United Nations Declaration (Articles 1 - 30):

Article 1: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2: Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Incoming UN chief names three women to top posts

Incoming UN chief names three women to top posts
Nigerian Minister of the Environment Amina Mohammed, seen in 2015, will be the UN's number two official (AFP Photo/Mireya ACIERTO)
Sustainable Development
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
"The Timing of the Great Shift" – Mar 21, 2009 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Text version)

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013. They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)


The Declaration of Human Freedom

Archangel Michael (Via Steve Beckow), Feb. 19, 2011

Every being is a divine and eternal soul living in a temporal body. Every being was alive before birth and will live after death.

Every soul enters into physical life for the purpose of experience and education, that it may, in the course of many lifetimes, learn its true identity as a fragment of the Divine.

Life itself is a constant process of spiritual evolution and unfoldment, based on free choice, that continues until such time as we realize our true nature and return to the Divine from which we came.

No soul enters life to serve another, except by choice, but to serve its own purpose and that of the Divine from which it came.

All life is governed by natural and universal laws which precede and outweigh the laws of humanity. These laws, such as the law of karma, the law of attraction, and the law of free will, are decreed by God to order existence and assist each person to achieve life’s purpose.

No government can or should survive that derives its existence from the enforced submission of its people or that denies its people their basic rights and freedoms.

Life is a movement from one existence to another, in varied venues throughout the universe and in other universes and dimensions of existence. We are not alone in the universe but share it with other civilizations, most of them peace-loving, many of whom are more advanced than we are, some of whom can be seen with our eyes and some of whom cannot.

The evidence of our five senses is not the final arbiter of existence. Humans are spiritual as well as physical entities and the spiritual side of life transcends the physical. God is a Spirit and the final touchstone of God’s Truth is not physical but spiritual. The Truth is to be found within.

God is one and, because of this, souls are one. They form a unity. They are meant to live in peace and harmony together in a “common unity” or community. The use of force to settle affairs runs contrary to natural law. Every person should have the right to conduct his or her own affairs without force, as long as his or her choices do not harm another.

No person shall be forced into marriage against his or her will. No woman shall be forced to bear or not bear children, against her will. No person shall be forced to hold or not hold views or worship in a manner contrary to his or her choice. Nothing vital to existence shall be withheld from another if it is within the community’s power to give.

Every person shall retain the ability to think, speak, and act as they choose, as long as they not harm another. Every person has the right to choose, study and practice the education and career of their choice without interference, provided they not harm another.

No one has the right to kill another. No one has the right to steal from another. No one has the right to force himself or herself upon another in any way.

Any government that harms its citizens, deprives them of their property or rights without their consent, or makes offensive war upon its neighbors, no matter how it misrepresents the situation, has lost its legitimacy. No government may govern without the consent of its people. All governments are tasked with seeing to the wellbeing of their citizens. Any government which forces its citizens to see to its own wellbeing without attending to theirs has lost its legitimacy.

Men and women are meant to live fulfilling lives, free of want, wherever they wish and under the conditions they desire, providing their choices do not harm another and are humanly attainable.

Children are meant to live lives under the beneficent protection of all, free of exploitation, with unhindered access to the necessities of life, education, and health care.

All forms of exploitation, oppression, and persecution run counter to universal and natural law. All disagreements are meant to be resolved amicably.

Any human law that runs counter to natural and universal law is invalid and should not survive. The enactment or enforcement of human law that runs counter to natural and universal law brings consequences that cannot be escaped, in this life or another. While one may escape temporal justice, one does not escape divine justice.

All outcomes are to the greater glory of God and to God do we look for the fulfillment of our needs and for love, peace, and wisdom. So let it be. Aum/Amen.



Pope Francis arrives for historic first US visit

Pope Francis arrives for historic first US visit
Pope Francis laughs alongside US President Barack Obama upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, on September 22, 2015, on the start of a 3-day trip to Washington (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)


Today's doodle in the U.S. celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech on its 50th anniversary (28 Aug 2013)

'Love is love': Obama lauds gay marriage activists in hailing 'a victory for America'

'Love is love': Obama lauds gay marriage activists in hailing 'a victory for America'
The White House released this image, of the building colored like the rainbow flag, on Facebook following the supreme court’s ruling. Photograph: Facebook

Same-sex marriage around the world

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Merkel says Turkey media crackdown 'highly alarming'

Merkel says Turkey media crackdown 'highly alarming'
Reporters Without Borders labels Erdogan as 'enemy of press freedom'

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

S&P downgrades top US banks' credit ratings

Associated Press, Nov 29, 2011

Latest News

NEW YORK (AP) -- Standard & Poors Ratings Services is adjusting the ratings on 37 of the world's largest financial institutions, including downgrading the biggest banks in the U.S.


