Sunday, September 11, 2016

Can Hillary Lead (Or Just Give Orders)? American Horror Story  (U.S. Financial House of Horrors Since Glass-Steagall Repeal)  9/11 Revisited  (Kissinger's Walking Dead Corpses)  Wall Street Bailout Redux  (Wells Fargo Cheats)

“9/11 Intercepted”

Observe the timing of “terrorist” events today, e.g. Orlando, Paris, Brussels, Nice and countless others. The problem-reaction-solution pattern to achieve their goals necessitates this. A pattern reveals itself. When France or the U.S. needs to bomb or invade in order to shore up ISIS terrorists in Syria, a Muslim “terrorist” incident occurs on the home front, and the military then have carte-blanche to do whatever it wants abroad. This is an old pattern. Before oil was a commodity, when the U.S. was expanding west and wanted more land, the American Indian was the “Muslim,” and Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull were the Saddam Husseins and Muammar Qaddafis of their day.
Organizationally Psychotic - Wells Fargo's Fake "Culture of Caring"
And now everyone knows exactly why Stumpf was willing to bribe members of Congress to sabotage regulation
Is Schumer Giving Up On Murphy And Strickland Already? What A Waste!
Schumer and his pathetic Montana sock-puppet, Jon Tester, spent millions of dollars people contributed to the DSCC to defeat Democrats Joe Sestak and Alan Grayson. Early in the cycle, Schumer informed Bernie Sanders that if he interfered with Schumer's 4th rate candidates in Ohio, Pennsylvania or Florida he would not be a committee chair when the next Senate convened. So now the Democrats are stuck with three inferior candidates - Katie McGinty, Patrick Murphy and Ted Strickland - who probably can't win their races against 3 terribly flawed Republicans - Pat Toomey, Marco Rubio and Rob Portman - who should be easy to knock off in a presidential election year. Sestak, Grayson and Sittenfeld probably would be in the middle of spirited campaigns pitting a clash of ideas right now and there's a better than even chance all three would have beaten their weak Republican opponents. Thanks to Schumer and Tester the GOP may well keep all three seats, which will be catastrophic for the Democrats' hope to win the Senate in 2016 or - if everything else goes their way - a sure-fire incentive for the GOP to filibuster everything until McConnell is back in charge in 2018.
Fed's Kaplan Says Next U.S. President Must Grow Workforce

Because you know . . . the crazy-intelligent right-wing argument is resolved that the USA doesn't have enough people anymore because of . . . er, abortion or not having enough rugrats due to the greedy, self-obsessed Baby Boomers/Generation X/Y/Millennials/whoever, . . . not enough immigration . . . and also, er, . . . while not paying any attention to the 25 million basically half-assed employed/unemployed who can't find decent full-time jobs with benefits in the here-and-now, let alone giving any weight to the idea that mindless growth destroys the earth's fragile resources even more quickly.

Because we need the economy to GROW, assholes! (That's the only way we can have more jobs created! Don't mention the billions being secreted offshore by those true-blue job creators. Patriots all.)

From a well-named blog we don't hear from nearly enough:

It is obvious to most people in the world, the ones  who are suffering deeply as they watch the American Presidential Election farce grind its boring, erratic way along the political track, that most Americans are, shall we say: Intellectually Challenged.
They take more than a year and spend enormous amounts of money trying to find a President who will lead them towards the greatness that they claim is theirs.
For example, in the recent past they elected George W Bush, a man who kept his nation laughing as he tried repeatedly to fit several words together and convey some of the deranged thoughts which filled his head.
George W Bush had an addled brain and had little idea that what came out of his mouth make little or no sense to most humans.
Next on the scene was Obama, a fast-talking black optimist. He was given a Nobel Peace Prize within minutes of becoming President and no prick of conscience ever made him give it back. No, on Thursdays (or was it Tuesdays)? he still went through the Death By Drone process. All over the world drones were launched and they exploded and people, on Obama’s say-so or on the say-so of informers, were blown into tiny pieces. The flies busied themselves with the spoils that lay under collapsed buildings but didn’t know who to thank.
Obama got bored fairly quickly and soon was busy with other things, other wars. He did what was asked of him and helped to push the line that Americans were exceptional although no one had any idea in what way Americans were exceptional. One thing was obvious: Americans loved war.

I think the political hair splitting we view every day now is almost too ironic. Obama the bomber is now (once again!) the idealistic leader. Hillary, the war-maker, ex-child protector, is even more idealistic than her President best buddy.

Ask anyone.

At the DNC.

Excuse me as I look for a barf bag. (See how long you can hold off.)

Clinton’s advantages have definitely put control of the U.S. Senate into play. And, as Robert H. Frank wrote in his "Sunday Times" piece, it is theoretically possible for the Democrats to seize control of the House of Representatives as well, which would bring stunning surcease to the hideous gridlock that has blocked urgent action on so many fronts, ranging from climate change to immigration and women’s rights.

I’m a Robert Frank fan, but as I read his thoughtful assessment of the House challenge I could not escape the realization that the kind of electoral surge needed to wrench the House from the Republicans is just not going to materialize. More to the point, I felt, quite viscerally, the loss of this opportunity. I felt what a doggone crying shame it will be for us to continue to bear the huge cost of divided government and to watch yet another young and hopeful generation grow cynical about a broken system.

Put simply, the only force that could break the GOP’s lock on the House is the force of a morally awakened electorate. Were Obama running again, I believe that the Republican House just might crumble and fall. The president remains America’s Idealist In Chief, and he would run on his evident moral passion to bind up the nation’s wounds. He would take the high ground and smite the sworn enemies of American ideals – of liberty and justice for all – on both hip and thigh. He would chastise the Republicans as a group for their decades-long stirring of the toxic slime from which Trumpism emerged.

Secretary Clinton, on the other hand, often sounds moralistic when speaking of the nation’s problems, but she never comes across as a deeply ethical reformer in the mold of Barack Obama, Franklin Roosevelt, or even 1964’s Lyndon Johnson. Her pandering to groups representing underdogs — women’s rights groups, civil rights groups, trade unions — feels in both intonation and gesture exactly like that:  highly calculated pandering. Tom Kaine’s down-to-earth Joe Biden impersonation can’t compensate for this defect at the top of the ticket. No number of morally impassioned surrogates can compensate.

We should not forget that a widely shared yearning for a moral revolution formed the heart of the Sanders movement. We shouldn’t forget that this surge of moral energy surprised the Vermont senator himself, or that it was really a remarkable thing to behold, especially considering the many liabilities of the senator as a credible candidate. We shouldn’t forget that what many read as “class warfare” and raw resentment of the overclass always arises from a deeply moral center. It’s not just that the 1% sucks up more than 90% of all new the new wealth generated in this country; it’s that their arrogance and presumption regarding their entitlement to power and wealth is widely seen to be undemocratic and simply wrong.

