USuncutMN says: Tax the corporations! Tax the rich! Stop the cuts, fight for social justice for all. Standing in solidarity with and other Uncutters worldwide. FIGHT for a Foreclosure Moratorium! Foreclosure = homelessness. Resist the American Legislative Exchange Council, Grover Norquist and Citizen's United. #Austerity for the wheeler dealers, NOT the people.

We Are The 99% event

USuncutMN supports #occupyWallStreet, #occupyDC, the XL Pipeline resistance Yes, We, the People, are going to put democracy in all its forms up front and center. Open mic, diversity, nonviolent tactics .. Social media, economic democracy, repeal Citizen's United, single-payer healthcare, State Bank, Operation Feed the Homeless, anti-racism, homophobia, sexISM, war budgetting, lack of transparency, et al. Once we identify who we are and what we've lost, We can move forward.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Goldman gets exposed (again) by Taibbi
Matt Taibbi, of course!

Goldman's Latest Boiler-Room Stock: America


goldman sachs
Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Happy New Year, everyone. Hope you all had a great holiday...
Have a column on Iowa coming soon, but first, a quick but absurd note from the world of high finance.
It seems Jim O'Neill, the head of Goldman's Asset Management department, is predicting that the United States stock market may go up "15 to 20 percent." O'Neill apparently believes Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve will resort to another round of money-printing, and finally green-light the long-awaited "Qe3," or third round of "Quantitative Easing."
The QE programs involve the Fed printing hundreds of billions of dollars and pumping them into the marketplace, where they ostensibly stimulate the economy (although recent experience tells us that the money mostly ends up being swallowed by the financial services industry – but that's another subject for another time). Anyway, Bernanke declined to go ahead with a third QE program in late 2011, but O'Neill apparently thinks we'll get it in 2012. From Bloomberg:
"If QE2 doesn’t work, then we’ll get QE3," said O’Neill, who was named chairman of the money manager in September after working as the co-head of global economics research and chief currency economist at New York-based Goldman Sachs Group Inc. since 1995. There’s a "good chance" the S&P 500 will rise 15 percent to 20 percent in the next 12 months, he said.
O'Neill added that he thought a 20 percent bump would be "relatively straightforward" for the U.S. S&P.

Goldman is building an impressive resume of sweepingly bullish predictions that later on, in retrospect, look more like signals to investors that they should run screaming in the opposite direction. A good example might be May of 2008, when Goldman boldly predicted that oil would go to $200 a barrel; oil would go on to peak at $147 less than two months later and crash to the floor soon after.
O'Neill himself famously coined the infamous "BRIC" term (Brazil, Russia, India and China), urging investors to throw their money at those emerging markets, arguing that those markets would eclipse the U.S. and Japan as the world's biggest economies by 2050. Mutual fund investors responded by pouring $70 billion into BRIC over the last decade, but that run looks over now, as $15 billion flowed out of BRIC funds in this past year alone, and some analysts are predicting a $20 percent drop this year.
Even Goldman wrote in a Dec. 7 report that that BRIC has already seen its crest. "We have likely seen the peak in potential growth for the BRICs as a group," Goldman analyst Dominic Wilson wrote in the Dec. 7 report.
I laughed when I read Wilson's quote, wondering exactly how long ago the bank privately came to that conclusion and started shorting BRIC countries. Goldman's Dec. 7 report, incidentally, arrived just before O'Neill released his new book, a Tom Friedmanesque volume of cheerleading nonsense called The Growth Map: Economic Opportunity in the BRICs and Beyond. That book was published on December 8, meaning O'Neill was seen spending 256 pages predicting "rosy prospects" for the BRIC bloc exactly one day after Goldman itself had officially bailed on its own cheesy marketing gimmick.
Anyway, every time I read one of these rah-rah predictions, I get this feeling that I've seen this movie before. When it comes time to do Goldman, Sachs: The Movie!, I'll be bummed beyond belief if Vin Diesel doesn't get to play Jim O'Neill.
The folks at Zero Hedge long ago caught on to Goldman's JT-Marlin pump-and-dump vibe. Here's what they said when Goldman upgraded European bank stocks a few weeks ago:
Goldman has just started selling European bank stocks to its clients, whom it is telling to buy European bank stocks. Said otherwise, the Stolpering of clients gullible enough to do what Goldman says and not does, has recommenced. Our advice, as always, do what Goldman's flow desk is doing as it begins to unload inventory of bank stocks. Translation: run from European bank exposure.
Sure enough, Euro bank stocks plummeted a few days after that ZH post.
I don't know much about the stock market, but when the O'Neills of the world start telling me what a great investment opportunity the American stock market is, I start getting the urge to buy canned food ...

Occupying the Occupy Movement: Robin Morgan (Hurrah!)

Occupying the Occupy Movement

Robin Morgan   January 3, 2012   Women’s Media Center

An Occupy movement for 2012 could gain strength and staying-power with strategies suggested by an emerging feminist critique.

Mexico city collective, from
As women of the Arab Spring are rediscovering, being participants, even leaders, of the uprisings hasn’t led to women’s equality—a depressingly familiar scenario, notoriously reminiscent of the 1960s aftermath of the Algerian revolution. In fact, the phenomenon is historically omnipresent (including the American revolution).

