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Sat, 29 Jan 2022
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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
© unknown
Oligarchy = 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.

Heart - Black

US: Court-martial begins for sergeant accused of killing civilians

Calvin Gibbs
© Peter Millett /Associated Press
In this courtroom sketch, Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs is seated at lower left as Army prosecutor Capt. Dan Mazzone stands at center and the military judge, Lt. Col. Kwasi Hawks, listens at top left.
The court martial for Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, accused ringleader of a rogue U.S. Army platoon accused of murdering civilians in Afghanistan for sport, opened Monday, with Gibbs' lawyer admitting Gibbs kept fingers from three victims as souvenirs.

But the defense lawyer, Phil Stackhouse, says Gibbs saw the killings as legitimate engagements, not premeditated murder.

Gibbs was set up for blame by fellow squad members who already have admitted their roles in the killings, Stackhouse said. In proceedings reported by the Associated Press, Stackhouse said Gibbs was misunderstood by his fellow soldiers when he talked about previous killings of civilians during an earlier deployment to Iraq.

The court martial is being held at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state.

Heart - Black

Rogue US army unit leader saw Afghans as 'savages'

Afghanistan US army
© AFP/File, Yuri Cortez
The crimes of a rogue US army unit has threatened Abu Ghraib-style embarrassment for the US military in Afghanistan
The ringleader of a rogue US army unit accused of killing Afghan civilians for sport treated the locals like "savages," a court martial heard.

The so-called "kill team" led by Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs was "out of control," prosecutors added as grisly photos of soldiers posing with a corpse were shown in court.

Gibbs, who sat expressionless in a tiny courtroom where the week-long case is being heard, also allegedly brandished fingers cut off dead bodies in a failed attempt to silence members of his team.

The 26-year-old faces life in prison if convicted on charges including three counts of premeditated murder, in a scandal that has threatened Abu Ghraib-style embarrassment for the US military.

Heart - Black

US: One protester dead in Oklahoma City, nine arrested in Portland

© YouTube
In what was an otherwise calm night across the country, one Occupy Oklahoma City protester was found dead and nine Occupy Portland protesters were arrested.

In a press advisory Monday, Occupy Oklahoma City organizers expressed their sadness at the passing of a homeless protester who went by the name "Street Poet."

"The Poet was found dead in his tent at Kerr Park earlier this afternoon by other participants," they wrote. "Police and emergency personnel were immediately contacted. Occupy OKC is withholding information concerning The Poet's identity pending notification of his family by authorities."

Oklahoma City police Capt. Dexter Nelson said that although the man appeared to be in his 20s, the death was not suspicious.

In a video posted to Facebook, Street Poet explained that he had been "traveling the road on foot doing poetry" since his dad kicked him out at the age of 16 or 17. Another video posted to Google Plus shows the man performing poetry.


US: OU Professor Accused Of Questionable Medical Practices On Students

Using students as guinea pigs and making deals with companies to make money off his research. These are serious allegations against an OU professor.

A former teaching assistant is speaking out about the questionable experiments. This graduate student and several others went to the university to report what they say are questionable practices.

Now that professor is on a leave of absence, and another professor has left the university as well. And we must warn you, some of the video and pictures in this story are graphic.


US: Corzine's MF feels heat as feds eye missing $$


Just a few months ago, former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine was rumored to be off to the White House. Now, after the sudden collapse of his MF Global, the outhouse seems more likely.
Jon Corzine, the CEO of bankrupt broker-dealer MF Global, saw his reputation tossed from the frying pan right into the regulatory fire yesterday when investigators discovered as much as $700 million in customer funds missing from the firm.

Officials from two US regulators, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission, were looking into whether the loot was diverted to support some of the firm's own trades.

As if the allegedly missing funds, which happened on Corzine's watch, are not bad enough, it was learned late yesterday that the $700 million was responsible for capsizing a potential deal between MF Global and rival Interactive Brokers Group that could have saved the firm and the jobs of the company's 2,870 employees worldwide.


US, New York: Lawyer Wants 'Psycho' NYPD Cop Charged for Punching Protester

© TS
The attorney for an Occupy Wall Street protester who was allegedly punched by New York City Police Department Deputy Inspector Johnny Cardona last month is calling on the district attorney to charge the officer like any other civilian suspect.

Civil rights attorney Ron Kuby and his client, Felix Rivera-Pitre, met with the Manhattan District Attorney's office Monday to discuss video tape that appears to show Cardona's violent actions.

"It was a careful questioning," Kuby told Raw Story Tuesday. "The sort of very meticulous kind of questioning that you would expect from somebody doing an investigation. ... I've seen this act before. I've been doing this for 30 years and, historically, they have always acted like they are taking it seriously, but they seldom do."

"The usual process that I've seen over and over and over again is that they conduct a very long, very thorough investigation. They present it to a grand jury. It's a secret proceeding. It's a black box of law. And then the district attorney announces that the grand jury has failed to indict. ... It provides the perfect political cover for timorous prosecutors."


Gaddafi crowned Africa's 'king of kings' by over 200 kings and tribal elders


A meeting of more than 200 African kings and traditional rulers has bestowed the title "king of kings" on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
A meeting of more than 200 African kings and traditional rulers has bestowed the title "king of kings" on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The rulers, wearing gold crowns, sequined capes and colourful robes met in the Libyan town of Benghazi in what was billed as a first of its kind.

Col Gaddafi urged the royals to join his campaign for African unity.

Africa's political leaders are lukewarm about his vision of merging their powers to create a single government.

"We want an African military to defend Africa, we want a single African currency, we want one African passport to travel within Africa," Col Gaddafi told the assembled dignitaries, who come from countries such as Mozambique, South Africa, Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of Congo.


Women Still Prefer Taking Husband's Last Name

Just Married
© Olga Vladimirova, Shutterstock
Will she be Mrs. HisLastName?

As a girl, Andrea Grimes assumed that she would take her husband's last name when she grew up and got married. But at 27 and newly engaged, the Dallas journalist and feminist blogger now has no interest in switching her surname.

But not everyone has caught up: Both Grimes' mother and her fiancé's stepmother have already referred to her with her fiancé's last name. Those assumptions aren't surprising, given that decades after the feminist revolution, most women still take their husband's last name upon marriage. While no national statistics exist, some recent studies suggest that women keeping their own name is actually becoming less popular. And a recent nationally representative survey found that half of Americans support women being legally required to take their husband's name upon marriage. These traditional attitudes persist even as divorce, remarriage, gay marriage and blended families make naming more complex.

"It's not unlike other sorts of signals of traditionalism," said study researcher Brian Powell, who along with his colleagues reported the results of that survey in the journal Gender and Society in April 2011.

"Wedding services today still have so many markings of the traditional gender divide," Powell, a sociologist at Indiana University, Bloomington, told LiveScience. "The symbolic aspects of gender are still very powerful."