News & Comment
Blogs and Opinion
Jamie Gets Punished by Jim Hightower, creators.com | January 30, 2013If you are sensitive to stories of human suffering and economic hardship, let me warn you that the following report contains material that could be upsetting, so discretion is advised. It's about a fellow named Jamie. He lives in New York City, and he has recently had a very rough go with a large financial institution. Such behemoths can be heartless, so as you can imagine, it's tough to stand up to them. The giant in this case is JPMorgan Chase, Wall Street's biggest bank, and it went after poor Jamie Dimon hard. In the end, the bank took more than half his income. It was a bitterly painful experience, but thanks to the indomitable human spirit, Jamie's story has turned from sad to uplifting! Yes, he was down, but not out. Luckily, he had something big going for him in this fight: JPMorgan is his bank. I don't mean he banks there; he's the CEO. read more »
Aaron Swartz, Financial Fraud, and the Justice Department by Dean Baker, truth-out.org | January 22, 2013Many people have been asking about the Justice Department's priorities in the wake of the suicide of computer whiz and political activist Aaron Swartz. As has been widely reported, the Justice Department was pressing charges that carried several decades of prison time against Swartz. He was caught hacking M.I.T.'s computer system in an apparent effort to make large amounts of academic research freely available to the public. The Justice Department's determination to commit substantial time and resources to prosecuting Swartz presents a striking contrast to its see no evil attitude when it comes to financial fraud by the Wall Street banks. People should recognize that this is not just a rhetorical point. It is clear that the Justice Department opted to not pursue the sort of investigations that could have landed many high level people at places like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup behind bars. read more »
The Legacy of Timothy Geithner by Simon Johnson, economix.blogs.nytimes.com | January 17, 2013“Too big to fail is too big to continue. The megabanks have too much power in Washington and too much weight within the financial system.” Who said this and when? The answer is Peggy Noonan, the prominent conservative commentator, writing recently in The Wall Street Journal. As Timothy F. Geithner prepares to leave the Treasury Department, most assessments focus on how his policies affected the economy. But his lasting legacy may be more political, contributing to the creation of an issue that can now be seized either by the right or the left. What should be done about the too-big-to-fail category of financial institutions? read more »
The Endless (and Ironic) Attacks on the CFPB by David Callahan, policyshop.net | January 16, 2013Anyone who has followed the creation and early life of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau knows that conservatives in Congress have repeatedly tried to kill or weaken this agency using the power of the purse. Most recently, last spring, Republicans tried to cut the CFPB's $550 million budget by about 40 percent. It's safe to say that if the CFPB wasn't funded through the Federal Reserve it'd barely be able to function. And, as it is, all the attacks on the agency slowed its ability to get up and running. Yet harassment of CFPB is ongoing. In August, for example, Judicial Watch alleged that the CFPB was spending too much money on things like sign language interpreters and training classes for its staff. Among the odd complaints of Judicial Watch was that CFPB had spent $4,500 "to enroll six employees in a Banking Law Fundamentals class at George Washington University." As if we don't want regulators of banks to know banking law. read more »
The Foreclosure Fiasco by Joe Nocera, The New York Times | January 15, 2013It’s been five days since Jessica Silver-Greenberg’s article on the latest bank settlement was posted on The New York Times’s Web site. I’m still shaking my head. Her “story behind the story” of the $8.5 billion settlement between federal bank regulators and 10 banks over their foreclosure misdeeds illustrates just about everything that is wrong with the way the government has handled the Great Foreclosure Crisis. People who do these kinds of settlements regularly say that the world has become so complicated that, more often than not, it is simply too expensive to figure out who was harmed and who was not. So best just to throw a little money at everybody and make the problem go away. That is what the federal government did last week in its settlement with the banks. It’s nothing to be proud of. read more »
Why I Won't Be Voting for Jack Lew for Treasury by Sen. Bernie Sanders, commondreams.org | January 11, 2013At a time when the middle class is collapsing and millions of workers are unemployed, I do not believe he is the right person at the right time to serve in this important position. As a supporter of the president, I remain extremely concerned that virtually all of his key economic advisers have come from Wall Street. In my view, we need a treasury secretary who is prepared to stand up to corporate America and their powerful lobbyists and fight for policies that protect the working families in our country. I do not believe Mr. Lew is that person. We don't need a treasury secretary who thinks that Wall Street deregulation was not responsible for the financial crisis. We need a treasury secretary who will work hard to break up too-big-to-fail financial institutions so that Wall Street cannot cause another massive financial crisis. read more »
