On The Chopping Block: Federal Worker Pensions

May 20th, 2011

by Stephen Lendman

Bipartisan support endorses ending vital social benefits incrementally, principally Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, healthcare for those who can't afford it, and public pensions.

Notably, deep Medicare cuts were made. Much more is planned, including slashing Medicaid. Now federal pensions are being targeted. Civilian federal employees receive benefits under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), consisting of three components:

-- a FERS annuity defined benefit plan;

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WHAT A PUBLIC BANK COULD MEAN FOR CALIFORNIA

May 20th, 2011

Ellen Brown

California is the eighth largest economy in the world, and it has a debt burden to match. It has outstanding general obligation bonds and revenue bonds of $158 billion, largely incurred for infrastructure. Of this tab, $70 billion is just for interest. Over $7 billion of California’s annual budget goes to pay interest on the state’s debt.

As large as California’s liabilities are, they are exceeded by its assets, which are sufficient to capitalize a bank rivaling any in the world. That’s the idea behind Assembly Bill 750, introduced by Assemblyman Ben Hueso of San Diego, which would establish a blue ribbon task force to consider the viability of creating the California Investment Trust, a state bank receiving deposits of state funds. Instead of relying on Wall Street banks for credit – or allowing a Wall Street bank to enjoy the benefits of lending its capital – California may decide to create its own, publicly-owned bank.

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Obama's Middle East Hypocrisy

May 20th, 2011

by Stephen Lendman

Since taking office in January 2009, Obama broke every major campaign promise, including relevant ones to his May 19 Middle East speech; namely:

-- "hope;"

-- "change;"

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Will the NY Attorney General Bring Doomsday Charges Against Wall Street? If So, How Long Will He Survive?

May 20th, 2011

Michael Collins


Gretchen Morgenson of the New York Times just published one of the few feel good stories in months following the 2008 financial crisis. She describes a possible day of reckoning for the perpetrators of the 2008 crisis and much of the pain that has followed.

The newly elected New York attorney general, Eric Schneiderman (D), wants information from Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and Morgan Stanley. Among other things, the information concerns mortgage pooling and bundling. This may well include information on collateralized debt obligations (CDO's) and mortgage backed securities (MBS). New York state officials told Morgenson:

"The New York attorney general has requested information and documents in recent weeks from three major Wall Street banks about their mortgage securities operations during the credit boom, indicating the existence of a new investigation into practices that contributed to billions in mortgage losses." New York Investigates Banks’ Role in Financial Crisis New York Times, May 16

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BDS update: 'I went because I needed to go'

May 20th, 2011

Eric Walberg

So said a Holocaust survivor and anti-apartheid activist about his trip to Jackson, Mississippi in 1961. The same impulse inspires BDS activists from all walks of life today.

International boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activities got a boost at the founding conference of the Palestinian Trade Union Coalition for BDS in Ramallah on 30 April. It called on trade unions around the world to sever all links with the Israel labour federation Histadrut. Histadrut protects illegal Israeli workers in the settlements and doesn’t protect the legal Palestinian workers there, having withheld almost $2.5 billion of their wages over the years, deducted for “social and other trade union benefits” that they have never received.

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Stealing Palestinian Land Dunam by Dunam

May 20th, 2011

by Stephen Lendman

One dunam is 1,000 square meters, four dunams to an acre. Israel is stealing them incrementally to control all valued Palestinian land, dispossessing indigenous people illegally in the process.

B'Tselem is the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. In May, it published a comprehensive report titled, "Dispossession & Exploitation: Israel's policy in the Jordan Valley & northern Dead Sea," saying:

Both areas contain "the largest land reserves in the West Bank," covering 1.6 million dunams or 28.8% of the Territory. It's home to 65,000 Palestinians in 29 communities, as well as another 15,000 in dozens of small Bedouin ones. In addition, about 9,400 Israelis live in 37 settlements, including seven outposts.

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America's Student Loan Racket: Soaring Default Rates

May 20th, 2011

by Stephen Lendman

An earlier article discussed Permanent Debt Bondage from America's Student Loan Racket," accessed through the following link:

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2011/01/permanent-debt-bondage-from-americas.html

It explained government/corporate complicity to rip off students for profit, a racket continuing under Obama. His July 2010 Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act perpetuated the scam. It enriches providers, entrapping millions of students permanently in debt, because rising tuition and fee amounts plus interest, service charges, and late payment or collection agency penalties are too onerous to repay.

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