What sort of person would deliberately ignore the obvious fundamental reality of any budget?
It’s hard to say if the Tea Party has an acknowledged leader, but someone who professes to be just that has chosen a very opportune moment to trash Speaker John Boehner’s attempts to craft legislation that would allow an increase in the debt ceiling. Judson Phillips, the CEO of Tea Party Nation, is the self-acknowledged head of the Tea Party, and in an editorial this morning in The Washington Post, he attacks Boehner’s legislation for providing “almost non-existent budget cuts.” Continue reading →
If we defaulted on our debt when we were perfectly capable of paying it, we would be be prosecuted for fraud. But when Congress does it, they call it politics.
The crazies in the United States House of Representatives would have you believe it were so. They say fix that budget before we’ll raise the debt ceiling. If we don’t get our fix, they announce, there’s no deal. We’ll just default until things get straightened out. (Image: George Romero) Continue reading →
It’s time for Plan B. The White House is about to be sold to the same people who bought it in 2008. The front page of today’s New York Times says it all. President Obama is on the hunt for campaign cash and the Wall Street crowd represents his main target. After all, he and his “good friend Tim” (Geithner) delivered in the biggest way possible. Obama must be thinking that it’s payback time! Pony up fellas.
This much is clear. There will be no federal prosecutions of Wall Street crooks for the 2008 financial collapse, no day of judgment for massive mortgage fraud before, during and after the housing bubble, and no representation for the people the in the White House, no matter who wins in 2012. Populist rhetoric will guarantee a place on the no-fly list for any who stray from the new party line.
The Times article resorts to irony right out of the gate:
“Mr. Obama, who enraged many financial industry executives a year and a half ago by labeling them “fat cats” and criticizing their bonuses, followed up the meeting with phone calls to those who could not attend.” New York Times, June 13
The Pentagon and its NATO partners are engaged in one of the most obvious and intensive propaganda ploys in their military operations against Libya since the days leading up to the “Coalition of the Willing” attack on Iraq. Suggestions that the government of Muammar Qaddafi is on its last legs and that life in Tripoli has drawn to a standstill as a result of the NATO bombing campaign are not based on reality, as any unbiased observer who has recently been in Tripoli, has witnessed…
NATO has adopted Israeli-like “collective punishment” tactics for the people of government-controlled Libya. Fuel sanctions have resulted in long lines for gasoline in Tripoli, like these taxis (at the right) queued up for gasoline after shipments arrive at petrol stations. Credit: Wayne Madsen in Tripoli.
In addition to NATO’s “information war” against Libya, the corporate media press corps gathered in Tripoli, including notorious Pentagon war correspondents for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times, have furthered the Pentagon’s and NATO’s propaganda claims by making false reports from the ground in Tripoli.
Speculation reigns supreme in your nation’s capital. Who is next in line after the bin Laden operation? The bipartisan coalition directing the war on terror forgot one important fact about the security of the United States of America. It doesn’t matter who they kill overseas, the assault on almost all citizens continues unabated at home. No one is doing anything to stop it. Only the financial and political elite remain immune. (Image-WikiCommons)
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the national economic collapse (aka recession) ended June 2009. That’s news to the 55% of the public that believe we’re in either a recession or depression (April 2011).
Official unemployment is around 9%. That excludes the marginally employed and under employed. Adding those two groups takes unemployment up to 15.9%. Add the long-term unemployed and the figure climbs to nearly 23%.
You’re headed for bankruptcy court tomorrow. It’s been a long and difficult road. You and your husband both worked. You made decent money. Then your husband became ill. There was no sick leave because he worked for himself. His disability insurance had a six-month delay and only covered half of the lost income. That was all you could afford. (Image Wikimedia Commons)
His condition was critical and required medication three times a day at a monthly cost of $2500. Your company plan covered your husband but it didn’t cover the medication because the insurance company termed it experimental. It was the sole option for the crippling illness according to the three specialists consulted.
