Bankers Can Be Jailed? In Iceland They Can

Iceland Just Jailed Dozens of Corrupt Bankers for 74 Years, The Opposite of What America Does

The prosecution of the Icelandic bankers represents an accountability that does not exist in America.

By Jay Syrmopoulos/ The Free Thought Project/ October 21, 2015


Raykovich, Iceland – In stark contrast to the record low number of prosecutions [3] of CEO’s and high-level financial executives in the U.S., Iceland has just sentenced 26 bankers to a combined 74 years in prison.

The majority of those convicted have been sentenced to prison terms of two to five years. The maximum penalty in Iceland for financial crimes is six years, although hearings are currently underway to consider extending the maximum beyond six years.

The prosecutions are the result of Iceland’s banksters manipulating the Icelandic financial markets after Iceland deregulated their finance sector in 2001. Eventually, an accumulation of foreign debt resulted in a meltdown of the entire banking sector in 2008.

According to Iceland Magazine [4]:

In two separate rulings last week, the Supreme Court of Iceland and the Reykjavík District Court sentenced three top managers of Landsbankinn [5] and two top managers of Kaupþing [6], along with one prominent investor, to prison for crimes committed in the lead-up to the financial collapse of 2008. With these rulings the number of bankers and financiers who have been sentenced to prison for crimes relating to the financial collapse has reached 26, and a combined prison time of 74 years.

Massive debts were incurred in the name of the Icelandic public, to allow the country to continue to function, which are still being repaid to the IMF and other nations eight years later by the citizens of Iceland. In contrast to the U.S., Iceland has chosen to hold the criminals that manipulated their financial system accountable under the law.

In the U.S., not a single banking executive was charged with crimes related to the 2008 financial crisis [7], even though the U.S. itself precipitated the crisis. Icelandic President, Olafur Ragnar Grimmson summed it up best in his response when asked how his country recovered from the global financial crisis.

“We were wise enough not to follow the traditional prevailing orthodoxies of the Western financial world in the last 30 years. We introduced currency controls, we let the banks fail, we provided support for the people and didn’t introduce austerity measures like you’re seeing in Europe.”

While Iceland has prosecuted those that caused their financial crisis, America has done the opposite. In 2008, after Congress bailed out the failing American banks to the tune of $700 billion dollars, courtesy of the American taxpayer, many of the executives of institutions that received TARP bailout funds ended up getting large bonuses!

The prosecution of the Icelandic banksters represents an accountability that does not exist in the United States of America. It seems clear that the financial “Masters of the Universe” are the ones that truly control the political apparatus in the U.S., making it obvious there is no one who is going to hold them accountable for manipulating and crashing the financial markets.

Please share this article to help expose who really controls the political system in the United States!!

Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist whose work has previously been published on and Follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis [8].

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By Arlen Grossman

Being a Bernie supporter, I was naturally impressed with his positions and his performance last night. He stated his views vigorously and unapologetically (with the possible exception of his position on guns). At the same time, Hillary also was impressive. Although I thought Bernie did the best, I would have to concede that the real winner last night was probably Hillary (as well as the Democratic Party). I say that because I believe the race is Hillary’s to lose, and she certainly didn’t lose any ground last night. She looked and sounded good, and the corporate media is making sure everyone knows it. It will be tough for Bernie to catch up with her, although he’s making a valiant effort.

I also think the debates will discourage Joe Biden from throwing his hat in the ring (his only real chance would have been if Hillary faltered). The other three candidates, O’Malley, Webb and Chaffee, must as well pack up their bags and go home.

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Bernie Won All the Focus Groups & Online Polls, So Why Is the Media Saying Hillary Won the Debate?

