Tag Archives | Financial Crisis

What The Bankers Did Next

The U.K.-based Spinwatch has created an eight-minute film on the “private conversations” between government and the banking industry, and the industry’s use of lobbying and public relations to attempt to shape consensus reality in the wake of the financial crisis:

‘What The Bankers Did Next…’ takes a look at the government’s close relationship with the finance industry, some of the key players involved, and their efforts to manage public opinion and shut down debate.

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Crashing The Investment Banking Awards

The previously mentioned U.K.-based activist squad The Intruders somehow got inside the Investment Banking Awards, where they realized that this year’s most noteworthy accomplishment had gone unmentioned:

The Investment Banking Awards are the Oscars of the financial world. Dished out for so-called ‘innovation’, some of the world’s richest bankers gather together to congratulate each other on devising ever more creative ways to make obscene sums of money.

One of 2012′s most profitable scams was the bankers’ ‘innovative’ approach to a key interest rate called LIBOR. Virtually every bank at the event was involved in illegally colluding to rig LIBOR, ensuring that they would always be the winners in the multi-million pound bets they were making on the markets.

When we noticed that this money-spinner had been overlooked in the ceremony, we decided to show up and make sure the LIBOR-riggers got the recognition they deserve.

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The Euro And Austerity As A Powder Keg In Europe

Via Critical Legal Thinking, excerpts from a translated interview with Alexis Tsipras, the leader of Syriza (the Coalition of the Radical Left), Greece’s new second largest political party:

I believe the European model has to be rebuilt from below. We can’t be sat­is­fied with what today is called Europe. The cur­rent crisis is not a European crisis but a global one. Europe today does not have the mech­an­isms to con­front it or con­trol the world­wide fin­an­cial attack against its peoples. Hence why Europe became a con­tin­ent where the attack of the global fin­an­cial sys­tem was fero­cious.

The [euro currency] has become a prison for the peoples of Europe, espe­cially the weak­est eco­nom­ies on the peri­phery going through the crisis. The con­tra­dic­tion is in the base on which the euro was built. The euro is a powder keg that is going to explode if we con­tinue in this dir­ec­tion.

Greece became an ultralib­eral exper­i­ment, a guinea pig.

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Iceland Jails Bankers, Erases Citizens’ Debt, Recovers Strongly

 Seriously, the most advanced place on Earth. Bloomberg writes:

Icelanders who pelted parliament with rocks in 2009 demanding their leaders and bankers answer for the country’s economic and financial collapse are reaping the benefits of their anger.

Since the end of 2008, the island’s banks have forgiven loans equivalent to 13 percent of gross domestic product, easing the debt burdens of more than a quarter of the population.

The island’s steps to resurrect itself since 2008, when its banks defaulted on $85 billion, are proving effective. Iceland’s economy will this year outgrow the euro area and the developed world on average, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates.

Iceland’s approach to dealing with the meltdown has put the needs of its population ahead of the markets at every turn. Once it became clear back in October 2008 that the island’s banks were beyond saving, the government stepped in, ring-fenced the domestic accounts, and left international creditors in the lurch.

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Many Wall Street Executives Say Wrongdoing Is Necessary

Capitalism-hating radicals claim that our financial sector is awash with unethical and illegal behavior, which is not merely tolerated, but encouraged or even required for success. Many Wall Street leaders concur completely. Via Yahoo! News:

A quarter of Wall Street executives see wrongdoing as a key to success, according to a survey by whistleblower law firm Labaton Sucharow released on Tuesday. In a survey of 500 senior executives in the United States and the UK, 26 percent of respondents said they had observed or had firsthand knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace, while 24 percent said they believed financial services professionals may need to engage in unethical or illegal conduct to be successful.

Sixteen percent of respondents said they would commit insider trading if they could get away with it, according to Labaton Sucharow. And 30 percent said their compensation plans created pressure to compromise ethical standards or violate the law.

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Europeans Decide Greece Is the Laziest, Most Incompetent Nation in the EU (Greece Disagrees!)

We invented Democracy (with a capital “D”). Writes Derek Thompson in the Atlantic:

Greece is the hardest-working country in the EU! According to Greece. And only Greece.

According to Britain, Germany, Spain, Poland, and the Czech Republic, it’s the laziest country in Europe.

Meanwhile, Germany is the most respected EU country, according to the Pew Global report, European Unity on the Rocks. And Greece appears to be living in a bizarro universe where 78% of its respondents held negative views of Germany. Three in five Greeks said their country had Europe’s hardest working citizens. Half of the rest of the respondents from the other seven nations said Greece had the laziest workforce in Europe…

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‘Inside Job’ Director Charles Ferguson Indicts Our ‘Predator Nation’

Bald EagleHail Caesar! The circle of those of us crusading for a jail-out of banksters, and not another bailout for them is widening, Our newest Commissar of Condemnation, Charles H. Ferguson, director of the film Inside Job is in the house with a new must-read book, Predator Nation, that documents and details how the financial elite and its values took over our culture and country.

When I first saw Ferguson’s film, coming out two years after my Plunder: The Crime Of Our Time on a similar subject, I was a bit jealous because of all the support he attracted from Sony and Hollywood insiders who waged a successful Oscar campaign on its behalf. He had access to big money for a film on big money, after selling a software company. He could afford high production values but also the kind of marketing that Indy filmmakers like myself dream about.

As a PhD, former business executive and government advisor, Ferguson had developed a keen skill for synthesizing information and creating a filmic “explainer,” almost like a big screen power-point presentation, that recounts how we got into this financial crisis through government deregulation/complicity.… Read the rest

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U.S. Lets China Bypass Wall Street for Treasury Orders

US TreasuryThe quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. Via Reuters:

China can now bypass Wall Street when buying U.S. government debt and go straight to the U.S. Treasury, in what is the Treasury’s first-ever direct relationship with a foreign government.

The relationship means the People’s Bank of China buys U.S. debt using a different method than any other central bank in the world.

The other central banks, including the Bank of Japan, which has a large appetite for Treasuries, place orders for U.S. debt with major Wall Street banks designated by the government as primary dealers. Those dealers then bid on their behalf at Treasury auctions.

China, which holds $1.17 trillion in U.S. Treasuries, still buys some Treasuries through primary dealers, but since June 2011, that route hasn’t been necessary. The documents viewed by Reuters show the U.S. Treasury Department has given the People’s Bank of China a direct computer link to its auction system, which the Chinese first used to buy two-year notes in late June 2011.

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Greece’s Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn

Chrysi Avgi

Photo: Ggia (CC)

After austerity follows fascism. Neni Panourgia writes on Al Jazeera English:

By now, nearly everybody has been exposed to the phenomenon of Golden Dawn (Chrysi Avgi in Greek), the neo-Nazi organisation that received almost 7 per cent of the vote in the Greek elections of May 6.After the initial shock, the question “How is this possible?” was followed by the legitimate worry: “Are Greeks becoming fascists?” Some commentators on various blogs (many of them from northern and western Europe) even left messages urging the Greek electorate to feel shame, the deeper the better, for this unsightly and frightening development.

But let’s set a few things straight. First of all, Golden Dawn, despite its recent claims, is indeed a neo-Nazi party. Their ideology, which they describe on their website as “Popular and Social Nationalism”, gives their precise coordinates within Nazi ideology.

So do the origins of their party, which was founded by Nikolaos Michaloliakos in 1985 under a direct order from the imprisoned leader of the Greek junta, George Papadopoulos.

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