Friday, October 16, 2009
Special Report from Inside the Financial Coup
By David DeGraw, AmpedStatus Report 10/13 - 10/16
The past few days have been very revealing when it comes to the financial coup that has occurred here in the US. When we say financial coup, we're not giving you hyperbole. We're telling you the technical term for what has occurred.
Don't take our word for it, investigate it for yourself. Here's a special report we have compiled which features the most recent information available concerning the takeover:
#1) Memo to Financial Investigators: Dig Deep
When the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission opened for business on September 17, it was a nonevent for the media. Leading newspapers brushed aside chairman Phil Angelides, the former California state treasurer, and his declaration of purpose-"uncovering the facts and providing an unbiased historical accounting of what brought our financial system and our economy to its knees."
As Angelides put it, "The fuses for that cataclysm were undoubtedly lit years before. It is our job to diligently and doggedly follow those fuses to their origins."
The press has moved on. Financial crisis was last year's story. Didn't the Treasury and Federal Reserve announce they have already turned things around? Hasn't the president proposed a bunch of complicated reforms (boring!) for Congress to enact? Yes, but that is the problem. How can Washington reform the financial system when we still don't know what happened?
We may know the broad outlines, but the landscape remains littered with unanswered questions and informed suspicions about who did what to produce the breakdown. The relevant facts are still buried in the files of Wall Street firms and the regulatory agencies that utterly failed as watchdogs.
The Angelides commission has the subpoena power to dig out secrets-from e-mails and private memos, and through testimony under oath-that can disclose political deal-making and ruinous financial strategies. Given the rush of events, the commission may be the public's last, best chance to get at the truth of the matter.
Let's "get at the truth of the matter"
#2) The Wall Street Coup D'Etat
The most revealing political quote of the last year came… from the second-highest ranking Democratic Senator, Dick Durbin, who told a local radio station in April: "And the banks - hard to believe in a time when we're facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created - are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place."
The best Congressional floor speech of the last year on the financial crisis was this extraordinarily piercing five-minute revelation from Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio on the Wall Street bailout and how the Congress is subservient to their dictates. And the single most insightful article on the financial crisis was written by former IMF Chief Economist and current MIT Professor Simon Johnson in the May, 2009 issue of The Atlantic, when he argued that "the finance industry has effectively captured our government" and detailed how the U.S. has become very similar to failed emerging-market nations in both its political and economic culture.
#3) Heated Press Debate Over $83 billion For Health Care, But Silence On At Least 20 Times That Amount Gone to Wall Street
There is an odd disconnect between the furious public debate over health care reform, with its emphasis on the cost of an increased government role, and the nonexistent discussion about the far more expensive and largely secretive government program to bail out Wall Street. Why the agitation over the government spending $83 billion a year on health care when at least 20 times that amount has been thrown at the creators of the ongoing financial crisis without any serious public accountability? On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that employees of the financial industry that we taxpayers saved are slated to be paid a record $140 billion this year.
If you want to know who actually runs this country, just look at the phone logs, released by court order last week, revealing Geithner's nearly constant calls to solicit the advice of the fat cats who caused the banking implosion. It's the same as when he was chair of the Federal Reserve in New York, before Obama appointed him to his current job. Only back then, as he blithely ignored the impending financial meltdown, it was easier to have lunch with the bankers as well as to chat by phone.
In an earlier Freedom of Information exposé, The New York Times reported in April: "An examination of Mr. Geithner's five years as president of the New York Fed, an era of unbridled and ultimately disastrous risk-taking by the financial industry, shows that he forged unusually close relationships with executives of Wall Street's giant financial institutions. His actions, as a regulator and later a bailout king, often aligned with the industry's interests and desires, according to interviews with financiers, regulators and analysts and a review of Federal Reserve records."
Nothing has changed since then.
#4) Geithner's All Ears for Debt Cartel
"Months ago, a former chief economist at the IMF called it mind control. Talking to Simon Johnson of the Atlantic Monthly, he explained that one of the most alarming truths laid bare by the economic crash was that the finance industry had effectively captured the thinking of government.
"That's going too far," said reasonable people. "This is no Banana Republic run by crony cartels."
