Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Let's Talk About Evolution

How not to market science to girls


November 29th, 2011

Teaching kids about science is one of the best things we can do. Children are naturally inquisitive and curious; and the methods of science, if taught correctly, can be used to engender a lifelong love of these traits.

So I’m happy when science is encouraged for kids. Still, there are times when I see examples of science education that make me cringe, and shake my head, wondering "What were they thinking?"

Enter WILD! Science. This is an apparently successful Australian company that sells science kits for kids. That’s great, and some of the kits look pretty good.

The problem is, they split some of the kits into ones for boys, and ones for girls. And that split is exactly what you think.

For example, for boys: Hyperlauncher, Joke Soap, Perils of the Deep, Weird Slime Lab.

For girls: Mystic Crystals, Beauty Spa Lab, Luxury Soap Lab, Perfect Perfume Lab.

Oh: I’ll add that the boys’ kits are marketed in blue; the girls’ in pink.

Um. Yeah.

Now, I am not a sociologist or a psychologist who studies gender roles and the differences between the sexes. It strikes me that there may be no need to separate the way we teach between boys and girls — my friend and geologist Evelyn Mervine discusses this point further — but I’ll also readily admit that there may very well be differences between the ways boys and girls see the world. If that’s the case, I have no problem with a company, teacher, or parent accepting that and using it to help the child learn. In other words, science is the same for everyone, but how we get people interested in it and learning about may vary from demographic to demographic.

But I don’t think that’s really the issue here. The problem here is these girls’ kits all are almost entirely marketed on the idea that girls should be pretty, or should try to make themselves pretty.

Ultra Right Wing Christo-Fascist Bryan Fischer: Barney Frank Influenced Men To Be Gay, Get AIDS

Save the euro in 10 days or see the EU disintegrate, ministers are warned

Olli Rehn, EU economic affairs commissioner, says the choice is between deeper integration and Europe falling apart

in Brussels and in Beijing
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 30 November 2011

Europe's leaders are faced with a stark deadline of 10 days to save the euro or face the disintegration of the European Union itself.

The warning from Olli Rehn, EU economic and monetary affairs commissioner, came after central banks intervened to prevent a complete freezing-over of the west's financial sector because of the politicians' continued failure to resolve the sovereign debt crisis.

EU finance ministers were told bluntly that, with eurozone unemployment at 16.3m or 10.3% – the highest level since the single currency was introduced – an unchecked debt and banking crisis would push Europe into a deep slump and drag the rest of the world with it.

Herman Van Rompuy, the European Council president, charged with preparing yet another make-or-break EU summit next week, said: "The trouble has become systemic. We are witnessing a fully blown confidence crisis."

The eurozone's three most prominent leaders – Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel and Mario Monti – are due to set out over the next five days how they envisage Europe's political class regaining supremacy over volatile but dominant financial markets – and restoring confidence among panicky investors.

Bloomberg: 'I have my own army'


Published: 30 November, 2011

Call it martial law or call it a police state. Either one you chose isn’t too far off and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg knows it. At a speaking engagement Tuesday night, Bloomberg referred to the NYPD as his own army.

Addressing suggestions that he should vie for the White House and leaving the Big Apple behind in favor of joining the race for the presidency, Bloomberg told an audience at MIT on Tuesday that he doesn’t need to tackle Washington; according to the mayor, his reign over New York trumps anything that a throne in the oval office could offer.

"I have my own army in the NYPD, which is the seventh biggest army in the world,” said Bloomberg, reports The New York Observer. "I have my own State Department, much to Foggy Bottom's annoyance. We have the United Nations in New York, and so we have an entree into the diplomatic world that Washington does not have."

Yes, Bloomberg said he has his own army. He said he has his own State Department. Yes, he said that New York and his title there gives him practically as power as the commander-in-chief. And yes, once again, Bloomberg said that he has an army.

An army seventh in size at roughly 35,000 soldiers — er, police officers — and first in corruption it would seem. While Bloomberg has been elected to three terms as ruler of New York, his “army” has been plagued with scandal since even before his tenure began. In recent years, however, the cops of the New York Police Department has been caught on the other side of the crime line, with allegations of brutality, rape, cover-ups and corruption becoming just as common in NYC as a pile of pigeon poop.

Iran Crisis 2011: The Remake of Iran Crisis 1979

Stop, I've seen this movie before.

Fanatical Iranians storming Embassies. Plus the ginning up of a nuclear threat ala Iraq War propaganda build up.

I don't know how W. fucked up the prosperity side of going to war with Iraq. We got a huge stinking deficit and no oil out of that one, plus everyone in the Middle East hates us, but to the "Big Thinkers" that only means we need to try harder.

Let me be the first to say, "Fuck the idea of going to war with Iran."

The only war Americans or for that matter Europeans should even consider getting into is a major Class War against the rich elite Masters of the Fucking Universe". They are our real enemy, the real threat to democracy.

I read a really chilling article on Naked Capitalism today outlining the ultra right wing "Libertarian" idea of doing away with democracy. (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/11/journey-into-a-libertarian-future-part-ii-%E2%80%93-the-strategy.html)

The whole Iran Scare is just a spectacle to divert attention from the fucking working people in the USA/Canada and Europe are receiving from the Elites.

