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Billions of pounds flooded into UK banks to stave off Brexit panic

Bank of England (BoE) Governor Mark Carney is taking emergency steps to prepare for a...

UK banks involved in FIFA scandal

British banks have allegedly been party to corrupt transactions worth millions of dollars linked to FIFA, according to legal papers from the US Department...

UK banks ‘have much to fear’: competition watchdog set to probe Lloyds, RBS, HSBC...

Barclays, RBS, HSBC and Lloyds may be forced to break up following a finance watchdog’s inquiry. The watchdog claims Britain's banking sector is characterized...

Big UK banks to cut 189k jobs by 2014

Britain's four biggest banks will have eliminated 189,000 jobs by 2014.Britain's four biggest banks will have eliminated 189,000 jobs by 2014, bringing employment down...

UK banks trim 189,000 jobs bringing employment to 9yr low

Britain’s four biggest banks will have cut a quarter of their staff worldwide by the end of this year from peak staffing levels of...

‘I’m really pleased we have food banks’: Outrage at UK Conservative politician’s comments (VIDEO)

A Conservative Party politician seeking re-election provoked uproar at a hustings in Cornwall when she appeared to praise the existence of food banks in...

UKIP needs no Banks: Leaked Euroskeptics’ docs show deep party rift

Leaked minutes from a UK Independence Party (UKIP) meeting show the leadership dismissing the defection...

UK's top cop tells banks not to refund cyber-crime victims, even as online defenses...

Banks shouldn't compensate customers who are victims of cyber-crime because it “rewards” them for sloppy...

Ukraine’s Car-Production Plunges 96%; Many Banks Also Fail

Eric Zuesse On Tuesday April 7th, Ukravtoprome (the Ukrainian Association of Automobile Manufacturers) reported that, in the three-month period January-March 2015, as compared to the same three...

U.S. & ‘International Banks’ Finance Ukraine’s Civil War

Eric Zuesse On November 26th, Ukraine’s Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, said, “Our cabinet has resumed the program of activity and cooperation with the International Monetary...

Wall Street banks ‘may desert UK for Ireland’ if Britain leaves EU

Wall Street banks could abandon Britain for the Republic of Ireland if the UK decides to leave the EU, senior figures in the industry...

UK wants banks offer Islamic services

Britain is demanding its banks to introduce services compliant with the Islamic law in a bid to make London the major western player in...

Nationwide banks sit-ins planned in UK

Anti-cuts campaigners will occupy branches of one of the leading British banks and set up fake food banks there to highlight the massive rich...

UK’s new watchdog tells banks to raise another $20 billion

Matt Scuffham and Huw JonesReutersJune 21, 2013 Britain’s banks will have to raise 13 billion pounds...

UK sets out new law to break up errant banks

LONDON (Reuters) - British banks that fail to guard their day-to-day banking from risky investment activities will face being dismantled, Chancellor George Osborne will say on Monday. Britain is shaking up its system of bank regulation following the 2...

UK sets out new law to break up errant banks

LONDON (Reuters) - British banks that fail to guard their day-to-day banking from risky investment activities will face being dismantled, Chancellor George Osborne will say on Monday. Britain is shaking up its system of bank regulation following the 2...

UK urges tougher ring-fence rules for EU banks

LONDON (Reuters) - British Chancellor George Osborne urged European Union policymakers on Tuesday to seriously consider adopting proposals to separate banks' retail and investment banking operations. "There is an interesting proposal on the table ... ...

British banks ordered to inform on suspected illegal immigrants amid Tory crackdown

Published time: 22 Sep, 2017 12:01 UK banks will be forced to carry out immigration...

Banksy confirms new Barbican murals are his, dedicated to US artist Basquiat

Published time: 18 Sep, 2017 16:03 Two new works of art by acclaimed British street...

UK’s biggest food bank rejects Jacob Rees-Mogg’s claim poverty relief ‘uplifting’

Published time: 14 Sep, 2017 15:06 Food banks are an “emergency service” that cannot “solve...

Could-be Tory PM Jacob Rees-Mogg faces backlash after calling food banks ‘uplifting’

Conservative activists’ favoured leadership contender, Jacob Rees-Mogg, has faced a fierce backlash after saying that...

‘Shameful’ Chancellor Hammond accused of ‘bragging’ of financial success as nurses turn to foodbanks

Published time: 8 Sep, 2017 09:53 Edited time: 8 Sep, 2017 10:06 Tory Chancellor of...

Pro-Palestine activists who shut down UK-based Israeli drone factory face jail

Five activists are potentially facing jail after blockading an Israeli arms factory in the English...
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Video: Swiss banksters give Theresa May her orders on Alpine ‘walking holiday’

Swiss give UK PM Theresa May her WWIII orders on Switzerland 'walking holiday'? George Butler, Tony Gosling www.thesecrettruth.com Sunday 30th July ... Via Youtube

New Banksy? ‘Yuge’ anti-Trump murals appear on West Bank separation wall

Published time: 4 Aug, 2017 14:56 Graffiti resembling that of British street artist Banksy has...

Puerto Rico banks on medical marijuana to counter fiscal crisis

Puerto Rico is pinning its future on medical marijuana production to lift it out of its...

Half of children who use food banks over summer are primary school age

Published time: 25 Jul, 2017 13:22 Half of the children using food banks during the...

Jeremy Corbyn's Bold Vision Puts UK on Verge of 'Amazing Political Upset'

As it looked as though U.K. election might be heading towards shocking results and a hung Parliament, Labour leady Jeremy Corbyn called on Conservative...

UK Elections: Tory Cynicism vs. Corbyn’s Common Decency

One million people, many of them in work, forced to rely foodbanks; 1 in 4 children living in poverty; homelessness, including rough sleeping, at...

Britain’s growing hunger crisis: Food banks distribute 1.2mn emergency parcels in 1yr

The number of food banks in Britain has risen to more than 2,000, with demand...

UKIP claims it’s ‘more important than ever’ amid tense post-Manchester manifesto launch

The launch of the UK Independence Party’s (UKIP) election manifesto in the wake of the...

New Brexit-themed Banksy shows workman chipping away at EU flag

Published time: 8 May, 2017 09:22 Edited time: 8 May, 2017 09:42 Street artist Banksy...

Anti-racism protesters storm UKIP election campaign launch (VIDEO)

UKIP’s election campaign launch was disrupted before it even started, as anti-racism activists broke into...

Claims of crooked UK MPs passing secret reports to City traders remain uninvestigated

Published time: 28 Apr, 2017 14:13Edited time: 28 Apr, 2017 15:59 A claim that London City...

UKIP in crisis? Biggest donor & party spokesman jump ship amid ‘war on Muslims’...

Not a full day had passed since the UK Independence Party (UKIP) launched its new...

UK must harness power of machine learning before it’s too late – Royal Society

Machine learning has long been a topic of both fear and fascination for the public,...

German politician wants UK to hold 2nd referendum as ‘Brits didn’t understand Brexit’

Katarina Barley, leader of the German Social Democrats (SPD), called for a second Brexit referendum this week, arguing British voters were misinformed about the...

‘Banksy of punctuation’: Self-proclaimed ‘grammar vigilante’ corrects Bristol shop signs

Published time: 3 Apr, 2017 15:24Edited time: 3 Apr, 2017 15:31 A self-proclaimed ‘grammar vigilante’ is...
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Video: 20 top EU banks routed €25bn through tax havens – Oxfam

A report by Oxfam suggests Europe's largest banks have registered over a quarter of their profits in offshore tax havens last year. The continent's...

‘Job done’: UKIP’s only MP quits party after Brexit success

Published time: 25 Mar, 2017 15:26Edited time: 25 Mar, 2017 15:29 Having defected from the Conservatives...

UKIP just got invoiced for £200k… by its largest donor

Published time: 24 Mar, 2017 15:38 The woes of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) continue, as...

Farage blames terrorist attack on UK’s multiculturalism, though over half of victims were foreign

Former UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage came under fire after blaming Wednesday’s terrorist...

UKIP’s biggest donor launches ‘UKIP 2.0, the Force Awakens’ after being ‘suspended’

Published time: 14 Mar, 2017 15:45 UKIP’s last big donor, Arron Banks, has announced he will...

UKIP’s only MP could be expelled from party by end of the month

Published time: 10 Mar, 2017 17:21 The future of the UK Independence Party’s (UKIP) one and...

UKIP civil war rages as only MP reportedly holds talks on Tory re-defection

The civil war within the Brexit spearheading UK Independence Party (UKIP) is deepening, after its...

Nigel Farage wants UKIP’s only MP kicked out of party for ‘sabotaging his knighthood’

Ex-UKIP leader Nigel Farage has called for the party’s only MP to be sacked over...

UK will still need migrant workers after leaving EU, admits Brexit minister

Published time: 22 Feb, 2017 14:08Edited time: 23 Feb, 2017 12:56 Even after leaving the EU,...

UKIP chairmen resign over leader’s ‘insensitive’ approach to Hillsborough

Two of UKIP’s local party chairmen have resigned over what they call leader Paul Nuttall’s...

Millions of UK families on brink of poverty, report from leading think tank finds

Rising prices and stagnating incomes have left millions of British families on the very brink...

RT UK’s bank accounts to remain open after NatWest backs down

NatWest has scrapped its plan to close the bank account of RT UK after the bank’s decision sparked a public outcry. As a result...

Britain’s answer to Breitbart? UKIP donor launches ‘Westmonster’ website

Multimillionaire UKIP donor Arron Banks, who bankrolled one of the major Brexit campaigns, has launched...

UK Ambassador to EU resigns ahead of Brexit negotiations

Sir Ivan Rogers, Britain’s top diplomat in Brussels, has abruptly resigned from office just months...

Cashing out? Banks to reveal post-Brexit plans

Banks in the City of London will tell investors as early as next month whether they plan to move their operations out of post-Brexit...

UK govt arranging meeting of Trump & Queen at Windsor as ‘secret weapon’ to...

An invitation to Donald Trump to stay at Windsor Castle and meet with the Queen...

UKIP misspent £400,000 of EU cash on Brexit & election campaigns, leaked audit shows

UKIP misspent almost half-a-million euro of EU funds on helping boost its Brexit campaign and...

Is UKIP head Farage about to become ‘Lord Nigel’ to boost Britain’s relations with...

Prime Minister Theresa May has apparently refused to confirm or deny whether she could give...

Trump camp ‘will call Nigel Farage before Theresa May’ to discuss policy, says UKIP...

US President-elect Donald Trump will consult interim UKIP leader Nigel Farage on policy proposals affecting Britain before consulting Prime Minister Theresa May, it has...

UKIP chief Nigel Farage eyes job in Donald Trump White House

Brexiteer-in-chief Nigel Farage wants a top job in the White House if Republican candidate Donald...

UKIP members could defect to Conservatives en mass, Tory councilor tells RT (VIDEO)

Nigel Farage’s UKIP has been suffering from an identity crisis since Britain voted to leave...

UKIP’s descent into ‘full-blown insanity’ could cost it funding, says major donor

UKIP has descended into “full-blown insanity,” warns insurance tycoon Arron Banks, who has donated more...

Steven Woolfe quits ‘ungovernable & rotten’ UKIP after EU parliament punch-up

UKIP MEP Steven Woolfe, who was hospitalized after an altercation with a colleague in the...

Assets, properties targeted as UK tries to stem flood of dirty money from abroad

Hundreds of properties in Britain suspected of belonging to overseas criminals could be seized under...

UK Chancellor on Wall Street to reassure nervous bankers about London’s financial future

British Chancellor Philip Hammond is in the US, cozying up to Wall Street power-brokers in...

Banks, regulators accused of leaving customers at mercy of cyber criminals

Banks are compromising the security of millions of bank customers by failing to address the...

How to Take on the Banksters

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) listens to John Stumpf, the chief executive of Wells Fargo, testify before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban...

Ex-UKIP boss Nigel Farage vows return to frontline politics if Brexit isn’t delivered

Nigel Farage says he will return to frontline politics if Brexit isn’t well underway by...

Smashed or stolen? Banksy ‘Spy Booth’ mural satirizing govt. surveillance removed (PHOTO, VIDEO)

A famous Banksy artwork that depicted illegal British government spying has been mysteriously removed from...

Ban Muslim veil in public places, says UKIP leadership hopeful

UKIP leadership candidate Lisa Duffy is calling for Muslim veils to be banned in public...

Post-Farage UKIP: Talk of a coup as frontrunner Woolfe excluded from leadership race

Three UKIP members have stood down following a decision to exclude Steven Woolfe from the leadership race to succeed Nigel Farage, claiming a coup...

UK ‘sailing blindly’ into financial meltdown bigger than 2008, think tank warns

Britain is heading for financial crisis worse than the 2008 collapse and the Bank of...

Gaddafi henchmen who stole millions from Libya found laundering money through British banks

Three of former Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's henchmen have been found living comfortably in...

UKIP mega-donor plans new political party… without Nigel Farage

Aaron Banks, the millionaire businessman who bankrolled UKIP’s Leave.EU campaign, has said he wants to...

‘Leave’ donor Arron Banks attacks journalists on Twitter over Brexit racism links

Diamond-mining tycoon and major ‘Leave’ campaign donor Arron Banks has gone on a social media...

Private Banks: Creating Money Out of Thin Air

In his book The Joy of Tax: How a Fair Tax System Can Create a Better Society, Richard Murphy, UK Tax Justice Network co-founder,...

Run on banks? Brits rush to buy euros, dollars ahead of Brexit vote

Thousands of Brits have rushed to buy foreign currency during the last week over fears...
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Video: Investment Banker Mads Palsvig On How He Woke Up To How Private Central...

Please Support The Show – http://richieallen.co.uk/ https://www.facebook.com/therichieallenshow http://www.youtube.com/RichieAllenShowMedia Tune in at ... Via Youtube
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Video: UK censorship case study: Ken Loach wins 2016 Palme D’or – Brexit vote...

Ken Loach wins Palme D'or - Case study in UK censorship Bilderberg Banksters to meet in Dresden from 9-12 June Pippa Jones - Tony...

Brits hit by cyber theft could be forced to foot bill as banks shirk...

Brits who use online banking services vulnerable to criminal hackers could be made liable for...

U.S., UK, and EU, Are Now Dictatorships

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org How can it be that in virtually all of the U.S. Presidential-candidate head-to-head Democratic versus Republican polling that was done...

Fukushima Flunks Decontamination

Japan’s Abe administration is pushing very hard to decontaminate land, roads, and buildings throughout Fukushima Prefecture, 105 cities, towns, and villages. Thousands of workers...

Global banks bankroll battle to keep Britain in the EU

Prime Minister David Cameron’s bid to keep Britain in the EU is being funded by...

How Japanese Officials Can Atone for Fukushima

Despite the Fukushima and Chernobyl disasters, nuclear energy continues to thrive. Pictured: Fukushima shortly after the disaster. (Photo: Warren Antiola / Flickr Commons) The meltdowns...

Obama: TTIP Necessary So As to Protect Megabanks From Prosecution

Eric Zuesse On May 7th, Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten, or German Economic News, headlined, "USA planen mit TTIP Frontal-Angriff auf Gerichte in Europa” or “U.S. Plans Frontal Attack...

Stiffing Iran on the Nuke Deal

Secretary of State Kerry boasts about how little Iran has gotten from the nuclear deal – accessing only $3 billion...

UK unions agree to implement pay cuts for NHS workers

Via WSWS. This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license. Ajanta Silva The British government is enforcing a miserly 1 percent increase...

Panama Papers destabilise Cameron government in UK

Via WSWS. This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license. The angry response in the UK to the “Panama Papers” revelations...

UK prime minister defends super-rich in statement on Panama Papers revelations

Via WSWS. This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license. Julie Hyland Britain’s prime minister, David Cameron, used his statement to parliament...

UK documentary exposes Saudi role in global terror operations

Jean Shaoul ITV’s Exposure: Saudi Arabia Uncovered portrays the horrific brutality with which the House of Saud maintains its rule and has been the subject...

HSBC, Coutts & Rothschild: British banks help the 1% evade tax, #PanamaPapers suggest

Big British banks have allegedly been helping the rich and powerful ferret away their wealth...

Panama Papers: Revelations show sheer scale of UK links to off-shore tax havens

The UK government’s pledge to crack down on off-shore tax schemes and money laundering has...

Shell shock: 6 WWII anti-tank rockets found at UK bus stop, cops forced to...

Six unexploded World War II rockets have been found behind a bus stop in Essex....

Helicopter Money: Global Central Banks Consider Distributing Money Directly To The People

Michael Snyder (RINF) - Should central banks create money out of thin air and give it directly to governments and average citizens?  If you can...

Campaign for UK exit from the EU dominated by nationalism and big business interests

Via WSWS. This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license. Robert Stevens The Leave campaign in Britain’s June 23 referendum on continued...

Property crash fears prompt banks to offload risk onto taxpayers

Banks and speculators are attempting to offload mortgage default risk onto unsuspecting taxpayers and pension funds amid fears of a looming property crash in...
UK banks looking ever more precarious and now most risky in the developed world

UK bank risk returns: Most risky in the developed world – Taxpayers on hook...

Our banking system in the UK is still dangerously dysfunctional. Post-crisis reforms failed to fully address the risks posed by the City of London,...

Treasury officials wined & dined by arms giants & ‘rogue banks’

Treasury officials regularly accepted invitations to lavish dinners with lobbyists for banks that were being investigated for market rigging, a new report has found. The...

Many UK children go to school hungry

Tom Pearce A survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of breakfast manufacturer Kellogg’s has exposed the extent of food poverty among children in the UK. The...
bank bail-ins implemented in UK

UK Banking Industry — Most Unstable in G7 Implements Depositor Bail-in Scheme

Back in September we published an article “Grand Theft Auto — UK and EU Bank Depositor Bail-In Regime Implemented” in which we described how...

British Medical Association calls off UK junior doctors strikes

By Robert Stevens  On Monday evening, the British Medical Association (BMA) called off yesterday’s planned 24-hour strike of 40,000 trainee junior doctors in England, to resume...

UK Chancellor “negotiates” decimation of public services ahead of spending review

By Simon Whelan British Chancellor George Osborne has negotiated cuts with 11 governmental departments, ahead of next week’s spending review. The result will decimate already hard-pressed...

Place sanctions on banks and states funding ISIS, says Corbyn

States and financial institutions suspected of managing or providing funds to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) should have sanctions placed on them, Labour Party...

US & UK hold joint drills to test response to cyber attacks

Washington and London have conducted joint exercises to test how governments, the biggest banks and multinational companies would respond to potential cyber attacks. The...

Video: Tom Darcy: “Criminal Banks, Politicians And Police Are Driving People To Suicide In...

Please Support The Show — http://richieallen.co.uk/ http://www.WaitingForTheSheriff.com/ https://www.facebook.com/therichieallenshow ... Via Youtube

Ukraine’s Cyber Mercenaries Attack Alternative Media

George Eliason (RINF) - The terms cyber war and infowar have been a constant in many articles written about the conflict in Ukraine. The problem...

Serving UK general threatens mutiny against a future Corbyn government

By Chris Marsden A senior serving British general has threatened “direct action” by the armed forces against a future Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour government. Speaking to the Sunday...

UK psychologists campaign against cuts and social inequality

By Ross Mitchell In August, British psychologists organised a five-day “Walk the Talk” march, to protest against budget cuts and social inequality and the effects they...

Never Forget: The Central Banks Have Engineered This Collapse

James Corbett Good news, everybody! The markets are rebounding! Yes, we just a hit a minor bump in the road there, but don’t worry, everything...

Palestinian artist expelled from Banksy’s Dismaland after anti-Israel protest

Palestinian artist has been ejected from Banksy’s Dismaland theme park after he protested against the presence of Israeli artists. Shadi Alzaqzouq was escorted out of...
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Video: Dismaland: Banksy opens ‘bemusement park’ in England

A new theme park has welcomed its first visitors in a seaside resort in the UK. World-renowned street artist Banksy has created the self-proclaimed...
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Video: Can’t Make It To Banksy’s Dismaland, It’s Ok, Just Watch This Video

To enter to win the raffle for the #dismaland memorabilia go to http://wearechange.org/donate/ In this video Luke Rudkowski begins his journey from London to...

Healthy 75yo UK woman dies in Swiss euthanasia clinic to avoid ‘becoming a burden’

A healthy former nurse has killed herself at a Swiss euthanasia clinic because she feared developing a terminal illness and being unable to take...

UK government whips up anti-immigrant hysteria over Eurotunnel security at Calais

By Chris Marsden Britain’s Conservative government and the media have responded with undisguised xenophobia to attempts by migrants at the French port of Calais to enter...

UK PM Cameron explains .01% doctrine: ‘Destroy nation-states to invent our own barbaric realm’

Reposted with permission of Washingtonsblog by Carl Herman hat tips: Nafeez Ahmed and Tony Gosling On July 20, 2015, UK Prime Minister David Cameron delivered a major speech...

We Can All Get by Quite Well Without Banks – Ireland Managed to Survive...

A 1970 strike in Ireland provoked an admirable outbreak of ingenuity - Greece should take note Television reporters stand in front of the shut doors...

UK Conservative budget heralds ever deeper austerity

Via WSWS. This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license. By Julie Hyland Conservative Chancellor George Osborne unveiled his second budget in four...

UK child poverty rising as government seeks cuts to tax credits

Via WSWS. This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license. By Margot Miller Child poverty remained at a high of 2.3 million in...

Thousands of jobs lost in UK

Via WSWS. This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license. By Margot Miller Thousands of workers are losing their jobs across all sectors...

IMF Violates IMF Rules, to Continue Ukraine Bailouts

Eric Zuesse The IMF, whose bailout operations are absorbed by the taxpayers in the member countries whenever a particular bailed-out nation defaults, announced on Friday, June 19th,...

Protests mount against US-backed regime in Ukraine

(WSWS) - Protests mount against US-backed regime in Ukraine By Thomas Gaist 10 June 2015 In the latest eruption of mass protests against the US puppet government of Ukrainian...