By Adam Johnson/ 14, 2015


Who “won” a debate is inherently subjective. The idea of winning a debate necessarily entails a goal to be achieved. What this goal is, therefore, says as much about the person judging its achievement as the goal itself. Pundits are ostensibly supposed to judge whether or not a candidate said what “the voters” want to hear. But what ends up happening, invariably, is they end up judging whether or not the candidate said what they think voters wanted to hear. This, after all, is why pundits exist, to act as a clergy class charged with interpreting people’s own inscrutable opinions for them. The chasm between what the pundits saw and what the public saw was quite big last night.

Bernie Sanders by all objective measures “won” the debate. Hands down. I don’t say this as a personal analysis of the debate; the very idea of winning a debate is silly to me. I say this because based on the only relatively objective metric we have, online polls and focus groups, he did win. And it’s not even close.

Sanders won the CNN focus group, [3] the Fusion focus group [4], and the Fox News focus group [5]; in the latter, he even converted several Hillary supporters. He won the Slate online poll [6], CNN/Time online poll [7], 9News Colorado [8], The Street online poll [9], Fox5 poll, [10] the conservative Drudge online poll [11] and the liberal Daily Kos online poll [12]. There wasn’t, to this writer’s knowledge, a poll he didn’t win by at least an 18-point margin. But you wouldn’t know this from reading the “establishment” press. The New York Times [13], the New Yorker [14], CNN [15], Politico [16], Slate [17], New York Magazine [18], and Vox [19] all unanimously say Hillary Clinton cleaned house. What gives?

Firstly, it’s important to point out that online polls, and to a lesser extent focus groups, are obviously not scientific. But it’s also important to point out that the echo chamber musings of establishment liberal pundits is far, far less scientific. It wasn’t that the online polls and focus groups had Sanders winning, it’s that they had him winning by a lot. And it wasn’t just that the pundit class has Clinton winning, it’s that they had her winning by a lot. This gap speaks to a larger gap we’ve seen since the beginning of the Sanders campaign. The mainstream media writes off Bernie and is constantly shocked [20] when his polls numbers go up. What explains this phenomenon? Freddie DeBoer had this to say [21]:

This morning, I’ve been pointing out on Twitter that the unanimity of pro-Hillary Clinton journalism coming from the mouthpieces of establishment Democratic politics — Slate, Vox, New York Magazine, etc. — is entirely predictable and has no meaningful relationship to her actual performance at the debate last night. That’s because, one, the Democrats are a centrist party that is interested in maintaining the stranglehold of the DNC establishment on their presidential politics, and these publications toe that line. And second, because Clinton has long been assumed to be the heavy favorite to win the presidency, these publications are in a heated battle to produce the most sympathetic coverage, in order to gain access. That is a tried-and-true method of career advancement in political journalism. Ezra Klein was a well-regarded blogger and journalist. He became the most influential journalist in DC (and someone, I can tell you with great confidence, that young political journalists are terrified of crossing) through his rabid defense of Obamacare, and subsequent access to the President. That people would try and play the same role with Clinton is as natural and unsurprising as I can imagine.

Many establishment journalists were in a hurry to declare Clinton not just the winner of the debate, but of the election. One fairly creepy exchange between Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker and Alec MacGillis summed it up nicely:

“Pretend” there’s a race? Isn’t that sort of the whole point of democracy? To have as much debate and vetting as possible before nominating a potential leader of the free world? Matt Yglesias at Vox also dismissed this entire primary process out of hand:

It’s unclear what the rush is. The first primary is months away, yet they’re ready to call it based entirely on an ad hoc analysis of one debate. This tweet by Michael Cohen of the Boston Globe perfectly sums up mainstream media’s cluelessness:

A “protest candidate”? If Cohen hasn’t noticed, the electorate is full of piss and vinegar and rancor [22], which is precisely why an otherwise obscure, self-described Socialist has risen in the polls the way he has.

But the question still remains: why the rush to write off Sanders? Why the constant gap between how the public perceives Sanders and how the mainstream media does? Why, most of all, would anyone listen to the very same pundit class that was wrong in ’08 and continues to be wrong in 2015.

