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Home country: USA
Current location: nice place
Member since: Thu May 15, 2008, 04:37 PM
Number of posts: 21,850
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Civil Administration demolishes nearly half the homes in community of Id’eis, the Jordan Valley
On 21 May 2014, Civil Administration and army forces demolished approximately half of the homes and livestock pens in the community of Id’eis in the Jordan Valley, leaving 53 persons homeless. This joins other extensive efforts by Israeli authorities to expel thousands of Palestinians from their homes throughout Area C, despite the prohibition on forced transfer in international law. B’Tselem calls on authorities to allow the Id’eis community continue its agricultural lifestyle undisturbed, as it has done for the last thirty years.
Ne’meh Id’eis, 56, a resident of the community and mother of four, described the demolition in her testimony to B’Tselem field researcher ‘Atef Abu a-Rub:
Many soldiers, big tractors, police and cars blocked off the lands around us. They ordered us to get our belongings out of our homes, and in less than half an hour they demolished everything. They left nothing. The little children and the lambs stood in the sun or under trees. All our personal belongings were outside, and the tractors scraped through and destroyed all our structures. They left no stone unturned. They left us no roof to shelter under. We were left outside with nothing. They even destroyed the stone oven I use to bake bread for the children. I asked them to leave it for us so we could eat, but it was like talking to a wall.
In just a few hours, the place was in ruins, I swear, like a war zone. The army and tractors left, and then the journalists came and everyone wanted to get pictures of the place.
Posted by Jefferson23 | Sun Jun 1, 2014, 12:10 PM (1 replies)
Posted on June 1, 2014
By William K. Black
I am not a French hater – and there is no “but” to that clause. The Wall Street Journal, however, frequently engages in French bashing. The WSJ has also, unintentionally and unknowingly, suggested that the French may act in a manner that would provide a new humorous answer to the old joke that begins: “What is chutzpah?” The context is that the U.S. and New York state authorities are negotiating with BNP Paribas (a very large French bank) to settle a series of felonies involving primarily sanction-busting – and covering up those crimes.
A political movement has arisen in France opposing any U.S. criminal actions against Paribas. Americans will have no difficulty understanding this political dynamic, particularly because our Department of Justice (DOJ) continues to give a total pass to the U.S. officers who led the accounting control frauds that drove the crisis and prosecutes only foreign financial operations. What is remarkable is the WSJ’s suggestion of how the French Prime Minister Hollande might bring French objections personally to the attention of President Obama.
“ny hefty penalty imposed on BNP Paribas could revive trans-Atlantic tensions….”
“Mr. Hollande will meet with President Barack Obama next week during ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of D-Day….”
So, let me see whether I have this right. The French goal is to avoid “reviv trans-Atlantic tensions” and the means of doing so would be for Hollande to complain to Obama about Paribas – on “the 70th anniversary of D-Day.” I’m a strong critic of Hollande, but I don’t think he would display the chutzpah of using the anniversary of the death and grievous wounding of thousands of Americans who stormed the beaches of France to liberate that Nation from Nazi occupation as the time to complain about holding Paribas (mildly) accountable for the crimes of its officers.
Posted by Jefferson23 | Sun Jun 1, 2014, 10:53 AM (0 replies)
Posted on May 29, 2014 by William Black
The reason we have recurrent, intensifying financial crises is because we learn the wrong lessons from our prior crises and actively make things worse. The consistent explanation for our making things worse is that dogmas lead to “doubling down” on failed faith-based policies. The dominant ideologues in the U.S. and Europe on financial policies are theoclassical economists and their fellow choir members – neoclassical economists. A small article in the Wall Street Journal provides a classic example of the continuing destruction driven by these dogmas.
The WSJ article, of course, sees none of this. It fails to distinguish between two very different concepts. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) is supposed to regulate “national banks” – the largest banks. The first concept is where examiners’ offices are located. The OCC uses “resident” examiners in the largest banks. This means that hundreds of OCC (and Fed) examiners have offices in the huge banks. Resident examiners are a terrible idea because they invariably “marry the natives.” When the Fed “marries the natives” it constitutes incest because the NY Fed (which examines many of the largest bank holding companies) has traditionally been one branch of the inbred Wall Street family. The OCC, under Presidents Clinton and Bush, was nearly as bad because it was engaged in a “race to the bottom” with the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) to see which could “triumph” as the worst federal banking regulator.
