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Gender: Male
Hometown: Connecticut
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Member since: Thu May 15, 2008, 04:37 PM
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Journal Archives

The Murdoch Effect and the Continuing Bankster Crime Wave

By William K. Black
Quito: May 30, 2015

One of common characteristics of the two epicenters of the elite banking fraud epidemics – the City of London and Wall Street – is Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers’ repeated efforts to create a criminogenic environment in both financial centers by cheerleading the regulatory race to the bottom. Murdoch’s papers also act as apologists for the resultant epidemic of elite banksters’ crimes.

One of the bit players that the Wall Street Journal has deployed as part of this apologia is particularly interesting for white-collar criminologists. The setting, as always on the WSJ’s editorial pages, is that the writers are overwhelmingly the most extreme right wing ideologues. The only criminological theory that the right wing loves is “broken windows.” The WSJ presented an op ed by Heather Mac Donald of the hard-right Manhattan Institute. The title gives a good feel of the extreme claim she is making: “The New Nationwide Crime Wave: The consequences of the ‘Ferguson effect’ are already appearing.”

It turns out that she has no nationwide data supporting the existence of a “new nationwide crime wave,” no basis for establishing the existence of a “Ferguson effect,” and no basis for demonstrating that the purported effect that a notorious police chief invented caused the “nationwide crime wave” that she cannot demonstrate exists. Instead, she quotes mostly figures on one month rates of some crimes in some cities or portions of cities. No social scientist would consider this approach reliable, but then she is not a social scientist but a “non-practicing lawyer.”

It also turns out that the invented “Ferguson effect” is the label of one of the police chiefs most criticized for his force’s cultivation of terrible relationships with the black community and his embrace of militarized policing. Mac Donald complains that blacks complain when white police shoot unarmed blacks:

in full: http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2015/06/the-murdoch-effect-and-the-continuing-bankster-crime-wave.html#more-9485

Vietnam: Body Counts and America as Victim - Christian Appy on Reality Asserts Itself

On Reality Asserts Itself, Mr. Appy says the Vietnam War killed millions of Vietnamese and tens of thousands of American workers - yet the mythology is America as a whole emerged as the victim June 2, 2015

So let's just pick up where we were. We were about to talk about how the narrative is not only do we have to be the toughest in the world, but we're also a victim, which is why we then have to go be so tough. But everything gets turned into victimhood.

But before we get completely into that, a little bit of a segue--but it's connected to it. If you talk about Vietnam, we've talked about the real victims, who were primarily the Vietnamese people. But also, if you go to America, the real victims were African-Americans who paid with their lives in completely unequal numbers.

CHRISTIAN G. APPY, AUTHOR, AMERICAN RECKONING: Certainly at the beginning of the war. In '65 and '66, more than 20 percent of American fatalities were African-American, which was almost twice their proportion of the population, though over the course of the entire war, that percentage falls to about 12.5 percent, which was still a little bit disproportionate. But I really think the military, in response to civil rights activism and calling out the early disparities, began to try to reduce the number of African-American casualties. But it is clear they were certainly more vulnerable to the draft.

My own view is that the disproportions are primarily class-based. This really was a working-class war, and it was under a draft system that was biased in almost every possible way.

in full: http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=13953

SEALs, CEOs, Milton Friedman, and Fraudulent Incentives

Posted on June 1, 2015 by William Black

I saw an intriguing squib in the Wall Street Journal about an article in the Harvard Business Review entitled “How the Navy SEALS Train for Leadership Excellence.” The article offers an, unintentionally, useful insight into the pathologies of elite business schools, their “leadership” faculty, and our elite C-suites.

The most interesting comment in the article is by Brandon Webb, a former senior SEAL sniper trainer.

“For training to work it has to be effective and incentives have to be in place (financial, personal growth, promotion, etc.) for training to be effective in the work place and in order to get employee ‘buy in,’” Webb notes. “I’m a big fan of economist Milton Frdman… it’s as simple as creating alignment through incentives and that’s what we did by creating an instructor/student mentor program. The instructors had accountability (they would be evaluated on their student’s performance) which created the right incentive for them to pass.

The author of the article, Michael Schrage (a research fellow at MIT’s Sloan School of Business) and Webb miss the key implications of Webb’s observation for B schools, their students, and the CEOs whose interests they typically represent. The behavior the CEO will produce in “his” firm is created by the incentives that the CEO crafts. The employees will overwhelmingly “align” their behavior with the incentives crafted by the CEO. It is, therefore, “simple” for CEOs to create “accountability” by shaping the incentives to produce the behavior that the CEO desires.

in full: http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2015/06/seals-ceos-milton-friedman-and-fraudulent-incentives.html

FILM REVIEW: 'We Are Many' ( Iraq War )

Hamza Hamouchene

Last update:
Friday 29 May 2015

Photo: Protesters chant slogans at a demonstration in Cairo (AFP)

The 2003 Iraq war will go down as one of the biggest scandals and most odious crimes of the early 21st century. It not only caused untold human suffering, destruction and mayhem (up to a million deaths according to some estimates, more than five million refugees and internally displaced, disastrous health effects including birth defects and cancers due to the use of chemical weapons, poverty, sectarian violence, etc.), but it did so on the basis of shameful cynicism and murderous lies.

