Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Comment on Rolling stone article about busting Goldman-Sachs

Deregulation is one of the things at the root of this mess. it's like letting bratty kids do whatever they want, and they burn your house down and take all your money, PLUS max out your credit cards. In the next election let's not talk "too much government"..let's talk REGULATE THESE PIGS NOW. And we all know who is the reform candidate. Obama 2012. He just talks plain sense. Listen to him speak. On Immigration, on financial reform, on anything. WE should give him the chance to put his plans, for reform on health care, budget, regulation, immigration, you name it - in effect, with a Dem congress to back him up this time. My GOD! I read this article in awe. It was a very well-written article I want to congratulate you. But the content..DAMN! These piggie investment bankers and suits on wall street, they are sucking money from social programs and costing REAL LIVES. The money we bail them out with could have gone to children's hospitals or to house homeless people. How about unboarding some of those boarded up houses and letting people live in them instead of pushing shopping carts around town? In my town thousands of houses are boarded up and people are living on the street. The wall street piggies have no right to be so (Holy Moly!) irresponsible with all of the money and housing. Couldn't the government handle housing loans and student loans? Why not? They have ruined it for everyone, these wall street piggies. it's time to give out loans for education, housing, cars, and even improving the life of our senior citizens and not try to make a huge profit off of it.
I was surprised when I found out that my student loan had been "sold" to Fannie Mae. No. I made a deal with my bank. I never said they were allowed to "sell" my loan. It should be illegal. Look what happened! Don;t get me started. Did you see the movie Zeitgeist - Moving Forward? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z9WVZddH9w let more articulate people talk to you, more articulate than me (I tend to babble) . Check it out.

Rolling Stone (online) article busting Goldman-Sachs

Go to this webaddress and check out this awaesome story. When you get to the bottom of the webpage, clcik the numbers for more pages. It is a long long article. And don't forget to check out the photo gallery

Gershon Wolf GW: It's like I want to dip the whole article in highlighter. This is a MUST READ article.
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The People vs. Goldman SachsMatt Taibbi: A Senate committee has laid out the evidence. Now the Justice Department should bring criminal charges

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein tesifies before the Senate in April 2010
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
MAY 11, 2011 9:30 AM ET
They weren't murderers or anything; they had merely stolen more money than most people can rationally conceive of, from their own customers, in a few blinks of an eye. But then they went one step further. They came to Washington, took an oath before Congress, and lied about it.

Thanks to an extraordinary investigative effort by a Senate subcommittee that unilaterally decided to take up the burden the criminal justice system has repeatedly refused to shoulder, we now know exactly what Goldman Sachs executives like Lloyd Blankfein and Daniel Sparks lied about. We know exactly how they and other top Goldman executives, including David Viniar and Thomas Montag, defrauded their clients. America has been waiting for a case to bring against Wall Street. Here it is, and the evidence has been gift-wrapped and left at the doorstep of federal prosecutors, evidence that doesn't leave much doubt: Goldman Sachs should stand trial.

This article appears in the May 26, 2011 issue of Rolling Stone. The issue is available now on newsstands and will appear in the online archive May 13.

The great and powerful Oz of Wall Street was not the only target of Wall Street and the Financial Crisis: Anatomy of a Financial Collapse, the 650-page report just released by the Senate Subcommittee on Investigations, chaired by Democrat Carl Levin of Michigan, alongside Republican Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. Their unusually scathing bipartisan report also includes case studies of Washington Mutual and Deutsche Bank, providing a panoramic portrait of a bubble era that produced the most destructive crime spree in our history — "a million fraud cases a year" is how one former regulator puts it. But the mountain of evidence collected against Goldman by Levin's small, 15-desk office of investigators — details of gross, baldfaced fraud delivered up in such quantities as to almost serve as a kind of sarcastic challenge to the curiously impassive Justice Department — stands as the most important symbol of Wall Street's aristocratic impunity and prosecutorial immunity produced since the crash of 2008.

Photo Gallery: How Goldman top dogs defrauded their clients and lied to Congress

To date, there has been only one successful prosecution of a financial big fish from the mortgage bubble, and that was Lee Farkas, a Florida lender who was just convicted on a smorgasbord of fraud charges and now faces life in prison. But Farkas, sadly, is just an exception proving the rule: Like Bernie Madoff, his comically excessive crime spree (which involved such lunacies as kiting checks to his own bank and selling loans that didn't exist) was almost completely unconnected to the systematic corruption that led to the crisis. What's more, many of the earlier criminals in the chain of corruption — from subprime lenders like Countrywide, who herded old ladies and ghetto families into bad loans, to rapacious banks like Washington Mutual, who pawned off fraudulent mortgages on investors — wound up going belly up, sunk by their own greed.

Read Matt Taibbi on Goldman Sachs, the 'great vampire squid'

But Goldman, as the Levin report makes clear, remains an ascendant company precisely because it used its canny perception of an upcoming disaster (one which it helped create, incidentally) as an opportunity to enrich itself, not only at the expense of clients but ultimately, through the bailouts and the collateral damage of the wrecked economy, at the expense of society. The bank seemed to count on the unwillingness or inability of federal regulators to stop them — and when called to Washington last year to explain their behavior, Goldman executives brazenly misled Congress, apparently confident that their perjury would carry no serious consequences. Thus, while much of the Levin report describes past history, the Goldman section describes an ongoing? crime — a powerful, well-connected firm, with the ear of the president and the Treasury, that appears to have conquered the entire regulatory structure and stands now on the precipice of officially getting away with one of the biggest financial crimes in history.

