Saturday, March 24, 2012
Friday, March 23, 2012
What it costs to buy an election
ask yourself this question... where does all this money go...? in other words, who really benefits from all this money being spent...? as with most everything in our society, if you want to know what's really going on, follow the money... Submit To Propeller
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Thursday, March 22, 2012
Matt Taibbi: Bank of America - "Too Crooked to Fail"
War crimes are war crimes no matter who commits them
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
The bastards at American Airlines - we KNEW this was coming
AMR To Seek Termination Of Contracts
AMR, the bankrupt parent of American Airlines, will ask a US bankruptcy court to reject nine collective bargaining agreements with unions, after failing to secure cost-cutting concessions, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.
Barring any last-minute agreement during ongoing negotiations with its unions, AMR will seek court approval to terminate the union contracts within a week in the Manhattan bankruptcy court, the report said, citing two sources it did not name.
AMR declined to confirm or deny the report, but spokesman Bruce Hicks said in a statement the company will update the court on the progress of its labor talks during a court hearing on Thursday.
"Our challenge remains the same: work quickly to restructure our contracts, achieve the targeted cost savings and begin implementing the changes so we can emerge from restructuring and return to a growing, profitable company," Hicks said.
yep... bankruptcy... the ultimate union-buster... Submit To Propeller
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Business Insider: Change the behavior in the financial service industry for a full generation in just seven days
We Now Know With Near-Certainty That Wall Street Execs Committed Felonies
It’s now a near certainty that Wall Street executives committed felonies.
So what can be done about it? We can change the behavior in the financial service industry for a full generation in just seven days. [emphasis added]
My seven day plan is based on a simple premise: When criminal laws are egregiously violated, the guilty parties should face appropriate punishment. Here’s the plan:
Day One: Read the HUD Inspector General’s reports and the public records of past mortgage foreclosure cases from across the nation.
Day Two: Meet with the team at the Office of the Inspector General at HUD that prepared the audits. Obtain the names of all the bank officials, lawyers, and notaries whose behavior, as cited in the audit reports or otherwise known to the investigators, represent clear and unquestionable criminal violations. Add to this list other individuals who have similarly demonstrated or testified to behavior unquestionably constituting criminal acts, as indicated by the public records of the mortgage foreclosure cases reviewed in day one.
Day Three: Indict all of the individuals on the list compiled on day two.
Day Four: Indict banks and financial institutions on criminal charges where criminal behavior by employees (as demonstrated by day three indictments) appears to be endemic. The Justice Department guidelines for prosecuting firms include: (1) the pervasiveness of such activity, (2) the compliance procedures in place, (3) attempts by the corporation to end bad behavior, and (4) cooperation with federal investigators. In 2008, the Justice Department adopted a policy of accepting “deferred prosecutions,” involving agreements to change corporate behavior without damaging innocent third parties through prosecution.
Corporations receive the benefits of “legal persons,” as demonstrated by Citizens United. But they must also bear the responsibilities of these privileges. A reading of the HUD reports, and other public records, suggests several banks should clearly be prosecuted.
Day 5: Discuss plea bargains with indicted lower-level officials in return for cooperating in investigations of higher-level officials.
Day 6: Consider plea bargains with indicted banks, which require the removal of all remaining officers and directors who were serving when egregious criminal activity occurred, as well as senior officials who were in a position to exercise appropriate supervisory responsibility but chose to look the other way.
Day 7: Indict any senior Wall Street officials implicated by new cooperative testimony resulting from activities on day five. Adopt and announce a policy that future criminal violations will be prosecuted in a similar fashion.
only seven days... such a deal...! Submit To Propeller
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Al Jazeera starts its series on the history of Occupy
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Matt Taibbi - Another Hidden Bailout: Helping Wall Street Collect Your Rent
matt taibbi in rolling stone...
This is from the WSJ on Monday:
Some of the biggest names on Wall Street are lining up to become landlords to cash-strapped Americans by bidding on pools of foreclosed properties being sold by Fannie Mae...
While the current approach of selling homes one-by-one has its own high costs and is sometimes inefficient, selling properties in bulk to large investors could require Fannie Mae to sell at a big discount, leading to larger initial costs.
