Thursday, March 31, 2016

(Hillary Dead Wrong)  You Better Sit Down, Liberals  (Obama's 10,000% TPP Tariffs) Liberalism of the Rich? Hillary Textposed  (Who's in the Bag for Whom?)  Is It the Neolib $$$ or the Required Malleability?  (Don't Panic - It's Your Government)  Caspersen Makes Off - Dodd-Frank Cuckolded  (Who Thought Madoff Not So Influential?)

Hillary Dead Wrong ?

As the Democratic primary race tightens, Hillary Clinton has been trying to cast opponent Bernie Sanders as unrealistic and "pie in the sky," but a leading University of Massachusetts economist says such criticisms are "dead wrong" and, in fact, the Vermont senator's proposals are precisely what will "make the economy great again."
In a column published at "The Nation" on Tuesday, Robert Pollin, distinguished professor in economics at UMass Amherst and co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), examines the major policy items under Sanders' economic agenda. These include a single-payer healthcare system; increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour; free tuition at public colleges and universities, to be financed by a "Robin Hood" tax on Wall Street transactions; and large-scale public investments in renewable energy and infrastructure.
Pollin's conclusion:  this program works, handily.
"All of his major proposals are grounded in solid economic reasoning and evidence," Pollin states.
"Overall, the Sanders program is capable of raising living standards and reducing insecurity for working people and the poor, expanding higher educational opportunities, and reversing the decades-long trend toward rising inequality," Pollin writes. "It could bring Wall Street’s dominance under control and help prevent a repeat of the financial crisis. It will also strongly support investments in education, clean energy, and public infrastructure, generating millions of good jobs in the process."
Pollin's analysis builds on previous research, including his own. It takes a big-picture look at the potential impact of Sanders' policies, refuting claims made by Clinton and her supporters that they would stymie job and economic growth.

Think Trump's 45 Percent Tariffs Are Bad? Try Obama's 10,000 Percent Tariffs

While Trump wants to put large tariffs on imports from some of our major trading partners, President Obama is actively pushing to have far larger tariffs imposed on a wide range of goods in his trade deals, most importantly the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Measures in the TPP pushed by US negotiators will raise the price of many items by several thousand percent above the free market price.

If you missed this discussion, it's because these trade barriers are referred to as "intellectual property," which takes the form of patent and copyright protection. But markets don't care what term politicians use to describe a government imposed barrier. If a patent monopoly raises the price of a protected drug by 10,000 percent, it leads to the same sort of waste and corruption as if the government imposed a tariff of 10,000 percent, except that in the case of prescription drugs, high prices can also threaten lives.

If a price increase of 10,000 percent sounds high, you haven't been paying attention to what the drug industry charges for its new drugs. For example, the list price for the Hepatitis C drug Sovaldi is $84,000 for a three-month course of treatment. A recent analysis found that Indian manufacturers can profitably produce the drug for just $200 per three-month course of treatment, suggesting a tariff equivalent of more than 40,000 percent.

And we have ample evidence that patent monopolies produce the same sort of distortions that trade theory predicts from extraordinarily high tariffs. First, we have a whole army of lobbyists who descend on government officials constantly pushing for stronger and longer patent protections. The industry employs a fleet of highly paid lawyers who attempt to intimidate generic competitors from entering a market, even if legitimate claims to protection have already expired.
The industry employs a massive number of sales representatives to push their drugs to doctors. And, we are treated to silly television ads that try to get patients to pressure doctors into prescribing drugs even when there is no reason to think they would help them.

Remember why we can't guarantee our financial well-being?

Keep paying attention.

It's not going away on its own.

Another Sudden Death of a JPMorgan Worker:  34-Year Old Jason Alan Salais*
JPMorgan Vice President’s Death in London Shines a Light on the Bank’s Close Ties to the CIA **
As Bank Deaths Continue to Shock, Documents Reveal JPMorgan Has Been Patenting Death Derivatives
JPMorgan and Madoff Were Facilitating Nesting Dolls-Style Frauds

Remember how easy it was for the news media to overlook and/or dismiss as not suspicious what even Nancy Drew would have considered pretty simple cases to pursue?

It ain't over.

'Til it's over.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _

One of my favorite economists/writers has a new book that encapsulates almost everything about today's politics that has been driving our country crazy.

Not the rich, of course.

They're fine.

And here's why.

Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?

Reading Thomas Frank's new book, Listen, Liberal, or What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?, I was reminded of the snapshot that Oxfam offered us early this year:  62 billionaires now have more wealth than the bottom 50% of the global population, while the richest 1% own more than the other 99% combined. And in case you’re wondering in which direction inequality is trending on Planet Earth, note that in 2010, it took 388 of the super-rich to equal the holdings of that bottom 50%. At this rate in the inequality sweepstakes, by 2030, just the top 10 billionaires might do the trick.

Let me just add that, as Frank makes clear in his brilliant new work, Donald Trump doesn’t have to win the presidency for billionaires to stand triumphant on the American part of our planet.

Hillary Clinton will do just fine, thank you.

Listen, Liberal is, in a sense, a history of how, from the Clintonesque 1990s on, the Democratic Party managed to ditch the working class (hello, Donald Trump!) and its New Deal tradition, throw its support behind a rising “professional” and technocratic class, and go gaga over Wall Street and those billionaires to come.

In the process, its leaders fell in love with Goldman Sachs and every miserable trade pact that hit town, led the way in deregulating the financial system, and helped launch what Frank terms “the greatest wave of insider looting ever seen;” the party, that is, went Silicon Valley and left Flint, Michigan, to the Republicans. Only a few years after Bill Clinton vacated the Oval Office, the financial system he and his team had played such a role in deregulating had to be rescued, lock, stock, and barrel from ultimate collapse. Quite a record all in all.

Put another way, as Frank makes clear, in these years the Democrats (with obvious exceptions) became a more or less traditional Republican party. And if the Democrats are now the party of inequality, then what in the world are the Republicans? Don’t even get me started on the cliff that crew walked off of.

As I was perusing the latest news about the economic/political entanglements at the better-known liberal online truth sites, it occurred to me that, of course, so many of these outsiders have benefitted so handsomely from the Democratic Party Neoliberalism of the last two decades that you'd have had to have a true outsider break the silence with the real, actual truth from time to time.

Who's in the bag for whom?

The courageous John Pilger strikes again.

At the heart of fake democracy.

And he's a bad bad bad bad boy for it.

Ask any of the "liberal" media.

A virulent if familiar censorship is about to descend on the US election campaign. As the cartoon brute, Donald Trump, seems almost certain to win the Republican Party’s nomination, Hillary Clinton is being ordained both as the “women’s candidate” and the champion of American liberalism in its heroic struggle with the Evil One.

This is drivel, of course; Hillary Clinton leaves a trail of blood and suffering around the world and a clear record of exploitation and greed in her own country. To say so, however, is becoming intolerable in the land of free speech.