Following the al-Qaeda attacks on 11 September 2001, the United States felt the need to react in order to safeguard its reputation as a superpower with its self-appointed role of managing world affairs. It invaded Afghanistan in 2001, but as if that was not enough to quench its thirst for more violence and domination, it fabricated lies about weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in order to invade Iraq, a country much weakened by bombing campaigns and merciless sanctions enforced by the West for more than a decade. There were no WMDs and the purpose was not to fight terrorism and install democracy but to force a regime change and plunder more resources.

But this tragic state of affairs did not go unchallenged. There was overwhelming international opposition to the US-led war in 2003 that culminated in the historic global protest on 15 February 2003. Around 30 million people marched in over 800 towns and cities around the world against the impending Western attacks on Iraq saying: "Not in our name!"

The story of the biggest protest in global history and the run-up to these massive events is the subject of a new gripping documentary by London-based filmmaker Amir Amirani. The film, We Are Many, is an indictment of those people who waged an illegal and criminal war, and succeeds in conveying the anti-war spirit of 2003 by documenting and charting a crucial moment in the left's efforts to organise in order to stop the war.

- See more at: http://www.middleeasteye.net/in-depth/reviews/review-we-are-many-1825216469#sthash.rYoqBgRo.dpuf

Graduating Class of 2015 Most Debt Burdened in History

43 million people are carrying $1.3 trillion in student debt. Josh Hoxie & Mayra Guizar examine the options on the table for dealing with this crisis. - May 18, 2015


Mayra Guizar is a senior at Western Washington University. She serves on the US Student Association Board of Directors as the Pacific Northwest Regional Chair. Mayra is also vice president of Western Votes! and the elections coordinator for the Western Washington University Associated Students.

Josh Hoxie joined the Institute for Policy Studies in August 2014 heading up the Project on Opportunity and Taxation. Josh's main focus is on addressing wealth inequality through the estate tax, a levy on the intergenerational transfer of immense wealth. Josh grew up on Cape Cod, Massachusetts and attained a BA in Political Science and Economics from St. Michael's College in Colchester, Vermont. Josh worked previously as a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the longest serving independent in Congressional history, both in his office in Washington, DC and on his successful 2012 re-election campaign.


snip*Americans owe $1.3 trillion in student loans, with 43 million people, young, old, and everyone in between burdened with student debt. This debt has shaken the fundamental values of the nation's higher education system. Now the Republicans are proposing to cut $150 billion from student aid in the recently passed budget bill, including freezing the Pell program that helps needy students acquire higher education.

College costs have increased 1000 percent since the '70s. Students are graduating with an average of $25,000 to over $100,000 in debt, and often with an education that will not secure them a good-paying job.

in full: http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=13861

Anti-Palestinian amendments went down with TPA

May 13, 2015

Tuesday, when labor and environmental advocates who oppose the fast track Trade Promotion Authority breathed a sigh of relief as the Senate blocked the controversial trade legislation for now, advocates for peace and justice in Israel/Palestine joined them.

In late April, Congressional committees in the House and Senate passed a pair of little-noticed amendments to the controversial Trade Promotion Authority ‘Fast-Track’ legislation that would legislate support for Israel’s illegal settlements and would impede efforts to apply non-violent pressure on Israel to change its discriminatory policies towards Palestinians.

Congressional Democrats voted Tuesday to block the controversial ‘Fast-Track’ Trade Promotion Authority that would strip Congress of the power to amend trade deals. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) currently being negotiated by the White House are opposed by labor and environmental groups because of the detrimental effect that they are likely to have on U.S. workers and environmental regulations. With the addition of the amendments relating to Israel, not only would damaging trade deals be negotiated in near secrecy without Congressional oversight, but U.S. trade policy would in future include combating Palestinian human rights advocacy and protecting Israel’s illegal settlements.