Bank of America Corp. and its main subsidiaries were among those cut at least one notch on Tuesday, along with Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo & Co.

S&P says the changes reflect its new ratings criteria for banks, which incorporate shifts in the worldwide financial industry and macroeconomic trends, including the role of governments and central banks in industry funding.

Top U.K. downgrades include Barclays, HSBC Holdings, Lloyds Banking Group and The Royal Bank of Scotland.

Ratings for several big European banks, including Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, ING and Societe Generale are unchanged.

Civil Action #8500, United States District Court for Southern District of New York,Nov 23, 2011

Fed secretly handed out $8 trillion

Downgraded:

  • Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria S.A.
  • Bank of America Corp.
  • Bank of New York Mellon Corp.
  • Barclays Plc
  • Citigroup Inc.
  • Rabobank Nederland
  • Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
  • HSBC Holdings Plc
  • JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  • Loyds Banking Group Plc
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Royal Bank of Scotland Plc
  • UBS AG
  • Wells Fargo & Co.

Upgraded:

  • Bank of China Ltd.
  • China Construction Bank Corp.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fed secretly handed out $8 trillion

RT.com, 28 November, 2011, 20:24

An anti-Wall Street demonstrator shouts slogans in front of the
Federal Reserve Bank (AFP Photo / Frederic J. Brown)

We knew the last bailout from the Federal Reserve was pretty big, but not until now did we have statistics on the actually tally. If you thought that the $700 billion bailout for TARP was big, get a load of this.

Just exactly how big was the Federal Reserve’s bailout of the banks between the years of 2008 and 2010? Thanks to a Federal Request of Information Act gone fulfilled, America now knows the truth behind a colossal cover-up: almost $8 trillion.

Ever since the Fed stepped in to bail out the biggest banks in the country, Ben Bernanke and company have gone to great lengths to keep the exact details of the transactions a secret, citing that the truth would cause concern for the world financial crisis far greater than what was already at hand, saying in particular that investors would step away from the “too big to fail” banks that were benefiting from the bailout. And while Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke went on the record to call the bailouts to even the most “sound institutions” only “marginal,” details of the FOIA request obtained by Bloomberg News now reveals that the Federal Reserve spent nearly half of the entire production output of the US during that span of less than two years — the biggest bailout in the country’s history — while going to great lengths to keep Congress and the American people in the dark.

By March of 2009, the Fed had already dished out $7.77 trillion to save the US financial system, dwarfing other assistance programs several times over. As the financial sector was on the brink of collapse, neither the Fed nor the banks involved came clean with the truth, instead lying through their teeth to keep the total facts a mystery. Until now.

While the banks kept the bailout a secret from Congress, they lobbied to the Legislative Branch to imply more lax governmental regulations on the industry, something that would haven arguably been near impossible had the truth surfaced at the time.

The website Naked Capitalism explains it pretty clearly in not so many words: “The bottom line is everybody close to the process lied like crazy.”

On November 26, 2008, Bank of America Chief Executive Officer Kenneth D. Lewis told shareholders that he ran “one of the strongest and most stable major banks in the world.” On that very day, BofA was indebted to the Fed something to the tune of nearly $90 billion. Less than two weeks later, the Federal Reserve blew $1.2 trillion total in a single day to bail out the breaking financial institutions.

All the while, of course, banks were borrowing loans at interest rates of as low as 0.01 percent. “No one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates,” writes Bloomberg now.

That’s not the worst part, either. As the Fed continues to operate without oversight from the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches, further bailouts are guaranteed to keep being generated at the cost of the American taxpayer while a recession still seems imminent — if not already occurring. Critics including presidential hopeful Congressman Ron Paul have lobbied to abolish the Federal Reserve once and for all. Could the next president help make that dream a reality? In the meantime, don’t be surprised if billions get borrowed at America’s expense minute by minute.