The Inconvenient Truth About Jack Lew by Robert Scheer, truthdig.com | January 11, 2013In announcing Jack Lew’s nomination, the president only once referenced his chief of staff’s Wall Street experience, noting, “He helped oversee ... one of our largest investment banks.” That he also helped destroy it was buried as an inconvenient truth. It is also an inconvenient truth for those “progressives” who gave Obama a pass on the dismal economic performance of his first term when he bailed out the banks but not their victims. At a time when the Federal Reserve continues to purchase $40 billion each month of Wall Street’s toxic assets and provide the ever more concentrated financial conglomerates with interest free funds, the president dares brag that “We’ve put in place rules to prevent that kind of financial meltdown from ever happening again.” No, he hasn’t, and with Lew holding down the fort at Treasury, he won’t. read more »
AIG, Don't Bite The Hand That Fed You by Elizabeth Warren, The Guardian | January 10, 2013AIG made reckless bets that nearly crashed our entire economy. Beginning in 2008, the government poured billions of your taxpayer dollars into the insurance giant to save it from bankruptcy after it gambled on mortgage-backed securities. And the bailout worked – earlier this year, AIG reported making billions in profit. But AIG has a funny way of showing its gratitude. Wednesday morning, reports indicated that AIG is considering joining a lawsuit against the federal government because the terms of the bailout weren't generous enough. Can you believe it? AIG should thank American taxpayers for their help – not bite the hand that fed them read more »
Major Settlements Better For Banks Than Homeowners by Natasha Leonard, salon.com | January 8, 2013Two major settlements between ten big banks and the government Monday totaling over $20 billion aimed to clear up allegations of widespread malpractice relating to the mortgage crisis. But what at first looks like great news for the 4 million Americans forced into foreclosure between 2009 and 2010, the settlements may be a greater boon to banks than burned homeowners. read more »
Feds Replace Flawed Foreclosure Review With Vague $8.5 Billion Settlement by Paul Kiel, propublica.org | January 8, 2013The Independent Foreclosure Review was supposed to be a full and fair investigation of the big banks' foreclosure abuses, and it was trumpeted as the government's largest effort to compensate victimized homeowners. Federal regulators, who designed the review, forced banks to spend billions to carry it out. Millions of homeowners were eligible and hundreds of thousands submitted claims. But Monday morning, the very regulators who launched the program 18 months ago announced that it had all been a massive mistake and shut it down. Instead, 10 banks have agreed to pay a total of $3.3 billion in cash to the 3.8 million borrowers who had been eligible for the review. That's an average of around $870 per borrower. But typical of a process that's been characterized by confusion, delays and secrecy, regulators said the details of how the money will be doled out were not yet available. read more »
A culture of bullying and greed: Wanted - interns for Goldman Sachs... , independent.co.uk | October 17, 2012
WikiLeaks Is Down After Denial of Service Attacks, mashable.com | August 9, 2012
After five days of denial of service attacks, the WikiLeaks website has been knocked out. more »
The Spreading Scourge of Corporate Corruption, The New York Times | July 11, 2012
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the Libor scandal is how familiar it seems. Sure, for some of the world’s leading banks to try to manipulate one of the most important interest rates in contemporary finance is clearly egregious. more »
Needy States Use Housing Aid Cash to Plug Budgets, The New York Times | May 16, 2012
Vermont Legislature Passes Resolution Challenging Citizens United, commondreams.org | April 21, 2012
From 'Pipe Dream' to 'Mainstream' citizens fight back against corporate personhood more »
Goldman Sachs: Lloyd Blankfein 'disappointed' by claims of 'toxic' greed, telegraph.co.uk | March 14, 2012
Legal Fees Mount at Fannie and Freddie, The New York Times | February 22, 2012
Taxpayers have advanced almost $50 million in legal payments to defend former executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the three years since the government rescued the giant mortgage companies, a regulatory analysis has found.
To: DOJ Funky fascist America Dept
Subject: Accountability more »
Apple investigates 'sweat shop' factories following suicide threat, telegraph.co.uk | February 13, 2012
The technology giant, which has faced criticism over working conditions at some of its suppliers’ plants in China, said today that it had asked the Fair Labor Association (FLA) to conduct “special voluntary audits” of several facilities, including factories owned b more »
On the Trail of Mortgage Fraud, The New York Times | January 17, 2012
When is a crime not a crime?
When criminality subverts the system, challenges the system, becomes the system. From the Kleptocrats' point of view it is the systematic breakdown of each and every law which gets in their way; preventing the ascent to power of their enhanced moral values.
The Kleptocrats are really America's third political party.
Help Stop SOPA/PIPA Breaking The Internet, wordpress.org | January 14, 2012
You are an agent of change. Has anyone ever told you that? Well, I just did, and I meant it.