The 2008 presidential campaign of Barack Obama should have alerted even the most dewy-eyed. Obama based his “hope” campaign almost entirely on the fact of an African-American aspiring to lead the land of slavery. He was also “antiwar”.

Obama was never antiwar. On the contrary, like all American presidents, he was pro-war. He had voted for George W. Bush’s funding of the slaughter in Iraq and he was planning to escalate the invasion of Afghanistan.

In the weeks before he took the presidential oath, he secretly approved an Israeli assault on Gaza, the massacre known as Operation Cast Lead.

He promised to close the concentration camp at Guantanamo and did not. He pledged to help make the world “free from nuclear weapons” and did the opposite.

As a new kind of marketing manager for the status quo, the unctuous Obama was an inspired choice. Even at the end of his blood-spattered presidency, with his signature drones spreading infinitely more terror and death around the world than that ignited by jihadists in Paris and Brussels, Obama is fawned on as “cool” (the "Guardian").
On March 23, "CounterPunch" published my article, “A World War has Begun:  Break the Silence”. As has been my practice for years, I then syndicated the piece across an international network, including, the liberal American website.  "Truthout" publishes some important journalism, not least Dahr Jamail’s outstanding corporate exposes.
"Truthout" rejected the piece because, said an editor, it had appeared on "CounterPunch" and had broken “guidelines.”  I replied that this had never been a problem over many years and I knew of no guidelines.
My recalcitrance was then given another meaning. The article was reprieved provided I submitted to a “review” and agreed to changes and deletions made by Truthout’s “editorial committee.” The result was the softening and censoring of my criticism of Hillary Clinton, and the distancing of her from Trump. The following was cut:

Trump is a media hate figure. That alone should arouse our scepticism. Trump’s views on migration are grotesque, but no more grotesque than David Cameron. It is not Trump who is the Great Deporter from the United States, but the Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama …

The danger to the rest of us is not Trump, but Hillary Clinton. She is no maverick. She embodies the resilience and violence of a system … As presidential election day draws near, Clinton will be hailed as the first female president, regardless of her crimes and lies – just as Barack Obama was lauded as the first black president and liberals swallowed his nonsense about “hope”.
The “editorial committee” clearly wanted me to water down my argument that Clinton represented a proven extreme danger to the world.  Like all censorship, this was unacceptable. Maya Schenwar, who runs "Truthout," wrote to me that my unwillingness to submit my work to a “process of revision” meant she had to take it off her “publication docket”.  Such is the gatekeeper’s way with words.
At the root of this episode is an enduring unsayable. This is the need, the compulsion, of many liberals in the United States to embrace a leader from within a system that is demonstrably imperial and violent. Like Obama’s “hope”, Clinton’s gender is no more than a suitable facade.

It's Madoff time déjà-vu all over again.

More bailouts? Or will this perp get real jail time for abusing the tenuously legislated new rules that Dodd-Frank put in place to guard against further encroachments by the banksters on the savings of the middle and lower class?

The Justice Department is calling this a $95 million fraud because on top of the $24.6 million that was defrauded from the charity, Caspersen attempted to obtain “an additional $20 million investment from the same charitable foundation and a $50 million investment from another multinational private equity firm headquartered in New York,” ostensibly to cover up the first fraud in a Ponzi-like operation when the charity demanded its first $25 million back. Caspersen failed to obtain the additional sums.

The sweaty palms on Wall Street stem from the fact that some very big names are involved here. While the fraud was taking place, Caspersen was a managing director at PJT Partners Inc., whose largest shareholder is Blackstone Chief Executive Stephen Schwarzman. PJT trades on the New York Stock Exchange and the shares tanked yesterday on the news of Caspersen’s arrest, initially dropping as much as 24 percent before closing down a little over 10 percent.

A major law firm, Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison – the firm that has serially represented Citigroup over fraud charges – was brought in by PJT to investigate the matter according to Bloomberg News.

But the biggest bombshell comes from the related complaint brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission against Caspersen. One of the four largest banks in the U.S., Bank of America, was where Caspersen set up the fake investment account, wired $25 million into it and then transferred $17.6 million out of it into his own personal brokerage account according to the Justice Department complaint.

That should simply not have happened at a major U.S. bank.

It raises serious questions as to (1) why Bank of America’s compliance staff were asleep at the switch; (2) what was the name of the brokerage firm that received the funds and why did they violate longstanding procedures and accept funds from a corporate-named account into a personal-named account; (3) was the matter referred to the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen) office that investigates money laundering; (4) why is the Justice Department withholding from the public the names of all the firms and people involved, other than Caspersen; and (5) why did the U.S. Attorney’s Office put Kurt Hafer in charge of the case, when he’s only been with the Justice Department for less than two months?

. . . The Justice Department complaint also suggests that someone at the unnamed brokerage firm got suspicious of dubious dealings around December 2, 2015.

It informed Caspersen that it was going to close the account and gave him just two days to remove the remaining assets.

The question is, did that brokerage firm file a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) with FinCen.

What Caspersen was engaging in has a familiar ring to what Bernie Madoff was doing with Norman F. Levy during the heyday of his Ponzi scheme:  transferring large sums of money from the Madoff corporate account at JPMorgan into Levy’s personal account with JPMorgan failing to file Suspicious Activity Reports with FinCen. (See our in-depth report on that matter below.)

So the final question is, how long will Americans continue to tolerate the SEC and Justice Department denying the public a full accounting of what’s going on in those well-heeled and well-protected mahogany corridors of Wall Street?

(Related Article on Money Laundering)
Bombshell Documents Vanish in the JPMorgan-Madoff Investigation

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos, and the Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, Jennifer Shasky Calvery, took turns at the podium excoriating JPMorgan for observing brazen, long-term money laundering activity occurring under its nose in the business bank account it held for Bernard Madoff while ignoring its legally mandated duty to file a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) with the federal government.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, known throughout Wall Street and the banking world as FinCEN, is a bureau of the U.S. Treasury Department that receives the SARs and is tasked with making sure the reports are seriously investigated.

JPMorgan Chase and its predecessor banks, Chase Manhattan and Chemical, oversaw Madoff’s primary business account for more than 20 years. During that time, flagrant money laundering signs should have set off automated bells, whistles and sirens inside the banks and triggered repeated SARs to FinCEN. None were filed by JPMorgan or its predecessor banks according to U.S. law enforcement until after Madoff turned himself in.

The brazenness of the activity was captured in a 2011 court complaint filed against JPMorgan by Irving Picard, the trustee of the Madoff victims’ fund. Picard told the court that “during 2002, Madoff initiated outgoing transactions to [Norman F.] Levy in the precise amount of $986,301 hundreds of times — 318 separate times, to be exact.

These highly unusual transactions often occurred multiple times on a single day. As another example, from December 2001 to March 2003, the total monthly dollar amounts coming into the 703 Account from Levy were almost always equal to the total monthly dollar amounts going out of the 703 Account to Levy.

