Category Archives: Banksters

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

Chart of the day: Partisan views of institutions


Given the relentless endorsement of the Republican agenda by the nation’s leading news network, the GOP view of the press is rather ironic.

From the Pew Research Center:

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Suspicions confirmed; Brazil’s coup neoliberal


While we’ve noted that the demand for neoliberal reforms rather the urge to purge institutional corruption lay behind the legislative coup that ousted Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, we now have conformatuion straight from the horses ass mouth.

From teleSUR English:

Brazilian President Michel Temer told a crowd of business leaders in New York that the parliamentary coup that ousted former President Dilma Rousseff was carried out in response to her opposition to a neoliberal program defended by his political party.

Temer had earlier claimed before the U.N. General Assembly that the coup that brought him to power followed the “constitutional order,” as it complied with the impeachment process outlined in the country’s constitution.

Rousseff was formally impeached over her budgeting practices, which were also widely exercised by previous presidents. Supporters of Rousseff sustained that the issue of budget practices was a smokescreen and that her impeachment was driven by political interests.

However, in his speech on Wednesday Temer did not mention Rousseff’s budget practices but instead talked about her opposition to the neoliberal policies promoted by his party.

>snip<

Temer’s coup government has pursued a hardline neoliberal program, which includes freezing spending in social areas for 20 years and plans to auction off 32 major resource and infrastructure projects.

The coup regime has been criticized for pursuing a political program rejected by Brazilians in the previous election that saw Rousseff re-elected in 2014. Temer’s cabinet includes many of the Workers’ Party’s political adversaries, including Jose Serra, whom Rousseff defeated in the 2010 election.

Graphic Representation: Scams you can bank on


When it comes to the fine art of fleecing their customers, one bank has ’em all beat.

First, from the editorial cartoonist of the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Steve Breen: They do it in stages

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Next from the editorial cartoonist of the Kansas City Star:

Lee Judge: A case of highway robbery

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And from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Mike Luckovich: Giddyup

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So what’s the big deal?

We’ll let the country’s leading exposer of financial shenangians explain it all.

From Sen. Elizabeth Warren:

Senator Elizabeth Warren questions Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf at Banking Committee Hearing

Program notes:

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s two round of questions for Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf at the September 20, 2016 Senate Banking Committee hearing entitled: “An Examination of Wells Fargo’s Unauthorized Accounts and the Regulatory Response.”

The full hearings are posted here.

We leave the last word to the editorial cartoonist of the Washington Post:

Tom Toles: Even scarier close up

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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.