He is absolutely right. The thing that kills me about Michael Moore is that he is in business with these same people he rails against at these rallys. His movies have worldwide distribution and that is only possible with being involved in huge corporations. He has cop to this, so this is no diatribe against the message because what he is saying is the truth. The people who control this country are not some shadowy group who only come out at night in black helicopters. They are bankers and Wall Street executives who have bought our democracy and politicians at every stage of the game.
via Huff Post
Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you’ll give up your pension, cut your wages, and settle for the life your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It’s just that it’s not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich. Continue reading →
America’s favorite sh*t starter is gearing up for another go at the hypocricy which is American politics. This time the target of his angst is Wall Street bankers, the benefactors of the collosal bailouts that have made mockery of the citizens of this lovely republic. Not quite sure when this is dropping but I am sure Moore will build up the anticipation until the release.
Goldman Sachs reports better-than-expected profits this quarter. Wells Fargo cleared record profits last week. The President, understandably, points to signs of hope and encourages Americans to be optimistic about the economy. But when do we move from healthy confidence to a confidence game? The banks are reporting profits thanks to massive infusions of taxpayer bailout funds. It’s simply silly to be lulled by cheery-sounding reports when the institutions are actually insolvent. At some point we have to take a clear-eyed look at the massive failure of our financial system. Ignoring it won’t make it go away.
That’s more or less what Elizabeth Warren, the distinguished chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel, says in her panel’s six-month report on the bank bailout. Warren, the government’s watchdog, concedes that there are differences of opinion on her panel, which probably accounts for her very carefully couched discussion of the crisis. Although she told The Observer that it is “preposterous” that the government hasn’t fired the bank managers who are responsible for the derivatives disaster, her panel’s report is cautious, with a scholarly explanation of the crisis in her video introduction. Nonetheless, the underlying criticism is obvious.
In a financial crisis like the current one, Warren explains, the government has three choices: 1. Liquidate failed banks. (That’s what happened in the S&L crisis. The government took over institutions, fired the managers, wiped out investors, but protected depositors. A lot of savings and loans simply went out of business.) 2. Put them in receivership. (That’s what Sweden did in the 1990s: failed managers were fired and replaced, depositors were protected, and the banks were returned to private hands under new management with healthier balance sheets.) or 3. Subsidize the banks. This last option is what led Japan to its “lost decade” — the real value of bank assets are obscured, as the government funnels tax money into insolvent banks, propping them up indefinitely. This last is the approach the United States is now taking. Continue reading →
Professor Michael Hudson (Counter Punch, [editor: Global Research] March 18) is correct that the orchestrated outrage over the $165 million AIG bonuses is a diversion from the thousand times greater theft from taxpayers of the approximately $200 billion “bailout” of AIG. Nevertheless, it is a diversion that serves an important purpose. It has taught an inattentive American public that the elites run the government in their own private interests.
Americans are angry that AIG executives are paying themselves millions of dollars in bonuses after having cost the taxpayers an exorbitant sum. Senator Charles Grassley put a proper face on the anger when he suggested that the AIG executives “follow the Japanese example and resign or go commit suicide.”
Yet, Obama’s White House economist, Larry Summers, on whose watch as Treasury Secretary in the Clinton administration financial deregulation got out of control, invoked the “sanctity of contracts” in defense of the AIG bonuses.
But the Obama administration does not regard other contracts as sacred. Specifically: labor unions had to agree to give-backs in order for the auto companies to obtain federal help; CNN reports that “Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki confirmed Tuesday [March 10] that the Obama administration is considering a controversial plan to make veterans pay for treatment of service-related injuries with private insurance”; the Washington Post reports that the Obama team has set its sights on downsizing Social Security and Medicare.
According to the Post, Obama said that “it is impossible to separate the country’s financial ills from the long-term need to rein in health-care costs, stabilize Social Security and prevent the Medicare program from bankrupting the government.”
After Washington’s trillion dollar bank bailouts and trillion dollar gratuitous wars for the sake of the military industry’s profits and Israeli territorial expansion, there is no money for Social Security and Medicare. Continue reading →
You see, I’m sorry but I f*cks with Ron Paul. Somehow I tend the believe his perspective on this disaster more than I do the puppet politician parroting the popular party line. OK, the AIG bonuses were a travesty, but “Let’s Talk Money” like Nipsey Hussle. The Treasury just opened the floodgates and flooded the economy with a trillion dollars, out of thin air! This infusion stands to do way more damage than the few million they are kicking back to AIG executives. can you spell INFLATION? The more pertinent question is where is the $800 BILLION they just threw at these institutions with no paper trail? Somewhere in Gotham the Joker is laughing his ass off, but super envious of these “black” Crooks in “white” Castles. Remember, only Crooks need BAILOUTS. Do your homework, you are being ROBBED in plain sight by the same people you depend on protecting you from the jackers.