That was before we read Tim Geithner's phone records.
Thursday's AP report shows executives at a handful of companies - Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs - had not just the ear, but both ears of the Treasury Secretary to the exclusion of other even bigger and more troubled banks, and legislators.
As AP points out, Geithner had more contacts with Citigroup than he did with Barney Frank, D-Mass., the lawmaker leading the effort to approve Geithner's financial overhaul plan. And Geithner's contacts with Lloyd Blankfein, the chairman and CEO at Goldman, way outnumber his contacts with Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.
After the week this May when GM almost went bankrupt and the government was considering a federal takeover, the treasury secretary called Blankfein, then Jamie Dimon, the boss at JPMorgan. Then Obama called and as soon as they hung up, Geithner was back on the phone with Dimon. Poor California Democrat Xavier Becerra - who handles silly stuff like taxes and budgets. He had to leave a voice-mail message. And Geithner wasn't talking to all bankers - mostly with people he served on nonprofit boards with, and hung out with socially.
So. . . where others have drug cartels, we have a debt cartel? It'd be clear by now if Geithner was just listening to his friends to hone his arguments against greater bank consolidation, debt securitization and finance over industry but Geithner has yet to show any sign of breaking with his Wall Street pushers.
In a Banana Republic we'd pay out protection money. Oh, but I forgot, we did that already."
#5) Paulson's Revealing Phone Records
While the economy was crashing last year, exclusively analyzed telephone records reveal the ex-Treasury secretary [Hank Paulson] was talking far more to Obama and Geithner than Bush and McCain.
Timothy Geithner's just-released phone records caused quite a stir last week-specifically, the absurdly small Wall Street circle Obama's Treasury secretary has consulted during one of the most critical economic periods in U.S. history. Yet as Winston Churchill once said, "The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see." Understanding the situation we're now facing requires an examination of how things went down among him, former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, and the most influential financial titans on the planet, during the bailout and bank landscape carve-out period….
The information doesn't come in ready-made easy-to-digest classifications, but combing the logs reveals four interesting facts:
a) Paulson and Geithner Were Tight.
Sure, you'd expect close contact during a crisis, but we're talking really tight. During those seven months, the two chatted 416 times compared to the 268 times Paulson spoke with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who had final approval on all the mergers and bank holding company designations.
Even the nature of the Paulson-Geithner records indicates just who Paulson's "go-to" guy really was: Bush's Treasury secretary made almost twice as many outgoing calls to his eventual successor (279) as to Bernanke (150). With Geithner at the helm of the New York Fed, it extended $4 trillion, or 76 percent of the $5.3 trillion of Fed facilities, cheap loans, and other monies made available to the banking industry at the height of the fall crisis. While the Fed refuses to disclose the exact nature of collateral and recipients of that aid, we now know that there were almost no calls to smaller bank leaders during the crisis.
b) Obama Was Fully Engaged With Paulson During the 2008 Campaign
That the meltdown dovetailed with a presidential general election was extraordinary; equally extraordinary was how much both candidates, then-Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain, were interacting directly with Paulson, in comparison with his boss, President George W. Bush. And between the former pair, it was the candidate from the opposition party, Obama, who was far more plugged-in, engaging in 26 direct calls with Paulson, compared with 14 for McCain. (For comparison, Bush logged in 24 direct calls, plus 27 conference calls or meetings). Paulson placed more than twice as many individual outgoing calls to Obama (14) as to President Bush (6).
After Obama was elected, his conversations with Paulson dropped off dramatically. Clearly, he was then engaging with his own team.
c) Paulson's Big Three: Goldman, Morgan Stanley, BofA
As bank monikers and sizes were changing, Paulson gave the most access to the trio of Lloyd Blankfein, who succeeded him as Goldman Sachs CEO, Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack and Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis. Not shocking given the frenzied, desperate times; Blankfein and Mack were trying to transform their investment banks into bank holding companies, to gain greater access to federal capital. Lewis, of course, was dealing with the whole Merrill Lynch merger issue. (With that out of the way, Geithner's calls to Lewis dropped considerably.)