Iranian protesters storm UK compound in Tehran


By Reuters
Tuesday, November 29, 2011

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iranian protesters stormed the British Embassy compound in Tehran on Tuesday, smashing windows and burning the British flag during a rally to protest against sanctions imposed by Britain, live Iranian television showed.

Protesters threw petrol bombs and one waved a framed picture of Queen Elizabeth apparently found inside the compound, the state TV showed.

The semi-official Mehr news agency said protesters pulled down the British flag, burned it, and put up the Iranian flag.
The incident followed Britain’s imposition of new sanctions on the Islamic state last week over its nuclear program.
London banned all British financial institutions from doing business with their Iranian counterparts, including the Central Bank of Iran, as part of a new wave of sanctions by Western countries.

Video of LAPD late night raid on Occupy LA

Not Made in America


Published on Wednesday, November 30, 2011 by CommonDreams.org

"Here, look at this handsome L.L. Bean catalog and tell me what you want for Christmas," said a relative over Thanksgiving weekend. I started leafing through the 88 page cornucopia with hundreds of clothing and household products, garnished by free gift cards and guaranteed free shipping. I wasn't perusing it for any suggested gifts; instead, I was going through every offering to see whether they were made in the U.S.A. or in other countries.

This is what I found: over 97 percent of all the items pictured and priced were noted "imported" by L.L. Bean. The only ones manufactured in the U.S. were fireplace gloves, an L.L. Bean jean belt, a dress chino belt, quilted faux-shearling-lined L.L. Bean boots (made in Maine), a personalized web collar and leash (for your pet), and symbolically enough, the "made in Maine using American-made cotton canvas are the Original Boat and Tote Bags" to carry all those goodies coming in from China and elsewhere.

That was it for the products that were "Made in America." The former fountainhead of global manufacturing has been largely deflated by the flight of U.S. companies to fascist or communist regimes noted for holding down their repressed workers.

But there is much more to this story and the plight of millions of American workers and hundreds of their hollowed out communities that are the visible results of corporate free trade propaganda.

How many times have the politicians and their corporate paymasters told us that "free trade" with other nations is a "win-win" proposition? They win and we win. After all, isn't that what happened two hundred years ago when Portugal sold its wine to England in return for British textiles? Economists have won many prizes elaborating this theory of comparative advantage.

That is what Nobel laureate super-economist Paul Samuelson believed in the many years he wrote and updated his standard "Economics 101" textbook studied by millions of college students for nearly 50 years. For many of his colleagues, the theory of "free trade" had become an ideology bordering on a secular religion. Don't bother them with the facts.

Chris Hedges addresses Occupy Harvard November 28 2011





Restore the Basic Bargain


By Robert Reich
Monday, November 28, 2011

For most of the last century, the basic bargain at the heart of the American economy was that employers paid their workers enough to buy what American employers were selling.

That basic bargain created a virtuous cycle of higher living standards, more jobs, and better wages.

Back in 1914, Henry Ford announced he was paying workers on his Model T assembly line $5 a day – three times what the typical factory employee earned at the time. The Wall Street Journal termed his action “an economic crime.”

But Ford knew it was a cunning business move. The higher wage turned Ford’s auto workers into customers who could afford to buy Model T’s. In two years Ford’s profits more than doubled.

That was then. Now, Ford Motor Company is paying its new hires half what it paid new employees a few years ago.

The basic bargain is over – not only at Ford but all over the American economy.

Homophobia: A Mark of Loser Nations


Posted: 11/29/11

I knew Russia was likely to embrace homophobia the moment I read that approximately 1.25 million Russians have emigrated from the nation in the past decade. Population experts say that the mass exodus is comparable in size to the migration following the Bolshevik Revolution.

This one-time superpower is disintegrating into a superstitious country more concerned about angels than economics. Each day, for example, tens of thousands of Russians stand in line for up to 12 hours in frigid weather to kiss a glass-covered case that they believe holds the Virgin Mary's belt.

To top it off, Vladimir Putin's voracious appetite for power is morphing Russia into an unsettling hybrid that vacillates between pseudo-democracy and sort-of dictatorship. The faltering of this country, which has the world's 11th largest economy, would be significantly worse if it were not for the good fortune of having oil and gas exports.

In this politically stagnating and spiritually stifling environment, it is predictable that the city of Saint Petersburg would consider a totalitarian bill imposing fines for the so-called promotion of gay "propaganda." If it were to pass, anyone who committed "public acts" promoting homosexuality, bisexuality or transgender identity to minors could pay up to 3,000 rubles, while an organization could pay 10,000 to 50,000 rubles.

Barney Frank: ENDA Won’t Pass Unless Democrats Regain Control Of Congress, Hold White House


Retiring Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) attributed the failure of Congress to pass a federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to a “crowded agenda,” health care reform, and “transgender inclusion” during a press conference in Washington, D.C. this afternoon. “Given the polarization on this issue…[the bill will pass] the next time you get a Democratic House, Senate and President,” Frank predicted in response to a question from Metro Weekly’s Chris Geidner, adding that in his 32 years in Congress, Democrats controlled all three for just four years. Frank said that openly LGBT members can also influence their fellow legislators to vote in favor of equality. “Legislating is the most personal form of governance…and personal factors mean a lot. Voting on the abstract on an issue is one thing, telling someone with whom you had good personal relations that you think he’s inferior, that’s harder.” Watch it: 


Hartmann: Everything U Know is Wrong - The Golden Motorcycle Gang

Mortgage Servicers: Getting Away with the Perfect Crime?


