When injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty

“You don’t want to mess with Mary Jo.”

That’s what President Obama said about his pick to run the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mary Jo White. The nomination of Ms. White, a former prosecutor who took on the terrorists behind the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 and the Mafia boss John Gotti, was meant to signal that the S.E.C. would be getting tough on Wall Street. CBS called her “Wall Street’s new sheriff.” The Wall Street Journal said she would be “putting a tougher face on an agency still tainted by embarrassing enforcement missteps in the run-up to the financial crisis.” The New York Times said her appointment represented a “renewed resolve to hold Wall Street accountable.”

Hold on.

While Ms. White is a decorated prosecutor, she has spent the last decade vigorously defending — and billing by the hour — Wall Street’s biggest banks, as a rainmaking partner at the white-shoe law firm Debevoise & Plimpton. The average partner at the firm was paid $2.1 million a year, according to American Lawyer; but she was no average partner, very likely being paid at least double that. Her husband, John W. White, is a corporate partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore. He counts JPMorgan Chase, Credit Suisse and UBS as clients. The average partner at Cravath makes $3.1 million. He, too, was a former official at the S.E.C. — he left Cravath to run the corporate division of the S.E.C. starting in 2006 just in time for the run-up to the financial crisis. He left in November 2008, a month after the bank bailouts, to return to Cravath.

It seems Mr. and Ms. White have made a fine art of the revolving door between government and private practice.

So how conflicted is Ms. White? Let’s count the ways.

They are well documented: she was JPMorgan Chase’s go-to lawyer for many of the cases brought against it relating to the financial crisis. She was arm-in-arm with Kenneth D. Lewis, Bank of America’s former chief executive, keeping him out of trouble when the New York attorney general accused Mr. Lewis of defrauding investors by not disclosing the losses at Merrill Lynch before completing Bank of America’s acquisition of the firm. (And empirically, Mr. Lewis did keep crucial information about the deal from investors.)

This is what she had to say about Mr. Lewis, in a court filing submitted on his behalf: “Some have looked to assign blame for every aspect of the financial crisis, even where there is no evidence of misconduct. This case is a product of that dynamic and does not withstand either legal or factual scrutiny.” It was a refrain she often made about her clients related to the financial crisis.

And then there was Senator Bill Frist, the Republican from Tennessee, whom she successfully represented when the S.E.C. and the Justice Department started an investigation into whether he was involved in insider trading in shares of HCA, the hospital chain. She persuaded them to shut down the investigation.

She also worked with Siemens, the German industrial giant, when it pleaded guilty to charges of bribery, paying a record $1.6 billion penalty.

And then, of course, there was John Mack. She worked for the board of Morgan Stanley during a now well-publicized 2005 investigation into insider trading that ended soon after she made a phone call to the S.E.C. Using her connections at the top of the agency, she dialed up Linda Thomsen, then the commission’s head of enforcement, to find out whether Mr. Mack, who was being considered for Morgan Stanley’s chief executive position, was being implicated. He ultimately wasn’t. As the Huffington Post pointed out in a recent article about Ms. White, Robert Hanson, an S.E.C. supervisor, later testified, “It is a little out of the ordinary for Mary Jo White to contact Linda Thomsen directly, but that White is very prestigious and it isn’t uncommon for someone prominent to have someone intervene on their behalf.”

All of Ms. White’s previous engagements create not only an “optics” problem, but a practical, on-the-job problem. She will most likely need to recuse herself from just about anything related to her previous work.

I will not for a period of two years from the date of my appointment participate in any particular matter involving specific parties that is directly and substantially related to my former employer or former clients, including regulations and contracts,” is the language in an ethics pledge that she will have to agree to follow.

Some appointees, including Mary L. Schapiro, the former chairwoman of the S.E.C., recused themselves from any involvement in work that was related to a previous employer even after the two-year moratorium. Gary Gensler, the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, recused himself from the investigation into MF Global because of his previous employment at Goldman Sachs, where Jon Corzine was the firm’s head, even though it had been years since the two had worked together.