The proposed legislation would erase the distinction between Israel and the Palestinian territories it occupies, effectively upending longstanding U.S. policy in the region. As J.J. Goldberg, writing for the Jewish Daily Forward, noted, “This week’s congressional committee measures appear to be the first-ever formal step toward U.S. government recognition of the settlements’ legitimacy. None of the Capitol Hill sources contacted appeared to be aware of the explosive significance of the ‘territories under the control of Israel’ clause.”

in full: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/241850-anti-palestinian-amendments-went-down-with-tpa

PayPal Blocks Donations for Report on Russian Actions in Ukraine

May 14, 2015

In response to PayPal's decision to block donations to produce print copies of an investigative report on Russian military involvement in Ukraine, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“One of the Russian government’s most effective tactics for stifling criticism of President Putin and the government’s human rights abuses is to accuse critics of conducting ‘political activities’ and claiming them to be improper or illegal,” said Susan Corke, director of Eurasia Programs. “It is disturbing, to say the least, that PayPal has supported those tactics by denying individuals the right to help pay for publishing ‘Putin. War,’ the work of murdered opposition figure Boris Nemtsov. PayPal should immediately lift this ban, to help, rather than hinder, press freedom in Russia.”


The “Putin. War” report was published online on May 12, 2015. The bulk of the research and writing was done by Nemtsov, who was murdered in February 2015. His colleagues, including journalists, economists, and activists, completed the independent report in his stead. On May 14, 2015, PayPal blocked incoming donations for print publication, asserting, “PayPal does not allow its system to be used to collect donations for the activities of political parties or for political goals in Russia.”

Russia is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2015, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2015, Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2014, and received a democracy score of 6.29 on a scale of 1-7, with 7 being the worst possible score, in Nations in Transit 2014.


Don't advocate for Israel one more day, until you've done this

Whatever your politicYou don't know me. I'm just a guy from California who once fell in love with Israel, and stayed. But if you're a person who advocates for Israel in California or anywhere else outside of here, I have a message for you

It's the same message whether you belong to StandWithUs or J Street, the Republican Jewish Coalition or the New Israel Fund, AIPAC or Americans for Peace Now, the ZOA or Ameinu: Before you advocate for Israel one more day, you owe it to yourself and to Israel to do this: Download and open a report called "This is How We Fought in Gaza: Soldiers' testimonies and photographs from Operation 'Protective Edge' (2014)."

Read it until you can't go on. Then read it some more. Don't go back to advocating for Israel until you've read it to the end. It's not that long. Length is not the problem. Nor is language. It's just people talking.

Honesty is the problem. The calmly shocking honesty of scores of brave and deeply scarred soldiers who served in that war last summer. It won't be easy to read this, nor should it be.s, you should know this: These soldiers and the people of Breaking the Silence are Israeli patriots. They are advocating for Israel.


This is How We Fought in Gaza׳
testimonies and photographs from
Operation „Protective Edge ̋ (2014)

'If you spot someone, shoot': Israeli soldiers describe Gaza war

More than 60 Israeli soldiers have provided testimony on their time fighting in Gaza during Israel's summer 2014 assault on the enclave

May 4, 2015

A child sits among the rubble of Gaza after Israel's 50-day assault during the summer of 2014 (AFP)

A human rights group in Israel released a report on Monday including the testimonies of more than 60 soldiers which it says provides evidence the Israeli army may have committed “grave violations” of international law during their assault on Gaza last summer.

Soldiers told Breaking the Silence, a group comprised of former Israeli soldiers, that all Palestinians - civilians and fighters alike - were considered "targets" and that the invading Israeli forces wantonly destroyed swathes of Gaza’s residential areas.

More than 2,100 Palestinians were killed in Israel’s 50-day war against Hamas - an estimated 70 percent of casualties were civilian - and some 18,000 homes were destroyed or severely damaged. On the Israeli side 66 soldiers and six civilians were killed.

Several testimonies given to Breaking the Silence describe the complete absence of rules of engagement in the war, and include allegations that Palestinian civilians were considered terrorists in Gaza.


Bernie Sanders On the Issues

The American people must make a fundamental decision. Do we continue the 40-year decline of our middle class and the growing gap between the very rich and everyone else, or do we fight for a progressive economic agenda that creates jobs, raises wages, protects the environment and provides health care for all? Are we prepared to take on the enormous economic and political power of the billionaire class, or do we continue to slide into economic and political oligarchy? These are the most important questions of our time, and how we answer them will determine the future of our country.

Rebuilding our Crumbling Infrastructure
Addressing Climate Change
Real Tax Reform
Protecting the Most Vulnerable Americans
Health Care as a Right for All
Taking on Wall Street
Making College Affordable for All
Trade Policies that Benefit American Workers
Pay Equity for Women Workers
Raising the Minimum Wage

in full: https://berniesanders.com/issues/

Bernie’s Record

A relentless fighter for America's middle class and working families — a "practical and successful legislator."

In Congress, Bernie has fought tirelessly for working families, focusing on the growing gap between the rich and poor. The Almanac of American Politics calls him a “practical and successful legislator.” As chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Bernie worked across the aisle to “bridge Washington’s toxic partisan divide and cut one of the most significant deals in years,” according to Congressional Quarterly. In 2015, Bernie was tapped to serve as the Democratic Caucus’ ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee.

Growing the Trade Union Movement

Creating Worker Co-Ops


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