Category Archives: Banksters

Headlines of the day: You can take it to the bank

A pair from the London Daily Mail, starting with a political story:

Campaign staffer got Bill Clinton to cancel Morgan Stanley speech scheduled in the days after Hillary was announcing her bid for president, warning ‘it could plague us for months’

  • Bill Clinton was scheduled to speak to Morgan Stanley execs in April 2015, a few days after his wife announced she would be running for president
  • Campaign manager Robby Mook warned the speech would be a mistake
  • He also called it a ‘very consequential unforced error’, citing the negative perception of Wall Street in Iowa, where Hillary was going to campaign
  • Hillary’s longtime aide Huma Abedin addressed Hillary’s resistance to cancelling, but said she later agreed after a ‘cool down period’
  • The Clintons’ paid speeches have been an issue throughout the campaign
  • Email exchange was released by Wikileaks Friday after campaign chairman John Podesta’s accounts were hacked

And one that’s not, except for the fact that the political failure to regulate banksters made it all possible:

Disgraced former Wells Fargo CEO offloaded more than $60 million worth of stock in the weeks leading up to the bank being charged with fraud

  • Wells Fargo’s ex-CEO sold $61 million in stock before the San Francisco bank was hit with fraud charges for creating millions of fake accounts 
  • John Stumpf offloaded $61 million in the month before charges were filed 
  • Stumpf reportedly sold ‘incentive stock options’ at a $26 million profit 
  • The disgraced former chairman stood down from the bank on Wednesday

Hillary Clinton, the bankster’s and frackster’s BFF

We’ve characterized Campaign 2016 as a contest between the Despicable [Donald Trump] and the Deplorable [Hillary Clinton].

Events of recent days have done nothing to change our opinion and everything to confirm it, most notably the leaked Trump tape and the massive cache of Democratic Party and Clinton campaign emails handed over to Wikileaks.

Today’s we focus on the massive Clinton documents, confirmation that Trump’s got one thing exactly right: She really is Lying Hillary, campaigning as a candidate who favors strong financial regulation and opposes fracking, while privately telling industry folks she opposes the former and favors the latter.

From Democracy Now!:

Leaked Hillary Clinton Emails: Could Bernie Sanders Have Won Primary If Leak Occurred Earlier?

From the transcript:

LEE FANG: These emails are very interesting. They provide a window into Clinton and her experiences, certainly her speeches. I don’t believe that there are any huge bombshells, that this will change the course of the general election. Maybe if these emails came out earlier in the year, during the Democratic primary, that could have maybe changed history. But this won’t change the course of the general election.

That being said, the emails really show, including the transcripts, that Hillary Clinton is far more conservative, far more business-friendly, when she’s speaking with aides, when she’s giving speeches to these Wall Street banks. Also, the emails show that Clinton’s inner circle is filled with wealthy people, Wall Street types, Washington insiders, that are kind of part of a—what you might call a Washington bubble. They are very quick to attack and show a lot of contempt for anyone that they perceive on their political left, whether that’s activists or certain journalists. So, you know, these are interesting emails, but for folks who have followed Hillary Clinton’s tenure in government, they aren’t particularly surprising. They certainly fit a larger pattern.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Lee, they do reveal that, especially with Wall Street firms or commercial interests, that they expect to be able to be heard, given the money that they contribute. They also show, though, some of the major labor unions in the country also seeking to get heard because of their donations, as well, to the Clinton campaign, don’t they?

LEE FANG: Yeah, that’s right. You know, I think the Dodd-Frank comments are really interesting, the ones you just highlighted. You know, on the campaign trail, as she competed with Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton embraced Dodd-Frank, the big financial reform law passed by President Obama, called it a great law that she will defend. She was very proud of it. But, you know, speaking to bankers, she showed a contempt for the law. She sympathized with bankers who were opposed to this law, basically made the argument that it was only passed because of politics, that, you know, after the financial crisis of 2008, Democrats had to do something, and so they had to pass this. And she mentioned to Goldman Sachs in some of these paid speeches that she sees the financial sector, folks who work on Wall Street, that they know how to make the rules better than those in Washington. So it’s a stark contrast.

Memo of the day: Banksters ‘message’ the Dems

From the latest cache of WikiLeaked memos, a summary compiled for Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, of a meeting between representatives of the DCCC and two lobbyists for the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, an organization representing Wall Street:

Met with Andy Blocker and Joseph Vaughan from SIFMA

  • Discussed 2016 strategy and map
  • Discussed Trump as a factor
  • Andy mentioned seeing the article about today’s messaging meeting
    • Andy mentioned they see this as a good sign
    • Need to get Blue Dogs, New Dems and Progressives on same page
  • Talked about Financial Services Messaging concerns
    • Lots of would be Democrats in Financial Services area
    • Feel that the party committee needs to be smarter and more thoughtful about this messaging
    • Upset around messaging demonizing Wall Street
      • Understand that Wall Street isn’t popular, but the message won’t win the day
      • Turns off Dems in Financial Services world when they are attacked just for working in the industry
      • Creates a larger problem when people don’t trust banks and financial institutions
    • Chairman talked about Clinton messaging around “bad actors” which is more palatable and crosses industries
    • BRL mentioned the article where Leader Pelosi said that Sen. Warren doesn’t speak for the party
      • Andy and Joseph thought this was an encouraging sign, but hadn’t seen this article before
  • There are areas where we can work together
    • Financial Literacy
      • BRL mentioned the possibility of working w/ SIFMA in districts to do literacy events
    • Saving for colleges
    • Capital for entrepreneurs
  • Concerned with Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule
    • Biggest concern is that if it becomes final, it will take a long time to change
    • BRL mentioned they should keep in touch with Chiefs moving forward through August
  • SIFMA cannot support the DCCC right now, in large part due to messaging
    • Did find the meeting helpful, feel we are moving in the right direction
    • Encouraged by meeting, will keep the door open and make further consideration of support down the road

Eurocrats squeeze Greece; U.S. raises objections

And there’s lots that’s objectionable, given that much of the debt was extorted by German companies through bribes.