And then there is the issue of Mr. White’s husband, who will have a continuing role at Cravath, one of the most pre-eminent firms in the country, whose clients include some of the nation’s largest corporations.

“This president has adopted the toughest ethics rules of any administration in history,” said Amy Brundage, a White House spokeswoman, “and this nominee is no exception. As S.E.C. chair, Mary Jo White will be in complete compliance with all ethics rules.”

None of these conflicts gets at another potential problem for Ms. White. The job of chairwoman of S.E.C. isn’t simply about enforcement; she has a deputy for that. The biggest challenge anyone who takes the job will have to confront over the next several years will be executing and enforcing provisions of Dodd-Frank and working to regulate electronic trading — something that even the most sophisticated financial professionals, let alone a lawyer, often have a tough time understanding. She has zero experience in this area.

—> This is one of the biggest conflict of interests I have ever seen. It would make more sense to appoint Bill Maher as Pope. America is in the midst of a change that is going to hurt them very badly in the long term and the short term, but a lot of people on the left are blind to it because it’s their guy in charge, and he was supposed to clean this mess up. Since that isn’t happening, we have drone strikes targeting people all around the world for murder with no trial, invasions of sovereign nations to murder people with, again, no trials, and big banks are making sure they get to stay in the business of gambling with people’s futures by making sure the people who are in charge of investigating them are good friends from the past.

When images of Canada's First Nations people living in mouldy shacks and frosty tents, without toilets or running water, emerged last year, Canadians were shocked.

It was Canada’s “Katrina moment” says Charlie Angus, New Democratic party member for Timmins-James Bay in north Ontario.

Fast forward a year, and progress has been excruciatingly slow. The indigenous community only received 22 trailer homes to deal with the housing crisis. A construction trailer with three bathrooms and a kitchen still caters for around 50 people, according to Angus.

As a result, the chief of the Attawapiskat, Theresa Spence, has been on a hunger strike living in a teepee across from parliament since 11 December as winter descends on Canada’s capital, Ottawa. She says she is willing to die for her people if the Queen and the prime minister, Stephen Harper, don’t meet Canada’s indigenous chiefs to discuss the treaty rights they signed with the crown.

Many of Canada’s aborigines live in what can only be described as developing world conditions.

Chronic underfunding of essential social services and complete collapse of infrastructure on reserves results in high mortality, unemployment, substance abuse, suicide and incarceration.

Early development is obstructed for children on reserves by a bureaucratic financial hole that gives 30% to 50% less educational funding than to other Canadian youngsters.

This has outraged me enough to bring my Tumblr out of hiding. Righteous Indignation. 


Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel’s bombardment of Gaza on Wednesday mark only the beginning of military operations, just hours after Israeli President Shimon Peres called President Obama to update him on the airstrikes.

Israel killed the military commander of Hamas in an airstrike on the Gaza Strip on Wednesday. Israeli troops have massed on the Gaza border, poised for invasion.

This latest surge of violence between Israel and Gaza militants occurred after Israel shot and killed at least two Gazans and intruded into Gaza with tanks and bulldozers. In response, Gaza militants fired a missile at an Israeli army jeep, wounding four soldiers – to which Israel responded with an extended bombardment of airstrikes.

But the Israeli leadership continue to try and claim Hamas initiated the flare up in violence, issuing the same statements of war rhetoric as always.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that no country in the world would accept a situation in which rockets are fired at its citizens and that Israel can’t accept it either.

In the same vein, Netanyahu did not explain why Hamas should accept a situation in which airstrikes, targeted killings, and total economic warfare are unleashed on Palestinians for years on end.

Israel’s Meretz Party leader Zahava Galon said the program of airstrikes and assassinations in Gaza will not be productive.

