Archive | May 8, 2015

Member States Object to UN Reproductive Rights Agenda*

Member States Object to UN Reproductive Rights Agenda*

The United Nation’s 48th annual Commission on Population and Development concluded April 17 without any adopted resolutions after two weeks of negotiations at UN headquarters in New York City. Participation of many pro-life organizations, including Human Life International, yielded opportunities to promote respect for human life from conception to natural death as delegates discussed plans and recommendations for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The commission’s theme, “Realizing the future we want: integrating population issues into sustainable development,” was in preparation for slated adoption of the United Nation’s post-2015 agenda goals this September. However, no resolutions were agreed upon.

Reproductive rights, comprehensive sex education, and access to contraception were controversial topics. Several member states opposed language that promotes sexual and reproductive rights and comprehensive sex education because of their incompatibility with their country’s laws and ethical norms.

Despite member states’ requests to remove such language, their requests were disregarded and negotiations were suspended several times by Commission leaders. The chair of the Commission, Ms. Bénédicte Frankinet, focused on resolutions that would reflect the concerns of all member states. Nevertheless, every updated version of the drafted resolution contained language promoting abortion and contraception — practices considered scandalous and unethical in many parts of the world. The chair chose to suspend negotiations regarding “sexual and reproductive rights” to focus on common concerns of all member states, and return to reproductive rights at a later time.

Of course, this strategy often results in late night negotiations. Many delegates from more traditional countries would not be present to dissent anti-life and anti-family language. Western nations are prepared for this, as they can afford larger staffs, unlike many African nations. Thus, delaying negotiations of controversial resolutions, including abortion, is a strategic decision, as less people are present for the conversation.

Yet on the last night, the Commission presented a final draft which did not recognize the rights of unborn children. Instead, the language called for abortion and contraception to be guaranteed as reproductive “rights” to all people in the developing world as a legitimate means of family planning. Many delegates voiced strong objections. Ms. Frankinet withdrew the draft, despite many delegates being open to removing language about reproductive rights and comprehensive sex education. Refusing to consider a compromise, the chair ruled that no resolution would be passed this year and called for the committee to re-examine the purpose of the Commission before next year.

Member states expect continued debate regarding Sustainable Development Goals before the General Assembly gathers for a special session this September. Delegates from pro-family and pro-life countries will, no doubt, raise their objections to the reproductive rights agenda once again.

Source*

Related Topics:

The West Exports Porn, Casual Sex, and the Blood of the pre-born not Freedom*

Thousands of Kids Stay Home In Protest against Ontario’s Sex-Ed*

Religious Schools Face Closure if they don’t Promote Homosexuality*

Sexual Liberation a Tool of Mass Control*

Sex Education, the Key to Social Engineering*

Globalized Education and One World Government

Ontario Teacher Disciplined for Criticizing Child Sex Ed. – Paedophilia Program*

British Children as Young as 3 Referred for Transgender Treatment*

Mexican Study: Lower Mother Mortality and Violence against Women in Less ‘Liberal’ States*

UN’s Heterophobic Agenda*

U.K: To Become a Genderless, Parentless Society

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The West Exports Porn, Casual Sex, and the Blood of the pre-born not Freedom*

The West Exports Porn, Casual Sex, and the Blood of the pre-born not Freedom*

By Jonathon van Maren

Nations and cultures are fragile things. I was reflecting on this some time ago, reading through the work of that great Russian novelist and historian Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who saw with rare clarity of vision what the nihilist secularism of the Soviet state had done to millions of people. Signs of this fragility are everywhere, especially in the former Eastern Bloc, to which I’ve had the privilege of traveling a number of times. These visits are always deeply moving, especially as the scars of history’s destructive rampage are still so visible there. It always forces me to think about our own country, our own past, and our own future. It is not just culture that is a fragile thing—it is also the consciences of the people. Bloodshed has a way of congealing and sealing our consciences and hardening our hearts.

On a crisp but beautiful day a few months ago, I was walking the streets of Belgrade, Serbia. A local, Jorge, had agreed on short notice to take myself and two friends around the city. We tromped down cobblestone streets from castles to museums, noting the architectural signs of the eternal struggle this region has tenaciously survived—Yugoslavian, yes—but always, Turkish remnants of the centuries-long battle against Muslim invaders creeping through. Jorge, an unemployed engineer, points out a wall in the Belgrade Museum embedded with 2,000 skulls—the leaders of a peasant revolt against the Ottoman Empire, still grinning their defiance.

“We lose half of every generation fighting the Turks,” Jorge says matter-of-factly.

More recently, bombed-out buildings fronted by black gaping mouths lined with jagged brick teeth reminded us that not so very long ago—I can still remember reading about it in the newspapers, after all—Western countries unleashed their bomber payloads over the city. Jorge doesn’t want to talk about it much. He was in the Serbian army in Kosovo, and all he’d say was that he saw killings–“Lots of them.”