But it appears that Clinton and her team may have forgotten all of this.

In the same Sunday editions that included Prof. Frank’s call to take back the House, the "Times" reported that Mrs. Clinton, who has not been willing to meet the press in over 200 days, made time last month to meet with dozens of millionaires and billionaires at their gilded retreats in the Hamptons, Beverly Hills, Martha’s Vineyard, etc. The "Times’" analysis found her “raking in roughly $50 million at 22 fund-raising events, averaging about $150,000 an hour.”

Does anyone suppose that Secretary Clinton and her ultra-rich contributors are plotting a moral revolution — that they are framing a clarion call to end income inequality and ease the pain of working-class America — as they chat it up over foie gras in the gated mansions of both coasts?

Part of the arrogance of the overclass subsists in their assumption that the rest of us won’t notice their arrogance:  they assume that we are too dumb or too distracted to pay attention to how the system works. Historically, many a ruling elite has made this mistake. In today’s U.S. context, the seeds of popular awareness and popular revulsion are thick on the ground, but those seeds still need to be watered by the kind of political leadership that awakens rather than suppresses moral outrage.

Sadly, even tragically, Hillary Clinton is just not that kind of leader. Never mind her other problems:  the core problem is that she is far too much “at ease in Zion,” as the Hebrew prophets would have put it.

In 2008, Barack Obama didn’t have to say that his was a righteous cause. That righteousness was already almost self-evident in the very notion of someone like him, a proud African American, contending nobly for the nation’s highest office. But Obama then really energized and (I would say) sacralized his campaign by making the whole thing about the ethical promise of hope and change. He tapped into the deep yearning out there for a moral revolution. Obama’s appeal for a restoration of decency and fairness and an end to American torture held great appeal, not only to “people of faith” but to all people of good faith and good intent.

Obama’s ability to mount a “secular sacred” campaign, and not just his ability to run a superb field operation, is what catapulted him over Hillary Clinton to become the 44th president.

I fully expect Secretary Clinton to succeed Obama as #45, but my heart does not beat faster in contemplation of that outcome. Hers will not be a moral victory, and there won’t be enough of a popular insurgency to decimate the Republicans and finally lift the curse of extreme partisanship and divided government, not to mention the rule of concentrated wealth in Washington.

The favored rich will certainly rest easy with her in office. The rest of us, I’m not so sure.

Peter Laarman
Religion Dispatches

Did you hear the one about the Obama droners needing some coddling after the mayhem they make?

Didn't think so, although it makes a ton of sense. They are just kids.

From the sharp pen of our woman on the bloody scene Sardonicky:

How sweet. The Pentagon is having a Hallmark moment over its Hellfire missiles. Hitmen (and women) for hire in the private sector must be coddled and even sent get-well cards for all that incipient PTSD and eye-strain and aching backs. Forget about the innocent people on the ground getting killed or maimed by Predator and Reaper drones. They rarely get a mention, let alone an apology or compensation. It's not a part of the Drone Playbook. If they were expecting a sympathy card from America, they can think again.
. . . We're the American Deep State. Just trust us. If you were expecting transparency over which private corporations are receiving lucrative contracts on your dime for purposes of killing people in your name, you can think again. But, they grudgingly admit,

Contractors are typically compensated far more than service members, and some current and former senior Air Force officials said their use could actually exacerbate the shortage in military drone pilots because the pay of the private sector might lure them away.
Ya think? So pretty soon, we won't need a regular military at all. It's the capitalism, stupid. And privateers are under no obligation to disclose anything to the public. They only demand that the public pay for everything.

To its credit, the Times does give us a hint on one corporation that is profiting from privatized drone kills, without admitting outright that it is a direct beneficiary of the outsourcing. In true Orwellian spirit, it is called Resilient Solutions Ltd. Its motto is Your Mission First.
. . . Among Resilient Solutions' other listed clients is the New York Times, a factoid which the Paper of Record chose not to disclose.

And speaking of hellish mayhem.

Remember this guy?

My guess is that with as much history as today's voters are aware of, most of them don't.

But they should.

Cause he's a killer.

Kissinger’s Corpses:  A Look at Pinochet's FBI File

By Ken Klippenstein, Reader Supported News
08 September 16 
ith Henry Kissinger’s name back in the news, so are the facts of his ghoulish tenure as national security advisor and secretary of state under the Nixon and Ford administrations. Among the most infamous was the role Kissinger played in supporting the brutal military dictator of Chile, General Augusto Pinochet, whom Kissinger once told:  “We are sympathetic with what you are trying to do here.”

What Pinochet’s regime did was overthrow Chile’s democratically elected leader, kill at least 10,000 Chileans, torture 29,000, and drive into exile over 200,000. However, Pinochet’s crimes were not confined to Chile. In September of 1976, a car bomb went off in Washington DC’s Embassy Row, killing passengers Orlando Letelier, a former top official to the Chilean government, and Ronni Moffitt, his American assistant.

The deaths were gruesome, neither one instantaneous. (Letelier’s legs were blown off and Moffitt drowned in her own blood.) Pinochet personally ordered the murders, a fact that the CIA had known but would not declassify until just last year, in 2015. Letelier was a prominent official in the Chilean Socialist Party, which Pinochet overthrew in a military coup in 1973. Letelier had been speaking out against Pinochet’s regime and lobbying governments against doing business with it, which is why Pinochet sought to have him murdered.

I recently obtained Pinochet’s FBI file as a result of a Freedom of Information request I filed. The majority of records deemed responsive to my request were deleted in their entirety, many on “national security” grounds. The remaining pages – those actually provided to me – were heavily redacted.

Many FBI files pertaining to government officials contain little more than tedious procedural minutiae (e.g. background checks, security reports about locations for public appearances, and the like). In stark contrast, just a few pages into Pinochet’s file, there is a document covered in tape labeled “EVIDENCE.” It refers to photographs of Chilean officials travelling with Pinochet to the US. Though it is impossible to be certain, this suggests that the FBI regarded the Pinochet regime as a culprit very early on (considering when the document is dated).

(photo: Reader Supported News)

The date on this document (above), 9/5/77, is significant:  the car bomb that killed Letelier took place less than a year prior. 

Astonishingly, not only had the US permitted entry to Pinochet just months after a car bomb on US soil that was widely attributed to his regime, President Jimmy Carter met with him personally at the White House.