Monday, 11/28/2011

Without prosecutions, there’s nothing keeping fraud from becoming a standard business practice.

In 2004, the FBI warned Congress of an “epidemic of mortgage fraud,” of unscrupulous operators taking advantage of a booming real estate market. Less than two years later, an accounting scandal at Fannie Mae tipped us off that something was very wrong at the highest levels of corporate America.

Of course, we all know what happened next. Crime invaded the center of our banking system. Wall Street CEOs were signing on to SEC documents knowing they contained material misstatements. The New York Fed, riddled with conflicts of interest, shoveled money to large banks and tried to hide it under the veil of central bank independence. Even Tim Geithner noted that Lehman had “air in the marks” in its valuations of asset-backed securities, as the bankruptcy examiner’s report showed that accounting manipulation to disguise the condition of the balance sheet was a routine management tool at the bank. There’s a reason Charles Ferguson got an Academy Award for his work on the documentary Inside Job.

And yet, no handcuffs. The big news on prosecutions in the traditionally high-powered Southern District of New York are convictions for relatively petty insider trading that are unrelated to the collapse of the economy. The criminal charges could have been filed in the 1980s. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has brought minor civil suits against banks, but nothing significant, and no criminal indictments for the Ponzi scheme of the last four years.

"I'll Occupy" Recruitment Song: The 99 is Pissed and We Will Not Be Dismissed!

Our Right to Privacy Has Been Systematically Shrunk. What's Left?


If the government wants to track us, it has never been easier. The ubiquitous and relatively invisible private collection of data serves as a sort of outsourcing of surveillance.

By Patricia J. Williams
November 28, 2011

When attorney and feminist blogger Jill Filipovic landed at Newark Airport in October, her checked bags had been opened and scrutinized by the Transportation Security Administration. Later that evening when she unpacked, she found the requisite TSA slip acknowledging the search inside her suitcase. It’s unsettling enough to find such a note under the best of circumstances. Most of us do not tuck our dainties, toiletries, computer discs and diaries into our luggage with the thought that an unseen stranger will lay hands on it all and maybe pass untoward judgment. If we do think about it, most of us try to rationalize it as a necessary evil; and we minimize it by imagining a mechanistic bureaucrat, a stern and steely sort, having no emotions beyond a gimlet eye for weaponry.

Anonymous searches like these are nevertheless—by their nature—very intimate interactions. Filipovic discovered this firsthand when the Oz-like mask of the imagined automaton was torn off in the most uncomfortable way. She had packed what she later described as a “discreet miniature vibrator” in her suitcase. The vibrator apparently gave the TSA agent quite a chuckle, for he scrawled a handwritten note across the form: “Get your freak on, girl!” Not surprisingly, when the incident went public, a firestorm of protest forced the TSA to take steps to fire the agent. The search of Filipovic’s suitcase was carried out by a real human being—who is no doubt suffering some remorse—not by our imagined soulless machine.

Europe on the Brink


Posted: 11/27/11

Europe is now on the very edge of an economic abyss. And Germany is finding that it cannot survive as a smug island of fiscally conservative prosperity while the rest of Europe goes down the tubes. It is anybody's guess whether Europe's leaders will shift course in time. If they fail, it won't be pretty. The fact that Germany's fate is now more closely linked to that of its neighbors actually offers a ray of hope.

Until last week, Germany had been the safe haven. As speculators pulled money out of other countries, in a bondholders' equivalent of a run on the bank, German government debt was oversubscribed, causing interest rates on German bunds (government bonds) to fall below 2 percent. The spread between German rates and the rates that "weaker" countries had to pay to sell their bonds was treated as a precise barometer of market confidence in a given nation's debt.

For the Germans, this was a huge windfall. My friend Sony Kapoor, who directs the progressive think tank Re-Define in Brussels, calculated that Germany's cheaper borrowing costs due to the panicky bond-market flight from nations like Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland saved the Germans some $26.7 billion in interests costs between 2009 and 2011, and another $20 billion in low-interest bonds already locked in for the future. (It is no accident that the word Schadenfreude -- translated as joy at another's misfortune -- is a uniquely German coinage.)

But then on Thursday, as Americans were taking a day off for Thanksgiving, the unthinkable happened. Germany had trouble selling its bonds. The bond market, in its panic, was fleeing even the safest haven. Europe is now approaching a Lehman Brothers moment, where nobody trusts anybody else's promise to repay a debt.

Prepare for riots in euro collapse, Foreign Office warns

British embassies in the eurozone have been told to draw up plans to help British expats through the collapse of the single currency, amid new fears for Italy and Spain.

By , Deputy Political Editor
25 Nov 2011

As the Italian government struggled to borrow and Spain considered seeking an international bail-out, British ministers privately warned that the break-up of the euro, once almost unthinkable, is now increasingly plausible.


