Tags: Banker Bailouts

Santa Cruz County Votes to Cease Doing Business with Five TBTF Mega Banks

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This is impressive. Very, very impressive.

It appears that Ryan Coonerty, the Supervisor of the Third District of Santa Cruz County, wrote a letter back in June to the rest of the Board of Supervisors, in which he bravely pleaded the county cease business operations with five of the TBTF Wall Street Mega Banks. Why you ask? Well, because they are criminal felons. Considering Eric Holder refused to punish them (see: Cronyism Pays – Eric “Too Big to Jail” Holder Triumphantly Returns to His Prior Corporate Law Firm Job), someone has to take a stand.

Here are a few choice excerpts from the letter:

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A Message to the Peasants – Jeb Bush Says Americans Need to Work Longer Hours

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Over the past several years, as the U.S. economy has transitioned more and more into a corrupt oligarchy, we’ve seen an increase in statements by certain members of the so called “elite” class, in which they condescendingly lecture the average American. The message is always a variant of, “you need to work harder,” or “prepare for tough times ahead.” Of course, there’s never any reference to the fact that the entire U.S. economy has morphed into little more than a rigged fraud, intentionally set up to result in the current neo-feudal environment we see before us.

I first picked up upon this trend after witnessing a disgustingly ignorant appearance by real estate mogul Sam Zell on CNBC. It prompted me to compose a lengthy post titled, An Open Letter to Sam Zell: Why Your Statements are Delusional and Dangerous. Here’s an excerpt:

Your misdiagnosis of the root cause of the current dissent in America is a result of your obliviousness to the actual concerns of the 99%. A group about which you speak with such certainty, yet certainly know almost nothing about. In fact, my website is dedicated to highlighting all of the destructive trends happening in this nation today. From record high food stamp participation, to declining real wages and the reality that young people need to take on so much debt they become indentured serfs from the moment they enter the workforce. From a loss of 4th Amendment rights due to illegal NSA spying, to the militarization of the police force. From oligarch immunity from serious financial crimes that average citizens would be thrown in jail for life for, to trillion dollar bailouts with zero strings attached for the financial community. From the over-prosecution of some of our bravest citizens such as Aaron SwartzBarrett Brown and Private Manning to a fraudulent two-party sham political system entirely controlled by your socio-economic class.

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JP Morgan to Pay Another Slap on the Wrist Fine for Engaging in Systemic Consumer Credit Card Debt Fraud

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Just yesterday, I published a post titled: Florida Man Sentenced to 2.5 Years in Jail for Having Sex on the Beach. The purpose of that post wasn’t to justify his actions, but rather to highlight the difference between how average citizens are treated under the U.S. “justice” system, and how thieving, remorseless financial oligarchs are treated.

While, Mr. Caballero may have ruined the day of a few beach goers by crudely having sex on a public beach in broad daylight, he didn’t run the U.S. economy into the ground and cause destitution to tens of millions of Americans. Nor did he received trillions in taxpayer backstops and bailouts, only to turn around and pay himself a record bonus and then carry on with extremely profitable, illegal financial schemes. No, it was the bank executives who did (and continue to do) all of that. Guess who ends up in prison?

And now, for the latest financial scam perpetrated by JP Morgan, as well as the insignificant slap on the wrist fine, I present the following from Reuters:

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Florida Man Faces 15 Years in Jail for Having Sex on the Beach (Still No Bankers in Jail)

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A jury Monday found a couple guilty of having sex on Bradenton Beach after only 15 minutes of deliberation.

The convictions carry a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.

Both Caballero and Alvarez will now have to register as sex offenders.

Ronald Kurpiers, defense attorney for the couple, said his clients were “devastated,” by the verdict. Though Dafonseca hinted that they’d be speaking with the judge about whether or not 15 years was appropriate for Caballero, Kurpiers said the judge would have no discretion.

“That’s what he’ll get,” Kurpiers said.

