a time of darkness. And appointed and self-appointed gatekeepers abound. A gatekeeper is anyone, of any income level, in any station in life, of any age, who feels a need to support power, whoever holds it. It’s a pathology, but… That’s darkness.
Gatekeepers have the ‘right’ political views, for which reason, when they break rules, written and unwritten, big and small, they are often ignored by the authorities who usually agree with those ‘right’ (rightwing) political views. Appointed gatekeepers will be given resources to specifically get in the way of people going about their business, whether it’s activism or nothing special at all. Self-appointed gatekeepers are just people who decide that, because others don’t have the right political views, then they have the right to annoy them, or worse.
Elites like gatekeepers. They inject chaos and fear and anger into society and stir things up sufficiently so that the people get distracted from doing what normal people want to do when their political leaders formulate (with guidance from their partners in the private sector) policies that are harmful to them, which is seek answers, an accounting. Elites, and their political tools are having a ball in this hell that imperfect human being have created, otherwise known as earth. They abuse the people and then go hiding when the people come looking for answers. There they are, behind their walls, laughing maniacally. Edward Snowden isn’t the only one hiding, but I know which of the hiders I would like to see ‘dealt with’.
1. Did I mention chaos? Thank enablers like Bill ‘I did not have sex with that woman’ Clinton and Mr. National Security, Barack Obama, for enabling chaos, drug cartels, rampaging criminal bankers and a plague of rape and murder in places like Mexico and Afghanistan and elsewhere. They weren’t the only ones of course. But, as Jesus Christ said, “If in reality the light that is in you is darkness, then how great that darkness is.” Republicans, especially those who on the extreme Right within that Party, are more open about the espousal of inequality. The Democrats, and liberal class, claims to not espouse inequality, which makes it’s service to corporatocracy, in some ways, even more evil than that of the Republicans.
2. Edward Snowden was an appointed gatekeeper until he rebelled.
The theme of exploiters and killers who hide is so easy to flesh out. Here’s a few samples to wrap up this post. Once again, I could not finish it in a timely fashion. If this post looks like I was unfocussed, it’s because I was unable to stick with it and even now am unable to deal with it properly. I’ve attacked it multiple times over the last couple of weeks. But it’s beginning to look like now or never, and I really wanted to say these things and to give Malalai a much needed plug.
Too many things were happening, including a heat wave here in Toronto that I had virtually no relief from. My landlord – a friend! – just wouldn’t put the air conditioning on here, even though he kept saying he would. Finally, he relented. But it barely impacted my room on the third floor of his house. Listening to him moan and groan about money made me ill, and because we were friends, this has become another source of stress for me. I finally bought an air conditioner, even though I can’t afford such things. And this is Canada. I work full time and I go to payday lenders every month. The company I work for, which I’m sure takes advantage of offshore tax havens and banking secrecy, has NEVER given me a raise. It’s been 7 years since I became a security guard for G4S. But I actually have seniority going back to 1999, since G4S bought the guard contracts from the company I initially worked for. So it’s been 14 years I’ve been in the biz. I don’t work hard, but I do what my employer asks of me and no one has any complaints. The issue isn’t how hard I work. The issue is: It’s a money system. Money means life. If I’m not a criminal, or terrorist, and I work full time and pay all of ‘my’ taxes, then why am I being punished by my employer and the politicians who empower him? But we know why.
“It’s time for bankers to go to jail. Appeasement has to be over” by Global Witness via Richard Murphy (Tax Justice UK)
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
The following is a press release from Global Witness, but as I agree with it, and have worked with Global Witness on many issues, I think it appropriate to share it:
Yesterday, Europe’s largest bank, HSBC, announced that it will pay $1.9 billion (£1.2 billion) to settle allegations that it laundered money for drugs cartels, terrorists and pariah states. During approximately the same period that HSBC failed to check whether the dollars it was shipping from Mexico to the USwere drugs money, 47,000 people died at the hands of Mexican drugs traffickers.
“Fines alone are not going to change banks’ behaviour: the chances of being caught are relatively small and the potential profits from accepting dodgy clients are too big. Fines are seen as a cost of doing business,” said Rosie Sharpe, campaigner at Global Witness…
According to the chair of the US Senate Subcommittee, HSBC’s culture was ‘pervasively polluted’. The number of drugs cartels in Mexico makes it a high risk for money laundering. HSBC Mexico had high risk clients such as money remitters and offered high risk products such as dollar accounts in theCayman Islands. Despite this, HSBC US treated its Mexican affiliate as low risk. The result was that HSBC’s Mexican operations moved $7bn in physical cash into the US between 2007 and 2008. Instead of prosecuting senior bankers, however, the US Department of Justice has entered into a ‘deferred prosecution agreement’ with the bank, in which the bank is essentially granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for doing what they should have been doing all along. “If you get caught with your hand in the till you go to jail, but if you’re a big bank and you’re caught breaking the law, it seems that all that happens is you’re fined and told you’ll go to jail if you do it again,” said Sharpe…
I agree: only jail for senior executives will do.
