Member since: Tue May 13, 2008, 03:07 AM
Number of posts: 6,905
Number of posts: 6,905
A progressive group on Wednesday called on centrist group Third Way to stop criticizing Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and her plan to expand Social Security and also demanded it reveal its donors.
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, along with members of Social Security Works and Campaign for Community Change, submitted a petition with more than 125,000 signatures that read:
Third Way should publicly reveal its Wall Street donors so everyone knows why they are attacking Elizabeth Warren. Third Way should also stop attacking popular progressive ideas like expanding Social Security.
The petition is the latest hit in the ongoing fight between Third Way, Warren and the PCCC, which started earlier this month when Third Way leaders penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal criticizing Warren and her plan to expand Social Security.
Warren then hit back at the group, calling on them to reveal their donors and stating that the group was "flatly wrong" in its belief that Social Security is insolvent. PCCC urged House members to cut ties with Third Way. Third Way co-founder Jim Kessler later defended the op-ed and explained that it was not meant as a personal attack on Warren.
Posted by Segami | Wed Dec 11, 2013, 12:55 PM (7 replies)
It defies reason that we continue today to hear about major bank scandals, more than five years after the financial crisis. But if anything, the revelations are growing larger and more complex. Which is why I am now making a modest proposal to force them to come clean. The way that countries enveloped in patterns of interminable abuse often deal with the aftermath is through something called a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We need one for global finance. Before I explain what that would look like, let’s look at a recent example of the problem. Right now, the Royal Bank of Scotland faces a criminal probe in England over cheating its business clients. The “Global Restructuring Group,” a division of RBS tasked with obtaining assets at bargain basement prices, forced tens of thousands of business customers who took out loans to sell their commercial property holdings at deep losses, leaving them destitute and owing millions in fees in the exchange. Author Ian Fraser rightly refers to it as financial terrorism. This systemic abuse comes from a bank that was effectively nationalized by the U.K. government at the time!
RBS and at least nine other global banks, including JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup, are also under investigation in the emerging foreign currency exchange (or forex) scandal. Much like the scandal with rigging interbank lending rates known as Libor, the banks control the information that establishes benchmark forex rates, and they could use that information to make massive trades timed just before the benchmarks went public, artificially spiking the rates. This raises costs for virtually anyone exchanging currency (a $5.3 trillion market in an average day), but creates profits for the banks. In the sleaziest detail, investigators have also found a years-long practice where currency dealers handed off money to day traders in parking lots in London, with the day traders making sure-thing forex bets on the dealers’ behalf, allowing the dealers to personally profit off their clients.
Law enforcement around the world, including the U.S. Justice Department, has promised harsh punishment for this new round of crimes. And the banks themselves have fired individual traders, claimed to revamp their operations, hired respected independent advisers to conduct internal probes, and sought discussions with policymakers on how to ensure these things never happen again. You can understand how this pattern feels like running on an endless treadmill. The financial institution gets caught committing crimes, it makes a big show of remorse, looks busy with internal investigations and changes to its compliance structure, and ultimately, after a lot of tough talk, government delivers the lightest of penalties. And then the whole cycle repeats itself. This game, at least the way it’s currently being played, benefits nobody. The victims are not compensated anywhere close to the level of harm: Even the $104 billion still expected to come out of mortgage abuses does not approach the cost of the financial crisis. Individual bankers are by and large not held accountable for the crimes. The continuation of the misconduct – both of the above-mentioned scandals post-date the financial crisis and many “tough” enforcement actions – shows that no deterrent has yet kept an ever-larger financial industry from plundering the public. And governments are sullied by the loss of trust in their regulatory and enforcement capabilities.
So let’s institute a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for global finance.
Such commissions investigate prior wrongdoing, and exchange some form of immunity for the participants for a full airing of the crimes. For those immediately recoiling at the idea of immunity for Wall Street executives, understand that we already have that in everything but name. If you want to keep reading about doomed investigations that lead to nothing of value (like the four-year probe into manipulation of the credit default swaps market, just dropped by the Justice Department), then fine. But if you want the actual misconduct to be admitted to by the people who did it, a truth and reconciliation commission, just like in South Africa after apartheid or Argentina after the time of the military junta, is one possible method. Instead of taking away the liberty of these financial titans, at least we could take away the secrets to their success.