(photo: Reader Supported News)

Another record in Pinochet’s file (above) mentions “DINA,” the abbreviation for Pinochet’s secret police. DINA agents were later found to have carried out Letelier’s assassination on behalf of Pinochet.

Pinochet’s file contains a number of photographs of other Chilean officials – presumably including DINA – accompanying him, though all are redacted.

So what does this all have to do with Kissinger? Before Letelier’s murder, the State Department received CIA intelligence suggesting that the Pinochet regime was considering international assassinations of his political opponents. As a result, the State Department drafted a forceful warning against such an operation to be sent to the Pinochet government. However, the warning never made it to Chile:  just five days before Letelier’s assassination, Kissinger intervened and ordered the State Department to cancel its intended warning.

Then Letelier was, of course, murdered.

(Henry Kissinger shaking hands with Augusto Pinochet. Photo: Reader Supported News)

Ken Klippenstein is an American journalist who can be reached on twitter @kenklippenstein or via email:
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Database Reveals U.S. as Financial House of Horrors Since Repeal of Glass-Steagall Act

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
September 6, 2016
Richard Cordray, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Richard Cordray, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has set up an online database of financial horror stories that shows what happens when an average American interacts with one of the financial supermarkets (a/k/a universal banks) that grew out of the repeal of the investor protection legislation known as the Glass-Steagall Act. The complaints are concentrated against the biggest Wall Street banks.

If you are one of the lucky Americans who has not already been mugged in the shopping aisles of the financial supermarkets, you should carefully browse through the database to see what awaits the unwary. Just go to the complaint archive, and place the name of any bank you want to examine in the upper right-hand search box. Searching under the name Citibank (part of the Wall Street behemoth Citigroup) will bring up 29,000 rows of complaints. A search under Chase, part of the mega Wall Street bank, JPMorgan Chase, brings up 37,000 rows of complaints. After years of being charged by Federal regulators for abusing their customers and the public trust, both U.S. banks became felons on May 20 of last year when they admitted to felony charges related to rigging foreign currency markets.

Wall Street banks are intended to function as efficient allocators of capital to grow new businesses and industries in America. But since the Glass-Steagall Act was repealed in 1999 under pressure from Citigroup, Wall Street’s biggest banks increasingly function as legalized loan sharking operations – targeting the poor, minorities and financially unsophisticated. In what has become a highly efficient, wealth transfer mechanism, billions of dollars each month move from the pockets of those least able to protect themselves from financial abuse to the coffers of the one percent in America who sit in the executive offices of these banks.

Under the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, banks holding insured deposits were not allowed to be affiliated with Wall Street investment banks and brokerage firms — which have a storied history of stock frauds, abusing their customers, and blowing up. That protection was removed when President Bill Clinton signed into law the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act on November 12, 1999, the legislation that repealed the Glass-Steagall Act. After protecting the nation for 66 years, it took just 9 years after its repeal for Wall Street to implode, taking the U.S. economy with it.

Bill Clinton and his Treasury Secretary, Robert Rubin, ushered in the era of the financial supermarket that has trapped America in a time warp of 1920s-style abuses on Wall Street and the income and wealth inequality that it has spawned. Rubin had the audacity to head straight for Citigroup’s Board after stepping down as U.S. Treasury Secretary, collecting $126 million in compensation over the next decade.

This year Senator Bernie Sanders’ supporters were able to pressure the Democrats to include the restoration of the Glass-Steagall Act into this year’s Democratic Party Platform, but political watchers were shocked that it also ended up in the Republican Party’s Platform as well. The financial atrocities coming out of the publicly accessible database set up by the CFPB has sent a chill through both parties. Behind the scenes, both Democrats and Republicans believe there could be another epic crash like that of 2008 and neither wants the other party pointing the finger and saying, you blocked us from restoring the Glass-Steagall Act.

Consider Complaint Number 2073454 at the CFPB database which was received on August 20, 2016. The individual states that Citibank has increased the interest rate on his or her credit card to 29.99 percent for paying “a few days late.” The individual also states that “I have been a long time customer of Citi.”

This high interest rate is not an aberration. Citigroup provides credit and services the credit cards for major retailers like Home Depot, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Brooks Brothers and others. Many of the cards are issued under the name Department Stores National Bank, a subsidiary of Citigroup. The Macy’s card agreement currently shows an interest rate of 25.49 percent as does the Bloomingdale’s card. The Home Depot credit card from Citibank says its annual percentage rate varies from 17.99 to 26.99 “based on your creditworthiness.”

But consider what Citibank is paying struggling Americans who have their savings and Certificates of Deposit (CDs) with its insured bank. Savings accounts with Citi earn from one-tenth of one percent interest for accounts below $10,000 to eight-tenths of one percent for accounts of $500,000 or more. Five year CDs at Citibank are one-half of one percent. That’s less than half the yield of a 5-year U.S. Treasury note, which yields 1.19 percent.

Now consider how generous the U.S. government was with taxpayers’ money when Citigroup imploded as a result of its own corrupt devices in 2008. The government infused $45 billion in equity into Citigroup and provided more than $300 billion in asset guarantees. Secretly, the Federal Reserve gave Citigroup more than $2 trillion cumulatively in revolving low-interest loans, billions of dollars of which were below 1 percent interest. Citigroup was insolvent, a bad risk and there was no guarantee the taxpayer would ever be paid back. Did the government charge this subprime risk 29.99 percent interest? No, it gave the bank a rate compatible with a triple-A rated company that was providing impeccable collateral.

In an interview with Bill Moyers on March 16, 2012, John Reed, who created Citigroup with co-CEO Sandy Weill by merging together Citibank with the investment bank, Salomon Brothers, the brokerage firm, Smith Barney, and Travelers Group, an insurance company, explained the real motivation behind the deal – which had been sold to Congress as keeping American banks competitive with European rivals:

John Reed:  “Sandy Weill. I mean, his whole life was to accumulate money. And he said, ‘John, we could be so rich.’ Being rich never crossed my mind as an objective value. I almost was embarrassed that somebody would say out loud. It might be happening but you wouldn’t want to say it.

“But you know, the biggest bonus I had ever received when I was at Citi was three million dollars. The first year I worked with Sandy it was 15 [$15 million]. I said to the board, ‘I’m the same guy doing the same job, same company. There are two of us. The company’s bigger but there’re two of us. What’s going on?’ ‘Oh, you don’t understand.’ And it was just (a) totally different culture. And see, Wall Street developed that culture.”

Weill retired from Citigroup after reaping more than $1 billion in total compensation while Reed stepped down after receiving an estimated $300 million in compensation plus an annual pension of more than $2 million.