Monday, November 28, 2011

Top Marine says service embracing gay ban repeal

Associated Press, by ROBERT BURNS, AP National Security Writer, Nov 28, 2011 

Latest News
  
Marine Corp Commandant Gen. 
James Amos (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) -- Since the lifting two months ago of a longstanding U.S. ban on gays serving openly in the military, U.S. Marines across the globe have adapted smoothly and embraced the change, says their top officer, Gen. James F. Amos, who previously had argued against repealing the ban during wartime.

"I'm very pleased with how it has gone," Amos said in an Associated Press interview during a week-long trip that included four days in Afghanistan, where he held more than a dozen town hall-style meetings with Marines of virtually every rank. He was asked about a wide range of issues, from his view of the Marine Corps' future to more mundane matters such as why he recently decided to stop allowing Marines to wear their uniform with the sleeves rolled up.

Not once was he asked in Afghanistan about the repeal of the gay ban.

Nor did it come up when he fielded questions from Marines on board the USS Bataan warship in the Gulf of Aden on Saturday. On his final stop, in Bahrain on Sunday, one Marine broached the topic gently. He asked Amos whether he planned to change the Marines' current policy of leaving it to the discretion of local commanders to determine how to handle complaints about derogatory "homosexual remarks or actions." Amos said no.

The apparent absence of angst about gays serving openly in the Marines seemed to confirm Amos' view that the change has been taken in stride, without hurting the war effort.

In the AP interview, he offered an anecdote to make his point. He said that at the annual ball in Washington earlier this month celebrating the birth of the Marine Corps, a female Marine approached Amos's wife, Bonnie, and introduced herself and her lesbian partner.

"Bonnie just looked at them and said, `Happy birthday ball. This is great. Nice to meet you,'" Amos said. "That is happening throughout the Marine Corps."

Amos said he is aware of only one reported incident in Afghanistan thus far, and that turned out to be a false alarm. He said a blogger had written of a gay Marine being harassed by fellow Marines for his sexual orientation. In an ensuing investigation, the gay Marine denied he had been harassed.

A Defense Department spokeswoman, Cynthia O. Smith, said implementation of the repeal of the gay ban is proceeding smoothly across the military.

"We attribute this success to our comprehensive pre-repeal training program, combined with the continued close monitoring and enforcement of standards by our military leaders at all levels," Smith said.

In the months leading up to Congress's repeal, which took effect in September, there were indications that the change might not be embraced so readily.

During a visit to a Marine combat outpost in southern Afghanistan in June, then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates was confronted by an enlisted Marine who clearly objected to the repeal. He told Gates that the Marine Corps has "a set of standards and values that is better than that of the civilian sector," and that repeal of the gay ban has "changed those values."

He asked Gates whether Marines who object to serving with gays would be allowed to opt out of their enlistment. Gates said no and predicted that if pre-repeal training was done right, "nothing will change" with regard to rules of behavior and discipline.

That Marine was not alone in making known his doubts about the wisdom of allowing gays to serve openly in uniform. In a survey of military members last year, 45 percent of Marines viewed repeal negatively in terms of how it could affect combat readiness, effectiveness and cohesion. Among those Marines who serve in combat roles, 56 percent expressed that view.

It was those statistics that caused Amos concern prior to repeal, and he made known his position in no uncertain terms when he testified to Congress last December.

"Successfully implementing repeal and assimilating openly homosexual Marines into the tightly woven fabric of our combat units has strong potential for disruption at the small unit level as it will no doubt divert leadership attention away from an almost singular focus on preparing units for combat," Amos said at the time. He stressed then and later that if repeal were approved, Marines would faithfully follow the new law.

Looking back, Amos said in the AP interview that he had no regrets about publicly opposing repeal during wartime. He said he was obliged, as the commandant of the Marines, to set aside his personal opinions and represent the views of those combat Marines who told the survey "pretty unequivocally" that repeal was problematic.

"I think I did exactly what I should have done," he said.

Robert Burns can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/robertburnsAP


Related Article:


President Barack Obama gestures as he talks about cutting the U.S. deficit
 by raising taxes, from the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington
September 19, 2011. (
Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing)


About the Challenges of Being a Gay Man – Oct 23, 2010 (Saint Germain channelled by Alexandra Mahlimay and Dan Bennack) - “You see, your Soul and Creator are not concerned with any perspective you have that contradicts the reality of your Divinity – whether this be your gender, your sexual preference, your nationality – or your race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, or anything else.”