Here in the Global North, for example, women were active early in the Occupy movement. Yet that movement has presented an optic of being  predominantly male (and in the United States, white and young)—as well as indifferent to the fact that capitalism simply cannot be transformed without confronting its foundation: patriarchy, itself reliant on controlling and exploiting women. And women, by the way, comprise 51 percent of the 99 percent (and virtually zero of the 1 percent).

Who then is the real constituency in need of economic justice?

The United Nations acknowledges that the world’s poor are 70 percent female. Women’s unpaid labor is worth $11 trillion globally, accounting for 41 percent of the GDP in, for instance, North America. It could well be argued that, given women’s massive amount of unpaid labor—and since women are the means of reproduction who produce the labor force itself—most women exist more under feudalism than under capitalism.

Join Us!  Subscribe to WAMMToday from our blog website and “Follow” us.   
WAMMToday is now on Facebook!   Check the WAMMToday page for posts from this blog and more! “Like” our page today.

Equal pay, reproductive rights, maternity leave, childcare—all are economic as well as human-rights issues. So are sweatshop labor/maquilliadores, sex trafficking/slavery/tourism, and war’s impact on women, who with their children comprise some 80 percent of refugees and displaced peoples. Women are the primary caregivers for the ill, the young, the aged, and the dying—so health costs are “women’s issues.”

The pornography and prostitution industries each run into the hundreds of billions of dollars annually; China spends $27 billion just on Internet pornography. We only have statistics for a few “developed” countries on the staggering cost of domestic violence. We do know that domestic violence costs $5.8 billion a year in the United States alone.

One would think that such “women’s issues” would make unarguable the centrality to economics of female human beings. Wrong. Too often, the Occupy movement has betrayed its own vision by revealing itself as a sexist microcosm of the society it opposes. Harassment and assaults required women to define safe sleeping areas—immediate necessities yet questionable strategically, since these can become “ghettos,” while the problem, a  male sense of entitlement, goes unchallenged.

Nor does this happen only in the United States, although North American sites got more press attention. Incidents of sexual assault and rape have been reported not only in New York, Cleveland, Dallas, and Baltimore, but in Glasgow, Montreal, London, and more. In some locations, male site monitors were reluctant to call police for fear that negative attention would be deleterious to the Occupy “message.”

Brooklyn, Occupy Imnop, from

Now, however, women are protesting that kind of protest. In Bristol, England, feminists called for “Carrying Our Safe Space With Us,” aiming to empower women to speak at Occupy general assemblies. On November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Feminists Occupy London took to the streets denouncing rape; that same day, Italian women marched in Rome, defining economic austerity measures as a form of violence against women, and citing policies that in effect force women to work multiple jobs, paid and unpaid. In Manila, Occupy was taken over by women, becoming Occupy RH (reproductive health), Filipina-led. Women in Slovenia, New Zealand, and Australia publicly decried the lack of safety for women at Occupy sites.

Such international groups as Code Pink, WomenOccupy, RadFem, the Filipina network Af3IRM/GabNet, and others raised women’s profile, thus challenging men’s hegemony. The Feminist Peace Network established the Occupy Patriarchy website, to  provide a supportive, global space for  feminist analysis, response, organizing, and networking within the global Occupy movement.

Having caught the world’s imagination with an admirable energy, seemingly spontaneous and seemingly grassroots,  the Occupy movement is now poised at a crossroads. It has enormous potential—but lasting change will require consciousness that doesn’t ignore the majority of  humanity. It needs to break free of being “a guy thing” or risk drowning in its own rhetorical generalities.

It’s not as if certain models aren’t there. The women of England’s Greenham Common “occupied” turf decades before OWS—they endured, and won. Irish women barred doors to keep men from storming out of Northern Ireland peace talks. Women in Liberia sat singing for months in a soccer field to birth a revolution. Market women in Ghana brought down a government. Gandhi acknowledged copying the concept of  Satyagraha— nonviolent resistance—from India’s 19th century women’s suffrage movement.

These are  different—and long-lasting—techniques of protest, by which at first it seemed the Occupy movement was influenced. (At the risk of offending anarchists, I’ll paraphrase two of the Women’s Media Center slogans: “You have to name it to change it,” and “You have to see it to be it.” As a woman who once agreed “Level everything, then we’ll talk politics,” I recommend examples and clearly articulated demands as pretty good stuff.)

Christy C Road, Brooklyn, from

It’s not too late. As the Occupy movement in many areas moves away from the tactic of claiming physical space, a change of protest style is in order: more hit-and-run, engage-disengage, morning-long, afternoon-long, or day-long (not open-ended) demonstrations—plus focused, doable demands.

Most women have far too many other responsibilities—including children—to spend months in tents playing drums, even if the tents were safe spaces. The Occupy movement needs women—the numbers, the economic analysis, the different strategic approach—to survive, let alone succeed. Yet women’s engagement with it might well require turning up in numbers massive enough to effect a de facto transformation of leadership and focus;:occupying Occupy in a “women’s style” could make all the difference.

At the minimum, it should be possible to demand that men become the change they claim they want to see.  (I mean,really, guys.) If Occupy men can dare be unafraid of that different kind of leadership—can even seek it out and welcome it—everyone wins and the paradigm is transformed.

If not, they will at least have radicalized a whole new generation of feminists.

The views expressed in this commentary are those of the author alone and do not represent WMC.  WMC is a 501(c)(3) organization and does not endorse candidates.