There was no clear economic purpose for such repetitive transactions that had no net impact on Levy’s account at BLMIS [Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities]. There was a huge spike in activity between Levy and the 703 Account in December 2001. In that month alone, Madoff engaged in approximately $6.8 billion worth of transactions with Levy…” (The term “703 Account” refers to Madoff’s primary business account at JPMorgan Chase which ended in the numbers “703.”)

Making JPMorgan’s failure to report even worse in U.S. law enforcement eyes was the fact that it did file a report of suspicious activity by Madoff with the United Kingdom’s Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) on October 28, 2008 but failed to file the same report with U.S. authorities.

FinCEN’s Jennifer Shasky Calvery was particularly harsh in her assessment of JPMorgan’s failure to file a SAR at the press conference on January 7, where JPMorgan was charged with two felony counts, given a deferred prosecution agreement that puts the bank on probation for two years, and a $1.7 billion fine payable to the U.S. Department of Justice that will be distributed to Madoff’s victims. (Including the payment to the Justice Department and other Federal regulators and civil litigants, JPMorgan paid a total of $2.6 billion in the Madoff matter.)

Calvery said: “…it’s about lost opportunities and the catastrophic consequences that can flow. When JPMorgan failed to file a SAR with FinCEN, an opportunity to stop this fraud was missed. JPMorgan’s concerns about potential fraud went unheard, leaving law enforcement and regulators in the dark.”

Calvery is no Johnny-come-lately. She has served as Director of FinCEN since September 23, 2012. Prior to that she had a 15-year career at the U.S. Department of Justice where her focus was on money laundering and organized crime.

The takeaway from this press conference was clearly that the biggest crime committed by JPMorgan was its failure to file the SAR, thus aiding the “catastrophic consequences” that continued against Madoff’s victims. But what if another bank had filed a SAR in the matter with FinCEN and Federal law enforcement did nothing. What if Federal law enforcement or FinCEN is equally responsible for the “catastrophic consequences” that have destroyed the lives of Madoff victims throughout the U.S. and around the globe?

Within the documents filed against JPMorgan on January 7 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, we learn that in the 1990s another bank where Madoff held an account observed these round-trip transactions between Madoff and Levy and filed a SAR with FinCEN. According to the U.S. Attorney’s documents, Madoff was writing checks from an account at “Madoff Bank 2” – a bank other than JPMorgan – to Levy, a mutual customer of both Madoff’s firm and JPMorgan.

Later the same day, Madoff would transfer money from his primary business account at JPMorgan to his account at Madoff Bank 2 to cover the earlier check. In the final leg of the transaction, Levy would transfer funds from his own JPMorgan Chase account to Madoff’s primary business account at JPMorgan in an amount sufficient to cover Madoff’s original check to him.

Levy is not mentioned by name in these documents but it’s clear from Picard’s earlier filing that the client involved is Levy. The documents also mention in a footnote that this client died in September 2005, the date of Levy’s death at age 93. Levy was a Manhattan real estate broker and one of Madoff’s largest and oldest clients.

According to the documents, Bank 2 investigated these round-trip transactions, met with Madoff employees, and concluded there was “no legitimate business purpose for these transactions, which appeared to be a ‘check kiting’ scheme.” Bank 2 terminated its relationship with Madoff Securities and filed its SAR with FinCEN, along with details about the facilitating actions of Levy and JPMorgan Chase’s predecessor bank, Chase Manhattan.

If the SAR was filed in the 90s, "Wall Street On Parade" wondered why a Federal investigation had not exposed Madoff at that time when the funds he ultimately stole from investors would have been significantly less. We filed a Freedom of Information Act request with FinCEN.

A stunning response came back on January 20 of this year:  there are no documents suggesting an investigation ever resulted from the 1990s SAR. (See FinCEN Response to FOIA from "Wall Street On Parade" in JPMorgan-Madoff Matter.)

Amanda Michanczyk, a Disclosure Officer at FinCEN wrote:  “…we conducted a thorough search of our investigative and enforcement records for the time period estimated in your request using search terms you provided and can find no documents responsive to your request.”

This is what is called the “Wow Factor.” The Feds slap a $1.7 billion penalty on a bank, file a two-felony count indictment against it, put it on probation for two years – all for not filing a Suspicious Activity Report and yet when a bank did file a Suspicious Activity Report no documents exist to show there was ever an investigation. Welcome to the Orwellian juncture of high finance and Federal regulators.

We are left to ponder if the investigative documents have been shredded, stolen, or no investigation ever occurred.

Last week, David Rosenfeld of the law firm Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Central Laborers’ Pension Fund and Steamfitters Local 449 Pension Fund against 13 current and former executives of JPMorgan and its Board of Directors, including Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon. The lawsuit charges these individuals with “recklessly permitting the Company to facilitate and perpetuate Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme in the face of repeated and glaring warnings signs, and willfully failing to establish an adequate AML [anti-money-laundering] program.”

The lawsuit calls attention to what the Justice Department did not tell the public when it settled the case against JPMorgan:  “The Statement of Facts depict a bank with unparalleled insight into Madoff’s fraud.  However, the extent to which JPMorgan’s actual knowledge of or willful blindness to Madoff’s fraud reached the highest echelon of the Bank is not disclosed in the Deferred Prosecution Agreement, nor anywhere else in the public record.”

Anyone who has ever worked as a relationship manager or a stock broker at a major Wall Street bank knows that there is only one way that flagrant signs of money laundering are ignored over decades.

Someone in a position of power had to shut down the automated warning system on this account and/or quash any internal investigations.

The fact that when FinCEN received a SAR from another major bank, it still did not investigate (someone has erased the details of that investigation) raises the additional alarm that someone in a position of power may have influenced that investigation inappropriately.

The Justice Department’s role in potentially preventing a full public accounting of the Madoff fraud was further called into question in December when news broke that the Justice Department had killed a subpoena request for internal JPMorgan documents related to the Madoff fraud that had been made by its primary bank regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and supported by a second demand from the Inspector General of the U.S. Treasury.

Why the Justice Department would block regulators from obtaining critical documents, why FinCEN has no documents pertaining to the 1990s SAR filing, why brazen round-trip money laundering was allowed to continue at a major Wall Street bank are all issues waiting for transparent answers.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

*  Two young employees engaged in computer technology dying in such a short span of time might seem bizarre at a bank. But JPMorgan is not just any bank when it comes to computer technology. According to Anish Bhimani, the Chief Information Risk Officer at JPMorgan Chase, in an interview published at the Information Networking Institute (INI) at Carnegie Mellon, JPMorgan has “more software developers than Google, and more technologists than Microsoft…we get to build things at scale that have never been done before.”
Let that sink in for a moment: a bank that has “more software developers than Google.” The growing concern in Congress is that America’s biggest bank by assets is now so complex in terms of derivative risks on and off its books and software programs that are incomprehensible to its regulators, that it could pose systemic risk to the U.S. economy in a replay of the Citigroup debacle of 2008.

