Category Archives: Audio

Headlines of the day I: Econo/Greco/Fukufails


We were editing this selection yesterday when the power went out, so we’ll offer it belatedly, because there’s so much of critical import — especially in the case of Greece [after the jump] along with the latest chapter of Fukushimapocalypdr Now!

From the Los Angeles Times, an aciton close to home:

UC labor walkout affects medical centers, dining operations

Thousands of tutors, service workers and patient care employees stage a one-day job action as tense negotiations continue over a new contract.

Salon covers a Big Box threat:

Wal-Mart labor group promises 1,500 Black Friday protests next week

Amid scrutiny of Wal-Mart taking up employee-to-employee charity, strike wave continues against retail giant

From USA TODAY, rich getting richer:

Dow closes above 16,000 for the first time

In one of the most dramatic signs yet of the bull market’s strength, on Thursday the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 16,000 for the first time in the much-watched average’s 117-year history.

The Daily Dot offers relief:

TPP unlikely to be ‘fast tracked’ through Congress this year

A top House Democrat has announced that it was unlikely that Congress would take up a bill this year that would speed up the TPP process and make it more likely that all of its controversial elements would pass.

From The Guardian, numbers games?:

Officials to investigate claims Census Bureau manipulated jobs figures

New York Post alleges census employee Julius Buckmon was caught faking results to make unemployment rate appear lower

USA TODAY covers a relief of sorts:

Jobless claims fall more than expected

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits slipped 21,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 323,000, in a sign the labor market continues to improve as businesses see little need to cut jobs.

From Bloomberg Businessweek, Schadenfreude time:

Survey: The Job Market Gets Worse for MBAs

Future business leaders of America, brace yourselves. Some 43 percent of employers plan to cut the number of MBAs hired, according to Michigan State University’s new survey of 6,500 employers, a drop that will cause expected employment of MBAs to plummet nearly 25 percent from last year. Demand is down across almost all economic sectors, the report says, with financial services and government reporting the steepest drop.

From Reuters, something inevitable:

After gains, Vice Fund seeks ‘Budweiser of marijuana’

Gerry Sullivan has an eye out for the sins of tomorrow, but he’s no puritan.

Since taking the helm of USA Mutuals’ iconoclastic Vice Fund in 2011, Sullivan has scored big gains spotting trends in tobacco, guns, alcoholic beverages and gambling. Now he’s seeing new ways to make money on human transgression.

But cautions abound, even in the Centennial State, where voters opted to legalize the weed. From Westword:

Multiple marijuana businesses being raided by DEA, IRS, Denver cops

Westword has learned that the federal Drug Enforcement Administration is conducting raids at this writing at multiple marijuana businesses in the Denver area.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver has issued a statement confirming the ongoing operation, which is being conducted by the DEA in collaboration with the Internal Revenue Service and the Denver Police Department. Our sources tell us it’s likely to continue throughout the day and involves a notable number of targets.

From Calbuzz, capitalizing on what they battled:

Big Ag’s Secretive $50-Million Obamacare Contract

Western Growers Association, one of California’s most powerful conservative business forces, is profiting handsomely from Obamacare — despite its fierce opposition to the Affordable Care Act.

Calbuzz has learned that a $50-million contract to oversee implementation of health insurance for small businesses in California was awarded to a private company wholly owned by the heavyweight ag group. The contract was granted by Covered California, the organization set up to manage Obamacare in the state.

From Bloomberg Businessweek, life, and less of it, in neoloberal America:

The U.S. Lags in Life Expectancy Gains

Life expectancy in the U.S. has been growing more slowly than in other developed countries and is now more than a year below the developed-country average, according to a new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

CNBC covers a multi-trillion-dollar disaster-in-the-making:

Crisis in America: a crumbling infrastructure

Announced during his State of the Union speech in February, Obama’s Fix-It-First program calls for $40 billion in spending on a backlog of urgent repairs and upgrades. That would follow $31 billion that went into infrastructure as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. But those sums are dwarfed by the $3.6 trillion in investment the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) says is needed by 2020.

And once in a while we run a headline, well, just because — as in this gem from CBC News:

Moose-eating shark rescued in Newfoundland harbour

Greenland shark either bit off more that it could chew or was just enjoying a big meal

To Reuters for a global picture:

U.S. factories rebound, but Europe, China falter

U.S. factory output rebounded this month but hiring remained sluggish, while business activity across the euro zone and at China’s manufacturers slowed, surveys showed on Thursday. The data underscored the fragile nature of the global recovery and the difficulties still facing the world’s biggest economies.