Diplomats are preparing to help Britons abroad through a banking collapse and even riots arising from the debt crisis.
 
The Treasury confirmed earlier this month that contingency planning for a collapse is now under way.

A senior minister has now revealed the extent of the Government’s concern, saying that Britain is now planning on the basis that a euro collapse is now just a matter of time.

“It’s in our interests that they keep playing for time because that gives us more time to prepare,” the minister told the Daily Telegraph.
 
Continue reading at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8917077/Prepare-for-riots-in-euro-collapse-Foreign-Office-warns.html

UK: Public sector strike set to be largest for a generation


29 November 2011

Up to two million public sector workers are staging a strike over pensions in what is set to be the biggest walkout for a generation.

Schools, hospitals, airports, ports and government offices will be among sites disrupted, as more than 1,000 demonstrations are due across the UK.

It would "achieve nothing", Downing Street said, calling for more talks.

Unions object to government plans to make their members pay more and work longer to earn their pensions.

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude branded the action "indefensible and wrong".

"While discussions are continuing, I would urge public sector workers to look at the offer for themselves rather than listening to the rhetoric of their union leaders," he said.

"These are the sort of pensions that few in the private sector can enjoy."

Shadow chief secretary of the treasury, Rachel Reeves, told BBC's Newsnight that Labour did not support the industrial action.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Nomi Prins, Banks are like "Government-Sponsored Mafias"

Senate defeats challenge to indefinite detention provision


By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, November 29, 2011

WASHINGTON — The polarized US Senate on Tuesday beat back an attempt to set aside proposed rules on detention of terrorism suspects, defying a White House veto threat and criticisms from the FBI and the Pentagon.

By a 37-61 margin, senators defeated an attempt to strip the proposed regulations from a vast annual spending bill that has yet to pass but is seen as a sure thing because it affects US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Democratic Senator Mark Udall’s amendment would have replaced the rules with a call for US military and intelligence officials to study the plan and offer their own blueprint for how to interrogate and detain alleged extremists.
The proposed rules, which were likely to face challenges from other senators, are part of a $662 billion Defense Authorization bill that President Barack Obama has vowed to veto over the detainee provisions.

Alan Grayson: Trillions in bank bailouts by the Federal Reserve

A Revelation; The Fed Grants $7.77 Trillion in Secret Bank Loans – The Fed Works for Banks, Not The Rest of America



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 29, 2011
3:28 PM
CONTACT: Congressman Dennis Kucinich
Nathan White (202)225-5871

A Revelation; The Fed Grants $7.77 Trillion in Secret Bank Loans – The Fed Works for Banks, Not The Rest of America

Kucinich’s NEED Act Would Reclaim Monetary Authority for the People, Save Homes and Put Americans Back to Work

WASHINGTON - November 29 - Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), a longtime advocate for reform of the Federal Reserve, is sharply criticizing the Federal Reserve today after Bloomberg news reported that the Federal Reserve secretly committed nearly $8 trillion in support to American and international financial institutions during the 2008 bailout. Kucinich recorded a video for his website before going to the floor of the House of Representatives to call upon Congress to reclaim its Constitution primacy over monetary policy.
Kucinich also called threats by ratings agency to downgrade U.S. debt a threat to our national sovereignty.
See Kucinich on the floor of the U.S. House HERE.
See Kucinich’s web address HERE.
“The Federal Reserve extended extraordinary support to financial institutions that crashed the economy with reckless speculation, and on that support many of the firms made billions in profit and paid obscene bonuses. The Fed asked for nothing from these firms in return and that is because the Federal Reserve works first and foremost for the welfare of private financial institutions, not the American economy.
“The message that emerges from these revelations for Americans who have lost their jobs, lost their homes, or watched their retirement nest eggs disappear is that we have unlimited resources available for the banks, but nothing for the American people,” Kucinich stated.
The Bloomberg report is the result of a court-ordered release of over 29,000 pages of Federal Reserve documents and records of more than 21,000 transactions. Through direct lending, loan guarantees and enhanced lending limits, the Federal Reserve supported national and international financial firms with as much as $7.77 trillion as of March 2009. The $7.77 trillion provided dwarfs the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) cap mandated by Congress.
Congressman Kucinich introduced legislation that would impose transparency on the Federal Reserve. The National Emergency Employment Defense (NEED) Act, HR 2990, would incorporate the Federal Reserve within the United States Treasury. The bill would establish fiscal integrity, reassert Congressional sovereignty and allow the federal government to correct crippling national deficiencies in infrastructure repairs and education nationwide by spending money into circulation without increasing the national debt or causing inflation.
Learn more about the NEED Act here.

NWO Puppets: 'Cold war & crusades never finished'

Lethal salmon virus now detected in four species


By Sean Sullivan, Postmedia News
November 3, 2011

VANCOUVER — A lethal virus that could pose a new threat to British Columbia's prized Pacific salmon has now been detected in four wild species, prompting fears about its effect on the multi-billion-dollar fishery.

