Society's ChildS


New Website Seeks to Hold Journalists Accountable

A Wikipedia-style website launched on Monday which provides information about the journalists behind the bylines.

News Transparency is a creation of Ira Stoll, the founder of another website called and the former managing editor of the now defunct New York Sun.

In a statement on its home page,, the website said its goal is to help users "find out more about the people who produce the news" and "hold them accountable, the same way that journalists hold other powerful institutions accountable, by posting reviews and sharing information."

News Transparency features an alphabetical list of hundreds of journalists and invites users to edit their profiles, which include basic biographical information such as age, education, current employer and work history.

Bizarro Earth

Best of the Web: US: Buddy can you spare a dime? One in three Americans has no spare cash

Global consumer confidence remained weak in the third quarter with more than 60 per cent of consumers saying it was not a good time to spend, and one-in-three Americans saying they have no spare cash, a new survey shows.

The economic outlook, followed by job security, became consumers' biggest concern in the third quarter, overtaking worries about rising inflation, according to the quarterly survey by global analytics and information company Nielsen.

The Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index dipped just 1 point in the third quarter from the second quarter to 88 points, but it was shored up by a surge in confidence in emerging economies Brazil and Saudi Arabia, which masked weak confidence in major developed economies.


A Message To The Oakland Police: "You Have No Power!"

Watch the entire clip.

Light Saber

'The Markets' (super-elite) and Euro elite throw a fit as Greek PM sides with people over banksters

© Joel Saget/AFP/Getty ImagesThis is my 'concerned' face: Nicolas Sarkozy makes a statement after a cabinet meeting focusing on the Greek PM's shock referendum announcement.
The French president Nicolas Sarkozy and German chancellor Angela Merkel will hold emergency talks on Wednesday in a desperate attempt to hold the eurozone together and formulate a response to the Greek prime minister's plan for a referendum on the austerity measures imposed by his European partners.

George Papandreou's socialist government is on the brink of collapse after his referendum plan sparked an angry reaction within his own party and plunged Europe back into turmoil, just days after a complex rescue deal had been agreed - requiring Greece to embark on tough cost-cutting measures.

While Papandreou's cabinet approved unanimously his decision to hold a referendum, it threatens to split the prime minister's Pasok party. One MP, Milena Apostolaki, has quit in disgust at the idea of a referendum and several colleagues have said that if it is not abandoned they will join her. Papandreou faces a vote of confidence on Friday. A split in the Pasok party would almost certainly bring down the Greek government, which now has a majority of just two MPs in parliament.

Comment: It's important to keep in mind during this era of purposely generated economic and financial crises that when the media tells us that the "Greek government is teetering on the brink of collapse" or "the euro is in turmoil again" or "the markets plunged on the news that XYZ", what they're really doing is conveying the message to leaders like Papandreou and the masses at large that their insolence will not stand. They will be crushed and will submit to "austerity measures" (slavery) one way or another. And they do that primarily by deliberately creating turmoil on the markets, speculating and gambling currencies to give the impression that they can pull the rug out from under a whole country's economy.

Bizarro Earth

US: Bankster Jon Corzine's Spectacular Failure Just Got More Spectacular

Jon Corzine
© Getty
There's no better argument against the privilege of wealth than Jon Corzine, the clownish former Goldman Sachs CEO who thought his facility for extracting money from a rigged financial game entitled him to run the state of New Jersey. After getting roundly rejected by voters after one term, he got a job from a friend running derivatives firm MF Global. Yesterday it went bankrupt. And today we learned that he's lost $700 million of his clients' money.

That's right - $700 million from client accounts have simply disappeared from MF Global. The missing money first came to light over the weekend as a potential buyer for the struggling firm pored over its books. When it realized that hundreds of millions in client dollars were unaccounted for, it backed out, leaving MF no choice but to file for bankruptcy yesterday.


US: Regulators Investigating MF Global for Missing Money

© Brendan McDermid/ReutersJon Corzine, foreground, a former Goldman Sachs executive and New Jersey governor, was trying to revive his Wall Street career.
Federal regulators have discovered that hundreds of millions of dollars in customer money has gone missing from MF Global in recent days, prompting an investigation into the brokerage firm, which is run by Jon S. Corzine, the former New Jersey governor, several people briefed on the matter said on Monday.

The recognition that money was missing scuttled at the 11th hour an agreement to sell a major part of MF Global to a rival brokerage firm. MF Global had staked its survival on completing the deal. Instead, the New York-based firm filed for bankruptcy on Monday.