But, the four-day period of greatest call concentration is particularly striking. This was after Lehman tanked and Bank of America got stuck with Merrill. Between September 18 and 21 (when advantageous bank holding company status was approved for Goldman and Morgan Stanley), Blankfein far outpaced Mack in terms of calls with Paulson. He put in 11 and received eight outgoing (19 in total), whereas Mack only placed four calls to Paulson and received five (nine in total). This indicates the level at which Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley coordinated their bank holding company push-with the world crumbling, these former competitors united as friends-but also the extent to which Goldman was the main driver. During those four days, Paulson and Geithner kept up their pattern of firm contact. Paulson called Geithner 28 times, whereas he only called Bernanke 11 times, even though bank holding company approval came from Bernanke.
Other bankers were looped in, too. But again, these were mostly megabank officials, including Citigroup's senior counselor, Robert Rubin, and its CEO, Vikram Pandit (34 between them); Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain (24); JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon (21); followed more distantly by Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf (three).
d) Robert Rubin Was Paulson's Guy at Citigroup
Pandit may have been the CEO, but it was Robert Rubin who was Paulson's preferred Citigroup contact, engaging in 26 calls versus just eight for Pandit. No surprise: Paulson and Rubin had both been Goldman Sachs CEOs and Treasury secretaries. That's the most exclusive club out there.
Frankly, this whole group forms a little club. The New York Fed and Wall Street are historically tight. Goldman Sachs, the New York Fed, Treasury, and the White House (Goldman was Obama's second-largest campaign source of contributions) are recently tight. The day after Citigroup got a massive $301 billion federal government guarantee, plus an additional $20 billion from one TARP program, and $25 billion from another, Obama selected New York Fed Chief Geithner as his Treasury secretary, and appointed former Treasury Secretary (and Rubin mentee) Larry Summers to lead his National Council of Economic advisers. The baton had been passed. Paulson effectively groomed Geithner, just as Rubin had groomed Summers and pioneered the path between the top spot at Goldman and Treasury for Paulson.
Whenever you have too much power concentrated in the hands of a few men, things don't turn out so well for everyone else. That's strikingly evident by the fallout from the crisis, and the selective bailout and favoritism of the firms in control of the access and money flow. As the FDIC comes close to shutting down its 100th small bank, Goldman and JPM Chase are getting set to announce another set of stellar quarterly results and gearing up for record bonuses. Bank of America and Citigroup are hoping to post some great numbers of their own, floated on public capital and federal aid.
What's wrong with this picture? Absolutely everything.
#6) Geithner Aides Reaped Millions Working for Banks, Hedge Funds
Some of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's closest aides, none of whom faced Senate confirmation, earned millions of dollars a year working for Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Citigroup Inc. and other Wall Street firms, according to financial disclosure forms. The advisers include Gene Sperling, who last year took in $887,727 from Goldman Sachs and $158,000 for speeches mostly to financial companies, including the firm run by accused Ponzi scheme mastermind R. Allen Stanford.
Another top aide, Lee Sachs, reported more than $3 million in salary and partnership income from Mariner Investment Group, a New York hedge fund. As part of Geithner's kitchen cabinet, Sperling and Sachs wield influence behind the scenes at the Treasury Department, where they help oversee the $700 billion banking rescue and craft executive pay rules and the revamp of financial regulations.
Yet they haven't faced the public scrutiny given to Senate-confirmed appointees, nor are they compelled to testify in Congress to defend or explain the Treasury's policies.
And to the Coup Leaders Go the Spoils
#7) Goldman Tops $3B in Profit, Blows By Estimates
Goldman Sachs is even more golden than we'd thought. The top firm on Wall Street posted a record third-quarter profit of $3.19 billion, a billion dollars higher than expected, thanks to returns on advising on takeovers and more aggressive investing. That quarterly result more than triples the $845 million it posted this time last year. As for the big question of compensation, the bank said $5.35 billion was going to salaries and the year-end bonus pool, up from last year. "Their biggest challenge and the thing that seems to get the most press is how much they put aside for comp expense," one financial analyst tells Bloomberg. "A year ago we were talking about whether they would survive and now they just have too much damn money."