It’s not like other European cities. Some buildings are decaying and broken, with signs in the window announcing that local businesses still exist here—those are contrasted with shiny, flashing modern buildings owned by Western companies like H&M. The Western influence here is regarded suspiciously—it’s not just frivolous material goods that are being brought here. It is our uniquely decadent moral relativism, too. Jorge complained loudly that Pride parades and “LGBT values” were being forced on Serbia by the universally-despised European Union–“I have no problem if you like sex with whoever, but why this is what the West wants us to have? It is bulls**t.”

Abortion is taking its toll, too. “We are now old country,” Jorge noted somberly. “All old people.” And of course, promises of a future are hollow without children to populate it.

It doesn’t matter where you travel, it seems. Humanity’s suicidal civil war has crept in everywhere. Sometimes, it’s visible—Jorge points out the scars and craters left by invaders. Black lamp posts that can still be seen in fuzzy black and white photographs with World War II resistance fighters dangling from them stand solemnly on street corners. And there is the Saba River, where one cold spring day the residents of Belgrade saw thousands of frozen Jewish men, women, and children floating by one by one, two by two, as they thawed out of the ice at their place of execution upstream by the Croats and Nazis and quietly trickled through the city like shrieking accusations.

“Too much dying in this country. Too much,” Jorge says quietly.

It makes me think of my own country, so beautiful and free of the battles that erupt in places like this with morbid frequency. It reminds me that not so very long ago, my own grandparents in the Netherlands saw people shot down in the streets, and saw blood trickling slowly through the gutters. Their people. Our freedom is something we barely notice, and no generation has experienced a peace like ours.

And we don’t deserve it.

We don’t bring our freedoms or our free market to battered countries like this. We are glutted on porn and casual sex and the blood of pre-born children, who are executed for the crime of violating our sacrament of sterile sex. These are our exports. We have forgotten what Solzhenitsyn once said: “Thus it is that no cruelty whatsoever passes without impact. Thus it is that we always pay dearly for chasing what is cheap.”

We Westerners think of places like Serbia and Bosnia with a condescending solemnity. So much conflict, we think, so much killing. And we ignore the fact that our booming free-market abortion industry has turned our bedrooms into battlefields where new casualties are created only to be shredded into tiny corpses. I wonder, as I walk, whether we would think differently about our own sex-driven massacres if we had to see the little frozen bodies float one by one, two by two down the Ottawa River, the Fraser River, the Bow River. We are not better than those people who live in places rocked by warfare, than those men and women on the receiving end of NATO bombs. We’ve simply gotten better, less messy, at killing than they have. Our Revolution has its own victims, but we simply do not recognize them as such. We bury the knowledge of their humanity deep within us, and try to avoid the glaring truth that what we do is kill our own children.

We can’t escape it forever, though. That is why, as Jorge said, so many countries are becoming countries populated by old people, who traded the future for the century of the self. That is why some European countries are changing their “sex education”—to reteach people that the act of reproduction should sometimes result in reproduction, the beginning of the reckoning that Solzhenitsyn knew must come.

“In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface,” he wrote, “we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.”

If only people still read Solzhenitsyn.

As Belgrade got darker and it began to get cold, I threw on a coat. “Are you okay?” Jorge asked with concern.

“Of course,” I told him. “I’m Canadian. This isn’t that cold.”

He smiled. “Good,” he said. “I do not want to carry you on my soul after.”

Carry you on my soul after. What a beautiful way of putting it. In broken English, Jorge had found the perfect way of encapsulating our responsibility to one another. Shared humanity means shared responsibility. We have to bear one another’s burdens. Love our neighbours. Carry the responsibility for those around us on our souls. As soon as I could, I wrote those words down in my notebook to remember and reflect.

Nations and cultures are a fragile thing, especially when we forget the urgency and necessity of our responsibility to our society’s victims. In some places, the killing is loud, brash, and obvious. In others, we murder softly and tiny humans pass from this life with barely a whisper. But in every place, we must not allow the voices of our consciences be overwhelmed by the enormity of reality. In every place, our duty is the same. For the words of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn are still as true as they were all those years ago:

“Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, not between classes, nor between political parties—but through every human heart.”

Source*

Related Topics:

Russia: Call to Boycott the Corrupting Influence of Valentine’s Day*

Why the West Destroys and Humiliate Peoples

NATO: A Feast of Blood

God’s Sense of Humour!

Bishop Badejo: U.S. won’t fight Boko Haram because of their Eugenics Agenda in Africa*

From Child Trafficking to Head of U.N. Ops. in Haiti

Vatican and Queen Accused of Crimes Against Humanity

U.K: To Become a Genderless, Parentless Society

The Desecration of Childhood

I Am Spongy Bob!

