The OB Media Rundown for 6/19/12

Protesters Occupy Entrance of Boston’s 2012 International BIO Convention

Dressed in contamination suits and waving around boxes of children’s cereal they say are pumped with Genetically Modified Organisms, protesters planted themselves outside of the International BIO Convention Monday to fight against a week-long meeting of mega-companies and biotechnology firms.

According to the group of activists, some of whom traveled all the way from Washington, D.C., while the “1 percent discusses industry strategies that compromise…biological heritage” inside the convention, protesters planned on educating the public, hosting sidewalk sessions, about pesticides, organic foods and anti-biotech initiatives.

“We are here to tell them to stop using GMO’s. Stop contaminating our food-we want organic farms, not giant industrial farms poisoning our people,” said Rica Madrid.

‘Occupy’ movement to take on World Food Prize

The Occupy Iowa movement, fresh off the visibility it achieved during the Iowa caucus campaign through January, is setting its sights on the annual World Food Prize held in Des Moines in October.

Occupy leader Frank Cordaro said the group’s plans during the weeklong Food Prize event are still being put together, but “there will be opportunities for arrest.”

The Occupy movement will target what Cordaro called “the corporate ownership of the World Food Prize, especially its dominance by genetically modified seed interests.”

Occupy Will Be Back

In every conflict, insurgency, uprising and revolution I have covered as a foreign correspondent, the power elite used periods of dormancy, lulls and setbacks to write off the opposition. This is why obituaries for the Occupy movement are in vogue. And this is why the next groundswell of popular protest-and there will be one-will be labeled as “unexpected,” a “shock” and a “surprise.” The television pundits and talking heads, the columnists and academics who declare the movement dead are as out of touch with reality now as they were on Sept. 17 when New York City’s Zuccotti Park was occupied. Nothing this movement does will ever be seen by them as a success. Nothing it does will ever be good enough. Nothing, short of its dissolution and the funneling of its energy back into the political system, will be considered beneficial.

The Federal Government, Throwing Families Into The Street To Make Billionaires Out of Millionaires

“The largest transfer of wealth from the public to private sector is about to begin. The federal government will be bulk-selling the massive portfolio of foreclosed homes now owned by HUD, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to private investors – vulture funds.”

So warned Roger Arnold, chief economist for ALM Advisors of Pasadena, California, in a column for RealMoney on August 11, 2011, that first lifted the lid on this latest colossal scandal to come out of the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

“These homes,” wrote Arnold, “which are now the property of the U.S. government, the U.S. taxpayer, U.S. citizens collectively, are going to be sold to private investor conglomerates at extraordinarily large discounts to real value. You and I will not be allowed to participate. These investors will come from the private-equity and hedge-fund community, Goldman Sachs (GS) and its derivatives, as well as foreign sovereign wealth funds that can bring a billion dollars or more to each transaction.”

Program Meant For Struggling Homeowners Lets Banks Gouge the Government Again

A government program meant to help struggling homeowners will at minimum help some struggling banks.

Big banks could rake in as much as $12 billion in revenue by refinancing the mortgages of homeowners that owe more on their homes than they are worth, according to an analysis by Nomura, a Japanese bank, cited by the Wall Street Journal.

The government last year announced an expanded version of HARP, known as HARP 2.0, which was meant to allow underwater borrowers that were current on their payments to refinance their mortgages at market rates. Instead, the program has allowed big banks to charge steep fees and above-market interest rates, all while refinancing mortgages they already handle, according to several news outlets.

WI Austerity Senate Candidate: Press Should Stop Writing ‘Sob’ Stories About Poor People

Wisconsin U.S. Senate candidate Eric Hovde (R) says he is sick and tired of reading sad stories about people struggling in the recession. Instead, he wants to see the media focus more on the debt and the larger problems afflicting the country.

Hovde made his remarks during a presentation on Friday to the Greater Brookfield Chamber of Commerce.

During the Q&A portion of the event, Hovde expressed his support for lowering the corporate tax rate, tackling the country’s spending problems and lowering the national debt.

Occupy Member Elected to Vermont Credit Union

Vermont’s fourth largest credit union, the $346 million Vermont Federal Credit Union, may be charting new ground in dealing with the Occupy movement. It now has a Burlington activist on its board.

The election on June 7 of Eric Davis, a research assistant in ecological economics at the University of Vermont, has roiled the Vermont industry and put the governance process under the microscope.