Six days after the death of Magee, Ryan Crane, an Executive Director involved in trading at JPMorgan’s New York office, was found dead in his home in Stamford, Connecticut on February 3.  No cause of death or circumstances surrounding the death has been released to the public.

The Chief Medical Examiner’s office will only say that the cause of death is “pending” and final results will not be announced for several more weeks. "Wall Street On Parade" called the Stamford Police last week to ask for the police incident report. Under Connecticut sunshine laws that report should be available to the press. We were informed that if we were able to obtain the incident report, most information would likely be redacted.

Crane’s death on February 3 was not reported by any major media until February 13, ten days later, when Bloomberg News ran a brief story.

On February 18 of last week, again reports emerged of many witnesses having seen a 33-year old JPMorgan employee jump from the rooftop of a 30-story office building, Chater House, in Hong Kong where JPMorgan leases space. No eyewitnesses have been identified by name.

The decedent’s age and the fact he was employed by JPMorgan is all that the media can agree on. The "South China Morning Post," an English language newspaper in Hong Kong, has published four articles calling the deceased an “investment banker” and warning that stress in this job may lead to suicide. The "South China Morning Post"’s competitor in Hong Kong, "The Standard," also an English language newspaper, reports that the employee is an accountant working in the finance department at JPMorgan – about as far removed from an investment banker as one could get.

The man’s name has been reported by various media in all of the following incarnations:  Dennis Li, Li Junjie, Dennis Li Jun Jie, and Dennis Lee.

Despite four emails to Joe Evangelisti, a Managing Director and spokesperson for JPMorgan, Evangelisti would not provide the name and job title for the deceased employee, saying only that “Our HK team communicated with reporters late last week on this. Here’s the Bloomberg story.” The Bloomberg story provided by Evangelisti was seven sentences long and does not appear on the U.S. web site of Bloomberg News. The earlier story by Bloomberg News, circulated further at the San Francisco Chronicle, depicted the employee as a “foreign exchange trader” citing the (wait for it) "South China Morning Post."

When "Wall Street On Parade" pointed out via email to Evangelisti that under Fair Disclosure rules (Reg FD) a publicly traded company in the U.S. has an obligation to issue its press releases to everyone at the same time and that we would like a direct statement from him on the employee’s name and job title (not another media outlet’s interpretation of JPMorgan’s statement), "Wall Street On Parade" heard no further from Evangelisti, despite openly copying the media relations folks at the Securities and Exchange Commission on the entire email thread.

The "New York Post" pointed out in its reporting that there is “no other known link between any of the deaths” outside of the individuals working for the same company. In fact, there are numerous links:  all of the men are in their 30s, while according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the expected longevity in 2011 for a U.S. male is 76.3 years.

All of the men are believed to have been covered by a life insurance policy which pays JPMorgan upon the death of its employees. (Insurance experts say that larger death benefits can be obtained on younger, highly skilled workers because the death benefit is a function of the number of years of lost earnings.)

But perhaps the most important link is this:  three weeks before the death of Salais and within a little more than a month of the other deaths, JPMorgan had been put under a form of probation by the U.S. Justice Department.

In exchange for a Deferred Prosecution Agreement that ran for two years and $1.7 billion in fines to avoid the criminal indictment of individuals and the firm for facilitating the largest financial fraud in U.S. history, Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, JPMorgan was forced to agree to “secure the attendance and truthful statements or testimony of any past or current officers, agents, or employees at any meeting or interview or before the grand jury … provide in a responsive and prompt fashion, and upon request, on an expedited schedule, all documents, records, information and other evidence in JPMorgan’s possession, custody or control as may be requested by the Office, the FBI, or designated governmental agency … bring to the Office’s attention all criminal conduct by JPMorgan or any of its employees … commit no crimes under the federal laws of the United States subsequent to the execution of this Agreement.”

When a rash of sudden deaths occur among a most unlikely cohort of 30-year olds at a bank that has just settled felony charges and been put on notice that it will be indicted if it commits any further felonies; when it is currently under investigation on multiple continents for potentially committing criminal acts in the realm of interest rate and/or foreign exchange rigging — for the press to cavalierly call these deaths “non suspicious” before inquests have been conducted and findings released by medical examiners shows an unseemly indifference to a worker’s life and an alarming insensitivity to the grief-stricken families still searching for answers.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _

**  We now know that it was not only the Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Treasury Department’s FinCEN, and bank examiners from the Comptroller of the Currency who missed the Madoff fraud, it was top snoops at the CIA in the very city where Madoff was headquartered.

Stein gives us even less reason to feel confident about this situation, writing that the NR “knows some titans of finance are not above being romanced. Most love hanging out with the agency’s top spies — James Bond and all that — and being solicited for their views on everything from the street’s latest tricks to their meetings with, say, China’s finance minister.

JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon and Goldman Sach’s Lloyd Blankfein, one former CIA executive recalls, loved to get visitors from Langley.

And the CIA loves them back, not just for their patriotic cooperation with the spy agency, sources say, but for the influence they have on Capitol Hill, where the intelligence budgets are hashed out.”

Higgins is not the only former CIA operative to work at JPMorgan. According to a LinkedIn profile, Bud Cato, a Regional Security Manager for JPMorgan Chase, worked for the CIA in foreign clandestine operations from 1982 to 1995; then went to work for The Coca-Cola Company until 2001; then back to the CIA as an Operations Officer in Afghanistan, Iraq and other Middle East countries until he joined JPMorgan in 2011.

In addition to Higgins and Cato, JPMorgan has a large roster of former Secret Service, former FBI and former law enforcement personnel employed in security jobs. And, as we have reported repeatedly, it still shares a space with the NYPD in a massive surveillance operation in lower Manhattan which has been dubbed the Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center.

JPMorgan and Jamie Dimon have received a great deal of press attention for the whopping $4.6 million that JPMorgan donated to the New York City Police Foundation. Leonard Levitt, of NYPD Confidential, wrote in 2011 that New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly “has amended his financial disclosure forms after this column revealed last October that the Police Foundation had paid his dues and meals at the Harvard Club for the past eight years.

Kelly now acknowledges he spent $30,000 at the Harvard Club between 2006 and 2009, according to the Daily News.”

JPMorgan is also listed as one of the largest donors to a nonprofit Foundation that provides college tuition assistance to the children of fallen CIA operatives, the CIA Officers Memorial Foundation. The Foundation also notes in a November 2013 publication, the "Compass," that it has enjoyed the fundraising support of Maurice (Hank) Greenberg.

According to the publication, Greenberg “sponsored a fundraiser on our behalf. His guest list included the "Who’s Who" of the financial services industry in New York, and they gave generously.”

Hank Greenberg is the former Chairman and CEO of AIG which collapsed into the arms of the U.S. taxpayer, requiring a $182 billion bailout.