Then bankers will realise the seriousness of what they currently permit.
And that applies to tax evasion too.
“The Return Of Lawrence Summers, Mr. Spectacular Failure” by Rober Scheer
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
Tell me it’s a sick joke: Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, the guy who tops the list of those responsible for sabotaging the world’s economy, is lobbying to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve. But no, it makes perfect sense, since Summers has long succeeded spectacularly by failing.
Why should his miserable record in the Clinton and Obama administrations hold him back from future disastrous adventures at our expense? With Ben Bernanke set to step down in January, and Obama still in deep denial over the pain and damage his former top economic adviser Summers brought to tens of millions of Americans, this darling of Wall Street has yet another shot to savage the economy.
Summers was one of the key players during the Clinton years in creating the mortgage derivative bubble that ended up costing tens of millions of Americans their homes and life savings. This is the genius who, as Clinton’s Treasury secretary, supported the banking lobby’s successful effort to make the sale of unregulated bundles of mortgage securities and the phony insurance swaps that backed them perfectly legal and totally unmonitored. Those are the toxic bundles that the Federal Reserve is still unloading from the banks at a cost of trillions of dollars….
Summers opined that “the parties to these kinds of contracts are largely sophisticated financial institutions that would appear to be eminently capable of protecting themselves from fraud and counterparty insolvencies. … ”
Consider the astounding stupidity of that statement and the utter ignorance upon which it was based. One financial CEO after another has testified to not knowing how the derivatives were created and why their worth evaporated. Think of AIG and the other marketers of these products that were saved from disaster only by the injection of government funds not available to foreclosed homeowners whose mortgages were wrapped into those toxic securities…
Summers had condemned Glass–Steagall as an example of “archaic financial restrictions” and called instead for “allowing common ownership of banking, securities and insurance firms.” A decade later, while in the Obama administration, Summers worked to prevent a return to the Glass–Steagall prohibition in the Dodd-Frank legislation.
The need to restore that reasonable banking regulation implemented by President Franklin Roosevelt in response to the Great Depression was acknowledged by bipartisan legislation introduced last week in the Senate by Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and John McCain, R-Ariz. “It will take a lot of tools to get rid of too-big-to-fail, but one of them ought to be that if you want to do high-stakes gambling, good on you, but you do not get access to people’s checking accounts and savings accounts,” Warren told Bloomberg News on Friday in urging the return of Glass-Steagall…
The question then is why Summers, the man who got it all wrong, would imagine that he could be in the running to head the Federal Reserve? Why would he ever fantasize that President Obama might turn to someone who always gets it wrong to right a still struggling economy?
Maybe because he knows Obama better than we do. After all, it was a massive infusion of Wall Street money that helped Obama get elected both times. And Wall Street, which showered Summers with almost $8 million in speaking fees and hedge fund profits during the 2008 campaign while he advised Obama, clearly would approve of this greed enabler as the next Fed chairman.
My online response to the above linked-to article by Robert Scheer (the Common Dreams version) follows. I just now added in the video. I’ve placed my attached (to the above-linked article) comment (which didn’t include the video) between dashed lines to reduce confusion, for I put quite a lot into it:
I enjoyed this.
I love the thread that leads – embodied in the person of Larry Summers – from Clinton to Obama. Both are responsible for two body blows to society. Both have impaired, and are in the process of impairing, the economy ‘and’ the financial industry. Well, The impairing of the financial industry is actually the enabling of it. But from the standpoint of democracy and the economic security of (all) Americans (and others), the deregulated financial industry is not a good thing.
There’s Clinton with his foisting of NAFTA on three countries that Congress’s own research bureau (Office Of Technology Assessment, axed because it was useful – to the people) predicted would harm all three signatories, solely because he calculated that by giving bosses what they wanted (cheap Mexican labor and secure investments), they’d in turn give him what he wanted (power, riches, glory). That’s the economy. Then there’s his unleashing of Larry Summers, the regulation (accountability) -phobic economist, on the American people. He then crippled Glass-Steagall with his Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which set things up for 2007/2008 (http://bit.ly/1bopDgM). The same Larry Summers who Obama has tapped for guidance!
There’s Obama preparing to foist the Trans Pacific Partnership on Americans and others. Public Citizen refers to the TPP as “The Corporate Power Tool Of The 1%.” (http://www.citizen.org/tpp) Hider Obama also appears to have misled Americans, again, in regard to this upcoming monstrosity. Here’s an excerpt from a Democracy Now segment (http://bit.ly/LFeOOr):
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We turn now to a controversial trade pact between the United States and eight Pacific nations that until now has remained largely secret. It’s called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP. A chapter from the draft agreement leaked Wednesday outlines how it would allow foreign corporations operating in the United States to appeal key regulations to an international tribunal. The body would have the power to override U.S. law and issue penalties for failure to comply with its rulings.
