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Fatster’s Roundup

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International Developments

? “The number of Palestinians killed in Gaza during Israel’s on-going offensive reached 100 on Monday, the Hamas-run Health Ministry said.”

? Morocco will begin immediately setting up a field hospital in Gaza “to help Palestinians injured in Israeli air strikes, which the king [Mohammed VI] described as ‘military aggression’ in a statement.”

? Talks between the US and Afghan officials are underway concerning keeping American troops there beyond the 2014 withdrawal date. Immunity for US soldiers is a major “stumbling block.”

International Finance

? “Euroscepticism in Britain has been exacerbated by the eurozone crisis and a British exit from the European Union is now being openly discussed–unless London’s calls for reforms are taken seriously.”

Money Matters USA

? Big struggle going on in the Senate: The banksters vs Elizabeth Warren, the new Senator from MA. They “have [Warren] in their crosshairs.” Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) is trying to get her on the Senate Banking Committee, precisely the place the banksters don’t want her to be.

? The Securities and Exchange Commission had charged one person of “misleading investors in a J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. mortgage-bond deal that imploded during the financial crisis.” They have asked the judge to drop the case, and she has agreed.

? Cell phones went dead in part of New York City for days following Hurricane Sandy. Why? Companies that provide the service are basically in charge of themselves, thanks to “a decade of steady deregulation” and some are even “trying to claim a constitutional right to operate without any federal oversight.”

? “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac owe American taxpayers nearly $140 billion”. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac received bail-out funds–but with apparently no plan for how they’d repay the taxpayers.

? US taxpayers may have to take on “massive pension liabilities” as companies go bankrupt. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporations announced a huge $34 billion shortfall. Currently funded “by way of insurance premiums and portfolio returns”, PBGC’s director warns of the need “for the first time [for] taxpayer funds.”

? Meanwhile, all across the land, corporations are announcing plans to make “special dividend payments ahead of the year end“. Why? If the Bush tax cuts simply expire December 31st, taxes on dividends will automatically go from 15% to 43.4%. Poor dears. [cont’d.]

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David Dayen

David Dayen