* INCOMING FRENCH PRESIDENT SIGNALS BUDGET CUTS, HANDOUTS TO BANKS
By Kumaran Ira and Alex Lantier
After winning the French presidential election on Sunday, the Socialist Party’s (PS) François Hollande is already positioning himself to drop his limited election promises on social spending and attack the working class with deep budget cuts.
Hollande’s victory reflected a broad popular rejection of incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy’s austerity policies and his unpopular imperialist wars. However, any hopes for change from the incoming government will be rapidly disappointed by Hollande, who is moving to carry out reactionary policies. During his campaign, Hollande vowed to slash over €100 billion in deficit spending to have a balanced budget by 2017, while making a few proposals for social measures, like increasing school subsidies and hiring more teachers.
On Tuesday, Hollande’s campaign team told Reuters that Hollande’s advisers are pressing him to use a report from France’s leading audit body, the Cour des comptes, to justify ditching his limited campaign promises and intensify social cuts. […]
* FARAGE: WE FACE THE PROSPECT OF MASS CIVIL UNREST, EVEN REVOLUTION
Speaker: Nigel Farage MEP, Leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), Co-President of the ‘Europe of Freedom and Democracy’ (EFD) Group in the European Parliament.
* ALEC – THE AMERICAN LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL – EXPLAINED IN 5 MINUTES
ALEC is a 501 c3 non-profit organization. According to the group: “It is the nation’s largest nonpartisan (sic) individual membership association of state legislators (sic), with nearly 2,000 members across the nation and more than 100 alumni members in Congress.”
What ALEC does is criminal, and it needs to be stopped. Please click on the links below for more information on how you can help:
Visit AlecExposed to view the model legislation and learn more about ALEC:
Sign a petition to get corporations out of ALEC:
Read here why ALEC should have its 501 c3 tax status revoked:
* THE VAMPIRE SQUID SWIMS ON
By hdavid57, Wall Street Oasis
Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO for Goldman Sachs, was interviewed on Bloomberg Television last week. What an intimidating man. He was there to present Goldman Sachs in the best possible light, and to stop the bleeding from the negative publicity the company has been receiving since the financial crisis. For example, Rolling Stone’s Mike Taibbe had referred to Goldman Sachs as “a vampire squid wrapped round the face of humanity.” During the interview, Blankfein said what he wanted to say, avoiding unpleasant issues while trying to project an optimistic view of Goldman Sachs and the global economy.
Europe is slowed, Blankfein explained, but China is growing–by half a UK economy every year.
ROE was 12.2% last quarter, he said. Blankfein prefers share repurchases to dividends. Share repurchases improve ROE, but the shareholders want a stable, consistent dividend and Goldman Sachs is giving the shareholders what they want.
Unless you only lend to one client, according to Blankfein, conflicts of interest are inevitable. When you advise a client and then lend to that client, you need to get paid back. Blankfein spoke about there being more scrutiny and more second guessing. He spoke about “the rise of the BRIC” and how his predecessors did not visit China and did not visit India. […]
* WALL STREET’S IMMUNITY
Why has the Obama administration so aggressively protected the financial industry from legal accountability?
By Glenn Greenwald, Salon
Of all the ignominious actions of the Obama administration, the steadfast, systematic shielding of Wall Street from criminal liability is probably the most corrupt in the traditional sense of that word. In Newsweek this week, Peter Boyer and Peter Schweizer have an excellent examination of what happened and why, tying together crucial threads. First they lay out the basic facts, including the core deceit of the President’s campaigning for re-election like he’s some sort of populist crusader:
With the Occupy protesters resuming battle stations, and Mitt Romney in place as the presumptive Republican nominee, President Obama has begun to fashion his campaign as a crusade for the 99 percent–a fight against, as one Obama ad puts it, “a guy who had a Swiss bank account.” Casting Romney as a plutocrat will be easy enough. But the president’s claim as avenging populist may prove trickier, given his own deeply complicated, even conflicted, relationship with Big Finance.
Obama came into office vowing to end business as usual, and, in the gray post-crash dawn of 2009, nowhere did a reckoning with justice seem more due than in the financial sector. . . . Two months into his presidency, Obama summoned the titans of finance to the White House, where he told them, “My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.” . . .
Candidate Obama had been their guy, accepting vast amounts of Wall Street campaign money for his victories over Hillary Clinton and John McCain (Goldman Sachs executives ponied up $1 million, more than any other private source of funding in 2008). Obama far outraised his Republican rival, John McCain, on Wall Street–around $16 million to $9 million. As it turned out, Obama apparently actually meant what he said at that White House meeting–his administration effectively would stand between Big Finance and anything like a severe accounting. To the dismay of many of Obama’s supporters, nearly four years after the disaster, there has not been a single criminal charge filed by the federal government against any top executive of the elite financial institutions. […]
* AUSTERITY, THE EURO CRISIS AND THE U.S.
Source: The Real News
Dean Baker: Austerity policy hitting a dead end, threat to US is a sovereign default leading to financial crisis
* THE SPECTACLE OF TERROR AND ITS VESTED INTERESTS
A cycle of overhyped terror plots involving government agency entrapment feeds a multimillion-dollar surveillance industry
By Naomi Wolf, The Guardian UK
The news stories, which quickly surface, long enough to cause scary headlines, then vanish before people can learn how often the cases are thrown out. These are stories about “bumbling fantasists”, hapless druggies, the aimless, even the virtually homeless and mentally ill, and other marginal characters with not the strongest grip on reality, who have been lured into discourses about violence against America only after assiduous courting, and in some cases outright payment, by undercover FBI or police informants.
They have become a litany in recent years. The terrifying 2003-2004 national news stories that a Detroit “sleeper cell” had sent Muslim terrorists to blow up Disneyland and other landmarks, including in Las Vegas, was later thrown out of court, with accusations of prosecutorial misconduct, to almost no press attention – the same cycle of hype and failed convictions that have characterized many such stories. The evidence had included a home video taken in Disneyland, “doodles”, and a guy with a credit card fraud problem, who had been pressured to diminish his own sentence by accusing his buddies. […]
* IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN WAR VETERANS TO PROTEST NATO
Veterans say they intend to return their medals in protest of U.S. and NATO military policy
By Phil Rogers, NBC Chicago
Among the thousands of protesters who will march and rally in Chicago later this month during the NATO Summit will be dozens of Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans who say the multi-national organization’s military policies are a failure.
So much so that they said they intend to return their medals in protest when their Sunday march reaches McCormick Place.
“We see that the global war on terrorism is a failed policy and we don’t want to be part of that mistake anymore,” said Aaron Hughes, who served in Iraq in 2003.
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