tagged w/ Banksters
For weeks I have listened to complaints about the Obama’s coming deal with the big banks that was sure to leave main street Americans out in the cold while giving criminal Banksters a get out of jail free card. Today that deal arrived. It is a modest down payment on what the US needs to restore the housing market on main street. Given the Republican Party’s unwillingness to do anything at the federal level to help suffering Americans, it was the best Obama could do, with the help of State Attorneys General from both parties from every state but Oklahoma, whose AG sided with the Banksters. The deal neither leaves main street Americans out in the cold, nor does it give criminal Banksters a get out of jail free card.For weeks I have listened to complaints about the Obama’s coming deal with the... more
Common wisdom holds that the near collapse 0f 2008 snuck up on us, and that nobody saw it coming. Common wisdom is wrong. Lots of people saw it coming, and I was one of them, so it didn’t take rocket science to figure it out. In 2007 I was discussing how Republicans realized they were on the way out, and they were setting the US up for an economics crisis, so they could blame their successor, and present themselves as the solution. I was wrong about the timing. I expected it to come in the first quarter of 2009, but it did in the last quarter of 2008. I was also wrong about the scope. I did not expect it to be this severe. Republicans are now changing their lies and often saying that Obama is responsible, so I consider it imperative to clear the air so there can be no doubt that this is a Republican Recession.Common wisdom holds that the near collapse 0f 2008 snuck up on us, and that nobody saw... more
– (UK,Leeds) I often wonder how America views our European Union. On the face of it we are a land mass much like the US, lots of Countries (States) joined together – Holland, France, Spain, Italy, Germany etc, with my litte Britain laying just off shore (a bit like Hawaii). If America can exist with States, side by side, not falling out with each other why can’t Europe? I will enlighten you.– (UK,Leeds) I often wonder how America views our European Union. On the face of... more
I remember saying, over and over again, during the Bush Regime, that we had such fond memories of Bill Clinton,k only because he benefited from comparison to his successor, the worst President in US history. If fact, Clinton was the most conservative Democratic president in my lifetime, that goes back to Harry Truman. In my opinion, his worst policy was to support the removal of Glass-Steagall, the law that separated commercial banks and investment banks. One Democrat led the unsuccessful fight to prevent that and continues to lead the fight to restore it. He talked to Bill Moyers.I remember saying, over and over again, during the Bush Regime, that we had such fond... more
On the one hand, Iceland is the happiest country in the world, with a world-class health, educational, and social safety net system. On the other hand, they were just robbed blind by the Banksters - the direct result of privatization and deregulation. First around 2000 the national-owned banks were deregulated and privatized. Then the private owners ran them into huge debt and crashed. Now the Banksters who bought the banks want the people of Iceland to pay up for the bankers' crimes. It's an amazing story...Thom explains calling in from Iceland.On the one hand, Iceland is the happiest country in the world, with a world-class... more
34 Congress members call for NYPD-CIA probe
BofA’s Countrywide to pay $335 million over bias case
Wave of bombings across Iraqi capital kills 6034 Congress members call for NYPD-CIA probe BofA’s Countrywide to pay $335... more
Somewhat to my surprise, the Wall Street Journal didn't merely report that "Donald Trump wants a say in who gets the nomination, so he's hosting a presidential debate, holding out the prospect of his endorsement and threatening an independent run" (i.e., behaving like a kingmaker who expects to be honored and courted by the rival candidates); it even quoted candidate Jon Huntsman's remarkably lewd comment about why he's not going to attend the Trump "debate": Huntsman said, "I'm not going to kiss his ring, and I'm not going to kiss any other part of his anatomy."
That vivid and rather gross remark reminded me of how right my extremely cool son Calvin is about the word he wants to see win the American Dialect Society's Word of the Year contest. I had been talking to Calvin one day about the ghastly crew of obnoxious multi-millionaires who dominate the newspapers, and how they keep threatening to achieve success even in the political arena. Calvin pointed out to me both that we need a new political term for the concept of being ruled by such men, and that there already is such a term. We are living, he observed, in the age of the assholocracy.
He's right, you know. This relatively new word is really useful. Even if we ignore the whole scandal of modern banking, and the rigged election in Russia, and all the scandals in Italy (by the man who The Economist dubbed "the man who screwed a whole country"), and all the disgusting behavior and political clout of of the Murdoch press empire, there is so much else. The contest for the Republican presidential nomination illustrates as well as any other arena.