More global consequences from MercoPress:

US ‘budget-debt ceiling’ political clashes threaten slower world growth, warns OECD

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD, cut its forecast for global economic growth through next year and warned that fiscal and monetary policy decisions looming in the U.S. could derail the recovery. OECD said world economic output would expand 2.7% this year and 3.6% in 2014, down from May’s forecast of 3.1% and 4%.

From Europe Online , cozying up:

China-EU summit to focus on investment, strategic ties

Leaders of China and the European Union gathered in Beijing on Thursday for an annual leaders’ summit that was expected to focus on a bilateral investment deal and long-term strategic cooperation.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso led the two sides for the talks, which EU officials said would cover trade and investment, market access, and “the need to secure green growth.”

A European alert from the London Telegraph:

Eurozone slows as ‘sick man’ France hits recovery

Disappointing eurozone PMI survey signals slowing growth for second month in November with activity in France shrinking and the bloc’s service sector weakening

Another from The Guardian:

Medicalisation of misery to blame for soaring use of antidepressants, say GPs

Doctors across Europe warn limited time and resources leads many to prescribe pills for less-urgent cases of depression

To Old Blighty, and another alert, this one from The Independent:

‘Disaster’ as UK house-building rate falls away

Less than half the amount of new houses needed to meet demand were built in the last year

The number of affordable houses and flats built in England fell sharply last year, highlighting the pressures facing first-time homebuyers, Government figures released today have disclosed.

Germany next, with a long-belated acceptance from BBC News:

Angela Merkel clears way for national minimum wage

The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has signalled the likely introduction of a national minimum wage in Germany.

Mrs Merkel, speaking at a meeting of business leaders, said that it was clear that the opposition SPD “would not conclude coalition negotiations without a legal minimum wage”.

German anxieties growing, via Spiegel:

Near Zero: ECB Interest Rate Cuts Hit Savings Hard

As the European Central Bank pushes interest rates to a new low, Germans are growing increasingly concerned about their savings. The money in their accounts is losing value and life insurance policies are yielding lower returns. Investors and central bankers feel trapped.

From TheLocal.de, more good news for Germany:

Tax coffers swell again on shopping and jobs

A booming job market and an increase in consumer spending saw Germany’s tax receipts grow again in October, putting €39 billion into government coffers.

TheLocal.de, with another ranking:

Germany tops world ‘soft power’ rankings

Germany has been ranked the world’s leading “soft power” edging Britain and the USA off top spot for its cultural and sporting prowess, economic might and diplomacy

TheLocal.fr takes us to France and a violent end:

French farmers told to end protest after death

A protest by French farmers unions provoked the ire of the government on Thursday after a motorist was killed and six others injured in two separate accidents at road blocks on the outsirts of Paris on Thursday morning. The blocks were lifted at around midday.

Holland next, with an unanticipated uptick from DutchNews.nl:

Jobless total falls unexpectedly

The official Dutch unemployment figure fell unexpectedly by 11,000 in October, the national statistics office CBS said on Thursday.

At the same time, the number of people claiming unemployment benefits (ww) rose by 8,000 to 408,000, the CBS said.

To Spain next, with calls for action via thinkSPAIN:

Countrywide demonstrations against austerity this weekend

NUMEROUS protest marches have been planned across Spain this weekend, particularly in its major cities, over funding cuts and austerity measures.

TheLocal.es with a hopeful declaration:

Spanish PM calls time on austerity policies

The Spanish government will ease its austerity reforms over the coming two years as the economy appears to be emerging from recession, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said on Thursday.

thinkSPAIN covers draconian measures:

Judges call 600,000-euro fines for ‘personalised’ protests or photographing police ‘repressive’ and ‘autocratic’

NEW legislation attempting to limit public demonstrations and imposing fines ranging from 30,000 to 600,000 euros for ‘insulting a police officer’ or ‘protesting in public without authorities’ consent’ has been slammed by judges, pressure groups and even the police themselves.

El País on taxing travails:

Cemex probe creates storm at Tax Agency

The management of the Spanish Tax Agency last week fired a tax inspector working in its large contributors department on the spot after she rejected an appeal lodged by Mexican cement manufacturing giant Cemex’s Spanish subsidiary against a multi-million- euro fine for unpaid taxes.

