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Hot List: Wall Street Plunder Continues, Extreme Weather Hits US & War With Iran

March 3rd, 2012 | Filed under Hot List, News . Follow comments through RSS 2.0 feed. Click here to comment, or trackback.

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  • AIG Continues to Rob US Taxpayers, Reports $19.8 Billion in Q4 Thievery, Unlikely to Pay Taxes for Next Decade

    “AIG reported a whopping $19.8 billion profit for its fourth quarter. It was a quite a feat for a company that was on its death bed just a little over three years ago, so sick that it needed a huge taxpayer bailout. But if you dug into the numbers, it quickly became clear that $17.7 billion of that profit was pure fantasy — a tax benefit, er, gift, from the United States government. The company made only $1.6 billion during the quarter from actual operations. Yet AIG not only received a tax benefit, it is unlikely to pay a cent of taxes this year, nor by some estimates, for at least a decade.”

  • Fed Shrugged Off Warnings, Let Banks Pay Shareholders Billions | ProPublica

    “The Federal Reserve green-lighted most of the top 19 financial institutions to deliver tens of billions of dollars to shareholders, including many of their own top executives. The 19 paid out $33 billion in the first nine months of 2011 in dividends and stock buy-backs, money they won’t have to cushion themselves if a new crisis hits. This is the first in-depth account of the Fed’s momentous decision and the fractious battles that led to it. It is based on dozens of interviews, most with people who spoke on condition of anonymity, and on documents, some of which have never been made public. By examining the decision, this account also sheds light on the inner workings of one of the most powerful but secretive economic institutions in the world.”

  • The Coming Economic Collapse | New Deal 2.0
  • “As southern Indiana, Kentucky and other midwestern states wake to devastated communities and a rising death toll, the world again is treated to pictures and video of mother nature’s ferocious power and the merciless power of her most precise storm, the tornado. Most striking to some is the early arrival of this year’s tornado season, which usually begins later in the spring and runs into summer. For climate scientists, who have long predicted longer or more powerful storms and less predictable seasons, the events are an affirmation that offer no comfort. More striking this week, however, was a little noticed hearing — just a day before these massively destruction storms — where the nation’s insurance and re-insurance companies came together to recognize the impact that climate change is having on their industry, a direct measure of the financial costs on US taxpayers and private businesses.”

  • “Oil giant BP announced that is has reached an out of court settlement with thousands of individuals who were injured financially or physically by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. The spill, caused by poor drilling practices and seemingly defective equipment, was the largest in US history. The estimated figure of the settlement is $7.8 billion, but there is no cap, and the money will be disbursed by an independent claims administrator. The deal does not the mark the end of BP’s legal challenges, nor will it please everyone in the Gulf. If the figure sounds at all impressive, note that in just nine months of 2011 BP posted profits of $15.9 billion.”

  • Whatever happened to Obama’s task force on oil speculation? | McClatchy

    “When oil and gasoline prices soared last April, President Barack Obama announced to fanfare that the Department of Justice would lead a task force designed to root out manipulation of the oil market and gouging of consumers at the gas pump. Since then the group has met only a handful of times and has never reported to the public. The Oil and Gas Price Fraud Working Group has met only four or five times since its creation last April 21, and most of those meetings came at the time of its inception. Back then, Obama promised that the group would “root out any cases of fraud or manipulation” and noted that its scope would include the “role of traders and speculators.”"

  • Democracy For Sale | Public Citizen

    “We’ll be using the hash #Democracy4Sale to spread the word about the devastating effects of unlimited, unregulated corporate campaign spending, as well as ongoing efforts for fundamental reforms—including important interim steps like the DISCLOSE Act and shareholder transparency, as well as the growing movement for a constitutional amendment that overturns Citizens United and related decisions. Efforts to highlight and combat political spending are picking up steam.”

  • “The world is at a crossroads. Either the global community will join together to fight poverty, resource depletion, and climate change, or it will face a generation of resource wars, political instability, and environmental ruin. The World Bank, if properly led, can play a key role in averting these threats and the risks that they imply. The global stakes are thus very high this spring as the Bank’s 187 member countries choose a new president to succeed Robert Zoellick, whose term ends in July.”