Confidential Document: Soros’s Plan for Ukraine

Eric Zuesse A hacked document from the Ukrainian Government, in which George Soros, on 12 March 2015 (a month after the Hollande-Merkel Minsk II ceasefire agreement had been signed),...

UK banking sector ‘extremely vulnerable’ to financial crisis, report warns

Britain’s financial system is “extremely” vulnerable to future crisis under current regulations, a new report warns. The New Economics Foundation (NEF) says the UK’s...

Thousands of Ukrainians protest Kiev regime’s draconian utility price hikes

By Alex Lantier (WSWS) - Protests are mounting against decisions by the NATO-backed regime in Kiev to drastically increase prices for energy, water, and other basic...

‘UK democracy run by big business’

The victory of Conservatives in UK general elections has sparked hot debates among experts about the democratic nature of its political system and economic prospect.

One of the main points which is repeated in most debates is that the austerity measures would continue in the next five years.

“Obviously we had a 5 year coalition government where at least some of the extreme right-wing policies of the conservative party was controlled and managed by the Lib Dems. What we are likely to see is that the austerity measures now are taking a full speed,” London-based commentator Shabbir Razvi told Press TV.

He blamed the Conservatives politicians for not briefing the nations over the budgets allocated for various fields saying:” What we have is that austerity measures will continue unabated and really what this reflects is that Britain is very much a democracy, or a form of democracy, which can be bought by money.”

According to Razvi, at the end of last year, the electoral commission found that Tories received the largest amount of donations at 8 billion, the bulk of which came from financial associates in banks, different industries and business.

The analyst said the Tories are now going to follow the agenda of big corporations, big businesses saying what big corporations want is to create a sort of jargon and euphemistically it is called to create a competitive environment.

“What the multinational corporations want is that vast majority of the people in the UK to be working at a very minimum wage so that the corporations make bigger and bigger profits and at the same time cuts and the privatization of the national health service, cuts and the privatization of the police service, the fire service, and so on,” he noted.

 He then referred to the relatively low turnout in the general elections saying out of the 45 million people who were eligible for vote, only 30 million voted.

“That means the largest party that didn’t participate in the elections was the non-voters and the conservative party only got 35 percent of the popular vote, he said.

Razvi slammed the form of democracy in the UK saying that it appears that the form of democracy that is being practiced in the UK, the mother of all democracies, is not really quite democratic as it is run by big businesses, big media tycoons, and the rich and the wealthy.

MTM/MH

George Galloway Defeated in UK General Election

George Galloway Defeated in UK General Election

by Stephen Lendman

Parliamentarian, writer, broadcaster, anti-war activist, human rights supporter, Israeli critic, and champion of Palestinian rights among other credentials Respect Party member Galloway was defeated in Thursday's general election.

He lost his Bradford West constituency decisively to New Labour's Naz Shah - 19,977 to 8,557. Down but not out, he commented, saying:

I don't begrudge the Labour members here their moment of celebration, of course."

"But there will be others who are already celebrating: the venal, the vile, the racists and the Zionists will all be celebrating." 

"The hyena can bounce on the lion’s grave but it can never be a lion and in any case, I’m not in my grave. As a matter of fact I’m going off now to plan the next campaign."

"Bradford West will always have a central place in my heart," he explained.

Shah thanked all her opponents in her victory speech "with the exception of one," she said - leaving no doubt who she meant.

She outrageously claimed Galloway "demean(ed) our democracy" while campaigning. He blasted Torries and New Labour for continuing business as usual.

Millions of Brits are suffering. Corrupt politicians don't care. Food banks are proliferating, Galloway explained. "Can you imagine what the country will look like by 2020 if these barbarians are returned" to power, he stressed.

Social justice is fast disappearing. Neoliberal harshness is official UK policy. So is partnering with Washington's endless wars. 

Galloway demands better. He was a marked man for championing what power brokers oppose.

Campaigning was rough and tumble. A Galloway spokesman denied his tactics were out of line. 

"Shah has made it personal from the beginning," he said. "She hasn't told the truth, and she's told untruths about George."

It didn't affect his core supporters, reports indicated. They were out in force. It wasn't enough.

In 2012, Galloway defeated New Labour's Imran Hussein overwhelmingly. This time was different.

In late April, Galloway said he'll run for mayor of London if his reelection campaign fails. He told Sky News:

"I won't run for London mayor if I am reelected on 7 May. If I am not reelected, I will run" in May 2016. 

He ruled out running as a sitting MP - suggesting it would be impossible to represent his constituents properly. A spokesman had no further comment.

Galloway remains one of politics most charismatic figures. Supporters and critics alike agree few can arouse a crowd the way he does.

It was an honor for this writer to be on air once with him as a guest. We had a rousing discussion not heard on major Western media outlets. 

Hard truths on issues mattering most are strictly verboten. Galloway features them on air and in parliament. Maybe as mayor of London next year.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.


It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

UK Elections: Business As Usual Triumphs

UK Elections: Business as Usual Triumphs

by Stephen Lendman

May 7 general elections approach. Britain is like America. It's all over before polls open. Monied interests win every time.

Ordinary people lose out more than ever in modern memory. It shows in opinion polls. 

Only 16% of voters trust politicians. Why anyone besides well-off Brits do they'll have to explain.  

It doesn't matter who wins on Thursday. Torries and New Labour are even in polls. They're like Republicans and Democrats in America - two sides of the same coin, not a dime's worth of difference between them.

Neither major party is expected to win a majority. Expect coalition government with smaller parties to follow. They largely support the same regressive policies.

All politicians lie. Nothing they say can be believed. New Labour leader Ed Miliband maintained the standard saying Britain's "clear choice on Thursday (is) between a Labour government that will put working people first or a Tory government that will only ever work for the privileged few."

Britain's "clear choice" is none at all. Monied interests run things. Bankers top the pecking order.

Politicians come and go. One major party or the other wins. Things stay the same.

Neoliberal harshness, financialization, weak unions, offshoring manufacturing, privatizing state enterprises, deregulation, and disappearing social justice characterize Britain's economy.

London's Guardian warned of a "hit list of (more) welfare cuts" coming.

Voltaire once explained British society saying its people "are like their own beer; froth on top, dregs at bottom, the middle excellent."

Today's froth never had it better. Poor Brits are enduring their hardest times since post-WW II recovery.

Middle class society is fast disappearing - like in America. Britain's weekly Spectator magazine says it's "shrinking and sinking."

"The lifestyle that the average earner had half a century ago -  reasonably sized house, dependable healthcare, a decent education for the children and a reliable pension - is becoming the preserve of the rich." 

"Middle-class pensioners look on amazed at how their children, now into adulthood, seem to have a far harder time."

Rich elites run things more than ever. They doubled their wealth since 2009. The average worker earns less when adjusted for inflation and wage cuts.

Former Bank of England governor Mervyn King said middle class society is enduring the longest squeeze in living memory. Rich folks never had it better.

London is unaffordable to live in. House prices average over $750,000. The average wage is less than $50,000.

In January, thousands participated in a March for Homes rally. They demanded solutions to unaffordable housing prices - worsening as they escalate.

They carried banners saying "People before profit." Build council homes (reasonably priced ones for working class people)." "Take the wealth of the 1%."

Rents surged an average 13% annually since 2010. So have repossessions and evictions. Britain increasingly is unfit to live in - just like America.

New Labour claiming "Britain can be better" rings hollow for millions enduring increasing hardships.

They're "all the same," growing numbers of voters say about a system increasingly ignoring their needs.

They promise one thing. They do another. Serving monied interests and allying with Washington's war machine matter most.

Respect Party Bradford West MP George Galloway is running for reelection. He calls himself "your traditional, much-loved black cab."

"You don't know what you've got until it's gone. There are not a lot of us black cabs around any more."

His constituency is one of Britain's poorest. It's struggling to reinvent itself. Despite his best  best efforts, he's up against a corrupted, uncaring system.

He's one of 650 House of Commons members. "Recovery, what recovery," he asks?

"We keep hearing that the economic recovery is better in Britain than in any other European country."

"Well it may be in London and the Home Counties, but it certainly isn't here" and most other places in Britain.

Millions are suffering. Food banks are proliferating, Galloway explained. "Can you imagine what the country will look like by 2020 if these barbarians are returned" to power, he stressed.

"We need investment in jobs and infrastructure…But it won't come under the Tories or this miserable local Labour administration." Or New Labour if it bests the Torries nationwide.

Social justice is fast disappearing. Force-fed austerity is official UK policy. 

So is growing wealth inequality. It's risen four times faster since 2008 compared to the seven preceding years.

It bears repeating. Britain is like America - governed of, by and for its privileged elites alone.

It's corrupt, fundamentally unfair and ruthlessly anti-democratic. Young people have no futures.

An entire generation is lost. Social welfare cuts hits Britain's most disadvantaged hardest.

Inequality is booming. Politicians able to make a difference don't care. Increasing amounts of public wealth in private hands is a slippery slope to third world status.

Margaret Thatcher escalated inequality. She oversaw one of the greatest ever transfers of wealth to British society's most well-off.

David Cameron is worse. New Labour's Ed Miliband is no better. Robbing poor Peter to pay rich Paul is official bipartisan policy.

It's endorsed by Liberal Democrats, Britain's third ranked party. It's neither liberal nor democratic. It's hard right like the rest.

On Thursday, voting options are death by hanging or firing squad. Ballot choices exclude government serving everyone equitably.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.


It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

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The movement to break away from Wall Street and form publicly-owned banks continues to gain momentum. But enthusiasts are deterred by claims that a state-owned bank would violate constitutional prohibitions against “lending the credit of the state.”

California’s constitution is typical. It states in Section 17: “The State shall not in any manner loan its credit, nor shall it subscribe to, or be interested in the stock of any company, association, or corporation . . . .”

The language sounds prohibitive, but what does it mean? Hundreds of state and local government entities extend the credit of the state. State agencies make student loans, small business loans, and farm loans. State infrastructure banks explicitly leverage the credit of the state. Legally, state and local governments are extending their credit to private banks every time they deposit their revenues in those banks. When money is deposited, it becomes the property of the bank by law. The depositor becomes a creditor with an IOU or promise to be repaid. The state or local government has thus lent its money to the bank.

How can these blatant extensions of the state’s credit be reconciled with the constitutional prohibitions against the practice?

North Dakota’s constitution has particularly strong language. Article 10, Section 18, provides:

The state, any county or city may make internal improvements and may engage in any industry, enterprise or business, not prohibited by article XX of the constitution, but neither the state nor any political subdivision thereof shall otherwise loan or give its credit or make donations to or in aid of any individual, association or corporation except for reasonable support of the poor, nor subscribe to or become the owner of capital stock in any association or corporation.

Yet this prohibition has not prevented the state from establishing its own bank. Currently the nation’s only state-owned depository bank, the Bank of North Dakota has been a stellar success and has been going strong ever since 1919. In Green vs. Frazier, 253 U.S. 233 (1920), the US Supreme Court upheld the bank’s constitutionality against a Fourteenth Amendment challenge and deferred to the state court on the state constitutional issues, which had been decided in the state’s favor.

In the nineteenth century, Mississippi, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, and Indiana all had their own state-owned banks. Some were extremely successful (Indiana had a monopoly state-owned bank). These banks, too, withstood constitutional challenge at the US Supreme Court level.

Were the prohibitions against “lending the credit of the state” simply ignored in these cases? Or might that language have meant something else?

The Constitutional Ban on “Bills of Credit”: Colonial Paper Money

Constitutional provisions against lending the state’s credit go back to the mid-nineteenth century. California’s is in its original constitution, dated 1849. There was then no national currency, and the National Bank Act had not yet been passed.

Several decades earlier, the states had been colonies that issued their own currencies in the form of paper scrip. Typically called “bills of credit”, these paper bills literally involved the extension of the colony’s credit. They were credit vouchers used by the colony to pay for goods and services, which were good in trade for an equivalent sum in goods or services in the marketplace.

Prior to the constitutional convention in the summer of 1787, the colonies exercised their own sovereign power over monetary matters, including issuing their own paper money. After the collapse of the Continental currency during the Revolutionary War, largely due to counterfeiting by the British, the framers were so afraid of paper money that they expressly took that power away from the colonies-turned-states, and they failed to expressly give it even to the federal government. Article I, Section 10, of the U.S. Constitution provides:

No State shall . . . coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; . . . .

Congress was given the power “To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures.” But language authorizing Congress to “emit Bills of Credit” was struck out after much debate.

The Supreme Court ruled in the Legal Tender Cases after the Civil War that the power to coin money implied the power to print money under the Necessary and Proper Clause, legitimizing the Greenbacks issued by President Lincoln. But in 1850, no state government had the power to extend its own credit in the form of bills of credit or paper money, and whether the federal government had that power was a subject of debate.

However, the expanding economy needed a source of freely-expandable currency and credit, and when local governments could not provide it, private banks filled the void. They issued their own “bank notes” equal to many times their gold holdings, effectively running their own private printing presses.

Was that constitutional? No. The Constitution nowhere gives private banks the power to create the national money supply – and today, private banks are where virtually all of our circulating money supply comes from. Congress ostensibly delegated its authority to issue money to the Federal Reserve in 1913; but it did not delegate that authority to private banks, which have only recently admitted that they do not lend their depositors’ money but actually create new money on their books when they make loans. In the Bank of England’s latest Quarterly Bulletin, it states:

Whenever a bank makes a loan, it simultaneously creates a matching deposit in the borrower’s bank account, thereby creating new money.

This broad exercise of the money power by private banks is nowhere to be found in our federal or state constitutions, but courts have managed to get around that wrinkle. In Constitutional Law in the United States, Emlin McClain summarizes the case law like this:

A state cannot, even for the purpose of borrowing money, exercise the sovereign power of emitting paper currency (Craig v. Missouri). But this prohibition does not interfere with the power of a state to authorize banks to issue bank notes in the form of due-bills or of similar character, intended to pass as currency on the faith and credit of the bank itself, and not of the state which authorizes their issuance.

The anomalous result is that state-chartered banks are able to issue credit that passes as currency, while state governments are not. But so the cases hold, and they apply to public banks as well as private banks.

Public Banks Held Constitutional

John Thom Holdsworth wrote in Money and Banking (1937) that in the mid-nineteenth century, “several of the states established banks owned entirely or in part by the state. There was some question as to the right of these state institutions to issue circulating notes, but the Supreme Court held that such notes were not ‘bills of credit’ within the meaning of the constitutional prohibition.”

In Briscoe v. Bank of Kentucky, 36 U.S. 257 (1837), the Court observed that the charter of the challenged Kentucky state bank contained “no pledge of the faith of the state for the notes issued by the institution. The capital only was liable; and the bank was suable, and could sue.” The Court “upheld the issuance of circulating notes by a state-chartered bank even when the Bank’s stock, funds, and profits belonged to the state, and where the officers and directors were appointed by the state legislature.”

The Court narrowly defined the sort of “bill of credit” prohibited by Article 1, Section 10, as a note issued by the state, on the faith of the state, designed to circulate as money. Since the notes in question were redeemable by the bank and not by the state itself, they were not “bills of credit” for constitutional purposes. The Court found that the notes were backed by the resources of the bank rather than the credit of the state. Moreover, the bank could sue and be sued separate from the state.

These cases are still good law. A state bank – or city bank or county bank – is not in violation of state constitutional prohibitions against lending the credit of the state.

Other Ways to Avoid Constitutional Challenge

In light of those Supreme Court cases, it hardly seems necessary for a city to become a chartered city before establishing its own publicly-owned bank; but that is another way to circumvent this debate. The California Constitution gives cities the power to become charter cities; and while General Law Cities are bound by the state constitution, cities organized under a charter have broad autonomy. They can bypass large swaths of state law, including asserting their independence from the state’s supposed restrictions on lending.

For county-owned banks, the case is not as clear. In California, Government Code 23005 forbids counties from giving their “credit to or in aid of any person or corporation. An indebtedness or liability incurred contrary to this chapter is void.” But the US Supreme Court rulings validating state banks should be equally applicable to county banks; and in any case, enabling legislation can be crafted to allow public banks at any level of government.

There is another way to bypass this whole legal debate: by pursuing the initiative and referendum process pioneered in California. It allows state laws to be proposed directly by the public, and the state’s Constitution to be amended either by public petition (the “initiative”) or by the legislature with a proposed constitutional amendment to the electorate (the “referendum”). In California, the initiative is done by writing a proposed constitutional amendment or statute as a petition, which is submitted to the Attorney General along with a modest submission fee. The petition must be signed by registered voters amounting to 8% (for a constitutional amendment) or 5% (for a statute) of the number of people who voted in the most recent election for governor.

Before sufficient signatures could be collected, a widespread educational campaign would need to be mounted; but just informing the public on this little-understood subject could be worth the effort. Recall the words of Henry Ford:

It is well enough that the people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.

When enough people understand that private banks rather than governments create our money supply, imposing interest and fees that constitute an enormous unnecessary drain on the economy and the people, we might wake up to a new day in banking, finance, and the return of local economic sovereignty.

______________________________

Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and a candidate for California State Treasurer running on a state bank platform. She is the author of twelve books, including the best-selling Web of Debt and her latest book, The Public Bank Solution, which explores successful public banking models historically and globally.

 

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--2014--

761. Oct. 6-9, speaker, Praxis Peace Institute conference, THE ECONOMICS OF SUSTAINABILITY-Emerging Models for a Healthy Planet, Cowell Theater, Fort Mason, San Francisco

760. July 29-Aug. 5. Moving Beyond Capitalism conference, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

759. July 9, speaker, 2014 Annual Conference of the Council of Georgist Organizations, Inc., Radisson Newport Beach Hotel, near the Orange County John Wayne Airport, 9:15 a.m. PT

758. May 26, interview, Wealth DNA Radio Show, Blog Talk Radio, wealthdna.us, noon EST

757. May 10, United We Stand Festival, Pauley Pavilion, UCLA,
https://unitedwestandfest.com/confirmed-guests/

756. May 1, interview with Stephen Lendman, The Progressive Newshour, 9 a.m. PDT

755. April 29, moderator, Great Minds #66 with Nomi Prins, Los Angeles, CA., 7 pm PT

754. April 23, Ellen interviews Nomi Prins on It's Our Money. Listen to archive here.

753. April 21, interview with Robert Stark and Jeff Crow, Valley Talk Live, centralvalleytalk.com, Fresno, 4:30 PT

752. April 17, interview Dr. Rima Truth Reports, with Dr. Rima Laibow, 10 pm EST

751. April 17, interview with Greg Hunter, USAWatchdog.com, 11:30 EST

750. April 8, It's Our Money with Ellen Brown, interiews Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers. Listen to archive here.

749. April 8, interview with Alan Butler, Butler on Business, Liberty Express Radio, 11:30 AM EDT

748. April 3, interview with Stephen Lendman, The Progressive Newshour, 9 a.m. PDT

747. April 3, interview with James Banks, KGNU radio, Boulder, CO, 5 p.m. PT

746. April 2, interview, WHDTWorldNews, Nextnewsnetwork.com, 10:30 a. m. PDT

745. March 26, 1 pm PDT, It’s Our Money with Ellen Brown. Ellen interviews Prof. ROBERT HOCKETT--fascinating background material for understanding the banks' role in the foreclosure mess and the eminent domain solution. Listen to the archive here.

744. March 24, interview with Kevin Zeese JD and Margaret Flowers MD, Clearing the FOG on We Act Radio, 1480 AM Washington, DC, 8 a.m. PDT

743. March 23rd, "Banking for the People—Not for Wall Street," Agenda for a Prophetic Faith Lecture Series, Claremont United Methodist Church, 211 W. Foothill Blvd., Claremont, CA 91711, http://www.claremontumc.org/, 7 pm PT

742. Apr. 13, Interview with Chris Moore, KDKA Pittsburgh, 5 pm EST

741. March 18, 2 pm, Democratic Club, Friendly Valley Conference Room, Newhall, CA.

740. March 13, interview with Fred Smart, American Underground Network, 8 pm, CDT

739. March 12, 12 pm PDT, It's Our Money radio show with Ellen Brown, featuring Prof. TIM CANOVA on the Federal Reserve. Listen to archive here.

738. March 4, interview with Tom Kiely, INN World Report, 4:30 PST

737. Feb. 23, interview with Stephen Lendman, The Progressive Newshour, 10 a.m. PST

736. Feb 20, interview with Bill Deller, 3CR radio, Melbourne, Australia, 3 pm, PST

735. Feb. 17, interview, Strike Debt Bay Area, KPFA, Berkeley, 2 pm (?) PST

734. Feb16, interview with Gary Dubin, The Foreclosure Hour (http://www.foreclosurehour.com/the-host.html), 5 pm PST

733. Feb. 11, interview with Clint Richardson, RBN 5 pm PST

732. Feb 9, interview with Stephen Golden, DEFENDING THE AMERICAN DREAM, KABC Los Angeles, 6 am, PST Listen to the archive here.

731. Feb. 6, interview, Move to Amend Reports, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/movetoamend, 5 pm PST

730. Feb. 5, interview with Sinclair Noe, Financial Review, MoneyRadio.com, 9:30 am PST

729. January 30, interview, Kerry Lutz - Financial Survival Network, 12 pm EST

728. January 30, interview with Tom Kiely, INN World Report, 4:30 PST

727. January 29, interview on Latin Waves, 8 pm PST

726. January 28, Green Party Shadow Cabinet response to State of the Union Speech. http://www.livestream.com/greenpartyus 6 pm PST

725. January 26, interview with Stephen Lendman, The Progressive Newshour, 10 a.m. PST. Listen here.

724. January 23, interview, The Tim Dahaney Show, 12 noon PST. Listen here.

723. January 22, interview with Utrice Leid, "Leid Stories,", PRN.FM, 1 pm EST

722. January 21, interview, Independent Underground Radio LIVE, 9:15 PST. Listen here.

721. January 12, Open Forum with Green Party candidates Luis Rodriguez, Laura Wells and Ellen Brown, hosted by LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) 11277 GARDEN GROVE BLVD., Garden Grove, CA. 2-4 pm

720. January 11, interview with Bill Still on running for California Treasurer. Watch it here. And see another one here.

719. January 8, interview, The Tim Dahaney Show, 12 noon PST. Listen here. (It's the one labelled "Take the Fed Reserve Public.")