On Wednesday, biologist and salmon advocate Alexandra Morton learned an infectious salmon amenia (ISA) lab at the Atlantic Veterinary College in P.E.I. found evidence of the virus in three of 10 dead fish — a Chinook, coho and chum — she pulled from the Harrison River on Oct. 12.

Researchers at Simon Fraser University announced last month the virus was found in two of 48 sockeye smolts collected in B.C.'s Central Coast.

"The terrible thing about the work that myself and (SFU researcher Rick) Routledge have done is that it's tiny," Morton said. "We looked at 60 fish, and we got it in two different generations, 600 kilometres apart, four different species. That's a huge red flag."

ISA's effect on Pacific salmon — if any — is not known. This is the first time the disease has been found in wild Pacific salmon, raising fears among advocates that the already stressed wild stocks could be further jeopardized.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said Morton's samples are now being tested in Canada's official ISA lab in Moncton, N.B.

Santorum Wants Schools To Undermine Evolution

The ultra right wing Republican candidate for President, whose name is synonymous with a by product of anal intercourse, once again shows his arrogant stupidity.

Henry Paulson Allegedly Gave Hedge Funds Advance Word

According to Reports in the Bloomberg News,


By Richard Teitelbaum
Nov 29, 2011
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson stepped off the elevator into the Third Avenue offices of hedge fund Eton Park Capital Management LP in Manhattan. It was July 21, 2008, and market fears were mounting. Four months earlier, Bear Stearns Cos. had sold itself for just $10 a share to JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM)

Now, amid tumbling home prices and near-record foreclosures, attention was focused on a new source of contagion: Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac, which together had more than $5 trillion in mortgage-backed securities and other debt outstanding, Bloomberg Markets reports in its January issue.

Paulson had been pushing a plan in Congress to open lines of credit to the two struggling firms and to grant authority for the Treasury Department to buy equity in them. Yet he had told reporters on July 13 that the firms must remain shareholder owned and had testified at a Senate hearing two days later that giving the government new power to intervene made actual intervention improbable.

“If you have a bazooka, and people know you have it, you’re not likely to take it out,” he said.


Offers some interesting points in the CV of this life long Republican and his various appointments as well as his role under various administrations.
  • He joined Goldman Sachs in 1974, working in the firm's Chicago office under James P. Gorter. He became a partner in 1982. From 1983 until 1988, Paulson led the Investment Banking group for the Midwest Region, and became managing partner of the Chicago office in 1988. From 1990 to November 1994, he was co-head of Investment Banking, then, Chief Operating Officer from December 1994 to June 1998;[9] eventually succeeding Jon Corzine as chief executive. His compensation package, according to reports, was $37 million in 2005, and $16.4 million projected for 2006.[10] His net worth has been estimated at over $700 million.[10]
  • In 2004, at the request of the major Wall Street investment houses—including Goldman Sachs, then headed by Paulson—the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission agreed unanimously to release the major investment houses from the net capital rule, the requirement that their brokerages hold reserve capital that limited their leverage and risk exposure. The complaint put forth by the investment banks was of increasingly onerous regulatory requirements—in this case, not U.S. regulator oversight, but European Union regulation of the foreign operations of U.S. investment groups. In the immediate lead-up to the decision, EU regulators also acceded to U.S. pressure, and agreed not to scrutinize foreign firms' reserve holdings if the SEC agreed to do so instead. The 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, however, put the parent holding company of each of the big American brokerages beyond SEC oversight. In order for the agreement to go ahead, the investment banks lobbied for a decision that would allow "voluntary" inspection of their parent and subsidiary holdings by the SEC.
  • Paulson was nominated on May 30, 2006, by U.S. President George W. Bush to succeed John Snow as the Treasury Secretary.[14] On June 28, 2006, he was confirmed by the United States Senate to serve in the position.[15] Paulson was officially sworn in at a ceremony held at the Treasury Department on the morning of July 10, 2006.
  • Through unprecedented intervention by the U.S. Treasury, Paulson led government efforts which he said were aimed at avoiding a severe economic slowdown. After dropping 30% on the Dow Jones and causing turmoil in the global markets, Paulson pushed through the conservatorship of these government agency mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Working with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, he influenced the decision to create a credit facility (bridge loan & warrants) of US$85 billion to American International Group so it would avoid filing bankruptcy, after having been told that AIG held teacher pension plans, 401k plans, $1.5 trillion in life insurance plans for Americans, and the French Finance Minister called to let Paulson know that AIG held the interests of many Eurozone countries.
In late September 2008, Paulson, along with Bernanke, led the effort to help financial firms by agreeing to use $700 billion dollars to purchase bad debt they had incurred.[29] He faced criticism from economists for initially refusing to consider injecting large amounts of cash into financial institutions directly by purchasing stock, an option which other countries in similar circumstances had pursued.[30] This was the option favored by Bernanke, and the one that was eventually followed.[31]

On September 19, 2008, Paulson called for the U.S. government to use hundreds of billions of Treasury dollars to help financial firms clean up nonperforming mortgages threatening the liquidity of those firms.[32] Because of his leadership and public appearances on this issue, the press labeled these measures the "Paulson financial rescue plan" or simply the Paulson Plan.[33]

With the passage of H.R. 1424, Paulson became the manager of the United States Emergency Economic Stabilization fund.