Donald Trump is famous here in Scotland. Famous for his cruel treatment of the ordinary people he has tried hard to oust from their homes so he can get control of their land, which adjoins the golf resort he is trying to build north of Aberdeen. (There is an excellent documentary on his unpleasant dealings: You've Been Trumped. The capacity crowd in Edinburgh the night I saw it broke into applause, and it was not for the Donald.) To see Trump trying to play a decisive role in choosing the next Republican presidential candidate even as he threatens to split their vote by running against them as an independent really interests us over here. It should be even more interesting to those of you who are on the left hand side of the Atlantic.
The thought of Trump having political power and influence convinces me that assholocracy is going to get my vote at the American Dialect Society's voting session. It's not just to make sure we don't find some stupid compositional phrase winning (I shudder at the thought of having to battle against my good friend Ben Zimmer over such a thing, but you can already see the way he's leaning on the phrase issue), no; it's because assholocracy is a terse and valuable addition to the vocabulary.
The whole Arab Spring has been a process of bringing down assholocracies. Italy suffered under one until recently. Russia and Syria are now protesting against their own crooked assholocracies, and the only reason North Korea and Zimbabwe don't do the same is that they daren't, they could be killed. We in the West are going to need a term for being ruled by assholocrats, because they continue to threaten to exercise power over huge parts of the earth's population even if not (yet) over us.
Assholocracy needs more Google hits, though; it's a rare word thus far (105 Ghits as of right now, combining the correct spelling assholocracy and the variant spelling assholeocracy). Rare words don't win. There are several weeks to go before the ADS vote. Those of you with blogs, use the word, visibly and often. Let's get to work and make sure we at least have the appropriate vocabulary items for dealing with the situation should it arise.
Think about the phrase "President Trump". Or even just "presidential candidate hand-picked and endorsed by Trump". Doesn't it chill you to the bone? Can ridicule by Doonesbury get rid of him? You'd better be very sure. So get out there and prepare the lexicographical ground. With words, we can win. Without the words, we don't have the concepts: just as the Eskimos have many apposite words for . . . no, never mind that; bad example. Just push the word assholocracy wherever you have influence is what I'm saying.
Update, midnight EST, 13 December: The raw Google hits (Ghits) for the two spellings combined went up from 105 to 142 during the evening. That's over 35 percent. We can win this thing.
Update, 8 a.m. EST, 14 December: The combined count is now up to 421. (Of those, 374 are the pseudo-Greek spelling that I prefer, without the e. But spelling doesn't matter too much here; there are other words that are sometimes spelled with a medial e and sometimes without: judg[e]ment is an example.) The Ghits have quadrupled since yesterday.
Update, 1 p.m. EST, 16 December: The spelling assholocracy alone now gets 7,950 Ghits. Language Log (for that is surely the mighty force behind this trend) has increased the web appearances of the word by two orders of magnitude (roughly multiplying them by 100).
[Comments are closed because now is not the time for comments: now is the time for action.]
December 13, 2011 @ 5:31 pm · Filed by Geoffrey K. Pullum under Language and politics, Words words words
http://figrd.blogspot.comSomewhat to my surprise, the Wall Street Journal didn't merely report that... more
suspect is part of ongoing protests against new charges for road users. The government last week introduced tolls on four highways as part of austerity measures it agreed to in return for a €78 billion ($101.5 billion) bailout earlier this year. …suspect is part of ongoing protests against new charges for road users. The government... more
Two main things are dominating the British Media this week (apart from the X Factor, of course). One being the “National Strike”, across the UK held on Wednesday, the other being the imminent collapse of central Europes flawed Monetary system – “The Euro”. As I am putting fingers to keyboard writing this article, Britains very own financial “expert” – Sir Mervyn Allister King,Two main things are dominating the British Media this week (apart from the X Factor,... more
There is no three-strikes law for crooked bankers, not even a law for a fifth strike, as The New York Times reported in the case of Citigroup, cited last month in a $1 billion fraud case. Unlike the California third-striker I once wrote about whom a district attorney wanted banished forever to state prison for stealing a piece of pizza from the plate of a person dining outdoors, Citigroup executives get off with a fine and by offering a promise not to do it again, and again and again.
As the Times reported when Citigroup agreed to settle SEC charges last month: “Citigroup’s main brokerage subsidiary, its predecessors or its parent company agreed to not violate the very same antifraud statue in July 2010. And in May 2006. Also as far back as March 2005 and April 2000.”
Not that the bankers face prison time, since the Justice Department has refused to act in these cases, and the Securities and Exchange Commission is bringing only civil charges, which the banks find quite tolerable. This time, the fine against Citigroup was $285 million, which may sound like a lot except that the bank raked off as much as $700 million on this particular toxic securities deal. As the Bloomberg news service editorialized, “... there should be only one answer from Jed S. Rakoff, the federal judge in New York assigned to weigh the merits of the agreement: You’ve got to be kidding.”
