Bail-out Bombshell: Fed “Emergency” Bank Rescue Totaled $29 Trillion Over Three Years

From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/economy/153462/bail-out_bombshell%3A_fed_%22emergency%22_bank_rescue_totaled_%2429_trillion_over_three_years/

While the 99% suffered hardship, a new study shows that the Fed propped up buddies in the banking industry and a vast shadow banking system far beyond what anyone has guessed.

By J. Andrew Felkerson
December 15, 2011

Speculation about the the Fed’s actions during the financial crisis has made headlines on and off again over the last several years.  The latest drama occurred on November 27 when Bloomberg published an article, “Secret Fed Loans Gave Banks $13 Billion Undisclosed to Congress,” which gives an account of the news agency’s struggle to bring to light the details of the Fed’s emergency programs. Bloomberg throws out some very large numbers, revealing that as of March 2009, the Fed lent, spent, or committed $7.77 trillion worth of aid to the financial system and that banks used the low interest rates charged on these loans to make an estimated $13 billion in income.

On December 6, the Fed struck back, issuing a four page unsigned memo intended to correct recent “egregious errors and mistakes” found in various reports of its emergency lending facilities.  The Fed argues that the “total credit outstanding under liquidity programs was never more than about $1.5 trillion.”  While Bloomberg wasn’t mentioned explicitly in the Fed memo, it was fairly clear to whom the response was directed.  The following day Bloomberg defended its reporting, and the Wall Street Journal’s David Wessel came to the Fed’s defense, characterizing Bloomberg’s methodology as a “great story,” but ultimately not “true.”

All this may sound like controversy, but it’s little more than a tempest in a teacup.

Here’s the hurricane: In reality, no less than $29.616 trillion is the total emergency assistance provided by the Fed to foreign and domestic entities during the Global Financial Crisis. Let’s repeat that: $29 trillion. This astounding number is over twice U.S. gross domestic product, the nominal value of all goods and services produced for the year 2010.  This is the total of the bailout as calculated by Nicola Matthews and myself as part of the Ford Foundation project, A Research And Policy Dialogue Project On Improving Governance Of The Government Safety Net In Financial Crisis.  We will be presenting the results of our analysis in a series of papers published by the Levy Economics Institute, the first of which, “29,000,000,000,000: A Detailed Look at the Fed’s Bailout by Funding Facility and Recipient,” is already available here.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/economy/153462/bail-out_bombshell%3A_fed_%22emergency%22_bank_rescue_totaled_%2429_trillion_over_three_years/

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Bradley Manning: A symbol for lack of government transparency

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Die-In tonight; Tomorrow is International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers

From Feministe: http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2011/12/16/die-in-tonight-tomorrow-is-international-day-to-end-violence-against-sex-workers/

by Clarisse Thorn
on 12.16.2011

Reposted with Permission

Tomorrow is the International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers. For some 2011 event locations, click here.

Sex Worker Activists, Allies and You has a bunch of great links and 101 materials about sex workers’ rights.

Here in Chicago, the Sex Workers Outreach Project is holding a Die-In tonight and another event tomorrow at the best feminist site ever, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum:

“STOP SHAMING US TO DEATH”
Die-in Action for the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

Hosted by: Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) Chicago
When: Friday, December 16, 2011 at 11:45 AM
Where: 18th and State Street, in front of the Chicago Police Department in the South Loop
Who: Current & former sex workers, allies, friends, families, and communities.

Join SWOP-Chicago in a die-in action to protest violence committed against sex workers

Chicago — On December 16th, sex workers and their allies in the Chicago area will gather at the Chicago Police Department for a “die-in” action. Participants will fall to the ground “dead” holding signs bearing our messages. Through this action, we hope to raise awareness of the violence committed against sex workers and other marginalized groups. Law enforcement, those whose job it is to “serve and protect,” often either ignores violence committed against these groups, or is a direct perpetrator. IT IS TIME FOR THIS VIOLENCE TO STOP.