“The only way to bring peace and quiet in the long-term to the innocent residents of Sderot and communities in Gaza is through the ceasefire agreement and not high profile assassinations,” Gal-on said.

Nitzan Horowitz, another Meretz member, posted on his Facebook: “Stop the escalation in Gaza. It is a petty bloody circle. War will not solve anything.”

Every member of the IDF and the Israeli power structure need to be arrested and tried for crimes against humanity. That’s not to say there’s people on the other side who have their hands clean in this, but Israel’s shameless land grab and destruction of Palestinian lives and property have gone on far too long. Won’t someone else stand up to the bully of the Middle East?


By Lizzie Phelan

Reuters have just reported that the Libyan city of Bani Walid, which despite reports that it was the last to surrender to the NATO led counterinsurgency against the former Libyan government, in fact never did surrender, is being shelled by pro-“government” forces (I put government in parenthesis because there is in fact no authority that can be called a government in Libya, but a vast array of militias that control different areas). The news agency reports that the shelling has so far caused three fatalities including the death of a little girl.

I have also been getting reports over the last few days from Libya that Bani Walid, which has been under siege for about a week (see RT story below), is being threatened with an attack by rebels from Misrata, who have been one of the most notorious elements of the NATO-led insurgency that destroyed Libya’s former government and destabilised the entire country, with ripple effects across the region.

Libya, where everything is made up and US security doesn’t matter.

What, too soon? Maybe if they wanted him to live, they would have protected him better.

The Internet is the last source of information we have that hasn’t been completely corrupted by the powers that be, and that changes on an almost daily basis. We, the people, need to fight back and take to the Internet and ensure that our model for the free passing of thoughts and ideas is protected for future generations.

The Internet is the last source of information we have that hasn’t been completely corrupted by the powers that be, and that changes on an almost daily basis. We, the people, need to fight back and take to the Internet and ensure that our model for the free passing of thoughts and ideas is protected for future generations.


In what labor rights groups are calling a first in Walmart history, workers from multiple stores have walked off the job today. Workers led a one-day work stoppage for nearly a dozen Walmart stores to protest the retail giant’s retaliation for worker’s efforts to organize for better treatment and pay.

“Walmart should not be silencing workers for standing up for what’s good for my store, my co-workers, my family and my community,” Venanzi Luna, a striking worker at the Pico Rivera Walmart, said in a statement. Luna is a member of OUR Walmart, a national Walmart employee organization with a presence in 43 states that’s backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers union.

At a rally today outside the Pico Rivera Walmart where Luna works, workers will tell their stories of struggling to barely get by on Walmart wages and dealing with reduced hours, safety issues and staffing issues. Among those coming out to support the striking workers are plenty of immigrant, labor and religious organizations who say Walmart workers shouldn’t be forced to rely on public assistance to get by, especially as the corporate behemoth turns around $16 billion a year in profits. Walmart has 1.4 million so-called associates around the country, and is union free in its North American stores. Workers on strike today say they are fighting for all of them.

The walkout comes after many months of worker organizing. Last month workers in San Diego and Dallasrallied for better pay, arguing that their wages, workers couldn’t afford health care premiums or even rent. A Walmart spokesperson told the Dallas Morning News after last month’s rally that Walmart workers have “some of the best jobs in the retail industry.” Workers have also walked off the job at distribution centers that serve Walmart in recent months.

Instead of paying so much for PR campaigns, damage control and organizing suppression, Walmart could put that money toward treating its workers better, labor rights groups argue. “Walmart has been forced to pull back from expansion plans in Boston and New York and spend hundreds of millions of dollars on lobbying and PR campaigns to buy support in new markets,” John Marshall, an economist with the UFCW, said in a statement this week. “These additional costs are unnecessary and could be avoided if the company respected its workers’ rights.”

Today’s action comes just days ahead of Walmart’s annual investor meeting on October 10.

YAY! Workers, stand up for your rights!

