Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart
* OBAMA ‘OFFERING TO CUT U.S. PENSIONS’ FOR DEFICIT DEAL
US President Barack Obama is prepared to offer cuts to Americans’ pensions to strike a deficit deal with Republicans, a White House official says.
In return, the Democratic president wants higher taxes on the rich. He will outline his budget plan next Wednesday.
The proposal would cut the deficit by $1.8 trillion (£1.2 trillion) over 10 years, say administration officials.
But Democrats would oppose cuts to pensions, while Republicans have refused to accept tax rises.
Under the deal trailed by the White House, Mr Obama would support lowering the inflation measure used to calculate cost-of-living increases in Social Security pensions. […]
* PRESIDENT OBAMA – KEEP YOUR PROMISE
On September 6, 2008, Senator Barack Obama told AARP members: “John McCain’s campaign has suggested that the best answer for the growing pressures on Social Security might be to cut cost of living adjustments or raise the retirement age. Let me be clear: I will not do either.”
Mr. President: Keep Your Promise! Call 1-877-814-7890 and tell your Senators to oppose the Social Security cuts in Obama’s budget!
* YOU CANNOT RUN A PUBLIC SERVICE LIKE A BUSINESS, AND HERE’S WHY
Source: Scriptonite Daily
One of the greatest myths of our time is that public services can be made more efficient if we run them as businesses. The commercialisation of our public services has been a manifest failure, and the response offered by the mainstream parties is that we simply haven’t commercialised them enough. What they fail to understand is that a public service and a business are inherently different beasts and asking one to behave as the other is like asking a fish to ride a bicycle.
The primary aim of a public service is to provide a service to the public. This service exists to avoid negative social impacts and protect crucial social utilities from the instabilities of capitalism.
Within living memory it was considered basic common sense that essentials like food, water, energy, access to health services, housing, sanitation and sewage, social care and core manufacturing industries were too important to expose to the volatilities of the free market. Aside from this practical view, there were also two core value statements:
1) A person or entity should not seek to profit from a person’s need to eat, heat their homes, drink water, be treated when sick or have a roof over their head.
2) A person’s access to such necessities should not be based on their ability to pay.
Public services are democratic. If a service fails to deliver our needs we can hold those responsible to account at the ballot box. Important matters like wages, pensions and working conditions are the result of negotiation and subject to internal and popular support.
Public services are funded by public money, paid to public workers, managed by public representatives working together to deliver social utility – every penny put in recycles within the public economy.
Neoliberal Capitalism is inherently unstable, creates inefficiencies and gaps in supply and demand, and does not create full employment. For these three reasons, critical services must be independent of capitalism, commercialisation and profit. In short, they must be universal and eternal.
This is the purpose of a public service. […]
* THE 21 KEY STATISTICS ABOUT THE EXPLOSIVE GROWTH OF POVERTY IN AMERICA
By Michael, The Economic Collapse
If the economy is getting better, then why does poverty in America continue to grow so rapidly? Yes, the stock market has been hitting all-time highs recently, but also the number of Americans living in poverty has now reached a level not seen since the 1960s. Yes, corporate profits are at levels never seen before, but so is the number of Americans on food stamps. Yes, housing prices have started to rebound a little bit (especially in wealthy areas), but there are also more than a million public school students in America that are homeless. That is the first time that has ever happened in U.S. history. So should we measure our economic progress by the false stock market bubble that has been inflated by Ben Bernanke’s reckless money printing, or should we measure our economic progress by how the poor and the middle class are doing? Because if we look at how average Americans are doing these days, then there is not much to be excited about. In fact, poverty continues to experience explosive growth in the United States and the middle class continues to shrink. Sadly, the truth is that things are not getting better for most Americans. With each passing year the level of economic suffering in this country continues to go up, and we haven’t even reached the next major wave of the economic collapse yet. When that strikes, the level of economic pain in this nation is going to be off the charts.
The following are 21 statistics about the explosive growth of poverty in America that everyone should know…
1 – According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately one out of every six Americans is now living in poverty. The number of Americans living in poverty is now at a level not seen since the 1960s.
2 – When you add in the number of low income Americans it is even more sobering. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 146 million Americans are either “poor” or “low income”.
3 – Today, approximately 20 percent of all children in the United States are living in poverty. Incredibly, a higher percentage of children is living in poverty in America today than was the case back in 1975.
4 – It may be hard to believe, but approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are currently living in homes that are either considered to be either “low income” or impoverished.
5 – Poverty is the worst in our inner cities. At this point, 29.2 percent of all African-American households with children are dealing with food insecurity. […]
* ERIC HOLDER GETS BUSY: ENRON’S SKILLING MAY BE RELEASED FROM PRISON OVER A DECADE EARLY
By Tyler Durden, zerohedge
Former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling may be the latest beneficiary of the culture of pervasive permitted, even according to some – encouraged, crime. After being sentenced to prison for 24 years in the aftermath of Enron’s spectacular 2001 bankruptcy, the former CEO may be released after serving well less than half of his term. As a result his prison term, which scheduled to end in 2028, may be cut by more than half as a result of a new agreement with the Department of Justice. It appears that AG Eric Holder is so busy not prosecuting Wall Street for being Too Big To Prosecute, he has decided it is far wiser to spend his time productively by commuting the sentences of convicted financial felons, because apparently there is nothing more important to do.