If the OCC proposal was to cut back dramatically on resident examiners in order to beef up normal examination frequency and scope that would a very good thing that we could applaud. That would be the obvious fix that any effective supervisor would have implemented as soon as he or she was appointed. This is the second concept that the OCC could have meant by its proposal. It does not appear that the second concept is what the OCC’s leadership has in mind. Their system has increasingly deemphasized examination in favor of off-site monitoring (analysts in government office buildings looking at their computers). The OCC has not announced that it adopting an increase in examination frequency or the scope of examinations as a result of its decision to reduce the number of resident examiners.
We Know How to Make Examination and Supervision Succeed
In a normal examination the examiners’ offices are located in a federal building but the examination takes place in the bank’s offices. These examinations are our paramount function as banking regulators. In a well-functioning regulatory agency everyone adds value, but none of us can succeed if the examiners fail. During the S&L debacle, the reason we were able to reregulate successfully, to bring thousands of successful enforcement actions, and hundreds of civil actions, and to make it possible for the Department of Justice to obtain over 1,000 felony convictions in cases it designated as “major” was the examiners’ success. George Akerlof and Paul Romer recognized this point.
in full: http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2014/05/occ-carefully-studies-fail.html
Posted by Jefferson23 | Thu May 29, 2014, 02:09 PM (3 replies)
May 21, 2014
The Wall Street Journal has editorialized about Credit Suisse’s guilty plea in a piece entitled “If Credit Suisse really is a criminal, why protect it from regulators?” More precisely, and confusingly, the full title is:
“Holder Convicts Switzerland
If Credit Suisse really is a criminal, why protect it from regulators?”
The U.S. Saved Switzerland and Its Banks
I’ll begin by responding to the WSJ’s weird claims about Switzerland. Far from “convict Switzerland,” the U.S. Fed bailed out the Swiss Central Bank at the acute phase of the crisis (by making large unsecured loans to it in dollars) so that it in turn could provide dollars to its two massive, insolvent, and fraudulent banks (UBS and Credit Suisse). The Treasury, with the support of Secretaries Paulson and Geithner, used AIG to secretly bail out not only Goldman Sachs but also UBS (to the tune of $5 billion). The unconscionable deal was so toxic that the heads of each of the three U.S. financial regulatory agencies involved (Treasury, the Fed, and the NY Fed) deny that they had any involvement in the decision – it’s the Virgin Bailout.
UBS was contemporaneously negotiating a deal with the U.S. to pay a fine of $780 million to settle its criminal liability for aiding and abetting tax fraud by wealthy U.S. tax cheats – so we, in economic substance, paid their entire fine and added a bonus of $4.22 billion that rewarded the frauds. As always, the fine was assessed solely on UBS, not the controlling officers who grew wealthy through UBS’ frauds, so the senior officers got even wealthier through the massive tax fraud and the secret AIG bailout and they overwhelmingly got to keep their jobs and bonuses that their frauds and our bailouts maximized. (The secret U.S. bailout of UBS is considerably larger than the fines assessed to UBS and now Credit Suisse – combined – so the claim of U.S. hostility to Switzerland that the WSJ is pushing on their editorial pages is refuted by the facts.)
That secret Treasury bailout via AIG was in addition to the Fed bailout that kept UBS and Credit Suisse from collapsing in 2008. Herr Dr. Hummler, the head of Switzerland’s oldest private bank – the man who propagated the claim throughout Europe that the financial crisis was caused by making home loans to black Americans – bragged in my presence at a conference in Switzerland that the only reason his bank existed was to aid tax evasion by wealthy U.S. citizens. His bank, being small and unprotected by “too big to prosecute” was eliminated by U.S. criminal sanctions. He was up front about the fact that Switzerland’s fundamental strategy was to encourage and aid and abet the wealthiest people in the world evading their nations’ tax laws.
