U.S. Department of Labor Policy on Equal Employment Opportunity


Secretary of Labor
Washington, D.C. 20210

As the Secretary of Labor, I am expressing my personal commitment to ensuring that DOL is a workplace free from unlawful discrimination and harassment; fostering a work environment that fully utilizes the capabilities of every employee; and achieving and maintaining a high quality, diverse workforce at all organizational levels throughout the Department.

It is the policy of this Department to provide equal employment opportunity for all employees and applicants for DOL employment regardless of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, age, disability, genetic information, parental status, and sexual orientation; to promote the full realization of equal employment opportunity through a continuing affirmative program where all employees have the freedom to compete on a fair and level playing field; and to maintain a workplace free of discriminatory practices and policies. In addition, it is the Department’s policy to safeguard all employees’ exercise of their rights under civil rights statutes. Accordingly, DOL prohibits all of its managers, supervisors, and employees from retaliating against any person because that person has opposed a practice made unlawful by or participated in any stage of administrative or judicial proceedings under relevant employment discrimination laws.

I am equally committed to ensuring that the Department, as the Government’s lead organization for disability employment policy, meets or exceeds the government-wide goal regarding the employment of individuals with disabilities, including our Nation’s wounded soldiers and other disabled Veterans. In support of this pledge, the Department must provide effective reasonable accommodations that will enable qualified employees with disabilities to perform the essential functions of their jobs and enjoy benefits and privileges of employment that are equal to those enjoyed by other DOL employees.

To ensure that the Department’s actual practices adhere to the requirements articulated in this policy, the Civil Rights Center (CRC), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management, will oversee compliance with this policy and with the affirmative employment and nondiscrimination provisions of all applicable laws, statutes, regulations, and executive orders. In addition, each DOL agency shall conduct periodic self-assessments to identify potential barriers to equal opportunity; include EEO-related goals, including specific actions to address any barriers identified in its annual report to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; enhance accountability by including an EEO element in the performance standards of every DOL manager and supervisor; ensure that its managers and employees comply with EEO training requirements established by CRC; widely publicize this policy and the procedures available for filing complaints that allege violations of this policy; take swift and appropriate action to remedy any violation of this policy, including discipline of any DOL manager, supervisor, or employee found to have violated this policy; and provide full support to DOL’s internal programs related to nondiscrimination, equal opportunity, and diversity.

Each and every one of us must do our part to protect and advance the principles of equal employment opportunity at the Department by following this EEO policy. Working together in this endeavor, we will cultivate an environment that is diverse, inclusive, and free of discrimination, and that maximizes our ability to advance the Department’s mission.

Hilda L. Solis
Secretary of Labor
April 2011

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on U.S. Department of Labor Policy on Equal Employment Opportunity

The Republican Threat to Voting

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/27/opinion/27wed1.html?_r=3&hp

April 26, 2011

Less than a year before the 2012 presidential voting begins, Republican legislatures and governors across the country are rewriting voting laws to make it much harder for the young, the poor and African-Americans — groups that typically vote Democratic — to cast a ballot.

Spreading fear of a nonexistent flood of voter fraud, they are demanding that citizens be required to show a government-issued identification before they are allowed to vote. Republicans have been pushing these changes for years, but now more than two-thirds of the states have adopted or are considering such laws. The Advancement Project, an advocacy group of civil rights lawyers, correctly describes the push as “the largest legislative effort to scale back voting rights in a century.”

Anyone who has stood on the long lines at a motor vehicle office knows that it isn’t easy to get such documents. For working people, it could mean giving up a day’s wages.

A survey by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law found that 11 percent of citizens, 21 million people, do not have a current photo ID. That fraction increases to 15 percent of low-income voting-age citizens, 18 percent of young eligible voters and 25 percent of black eligible voters. Those demographic groups tend to vote Democratic, and Republicans are imposing requirements that they know many will be unable to meet.

Kansas’ new law was drafted by its secretary of state, Kris Kobach, who also wrote Arizona’s anti-immigrant law. Voters will be required to show a photo ID at the polls. Before they can register, Kansans will have to produce a proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate.

Tough luck if you don’t happen to have one in your pocket when you’re at the county fair and you pass the voter registration booth. Or when the League of Women Voters brings its High School Registration Project to your school cafeteria. Or when you show up at your dorm at the University of Kansas without your birth certificate. Sorry, you won’t be voting in Lawrence, and probably not at all.