The thousands of complaints against Citibank in the CFPB archive, many dated as recently as this year and last, are only a slight variation of the same customer abuses we have been reading about since Citigroup’s financial supermarket was formed in 1998 – in violation at the time of the Glass-Steagall Act.

On July 20, 2001, Gail Kubiniec, a former Assistant Manager of a Citigroup subsidiary, CitiFinancial, testified as follows to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC):

“At CitiFinancial, emphasis was placed on marketing new loans, particularly real estate loans (loans secured by a home mortgage), to present borrowers of CitiFinancial. Employees would receive quarterly incentives, called ‘Rocopoly Money,’ based on how many present borrowers they ‘renewed’ (refinanced) into new loans…Typically, employees would only state the total monthly payment amount in selling a proposed loan.  Additional information, such as the interest rate, and the financed points and fees, closing costs, and ‘add-ons’ like credit insurance, were only disclosed when demanded by the borrower…It was also common practice to try to sell borrowers the largest loan possible…All CitiFinancial branch offices had quotas for the sale of credit insurance…Loans were typically presented to consumers with ‘100% coverage,’ meaning that real estate loans were presented with at least credit life and disability already included, and personal loans were presented with at least credit life, disability, involuntary unemployment, and property insurance already included…The pressure to sell coverages came from CitiFinancial’s Regional and District Managers.”

The FTC also had testimony from Michele V. Handzel, a former Branch Manager for CitiFinancial:

“CitiFinancial put much more pressure on employees than the Associates did [a firm merged into CitiFinancial] to include as many credit insurance and ancillary products as possible on every loan….In fact, I feel that the credit insurance sales practices at CitiFinancial were worse than at The Associates. From January to June 2001, the policy was that no personal loan at CitiFinancial would be approved if it did not include some type of credit insurance, nor would a real estate loan be approved without some type of ancillary product…There were several internal measures in place to effectuate this policy.  For instance, District Managers would frequently refuse to send a loan to underwriting if it did not include some type of insurance product.  Moreover, loans that were closed and did not include any insurance would be identified by CitiFinancial’s internal insurance auditors, and the employee who closed the loan would be written up…Closings at CitiFinancial resembled those at The Associates – they were brief.  Personal loan closings took approximately 10 minutes. Real estate loan closings took a little longer but also did not provide a lot of details about the loan. At CitiFinancial, I was instructed to do a ‘closed folder’ closing, meaning that information would be discussed orally first. Only after the borrower indicated that he wanted to sign would the employee open the folder and have the borrower sign the papers.”

On August 28, 2001, an Ohio woman sent the following complaint to a Federal agency:

“This will be my 3rd request for someone from this dept to assist me.  I am a victim of predatory lending.  Citifinancial gave me a loan at 24.99% in June of ’99.  I had a perfect credit score. The[y] called me back into their office one week later.  Refinanced that same loan at 18.99% and had a check for $500.00 waiting for me…this time they told me that I had to use my home as collateral to get the lower interest rate…I feel that because I am a female and black that they…thought they could get away with this…”

Did the FTC have evidence to show that CitiFinancial was targeting minorities and the vulnerable?  According to their former Assistant Manager, Gail Kubiniec:

“I and other employees would often determine how much insurance could be sold to a borrower based on the borrower’s occupation, race, age, and education level.  If someone appeared uneducated, inarticulate, was a minority, or was particularly old or young, I would try to include all the coverages CitiFinancial offered.  The more gullible the consumer appeared, the more coverages I would try to include in the loan…”

The FTC settled their suit against CitiFinancial on September 19, 2002 for $215 million. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created under the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation of 2010. It has picked up where the FTC left off.

On July 2015, the CFPB ordered Citibank to:

“provide an estimated $700 million in relief to eligible consumers harmed by illegal practices related to credit card add-on products and services. Roughly 7 million consumer accounts were affected by Citibank’s deceptive marketing, billing, and administration of debt protection and credit monitoring add-on products. A Citibank subsidiary also deceptively charged expedited payment fees to nearly 1.8 million consumer accounts during collection calls. Citibank and its subsidiaries will pay $35 million in civil money penalties to the CFPB.”

Illegal add-ons? Wasn’t that what Gail Kubiniec had told the FTC was happening back in 2001? The following complaint was received by the CFPB on May 22 of this year:

“A few months ago, I realized that Citibank had charged me [redacted] dollars each month for payment safeguard, a service I never signed up for, and that the CFPB has called an unfair and deceptive practice. I called and asked to quit the program and said I wanted a refund, and was given a fee adjustment of $700.00. Today I realized that even after that, I’ve still been incurring monthly payment safeguard charges…”

It is now enshrined in Federal court documents that Citigroup is a recidivist. U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff used that very word to describe Citigroup in 2011 and 19 securities law professors told the Second Circuit Appellate Court the same thing in a related Amicus brief.

Since the chronology of serial charges against Citigroup (shown below) proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Citigroup is not only an unreformed recidivist but a serial abuser of its own customers in its insured bank, its investment bank and its other subsidiaries, it is time for Congress to do its job and reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act and restore confidence and sanity to the U.S. financial system.

If there is any doubt that, as Bernie Sanders likes to say, fraud is now a business model on Wall Street, you can also check out JPMorgan Chase’s charges of wrongdoing here.

Chronology of Financial Abuses at Citigroup:  (only a partial listing):

September 19, 2002:  FTC Announcement — “In the largest consumer protection settlement in FTC history, Citigroup Inc. will pay $215 million to resolve Federal Trade Commission charges that Associates First Capital Corporation and Associates Corporation of North America (The Associates) engaged in systematic and widespread deceptive and abusive lending practices.”

October 31, 2003:  U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley signs a settlement order agreed to by multiple regulators for Citigroup to pay $400 million over issuance of fraudulent stock research.

May 28, 2004:  The Federal Reserve announces a $70-million penalty against Citigroup Inc. and CitiFinancial Credit Co. over their handling of high-interest-rate “subprime” mortgages and personal loans.

May 31, 2005:  SEC announces a $208 million settlement with Citigroup over improper  transactions by its proprietary mutual funds.

June 28, 2005:  Citigroup agrees to pay the UK regulator, the FSA, $25 million over its “Dr. Evil” trade that manipulated the European bond market.

March 26, 2008:  Citigroup settles a suit with Enron creditors for $1.66 billion over claims it aided and abetted Enron in hiding its debt.