Not to pick on Citigroup, the too-big-to-fail bank that Clinton administration Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin helped make legal before he was paid off with a $126 million job on Wall Street; that corporation was not the only serial offender. “Citigroup has a lot of company in this regard on Wall Street,” the Times noted, “nearly all of the biggest financial companies—Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank of America among them—have settled fraud cases by promising that they would never again violate an antifraud law, only to have the SEC conclude they did it again a few years later.”
So forget relying on the federal government to hold the Wall Street swindlers accountable. Indeed, the Obama administration has been involved in negotiating a deal with state attorneys general to settle their complaints with the banks for a pittance of compensation for the victims. In return, the states would promise not to institute further legal proceedings against the banks.
The fix was in for what a New York Times editorial on Tuesday headlined “Letting the Banks Off Easy” described as “paltry” mortgage relief, reducing by less than $20 billion the balances of 14.5 million underwater homeowners who are “drowning in some $700 billion of negative equity.”
The deal has been stalled by the refusal of California Attorney General Kamala Harris to accept this sellout. Among its other disastrous concessions would be ending further investigation by the states into financial skulduggery connected with the housing meltdown.
In September, Harris, elected in a Democratic sweep of the state’s top offices in 2010, went against the dictates of the Democrat in the White House, stating that she refused to release the banks from legal liability for the mortgage crisis. That is the nub of the pending White House-brokered deal with the banks.
As the Times summarized it: “The proposed settlement reportedly would prevent the states from pursuing claims against banks relating to fraud or abuse in the origination of the bubble. It would also prevent states from pursuing claims for foreclosure abuses, like improper denial of loan modifications.”
Traditionally the states provided the essential regulation of mortgage origination, ownership and sales as a transparent process duly recorded and subject to public examination at the county level. But in order to facilitate the gathering of those mortgages into the sort of collateralized debt obligations that the banks could then bet on and trade worldwide, homeownership became a murky matter.
Many of the mortgages now in question, including the ones that Citigroup’s “synthetic” derivative was based on, are no longer owned by the banks that originated them. They are instead part of the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS) database, owned by a consortium of banks and residing in computers in Reston, Va.
The MERS system is described by the Times as “a land registry system implicated in bubble-era violations of tax, trust and property law.” The settlement would make it very difficult if not impossible to investigate at long last the workings of MERS and other systemic sources of what is now a full-blown international economic crisis.
As the Times editorial put it, “In effect, the legal waivers being contemplated would let the banks pay up to sweep wrongdoing under the rug.”
Thankfully, we have a few state attorneys general, most prominently California’s Harris, standing up for the American people, but it is outrageous that a president who avowedly committed to defending the public interest would now be subverting that effort rather than leading it.
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/california_refuses_to_accept_obamas_banking_sellout_20111110/There is no three-strikes law for crooked bankers, not even a law for a fifth strike,... more
How to Turn Up the Heat on Democrats
by JOHN STAUBER
President Barack Obama is no longer running unchallenged in all the major primary states, thanks to activists in Iowa who are focusing their Occupy Wall Street activism onto the headquarters of the Obama for President campaign office this Saturday, October 22, in Des Moines.
The “Occupy Obama” event is being organized in part by veteran rabble rouser Hugh Espey and his highly effective Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, a grassroots force that has been fighting for economic and social justice since the 1970s. CCI members are already participating in Occupy Wall Street actions in nine Iowa towns. Occupy Obama seems a logical next step to escalate the movement further into national view and create the potential for debate and organizing within the Iowa presidential caucuses in January.
Espey criticized Obama by name in a Des Moines Register guest editorial of October 6, 2011 announcing CCI’s support for Occupy Wall Street actions in Iowa. “Our political leaders are too busy asking big banks and Wall Street corporations for campaign contributions to push the ‘put people first’ policies that this nation needs,” he wrote. CCI will march on Obama’s campaign headquarters in Des Moines on Saturday. This Occupy Obama action could catch fire nationally, especially given the frustration widely voiced that not one prominent Democrat is willing to oppose Obama in the Democratic Party’s primary races. Occupy Obama could partly fill that void. “We’ll deliver a simple, powerful message to Obama staffers, and do a speak-out as well. We want regular folks telling the Obama staffers what they think. We want Obama to understand that the 99% demand action from him to put communities before corporations and people before profits,” says CCI.
