Tag Archives | Plunder

Is Lloyd Blankfein An Accessory In the Death of Dimitris Christoulas?

Syntagma Square

Syntagma Square

Relax, folks, nothing to see here.  After all, I’m sure that all that austerity-funded bond money is going towards a good cause—like gold-plating the vomitorium drains in Lloyd Blankfein’s villa on the Riviera, for instance. From the BBC’s Mark Lowen:

Protesters have clashed with riot police in the Greek capital, Athens, hours after a pensioner shot himself dead outside parliament.

The 77-year-old man killed himself in the city’s busy Syntagma Square on Wednesday morning.

Greek media reported he had left a suicide note accusing the government of cutting his pension to nothing. Flowers have been laid at the spot where he died and tributes have been paid online.

“I see no other solution than this dignified end to my life, so I don’t find myself fishing through garbage cans for my sustenance.”—Extract from reputed suicide letter

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in the square outside parliament on Wednesday evening, the scene of many large protests in recent months.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

It’s Tax Time: Time to Occupy the IRS

IRSEvery year I trek down to a nondescript office building near Wall Street with a bag full of receipts and a belly full of anxiety.

When it’s tax time, I always hope for the best but … I also had an accountant who I trusted to keep me on the up and up. He was recommended years earlier by the Yippie activist Abbie Hoffman, who wanted to avoid the Al Capone problem.

Abbie had been busted enough for his political activities and didn’t want more jail time for non-payment of taxes. So he had to be like the driven snow to withstand any audit. And he was. He was a revolutionary who held his nose and paid the man.

Back in the day, the government used IRS investigations to threaten political activists and intimidate activists that paid their taxes as opposed to those who became tax resisters to refuse to pay for wars.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

JPMorgan Chase’s Ugly Family Secrets Revealed

ChaseMatt Taibbi writes in Rolling Stone:

In a story that should be getting lots of attention, American Banker has released an excellent and disturbing exposé of J.P. Morgan Chase’s credit card services division, relying on multiple current and former Chase employees. One of them, Linda Almonte, is a whistleblower whom I’ve known since last September; I’m working on a recount of her story for my next book.

One of the things we were promised by the lawmakers who passed the Dodd-Frank reform bill a few years back is that this would be a new era for whistleblowers who come forward to tell the world about problems in our financial infrastructure. This story now looms as a test case for that proposition. American Banker reporter Jeff Horwitz did an outstanding job in this story detailing the sweeping irregularities in-house at Chase, but his very thoroughness means the news may have ramifications for Linda, which is why I’m urging people to pay attention to this story in the upcoming weeks.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Russian Corruption ‘Out of Control’

Via Al Jazeera:

Valery Morozov, a successful Russian businessman has been granted political asylum in Britain after exposing an alleged corruption scandal involving officials and police in Russia. Hoping to build a hotel in time for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, he says he paid about $10.5m in bribes to keep the contract from a competitor with close ties to the government, contributing to an estimated $300bn in bribes paid by Russians every year, according to the anti-corruption organisation Transparency International.

Continue Reading

Greg Smith’s NY Times Op-Ed Cost Goldman Sachs $2.2 Billion for Shareholders

Christine Harper reports on Bloomberg:

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. saw $2.15 billion of its market value wiped out after an employee assailed Chief Executive Officer Lloyd C. Blankfein’s management and the firm’s treatment of clients, sparking debate across Wall Street.

The shares dropped 3.4 percent in New York trading yesterday, the third-biggest decline in the 81-company Standard & Poor’s 500 Financials Index, after London-based Greg Smith made the accusations in a New York Times op-ed piece.

Smith, who also wrote that he was quitting after 12 years at the company, blamed Blankfein, 57, and President Gary D. Cohn, 51, for a “decline in the firm’s moral fiber.” They responded in a memo to current and former employees, saying that Smith’s assertions don’t reflect the firm’s values, culture or “how the vast majority of people at Goldman Sachs think about the firm and the work it does on behalf of our clients.”

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, 84, whose “Volcker rule” would limit banks like New York-based Goldman Sachs from making bets with their own money, called Smith’s article “a radical, strong” piece.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

UN Should Treat The Global Financial Crisis As A Global Human Rights Crisis

Kony_posterJournalists for the most part report what they know and hope that someone pays attention. With so many media outlets, brands, bloggers and sloggers out there, it is rare for challenging ideas to touch a larger nerve or get visibility beyond fragmented followings.