#8) JPMorgan Posts $3.6 Billion Profit
JPMorgan, the first of the big banks to report earnings for the July-September period, reported a $3.59 billion profit but also said it roughly doubled the amount of money it set aside for failed home and credit card loans in the quarter. The bank's earnings cheered investors, who sent JPMorgan stock and the overall market higher. Still, the bank's performance shouldn't be taken as a forecast for how well other banks did. Many financial companies don't have such big investment banking operations, which includes trading of stocks and bonds and allowed JPMorgan to overcome its loan losses.
#9) $140 billion! Record Payday for Wall Street
Workers at major Wall Street firms will make as much as $140 billion this year, and the reaction from the public and Congress can already be predicted. According to an exclusive report in The Wall Street Journal, "Workers at 23 top investment banks, hedge funds, asset managers and stock and commodities exchanges can expect to earn even more than they did the peak year of 2007." Wall Street executives will make the case that many firms like Goldman Sachs (GS) will produce record annual profit results for their shareholders, and that their stock prices have handily outperformed the market. But the board of directors approving the pay might have been better off delaying some of the payouts for a year, or reducing them in the name of self-preservation.
Nothing is more likely to anger Congress and the Administration than headlines announcing that the average Goldman employee will make $700,000, which means its executives will make many times that.
#10) $23 billion! Goldman Sachs 2009 bonuses could buy insurance for 1.7 million families
It's enough to pay the health insurance premium for the average American family ($13,375) 1.7 million times…. Or, apparently, it's enough to reward the employees of Goldman Sachs for a bonanza trading year, at a firm where average employee compensation was recently $622,000 - and likely to be greater this year.
The $23 billion figure could leave some American taxpayers woozy - the US government bailed out Goldman Sachs with a multi-billion payment last year, which the firm has since repaid. But while Goldman is likely to pay its biggest bonuses ever to employees, the firm pays very little in taxes worldwide. In 2008, the company was said to have paid just $14 million in taxes worldwide, and paid $6 billion in 2007. The firm's corporate tax rate? About 1 percent. According a prominent tax lawyer, "They have taken steps to ensure that a lot of their income is earned in lower-tax jurisdictions."
#11) A Hidden $34 Billion Bank Subsidy? Study Exposes How Taxpayers Are Subsidizing Large Banks
"One of the key terms to come out of the nation's economic meltdown has been "too big to fail." The government has funneled billions of dollars to large financial firms by arguing that their collapse would deal an irreparable blow to economic recovery. A new study has calculated the tab of the "too big to fail" approach, and it amounts to a far larger taxpayer-funded subsidy than previously thought. The Center for Economic and Policy Research says the bailout has allowed "too big to fail" banks to pay significantly lower interest rates than those paid by smaller banks. According to one estimate, that's meant a subsidy for the nation's eighteen largest bank holding companies of $34.1 billion a year. That amount represents nearly half these companies' combined annual profits.
Maintaining Their Grip: No Accountability - Lack of Reform - Payoffs
#12) Top Financial Services Committee Members Rely Heavily On Finance Campaign Contributions
One year after the biggest economic collapse since the Great Depression, Congress is still debating new financial regulations to protect consumers and prevent risk-taking in the financial sector.
The House Committee on Financial Services is currently undertaking the important first step of writing, amending and voting on some of the pieces of the long-proposed financial regulatory reform. While debating these issues top committee members have been the recipients of disproportionate campaign contributions from the very industry that they are tasked with regulating.
Twenty-seven committee members have so far received over one-quarter of their contributions from the finance, insurance and real estate (FIRE) sector. This includes Chair Barney Frank, Ranking Member Spencer Bachus, four subcommittee chairs and four subcommittee ranking members. Of the twenty-seven, twelve committee members received over 35% of their contributions in 2009 from the FIRE sector. Ranking Member Bachus, a crucial decision maker on the committee, received 71% of his campaign contributions from the finance, insurance and real estate (FIRE) sector so far this year. (These numbers run from January 1-June 30.)
For his career, the Alabama congressman receives 45% of his contributions from the FIRE sector. Bachus leads the committee in his reliance on FIRE sector campaign contributions. Bachus has taking a position in opposition to most of the regulatory reforms. Bachus recently stated in a hearing, "this is absolutely the wrong time to be creating a new government agency empowered not only to ration credit, but to design the financial products offered to consumers."