August 26, 2008:  California Attorney General Edmund Brown Jr. announces a settlement with Citigroup to return all monies improperly taken from customers through an illegal account sweeping program. According to the Attorney General:  “Nationally, the company took more than $14 million from its customers, including $1.6 million from California residents, through the use of a computer program that wrongfully swept positive account balances from credit-card customer accounts into Citibank’s general fund…The company knowingly stole from its customers, mostly poor people and the recently deceased, when it designed and implemented the sweeps,” Attorney General Brown said. “When a whistleblower uncovered the scam and brought it to his superiors, they buried the information and continued the illegal practice.”

December 11, 2008:  SEC forces Citigroup and UBS to buy back $30 billion in auction rate securities that were improperly sold to investors through misleading information.

February 11, 2009:  Citigroup agrees to settle lawsuit brought by WorldCom investors for $2.65 billion.

July 29, 2010:  SEC settles with Citigroup for $75 million over its misleading statements to investors that it had reduced its exposure to subprime mortgages to $13 billion when in fact the exposure was over $50 billion.

October 19, 2011:  SEC agrees to settle with Citigroup for $285 million over claims it misled investors in a $1 billion financial product.  Citigroup had selected approximately half the assets and was betting they would decline in value.

February 9, 2012:  Citigroup agrees to pay $2.2 billion as its portion of the nationwide settlement of bank foreclosure fraud.

August 29, 2012:  Citigroup agrees to settle a class action lawsuit for $590 million over claims it withheld from shareholders knowledge that it had far greater exposure to subprime debt than it was reporting.

July 1, 2013:  Citigroup agrees to pay Fannie Mae $968 million for selling it toxic mortgage loans.

September 25, 2013:  Citigroup agrees to pay Freddie Mac $395 million to settle claims it sold it toxic mortgages.

December 4, 2013:  Citigroup admits to participating in the Yen Libor financial derivatives cartel to the European Commission and accepts a fine of $95 million.

July 14, 2014:  The U.S. Department of Justice announces a $7 billion settlement with Citigroup for selling toxic mortgages to investors. Attorney General Eric Holder called the bank’s conduct “egregious,” adding, “As a result of their assurances that toxic financial products were sound, Citigroup was able to expand its market share and increase profits.”

November 2014:  Citigroup pays more than $1 billion to settle civil allegations with regulators that it manipulated foreign currency markets. Other global banks settled at the same time.

May 20, 2015:  Citicorp, a unit of Citigroup becomes an admitted felon by pleading guilty to a felony charge in the matter of rigging foreign currency trading, paying a fine of $925 million to the Justice Department and $342 million to the Federal Reserve for a total of $1.267 billion.

February 23, 2016:  The CFPB ordered Citibank to provide nearly $5 million in consumer relief and pay a $3 million penalty for selling credit card debt with inflated interest rates and for failing to forward consumer payments promptly to debt buyers. It took a second action against both Citibank and two debt collection law firms it used that falsified court documents filed in debt collection cases in New Jersey state courts. The CFPB ordered Citibank and the law firms to comply with a court order that Citibank refund $11 million to consumers and forgo collecting about $34 million from nearly 7,000 consumers.
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Remember the lousy economy Bush and Cheney had been shepherding from the day they assumed office until 9/11?

And all the vacations Bush took until the planes hit?

What has been lost in the emotional toll of that day is the reality that the massive bailout by the Federal Reserve of Wall Street in 2008, had its test run on 9/11. We know a great deal about the $13 trillion that the Fed secretly infused into Wall Street banks and foreign banks in cumulative loans from 2007 through 2010 because Bloomberg News battled in court for years to unleash the information from the iron grip of the Fed. The public knows much less about the massive Fed bailout during 9/11 and Fed Chair Alan Greenspan, according to a transcript from a teleconference after 9/11, demanded that those in the know at the Fed coordinate any public comments with the Fed before making them.
What few Americans remember is that the stock market was in terrible shape prior to 9/11 because of corrupt analyst research practices on Wall Street. The Nasdaq had closed at 1695 on the day before 9/11 – a stunning 66 percent drop from its peak in March of 2000. The bust had led to one of the largest destructions of U.S. wealth in stock market history. The U.S. economy was also in a swoon as a result.

The oddest part of my viewing of the 9/11 events (while at home that day from my regular two-day-a-week adjunct teaching position) is that waaaay before the scene with the girl reporter saying that Building 7 had also fallen into its basement like a deflated stack of pancakes was that by then it seemed pretty clear from the amateurish (almost slapsticky) reporting amid the terrified confusion shown by the people caught unaware on the street that it all must have been a joke on the stoopids of the USA USA USA! I mean, steel-reinforced pillars melting from aircraft fires? Multi-story buildings disintegrating in under 10 seconds? NORAD flummoxed over and over by cave-dwellers wielding box-cutters who flunked flight school (and probably every other school they attended)? That Pentagon strike sealed the deal for this ex-DoD contractor. It was almost too much that I knew the NORAD procedures which were clearly in abeyance that day. Let alone the Pentagon's.

The next day in class when my students begged for my opinion about the somewhat obvious well-planned implosion of the buildings, I had no difficulty agreeing with them that it violated the laws of physics let alone those of common sense - and the deplorable condition of the American economy came up in class discussion right after that. Thus the Dubya "Go shopping!" dictum drew gasps and outbursts of stunned laughter from the room's sharpies. Yeah. You suckers better start borrowing and spending hard.

Looking at 9/11 in the Context of the Wall Street Bailout of 2008

By Pam Martens
September 8, 2016
BBC correspondent Jane Standley Reported the Destruction of WTC 7 Before It Collapsed – Even Though the Building Could Be Seen Behind Her.  (Photo Courtesy of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth.)
BBC Correspondent Jane Standley Reported the Destruction of WTC 7 Before It Collapsed – Even Though the Building Could Be Seen Behind Her.(Photo Courtesy of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth.)
This Sunday will mark the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy – one of those seminal events in human memory that is seared forever on the brain. Because of the emotional toll 9/11 took on the human psyche — watching U.S. commercial airline planes converted to killing machines on U.S. soil — America’s collective memory of exactly what happened on 9/11 has more to do with repetitive TV clips of the Twin Towers collapsing and a rush to war than specific details of the actions of those pulling the monetary levers on Wall Street.

The day’s events were so bizarre and triggered such cognitive dissonance that millions of Americans did not realize for years that a third World Trade Center skyscraper had collapsed in lower Manhattan that day. World Trade Center Building 7, a 47-story skyscraper not hit by a plane, collapsed at 5:20 p.m. on 9/11 in an almost identical fashion as World Trade Centers One and Two had collapsed in the morning. The organization, Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, which consists of more than 2,000 licensed architects and engineers, do not believe the official version of how these buildings collapsed and have signed a petition calling for a new, independent investigation of 9/11 by a body with full subpoena power.

