The Economy

Breaking Point, The End of the Cheap Energy Economy

France’s Francois Hollande and Germany’s Angela Merkel clash over euro austerity pact – Telegraph

The growing gulf between France and Germany was underlined as the eurozone’s two biggest economies clashed over tackling the debt crisis.

It is “not for Germany to decide for the rest of Europe”, said Francois Hollande, the frontrunner to replace Nicolas Sarkozy as French president.

If elected, Mr Hollande says that he will not pass the fiscal austerity pact agreed by the leaders of 25 European nations, unless it contains measures to spur on growth.

His stance puts him on a collision course with Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor. She hit back at the French Socialist candidate’s plans, warning the deal is “not open to new negotiations”.

A third of investors reject Barclays top pay – The Independent

Barclays was stung by shareholders today after nearly a third of their votes failed to back the bank’s bumper pay awards.

Following a heated annual meeting, Barclays revealed that 32 per cent of investors voted against or withheld votes for the bank’s pay report, while 24 per cent failed to back remuneration committee chairman Alison Carnwath.

Chief executive Bob Diamond sparked anger among shareholders when it emerged he would receive £17.7 million in salary, bonus, benefits and vested long-term share awards last year, despite admitting his bank’s performance was “unacceptable” in 2011.

The protest vote is a sizeable one in terms of recent corporate history and will send a powerful message to the bank’s board.

Goldman Sachs pays £4.1m tax on £1.9bn profit – The Independent

Wall Street giant attacked for deferring 99 per cent of its tax bill

The London arm of Goldman Sachs paid only £4.1m in corporation tax to the Treasury last year despite making pre-tax profits of £1.92bn, annual accounts have revealed.

Goldman Sachs International (GSI) had a corporation tax bill of £422.3m but it deferred £418.2m – or more than 99 per cent of the amount – that it had to pay immediately in “current tax”. The Wall Street giant, presided over by Lloyd Blankfein, was able to postpone payment because of “timing differences”, according to the accounts.

May 1st Occupy Schedule Features Tom Morello Of Rage Against The Machines

Occupy Wall Street has a full itinerary of events scheduled for May 1st including a cast of musicians featuring Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machines.

Peter Schiff on CNBC: Borrowing Spending Understating Inflation? The Answer: Ron Paul!

 

The Family Farm Is Being Systematically Wiped Out Of Existence In America

An entire way of life is rapidly dying right in front of our eyes. The family farm is being systematically wiped out of existence in America, and big agribusiness and the federal government both have blood all over their hands.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the number of farms in the United States has fallen from about 6.8 million in 1935 to only about 2 million today.

That doesn’t mean that there is less farming going on. U.S. farms are producing more than ever. But what it does mean is that farming is increasingly becoming dominated by the big boys. The rules of the game have been tilted in favor of big agribusiness so dramatically that most small farmers find that they simply cannot compete anymore.

The Middle Class Hasn’t Disappeared. It’s Just Sliding Toward the Bottom

While it’s true that the share of wealth held by the 1% has remained at the same high level since the 1980s, the rest of the richest 5% increased their share by almost 20%. The percentages for the poorest 80% of the population DECREASED by almost 20%.

In other words, the share of wealth owned by the top 1% leveled off because the “democratization of stock ownership” spread the wealth among just 5% of the population, those earning an average of $500,000 per year. A few people — 5 out of 100 — got very rich, but everyone else lost ground.

As I mentioned in an earlier post today, the vast increase in poverty in this country, particularly poverty and food insecurity among children, is not accidental: it is the outcome of very deliberate domestic and foreign policies of this government in an attempt to absolutely destroy the middle class.

Seaquest investors desperately seek millions in assets

Investors who sunk millions into two now-bankrupt Toronto investment firms are scrambling trying to find any assets.

Seaquest Corp. and Seaquest Capital Corp — led by David Holden, who once served prison time for fraud — have only $50,000 in cash on their balance sheets, said Neil Rabinovitch, lawyer for bankruptcy trustee BDO Canada, at a court hearing Friday.