[We] know that more civilians are being killed, by huge numbers, rather than the people on the so-called ‘kill list.’ That raises a whole other level of illegality that is being committed by the Obama administration in this period, where the idea that a kill list is being created, apparently being approved by the president himself, that gives authority, without any kind of judicial oversight, to the idea that some people of any citizenship, including U.S. citizenship, can be placed on a kill or capture list and subject to the ultimate punishment, to death, without any kind of oversight by any outside agency.


‘Bahrain buys favorable CNN content’

October 3, 2012

Amid a violent crackdown on a popular uprising, Bahrain paid CNN to get favorable coverage, says a former reporter who believes her documentary on the protests there was censored by the network.

Former CNN journalist Amber Lyon made the documentary more than six months ago. It was aired domestically in the US, but never made it to CNN international, raising claims that the management pulled the plug on the story. RT spoke to Lyon to get the full story of what happened.

RT: You feel your documentary should have been aired internationally. Why?

Amber Lyon:I’ve created a lot of documentaries for CNN that didn’t air internationally. Most I feel should’ve been aired internationally because seasoned, decades-long employees have approached me after it wasn’t aired and told me this should’ve been aired on CNN International and told that they felt that something strange was going on and that I should investigate it. And that’s where it was uncovered that we felt that this documentary was censored, because Bahrain was actually a paying customer for CNN. Bahrain is paying CNN to create content that shows Bahrain in a favorable light. Even though CNN says its content is editorially independent Bahrain can affect that – what we’ve seen with that documentary not airing and also with the constant struggle I had at CNN to get Bahrain coverage, accurate coverage of the human rights abuses on-air while I was there.

RT: CNN prides itself as a bastion of excellent journalism and impartiality, but in this case have they let themselves down?

AL: What CNN is doing is they are essentially creating what some people have termed “infomercials for dictators.” And that’s the sponsored content that they are airing on CNN International that is actually being paid for by regimes and governments. And this violates every principle of journalistic ethics, because we’re supposed to be watchdogs on these governments. We are not supposed to allow them to be a paying customer as journalists. And that’s the issue here – that CNN is feeding, then, this propaganda to the public and not fairly disclosing to the public that this is sponsored content.

For example CNN has been doing these programs for Georgia, Kazakhstan, also as we said Bahrain. One of the programs that they aired for Bahrain was called Bahrain i-List and had a CNN reporter Richard Quest lie from Bahrain for one full week. He was live at the racetrack at one point. There were mentions on his page about pearl diving and all the happy sides of Bahrain. But hard to find were the actual accusations from the majority of the Bahrain people that this regime needs to get out and that this regime is abusing and torturing doctors and journalists. Also difficult to find [were] accurate, simple disclosures on the CNN site and on this video telling viewers that this video you’re watching on this news channel – the most trusted name in news – is being paid for by this regime.”

RT: You witnessed first-hand some heavy-handed tactics in Bahrain while you were making this report. Can you tell us about that?

AL:We were able to kind of dodge our minders and sneak into some of the villages and actually see these atrocities – patients who had run out of hospitals that were shot with birdshot, ambulance drivers who were beaten. And as we were heading back out of these villages we were violently detained by security forces in Bahrain. About 20 masked men with machine guns, who then tried to erase all the video that they found, and luckily my female producer and I were able to hide some discs in our bras and we were able to actually get out of the country with this content. You can imagine Bahrain’s surprise when we got back to the US and this content was airing on CNN, and right after that is when the phone calls started coming into the network complaining about me and trying to get my coverage off the air.

There is constant demonization of Syria, Iran and other countries on the US mainstream media, but similar atrocities are happening in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and I think this is an overall really harmful to journalism [sic] theme of these mainstream outlets following in the steps of US government and kind of shadowing how the US government feel about these areas.

