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Swiss government is preparing for a collapse of the euro

Merkozy
© Twitpic
The Swiss government is preparing for a collapse of the euro, according to Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf. She told parliament that a work group was studying the imposition of capital controls and negative interest rates to protect Switzerland from the capital flight that a euro collapse would engender (Handelsblatt). A tidal wave of euros would drive up the Swiss franc, devastate Switzerland's export economy, and devalue its vast wealth invested in other countries. Already in August, the Swiss National Bank instituted a currency peg and swore to defend it by acquiring "unlimited" amounts of euros, a risky strategy if the euro were to collapse (for the debacle leading up to the peg, read... Swiss Franc Wreaks Havoc In Switzerland).

Megaphone

Occupy Oakland: Lierre Keith - Deep Green Resistance

Lierre Keith, co-author of the book Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save the Planet, speaks at Occupy Oakland.

Stop the 1% Literally, Our Bodies Will Be Our Demands, Read Occupy the Machine here:

Che Guevara

From Camps to Ports Wall Street of the Waterfront

Image
The Occupy movement is barely more than two months old and already showing signs of growing up. Seeing their encampments thwarted, they are responding with a coordinated counterpunch themselves. The Occupy groups in California, Oregon and Washington state are moving together against the US centers of the global economy - the ports of the West Coast that handle some 60% of the country's international trade - and their 1% owners.

Inspired by the massive participation that shut down the Port of Oakland during Occupy's "General Strike" Nov. 2, the movement's chapters in San Diego, Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland, Olympia, Tacoma and Seattle all plan port shutdown actions on Monday, Dec. 12. They hope to amass picket demonstrations so large that the dockworkers of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), long the radical labor vanguard of the West, will invoke the part of their contract allowing them not to cross the line because it is a health and safety risk.

This type of community picket action for political purposes has a long and venerable place in ILWU history. Back in 1939 longshoremen honored a picket line set up at the Port of San Francisco by the local Chinese community to stop a load of steel being sent to then-fascist Japan for its war effort, at that time focused on mainland China, but soon crossing the Pacific. Again it was used in 1977 against a South African ship in protest of that country's apartheid policies, in 1997 against a ship loaded by scab labor in support of the dockers in Liverpool, England, in 2003 to stop a ship being loaded with war materiel bound for the just-declared war on Iraq, and most recently just a couple of years ago against an Israeli ship in protest of the Israeli military attack on the Turkish ship bringing medical and construction supplies to Gaza.

Heart - Black

UK: Four police officers who 'stole cash from street beggars' are suspended

beggar
© Daily Mail
Cheated: Beggars in the Bordesley Green area of Birmingham are believed to have been treated badly by police
A police force has launched an investigation into its own officers after claims that they took cash from street beggars.

Four West Midlands Police officers were suspended and sent home on December 1 after suspicious colleagues raised concerns about their conduct.

The force's Professional Standards Unit was then called in to investigate claims that money was stolen from beggars, believed to be Eastern European, in the Bordesley Green area of Birmingham.

The allegations involve the mishandling of property taken from members of the public 'that could amount to theft'.

Heart - Black

US: Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Pulls Ad That Blames Women For Getting Date-Raped

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board provoked an enormous backlash by airing ads that tell women who are date-raped that they have only themselves and their friends to blame. The ad was part of a $600,000 campaign aimed at curbing excessive drinking.

After hearing from hundreds of rape victims that the ads were extremely upsetting, even traumatizing, the board has decided to pull them:
Pennsylvania date rape advert
© Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board
The ads send the message that women are not only at fault for getting themselves raped - a societal bias reflected in and re-enforced by too many court decisions - it's your fault if your friend gets raped, too.

Last night, after receiving hundreds of phone calls and hundreds of email complaints, the PLCB has yanked the ads.

"We feel very strong, and still do, that when we entered the initial discussion about doing a campaign like this it was important to bring the most difficult conversations about over-consumption of alcohol to the forefront and all of the dangers associated with it - date rape being one of these things," says PLCB spokesperson Stacey Witalec.

"That being said, due to the number of concerns that we heard about that specific ad, and the victims especially that we heard from talking about how the image ... made them feel victimized all over again, we felt it was prudent to pull it."