718. Jan 7, interview, The Burt Cohen Show, 12 noon ET

--2013--

717. Dec. 30, interview, Stuart Vener Tells It Like It Is, see http://stuartvener.com for stations, 11:30 am EST

716. Dec. 26, interview Dr. Rima Truth Reports, with Dr. Rima Laibow and Ralph Fucetola, 10 pm EST

715. Dec. 21, interview, KPRO Radio San Francisco, 9:30 am PST

714. Dec. 18, interview, The Power Hour with Joyce Riley, 8 a.m. CT

713. Dec. 18, interview, Unwrapped Radio, WRFG, http://www.tuneinradio.com/, 12:40 EST

712. Dec. 15, interview with Stephen Lendman, The Progressive Newshour, 10 a.m. PST, listen here.
711. Dec. 15, presentation, A Public Bank for Mendocino, at the Crown Hall in Mendocino, Ca., 7 pm

710. Dec. 15, presentation, Why We Need to Own Our Own Bank, Mendocino Environmental Center
106 West Standley, Ukiah, CA 95482, 2 pm

709. Dec. 14, presentation, Why We Need to Own Our Own Bank, Little Lake Grange, Willits, Ca. 7 pm

708. Dec. 13, interview on All About Money, KZYX radio, 9 a.m. PST

707. Dec. 13, interview, Radio Islam, WCEV 1450 AM, 12:05 pm, CST

706. Dec. 12, appearance with Doug McKenty, "The Shift," Mendocino TV, 4:30 pm PST

705. Dec. 11, interview on WHDT World News, http://NNN.is/on-WHDT, 5:30 and 11:00 pm EST. Watch the archive here.

704. Dec. 11, interview, WORT Community Radio, Madison, Wisconsin, 6:10 a.m. PST

703. Dec. 11, interview with Sinclair Noe, Financial Review, MoneyRadio.com, 10:30 PST

702. Dec. 9, UnWrapped Radio, Atlanta, 1 pm PST.

701. Dec. 9, GOHarrison, KPFK Los Angeles, 3:30 pm PST.

700. Dec. 9, interview, Air Cascadia show, KBOO radio, Portland, 10 am PST

699. Dec. 5, interview, WHDT World News TV, 2 pm PST

698. Dec. 4, interview with David Swanson, talknationradio, 7pm PST

697. Dec. 4, interview with Rob Kall, The Rob Kall Bottom-Up Radio Show, 1360 AM, 7:30 pm EST

696. Dec. 3, interview with Kim Greenhouse, It's Rainmaking Time, listen here.

695. Dec. 2, interview with Val Muchowski, Women's Voices, KZYX, 7 p.m. PST

694. Nov. 29, interview with Gregg Hunter, USAWatchdog.com, 11:30 PST

693. Nov. 16, interview This is Hell! radio show, WNUR 89.3 fm, thisishell.com/live, 11.20 a.m. EST. Listen to archive here

692. Nov. 15, interview with George Berry, The Financial News Network Show, truthfrequencyradio.com, 1 pm PST

691. Nov. 14, interview with Stanley Montieth, The Doctor Stan Show, Radio Liberty, 4 pm PSTf

690. Nov. 14, interview with Neil Foster, Reality Bytes show, Awake Radio (UK), Shazziz Radio (US), 8 pm UK time.

689. Nov. 13, interview with Bonnie Faulkner, KPFA, Los Angeles. Listen to archive here.

688. Nov. 12, interview with Tom Kiely, INN World Report, 4:30 PST

687. Nov. 11, interview, Between the Lines News Magazine, WPKN radio, Bridgeport, CT, 9 p.m. ET. Listen to archive here

686. Nov. 10, skype participant, forum at the Putrajaya International Islamic Arts and Cultural Festival, "Global Economic and Monetary Crisis: What Needs to be Done?" Putrajaya, Malaysia, 11 a.m. MYT, 7 pm, Nov. 9 PST

685. Nov. 3, interview with Stephen Lendman, The Progressive Newshour, 10 a.m. PST

684. Oct. 31, interview with Voice of Russia radio, American edition, 2:30 pm, CET (Central Europe Time.) Listen to archive here.

683. Oct. 23, interview with Daniel Estulin on RT tv

682. Oct. 16, interview with Per Fereng, KBOO radio, Portland, 11 am PST

681. Oct. 15, presentation, "The Public Banking Forum in Ireland," 7-9 PM, Hudson Bay Hotel, Athlone, Ireland.

680. Oct. 14, presentation, Cork, Ireland

679. Oct. 12, presentation, "The Public Banking Forum in Ireland," 2-4 PM, Springfield Hotel in Leixlip, County Kildare, Ireland. Information on these three events here.

678. October 4, interview with Bill Deller, 3CR radio, Melbourne, Australia, 2:30 pm, PST

677. Oct. 3, interview with Joyce Riley, the Power Hour. Listen to archive here.

676. Oct. 1, interview with Tom Kiely, INN World Report 7:30 EST

675. Sept. 29, interview with Stephen Lendman, The Progressive Newshour, 10 a.m. PST

674. Sept. 27, interviw with Kevin Barrett, AmericanFreedomRadio.com, NoLiesRadio.org:
http://TruthJihadRadio.blogspot.com, 2 pm PST

673. Sept. 19, interview, The Gary Null Show, 9:30 a.m. Pacific

672. Sept. 19, Interview on the Global Research News Hour with Michael Welch--check site for time and archive.

671. Sept. 18, interview with David Sierralupe, Occupy Radio, KWVA, 88.1 FM, Eugene

670. Sept. 15, interview with Niall Bradley, Sott Talk Radio, sott.net, 2 p.m. EST

669. Sept. 14, interview FDLBookSalon, firedoglake.com, 5pm EST

668. Sept. 10, "Turning Hard Times into Good Times" with Jay Taylor, VoiceAmerica, 12:30 pm PST. Listen to archive here.

667. Sept. 9, interview with Ken MacDermotRoe and Del LaPietro, In Context Report, 9 am PST. Listen to archive here.

666. Sept 7, interview with Valerie Kirkgaard, WakingUpInAmerica.com, 6 am, PST. Listen here.

665. Sept. 6, Interview with Al Korelin, The Korelin Economics Report, 12:30 pm PST

664. Sept. 5, discussion of how to bring public banking to Colorado on "It's the Economy, Stupid," KGNU, Boulder, 5 p.m. PST

663. Sept. 5, interview with Patrick Timpone, oneradionetwork.com, 8 a.m. PST

662. Sept. 3, interview (along with Elliott Spitzer?), "Turning Hard Times into Good Times" with Jay Taylor, VoiceAmerica, 1 pm PST Listen to archive here.

661. Sept. 3, interview with Jeanette LaFeve, The People Speak, 6 pm PST

660. Aug. 25, Stephen Lendman, Progressive Radio News Hour, 10 am, PDT

659. Aug. 22, interview with Christopher Greene, AMTV Radio, simulcast in audio/video over GoogleHangouts and American Freedom Radio, 1 p.m. PST

658. Aug. 22, interview, TheAndyCaldwellShow.com,
CalChronicle.com, 3 pm PST

657. Aug. 21, interview with Merry and Burl Hall, blogtalkradio.com/envision-this, 5 pm PST

656. Aug. 21, interview with Lori Lundin, America's Radio News Network, 10:30 a.m. ET.

655. Aug. 16, interview with Sinclair Noe, Moneyradio.com, 4 pm PST

654. Aug. 15, interview with Justine Underhill, Prime Interest, Russia Today TV, 1:30 pm PST

653. Aug 14, interview with Jim Goddard, This Week in Money, 4 pm, PST. Listen to archive here, starting at minute 32.

652. Aug. 14, interview with Mary Glenney, WMNF 88.5, 10 a.m. PST

651. Aug. 14, interview with Chuck Morse, irnusaradio.com, 8 am, PST

650. Aug. 13, interview with Thomas Taplin, Dukascopy TV, Switzerland, 9 am PST

649. Aug 7-11, Madison Democracy conference, https://democracyconvention.org/

648. Aug. 6, radio interview, INN World Report with Tom Kiely, http://feeds.feedburner.com/INNWorldReportRadio 4:30 PST

647. Aug 5, interview with Arnie Arnesen, 94.7 fm, Concord, NH, 9 am PST

646. Aug 3, interview with Diane Horn, Mind Over Matter show, KEXP radio, 90.3 FM, Seattle, 7:00 a.m. PST

645. July 31, interview with Mike Beevers, KFCF Fresno, 4:30 pm PST

644. July 28, Stephen Lendman, Progressive Radio News Hour, 10 am, PDT

643. July 2, interview with Charlie McGrath, Wide Awake News, 6-7 pm PDT.

642. July 2, interview with Arnie Arnesen, 94.7 fm, Concord, NH, 12:30 EST.

641. June 30, interview with Stephen Lendman, Progressive Radio News Hour, 10 am, PDT. Listen to archive here.

640. June 24, interview on RT tv re student debt, 10:30 am PST

639. June 17, interview on The Andy Caldwell Show, 3:30 pm PST

638. June 16, interview with Jason Erb, 5 pm Pacific

637. June 13, interview with Paul Sanford, "Time 4 Hemp-LIVE," http://www.AmericanFreedomRadio.com, 10 am, PST

636. June 6 presentation with Jamie Brown at the Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center in Walnut Creek. Info at Favors.org, 7 to 9 pm

635. June 1, interview with Kris Welch, KPFA Los Angeles, 10 am PST

634. May 28, interview with Malihe Razazan, "Your Call" radio, KALW, San Francisco, 10 am PST.

633. May 26, interview with Stephen Lendman, Progressive Radio News Hour, 10 am, PDT

632. May 23 interview with Simit Patel, InformedTrades.com (youtube) 3:30 pm PST

631. May 22, Thousand Oaks, 3 expert panel, "A Parachute For the Fiscal Cliff," University Village 2-4 pm

630. May 22, interview with Jack Rasmus, 11 am PST. Enjoy the interview here.

629. May 22, Guns and Butter show, KPFA, http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/91790

628. May 14, interview with Charlie McGrath, Wide Awake News, 6-7 pm PDT.

627. May 13, live appearance on RTTV, 3 pm PST Watch it here.

626. May 8, interview with Valli Sharpe-Geisler, Silicon Valley Voice, KKUP, 3 pm PST

625. May 8, interview, the Meria Heller Show, 11 am PST

624. May 4, interview, Latin Waves with Sylvia Richardson, 10 am PST

623. April 30, Jay Taylor, VoiceAmerica, 1 pm PST

622. April 29, interview with Rob Kall, Bottom Up Radio, 9 am Pacific
Listen to archive here.

621. April 28, interview with Stephen Lendman, Progressive Radio News Hour, 10 am, PDT

620. April 25, interview, the the Dr. Katherine Albrecht Show, 5 pm EDT

619. April 17, interview with Mike Harris, rense.com, 1 pm PDT

618. April 16th, speaker, Valley Democrats United (Democratic Party of San Fernando Valley), Van Nuys, Ca. 7-9pm

617. April 13, interview with Darren Weeks, Govern America, noon Eastern, listen here

616. April 9, interview with Charlie McGrath, Wide Awake News, 6-7 pm PDT.

615. April 6, phone conference, Justice Party, http://www.justicepartyusa.org/public_banking_conference_call, 9 a.m.

614. April 5, interview, Butler on Business, 11 a.m. EDT

613. April 3, interview with Michael Welch, Global Research News Hour, 8:30 a.m. PDT

612. April 2, interview with Jay Taylor, VoiceAmerica, 12:30 PDT. Listen here.

611. April 1, interview with Brannon Howse, www.worldviewradio.com, 11 a.m. PDT

610. April 1, interview with Scott Harris, Counterpoint,
WPKN Radio, 8:30 pm, ET Listen to archive here.

609. April 1, interview with Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. Watch and listen to archive here, starting at minute 50. Articles based on the interview are at Truthout.org.

608. March 31, interview with Jason Erb, Exposing Faux Capitalism, Oracle Broadcasting, 11 a.m. Pacific

607. March 31, interview with Stephen Lendman, Progressive Radio News Hour, 10 am, PDT Listen to the archive here.

606. March 29, interview, The Gary Null Show, 9:30 a.m. Pacific

605. March 28, interview with Stan Monteith, radioliberty.com, 9 pm PDT

604. March 28, radio interview, INN World Report with Tom Kiely, http://feeds.feedburner.com/INNWorldReportRadio 4:30 PDT

603. March 27, interview with Charlie McGrath, Wide Awake News, 6-7 pm PdT.

602. March 27, interview with Jack Rasmus on PRN, 11 a.m. PDT

601. March 25, interview on the Richard Kaffenberger show, KTOX, Needles, CA. 3:15 PDT

600. March 22, newly available archived radio interview, Mandelman Matters. Listen here.

599. March 22, interview with James Fetzer, The People Speak Radio, 5-7 pm PDT

598. March 22, interview , Our Times With Craig Barnes, KSFR radio, Santa Fe, 10 a.m. MST

597. March 12, interview, Crisis of Reality with Doug Newberry, oraclebroadcasting.com, 1pm EST.

596. March 11, interview with Stephen Lendman, Progressive Radio News Hour, 10 am, PST

595. March 9, Interview with Sylvia Richardson, Latin Waves, CJSF 90.1FM, 9:30 am PST

594. March 6, interview with Charlie McGrath, wideawakenews.com, 6pm PST. Watch and listen here.

593. March 3, interview with Lateef Kareem Bey, Fix Your Mortgage Mess, 4 pm PST

592. March 2, Interview with Stuart Richardson, Latin Waves, CJSF 90.1FM, 11 am PST

591. Feb. 27, interview with Jim Banks, KGNU, Boulder, 12 pm PST

590. Feb 27, interview with Sinclair Noe, Financial Review, 10 am PST

589. Feb. 25, interview, Crisis of Reality with Doug Newberry, oraclebroadcasting.com, 1pm EST.

588. Feb. 6, Interview with Phil Mackesy, This Week in Money, TalkDigitalNetwork.com, 11 am PST. Listen to the archive here: http://talkdigitalnetwork.com/2013/02/this-week-in-money-70/

587. Feb. 4, interview with Ken Rose, What Now radio show, KOWS RADIO OCCIDENTAL 107.3 FM, 11 am PST.

586. Jan. 31, interview with Tom Kiely, INN World Radio Report, 5:00 pm PST

585. Jan. 27, interview with Stephen Lendman, progressive radio
network, 10 am PST

584. Jan. 23, interview on KPFK, 8pm PST

583. Jan. 22, interview, Crisis of Reality with Doug Newberry, oraclebroadcasting.com, 1pm EST.

582. Jan. 3, interview with Mary Glenney, WMNF 88.5, Tampa, 3 pm EST

581. Jan. 2, interview, The Bev Smith Show, thebevsmithshow.net, 5 pm PST

--- 2012 ---

580. Dec. 27, video interview with Charlie McGrath, Wide Awake News, listen and watch here.

579. Dec. 24, October talk at First Unitarian Church in Portland aired on KBOO radio, http://kboo.fm/, 8:00 am PST

578. Dec. 24, interview with Ron Daniels, the WWRL Morning Show with Mark Riley, wwrl1600.com, 5:05 am PST

577. Dec. 21, interview with Andy Caldwell, TheAndyCaldwellShow.com, KZSB AM1290 Santa Barbara / Ventura and KUHL AM1440 Santa Maria / San Luis Obispo, 3:30 pm PST

576. Dec. 20, interview with Fred Smart, aunetwork.tv, 9 pm EST

575. Dec. 19, interview, Crisis of Reality with Doug Newberry, oraclebroadcasting.com, 1pm EST. Listen here.

574. Dec. 19, interview with Dr. Jack Rasmus, Alternative Visions, Progressive Radio Network, 2 pm EST

573. Dec. 17, The Bev Smith Show, thebevsmithshow.net, 4 pm PST

572. Dec. 15, interview with Stephen Lendman, progressive radio network, 10 am PST. Listen here.

571. Dec. 14, interview with Craig Barnes, Our Times With Craig Barnes, KSFR radio, 9 am PST Listen to the archive here.

570. December 9th, speaker, Mayo Arts Center (10 Mayo Street) in Portland, ME
http://mayostreetarts.org/about-us/where-we-are 7:30-9pm

569. Dec. 7, Vermont's New Economy conference, Vermont College of the Find Arts, Montpelier, VT, 9 am to 4 pm and reception at 4:30. $25
www.global-community.org/neweconomy to register

568. Dec. 5, speaker, Pennsylvania Public Bank Project's Forum on Public Banking, at the David Library of the American Revolution, Washington Crossing, PA, 7pm

567. Nov. 26-27, 3rd Annual World Conference on Riba, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

566. Nov. 22, presentation before Royal Scottish Academy -- "A Public Bank for Scotland" (here), Riddle's Court, 322 Lawnmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2PG Scotland, 6 pm

565. Nov 8, Healthy Money Summit, speaking with Hazel Henderson at 1-2 pm PST, information here.

564. Sunday, Oct. 28, Keynote Speaker; The Buck Starts Here, 2:00pm, sponsored by the Kairos Occasional Speakers Series & OFOR, Kairos Milwaukie UCC, Milwaukie, OR.

563. Saturday, Oct. 27, Keynote Speaker; OFOR Saturday Symposium: The Buck Starts Here, 10am - 3pm, Molalla, OR

562. Friday-Sunday, Oct. 26-28, Keynote Speaker; Oregon Fellowship of Reconciliation Fall Retreat - The Buck Starts Here, Camp Adams, Molalla, OR, Friday, 5pm- Sunday 12 noon

561. Friday, October 26, Invited Commentator; screening of “HEIST” (new documentary about the roots of the American economic crisis), sponsored by First Unitarian Church of Portland's Economic Justice Action Groups, Alliance for Democracy, KBOO, Move to Amend, 7:00pm, First Unitarian Church, Portland, OR

560. (Oct. 25-28, Bioneers Conference, Portland, OR)
Oct. 25, Keynote Speaker; sponsored by Portland Fellowship of Reconciliation (PFOR) and the First Unitarian Church of Portland's Economic Justice and Peace Action Groups, 7:00-8:30pm, First Unitarian Church, Portland, OR

559. Oct. 24, interview with Per Fagereng, KBOO radio, Portland, 9 am PST

558. Oct. 24, KPFA "Guns and Butter" interview. Listen to archived show here.

557. Oct. 21, speaker at BBQed Oysters and Beer Fundraiser Party for PBI, San Rafael, CA, 4 pm PST

556. Oct. 14, Live Gaiam tv interview appearance. Watch it here free at 7pm EST.

555. Oct. 12, interview with Matt Rothschild of The Progressive, 10 a.m. Central time

554. October 11-14, speaker, Economic Democracy Collaborative, Madison, Wisconsin

553. Oct. 11, radio interview with Norm Stockwell, WORT, 12 pm CST

552. Oct. 9, interview with Kevin Barrett, No Lies Radio, listen to archive here.

551. Oct. 8, interview, "Mountain Hours Revolution Radio" with Wayne Walton, on RBN, 12-1 pm PST

550. Oct. 7, interview with Lloyd D'Aguilar, "Looking Back Looking Forward", http://lookingbacklookingforward.com/, 2 pm EST

549. Sept. 26, interview with Douglas Newberry, markettoolbox.tv, 1pm EST. Listen here.

548. Sept. 25, interview with Dr. Stanley Montieth, radioliberty.com, 3pm PST

547. Sept. 24, interview with Charlie McGrath, Wide Awake News, 6-7 pm PST.

546. Sept. 22, interview with Stephen Lendman, progressive radio network, 10 am PST

545. Sept. 17 interview along with Hazel Henderson, National Teach In for Occupy Wall Street, http://www.livestream.com/owshdtv 5pm EST

544. Sept. 10, interview with Thomas Taplin, Dukascopy TV (Switzerland), 7 am PST Watch and listen here

543. Sept. 7, interview with Mike Harris, republicbroadcasting.org, 6 am PST

542. Sept. 6, interview with Douglas Newberry, markettoolbox.tv, 1pm EST. Listen here.

541. Aug 28, interview, the Meria Heller Show, 11 am PST. Listen to archive here. And listen to excellent Meria Heller show here.

540. Aug 26, interview with Stephen Lendman, progressive radio network, listen to archive here.

539. August 21, interview with Charlie McGrath, wideawakenews.com. Listen to archive here.

538. Aug 20, interview with Kim Greenhouse, It's Rainmaking Time, listen here.

537. Aug 16, interview with Mike Harris, republicbroadcasting.org, 6 am PST

536. Aug. 14, interview, TheAndyCaldwellshow.com, 4:30pm PST

535. August 13, interview with American Free Press, 1 pm PST

534. July 24, interview along with Victoria Grant, The People Speak, 6pm, PST

533. July 24, interview with Kevin Barrett, NoLiesRadio.org, 9 am PST

532. July 23, interview with Charlie McGrath, wideawakenews.com, 6 pm PST

531. July 22, interview with Dave Hodges, The Common Sense Show, 7 pm PST

530. July 22, interview with Stephen Lendman, progressive radio network, 10 am PST. Listen to archive here.

529. July 19, interview with Mike Beevers, KFCF Fresno, 4:30 pm PST

528. July 10-12, Speaker, Conference on Social Transformation, Faculty of Economics, Split University, Split Croatia

527. July 10, video interview with Max Keiser, the Keiser Report, on the ESM. Watch it here.

526. July 7, Interview with Phil Mackesy, This Week in Money, TalkDigitalNetwork.com, 3 pm PST

525. July 6, video interview with Dr. Mercola, see it here.

524. June 23, Interview with Al Korelin, The Korelin Economics Report, 1 pm PST. Listen to archive here.

523. June 21, interview with Tom Kiely, INN World Radio Report, 4:30 pm PST

522. June 21, interview on the Gary Null Show, 9:20 am PST

521. June 18, interview with Ken Rose, What Now radio show, KOWS RADIO OCCIDENTAL 107.3 FM, 1 pm PST. Listen to archive here.