“It’s fumes,” Rabinovitch said.

Previous reports have suggested that assets, including a $1.4 million penthouse waterfront condo and an executive aircraft, are for sale, but not expected to fetch much because they’re heavily mortgaged.

Take a good look at SeaQuest’s website and tell me you don’t smell a rat a mile away! There is an old gambler’s saying that you cannot cheat an honest man, and I will wager a plugged Turkish Piaster that the “investors” in SeaQuest got burned looking for a rich man’s tax dodge!

U.S. Boomers face impoverished retirement

Aging Baby Boomers got some jolting news on Monday when the U.S. government said the Social Security retirement program is on track to go bankrupt three years earlier than expected if reforms are not made.

Food Stamps In Crosshairs Of Republicans’ Plan To Save Military

The latest Republican plan to reconcile the budget and preserve defense spending extracts even deeper cuts from programs to help the poor and Americans still reeling from the recession.

Advocates for the poor, see the cuts not only as an attack on poor people, but as extremely short-sighted. A key reason that advocates have pushed broad-based eligibility for years is that it cuts down on overlapping workloads for the administering agencies, and helps get people — especially the working poor — access to aid that they deserve under law.

Unfortunately, the economic and foreign policies of this and the previous administration have lead to the explosion of poverty in this country, and I would suggest that this is not by accident.

There is a massive assault on the middle class in this country, which will ultimately only leave two economic classes left; the very poor and the dispossessed, who will only be allowed to live out a meager and miserable existence, and the very few wealthy people who own the major corporations.

The American dream is dead and gone.

And again – I hate to keep saying it, but believe it to be absolutely true – those of you with skills and kids, please leave this country now. Delaying you departure may well mean not being able to do it at all, after you have already been reduced to abject desperation.

Private Prison Corporations Are Slave Traders

The nation’s largest private prison company, the Corrections Corporation of America, is on a buying spree. With a war chest of $250 million, the corporation, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, this month sent letters to 48 states, offering to buy their prisons outright. To ensure their profitability, the corporation insists that it be guaranteed that the prisons be kept at least 90 percent full. Plus, the corporate jailers demand a 20-year management contract, on top of the profits they expect to extract by spending less money per prisoner.

It is very depressing to think, that at this point in the 21st century in this country, one of the hottest corporations going is a private prison corporation.

Documentation of abuse and neglect of prisoners held at CCA facilities is legion, not the least of which are claims of sexual abuse and medical neglect against women inmates, and holding children in inhumane conditions while families were waiting for US immigration decisions. One of the most glaring examples of this is in the CCA-owned Hutto facility in Texas.

A Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) employee at the T. Don Hutto immigration detention facility in Taylor, TX today was charged with sexually abusing numerous female immigration detainees. The American Civil Liberties Union is actively investigating the sexual abuse of female detainees at Hutto, where the detention of families was halted last year after the successful settlement of an ACLU lawsuit charging that children were being imprisoned in inhumane conditions while their parents awaited immigration decisions. As part of its investigation, the ACLU has obtained via the Texas Public Information Act copies of both the Intergovernmental Services Agreement (IGSA) between Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), CCA and Williamson County, under which the Hutto facility is operated, and ICE’s own transport policy. Both documents are being made available to the public and can be found online at: www.aclu.org/huttodocs. The opportunity for abuse was the result of a failure by CCA officials to abide by the IGSA that female immigration detainees not be isolated with male staff members.

Metro’s treatment of pregnant prisoners is being called into question again by a Nashville woman who claims that prison staff denied her requests to take a pregnancy test, assigned her a strenuous work schedule and then destroyed her fetus after she suffered a miscarriage. Lisa Marie Allison has filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit in Davidson County Circuit Court alleging constitutional violations, negligence, medical malpractice, wrongful death and other claims.

The high recidivism rate in America’s prison systems (51% by some estimates) guarantees that there will always be more prisoners to throw into these private systems for profit. But at what cost, not only to these prisoners, but to society at large?