“Former Enron Chief Executive Jeffrey Skilling, who is serving a 24-year sentence over the company’s spectacular collapse, may get a chance to leave prison early. The U.S. Department of Justice posted a notice indicating that prosecutors are considering entering an agreement with Skilling that could result in his being resentenced. It is unclear how much Skilling’s term could be shortened under a resentencing agreement. Wednesday’s notice gives former Enron employees, stockholders and other victims of Skilling’s fraud that led to Enron’s 2001 bankruptcy a chance to object.” […]
* NICKY HAGER AND INTERNATIONAL TEAM OF JOURNALISTS EXPOSE GLOBAL MONEY LAUNDERING NETWORK
By Selwyn Manning, The Daily Blog
This ICIJ.org investigation unearths a labyrinth of covert companies, bank accounts, blind trusts and assets designed as depositories where the rich, the powerful, the famous, and corrupt can hide away their profits. The investigation presents how some of the world’s top banks have provided a shelter for money launderers.
Nicky Hager and four other internationally acclaimed investigative journalists have today published a comprehensive body of work that unpicks the offshore money maze.
The investigation, which I understand has consumed around 12 months of investigative work, unearths a labyrinth of covert companies, bank accounts, blind trusts and assets designed as depositories where the rich, the powerful, the famous, and corrupt can hide away their profits.
The investigation presents how some of the world’s top banks have provided a shelter for money launderers.
The work was published today on the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists site www.icij.org.
It outs a significant number of leaders, politicians, business people from an array of countries including Fiji, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russia (where Owners of corporations registered in “British Virgin Islands include top managers of Russian state-controlled giants”), France, Canada, USA, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, Mongolia (a Nicky Hager report that unearths how the “Deputy speaker of Mongolia’s Parliament admits he had $1 million Swiss account..”), South Africa/Zimbabwe, and states:
“Many of the world’s top’s banks – including UBS, Clariden and Deutsche Bank – have aggressively worked to provide their customers with secrecy-cloaked companies in the British Virgin Islands and other offshore hideaways.
“A well-paid industry of accountants, middlemen and other operatives has helped offshore patrons shroud their identities and business interests, providing shelter in many cases to money laundering or other misconduct.” […]
* ‘MASS DELETION OF DATA’ ON FORMER BoC EXECS’ COMPUTERS
By George Psyllides, Cyrpus Mail
DELETION of data allegedly took place on computers belonging to senior Bank of Cyprus (BoC) executives, according to the leaked findings of a probe into the circumstances that forced the island’s biggest lenders to seek state assistance.
Alvarez and Marsal, the firm tasked with investigating why Bank of Cyprus and Laiki sought state assistance, said the information provided by BoC was incomplete and data deleting software were found on the computers of two senior executives.
“Our computer forensic technologists have found that the computers of two employees, (former CEO) Mr. (Andreas) Eliades and (senior manager group treasury and private banking) Christakis Patsalides, have had wiping software loaded, which is not part of the standard software installations at the BoC,” A&M said. “Mass deletion of data appears to have been undertaken on the Patsalides computer on October 18, 2012.”
A&M’s findings were handed over to parliament on Wednesday. […]
* WORLD SOCIAL FORUM HIGHLIGHTS SHOCK DOCTRINE IN TUNISIA
Source: The Louisiana Justice Institute
An estimated 50,000 people from 5,000 organizations in 127 countries spanning five continents participated in the World Social Forum in Tunisia over the past week. By choosing to come together in Tunis, this year’s Forum evoked the sprit of the 2011 revolt that inspired uprisings around the world. The WSF also focused attention on the complicated status of that revolt, which in Tunisia has not brought the political or economic changes many hoped for. Conversations with local activists often focused on the recent assassination of opposition leader Chokri Belaïd, and government dealings with the International Monetary Fund.
Many in the region reject the term “Arab Spring,” saying that implies a season that ends quickly, and this revolutionary wave has just begun. Samir Amin, a Marxist economist based in Senegal, calls the overthrow of dictators in Tunisia and Egypt the first step in a continuing process, but sees the new governments as scarcely an improvement. “This gigantic popular movement got rid of the dictators Ben Ali and Mubarak, but not of the system,” said Amin. “The Muslim Brotherhood who are in power in both countries are just continuing the same system…The same so-called liberal policy, the same submission to imperialism, the same social disaster.” Amin says the biggest change represented by this period is a new awareness that change is possible. “The people now, who have proved to themselves their capacity to overthrow any dictatorship, will also get rid of the Muslim Brotherhood,” he says.
Many North African participants were celebratory of the region’s revolutions, but expressed fears of the electoral rise of right wing forces, and the economic neoliberalism being pushed by their current governments. Hamouda Soubhi, an activist from Morocco and one of the members of the WSF Tunisia organizing committee, sees a moment of danger and possibility. “For us its like the beginning of the struggle,” said Soubhi. “Tunisia wants to say to the world, no more fear, we are going to change the region.” […]