Showing posts from March 1, 2015

An Irish-Style Banking Inquiry into the 2008 Financial Crisis

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[A surreal interview transcript. You can view the video itself with the original article. Former financial regulator Bill Black discusses his recent testimony in Ireland and the challenges the country faces in acknowledging its financial crisis. *RON*]
The Real News, 27 February 2015


William K. Black, author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One, teaches economics and law at the University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC). He was the Executive Director of the Institute for Fraud Prevention from 2005-2007. He has taught previously at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and at Santa Clara University, where he was also the distinguished scholar in residence for insurance law and a visiting scholar at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

Black was litigation director of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, deputy director of the FSLIC, SVP and general counsel of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, and…

Austerity Kills: Economic Distress Seen as Culprit in Sharp Rise in Suicide Rate Among Middle Aged

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[The austere corporatocrat as the angel of death: "one plank in the model is for old people to die faster, and higher suicides speed that process along. It’s not easy to make the smug and the abusive feel ashamed of their conduct, since they are confident they’d never wind up as losers" *RON*]
by Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism, 1 March 2015

I’m surprised, but perhaps I shouldn’t be, that a recent study hasn’t gotten the attention it warrants. It points to a direct connection between the impact of the crisis and a marked increase in suicide rates among the middle aged. This link seems entirely logical, given how many citizens found themselves whacked by a one-two punch of job loss or hours cutbacks combined with the sudden plunge in home prices. Normally, a last ditch course of action for most middle and upper middle class income members in the pre-crisis days, when things got desperate, was to sell you house and cut costs radically by movi…

Thousands march in memory of Nemtsov

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[No specific word on any investigation. "His death has shocked people both inside and outside the Kremlin. People realise it’s a watershed moment." See also We Think of Nemtsov. *RON*]

Kathrin Hille & Guy Chazan, Financial Times, 1 March 2015

Thousands of people marched through the centre of Moscow on Sunday in memory of Boris Nemtsov, the veteran Kremlin critic who was shot dead on Friday in one of the most shocking political assassinations of the Putin era.

People carrying portraits of the charismatic opposition leader and waving Russian flags moved in a sombre procession towards the spot where he was murdered on Friday while walking home from a restaurant a stone’s throw from the Kremlin.

Florists at all nearby metro stations sold out of their stock, as people bought tributes to lay at the site, on Moskvoretsky Bridge. Many marchers held placards saying “I am not afraid”.

President Vladimir Putin has vowed to pursue those respon…

What's Butylated Hydroxyltoluene and Why Is It in Your Food Even Though It's Banned in Europe?

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[On knowledge of health risks as an illegal barrier to trade. Or, the corporatocracy as a fundamental attack on democracy. Butylated hydroxytoluene is also a legal food additive in Canada. *RON*]
By Alison Rose Levy, AlterNet, 28 February 2015

A speaker at an event I recently attended asked why U.S. food companies put butylated hydroxyltoluene, a food preservative and endocrine disruptor, in cereal sold stateside, while in Europe the same companies formulate the same product without BHT.
There are three answers to that question:
The European Union prohibits numerous harmful ingredients U.S. regulatory agencies allow.Well-informed European citizens have organized and pushed for those regulations.U.S. citizens have not yet pushed for such regulations in sufficient numbers. The precautionary principle is an approach to risk management which places the burden of proof to demonstrate a product or ingredient's safety on the corporations that produc…

Boiling Point: Why Do We Let Big Oil Send Workers to Their Deaths?

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[Death and the corporatocracy. The oil and gas industry plays fast and loose with the public's health and safety, but that is nothing compared with how they treat their workers. *RON*]
By Jonathan Rosenblum / Tikkun, AlterNet, 28 February 2015
Picture this: You’re at the airport, about to board your flight. As you wait by the gate a pair of airline pilots chat nearby. They are your crew.

“I’m so exhausted,” says one, sipping a large coffee. “This’ll put me at 15 duty hours today. And I haven’t had a day off in a month – at least 12 hours every single day for the last 30 days. The stress is just killing me.”

“I know,” replies the other, yawning widely. “I haven’t really seen my family in a month. When I was driving home last night I could barely keep my eyes open. I hope I can do better on the flight tonight.”

Would you get on the plane? Of course not. The public wouldn’t buy tickets under these circumstances, which is why we have rigorously enf…

How Dirty Money Gets Into Banks

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[Banks and the criminal corporatocracy. Via my friend Harry. An estimated $2 trillion of illicit capital from criminals, pirates, and even terrorists makes its way into financial institutions annually. What can regulators do about it? *RON*]
Bourree Lam, 23 February 2015

In the fallout of the 2008 financial crisis, the habits of Wall Street—and more broadly, the banking industry worldwide—became front and center in the media: From excessive risk taking, to rate rigging, and actively helping clients evade taxes. But how much has changed to curb the bad behaviors of banks since then? Stephen Platt, an expert on financial-crime prevention, argues that as the scandals keep coming, financial institutions continue to facilitate crime without much recourse.

Platt is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University; he also works with the World Bank and educates employees of the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Treasury, numerous U.S. law enforcement age…