Puppet MastersS

Snakes in Suits

JPMorgan settlement with Dept of Justice: Largest U.S. bank will forfeit half-year's profits as punishment for role in causing global financial crisis

© Mike Segar/ReutersJPMorgan Chase will pay a $13 billion settlement to resolve questions about sales of mortgage securities to pension funds.
When Tony West arrived in a Justice Department conference room to put the finishing touches on a lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase, he saw a familiar number flash on his cellphone.

Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan's chief executive, was calling to seek a rare face-to-face meeting with Mr. West, a top Justice Department official with close ties to President Obama. Mr. Dimon hoped the meeting would avert the lawsuit, which threatened to spotlight the bank's questionable mortgage practices before the financial crisis.

Mr. West, 48, a soft-spoken but imposing presence, resisted the overture. Pacing around the room with the phone pressed against his ear, people at the meeting later recalled, he told Mr. Dimon that the Justice Department would meet only if the bank came with a more generous offer than the $3 billion it had proposed to settle a narrow window of cases.

"We don't want you to waste your time and we don't want to waste the attorney general's time," he told the bank chief, according to people in the room.

Comment: $13 billion might seem like a lot of money to us little people, but did you notice that at no time was it suggested that anyone go to prison for causing a crisis whose true cost probably hits the $1 quadrillion mark, and which we the people have been forced to pay?


The hunted and the hated: An inside look at the NYPD's Stop-and-Frisk policy

An audio recording of a stop-and-frisk in action sheds unprecedented light on a practice that has put the city's young people of color in the NYPD's cross hairs.

Exclusive audio obtained by The Nation of a stop-and-frisk carried out by the New York Police Department freshly reveals the discriminatory and unprofessional way in which this controversial policy is being implemented on the city's streets. Council members demanded answers from Mayor Bloomberg's representative just one day after a video released by The Nation documented an abusive stop.

On June 3, 2011, three plainclothes New York City Police officers stopped a Harlem teenager named Alvin and two of the officers questioned and frisked him while the third remained in their unmarked car. Alvin secretly captured the interaction on his cell phone, and the resulting audio is one of the only known recordings of stop-and-frisk in action.

In the course of the two-minute recording, the officers give no legally valid reason for the stop, use racially charged language and threaten Alvin with violence. Early in the stop, one of the officers asks, "You want me to smack you?" When Alvin asks why he is being threatened with arrest, the other officer responds, "For being a fucking mutt." Later in the stop, while holding Alvin's arm behind his back, the first officer says, "Dude, I'm gonna break your fuckin' arm, then I'm gonna punch you in the fuckin' face."

"He grabbed me by my bookbag and he started pushing me down. So I'm going backwards like down the hill and he just kept pushing me, pushing me, it looked like he we was going to hit me," Alvin recounts. "I felt like they was trying to make me resist or fight back."


Shuttle Challenger Disaster - How your corporate fascist government murdered 7 astronauts

Challenger Disaster
© TheBurningPlatform
I was using my clicker to try to find something worth watching on my 600 station FIOS TV system last night with no luck. Nothing of interest on these hundreds of worthless channels. Then I stumbled across a channel I didn't even know I had - The Science Channel. Names don't mean much when channels like Discovery broadcast Honey Boo Boo or Duck Dynasty. The Science Channel was running a movie called The Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster. I figured it was some sort of dry documentary, but to my surprise it was a real movie with the great actor William Hurt playing the lead role. He was playing the part of Richard Feynman. I had never heard of him before watching this excellent movie, that should have been on a major network.

I realized why a MSM corporate station didn't want to touch this movie after it showed how our government, along with a major corporation, knowingly sent seven astronauts to their deaths in the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986 by ignoring clear data that indicated extreme risk for that launch. NASA, the government and Morton Thiokol then conspired to cover-up their malfeasance and reckless decision making because profits and funding for their programs were more important than the lives of those astronauts. The Rogers Commission would have come to an inconclusive decision if not for Richard Feynman.

He was dying of cancer but still relentlessly pursued the truth. He never trusted authority. He hated government bureaucracy. He wasn't a political animal. He cared about the truth and sought facts. The NASA officials lied and declared that the O-rings used in the Shuttle could withstand cold up to -40 degrees Fahrenhit. On national TV Feynman proved that the O-Rings would not retain their shape in a glass of 32 degree ice water. He revealed the NASA and Morton Thiokol executives as liars and criminals. NASA chose to launch the Space Shuttle when the temperature was below 32 degrees because they felt pressure to launch two per month in order to get their funding from Congress increased. They were warned by their own engineers that this could be catastrophic. They ignored the warnings and ended up murdering 7 astronauts.


