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  1. Thai Sky Adventures after eighteen months closed has relocated and reopened
  2. Nice to see the two of you contributing to the Occupy thread - keep it up
  3. The estimated total of hidden offshore wealth amounts to more than the combined GDP of the United States and Japan, hidden in secretive financial jurisdictions like Switzerland and the Cayman Islands. The process of hiding this wealth is largely facilitated by the major global banks, which compete with one another to attract the assets of the world’s super-rich. James Henry explained that the wealth of the world’s super-rich is “protected by a highly paid, industrious bevy of professional enablers in the private banking, legal, accounting and investment industries taking advantage of the increasingly borderless, frictionless global economy;” more of that “free market” magic. The top ten banks in the world, which include UBS and Credit Suisse (based in Switzerland) as well as Goldman Sachs in the United States, collectively managed roughly $6.4 trillion in offshore accounts for 2010 alone. As the report revealed, “for many developing countries the cumulative value of the capital that has flowed out of their economies since the 1970s would be more than enough to pay off their debts to the rest of the world,” debts which are largely illegitimate as it stands. This trend is exacerbated in the oil-rich states of the world such as Nigeria, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. The report stated: “The problem here is that the assets of these countries are held by a small number of wealthy individuals while the debts are shouldered by the ordinary people of these countries through their governments.” With roughly half of the world’s offshore wealth belonging to the top 92,000 richest individuals, they represent the top 0.001%, a far more extreme global disparity than that which is invoked by the Occupy movement’s 1% paradigm.
  4. Switching to American-grown marijuana could deal a significant blow to the drug cartels. Research from the RAND Corporation's Drug Policy Research Center based in Santa Monica, California, estimates that marijuana trafficking accounts for around 20 per cent of the cartels' income: about $6 to $8 billion. Another study published in October by the Mexican Center for Competitiveness estimated that legalisation in Washington alone would subtract $1.4 billion from the cartels' profits.
  5. In the United States, five banks control half the economy: JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and Goldman Sachs Group collectively held $8.5 trillion in assets at the end of 2011, which equals roughly 56% of the U.S. economy. This data was according to central bankers at the Federal Reserve. In 2007, the assets of the largest banks amounted to 43% of the U.S. economy. Thus, the crisis has made the banks bigger and more powerful than ever.
  6. AS PROTESTS against financial power sweep the world this week, science may have confirmed the protesters' worst fears. An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy. The work, to be published in PLoS One, revealed a core of 1318 companies with interlocking ownerships (see image). Each of the 1318 had ties to two or more other companies, and on average they were connected to 20. What's more, although they represented 20 per cent of global operating revenues, the 1318 appeared to collectively own through their shares the majority of the world's large blue chip and manufacturing firms - the "real" economy - representing a further 60 per cent of global revenues. When the team further untangled the web of ownership, it found much of it tracked back to a "super-entity" of 147 even more tightly knit companies - all of their ownership was held by other members of the super-entity - that controlled 40 per cent of the total wealth in the network. "In effect, less than 1 per cent of the companies were able to control 40 per cent of the entire network," says Glattfelder. Most were financial institutions. The top 20 included Barclays Bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and The Goldman Sachs Group.
  7. Martin Lee, journalist and author of the new book Smoke Signals: A Social History Of Marijuana—Medical, Recreational, And Scientific , says the size of the operation and will behind it are exactly why local forces could be the biggest threat to legalization. “There are various ways that the federal government could punish these states for straying from the drug war party line, but it may not come to that. Federal law enforcement can't impose it's will that easily, given the limited number of DEA agents on the ground,” Lee told AlterNet, “The biggest obstacle in Washington state might be local law enforcement officers intent on targeting drivers under 21. The way Amendment 64 was written, it may allow, if not encourage, anti-marijuana law enforcement in Washington to harass young drivers and have them tested to determine if THC metabolites are in their body, indicating prior use of marijuana. If the past with respect to medical marijuana in California is a reliable prologue, police, when given an inch, are apt to take a mile.” Still, Lee has hope that popular opinion may overcome government will. “It's also possible that the federal government may throw in the towel on this one and allow this laboratory experiment in democracy to proceed without interference. One way or another, marijuana is here to stay,” Lee said.
  8. Calm down. Now that Occupy has got Obama back in power we can get to the red meat of the deal. He'd better deliver this time around.
  9. Colorado has a long history of progressivism when it comes to bucking the Puritans. Exactly 80 years ago, it legalized alcohol—well before the federal government ended prohibition. Amendment 64 wisely leaves the job of devising a regulatory system for legal weed up to the state legislature. It won't be an easy task, but activists think they can pull it off. "We can show the rest of the nation that when you legalize marijuana, the sky does not fall," Angell says. "That is can be safer and at the same time you can collect more tax money." Call it the pot stimulus.
  10. I count that as just another PA. Calm down and get used to the fact that Occupy have been pretty successfull in their first year. Unlike the Tea Party they got Obama re-elected. Now to build on that good work.
  11. Beat that! Every schoolboy used to know that at the height of the empire, almost a quarter of the atlas was coloured pink, showing the extent of British rule. But that oft recited fact dramatically understates the remarkable global reach achieved by this country. A new study has found that at various times the British have invaded almost 90 per cent of the countries around the globe. The analysis of the histories of the almost 200 countries in the world found only 22 which have never experienced an invasion by the British. Among this select group of nations are far-off destinations such as Guatemala, Tajikistan and the Marshall Islands, as well some slightly closer to home, such as Luxembourg.
  12. As the campaign when on, he steadily softened his Ossawatamie progressivism. He voiced the full-blown progressive message less and less often. I imagine he was following the advice of pollsters who told him to move toward the center. Still, he did stick with at least the basic outlines of the narrative he started with, the one inspired by the Occupy movement. He continued to demand higher taxes from the rich. Even though the increase he calls for is pitifully small, the very fact of demanding any tax hike at all from the one percent is a symbolic attack on their privilege. It keeps the outrage of their immense wealth and influence in the spotlight. We haven’t seen that from a Democratic president since FDR.
  13. There’s no doubt that the Occupy movement has already made history. It was obvious a year ago. Wealth and income inequality had come out of the closet. So had the long-term economic decline of the middle as well as lower classes. For the first time since the 1930s, these were front-page issues in the mass media and common topics of conversation across the political spectrum. It was an extraordinary achievement. And Barack Obama knew it. So did his political strategists. With the election just a year off, they decided to hitch their campaign wagon to Occupy’s rising star. So Obama went to the proverbial heartland of the nation and proclaimed there’s nothing the matter with Kansas that a good dose of Occupy-style progressivism won’t cure. He went to Ossawatamie, Kansas, to give his first major speech of the campaign because that’s where Theodore Roosevelt, the first progressive president, gave his greatest speech in praise of progressivism.
  14. With outlying and low income areas around New York still ravaged and little institutional help forthcoming, Occupy Sandy, an offshoot of OWS, has stepped into the void with efficient, no-red-tape, often vital help. With a tale from Far Rockaway about community at its best. Occupy and the military, together at last.