– From the Miami Herald article: Couple Found Guilty of Having Sex on Florida Beach

This is what “justice” looks like in the Oligarch States of America. If you’re a pleb who gets caught having consensual sex on the beach, you’re immediately convicted and face up to 15 years in the gulag. Meanwhile, if you’re a banking executive responsible for crashing the global economy, you’re rewarded with trillions in taxpayer bailouts and backstops and given free reign to continue your crime spree. Criminal charges are never considered, despite the extreme negative impact your actions have on society at large, and you’re always given a slap on the wrist via deferred prosecution agreements, or DPAs. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at an excerpt from last year’s post titled, The U.S. Department of Justice Handles Banker Criminals Like Juvenile Offenders…Literally:

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Charting the American Oligarchy – How 0.01% of the Population Contributes 42% of All Campaign Cash

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This is an economic fight, but this is also a political fight. The biggest financial institutions aren’t just big – they wield enormous political power. Last December, Citibank lobbyists wrote an amendment to Dodd-Frank and persuaded their friends in Washington to attach it to a bill that had to pass or the government would have been shut down. And when there was pushback over the amendment, the CEO of JPMorgan, Jamie Dimon, personally got on the phone with Members of Congress to secure their votes. How many individuals who are looking for a mortgage or a credit card could make that call? How many small banks could have their lobbyists write an amendment and threaten to shut down the US government if they didn’t get it? None. Keep in mind that the big banks aren’t trying to make the market more competitive; they just want rules that create more advantages for themselves. The system is rigged and those who rigged it want to keep it that way.

– From Senator Elizabeth Warren’s excellent speech: “The Unfinished Business of Financial Reform”

This is probably one of the most important posts I’ll write all year. The reason is because in order to displace the current paradigm, the public needs to deeply and intellectually understand exactly where the real cancer resides.

I never liked the saying: “We are the 99%.” While admittedly catchy and effective as a slogan, I think it is ultimately divisive and counterproductive. The reason I say this is because the statement itself alienates much needed allies for no good reason.

In a country with a population of 320 million, the 1% represents 3.2 million people, which is a pretty big number. While the 1% certainly have far superior material lives compared to the 99%, that doesn’t mean a particularly large percentage of them are thieves, cronies or oligarchs. In fact, it behooves people interested in transitioning to another paradigm to court as many of them as possible to the cause. It is very useful to have well meaning people with resources and connections on your side. To blithely assume there aren’t plenty of potential allies from a pool of 3.2 million is committing strategic suicide. Indeed, John Hancock came from one of the wealthiest families in the American colonies in the run up to the Revolution, yet he isn’t remembered by history for his family’s tremendous wealth, but for his signature:

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American Justice – FBI Lab Overstated Forensic Hair Matches in 95% of Cases, Including 32 Death Sentences

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The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000.

Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far, according to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Innocence Project, which are assisting the government with the country’s largest post-conviction review of questioned forensic evidence.

The cases include those of 32 defendants sentenced to death. Of those, 14 have been executed or died in prison.

“These findings are appalling and chilling in their indictment of our criminal justice system, not only for potentially innocent defendants who have been wrongly imprisoned and even executed, but for prosecutors who have relied on fabricated and false evidence despite their intentions to faithfully enforce the law,” Blumenthal said. 

– From the Washington Post article: FBI Overstated Forensic Hair Matches in Nearly All Trials efore 2000

The American justice system is broken. Completely and totally broken. This has been one of the key themes here at Liberty Blitzkrieg since inception, and I’ve come to realize that the death of the rule of law is the single most important issue facing our society at this time.

This site has focused on the increased use of selective prosecution in these United States. If you are poor, disenfranchised, or a dissident, the full force of the law will rain down on your skull like a thousand tons of bricks. We have seen this repeatedly in cases such as the South Carolina man who was fined $525 and fired from his job when he failed to pay for a $0.89 soda refill. We saw it in the case of Aaron Swartz, the child prodigy was driven to suicide by overly aggressive and ambitious feds. Finally, we saw it in the case of Barrett Brown, who was threatened with over a century in jail for essentially exposing the criminality of certain very rich and/or powerful individuals.

On the other side of the fence, we see that anyone associated with the power structure can do whatever they want with zero repercussions. We saw this in the case of General David Petraeus, who received a slap on the wrist for passing on highly classified information to his mistress and biographer Paula Broadwell. We saw it in how DEA agents were’t even fired from their jobs despite participating in sex parties filled with prostitutes that were paid for by drug cartels, and sometimes taxpayer funds. Most despicably, we have seen it in the explosive use of deferred prosecution agreements when it comes to all the bailed out Wall Street banks, thus ensuring that no senior bankers went to prison and that their bonuses would be forever protected.