Boy Scout of America Encyclopaedia of Sexual Abuse 1947 -2005

Religious Schools Face Closure if they don’t Promote Homosexuality*

U.K. Three Parents Babies Violates Human Dignity*

Why Billionaire Oligarchs Bankroll Feminism*

And One Ring to Bind Them All*Gay Activist Admits our Goal is to Indoctrinate Children*

Where Children are Imprisoned and Sexually Abused*

Traditional Marriage in D.C. has become a March*

Sex Education, the Key to Social Engineering*

Manifesting the Ultimate Reality!?

Manifesting the Ultimate Reality!?

Related Topics:

Humanity at the Crossroads: The Crisis in Spiritual Consciousness

Physics of Tawhid: A Quantum View of the World

Evil Allures, But Good Endures…

All Things are Connected!

A Star Disappears into a Void

Faith vs. Ego!

Heavenly Signs: Infinity in the Stars!?

Did You Think That Earth Orbits the Sun!?

Earth Magnetism and the Human Body

Beyond DNA and Our Dangerous Limited Minds*

Knowledge Comes to Life Through Touch and Movement!

A Meeting of Minds

30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself

The Man Who Stomped His Shadow

YOU ARE NOTHING BUT A FREQUENCY

You are an Expression of the Infinite…

Did You Know How You See Time Affects All You Do!

The Yin and Yang of Water*

South Africa Delays Court Decision on Black Ownership of Mines*

South Africa Delays Court Decision on Black Ownership of Mines*

By Cecilia Jamasmie

South African mines minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi has failed to meet his auto-imposed April deadline to ask courts help him resolve a dispute over a black ownership target of 26% for mining companies.

The mining ministry was still fine-tuning details the request details, a spokesman for Ramatlhodi told Bloomberg on Tuesday. He added that while the matter remained “urgent,” they didn’t want to “waste the court’s time by filing papers which are not well-cooked.”

The mines minister said in March he would request a court judgment to settle the issue of whether or not mining companies can claim they have met their required black-ownership quotas, as specified by the country’s 2004 Mining Charter.

The main point of contention is the fact that mining companies believe that once they have reached a 26% black ownership, it means they effectively complied with the regulations. However, some investors subsequently sold their stakes, diluting the companies’ black shareholding, which according to the government goes against the law.

The so-called empowerment rule was seen as a way to compensate black South Africans for discrimination suffered during the apartheid era.

Since early this year authorities have been auditing mining houses with an eye to charter compliance. According to official figures, about 20% of South Africa’s mining companies, mostly small players, have yet to provide details about their compliance with the charter, due by the end of 2014

Source*

Related Topics:

South Africa’s Fight against Global Corporatization Continues*

A Reminder Why South African Mineworkers have a Right to Strike*

South African Miner’s Strike continues Despite Threats of More Layoffs

The Democracy South Africans Never Voted for*

South Africa’s Platinum Miners Resume Rothschild’s Work*

220,000 Metal Workers on Strike in South Africa*

Rothschild’s Anglo American to Sell South African Mines*

Now the Destabilization War Begins in South Africa*

China orders Muslim Businesses to Sell Cigarettes and Alcohol*

China orders Muslim Businesses to Sell Cigarettes and Alcohol*

From a people whose traditions do not include cigarettes and alcohol this is beyond bordering a neurotic compulsive obsessive disorder right!

By Morgan Winsor

Muslim shops and restaurants in a Chinese village have been ordered to sell alcohol and cigarettes in an effort to weaken Islam’s hold on residents in China’s Xinjiang region. Shop owners who refuse face closure and prosecution, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported Monday. It is the latest in a series of anti-Muslim campaigns by Chinese authorities in the name of fighting religious extremism to undermine Islam influence in north-western China.

Chinese authorities in Laskuy township issued a notice to residents in Aktash village last week saying in part,

“all restaurants and supermarkets in our village should place five different brands of alcohol and cigarettes in their shops before [May 1, 2015].”

Shopkeepers were also instructed to promote the products in “eye-catching displays.” Authorities warned that

“anybody who neglects this notice and fails to act will see their shops sealed off, their business suspended, and legal action pursued against them.”

The notice also said the order was handed down from the top ranks of China’s ruling Communist Party.

“We have a campaign to weaken religion here and this is part of that campaign,” Adil Sulayman, Aktash village party committee secretary, told RFA’s Uighur Service. “Since 2012, people have stopped selling alcohol and cigarettes through their businesses. Even those who benefited financially from the practice have given it up because they fear public scorn. That is why [the order was issued].”

Many locals in Aktash and other parts of Laskuy who practice Islam have decided to abstain from drinking and smoking, and selling the products was considered taboo for religious reasons. Sulayman told RFA that authorities in Xinjian viewed nonsmoking Muslims as “a form of religious extremism.” The Quran refers to the use of alcohol and any intoxicants or self-destructive practices as a sin.

