Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bankers (Dictators of the West) Are More Worthy To the Money Powers-That-Be: $200,000 Loan for $2 Per Month Proves It & 5 Ways to Make Banks Pay for Their Secret $7 Trillion Free Ride!!!


Just thought you might like to catch up on the latest news about where your money disappeared to at this busy time of the year - you know - the time when you realize how desperately poor you really are as you can't buy presents for the ones you love or have a special Christmas meal? (Not to mention paying your mortgage, see a doctor without insurance, or buying enough food to feed your family.)

Alan Grayson impressed me from the first. He's not only superbly educated, intelligent and well-spoken, but he also knows where the bones are buried. And this will be useful during the future accounting. If there ever is a future (accounting). Take the floor, Congressman (ex-, of course).

[Since it's pretty close if not already holiday time in your house, if you could throw a few coins this way, there will be a Santa Claus in Pottersville. Thank you for your support!]

$200,000 Loan for $2 Per Month?

Alan Grayson, former U.S. Congressman from Florida:
You saw that title, "A $200K Mortgage for $2 a Month," and maybe you thought, "that looks like spam."
No. It's real.
And then maybe you thought, "a $200,000 mortgage? For only $2 each month? That sounds impossible."
Well, it is possible. It's just not possible for you.
For Bank of America, yes. For Citigroup, yes. For Wells Fargo, yes.
For you, no.
The GAO's main report on its audit of the Federal Reserve exposed who received the trillions and trillions of dollars in Fed bailouts. But the GAO report wasn't very specific about the terms of those bailouts. For that, we have the Freedom of Information Act records obtained by Bloomberg News, which Bloomberg wrote about last week. Among other things, Bloomberg reported that the Fed lent out this cash to Wall Street at rates "as low as 0.01 percent."
To such worthy recipients as Bear Stearns, AIG, the Royal Bank of Scotland, etc., etc.
Well, it could have been worse. The Fed could have just dumped the money into a wood chipper.
If you do that math, you'll see that when the Fed gave Citigroup the money for a $200,000 mortgage, at 0.01 percent, Citigroup had to pay less than $2 each month for that money. Citigroup then lent that money to you -- if it deigned to lend you anything -- for maybe $1,000 a month, maybe more.
And that $40,000 credit card balance? Citigroup paid the Fed less than a dollar a month for that money. And you paid $1,000.
Citigroup pays $1. You pay $1,000. You see how that works?
Citigroup fell into such a deep hole that it had to borrow a "term-adjusted" $58,000,000,000 from the Fed, according to Page 132 of the GAO's audit report.
And what would you get from the Fed, if you fell into a deep hole? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zip. Diddly-squat. Zero.
You wouldn't get jack.
If you lose your home, you can sleep in your car. If you lose your car, you can sleep under a bridge. Unless, of course, you're a Wall Street banker.
Two hundred and thirteen years ago, there was a Member of Congress who said: "Millions for defense, but not one penny for tribute." Now we have a government that says: "Trillions for Wall Street, but not one penny for you."
That's our government. Unless we change it.
Courage,
Alan Grayson
"Everybody knows that the dice are loaded Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed Everybody knows that the war is over Everybody knows the good guys lost Everybody knows the fight was fixed The poor stay poor, the rich get rich That's how it goes. Everybody knows."
- Leonard Cohen, "Everybody Knows"
Please follow Alan Grayson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/alangrayson
Robert Fisk speaks to my heart. Funny how the only true reporter around who admits to feeling exactly the same about the absurdity abounding from the financial con artists with the same revulsion I feel every day when viewing the non-news is reporting from the Middle East.

I keep thinking to myself that they weren't even clever (and certainly weren't smart), just well-connected to the money fount - and what other reason could there be for that other than that the money guys at the top got the first skim off each crooked deal?

Bankers Are the Dictators of the West

Robert Fisk

Writing from the very region that produces more clichés per square foot than any other "story" – the Middle East – I should perhaps pause before I say I have never read so much garbage, so much utter drivel, as I have about the world financial crisis.

But I will not hold my fire. It seems to me that the reporting of the collapse of capitalism has reached a new low which even the Middle East cannot surpass for sheer unadulterated obedience to the very institutions and Harvard "experts" who have helped to bring about the whole criminal disaster.

Let's kick off with the "Arab Spring" – in itself a grotesque verbal distortion of the great Arab/Muslim awakening which is shaking the Middle East – and the trashy parallels with the social protests in Western capitals. We've been deluged with reports of how the poor or the disadvantaged in the West have "taken a leaf" out of the "Arab spring" book, how demonstrators in America, Canada, Britain, Spain and Greece have been "inspired" by the huge demonstrations that brought down the regimes in Egypt, Tunisia and – up to a point – Libya. But this is nonsense.