Perhaps we as a nation need to move more toward a rehabilitation model, where it is possible, rather than an incarceration model; because at a 51% recidivism rate, the incarceration model doesn’t seem to be working toward bettering society, but rather toward the end of fattening the coffers of both public and private prison systems.

OCCUPY MAY DAY ~~ STAND TALL AND FREE WITH THE 99%

On May 1st, 2012, we are creating a new kind of holiday – A People’s Holiday – one that’s not just another flavor of consumerism, but which invites us to image a world beyond consumerism.We ask you to do one of two things to commemorate this day:

Don’t like what you do? Don’t do it. Take one day to do something you love instead.
Love what you do? Do it for free. Take it to the next level and bring it to the public.

This is what it means to strike today. Join us as we imagine another way of living.
May Day Schedule
Note: this schedule is tentative. All times and locations are subject to (radical) change.

Home Owners Across the Nation Sue All Bank Servicers and Their Offshore Havens; Spire Law Officially Announces Filing of Landmark Lawsuit

In a lawsuit alleged to involve the largest money laundering network in United States history, Spire Law Group, LLP — on behalf of home owners across the Country — has filed a mass tort action in the Supreme Court of New York, County of Kings. Home owners across the country have sued every major bank servicer and their subsidiaries — formed in countries known as havens for money laundering such as the Cayman Islands, the Isle of Man, Luxembourg and Malaysia — alleging that while the Obama Administration was publicly encouraging loan modifications for home owners, it was privately ratifying the formation of these shell companies in violation of the United States Patriot Act, and State and Federal law.

Unflipping believable!!

So much for the highly touted “most transparent administration in history”!!!

U.S. Firms Add Jobs, but Mostly Overseas

Thirty-five big U.S.-based multinational companies added jobs much faster than other U.S. employers in the past two years, but nearly three-fourths of those jobs were overseas, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis.

Those companies, which include Wal-Mart Stores Inc., International Paper Co., Honeywell International Inc. and United Parcel Service Inc., boosted their employment at home by 3.1%, or 113,000 jobs, between 2009 and 2011, the same rate of increase as the nation’s other employers. But they also added more than 333,000 jobs in their far-flung—and faster-growing— foreign operations.

US Dollar VS Gold: Epic Money Battle

The so-called Global Financial Crisis is a term so widely used that it has earned its own acronym of GFC. When first seen, it seemed like girl friend club or some such, since many friends use GF loosely to refer to sweethearts. The GFC is falsely named, since it is more accurately described as a global monetary war with the USGovt vigorously defending its franchise in the USDollar for crude oil and trade settlement, and for bank reserves management.

In the West witness the economic recession. As the USGovt raises the pressure on rebels on the world stage that refuse to comply with the USDollar Club, supported by the USMilitary that seems never to question the wisdom of directives from on high, the stress level to the entire global financial and monetary system is shaken severely.

Golden Eye of Hurricane

What an incredibly complex confusing and treacherous month. It can be safely said that 80% of the activity is almost totally kept from the public. The financial system is breaking in an accelerated fashion. Compare to some grisly horror movie where a man is strapped in a chair. The more he moves, the tighter the bindings pull on his gasping throat and pressed nether stones. The most significant two factors at work are the Iran sanctions and their powerful backfire, and the futile efforts in Europe to stem the banking center collapse. The anti-USDollar federation that spans widely across the globe is gathering strong momentum. Financial aggression is being met by financial alternative development.

Hundreds of Economists: Marijuana Prohibition Costs Billions, Legalization Would Earn Billions

Ezekiel Edwards & Rebecca McCray
ACLU

Over 300 economists, including three Nobel Laureates, recently signed a petition that encourages the president, Congress, governors and state legislatures to carefully consider marijuana legalization in America. The petition draws attention to an article by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron, whose findings highlight the substantial cost-savings our government could incur if it were to tax and regulate marijuana, rather than needlessly spending billions of dollars enforcing its prohibition…

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