Government officials and children in the predominately Muslim Xinjiang province have been banned from attending mosques or observing the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which begins June 17. In some areas, women are banned from wearing face-covering veils and men discouraged from growing long beards, the Washington Post said.

Source*

Related Topics:

Cultural Marxism in Action: Special Needs Sisters Taken from Homeschooling Family*

China Criminalizes 25 more Uyghurs*

China punishes Uyghur’s for Studying their Religion Outside State Control*

Elimination by Assimilation: China Offers Cash for Interracial Marriages with Uyghurs*

From Africa to China

The Clintons and their Bankster Friends, 1992-2016*

The Clintons and their Bankster Friends, 1992-2016*

By Nomi Prins

Goldman Sachs alum Jon S. Corzine with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2007. (AP / Mel Evans)

Goldman Sachs alum Jon S. Corzine kisses Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2007. (AP / Mel Evans)

The past, especially the political past, doesn’t just provide clues to the present. In the realm of the presidency and Wall Street, it provides an ongoing pathway for political-financial relationships and policies that remain a threat to the American economy going forward.

When Hillary Clinton video-announced her bid for the Oval Office, she claimed she wanted to be a “champion” for the American people. Since then, she has attempted to recast herself as a populist and distance herself from some of the policies of her husband.  But Bill Clinton did not become president without sharing the friendships, associations, and ideologies of the elite banking sect, nor will Hillary Clinton.  Such relationships run too deep and are too longstanding.

To grasp the dangers that the Big Six banks (JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley) presently pose to the financial stability of our nation and the world, you need to understand their history in Washington, starting with the Clinton years of the 1990s. Alliances established then (not exclusively with Democrats, since bankers are bipartisan by nature) enabled these firms to become as politically powerful as they are today and to exert that power over an unprecedented amount of capital. Rest assured of one thing: their past and present CEOs will prove as critical in backing a Hillary Clinton presidency as they were in enabling her husband’s years in office.

In return, today’s titans of finance and their hordes of lobbyists, more than half of whom held prior positions in the government, exact certain requirements from Washington. They need to know that a safety net or bailout will always be available in times of emergency and that the regulatory road will be open to whatever practices they deem most profitable.

Whatever her populist pitch may be in the 2016 campaign—and she will have one—note that, in all these years, Hillary Clinton has not publicly condemned Wall Street or any individual Wall Street leader.  Though she may, in the heat of that campaign, raise the bad-apples or bad-situation explanation for Wall Street’s role in the financial crisis of 2007-2008, rest assured that she will not point fingers at her friends. She will not chastise the people that pay her hundreds of thousands of dollars a pop to speak or the ones that have long shared the social circles in which she and her husband move. She is an undeniable component of the Clinton political-financial legacy that came to national fruition more than 23 years ago, which is why looking back at the history of the first Clinton presidency is likely to tell you so much about the shape and character of the possible second one.

The 1992 Election and the Rise of Bill Clinton

Challenging President George H.W. Bush, who was seeking a second term, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton announced he would seek the 1992 Democratic nomination for the presidency on October 2, 1991. The upcoming presidential election would not, however, turn out to alter the path of mergers or White House support for deregulation that was already in play one iota.

First, though, Clinton needed money. A consummate fundraiser in his home state, he cleverly amassed backing and established early alliances with Wall Street. One of his key supporters would later change American banking forever. As Clinton put it, he received “invaluable early support” from Ken Brody, a Goldman Sachs executive seeking to delve into Democratic politics. Brody took Clinton “to a dinner with high-powered New York businesspeople, including Bob Rubin, whose tightly reasoned arguments for a new economic policy,” Clinton later wrote, “made a lasting impression on me.”

The battle for the White House kicked into high gear the following fall. William Schreyer, chairman and CEO of Merrill Lynch, showed his support for Bush by giving the maximum personal contribution to his campaign committee permitted by law: $1,000. But he wanted to do more. So when one of Bush’s fundraisers solicited him to contribute to the Republican National Committee’s nonfederal, or “soft money,” account, Schreyer made a $100,000 donation.

The bankers’ alliances remained divided among the candidates at first, as they considered which man would be best for their own power trajectories, but their donations were plentiful: mortgage and broker company contributions were $1.2 million; 46% to the GOP and 54% to the Democrats. Commercial banks poured in $14.8 million to the 1992 campaigns at a near 50-50 split.

Clinton, like every good Democrat, campaigned publicly against the bankers:

“It’s time to end the greed that consumed Wall Street and ruined our S&Ls [Savings and Loans] in the last decade,” he said.

But equally, he had no qualms about taking money from the financial sector. In the early months of his campaign, BusinessWeek estimated that he received $2 million of his initial $8.5 million in contributions from New York, under the care of Ken Brody.