"The Akashic System" – Jul 17, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: Religion, God, Benevolent Design, DNA, Akashic Circle, (Old) Souls, Gaia, Indigenous People, Talents, Reincarnation, Genders, Gender Switches, In “between” Gender Change, Gender Confusion, Shift of Human Consciousness, Global Unity,..... etc.)  New !

J&J starts removing toxins from baby products

Associated Press, Nov 16, 2011 

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) -- Johnson & Johnson has begun removing two harmful chemicals from its iconic baby shampoo and other baby products in the U.S.

An international coalition of consumer and environmental groups had pressed the company since May 2009 to remove the toxins from all personal care products, including Johnson's Baby Shampoo.

Two weeks ago, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics was emboldened after finding the health care giant had removed the two chemicals from products in several other countries. But in the U.S., the products contain trace amounts of potentially cancer-causing chemicals.

Johnson & Johnson now says it expects to remove formaldehyde-releasing preservatives from baby products within about two years and is reducing traces of the other chemical.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Near Death Experience of a Neurosurgeon: A must watch! (Video)





A neurosurgeon shares his near-death experience.

Bacterial meningitis, coma, earth worm eye view of the world, then the warm loving light...

Featuring also Dr. Bruce Greyson, a psychiatrist and longtime NDE researcher.

A must watch video for skeptics, specially people who seek scientific evidence.


Related Articles:

Neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander’s Near-Death Experience Defies Medical Model of Consciousness


Howlers and omissions exposed in world of corporate social responsibility

Study points to slapdash fact and figure checking in companies

guardian.co.uk, Juliette Jowit, Thursday 24 November 2011

Two companies both managed to excise, completely legally, a huge
coal plant from their pollution record. Photograph: John Giles/PA

Environment reports by some of the world's biggest companies are routinely including wrong statistics and leaving out vital information, according to the most comprehensive study yet carried out.

The examination of more than 4,000 corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports and company surveys by a team at Leeds University found "irrelevant data, unsubstantiated claims, gaps in data and inaccurate figures" – a finding that will cast serious doubt over the burgeoning sector.

Among the most colourful mistakes and omissions made by some of the world's biggest corporations were a company whose carbon footprint was four times that for the whole world, and a carmaker and power group which both, entirely legally, managed to excise a huge coal plant from their pollution record.

More regular problems included companies ignoring data from individual countries or subsidiaries in their group – including many in China and Brazil – two of the world's biggest economies

Failing to collect or ignoring data from multiple sources was so endemic that BT, which has won awards for its CSR reporting, highlighted zero energy and water use, waste and transport for many of its international operations in 2007; the following year the company did not claim they were zero but left more than half the table blank. In total, fewer than one in six of the companies surveyed reported greenhouse gases for all their operations, said the academics, and many more did not make it clear which activities were covered.

The Leeds study, carried out jointly with Euromed Management School in Marseille, France, comes just weeks after a major report by the consultancy and accountants KPMG, who found nearly two-thirds of the biggest companies in the 34 countries they studied were producing CSR reports, and that Britain was leading the world with a 100% reporting rate.

Previous studies of CSR have also praised some of the world's most reviled companies, raising doubts over the value of the practice.

"The quality of environmental data in sustainability reports remains appalling at times, even today," said Dr Ralf Barkemeyer, a lecturer in CSR at Leeds and one of the team leaders. "In financial reporting to leave out an undisclosed part of the company in the calculation of profits would be a scandal. In sustainability reporting it is common practice.

"Put provocatively, companies get points for knowing where they want to go, but nobody seems to check whether this is where they are heading. Aspiration replaces performance."

Although some of the howlers were clearly mistakes rather than attempts to distort the picture, they were wrong by such enormous factors, and sometimes for several years in a row, that it suggested they were not being read properly or taken seriously by staff inside the company, said Barkemeyer. In one example, power group ABB over-reported sulphur emissions by a factor of 1,000 by using kilotonnes instead of tonnes, for three years in a row. In another, relevant staff at a large Swedish group did not even know that it owned a paper and pulp business until the researchers pointed it out that it was the subsidiary of an acquisition.

Although the quality of reporting has improved over the 10 years or so that CSR has become commonplace, and even the period studied from 2005-2009, many problems still remain, even with the high profile issue of reporting carbon emissions, said Barkemeyer. For example, a forthcoming study of this specific issue has found "every second company has major problems".