This event is part of the annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. On the following day, Saturday, December 17th, sex workers and their allies will gather at vigils around the world to commemorate the annual Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, honoring sex workers who have died at the hands of violent crimes, and declaring an end to all violence against sex workers.

PLEASE JOIN US AT THIS IMPORTANT EVENT! And don’t forget to dress appropriately for the weather conditions!

And here’s the info about the Saturday December 17 event.

Feel free to link to your own posts about sex work, the International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers, and relevant events in the comments.

Police Abuse of Sex Workers: A Global Reality, Widely Ignored

From RH Reality Check:    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2011/12/15/ending-police-abuse-sex-workers

by Chi Mgbako
December 15, 2011

December 17th is International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

When we think of violence against sex workers, we conjure up images of dangerous clients and serial killers who target prostitutes.  Indeed, the origins of the International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers, observed on December 17, lay in the decades-long serial murder of sex workers by the Green River Killer.  While these are heartbreakingly real forms of violence against sex workers, one area that receives scant public attention despite its entrenched global reality is police abuse of sex workers.

The illegal status of sex work in most countries has not eradicated prostitution.  Instead, criminalization has increased sex workers’ vulnerability to human rights abuses and created fertile ground for police exploitation, especially of street-based sex workers.

For example, in South Africa, where sex work has been illegal since the former apartheid regime criminalized it in 1957, police officers often fine sex workers inordinate sums of money and pocket the cash, resulting in a pattern of economic extortion of sex workers by state agents.  For some sex workers, the cost of a police bribe to evade arrest can equal an entire night’s worth of work.  In other instances, police have exhibited shameless levels of exploitation: In one reported example, a police officer in Cape Town demanded a sex worker give him money in lieu of arrest; when the sex worker told him she possessed only a meager 10 South African rand, or the equivalent of $1.25, the police officer even pocketed that pittance.

In addition to economic abuse, police exploitation of sex workers manifests in other disturbing ways.  South African sex workers report that police confiscate condoms to use as evidence of prostitution; demand sexual favors in exchange for release from jail or to avoid arrest; physically assault and rape sex workers; actively encourage or passively condone inmate sexual abuse of transgender female sex workers assigned to male prison cells; and use municipal laws to harass and arrest sex workers even when they’re engaged in activities unrelated to prostitution.  “When you get arrested,” notes one sex worker, “they put you in the bad cells, with wet blankets, no food, no phone calls allowed. And not everything you had with you – money, cell phones, necklace – gets given back.”  Many sex workers get trapped in a cycle of arrests that only serves to drain state resources and further entrench sex workers’ vulnerability.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2011/12/15/ending-police-abuse-sex-workers

Friday Night Fun and Culture: Hubert Sumlin (November 16, 1931 – December 4, 2011)

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Friday Night Fun and Culture: Ashley Love Reporting on This Years Golden Globes

From Transforming Media:   http://transformingmedia.blogspot.com/2011/12/glenn-closes-film-albert-nobbs-about.html

By Ashley Love
December 15, 2011

With permission

Glenn Close’s Film ‘Albert Nobbs’ About A Transsexual Man Is Nominated For Golden Globe For Best Supporting Actress Performance by Janet McTreer

The highly moving period drama ‘Albert Nobbs’ follows the story of a man who was born with female anatomy named Albert Nobbs, played by Glennn Close. Nobbs is a male servant who must hide his transsexual condition in order to survive.

Actress Janet McTeer, Close’s costar who also plays a transsexual man, has been nominated for a Golden Globe for best performance by an actress in a supporting role in a motion picture.

I saw the film and was moved to tears. Some of my tears stemmed from pain I felt for the characters, and some of my tears were stirred by the powerful beauty of humanity that triumphed over fear and violence.

Janet McTeer is very deserving of this award. I will be planning a Golden Globes party just to root for her, stay tuned for the details!

Here’s a touching song from the film’s soundtrack written and performed by a favorite of mne, Sinead O’Conner called ‘Lay Your Head Down’:

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19,000 U.S. Soldiers Raped Every Year! Congresswoman Jackie Speier

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