CITIGROUP is lucky that Muammar el-Qaddafi was killed when he was. The Libyan leader’s death diverted attention from a lethal article involving Citigroup that deserved more attention because it helps to explain why many average Americans have expressed support for the Occupy Wall Street movement. The news was that Citigroup had to pay a $285 million fine to settle a case in which, with one hand, Citibank sold a package of toxic mortgage-backed securities to unsuspecting customers — securities that it knew were likely to go bust — and, with the other hand, shorted the same securities — that is, bet millions of dollars that they would go bust.
It doesn’t get any more immoral than this. As the Securities and Exchange Commission civil complaint noted, in 2007, Citigroup exercised “significant influence” over choosing $500 million of the $1 billion worth of assets in the deal, and the global bank deliberately chose collateralized debt obligations, or C.D.O.’s, built from mortgage loans almost sure to fail. According to The Wall Street Journal, the S.E.C. complaint quoted one unnamed C.D.O. trader outside Citigroup as describing the portfolio as resembling something your dog leaves on your neighbor’s lawn. “The deal became largely worthless within months of its creation,” The Journal added. “As a result, about 15 hedge funds, investment managers and other firms that invested in the deal lost hundreds of millions of dollars, while Citigroup made $160 million in fees and trading profits.”
“Communities that are resilient tend to be decentralized, small scale and diverse and tend to avoid short term comprises that will diminish their long-term goals.”—Aric McBay, Deep Green Resistance (via cultureofresistance)
“Neuroscientists have done experiments where they’ve taken individuals, put them into an MRI machine and they have them play a game where the prize is money and they notice that when the participants win money, the part of the brain that gets stimulated is the same part that cocaine stimulates”—Andrew Lo, Professor at MIT Laboratory for Financial Engineering (via cultureofresistance)
If every American took every single action suggested by Al Gore in the movie ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, it would only reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 21%. It’s not an accident that what’s being promoted as a solution are personal solutions and blaming individuals for their consumption. Consumption is a problem, but that lets the corporations, capitalists, the government, and the 1% of people who are literally living at the expense of the whole planet off the hook.
We have to find a way to break through with this information that the Department of Defense in the US is the largest user of oil on the planet. We could all stop using our cars, and all of that, and it wouldn’t make a dent in the consumption that’s done by industry in terms of water, oil, energy, and everything else.
“It’s not every day you get to see a night court magistrate smack down the governor of Tennessee,” a legal observer said outside the Metro Courthouse at 2:30 a.m. today, as fog shrouded downtown in mist.
Yet that’s what happened in the early morning hours, as Metro Night Court Judge Tom Nelson told the troopers who arrested 25 peaceful Occupy Nashville protesters at midnight on Legislative Plaza — along with Scene reporter Jonathan Meador, who was attempting to get off the plaza when he was cuffed and hauled off — that the curfew being enforced at the Capitol had no constitutional grounds whatsoever.
“I have reviewed the regulations of the state of Tennessee, and I can find no authority anywhere for anyone to authorize a curfew anywhere on Legislative Plaza,” Judge Nelson told a grimacing trooper, before ordering the immediate release of everyone arrested.
Some 30 additional protesters greeted those released with cheers and chants of “This is how democracy works!” They were last seen at 4 a.m. marching victoriously up Deaderick Street — back to Legislative Plaza.
Meador, meanwhile, greeted news of his imminent release with a tweet from custody: “Can I go home now?” His request of a ride home from Gov. Haslam for the inconvenience was met with silence.
“I personally believe that in the future LSD will be seen as one of the most influential discoveries of the twentieth century and that Albert Hoffman’s “problem child” will again be seen as it should have been seen all along, as a “wonder child” that had to grow up in a dysfunctional society.”—Stanislav Grof (via lysergich)
DISCLAIMER: The only important source I am using here is my own experiences over countless trips and discussions with friends which may be completely different from your own experiences. I’ve tried to keep this as accurate and well worded as I possibly can but most of these visual aspects…
“What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.”— Carl Sagan (via tinybrambles)