His election capped off a tense month of public dialogue in the Burlington media, both print and online, about the credit union role in the community as well as the democratic process in how a cooperative selects its directors.

Apple Protest: Raging Grannies Perform Song, Dance, Mic Check on Fathers Day

Bet you didn’t know that the very first Fathers Day commemoration was in remembrance of a mining disaster that brought attention to the plight of working people and unsafe working conditions across the US, when hundreds of fathers died in one mine in W. Virginia in 1908.

With the holiday’s origins on their mind, members of the Raging Grannies Action League joined San Jose and Redwood City Occupy groups to demonstrate in front of the Apple store on University Ave. during World Music Day in downtown Palo Alto. World Music Day is a world wide music festival that takes place around the summer solstice. It is a day when sidewalks, parks, community gardens, and other public places become impromptu musical stages for both amateur and professional musicians. All concerts and performances are free and open to the public. In Palo Alto, streets were closed to traffic for the event.

Fracking foes encourage North Carolina gov. to veto SB 820

With Governor Perdue expected to make a decision about a veto on Senate Bill 820 this week, anti-fracking forces are stepping up their opposition to the bill.

Members of Occupy Raleigh are staging a 6:00pm rally outside the Executive Mansion in Raleigh to encourage the governor to veto the bill that allows fracking in our state.

Crew of ‘Occu-Pirates’ Gets the Nod to Protest Again [NY]

A scrappy crew of Occupy Wall Street veterans that call themselves ‘Occu-pirates’ sailed out of the 79th Street Boat Basin once again on Saturday morning.

The destination was Staten Island, for one in a series of Occupy Wall Street events held in the five boroughs, that organizers have staged as town hall meetings, aimed at keeping the OWS message, and awareness of America’s sinking middle class, afloat.

But the makeshift pirate ship, captain and crew, which made waves in New York City last week after the parks officials tried to give the floating drum circle the boot, saying they were violating public marina rules, didn’t make it to their destination.

As with so many of the Occupy protest efforts, for this group of sailors, the end result isn’t the point. In true pirate fashion, the battle itself has become a mechanism of survival.

Occupy Little Rock to hold protest

Occupy Little Rock will hold a protest at Capitol and Broadway today at 11:15 a.m.

The protest will also have members of Occupy Caravan that is traveling the country and ending up in Philadelphia, PA. on July 4th.

Occupy Little Rock sdays the protest will center on financial themes.

The wrong austerity cure – Imposing drastic cuts to services will not solve the banking crisis engulfing Europe

Fiscal profligacy did not cause the sovereign-debt crisis engulfing Europe, and fiscal austerity will not solve it. On the contrary, such austerity has aggravated the crisis and now threatens to bring down the euro and throw the global economy into another tailspin.

In 2007, Spain and Ireland were models of fiscal rectitude, with far lower debt-to-GDP ratios than Germany had. Investors were not worried about default risk on Spanish or Irish sovereign debt, or about Italy’s chronically large sovereign debt. Indeed, Italy boasted the lowest deficit-to-GDP ratio in the eurozone, and the Italian government had no problem refinancing at attractive interest rates. Even Greece, despite its rapidly eroding competitiveness and increasingly unsustainable fiscal path, could attract the capital that it needed.

Deluded by the convergence of bond yields that followed the euro’s launch, investors fed a decade-long private-sector credit boom in Europe’s less-developed periphery countries, and failed to recognise real-estate bubbles in Spain and Ireland, and Greece’s slide into insolvency. When growth slowed sharply and credit flows collapsed in the wake of the Great Recession, budget revenues plummeted, governments were forced to socialise private-sector liabilities, and fiscal deficits and debt soared.

Greece Races To Form Coalition As Cash Dwindles Amid EU Demands

Greece’s two traditional political rivals are in a race to forge a coalition as the state’s cash dwindles, bank deposits flee and Europe demands renewed austerity pledges before releasing more emergency aid.

The euro erased an initial advance, stocks fell and borrowing costs in Spain and Italy surged on concern an election win by Greece’s biggest pro-bailout party would provide only a brief respite from Europe’s financial crisis.

Greece will run out of money in mid-July, the Syriza party, which placed second in yesterday’s election, said on June 13 after being briefed by Acting Finance Minister Giorgios Zanias. Caretaker Labor and Social Security Minister Antonis Roupakiotis refused to offer assurances pensions will be paid in August, Athens News Agency reported the same day.

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