The agreement is being negotiated by the U.S. trade representative, Ron Kirk, appointed by President Obama. But the newly revealed terms contradict promises Obama made while running for president in 2008. One campaign document read in part, quote, “We will not negotiate bilateral trade agreements that stop the government from protecting the environment, food safety, or the health of its citizens; [or] give greater rights to foreign investors than to U.S. investors.”
Obama received more campaign donations from the financial industry than his opponents, for which reason he will not re-regulate that industry. But he lies about it. From a United Nations report led by Joseph Stiglitz titled “Trade Agreements Cannot Be Allowed To Undermine Financial Regulation,” the following:
The draft text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a NAFTA-style FTA under negotiation between the United States and 10 Pacific Rim countries, contains the same limits on financial regulation as the WTO, and more. In addition, these rules would be privately enforceable by foreign financial firms that could “sue” the U.S. government in foreign tribunals, which would bed empowered to order payment of unlimited sums of U.S. taxpayer money if they saw our laws as undermining such firms’ “expected profits.”
Also, even as the International Monetary Fund has officially shifted from opposition to qualified endorsement of capital controls, which are used to avoid destabilizing floods of speculative money into and out of countries, the TPP would ban the use of these important regulatory tools. Despite years of pressure from former House Financial Services Committee Chair Rep. Barney Frank to permit capital controls, the Obama administration is the strongest promoter of this ban in the TPP.
Obama’s upcoming TPP delivers a double whammy. It will further impair the economy (in which only the rule-breaking minority will have a chance at the good life) while strangling in it’s crib any infant moves to re-regulate the financial industry.
This doesn’t bode well for the huge effort by activists and researchers, finally come to the public’s attention in recent years, to deal with banking secrecy and offshore tax havens (http://bit.ly/13ip3k2 and http://bit.ly/19WeKE3). Why would the Obama admin care about that? I mean, Just because it touches on money laundering by drug cartels, dirty money from dictators, mobsters and terrorist orgs, not to mention tax evading corporations and rich people (who often have dealings with all of the above), Why should that be a pressing concern for Mr. National Security?
Finally, from “‘Trayvon Martin could have been me,’ Obama tells press corp” by Mitch Potter, the following:
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
Then came Friday afternoon. After a week of mounting pressure to offer more than a written statement on last week’s George Zimmerman acquittal, Obama stepped up with 20 stunning, unscripted minutes on race.
“Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago,” said Obama, not just acknowledging but slaying the elephant in the room.
A gape-jawed White House press corps sat astonished as Obama, himself the product of a biracial family — a black father from Kenya, a white mother from Kansas — described, as never before, what it feels like inside young, black male skin.
Even Fox News’s one time in-house expert on judicial matters is disgusted. I don’t know much about Andrew Napolitano – and how consistent he is in identifying lawlessness done by his political leaders – but note that Media Matters isn’t impressed with some of the extremists he keeps company with. This video doesn’t deal with Trayvon, but it makes no difference to the point being made about Mr. National Security:
Mitch Potter is, conveniently, an Obama worshipper. (The Toronto Star is a corporate owned paper. Only so many journos speaking truth to power, carefully, will be tolerated there. Mitch Potter is careful – in a negative way. He doesn’t want to clue his weaker readers in.) He serves his class well with this demonstration thinking and behavior. ‘Here’s how you are to think of Obama, and other things, my Toronto Star readers. Yes, We have a real fighter for social justice in the White House.’ Ergo, The people have entertainment and drama. What good is a fight if there are not really two contestants?, in this case a Democratic fighter who will take on Republican fighters. Ergo, The fight – that is to say, elite-serving electoral politics, including the utterly sham, undemocratic elections people are sucked into participating in – is what we want. Not.
Following is my online response to the above linked-to Toronto Star article:
Obama hides. Desperately. In plain site. That’s because he’s a criminal who runs the world. We all have to make a living. Some jobs come with real good golden parachutes, lots of power (for those who crave it) and lots of glory (which you get when the people you abuse notice you abusing them). People would go to the man in charge to get justice for wrongs committed by anyone, but when the man in charge is creating the injustices, well, It’s fun but when they come to see him about it, he’s got other places to be. Right? >>> from the Left: http://bit.ly/14roRRN and from the Right: http://bit.ly/12DWbjd
One day, Malalai, and you other brave souls who spoke out and sacrificed for justice, for all, will be able to come completely out of hiding. But those who forced you to hide will be forced into deeper hiding when they are buried.