Tom Woollard, of consultants Environmental Resources Management, said, however, that CSR reporting had also helped many companies make significant improvements, including wider issues such as staff and contractor health and safety, because publishing data forced them to address problems, and in some cases they only discovered where problems were at their worst when they collected the data. "Public EHS [environment health and safety] reporting has driven a remarkable level of transparency and performance improvement over a wide range of issues in a relatively short time," said Woollard. "Our experience of working with some of the world largest multinationals is to put more effort into achieving fewer targets – only then can you achieve a real step change in performance."

Barkemeyer said improvements should come from more public scrutiny and companies should follow the lead of mining group BHP Billiton, which asked KPMG to check and sign off its reported emissions "We pretend it's better when it's voluntary [as are the commonly used Global Reporting Initiative standards for CSR] because companies can respond more quickly, but in some cases they don't make any effort and if we don't make an effort in terms of scrutiny who can blame them," he added.

In a statement, BT said: "As the research from Leeds University highlights, this is a new and evolving science, and one that is especially complex when it comes to trying to standardise measurement and reporting across dozens of countries. International data collection is far more complex than it is in the UK and, in some countries, the data is just not available. In those instances where reliable data isn't available a zero appears in the report. We will review the points highlighted and, where necessary, look to update our CSR reporting in coming years."


Related Article:

   (Photo: RNW)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Law and lawlessness in America

Deutsche Welle, 24.11.2011

James K. Galbraith
The clearing of various Occupy Wall Street camps around the US reveals a double standard, writes James Galbraith. Legal protesters are hit with the full force of the law, while criminal bankers remain scot-free.

James K. Galbraith holds the Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr. Chair in Government-Business Relations at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin. His next book, Inequality and Instability, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press.

Occupy Wall Street (OWS) is the first street protest I've known of to state its values not with a manifesto but with a library. The People's Library held a corner of the encampment at Zuccotti Park in New York City, and consisted by the end of over 5,500 books, neatly maintained and cared for by volunteers.

The movement's other stylistic innovation is the General Assembly, a daily meeting, at which the crowd relays each speaker's words by repeating them, phrase by phrase.  This started out as a way to counter a ban on megaphones.

But it has morphed into a political syntax, for two reasons: it engages the audience, since they must listen in order to repeat, and it disciplines the speakers, to keep their sentences pithy and their interventions short. In consequence more people take the floor.

Ideas and discourse

The People's Library and the General Assembly convey that OWS is about a politics of ideas and discourse. It is in plain opposition to the prevailing politics of money and force.

Nobody has to say this; it just is –  a small model of middle-class organization, with a field kitchen, medical station, cleared pathways and clean-up crews. By its forms, the movement asserts the claim of republicanism and democracy against the ethos of markets and empires.

For this reason, and unlike past movements that sought to provoke and outrage the middle classes, OWS tapped into a well-spring of public goodwill. Though the actual protesters were few, they were fed and sustained by many more, treated well in the press, visited occasionally by the famous, and could call people into the streets to back them up if they were needed. And the movement began to spread around the country.

Rattled bankers

This disturbed the quiet world of the bankers. Unlike in Europe where the most serious stresses from the economic crisis – in Greece or in Ireland, say – are highly visible but remote from the bank headquarters, in America they are mostly invisible but close at hand.

Bankers here are used to going about untroubled by the people they've harmed – and yet they are conscious that those people are not far away.  When the victims surface, right outside the office window, it's distressing. The very sight of the encampment, disciplined and clean and legal though it was, was an affront.

New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg made two efforts clear to OWS from Zuccotti Park. The first time he gave fair warning, the campers mounted an effective mass resistance, and the police backed off.

The second one came at night, on November 14, without warning. It was widely and correctly compared to a military operation. While the level of brutality did not reach that of 1968 in Chicago or Paris, methods were rough and people were hurt. The tents, kitchen and personal belongings were trashed. And the library was destroyed.

False claim

The raid was lawless. Before they moved in, the police read a statement declaring that the city had "determined" that the site was a health and fire safety hazard. This was false – no such determination had been made.

At his press conference the next morning, the mayor took "personal responsibility," saying that the raid met the demands of the "owners" of the park – a development corporation which had agreed to maintain it open 24/7 in return for a zoning variance on a nearby building, and on whose board the mayor's girlfriend sits. This was, indeed, the ugly truth.