The idea of winning global attention is a far off dream unless you break the biggest exclusive or win the first interview with, say, Jesus on his return to earth. (And that could be ignored if your name isn’t Oprah, etc.)

Yes, sometimes going viral is the way to go—as is the case of a new video exposing the head of the Lords Resistance Army, the Ugandan terror crazies.

But even then, stories are always flashing one minute, gone the next, unless other media outlets pile on and raise their profile as happened here during Watergate and other issues, mostly sex scandals, since.

By and large, you labor on in the media wilderness hoping the time will come when someone outside your world recognizes your value and gives you a bigger platform, usually more than just one TV interview or quote.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Goldman Sachs Exec Quits And Tells All

Goldman SucksAbout to be former Goldman Sachs executive Greg Smith is the talk of Wall Street today as a result of his op-ed piece in the New York Times, in which he describes his decision to quit the temple of Mammon (my term, not his):

Today is my last day at Goldman Sachs. After almost 12 years at the firm — first as a summer intern while at Stanford, then in New York for 10 years, and now in London — I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.

To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money. Goldman Sachs is one of the world’s largest and most important investment banks and it is too integral to global finance to continue to act this way.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Democrats and Republicans Won’t Return Ponzi Payoffs From A Convicted Criminal

Robert Allen Stanford Mugshot

Robert Allen Stanford Mugshot

Michael Winship reports on TruthOut:

On Tuesday, Texas financier Robert Allen Stanford was convicted in a Houston federal court on 13 out of 14 criminal counts of fraud. As the New York Times reported:

The jury decision followed a six-week trial and came three years after Mr. Stanford was accused of defrauding nearly 30,000 investors in 113 countries in a Ponzi scheme involving $7 billion in fraudulent high-interest certificates of deposit at the Stanford International Bank, which was based on the Caribbean island of Antigua.

Media accounts of Stanford’s conviction were filled with stories of his excesses — mansions, private yachts and jets, and so much money invested in Antigua — including bribes — the small island awarded him a knighthood. Among his other indulgences, noted the Reuters news service: “He bought a castle in Florida for one of his girlfriends and his oldest daughter lived in a million-dollar condominium in Houston.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Matt Taibbi: Bank of America is a “Raging Hurricane of Theft and Fraud”

HurricaneVia F The Banks:

Matt Taibbi speaking at an Occupy Wall Street day of action, February 29th, 2012. He wrote this article for OWS, and passed it out to the crowd.  It’s an informative and urgent call to action for Americans from all walks of life.  We are happy to be the first to publish it.

There are two things every American needs to know about Bank of America.

The first is that it’s corrupt. This bank has systematically defrauded almost everyone with whom it has a significant business relationship, cheating investors, insurers, homeowners, shareholders, depositors, and the state. It is a giant, raging hurricane of theft and fraud, spinning its way through America and leaving a massive trail of wiped-out retirees and foreclosed-upon families in its wake.

The second is that all of us, as taxpayers, are keeping that hurricane raging. Bank of America is not just a private company that systematically steals from American citizens: it’s a de facto ward of the state that depends heavily upon public support to stay in business.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Bank of America To Charge Customers Fees Unless They Buy More Products, Have Enough Money

Bank Of OpportunityReports the Week via Yahoo News:

The banking giant is attracting criticism once again, with a plan to make checking accounts a whole lot more expensive Bank of America is working on “sweeping changes” that would levy new fees on customers with checking accounts, The Wall Street Journal reports. Proposed fees, ranging from $6 to $25 a month, could only be waived if customers meet certain requirements that favor the bank — by keeping a minimum balance, taking out a mortgage, or switching to online banking. The report comes months after Bank of America withdrew a proposed $5 monthly fee for using debit cards, after suffering a backlash from customers and lawmakers alike. Unsurprisingly, the new fee plan is already being slammed: Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) calls it “a challenge that cannot go unanswered.” Is the bank’s scheme outrageous?

Of course. Banks are extorting customers: It’s bad enough that BofA tried to instate the $5 fee for debit card users, says Hamilton Nolan at Gawker.

Read the rest

Continue Reading