In con artistry parlance, they call this the "reload." That's when you hit the same mark twice – typically with a second scam designed to "fix" the damage caused by the first scam. Someone robs your house, then comes by the next day and sells you a fancy alarm system, that's the reload.
In this case, banks pumped up the real estate market by creating huge volumes of subprime loans, then dumped a lot of them on, among others, Fannie and Freddie, the ever-ready enthusiastic state customer. Now the loans have crashed in value, yet the GSEs (Government Sponsored Enterprises) are still out there feeding the banks money through two continuous bailouts.
One, they continue to buy mortgages from the big banks (until recently, even from Bank of America, whom the GSEs were already suing for sales of toxic MBS), giving the banks a permanent market for home loans.
And secondly, they conduct these quiet bulk sales of mortgages, in which huge packets of home loans are sold to banks at a "big discount."
By now we've come full circle. Banks create the loans, make money selling them off on the market at high prices, then come back and buy them again when they're low. When the GSEs are in the middle of this transaction, it makes mortgage lending a basically risk-free proposition: Banks get paid for creating home loans and they end up owning valuable property on the cheap, but in between, they offshore the market risk to a government entity and/or to the idiot individual who bought the home mortgage in the first place.
Even better, many of the banks/investors who buy these home loans back from Fannie/Freddie will rent out their properties instead of reselling them, which can vastly increase their revenue streams. From the WSJ:
Economists at Goldman Sachs estimate the annual yield on an investment on rental property nationwide averages about 6.3%, but can exceed 8% in cities that were hit hard during the housing bust, including Las Vegas, Detroit and Tampa. By contrast, mortgage bonds have average yields of just over 3%, and investment-grade corporate bonds are yielding about 3.5%, according the Barclays Capital U.S. Investment-Grade Index.
It gets better:
Warren Buffett, considered a sage investor and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said in an interview with CNBC-TV last month that he would buy up "a couple hundred thousand" single-family homes if he could do so easily, given the high yields on rental investments.
Another potential buyer, according to the article, is John Paulson, the pillaging hedge-fund billionaire who was behind Goldman's notorious "Abacus" deal (in which Goldman allowed Paulson to pack a portfolio full of loser mortgages he was shorting before those same mortgages were dumped on a pair of Euro banks).
So congratulations, America, your quasi-governmental housing entity is about to subcontract out mass-landlording/slumlording jobs to the likes of John Paulson and Warren Buffett, so that they can add to their bottom lines collecting rent payments in the middle of a nationwide housing slump.
bit by bit, every avenue of escape is being closed off... Submit To Propeller
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Monday, March 19, 2012
Counterpunch: Wall Street has evolved from predator to organized crime with a speed dial to Washington
Since at least 1989, incredibly talented, hardworking men and women have been leaving high paying positions at major Wall Street institutions and alerting the public in meticulously crafted, first-hand narratives released by venerable publishing houses that Wall Street wants to rip off its clients’ faces.
On Wednesday, March 14, Greg Smith – following in the proud lineage of Micheal Lewis, Frank Partnoy and Nomi Prins – simply bypassed the tedious route of galleys and nit-picking editors and went straight to the OpEd page of the New York Times with his resignation letter decrying Goldman Sachs for abusing its clients. “It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off. Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as ‘muppets,’ sometimes over internal e-mail,” Smith said. He called the current environment at Goldman “as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.”
Each day since then, corporate media pundits have frenetically struggled to characterize the motives of this 33-year old earning $500,000 a year. The defining moment in this debate came in this video where Evan Newmark, Wall Street Journal columnist and a former Managing Director of Goldman Sachs, asks MarketWatch writer Jon Friedman the following question in reference to the 3 million page hits Smith’s OpEd had received on line: “Do you think Greg Smith will have an easy time monetizing his popularity?” I had to play the tape three times to be sure I wasn’t hallucinating.
A young man throws both caution and his career to the wind in a virtual scream for the leadership of this country to wake up to what’s still transpiring on Wall Street and a journalist for the newspaper covering Wall Street can only relate the selfless act to dollar signs. The Wall Street culture of greed is metastasizing into the larger society at a gut churning pace. The assumption by Newmark is that there is no one earning $500,000 who might love his country, its future, the next generation’s future more than his love of money.
"monetizing his popularity"...? holy crap...! how nauseating... Submit To Propeller
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