Read Taibbi's 2010 piece on how bailed-out banks are recreating the conditions for a crash

Defenders of Goldman have been quick to insist that while the bank may have had a few ethical slips here and there, its only real offense was being too good at making money. We now know, unequivocally, that this is bullshit. Goldman isn't a pudgy housewife who broke her diet with a few Nilla Wafers between meals — it's an advanced-stage, 1,100-pound medical emergency who hasn't left his apartment in six years, and is found by paramedics buried up to his eyes in cupcake wrappers and pizza boxes. If the evidence in the Levin report is ignored, then Goldman will have achieved a kind of corrupt-enterprise nirvana. Caught, but still free: above the law.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Vermont passes healthcare

First Universal Health Care Bill in U.S. Marks Success of Vermont's Human Rights Movement
Posted: 05/ 7/11 01:29 PM ET


On May 5 the Vermont House followed the Senate in passing the final version of a health reform bill that creates a path for a universal, publicly financed health care system in Vermont. Governor Peter Shumlin has confirmed he will sign the bill into law.

This makes Vermont the first state in the country to move toward a universal health care system that will provide health care as a public good for everyone. Legislators and advocates alike have compared Vermont's role to that of the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, which half a century ago spearheaded the establishment of universal health care in Canada.

The bill states that Vermont will create a publicly financed health care system, Green Mountain Care, to provide comprehensive, high-quality coverage as a public good for all Vermont residents, regardless of income, health status, or employment. Green Mountain Care will be implemented once the requirements of the federal health reform law have been fulfilled, along with several other conditions imposed by the bill. Some key decisions have been postponed to future legislative sessions, including the development of a financing mechanism for the system and the design of a health benefits package.

The pioneering nature of Vermont's health reform has its roots in a people's movement, which caused reform efforts to be driven by principles, rather than political calculation, industry interests, or professional advocates and lobbyists. While strong attempts were mounted to divert and hijack the reform process, especially by large corporations and the insurance industry, it was the growing vision of health care as a human right that captured the public imagination and created the political space for action by the administration and legislature. Observers largely credit this achievement to the grassroots organizing by the Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign, led by the Vermont Workers' Center, which engaged many thousands of ordinary Vermonters in demanding their human right to health care.

The Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign has built a broad-based people's movement guided by principles, such as universality and equity, rather than by specific policy or legislative proposals, such as single-payer. By shifting the focus from cost containment (which has dominated debates on health care and other public goods) to people's collective needs and rights, the campaign placed people at the center of policy and practice, challenging the powers that be. When viewed as a human right, health care becomes a unifying concern for everyone, not just for the uninsured, or for individual "consumers" struggling to pay their bills, or for workers seeking to hold on to benefits. This unity the campaign achieved at an organizing level has helped to embed human rights principles in public and political discourse, which in turn has advanced the goal of treating health care (and potentially other human needs) as a public good, financed through taxation, rather than a market commodity.

The success of this emerging grassroots organizing model -- led by the people, inclusive, based on human rights principles -- became particularly clear when pressure from the Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign prompted legislators to drop a last-minute amendment that would have excluded undocumented people from universal health care. The Campaign mobilized hundreds of Vermonters to stand up for the human rights principle of universality, and after days of constituents' phone calls, protests, and a large rally on May 1st, the exclusionary amendment was struck.

Vermonters clearly set an example with their steadfastness and unflinching readiness to take a moral stance and reject the effort to divide the community along lines of race, ethnicity or national origin. Their stance raises the bar for people elsewhere when confronted with the use of immigration as a wedge issue.

There is no doubt that strong solidarity and a principled stance will be needed as the struggle for universal health care continues, in Vermont and beyond. If the deliberate exclusion of undocumented people presented a clear line in the sand, the maneuvering of private insurance companies has been harder to detect and defeat. The industry and its corporate allies are a formidable opponent, with deep pockets and well-trained patience. In Vermont's bill, private insurance companies, whose business model depends on restricting our access to care, managed to keep a foot in the door. This means that the development of the new system's financing mechanism may well be the most important struggle yet to come. Unless Green Mountain Care will be funded as a public good, through equitable contributions from all of Vermont's people and businesses, the system could be downgraded to a "public option", torn apart by opt-outs before it even starts.

Well aware of these challenges, human rights campaigners are prepared to take on corporate forces. While the Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign does not rely on legislative actions to boost its organizing, it has grown with each legislative success. As people across the country look closer at Vermont's most recent achievement, it may inspire them to help build the movement for health care as a human right. Such an impact would rival the significance of the universal health care bill itself.

Photo of rally on May 1, 2011, by Dylan Kelley, Vermont Workers' Center

Thursday, May 5, 2011

more hamas/fatah bullshit

‎"Our first and true battle is with the Israeli enemy and not with Palestinian factions or among sons of one homeland," stated Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal after the pact was signed.

Palestinians consolidate as Fatah and Hamas sign peace agreement — RT
The two major Palestinian political forces have clinched a historic deal, agreeing to form a unified government.
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Gershon Wolf if they can also stop fighting Israel, and not just each other AND stop fighting human rights (i.e) shooting people at a wedding for having music there), then maybe then they would actually have right to have a country of their own. Until then, they are just the same oppressive pig warlords cut from the same cloth as the late Bin laden, may he rot in hell. And as usual, while they take forever to decide to stop being dickheads, the little guy always loses, not to mention the little ladies, who have no rights at all in so called "Palestine". They finally got a chance to have an election a few years ago and they elected Hamas, a terrorist organization (In Gaza). Things that make you go "hmmmm.". So they voted so have a government that would oppress them. Not good. or was it rigged? Hmmm. And now they are voting to unite, fatah and Hamas. Against Israel. Gee, isn't that newsworthy. let's party.
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