Continue reading at: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/27/opinion/27wed1.html?_r=3&hp

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on The Republican Threat to Voting

Racist Republican Sally Kern: Minorities Earn Less Because They Don’t Work As Hard

And people think I’m rude when I call them Republi-Nazis….

I’d like to sentence her to a year working at one of those infamous chicken processing plants, plucking and gutting chickens for less than a living wage. Then she might be force to rethink her Kochsucking rich elitist/racist pig ideology.

From The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/28/sally-kern-affirmative-action_n_854936.html

First Posted: 04/28/11

Oklahoma state Rep. Sally Kern, a Republican, made questionable remarks in the wake of a measure seeking to ban affirmative action programs advancing in the state, Tulsa World reports.

According to the local outlet:

Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, said minorities earn less than white people because they don’t work as hard and have less initiative.“We have a high percentage of blacks in prison, and that’s tragic, but are they in prison just because they are black or because they don’t want to study as hard in school? I’ve taught school, and I saw a lot of people of color who didn’t study hard because they said the government would take care of them.”

In light of the proposed constitutional amendment in question clearing the state House of Representatives on Wednesday evening, the GOP lawmaker also suggested women earn less than their male counterparts because they generally spend more time in the home.

The AP recently reported on the legislation:

The measure [will] put on the 2012 election ballot a provision that the state may not grant preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, color, sex, ethnicity or national origin. The ban would apply to public employment, education and contracting.Opponents say the proposal targets a non-existent problem. Several Democrats contend the bill is an attempt to use race to generate fear and draw conservative white voters to the polls.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/28/sally-kern-affirmative-action_n_854936.html

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Racist Republican Sally Kern: Minorities Earn Less Because They Don’t Work As Hard

Johnson & Johnson Turns Its Back on AIDS Patients

Press release: From Doctors Without Borders: http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/press/release.cfm?id=5209&cat=press-release&v=2

Pharma Giant’s Refusal to Participate in Patent Pool Undermines Access to Key AIDS Drugs

New York, NY, April 25, 2011—Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson is putting the lives of people living with HIV at stake by refusing to participate in the Medicines Patent Pool, a mechanism designed to lower prices of HIV medicines and increase access to them for people in the developing world, said the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) today.


Letter to Johnson & Johnson CEO Regarding the Company’s Failure to Put Urgently Needed AIDS Drugs in the Medicines Patent Pool

Download Letter [115 KB]

Johnson & Johnson, which holds patents on three key new HIV drugs desperately needed throughout the developing world, has so far refused to license these patents to the Medicines Patent Pool. The Pool has been set up to increase access to more affordable versions of HIV drugs, including fixed-dose combinations that include multiple medicines in one pill, and to develop much-needed pediatric HIV drugs.The Pool would license patents on HIV drugs to other manufacturers and the resulting competition would dramatically reduce prices, making them much more affordable in the developing world. However, since the Pool is voluntary it will only work if patent holders like Johnson & Johnson choose to participate.

“High prices mean patients in poor countries continue to be relegated to second-class care, with no choice but to take older, more toxic drugs we would no longer use in the U.S., and with almost no treatment options when the virus becomes resistant to the limited number of drugs available,” said Sophie Delaunay, executive director of MSF-USA. “By putting its HIV drug patents in the pool, Johnson & Johnson has a unique opportunity to transform this situation and save lives worldwide. Instead, it has chosen to turn its back on these patients.”

Johnson & Johnson holds patents on HIV medicines rilpivirine, darunavir, and etravirine. Rilpivirine is a promising antiretroviral (ARV) under development for use in first-line treatment regimens. Darunavir and etravirine are important for patients who have developed resistance to their existing treatment.

Patent Pools Explained

Even at Johnson & Johnson’s so-called reduced “access” pricing, the cost of these drugs is prohibitive; darunavir is priced at $1,095 per patient per year, and etravirine at $913 per patient per year in the world’s least-developed countries, most of which are in sub-Saharan Africa. Many developing countries have to pay even higher prices.

In December 2010, the National Institutes of Health, which holds the intellectual property rights for a manufacturing process for darunavir, put its patent for the AIDS drug in the patent pool. Johnson & Johnson holds the drug’s remaining patents, and is effectively blocking other companies from manufacturing and making darunavir available at prices affordable for patients in the developing world.

