Category Archives: Banksters

Trump companies in debt to China, Goldman Sachs

But of course. . .

Both candidates operate behind financial shields; Hillary through a family foundation and the Trumpster. . .well.

From the New York Times:

{A]n investigation by The New York Times into the financial maze of Mr. Trump’s real estate holdings in the United States reveals that companies he owns have at least $650 million in debt — twice the amount than can be gleaned from public filings he has made as part of his bid for the White House. The Times’s inquiry also found that Mr. Trump’s fortunes depend deeply on a wide array of financial backers, including one he has cited in attacks during his campaign.

For example, an office building on Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan, of which Mr. Trump is part owner, carries a $950 million loan. Among the lenders: the Bank of China, one of the largest banks in a country that Mr. Trump has railed against as an economic foe of the United States, and Goldman Sachs, a financial institution he has said controls Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, after it paid her $675,000 in speaking fees.

Real estate projects often involve complex ownership and mortgage structures. And given Mr. Trump’s long real estate career in the United States and abroad, as well as his claim that his personal wealth exceeds $10 billion, it is safe to say that no previous major party presidential nominee has had finances nearly as complicated.

As president, Mr. Trump would have substantial sway over monetary and tax policy, as well as the power to make appointments that would directly affect his own financial empire. He would also wield influence over legislative issues that could have a significant impact on his net worth, and would have official dealings with countries in which he has business interests.

Yet The Times’s examination underscored how much of Mr. Trump’s business remains shrouded in mystery. He has declined to disclose his tax returns or allow an independent valuation of his assets.

So you’ve got the Clinton foundation, bankrolled by Goldman Sachs, oil sheikhs, and a host of major corporations, and you’ve got Trump, bankrolled by some the those very same people.

Like our pappy always said, “In America, you’ve got the best politics money can buy.”

Steve Breen: The Hillary Clinton makeover

From the editorial cartoonist of the San Diego Union-Tribune:

BLOG Breen

And the story behind the cartoon from United Press International:

The Clinton Foundation will stop accepting all foreign donations and former President Bill Clinton will step down from running the charitable organization if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, the group said.

The Clintons have faced criticism from Republicans for alleged “pay-for-play” arrangements between foundation donors and Hillary Clinton’s State Department while she was secretary. Emails obtained by a conservative group showed Douglas Band, a top adviser to Bill Clinton, seeking to arrange access for a donor to American diplomats in Lebanon. That same adviser also tried to land a job for a former foundation employee at the State Department.

Neither of those requests were sent to Hillary Clinton directly, but several of her top aides responded, saying they would try to help.

The Clintons have denied that any financial donations to their family foundation prompted official action by the State Department. A spokeswoman for the department also downplayed the emails, obtained by the group Judicial Watch, which filed a freedom of information lawsuit against the State Department to gain access to Clinton’s emails.

The Washington Post has more:

More than half of the Clinton Foundation’s major donors would be prevented from contributing to the charity under the self-imposed ban on corporate and foreign donors the foundation said this week it would adopt if Hillary Clinton won the White House, according to a new Washington Post analysis of foundation donations.

The findings underscore the extent to which the Clintons’ sprawling global charity has come to rely on financial support from industries and overseas interests, a point that has drawn criticism from Republicans and some liberals who have said the donations represent conflicts of interest for a potential president.

The analysis, which examined donor lists posted on the foundation’s website, found that 53 percent of the donors who have given $1 million or more to the charity are corporations or foreign citizens, groups or governments. The list includes the governments of Saudi Arabia and Australia, the British bank Barclay’s, and major U.S. companies such as Coca-Cola and ExxonMobil.

The foundation’s announcement drew skepticism Friday from the right and the left as critics wondered why the Clintons have never before cut off corporate and overseas money to their charity — and why they would wait until after the election to do so.

John Oliver tackles used car loan sharks

The latest episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver tackles predatory used car lending, complete with abducted babies, annoying beeps, and warnings that yet another lending bubble is about to burst.

As usual, it’s both amusing and omnious, and, as always, well worth your time.

From Last Week Tonight:

Auto Lending: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Program notes:

Auto lenders can steer vulnerable people into crushing debt. Keegan-Michael Key and Bob Balaban help John Oliver show exactly how.

Austerity strikes again: Greek pensions slashed

The government that promised tyo end austerity in Greece has just announced that it’s inflicting more of it, striking the most vulnerable.

Pensioners are having their checks slashed, with the money taken away to be used to fund the nation’s deeply stricken healthcare system, all to benefit the lenders of the IMF, the European Central Bank, and Germany.

There’s one small plus: The cuts won’t affect those who receive just one payment from the complex system in which recipients often have several sources of pension funds.