As Treasury Secretary, he also sat on the newly established Financial Stability Oversight Board that oversees the Troubled Assets Relief Program.

Paulson agreed with Bernanke that the only way to 'unlock' the frozen capital markets were direct injections into financial institutions (nationalization to republicans and bailouts to democrats) so the banks would have more capital to lend as they "waited" for the bad loans on their asset sheets to rebound. The government would take a non-voting share position, with 5% dividends for the first year on the money 'lent' to the banks and then 9% thereafter until the banks stabilized and could payoff the government loans. According to the book "Too Big To Fail", Paulson, NY Bank Chairman Timothy Geithner, Ben Bernake and Sheila Bair (FDIC Chairman) were at the meeting below on Oct. 13, 2008.

Documents obtained by government watchdog group Judicial Watch reveal that in an October 13, 2008, meeting with executives from 9 major American banks, Paulson told bankers that they would be forced to accept government bailout money, whether they wanted it or not.[34] One of the documents, a talking points memo, gave bankers the ultimatum: "If a capital infusion is not appealing, you should be aware that your (FDIC) regulator will require it in any circumstance." The logic was that if everybody were forced to accept the money, then stakeholders in the market would not be able to identify which banks really needed the money, as opposed to those that did not, thereby making it harder for depositors, investors, or analysts to identify which banks were most vulnerable.
Henry Paulson is one of the Masters of the Universe, who have pushed us into end stage capitalism.

I find it ironic how the über rich have accomplished what Lenin and all the other revolutionaries have failed to accomplish.

The killed the gold egg laying goose and had it for dinner.

Because of their ultra greed they wound up with all the marbles and now the game is just about over.

Unfortunately for them... They are the 1% and we are the 99%. In a democracy that means we can vote to redistribute their ill gotten gains.

 And maybe send this bastard to prison forever.

Hartmann: Euro crisis...Is the UK preparing for the END of the world?

Wall Street Banks Earned Billions In Profits Off $7.7 Trillion In Secret Fed Loans Made During The Financial Crisis


Nov 28, 2011

In the lead-up to the financial crisis that crippled the American economy and plunged the country into a recession, the Federal Reserve made trillions in undisclosed loansto struggling banks and financial institutions, according to official documents obtained by Bloomberg News. Six of the country’s largest banks then turned those loans into more than $13 billion in previously undisclosed profits.

The total cost of the Fed loans amounted to $7.77 trillion, and unlike the funds made available by the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the loans came with virtually no strings attached for the banks:
The amount of money the central bank parceled out was surprising even to Gary H. Stern, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis from 1985 to 2009, who says he “wasn’t aware of the magnitude.” It dwarfed the Treasury Department’s better-known $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. Add up guarantees and lending limits, and the Fed had committed $7.77 trillion as of March 2009 to rescuing the financial system, more than half the value of everything produced in the U.S. that year.

“TARP at least had some strings attached,” says Brad Miller, a North Carolina Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, referring to the program’s executive-pay ceiling. “With the Fed programs, there was nothing.”
In one month, Morgan Stanley — one of the most vulnerable financial companies at the time — took $107 billion in secret loans, enough to pay off a tenth of the nation’s delinquent mortgages. The loans, like those made to other institutions, were never reported to Morgan Stanley’s shareholders or the taxpayers who subsidized them.

Hartmann: $7.7 trillion to Wall Street - Anything to keep the Banksters Happy!

Study: Common Herbicide Causes Menstrual Trouble


Tue Nov. 29, 2011

Yet again, scientists have looked at populations routinely exposed to the widely used herbicide atrazine and found trouble.

The latest: In a study published by Envionmental Research (summarized here), researchers found evidence that atrazine could be causing menstrual irregularities and low estrogen levels in women, even when it appears in drinking water at levels far below the EPA's limit of 3 parts per billion.

The study compared women ag-intensive areas of Illinois, where atrazine has been shown to leach into drinking water from farm fields, were significantly more likely to experience menstrual irregularities and low estrogen levels than women in ag-intensive areas of Vermont, where atrazine use is much lower.

The Vermont/Illinois paper comes on the heels of an analysis of the Agricultural Health Study—an ongoing look at people who regularly apply pesticides and their spouses—that found similar trends among women exposed to atrazine; as well as a 2009 study finding that atrazine levels in drinking water tracked with low-weight birth incidences in Indiana.

Meanwhile, as I reported three weeks ago, an independent scientific panel convened by the EPA found "strong" evidence linking atrazine to thyroid cancer and "suggestive" evidence linking it to ovarian cancer, also based on studies of human populations exposed to the poison through drinking water. The panel declared that the EPA had been seriously underestimating the cancer risk posed by atrazine in drinking water.

Subterranean Homesick Blues

Why ESPN Sat on Explosive Syracuse Molestation Tape for Nearly 10 Years


by Sofia M. Fernandez
11/28/2011

The sports network possessed tape of a conversation between the wife of assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine and one of his alleged victims before broadcasting it Nov. 27.

ESPN sat on a 2002 taped conversation between Laurie Fine, the wife of recently fired Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine, and Bobby Davis, the man accusing Fine of molesting him, for nearly a decade. The sports network says it did not broadcast the phone call until this Sunday because it did not have corroboration on the charges.