Elsewhere in the country, 18 mayors coordinated their attacks on Occupy encampments. In Oakland and Berkeley and Portland and Seattle there was police violence, including the pepper-spraying of an 84-year old woman, and a pregnant teenager, who was kicked in the stomach, has now miscarried.

At the University of California, Davis, a police officer pepper-sprayed an entire row of seated, non-violent students. Photos and video quickly went round the world. Reports that the Federal Government played a role in all this remain unconfirmed so far.

Prosecutors asleep

Meanwhile as the journalist Matt Taibbi said, in the skyscrapers above, "anything goes." While a few state-level prosecutions have started, the Federal Department of Justice remains to all appearances fast asleep.

This is despite official reports, including that of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (which made criminal referrals) and that of the Senate Permanent Committee on Investigations, which laid out a road map for prosecutions in certain high cases.

Thus we have extra-legality in two dimensions. One is the use of force against unarmed, nonviolent protesters who have committed no crime, pose no threat, and uphold the political values of the middle class. The other is the failure to enforce existing law against those who have committed vast crimes, for which millions have paid with their jobs and their homes.

That's the state of law in America today. But the People's Library is being rebuilt, book by book.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Egyptian protesters refuse generals' offer for transition

Head of ruling military council says presidential elections will be held before 30 June in televised address

guardian.co.uk, Peter Beaumont and agencies, Tuesday 22 November 2011

Protesters place a puppet depicting Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi on an
Egyptian national flag in Tahrir Square. Photograph: Mohamed Abd El
Ghany/Reuters

Egypt's ruling military struggled to quell growing protests over its slow progress in transferring power to a civilian government, as tens of thousands of protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square rejected its offer of concessions.

The country's military rulers on Tuesday afternoon suggested a deadline of July next year for a transfer of power – after a crisis meeting lasting five hours.

Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, later told the nation in a televised address that presidential elections would be held before 30 June, but did not specifically mention a date for the transfer of power.

In his brief address, he sought to cast the military as the nation's foremost patriots and angrily denounced what he called attempts to taint its reputation.

But in scenes reminiscent of the street violence that pushed former president Hosni Mubarak from power, protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square vowed not to leave until Tantawi and his council of generals immediately gave up power to a civilian transitional authority.

The protesters chanted: "We are not leaving, [Tantawi] leaves," and, "The people want to bring down the field marshal."

The forthright refusal of the generals' offer stirred memories of the response to Mubarak's attempts, played out over three national speeches, to hang on to power earlier this year.

It sets the stage for a growing conflict between the generals and activists angry at the military's reluctance to withdraw from Egyptian politics.

As pungent clouds of teargas set off stampedes, activists in and around Tahrir Square chanted: "Stay, stay, stay."

The latest street fighting in Cairo, which has begun spreading to other major cities including Alexandria, comes just a week before scheduled parliamentary elections.

The latest moves came as the US, which gives Egypt's military $1.3bn (£830m) a year in aid called for an end to the "deplorable" violence and said Egypt must go forward towards its elections.

"We are deeply concerned about the violence. The violence is deplorable. We call on all sides to exercise restraint," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.

Earlier on Tuesday the army council headed by Tantawi, who served as Mubarak's defence minister for two decades, held talks with politicians on the crisis, in which at least 36 people have been killed and more than 1,250 wounded since Saturday, according to medical officials.

Aboul-Ela Madi and Mohammed Selim el-Awa, two politicians who attended the five-hour meeting with the military rulers, said the generals had accepted the offered resignation of prime minister Essam Sharaf's government and said they planned to form a "national salvation" cabinet to replace it.

Previously, the military rulers had floated late next year or early 2013 as the time for transferring power.

"Our demands are clear. We want the military council to step down and hand over authority to a national salvation government with full authority," said Khaled El-Sayed, a member of the Youth Revolution Coalition and a candidate in the parliamentary election. He said the commander of the military police and the interior minister, who is in charge of the police, must be tried for the "horrific crimes" of the past few days.

"This is the maximum we can reach. The [Tahrir] square is something and the politics is something else," Madi told Associated Press in a telephone interview. He and Awa were among 12 political party representatives and presidential hopefuls who attended the meeting with the military council. Not all parties were represented.

Madi and Awa also said the military agreed to release all protesters detained since Saturday and to put on trial police and army officers responsible for protesters' deaths.

They said the military agreed to hold presidential elections before the end of June 2012, a vote the ruling council has deemed the final stage necessary for transferring power.