There are now more than six million people receiving lifesaving ARV treatment worldwide. This would have been impossible without competition from generic companies that helped bring prices down from $10,000 per patient per year for the most commonly used first line regimen, to less than $100 per patient per year. Today, mechanisms in international law and additional voluntary initiatives such as the Medicines Patent Pool will be crucial to ensuring that patients have access to newer, less toxic medicines to keep them alive. Several drug companies have already begun negotiating with the pool.

MSF now provides treatment to more than 170,000 people living with HIV worldwide, and is beginning to witness the inevitable, natural phenomenon of treatment failure, in which patients everywhere develop resistance to treatment and need to graduate to newer regimens. This is happening now in MSF’s longest running HIV projects, in South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya, and Cameroon.

“We have patients who have no other treatment options other than Johnson & Johnson’s darunavir, which is so expensive that the South African government cannot afford it,” said Dr. Gilles van Cutsem, medical coordinator for MSF programs in South Africa and Lesotho. “MSF is now paying for these drugs, but this is just the beginning of the problem. Ten years after we put the first patients on antiretroviral treatment, we now have patients in our clinics who have become resistant to drugs available at affordable prices. We’ll soon be back in a situation where we’ll have to say there are drugs in the private sector, or in rich countries, that could treat you, but we cannot afford them.”

Supreme Court rules that companies can block class-action lawsuits

Time to impeach some Supreme Court Judges for conflict of interest.  Thomas for one and Scalia for another.  You can’t take money from the corporations and be unbiased.

Time to end Corporate Personhood.

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/04/28/supreme-court-rules-that-companies-can-block-class-action-lawsuits/

By Reuters
Thursday, April 28th, 2011 — 9:19 am

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday handed businesses such as AT&T Inc a major victory by upholding the use of arbitration for customer disputes rather than allowing claims to be brought together as a group.

By a 5-4 vote, the high court ruled that an AT&T unit could enforce a provision in its customer contracts requiring individual arbitration and preventing the pooling together of claims into a class-action lawsuit or class-wide arbitration.

The plaintiffs, Vincent and Liza Concepcion, filed their class-action lawsuit in 2006, claiming they were improperly charged about $30 in sales taxes on cellphones that the AT&T Mobility wireless unit had advertised as free.

AT&T, the No. 2 U.S. mobile service, was backed in the case by a number of other companies and by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce business group, while consumer and civil rights groups supported the California couple.

Companies generally prefer arbitration as a less expensive way of settling consumer disputes, as opposed to costly class actions, which allow customers to band together and can result in large monetary awards.

Customer arbitration agreements are widely used by cellphone carriers, cable providers, credit card companies, stock brokerage firms and other businesses.

Vanderbilt University law professor Brian Fitzpatrick said it may be the most important class action case ever decided by the Supreme Court.

“Because companies can ask all of their consumers, employees, and perhaps even shareholders to sign arbitration agreements, this decision has the potential to permit companies to escape class action liability in almost all of their activities,” he said.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/04/28/supreme-court-rules-that-companies-can-block-class-action-lawsuits/

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Supreme Court rules that companies can block class-action lawsuits

GOP reps run from voters on Social Security, Medicare

From People’s World: http://www.peoplesworld.org/gop-reps-run-from-voters-on-social-security-medicare/

by: John Wojcik
April 28 2011

Facing constituents angry about GOP plans to kill Medicare and slash Social Security, Republican lawmakers across the country are screening questions ahead of time at town hall meetings, holding “invitation only” gatherings, or deciding not to meet with voters at all.

Following an embarrassing meeting with constituents that was televised nationally, House budget chair Paul Ryan had to face angry voters at a second town hall in his Kenosha, Wis., district this week.

As he entered he had to make his way through a crowd of protesters chanting, “Ryan stop lying!” and then people in the capacity crowd interrupted him as he tried to defend his budget plan.

“If you’re yelling, I just want you to leave,” Ryan told his constituents. “We’ve got media here. Let’s prove to them that Wisconsinites can be cordial to one another.”

Reporters were unable to interview Ryan after the meeting because he slipped out a different door than the one where he had entered and drove away in a vehicle different from the one in which he had arrived.

Similar scenes are taking place at other Republican town halls, including in key states like Pennsylvania and Florida.

GOP freshman Rep. Daniel Webster’s town hall meeting in Orlando, Fla., April 26 was a case in point. Webster tried to use charts and graphs to explain the Republican budget he voted for, but he could barely be heard over angry shouts about the GOP Medicare-gutting proposal.

