RECKLESS: THE INSIDE STORY OF HOW THE BANKS BEAT WASHINGTON (AGAIN)
By Jessie Eisinger, The Atlantic
One year ago, the largest financial institutions on Wall Street were desperate to show off their strength by paying out, or raising, dividends for the first time since the Great Recession. After conducting a secretive test of the banks’ health, the Federal Reserve granted most of their requests in March 2011 — over loud objections from economic luminaries in Washington and across the country. Now, for the first time, we tell the story of why the Federal Reserve caved, and how Wall Street still owns the place.
[…] In March 2011, the Federal Reserve green-lighted most of the top 19 financial institutions to deliver tens of billions of dollars to shareholders, including many of their own top executives. The 19 paid out $33 billion in the first nine months of 2011 in dividends and stock buy-backs.
That $33 billion is money that the banks don’t have to cushion themselves — and the broader financial system — should the euro crisis cause a new recession, tensions with Iran flare into war and disrupt the oil supply, or another crisis emerge.
This is the first in-depth account of the Fed’s momentous decision and the fractious battles that led to it. It is based on dozens of interviews, most with people who spoke on condition of anonymity, and on documents, some of which have never been made public. By examining the decision, this account also sheds light on the inner workings of one of the most powerful but secretive economic institutions in the world. […]
READ @ http://tinyurl.com/76d3ocy
* BANK OF AMERICA IS A GIANT RAGING HURRICANE OF THEFT AND FRAUD
By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone
There are two things every American needs to know about Bank of America.
The first is that it’s corrupt. This bank has systematically defrauded almost everyone with whom it has a significant business relationship, cheating investors, insurers, homeowners, shareholders, depositors, and the state. It is a giant, raging hurricane of theft and fraud, spinning its way through America and leaving a massive trail of wiped-out retirees and foreclosed-upon families in its wake.
The second is that all of us, as taxpayers, are keeping that hurricane raging. Bank of America is not just a private company that systematically steals from American citizens: it’s a de facto ward of the state that depends heavily upon public support to stay in business. In fact, without the continued generosity of us taxpayers, and the extraordinary indulgence of our regulators and elected officials, this company long ago would have been swallowed up by scandal, mismanagement, prosecution and litigation, and gone out of business. It would have been liquidated and its component parts sold off, perhaps into a series of smaller regional businesses that would have more respect for the law, and be more responsive to their customers.
But Bank of America hasn’t gone out of business, for the simple reason that our government has decided to make it the poster child for the “Too Big To Fail” concept. Because it is considered a “systemically important institution” whose collapse would have a major, Lehman-Brothers-style impact on the economy, two consecutive presidential administrations have taken extraordinary measures to keep Bank of America in business, despite a staggering recent legacy of corruption schemes, many of which were simply overlooked by regulators. […]
* FROM THE GREEK STREETS
Source: Occupied London
This is a little known story from IMF-run Greece: An armed man holds hostages in the factory where he used to work until he was made redundant a few months ago.
A desperate 62-year-old man holds hostage an unknown number of people in a factory in the industrial zone of Komotini, a city in North-East Greece. Earlier he shot and injured the owner of the factory (who was there), a driver and a police officer. The man was working in the factory until last September, when the management made him redundant. According to corporate media, he holds hostages at least 2 managers and unknown number of other people.
Today was announced that the unemployment benefit will see a 22% decrease reaching €359 per month.
READ @ http://tinyurl.com/6rtqfm5
* ALLEN AND OVERY’S DAVID BENTON: THE MAN WHO DECIDED IF GREECE HAS DEFAULTED
By Harry Wilson, The Telegraph
A partner at Allen & Overy, the smallest of England’s “magic circle” of law firms, Mr Benton is the derivatives expert whose legal opinion on Thursday led 15 of the world’s largest investment banks and investors to controversially decide that Greece had not yet defaulted on its government debt.
While the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA), the industry trade body in charge of the multi-trillion pound credit default swaps (CDS) market, came under fire for not triggering Greek CDS contracts, it made its decision based on Mr Benton and his team’s legal advice.