Syracuse fired Fine Sunday after ESPN's Outside the Lines played the tape.

University Chancellor Nancy Cantor said in a statement addressed to students, faculty and staff on Sunday: "I am writing to let you know that Bernie Fine's employment at the University has been terminated effective immediately. Frankly, the events of the past week have shaken us all. The taped phone call that ESPN revealed today was not provided to the university by Mr. Davis during the 2005 investigation by our legal counsel.


Davis is one of three men that has said Fine molested them during his tenure as the Orangemen's coach. Davis was a ball boy for the team for six years and told ESPN that the abuse "occurred at Fine's home, at Syracuse basketball facilities and on team road trips, including the 1987 Final Four."

An excerpt of the conversation between Davis and Mrs. Fine indicated that she was aware of her husband's crimes:

Hartmann: Don't be a Grinch on the Payroll Tax Cuts

US Census: One third of US population poor or near poor

From The World Socialist Web Site: http://wsws.org/articles/2011/nov2011/poor-n29.shtml

By Debra Watson
29 November 2011

One hundred million US residents—one third of the US population—live in households with perilously low incomes, according to a recent report from the US Census Bureau. The shocking figures were derived from the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), an alternate measure of poverty and income that was released in November.

The SPM has been under development by the Census Bureau, working with the National Academy of Sciences, since the mid-1990s. This is the first year it has been formally released. By law, it is not allowed to replace the official poverty level in determining funding levels for existing social programs.

Under the alternative measure the portion of the US population that is poor or near poor rises to 33 percent, up from 25 percent under the Census Bureau’s official measure.

In a comment to the New York Times, Trudi J. Renwick, the bureau’s chief poverty statistician, said, “These numbers are higher than we anticipated. There are more people struggling than the official numbers show.”

The term “near poor” designates those with incomes above 100 percent but below 150 percent of the poverty level. A comparison released in September of the official poverty measure released and the November SPM report showed the count of poor in America rise from 15.2 percent to 16 percent of the population. But the measure of near poor rose much more substantially using the more scientifically based measure, from 10 percent under the official poverty statistics to nearly 17 percent with the supplemental measure.

Under the alternate measure, the portion of the population making up the near poor was 51.4 million, or 16.8 percent of the population. This more than doubles the estimate of families in distress when added to the 16 percent considered living in poverty under the SPM data analysis released earlier.

Sky News: Church Tells HIV Patients To Stop Treatment

At least six people have died in Britain after being told they had been healed of HIV and could stop taking their medication, Sky News has discovered.. 

Christo-Fascist James Dobson Worried About OWS "Revolutionaries" And Their Marxist Movement


by Kyle Mantyla
November 28, 2011

Last week, James Dobson released Family Talk's November newsletter and suffice it to say that he is more worried about the impending collapse of America than he has ever been.

Dobson notes that he spent a great deal of time watching the news while recovering from his recent horse-riding accident and became convinced that we are seeing an "undeniable decline in the American culture" that will spell doom for this nation if it is not quickly reversed.

Dobson extensively cites and quotes Pat Buchanan's new book "Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?" as he concludes that efforts to secularize our society are at the root of the nation's impending collapse, which is demonstrated by the fact that President Obama has shown support for the Occupy Wall Street movement, which is "Marxist in tone and implementation":

We are witnessing an unprecedented campaign to secularize our society and "de-moralize" our institutions from the top down. The effort, now in its fifth decade, has been enormously successful. Most forms of prayer have been declared unconstitutional in the nation's schools. The Ten Commandments have been prohibited on school bulletin boards. Secular universities are blatantly hostile to Christian precepts, and the media screams "Foul!" whenever someone speaks openly of his beliefs. In this wonderful Land of the Free, we have gagged and bound all of our public officials, our teachers, our elected representatives, and our judges. Since we have effectively censored their expressions of faith in public life, the predictable is happening: a generation of young people is growing up with very little understanding of the spiritual principles on which our country was founded. And we wonder why so many of them can kill, steal, take drugs, and engage in promiscuous sex with no pangs of conscience. We have taught them that right and wrong are arbitrary – subjective – changing. They learned their lessons well.

Hartmann: Crazy Alert! - Can tap water make you gay?

Inside the Student Movement: Undeterred by Crackdown, Activists Around the Country Gear Up for Bigger Actions


One week after arrests and beatings of students at CUNY and pepper-spraying at UC Davis, students plan bigger actions to fight tuition hikes and policing of education.

By Manissa McCleave Maharawal
November 27, 2011

Today, Monday, is not only a day of action against university budget cuts in New York City but also around the country, at places like UC-Davis, where last week students were violently pepper sprayed during a peaceful protest. Here these same students are courageously calling for a student strike that will shut down the campus and in which rallies and teach-ins about budget cuts, police brutality and non-violent action will replace normal campus activities. At UCLA there are planned protests at the Board of Regents meeting in order to force that body to change their agenda to better reflect student concerns like increasing tuition and decreased funding for the entire UC system. These actions will be done with the solidarity and support of students around the country, from Tufts University in Massachusetts to the rural Kentucky-based Owensboro Community and Technical College. These actions also occur in the context of a global student movement: for weeks in Chile protesters, spearheaded by students demanding more affordable education, have been expressing dissent against President Pinera's capital market reforms. In solidarity with these protests students around Latin America, in Argentina, Columbia, and Peru have come together to demand education reforms and stand in support of the Chilian students. Earlier this month, students in Ireland, Italy and the Phillipines staged massive protests and walk-outs over increased tuition.