This is the first time we are writing about 9/11 in any detail. Our small town of Garden City, Long Island, New York, where we lived at the time, was heavily impacted. The memories are painful. Long Island as a whole experienced almost 500 deaths out of the almost 3,000 who died on 9/11. Our next door neighbor, a wonderful husband and father to two young sons, lost his life that day. We stood by a colleague at work watching the news unfold on TV on the morning of 9/11 and painfully remember his dash to race home to his family. His brother worked for Cantor Fitzgerald, a Wall Street firm that lost 658 of its 960 employees that day, including his young brother.

What has been lost in the emotional toll of that day is the reality that the massive bailout by the Federal Reserve of Wall Street in 2008, had its test run on 9/11. We know a great deal about the $13 trillion that the Fed secretly infused into Wall Street banks and foreign banks in cumulative loans from 2007 through 2010 because Bloomberg News battled in court for years to unleash the information from the iron grip of the Fed. The public knows much less about the massive Fed bailout during 9/11 and Fed Chair Alan Greenspan, according to a transcript from a teleconference after 9/11, demanded that those in the know at the Fed coordinate any public comments with the Fed before making them.

What few Americans remember is that the stock market was in terrible shape prior to 9/11 because of corrupt analyst research practices on Wall Street. The Nasdaq had closed at 1695 on the day before 9/11 – a stunning 66 percent drop from its peak in March of 2000. The bust had led to one of the largest destructions of U.S. wealth in stock market history. The U.S. economy was also in a swoon as a result.

The New York Times’ Ron Chernow wrote about the abysmal state of Wall Street six months before 9/11:  “Let us be clear about the magnitude of the Nasdaq collapse. The tumble has been so steep and so bloody — close to $4 trillion in market value erased in one year — that it amounts to nearly four times the carnage recorded in the October 1987 crash.” Chernow compared the Nasdaq to a “lunatic control tower that directed most incoming planes to a bustling, congested airport known as the New Economy while another, depressed airport, the Old Economy, stagnated with empty runways. The market functioned as a vast, erratic mechanism for misallocating capital across America,” wrote Chernow.

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes of August 21, 2001, just a few weeks before 9/11, confirm the sorry state of both the economy and the stock market as follows:

“Business spending on equipment and software declined substantially in the second quarter after falling somewhat in the preceding two quarters…orders data for June were extraordinarily weak, led by a steep decline in communications equipment.

Those data, as well as numerous anecdotal reports, suggested further weakness in spending for equipment and software going forward. Nonresidential construction, which had held up well in the first quarter, was down substantially in the second quarter, as spending for office, industrial, and lodging facilities contracted sharply. Vacancy rates, particularly in high-tech centers, had increased significantly in recent months, as demand for office space and data centers plunged…

“A spate of weak second-quarter earnings reports and sizable reductions in analysts’ earnings projections for the remainder of the year took a toll on equity markets, however, and broad stock market indexes moved down appreciably over the intermeeting interval…”

The 9/11 tragedy gave the Fed the freedom to crank enormous sums of liquidity into Wall Street within just a few days. Its minutes and transcripts show the following:

On September 12, 2001, the FOMC voted unanimously to establish a $50 billion swap line with the European Central Bank;

On September 13, 2001, the FOMC voted to increase the swap line with the Bank of Canada from $2 billion to $10 billion;

On September 14, 2001, the FOMC voted to establish a $30 billion swap line with the Bank of England;

On Monday morning, September 17, 2001 – prior to the opening of the New York Stock Exchange for the first time since it closed on 9/11, the Federal Reserve announced it was cutting its Fed Funds Rate and Discount Rate by 50 basis points (one-half of one percent), giving Wall Street a windfall in lowered borrowing costs. Over the next three months, the Fed would cut its benchmark Fed Funds rate by another 125 basis points.

In a teleconference meeting by the FOMC on September 13, 2001, just two days after 9/11, Jerry Jordan, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland at the time, gave this description of the $100 billion the Fed had thus far pumped into Wall Street:

JORDAN. “Mr. Chairman, this is Jerry Jordan in Cleveland. As we demonstrated yesterday, our ability to inject liquidity into the system as needed is very, very large. It appears to me — with the combination of discount window borrowing yesterday, RPs, overnight overdrafts, and the Fed float — that we’ve added about $100 billion worth of liquidity. So it would be hard to imagine the availability of liquidity as an issue. And for the sophisticated people in the financial industry, I think that has already had a very calming effect.”

At another teleconference call on the morning of September 17, Fed Chair Greenspan effectively warned the Fed governors to keep a lid on how much they shared with the public. According to the transcript of the call, Greenspan stated:

GREENSPAN:  For the time being, all of our remarks should be coordinated and made as official statements of the Federal Open Market Committee. As a consequence, when you are out talking — as indeed I think you obviously have to be — there is no reason why you cannot discuss what we have in fact done in areas such as the payments system and the swap lines. We can discuss issues relating to the effects of this disruption, including the bulging of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet and the ultimate expectation that within a reasonably short period of time it will converge back to normal, as well as other issues of that nature. I would stay away from commenting on what we did just now and I would refrain from speculating about the American economy. There is no way to discuss the outlook for the American economy without discussing monetary policy or implying in somewhat precise form what the options may be…If there are any statements coming out of the Federal Reserve, we have to make certain that they are coordinated and that we all effectively agree on the statements that we make.”

In the same call, William J. McDonough, President of the New York Fed which is headquartered just blocks from the New York Stock Exchange, explained what else was being done to rally spirits on Wall Street:  “We have the building wrapped in bunting, we have a big flag flying, and we’re playing patriotic music from the parapet.”

When I returned to work after 9/11, there were American flag lapel pins for every employee placed by an unseen hand on our desks. But flags and patriotic music blaring from the parapets is not the same thing as truth and facts.

The families of the victims, the public, the architects and engineers who have thoroughly discredited the official story, and all of us who are repulsed by watching Wall Street bailed out of its crimes, time after time, deserve facts from a truly independent commission with meaningful subpoena power.
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The Tyranny of 9/11:  The Building Blocks of the American Police State from A-Z

By John W. Whitehead
September 06, 2016
“No one man can terrorize a whole nation unless we are all his accomplices.” ― Edward R. Murrow
We’ve walked a strange and harrowing road since September 11, 2001, littered with the debris of our once-vaunted liberties.

