Jun 202012



Source: TechDirt, from the triumph-of-the-dinosaurs dept

A few months ago we wrote about a really bad idea that was being floated in Germany: making companies like Google pay for the use of news snippets in services such as Google News. Unfortunately, that idea has now been turned into a concrete proposal for a new law; remarkably, it is even worse than the original plans.

As Udo Vetter points out in a post entitled “Digitally Castrated” (German original), the emphasis of the proposed modification to German copyright law (available as pdf) has shifted: now the primary targets of the law are not only companies like Google, but also ordinary people who blog or post short excerpts of news stories on Facebook or even Twitter, who may be required to obtain a special new license to do so.

Vetter suggests this is because the German publishers have realised that Google would probably rather close down its Google News site in Germany than pay for each snippet, and so they have decided to go after an Internet group who make up in numbers what they lack in revenue: German users of blogs, Facebook and Twitter. […]

READ @ http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120618/07562119368/proposed-licensing-newspaper-snippets-could-threaten-users-blogs-facebook-twitter-germany.shtml?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter



Source: RT

Governments not widely blamed for censorship are increasingly asking Google to remove political content from its services, the company said as it released its bi-annual transparency report.

­The IT giant has been publishing data on how and why they have been asked by copyright holders and governmental agencies to remove user content since 2010. On Monday it released a new chunk of info on governments’ requests made from July to December 2011.

“This is the fifth data set that we’ve released. And just like every other time before, we’ve been asked to take down political speech. It’s alarming not only because free expression is at risk, but because some of these requests come from countries you might not suspect – Western democracies not typically associated with censorship,” Google Senior Policy Analyst Dorothy Chou said in the company’s blog. […]

READ @ http://www.rt.com/news/google-transparency-report-censorship-093/



By Kay Steiger, Raw Story

New York’s dynamic state attorney general reminded progressives at the Take Back the American Dream conference in Washington, D.C. that the right’s efforts to fight financial regulation is far from divinely inspired.

“You don’t build a movement with short-term tactics. You build a movement by understanding and change the way people think,” Eric Schneiderman said. “The day everyone says in America, ‘You know what? There’s no missing page of Genesis that says there are separate tax rates for capital gains. There is nothing in Leviticus that says you may not regulate derivatives. This is not stuff that has to be.’”

“This is just a bunch of people who decided our public policy should be to redistribute all of the wealth in our society to a very small number of our people,” Schneiderman said. “It’s public policy. It’s not ancient. It’s not God, and we have the power to change it. That’s what will enable us to break through the log jams to re-regulate the Dodd-Frank process. That’s what will break through.” […]

READ @ http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/06/19/schneiderman-leviticus-doesnt-say-you-may-not-regulate-derivatives/#.T-EPsaajPwM.facebook



Source: Waging Nonviolence

On Monday, June 18, seven Occupy Wall Street protesters were convicted for trespassing on property allegedly owned by Trinity Wall Street, an Episcopal church and powerful Lower Manhattan landlord, during an action on December 17 of last year. An eighth defendant, Mark Adams, was convicted of trespassing, attempted criminal mischief and attempted possession of burglary tools. Adams is Occupy Wall Street’s first activist convicted and sentenced to jail time in a group trial.

The December action, called “Take Back the Commons” or simply “#D17,”  was an effort to reestablish an encampment a month after the movement’s violent eviction from Zuccotti Park. It took place at Duarte Square, a plot of then-unused land a mile uptown from Trinity Church.

The trial lasted for more than a week and came after a series of political battles between Occupy Wall Street and Trinity, including protests, vigils, pickets, religious services, public statements by Chris Hedges and Daniel Berrigan, among others, and a petition with 14,000 signatures from all over the country demanding that Trinity not pursue the charges. […]

READ @ http://wagingnonviolence.org/2012/06/ows-receives-first-jail-sentence-at-behest-of-trinity-church/