Continue reading at:  http://www.peoplesworld.org/gop-reps-run-from-voters-on-social-security-medicare/

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on GOP reps run from voters on Social Security, Medicare

Ron Paul: End Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid

I wouldn’t vote for Ron Paul for anything.  Aside from the fact that Ron Paul is an insane Galt-hole there is the matter of his homophobia and misogyny.

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Ron Paul: End Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid

Iowa Republicans want to ban transsexual/intersex marriage completely

From Meghan Stabler: http://www.facebook.com/#!/notes/meghan-stabler/iowa-republicans-want-to-ban-transsexualintersex-marriage-completely/10150568645270475

By Meghan Stabler
April 28, 2011

Reposted with permission

As the fight continues here in Texas to block SB 723 a bill that would remove a court order acknowledging “sex-change” as proof of evidence for obtaining a marriage license I was stunned to learn that the IOWA Republican Party wish to legislate that Transsexual/Intersex (Transgender) Iowan’s can never marry.

Not only does the Plank in the Iowa Republican Party Platform want to ensure that same-sex marriage will never be allowed in the state but they also have this…

6.03 We support an amendment to both the U. S. and Iowa constitutions that states that all marriages should be traditional one natural male and one natural female, omitting transgendered.

What else are they trying to instill based on their “principles” for Family Values?

 We believe that the basis of our laws and our founding documents are rooted in Judeo-Christian values. We believe every human being should have the inalienable right to life regardless of age or degree of dependency including human beings from conception. We believe the family is the cornerstone of society; a traditional two-parent family of one man and one woman is the best environment to raise children.

6.01 We believe that traditional, two-parent (one male and one female), marriage based families are foundational to a stable, enduring and healthy civilization. Therefore, policy must always be pro-family in nature, encouraging marital and family commitment, and supportive of parental rights and responsibilities.

6.02 We call for the repeal of sexual orientation in the Iowa Civil Rights Code and we oppose any other legislation or executive order granting rights, privileges, or status for persons based on sexual orientation.

6.03 We support an amendment to both the U. S. and Iowa constitutions that states that all marriages should be traditional one natural male and one natural female, omitting transgendered.

6.04 We support allowing the electorate to vote on the marriage amendment.

6.05 We support a Concurrent Resolution of the U.S. Congress asserting its Constitutional authority to limit the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in the following manner: “Pursuant to Section 2 of Article III of the Constitution of the United States, Congress has the sole and exclusive power to make regulations and exceptions to the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. Accordingly, effective this date, the Congress of the United States denies the Supreme Court appellate jurisdiction over cases relating to marriage.”

6.06 We oppose the State of Iowa, its Courts, and its political subdivisions creating or recognizing a legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals.

6.07 We favor improvement, strengthening, and simplification of adoption laws, and oppose adoption by homosexuals.

And elsewhere in the Platform:

4.40 We oppose the teaching of homosexual behavior as a normal or acceptable lifestyle in our public schools.

4.41 We believe that sexual orientation should not be allowed to be a basis for any school clubs, such as the Gay Straight Alliance, at any level of the public school system.

4.42 We oppose the “Bullying Law”.

10.16 We support repeal of state and federal “hate crimes” legislation.

11.08 We support “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.”

Let’s Admit the Truth About American Royals

Only six percent of the American people give a shit about the wedding of two over privilege welfare brats from the UK.  Yet the supermarket tabloids and mags are all front cover peddling the spectacle of this wedding.  Why?  Because  corporate advertisers paid big buck for advertising to run during the coverage that the media corporations paid big bucks to cover.

Wake up folks.  It is junk food for the mind.  Crap to divert your attention from the rich right wing elite who are ass fucking you.

I was appalled when Stephanie Miller came on the Ed Schultz show the other night and desperately pleaded with people to care and watch.

I tell you what I would pay to watch, French Revolution of 1789 redux with modern real life cast of the royals and the rich in a reality show, where each week the elite scum vote which one of their class faces the firing squad.

From Laura Flanders Grit TV: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/04/28-6

by Laura Flanders
Published on Thursday, April 28, 2011 by GRITtv

According to polls, only about 6 percent of Americans are following with any close attention the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.  But that’s not stopping the media fascination on both sides of the Atlantic with American’s supposed fascination with Britain’s royals.

