What happened next was extraordinary. The belief that citizens had to pay for the mistakes of a financial monopoly, that an entire nation must be taxed to pay off private debts was shattered, transforming the relationship between citizens and their political institutions and eventually driving Iceland’s leaders to the side of their constituents. The Head of State, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, refused to ratify the law that would have made Iceland’s citizens responsible for its bankers’ debts, and accepted calls for a referendum.
via Why Iceland Should Be in the News But Is Not |.
Why Iceland Should Be in the News, But Is Not
By Deena Stryker
An Italian radio program’s story about Iceland’s on-going revolution is a stunning example of how little our media tells us about the rest of the world. Americans may remember that at the start of the 2008 financial crisis, Iceland literally went bankrupt. The reasons were mentioned only in passing, and since then, this little-known member of the European Union fell back into oblivion.
As one European country after another fails or risks failing, imperiling the Euro, with repercussions for the entire world, the last thing the powers that be want is for Iceland to become an example. Here’s why:
Five years of a pure neo-liberal regime had made Iceland, (population 320 thousand, no army), one of the richest countries in the world. In 2003 all the country’s banks were privatized, and in an effort to attract foreign investors, they offered on-line banking whose minimal costs allowed them to offer relatively high rates of return. The accounts, called IceSave, attracted many English and Dutch small investors. But as investments grew, so did the banks’ foreign debt. In 2003 Iceland’s debt was equal to 200 times its […]
Interactive: Which Banks Got Emergency Loans from the Fed During the Financial Meltdown?
By Karen Weise and Dan Nguyen, ProPublica, Dec. 1, 2010, 6:45 p.m.
Wednesday the Federal Reserve released data on more than 21,000 loans and other deals it made through a dozen emergency programs created during the financial crisis. The Fed used trillions of dollars to stabilize the economy when the housing bubble burst and credit markets froze.
We combined the Fed’s three programs that loaned directly to banks and other financial firms with the goal of getting them to start lending again. We hope to post on the Fed’s other programs soon.
The numbers here reflect the cumulative amount a bank borrowed. Banks often rolled loans over from one into another, so the amount outstanding any given time would be far lower.
via Interactive: Which Banks Got Emergency Loans from the Fed During the Financial Meltdown?.
Deficits of Mass Destruction | The Nation
If you’ve been paying attention this past decade, it won’t surprise you to learn that the country’s policy elites are in the midst of a destructive, well-nigh unhinged discussion about the future of the nation. But even by the degraded standards of the Washington establishment, the growing panic over government debt is shocking.
Despite public outrage and thirst for justice, there’s a decent chance that BP will escape from the catastrophe relatively unscathed.
We can’t get financial reform on the scale we need without embarrassing people.
First, the facts. Nearly the entire deficit for this year and those projected into the near and medium terms are the result of three things: the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Bush tax cuts and the recession. The solution to our fiscal situation is: end the wars, allow the tax cuts to expire and restore robust growth. Our long-term structural deficits will require us to control healthcare inflation the way countries with single-payer systems do.
But right now we face a joblessness crisis that threatens to pitch us into a long, ugly period of low growth, the kind of lost decade that will cause […]
‘Bailout’ Baloney | FactCheck.org
Serving up a loaded word to spin the public.
This campaign season, “bailout” is a dirty — and often misused — word.
It’s no longer being used just in reference to Wall Street banks and the rescue of the financial industry. Candidates, corporations and special interest groups increasingly use “bailout” even when no government financial assistance is being proposed:
* Congressional candidates across the country are claiming their opponents support a “bailout” for BP, when in truth nobody is proposing a government handout to the oil-spill culprit.
* FedEx has been misusing “bailout” for more than a year in a multi-million-dollar campaign to prejudice the public against a proposal that would change labor laws.
* Environmental groups used “bailout” to rally opposition to a Clean Air Act amendment that would have barred the EPA from regulating greenhouse-gas emissions.
Those who abuse the word “bailout” aren’t appealing to logic, or trying to describe what they oppose accurately. They are seeking to trigger a gut response in an audience inclined to recoil instinctively at the word, and hoping nobody stops to think or ask questions.
via ‘Bailout’ Baloney | FactCheck.org.
Oil Companies Reap Billions From Subsidies
When the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform set off the worst oil spill at sea in American history, it was flying the flag of the Marshall Islands. Registering there allowed the rig’s owner to significantly reduce its American taxes.
The owner, Transocean, moved its corporate headquarters from Houston to the Cayman Islands in 1999 and then to Switzerland in 2008, maneuvers that also helped it avoid taxes.
At the same time, BP was reaping sizable tax benefits from leasing the rig. According to a letter sent in June to the Senate Finance Committee, the company used a tax break for the oil industry to write off 70 percent of the rent for Deepwater Horizon — a deduction of more than $225,000 a day since the lease began.
With federal officials now considering a new tax on petroleum production to pay for the cleanup, the industry is fighting the measure, warning that it will lead to job losses and higher gasoline prices, as well as an increased dependence on foreign oil.
via Oil Companies Reap Billions From Subsidies – NYTimes.com.
I wish there was a way I could genuinely let you know just how appreciated your support has been. It has gotten me through some rough times but more importantly, has provided the other 965 people, those who do not support us but who read every issue, with a reliable source of free information regarding Putnam County, New York. All they have to do is open their email reader or web browser and the information is there three times each week like clockwork. So, not only must I thank you but they should, too. I suppose if they’re reading – and acting on what they read – they appreciate your efforts. […]
Sources say that the County Legislature, led by Philipstown’s Vincent Tamagna, and the Physical Services Committee which is headed up by Kent’s Richard Othmer, is now actively working with the State DOT to get them to pay for the road improvements developer Paul Camarda had promised to make on his own dime. Apparently the $3.7 million is a make-or-break deal for him and that without someone footing the bill Patterson Crossing may be mortally wounded. […]
“Sorry you got screwed but we cannot and will not ever return your overdraft fees and we’re truly sorry but hell will freeze over and the Pope will convert to Judaism before we admit we ever did anything so cruel as to intentionally mislead you. Thank you for banking with Bank of America. Enjoy your day!” […]
Both Bank of America and Chase are the two worst offenders of these unethical practices and my advice is the following: unless a genuine Democracy arises from the ashes of this current system and the banking industry is regulated as they should be, pull your money from Bank of America and/or Chase and find someone else, someone who doesn’t work behind the scenes to find craftier ways of immorally and unethically separating you from your money. […]