#13) The Fight for Financial Reform
"These next few months are a time of reckoning. Every so often in American political history, a window for change opens, and the combination of crisis, leadership, and political movement makes big, positive reforms possible. That window is open now-but barely-and if we don't act quickly the protectors of the status quo (aka lobbyists, Republicans, and so-called moderate Democrats) will succeed in slamming it shut again….
When it comes to making crucial financial reforms, we face a determined, well-heeled opposition that will wage a fierce battle every step of the way. As Alan Blinder describes in a recent New York Times op-ed, "The money at stake is mind-boggling, and one financial industry after another will go to the mat to fight any provision that might hurt it."
The Devastation Down Below - The Ground War: Seizing Land, Assets, Property - Foreclosures, Unemployment, Underemployment, Pay Cuts - Coup Casualties
#14) Foreclosures: 'Worst three months of all time'
Despite concerted government-led and lender-supported efforts to prevent foreclosures, the number of filings hit a record high in the third quarter, according to a report issued Thursday. "They were the worst three months of all time," said Rick Sharga, spokesman for RealtyTrac, an online marketer of foreclosed homes. During that time, 937,840 homes received a foreclosure letter - whether a default notice, auction notice or bank repossession, the RealtyTrac report said. That means one in every 136 U.S. homes were in foreclosure, which is a 5% increase from the second quarter and a 23% jump over the third quarter of 2008.
#15) Good News on Wall Street Means… What Exactly?
It's literally amazing to me that our press corps hasn't yet managed to draw a distinction between good news on Wall Street for companies like Goldman, and good news in reality.
I watched carefully the reporting of the Dow breaking 10,000 the other day and not anywhere did I see a major news organization include a paragraph of the "On the other hand, so fucking what?" sort, one that might point out that unemployment is still at a staggering high, foreclosures are racing along at a terrifying clip, and real people are struggling more than ever. In fact the dichotomy between the economic health of ordinary people and the traditional "market indicators" is not merely a non-story, it is a sort of taboo - unmentionable in major news coverage.
#16) U.S. unemployment rate closes in on 10%
Sept. job losses exceed forecasts as recession's toll hits 7.6M. The U.S. unemployment rate rose to 9.8 percent in September… The "underemployment" rate, which also counts discouraged workers and those stuck in part-time jobs who would prefer full-time work, rose to 17 percent from 16.8 percent….
The U.S. economy has lost 7.6 million jobs since the recession began in December 2007, the most since the Great Depression, the Labor Department said. The unemployment rate has doubled.
#17) Still on the Job, but at Half the Pay
In recent decades, layoffs were the standard procedure for shrinking labor costs. Reducing the wages of those who remained on the job was considered demoralizing and risky: the best workers would jump to another employer. But now pay cuts, sometimes the result of downgrades in rank or shortened workweeks, are occurring more frequently than at any time since the Great Depression….
The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not track pay cuts, but it suggests they are reflected in the steep decline of another statistic: total weekly pay for production workers, pilots among them, representing 80 percent of the work force. That index has fallen for nine consecutive months, an unprecedented string over the 44 years the bureau has calculated weekly pay, capturing the large number of people out of work, those working fewer hours and those whose wages have been cut…
"What this means," said Thomas J. Nardone, an assistant commissioner at the bureau, "is that the amount of money people are paid has taken a big hit; not just those who have lost their jobs, but those who are still employed."
#18) Bill Moyers: Wall Street Rescue Report
One year after the near-collapse of the U.S. financial system, the crisis seems to be over for the banks. No one expects any of the remaining huge banks to collapse, and a few large firms - JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group and Wells Fargo - are expected to post another quarter of billion dollar profits. But according to guests on BILL MOYERS JOURNAL, ordinary Americans have little reason to celebrate the better fortunes on Wall Street. Simon Johnson, professor of Global Economics and Management at MIT's Sloan School of Management, and Representative Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), explain to Bill Moyers that the outlook for the rest of America isn't so rosy.