520. June 17, interview with Bill Resnick, KBOO radio, 9 am PST

519. June 16 interview with Stephen Lendman, progressive radio network, 10 am PST. Listen to archive here.

518. June 9, interview with Sylvia Richardson, Latin Waves, 9:45 am PST. Listen to archive here.

517. June 5, interview, Truth Quest With Melodee, KHEN radio, 7pm PST

516. June 2, interview about Web of Debt, Our Common Ground,http://www.blogtalkradio.com/OCG, 7pm PST

515. June 1, interview with Robert Stark, The Stark Truth listen here.

514. Newly available video of interview on "Moral Politics" -- see it here

513. May 30, interview, The Tim Dahaney Show, ll am PST

512. May 28, interview with Pedro Gatos, "Bringing Light into Darkness", KOOP.ORG, 6 pm CST

511. May 24, interview, Make It Plain With Mark Thompson, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, 2pm PST

510. May 20, interview, Women's View Radio, blogtalkradio.com, 10 am Central Time. Listen here.

509. May 13, interview, www.Blogtalkradio.com/fixyourmortgagemess, 4:15 pm PST

508. May 12, interview with Stephen Lendman, progressive radio network, 10 am PST Listen here.

507. May 9, seminar, Re-imagining Money and Credit, Art bldg. rm 103, El Camino college, Torrance, Ca. 5-7:30 pm

506. May 8, interview with Mike Harris, republicbroadcasting.org, 9 am EST

505. May 7, radio discussion on "The Myth of Austerity", Connect the Dots, KPFK Los Angeles, 7 am PST. Listen here.

504. May 4, interview The Unsolicited Opinion, republicbroadcasting.org, 8 am PST

503. April 27-28, speaker, Public Banking Institute Conference, Friends Center, Philadelphia. Listen here.

502. April 25, speaker Global Teach-In (globalteachin.com), 12 noon EST

501. April 17, Interview with Leo Steel, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/lasteelshoworg, 8:30 pm EST. Listen here.. 31 minutes in.

500. April 14, interview with Stephen Lendman, progressive radio network, 10 am PST

499. April 14, interview with Al Korelin, The Korelin Economics Report

498. April 10th-12th Speaker at Claremont Conference, “Creating Money in a Finite World” Claremont, CA . See video here.

497. April 5, interview , This Week In Money with Phil Mackesy (howestreet.com) 12:30 PST. Listen to the archive here.

496. April 3, speaker at COMER with Paul Hellyer, "Escape From the Web of Debt," Toronto, 7:30 pm

495. March 27, speaker on "Why are we so Broke? New ways to look at the Finances of our State and City," League of Women Voters luncheon, San Diego, 12 noon

494.5 March 24, radio interview, Mandelman Matters. Listen here.

494. March 17, speaker via skype, SCADS conference, London

493. March 15, interview with Per Fagereng, Fight the Empire, KBOO radio, 9:30 am PST

492. March 15, speaker, San Rafael City Hall 6 pm

491. March 13, speaker at Sergio Lub's house, Walnut Creek, info at Favors.org, 6pm

490. March 11, speaker, TedxNewWallStreet. See it here.

489. March 10, interview with Stephen Lendman, progressive radio network, 10 am PST

488. March 6, interview with Melinda Pillsbury-Foster, http://radio.rumormillnews.com/podcast/, 11 am PST

487. Feb. 25, interview with Martin Andelman, http://www.mandelman.ml-implode.com, 9:30 am PST

486. Feb. 25, interview, This Week In Money with Phil Mackesy (howestreet.com), 3 pm PST

485. Feb. 25, interview on CIVL Radio, Latin Waves, How Greece Could Take Down Wall Street, 11:30am PST

484. Feb 23, interview with Thomas Kiely, INN World Report Radio, 7:30 pm EST

483. Feb. 17, featured speaker, Public Banking in America weekly call, 9 am PST

482. Feb. 11, interview with Stephen Lendman, progressive radio network, 10 am PST

481. Feb. 8, interview with Mike Beevers, KFCF Fresno, 4:30 pm PST

480. Feb. 7, interview with Kevin Barrett, NoLiesRadio.org, 9 am PST; listen to archive here

479. Feb. 6, participant, Occupiers and Wells Fargo Executives Gather to Discuss the American Foreclosure Crisis, The Center of Nonprofit Management at California Endowment Building 1000 N. Alameda, Los Angeles, meeting 3 pm and press conference 5:30 pm

478. Feb. 2, interview with Tom Kiely, INN World Report Radio, 7:30 pm EST

477. Feb. 2, interview with Patrick Timpone, oneradionetwork.com, naturalnewsradio.com. Listen to archive here

476. Jan. 31, interview, Liberty Coins and Precious Metals, 9 am PST

475. Jan. 27, interview KPFA, Project Censored, 8:30 am PST

474. Jan. 27, FILMS4CHANGE-INSIDEJOB, panel speaker, Edye Second Space, Santa Monica Performing Arts Center, 7:30 pm

473. Jan 22, interview with Dave Hodges, The Common Sense Show, 7:30 pm PST. Listen live here.

472. Jan. 20, interview with Mike Harris, The Republic Broadcasting Network, 7 am PST

471. Jan. 16, interview with Rob Lorei, WMNF fm, Tampa, 2 pm PST

470. Jan. 14, interview with Stephen Lendman, progressive radio network, 10 am PST

469. Jan. 11, interview with Jeff Rense, rense.com, 8pm PST

Eastern Ukrainian Resistance

Eastern Ukrainian Resistance

by Stephen Lendman

Thousands of Eastern Ukrainians reject Kiev putschists. Perhaps millions. They want local sovereignty. They want autonomy rights.

They want them respected. They reject fascist rule. They demand their own referendum. They want Ukraine federalized.

Protests continue in Kharkov (Ukraine's second largest city), Donetsk (its largest industrial city), Dnepropetrovsk, Lugansk, Odessa, Nikolayev and elsewhere.

They're growing. They're spreading. They have legs. Maybe parts of Western Ukraine will join them.

Ukrainians are long-suffering. They rejected Orange Revolution rule years earlier. Perhaps Orange Revolution 2.0 won't fare better. It remains to be seen what happens going forward.

Will Eastern Ukrainian resistance spread? Will it do so nationwide? Will Ukrainians overwhelmingly reject fascist/predatory IMF rule? Will they demand equitable change? 

Will they protests en masse like before? Will they sustain it long enough to matter? Will they refuse what demands rejection?

Eastern Ukrainians reacted first. On April 7, RT International headlined "Pro-Russian protesters seize govt buildings in Ukraine's Donetsk, Lugansk and Kharkov."

Included was Donetsk's Security Service building. "The people's militia seized Ukraine’s Security Service in 15 minutes, at 3:32 in the morning," its members said.

It's blocked to protect against local security forces. On Sunday, thousands rallied in Eastern Ukrainian cities.

They flooded streets. They waved Russian flags. They chanted "Russia! Russia!" 

They demanded local sovereignty. They called Kiev putschists an "illegal junta."

They demand Kiev appointed governor/oligarch Sergey Taruta "get out." They burned a Nazi zealot's effigy publicly.

They called doing so "an act of annihilation of fascism." Clashes with police broke out. Protesters seized their riot shields.

They entered the Security Service building. They replaced the Ukrainian flag with the Russian one.

According to activist Aleksandr Borodin:

"The situation is pretty tense. The demonstrators are occupying the city council building and are demanding that an independence referendum is held to determine the future of the region of Donetsk."

"The protesters are calling on officials to conduct a special session over the referendum situation." 

"If it doesn't take place, the demonstrators say they will organize an initiative group to settle the issue." 

They won't "acknowledge the Kiev-appointed authorities and are also demanding freedom for the recently elected so-called 'public governor.' "

On April 7, Itar Tass headlined "Legislature of just proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic asks Putin move in peacekeepers."

They formed a Republican Council of the Donetsk's People's Republic. They adopted legislation saying:

"The territory of the republic within the recognized borders is indivisible and inviolable."

They ruled on holding a referendum. They'll do so no later than May 11. They'll decide whether or not to join Russia.

"On March 1," said Itar Tass, "Russia's Federation Council gave its consent to the president for using the armed forces on the territory of Ukraine." 

"The relevant decision was unanimously adopted by the upper house of Russian parliament at an extraordinary session." 

"Earlier, Vladimir Putin submitted to the Federation Council an address on using the armed forces of Russia on the territory of Ukraine until the normalization of the socio-political situation in that country." 

"This initiative was proposed with regard to a plea by Ukraine's legitimate president Viktor Yanukovych."

At issue is protecting the security of Russian-speaking nationals. It's securing their rights.

Lugansk events are unfolding like Donetsk's, said RT. Around 1,000 people rallied outside the local Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) building.

They demand protest leader Aleksandr Kharitonov's release. He's been lawlessly detained since mid-March.

So were 15 pro-Russian activists on Saturday. People carried Russian flags. They chanted "Shame on the SBU." "Freedom to political prisoners."

Clashes erupted. Injuries were reported. Kiev appointed governor released six anti-putschist activists.

Violence erupted in Kharkov. Pro-Russian protesters clashed with Right Sector extremists. Police separated both sides. No injuries were reported.

Around 1,500 pro-Russian supporters occupied the putschist UNIAN news agency building.

According to RT:

"Pro-Russian rallies are taking place almost every weekend in major cities in the Russian-speaking part of Ukraine since the nationalist coup ousted Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovich, in late February."

Things remain fluid. The struggle for Ukraine's soul continues. RT highlighted Donetsk activists declaring a local republic.

They want one independent from Kiev. They reject putschist rule. They want legal governance replacing it. They proclaimed their Regional Council the sole legitimate governing body.

They did so pending a planned referendum. It'll be held by May 11 or sooner. Ukrainian activism is spreading. So far in Eastern cities. Perhaps nationwide soon.

At the same time, Russia bashing continues relentlessly. So do US-led Western efforts to marginalize, isolate, weaken and contain Moscow. 

Political and military cooperation was suspended. Other options include positioning US-led NATO forces closer to Russia's border. 

Provocative military exercises are planned. Challenging Moscow is madness. It's happening in real time. It's escalating dangerously. Doing so risks potential major conflict madness.

A previous article discussed Zero Hedge headlining "Petrodollar Alert: Putin Prepares to Announce 'Holy Grail' Gas Deal With China," saying:

If Washington and EU partners intended greater Sino/Russian unity, "one (nation) a natural resource…superpower and the other a fixed capital/labor output…powerhouse, in the process marginalizing the dollar and encouraging Ruble and Renminbi bilateral trade, then things are surely 'going according to plan.' "

Moscow/Beijing unity against Western imperialism is their best defense. Conditions head both nations more closely together against it.

Russia is preparing a "Holy Grail" energy deal with China. Doing so will send "geopolitical shockwaves around the world," said Zero Hedge.

It'll lay "groundwork for a new joint, commodity-backed reserve currency…" It'll bypass dollar transactions. It'll weaken petrodollar strength.

Moscow's "Holy Grail" is a major natural gas deal with Beijing. Negotiations are close to complete. It involves supplying 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually.

It'll do so via pipeline. It's the first one between both nations.

Putin plans visiting China in May. He's expected to close the deal. The more Western nations pressure Russia, the closer it's drawn to China.

Bilateral ruble/renminbi trade weakens dollar strength. Perhaps other countries may follow in their own currencies. 

India and Iran are prime candidates. Perhaps Brazil and others will follow suit.

Washington reacted as expected. According to Zero Hedge, it threatened Russia. It did so over a "petrodollar-busting deal."

It warned against "possible oil barter(ing)" transactions. It warned Iran against them. US-led Western sanctions are counterproductive.

Perhaps Washington shot itself in the foot. Russia has plenty of retaliatory ammunition. What better way than by weakening petrodollar strength.

It's a pillar of America's geopolitical/military might. It furthers US supremacy. It does so at the expense of other nations.

It finances America's global military machine. It advances US imperialism. It furthers financial speculation. 

It facilitates corporate takeovers. It does so at the expense of beneficial social change, human and civil rights. It prevents potential democratic change outbreaks.

Global central banks recycle dollar inflows. They do so into US Treasuries. They finance America's deficit. It matters with QE diminishing. Perhaps ending.

Moscow/Beijing bilateral trade in their own currencies "is rapidly turning out into a terminal confirmation of (US) weakness," said Zero Hedge.

"Russia seems perfectly happy to telegraph that it is just as willing to use barter (and perhaps gold) and shortly other 'regional' currencies, as it is to use the US Dollar," it added.

It's "hardly the intended outcome of the western blockade, which appears to have just backfired and further impacted the untouchable status of the Petrodollar."

"If Washington can't stop this deal," perhaps others will follow. Perhaps a groundswell among leading nations.

Petrodollar trading gives America major unfair advantages. According to Voice of Russia, "Moscow is ready to take (them) away."

So is China. Imagine a combination petroruble/petrorenminbi weakening petrodollar strength. Imagine other petrocurrencies doing it further.

Imagine petrodollar might becoming a shadow of its former self. Imagine destructive US policies waning. Imagine a world safer to live in.

Imagine a fairer one. Imagine what won't happen easily or soon. Imagine what one day perhaps is possible. Top Russian officials support petrodollar weakening.

Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukaev urged Russian energy companies to ditch the dollar. "They must be braver in signing contracts in rubles and (partner country) currencies," he said.

Last month, VTB CEO Andrei Kostin said gas giant Gazprom, state-own oil company Rosneft, and exclusive defense-related weapons/ technologies/dual-use products/and services company  Rosoboronexport "can start trading in rubles."

They don't mind switching, they said. They need a "mechanism" to do so. Russian upper house Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko said no efforts will be spared to create one.

Putin intends challenging Washington responsibly. Chinese leader Xi Jinping appears willing to join him. Together they're a formidable combination.

Perhaps Moscow/Beijing commodity exchanges will exclude dollar transactions. Maybe they'll replace them with ruble/renminbi ones.

Rosneft signed large oil contracts with China. It's close to major ones with Indian companies. They exclude dollar transactions.

Russia heads toward trading goods for oil with Iran. If Rosneft deals in rubles, petrodollar strength will suffer.

According to Zero Hedge, "US sanctions have opened a Pandora's box of troubles for the American currency." Russian retaliation promises unpleasant consequences.

What if other countries follow Russian and Chinese examples? What if avoiding dollar transactions catches on?

What if long prevented US comeuppance happens? What if America met its match? What if it's responsibly weakened? The sound you hear is overwhelming popular approval.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

The West’s Looting of Ukraine Has Begun

Paul Craig Roberts RINF Alternative News It is now apparent that the “Maiden protests” in Kiev were in actuality a Washington organized coup against the elected...

Western Looting Of Ukraine Has Begun – Paul Craig Roberts

Western Looting Of Ukraine Has Begun Paul Craig Roberts It is now apparent that the “Maiden protests” in Kiev were in actuality a Washington organized coup against the elected democratic government. The purpose of the coup is to put NATO…

The post Western Looting Of Ukraine Has Begun — Paul Craig Roberts appeared first on PaulCraigRoberts.org.

Making Sense of Ukraine Through a History of Extraterrestrial Intervention

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Meet Obama’s New Ukrainian Friends

Meet Obama's New Ukrainian Friends

by Stephen Lendman

On February 27, 2014, they announced their so-called "Ukrainian government of people's trust."

It includes a rogue's gallery of societal misfits. Many are militant fascists. They're thugs. They're criminals.

They're illegitimate putschists. They're xenophobic, hate-mongering, ultranationalist anti-Semites. Combined they represent mob rule. 

They make mafia bosses look saintly by comparison. They threaten world peace. They vowed to fight. They urge NATO intervention. 

For the first time since WW II, overt fascists have real power. They hold major government posts.

In December 2012, European parliamentarians expressed concern about "rising nationalistic sentiment in Ukraine, expressed in support for the Svoboda party, which, as a result, is one of the two new parties to enter" Ukraine's parliament.

Their "racist, anti-Semitic, and xenophobic views go against the EU's fundamental values," they said.

Europe's parliament "appeal(ed) to pro-democratic parties in (Ukraine's legislature) not to associate with, endorse, or form coalitions with" these elements.

All is forgiven. EU officials look the other way. They turn a blind eye. They embrace what they denounced months earlier. 

They march in lockstep with Washington hardliners. They mock democratic values they claim to support.

Olexander Turchynov serves as illegitimate president. He chairs Ukraine's coup d'etat parliament (its Verkhovna Rada).

He's a politician/economist/screenwriter. He replaced democratically elected Viktor Yanukovych.

He's Ukrainian armed forces commander-in-chief. He's Batkivshchyna/All-Ukrainian Union/Fatherland party deputy chairman.

He was acting prime minister earlier. From March 3 - 11, he served until Mykola Azarov replaced him. He's a wolf in wolf's clothing. 

Arseniy Yatsenyuk serves as Ukraine's illegitimate prime minister. On March 12, Obama welcomed him at the White House.

He came to meet his new boss. He did so to get marching orders. He learned more about Obama's plans to rape and pillage Ukraine.

He's super-rich. He's a former central banker/economy/foreign minister and parliament (Verkhovna Rada) speaker. 

He's a Batkivshchya/All-Ukrainian Union (Fatherland) leader. He betrayed his people. He sold out for greater wealth and power. 

Billionaire mega-thief Yulia Tymoshenko heads it. She was imprisoned for embezzlement and serious "abuse of public office."

Charges included illegally diverting $425 million meant for environmental projects into pension funds. A second case involved stealing around $130 million for personal use. 

Putschists freed her. They did so lawlessly. She was an illegitimate Orange Revolution prime minister. 

She has presidential aspirations. She may head Ukraine's illegitimate government after sham May elections.

On March 7, the London Independent headlined "Exclusive: UK banks in row over Yulia Tymoshenko 'millions,' " saying:

"...(N)umerous foreign accounts were set up in (her) name (and) her family."

At least 85 bank accounts "containing millions of pounds were linked to (her) and relatives."

It bears repeating. She's a billionaire mega-thief. She accumulated wealth the old-fashioned way. She stole it.

Lawrence Graham is a UK lawyer. In March 2013, Ukraine's legitimate government enlisted him to investigate Tymoshenko's "allegedly misappropriated" wealth.

He reviewed 278 bank accounts in 26 countries. He learned Tymoshenko or family members "were either beneficiaries or signatories to accounts which included a number of UK banks."

They're now closed. At least 13 accounts worldwide remain open. Her lawyer, Sergey Vlasenko, denied reports of foreign accounts, saying:

"She has had no property, no assets, no accounts in USA, UK or Switzerland." He claimed reports otherwise were "falsified." He called them "part of a big dirty propaganda war."

Ukraine's legitimate government hired Graham "to trace more than $200 million (allegedly) siphoned off by Tymoshenko and another former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko, among others," said The Independent.

From the mid-1990s, the funds "disappeared." They did so when Tymoshenko ran United Energy Systems (UES).

Lazarenko awarded it monopoly rights to import Russian natural gas. In 2004, a US court convicted him of money laundering, theft, and hiding funds in foreign accounts.

His indictment called his crime "part of a conspiracy (related to) receiv(ing) money from companies owned or controlled by Tymoshenko, including United Energy Systems, in exchange for which (he) exercised his official authority in favour of (her) companies."

US prosecutor Martha Moerosch cited "evidence that companies controlled by Tymoshenko took part in the schemes for transferring money to Lazarenko's accounts."

"There were bank statements" proving it, she said. Graham discovered London's NatWest bank involvement. It held 40 million pounds in the name of UES.

Prosecutors found Tymoshenko funds worldwide. Ukrainian analyst Orysia Lutsevych calls her typical of "old generation" Ukrainian politics.

As Orange Revolution prime minister, "she did nothing to reform the economy and establish rule of law," she said.

"Instead, she focused her attention on infighting inside the Orange Revolution in order to prepare her presidential race." 

"Most (Euromaidan protesters) were not demanding her release." Her shady business practices earned her the nickname "gas princess."

Ukraine's coup d'etat government is infested with criminal extremists. Obama embraces them.

Yatsenyuk's job is serving Western bankers. Paying them comes first. Ukrainians bear the burden. 

Force-fed austerity is planned. IMF larceny features it. Onerous loans come with strings. They assure longterm debt bondage. 

Terms demand mass layoffs, huge social benefit cuts, privatizing state enterprises at fire sale prices, letting Western corporations plunder Ukrainian resources freely, and cracking down hard on nonbelievers.

Andriy Parubiy co-founded the ultranationalist neo-Nazi Social National party. It's now called Svoboda. He did so with Oleh Tyahnybok. 

Parubiy and Yulia Tymoshenko co-led Washington's 2004 Orange Revolution. He heads Ukraine's National Defense and Security Council.

Right Sector hard right neo-Nazi hate-mongering anti-Semite Dmytro Yarosh is his deputy. He openly boasts about "…fighting Jews and Russians till I die."

He calls Russia Ukraine's "eternal enemy." He said war between both countries is inevitable.

He openly supports Chechen militants. He backed Georgia's 2008 aggression against South Ossetia.

Doku Umarov is Russia's most wanted criminal. Yarosh urged him to terrorize Sochi's Winter Olympics. 

He claimed responsibility for attacking Domodedovo airport in 2011 as well as Moscow's 2010 metro bomb incident.

He supports efforts to topple Syria's Assad. He self-appointed himself Russian North Caucasus emir.

Right Sector extremists are the worst of a bad lot of rogues running Ukraine.

They're gun-toting, radicalized terrorists. Imagine them and likeminded scoundrels in charge of Ukraine's government.

Imagine Obama embracing them. Next thing you know he'll call them freedom fighters. They're cold-blooded killers. They believe in barrel-of-a-gun rule.

State terrorism defines their agenda. Anyone opposing them is targeted for elimination. Yarosh has presidential aspirations. Perhaps he intends achieving them one way or another.

Oleh Tyahnybok heads Svoboda. He chose no portfolio after putschists seized power. Perhaps he has greater aspirations in mind. He's a force to be reckoned with.

Unaffiliated Vitaly Yarema is first vice prime minister. He formerly headed Ukraine's Internal Affairs Ministry. His portfolio includes law enforcement.