“If I had a Ken Brody working for me in every state, I’d be like the Maytag man with nothing to do,” said Rahm Emanuel, who ran Clinton’s nationwide fundraising committee and later became Barack Obama’s chief of staff. Wealthy donors and prospective fundraisers were invited to a select series of intimate meetings with Clinton at the plush Manhattan office of the prestigious private equity firm Blackstone.

Robert Rubin Comes to Washington

Clinton knew that embracing the bankers would help him get things done in Washington, and what he wanted to get done dovetailed nicely with their desires anyway. To facilitate his policies and maintain ties to Wall Street, he selected a man who had been instrumental to his campaign, Robert Rubin, as his economic adviser.

In 1980, Rubin had landed on Goldman Sachs’ management committee alongside fellow Democrat Jon Corzine. A decade later, Rubin and Stephen Friedman were appointed cochairmen of Goldman Sachs. Rubin’s political aspirations met an appropriate opportunity when Clinton captured the White House.

On January 25, 1993, Clinton appointed him as assistant to the president for economic policy. Shortly thereafter, the president created a unique role for his comrade, head of the newly created National Economic Council.

“I asked Bob Rubin to take on a new job,” Clinton later wrote,

“coordinating economic policy in the White House as Chairman of the National Economic Council, which would operate in much the same way the National Security Council did, bringing all the relevant agencies together to formulate and implement policy… [I]f he could balance all of [Goldman Sachs’] egos and interests, he had a good chance to succeed with the job.” (Ten years later, President George W. Bush gave the same position to Rubin’s old partner, Friedman.)

Back at Goldman, Jon Corzine, co-head of fixed income, and Henry Paulson, co-head of investment banking, were ascending through the ranks. They became co-CEOs when Friedman retired at the end of 1994.

Those two men were the perfect bipartisan duo. Corzine was a staunch Democrat serving on the International Capital Markets Advisory Committee of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (from 1989 to 1999). He would co-chair a presidential commission for Clinton on capital budgeting between 1997 and 1999, while serving in a key role on the Borrowing Advisory Committee of the Treasury Department. Paulson was a well connected Republican and Harvard graduate who had served on the White House Domestic Council as staff assistant to the president in the Nixon administration.

Bankers Forge Ahead

By May 1995, Rubin was impatiently warning Congress that the Glass-Steagall Act could “conceivably impede safety and soundness by limiting revenue diversification.” Banking deregulation was then inching through Congress. As they had during the previous Bush administration, both the House and Senate Banking Committees had approved separate versions of legislation to repeal Glass-Steagall, the 1933 Act passed by the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt that had separated deposit-taking and lending or “commercial” bank activities from speculative or “investment bank” activities, such as securities creation and trading. Conference negotiations had fallen apart, though, and the effort was stalled.

By 1996, however, other industries, representing core clients of the banking sector, were already being deregulated. On February 8, 1996, Clinton signed the Telecom Act, which killed many independent and smaller broadcasting companies by opening a national market for “cross-ownership.” The result was mass mergers in that sector advised by banks.

Deregulation of companies that could transport energy across state lines came next. Before such deregulation, state commissions had regulated companies that owned power plants and transmission lines, which worked together to distribute power. Afterward, these could be divided and effectively traded without uniform regulation or responsibility to regional customers. This would lead to blackouts in California and a slew of energy derivatives, as well as trades at firms such as Enron that used the energy business as a front for fraudulent deals.

The number of mergers and stock and debt issuances ballooned on the back of all the deregulation that eliminated barriers that had kept companies separated. As industries consolidated, they also ramped up their complex transactions and special purpose vehicles (off-balance-sheet, offshore constructions tailored by the banking community to hide the true nature of their debts and shield their profits from taxes). Bankers kicked into overdrive to generate fees and create related deals. Many of these blew up in the early 2000s in a spate of scandals and bankruptcies, causing an earlier millennium recession.

Meanwhile, though, bankers ploughed ahead with their advisory services, speculative enterprises, and deregulation pursuits. President Clinton and his team would soon provide them an epic gift, all in the name of U.S. global power and competitiveness. Robert Rubin would steer the White House ship to that goal.

On February 12, 1999, Rubin found a fresh angle to argue on behalf of banking deregulation. He addressed the House Committee on Banking and Financial Services, claiming that, “the problem U.S. financial services firms face abroad is more one of access than lack of competitiveness.”

He was referring to the European banks’ increasing control of distribution channels into the European institutional and retail client base. Unlike U.S. commercial banks, European banks had no restrictions keeping them from buying and teaming up with U.S. or other securities firms and investment banks to create or distribute their products. He did not appear concerned about the destruction caused by sizeable financial bets throughout Europe. The international competitiveness argument allowed him to focus the committee on what needed to be done domestically in the banking sector to remain competitive.