Posted by Segami | Wed Dec 4, 2013, 08:49 AM (6 replies)
Posted by Segami | Wed Dec 4, 2013, 01:38 AM (5 replies)
Starting in mid-November, Republican members of the California State Assembly began sending out mailings to CA residents. The mailings, titled “Covering California, A Resource Guide,” are meant to steer people away from the state’s real healthcare exchange, pointing them instead to a fake healthcare website.State resources were used for the flier and fake website. The fake healthcare website appears to have been created by CA state Assembly member staff and paid for with state funds. It is nothing more than a right wing propaganda site. The misleading flier “Covering California,” which directs people to the fake healthcare website, was also paid for by the state’s taxpayers. The flier is clearly marked with a standard mailing label, “US postage paid California State Assembly.”
The flier is meant to mislead voters about the ACA.
The mailing itself gives constituents bad information. For instance, it claims that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) contains “18 separate tax increases, estimated to cost taxpayers $503 billion dollars between 2010 and 2019.” The flier does not mention that the majority of new taxes will be paid by the medical and pharmaceutical industries, not the average taxpayer. It also does not mention the $5,548 tax credit that an average taxpayer will get, to help offset the cost of health insurance. But the purpose of the mailer isn’t to educate. It is to mislead. More importantly, the flier is being used to direct people to the fake healthcare website, instead of the state’s real healthcare exchange.
Under a section of the flier titled “What You Need To Do To Follow The Law,” it says there are three options:
- You can purchase health insurance on your own (through a licensed insurance broker or through a health insurance company)
- You can purchase a plan at the state’s new health insurance marketplace called Covered California.
- You can be covered by an expansion of MediCal, the state’s health insurance for low income individuals and families.
The flier then says this:
The federal law is complex. For more information regarding your particular situation visit coveringhealthcareCA.com.
The fake healthcare website links to right wing propaganda.
The big problem is that coveringhealthcareCA.com is nothing but a propaganda website. The fake healthcare website provides no helpful information on what a person can do to follow the law. What it does provide is a lot of links to slanted articles about the Affordable Care Act. It features op-eds with lively titles such as “You Also Can’t Keep Your Doctor,” (fact check that) and “news” pieces such as “Children’s Advocates Say New Dental Plan Not That Filling After All.” And it’s not just that CA republicans are steering people away from the state’s real exchange to this fake healthcare website. It’s worse, because they created this website, and they used public resources to do it.
Who created the website?
The fake healthcare website is registered to Sabrina Lockhart. Lockhart works as the Communications Director and Press Secretary for CA Republican Assembly Leader, Connie Conway. The website was created using the State Assembly’s address. The phone number on the registration is for the public office of Assembly woman Conway.
Here is the registry for the fake website:
Posted by Segami | Wed Dec 4, 2013, 12:20 AM (3 replies)
While being interviewed by CNN, Sarah Palin’s intellectual choo-choo derailed, as she skipped from discussing sexism to Chris Christie’s extreme weight.
Bush & Palin, between them, timeshare the same single brain cell......she borrowed it for this interview....
Palin was asked by Jake Tapper about advice should would have for any woman running for president, “She can expect that sexism, but you overcome it. You ignore it. You thicken your skin, you march forward with your agenda, your priorities, what you think is right. Hillary Clinton was mistreated when it came to appearances, when it came to wardrobe – petty, superficial things that the men don’t ever seem to hear much about, but a woman candidate will.”
Tapper brought up the comments Chris Christie hears about his weight, and Palin replied, “That’s because it’s been extreme. So it’s hard for some people not to comment on it.”...... (oops)
Palin has made it obvious that she doesn’t like Chris Christie, but she came so close to almost giving a coherent answer to a question. What she said about the sexism that female candidates face in the media is true. Hillary Clinton was absolutely unfairly treated in 2008. Elizabeth Warren got some of the same treatment when she ran for Senate in 2012.
-..Sarah Palin’s jab at Christie was childish. Her point was that Chris Christie is some sort of extreme freak. While I disagree with Christie politically, his struggles with his weight, and his desire to live a healthier life for himself and his family are well documented.