The real comparison, needless to say, has been dodged by Western reporters, so keen to extol the anti-dictator rebellions of the Arabs, so anxious to ignore protests against "democratic" Western governments, so desperate to disparage these demonstrations, to suggest that they are merely picking up on the latest fad in the Arab world. The truth is somewhat different.
What drove the Arabs in their tens of thousands and then their millions on to the streets of Middle East capitals was a demand for dignity and a refusal to accept that the local family-ruled dictators actually owned their countries. The Mubaraks and the Ben Alis and the Gaddafis and the kings and emirs of the Gulf (and Jordan) and the Assads all believed that they had property rights to their entire nations. Egypt belonged to Mubarak Inc, Tunisia to Ben Ali Inc (and the Traboulsi family), Libya to Gaddafi Inc. And so on. The Arab martyrs against dictatorship died to prove that their countries belonged to their own people.

And that is the true parallel in the West. The protest movements are indeed against Big Business – a perfectly justified cause – and against "governments".

What they have really divined, however, albeit a bit late in the day, is that they have for decades bought into a fraudulent democracy: they dutifully vote for political parties – which then hand their democratic mandate and people's power to the banks and the derivative traders and the rating agencies, all three backed up by the slovenly and dishonest coterie of "experts" from America's top universities and "think tanks", who maintain the fiction that this is a crisis of globalisation rather than a massive financial con trick foisted on the voters.


The banks and the rating agencies have become the dictators of the West. Like the Mubaraks and Ben Alis, the banks believed – and still believe – they are owners of their countries. The elections which give them power have – through the gutlessness and collusion of governments – become as false as the polls to which the Arabs were forced to troop decade after decade to anoint their own national property owners.

Goldman Sachs and the Royal Bank of Scotland
became the Mubaraks and Ben Alis of the US and the UK, each gobbling up the people's wealth in bogus rewards and bonuses for their vicious bosses on a scale infinitely more rapacious than their greedy Arab dictator-brothers could imagine.


I didn't need Charles Ferguson's Inside Job on BBC2 this week – though it helped – to teach me that the ratings agencies and the US banks are interchangeable, that their personnel move seamlessly between agency, bank and US government.

The ratings lads (almost always lads, of course) who AAA-rated sub-prime loans and derivatives in America are now – via their poisonous influence on the markets – clawing down the people of Europe by threatening to lower or withdraw the very same ratings from European nations which they lavished upon criminals before the financial crash in the US.


I believe that understatement tends to win arguments. But, forgive me, who are these creatures whose ratings agencies now put more fear into the French than Rommel did in 1940?

Why don't my journalist mates in Wall Street tell me? How come the BBC and CNN and – oh, dear, even al-Jazeera – treat these criminal communities as unquestionable institutions of power? Why no investigations Inside Job started along the path – into these scandalous double-dealers?

It reminds me so much of the equally craven way that so many American reporters cover the Middle East, eerily avoiding any direct criticism of Israel, abetted by an army of pro-Likud lobbyists to explain to viewers why American "peacemaking" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be trusted, why the good guys are "moderates", the bad guys "terrorists".


The Arabs have at least begun to shrug off this nonsense. But when the Wall Street protesters do the same, they become "anarchists", the social "terrorists" of American streets who dare to demand that the Bernankes and Geithners should face the same kind of trial as Hosni Mubarak. We in the West – our governments – have created our dictators. But, unlike the Arabs, we can't touch them.

The Irish Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, solemnly informed his people this week that they were not responsible for the crisis in which they found themselves. They already knew that, of course. What he did not tell them was who was to blame. Isn't it time he and his fellow EU prime ministers did tell us? And our reporters, too?
I knew someone knew enough about it from the start (and has a plan to recover our money so freely given with no strings to criminals by their criminal enablers at the top levels of government), but guess who? (And guess why his sexual digressions had to be outed so long ago when all this was first H O T ???)

Sunday, December 11, 2011


5 Ways to Make Banks Pay for Their Secret $7 Trillion Free Ride


by Eliot Spitzer


"The CEOs of major banks maintained they were in good financial shape. Meanwhile, they secretly borrowed massive amounts from the government to stay afloat." 

"Imagine you walked into a bank, applied for a personal line of credit, and filled out all the paperwork claiming to have no debts and an income of $200,000 per year. The bank, based on these representations, extended you the line of credit. Then, three years later, after fighting disclosure all the way, you were forced by a court to tell the truth: At the time you made the statements to the bank, you actually were unemployed, you had a $1 million mortgage on your house on which you had failed to make payments for six months, and you hadn’t paid even the minimum on your credit-card bills for three months. Do you think the bank would just say: Never mind, don’t worry about it? Of course not. Whether or not you had paid back the personal line of credit, three FBI agents would be at your door within hours.