Svoboda's Oleksandr Sych is one of two lower-level vice prime ministers. Like fellow party members, he's ideologically over-the-top.

Unaffiliated Volodymyr Groysman is Ukraine's other vice prime minister. He's a former deputy prime minister for regional policy as well as regional development, construction, housing and communal services minister.

Batkivshchyna's deputy chairman Pavlo Petrenko is justice minister. He's a politician, jurist and lawyer.

Andrii Deshchytsia is foreign minister. He's a politician and diplomat. He formerly was Ukraine's ambassador to Finland.

Oleksandr Shlapak is finance minister. He's a former economy minister.

Pavlo Sheremeta is economical development and trade minister. Formerly he was Kiev School of Economics president.

Svoboda's Ihor Tenyukh is defense minister. He's Ukraine's former naval commander. Yanukovych sacked him for supporting Kiev putschists.

Batkivshchyna's Arsen Avakov is internal affairs minister. He's a former parliamentarian. He held various administrative posts.

Svoboda's Oleg Makhnitsky is prosecutor-general (Ukraine's attorney general). He's a politician and lawyer.

Six Svoboda members hold top government posts. Others include ecology minister Andriy Mokhnyk and agriculture minister Ihor Shvaika.

Neo-Nazi Ukrainian National Assembly/Ukrainian National Self Defense (UNA-UNSO) members Tetyana Chernoval, Dmytro Bulatov, and Yegor Sobolev hold government portfolios.

Chernoval chairs Kiev's anti-corruption committee. Perhaps she's in charge of dispensing spoils.

Bulatov is youth and sports minister. Sobolev is lustration (mass disqualification) committee chair. 

He's charged with purging Yanukovych loyalists. Everyone pro-Russian is targeted. So is anyone left of far right.

Obama's new friends are ideological extremists. Imagine what Ukrainians can expect. 

Their agenda makes peace activists cringe. They threaten civil war. Regional war could follow. They risk spreading it globally.

Yatsenyuk vowed never to give up "a centimeter" of Ukraine to Russia. "This is our land," he said. "Our fathers and grandfathers have spilled their blood for this land." 

"And we won't budge a single centimeter from (it). Let Russia and its president know this."

Washington pledged full support. Obama pledged financial aid. Doing so violates US law. It's spurned by supplying Israel, Egyptian putschists and other rogue governments with military and financial aid.

The 1961 Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) and 1976 Arms Export Control Act (AECA) prohibit doing so.

AECA permits military related sales only for defense or internal security. FAA forbids aiding governments that engage:

"in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, including torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges, causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction and clandestine detention of those persons, or other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, and the security of person, unless such assistance will directly benefit the needy people in such country."

The 2001 Foreign Operations Appropriations Act's (FOAA) Leahy Law provision states:

"None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to support any training program involving a unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of Defense has received credible information from the Department of State that a member of such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights, unless all necessary corrective steps have been taken."

FOAA prohibits funding foreign security forces that commit gross human rights violations unless its government "is taking effective measures to bring the responsible members of the security forces unit to justice."

Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and numerous other rogue state US allies commit the worst of high crimes against peace and humanity. 

It doesn't matter. They're close US allies. They receive generous support.

FAA prohibits giving all forms of aid to putschist regimes. Obama pledged $1 billion in loan guarantees. Doing so violates US law.

It doesn't matter. Washington does what it wants. Russia's Foreign Ministry commented, saying:

According to US law, FAA prohibits aiding " 'the government of any country whose whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup or decree.' "

"Thus, by all criteria, the provision of funds to the illegitimate (Kiev) regime, which seized power by force, is unlawful and goes beyond the boundaries of the US legal system."

"The US administration will most probably continue to close its eyes on the dominance of the ultranationalist forces in Kiev, which have launched a hunt for dissidents across the country, increasing pressure on the Russian-speaking population and our compatriots, threatening the people in the Crimea with punishment for their desire for self-determination."

Neo-Nazi putschists threaten all Ukrainians. Ruthless hardline rule runs things. Fascists tolerate no opposition. State terrorism targets outliers. Darker than ever dark times loom.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

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Ukraine: The Lies Of Empire And The Smokescreen of Democracy

Countercurrents 28/2/2014, Global Research 1/3/2014 and The 4th Media 3/3/2014

John Herbst, US ambassador to Ukraine from 2003 to 2006, this week gave an interview to the RT television channel about current developments in Ukraine. According to Herbst, what we are witnessing is a peaceful uprising against an authoritarian, oppressive regime. He is unequivocal about this. He said that the protests and protesters are being smeared and discredited, and the only ones wanting to portray the opposition in Ukraine as being ultra nationalist, neo Nazis and violent are those who fear democracy on their own doorstep (i.e. Russia).

Herbst says the protests are a reaction to four years of oppressive government. While admitting that Yanokovych won a free and fair election in 2010, Herbst argues since that time he has put increasingly authoritarian strictures on the opposition and asserts that Yanokovych authorised the use of armed snipers against unarmed protesters.


In response to certain reports that state it was the opposition that first started any firing, Herbst says that such a claim is simply a lie. Herbst quotes Orwell to imply that people and sections of the media are not only lying, but are propagandising by using smear words about the protesters, such as ‘ultra nationalists’ or ‘anti-Semitic’


As far as an attack on a Jewish synagogue in Ukraine is concerned, he merely asks who attacked it and answers his own question with “Nobody knows” and that it is quite likely the attackers were “provocateurs.” Despite ‘nobody knowing’ he immediately implies it was carried out by former government forces to discredit the opposition.


For a man who refers to Orwell, his words flow easily with doublespeak and hypocrisy. While he doesn’t appear to know who attacked the synagogue, not wanting to apportion any wrong doings to the people the US has supported in Kiev, he is conveniently adamant that government snipers gunned down protesters, which is highly debatable, if not totally untrue (1).


Fine for him to make his unfounded claims that suit US goals and smear Yanokovych, but when others make claims he doesn’t like to hear, backed up with evidence, they are merely looking for a reason to tarnish the US-backed protesters.


During the interview with RT, he was asked how would it be perceived if Occupy protesters were to take over government buildings or a city hall in the US, as the people he supports in Ukraine have done: would it be labelled as a peaceful protest?


Of course it wouldn’t. The US state has long been involved in the illegal monitoring and subversion of perfectly legitimate democratic groups on home soil. Its security and intelligence agencies have been used to crush genuine democracy. From Martin Luther King and the Occupy Movement to Veterans for Peace, the US state has used the full panoply of resources to infiltrate, monitor or subvert. Today, democratic movements that seek to legitimately question the influence of Wall Street, US military policy abroad and a range of other policies that have serve elite interests are spied on and ‘neutralised’ (2).


But this is not up for debate. Best to move swiftly along, as indeed Herbst did. In order to prevent further analysis of how the US might or does treat dissent on its own soil, the former ambassador continued with his rhetoric (seemingly in the belief that if you keep on repeating something, people will eventually believe it) and went on to state during the interview:


“But let’s acknowledge something… The policies of Yanukovych were authoritarian and oppressive, and it’s natural that people will respond forcibly against oppressive and authoritarian policies. People were finally fed up with the restrictions as well as the massive corruption. … One side was brutal, slaughtering scores of people. The other was merely seizing buildings… You talk about a new election was scheduled for 2015. We all knew Yanukovic was preparing to steal that election.”

By this reasoning, it would mean that we should have pre-emptive action prior to any election based on fears about who might win and the reason for why they might win. Democracy works the other way around. You have an election and then you protest, if you feel it was discredited in some way, for example like when Bush stole the 2004 election.


And, of course, Herbst would not for one moment contemplate that the US authorities are oppressive, authoritarian and corrupt. For him, such traits are only prevalent in places like Ukraine. Don’t expect the likes of Herbst to be lining up in support of Occupy protestors at home who are demanding similar things that he is supporting in Ukraine (or at least says he is supporting). His moralistic bleatings only apply to other countries.


Although Herbst strived to portray the US as a neutral observer concerning events in Ukraine, it is clearly based on a lie (3,4). It is patently obvious that the US has a definite geo-political agenda aimed at weakening Russia (5). When asked about US Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nulan appearing inKiev handing out cookies, according to Herbst she was just expressing support for peaceful protest, and it did not imply that the US was taking sides in the situation.


How would that look in the US? How would Herbst feel about Russia’s foreign minister doing that in US at Occupy Wall Street?


In response to such questions, Herbst continued to repeat and deflect by saying:


“I think you have trouble understanding there is a repressive government inUkraine. There is not a repressive government in Washington…. Your problem is that you are a newscaster in a country that is undemocratic and you therefore do not want to see democracy in a country on your doorstep”

 
When the interviewer said that she does live in a democratic country (Russia), Herbst retorted:


“You have to say you live in a democratic country. Just like in the Soviet era journalists had to say that. It was not true then and it’s not true now.”

This comment and many others made by Herbst, displayed all of the arrogance associated with the ideology of US ‘exceptionalism’ in terms of that country being qualitatively different from other states, being a beacon of freedom and democracy and having the right to act in any way as and when it deems fit (6). He also displayed the complete contempt that people like him have for the public with his falsehoods, misleading claims, warped logic and attempts to deceive. Herbst should have realised that he was not talking (down) to a Fox news audience in the US. But, given the US’s role in events in Ukraine, maybe this was the best performance that could have been expected by someone in his shoes whose sole aim is to deliberately mislead.


Herbst, Nulan and others would do well to contemplate their country’s post-1945 record of war mongering and destabilisations of democratic governments (7) and which has led to millions of deaths (8), its global surveillance network exposed by Edward Snowdon that illegally spies on individuals and governments alike and its ongoing plundering of resources and countries supported by militarism, ‘free trade’ or the outright manipulation of markets (for example: 9,10,11).


Such ‘champions of democracy’ would also do well to contemplate the debasement of democracy at home and the US’s transformation into what increasingly appears to be a police state (12).


But, of course, they are already well aware of this. And they know full well that what the US is doing in Ukraine represents more of the same: the brutality and lies of Empire attempting to hide behind the smokescreen of democracy.   


Notes





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Fly me to the Moon… or Mars. It doesn’t really matter as long as the Indian political and economic elites and sections of the cheer-leading middle classes quench their insatiable patriotic thirst for delusional superpower status. Noises coming from those involved in ‘Mission Mars’ state that sending a probe to Mars (ahead of China) will only boost national morale (1).


How will sending a probe to the red planet make ‘the nation’ feel better? How will spending so much money on such a project make the vast majority of people struggling with rising costs and poor infrastructure feel good? Because the media and certain opinion leaders say it should? Because India will be sitting at the same superpower table as the US – again, because the media and the rich imply it will.  


Let’s forget about all of India’s problems and focus on the ‘good points’, the rich are fond of telling all of the critics. Formula 1, Forbes rich-listers, nuclear weaponry and space: what more could a country desire they state, as its leaders cede food sovereignty to multinational corporations by handing over nature’s seeds to Big Agra, sell its public sector infrastructure to private concerns, kill and abuse some of its poorest people to drive hundreds of thousands of them from their lands and leave a legacy for future generations of a chopped down, sold off, wasted, poisoned environment?


Like the mind-numbing dross pumped out of Bollywood, the ‘good points’ merely serve to sleep walk the masses into believing in the great Indian dream. And, as with the US version, you have to be asleep to believe it. Part of that dream is an existing prosperous Indiawith its burgeoning middle class, a thriving India with its recent record of high GDP growth and a powerful India straddling the world stage with its new found propensity for self delusion.


But the reality is an India of broken roads and other crumbling infrastructure made from skimped-on materials and dodgy parts courtesy of backhanders and siphoned off cash, an India that harbours its dirty little secret of mass killing of the girl child in (and out of) the womb, an India of media-friendly candlelit marches protesting crimes against the middle classes, but which has little to say about the daily atrocities that constitute a terrible normality for the majority.      


Scam after scam, illegal capital flight after illegal capital flight into Swiss banks. The ‘nation-builders’ who like us all to concentrate on the ‘good points’ and who talk much about boosting national morale with some or other project, while conspiring to stab the people in the back by robbing them of  a decent healthcare system, education system, welfare state and infrastructure (2). Yes, India, a country that could have been a shining example of social development, was sacrificed on the altar of greed and corruption for bulging Swiss accounts, for the private pockets of many of the country’s public ‘servants’, ‘wealth creators’ and the multinational vultures who long ago stopped circling and are now swooping (3). 


The nation’s politicians and rich are often castigated for their criminality. But their actions stem in part from an ‘Indian mindset’ that is all too common. It’s a mindset nurtured on self-aggrandisement, casteism, bribery, patronage, patriarchy, envy and cheating, traits that are pervasive throughout all social strata. And so when discredited politicians end up within touching distance of being elected PM due to very smart PR work (4) and a mass support base, should we be too surprised that India is in the state it is?  


Throw garbage into the street, drive directly at pedestrians with horn blurting to intimidate them out of the way, demand money from local businesses if you are a police official who is that way inclined, watch the latest Bollywood dross, run out and buy some useless product because Kareena, Priyanka or another icon of deception says ‘because you’re worth it’… but never ever let this narcissism, this beggar thy neighbour attitude, this ubiquitous mindset, give way to contemplate why the rivers and soils have been poisoned and people are being been made ill (5), agriculture is being hijacked by the likes of Monsanto, land is being grabbed on behalf of any number of corporations, the great nuclear power money fest is in full swing or why people are violently opposing state-corporate power. Much of this is the result of deals hammered out behind closed doors (6,7). Much of it results because too many are conditioned to be ignorant of the facts or to accept that all of the above is necessary.


Bow down to Krishna, Sachin Tendulkar or GDP growth figures? Take your pick, but the outcome is the same. This is a country where the majority sanctify certain animals, places, rivers and mountains for being representations of god or for being somehow touched by the hand of god. It’s also a country run by Wall Street sanctioned politicians who convince people to accept or be oblivious to the destruction of the same. The paradox of India, the extremities ofIndia… the glib clichés abound in the literature and brochures on India. As the tourism department says: Incredible India!


And as the herd, the herd conditioned to be bewildered, to loosely paraphrase US commentator Walter Lipman, buys into the rat race imported wholesale from the West and is manipulated by corporate-backed, product-touting celebrities and media, is there any hope forIndia?


The same question could also be asked of the US or Europe because similar forces are at work and play on insecurities and weaknesses of people and societies. The damning critique set out here is not reserved for India alone (8,9).


But there is some hope. Many are working strenuously to challenge the selling of the heart and soul of India, Europe or elsewhere (10,11).


Yet how easy will it be for them to be swept aside by the corrosive impacts of a rapacious capitalism and its hugely powerful corporations that colonise almost every area of social, cultural and life and encourage greed, selfishness, apathy, irretrievable materialism and acquisitive individualism, as well as the ignorance of reality ‘out there’ – what lies beyond the narrow concerns of spend and buy middle class India?


India was always ripe for Western capitalism’s taking. Consumerism’s conspicuous purchasing draws on and manipulates the pre-existing tendency to buy favour, the perceived self importance deriving from caste, the sense of entitlement due to patronage, the desire nurtured over the centuries to lord it over and seek tributes from whoever happens to be on the next rung down in the pecking order. Lavish, conspicuous displays of status to reinforce difference and hierarchy have always been important for cementing social status. Now icons of capitalism, whether renowned brand products, labels or product endorsing celebrities, have also taken their place in the pantheon of Indian deities to be listen to, worshiped and acquiesced to.


And the corporations behind it all achieve hegemony by altering mindsets via advertising, clever PR or by sponsoring (or hijacking) major events, by funding and slanting research findings and research institutions in their favour, by infiltrating officialdom and achieving lop-sided trade agreements and by doling out loans and patronage in turn for the structural adjustment of agriculture, retail, food production, the privatisation of sector utilities. They do it by many methods and means.


Before you realise it, culture, politics and the economy have become colonised by powerful private interests and the world is cast in their image. The prevailing economic system soon becomes cloaked with an aura of matter of factuality, an air of naturalness, which is never to be viewed for the controlling hegemonic culture or power play that it really is.


In the meantime, over 250,000 (and rising) farmers have committed suicide, the bulk of the population are struggling to escape from or stay out of poverty, money is being siphoned off hand over fist via scam after scam, filth-ridden towns and cities become more filth-ridden by the day and the female to male ratio indicates an alarming imbalance (12). Seeds, mountains, water, forests and the biodiversity are being sold off. The farmers and tribals are being sold out. And the more that gets sold off, the more who get sold out, the greater the amount of cash that changes hands, the easier it is for the misinformed to swallow the lie of Wall Street’s bogus notion of ‘growth’ – GDP. And India suddenly becomes capitalism’s poster boy ‘economic miracle’. A miracle blighted by dying or uprooted local communities and economies that do not have to die or be uprooted (13).   


This isn’t so much a ‘wounded civilisation’ as VS Naipal once noted, but one suffering from internal haemorrhaging as it continues to be bled dry from both within and without. But all is fine as long as the cash continues to be stashed away, the kids can be sent to Harvard and it’s a case of touchdown Mars. 


Notes




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‘A mother walks four and a half miles through the snow to a food bank for some handouts to feed her family. With her are two small children, their shoes full of holes. She has put plastic bags around their feet so that they are at least shielded against the wetness, if not the cold.’ This is not a sentence from one of Charles Dickens’ novels. This is a real story in 21stcentury austerity Britain.

In the fifth session of the series on the local impact of austerity policies, the UCU association at Nottingham University welcomed Nigel Webster, the Director of the Bestwood & Bulwell foodbank, for a talk about the proliferation of food banks in and around Nottingham.

The Bestwood & Bulwell foodbank, Nigel explained, is part of The Trussell Trust, which currently runs a network of over 325 food banks across the country. In greater Nottingham alone there are five food banks linked with The Trussell Trust, i.e. a third of the overall 15 food banks operating in the area. The Bestwood & Bulwell foodbank works closely together with frontline care professionals such as doctors, social workers and job centre officials, who give vouchers to people in need. These vouchers, in turn, can be exchanged for three days of food at the food bank. The general idea is to provide people with help for emergencies. The objective is not to provide permanent assistance. In general, everyone is entitled to a maximum of three vouchers. With 13 million people living below the poverty line in 21st century UK, it is no surprise that food banks are in high demand. According to the Trussell Trust, ‘in 2012-13 foodbanks fed 346,992 people nationwide. Of those helped, 126,889 were children’ (The Trussell Trust). Since the food bank opened in Bestwood and Bulwell last September, 1550 people were fed.

Photo by Birmingham News Room


People need to go to food banks for a whole range of different reasons including redundancy or not having enough hours of work, illness, debt, unexpectedly large bills, etc. The biggest reason, however, Nigel made clear, were changes to, and problems with, the welfare system. The Bestwood & Bulwell foodbank collects information about the people it helps and 40 per cent of all people come as a result of problems with the welfare system. People having their benefits withdrawn or cut by job centres often have no alternative than to go to a food bank in order to feed themselves and their families.

Underneath these figures are a wide range of different individual tragedies. One of the people coming to the Bestwood & Bulwell foodbank describes himself as ‘existing, but no longer living’. Many do not consider themselves anymore as a member of the human race, reported Nigel. A whole group of people is increasingly excluded from society. Out from the stream of human misery encountered in food banks emerge the contradictions of our society. For example, on the one hand local businesses are very supportive and supply the food bank with goods. On the other, the food bank assists some of the employees of these businesses, because they do not have enough hours of work to make ends meet. In general, the overwhelming majority of food, 90 per cent plus, comes from the local community (schools, churches etc.) and members of the public, rather than businesses.

Photo by Byzantine_K
Is it a coincidence that first thoughts about establishing a food bank emerged two years ago, the time when the first cuts to the welfare system by the current government started to bite? Unsurprisingly, with every further round of cuts the demand for assistance has gone up. Equally troubling is, according to Nigel, that due to the forthcoming holiday period, many children who are entitled to free school meals, will have one meal less per day over the weeks in summer. He expects demand to go up as a result.

During the discussions, the issue was raised whether food banks would step in and take over responsibilities, which were really the government’s obligations. Does one not let the state off the hook by providing welfare services, which the state no longer offers? Are food banks perhaps ultimately counterproductive as they fill gaps rather than pushing for change, which would make them superfluous in the first place? In his final comment, Nigel, himself a lay minister of the Anglican and Methodist Churches in Bestwood, made clear that for a Christian it was absolutely essential to help people in need. At the same time, however, he pointed out that with mercy comes justice. The demand for change has to accompany the help for others. Charity on its own is not enough. 



Prof. Andreas Bieler
Professor of Political Economy
University of Nottingham/UK

Personal website: http://andreasbieler.net

22 July 2013

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Published time: March 23, 2013 15:04
A driver stries to clear snow from a road during a heavy snow storm in the Ukrainian capital Kiev on March 23, 2013. (AFP Photo/Sergei Supinsky)

A state of emergency has been declared in Ukrainian capital, Kiev, on Saturday as the city is paralyzed by heavy snowfall and blizzard totally abnormal for March.

"Due to the deterioration of weather conditions [heavy snowfall, blizzards, snow-banks] a state of emergency is declared in the capital," the statement by the Kiev State Administration said.

The situation in the city is so dire that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich has signed a special decree urging all government agencies to provide maximum assistance to victims of the snowstorm.

The military is also involved in rescuing the city from its snowbound condition as 550 servicemen are deployed to the capital to aid the community services.An elderly man walks near snow covered cars during a heavy storm in the Ukraine capital Kiev on March 23, 2013. (AFP Photo/Sergei Supinsky)

The government has created a crisis center to tackle the snowfalls, which is being personally overseen by Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolay Azarov.

“In these difficult conditions, the government calls on everybody to show orderliness, self-restraint, cooperativeness, humanity and, if possible, to join the clean-up efforts in the aftermath of the bad weather, to help each other in tough situations," the government’s statement said.

According to the city authorities, over 50 millimeters of snow fell in Kiev in just one day, which is more than the entire monthly norm of 47 millimeters.