From To Vima:

The Greek public debt continues to cause tension between the USA and Germany, as the IMF’s Annual Meeting is about to begin. The IMF’s Christine Lagarde has repeated that the debt is not sustainable, while US Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew argued that Greece needs debt restructuring as soon as possible.

Speaking at an event on the sidelines of the IMF meetings, the US official stated that “the only consistent answer to a non-sustainable debt is its restructuring” and that “the more you delay it, the harder it gets for the economy sustaining it”. Mr. Lew also pointed out that the last bailout agreement stated that debt restructuring should be on the table and that it’s not sustainable.

In response Germany’s Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble insists that the problem is not the public debt, but rather that level of competition in the Greek economy. The German official further claimed that the focus on the debt issue is deceiving the Greek people, thus preventing what needs to be done.

Meanwhile the Vice President of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis commented that the Greek program is operating very well and that the Greek economy is returning to growth. Mr. Dombrovskis added that the completion of the second review will help restore financial stability.

Finally, European Commissioner Pierre Moscovici clarified that he wants the IMF to continue to participate in the Greek bailout program and that an agreement on the debt may be examined by the end of the year. Mr. Moscovici stressed that Greece must, however, continue implementing the program as agreed. Should the second review be successful and the financial climate improves, he explained, then measures regarding the debate will be discussed, as agreed at the Eurogroup in May.

Chart of the day II: Greek immiseration deepens

As the financial overlords of the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank, and the European mandate ever deeper cuts in payrolls, healthcare,  and pensions, Greeks are cutting back still more on all but the basic essentials of life as costs paying more than ever for housing, hospitals and drugs, and now-privatized public transit systems.

In turn, Greeks have cut back on spending for education, fuel, and home appliances.

From the Hellenic Statistical Authority:


Troikarchs steal still more of the Greek commons

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Syriza party swept into power last year with a promise to end the austerity measures imposed on Greece by the financial overlords of the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission, and the European Central Bank.

Their vow has provd as hollow as the political vows of countless other politicians, and in the two years since, Greece has sliced pensions and health care to pay the banksters, as the country continues to record massive unemployment and deepening misery.

And now Tsipras has done it again, surrendering to their latest demands with yet another round of cuts and selloffs of the national commons, although many of his own party voted in opposition.

From Deutsche Welle:

The reforms were passed by a narrow 152-141 majority vote in Greece’s 300-seat parliament, after 152 parliamentary members of the ruling Syriza-Independent Greeks coalition approved the reform bill. Only one member of the coalition voted against the bill, along with all opposition members.

The reforms will see public assets transferred to a new asset fund created by Greece’s creditors. Assets include airports and motorways, as well as water and electricity utilities. The holding company groups together these state entities with the country’s privatization agency, the bank stability fund and state real estate. It will be led by an official chosen by Greece’s creditors, although Greece’s Finance Ministry will retain overall control.

The reforms sparked significant backlash among demonstrators and public sector workers.

Ahead of the vote, protestors outside of the parliament in Athens chanted, “Next you’ll sell the Acropolis!”

Greece’s public sector union criticized the reforms, saying that the transfer of public assets paved the way for a fire-sale to private investors. “Health, education, electricity and water are not commodities. They belong to the people,” the union said in a statement.

Workers at Greece’s public water utility companies in Athens and Thessaloniki walked out on Tuesday to protest the reforms. “They are handing over the nation’s wealth and sovereignty,” George Sinioris, head of the water company workers association said.

Headline of the day: A bankster’s clawback

Following in the wake of Elizabeth Warren’s devastating examination of Wells Fargo CEO charging him with one of the biggest scams in modern banking history, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf is giving back some chump change from the more than $200 million he pocketed from the scam.

From the London Daily Mail:

Wells Fargo CEO gives up $41m of his own stock options as the crisis hit bank launches investigation into crooked accounts scandal that has seen them hit with $7.2 BILLION lawsuit

  • John Stumpf, the executive who was grilled on Capitol Hill last week, will have his salary frozen during company probe
  • Wells Fargo has fired some 5,300 employees for opening as many as 2 million accounts in customers’ names without their authorization
  • Board of directors announced that Carrie Tolstedt, the executive who headed the division responsible for the fake accounts, was forced to quit
  • Tolstedt was expected to retire and take home a large severance package, but the company said that there would be no such payout 
  • On September 8, a federal regulator and Los Angeles prosecutor announced a $185 million settlement with Wells
  • Now six ex-staff members have filed a lawsuit seeking at least $7.2bn in damages
  • Suit claims Wells Fargo set unrealistic sales quotas and fired employees unwilling to set up fraudulent accounts
  • Accuses bank of wrongful termination, unlawful business practices and failure to pay wages, overtime, and penalties under California law