in full: http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2014/05/credit-suisses-guilty-plea-wsj-uses-right-adjective-modify-wrong-noun.html
Posted by Jefferson23 | Thu May 22, 2014, 09:41 AM (4 replies)
Posted on May 16, 2014
By William K. Black
The old joke about how to answer the question: “what does chutzpah mean?” – has been rendered woefully inadequate by events. The old answer was: “Chutzpah is when a son kills his mother and father and asks the court at sentencing to show him mercy because he is an orphan.” The two variants of the new answer to the question of what chutzpah means are:
“Chutzpah is when a foreign corporation that commits tens of thousands of criminal acts that sicken and kill humans and animals and pollute the environment demands that a Kangaroo (faux) court order the government of the nation whose citizens were ravaged by those crimes issue an unconstitutional order to its courts ordering them not to hear the victims’ lawsuits seeking compensation for those crimes and demands that fines for billions of dollars be issues against the Nation (i.e., the victims) for refusing to implement that unconstitutional and unconscionable demand of the Kangaroos.”
“Chutzpah is when a foreign corporation selling cigarettes to the citizens of another nation – for the banal and grotesque purpose of becoming wealthy through the sale of a product it knows to be lethal and addictive – demands that the Kangaroos fine the Nation for the high crime of trying to protect the life and health of its citizens by discoursing smoking.”
snip* Reality-based Insanity
Here’s the kicker: the two new definitions are based on reality. The corporations are alleged to have committed vastly worse crimes and tortious acts than the fictional son. They committed their crimes and torts for far worse reasons than the (most likely) motivations of the fictional son. They made a vastly more absurd and outrageous demand – not for a reduced sentence but total immunity for their crimes and torts. And then they transcended the old joke’s concept of chutzpah by orders of magnitude by demanding that a government (and in economic substance that means the victims) pay an enormous fine for a bizarrely invented “wrong.” The Nation is accused of refusing to violate its constitution and any concept of justice by issuing an illegal order to its courts. The unconstitutional order that the Nation was ordered to commit would have forbidden the victims from raising their legal claims against the foreign corporation. This would immunize the foreign corporation for any crimes and torts that it committed. The new definitions of chutzpah involve alleged acts that are vastly worse in terms of the harm and motive, and demands by the alleged criminal that are vastly more absurd and vastly more outrageous than the old definition.
in full: http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2014/05/new-joke-defining-supercharged-version-chutzpah.html#more-8222
Posted by Jefferson23 | Tue May 20, 2014, 08:49 AM (0 replies)
Posted on May 12, 2014 by William Black | 7 Comments
By William K. Black
In my first article on Timothy Geithner’s book entitled “Stress Test” I exposed the revealing and disgusting nature of his bizarre ad hominem attack on Neil Barofsky, the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Assets Relief Program (SIGTARP) for the great sin of providing his law enforcement officers (LEOs) with side arms and protective vests – an action any responsible leader of SIGTARP would make a priority. In this second article I discuss very briefly his other two ad hominem attacks on Barofsky and his staff.
Geithner Damns Barofsky for Lack of Expertise
This attack constitutes further proof of our family rule that it is impossible to compete with unintentional self-parody. Geithner complains:
“Barofsky’s desire to prevent perfidy was untainted by financial knowledge or experience.”
Posted by Jefferson23 | Fri May 16, 2014, 08:27 PM (1 replies)
The Commander in Chief at the Lowest Ebb – Framing the Problem, Doctrine, and Original Understanding
Nomination to First Circuit: David J. Barron
On September 24, 2013, President Obama nominated Barron to serve as a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, to the seat vacated by Judge Michael Boudin, who took senior status on June 1, 2013. On January 16, 2014 his nomination was reported out of committee and is now pending before the full U.S. Senate
Barron is known for coauthoring (with Martin S. Lederman) a Harvard Law Review article titled "The Commander in Chief at the Lowest Ebb - Framing the Problem, Doctrine and Original Understanding," Harvard Law Review, Vol. 121, Pg. 689, January 2008, which was an attack of the advice given by the Office of Legal Counsel to President George W. Bush justifying Bush's use of executive power during the War on Terror. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Jeremiah_Barron
The Commander in Chief at the Lowest Ebb – Framing the Problem, Doctrine, and Original Understanding
Article by David J. Barron & Martin S. Lederman
Jan 1, 2008
121 Harv. L. Rev. 689
Over the past half-century, discussions of constitutional war powers have focused on the scope of the President’s “inherent”ť power as Commander in Chief to act in the absence of congressional authorization. In this Article, Professors Barron and Lederman argue that attention should now shift to the fundamental question of whether and when the President may exercise Article II war powers in contravention of congressional limitations, when the President’s authority as Commander in Chief is at its “lowest ebb.”ť Contrary to the traditional assumption that Congress has ceded the field to the President when it comes to war, the Commander in Chief often operates in a legal environment instinct with legislatively imposed limitations. In the present context, the Bush Administration has been faced with a number of statutes that clearly conflict with its preferred means of prosecuting military conflicts. The Administration’s response, based on an assertion of preclusive executive war powers, has been to claim the constitutional authority to disregard many of these congressional commands.