Motorists push a car that is stuck in snow during a blizzard in Ukrainian capital Kiev March 23, 2013. (Reuters)

Community services are ordered to work around the clock, with priority given to cleaning the approaches to the Metro stations and subway stairs, as well entrances to hospitals and grocery stores.

Besides 253 snow-cleaning vehicles, five armored fighting vehicles are being used to tow stranded cars, with 270 trucks, 540 cars, 83 buses and 15 trolleybuses already removed from snow banks.

Dozens of flights in Kiev’s biggest airport, Boryspil, are delayed or cancelled, with the city’s second aerial port, Zhuliany, halting operations altogether.

Meanwhile, bloggers report that some of the city’s residents managed to find joy in the tempest as some daredevils was seen snowboarding in the streets. 

A convoy of snow clearing vehicles work along a main road after a heavy snowfall in Kiev, March 23, 2013. (Reuters)

The weather conditions remain difficult in other parts of Ukraine as well, which led to electricity shortages in almost 400 settlements in the Kiev, Vinnytsia and Poltava Regions.  

The highway services are fighting with snow 24/7 in the north of the country, while the southern regions are suffering from heavy rains.

The snow front is moving eastward and is expected to hit Moscow on Saturday evening or Sunday, lasting until almost the end of March. A gale warning is announced in Russia's capital and the Moscow Region.

The synoptic service say that the current March may become the coldest in Moscow in the last 33 years as they forecast temperatures of around minus 9 or 10 degrees Celsius, which is around nine degrees below average.

A woman removes snow from her car during a storm in the Ukraine capital Kiev on March 23, 2013. (AFP Photo)

Heavy snowfalls are already in full swing in Russia’s Tula and Lipetsk Regions, with snow-clearing vehicles taking to the streets, while the city of Kursk, the administrative center of Kursk Region, which borders Ukraine, was forced to declare the state of emergency, like Kiev.  

Subzero temperatures and snow mixed with rain are causing problems to residents of continental Europe and the British Isles as well, where the current March became the coldest in 50 years.

Russia’s national football team was to play a 2014 World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland in Belfast on Friday. The match was initially rescheduled to Saturday, but subsequently canceled, with stadium employees failing to remove the ice crust from the pitch.

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A Safe and a Shotgun or Publicly-owned Banks? The Battle of Cyprus

A Safe and a Shotgun or Publicly-owned Banks? The Battle of Cyprus

Posted on Mar 22, 2013
loop_oh (CC BY-ND 2.0)

By Ellen Brown, Web of Debt

This article first appeared at Web of Debt.

“If these worries become really serious, . . . [s]mall savers will take their money out of banks and resort to household safes and a shotgun.”
  —Martin Hutchinson on the attempted EU raid on private deposits in Cyprus banks

The deposit confiscation scheme has long been in the making. US depositors could be next . . . .

On Tuesday, March 19, the national legislature of Cyprus overwhelmingly rejected a proposed levy on bank deposits as a condition for a European bailout. Reuters called it “a stunning setback for the 17-nation currency bloc,” but it was a stunning victory for democracy. As Reuters quoted one 65-year-old pensioner, “The voice of the people was heard.” 

The EU had warned that it would withhold €10 billion in bailout loans, and the European Central Bank (ECB) had threatened to end emergency lending assistance for distressed Cypriot banks, unless depositors – including small savers – shared the cost of the rescue. In the deal rejected by the legislature, a one-time levy on depositors would be required in return for a bailout of the banking system. Deposits below €100,000 would be subject to a 6.75% levy or “haircut”, while those over €100,000 would have been subject to a 9.99% “fine.”

The move was bold, but the battle isn’t over yet.  The EU has now given Cyprus until Monday to raise the billions of euros it needs to clinch an international bailout or face the threatened collapse of its financial system and likely exit from the euro currency zone. 

The Long-planned Confiscation Scheme

The deal pushed by the “troika” – the EU, ECB and IMF – has been characterized as a one-off event devised as an emergency measure in this one extreme case. But the confiscation plan has long been in the making, and it isn’t limited to Cyprus.

In a September 2011 article in the Bulletin of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand titled “A Primer on Open Bank Resolution,” Kevin Hoskin and Ian Woolford discussed a very similar haircut plan that had been in the works, they said, since the 1997 Asian financial crisis.  The article referenced recommendations made in 2010 and 2011 by the Basel Committee of the Bank for International Settlements, the “central bankers’ central bank” in Switzerland.

The purpose of the plan, called the Open Bank Resolution (OBR), is to deal with bank failures when they have become so expensive that governments are no longer willing to bail out the lenders. The authors wrote that the primary objectives of OBR are to:

• ensure that, as far as possible, any losses are ultimately borne by the bank’s shareholders and creditors . . . . 

The spectrum of “creditors” is defined to include depositors:

At one end of the spectrum, there are large international financial institutions that invest in debt issued by the bank (commonly referred to as wholesale funding). At the other end of the spectrum, are customers with cheque and savings accounts and term deposits.

Most people would be surprised to learn that they are legally considered “creditors” of their banks rather than customers who have trusted the bank with their money for safekeeping, but that seems to be the case. According to Wikipedia:

In most legal systems, . . . the funds deposited are no longer the property of the customer. The funds become the property of the bank, and the customer in turn receives an asset called a deposit account (a checking or savings account). That deposit account is a liability of the bank on the bank’s books and on its balance sheet.  Because the bank is authorized by law to make loans up to a multiple of its reserves, the bank’s reserves on hand to satisfy payment of deposit liabilities amounts to only a fraction of the total which the bank is obligated to pay in satisfaction of its demand deposits.

The bank gets the money. The depositor becomes only a creditor with an IOU. The bank is not required to keep the deposits available for withdrawal but can lend them out, keeping only a “fraction” on reserve, following accepted fractional reserve banking principles. When too many creditors come for their money at once, the result can be a run on the banks and bank failure.

The New Zealand OBR said the creditors had all enjoyed a return on their investments and had freely accepted the risk, but most people would be surprised to learn that too. What return do you get from a bank on a deposit account these days? And isn’t your deposit protected against risk by FDIC deposit insurance?

Not anymore, apparently. As Martin Hutchinson observed in Money Morning, “if governments can just seize deposits by means of a ‘tax’ then deposit insurance is worth absolutely zippo.” 


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The European Union’s (EU) proposals to strict new caps on bankers’ bonuses will put thousands of British jobs at risk, a senior minister has warned.

Business and Enterprise minister Michael Fallon, who is in close ties with British Chancellor George Osborne, said the government will fight for more flexibility on the EU bank bonus cap at Brussels’ meetings this week as the move could threaten thousands of jobs in the country.

“The threat is not to the well paid banker, the threat is to the hundreds of thousands of ordinary banking jobs in Britain if these big international banks are forced to relocate,” Fallon said.

“We are not giving up on this, we are still fighting for more flexibility and we’ll be doing that at the Ecofin meeting this week.”

Earlier last week, London Mayor Boris Johnson warned that Brussels’s bank bonus cap will push banking business away from the City of London and towards Zurich, Singapore and New York.

British Prime Minister David Cameron also raised concerns over the EU proposals, saying that the new rules must allow international banks to keep “competing and succeeding while being located in the UK”.

Britain’s Trades Union Congress (TUC), however, accused the government of taking the bankers’ side ahead of ordinary people who have been made to pay the price of bankers’ folly.

MOS/

Virtually ALL of the Big Banks’ Profits Come from Taxpayer Bailouts and Subsidies

bankers

The government has propped up the big banks for years through massive, never-ending bailouts and subsidies.

Bloomberg noted last year that 77% of JP Morgan’s net income comes from government subsidies.

Bloomberg reported yesterday:

What if we told you that, by our calculations, the largest U.S. banks aren’t really profitable at all? What if the billions of dollars they allegedly earn for their shareholders were almost entirely a gift from U.S. taxpayers?

***

Lately, economists have tried to pin down exactly how much the subsidy lowers big banks’ borrowing costs. In one relatively thorough effort, two researchers — Kenichi Ueda of the International Monetary Fund and Beatrice Weder di Mauro of the University of Mainz — put the number at about 0.8 percentage point. The discount applies to all their liabilities, including bonds and customer deposits.

Small as it might sound, 0.8 percentage point makes a big difference. Multiplied by the total liabilities of the 10 largest U.S. banks by assets, it amounts to a taxpayer subsidy of$83 billion a year. To put the figure in perspective, it’s tantamount to the government giving the banks about 3 cents of every tax dollar collected.

The top five banks — JPMorgan, Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. – – account for $64 billion of the total subsidy, an amount roughly equal to their typical annual profits (see tables for data on individual banks). In other words, the banks occupying the commanding heights of the U.S. financial industry — with almost $9 trillion in assets, more than half the size of the U.S. economy — would just about break even in the absence of corporate welfareIn large part, the profits they report are essentially transfers from taxpayers to their shareholders.

The money hasn’t just gone to the banks shareholders … It has also gone to line the pockets of bank management:

Indeed:

All of the monetary and economic policy of the last 3 years has helped the wealthiest and penalized everyone else. See thisthis and this.

***

Economist Steve Keen says:

“This is the biggest transfer of wealth in history”, as the giant banks have handed their toxic debts from fraudulent activities to the countries and their people.

Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz said in 2009 that Geithner’s toxic asset plan “amounts to robbery of the American people”.

And economist Dean Baker said in 2009 that the true purpose of the bank rescue plans is “a massive redistribution of wealth to the bank shareholders and their top executives”.

We’ve noted for years that the big banks – including CitiWellsBank of America and the rest – areactually insolvent.

Breaking up the big banks would stabilize the economy … and dramatically increase Main Street’s access to credit.

But the government has chosen the banks over the little guy … dooming both:

The big banks were all insolvent during the 1980s.

And they all became insolvent again in 2008. See this and this.

The bailouts were certainly rammed down our throats under false pretenses.

But here’s the more important point. Paulson and Bernanke falsely stated that the big banks receiving Tarp money were healthy, when they were not. They were insolvent.

Tim Geithner falsely stated that the banks passed some time of an objective stress test but they did not. They were insolvent.

Both the creditors and the debtors were mortally wounded by the 2008 financial crisis. The big banks wouldn’t have survived without trillions in handouts, guarantees, loans, idiot-proof profits courtesy of the government.

The little guy hasn’t been helped since 2008. He has been left to suffer with his life-threatening wounds. See thisthis and this.

So the government chose sides. The creditors were wiped out, just like a lot of Main Street was wiped out. In one sense, the government chose who would live (the giant banks and other bailed out and favored companies) and who would die (the other 99%).

But in fact, the big banks were no longer creditors after the 2008 crash. Specifically, the big banks which held the mortgages and the loans were wiped out.

The government moved the arms and legs of the big banks to pretend they were still alive … and have been doing so ever since. But they were no longer going concerns after they went bust.

The government pumped blood back in these dead banks and turned them into zombies. They will never come back to life in a real sense … they are still zombies, 3 years later.

Many of the world’s leading economists and financial experts say that by choosing creditors over debtors, the government is dooming the economy. See this and this.

The big zombie banks can never come back to life, and – by trying to save them – the government is bleeding out the little guy.

By choosing the big banks over the little guy, the government is dooming both.

Remember, the Federal Reserve has paid banks high interest rates to stash money (their “excess reserves”) with the Fed for the express purpose of preventing loans to Main Street.

And the Fed plans to throw more money at the banks when the Federal Reserve starts to tighten.  As FTreports:

US Federal Reserve officials fear a backlash from paying billions of dollars tocommercial banks when the time comes to raise interest rates.

The growth of the Fed’s balance sheet means it could pay $50bn-$75bn a year in interest on bank reserves at the same time as it makes losses and has to stop sending money to the Treasury.

***

In an interview with the Financial Times, James Bullard, president of the St Louis Fed, said: “If you think of the profitability of the biggest banks, if you’re going to talk about paying them something of the order of $50bn – well that’s more than the entire profits of the largest banks.”

***

At the moment it only pays 0.25 per cent interest on those reserves. But according to its exit strategy, published in June 2011, the Fed plans to raise interest rates before it sells assets. Interest of 2 per cent on $2.5tn of reserves would run to $50bn a year.

***

The eventual tightening could lead to substantial amounts being transferred to commercial banks from the Fed, given the amounts of cash they have parked there. Wells Fargo has $97.1bn sitting at the Fed, the largest amount of any bank, ahead of JPMorgan Chase at $88.6bn and Goldman Sachs at $58.7bn, according to an FT analysis of SNL data.

Foreign banks also have a striking amount of cash at the Fed, potentially aggravating the Fed’s PR problem. Analysts at Stone & McCarthy noted recently that there had been a steep increase in foreign banks placing reserves at the Fed and suggested that “US banks may have distaste for the opportunistic arbitrage”, between lower market rates and the interest on reserves, whereas overseas institutions “might not feel encumbered in the same fashion”.

Canada’s TD Bank, Germany’s Deutsche Bank and Switzerland’s UBS each have more than $12bn at the Fed.

And while this post focuses on bailouts and subsidies to big American banks,  a large percentage of the bailouts went to foreign banks (and see this). And so did a huge portion of the money from quantitative easing. More here and here.

Moscow hopes N. Korea nuke test won’t be pretext for regional militarization

A North Korean soldier walks along the banks of Yalu River, near the North Korean town of Sinuiju, opposite the Chinese border city of Dandong February 12, 2013. (Reuters)

A North Korean soldier walks along the banks of Yalu River, near the North Korean town of Sinuiju, opposite the Chinese border city of Dandong February 12, 2013. (Reuters)

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Pyongyang’s brazen nuclear test deserves a strong reaction from the UN Security Council.

­The nuclear test conducted by North Korea on Tuesday “demonstrates that the North Korean leadership has again ignored international law and disregarded the UN Security Council's resolutions, all of which deserves condemnation and an appropriate reaction,” Lavrov said at a press conference in South Africa. 

The UN Security Council is expected to convene “within hours” to discuss the matter, the minister said.

Lavrov conveyed the message that Moscow is disappointed that Pyongyang chose to discard Russia's concerns over the nuclear tests despite “good neighborly relations” between the two countries. 

At the same time, however, Lavrov, warned against any "military muscle-building" policy in the Korean Peninsula.

Instead, Pyongyang must give up its nuclear-weapons program and re-join the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

"International law is the counterbalance to the military scenario," Lavrov emphasized.  "We have been proposing that a system of measures be developed in Northeast Asia to ensure security for all countries of the region on the basis of the current multilateral obligations.”

The Russian diplomat said the ultimate goal should be to turn the Korean Peninsula into a “nuclear free zone.”

In order to achieve these ends, Russia will continue to work jointly with all participants in the six-nation process, which involves Russia, China, Japan, the United States and North and South Korea.

Earlier, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Moscow is urging North Korea to heed the demands of the UN Security Council and cease all illegal nuclear testing. 

"We insist that the DPRK…strictly comply with every directive of the UN Security Council, abandon its missile and nuclear programs and return to the NPT and IAEA guarantee regime," read the ministry statement.

By cooperating with the international security organization, “North Korea may break free from its international isolation and gain access to international cooperation in various areas, among them the peaceful application of atomic energy and space,” it said.  

"We are confident that this path meets the interests of North Korea," the ministry emphasized.

Gold Sentiment Poor Due To Range-Bound Trade and Banks’ Bearish Predictions

Gold is little changed today in pound, euro and dollar terms after the Bank of England and the ECB kept interest rates at record low levels. Ultra loose monetary policies continue.


Gold in Japanese Yen, 4 Day – (Bloomberg)

The ECB kept interest rates at 0.75% and the BOE kept interest rates at 0.5% the lowest level since 1694. The BOE pledged to maintain their ‘stimulus’ or money printing or debt monetisation programmes.

This morning the Japanese yen fell to new record lows against gold on the TOCOM at over 157 million yen per ounce.

Ultra loose monetary policies are set to continue which is bullish for the precious metals.

Mario Draghi’s news conference begins at 1330 GMT and the ECB President could set the course for the single currency. If Draghi’s speech warns about the recent rise in the euro then the euro may fall against the dollar and gold.

Gold's range bound trading between $1,650/oz and $1,700/oz since December continues.


Gold in USD, 2 Year – (Bloomberg)

Physical gold volumes have been quite low in recent days with very few new buyers coming into the market. More clients have been selling than buying in recent days. But the more aware and risk averse money continues to add to their allocations. 

The mix is quite unusual as normally there is a clear bias towards clients selling or buying. On recent years, during gold’s bull market the bias has been towards buying.

Recent technical action has been poor and the short term trend is down and this allied to perceptions that the global economic situation has improved slightly is leading to the preponderance of sellers.

Sellers have also be emboldened by recent bold pronouncements of the end of gold’s bull market – by many of the same banks who never predicted the bull market or advised their clients to own gold in the first place.

Many of the banks, now predicting gold’s bull market will end in 2013, never predicted gold’s bull market in the first place. Most were bearish on gold in the early to mid years of the bull market and most only became bullish quite recently.

Very few have been consistent and very few have been bullish on gold in the long term.

It is also worth noting that most of them do not understand gold and continue to see it as a trade. 

Many of these banks' primary focus is short term profit, often trading profits, and therefore they do not understand the long term, passive diversification benefits of gold in a portfolio or as financial insurance. 

It is also not profitable for them to advise a buy and hold diversification strategy as more prudent advisers have been advising in recent years.  

While sentiment towards gold remains poor after recent weakness, the smart money is focused on the fundamentals and is positioning itself for higher gold prices in the medium term. Soros, Gross, Faber, Rogers, Paulson and other respected investors who predicted the crisis have large allocations which they continue to hold.


Silver in USD, 3 Year – (Bloomberg)

Investors need to be patient, fade out the day to day noise from banks and hedge funds and focus on gold’s value rather than its price movements – particularly in the short term. 

It remains important to focus on the long term diversification benefits of having an allocation to gold, silver, platinum and palladium.

NEWS   
Gold edges up before ECB meets, PGMs near 17-mth highs - Reuters

Gold Rises in Asia, Near-Term Outlook Weak; Precious Metals Lower – The Wall Street Journal

China's 2012 gold output up 12% - Paper - Reuters

Gold vending machine in Florida may be first of many – The Palm Beach Post

COMMENTARY
'Europe's A Fragile Bubble', Citi's Buiter Warns Of Unrealistic Complacency – Zero Hedge

Does China Still Love Gold? – Market Oracle

Video: Horror Bankers Attack – Max Keiser

Video: Goldsmiths put the nation's coins through their paces – The Telegraph

For breaking news and commentary on financial markets and gold, follow us on Twitter.

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US Congress to request details of foreign account holders with US banks

Reuters / Jessica Rinaldi

Reuters / Jessica Rinaldi

The US government is reportedly considering requesting details from banks of foreigners holding accounts in America. The news follows US demands for details of foreign nationals’ accounts abroad.

­Labeled ‘part of a crackdown on tax evasion’, the US will potentially have access to the details of millions of foreign customers who hold accounts with America-based branches, according to Reuters. The move is expected to face strong resistance from the banking industry.

Wealthy foreigners and financial institutions that bank in the US could have their account details given to the US government. The Obama administration is expected to make the request of Congress in a forthcoming Whitehouse budget proposal. 

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) already requires overseas financial companies to identify their American customers to the Internal Revenue Service. 

In January this year, Switzerland’s oldest bank, Wegelin & Co., was forced to close after the US imposed a $22 million fine on the institution, alongside restitution of $20 million to the IRS, and a $15.8 million fee. The bank was accused of allowing American nationals to hide their earnings after US judge gave the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) permission to obtain data on the bank from Swiss financial institution UBS. On January 5th, a Manhattan federal court ruled the information on Wegelin & Co’s former clients could be demanded by the US.  

It’s highly possible that the new proposal will be part of a move to aid negotiations with foreign financial agencies. Reuters published part of a letter written last October by Mark Mazur, Treasury Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy, saying that the government aimed “to pursue equivalent levels of reciprocal automatic exchange in the future.” America is requesting data from foreign sources even now, and some are resisting its pressure. If successful, it is likely further fines will be imposed. 

Bilateral agreements mean that four countries have already started sharing information on the finances of their US residents – the United Kingdom, Denmark, Ireland and Mexico. The US is negotiating with another 50 countries. 

Many have been unable to meet the US’s requirements as they would come into direct conflict with local privacy laws. 

Some countries, including France, Germany and China have been delaying the sharing of information, as they consider it one-sided and unreasonable that they are expected to share details of the US accounts of French, German and Chinese nationals abroad. However, the US has already progressed in their negotiations with the three. 

Reuters said that although China appears reluctant to comply, the country is in ‘behind the scenes’ discussions. 

FATCA requires financial institutions (non-US banks and investment funds) to inform the IRS about accounts held by those from the US with balances of more than $50,000. They face economic restrictions should they fail to provide data. FATCA was set into motion in 2010, and will come into play towards the end of 2013.

The IRS held an ‘offshore amnesty’ in October 2011, which offered the opportunity for people with money in offshore bank accounts to come forward, before the IRS found them through data sharing.  

Switzerland is following the UK and signed a FATCA deal with the US in December 2012, which is due to come into play in January 2014. Switzerland attracts many rich foreigners and has already been subject to US action.  

“The United States is committed to a policy of transparency and equivalence, where appropriate, in furtherance of international cooperation to combat offshore tax evasion,” said a Treasury spokesman. 

Swiss Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner (FDPIC) stated in 2012 that the model for the agreement raised numerous privacy and data protection concerns. FDPIC’s 19th annual report called the agreement effectively an ‘automatic exchange of information,’ adding “We are very critical of this law that has been imposed unilaterally by the United States.”

On January 18th, the European commission also warned the Swiss over its tax practices, saying that if the country did not agree to an automatic exchange of information, it would be ‘blacklisted’, and sanctions could be imposed.

As Euro Banks Return €137 Billion In Cash, Moody’s Warns “European Banks Need More...