Beirut bombing: Twin attacks target Iranian embassy, 23 killed, 146 injured

Iranian embassy bombing in Beirut
© Reuters / Mahmoud KheirCivil Defence personnel extinguish a fire on cars at the site of explosions near the Iranian embassy in Beirut November 19, 2013.
Two blasts near the Iranian embassy in Beirut killed at least 23 people, injuring 146 and causing havoc and a massive fire in the Lebanese capital. Six buildings were reportedly destroyed in the embassy compound.

According to a local news source, Al-Manar News, the harrowing scene was caused by 100kg of TNT loaded into a Renault Rapid. Security sources on the ground said there were two blasts - the first caused by a person on a motorbike, while the second was by a suicide bomber who tried to ram the compound with the car.

Witnesses at the scene reported that they occurred within one or two minutes of each other.

Injured people and destroyed buildings were seen on very disturbing pictures circulated by Lebanese media in the immediate aftermath.

Comment: Israel and Saudi Arabia are two countries, who vehemently opposes Shiites, Iran, Syria and Hezbollah. Both Israel and Saudi Arabia are keen to split the unity between shiites and weaken the alliance between Iran, Syria and Hezbollah. Civil wars in those 3 countries would be on top of their favorite list of wet dreams.

Remember Israel and Saudi Arabia are just so keen to promote tyranny democracy just like you see it in their own countries.


U.S. Navy top intelligence officers suspended for espionage

Vice Admiral Ted Branch is Director of Navy Intelligence.
© UnknownVice Admiral Ted Branch is Director of Navy Intelligence.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has suspended Vice Admiral Ted Branch and Rear Admiral Bruce Loveless, in connection with an NCIS investigation into a bribery scandal.

For two months, several superior officers and an NCIS agent were arrested for having sold military secrets to Leonard Glenn Francis, director of the Malaysian-based Glenn Defense Marine company. The investigation revealed that the two admirals had accepted sexual favors from prostitutes and cash.

Vice Admiral Ted Branch is Director of Navy Intelligence. Rear Admiral Bruce F. Loveless is Director of Naval Intelligence Operations.

Comment: Is there a purge going on?

Obama purging military commanders
Vice Adm. Tim Giardina fired as no. 2 nuclear commander
Another one? US fires general Michael Carey in charge of nuclear missiles

Stock Down

A Permanent Slump? If so, throw out the conventional economic wisdom

© Fred R. Conrad/The New York TimesPaul Krugman
Spend any time around monetary officials and one word you'll hear a lot is "normalization." Most though not all such officials accept that now is no time to be tightfisted, that for the time being credit must be easy and interest rates low. Still, the men in dark suits look forward eagerly to the day when they can go back to their usual job, snatching away the punch bowl whenever the party gets going.

But what if the world we've been living in for the past five years is the new normal? What if depression-like conditions are on track to persist, not for another year or two, but for decades?

You might imagine that speculations along these lines are the province of a radical fringe. And they are indeed radical; but fringe, not so much. A number of economists have been flirting with such thoughts for a while. And now they've moved into the mainstream. In fact, the case for "secular stagnation" - a persistent state in which a depressed economy is the norm, with episodes of full employment few and far between - was made forcefully recently at the most ultrarespectable of venues, the I.M.F.'s big annual research conference. And the person making that case was none other than Larry Summers. Yes, that Larry Summers.

And if Mr. Summers is right, everything respectable people have been saying about economic policy is wrong, and will keep being wrong for a long time.

Comment: When Krugman writes, "if our economy has a persistent tendency toward depression, we're going to be living under the looking-glass rules of depression economics - in which virtue is vice and prudence is folly, in which attempts to save more (including attempts to reduce budget deficits) make everyone worse off - for a long time. I know that many people just hate this kind of talk. It offends their sense of rightness, indeed their sense of morality. Economics is supposed to be about making hard choices (at other people's expense, naturally). It's not supposed to be about persuading people to spend more," he puts his finger on the para-moralism of economics today: debt is sinful, people should "learn to do without," we have to pay the piper, and so on. But isn't this a misapplication of personal morality to the management of the global economy? If deficit spending by governments is the only way to spark demand, what is wrong with doing just that, especially at a time when the interest rates on government bonds are near zero? It's more of an engineering problem than a moral issue, and to inject personal morality into the debate only clouds the issue. Perhaps the interests of the pathocratic elite in impoverishing the public has something to do with the dissemination of the para-moral arguments.

As Andrew Lobaczewski, who coined the term 'para-moralism', wrote in Political Ponerology, "Para-moralistic statements and suggestions so often accompany various kinds of evil that they seem quite irreplaceable. Unfortunately, it has become a frequent phenomenon for individuals, oppressive groups, or patho-political systems to invent ever-new moral criteria for someone's convenience." For further explanation of the role of para-moralism in pathocratic regimes see, this link.