Obama’s social and economic justice rhetoric, and his opposition to the war in Iraq, won him the 2008 Democratic nomination and the presidency. Millions of independents, young and ethnically diverse voters found him a compelling agent for the “Change” and “Hope” he extolled as a mantra. But the failure of Obama’s policies to adhere to his campaign rhetoric should not really be surprising. Candidate Obama in 2008 beat every other Democrat in collecting the most campaign contributions from the wealthiest funders of the Democratic Party, the 1% as opposed to the 99%, aka Wall Street. He has announced his goal for 2012 of raising one billion dollars which again will require the firm support of the very wealthiest Democratic Party interests.
President Obama has been a huge disappointment on issues across the board, yet he was running unchallenged in the primaries until CCI announced its Occupy Obama action. Don’t be surprised if this Des Moines event is the start of a successful nation-wide Occupy Obama movement. In Iowa an Occupy Obama movement has real potential because it could choose to become a player in the Iowa caucuses in a way that is much more than symbolic. Occupy Obama activists could show up at the caucus meetings in January, for instance, and organize support for an Uncommitted slate of Occupy Obama convention activists. These Uncommitted delegates could provide a critical voice on the floor of the Obama convention in the summer of 2012.
Some Obama supporters and interest groups have advocated using the Occupy Wall Street cause to help elect Obama and other Democrats, coopting the movement. However, an Occupy Obama movement could turn that scenario on its head. A growing Occupy Obama movement could directly confront the failures of the Democratic Party to represent most people.
If Occupy Obama takes off, 2012 might feel a bit like 1968. Back then the Guns And Butter policies of Lyndon Johnson were destroying not just Vietnam, where millions eventually died, but also killing Johnson’s own domestic social programs, his Great Society reforms. The rapidly growing anti-war movement in 1968 rallied behind two Democratic Party primary challengers, Senators Gene McCarthy and Robert F. Kennedy. It forced the resignation of Johnson, but the bosses of the Democratic Party handed the nomination to Johnson’s Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who lost to Richard Nixon.
While an Occupy Obama movement would be very unlikely to prevent his renomination, it could make him and his Party’s shortcomings a front and center issue. It could ignite a Democratic Party reform movement, as 1968 did, leading to some take back of the corporate Democratic Party by grassroots activists. It could also lead to the support and emergence of other parties more representative of the people, as opposed to helping Wall Street and giant corporations.
2012′s interwoven crises of failing empire, economic desperation, corporate corruption, corporate control of government and bought elections, might have created a political turning point if the Occupy movement can keep upping the ante and building its numbers. Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement could well be firing a shot heard round the nation, if an Occupy Obama movement emerges to pressure the Democrats, utilizing the 2012 election to pursue this goal. Occupy Obama 2012 may be coming soon to an Obama Campaign or Democratic Party office near you!
JOHN STAUBER is the co-author of six books including Iraq: Weapons of Mass Deception and The Best War Ever. His anti-war activism began in high school in the 1960s opposing the war in Vietnam. The opinions in this article are his alone. His email address is: email@example.com
http://figrd.blogspot.comHow to Turn Up the Heat on Democrats Occupy Obama by JOHN STAUBER President... more
U.S. Century Bank rocketed into being in 2002, with investors pouring in $30 million over three months. Four years later, the Miami-based bank boasted assets of more than $1 billion, had consistently shown a profit, and had won plaudits from banking analysts such as BauerFinancial and glowing reviews from The Miami Herald and other local media.U.S. Century Bank rocketed into being in 2002, with investors pouring in $30 million... more
The chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee ordered his staff to begin an investigation Friday into allegations that some of the nation’s largest lending institutions have cheated veterans and taxpayers out of hundreds of millions of dollars by charging illegal fees in home refinancing loans.The chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee ordered his staff to begin... more
Senator Darrel Issa's appearance of late is revealing an extreme degree of anxiety. He's hidden it well on the surface, but underneath, his body is clearly in conflict with him. Did Darrell Issa use the information he denies he was given in an effort to embarrass AG Eric Holder and President Obama? Is this why he's hired into his staff a guy with an alias from the bankster industry - for protection?
http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/10/despite_denials_darrell_issa_was_briefed_on_details_of_atfs_fast_and_furious_operation.phpSenator Darrel Issa's appearance of late is revealing an extreme degree of... more
Apparently "We The People" through petitions and vocalizing our support of American citizens to protest and our very Mayor Bloomberg has backed down on his threat of evicting protesters from their camp in the park.
http://front.moveon.org/breaking-occupy-wins-bloomberg-backs-down?id=31994-18307969-vRV6VkxApparently "We The People" through petitions and vocalizing our support of... more
I AM NOT MOVING ... for you current and stay united .