  • “Apparently, not only does NBC continue to present McCaffrey to its viewers as some sort of objective analyst, but NBC News executives use him as some kind of private consultant and briefer on the news. On January 12, 2012, McCaffrey presented a seminar to roughly 20 NBC executives and producers — including NBC News President Steve Capus — entitled “Iran, Nukes & Oil: The Gulf Confrontation.” We’ve obtained the Power Point document McCaffrey prepared and distributed for his presentation, and in it, he all but predicts war with Iran within the next 90 days: one that is likely to be started by them. “

  • “Despite all of the warmongering hysteria, the overwhelming majority of all Israelis oppose a unilateral strike on Iran. The poll’s conductor Telhami concluded that “the Israeli public is neither enthusiastic about the prospect of war with Iran nor swayed by the seeming embrace of Israel by our presidential candidates.” He added: “They have to live with the consequences of war, and they appear to take the American assessment of these consequences seriously.”"

  • 9/11 Commissioner and Co-Chair of Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 Say in Sworn Declarations that Saudi Government Linked to 9/11 Attacks“Two former senators – one a 9/11 Commissioner, the other the co-chair of the joint Congressional inquiry into 9/11 – state in sworn declarations that the Saudi government backed the 9/11 attack. “I am convinced that there was a direct line between at least some of the terrorists who carried out the September 11th attacks and the government of Saudi Arabia,” former Senator Bob Graham, Democrat of Florida, said in an affidavit filed as part of a lawsuit brought against the Saudi government and dozens of institutions in the country by families of Sept. 11 victims and others. Mr. Graham led a joint 2002 Congressional inquiry into the attacks.”
  • Occupy turns to food justice | Waging Nonviolence

    “Occupy the Food System—the day of action for food justice on February 27—could be the beginning of a broad-based food justice movement that is global in scope but local in action. A unique coalition of food justice workers, consumers, farmers and activists, organized by Rainforest Action Network, momentarily converged under the banner of ending the corporate exploitation of our food system for a day of protest and consciousness-raising.”

  • Occupy Vigilantes Write New Volcker Rule Scrip | Bloomberg

    “Occupy Wall Street and its working groups, including Occupy the SEC, were supposed to be dead, in case you missed the obituaries. Now the protesters are messing with detractors’ heads with the emergence of a media-savvy collection of legal, banking and activist members who come off as sane and authoritative. This is not the way the Occupy bashers’ “welfare-bum hippies” propaganda script was supposed to play out. On Feb. 13, seven writers who described themselves as “concerned citizens, activists and financial professionals” filed a 325-page comment letter to financial regulators, outlining their concerns about loopholes in the “Let’s Try to Avoid the Next Financial Crisis” proposal known as the Volcker rule. “

  • “The Department of Homeland Security monitors your updates on social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, to uncover “Items Of Interest” (IOI), according to an internal DHS document released by the EPIC. That document happens to include a list of the baseline terms for which the DHS–or more specifically, a DHS subcontractor hired to monitor social networks–use to generate real-time IOI reports. This is a current list of terms that will be used by the NOC when monitoring social media sites to provide situational awareness and establish a common operating picture.”

  • Social Media Giants Set Up “Free Speech Zones” to Censor Dissent

    “Reddit is the 119th most popular website worldwide on the Internet, which is more popular than Digg. Because news stories are submitted and voted up social media style, it used to be one of the best sources on the web for alternative news. I am personally one of the top 100 or so posters to Reddit. Specifically, I have submitted many stories written by other authors on other websites, and have more than 150,000 “karma” points. As such, I am saddened to see Reddit go the way of Digg and other sites which have been ruined by censorship.”

  • EU Unemployment Soaring – millions of out work fomenting despair in youth

    “Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, reports that the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 10.7% in January 2012 for countries in the eurozone, up from 10.0% in January of 2011. The percentages represent millions out of work: the report shows 24.3 million people out of work in the EU, with 16.9 million unemployed in the eurozone. Greece, which has been hit by rounds of austerity measures, had the second highest level of unemployment at 19.9%, with Spain earning the dubious honor of being at the top of the unemployment rates in the EU at 23.3%.”

  • Global Insurrection News Roundup | Waging Nonviolence

    “Thousands protest austerity measures across Europe, Hatians take to streets to remember Aristede, US students protest budget cuts — Thousands of demonstrators turned out in European cities to protest against austerity measures. In Spain, students across the country staged sit-ins and noisy demonstrations over crisis spending cuts, labor market reforms and recent police violence against protesters. Meanwhile, unions staged demonstrations in Paris, Athens, Lisbon and Brussels.”

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