We have gone from a nation that took great pride in being a model of a representative democracy to being a model of how to persuade the citizenry to march in lockstep with a police state. In doing so, we have proven Osama Bin Laden right. He warned that “freedom and human rights in America are doomed. The U.S. government will lead the American people in — and the West in general — into an unbearable hell and a choking life.”

These past 15 years have indeed been an unbearable, choking hell.

What began with the passage of the USA Patriot Act in October 2001 has snowballed into the eradication of every vital safeguard against government overreach, corruption and abuse.

The citizenry’s unquestioning acquiescence to anything the government wants to do in exchange for the phantom promise of safety and security has resulted in a society where the nation is being locked down into a militarized, mechanized, hypersensitive, legalistic, self-righteous, goose-stepping antithesis of every principle upon which this nation was founded.

This is not freedom. This is a jail cell.

Set against a backdrop of government surveillance, militarized police, SWAT team raids, asset forfeiture, eminent domain, overcriminalization, armed surveillance drones, whole body scanners, stop and frisk searches, roving VIPR raids and the like — all of which have been sanctioned by Congress, the White House and the courts — our constitutional freedoms have been steadily chipped away at, undermined, eroded, whittled down, and generally discarded.

Our losses are mounting with every passing day.

Free speech, the right to protest, the right to challenge government wrongdoing, due process, a presumption of innocence, the right to self-defense, accountability and transparency in government, privacy, press, sovereignty, assembly, bodily integrity, representative government:  all of these and more have become casualties in the government’s war on the American people, a war that has grown more pronounced since 9/11.

Since the towers fell on 9/11, the American people have been treated like enemy combatants, to be spied on, tracked, scanned, frisked, searched, subjected to all manner of intrusions, intimidated, invaded, raided, manhandled, censored,
silenced, shot at, locked up, and denied due process

In allowing ourselves to be distracted by terror drills, foreign wars, color-coded warnings, underwear bombers and other carefully constructed exercises in propaganda, sleight of hand, and obfuscation, we failed to recognize that the true enemy to freedom was lurking among us all the while.

The U.S. government now poses a greater threat to our freedoms than any terrorist, extremist or foreign entity ever could.

While nearly 3,000 people died in the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. government and its agents have easily killed at least ten times that number of civilians in the U.S. and abroad since 9/11 through its police shootings, SWAT team raids, drone strikes and profit-driven efforts to police the globe, sell weapons to foreign nations, and foment civil unrest in order to keep the military industrial complex gainfully employed. (Syria’s bloody civil war in which CIA-armed militias have been fighting FBI-armed militias is a prime example of the government’s Machiavellian schemes gone awry.)

No, the U.S. government is not the citizenry’s friend, nor is it our protector, and life in the United States of America post-9/11 is no picnic.

Here’s an A-to-Z primer to spell out exactly what government tyranny means post 9/11.

A is for the AMERICAN POLICE STATE. A police state “is characterized by bureaucracy, secrecy, perpetual wars, a nation of suspects, militarization, surveillance, widespread police presence, and a citizenry with little recourse against police actions.”

. . . As I make clear in my book Battlefield America:  The War on the American People, the reality we must come to terms with is that in the post-9/11 America we live in today, the government does whatever it wants, freedom be damned.

The choices before us are straight-forward.

We can live in the past, dwell on what freedoms we used to enjoy and shrug helplessly at the destruction of our liberties.

We can immerse ourselves in the present, allowing ourselves to be utterly distracted by the glut of entertainment news and ever-changing headlines so that we fail to pay attention to or do anything about the government’s ongoing power-grabs.

We can hang our hopes on the future, believing against all odds that someone or something — whether it be a politician, a movement, or a religious savior — will save us from inevitable ruin.

Or we can start right away by instituting changes at the local level, holding our government officials accountable to the rule of law, and resurrecting the Constitution, recognizing that if we fail to do so and instead follow our current trajectory, the picture of the future will be closer to what George Orwell likened to “a boot stamping on a human face—forever.”

(Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His book Battlefield America:  The War on the American People (SelectBooks, 2015) is available online at Whitehead can be contacted at

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This cannot be true.

Can it?

This election has driven reality over the edge. And it had already been in the neighborhood for over a decade.

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What We REALLY Know About the 9/11 Defendants

The government pretends that it’s giving the surviving 9/11 masterminds a fair trial, and that justice will prevail.

The truth may be different …

Kangaroo Court Show Trials

Buzzfeed reported yesterday:
The Defense Department has farmed out to a private company much of the criminal investigation and trials of the men accused of plotting the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, according to federal records and sources affiliated with the trials who spoke to BuzzFeed News.

What’s more, the government has hired the same firm, SRA International, to serve both the prosecution and defense teams, sparking concerns of a conflict of interest that could undermine the integrity of one of the most significant terrorism cases in modern history.
Sound a little odd?  It’s not the only fishy thing about the 9/11 trials …

In 2008, the former chief prosecutor for Guantanamo’s military commissions disclosed that the trials have been rigged to prevent any possibility of acquittal
Specifically, the head of the Guantanamo tribunal — who is actually in charge of both prosecuting and defending the suspects — told the former chief prosecutor:

Wait a minute, we can’t have acquittals. If we’ve been holding these guys for so long, how can we explain letting them get off? We can’t have acquittals, we’ve got to have convictions.
In addition, three other Guantanamo prosecutors — Maj. Robert Preston, Capt. John Carr and Capt. Carrie Wolf — “asked to be relieved of duties after saying they were concerned that the process was rigged. One said he had been assured he didn’t need to worry about building a proper case; convictions were assured.”

Another former Guantanamo prosecutor resigned, saying in a sworn declaration that the government pulled all sorts of shenanigans in one case.

The head of the tribunal also said that — even if the defendants are somehow acquitted — they may not be released from Guantanamo.

No wonder the American Bar Association, “which the Pentagon had said would help arrange such representation, has refused to participate because it objects to the trial procedures.”

And no wonder the defense attorneys who have agreed to represent the defendants say that the process is completely unfair. See also this interview.

Both the 9/11 Trials and the 9/11 Commission Investigation Were Based on Unreliable Evidence Produced by Torture

The CIA videotaped the interrogation of 9/11 suspects, falsely told the 9/11 Commission that there were no videotapes or other records of the interrogations, and then illegally destroyed all of the tapes and transcripts of the interrogations.

9/11 Commission co-chairs Thomas Keane and Lee Hamilton wrote:

Those who knew about those videotapes — and did not tell us about them — obstructed our investigation.

