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Archive for October 26th, 2011

Occupy Protesters Throwing Bottles – To Each Other, To Rinse Tear Gas From Their Eyes

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 26, 2011

Video streaming by Ustream

When you hear about “protesters throwing bottles in the crowd” as it’s being tear-gassed or pepper-sprayed by the cops, here’s what probably actually happening:

Left a comment over at the NYT. They captured video that shows protesters throwing what they themselves identified as “water bottles”, and they contend they are throwing them at the police. But in the video, you can hear someone forward in the tear gas cloud calling out for water. The people aren’t throwing the water at the police. They are throwing it to the people calling for water. It’s for rinsing eyes. But this is how the media gets to report that the protesters were throwing projectiles at the police.

By the way — as TBogg and others have noted, isn’t it interesting that two of the major TV networks covering Occupy Oakland both cut their feeds at the same time just seconds before the cops rolled out the tear gas and the flash bang grenades and the beanbags and the rubber bullets?

See the video above to see what happened once the establishment media turned off its cameras. Or go here. Or see KTVU’s coverage (they’re the largest FOX affiliate that’s not actually owned by FOX but still has vestiges of independence from the NewsCorp party line).


Posted in abuse of power | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Reforming the Fed

Posted by Charles II on October 26, 2011

Bernie Sanders has a summary of the GAO report on the conflicts of interest at the Fed here.

Speaking of impunity:

Stephen Friedman, the Chairman of the New York Fed, sat on the Board
of Directors of Goldman Sachs, and owned shares in Goldman’s stock, something that was
prohibited by the Federal Reserve’s conflict of interest regulations. Mr. Friedman received a waiver from the Fed’s conflict of interest rules in late 2008.

The GAO found that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York consulted with General Electric on the creation of the Commercial Paper Funding Facility established during the financial crisis. The Fed later provided $16 billion in financing to General Electric under this emergency lending program. This occurred while Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, served as a director on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase, served on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York at the same time that his bank received emergency loans from the Fed …
In March of 2008, the Fed provided JP Morgan Chase with $29 billion in financing to acquire Bear Stearns. During this time period, Jamie Dimon was successful in getting the Fed to provide JP Morgan Chase with an 18-month exemption from risk-based leverage and capital requirements. Dimon also convinced the Fed to take risky mortgage-related assets off of Bear Stearns balance sheet before JP Morgan Chase acquired this troubled investment bank.

While Congress has mandated that the Federal Reserve’s board of directors consist of experts in labor, consumer protection, agriculture, commerce, and industry, only 11 of the 202 members of the Federal Reserve’s board of directors represented labor and consumer interests from 2006-2010.

Of the 108 Federal Reserve board directors, 82 were the President or CEO of their company.
The Federal Reserve claims that it is hard to recruit labor and consumer representatives to its board because many are “politically active,”… According to the Center for Responsive Politics, [JPMorgan CEO Jaime] Dimon has made over $620,000 in campaign contributions since 1990.

Laws are meant for little people.

Posted in banking, corruption, cronies, impunity, Republicans as cancer | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

From here to impunity: Greenwald on the connection between Nixon and the current crisis

Posted by Charles II on October 26, 2011

(The image above from Drug Policy Alliance. Since Nixon also started the drug war or, at least, escalated a low intensity conflict into a full fledged war, it’s particularly apt)

Glenn Greenwald has a book out, With Liberty and Justice for Some which explains the evolution of impunity in the US. While I think that it’s self-evident that the US has always had a two-tiered legal system (for almost 200 years, there was explicitly or implicitly one legal system for whites and one for everyone else), it’s true that official lawbreaking was not so readily tolerated. Overlooking the stray Wilbur Mills/Argentine Firecracker incident and Teapot Dome scandal, the Roosevelt cousins ushered in an expectation that the law would apply to rich and poor alike.

Here’s an excerpt from the book:

As multiple episodes demonstrate, a belief that elite immunity is both necessary and justified became the prevailing ethos in the nation’s most influential circles. In countless instances over recent years, prominent political and media figures have insisted that serious crimes by the most powerful should be overlooked— either in the name of the common good, or in the name of a warped conception of fairness according to which those with the greatest power are the most entitled to deference and understanding.

This is what makes the contemporary form of American lawlessness new and unprecedented. It is now perfectly common, and perfectly acceptable, to openly advocate elite immunity. And this advocacy has had its intended effect: the United States has become a nation that does not apply the rule of law to its elite class, which is another way of saying that the United States does not apply the rule of law. . . .

If the threat of real punishment for criminality is removed, for many rational people there will be little incentive to abide by the law and much incentive to break it. Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist 15, explained why.

It is essential to the idea of a law, that it be attended with a sanction; or, in other words, a penalty or punishment for disobedience. If there be no penalty annexed to disobedience, the resolutions or commands which pretend to be laws will, in fact, amount to nothing more than advice or recommendation.

For the nation’s most powerful elites, the law has indeed been whittled down to “nothing more than advice or recommendation.” Although there have been episodes of unpunished elite malfeasance throughout American history, the explicit, systematic embrace of the notion that such malfeasance should be shielded from legal consequences begins with the Watergate scandal— one of the clearest cases of widespread, deliberate criminality at the highest level of the U.S. government.

By the scandal’s conclusion, few contested that not only Nixon’s top aides but Nixon himself had committed serious felonies— either in authorizing the break-in and related illegalities, or in obstructing the ensuing investigation. Nonetheless, Nixon was ultimately shielded from all legal consequences thanks to the pardon granted by his handpicked vice president, Gerald Ford— who, it was widely believed, secured his appointment by agreeing to protect Nixon from prosecution.

The crisis on Wall Street did indeed begin with Richard Nixon, was amplified by the pass that Congress gave Reagan on Iran-Contra, was amplified again (paradoxically) by the persecution of Bill Clinton, where the law was used as a weapon against a public official, and was been decisively implanted into the American system of law with Election 2000, unprosecuted wiretapping and torture, and the failure of Obama to prosecute criminals from the Bush Administration and from Wall Street.

Posted in Bush, Bush Family Evil Empire, election theft, impunity, President Obama, Republicans as cancer, Rule of Law | 8 Comments »

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