You are very hard-pressed to find criticizing [sic] going on of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, but you just see it all day long, demonization of Iran and Syria. This is dangerous to the American public because they are not being given the accurate story and accurate picture of our foreign policy and what’s happening in these other countries, and I fear that we are starting to see a constant demonization of Iran on US networks in what appears to be a systematic matter. For many of us, journalistically, that are noticing this, we are fearing [that] we are going to head into Iraq Number Two, except this time it’s with Iran.


CNN is the farthest thing from news on Television. Even Fox is at least willing to admit they pander to a side. CNN just tells you what they want you to know. As far as I’m concerned, they are just another Letter Agency, like the CIA and FBI, whose job is to misinform the public.

#Fuck the Letter Agencies




“Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Buckingham Palace
London SW1A 1AA
United Kingdom

August 30, 2012

Your Majesty,

I wish to write to you regarding a matter of grave importance to Canadians, and I request your assistance with this matter. The mechanisms Canada had in place to ensure free and fair democratic elections appear to be failing. 

Many Canadians are concerned that our democracy is endangered, due to election infractions in our most recent elections, the lack of investigation of infractions, the de-funding of investigative bodies, and unprecedented prorogations of Canada’s Parliament, which threaten to undermine the fundamental basis of democracy in Canada. I write to request that Your Majesty Commission a Royal Inquiry to investigate what may potentially be criminal activities which influenced Canada’s last election, and that the aim of the Royal Inquiry be to restore Canada to a free and fair democracy.

Shortly following the last election, I wrote to the head of Elections Canada to express these concerns. I have also repeatedly requested in Parliament that Prime Minister Stephen Harper Commission a Royal Commission of Inquiry. I have never received any response. I remain concerned that with Canadian elections in question, that the current government in power may not be legitimate.

Furthermore, because of the nature of political appointments in Canada, I am concerned there may not be an appropriate vice-regal or appointee within Canada who would be able to objectively undertake the important task of investigating Canada’s elections.

I will, by copy of this letter, share these concerns and request with the Governor General of Canada.  I request that Your Majesty please seek a resolution which will benefit all Canadians, by restoring Canadians’ confidence that we can have a free and fair democracy.

I have the honour to be, Madam, Your Majesty’s humble and obedient servant,

Elizabeth May,
Officer of the Order of Canada,
Leader of the Green Party of Canada
Member of Parliament, Saanich-Gulf Islands

Copy to: Governor General of Canada”

Elizabeth May, being her perfect self. 

Elizabeth May is pretty Bamf!
I really wish she was given the respect the other party leaders get.

It’s a paper entitled: Preparing for a Post-Israel Middle East, an 82-page analysis that concludes that the American national interest in fundamentally at odds with that of Zionist Israel. The authors conclude that Israel is currently the greatest threat to US national interests because its nature and actions prevent normal US relations with Arab and Muslim countries and, to a growing degree, the wider international community.

The study was commissioned by the US Intelligence Community comprising 16 American intelligence agencies with an annual budget in excess of $ 70 billion. The IC includes the departments of the Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Defense Intelligence Agency, Departments of Energy, Homeland Security, State, Treasury, Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Security Agency, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Agency and the
Central Intelligence Agency commissioned the study.

There are some findings that Ros-Lehtenin and Kristol and other unregistered agents of Israel will likely try to exploit politically between now and November 6, by using them to attack the Obama Administration. A sampling of the findings includes the following:

Israel, given its current brutal occupation and belligerence cannot be salvaged any more than apartheid South Africa could be when as late as 1987 Israel was the only “Western” nation that upheld diplomatic ties with South Africa and was the last country to join the international boycott campaign before the regime collapsed;

Ahh, so even in the land of the blind, a few people have gathered enough data to come to the same conclusion the rest of us have for years now:

Brutal, bully-style governments are always going to get cracked down upon by the USA. As well they should, too. If they were too powerful in their brutality, it may lead to the demise of their brutal, quick to anger and faster to escalate overseer - The ol’ USA.