Bank Fees? Let’s Tell The Banksters That We Don’t Want Their Stinking Bank Fees And That We Are Switching BanksMillions of Americans are about to get stabbed in the back by their banks. Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank and several other large banks are either already implementing outrageous new bank fees or are currently testing them. So are these ridiculous new bank fees going to be enough to get millions of Americans to finally boycott the big banks? When millions of Americans start paying a $5 fee every month to use their debit cards and when millions of Americans start paying a $20 fee every single month just to have a checking account hopefully that will be enough to wake them up. These fees are certainly not going to cause an "economic collapse", but they are incredibly annoying. The truth is that the big banks are trying to take advantage of us. It shouldn't cost $60 a year just to use a debit card. It shouldn't cost $240 a year just to have a checking account. What we need to do is to send an unequivocal message to the big banks: we don't want your stinking bank fees and we are switching banks.Millions of Americans are about to get stabbed in the back by their banks. Bank of... more
Pity the billionaire owners
Don’t be fooled by the whiners who own NBA teams—they're doing just fine.
October 3, 2011
BY THE time you read this, the basketball players lockout could be over. Also, by the time you read this, I could be dunking right after finishing my four-minute mile.
Columnist: Dave Zirin
Dave Zirin Dave Zirin is the coauthor, with John Carlos, of The John Carlos Story, and author of Bad Sports: How Owners Are Ruining the Games We Love and A People's History of Sports in the United States, as well as two collections of his sports writings, Welcome to the Terrordome: The Pain, Politics and Promise of Sports and What's My Name, Fool? Sports and Resistance in the United States. He is a columnist for TheNation.com; his writings are also featured at his Edge of Sports Web site.
The owners have locked the doors and will not reopen them until the Players Association can, to quote David Stern's own words, "guarantee profitability" for every team. Stern's favorite subject these days is how the billionaires he represents are losing money hand over fist. These are the wronged parties: the hard-working, exploited, victimized chief executives sacrificing their hard-earned fortunes just to overpay their ungrateful players and provide us simple fans with entertainment.
SLAM readers who resign themselves to the sports page shouldn't be fooled. What Stern and company are doing is just the sports-page wing of an all-out public relations offensive on behalf of the trampled-upon-rights of your friendly, neighborhood billionaire. Pass the Alka Seltzer.
Poverty might be at a 20-year high. Public-sector workers, like teachers, firefighters and postal workers, are being laid off in droves. Our infrastructure may be rotting. Yet billionaires pay fewer taxes than ever, and a broad-based call has gone out for them to pay their share. As billionaire Warren Buffet has said he actually pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.
The "wronged billionaire," who is just trying to create jobs in between carrying our economy, has become been created out of whole cloth to stifle, confuse and silence our rage. As one "wronged billionaire," Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, said recently:
Economic success has somehow become the new bogeyman; some in the Democratic Party are now casting about for enemies and business leaders and anyone who has achieved success in terms of rank or fiscal success is being cast as a bad guy in a black hat. This is counter to the American Dream and is really turning off so many people that love American and basically carry our country on their back by paying taxes and by employing people and creating GDP.
Ted Leonis also claims to be losing money by the boatload. The problem is that it's all an artfully crafted lie. Leonsis and other NBA owners might be losing money on the team, as bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell recently explained, but that's just one part of the story. It doesn't take into account the mammoth tax breaks, the publicly funded arena, and the immediate real estate that surrounds their home base.
Factor those in and, well, there's a reason why Ted Leonsis is a billionaire. To create the Verizon Center in the heart of D.C.'s Chinatown, residential housing was razed, businesses were shuttered and families were priced out of the neighborhood. Now instead of Chinese families, we have Starbucks and Chipotle with Chinese lettering above their blaring signage. As for "carrying the country" on his back, Leonsis might want to thank his army of minimum-wage Verizon Center workers for keeping his ample frame in fancy suits. Behind every great fortune is truly a great crime.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
THE OWNERS of the NBA and David Stern have failed. They've failed to be accountable to the communities they've raided and to the players they've willingly and happily put under contract. For them to cry about how put upon they are in a country where almost 20 percent of the population can't find work is obscene.
This is why Gladwell, who is no radical, ended his column by writing:
We have moved from a country of relative economic equality to a place where the gap between rich and poor is exceeded by only Singapore and Hong Kong. The rich have gone from being grateful for what they have to pushing for everything they can get. They have mastered the arts of whining and predation, without regard to logic or shame. In the end, this is the lesson of the NBA lockout.Pity the billionaire owners Don’t be fooled by the whiners who own NBA... more