This Article is the first of a two-part effort to determine how the constitutional argument concerning such preclusive executive war powers is best conceived. Professors Barron and Lederman demonstrate that, notwithstanding recent attempts to yoke the defense of executive defiance in wartime to original understandings, there is surprisingly little historical evidence supporting the notion that the conduct of military campaigns is beyond legislative control. Thus stripped of its assumed roots in a supposedly longstanding tradition, and considered in light of the long pattern of executive acceptance of constraining statutes, the Administration’s recent assertion of preclusive war powers is revealed as a radical attempt to remake the constitutional law of war powers.
Posted by Jefferson23 | Tue May 13, 2014, 08:19 AM (1 replies)
by Jamie Stern-Weiner | published May 12, 2014 - 11:31am
Israelis and Palestinians share responsibility for the collapse of Middle East peace talks. That was the message delivered on Thursday by US special envoy to the peace process Martin Indyk, in a speech to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP). Israel issued tenders for 4,800 settlement units during the talks, he noted, while on the Palestinian side, accession to international treaties and reconciliation with Hamas had been “unhelpful” to US efforts to rescue an already faltering process.
More generally, Indyk argued, the parties’ lack of any “sense of urgency” made it impossible to bridge the gaps between them. Israeli politicians and their constituents were in no rush to abandon a “comfortable status quo,” while Palestinian officials found it “easier” to “appeal to international bodies in their supposed pursuit of ‘justice’ and their ‘rights’” than to “make the gut-wrenching compromises necessary to achieve peace.”
As a diagnosis of the talks’ collapse, Indyk’s speech flattered Israel. As unnamed “senior American officials” -- Indyk apparently among them -- had explained to veteran Israeli journalist Nahum Barnea earlier in the week, the negotiations were not derailed by “both sides.” The “primary sabotage,” they insisted, “came from the settlements.” Far from lamenting the Palestinians’ evasion of necessary compromises, the officials listed Palestinian President Mahmoud ‘Abbas’ many concessions, including on issues at the core of the conflict. Whereas Indyk’s speech credits Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with having displayed a measure of “flexibility,” the officials made clear that Netanyahu at most, and at the last minute, and only in reference to his own extremist positions, budged an “inch.”
We did not, as Indyk suggests, need another six months of talks to “define” what those positions were. Leaked internal documents from previous rounds, published by Al Jazeera three years ago as the Palestine Papers, delineate them with painful clarity. They show that Israel’s terms for settling the conflict have remained consistent for more than a decade: annexation by Israel of the major settlement blocs, on approximately 9 percent of the West Bank; and a nullification of the Palestinian refugees’ right of return.
