Category Archives: Banksters

Two takes on that Scottish referendum


Sure, you’ve probably seen it before, but here it is again. . .

From Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:

Scottish Independence

Program notes:

Scotland is about to vote on whether to secede from the UK.

There are solid arguments on both sides.

But none of that makes bagpipes good to listen to…or does it?

International capitalism won’t like a yes vote, observes Noam Chomsky in this wide-ranging conversation.

He notes that what’s happening in Scotland is the result of forces at play elsewhere in Europe, too, including, Wales, that other part of big island with a long and turbulent relationship with London.

The vote raises larger issues as well, including the whole question of the necessity of the nation-state.

With that by way of an intro, from Stuart Platt:

Noam Chomsky on Scottish Independence

Program notes:

Noam Chomsky on Scottish Independence : Statehood and Power.

Recorded at MIT, Boston by Stuart Platt.

Questions by Gordon Asher, Leigh French and Stuart Platt

Selective prosecution favors the banksters


And the man laying out the case in conversation with Sharmini Peries of The Real News Network is a lawyer and former Federal Home Loan Bank Board litigation director William K. Black, who teaches both law and economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.

From The Real News Network:

FBI Targets Minority Communities in Mortgage Fraud Investigations

From the transcript:

PERIES: And now getting back to why the FBI targeted the Russians and the Armenians.

BLACK: Well, there’s no reason. It’s purely insane. So if anything, of course, Russian Americans and Armenian Americans and gangs, biker gangs and such, are particularly unlikely to be the senior officers of a bank and such, who are the folks committing these kinds of frauds.

So it’s a double-wackiness out of the FBI and the Justice Department. First, they’re not prosecuting the lenders at all. And that includes both the institutions that made the fraudulent loans and the officers, who, of course, controlled it and became wealthy through it. And second, they’re saying, don’t look at the senior people that are leading these massive fraud epidemics; look at those little disfavored folks. And, of course, they can only list certain minorities for this to work. Just as a thought exercise, think if they put the word Jew into that list. Right? The list would last less than 24 hours because people would go berserk. But Russians aren’t terribly popular: Armenians, first, there are not many of them; second, they’re not all that popular: etc., so they can get away with this kind of just really crude ethnic profiling.

Anyway, we’ve called the Justice Department on it now. It’s utterly indefensible. The practice of ignoring the elite bankers is indefensible. The practice about prosecuting primarily disfavored minorities–which include American blacks, by the way–is outrageous. And Holder is the guy that claims that he’s the big person against profiling on the basis of ethnicity and race and such. So let him prove it.

PERIES: And have you brought this to the attention of the DOJ? And are they responding to it?

BLACK: Well, we’ve written it and we went right to the belly of the beast in the Eastern District of California, where the U.S. attorney, Mr. Wagner, is the most senior prosecutor on the nationwide mortgage fraud task force. You know, his reaction to losing the cases: we won’t be deterred in bringing mortgage fraud cases. We’re not trying to deter him from bringing mortgage fraud cases; we’re trying to get him to bring the mortgage fraud cases against the elite banksters who caused the crisis and led these fraud epidemics, and stop this obscene, bigoted mythology that it’s a bunch of Russian immigrants or Armenian immigrants or some weird biker gang, you know, like this is Sons of Anarchy somehow made real. This is all fictional nonsense, and it’s crude bigotry, and Holder should stop it tomorrow.

Quote of the day II: The neoliberalism seduction


From Universität der Künste Berlin cultural theorist Byung-Chul Han, writing for Süddeutsche Zeitung:

Neoliberalism turns the exploited worker into a free entrepreneur — the entrepreneur of himself. Everyone is now a self-exploiting worker in his own business. Everyone is master and servant in one. Class warfare has changed into a running inner battle with the self. Failing today means blaming oneself and feeling ashamed. People see themselves as the problem, not society.

Any disciplinary system that expends a great deal of force to repress people is inefficient. Considerably more efficient is a system of power that ensures that people voluntarily align with the system. The particular efficiency here is that it doesn’t work based on forbidding and withholding, but through pleasing and fulfilling. Instead of making people obedient it aims to make them dependent. 

Neoliberalism’s logic of efficiency also applies to policing. In the 1980s, there were many protests against population censuses; even school kids protested against it. From today’s standpoint, the easy availability of information about our educational and career backgrounds is a given, but there was a time now long gone when people believed that the state was trying to wrest information from citizens. Today we give up information of our own accord, perceiving this as freedom. And it is precisely that perception that makes protest impossible. Unlike the days when we protested population censuses, we do not protest this monitoring. What does one protest against? Oneself? American concept artist Jenny Holzer expresses this paradoxical situation with a “truism:” “Protect me from what I want.”

Read the rest.

Chart of the day: Americans love their banks again


And for the first time since the crash. . .

The dismaying news, via Gallup:

BLOG Banks

They had a dream: Americans face a new reality


That reality would be, of course, the neoliberal nightmare in which the relationship between business and labor is severed, and citizens begin to realize that they have little or no say in a political process now totally controlled by corporateers and banksters who fund the whole electoral process [including, increasingly, the disenfranchisement of African Americans and the poor].

In the context, consider this report from RT:

Paradise lost: 60% of US citizens believe American dream is unachievable

Program notes:

Hard work will lead to success — at least that’s part of what’s known in the US as the American Dream. But some 6 out of every 10 citizens there now think the idea that ties the nation together — is under threat and a summit is taking place in Dallas to try and save it. RT’s Marina Portnaya looks at why — for many — the American Dream is now out of reach.

Bankster greed fueled Ferguson violence


Finally someone connects two critical dots, the violence in Ferguson, Missouri, and the crimes of American banksters and bubble collapse foreclosures.

Pay close attention to this conversation from RT’s The Keiser Report featuring Max Keiser and award-winning investigative journalist Matt Taibbi and you’ll see the extremely close correlations between banking deregulating and oppressive policing on the streets of America’s poorest neighborhoods.

From RT:

American gangsters! Matt Taibbi & Max on suckers buying bogus & big bank mass perjury

Program notes:

In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss how some looters are more equal than others as Jamie Dimon gets to keep his mortgage fraud deal with the Department of Justice secret while others get gunned down in broad daylight for lifting a cigarette. In the second half, Max interviews journalist and author, Matt Taibbi about the injustice that follows the wealth divide and how Ferguson, Missouri plays into that.

From BBC 2: ‘Super Rich: The Greed Game’


Broadcast, fittingly, on 1 April 2008 just as the bubble was bursting, this BBC 2 documentary, produced and directed by John O’Kane and narrated by Robert Peston, is a reminder that the modern “wealth creator” is rarely the inventor of some new product that makes our lives better but is rather an expert at manipulating the money game, in which creation of notional riches becomes the end rather than a mere byproduct of their efforts.

And at the center of the debacle were the central banksters, acting to ensure that confidence in currency, the prerequisite for green game players, was bolstered, despite all the screeching alarm bells.

And note that facilitating it all were the so-called “liberal” political parties, with Britain’s Labour Party and the Democrats in the U.S. greased the skids in the 1990s by deregulating financial markets and paving the way to an explosion of hedge fund wealth.

What is particularly galling is the rampant and unalloyed arrogance of the players to whom the rest of us, as one of them offhandedly remarks, are mere riffraff.

From BBC 2 via Underground Documentaries:

Super Rich: The Greed Game

Program note:

As the credit crunch bites and a global economic crisis threatens, Robert Peston reveals how the super-rich have made their fortunes, and the rest of us are picking up the bill.