Heart - Black

US: GOP State Rep. Bob Nicholas Arrested For Kicking And Beating Mentally Disabled Son

 State Rep. Bob Nicholas

State Rep. Bob Nicholas (R-Cheyenne)
Late last month, Wyoming state Rep. Bob Nicholas (R) was arrested following an incident where he kicked and beat his disabled son outside of a restaurant:

Nicholas, 54, was arrested in Boca Grande, Fla., while on vacation after allegedly punching and kicking his 19-year-old mentally disabled son, according to a Lee County Sheriff's Office report. The document indicates that multiple witnesses outside of a restaurant saw Nicholas hit his son repeatedly with a closed fist, push him onto the sidewalk and then kick him more than five times.

Bad Guys

30 Major U.S. Corporations Paid More to Lobby Congress Than Income Taxes, 2008-2010

US corporation lobbying fees
© Public Campaign
The Public Campaign, a non-partisan research and advocacy organization, reports 30 major U.S. corporations spent more money lobbying Congress than they did on federal income taxes between 2008 and 2010.
By employing a plethora of tax-dodging techniques, 30 multi-million dollar American corporations expended more money lobbying Congress than they paid in federal income taxes between 2008 and 2010, ultimately spending approximately $400,000 every day -- including weekends -- during that three-year period to lobby lawmakers and influence political elections, according to a new report [pdf] from the non-partisan Public Campaign.

Despite a growing federal deficit and the widespread economic stability that has swept the U.S since 2008, the companies in question managed to accumulate profits of $164 billion between 2008 and 2010, while receiving combined tax rebates totaling almost $11 billion. Moreover, Public Campaign reports these companies spent about $476 million during the same period to lobby the U.S. Congress, as well as another $22 million on federal campaigns, while in some instances laying off employees and increasing executive compensation.

29 Major Corporations Paid No Federal Taxes, 2008-2010

Of the 30 companies analyzed in the report, which include corporate giants such as General Electric, Verizon Communications, Wells Fargo (WFC), Mattel (MAT) and Boeing (BA), 29 of them managed to pay no federal taxes from 2008 to 2010. Only FedEx, which raked in about $4.2 billion in profits during that period, paid a three-year tax rate of 1 percent -- totaling $37 million -- far less than the statutory federal corporate tax rate of 35 percent.

The Public Campaign report expanded on a newly released analysis on corporate tax dodging by the liberal-leaning Citizens for Tax Justice, a non-profit research and advocacy group, as well as lobbying expenditure data provided by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics.

Wolf

US: TCF Bank Penalizes Teen With $4.85 in His Account by Charging Him $234.95 in Fees in Two Weeks

Daniel Ganziano
© Stacey Wescott / Chicogo Tribune
Melida Ganziano and her 18-yera-old son Daniel Ganziano
Daniel Ganziano went from having $4.85 to owing more than $200

Document

UK University Gets Injunction Against Protests

The UK's University of Birmingham has obtained a high court injunction barring occupation-style protests on its campus for the next 12 months.
Image
© unknown

After a number of t occupations and protests against rising tuition fees, University of Birmingham lawyers went to the high court and won an order banning any "occupational protest action" without permission.

"The defendants shall not, without the prior written consent of the claimant, [Birmingham University] enter or remain upon land comprising the claimant's campus and buildings at the University of Birmingham ... for the purpose of any occupational protest action," states the court order.

Calling for the injunction to be abandoned, Liam Burns, the president of the National Union of Students (NUS) said, "The idea that students should seek permission for protest action somewhat misses the point of an occupation.

Eye 1

US: Psychologist accused of faking robbery, rape still working for prison system

Image
© unknown
Laurie Ann Martinez is accused of faking a rape and robbery at her home.
The prison psychologist accused of faking a rape and robbery at her Northgate home is still working for the prison system, a corrections spokeswoman confirmed Friday.

Terry Thornton, spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said Laurie Ann Martinez's superiors do not have the final reports needed to decide whether to put her on "administrative time off."

Martinez, 36, has been charged with two counts of felony criminal conspiracy in connection with a police report she made April 10. Sacramento police and prosecutors allege that, with the help of friend Nicole April Syder, Martinez injured herself and hid personal belongings before calling police to report that she had been raped and robbed.

She did it to persuade her husband to move to another neighborhood, police and prosecutors say.