Rubin stressed the necessity of HR 665, the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999, or the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, that was officially introduced on February 10, 1999. He said it took

“fundamental actions to modernize our financial system by repealing the Glass-Steagall Act prohibitions on banks affiliating with securities firms and repealing the Bank Holding Company Act prohibitions on insurance underwriting.”

The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act Marches Forward

On February 24, 1999, in more testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, Rubin pushed for fewer prohibitions on bank affiliates that wanted to perform the same functions as their larger bank holding company, once the different types of financial firms could legally merge. That minor distinction would enable subsidiaries to place all sorts of bets and house all sorts of junk under the false premise that they had the same capital beneath them as their parent. The idea that a subsidiary’s problems can’t taint or destroy the host, or bank holding company, or create “catastrophic” risk, is a myth perpetuated by bankers and political enablers that continues to this day.

Rubin had no qualms with mega-consolidations across multiple service lines. His real problems were those of his banker friends, which lay with the financial modernization bill’s “prohibition on the use of subsidiaries by larger banks.”  The bankers wanted the right to establish off-book subsidiaries where they could hide risks, and profits, as needed.

Again, Rubin decided to use the notion of remaining competitive with foreign banks to make his point. This technicality was “unacceptable to the administration,” he said, not least because “foreign banks underwrite and deal in securities through subsidiaries in the United States, and U.S. banks [already] conduct securities and merchant banking activities abroad through so-called Edge subsidiaries.” Rubin got his way. These off-book, risky, and barely regulated subsidiaries would be at the forefront of the 2008 financial crisis.

On March 1, 1999, Senator Phil Gramm released a final draft of the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 and scheduled committee consideration for March 4th. A bevy of excited financial titans who were close to Clinton, including Travelers CEO Sandy Weill, Bank of America CEO, Hugh McColl, and American Express CEO Harvey Golub, called for “swift congressional action.”

The Quintessential Revolving-Door Man

The stock market continued its meteoric rise in anticipation of a banker-friendly conclusion to the legislation that would deregulate their industry. Rising consumer confidence reflected the nation’s fondness for the markets and lack of empathy with the rest of the world’s economic plight. On March 29, 1999, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 10,000 for the first time. Six weeks later, on May 6th,  the Financial Services Modernization Act passed the Senate. It legalized, after the fact, the merger that created the nation’s biggest bank.  Citigroup, the marriage of Citibank and Travelers, had been finalized the previous October.

It was not until that point that one of Glass-Steagall’s main assassins decided to leave Washington. Six days after the bill passed the Senate, on May 12, 1999, Robert Rubin abruptly announced his resignation. As Clinton wrote,

“I believed he had been the best and most important treasury secretary since Alexander Hamilton… He had played a decisive role in our efforts to restore economic growth and spread its benefits to more Americans.”

Clinton named Larry Summers to succeed Rubin. Two weeks later, BusinessWeek reported signs of trouble in merger paradise—in the form of a growing rift between John Reed, the former Chairman of Citibank, and Sandy Weill at the new Citigroup. As Reed said, “Co-CEOs are hard.” Perhaps to patch their rift, or simply to take advantage of a political opportunity, the two men enlisted a third person to join their relationship—none other than Robert Rubin.

Rubin’s resignation from Treasury became effective on July 2nd. At that time, he announced, “This almost six and a half years has been all-consuming, and I think it is time for me to go home to New York and to do whatever I’m going to do next.”

Rubin became chairman of Citigroup’s executive committee and a member of the newly created “office of the chairman.” His initial annual compensation package was worth around $40 million.  It was more than worth the “hit” he took when he left Goldman for the Treasury post.

Three days after the conference committee endorsed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley bill, Rubin assumed his Citigroup position, joining the institution destined to dominate the financial industry. That very same day, Reed and Weill issued a joint statement praising Washington for “liberating our financial companies from an antiquated regulatory structure,” stating that “this legislation will unleash the creativity of our industry and ensure our global competitiveness.”

On November 4th, the Senate approved the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act by a vote of 90 to 8.  (The House voted 362–57 in favor.) Critics famously referred to it as the Citigroup Authorization Act.

Mirth abounded in Clinton’s White House.

“Today Congress voted to update the rules that have governed financial services since the Great Depression and replace them with a system for the twenty-first century,” Summers said.

This historic legislation will better enable American companies to compete in the new economy.”

But the happiness was misguided. Deregulating the banking industry might have helped the titans of Wall Street but not people on Main Street. The Clinton era epitomized the vast difference between appearance and reality, spin and actuality. As the decade drew to a close, Clinton basked in the glow of a lofty stock market, a budget surplus, and the passage of this key banking “modernization.” It would be revealed in the 2000s that many corporate profits of the 1990s were based on inflated evaluations, manipulation, and fraud. When Clinton left office, the gap between rich and poor was greater than it had been in 1992, and yet the Democrats heralded him as some sort of prosperity hero.

