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US Treasury secretary says he has begun tapping federal retiree pension fund to avoid default
Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said late Monday he will begin tapping into two government employee retirement funds to buy more time before the U.S. Treasury is faced with the prospect of defaulting on the national debt.In a letter to congressional leaders, Lew said that he would tap the civil service retirement and disability fund and a similar fund that covers retired postal workers. The law allows him to remove investments from these funds to clear room for more borrowing until Congress votes to raise the debt limitUnder the law, any investments diverted from the pension funds must be replaced with interest once Congress approves raising the debt limit.Lew has said the various bookkeeping measures he is allowed to employ should provide enough maneuvering room to keep the government from defaulting on its debt until after Labor Day. Other estimates say Lew may be able to forestall a default until as late as November.
EU Leaders to Sidestep Lisbon Treaty Rule
The Lisbon Treaty clearly intends for the size of the European Commission to be reduced below its present size of 27 members. But EU leaders have reached unanimous agreement to sidestep the provision -- and even plan to add a seat to the table for the Croatians.
From the outside, it looks as though the European Union is hopelessly divided. Northern member states demand budgetary discipline while those in the south bemoan drastic austerity measures. Furthermore, the Franco-German alliance is brittle, to the point that a planned policy paper on the future of the European common currency area -- to be written jointly by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande -- has yet to materialize.Astoundingly, however, the 27 EU member-states can still reach consensus. At the EU summit meeting this Wednesday, leaders are set to rubber stamp an agreement that has been reached on the quiet in recent weeks -- that of ignoring the Lisbon Treaty provision that calls for a reduction to the size of the European Commission
The Growing Global Challenge to Monsanto’s Monopolistic Greed
The common problem we face is the power of concentrated wealth and monopolistic corporate interests. This has created a crony capitalist economy that uses government to further enrich the wealthy at the expense of the people, often threatening our basic necessities for life. A clear example of this is found in the behavior of the chemical and seed corporation, Monsanto.Monsanto threatens the world's food supply; this is a major challenge of our era. This struggle is central to the global ecosystem, economy and energy crises. Monsanto also pushes poisonous chemicals into the environment and promotes agricultural practices that exacerbate climate change.
Monsanto's actions truly affect each of us. They put their profits over the need for healthy foods, diverse seed supplies and the stability of the agricultural economy. They employ a variety of tools to control access to seeds and aggressively push genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and toxic chemicals despite serious safety concerns about them. And they accomplish this with great help from the US government.
When President Obama appointed a Monsanto lobbyist, Michael Taylor, as the "food czar" (officially the deputy commissioner for foods) - avoiding the Senate confirmation process, which would have brought public attention to the appointment - it was one more example of how corrupted both parties have become by corporate influence.
A global grassroots movement is building to challenge Monsanto as more people realize that we are in a struggle for our survival. May 25 is a global day of action against Monsanto taking place in hundreds of cities and 41 countries. Monsanto must be stopped before its unfettered greed destroys our health and environment. We urge you to join the effort to stop Monsanto.
Wells Fargo Forecloses On Homeowner For Making Early Mortgage Payments
As Occupy Our Homes demonstrates at the Department of Justice the fraudclosure crisis continues unabated.
A Florida family man who not only made his mortgage payments on time but made payments early faces foreclosure by Wells Fargo. The explanation for initiating the foreclosure proceedings by Wells Fargo is nothing short of amazing and offers a sad commentary on how little has changed despite the 2008 financial crisis and supposed reforms like Dodd-Frank.
Etienne Syldor said he’s worked his whole life for a home in Orlando for his wife and three children.
Syldor is an immigrant from Haiti and a bus driver at Walt Disney World. At times, he said he has worked multiple jobs to make sure he never missed a mortgage payment.
Last year, Wells Fargo offered him mortgage modification, and he was told if he made four monthly payments during a trial period, the modification would be permanent.
So far so good. Family man working multiple jobs to make sure he is paying his bills – personal responsibility and all that jazz. Court records confirm that Syldor made his payments.
Then something funny happened. Despite the payments Wells Fargo began foreclosure proceedings on Syldor. Not surprisingly this made no sense to Syldor who, thankfully, hired an attorney and contacted a news station.
Feds Consider RICO Charges Against Hedge Fund
Federal prosecutors are considering charging hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors LP as a criminal enterprise through a powerful legal tool used against the Mafia and drug gangs, people familiar with the probe said.
It is rare for investment firms to be charged criminally under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly known as RICO. Such a step would require approval from top Justice Department officials.
The potential RICO strategy comes amid an escalating investigation into whether SAC and its billionaire founder, Steven A. Cohen, traded on inside information. It is now crunchtime for the U.S. as it approaches a five-year legal deadline in July