Posted by Segami | Tue Nov 12, 2013, 11:58 PM (9 replies)
MANILA, Nov 9 (Reuters) - The Philippine Red Cross estimated that more than 1,000 people were killed in the coastal city of Tacloban and at least 200 in hard-hit Samar province when one of the strongest typhoons ever to make landfall slammed into the country. Gwendolyn Pang, secretary general of the Philippine Red Cross, said the numbers came from preliminary reports by Red Cross teams in Tacloban and Samar, among the most devastated areas hit by Typhoon Haiyan on Friday. "An estimated more than 1,000 bodies were seen floating in Tacloban as reported by our Red Cross teams," she told Reuters. "In Samar, about 200 deaths. Validation is ongoing." She said she expected a more exact number to emerge after a more precise counting of bodies on the ground in those regions.
Philippines Typhoon Haiyan: Mounting Casualties In Wake Of Year's Strongest Storm
MANILA, Philippines -- MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Rescuers in the central Philippines counted at least 100 people dead and many more injured Saturday, a day after one of the most powerful typhoons on record ripped through the region, wiping away buildings and leveling seaside homes with massive storm surges. With communications and roads still cut off, Capt. John Andrews, deputy director general of the Civil Aviation Authority, said he had received "reliable information" by radio from his staff that more than 100 bodies were lying in the streets of the city of Tacloban on hardest-hit Leyte Island. It was one of six islands that Typhoon Haiyan slammed into Friday. Regional military commander Lt. Gen. Roy Deveraturda said that the casualty figure "probably will increase," after viewing aerial photographs of the widespread devastation caused by the typhoon, which was heading toward Vietnam after moving away from the Philippines.
Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras, a senior aide to President Benigno Aquino III, said that the number of casualties could not be immediately determined, but that the figure was probably in the range given by Andrews. Government troops were helping recover bodies, he said. Civil aviation authorities in Tacloban, a city of 200,000 located about 580 kilometers (360 miles) southeast of Manila, reported that the seaside airport terminal was "ruined" by storm surges, Andrews said. U.S. Marine Col. Mike Wylie, who surveyed the damage in Tacloban prior to possible American assistance, said that the damage to the runway was significant. Military planes were still able to land with relief aid. "The storm surge came in fairly high and there is significant structural damage and trees blown over," said Wylie, who is a member of the U.S.-Philippines Military Assistance Group based in Manila.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement that America "stands ready to help." Joseph de la Cruz, who was attending a meeting in Tacloban when the typhoon struck and hitched a ride on a military plane back to Manila, said he had counted at least 15 bodies. "A lot of the dead were scattered," he said, adding that he walked for about eight hours to reach the Tacloban airport. Weather officials said Haiyan had sustained winds of 235 kph (147 mph) with gusts of 275 kph (170 mph) when it made landfall. By those measurements, Haiyan would be comparable to a strong Category 4 hurricane in the U.S., nearly in the top category, a 5. Hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons are the same thing. They are just called different names in different parts of the world. Fresh reports emerged Saturday from the devastated areas.
Posted by Segami | Sat Nov 9, 2013, 09:57 AM (3 replies)
Be careful Tweety.......you aren't too far away from a dipping sauce......................
MSNBC host Chris Matthews got a rise out of the crowd Thursday at Thinkfest, an event sponsored by Philadelphia Magazine, by suggesting New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) wife gets "crushed" under the weight of her husband.
"Two days after election day, Chris Christie has crushed his opponent. Is he going to be the Republican nominee--" Philadelphia Magazine's Tom McGrath said while speaking with Matthews on stage.
"The one I feel for is his wife," Matthews interjected to laughter from the crowd.
"Why's that?" McGrath asked.
"Did you just say 'crush?' I mean, use your imagination," Matthews said.
Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney ultimately dropped Christie from his list of potential vice presidential nominees because Christie failed to provide documentation on his medical history, according to Mark Halperin and John Heilemann's new book "Double Down." Romney also made fun of Christie's weight, according to the book.
Christie was also the subject of a TIME cover this week that placed an image of the governor in profile under the headline "The Elephant In The Room."
Posted by Segami | Fri Nov 8, 2013, 01:47 PM (4 replies)
Now - not after the tar sands spigot is turned on - is the time to support the efforts of courageous Texas landowners who could stop Keystone XL's administration-approved southern leg in its tracks.
"...There are many possible roads to victory, but the surest path to defeat is to not even try..."