Let me start by being very clear about who I am and what I do: I am a graduate student at the City University of New York in the Anthropology Department and I teach Anthropology 101 at Baruch College twice a week on Monday and Wednesday evenings. My students are younger than me and older than me. They are impressively diverse, they are mostly women of color, they work all day long and then come to class in the evening. They are tired by the time they sit down in my class and I respect this tiredness, I respect and understand that many of them have to leave early or get there late because of their job or their family and because I, just like them, am a student and a worker in a public university system.

The public university system that we are in is the third largest in the country and one that has had values of free education, accessibility and inclusivity in its inception and embedded in its history. I want to be very clear about this because in many ways our histories create our visions for the future and the history of CUNY is a history of struggle that gets to the core of what we think higher education is as well as who we think higher education should be for. Founded in 1847 as the Free Academy, the City University of New York was explicitly created to educate the poor and working class of New York City. Students fought for open admissions in 1969, a struggle that was about forcing the University to accept more non-white students and create Black and Puerto Rican Studies Departments. This struggle was won. In 1976 the University, amid years of student protests against it, imposed tuition for the first time since its foundation. Since then almost every year has been punctuated by protests over increasing tuition and proposed budget cuts. This year is the same.

Time to Retake Politics From the One Percent in Both Political Parties


Published on Monday, November 28, 2011 by CommonDreams.org

The country is still celebrating the inability of the supercommittee to cut Social Security and Medicare, but it is important to move on from this victory to retake control of the political debate from the One Percent. As it stands, the One Percent are insisting that the country genuflect over the non-problem of the budget deficit, at a time when tens of millions of workers are unemployed or underemployed, millions of people are facing the loss of their homes and tens of millions of baby boomers are approaching retirement with little other than their Social Security to support them.

The deficit is the agenda of the One Percent. There is no reason that the rest of us should be concerned about budget deficits when the rest of the country is struggling with the economic disaster created by the greed and incompetence of the One Percent.

This is not a statement of morality; it is a statement based on economic reality. Budget deficits can be a problem when an economy is near full employment and the deficit can be pulling resources away from private investment, thereby slowing growth. However, it is not a problem with large numbers of unemployed workers and vast amounts of excess capacity.

This is what the financial markets are telling us every day as interest rates on long-term government bonds hover near 2.0 percent. If deficits were really crimping the economy, we would be seeing interest rates of 6 or 7 percent, or even higher. The deficit hawks do not have an economic case to support their argument, just money and influence.

In the longer term, the deficit hawks can point to projections of outsized deficits, which they invariably attribute to Social Security and Medicare. The first part of this story is completely untrue.

Under the law, Social Security is financed from its designated tax. It, therefore, cannot contribute to the deficit unless Congress changes the law. (The payroll tax credit in 2011, which was replaced with general revenue, is an exception to this rule.)

Italian Job: Stealing 2,451.8 tons of gold with style

Eurozone bailout fund falls short of €1 trillion target

Attempts to boost EFSF five-fold scuppered by high bond yields and disappointing interest from China and other cash-rich Asian governments

in Brussels
guardian.co.uk, Monday 28 November 2011

Europe's hopes of ringfencing the embattled single currency through a €1 trillion-plus leveraged bailout fund are sinking due to spiralling bond yields, investor flight from eurozone debt, and failure to entice cash-rich governments in the far east to commit to the plan.

Klaus Regling, the head of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), is expected to tell eurozone finance ministers meeting in Brussels on Tuesday evening that the scheme to quintuple the firepower of the fund by underwriting initial losses on eurozone bond-buying by China and sovereign wealth funds in the far and Middle East has failed to attract enough interest.

The blow to eurozone efforts to save the currency came amid increasingly apocalyptic predictions of a euro collapse. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris forecast a "deep depression" across Europe and a tidal wave of bankruptcies if any of the 17 countries was forced to quit the euro. The Polish foreign minister, Radoslaw Sikorski, urged Germany to save the EU from "a crisis of apocalyptic proportions".

The Moody's ratings agency predicted that a euro exit by any country would trigger a cascade of sovereign defaults across the eurozone. Jean Pisani-Ferry, director of the influential Bruegel thinktank in Brussels, said that "real businesses" as well as the financial markets were now "pricing in a break-up scenario … If disaster expectations build up and a growing number of players start positioning themselves to protect themselves from it, the consequences could become overwhelming."

The ambitious if controversial plan to leverage the eurozone's bailout fund, hatched at a summit last month, foresaw the €250bn (£215bn) currently available morphing into a war chest four or five times that size. But officials in Brussels complained on Monday that international commitments to take part in the scheme were disappointing and that the eurozone could hope for little more than doubling the fund's firepower.