“Royal wedding reminds us why we tossed Brits,” ran one letter to a local paper recently. That exorbitant $80 million spent on a medieval style ritual in time of 21st century austerity. It’s shameful. It’s old world. It’s just what Americans fought a revolutionary war to throw off.

And then there are the folks like Rupert Cornwall at the UK Independent who argue hat people in the US love British royals precisely because they don’t have their own real thing.  Gary Younge at the Nation noted that even his liberal friends wanted to know what he, a British citizen, thought of the prince marrying a “commoner.” Oh please.

The only serious and in fact actually quite insidious part about this is that it re-inscribes the notion that the US has no  class.

Really? When the top one percent of wealthiest Americans own 34 percent of the country’s wealth and enjoyed 80 percent of the total increase in wealth here between 1980 and 2005? No class?

As for ruling class? In the UK the commoners keep their royals on welfare. Here we do the same with our corporations. Billions in tax dollars keep them afloat and keep CEOs in mansions. Why not just give them palaces? At least we could keep them open for tours.

Since the Supreme Court has given corporations free speech rights and personhood — how about marriage equality next?

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/04/28-6

Prop H8 Supporters Contest Ruling On Grounds Judge Has Same-Sex Partner

They ask, “How can a gay man act impartially upon a law denying him equality?”

The answer:  “With every bit as much impartiality as a straight person who wishes to deny a minority group equality.”

In truth a minority groups equal rights should never be put to the vote.  Particularly if that minority group is as the late Thurgood Marshall put it, “Despised, discriminated against and dispossessed.”

From Talking Points Memo: http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/04/prop_8_supporters_contest_ruling_because_judge_is.php?ref=fpb

Jillian Rayfield
April 26, 2011

Supporters of Proposition 8, California’s ballot-approved ban on same-sex marriage, filed a motion this week contesting Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling that the ban is unconstitutional, because he’s gay man who may have wished to marry his partner.

In August of last year, Judge Walker, now retired, ruled that the 2008 voter initiative banning gay marriage is unconstitutional, because Prop 8 “fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license.”

In a filing with the District Court on Monday, the “Yes On 8” campaign argued that Walker should have recused himself from presiding over the case because he has a longtime same-sex partner — whom he may someday wish to marry. This, the filing says, means that Walker went against “the judiciary’s strict fidelity to the ancient maxim that ‘no man can be a judge in his own case and no man is permitted to try cases where he has an interest in the outcome.'”

“Given that Chief Judge Walker was in a committed, long-term, same-sex relationship
throughout this case (and for many years before the case commenced),” the filing said, “it is clear that his ‘impartiality might reasonably [have been] questioned’ from the outset’.”

The “Yes On 8” campaign also emphasized that it’s not that they’d object to every gay or lesbian judge from presiding over the case — only those that may want to get married one day.

Continue reading at: http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/04/prop_8_supporters_contest_ruling_because_judge_is.php?ref=fpb

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Prop H8 Supporters Contest Ruling On Grounds Judge Has Same-Sex Partner

The Official Justin Vivian Bond

There is an interesting article about Justin Vivian Bond in the latest issue of Out Magazine.

I have always thought Bond was an interesting performer who took her performances beyond the usual tired miming to some diva’s performance.

Some times I get called an elitist for pointing out that there is a difference between TS and TG that isn’t really one of degree. This disturbs many who think that equality of rights, dignity, respect requires us to all be the same and meet some fictional standard sold to us by the media as “mainstream”.

I find the “mainstream” to be boring, I actually like people who are different, iconoclasts, talented and honest.

From Out Magazine: http://www.out.com/detail.asp?id=30031

By Mike Albo
Mon Apr 11 2011

Justin Vivian Bond — artist, songwriter, chanteuse — comes down from her East Village apartment to meet me. He is wearing a casual black ensemble and her soft hair is done in a
reddish tinted bob.
Him? Her? He? She? I’ve known Bond for nearly two decades, and have never felt like I had to classify her as one gender. But I have never written about him. Now here I am, assigned to profile the magnetic performer during the release of her debut album, Dendrophile, and suddenly the English language seems really narrow-minded. Fortunately, a note on Bond’s website provides a guide:


Defining Justin Bond’s gender is no less difficult than figuring out what makes the 47-year-old performer’s cabaret act so compelling. It can be hilarious, heart-wrenching, vulnerable, sardonic, Wiccan, and world-weary all at the same time.