Europe has now officially become the Schrodinger continent, demanding both sides of the economic coin so to speak, and is stuck between the proverbial rock and hard place (or "a cake and eating it"). On one hand it wants to telegraph its financial system is getting stronger, and doesn't need trillions in implicit and explicit ECB backstops, on the other it needs a liquidity buffer against an economy that, especially in the periphary, is rapidly deteriorating (Spanish bad debt just hit a new all time high while Italian bad loans rose by 16.7% in one year as more and more assets become impaired). On one hand it wants a strong currency to avoid any doubt that there is redenomination risk, on the other it desperately needs a weak currency to spur exports out of the Eurozone (as Spain showed when the EUR plunged in 2012, however that weak currency is now a distant memory and it is now seriously weighing on exports). On the one hand Europe wants to show its banks have solidarity with one another and will support each other, on the other those banks that are in a stronger position can't wait to shed the stigma of being associated with the weak banks (in this case by accepting LTRO bailouts).

It is the latest that is the most glaring dichotomy because as reported earlier, while some 278 banks, or about half of the original LTRO participants, voluntarily paid back some €137 billion to the ECB, it is none other than Moody's warning that European banks, especially those in the periphery, will need much more cash.

From Reuters:

Banks in Spain, Italy, Ireland and Britain need to set aside much more money to cover potentially bad loans, credit ratings agency Moody's said on Thursday, meaning European taxpayers may again be tapped for cash.

European banks have already raised hundreds of billions of euros to cover possible losses from loans that soured in property and financial market crises. Much of the funding has come from governments.

"We believe that many banks, in particular in Spain, Italy, Ireland, and the UK, require material amounts of additional provisions to fully clean up their balance sheets," Moody's said in its global banking outlook for 2013.

"Some banks have in recent years delayed full recognition of embedded loan losses, partly by restructuring loans," the report added. "This strategy of buying time (often tolerated by regulators) limits a bank's capacity for new lending and poses risks for creditors of European banks."

Moody's did not say how much extra money banks would need.

In this case Moody's is spot on, and what Europe certainly does not need, is giving the impression that the ECB is implicitly tightening, which is how the market is interpreting today's action and Nomura has already raising its forecast for total H1 LTRO repayment to €350 billion. Recall from Deutsche Bank:

However the market will likely continue to have some focus on the fact that the ECB balance sheet is likely to be steadily shrinking for a period at a time when the Fed is effectively increasing its by $85bn/month and where Japan is seen by many to be set to notably increase its interventions. So  while the repayments are not a big deal in themselves the contrast between the ECB and many other central banks means that the Euro is probably biased to appreciate for the foreseeable future. This might provide an unwelcome headwind for growth in Europe later in the year. Despite the promise of the OMT, Europe is in danger as being seen as the least active in the near-term in the currency war skirmishes that are focusing investors minds at the moment. Maybe actions elsewhere and a higher Euro will eventually lead to the ECB balance sheet expanding again after some market stress but this is further down the road.

So what just happened in Europe? Well, remember when Jean Claude Trichet hiked rates in the middle of 2011 to, that's right, prove that Europe is fixed (and when inflation was rampant - everyone remember what happened next.

As for Europe's banks needing cash - they sure do, maybe not right now in this latest momentary monetary lull, but soon once it becomes clear that nothing has changed and that simply injecting even more liquidity into the market does nothing for actual capital quality, we will all be backt so quare one.

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A Year After Declaring War On The Banks

Wolf Richter   www.testosteronepit.com   www.amazon.com/author/wolfrichter

On January 22, 2012, French presidential candidate François Hollande shook up the banks: “It has no name, no face, no party, it will never be candidate, it will therefore never be elected, yet it governs: that enemy is the world of finance,” he said. It “freed itself from all rules” and “took control of the economy, of society, and even our lives.” He’d fight it, he said, and promised some tough reforms.

But as the private sector in France sank deeper into an economic and fiscal quagmire, his words, designed to endear him to the left wing of his Socialist Party, were swept under the rug. And you’d think that since becoming President of France, he has been tutored by JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.

A year later, Dimon had some choice words himself, while at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where bankers, business leaders, politicians, and whoever was able to get in were hobnobbing for the better of the world.

Dimon lashed out at regulators and their feeble, slow, and confused efforts to rein in the banking industry so that it wouldn’t shove the world into another crisis. They were “trying to do too much, too fast,” he said. He defended inscrutable megabanks with their meaningless financial statements. “Businesses can be opaque,” he said. “They’re complex.” A word that in a financial crisis excuses everything, even massive bailouts that will haunt generations to come. “You don’t know how aircraft engines work, either,” he mollified us, based on the logic that we still get on a plane and fly across the Pacific.

And so the CEO of America’s largest TBTF bank, recipient of the Fed’s bailout trillions, praised the Fed because “they saved the system.” Indeed, they not only saved the system that had shoved the world into the financial crisis, but they also bailed out and enriched those who were, and still are, integral part of it—who now, according to Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher, “believe themselves to be exempt from the processes of bankruptcy and creative destruction” [for more on Fisher’s feisty fight against TBTF, read.... How Big Is ”BIG?”].

This is the world Hollande declared war on, back in the day. But now, France is sinking into a new crisis, and this time it’s the already diminutive private sector that is gasping for air and shedding jobs—and moving overseas, along with the rich and not-so-rich for whom the fiscal and rhetorical climate has become too hostile. 

Not a day passes without another confirmation or a new indication. Today, the statistical agency Insee released its monthly Business Climate Index, which, after a soupçon of an uptick, has deteriorated again in the categories of Industry, Wholesale, Construction, and Retail. Only Service saw an improvement. The index, at 86.75, is down from 87.02 in December, and below where it was in October 2009, during the financial crisis.

Given this scenario, what happened to Hollande’s “enemy” and the reforms to rein it in? It’s not that he didn’t try—though there simply isn’t much appetite around the world for confronting the banks. For example, even the highly anticipated Basle III liquidity rules that were supposed to make global banks more stable and another financial meltdown less likely, well... A couple of weeks ago, after years of negotiations and intensive lobbying by the banks, the rules were finalized. In watered-down form. And implementation was delayed until 2019. A huge win for the banks.

Nevertheless, Hollande’s vow to separate the banks’ retail operations from their speculative activities coagulated into a proposal for a law that was presented to parliament last December. The government prided itself that it was the first in the EU to put banking reform on the table. Four years after the financial crisis. As Dimon said: “trying to do too much, too fast.” The proposal, of course, came with such huge concession to the banks that effectively not much will change.

And his vow to impose a tax on financial transactions? It has also turned into a proposal, and the EU just issued its blessing for the tax. The 11 countries, including France and Germany, that are considering such a tax are now free to impose it. Against a wall of opposition from the banks. Nothing will happen in Germany before the election later this year. But in France, which is dying for additional revenues, the tax might pick up momentum.

These days, tangled up in a real war in Mali, Hollande no longer declares war on the financial world. In fact, he already has the first taxpayer-funded bank bailouts under his belt, including the €7 billion bailout of Banque PSA Finance. He’d “saved the system,” Dimon would say, because when push comes to shove, citizens and taxpayers, and their kids, are the ones who pay, not bank investors. And it doesn’t matter who is president.

France’s economic foundations are cracking. Unemployment is rising incessantly. The private sector is comatose. Car sales sank 13.9% in 2012, from a lousy 2011; sales by its native automakers plunged even more. Now home sales are grinding to a halt. And the finger-pointing has already started. Read....  The Next Shoe To Drop In France.

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Obama’s Failure to Punish Banks Should Be Causing Serious Social Unrest

A new PBS Frontline report examines outrageous steps Obama's administration took to protect Wall St. Wall Street from prosecutions.

January 23, 2013  |  

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PBS' Frontline program on Tuesday night broadcast a  new one-hour report on one of the greatest and most shameful failings of the  Obama administration: the lack of even a single arrest or prosecution of any senior Wall Street banker for the systemic fraud that precipitated the 2008  financial crisis: a crisis from which millions of people around the world are still suffering. What this program particularly demonstrated was that the Obama justice department, in particular the Chief of its Criminal Division, Lanny Breuer, never even tried to hold the high-level criminals accountable.

What Obama justice officials did instead is exactly what they did in the face of high-level Bush era crimes of torture and warrantless eavesdropping: namely, acted to protect the most powerful factions in the society in the face of overwhelming evidence of serious criminality. Indeed, financial elites were not only vested with impunity for their fraud, but thrived as a result of it, even as ordinary Americans  continue to suffer the effects of that crisis.

Worst of all, Obama justice officials both shielded and feted these Wall Street oligarchs (who, just by the way,  overwhelmingly supported Obama's 2008 presidential campaign) as they simultaneously prosecuted and imprisoned powerless Americans for far more trivial transgressions. As Harvard law professor Larry Lessig  put it two weeks ago when expressing anger over the DOJ's persecution of Aaron Swartz: "we live in a world where the architects of the financial crisis regularly dine at the White House." (Indeed, as "The Untouchables" put it: while no senior Wall Street executives have been prosecuted, "many small mortgage brokers, loan appraisers and even home buyers" have been).

As I documented at length in my 2011 book on America's two-tiered justice system, With Liberty and Justice for Some, the evidence that felonies were committed by Wall Street is overwhelming. That evidence directly negates the primary excuse by Breuer (previously offered by Obama himself) that the bad acts of Wall Street were not criminal.

Numerous documents prove that executives at leading banks, credit agencies, and mortgage brokers were falsely touting assets as sound that knew were junk: the very definition of fraud. As former Wall Street analyst Yves Smith wrote in her book ECONned: "What went on at Lehman and AIG, as well as the chicanery in the CDO [collateralized debt obligation] business, by any sensible standard is criminal." Even lifelong Wall Street defender Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve Chair,  said in Congressional testimony that "a lot of that stuff was just plain fraud."

New York Times editorial in August explained that the DOJ's excuse for failing to prosecute Wall Street executives - that it was too hard to obtain convictions - "has always defied common sense - and all the more so now that a fuller picture is emerging of the range of banks' reckless and lawless activities, including interest-rate rigging, money laundering, securities fraud and excessive speculation." The Frontline program interviewed former prosecutors, Senate staffers and regulators who unequivocally said the same: it is inconceivable that the DOJ could not have successfully prosecuted at least some high-level Wall Street executives - had they tried.

What's most remarkable about all of this is not even Wall Street had the audacity to expect the generosity of largesse they ended up receiving. "The Untouchables" begins by recounting the massive financial devastation the 2008 crisis wrought - "the economy was in ruins and bankers were being blamed" - and recounts:

"In 2009, Wall Street bankers were on the defensive, worried they could be held criminally liable for fraud. With a new administration, bankers and their attorneys expected investigations and at least some prosecutions."

‘Awful News For The UK’

Europe's nations may seem deeply divided, but on Britain's membership of the EU, opinion is united. Europe's Foreign Ministers have lined up to call the UK's potential departure a "disaster".

The speech led the front pages of newspaper websites from France and Germany to Sweden, with many containing dire political warnings that European leaders are losing patiences with Britain's desire to "cherry-pick" the terms of a European relationship.

El País and El Mundo, the two biggest newspapers in Spain, both opened their online editions with Cameron's referendum announcement.

Spain's Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel García-Margallo, said this was “awful news” for the UK, who would get “isolated in a world dominated by regional integration”.

cameron europe

Prime Minister David Cameron makes a speech on Europe


“To think in an United Kingdom competing alone in a world with the US, China, India or Brazil is really not understanding our times”, said the minister on a radio interview.

“I believe the British have played a dangerous game by feeding euroscepticism and Cameron now feels obliged to convene a referendum”, added García-Margallo.

The Foreign Minister believes that, might the UK leave the EU, it will “be a heavy blow” for its local and financial industry, that would become “little banks of insular scope”. He recognised, nevertheless, that it would not be good for the EU either.

France's Le Monde opened its report claiming Cameron had "finally yielded to the Eurosceptics".

The paper's Florentin Collomp remarked: "Many close to the Prime Minister, including Education Secretary Michael Gove are already bragging that they have no qualms about leaving the Union if London does not get succeed in imposing its vision of a Europe à la carte.

"But this poker game stakes on the tolerance of its allies, which already seems to be reaching its limit."

Before the speech, France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, said his country would "roll out the red carpet for British businessmen" if Britain leaves the EU.

spain

Spain's Mininster of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo


On German radio, European Parliament President Martin Schulz attacked Cameron, saying he was not offering constructive criticism.

"David Cameron wants the EU be reduced to the single market, but he doesn't want, for example, for us to combine our skills to tackle climate change."


Martin Schulz

PM Cameron's speech was more about domestic politics than European reality, more to Eurosceptic parts of Tory party than UK's partners.

Former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer told Süddeutsche Zeitung that an EU exit would be a "veritable disaster" for the UK.

Italy's Foreign Minister Franco Frattini also tweeted his hope that the UK does not leave the EU.


Franco Frattini
#UnitedKingdom is an indissoluble part of the European Integration Process. I wish London will decide to remain in Europe. #Cameron

Sweden's tabloid Aftonbladet reported that a British exit would be "to Britain, Europe and Sweden's disadvantage. For Swedish part, we would lose an important partner in the EU, we are close to the UK on many issues, and it would be unfortunate for the Swedish political interests. The EU as a whole is losing a strong and important State.

"As the UK is one of the three heavy-weight countries in the EU, the whole Union hit hard by an exit.

"With Britain outside the EU would be a weaker Europe. It brings economic strength, military reach and credibility in international politics."

Related on HuffPost:

UK finance industry slashes 18,000 jobs

UK financial services companies have decided to cut a further 18,000 jobs over the next three months.

Britain’s financial services companies have decided to cut a further 18,000 jobs over the next three months, bringing the total loss of positions in the sector to around 132,000.

According to a report by the Confederation of Business Industry (CBI) and PricewaterhouseCoopers, Britain’s financial services companies will cut a further 18,000 jobs over the next three months.

This comes as banks; insurers, asset managers and other finance firms cut 25,000 jobs in the final quarter of 2012, with banking in the UK experiencing the deepest drop, the survey of 94 companies revealed.

The CBI said the latest cuts will mean that 132,000 jobs have been lost in the finance sector since the start of the downturn in 2008, when it employed around 1 million people.

Data from the Financial Services Authority suggests the number of frontline workers in the City of London has tumbled to the lowest level since 2004.

Moreover, a combination of Europe's debt crisis, fresh financial regulations and a still lacklustre recovery in the US have made it harder for banks to return to the level of profits they enjoyed before the financial crisis.

BGH/MOL/HE

Smartphones Could Become UK’s New Credit Cards

Most Britons will be able to pay for items using their mobile phone next year.

Banks and financial institutions representing 90% of current accounts have agreed to launch the UK's first industry-wide mobile payment service in spring 2014.

Using a process similar to texting, people will be able to sign up to send and receive payments using their own number.

It will be done without the need to disclose their bank account details.

The  Payments Council , the industry body that is leading the project, said using mobiles to buy goods and services, as well as send money to friends and family, would become a mainstream option due to the popularity of the plan among banks.

Eight financial institutions have already committed themselves to offering the service, and discussions are under way for others to join.

The council pointed out that while there are existing ways to pay using a mobile, the project is the first to have the potential to link every bank account in the country with a mobile number.

Chief executive Adrian Kamellard said: "This new service will offer a simple, secure way to split a bill for dinner, receive money from a friend or pay a tradesman without needing to remember or share account details."

Before the service launches, the financial institutions involved will invite customers to register via their online banking service, mobile app or other approved method.

The Payments Council said more details about the industry-wide registration process and the precise launch date would be announced later.

More than 5,000 consumers took part in Payments Council research, which revealed the service is likely to prove most popular with smartphone users, who accounted for 67% of those surveyed.

One in three smartphone users said they were either "definitely" or "extremely likely" to sign up to the new service when it launches.

Syrian Students In UK ‘Facing Deportation, Torture, Death’

Hundreds of Syrian students face being expelled from the UK and sent back to their home country, where they could face torture and even death, the Huffington Post UK has learnt.

Russian banks to create ’emergency plans’ through stress testing

A view of the Russian central bank at night in Moscow.(Reuters / Denis Sinyakov)

A view of the Russian central bank at night in Moscow.(Reuters / Denis Sinyakov)

Russian key lenders are to get advice from the Russian Central Bank (CBR) on how to create ‘emergency plans’ in case of a banking crisis. CBR wants to make sure lenders will have enough reserves and planning to tackle a crisis without State aid.

This week CBR will produce its recommendations for banks on how to make up a plan for financial recovery, should a crisis situation emerge, Vedomosti daily reports. Having looked at their crises in the past, the banks will need to assess a possible downturn of assets, as well as of live money, then calculate the aftermath of the worst case scenario and understand which of its resources it’s going to use, according to Mikhail Sukhov, deputy head of CBR.

In 2008 when the crisis first hit Russian banking it was mainly State money that helped the country’s lenders remain afloat, says S&P analyst Sergey Voronenko. It spent then about $46.7bn in rescue funds, according to the World Bank estimates.

The list of lenders addressed by the CBR should include 30 of Russia’s biggest banks, with the recommendation to make up such emergency plans remaining so far a matter of choice, according to Mikhail Sukhov, deputy head of CBR, talking to the paper. “…this will be a kind of a test for banks for responsibility -whether they’ll follow the recommendations or not”, he said.

The next step would include amendments to existing legislation that’ll force certain banks to make such plans, with the exact names of “systematically important” institutions being now under consideration, Sukhov explained.

The move by the CBR isn’t something new for many Russian banks, as most of them have been making up such stress – tests for internal use for a while. The requirement by Russia’s key banking regulator shouldn’t be much trouble for large and medium banks, says S&P analyst Sergey Voronenko.

Now “it’s important to stimulate banks to use those [recommendations] in their daily operations,” commented Ekaterina Trofimova, the first Vice President at Gazprombank.

Basel III – a new set of global banking standards scheduled to come into force in Russia this year – should become another stimulus for the country’s lenders to rely on its own funds rather than State support. One of the key Basel III requirements is tighter rules for a banks’ own capital.

Stress testing has become the usual practice for major world economies after the ongoing crisis emerged. Big international lenders now need to follow stricter rules, or so-called lifetime testaments. In the US, the 19 major banks such as J.P. Morgan, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs Group, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America provide roadmaps on how to handle three different economic scenarios from mild to severely adverse. That’s in case of not only a domestic downturn but also a global economic turmoil. The biggest British banks are also set to produce such “testaments”, with the European Central Bank discussing an option for such a measure.

Such an approach of better self – sufficiency by banks was approved by G20 members in November 2011.

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The Global Banking Game Is Rigged, and the FDIC Is Suing

Taxpayers are paying billions of dollars for a swindle pulled off by the world’s biggest banks, using a form of derivative called interest-rate swaps; and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has now joined a chorus of litigants suing over it. According to an SEIU report:

Derivatives . . . have turned into a windfall for banks and a nightmare for taxpayers. . . . While banks are still collecting fixed rates of 3 to 6 percent, they are now regularly paying public entities as little as a tenth of one percent on the outstanding bonds, with rates expected to remain low in the future. Over the life of the deals, banks are now projected to collect billions more than they pay state and local governments – an outcome which amounts to a second bailout for banks, this one paid directly out of state and local budgets.

It is not just that local governments, universities and pension funds made a bad bet on these swaps. The game itself was rigged, as explained below. The FDIC is now suing in civil court for damages and punitive damages, a lead that other injured local governments and agencies would be well-advised to follow. But they need to hurry, because time on the statute of limitations is running out.

The Largest Cartel in World History

On March 14, 2014, the FDIC filed suit for LIBOR-rigging against sixteen of the world’s largest banks – including the three largest US banks (JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citigroup), the three largest UK banks, the largest German bank, the largest Japanese bank, and several of the largest Swiss banks. Bill Black, professor of law and economics and a former bank fraud investigator, calls them “the largest cartel in world history, by at least three and probably four orders of magnitude.”

LIBOR (the London Interbank Offering Rate) is the benchmark rate by which banks themselves can borrow. It is a crucial rate involved in hundreds of trillions of dollars in derivative trades, and it is set by these sixteen megabanks privately and in secret.

Interest rate swaps are now a $426 trillion business. That’s trillion with a “t” – about seven times the gross domestic product of all the countries in the world combined. According to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, in 2012 US banks held $183.7 trillion in interest-rate contracts, with only four firms representing 93% of total derivative holdings; and three of the four were JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America, the US banks being sued by the FDIC over manipulation of LIBOR.

Lawsuits over LIBOR-rigging have been in the works for years, and regulators have scored some very impressive regulatory settlements. But so far, civil actions for damages have been unproductive for the plaintiffs. The FDIC is therefore pursuing another tack.

But before getting into all that, we need to look at how interest-rate swaps work. It has been argued that the counterparties stung by these swaps got what they bargained for – a fixed interest rate. But that is not actually what they got. The game was rigged from the start.

The Sting

Interest-rate swaps are sold to parties who have taken out loans at variable interest rates, as insurance against rising rates. The most common swap is one where counterparty A (a university, municipal government, etc.) pays a fixed rate to counterparty B (the bank), while receiving from B a floating rate indexed to a reference rate such as LIBOR. If interest rates go up, the municipality gets paid more on the swap contract, offsetting its rising borrowing costs. If interest rates go down, the municipality owes money to the bank on the swap, but that extra charge is offset by the falling interest rate on its variable rate loan. The result is to fix borrowing costs at the lower variable rate.

At least, that is how it’s supposed to work. The catch is that the swap is a separate financial agreement – essentially an ongoing bet on interest rates. The borrower owes both the interest onits variable rate loan and what it must pay out on this separate swap deal. And the benchmarks for the two rates don’t necessarily track each other. As explained by Stephen Gandel on CNN Money:

The rates on the debt were based on something called the Sifma municipal bond index, which is named after the industry group that maintains the index and tracks muni bonds. And that’s what municipalities should have bought swaps based on.

Instead, Wall Street sold municipalities Libor swaps, which were easier to trade and [were] quickly becoming a gravy train for the banks.

Historically, Sifma and LIBOR moved together. But that was before the greatest-ever global banking cartel got into the game of manipulating LIBOR. Gandel writes:

In 2008 and 2009, Libor rates, in general, fell much faster than the Sifma rate. At times, the rates even went in different directions. During the height of the financial crisis, Sifma rates spiked. Libor rates, though, continued to drop. The result was that the cost of the swaps that municipalities had taken out jumped in price at the same time that their borrowing costs went up, which was exactly the opposite of how the swaps were supposed to work.