EUbusiness casts doubt:

Moody’s says no ‘clean bill of health’ for Spain banks

International credit rating agency Moody’s warned Thursday that Spain’s banks still face significant challenges despite nearly completing a 41-billion-euro ($55 billion) eurozone-financed bailout.

And El País cites another neoliberal move:

Government is aiming to cut personal income tax, says Rajoy

PM rules out more major fiscal adjustments

To Lison and report card time from the Portugal News:

Troika returns on 4 December for 10th bailout review

The team of international officials overseeing Portugal’s euro-zone bailout are to return to Lisbon on 4 December to start the 10th regular review of its progress in implementing the agreement, the government announced.

ANSAmed offers qualified endorsement:

EU praises Portugal’s anti-crisis plan, but risks remain

From Bloomberg, a complication:

EU Says Portugal Court Rulings May Complicate Return to Market

The European Commission said new rulings by Portugal’s Constitutional Court blocking government measures may make it tougher for the country to regain full access to the bond market.

“Risks from further negative rulings by the Constitutional Court cannot be discarded and could make the government’s plans to fully access the debt market from mid-2014 on significantly more challenging,” the Brussels-based commission said today in a report on the eighth and ninth reviews of the aid program for Portugal.

And from the Portugal News, austerian reality:

Child benefits keep falling

The Portuguese family association confederation said it could not understand a 60,000 family reduction in the numbers receiving family subsidies in October, saying policy should aim at stimulating the birth rate.

The Portugal News again, this time with an action:

More Lisbon metro strikes Thursday as union contests budget

Lisbon Metro workers are staging another partial strike to protest against pay cuts and other measures contained in the right-of-centre’s government’s state budget for 2014 and labour reform legislation.

Italy next, with more selling of the commons via TheLocal.it:

Italy will sell stakes in eight firms including Eni

Italy will sell stakes in eight companies including energy giant Eni in a “first packet of privatisations”, Prime Minister Enrico Letta said on Thursday, in a drive to reduce debt

And from RT, Bunga Bunga gotcha:

‘Bunga Bunga’ director: Court details Berlusconi’s ‘underage sex’ case

A court in Milan said that former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi had sexual relations with underage dancer Ruby “in exchange for considerable sums of money and other items.” The court released a document explaining the 7-year sentence handed down in June.

More from TheLocal.it:

Berlusconi ‘paid off witnesses’ in sex trial

Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi, found guilty in June of paying for sex with an underage prostitute, falsified evidence and corrupted dozens of witnesses in a bid to escape jail, a court report said on Thursday

After the jump, the Greek crisis deepens, Ukrainian rejection, Venezuelan power shift, Indian woes, Chinese neoliberalization, Japanese economic notes, and the latest chapter of Fukushimapocalypse Now! . . . Continue reading

Quote of the day: China’s fair play turnabout


China Daily, Beijing’s official state newspaper, took umbrage at China’s entry in the latest State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, released 24 May. So they wrote their own country report on the U.S.

Here’s the section that caught our eye:

Claiming to defend 99 percent of the US population against the wealthiest, the Occupy Wall Street protest movement tested the US political, economic and social systems. Ignited by severe social and economic inequality, uneven distribution of wealth and high unemployment, the movement expanded to sweep the United States after its inception in September 2011. Whatever the deep reasons for the movement are, the single fact that thousands of protesters were treated in a rude and violent way, with many of them being arrested – the act of willfully trampling on people’ s freedom of assembly, demonstration and speech – could provide a glimpse to the truth of the so-called US freedom and democracy.