When he resigned in 1997, Robert Reich, Clinton’s labor secretary, said,

“America is prospering, but the prosperity is not being widely shared, certainly not as widely shared as it once was… We have made progress in growing the economy. But growing together again must be our central goal in the future.”

 Instead, the growth of wealth inequality in the United States accelerated, as the men yielding the most financial power wielded it with increasingly less culpability or restriction. By 2015, that wealth or prosperity gap would stand near historic highs.

The power of the bankers increased dramatically in the wake of the repeal of Glass-Steagall. The Clinton administration had rendered twenty-first-century banking practices similar to those of the pre-1929 crash. But worse. “Modernizing” meant utilizing government-backed depositors’ funds as collateral for the creation and distribution of all types of complex securities and derivatives whose proliferation would be increasingly quick and dangerous.

Eviscerating Glass-Steagall allowed big banks to compete against Europe and also enabled them to go on a rampage: more acquisitions, greater speculation, and more risky products. The big banks used their bloated balance sheets to engage in more complex activity, while counting on customer deposits and loans as capital chips on the global betting table. Bankers used hefty trading profits and wealth to increase lobbying funds and campaign donations, creating an endless circle of influence and mutual reinforcement of boundary-less speculation, endorsed by the White House.

Deposits could be used to garner larger windfalls, just as cheap labour and commodities in developing countries were used to formulate more expensive goods for profit in the upper echelons of the global financial hierarchy. Energy and telecoms proved especially fertile ground for the investment banking fee business (and later for fraud, extensive lawsuits, and bankruptcies). Deregulation greased the wheels of complex financial instruments such as collateralized debt obligations, junk bonds, toxic assets, and unregulated derivatives.

The Glass-Steagall repeal led to unfettered derivatives growth and unstable balance sheets at commercial banks that merged with investment banks and at investment banks that preferred to remain solo but engaged in dodgier practices to remain “competitive.” In conjunction with the tight political-financial alignment and associated collaboration that began with Bush and increased under Clinton, bankers channeled the 1920s, only with more power over an immense and growing pile of global financial assets and increasingly “open” markets. In the process, accountability would evaporate.

Every bank accelerated its hunt for acquisitions and deposits to amass global influence while creating, trading, and distributing increasingly convoluted securities and derivatives. These practices would foster the kind of shaky, interconnected, and opaque financial environment that provided the backdrop and conditions leading up to the financial meltdown of 2008.

The Realities of 2016

Hillary Clinton is, of course, not her husband. But her access to his past banker alliances, amplified by the ones that she has formed herself, makes her more of a friend than an adversary to the banking industry.  In her brief 2008 candidacy, all four of the New York-based Big Six banks ranked among her top 10 corporate donors. They have also contributed to the Clinton Foundation. She needs them to win, just as both Barack Obama and Bill Clinton did. 

No matter what spin is used for campaigning purposes, the idea that a critical distance can be maintained between the White House and Wall Street is naïve given the multiple channels of money and favors that flow between the two.  It is even more improbable, given the history of connections that Hillary Clinton has established through her associations with key bank leaders in the early 1990s, during her time as a senator from New York, and given their contributions to the Clinton foundation while she was secretary of state. At some level, the situation couldn’t be less complicated: her path aligns with that of the country’s most powerful bankers. If she becomes president, that will remain the case.

Source*

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A compilation of the Clinton Family Body Count by Chasvoice blogspot: Quite some gangsters we gotten goin own ere

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Goldman Sachs Controls Eurozone!*

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What the Banks did to Baltimore*

What the Banks did to Baltimore*

Katrina, and Detroit all over again…

By Matt Stannard

There’s no shortage of pundits condemning the riots in Baltimore. There are also plenty of well-meaning people focusing solely on the disenfranchisement of particular pockets of that city as if the human beings suffering there were characters in some morality play. But it’s time to talk economics, because the events in Baltimore didn’t happen in a vacuum. “In fact,” writes Harlan Green of PopularEconomics.com,

“the Baltimore riots are the result of an economic system that can only be described as broken, where the bullies win, everyone else loses.”

How did the economic bullies win in Baltimore?

There are at least two different ways. The first is the actions of JP Morgan-Chase, Bank of America, Barclays, Citibank and Deutsche Bank, who, according to a lawsuit filed by Baltimore city and dozens of other cities, states, and government entities, manipulated “interest rates on hundreds of trillions of dollars’ worth of loans and investments” purportedly used to fund those cities.

Those banks allegedly kept “LIBOR,” the London interbank offered rate, artificially low during the financial crisis of 2008 and beyond, thus “robbing [Baltimore and other cities] of millions of dollars in returns on investments such as interest-rate swaps” – themselves risky financial instruments that big banks force cities to use in order to fund transit systems, schools, water works, and other city services.