The two rates had decoupled, and it was chiefly due to manipulation. As noted in the SEUI report:

[T]here is . . . mounting evidence that it is no accident that these deals have gone so badly, so quickly for state and local governments. Ongoing investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice and the California, Florida, and Connecticut Attorneys General implicate nearly every major bank in a nationwide conspiracy to rig bids and drive up the fixed rates state and local governments pay on their derivative contracts.

Changing the Focus to Fraud

Suits to recover damages for collusion, antitrust violations and racketeering (RICO), however, have so far failed. In March 2013, SDNY Judge Naomi Reece Buchwald dismissed antitrust and RICO claims brought by investors and traders in actions consolidated in her court, on the ground that the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the claims. She held that the rate-setting banks’ actions did not affect competition, because those banks were not in competition with one another with respect to LIBOR rate-setting; and that “the alleged collusion occurred in an arena in which defendants never did and never were intended to compete.”

Okay, the defendants weren’t competing with each other. They were colluding with each other, in order to unfairly compete with the rest of the financial world – local banks, credit unions, and the state and local governments they lured into being counterparties to their rigged swaps. The SDNY ruling is on appeal to the Second Circuit.

In the meantime, the FDIC is taking another approach. Its 24-count complaint does include antitrust claims, but the emphasis is on damages for fraud and conspiring to keep the LIBOR rate low to enrich the banks. The FDIC is not the first to bring such claims, but its massive suit adds considerable weight to the approach.

Why would keeping interest rates low enrich the rate-setting banks? Don’t they make more money if interest rates are high?

The answer is no. Unlike most banks, they make most of their money not from ordinary commercial loans but from interest rate swaps. The FDIC suit seeks to recover losses caused to 38 US banking institutions that did make their profits from ordinary business and consumer loans – banks that failed during the financial crisis and were taken over by the FDIC. They include Washington Mutual, the largest bank failure in US history. Since the FDIC had to cover the deposits of these failed banks, it clearly has standing to recover damages, and maybe punitive damages, if intentional fraud is proved.

The Key Role of the Federal Reserve

The rate-rigging banks have been caught red-handed, but the greater manipulation of interest rates was done by the Federal Reserve itself. The Fed aggressively drove down interest rates to save the big banks and spur economic recovery after the financial collapse. In the fall of 2008, it dropped the prime rate (the rate at which banks borrow from each other) nearly to zero.

This gross manipulation of interest rates was a giant windfall for the major derivative banks. Indeed, the Fed has been called a tool of the global banking cartel. It is composed of 12 branches, all of which are 100% owned by the private banks in their districts; and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has always been the most important by far of these regional Fed banks. New York, of course is where Wall Street is located.

LIBOR is set in London; but as Simon Johnson observed in a New York Times article titled The Federal Reserve and the LIBOR Scandal, the Fed has jurisdiction whenever the “safety and soundness” of the US financial system is at stake. The scandal, he writes, “involves egregious, flagrant criminal conduct, with traders caught red-handed in e-mails and on tape.” He concludes:

This could even become a “tobacco moment,” in which an industry is forced to acknowledge its practices have been harmful – and enters into a long-term agreement that changes those practices and provides continuing financial compensation.

Bill Black concurs, stating, “Our system is completely rotten. All of the largest banks are involved—eagerly engaged in this fraud for years, covering it up.” The system needs a complete overhaul.

In the meantime, if the FDIC can bring a civil action for breach of contract and fraud, so can state and local governments, universities, and pension funds. The possibilities this opens up for California (where I’m currently running for State Treasurer) are huge. Fraud is grounds for rescission (terminating the contract) without paying penalties, potentially saving taxpayers enormous sums in fees for swap deals that are crippling cities, universities and other public entities across the state. Fraud is also grounds for punitive damages, something an outraged jury might be inclined to impose. My next post will explore the possibilities for California in more detail. Stay tuned.

______

Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and a candidate for California State Treasurer running on a state bank platform. She is the author of twelve books, including the best-selling Web of Debt and her latest book, The Public Bank Solution, which explores successful public banking models historically and globally.

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Osborne’s new, shameless bank gimmick to fob off Britons

Simple maths will tell you that getting 5% on a saving account at your bank for 5 years is a better deal than getting a £1,650 worth of lottery tickets in disgraced UK banks RBS and Lloyds.

George Osborne Backs Bank Break-Up Powers

Misbehaving banks could be forcibly broken up, George Osborne is expected to warn the industry, in a move that will pave the way for a further fundamental shake-up of Britain's banking sector.

I understand that the Chancellor is preparing to back a call by the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards for regulators to have powers to split so-called universal banks such as Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) into their separate retail and investment banking components.

An announcement by Mr Osborne, which could come as soon as next week, will lay the foundations for arguably the most radical overhaul ever of British banking.

It would potentially go much further than a plan currently passing through legislation for a ring-fence to artificially separate retail and investment banks but allow both to exist within the same corporate entity.

A senior Treasury source has told me that Mr Osborne and Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, agreed in recent weeks that the Government should back the Parliamentary Commission's blueprint for 'electrifying' the ring-fence. Mr Cable is also expected to publicly support the move next week.

The news will delight Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the Parliamentary Commission, which was set up last summer by Mr Osborne and David Cameron in the wake of Barclays' £290m fine for rigging Libor benchmark interest rates.

The Chancellor is expected to outline his views in the same week that RBS settles with regulators for its role in the Libor scandal. RBS, which is 82 per cent-owned by the taxpayer, is likely to pay more than £400m in fines and is fighting to avoid a criminal prosecution by the US Department of Justice.

In the last few days, the industry’s reputation has again been dragged through the mire when the City regulator ruled there had been widespread mis-selling of products designed to help small businesses manage the financial impact of sharp rises in interest rates.

“The Coalition is totally joined-up on this,” one source said.

The precise detail of how Mr Osborne would want the new reserve powers to operate was unclear on Saturday.

However, he is likely to back the judgement of Mr Tyrie and his colleagues on the Commission that the industry regulator should have the ability to identify individual banks which are abusing the ring-fencing framework and pursue – subject to a veto from the Treasury – full separation of that banking group’s high street and investment (or “casino”, as Mr Cable has dubbed it) divisions.

The Chancellor is also expected to endorse the idea put forward by Mr Tyrie that there should be periodic reviews of the effectiveness of the ring-fence across the banking industry, with the first independent review taking place four years after the new structure is in operation.

Mr Osborne has already set in process far-reaching reforms of bank regulation. The Financial Services Authority, which was created by Gordon Brown in 1997, is to be abolished, and its powers are to be divided between two new bodies: The Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulatory Authority, which will sit within the Bank of England.

In its interim report last month, the Parliamentary Commission warned that banks were likely to attempt to manipulate the ring-fencing system for their own benefit. Mr Tyrie said the current banking reform proposals “fall well short of what is required”.

“Over time, the ring-fence will be tested and challenged by the banks. Politicians, too, could succumb to lobbying from banks and others, adding to pressure to put holes in the ring-fence,” he said when the report was published in December.

“For the ring-fence to succeed, banks need to be discouraged from gaming the rules. All history tells us they will do this unless incentivised not to. That’s why we recommend electrification. The legislation needs to set out a reserve power for separation — the regulator needs to know he can use it. Furthermore, we need periodic reviews of the sector to reassure us that the ring-fence as a whole is working.”

The banking industry has lobbied furiously against the electrification move, claiming that the existence of such reserve powers to break them up will deter big City investors from buying their equity and debt.

A powerful City lobbying group, the Association of British Insurers, recently published a report on the investment case for the major UK banks in which it argued that regulatory uncertainty was among a number of factors preventing investors from being able to commit their money to the industry confident that they would secure a commercial return.

That message will have sting in the tail for Mr Osborne, who is responsible for tens of billions of pounds-worth of taxpayers’ investments in Lloyds Banking Group and RBS. If the investor groups are correct, and the electrification proposal exacerbates that uncertainty, it risks permanently impairing the value of those shareholdings and denting the chances of ever recovering the money injected during the 2008 financial crisis.

Whitehall insiders said that the endorsement of the Parliamentary Commission’s report by Sir John Vickers, whose Independent Commission on Banking (ICB) came up with the ring-fencing proposals in 2011, had “tipped the argument in favour of backing Tyrie”.

Mr Osborne’s move will contain a silver lining for the big banks in that he will not be endorsing the most Draconian approach to policing the industry, which would have meant implementing full and immediate separation of each group’s retail and investment banking operations.

The Treasury declined to comment on Saturday.

George Osborne Backs Bank Break-Up Powers

Misbehaving banks could be forcibly broken up, George Osborne is expected to warn the industry, in a move that will pave the way for a further fundamental shake-up of Britain's banking sector.

I understand that the Chancellor is preparing to back a call by the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards for regulators to have powers to split so-called universal banks such as Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) into their separate retail and investment banking components.

An announcement by Mr Osborne, which could come as soon as next week, will lay the foundations for arguably the most radical overhaul ever of British banking.

It would potentially go much further than a plan currently passing through legislation for a ring-fence to artificially separate retail and investment banks but allow both to exist within the same corporate entity.

A senior Treasury source has told me that Mr Osborne and Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, agreed in recent weeks that the Government should back the Parliamentary Commission's blueprint for 'electrifying' the ring-fence. Mr Cable is also expected to publicly support the move next week.

The news will delight Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the Parliamentary Commission, which was set up last summer by Mr Osborne and David Cameron in the wake of Barclays' £290m fine for rigging Libor benchmark interest rates.

The Chancellor is expected to outline his views in the same week that RBS settles with regulators for its role in the Libor scandal. RBS, which is 82 per cent-owned by the taxpayer, is likely to pay more than £400m in fines and is fighting to avoid a criminal prosecution by the US Department of Justice.

In the last few days, the industry’s reputation has again been dragged through the mire when the City regulator ruled there had been widespread mis-selling of products designed to help small businesses manage the financial impact of sharp rises in interest rates.

“The Coalition is totally joined-up on this,” one source said.

The precise detail of how Mr Osborne would want the new reserve powers to operate was unclear on Saturday.

However, he is likely to back the judgement of Mr Tyrie and his colleagues on the Commission that the industry regulator should have the ability to identify individual banks which are abusing the ring-fencing framework and pursue – subject to a veto from the Treasury – full separation of that banking group’s high street and investment (or “casino”, as Mr Cable has dubbed it) divisions.

The Chancellor is also expected to endorse the idea put forward by Mr Tyrie that there should be periodic reviews of the effectiveness of the ring-fence across the banking industry, with the first independent review taking place four years after the new structure is in operation.

Mr Osborne has already set in process far-reaching reforms of bank regulation. The Financial Services Authority, which was created by Gordon Brown in 1997, is to be abolished, and its powers are to be divided between two new bodies: The Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulatory Authority, which will sit within the Bank of England.

In its interim report last month, the Parliamentary Commission warned that banks were likely to attempt to manipulate the ring-fencing system for their own benefit. Mr Tyrie said the current banking reform proposals “fall well short of what is required”.

“Over time, the ring-fence will be tested and challenged by the banks. Politicians, too, could succumb to lobbying from banks and others, adding to pressure to put holes in the ring-fence,” he said when the report was published in December.

“For the ring-fence to succeed, banks need to be discouraged from gaming the rules. All history tells us they will do this unless incentivised not to. That’s why we recommend electrification. The legislation needs to set out a reserve power for separation — the regulator needs to know he can use it. Furthermore, we need periodic reviews of the sector to reassure us that the ring-fence as a whole is working.”

The banking industry has lobbied furiously against the electrification move, claiming that the existence of such reserve powers to break them up will deter big City investors from buying their equity and debt.

A powerful City lobbying group, the Association of British Insurers, recently published a report on the investment case for the major UK banks in which it argued that regulatory uncertainty was among a number of factors preventing investors from being able to commit their money to the industry confident that they would secure a commercial return.

That message will have sting in the tail for Mr Osborne, who is responsible for tens of billions of pounds-worth of taxpayers’ investments in Lloyds Banking Group and RBS. If the investor groups are correct, and the electrification proposal exacerbates that uncertainty, it risks permanently impairing the value of those shareholdings and denting the chances of ever recovering the money injected during the 2008 financial crisis.

Whitehall insiders said that the endorsement of the Parliamentary Commission’s report by Sir John Vickers, whose Independent Commission on Banking (ICB) came up with the ring-fencing proposals in 2011, had “tipped the argument in favour of backing Tyrie”.

Mr Osborne’s move will contain a silver lining for the big banks in that he will not be endorsing the most Draconian approach to policing the industry, which would have meant implementing full and immediate separation of each group’s retail and investment banking operations.

The Treasury declined to comment on Saturday.

George Osborne Backs Bank Break-Up Powers

Misbehaving banks could be forcibly broken up, George Osborne is expected to warn the industry, in a move that will pave the way for a further fundamental shake-up of Britain's banking sector.

I understand that the Chancellor is preparing to back a call by the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards for regulators to have powers to split so-called universal banks such as Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) into their separate retail and investment banking components.

An announcement by Mr Osborne, which could come as soon as next week, will lay the foundations for arguably the most radical overhaul ever of British banking.

It would potentially go much further than a plan currently passing through legislation for a ring-fence to artificially separate retail and investment banks but allow both to exist within the same corporate entity.

A senior Treasury source has told me that Mr Osborne and Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, agreed in recent weeks that the Government should back the Parliamentary Commission's blueprint for 'electrifying' the ring-fence. Mr Cable is also expected to publicly support the move next week.

The news will delight Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the Parliamentary Commission, which was set up last summer by Mr Osborne and David Cameron in the wake of Barclays' £290m fine for rigging Libor benchmark interest rates.

The Chancellor is expected to outline his views in the same week that RBS settles with regulators for its role in the Libor scandal. RBS, which is 82 per cent-owned by the taxpayer, is likely to pay more than £400m in fines and is fighting to avoid a criminal prosecution by the US Department of Justice.

In the last few days, the industry’s reputation has again been dragged through the mire when the City regulator ruled there had been widespread mis-selling of products designed to help small businesses manage the financial impact of sharp rises in interest rates.

“The Coalition is totally joined-up on this,” one source said.

The precise detail of how Mr Osborne would want the new reserve powers to operate was unclear on Saturday.

However, he is likely to back the judgement of Mr Tyrie and his colleagues on the Commission that the industry regulator should have the ability to identify individual banks which are abusing the ring-fencing framework and pursue – subject to a veto from the Treasury – full separation of that banking group’s high street and investment (or “casino”, as Mr Cable has dubbed it) divisions.

The Chancellor is also expected to endorse the idea put forward by Mr Tyrie that there should be periodic reviews of the effectiveness of the ring-fence across the banking industry, with the first independent review taking place four years after the new structure is in operation.

Mr Osborne has already set in process far-reaching reforms of bank regulation. The Financial Services Authority, which was created by Gordon Brown in 1997, is to be abolished, and its powers are to be divided between two new bodies: The Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulatory Authority, which will sit within the Bank of England.

In its interim report last month, the Parliamentary Commission warned that banks were likely to attempt to manipulate the ring-fencing system for their own benefit. Mr Tyrie said the current banking reform proposals “fall well short of what is required”.

“Over time, the ring-fence will be tested and challenged by the banks. Politicians, too, could succumb to lobbying from banks and others, adding to pressure to put holes in the ring-fence,” he said when the report was published in December.

“For the ring-fence to succeed, banks need to be discouraged from gaming the rules. All history tells us they will do this unless incentivised not to. That’s why we recommend electrification. The legislation needs to set out a reserve power for separation — the regulator needs to know he can use it. Furthermore, we need periodic reviews of the sector to reassure us that the ring-fence as a whole is working.”

The banking industry has lobbied furiously against the electrification move, claiming that the existence of such reserve powers to break them up will deter big City investors from buying their equity and debt.

A powerful City lobbying group, the Association of British Insurers, recently published a report on the investment case for the major UK banks in which it argued that regulatory uncertainty was among a number of factors preventing investors from being able to commit their money to the industry confident that they would secure a commercial return.

That message will have sting in the tail for Mr Osborne, who is responsible for tens of billions of pounds-worth of taxpayers’ investments in Lloyds Banking Group and RBS. If the investor groups are correct, and the electrification proposal exacerbates that uncertainty, it risks permanently impairing the value of those shareholdings and denting the chances of ever recovering the money injected during the 2008 financial crisis.

Whitehall insiders said that the endorsement of the Parliamentary Commission’s report by Sir John Vickers, whose Independent Commission on Banking (ICB) came up with the ring-fencing proposals in 2011, had “tipped the argument in favour of backing Tyrie”.

Mr Osborne’s move will contain a silver lining for the big banks in that he will not be endorsing the most Draconian approach to policing the industry, which would have meant implementing full and immediate separation of each group’s retail and investment banking operations.

The Treasury declined to comment on Saturday.

US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s “Economic Legacy”

Trilateral Geithner: Corrupted Regulator?

From January 26, 2009 – January 25, 2013, he was Obama’s Treasury Secretary. He and Fed chairman Bernanke engineered crisis conditions.

Bankers profited hugely. They still do. Ordinary people were scammed. Geithner’s gone. His legacy speaks for itself. His background showed what to expect. He spent three years at Kissinger Associates.

From 1988 – 2002, he held various Treasury posts. He left to become Council on Foreign Relations international economics department senior fellow.

From 2001 – 2003, he was IMF Policy Development and Review director. He left to become New York Fed president.

He partnered with Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Bernanke. They planned the grandest of grand thefts. They implemented banker bailouts.

They looted the federal treasury. They stuck taxpayers with the bill. They debased the currency. They transformed America into an unprecedented money making racket.

As New York Federal Reserve Bank president/vice chairman of the Fed Open Market Committee (FOMC), Geithner helped engineer crisis conditions.

As Treasury Secretary, he exacerbated them. He turned them into a protracted mainstream depression.

In November 2008, Michel Chossudovsky asked “Who are the Architects of Economic Collapse?”

The “financial meltdown (wasn’t) the result of a cyclical economic phenomenon.” It was willful government policy. It was implemented “through the Treasury and the US Federal Reserve Board.”

It was and remains “the most serious economic crisis in World history.” Banker bailouts exacerbated crisis conditions. They “trigger(ed) an unprecedented concentration of wealth.”

Economic and social inequality followed. Indebtedness “skyrocketed.” Everything that happened was planned. Robbing poor Peter to pay rich Paul became policy.

Geithner and Bernake bear full responsibility. They partnered in crime. Neil Barofsky was Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) watchdog. He served as SIGTARP (Special Inspector General for TARP).

In July 2009, he estimated the initial $700 billion bailout could balloon to $23.7 trillion. He said Obama administration secrecy concealed what’s essential to reveal.

Trillions were stolen. From $9 to $14 trillion is known. Estimates range to multiples that amount. Corrupt bureaucrats and crooked bankers alone know how much.

Five major ones matter most: JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citibank, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo. They reflect more than too big to fail. What they say goes. They occupy Washington. They run America. They dictate policy.

Geithner and Bernanke are crime bosses. They’re complicit in grand theft. They abandoned Main Street for Wall Street. They know where the bodies are buried. They know the harm they caused.

Bankers got bailouts. Ordinary people were lied to and scammed. Geithner and Bernanke exceeded the worst of Bush administration policies. Too big to fail became a license to steal.

They serve Wall Street giants. They engineered a financial coup d’etat. They created a fraudulent housing and debt bubble. They illegally shifted vast amounts of capital offshore.

Privatization became piracy. It was used as pretext to shift government assets to private investors. They did so at below-market prices.

At the same time, they moved private liabilities to government. They did it at no cost to private interests.

They’re waging war on middle America. They want social societies destroyed. They want banana republics replacing them. Labor is earmarked for destruction. Totalitarian neoliberal rule is planned.

Unaccountability is institutionalized. Crisis conditions remain unresolved. Much worse ahead looms. Expect Geithner to return to his ideological roots. He’s heading back to Wall Street. Expect him to cash in for services rendered.

Days before he left, he called his bailout scheme doomed to be unpopular. “You look like you’re giving aid to the arsonist,” he said.

He claims history will judge him more kindly. He turned reality on its head. He wrecked the economy. He claims he saved it. He didn’t avoid a Great Depression. He caused one.

He didn’t save millions of jobs. He destroyed them. He engineered fake financial reform. He capitulated to Wall Street. He avoided real change. He advanced global monetary control. He did it at the expense of fairness.

He took advantage of a corrupted system. It’s crisis-prone, unstable, anarchic, ungovernable, and self-destructive. It repeats boom and bust cycles.

Crooks run monetary and fiscal policy. Recessions and depressions follow. Ordinary people are hurt most. Bankers and other financial giants profit enormously. Add money laundering to their profit centers.

Money power controls America. Policy facilitates grand theft. Too big to fail banks consolidate. They become larger and more powerful.

They game the system for profit. They gamble with public money. They wage financial war on humanity. Massive fraud facilitates private gain. Reform is a figure of speech.

Last July, New York Fed documents implicated Geithner in rigging Libor (the London Interbank Offered Rate). It’s a fundamental rate-setting benchmark. It’s set daily between UK banks for overnight to 12 month durations.

It’s produced for ten currencies with 15 maturities. It represents the London market’s lowest cost of unsecured funding. It’s the primary global short-term rate benchmark.

Last summer’s scandal reflected a cesspool of financial fraud. Manipulating the rate up lets banks steal countless billions in inflated loan costs.

Downward manipulation deprives states, communities, pension funds, ordinary investors, and retirees of similar amounts from fixed income holdings.

As New York Fed president and Treasury Secretary, Geithner was complicit in fraud. His mandate was to facilitate it. He didn’t disappoint.

Instead of fixing a corrupted system, he advanced and exacerbated it. He turned crisis conditions into disaster. He and Bernanke share honors as public enemy number one.

They gave away the store to Wall Street. They laid foundational plans for greater grand theft. In real democracies, they’d be in prison. Washington will have to explain why not.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

http://www.dailycensored.com/tim-geithners-legacy-of-shame/

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