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Makes Sense


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Elizabeth Warren: Speaking Truth to Power…and Colbert

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The Enemy Is Not Over There

The Real Enemy Is Within

By Chris Hedges/ Truthdig/ September 6, 2015

If you are not dedicated to the destruction of empire and the dismantling of American militarism, then you cannot count yourself as a member of the left. It is not a side issue. It is the issue. It is why I refuse to give a pass in this presidential election campaign to Bernie Sanders, who refuses to confront the war industry or the crimes of empire, including U.S. support for the slow genocide carried out by Israel against the Palestinians. There will be no genuine democratic, social, economic or political reform until we destroy our permanent war machine.

Militarists and war profiteers are our greatest enemy. They use fear, bolstered by racism, as a tool in their efforts to abolish civil liberties, crush dissent and ultimately extinguish democracy. To produce weapons and finance military expansion, they ruin the domestic economy by diverting resources, scientific and technical expertise and a disproportionate share of government funds. They use the military to carry out futile, decades-long wars to enrich corporations such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman. War is a business. And when the generals retire, guess where they go to work? Profits swell. War never stops. Whole sections of the earth live in terror. And our nation is disemboweled and left to live under what the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls “inverted totalitarianism.” Libertarians seem to get this. It is time the left woke up.



                                                                                          Blue Nation Review

“Bourgeois society faces a dilemma,” socialist Rosa Luxemburg writes, “either a transition to Socialism, or a return to barbarism … we face the choice: either the victory of imperialism and the decline of all culture, as in ancient Rome—annihilation, devastation, degeneration, a yawning graveyard; or the victory of Socialism—the victory of the international working class consciously assaulting imperialism and its method: war. This is the dilemma of world history, either-or; the die will be cast by the class-conscious proletariat.”

The U.S. military and its array of civilian contractors operate as enforcers and hired killers across the globe for corporations, many of which pay no taxes. Young men and women, many unable to find work, are the cannon fodder. The U.S. military has served as the handmaiden of capitalism since it committed genocide against Native Americans, carried out on behalf of land speculators, mineral companies, timber merchants and the railroads. The military replicated this indiscriminate slaughter at the end of the 19th century in our imperial expansion in Cuba and elsewhere in the Caribbean, in Central America and especially in the Philippines. Military muscle exists to permit global corporations to expand markets and plunder oil, minerals and other natural resources while keeping subjugated populations impoverished by corrupt and brutal puppet regimes. The masters of war are the scum of the earth.

It was the war profiteers and the military, as Seymour Melman has pointed out, that conspired after World War II to keep the country in a state of total war, deforming the economy to continue to produce massive amounts of weapons and armaments in peacetime. The permanent war economy is sustained through fearmongering—about communists during the Cold War and about Islamic jihadists today. Such fearmongering is used not only to justify crippling military expenditures but to crush internal dissent. The corporatists and the military, which have successfully carried out what John Ralston Saul calls a “coup d’état in slow motion,” have used their political and economic clout to dismantle programs and policies put in place under the New Deal. Brian Waddell writes of this process:

The requirements of total war … revived corporate political leverage, allowing corporate executives inside and outside the state extensive influence over wartime mobilization policies. … Assertive corporate executives and military officials formed a very effective wartime alliance that not only blocked any augmentation of the New Dealer authority but also organized a powerful alternative to the New Deal. International activism displaced and supplanted New Deal domestic activism. Thus was the stage finally set for a vastly extended and much more powerful informal U.S. empire outside its own hemisphere.

The war machine is not, and almost never has been, a force for liberty or democracy. It does not make us safe. It does not make the world safe. And its immense economic and political power internally, including its management of the security and surveillance state and its huge defense contracts, has turned it into the most dangerous institution in America.

