Wall Street Aristocracy Got $1.2 Trillion From Fed

From Bloomberg News: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-21/wall-street-aristocracy-got-1-2-trillion-in-fed-s-secret-loans.html

By Bradley Keoun and Phil Kuntz
Aug 22, 2011

Citigroup Inc. (C) and Bank of America Corp. (BAC) were the reigning champions of finance in 2006 as home prices peaked, leading the 10 biggest U.S. banks and brokerage firms to their best year ever with $104 billion of profits.

By 2008, the housing market’s collapse forced those companies to take more than six times as much, $669 billion, in emergency loans from the U.S. Federal Reserve. The loans dwarfed the $160 billion in public bailouts the top 10 got from the U.S. Treasury, yet until now the full amounts have remained secret.

Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s unprecedented effort to keep the economy from plunging into depression included lending banks and other companies as much as $1.2 trillion of public money, about the same amount U.S. homeowners currently owe on 6.5 million delinquent and foreclosed mortgages. The largest borrower, Morgan Stanley (MS), got as much as $107.3 billion, while Citigroup took $99.5 billion and Bank of America $91.4 billion, according to a Bloomberg News compilation of data obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, months of litigation and an act of Congress.

“These are all whopping numbers,” said Robert Litan, a former Justice Department official who in the 1990s served on a commission probing the causes of the savings and loan crisis. “You’re talking about the aristocracy of American finance going down the tubes without the federal money.”

(View the Bloomberg interactive graphic to chart the Fed’s financial bailout.)

Foreign Borrowers

It wasn’t just American finance. Almost half of the Fed’s top 30 borrowers, measured by peak balances, were European firms. They included Edinburgh-based Royal Bank of Scotland Plc, which took $84.5 billion, the most of any non-U.S. lender, and Zurich-based UBS AG (UBSN), which got $77.2 billion. Germany’s Hypo Real Estate Holding AG borrowed $28.7 billion, an average of $21 million for each of its 1,366 employees.

Continue reading at:  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-21/wall-street-aristocracy-got-1-2-trillion-in-fed-s-secret-loans.html

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Rick Perry Struggles to answer Question on Abstinence

Dozens arrested outside White House in Keystone pipeline protests

From The Winnipeg Free Press:  http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/dozens-arrested-outside-white-house-in-keystone-pipeline-protests.html

By: Lee-Anne Goodman, The Canadian Press
Posted: 08/20/2011

WASHINGTON – U.S. President Barack Obama wasn’t around to see it, but 65 protesters were arrested Saturday as they participated in a peaceful protest outside the White House aimed at pressuring him to block TransCanada’s controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

Bill McKibben, a leading American environmentalist and one of the organizers of the two-week protest, was among those arrested. Others included gay rights activist Dan Choi; Jane Hamsher, the founder of the popular liberal blog Firedoglake; and Gus Speth, a onetime environmental expert under former president Jimmy Carter.

About 100 protesters, carrying a large banner that read “Climate Change Is Not In Our National Interest,” gathered at Lafayette Square directly north of the White House on a sunny and humid Saturday morning. They chanted “hey-ho, Keystone XL has got to go” as they stood on the sidewalk that runs along the White House’s wrought-iron fence.

When they didn’t respond to requests to move from the sidewalk, U.S. Park Police and SWAT officers handcuffed them and removed them from the area one after the other.

Obama, meantime, was vacationing with his family in Martha’s Vineyard.

But when he returns late next week, the protesters say they’ll still be there to protest a Canadian project that has become a lightning rod for the U.S. environmental movement in the wake of failed climate change legislation once passionately promoted by Obama.

“It’s not the easiest thing on Earth for law-abiding folk to come to risk arrest,” McKibben said before his arrest.

“But this pipeline has emerged as the single clear test of the president’s willingness to fight for the environment. So I wore my Obama ’08 button, and I carry a great deal of hope in my heart that we will see that old Obama emerge.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/dozens-arrested-outside-white-house-in-keystone-pipeline-protests.html

From Tar Sands Action Orghttp://www.tarsandsaction.org/fifty-more-americans-arrested-at-white-house-on-day-2-of-sit-in-over-oil-pipeline/

Fifty More Americans Arrested At White House on Day 2 of Sit-in Over Oil Pipeline

For immediate release
August 21, 2011

Fifty More Americans Arrested At White House on Day 2 of Sit-in Over Oil Pipeline

WASHINGTON  – Fifty more Americans were arrested this morning at the White House as fifty of their fellow protestors were held in jail in an attempt to “deter future participants” (1) from participating in an ongoing sit-in at the White House to push President Obama to deny the permit for a massive new tar sands oil pipeline.