Whether singing about the ancient gender-variant priests, the Galli, as Bond did in the 2010 show Re:Galli Blonde (A Sissy Fix), or performing as Kiki DuRane alongside Kenny Mellman’s Herb as the tragic, washed-up lounge act Kiki and Herb, which launched them both into international notoriety, there is something powerfully both about the performer: masculine/feminine, mordant/fabulous, comic/tragic.

Continue reading at:   http://www.out.com/detail.asp?id=30031

How Wall Street Thieves, Led by Goldman Sachs, Took Down the Global Economy — Their Outsized Influence Must be Stopped

From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/economy/150741/how_wall_street_thieves%2C_led_by_goldman_sachs%2C_took_down_the_global_economy_–_their_outsized_influence_must_be_stopped/

If we don’t bust up Big Finance, there soon will be another financial crisis that will destroy what’s left of our middle-class way of life.

By Les Leopold
April 25, 2011

For all the damning evidence you’ll ever need about Wall Street corruption, take a look at the recent report from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, “Wall Street and the Financial Crisis: An Anatomy of a Financial Collapse” (PDF). The 650-page indictment reveals the myriad of ways Wall Street lies, cheats, steals and defrauds on a routine basis. Arguably the report is as revealing as the Nixon tapes or the Pentagon Papers. Unfortunately, it’s too technical to get widely read. So here are the Cliff Notes.

This study, broken into four case studies, forms a biblical tale of how toxic mortgages were born, nurtured and spread like the plague throughout the land, making money for the financial philistines every step of the way.

The first case study focuses on Washington Mutual (WaMu), the nation’s largest savings bank, and its overt strategic decision to go big into selling high risk, high profit mortgages. Here you will find a detailed description of every type of dangerous mortgage foisted onto the public. Your blood pressure also will climb when you read how the bank used focus groups to help its mortgage brokers find better ways to sucker customers into risky mortgages even though the applicants had qualified for and wanted safer fixed-rate mortgages.

The report also details outright fraud committed by brokers – forging documents, making phony loans, stealing money – who then got rewarded again and again by the bank for their high sales records, even after they were caught! Nobody cared because the loans quickly were sold to Wall Street – the riskier the loan, the higher the interest rates and the more Wall Street would pay.

The second case recounts the pathetic tale of the Office of Thrift Supervision, the regulatory agency that was supposed to halt WaMu’s shoddy and corrupt practices. The report shows that OTS knew of these deceptive practices in great detail for five full years and still failed to stop the pillaging. Why? Because OTS’s top regulators didn’t believe in regulations. Banks should regulate themselves. OTS only wanted to help. And one way it helped was by deliberately impeding other regulators like the FDIC from enforcing stronger regulations on WaMu. The OTS, which mercifully has been eliminated, believed it was partners with the banks it supposedly regulated — a textbook example of regulatory capture combined with financial Stockholm syndrome.

The third case study which focuses on the two largest rating agencies (Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s) is a story of prostitution. Here we learn how the rating agencies turned trick after trick for the big Wall Street banks, doling out favors (AAA ratings) to thousands of “innovative” securities based on the junk mortgages that WaMu and others originated and packaged. Then when it became obvious to everyone that the crap was still crap, the whores went virtuous by drastically downgrading thousands of toxic assets overnight. This forced pension funds and insurance companies, who by law could only hold investment grade securities, to dump their downgraded assets all at once. The result was a rapid and deep collapse of all financial markets. (You read this section of the report and you have to wonder how anyone in their right mind could take seriously S&P’s recent “negative outlook” rating on the U.S. Who are they shilling for now?)

The last case study is the most pornographic as it strips bare two investment banks, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs. The report accuses them of packaging and selling toxic securities while, at the same time, betting that those securities would fail. Furthermore, the report argues forcefully, that “Investment banks were the driving force behind the structured finance products that provided a steady stream of funding for lenders originating high risk, poor quality loans and that magnified risk throughout the U.S. financial system. The investment banks that engineered, sold, traded, and profited from mortgage related structured finance products were a major cause of the financial crisis.” (pg 19)

Continue reading at:   http://www.alternet.org/economy/150741/how_wall_street_thieves%2C_led_by_goldman_sachs%2C_took_down_the_global_economy_–_their_outsized_influence_must_be_stopped/

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on How Wall Street Thieves, Led by Goldman Sachs, Took Down the Global Economy — Their Outsized Influence Must be Stopped