In the complex and secretive world of derivatives, Mr Benton is the go-to lawyer. Less than two months ago, Risk – the derivatives industry magazine – awarded Allen & Overy the title of “derivatives law firm of the year”, citing in particular the firm’s work for ISDA on the legal issues surrounding Greek CDS. […]
* YO NO PAGO!
* THE PRIVATIZATION OF EVERYTHING
By Richard Raznidov, The Rag Blog
No society can aspire to democracy unless it maintains an unbreakable connection between its politics and its police powers.
Once the populace has no political access to policy and enforcement, once those with coercive power over others are not directly accountable to the people’s representatives, you can kiss your ass goodbye.
We’re on the verge of it in America, 2012.
As David Foster Wallace remarked, the truth will set you free but not until it’s finished with you.
The riots in Greece are about privatization. That is the agenda of the International Monetary Fund, the consortium of bankers who run a large part of the world and want more. Through the mechanism of manufactured debt, the bankers are able to extort whatever “austerity” measures they want. These involve a reduction in the wages of public employees, a reduction in social services for the poor, and the privatization of what is publicly owned.
If you think we’re not headed in that direction in the United States, you’re dreaming. That’s what the budget arguments are about now, and the talk of America’s “debt.” To whom is that “debt” owed? Why, to the bankers, of course, the same people whose looting of the Treasury caused this crisis in the first place. […]
* AFTER GUTTING HEALTH AND EDUCATION FUNDING, IDAHO ADVANCES BILL TO CUT TOP TAX RATE AND CORPORATE TAX
By Pat Garofalo, Think Progress
Over the last three years, Idaho, like most states across the country, has had to slash its budget in the wake of the Great Recession. The state has gutted education and health care spending, slicing its higher education budget below 2001 levels, while cutting millions from its mental health funding.
But as the same time that they felt the need to cut funding for these important areas, Idaho Republicans managed to find tens of millions of dollars to cut the state’s top tax rate and corporate tax:
A $36 million tax cut for Idaho’s top earners is roaring through the Idaho Legislature, backed by Gov. Butch Otter and co-sponsored by a majority of the members of the Idaho House.
The move comes even as Idaho’s reeling from three years of deep budget cuts to everything from schools to Medicaid, very few of which are being restored. [...]
The bill would lower Idaho’s top individual income tax rate from 7.8 percent to 7.4 percent, and lower the corporate tax rate from 7.6 percent to 7.4 percent; that would take $35.7 million out of the state’s tax revenue stream next year and every year thereafter.
* UNEMPLOYMENT MUMBO-JUMBO AND RANK PROPAGANDA
By Dave Lindoff, This Can’t Be Happening
[…] What the US Labor Department reported was that new unemployment claims filed for the week ended Feb. 24 totaled 351,000, which was slightly lower than the 353,000 new claims filed the prior week. “Slightly” indeed! A better term for this 0.57% decline is “statistically insignificant!
The idea that such a “drop” in new claims would spark a jump in the Dow or the S&P shows how completely divorced from reality investors–and the reporters in the corporate media who trumpet these kinds of things–really are.
But it is worse than that. The number, remember, is new unemployment claims. That is to say, over a third of a million more Americans, all of them previously working, were laid off last week. Anyone who sees that as some kind of good news is really stretching to find a silver lining on a pretty dark cloud. […]
* THE 99% DECLARATION
THERE IS A SOLUTION!
WHEREAS THE FIRST AMENDMENT TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION PROVIDES THAT:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
BE IT RESOLVED THAT WE, THE NINETY-NINE PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in order to form a more perfect Union, by, for and of the People, shall elect 878 Delegates in the spring of 2012, and convene a NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY the week of July 4, 2012 in the City Of Philadelphia to prepare and ratify a
PETITION FOR A REDRESS OF GRIEVANCES on behalf of the Ninety-Nine Percent of the People of the United States to be served upon the United States Congress, United States Supreme Court and President of the United States prior to November 6, 2012.
HELP DRAFT THIS HISTORIC DOCUMENT!
The final version of the PETITION FOR A REDRESS OF GRIEVANCES, is to be written and ratified solely by the elected Delegates, and may or may not include the following grievances and solutions currently suggested by the 99% Declaration Working Group.
READ and VIDEO @ http://www.the99declaration.org/