Che Guevara

Chile's 25-year-old Communist student leader Camila Vallejo elected to Congress

© Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty ImagesCamila Vallejo speaks during the election campaign in Santiago, Chile.
Woman who led 2011 student uprising joins lower house as Michelle Bachelet comes top in first round of presidential election

Camila Vallejo, who helped spearhead Chile's student uprising in 2011, has been elected to Congress alongside three other former university leaders, underscoring a generational shift in the country's politics.

The 25-year-old communist shot to international fame as one of the most recognisable faces of a student movement seeking free and improved education in a country fettered by the worst income distribution among the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's 34 member states.

Vallejo's victory is key for the presidential frontrunner Michelle Bachelet's attempt to have her Nueva Mayoria coalition gain a stronger foothold in both houses of Congress.

"We're going to celebrate our triumph on the streets of La Florida," Vallejo said on Twitter, referring to a district in Santiago.

Red Flag

Yesterday's Nazi, today's 'anti-extremist': UK far-right leader Tommy Robinson gets a makeover

© AFP Photo / Leon NealEDL leader Tommy Robinson
The leader of the Muslim-hating, neo-Nazi English Defence League, Tommy Robinson, and his deputy Kevin Carroll renounced racism this week. They are leaving the EDL and joining the anti-extremist Quilliam Foundation.

But why now, and what is the Quilliam Foundation? And have they really changed?

Economic depressions are fertile ground for fascism. In the mid-1930s Lord Rothermere's Daily Mail and Lord Reith's pro-Hitler BBC lent credibility to Jew-hating Nazi blackshirts as they marched through London's East End. Opposing them on the streets were the National Unemployed Workers' Movement hunger marchers and crowds of decent Londoners let down by a Conservative government that was appeasing Hitler.

As the Red Cross in 2013 once more begins distributing food to hungry Britons Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, is facing criminal charges for obstructing police officers at his own English Defence League demonstration. This took place in the aftermath of May's horrific Woolwich alleged murder of serving soldier Lee Rigby. Was it during negotiations with the police over how these charges would proceed that Tommy was persuaded to jump ship?

Eye 1

State-sponsored terrorism: A medal at the British embassy for Birmingham's Neo-Nazi terrorist

© AFP Photo / HO / West Midlands PolicePavlo Lapshyn
Of all the circumstances surrounding last week's conviction of Britain's Neo-Nazi Ukrainian born terrorist, Pavlo Lapshyn, the London press' failure to join the dots, even to call him a terrorist, is scandal all of its own.

When considering state actors' role in aiding domestic terrorism, the London press has a blind spot. They seem to forget that during the 1970s & 1980s Irish troubles, state complicity and 'collusion' was pouring petrol on the flames. Evidence has been around for years that the British Army's Force Research Unit (FRU), Brigadier Gordon Kerr specifically, was an integral part of the anti-IRA, Loyalist terror program.

State terrorism in Northern Ireland

State collusion with British terrorists arguably represents the greatest threat to UK national security, because it has gone almost entirely unrecognized and unpunished. This week Irish writer, Anne Cadwallader, pointed out in her new book about the Irish troubles, 'Lethal Allies', that serving policemen in the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) instigated and took part in terrorist murders of Catholics. Along with the unofficial 'shoot to kill' policy, this collusion was a powerful recruiting tool, generating ever more terrorism.

Collusion also turned Northern Ireland into a civil war training ground for the police and army, pitting soldiers against urban guerrillas. Cadwallader says: "There was systematic collusion in the 1970s... there must have been somebody trying to push Northern Ireland over the edge of the abyss. If there had been a virtual civil war, I think it would have suited some people in London."

© AFP Photo / Peter MuhlyMasked youths prepare to throw molotov cocktails as they block the railway line near the house of former Irish Republican Army (IRA) man Colin Duffy in Lurgan, southwest of Belfast and Bellaghy, Northern Ireland


"$8.5 TRILLION in taxpayer money doled out by Congress to the Pentagon since 1996 ... has NEVER been accounted for"

Storage Facility
© Reuters/Tim ShafferMILES OF AISLES: At the Defense Logistics Agency's giant storage facility outside Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, lack of reliable information on what's there makes it hard to throw out excess inventory.
We've repeatedly documented that military waste and fraud are the core problems with the U.S. economy.

For example, we've noted that we wouldn't be in this crisis of hitting the debt ceiling in the first place if we hadn't spent so much money on unnecessary wars ... which are horrible for the economy.

But it goes far beyond actual fighting. We could easily slash the military and security budget without reducing our national security.

For example, homeland security agencies wasted money on seminars like "Did Jesus Die for Klingons Too?" and training for a "zombie apocalypse" instead of actually focusing on anti-terror efforts.