Yet this is exactly what the major American banks have done to the public.

During the deepest, darkest period of the financial cataclysm, the CEOs of major banks maintained in statements to the public, to the market at large, and to their own shareholders that the banks were in good financial shape, didn’t want to take TARP funds, and that the regulatory framework governing our banking system should not be altered.

Trust us, they said. Yet, unknown to the public and the Congress, these same banks had been borrowing massive amounts from the government to remain afloat. The total numbers are staggering: $7.7 trillion of credit — one-half of the GDP of the entire nation.

$460 billion was lent to J.P. Morgan, Bank of America, Citibank, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley alone — without anybody other than a few select officials at the Fed and the Treasury knowing. This was perhaps the single most massive allocation of capital from public to private hands in our history, and nobody was told. This was not TARP: This was secret Fed lending. And although it has since been repaid, it is clear why the banks didn’t want us to know about it: They didn’t want to admit the magnitude of their financial distress.

The banks’ claims of financial stability and solvency appear at a minimum to have been misleading — and may have been worse. Misleading statements and deception of this sort would ordinarily put a small-market player or borrower on the wrong end of a criminal investigation. So where are the inquiries into the false statements made by the bank CEOs? And where are the inquiries about the Fed and Treasury officials who stood by silently as bank representatives made claims that were false, misleading, or worse? 

Only now, because of superb analysis done by Bloomberg reporters — who litigated against the Fed and the banks for years to get the information — are we getting a full picture of the Fed and Treasury lending. The reporters also calculated that recipient banks and other borrowers benefited by approximately $13 billion simply by taking advantage of the “spread” between their cost of capital in these almost interest-free loans and their ability to lend the capital.

In addition to the secrecy, what is appalling is that these loans were made with no strings attached, no conditions, and no negotiation to achieve any broader public purpose. Even if one accepts the notion that the stability of the financial system could not be sacrificed, those who dispensed trillions of dollars to private parties made no apparent effort to impose even minimal obligations to condition the loans on the structural reforms needed to prevent another crisis, made no effort to require that those responsible for creating the crisis be relieved of their jobs, took zero steps towards the genuine mortgage-reform that is so necessary to begin a process of economic renewal.

The dollars lent were simply a free bridge loan so the banks could push onto others the responsibility for the banks’ own risk-taking.

If ever there was an event to justify the darkest, most conspiratorial view held by many that the alliance of big money on Wall Street and big government produces nothing but secret deals that profit insiders — this is it.

So what to do? The revelations of the secret loan program may provide the opportunity for Occupy Wall Street to suggest a few concrete steps that would be difficult to oppose.

First: Demand a hearing where the bank executives have to answer questions — under oath — about the actual negotiations, or lack thereof, that led to these loans; about the actual condition of each of the borrowing banks and whether that condition differed from the public statements made by the banks at the time.

Second: Require the recipient banks to use this previously undisclosed gift — the profit they made by investing this almost interest-free money — to write down the value of mortgages of those who are underwater. The loans to the banks were meant to solve a short-term liquidity problem, not be a source of profits to fund bonuses. Take back the profits and put them to a public use.

Third: Require the government officials responsible for authorizing these loans to explain why there was no effort made to condition these loans on changes in policy that would protect the public going forward.

Fourth: Ask Congress to examine every filing and statement made to Congress by the banks about their financial condition and their indebtedness to see if any misrepresentations were made in an effort to hide these trillions of dollars of loans. Misleading Congress can be a felony, and willful deception of the Congress to hide the magnitude of the public bailouts should not go unprosecuted.

Finally: Demand that politicians return all contributions made by the institutions that got hidden loans. Pressure the politicians who continue to feed from the trough of Wall Street, even as they know all too well how the banks and others have gamed the system and the public."








2 comments:

squatlo said...

Woman, I bow before you... "I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy"

I don't know how you do it, but once again you've compiled all the relevant data into a readable, informative, and highly damning post. Well done.

(now, if you're just trying to make the rest of us look like pikers, well, I guess you should go ahead and tell everyone that's the object of your efforts)

We've been hosed by the banks and these cozy little arrangements for far too long. When this info hits the fans in a way the average foreclosure victim can understand, it will spray in every direction.

GREAT POST, SUZAN!!!!!!!(dammit)

Suzan said...

Thank you, sir.

Without friends and readers like you, it would have never happened.

Love to you and yours.

Happy Holidays!

S