In 2006, AIG paid $1.64 billion to settle federal and state probes into fraudulent activities. In 2010, the company settled a shareholders’ lawsuit for $725 million that accused it of accounting fraud and stock price manipulation.

In 2009, Greenberg settled SEC fraud charges against him related to AIG for $15 million.

Before the death of Gabriel Magee, the public had lost trust in the Justice Department and Wall Street regulators to bring these financial firms to justice for an unending spree of fleecing the public.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Bernie Sign-on  (Real Delegate Count?)  Bernie Sanders Wins Over 70% of Votes in Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii  (Managerial Burnout)  Trump Virus No Surprise

Bernie Sanders for President

Friend -

You have to see this "Wall Street Journal" headline from late last week:

"Hillary Clinton Begins Shift to the General Election"

Unfortunately for the Clinton campaign's plans, voters got in the way. We've won six of the last seven contests, and took 82% of the vote in Alaska, 73% in Washington, and 70% in Hawaii.

Here’s the truth:  the Clinton campaign and their allies in the financial and political establishment are desperately trying to write us off.

Their goal is to get you to stop fighting — to stop volunteering, to stop donating — because they know that if we continue to stand together, we can win.

Jeff Weaver
Bernie Sanders Campaign Manager

Friends, let's thank our Facebook fans for this Birdie True Vote Count video.

Watch it!

And, no, I haven't seen Bernie dance like that before.

Bernie Sanders Wins Alaska, Washington and Hawaii Caucuses in a Landslide

emocratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders easily won nominating contests in Alaska, Washington and Hawaii on Saturday, chipping away at front-runner Hillary Clinton's commanding lead in the race to pick the party's candidate for the White House.
Sanders still faces a steep climb to overtake Clinton but the big victories in the West generated more momentum for his upstart campaign and could stave off calls from Democratic leaders that he should wrap up his bid in the name of party unity.
. . . "We are making significant inroads in Secretary Clinton's lead and ... we have a path to victory," Sanders told cheering, chanting supporters in Madison, Wisconsin. "It is hard for anybody to deny that our campaign has the momentum."
Clinton, the former secretary of state, has increasingly turned her attention toward a potential Nov. 8 general election showdown against Republican front-runner Donald Trump, claiming she is on the path to wrapping up the nomination.
. . . Sanders has repeatedly said he is staying in the race until the convention, pointing to big crowds at his rallies and high turnout among young and first-time voters as proof of his viability. After raising $140 million, he has the money to fight on as long as he wants.
He has energized the party's liberal base and young voters with his calls to rein in Wall Street and fight income inequality, a message that resonated in liberal Washington and other Western states.
"Don't let anybody tell you we can't win the nomination or the general election," Sanders told supporters in Wisconsin, which holds the next contest on April 5. "We are going to do both."
. . .After Wisconsin, the Democratic race moves to contests in New York on April 19 and a bloc of five states in the Northeast, led by Pennsylvania, on April 26.

 # cmp 2016-03-27 11:21

This Presidential Primary runs for 134 days, (Feb 1st to June 14th.) It's criminal that the Dem Party would allow the Owner Media to report superdelegates who have not yet Legally Voted. .. No Election should ever be held with a Phantom Lead that serves as a Finger on the Scale..

The District of Columbia votes on June 14th. They have 672,228 total residents. Arizona has 6.83 Million residents and 917,411 Registered Democrats. The District of Columbia, was awarded by the Dem Party 26 superdelegates, and Arizona was awarded 10.

I believe, the time is more than ripe for each one of us, to have a conversation with each of our State Democratic Parties. .. And, ask them, just why Super Delegates - who can Still Legally Change Their Vote - Are Being Reported Today.

.. Also, ask them - if they would publicly state that the superdelegate votes are "Too Early To Report (Estimate)" until, the remaining States and Dems have voted, or maybe even until the Convention itself, where they can consult with their Pledged Delegates.

# DrD 2016-03-27 13:20

Here is the list of Superdelegates and who they have committed to.,_2016

Everyone who lives in a state where Bernie has won a primary by a yuuge margin should contact their state's Superdelegates and ask why they are supporting Clinton if their state is strongly for Bernie??

The voters can put pressure on them. I've noticed that no additional superdelegates have pledged support for her for about a month so I think the tide may be turning.

# Radscal 2016-03-27 09:28 In Pledged (won) delegates, HRC now has just 22% more than Sanders. (1243 to 975).

But once again, voting "irregularities " that favored HRC were legion in AZ.

There were some Exit Polls taken during the voting, and they had Sanders up 60% to 40% and 70% to 30%. But, with 1% or 2% of the precincts reported, the corporate media announced HRC the winner!

And mind you, due to the long lines (and FOUR FAKE BOMB THREATS that closed polling stations while the bomb squad checked them out), there were tens of thousands of voters still waiting in line when those "results" were announced.

Remember that Republican tactic of scrubbing eligible voters from the rolls in FL in 2000?

Well, an unknown number of thousands of registered Democrats showed up to vote, but were told they were NOT registered.

Most were given provisional ballots, but I'm not holding my breath to read the new results once all those provisionals have been verified and added to the vote tally.

And the AZ Sanders campaign reported a possible hack of their data base the week before the Primary.

If you care about election integrity, please sign the White House Petition to have the AZ primary investigated:
# virtualaudio 2016-03-27 12:32

Even better, let's call for a RE-VOTE in AZ:

Considering the irregularities, maybe the UN should get involved:

If you were wrongly denied voting in #AZPrimary contact the FEC

… and EAC

… with your complaint!
# Inspired Citizen 2016-03-27 09:43
#BernieOrBust pledge-takers in caucus states are encouraged to hand out a flyer to people in line going into caucus. It reads:

Attention: genuine progressives across the nation are pledging to either write in Bernie Sanders or vote Green in the general election, unless he's the Party nominee. 14% in our party refuse to support another Wall Street-backed Democrat. As much as we’d would like to see a woman in the White House for a change, Hillary is not a change from the hawkish and pro-corporate government we are all weary of. We can't risk a repeat of 2000 and end up having a Republican appoint the next Supreme Court judges. If we want to win in November, we need to unite behind Bernie, not candidate Clinton who is under FBI investigation.  
# grandlakeguy 2016-03-27 12:08 
Yesterday afternoon along with with millions of like minded Americans I shared the excitement and optimism of Bernie's landslide victories. Today I expected to see banner front page headlines about the amazing and important margins that demonstrate the ever growing momentum of Bernie's popularity.
I eagerly opened my SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE (the main Northern California paper) looking for those headlines. 
I finally found this AP story on page 6 with a headline "Sanders wins Alaska and Washington state" nowhere in the article were the enormous margins of Bernie's victories even mentioned. 
Rather the focus was slanted with statements like this opening paragraph of the piece: 
"Bernie Sanders scored a duo of wins in Western caucus contests Saturday, giving a powerful psychological boost to his supporters but doing little to move him closer to securing the Democratic nomination."