From To Vima:

Pensioners who receive more than one pension are expected to face a 6% cut from their main pensions, which will go towards healthcare. According to the circular issued by the Ministry of Labor, this change will come into effect at the end of August and applies retroactively as of July.

Prior to the circular being issued, the recent labor reforms stipulated that the 6% healthcare contribution would come from one main pension. The Ministry’s circular however notes that pensioners who no longer qualify for the EKAS benefit will be absolved from the contribution.

A statement has been issued by the Ministry of Labor in order to clarify that the 6% reduction will be from the net pensions paid, rather than the gross, as was typically the case under the previous governments. The Ministry also underlines that fairness is at the heart of the pension reform, which is why pensioners who only receive one pension are exempt from the change.

Headline of the day II: This is news? Really?

From the New York Times:

Researchers or Business Allies? Think Tanks Blur the Line

  • Think tanks are seen as independent, but their scholars often push donors’ agendas, amplifying a culture of corporate influence in Washington.
  • And they reap the benefits of tax-exempt status, sometimes without disclosing connections to corporate interests.

Panamanian government censors leak probers

Sometimes really you don’t want to know what think you want to know, or at least you don’t want others to share in that knowledge.

That appears to be the case with the investigation the Panamanian government convened when all those secret ownership-hiding and money-laundering corporate front papers leaked.

The leaks briefly embarrassed a lot of celebrities, high level elected government officials and bureaucrats [including prime ministers and a king], banksters, corporate board members, and other assorted nabobs and lootocrats, but like most scandals these days, the public’s collective memory is about as long as Donald Trump’s.

And now Panama is aiding in the collective amnesia project.

From BBC News:

The Swiss anti-corruption expert, Mark Pieth, has told the BBC he resigned from the Panama Papers commission because of government interference.

Mr Pieth said officials told him that they would have final say on whether to publish the panel’s findings on the offshore tax evasion scandal.

Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, also resigned.

The seven-person panel was set up by Panama’s government in April 2016 to improve transparency.

Speaking on the BBC’s Newshour programme, Mr Pieth said he had received a letter from Panama’s authorities stating that they would have the final say on whether to publish the panel’s report.

“They told us they were going to decide in the end whether (the report) is going to be publicised or not,” he said. “I think that the official Panamanians were in a state of denial. They were basically saying ‘well, what we’ve been seeing in the Panama Papers is something that you observe everywhere in the world.’”

More from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the NGO which received and reported on the leaks:

Stiglitz and Mark Pieth, a Swiss anti-corruption expert, wrote Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela on Friday that they were pulling out of the study committee because they fear government officials will limit the panel’s freedom to investigate and keep its final report secret.

They said in the letter that government officials had declined to commit to public release of the panel’s report and instead had insisted the group’s findings would be the “property” of the government and that Panamanian authorities would have “sole responsibility” for any public announcements. Such restrictions, they said, made no sense considering that the panel was set up to investigate concerns about how offshore secrecy encourages money laundering and other misconduct.

“How can a group allegedly committed to transparency write a report that is not transparent? It would undermine our own credibility,” Stiglitz said in telephone interview Friday afternoon. “Evidently they wanted us to be part of a charade to convince people they were serious when in fact they weren’t.”

A government spokesperson issued a brief statement saying Panamanian officials regretted Stiglitz and Pieth’s exit from the panel and adding that the government “understands both resignations” are related to “internal differences” within the panel “over which it won’t intervene.”

Massive wave of Greek home foreclosures nears

The supposedly radical government of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras swept into power in January 2015 on a promise to end the austerity and debt slavery imposed by the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.

But when push came to shove, Tsipras knuckled under, and yet more jobs were cut, more salaries lowered, more pensions slashed, health care reduced, and still more Greek national assets were sold off the sate the banksters of Northern Europe [read Germany].

And now, with austerity biting deeper, three-quarters of a million Greeks are about to lose their homes and businesses.

From To Vima:

About one and a half million tax payers may face foreclosures from tax authorities for debts over 500 euros. Half of them – 755,806 – are expected to face mandatory liquidation measures, namely property and bank accounts seized.

At the end of June the tax authorities announced that 4,003,372 have tax debts. The General Secretariat of Public Revenue may enforce mandatory liquidation measures on 1,492,088 of them, given that many debtors may either not have assets or may be bankrupt.

Tax debts amount to almost 90 billion euros, which is about half of the country’s gross domestic product. The new overdue debts generated in 2016 amount to 6.8 billion euros, with 5.956 billion euros being unpaid taxes. In June alone 1.2 billion euros worth of debts were generated, with 903 million euros being unpaid taxes.