The chief lawyer for Guantanamo litigation – Vijay Padmanabhan – said that torture of 9/11 suspects was widespread. And Susan J. Crawford, the senior Pentagon official overseeing the military commissions at Guantánamo — the novel system of trials for terror suspects that was conceived in the wake of the 9/11 attacks — told Bob Woodward:

We tortured Qahtani. His treatment met the legal definition of torture.
Moreover, the type of torture used by the U.S. on the Guantanamo suspects is of a special type. Senator Levin revealed that the the U.S. used Communist torture techniques specifically aimed at creating false confessions. (and see this, this, this and this).

And according to NBC News:

  • Much of the 9/11 Commission Report was based upon the testimony of people who were tortured
  • At least four of the people whose interrogation figured in the 9/11 Commission Report have claimed that they told interrogators information as a way to stop being “tortured.”
  • One of the Commission’s main sources of information was tortured until he agreed to sign a confession that he was NOT EVEN ALLOWED TO READ
  • The 9/11 Commission itself doubted the accuracy of the torture confessions, and yet kept their doubts to themselves
In addition, one of the two main “sources” of information for the 9/11 Commission Report – Abu Zubaydah – was touted by the government as one of Al Qaeda’s top 3 leaders … an Al Qaeda mastermind, general,  and terror coordinator. But the government was later forced to admit that Zubaydah wasn’t even connected with Al Qaeda at all.

Zubaydah was also literally nutty as a fruitcake years before 9/11, and yet the CIA kept on torturing him until he totally lost his mind and became like a brain-dead, trained dog. And the government touted his information gained from torture as if it were vital fact.

The other main “source” for the 9/11 Commission Report – alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – said that he gave the interrogators a lot of false information – telling them what he thought they wanted to hear – in an attempt to stop the torture. We also know that he was heavily tortured specifically for the purpose of trying to obtain false information about 9/11 – specifically, that Iraq had something to do with it.

9/11 Commissioners Slam Blatant Obstruction of Justice

The 9/11 Commissioners publicly expressed anger at cover ups and obstructions of justice by the government into a real 9/11 investigation:

  • The Commission’s co-chairs said that the CIA (and likely the White House) “obstructed our investigation”
  • The Senior Counsel to the 9/11 Commission (John Farmer) – who led the 9/11 staff’s inquiry – said “At some level of the government, at some point in time…there was an agreement not to tell the truth about what happened“. He also said “I was shocked at how different the truth was from the way it was described …. The tapes told a radically different story from what had been told to us and the public for two years…. This is not spin. This is not true.”
And the Co-Chair of the official Congressional Inquiry Into 9/11 – and former head of the Senate Intelligence Committee – has called for a new 9/11 investigation.

Some examples of obstruction of justice into the 9/11 investigation include:

  • An FBI informant hosted and rented a room to two hijackers in 2000. Specifically, investigators for the Congressional Joint Inquiry discovered that an FBI informant had hosted and even rented a room to two hijackers in 2000 and that, when the Inquiry sought to interview the informant, the FBI refused outright, and then hid him in an unknown location, and that a high-level FBI official stated these blocking maneuvers were undertaken under orders from the White House. As the New York Times notes:
Senator Bob Graham, the Florida Democrat who is a former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, accused the White House on Tuesday of covering up evidence ….The accusation stems from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s refusal to allow investigators for a Congressional inquiry and the independent Sept. 11 commission to interview an informant, Abdussattar Shaikh, who had been the landlord in San Diego of two Sept. 11 hijackers.
  • The chairs of both the 9/11 Commission and the Official Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 said that Soviet-style government “minders” obstructed the investigation into 9/11 by intimidating witnesses
  • The 9/11 Commissioners concluded that officials from the Pentagon lied to the Commission, and considered recommending criminal charges for such false statements
  • As reported by ACLU, FireDogLake, RawStory and many others, declassified documents show that Senior Bush administration officials sternly cautioned the 9/11 Commission against probing too deeply into the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001
So how much do we really know about the 9/11 defendants?
  • This discussion accepts a hoax as basis. It is clear from the evidence of physics, chemistry and common sense that the THREE skyscapers that dissolved into smoke and dust on 9/11/01 giving all the appearance of being taken down by controlled demolition WERE thus destroyed. Manifestly this MUST be the case with the third building, which was not struck by an airplane. So whoever the "19 arabs" who defeated the US Air Force with boxcutters (sic) were or weren't, they can't have been responsible for the event. That the Official Commission and Official Trails were cover-ups and hoaxes is therefore obvious without further argument, though the assertions to this effect by various Commission members is confirmatory. This essay, like so many, in taking what is patent nonsense seriously as a basis for discussion, in effect if not in intent, works to further the hoax. This should be beneath Washingtonsblog.

    There were 7 buildings in the WTC complex. They were all destroyed. Essays like this one promote the hoax, as you say. WB should just cut the crap and say something intelligent.. Airplanes & Arabs did not destroy the WTC. Any fool can see that after a moment's consideration.

And talk about knowing defendants . . . .

Allowing Wells Fargo To Cheat Their Customers Is An Integral Component Of Paul Ryan's #BetterWay 

House Republicans and their New Dem/Blue Dog allies have made crippling and chipping away at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) their top priority and they are always looking for opportunities to hamper the agencies operations. Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee, along with right-wing Democrats on the committee who work for Wall Street - like Patrick Murphy (New Dem-FL), Kyrsten Sinema (Blue Dog-AZ), John Delaney (New Dem-MD), Gregory Meeks (New Dem-NY), David Scott (New Dem-GA) and Jim Himes (New Dem-CT)-- have been busy little bees working to chip away at Dodd-Frank protections, especially those that are part of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Almost a year ago Elizabeth Warren said she wasn't surprised "that the big banks and Republicans are attacking me or the CFPB. After all, in just four years, the brand-new consumer agency has already forced the biggest financial companies to return more than $11 billion directly to the people they cheated. And even on Wall Street, $11 billion is real money. But I am surprised by just how bold and shameless these new attacks are." Here's a misleading Orwellian TV ad the banksters financed to attack the CFPB the CFPB at the time:

This week, exactly what the Republicans and New Dems were trying to prevent happened-- and spectacularly so. The CFPB forced a major campaign donor for corrupt members of Congress, Wells Fargo, to pay a $185 million fine for stealing from its customers. The bank was caught systematically using "illegal sales practices that included the opening of unauthorized duplicate accounts and credit cards by employees in order to meet sales quotas" without informing the customers.

"Wells Fargo employees secretly opened unauthorized accounts to hit sales targets and receive bonuses," said CFPB director Richard Cordray. "Because of the severity of these violations, Wells Fargo is paying the largest penalty the CFPB has ever imposed."

Which is not a drop in the bank balance.

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