Thank goodness we have the internet which has become the real source of information. 
Traditional media is dying and they deserve that fate as the reward for the slanted and biased propaganda that they inflict on their readers and viewers. 

 # intheEPZ 2016-03-27 17:06
List of superdelegates here. Write to those in your state and tell them to remain uncommitted or switch to Bernie!,_2016
_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Several other current sources provide even more facts worth considering:

The Clintons Have Not Changed: The Clintonian War on the IGs
Bernie Sanders Pulls Even with Hillary Clinton in a New Poll. Because It’s the Economy, Stupid.
Wikileaks: Hillary Clinton Helped Topple Gadhafi While France & UK Fought Over Libya’s Oil
Clinton bragged about the U.S. role in Moammar Gadhafi’s death, and her emails leaked by Wikileaks show the race to claim Libya’s resources in the aftermath.
An email sent on Sept. 16, 2011 to Clinton, then the U.S. Secretary of State, from journalist and family friend Sidney Blumenthal, shows that French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron each traveled to Tripoli about one month after Moammar Gadhafi’s government fell in order to assert their claim on Libya’s energy reserves.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _

The Managerial/ Professional Class Is Burning Out

If you work for Corporate America in a managerial or professional capacity, you know all about burnout, because you see it all around you or are experiencing it yourself. Readers describe what they are seeing in the top ranks of S&P 500 corporations, and the stories (anonymous because everyone knows the truth will get them fired/blacklisted) are all about the high personal costs of earning big paychecks by making the numbers–not just revenue but the all-important profits that power the multi-trillion-dollar valuations of U.S. corporations and the stock market that glories in their magnificent and ever-growing profits.
Corporate America depends on this class of workers to reap its stupendous profits: the attorneys, physicians and nurses who churn out the billable work; the CPAs who either cook the books or look the other way when others rig the books to make the company look more profitable than it actually is; the managers who squeeze the line workers to produce more; the software engineers and project managers who are always under deadline and always pressured to use cheaper temps; the Wall Street work-hounds who have to use uppers and other dangerous stimulants to function for 70-80 hours a week, week in and week out; the multitudes addicted to painkillers or other prescription drugs to manage their psychological and physical pain; the working parents whose family life is imploding under the demands of their employers; social workers burdened with ever-larger case loads–the examples are endless.
Even if you don’t work in this class, you see burnout all around you: people burned out by crushingly long commutes, by juggling two jobs, or small-business owners resorting to self-exploitation, i.e. working ridiculous hours for little or no pay, just to keep their enterprise (and dream of self-employment) alive.
What no financial analyst dares confess is the corporate profits they cheer every quarter have come at a cost that many Americans will soon be unable to bear. Millions of highly experienced, essential employees of Corporate America, from physicians and nurses to top managers and technologists are either planning to quit, retire, cut their hours or file a workers compensation claim for stress related to their work.
There is a growing body of medical and business-management literature on occupational burnout:  Occupational burnout–Maslach Burnout Inventory
A growing body of evidence suggests that burnout is clinically and nosologically similar to depression. In a study that directly compared depressive symptoms in burned out workers and clinically depressed patients, no diagnostically significant differences were found between the two groups; burned out workers reported as many depressive symptoms as clinically depressed patients. 
Many people are lauding corporate efforts to ease stress at the workplace with onsite yoga classes and the like. I call B.S.–what people want is less pressure, more time with their families, and to be treated as human beings rather than interchangeable units of production. Yoga classes and the occasional corporate party don’t provide these essentials.

Check out the burnout rate in the most profitable sector of the economy, finance and financial services:

Though no one dares connect rising workloads and corporate profits, isn’t it more than coincidence that U.S. corporate profits soared not just when production was offshored and financialization took off, but when workloads increased and “work-life balance” became a buzzword for what was no longer possible?

Guess what happens when corporate profits tumble: all the wealthy people at the top of the pyramid lose a lot of money: the executives counting on huge gains from stock options, hedge funds who’d bet the farm on this corporation’s “outperformance,” and the big institutional owners of the company’s stock.
No wonder the pressure on the managerial class is so unremitting and intense: the whole rickety structure of wealth in the U.S. stock market is poised to collapse once profits crater.
There are a couple of ways out for burnouts fleeing Corporate America, but each has its own trade-offs and costs. One is early retirement, another is early retirement plus a low-paying, low-stress part-time job. Another is self-employment in the cash-only economy (One Part of the Economy Is Booming: The Underground/Cash-Only Sector October 9, 2015) or in other sectors open to self-employment.
Financial independence is the American Dream because it gives us the freedom to say Take This Job And Shove It (2:31, Johnny Paycheck).
Unfortunately, the costs of starting and operating a small business are risingdue to junk fees imposed by local government, higher taxes, soaring healthcare insurance costs, etc.:
The Troubling Decline of Financial Independence in America (August 28, 2015)
The Fading American Dream of Working for Yourself (October 2015)
Many refugees from Corporate America would love to quit tomorrow but as they explore the alternatives, they find that their income will drop from $90,000 or $100,000 to $30,000 or less outside the fortresses of Corporate America and Government.
That means completely reworking the cost structure of one’s household: paying off all debt, downsizing expenses not by hundreds of dollars but by thousands, and figuring out ways to develop multiple income streams that the household owns and controls.
It can be done, but it requires a revolution in understanding and financial arrangements. Longtime readers know this is what I have written about for ten years in the blog and in books like Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy, which can also be read as a primer for those seeking self-employment.
Read the entire article for the charts and graphs.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _

And the Donald Trump virus is no surprise.

Not to those of us who've been watching the onslaught of fascist Trumped world for the last two decades.

Tom Engelhardt elucidates:

Recently, U.S. Reaper drones and manned aircraft launched a set of strikes against what the Pentagon claimed was a graduation ceremony for "low-level" foot soldiers in the Somali terror group al-Shabab.  It was proudly announced that more than 150 Somalis had died in this attack.  In a country where, in recent years, U.S. drones and special ops forces had carried out a modest number of strikes against individual al-Shabab leaders, this might be thought of as a distinct escalation of Washington’s endless low-level conflict there (with a raid involving U.S. special ops forces following soon after).
Now, let me try to put this in some personal context.  Since I was a kid, I’ve always liked globes and maps.  I have a reasonable sense of where most countries on this planet are.  Still, Somalia?  I have to stop and give that one some thought to truly locate it on a mental map of eastern Africa.  Most Americans?  Honestly, I doubt they’d have a clue.  So the other day, when this news came out, I stopped a moment to take it in.  If accurate, we killed 150 more or less nobodies (except to those who knew them) and maybe even a top leader or two in a country most Americans couldn’t locate on a map.

I mean, don’t you find that just a little odd, no matter how horrible the organization they were preparing to fight for?  150 Somalis?  Blam!