Not only are many Americans still suffering the collapse of the housing market, they say, but Congress and the president haven't made the changes needed to prevent a much worse catastrophe sometime in the future. To highlight the disparity between bailing out the banks and helping homeowners, Rep. Kaptur points to her district, where she sees one of the now-profitable banks not doing enough to help struggling borrowers: "Let me give you a reality from ground zero in Toledo, Ohio. Our foreclosures have gone up 94 percent. A few months ago, I met with our realtors. And I said, "What should I know?" They said, "Well, first of all, you should know the worst companies that are doing this to us." "Well, give me the top one." They said, "JPMorgan Chase."
Johnson adds that even bailed-out banks have little incentive to help homeowners: "I'm afraid that it's pretty obvious, and it's very tragic, that they have no interest in helping the homeowners. They make money with what they're doing. They expected a lot of these mortgages they made to default, okay? It was in their models. A high default rate. Now, they didn't expect house prices to come down so much. That's where they got their losses. But they absolutely made these loans expecting they would have to foreclose on people. And figuring they would make money on that."
Insurgency Fights Back
#19) To Hell With Wall Street! Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur's Fight Club
Even the dimmest Americans know they're getting screwed by Wall Street fat cats, and nothing could have made that reality clearer than the bailouts: $1 trillion dollars of taxpayer money that went to line the pockets of the guys and gals who crashed the economy. And if that wasn't bad enough, once the fat cats and credit card companies' armies of Repo Men were through collecting the contents of the houses, they came back for the houses themselves.
The banks tried to sell the old, familiar lie that "irresponsible people" i.e. "black people" went and got themselves into a mess they couldn't dig themselves out of, which was almost always a lie. Subprime lenders issued mortgages in a predatory fashion, frequently lied, and used creative math to convince people they could afford mortgages with hidden, adjustable interest rates. Those that can afford to play Capitalism: The Game prosper, while the rest of society suffers. Of course, those of us who don't work for the Big 4 banks in the Too Big To Fail gang, wither and die.
Today, The New York Times announced the 100th small bank failure of 2009. Don't expect any mourning. The bank isn't named "JPMorgan Chase." It's projected that by 2012, there will be eight million home foreclosures in the United States. Lots of politicians are siding with the banks during the foreclosure epidemic, but a few brave souls are standing up to the Wall Street criminals….
In other words, Kaptur started a peaceful Project Mayhem, a revolution where the wronged refuse to happily play their parts in a fixed game concocted by Wall Street and the government, who work hand-in-hand to protect a tiny coterie of wealthy people, while average Americans unwittingly pick up the bill in a Corporate Socialism system that should really be called the United States of Citigroup, J.P. Morgan, and Goldman Sachs.
Kaptur knows the business world operates on precariously narrow tightropes of paper trails. Without the records of transactions, it's difficult for large banks and businesses to prove homeowners and customers are in debt.
"Produce the note," says Kaptur. She means that the banks must produce the mortgage they claim to own. The beauty of this system is that most mortgages were flipped, chopped up, and sold to other lenders and servicers during the lending boom feeding frenzy. As a result, many of the new lenders don't have the proper paperwork to show they own the mortgage.
And without that proof of mortgage, the banks cannot legally kick people out of their homes. Not only that, but this puts a homeowner in an excellent position to renegotiate a mortgage.
#20) Publicly-Owned Banks Can Help States and Residents
State and local leaders are considering creating publicly owned banks that can funnel credit to where it is needed most: directly into the local economy.
The credit crunch is getting worse on Main Street, despite a Wall Street bailout now in the trillions of dollars. The Federal Reserve's charts show that "base money" is rapidly expanding-meaning coins, paper money, and commercial banks' reserves with the central bank. But the money isn't getting where it needs to go to stimulate economic growth: into the bank accounts of American businesses and consumers. The Fed has been pumping out money to the banks, and their reserves have been growing at unprecedented rates, but the money supply in the real economy has been declining.
According to Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, writing last month in the UK Telegraph, U.S. bank credit and M3 (the broadest measure of the money supply) contracted over the summer at rates comparable to the onset of the Great Depression. In the summer quarter, U.S. bank loans fell at an annual pace of almost 14 percent. "There has been nothing like this in the USA since the 1930s," said Professor Tim Congdon of International Monetary Research. "The rapid destruction of money balances is madness."…
Local Government to the Rescue?