Military expenditures bleed the federal budget—officially—of $598.49 billion a year, or 53.71 percent of all spending. This does not, however, include veterans’ benefits at $65.32 billion a year or hidden costs in other budgets that see the military and the war profiteers take as much as $1.6 trillion a year out of the pockets of taxpayers. The working and middle class fund the endless wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and a host of other countries while suffering crippling “austerity” programs, massive debt peonage, collapsing infrastructures, chronic underemployment and unemployment and mounting internal repression. The war industry, feeding off the carcass of the state, grows fat and powerful with profits. This is not unique. It is how all empires are hollowed out from the inside. As we are impoverished and stripped of our rights, the tools used to maintain control on the outer reaches of empire—drones, militarized police, indiscriminate violence, a loss of civil liberties, and security and surveillance—are used on us. We have devolved, because of the poison of empire, into a Third World nation with nukes. We are ruled by an omnipotent, corporate oligarchy and their Pretorian Guard. The political class, Republican and Democrat, dances to the tune played by these oligarchs and militarists and mouths the words they want it to say.

C. Wright Mills in “The Power Elite” warns of a military machine that not only holds the political and economic life of the nation hostage but also has the ability to form public opinion. The Pentagon spends $4.7 billion a year and has some 27,000 employees who work on recruitment, advertising, psychological operations and public relations, according to a 2009 report by The Associated Press. But millions of dollars more for propaganda are hidden within classified budgets. The Pentagon places its commentators and pundits on the airwaves, produces “news” stories for the press, has ubiquitous advertising, runs junkets for Wall Street capitalists and elected officials and manages how Hollywood and television portray war and the military. Mills writes:

… [I]n all of pluralist America, there is no interest—there is no possible combination of interests—that has anywhere near the time, the money, the manpower, to present a point of view on the issues involved that can effectively compete with the views presented day in and day out by the warlords and by those whom they employ.

This means, for one thing, that there is no free and wider debate of military policy or of policies of military relevance. But that, of course, is in line with the professional soldier’s training for command and obedience, and with his ethos, which is certainly not that of a debating society in which decisions are put to a vote. It is also in line with the tendency in a mass society for manipulation to replace explicitly debated authority, as well as the fact of total war in which the distinction between soldier and civilian is obliterated. The military manipulation of civilian opinion and the military invasion of the civilian mind are now important ways in which the power of the warlords is steadily exerted.

(Continued-Read Entire Article Here)

Boldface added by BPR Editor
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Capitalism: The True Cost of the Free Market

The Evidence Keeps Pouring In: Capitalism Just Isn’t Working

By Paul Buchheit/ Common Dreams/ August 24, 2015

(Photo: Jonny White/cc/flickr)

To followers of Ayn Rand and Ronald Reagan, and to all the business people who despise government, ‘community’ is a form of ‘communism.’ Even taking the train is too communal for them. Americans have been led to believe that only individuals matter, that every person should fend for him/herself, that “winner-take-all” is the ultimate goal, and that the winners have no responsibility to others.

To the capitalist, everything is a potential market. Education, health care, even the right to water. But with every market failure it becomes more clear that basic human rights can’t be bought and sold like cars and cell phones. The pursuit of profit, when essential needs are part of the product, means that not everyone will be able to pay the price. Some will be denied those essential needs.

Global Failures

Capitalism hasn’t been able to control runaway global inequality. For every $1.00 owned by the world’s richest 1% in 2011, they now own $1.27. They own almost half the world’s wealth. Just 70 of them own as much as 3.5 billion people.

Capitalism has not been able — or willing — to control the “race to the bottom” caused by “free trade,” as mid-level jobs continue to be transferred to low-wage countries.

Nor has capitalism been able to control global environmental degradation, with trillions in subsidies going to polluters that don’t even pay their taxes, and with corporations ignoring any semblance of social responsibility as they seek ways to profit from global warming.

Job Creation Failures I

With or without globalization, middle-class jobs are disappearing, even higher-end positions in financial analysis, medical diagnosis, legal assistance, and journalism. Artificial intelligence is making this happen. Millions of Americans have had a role in the great American productivity behind this technological takeover, but capitalism allows only an elite few of us to reap the disproportional profits.