Remind me: On just what basis was this modest massacre carried out?  After all, the U.S. isn’t at war with Somalia or with al-Shabab.  Of course, Congress no longer plays any real role in decisions about American war making.  It no longer declares war on any group or country we fight.  (Paralysis!)  War is now purely a matter of executive power or, in reality, the collective power of the national security state and the White House.  The essential explanation offered for the Somali strike, for instance, is that the U.S. had a small set of advisers stationed with African Union forces in that country and it was just faintly possible that those guerrilla graduates might soon prepare to attack some of those forces (and hence U.S. military personnel).  It seems that if the U.S. puts advisers in place anywhere on the planet -- and any day of any year they are now in scores of countries -- that’s excuse enough to validate acts of war based on the “imminent” threat of their attack.

Or just think of it this way: a new, informal constitution is being written in these years in Washington.  No need for a convention or a new bill of rights.  It’s a constitution focused on the use of power, especially military power, and it’s being written in blood.

These days, our government (the unparalyzed one) acts regularly on the basis of that informal constitution-in-the-making, committing Somalia-like acts across significant swathes of the planet.  In these years, we’ve been marrying the latest in wonder technology, our Hellfire-missile-armed drones, to executive power and slaughtering people we don’t much like in majority Muslim countries with a certain alacrity. By now, it’s simply accepted that any commander-in-chief is also our assassin-in-chief, and that all of this is part of a wartime-that-isn’t-wartime system, spreading the principle of chaos and dissolution to whole areas of the planet, leaving failed states and terror movements in its wake.

When was it, by the way, that “the people” agreed that the president could appoint himself assassin-in-chief, muster his legal beagles to write new "law" that covered any future acts of his (including the killing of American citizens), and year after year dispatch what essentially is his own private fleet of killer drones to knock off thousands of people across the Greater Middle East and parts of Africa?  Weirdly enough, after almost 14 years of this sort of behavior, with ample evidence that such strikes don’t suppress the movements Washington loathes (and often only fan the flames of resentment and revenge that help them spread), neither the current president and his top officials, nor any of the candidates for his office have the slightest intention of ever grounding those drones.

And when exactly did the people say that, within the country’s vast standing military, which now garrisons much of the planet, a force of nearly 70,000 Special Operations personnel should be birthed, or that it should conduct covert missions globally, essentially accountable only to the president (if him)? And what I find strangest of all is that few in our world find such developments strange at all.

A Planet in Decline?

In some way, all of this could be said to work.  At the very least, it is a functioning new system-in-the-making that we have yet to truly come to grips with, just as we haven’t come to grips with a national security state that surveils the world in a way that even science fiction writers (no less totalitarian rulers) of a previous era could never have imagined, or the strange version of media overkill that we still call an election.  All of this is by now both old news and mind-bogglingly new.

Do I understand it? Not for a second.

This is not war as we knew it, nor government as we once understood it, nor are these elections as we once imagined them, nor is this democracy as it used to be conceived of, nor is this journalism of a kind ever taught in a journalism school. This is the definition of uncharted territory. It’s a genuine American terra incognita and yet in some fashion that unknown landscape is already part of our sense of ourselves and our world. In this “election” season, many remain shocked that a leading candidate for the presidency is a demagogue with a visible authoritarian side and what looks like an autocratic bent. All such labels are pinned on Donald Trump, but the new American system that’s been emerging from its chrysalis in these years already has just those tendencies. So don’t blame it all on Donald Trump. He should be far less of a shock to this country than he continues to be.  After all, a Trumpian world-in-formation has paved the way for him.

Monday, March 28, 2016

(UNC Going to Final Four!)  World Class Journalist Admits Mainstream Media Is Completely Fake  (Some Garry Shandling Love)

UNC Going to Final Four!

World Class Journalist Spills the Beans, Admits Mainstream Media is Completely Fake

Recently, Dr. Ulfakatte went on public television stating that he was forced to publish the works of intelligence agents under his own name, also adding that noncompliance with these orders would result in him losing his job.
He recently made an appearance on RT news to share these facts:
I’ve been a journalist for about 25 years, and I was educated to lie, to betray, and not to tell the truth to the public.
But seeing right now within the last months how the German and American media tries to bring war to the people in Europe, to bring war to Russia — this is a point of no return and I’m going to stand up and say it is not right what I have done in the past, to manipulate people, to make propaganda against Russia, and it is not right what my colleagues do and have done in the past because they are bribed to betray the people, not only in Germany, all over Europe.
Dr. Udo Ulfkotte
Dr. Udo Ulfkotte is a top German journalist and editor and has been for more than two decades, so you can bet he knows a thing or two about mainstream media and what really happens behind the scenes.
It’s important to keep in mind that Dr. Ulfakatte is not the only person making these claims; multiple reporters have done the same and this kind of truthfulness is something the world needs more of.
One (out of many) great examples of a whistleblowing reporter is investigative journalist and former CBC News reporter Sharyl Attkisson.
She delivered a hard-hitting TEDx talk showing how fake grassroots movements funded by political, corporate, or other special interests very effectively manipulate and distort media messages.
Another great example is Amber Lyon, a three-time Emmy award winning journalist at CC, who said that they are routinely paid by the US government and foreign governments to selectively report and even distort information on certain events. She has also indicated that the government has editorial control over content.
Ever since Operation Mockingbird, a CIA-based initiative to control mainstream media, more and more people are expressing their concern that what we see in the media is nothing short of brainwashing.
This is also evident by blatant lies that continue to spam the TV screen, especially when it comes to topics such as health, food, war (‘terrorism‘), poverty, and more.
Things have not changed, in fact, when in comes to mainstream media distorting information and telling lies. They have gotten much worse in recent years, in fact, so it is highly encouraging that more people are starting to see through these lies, even without the help of whistleblowers like Dr. Ulfakatte.
One great example is the supposed ‘war on terror,’ or ‘false flag terrorism.’ There are evenWikileaks documents alluding to the fact that the United States government planned to “retaliate and cause pain” to countries refusing GMOs.
Mainstream media’s continual support of GMOs rages on, despite the fact that a number of countries are now banning these products.
The list of lies goes on and on. It’s time to turn off your T.V. and do your own research if you are curious about what is happening on our planet. It’s time to wake up.

To end with a smile.

And some love.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Bernie Birdie Magic - Little Dove Asking for Peace (Birdie Sanderella Peace and Love Site)  Wildlife Vote for Bernie  (AZ - Again, Hillary Declares Win Before Votes Counted or Even Voted)  Hope You Have a Happy Easter

According to my small survey, America’s wildlife loathe the Koch Brothers. And like vulnerable people across the country, they’re awfully happy to have a loud Brooklyn-accented voice demanding real, fundamental change. Run Bernie run!
- Bill McKibben*

March 25, 2016

This One Bird for Sanders:  World Peace, Political Revolution, and the Sparrow

Presidential candidate welcomes friendly feathered friend as messenger of peace
by Jon Queally, staff writer

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders smiles as a bird lands on his podium when he addresses the crowd during a rally at the Moda Center in Portland, Ore., Friday, March 25, 2016. (Photo: AP/Steve Dykes)

The presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders received its smallest (though not least consequential) endorsement yet on Friday as a very small bird took to the podium while he delivered a speech to thousands of people gathered at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon.
"I know it doesn't look like it, but that little bird is really a dove asking us for world peace. No more wars!" —#Bernie Sanders, aka #BirdieSanders
In the middle of discussing education and the crushing economics of student debt, the crowd and the candidate were made to pause by the appearance of a small bird on the stage. As he acknowledged its presence on stage, the bird pressed its case further by flying up and landing directly in front of Sanders. As the crowd roared, a large smile crossed Sanders' face.
"I think there's some symbolism here," said Sanders of his surprise guest. "I know it doesn't look like it, but that little bird is really a dove asking us for world peace. No more wars!"