Writer and environmentalist Bill McKibben, who is spearheading the protests, sent a message from jail last night, “The only thing we need is more company. We don’t need your sympathy, we need more company.”

This morning’s sit-in featured participants from as far away as Montana and North Dakota to risk arrest defending their air, water and climate. A group of doctors from Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility wore their white lab coats as they stood at the White House fence waiting to be arrested.

The ongoing protests have helped turn fight over the proposed Keystone XL pipeline into President Obama’s most important environmental decision before the 2012 election. Many of the participants in the sit-in this morning wore “Obama 2008” buttons as a statement that they want back the candidate who promise to take on climate change and help end our dependence on fossil fuels.

McKibben was amongst those arrested yesterday, along with the co-founder of NRDC and former White House official Gus Speth, gay rights activist Lt. Dan Choi, author and activist Mike Tidwell, Firedoglake founder Jane Hamsher, and many others.

“Saturday’s arrests and overnight jailings are already lighting a fire,” said Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, who was also arrested Saturday. “More people are now inspired, determined, and committed to join. On Monday alone over 20 DC-area doctors, lawyers and students will be going to jail to chant, sing, and stop the pipeline. They’ll be joining Nebraska ranchers and others nationwide. Word is spreading.”

Harriet Korim Arnoldi, a folk musician from Cape Cod, was arrested today and she celebrated her 65th birthday in handcuffs.

Notes

1. US Park Police told event organizers that they want to “deter future participants.” A full description of the situation is at tarsandsaction.org/not-deterred

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Rick Perry accused of hypocrisy as he comes under fire for investment in America’s largest pornography distributor

From The Daily Mail UK:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2028353/Rick-Perry-comes-investment-Americas-largest-pornography-distributor.html

By John Stevens
21st August 2011

Leading Republican contender and prominent Christian candidate Rick Perry has been accused of hypocrisy after it was revealed that he invested thousands of dollars in the country’s largest pornography distributor.

Just a week after he launched his presidential campaign, the Texas governor has come under fire for his investment in Movie Gallery, a company that rented pornographic movies.

In 1995, while serving as Texas’ agriculture commissioner, financial disclosures reveal that Mr Perry bought between $5,000 and $10,000 worth of the company’s stock.

The revelation is particularly embarrassing for the Republican candidate as the company was boycotted by the American Family Association, which hosted Mr Perry’s high-profile prayer rally in Houston a week before he kicked off his campaign.

In potentially even more damaging allegations, Mr Perry is accused of signing into law bills that could have benefitted the pornography distributor.

Continue reading at:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2028353/Rick-Perry-comes-investment-Americas-largest-pornography-distributor.html

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Chronic fatigue syndrome researchers face death threats from militants

From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/aug/21/chronic-fatigue-syndrome-myalgic-encephalomyelitis

Scientists are subjected to a campaign of abuse and violence

The Observer, Sunday 21 August 2011

The full extent of the campaign of intimidation, attacks and death threats made against scientists by activists who claim researchers are suppressing the real cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is revealed today by the Observer. According to the police, the militants are now considered to be as dangerous and uncompromising as animal rights extremists.

One researcher told the Observer that a woman protester who had turned up at one of his lectures was found to be carrying a knife. Another scientist had to abandon a collaboration with American doctors after being told she risked being shot, while another was punched in the street. All said they had received death threats and vitriolic abuse.

In addition, activists – who attack scientists who suggest the syndrome has any kind of psychological association – have bombarded researchers with freedom of information requests, made rounds of complaints to university ethical committees about scientists’ behaviour, and sent letters falsely alleging that individual scientists are in the pay of drug and insurance companies.

“I published a study which these extremists did not like and was subjected to a staggering volley of horrible abuse,” said Professor Myra McClure, head of infectious diseases at Imperial College London. “One man wrote he was having pleasure imagining that he was watching me drown. He sent that every day for months.”

Chronic fatigue syndrome – also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) – is common and debilitating. A recent BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) feature suggested that as many as one in 250 people in the UK suffers from it. Patients are sometimes unable to move and become bedridden, occasionally having to be fed through a tube. For more than 20 years, scientists have struggled to find the cause, with some pointing to physiological reasons, in particular viral infections, while others have argued that psychological problems are involved.