Regulators are examining whether MF Global diverted some customer funds to support its own trades as the firm teetered on the brink of collapse.

The discovery that money could not be located might simply reflect sloppy internal controls at MF Global. It is still unclear where the money went. At first, as much as $950 million was believed to be missing, but as the firm sorted through its bankruptcy, that figure fell to less than $700 million by late Monday, the people briefed on the matter said. Additional funds are expected to trickle in over the coming days.


Japan MP Yasuhiro Sonoda drinks Fukushima water

Yasuhiro Sonoda drinks a glass of decontaminated water
© JIJI PRESS/AFP/GETTY IMAGESYasuhiro Sonoda drinks a glass of decontaminated water taken from puddles inside the Fukushima plant on Monday.

A Japanese official has drunk water collected from the quake-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, after reporters challenged him to prove it was safe.

Yasuhiro Sonoda appeared nervous and his hands shook as he downed a glass during a televised news conference.

The water he drank was taken from puddles under two reactor buildings. It is decontaminated before being used for tasks such as watering plants.

Journalists have repeatedly queried the safety of the procedure.


Airlines Charge Fliers to Fix a Problem They Created

© unknown
The airlines have created an evil cycle of fees for flyers: charge passengers for the solution to a problem they created.

It takes twice as long for everyone to get onto their plane now than it did in the 1970s, reports The New York Times, and that's not counting the security line. Part of the reason is because airlines have started charging fees to check baggage, leaving more people with more luggage to stuff into overhead bins. "Checked-baggage fees have only added to the problem, because travelers now bring more roll-ons onboard, blocking the aisles as they try to cram their belongings into any available space," Jad Mouawad writes.

Another reason is the creation of all those priority boarding classes. "As they have added new classes of seating to their cabins and new fees for priority boarding--all in the name of more revenue--they have slowed down the whole process," he writes. So what you're left with is a circle of supply and demand: the airlines provide the supply of complaints and discomforts, passengers demand (and pay for) a way out, which only creates more complaints and discomforts. Which, for now, is apparently working for the airlines: in the first quarter of 2011 alone, airlines made $784 million just for checking bags.

Che Guevara

Wall St. and other "Occupy" Protests Should Re-Brand as "Anti-Oligarchy"

Some of the biggest men in the United States are afraid of something. They know there is a power somewhere, so organised, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it. - President Woodrow Wilson
© unknownOligarchy = People with disproportionate power and influence
The "Occupy" protests and other demonstrations across the US and Europe are reported as being "anti-capitalist", "anti-banker", "anti-EU" or simply "anti-government".

But these labels will just not do.

The oligarchs who bring us our successive financial crises and wars will be getting rid of capitalism pretty soon.

Unfortunately they have no intention of disappearing with it.

We know that the entire financial system is going to collapse in fairly short order.

It must.


US: Banks Extract Fees On Unemployment Benefits

© Getty Images
Out of work and living on a $189-a-week unemployment check, Rob Linville needs to watch every penny. Lately, he has been watching too many pennies disappear into the coffers of the bank that administers his unemployment check via a prepaid debit card.

The state of Oregon, where Linville lives, deposits his weekly benefits on a U.S. Bank prepaid debit card. The bank allows him to make four withdrawals per month free of charge. After that, he must pay $1.50 for each visit to the ATM and $3 to see a teller. Managing his basic expenses, including rent, bus fare and groceries, typically requires more than four withdrawals, he says. Unexpected needs -- Linville recently bought a sport coat for $20 to prepare for a job interview -- entail more. He's afraid to withdraw his full benefits in one shot, knowing that the bank could sock him with a $17.50 overdraft fee if he exceeds his balance. So he pulls out small amounts of cash as he needs it, incurring about $15 in fees in the last two months he says.

"I'm so broke," Linville said, his voice expressing resignation that this is simply how the world works. "But I don't really have any other options."

Across the nation, people receiving a range of state-furnished benefits -- from unemployment insurance and food stamps to cash assistance for poor families -- are facing similar options and reaching the same conclusion. In 41 states major banks and financial firms have secured contracts to provide access to public benefits via prepaid debit cards. And banks are increasingly extracting hefty cuts of these funds through an assortment of small fees. U.S. Bank, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and other institutions hold contracts to distribute these benefits on prepaid debit cards.