Posted by Jefferson23 | Mon May 12, 2014, 05:46 PM (2 replies)
May 8, 2014
We look at the case of "Jane Doe," a 16-year-old transgender girl of color in Connecticut imprisoned in solitary confinement without any criminal charges. One month ago today, a Superior Court judge ordered her sent to prison after the Connecticut Department of Children and Families requested the transfer, claiming they could not safely care for her. The move is allowed under a rarely used Connecticut statute. To justify sending Jane Doe to prison, DCF cited her alleged history of violent behavior. But in an affidavit to the court, Jane Doe wrote: "I feel that DCF has failed to protect me from harm and I am now thrown into prison because they have refused to help me." She goes on to detail how she was repeatedly sexually and physically abused between the ages of eight and 15, at the hands of both relatives and DCF staff, all while she was under DCF’s supervision. Describing her confinement at an adult women’s prison in Niantic, Connecticut, Doe wrote in an op-ed for The Hartford Courant: "I’m in my room 22 hours a day with a guard staring at me — even when I shower and go to the bathroom. It’s humiliating. Women constantly scream and cry and it was hard to sleep. They moved me down a different hallway where it’s not as crazy. I tell myself that this is just a nightmare, but it doesn’t end." We are joined by Jane Doe’s lawyer, Aaron Romano, and Chase Strangio, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Project.
snip*Well, to talk more about Jane Doe’s case, we’re joined by Aaron Romano, Jane Doe’s lawyer in federal court. He’s speaking to us by audio stream from Hartford, Connecticut. And here in New York we’re joined by Chase Strangio, staff attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT Project.
We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Let’s begin with Aaron Romano. Tell us just where Jane Doe is now and what has happened to her?
AARON ROMANO: So, Jane Doe is in an adult female facility in Connecticut. There’s only one female facility in Connecticut. And because of her status as a juvenile, she has to be separated from any and all—from sight and sound from any and all adults. So she’s in virtual isolation from anyone else in that jail.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And why are they—why is the state claiming that they have so much problem being able to handle her?
AARON ROMANO: Well, you covered that a little bit here. She was in DCF supervision from the age of five and sexually abused from the age of eight through 15. So that was about seven years of sexual abuse that she suffered. While she was in a residential treatment facility, through DCF supervision, a staff member aggressively approached her, placed her in an illegal restraint. That staff member was later discharged for that illegal restraint. And she defended herself. After experiencing sexual abuse for close to seven years, a child will have a certain sensitivity to touch or approach and may interpret certain situations from a very defensive perspective. And the staff should have been well aware of that. So in response to that, DCF just wanted to pass the buck on, so to speak, to the Department of Corrections, and they wanted to just dump her on the Department of Corrections and say, "Listen, we don’t want to take care of her anymore. You take care of her."
in full: http://www.democracynow.org/2014/5/8/after_abuse_under_state_supervision_transgender
Posted by Jefferson23 | Thu May 8, 2014, 03:16 PM (4 replies)
May 5, 2012
Bill Black: Despite a government accountability office investigation uncovering new evidence of illegal robo-signing, authorities still striking deals instead of locking up wrongdoers
snip* SHARMINI PERIES, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries in Baltimore.
This is our segment with Bill Black. Bill Black is an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He's a white-collar criminologist and former financial regulator. He's the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One. And he's a regular contributor at The Real News Network.
Thanks for joining us, Bill.
BILL BLACK, ASSOC. PROF. ECONOMICS AND LAW, UMKC: Thank you.
PERIES: Bill, I understand you have two strategies to report on today, one that throws the homeowners under the bus, and another one: how the federal government plans on protecting bankers once again.
BLACK: So the one about the homeowners has to do with a GAO study that just came out. And the GAO looked at one of these programs in which the banks agreed with the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which is supposed to regulate the largest national banks, to review their loan files and find out where they had screwed up in foreclosures or failing to give relief and to provide substantial payments to homeowners who were the victims of this practice, except that it all went disastrously wrong. So they started this review of the banks' records, and it turned out that the records were in such terrible shape that the people doing the review, who were consultants chosen by the banks, concluded that they couldn't complete the review unless they spent many years and billions of dollars doing it, because the loan files were in such bad shape.
Now, that should have caused everyone to reexamine how often they were engaged in fraud, the so-called robo-signing in which they lied in their affidavits that they had established a basis to foreclose on people's homes. But, of course, it didn't lead to that. Instead, it led to a deal in which the OCC and the Fed released the banks from the requirement to do the file reviews. And the GAO says, because of this, homeowners will get a billion and a half fewer dollars. And, of course, there was no completed review to find the facts and to determine who actually was the victims of all of that. So that's the first atrocity.
in full: http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=11816
Posted by Jefferson23 | Tue May 6, 2014, 09:06 AM (23 replies)