Twenty-five environmental leaders recently signed on to an open letter to President Obama urging him to avoid any "deal-making" with the Canadian government and to reject a presidential permit for Keystone XL's proposed northern leg. As the letter remarked: "Building Keystone XL will expand production in the tar sands, and that reality is not compatible with serious efforts to battle climate change." I share my colleagues' objection to any deals between the United States and Canada over Keystone's prospective northern leg, but what the open letter posted by 350.org ignored is the well-reported fact that the 485-mile southern leg of Keystone XL already is being built. Did the president engage in deal-making to facilitate this?
Regardless of what the president decides about the northern leg permit in 2014, Keystone XL's southern leg - which is now 95 percent built - is ready to begin pumping more than half a million barrels of climate-destroying tar sands daily from landlocked Alberta to Gulf Coast port refineries by as early as the end of this year. This "reality is not compatible with serious efforts to battle climate change." Last spring, Obama made a special trip to Cushing, Oklahoma, to hold a press conference directing his administration to "cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project a priority, to go ahead and get it done." He said this about Keystone XL's southern leg only months after announcing he was postponing, until after the election, a decision on Keystone XL's northern leg.
This is classic bait-and-switch. By breaking Keystone XL into northern and southern legs, he was able to give his environmental base something it wanted (a "victory" to crow about), while giving TransCanada something it needed (access to port refineries). When Obama released his climate action plan in June, he said, "The question now is whether we will have the courage to act before it's too late. ... I refuse to condemn your generation and future generations to a planet that's beyond fixing." He cannot now stand idly by while Keystone XL's southern leg is completed and expect anyone to believe what he said. If the Obama administration could conjure up a way to fast-track construction of the Keystone pipeline, it should be able to conjure up a way to stop it.
Posted by Segami | Thu Nov 7, 2013, 08:12 PM (14 replies)
William C. Dudley, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, chats before an interview in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, May 21, 2013. (Scott Eells/Bloomberg) | Getty
There needs to be covictions & substantial jail time for the actions of these criminals......anything less would be sending a message of ' business-as-usual ' for the privileged few.........simple as that!....
The head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said Thursday that some of America’s largest financial institutions appear to lack respect for the law, a potentially explosive charge against an industry already roiling from numerous government investigations into alleged wrongdoing. William Dudley, one of the nation’s top banking regulators whose organization helps oversee Wall Street banks including JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup, made the comment during a speech focused on the problems posed by banks perceived to be “too big to fail,” and possible solutions to correct them.
But in an abrupt turn, Dudley suggested that regulators may be stymied by "cultural" issues that have negatively affected the nation's biggest banks. “Collectively, these enhancements to our current regime may not solve another important problem evident within some large financial institutions -- the apparent lack of respect for law, regulation and the public trust," he said. “There is evidence of deep-seated cultural and ethical failures at many large financial institutions,” he continued. “Whether this is due to size and complexity, bad incentives, or some other issues is difficult to judge, but it is another critical problem that needs to be addressed.”
Dudley's comments come as the world’s biggest banks collectively face tens of billions of dollars in potential fines and government-driven settlements arising from alleged lawbreaking in markets ranging from home mortgages to interest rates and currencies. Authorities in North America, Europe and Asia have been probing more than a dozen large institutions for allegedly attempting to manipulate benchmark interest rates, the most popular of which is known as Libor, that affect hundreds of trillions of dollars in loans and securities. So far, Barclays, UBS, Rabobank and Royal Bank of Scotland collectively have agreed to pay nearly $4 billion to settle with government authorities. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the giant U.S.-backed mortgage financiers, also have sued many of these banks to recover alleged losses.
In addition, regulators around the world are investigating whether some big banks attempted to rig the foreign exchange market, where currency prices are set and more than $5 trillion is exchanged daily. Goldman Sachs on Thursday became the latest bank to disclose that it was under investigation, joining Barclays, UBS, Deutsche Bank, Citigroup and JPMorgan, among others. JPMorgan is also among a group of banks facing U.S. demands for restitution and penalties for allegedly misleading investors when selling them home loans that had been bundled into securities. The bank recently agreed to pay the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, about $4 billion to settle claims it sold the mortgage financiers faulty home loan securities. A group of government agencies led by the Department of Justice has been negotiating with the bank to settle related claims that would call for billions more in cash and aid for distressed homeowners.
Posted by Segami | Thu Nov 7, 2013, 07:31 PM (5 replies)