“Over the last thirty years, the United States has been taken over by an amoral financial oligarchy, and the American dream of opportunity, education, and upward mobility is now largely confined to the top few percent of the population. Federal policy is increasingly dictated by the wealthy, by the financial sector, and by powerful (though sometimes badly mismanaged) industries such as telecommunications, health care, automobiles, and energy. These policies are implemented and praised by these groups’ willing servants, namely the increasingly bought-and-paid-for leadership of America’s political parties, academia, and lobbying industry.” – Charles FergusonPredator Nation

Source: The Burning Platform

The Federal Reserve released its Survey of Consumer Finances last week. It’s a fact filled 80 page report they issue every three years to provide a financial snapshot of American households. As you can see from the chart above, the impact of the worldwide financial collapse has been catastrophic to most of the households in the U.S. A 39% decline in median net worth over a three year time frame is almost incomprehensible. Even worse, the decline has surely continued for the average American household through 2012 as home prices have continued to fall. Median family income plunged by 7.7% over a three year time frame and has not recovered since the collection of this data 18 months ago. Even more shocking is the fact that median household income was $48,900 in 2001. Families are making 6.3% less today than they were a decade ago. These figures are adjusted for inflation using the BLS massaged CPI figures. Anyone not under the influence of psychotic drugs or engaged as a paid shill for the financial oligarchy knows that inflation is purposely under reported in order to keep the masses sedated and pacified. The real decline in median household income is in excess of 20% since 2001.

The destruction of the blue collar jobs has been underway since the early 1970s. And the relentless decline in real blue collar wages has followed a bumpy downward path for decades. Sadly, the average person doesn’t understand the insidious destruction caused to their lives by the Federal Reserve generated inflation, as they actually believe their wages today are higher than they were in 1973. The reality is the oligarchy has used foreign wage differentials and the perceived benefits of globalization to ship manufacturing and now service jobs to Asia while using their captured mainstream media to convince the average American that this has been beneficial to their lives. Using one of their 15 credit cards to buy cheap foreign goods made by people who took their jobs was never so easy.  I wonder if the benefits of being able to buy cheap Chinese electronics, toxic dog food, and slave labor produced igadgets outweighed the $2.3 trillion increase in consumer debt, 27% decline in real wages, 7 million manufacturing jobs lost since the mid-1970s, 46 million people on food stamps, $15 trillion increase in the National Debt since 1978, and a gutted decaying industrial base. […]

READ / CHARTS @ http://www.theburningplatform.com/?p=35850



By Simon Johnson, Baseline Scenario

On the “PBS NewsHour” in late May, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner indicated that the continued presence of Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, on the board on the Federal Reserve Bank of New York creates a perception problem that should be addressed. He used the diplomatic language favored by finance ministers, but the message was loud and clear: Mr. Dimon should resign from the board of the New York Fed.

Mr. Dimon has been an effective opponent of financial reform over the past four years. He remains an outspoken advocate of the view that global mega-banks can manage their own risks, and he has stated publicly that the new international and national rules on capital requirements are “Anti-American.”

Mr. Dimon now finds himself at the center of a number of official investigations into how his bank could have lost so much money so quickly in its London-based trading operation – including whether adverse material information was disclosed to regulators and to markets in a timely manner. […]

READ @ http://baselinescenario.com/2012/06/14/an-institutional-flaw-at-the-heart-of-the-federal-reserve/



By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

I was unable to watch J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon’s Senate testimony live the other day, so I had to get up yesterday morning and check it out on the Banking Committee’s web site. I had an inkling, from the generally slavish news reports about the hearing that started to come out Wednesday night, that it would be a hard thing to watch.

But I wasn’t prepared for just how bad it was. If not for Oregon’s Jeff Merkley, who was the only senator who understood the importance of taking the right tone with Dimon, the hearing would have been a total fiasco. Most of the rest of the senators not only supplicated before the blowdried banker like love-struck schoolgirls or hotel bellhops, they also almost all revealed themselves to be total ignoramuses with no grasp of the material they were supposed to be investigating.

That most of them had absolutely no conception of even the basics of the derivatives market was obvious. But what was even more amazing was that several of them had serious trouble even reading aloud the questions their more learned staffers prepared for them. Many seemed to be reading their own questions for the first time. […]

READ @ http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/senators-grovel-embarrass-themselves-at-dimon-hearing-20120615

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