The Fed may have played all its cards, but state and local governments still hold a few aces. Some local politicians are looking into the feasibility of opening their own publicly-owned banks, providing them with their own credit machines. A new publicly owned bank would have a clean set of books, untainted by the Wall Street addiction to gambling in complex derivatives; and its profits would go back to the local government and community, rather than being siphoned off in exorbitant salaries, bonuses, and dividends. A publicly-owned bank could funnel credit where it is needed most, directly into the local economy.
Congressional Hit Job: Defunding Insurgency Organization ACORN
#21) Entrapping ACORN
ACORN, an umbrella organization of community groups that serves poor people in major cities across the country through housing, legal advocacy, family services, and higher wages, has lost all federal funding, after decades of working for low-income, disadvantaged Americans.
That the House of Representatives has moved swiftly on anything is stunning in and of itself. More stunning, this is in response to a single independent report by conservative activists, with no follow-up investigation, no hearings…
#22) The ACORN Standard
ACORN, like all organizations receiving federal dollars, should be subject to Congressional scrutiny. But ACORN was clearly singled out for political reasons. Those Democrats who voted for the "defund ACORN" bill should be required to explain their reasoning to their constituents, particularly when so few of them have taken substantive actions to apply the ACORN standard to corporate criminals with real rap sheets.
What YOU Can Do To Fight Back:
#23) Take America Back From the Banks - Showdown in Chicago
Reining in the financial industry's power and greed will be a long, hard-fought war. But it is one that must be fought. The elites hate to acknowledge it, but when large numbers of ordinary people are moved to action, it changes the narrow political world where the elites call the shots.
Inside accounts reveal the extent to which Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon's conduct of the Vietnam war was constrained by the huge anti-war movement. It was the civil rights movement, not compelling arguments, that convinced members of the US Congress to end legal racial discrimination. More recently, the town hall meetings dominated by people opposed to healthcare reform have been a serious roadblock for those pushing reform. Those disgusted by the bank bailouts, and the bankers who brought us this recession, will have a chance to make their views known when the American Bankers Association has its annual meeting in Chicago this month. A large coalition of labour, community and consumer organisations are organising a protest at this "Showdown in Chicago"….
To summarise: the bankers wrecked the economy with their greed, ran off with taxpayer dollars in a massive bailout and now plan to raise taxes for the rest of us. If that picture doesn't sound quite right, then go to Chicago….
The policies that will rein in the banks: reform of the Federal Reserve Board to make it democratically accountable, a tax on financial speculation to pay for the bankers' mess and restrictions on the bank abuses of consumers that caused the carnage have support from people on both the left and right.
A bill that would require the Fed to disclose what it did with more than $2tn in loans to banks and other financial institutions was originally co-sponsored by Ron Paul and Alan Grayson, one of the most conservative and one of the most progressive members of Congress. Due to public pressure, it now has more than 270 co-sponsors.
This is exactly the sort of alliance that gets the elite worried. Reining in the power of the financial industry will be a long, hard-fought war, but it is one that must be fought. President and Nobel peace prize winner Barack Obama may not have been able to bring the Olympics to Chicago, but everyone who wants to retake our country from the banks can bring their backside there on 25 October.
Masters Of Finance
Come you masters of economics
You that build all the markets
You that build the debt plans
You that build the big banks
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks…
#24) Unmask The Federal Reserve Campaign - Send a Message to Your Senator
Where's Our Money? Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, is up for confirmation to his second term, but he has still refused to disclose where he sent $2 trillion in taxpayers' money. Send a message to your Senators and ask them to make Bernanke come clean before his confirmation moves forward!
SEND MESSAGE HERE!
The Day People Come to Realize how much money has been stolen from them, and be assured, that day of reckoning is coming, and when it comes history will look back on this cartel of bankers as the modern world looks back at Nazi Germany. Their greed has inflicted immense human suffering the world over. Their greed has brought humanity to a breaking point.
Once again, we're not giving you hyperbole, we are just telling you the facts.
~ David DeGraw, AmpedStatus Report