As the Washington Post reported in 2012, those

“investment earnings allegedly lost in the swap deal could have helped cash-strapped Baltimore balance its budget without resorting to all of the service cuts and payroll reductions that it was forced into during the financial crisis.”

Those cuts, of course, were devastating, thrusting more residents of Baltimore into unemployment, and stripping the city of its mechanisms of connecting the community with vital resources. This interview with Bill Black contains more details about Baltimore and the LIBOR scandal.

The second material cause of the devastation in Baltimore is the subprime mortgage crisis, of which University of Michigan Professor Martha Jones writes:

“When examining the tensions that erupted in Baltimore in the last two weeks, the consequences of losing homes should not be minimized as a factor in the sense of outrage and injustice. Foreclosures in the wake of the subprime mortgage scandal of 2008 have been the end game in predatory lending schemes that plundered the single modest asset held by many black Baltimoreans: their homes. In a 2012 settlement reached with one lender, Wells Fargo, some 1,000 black and Latino residents of Baltimore received $2.5 million in restitution for having been charged higher fees and interest rates than those assessed to their counterparts in predominantly white communities. The University of Baltimore’s Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance research has found that, between 2008 and 2009, foreclosure filings in Baltimore increased by over 38%. Between 2009 and 2012, more than 14,000 such proceedings were brought against the city’s homeowners.”

The subprime mortgage crisis resulted from an increase in subprime lending from 8% or lower to 20% or higher from 2004 to 2006. 90% of those were adjustable rate mortgages, which re-set at higher interest rates, causing mortgage delinquencies to skyrocket. Along with the loss of nine million U.S. jobs, the crisis devastated America’s cities.

Although corporatist propaganda blames the borrowers and a government eager to get people into homes, Barry Ritholtz of the quantitative research firm Fusion IQ, and many others, have pointed out that the blame lies with those who had the power: asset managers turning to high-yield mortgage-backed securities and turning a blind eye to their due diligence responsibilities; credit agencies who lied about the value of those junk securities; and bankers pushing unstable derivatives, all undergirded by a Wall Street compensation system rewarding short-term performances rather than long-term stability or genuine improvement in borrowers’ lives.

Economically disenfranchised, hounded by creditors and predators, Baltimore was ripe for unrest—not because of people with bad attitudes, but because of economic mismanagement at the hands of a largely white, wealthy power base on Wall Street.

While there are many political solutions to disenfranchisement, the challenge of economic solutions remains hindered by the reliance of cities like Baltimore on Wall Street finance. That reliance continues to cost cities dearly, as revelations surface of big banks taking billions of dollars from city budgets and pensions for service fees and through astronomical interest rates. Wall Street apparently can’t help doing what it does, even with crumbling cities and broken bodies all around it.

Solutions must start as far away from Wall Street as possible. Instead of entrusting city budgets, mortgages, and credit to big private banks, a public bank like the Bank of North Dakota would not only avoid risky derivatives and other disaster-inducing speculations, but would, in partnering with local banks to strengthen capital and deposit bases, keep loans on its books rather than being forced to sell them off to investors. This practice allowed North Dakota to “avoid the subprime crisis that destroyed the housing market in other states,” according to public banking author Ellen Brown.

Such public banks would be literal manifestations of economic democracy, since, like the BND, their deposits would be comprised of tax collections and public fees, and their charters would mandate lending in the public interest, with their modest profits being returned to government coffers rather than siphoned off by aloof shareholders (Last year, North Dakota got a 17.6% return rate on its BND investments; imagine what that would mean to cities like Baltimore).

Public banks would create a lending economy and real estate economy that would completely transcend the tired and mean-spirited debate between those blaming the lenders and those blaming the borrowers for the subprime mortgage crisis. If the argument is that lenders should not have lent to people who couldn’t afford massive increases in their mortgage rates, then the solution is not to deny people the opportunity to buy homes. The solution is to build an economy based on low-interest, sustainable lending and credit for all.

The voices of Wall Street say this is impossible, but the potential of public banking says otherwise. And for those who still could not afford mortgages, public banks could finance other affordable housing options, and save city budgets that could be used, if necessary, to subsidize housing.

These material causes should not be interpreted to imply that deep-seated institutional and personal racism is not at work in Baltimore and other cities. There are many good activists and scholars examining and calling out that racism, and economic analysis should complement, rather than excuse, the fight for racial justice. But financially-empowered local communities will be in infinitely better shape to fight such racism, render it materially irrelevant, and build their own locally responsive centres of power.

In the end, any solution that leaves big, Wall Street banks and private financiers in the driver’s seat guarantees more impoverished cities, more police brutality, more angry uprisings, and no long-term fiscal solutions. Those big private entities are materially responsible for the ruin, alienation, violence and hopelessness in Baltimore. We may not be able to bring them to conventional justice, but we can and must bypass and neutralize their influence as we rebuild what has been lost.

Source*

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