Almost 1,000 people were reportedly arrested in first two weeks of the movement, according to British and Australian media (The Guardian, Oct 2, 2011). The New York police arrested more than 700 protesters for alleged blocking traffic over Brooklyn Bridge on Oct 1, and some of them were handcuffed to the bridge before being shipped by police vehicles (uschinapress.com, Oct 3, 2011). On Oct 9, 92 people were arrested in New York (The New York Times, Oct 15, 2011). The Occupy Wall Street movement was forced out of its encampment at Zuccotti Park and more than 200 people were arrested on Nov 15 (The Guardian, Nov 25, 2011). Chicago police arrested around 300 members of the Occupy Chicago protest in two weeks (The Herald Sun, Oct 24, 2011). At least 85 people were arrested when police used teargas and baton rounds to break up an Occupy Wall Street camp in Oakland, California on Oct 25. An Iraq war veteran had a fractured skull and brain swelling after being allegedly hit in the head by a police projectile (The Guardian, Oct 26, 2011). A couple of hundred people were arrested when demonstrations were staged in different US cities to mark the Occupy Wall Street movement’ s two-month anniversary on Nov 17 (USA Today, Nov 18, 2011). Among them, at least 276 were arrested in New York only. Some protesters were bloodied as they were hauled away. Many protesters accused the police of treating them in a brutal way (The Wall Street Journal, Nov 18, 2011). As a US opinion article put it, the United States could be considered, at least in part, authoritarian. (The Washington Post, Jan 14, 2012).

Read the rest.

Stunning revelations of fraud at UC nuke lab


Controversy over security breeches at Los Alamos National Laboratory forced the University of California out of the role as the lab’s sole operator on 1 June 2006, when a UC-created limited liability corporation comprised of the university, Bechtel Corporation, BWX Technologies, and Washington Group International, united under the operating name Los Alamos National Security LLC, took over.

The reason for the shakeup becomes stunningly clear in two interviews with Glenn A. Walp, hired by the university to oversee lab security after the debacle that was the Wen Ho Lee case. As Office Leader of the Office of Security Inquiries Walp discovered massive fraud, computer theft, missing plutonium oxide and enr1ched uranium, and other security breaches at the nation’s premiere nuclear lab. Total losses included more than $3 million in property, ranging from heavy shop machinery and industrial magnets to hundreds of computers, many of them apparently heisted as Christmas and graduation presents for children of lab staff.

“The lab is famous for sacrificing their children for the sake of their lab,” he was told by an official shortly after he was hired, and he would later be fired for trying to make the truth known to federal officials.

He filed suit after his dismissal, winning a  $900,000 cash settlement, three-and-a-half months of salary, and reinstatement as a special consultant to the president of the university to advise on lab security reforms. He later left the university and currently serves as an adjunct professor and consultant for Pennsylvania State University’s Justice and Safety Institute.

Walp has just published a book detailed his Kafkaesque encounters with UC’s rein at the lab titled Implosion at Los Alamos: How Crime, Corruption and Cover-ups Jeopardize America’s Nuclear Weapons Secrets. In this first interview he talks with Jay Coghlan, Executive Director of Nuclear Watch New Mexico. Nuclear Watch calls it “A Frightening expose of how the Los Alamos National Laboratory is placing America’s national secrets in jeopardy.”

Juts how many of our nuclear secrets were lost along with the vanished computers, hard drives, flash drives, and papers remains an unanswered question.

A more detailed podcast interview [69:33] by FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds is available here, and it’s well worth a listen.

Well worth a listen or two


Guns and Butter – Obama’s Republican Class War Presidency

From Berkeley’s own KPFA, economist Michael Hudson is interviewed by Bonnie Faulkner on Obama’s Republican Class War Presidency. He describes the ongoing handover of power to the Banksters [FDR's term] and the economic impacts implicit in BO’s State of the Union address and the significance of  and its economic consequences, and the import of Ben Bernanke’s reappointment as Fed chair. [HT to moussequetaire].

Birgitta Jonsdottir – Financial War Against Iceland

From Red Ice Radio [click the download button to reach the mp3]:

We have member of the Icelandic Parliament Birgitta Jonsdottir with us from “the movement” to talk about the financial warfare that has been taking place against the people of Iceland since the Lehman Brothers-AIG world financial panic in September-October 2008. The governments of London, the Hague and the EU with the backing of the IMF is at the heart of this financial blackmail.

Topics Discussed: Privatization, Alcoa, Bechtel, Impregilo, Icesave, Terrorist Act, IMF blocking a loan to Iceland, 400 000 accounts in Icesave, MOU (Memorandum of understanding), European Union, ECOFIN (Economic and Financial Affairs Council), Wikileaks, American Bases on Iceland, John Perkins, Economic Hitman, The Political Elite of European Union, Friends of Iceland, savethepeopleoficeland.com, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, Resources, Geothermal Energy, Water, Trade Advantages, Economic Warfare, “The Movement”, Outside the Left-Right Paradigm, Oligarchs, Monopoly and much more.

If you like what they’re doing, you can sign a petition of support here.