The approximately $138 billion aid package on Thursday for Bank of America — including injections of capital and absorbed losses — as well as a $300 billion package in November for Citigroup both represented displays of financial gymnastics aimed at providing capital without appearing to take commanding equity stakes.
Treasury and Fed officials accomplished that trick by structuring the deals like insurance programs for big bundles of the banks’ most toxic assets.
Instead of investing tens of billions of taxpayer dollars in exchange for preferred shares in the banks, which has been the Treasury Department’s approach so far with its capital infusions, the government essentially liberated the banks from some of their most threatening assets.
The trouble with the new approach, analysts say, is that it is likely to conceal the amount of risk that taxpayers are taking on. If the government-guaranteed securities turn out to be worthless, the cost of the insurance would be much higher than if the Treasury Department had simply bailed out the banks with cash in the first place.
Christopher Whalen, a managing partner at Institutional Risk Analytics, said the approach also covers up the underlying reality that the government is already essentially the majority shareholder in Citigroup.
“There’s nobody else out there to invest in them,” Whalen said. “We already own them.”
Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, outlined the elements of what could become the Obama administration’s new approach to bank rescues in a speech on Monday. Continue reading →
Dec. 29 (Bloomberg) — U.S. retailers face a wave of store closings, bankruptcies and takeovers starting next month as holiday sales are shaping up to be the worst in 40 years.
Retailers may close 73,000 stores in the first half of 2009, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. Talbots Inc. and Sears Holdings Corp. are among chains shuttering underperforming locations.
More than a dozen retailers, including Circuit City Stores Inc., Linens ‘n Things Inc., Sharper Image Corp. and Steve & Barry’s LLC, have sought bankruptcy protection this year as the credit squeeze and recession drained sales. Investors will start seeing a wide variety of chains seeking bankruptcy protection in February when they file financial reports, said Burt Flickinger.
“You’ll see department stores, specialty stores, discount stores, grocery stores, drugstores, major chains either multi- regionally or nationally go out,” Flickinger, managing director of Strategic Resource Group, a retail-industry consulting firm in New York, said today in a Bloomberg Radio interview. “There are a number that are real causes for concern.”
Sales at stores open at least a year probably dropped as much as 2 percent in November and December, the ICSC said last week, more than the previously projected 1 percent decline. That would be the largest drop since at least 1969, when the New York-based trade group started tracking data. Gap Inc. and Macy’s Inc. are among retailers that will report December results on Jan. 8. Continue reading →
The wealthy are always competing for status, and often in the strangest ways. The compete to show they possess the right opinions about race relations, sexual equality and the environment, of course. They eagerly join museum boards and charities focused on politically popular diseases. Being the member of the right club and going to the right schools helps, although not as much as it once did.
And now the wealthy have a new status symbol: getting ripped off by Bernie Madoff. Because Madoff is said to have only accepted an exclusive group of wealthy investors, saying you got ripped off by Madoff is a subtle way of saying that you’ve got big money. From those who spend their summers in Nantucket to those spending evenings at the Yale Club, Bernie Madoff has become the new name to drop.
“We’ll only be out in Nantucket for two weeks rather than the whole month,” a Nantucket regular recently told a friend. “We lost money in the Madoff thing.”
It is especially useful to those who lost money in the huge market downturn this year or found that their real estate investments were under water. Those losses can be a bit embarassing, almost an admission of failure and of commonness. Anyone can lose money in the stock, bond or real estate market…and almost everyone has. But to lose money to Madoff, well, that takes something special.
We suggest you try this out. Next time someone asks you to do something you aren’t sure you can afford, simply use the now fashionable Madoff Decline.
“I’m sorry dear,” you say. “The Madoff thing, you know? Isn’t it just terrible?”
WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s something any bank would demand to know before handing out a loan: Where’s the money going? But after receiving billions in aid from U.S. taxpayers, the nation’s largest banks say they can’t track exactly how they’re spending the money or they simply refuse to discuss it.
“We’ve lent some of it. We’ve not lent some of it. We’ve not given any accounting of, ‘Here’s how we’re doing it,'” said Thomas Kelly, a spokesman for JPMorgan Chase, which received $25 billion in emergency bailout money. “We have not disclosed that to the public. We’re declining to.”
The Associated Press contacted 21 banks that received at least $1 billion in government money and asked four questions: How much has been spent? What was it spent on? How much is being held in savings, and what’s the plan for the rest? Continue reading →
WASHINGTON — Congress and the White House inched toward agreement on legislation that would throw a financial lifeline to the Big Three auto makers, giving the government a substantial ownership stake in the industry and a central role in its restructuring.
Under the terms of the draft legislation, which continued to evolve Monday evening, the government would receive warrants for stock equivalent to at least 20% of the loans any company receives. The company also would have to agree to limits on executive compensation and dividend payments, much like those contained in the government’s $700 billion rescue of the financial industry.
Assuming congressional Democrats and the White House come to agreement on the plan, the car industry would be the latest to submit to strict government scrutiny in return for a bailout, joining most prominently the banking sector.