Reports of job recovery are based on low-income jobs, many of them part-time. Layoffs are cutting into the military and technology. Gallup discounted Wall Street’s job-creating ability. As noted by former Wall Street Journal Associate Editor Paul Craig Roberts, the US rate of unemployment is 23 percent when long-term discouraged job-seekers are included. That’s close to the unemployment rate of the Great Depression.

Job Creation Failures II

Closely related to employment woes is the collapse of corporate investment in new product R&D, from 40 cents per dollar in the 1970s to 10 cents now. CEOs are choosing instead to spend almost all of their profits on buybacks and dividends to enrich investors.

Health Care Failures

The capitalist profit motive allows the cost of a hepatitis pill that costs $10 in Egypt to sell for $1,000 in the United States, and the cost of a blood test to range from $10 to $10,000 in two California hospitals (a 100,000% markup at the second hospital).

Patent abuse is one of the factors making this possible. Pharmaceutical companies can tweak a drug with a minor change to create a “brand new” drug with a new patent.

Another health-related scam that affects most of us is bottled water. According to Food & Water Watch, about half of it is filtered tap water with fancy names, as evidenced in one case by an actual “tap water” labelon a company’s product. Yet with the demise of community water fountains, and the barrage of advertising for “safe and pure” drinking water, unsuspecting Americans pay dearly: for the price we pay for a bottle of water we would be able to fill up that bottle a thousand times with tap water.

Housing Failures

Because of the “invisible hand” of the free market, in just 35 years the investment wealth of the super-rich has gone from 15% of middle-class housing to almost 200% of middle-class housing.

Education Failures

A remarkable story of privatization failure is told in the story of charter schools in Florida, where Jeb Bush still holds dear to his delusions of free-market educational success.

That’s just one example. In general, charters are riddled with fraud and identified with a lack of transparencythat leads to even more fraud. Since 2001 nearly 2,500 charter schools have been forced to close their doors, leaving over a quarter-million schoolchildren between one bad business decision and the next. A report from PR Watch summarizes the billions of dollars spent on charters without accountability to the public.

Disposable Americans

Chris Hedges wrote: “Human life is of no concern to corporate capitalists. The suffering of the Greeks, like the suffering of ordinary Americans, is very good for the profit margins of financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs.”

People become meaningless in a successful capitalist system.

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Greece: The Muscle of Corporate Capitalism


We Are All Greeks Now

Posted on Jul 12, 2015

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Prison Population Explosion


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Zero for 40 at Predicting Attacks: Why Do Media Still Take FBI Terror Warnings Seriously?

By Adam Johnson/ FAIR/ July 1, 2015

On Monday, several mainstream media outlets repeated the latest press releaseby the FBI that country was under a new “heightened terror alert” from “ISIL-inspired attacks” “leading up to the July 4th weekend.” One of the more sensational outlets, CNN, led with the breathless warning on several of its cable programs, complete with a special report by The Lead’s Jim Sciutto in primetime:

CNN: US on Terror Alert

The threat was given extra credence when former CIA director—and consultant at DC PR firm Beacon Global Strategies—Michael Morell went on CBS This Morning (6/29/15) and scared the ever-living bejesus out of everyone by saying he “wouldn’t be surprised if we were sitting [in the studio] next week discussing an attack on the US.” The first piece of evidence Morell used to justify his apocalyptic posture, the “50 ISIS arrests,” was accompanied by a scary map on the CBS jumbotron showing “ISIS arrests” all throughout the US:

 CBS This Morning: Recent ISIS Arrests

But one key detail is missing from this  graphic: None of these “ISIS arrests” involved any actual members of ISIS, only members of the FBI—and their network of informants—posing as such. (The one exception being the man arrested in Arizona, who, while having no contact with ISIS, was also not prompted by the FBI.) So even if one thinks the threat of “lone wolf” attacks is a serious one, it cannot be said these are really “ISIS arrests.”  Perhaps on some meta-level, it shows an increase of “radicalization,” but it’s impossible to distinguish between this and simply more aggressive sting operations by the FBI.