Your husband contributed 40% of the family income. The loss was a big hit but you persevered. You couldn’t sell the house, even if you wanted to. It was $150,000 upside down. There was no federal or bank program to relieve that burden. After four months of cashing in a modest 401(k), it became obvious that you couldn’t make it. You needed relief and time for your husband to get well.
You consulted your accountant. On his advice, you decided to file for bankruptcy. Continue reading →
The ForeclosureGate scandal poses a threat to Wall Street, the big banks, and the political establishment. If the public ever gets a complete picture of the personal, financial, and legal assault on citizens at their most vulnerable, the outrage will be endless. (Image)
Foreclosure practices lift the veil on a broader set of interlocking efforts to exploit those hardest hit by the endless economic hard times, citizens who become financially desperate due medical conditions. A 2007 study found that medical expenses or income losses related to medical crises among bankruptcy filers or family members triggered 62% of bankruptcies. There is no underground conspiracy. The facts are in plain sight.
ForeclosureGate represents the sum total illegal and unethical lending and collections activities during the real estate bubble. It continues today. Law professor and law school dean Christopher L. Peterson describes the contractual language for the sixty million contracts between borrowers and lenders as fictional since the boilerplate language names a universal surrogate as creditor (Mortgage Electronic Registration System), not the actual creditor. Other aspects of ForeclosureGate harmed homeowners but the contractual problems that the lenders created on their own pose the greatest threats. Continue reading →
The Too Big To Fail banks have been waiting with trepidation for a ruling from the Supreme Judicial Court of the State of Massachusetts on the case titled US Bank National Association (as trustee) vs. Antonio Ibanez. They were right to be fearful. The state supreme court has ruled against the banks and upheld a lower court order that nullified foreclosures by US Bancorp and Wells Fargo, on the grounds that neither bank had the legal right under Massachusetts law to foreclose. Today’s ruling has far-reaching consequences for the banks and the housing market in general, as it throws into serious question the legal soundness of millions of mortgages in the US if, as expected, courts in other states come to similar conclusions as the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. Continue reading →
As economists such as William Black and James Galbraith have repeatedly said, we cannot solve the economic crisis unless we throw the criminals who committed fraud in jail. And Nobel prize winning economist George Akerlof has demonstrated that failure to punish white collar criminals – and instead bailing them out- creates incentives for more economic crimes and further destruction of the economy in the future. See this, this and this.
“There are two fundamental reforms we need – to get adequate capital and, two, to get far higher levels of enforcements of statutes of fraud statutes, existing ones. I’m not even talking about new ones. Things were being done which were certainly illegal and fairly criminal in certain cases. Fraud, fraud is a fact. Fraud creates very considerable instability in competitive markets. If you cannot trust your counterparties, it won’t work. And indeed, we saw that it didn’t.” Alan Greenspan Nov. 9, 2010
“This breakdown in the debtor-creditor relationship has been entirely of the banks’ making and has been encouraged by powerful interests, including the Federal Reserve, the main regulator of the big banks.” Numerian
Joe Nocera, financial columnist for The New York Times, had an interesting conclusion to his recent article on Bank of America:
I admit it: I want to see the banks feel some pain. Most people do, I think. Banks did terrible things during the subprime bubble, and they still haven’t paid any real price. I find myself rooting for judges to rule against banks in foreclosure cases. I would love to see these big investors put the serious hurt on Bank of America, which will encourage other investors to pile on. I know this colors my thinking. I can’t help it.
Yet I also know the flip side. If the foreclosure lawyers start winning a lot of cases, if judges halt foreclosures on a widespread basis, if investors start to extract billions upon billions of dollars from the banks — and if banks become seriously weakened as a result — we’ll be right back where we were two years ago. The banks will need to be saved for the good of the economy. The taxpayers will have to come to the rescue. That’s an appalling prospect too.
Banks: We can’t live with them, and we can’t live without them. It stinks, doesn’t it?