According to the local "Willamette Week," the bird appeared to be a sparrow but according to Twitter it was basically just an awesome moment:

I don't know who to credit for this, but I love it!

And then this happened. This is what the internet was invented for.

Photo published for Birdie Sanderella

Birdie Sanderella

John McCain: , Not Hillary, Has ‘Record of Advocacy’ for Vets

This post didn't get enough tumblr love. if you're over there give a reblog


I'm not much good at predictions, but I will say I kinda called last June

. . . he fits no one’s stereotype of an enviro. He doesn’t put on a spandex suit and go cross-country skiing; he doesn’t, I’m guessing, meditate to reduce his stress levels. He doesn’t go on and on about the woods and the rivers — he goes on and on about working class Vermonters who can’t afford health care and heating oil. His issue is inequality and unfairness, and it has been from the start. And for those of us who do work mostly on the environment, that’s just the kind of ally we need. Because it’s a constant reminder that this battle is for people, who need renewable energy so they can break the constant cycle of struggling to pay the fuel bill, and because it will be the source of good jobs. And because it will be one of the chief ways we break with the plutocrats, many of them in the fossil fuel industry, who are ruining both our atmosphere and our democracy.
Make no mistake — Bernie Sanders isn’t really running against Hillary Clinton. He’s running against the Koch Brothers, and all that they represent: taken together they’re the richest man on earth. They’ve made their money in oil and gas (they’re the largest leaseholders in the Alberta tar sands, on the far end of the Keystone Pipeline). They spend their money to break unions, to shut out solar power, to further concentrate America’s wealth. They’ll spend at least $900 million on the next election, and my guess is that if Bernie Sanders catches fire they’ll spend far more than that — because he knows he’s got their number. They know, in their heart of hearts, that there’s two of them and hundreds of millions of us, and that’s got to be a little scary.

After lunch, right about the time that Bernie Sanders was actually announcing his run for president, I went for a walk in the woods, and polled three chickadees, two wild turkeys, one vernal pool of chirping wood frogs and a random sample of several tree species. You have to bear in mind that this is in Vermont, so there may be a favorite-son effect, but all of them were overjoyed that Sanders was in the race.
And I think I might speak for at least a few other environmentalists who feel the same way. Here’s why.
First, he’s a stand-up guy. When we told him about the Keystone Pipeline in the summer of 2011, he immediately set to work helping us block it. He strategized, he used his bully pulpit in the Senate to spread the word, and he devoted staff time to pressuring the State Department. Contrast that with, say, Barack Obama who was mostly silent about climate change his whole first term, and managed to make it all the way through the 2012 campaign without discussing it. Or Hillary Clinton, who after initially saying she was “inclined” to approve Keystone has gone entirely mum on the most iconic environmental issue of our time. Who showed up in New York for the People’s Climate March? Bernie Sanders. Who said, straightforwardly in today’s official announcement, “the peril of global climate change, with catastrophic consequences, is the central challenge of our times and our planet.” That would be Bernie Sanders.
Read the entire essay here.

Clinton Claims Victory but Arizona's Voting Fiasco Dubbed "National Disgrace"

Something was amiss in Arizona on Tuesday. As Hillary Clinton claimed victory in the state's Democratic primary, thousands of voters were left out to dry, with shuttered polling places, endless lines, and widespread reports of disenfranchisement.
In Maricopa County, which includes the capital Phoenix, voters waited up to five hours to cast a ballot after the County Elections Office slashed the number of polling sites from 200 in 2012 to just 60 this year. As the state's most populous county, this amounted to more than 20,000 voters for every available polling location.
Notably, many Latino areas were left with either just one or no polling places. Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell defended that decision, saying, "we looked at an area, and factored into that how many early ballots we usually get in that area and how many people normally vote at the polls. We didn’t look at it as legislative districts. We looked at the overall picture of our voters." 
In response, Arizona Central columnist Elvia Diaz wrote, "So, it is no coincidence many poor and predominantly Latino areas didn’t get a polling place. Purcell and her staff figured few of them vote anyway. She just decided to discount them. Really."
And despite the sizable turnout, major news networks, including CNN, called the race just minutes after polls closed while many voters would still wait hours before even casting a ballot.
Bernie Sanders' campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, expressed frustration over the early call. "I’m not predicting victory, but I’m not predicting defeat, either," he told CNN. "I mean, we have to wait and see 'til the votes are counted." 

The Arizona Democratic Party is also investigating reports that numerous Democratic voters were mistakenly identified as "independent" in the voter database, which would exclude them from the closed primary. Many of the misidentified voters were given provisional ballots, which may not have even been counted.

As the Phoenix New Times reports, "the day was so hectic, that as it became clear Clinton won, Sanders supporter Sheila Ryan said she just couldn’t believe it: 'What about all the provisional ballots? What about all the ballots from [people still in line]? Are those getting counted?'"

What's more, just days before the vote, the state's Republican Governor Doug Ducey signed a law making "felony for anyone but a family member, roommate, caregiver, postal worker or elections official to collect early ballots," the Associated Press reported. The new law made it "nearly impossible for voter-outreach groups to collect and drop off early ballots."

As University of Florida professor Michael McDonald pointed out, Arizona is one of the states that would have required federal approval to alter its voting laws until the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _
As Sanders supporter Patti Serrano told the "Phoenix New Times," "I think there’s voter suppression going on, and it is obviously targeting particular Democrats. Many working-class people don’t have the privilege to be able to stand in line for three hours."
There were other issues too. A number of polling places reportedly ran out of ballots while four locations in Tucson received bomb threats forcing at least one to evacuate.
The disenfranchisement did not escape the attention of others, either, including Sanders himself.
Bernie Sanders ‎@BernieSanders
It’s a national disgrace that people have to wait hours to cast a vote in any election.
Ultimately, Clinton was credited with winning 57.8 percent of the vote to Sanders' 39.8 percent. But more than have 36,000 people signed a White House petition calling on the Obama administration to investigate the voter fraud and suppression in Arizona.
  In reply to
: The Whitehouse is ours! Check us out! ->

Have a Happy Easter, friends.

Hope you have enough to eat.

Is it Spring Break yet?