The auto industry would undergo a restructuring process akin to bankruptcy reorganization, only with fewer rigors and with the government, not a judge, in control, and with many associated political complications.
The program would be overseen by an official, tapped by President George W. Bush, whom congressional aides and lawmakers describe as an “auto czar.” This person would act as a kind of trustee with authority to bring together labor, management, creditors and parts suppliers to negotiate a restructuring plan. He or she also would be able to review any transaction or contract valued at more than $25 million. Continue reading →
“We make money the old fashioned way. We print it.”
– Art Rolnick, Chief Economist for the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank
The $700 billion that was arm-twisted from Congress by Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson in October was evidently just the camel’s nose under the tent. According to a November 24 Bloomberg report, the Paulson/Bernanke team is now prepared to pay $7.76 trillion to rescue the financial system. Prepared to pay how? Congress has not raised its debt ceiling to anywhere near that level; but the approval of Congress, which originally voted down the controversial $700 billion bailout, is apparently no longer necessary. The door has been opened, and the Treasury Secretary and Fed Chairman feel they can now pledge whatever they want. Perhaps they are inching up a zero at a time just to see what the public’s tolerance is for unrepayable debt.
The new sum – $7.76 trillion – represents $25,000 for every citizen in the country, or half the value of everything produced in the nation last year; yet it’s not clear that a mere half of our net worth will rescue the financial system. One bankrupt bank after another has been bailed out with public money, in a futile effort to prevent a collapse of a massive multi-trillion dollar derivatives pyramid created by the banks. But according to the Comptroller of the Currency, U.S. commercial banks now carry over $180 trillion in derivatives on their books. The public is liable to be bankrupted before this mess is resolved.
On top of the $700 billion initially extorted from Congress, an additional $2 trillion in loans and commitments has already been made by the Federal Reserve and the Treasury. Yet that wall of money has not kept the imperiled banks from collapsing. Citigroup was one of the nine lucky recipients of Paulson’s largesse in October, when he set out to recapitalize the banks by trading dollars for shares. The bank received $25 billion from the Treasury; yet this handout was insufficient to keep its stock from dropping below $4 a share. Citigroup was then bailed out by the Treasury to the tune of another $20 billion, along with a commitment to guarantee $306 billion in toxic assets on its books. That equals half the $700 billion bailout, just for one bank; yet Citigroup’s books, which sport derivative bets of $37 trillion, won’t look much better than before. Continue reading →
Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) — The Federal Reserve is refusing to identify the recipients of almost $2 trillion of emergency loans from American taxpayers or the troubled assets the central bank is accepting as collateral.
Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said in September they would comply with congressional demands for transparency in a $700 billion bailout of the banking system. Two months later, as the Fed lends far more than that in separate rescue programs that didn’t require approval by Congress, Americans have no idea where their money is going or what securities the banks are pledging in return.
“The collateral is not being adequately disclosed, and that’s a big problem,” said Dan Fuss, vice chairman of Boston- based Loomis Sayles & Co., where he co-manages $17 billion in bonds. “In a liquid market, this wouldn’t matter, but we’re not. The market is very nervous and very thin.” Continue reading →
Okay somebody give this guy a medal for having the heart to do what this country needs to do to all these guys who have robbed this country and crippled the economy and then making the American people foot the bill. By the way this cat got to keep $480 million dollars!
While former Lehman CEO Richard Fuld was testifying before the House Oversight Committee Oct. 6, CNBC reported he had been punched in the face at the Lehman Brothers gym after it was announced the firm was going bankrupt. CNBC and Vanity Fair contributor Vicki Ward said Fuld was attacked at the gym on a Sunday following the bankruptcy.
“Frankly, I sat there and listened and I’m with the guy who apparently, the day before Barclays announced they were coming in and Lehman had already filed for bankruptcy, went over to him in the gym and punched him because that’s how I feel when I, you know, when I watched that,” Ward said on the Oct. 6 “Power Lunch.” “I didn’t think he was contrite at all, I thought he was arrogant.”
Let me cut to the chase. The biggest robbery in the history of this country is taking place as you read this. Though no guns are being used, 300 million hostages are being taken. Make no mistake about it: After stealing a half trillion dollars to line the pockets of their war-profiteering backers for the past five years, after lining the pockets of their fellow oilmen to the tune of over a hundred billion dollars in just the last two years, Bush and his cronies — who must soon vacate the White House — are looting the U.S. Treasury of every dollar they can grab.
They are swiping as much of the silverware as they can on their way out the door. No matter what they say, no matter how many scare words they use, they are up to their old tricks of creating fear and confusion in order to make and keep themselves and the upper one percent filthy rich. Just read the first four paragraphs of the lead story in last Monday’s New York Times and you can see what the real deal is:
“Even as policy makers worked on details of a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry, Wall Street began looking for ways to profit from it. Continue reading →