It is the latter group that has become the subject of extremists’ attacks. The antagonists hate any suggestion of a psychological component and insist it is due to external causes, in particular viruses. In the case of McClure, her “crime” was to publish a paper indicating that early studies linking the syndrome to the virus XMRV were wrong and the result of laboratory contamination. So furious was the reaction that she had to withdraw from a US collaboration because she was warned she might be shot.

Continue reading at:   http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/aug/21/chronic-fatigue-syndrome-myalgic-encephalomyelitis

Major Funder For Glenn Beck’s Israel Rally Linked To Anti-Semitic Group

From Think Progress: http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/08/19/299557/funder-for-travel-to-glenn-becks-jerusalem-rally-tied-to-anti-semitic-group/

By Eli Clifton
Aug 19, 2011

Glenn Beck’s upcoming rally to “Restore Courage” has run into a snag after House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and the House Ethics Committee rejected the requestby a number of House members to travel at the expense of the International Israel Allied Caucus Foundation to Beck’s rally in Jerusalem.

But political and religious leaders from “around the world” will be enjoying U.S. taxpayer subsidized — through non-taxable charitable contributions — travel to the rally. The travel will be paid for by WallBuilders, an organization founded by David Barton, a pseudo-historian and frequent Glenn Beck guest. Barton has a history of anti-gay and anti-Muslim rhetoric, has spoken at events sponsored by anti-Semitic organizations, and promotes a revisionist history of the U.S. claiming that the “Church-state separation is a liberal myth.”

Beck’s partnership with WallBuilders is listed on the rally’s front page by clicking the “Donate” button which takes visitors to WallBuilders website. The site accepts contributions to the “Restoring Courage — Israel” fund:

<snip>

But David Barton’s record of intolerance and historical revisionism should offer some insights into who is funding Beck’s Jerusalem rally and which individuals have Beck’s ear. Back in 1994, the Anti-Defamation League had harsh words for Barton’s decision to appear at events hosted by the Christian Identity movement, a group the ADL said:

Asserts that Jews are ‘the synagogue of Satan’; that Blacks and other people of color are subhuman; and that northern European whites and their American descendants are the ‘chosen people’ of scriptural prophesy.

Continue reading at:  http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/08/19/299557/funder-for-travel-to-glenn-becks-jerusalem-rally-tied-to-anti-semitic-group/

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Jubilant Rebels Control Much of Tripoli

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/22/world/africa/22libya.html?_r=1&hp

By and
Published: August 21, 2011

TRIPOLI, Libya — Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s grip on power dissolved with astonishing speed on Monday as rebels marched into the capital and arrested two of his sons, while residents raucously celebrated the prospective end of his four-decade-old rule.

In the city’s central Green Square, the site of many manufactured rallies in support of Colonel Qaddafi, jubilant Libyans tore down posters of him and stomped on them. The rebel leadership announced that the elite presidential guard protecting the Libyan leader had surrendered and that their forces controlled many parts of the city, but not Colonel Qaddafi’s leadership compound.

The National Transitional Council, the rebel governing body, issued a mass text message saying: “We congratulate the Libyan people for the fall of Muammar Qaddafi and call on the Libyan people to go into the street to protect the public property. Long live free Libya.”

Officials loyal to Colonel Qaddafi insisted that the fight was not over, and there were clashes between rebels and government troops early on Monday morning. But NATO and American officials said that the Qaddafi government’s control of Tripoli, which had been its final stronghold, was now in doubt.

President Obama said Sunday night that Colonel Qaddafi and his inner circle had “to recognize that their rule has come to an end” and called on Colonel Qaddafi “to relinquish power once and for all.” He also called on the National Transitional Council to avoid civilian casualties and protect state institutions as it took control of the country.

“Tonight, the momentum against the Qaddafi regime has reached a tipping point,” Mr. Obama said in a statement. “Tripoli is slipping from the grasp of a tyrant. The Qaddafi regime is showing signs of collapsing. The people of Libya are showing that the universal pursuit of dignity and freedom is far stronger than the iron fist of a dictator.”

The shocking collapse of the Qaddafi forces appeared to signal the end for one of the world’s most flamboyant and mercurial political figures, the leader of an idiosyncratic government that was frequently as bizarre as it was brutal.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/22/world/africa/22libya.html?_r=1&hp

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