The powerful Muslim Brotherhood, which anticipates a strong showing in the election, was among the five parties at the crisis talks with the military council. Three presidential candidates were also there, but a fourth, Mohamed ElBaradei, stayed away.

"Elections must be held on time and we will push for a specific timetable for the transitional period," Saad el-Katatni, secretary general of the Brotherhood's newly-formed Freedom and Justice party, told Reuters.

Presidential candidate Amr Moussa echoed the call for the election to go ahead, but said a presidential vote should take place no more than six months after the lengthy process of polling for both houses of parliament is completed in March.

Under the army's plans, parliament would name a constituent assembly to draw up a constitution within six months that would then go to a referendum. Only after that would a new president be elected to take back the powers of the military council.

In the port city of Alexandria, about 5,000 people marched to join 2,000 already demonstrating against army rule outside a military command headquarters, witnesses said.

The unrest has knocked Egypt's markets. The benchmark share index has fallen 11% since Thursday, hitting its lowest level since March 2009. The Egyptian pound fell to its weakest against the dollar since January 2005.

In a stinging verdict on nine months of army control, rights group Amnesty International accused the military council of brutality sometimes exceeding that of Mubarak.


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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Obama slaps new sanctions on Iran energy sector

Reuters, WASHINGTON | Mon Nov 21, 2011

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks
 at a bill signing ceremony promoting
jobs for veterans at the White House
in Washington November 21, 2011.
 (Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)
(Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Monday ordered new U.S. sanctions on Iran's energy and petrochemical sectors that would punish anyone who helped Iran develop and expand its petroleum resources, the White House said.

The latest U.S. move seeks to step up pressure on Tehran after the U.N. nuclear watchdog highlighted fresh concerns about the possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear program.

The U.S. Treasury Department also planned to designate Iran as an area of "primary money laundering concern" on Monday, a U.S. official said.

(Reporting Matt Spetalnick, Alister Bull and by Jeff Mason)

Goldman CEO, CFO may face Gupta insider testimony

Reuters, by Grant McCool, NEW YORK | Mon Nov 21, 2011

Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein testifies before the
 Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Investigations Subcommittee
 hearing on ''Wall Street and the Financial Crisis: The Role of Investment Banks'' 
on Capitol Hill in Washington April 27, 2010. (Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed)

(Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein and Chief Financial Officer David Viniar could be asked to testify in former board member Rajat Gupta's civil insider-trading case, according to court documents.

The Goldman executives are among 10 people "whom we would most want to depose," ahead of trial, Gupta's defense attorney Gary Naftalis said in court papers made public on Monday.

Gupta, 62, was charged on October 26 with leaking Goldman boardroom secrets to his friend Raj Rajaratnam, the central figure in a broad U.S. crackdown on insider trading at hedge funds. Besides Rajaratnam, Gupta is the most prominent executive to face insider-trading charges in the case.

Gupta faces criminal charges brought by the Justice Department and a civil case filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He is fighting the charges.

The letter, dated November 15, listed Blankfein, Viniar, Goldman Sachs Chief Operating Officer Gary Cohn, Managing Director David Loeb and lead board member John Bryan. Blankfein testified as a government witness at Rajaratnam's criminal trial.

Neither the influential Wall Street bank nor any of its executives has been accused of wrongdoing.

Gupta stepped down from Goldman's board earlier this year. He also is a former director of Procter & Gamble Co and former global head of the McKinsey & Co consultancy.

Rajaratnam was convicted in May and sentenced last month to 11 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff also ordered him to pay $92.8 million to the SEC. The market regulator named him as a defendant in its case against Gupta.

In a separate letter to the judge, lawyers for Rajaratnam said the Goldman Sachs employees they want to depose include Cohn and Loeb.

A Goldman Sachs spokesman, Michael DuVally, declined to comment.

The names of Cohn and Loeb came up on Friday in court at oral arguments over whether or not depositions in the regulator's case should be taken until a criminal case against Gupta is completed.

The SEC said in a separate letter to the court that it wanted to interview Gupta and his wife, Anita Matto Gupta, and Rajaratnam and his brother, Rengan.

The judge has scheduled April 9, 2012 for the start of Gupta's criminal trial and October 1, 2012 for the civil trial.

The cases are SEC v Gupta and Rajaratnam, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 11-07566 and USA v Rajat Gupta No. 11-907 in the same court.