This brief flourish of disgust for the banking industry received a lot of attention, almost all of it favorable. Millions of Americans want to see “serious hurt” put upon the banks, especially the big banks that are in the Too Big To Fail category. Why do we hate the banks so? Continue reading →
Two score and seven years ago the nation’s dispossessed thronged the Lincoln Memorial to hear Martin Luther King define the struggle for African-American civil rights. (Image)
Today it was the turn of the nation’s disenfranchised to gather at the same place, lamenting their lost supremacy as a superior race, and longing for a prophet to lead them back to the mountain top. That prophet, the nation’s self-anointed Jeremiah, was FOX News entertainer Glenn Beck.
In a growing shroud of secrecy, governments fail whistleblowers who often lose their careers, their marriages and their health after exposing corruption. Alex Roslin explores Canada and the US, focusing on Dr Shiv Chopra who tried to protect Canadians from dangerous drugs, agricultural practices, and carcinogenic pesticides from entering the food supply.
By Michael Collins reddit |digg it
(Satire) White House Press Secretary, Robert “the mole” Gibbs, was outed last night for his lead role in throwing the 2010 congressional election to the Republican Party. The White House refused to return calls to comment on the charge or verify the outline of the carefully orchestrated plot. But a variety of off the record sources spoke as one – the plot is real and has been going on long before the 2008 general election. The scope of the plot goes well beyond the upcoming congressional contests.
What’s a capitalist to do when he loses $500 billion and almost single-handedly destroys the global economy? In Japan you would bow deeply in public and express the deepest possible remorse and shame, that is if you already had not committed seppuku. In America, where the Ayn Rand ethos of objectivism reigns supreme, you weasel your way out of any explanation or regret, while riding off in the sunset with your undeserved fortune. Continue reading →
Prosecuting those who caused the financial crisis would lead to the next logical step: confiscating all the ill gotten gains and returning them to the people. The market went down and the people lost a bundle. The market is now back up and those losses are still in place. But guess who made a bundle on the fluctuation? This must be corrected.
Those who should be leading this country, and contributing to its development, have spent the past 25 years joining the parade of looters and predators who have found ways to extract wealth from the middle class and the poor in this country. Numerian Continue reading →
Reading the SEC allegations against Goldman Sachs and Co., you get the impression the agency would prefer a simple world where you could charge a company with lying and be done with it. Lying to one’s clients is at the core of the suit against Goldman Sachs. Unfortunately there is apparently no law against lying in phone conversations and meetings, but there are laws against fraudulent written representations, and this is the legal foundation on which the SEC is basing its suit.
The meaty stuff in the SEC complaint is to be found in the behavior of Goldman Sachs and its employee who structured the transaction known as ABACUS 2007-AC1. Fabrice Tourre, now age 31, was a vice president on the structured product correlation trading desk. He put together the ABACUS deals and is said in the complaint to have left out pertinent information, or lied altogether, to the firm that helped set up the ABACUS deal and make it sellable to investors. No other Goldman Sachs employee is identified in the suit, and the management on the trading desk or in his department are described only in shadowy terms.
Goldman’s response this week to the suit says that they will defend themselves vigorously (and no doubt with many millions of dollars of legal expense), so they are not throwing Mr. Tourre to the wolves as some rogue trader. This would have been the logical thing to do since the allegations against Mr. Tourre are especially damaging. By embracing and defending him so readily, we therefore have to assume Mr. Tourre’s behavior is emblematic of the Goldman Sachs culture, and how he comported himself is how many others behaved at the firm. This in itself is very revealing about Goldman Sachs and its management. Continue reading →
As much as we would like to join the celebration of the House’s passage of the health bill last night, in good conscience we cannot. We take no comfort in seeing aspirin dispensed for the treatment of cancer.
Instead of eliminating the root of the problem – the profit-driven, private health insurance industry – this costly new legislation will enrich and further entrench these firms. The bill would require millions of Americans to buy private insurers’ defective products, and turn over to them vast amounts of public money.