In any event, this nuance gets left out entirely. As I’ve previously shown, in the media’s rush to hype the threat, the fact of FBI-manufactured—or at least “assisted”—terror plots is left out as a complicating factor altogether, and the viewer is left thinking the FBI arrested 50 actual ISIS sleeper cells.

Nevertheless, the ominous FBI (or Department of Homeland Security) “terror warning” has become such a staple of the on-going, seemingly endless “war on terror” (d/b/a war on ISIS), we hardly even notice it anymore. Marked by a feedback loop of extremist propaganda, unverifiable claims about “online chatter” and fuzzy pronouncements issued by a neverending string of faceless Muslim bad guys, and given PR cover by FBI-contrived “terror plots,” the specter of the impending “attack” is part of a broader white noise of fear that never went away after 9/11. Indeed, the verbiage employed by the FBI in this latest warning —“we’re asking people to remain vigilant”—implies no actual change of the status quo, just an hysterical nudge to not let down our collective guard.

There’s only one problem: These warnings never actually come to fruition. Not rarely, or almost never, but—by all accounts—never. No attacks, no arrests, no suspects at large.

Here’s a selection of previous FBI and DHS “terror warnings” over the past 14 years, not a single one of which actually predicted or foiled a terror attack:

October 2001: “Potential use of chemical/biological and/or radiological/nuclear weapons

November 2001: California bridges

February 2002: “Hollywood studios”

May 2002: Statue of Liberty

June 2002: “Around the Fourth of July holiday”

July 2002: Stadiums

August 2002: “Landmarks”

October 2002: “AQ to attack Amtrak

November 2002: “Spectacular Al Qaeda attacks

February 2003: “Apartments, hotels, sports arenas and amusement parks

May 2003: “Possibility of multiple attacks”

May 2004: “Attempt to affect the outcome” of presidential election

July 2004: “Military facilities and large gatherings” on July 4th

August 2004: VA hospitals

January 2005: Dirty bomb

March 2005: US/Mexican border

October 2005: NYC & Baltimore subways

March 2006: “Sporting events”

June 2007: Colleges

December 2007: “Shopping malls in Chicago and LA”

November 2008: “Al Qaeda to attack transit during Thanksgiving

November 2010: Mass transit in New York City

October 2011: “Americans in Europe” facing “commando-style AQ attack”

February 2011: “Financial institutions”

May 2011: “Threats of retaliation”

June 2011: Al Qaeda “hit list”

July 2011: “Private jets of executives” involved in drone manufacturing

September 2011: “Small planes”

September 2011: “New York City or Washington around…10th anniversary of 9/11

September 2011: Airports

March 2012: “Terrorist hacking”

August 2012: Anarchists blowing up bridge during Tampa RNC

September 2012: “Islamic violence over movie

August 2013: “San Fransisco on high alert

November 2013: “cyber attacks”

April 2014: “College students abroad”

December 2014: ISIS targeting Mississippi River bridge

December 2014: ISIS “sabotaging US military personnel” over social media

April 2015: ISIS targeting “parts of California

May 2015: ISIS targeting “military bases

A casual search reveals the FBI and DHS are a pitiful 0 for 40 warning of terror attacks—some of which were specifically about 4th of July threats, none of which materialized in any way. This should not be considered a comprehensive list of all threat warnings transmitted by media; I tried to narrow the scope to warnings that were at least in some way specific.

The actual terror attacks carried out on US soil—the Times Square bomber, “Underwear bomber,” Boston bombing and Garland attacks—were accompanied by no such warnings. (Nor were the often deadlier terrorist attacks by right-wing white terrorists–but terrorism in this category is rarely if ever the subject of FBI warnings.)

(CONTINUED–Read Entire Article Here)

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