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“He Woke up on 3rd Base and Thought He Hit a Triple” – A Community Banker Responds to Jamie Dimon

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The recent shareholder letter by JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon provides a crystal clear example of why it’s so dangerous to encourage and subsidize the corporate welfare babies known as the “Too Big to Fail” mega banks. The letter, which features a gigantic photograph of the executive seated casually with legs crossed in jeans, a shirt that appears almost uncomfortable around his neck in the absence of a tie, and all ten fingers touching flawlessly in what undoubtably took multiple takes to provide the sufficient creepiness factor (the presence of presidential cufflinks cannot be confirmed or denied), expounded on how well the mega banks performed during the financial crisis compared to the hundreds of small banks that failed.

This was understandably too much to handle for Camden R. Fine, president and chief executive of the Independent Community Bankers of America. He wrote a scathing piece in American Banker in rebuttal titled, Dimon’s Defense of Big-Bank Model: An Exercise in Hubris.

Here are some choice excerpts:

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Four “Too Big to Fail/Jail” Banks Threaten to Hold Back Funds to Democrats Over Elizabeth Warren

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Having already proven that their institutions are above the law in the aftermath of the financial crisis, executives at the “Too Big to Fail and Jail” banks have decided it’s time to teach Senate Democrats a lesson. Not being content with trillions in taxpayer backed bailouts to protect and further consolidate virtually all wealth within their oligarch fiefdoms, these bankers are irate at the notion that a commoner would dare criticize their unassailable crony privilege.

However, the worst part of this story, is that while Warren is harsher than most of her completely bought and paid for colleagues, she is still pretty meek when it comes to the big bank oligopoly. In her most misguided position, she doesn’t even support an audit of the largest organized crime institution operating within these United States, the Federal Reserve. Oh and for those of you who will claim the Fed is already audited, think again. Read: The Fed Impedes GAO Audits by Destroying Source Documents.

Thus it seems even Warren’s meager push for reform is simply too much for the thin skinned bailout baby banks to handle. From The Hill:

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NYC Residents Will Pay $2-3k a Month for “Micro-Apartments” as Luxury Car Sales Outpace Regular Car Sales

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 11.23.29 AMIn the past five years, global registrations of the seven largest ultra-premium car brands–a group that also includes Aston Martin and Lamborghini–have surged by 154 percent, far outpacing the 36 percent gain in overall car sales worldwide. 

Rolls-Royce registrations have risen almost five-fold. Almost 10,000 new Bentleys cruised onto the streets last year, a 122 percent increase over 2009, while Lamborghini rode a 50 percent increase to pass the 2,000 vehicle mark.

– From the Bloomberg article: Hyper-Luxury Cars Are Now Selling Faster Than Normal Ones

It’s an oligarch’s world, you’re just living in it.

One of the main reasons “hyper-luxury” cars are outselling regular cars, is because all of the wealth gains from the oligarch recovery are going to, well, oligarchs. This has been a regular theme here at Liberty Blitzkrieg, and is further evidence that global policies implemented since the oligarch created financial melt-down, have been used to cover up its criminality, and further advance the status quo’s consolidation of wealth and power. A continuation of this trend presents the greatest threat to liberty, free markets and an evolution of human consciousness on the planet today.

First, let’s take a look at how the average standard of living in my hometown of NYC is being impacted by the oligarch recovery. From the New York Post:

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Crony States of America – Wall Street Firms are Trying to Hide Payoffs Made to Employees Entering Government

“There is a lot of work ahead for the management to recover its reputation.”

– John Whitehead, Ex-Goldman Sachs Chairman, in a 2010 Wall Street Journal interview

Goldman Sachs may need to work on its image. This year, the firm beat recall-riddled General Motors along with Koch Industries and BP for the dubious distinction of worst corporate reputation, according to a new poll. Market research firm Harris Poll on Wednesday, Feb. 4, published its 16th annual ranking of the 100 most visible companies in the U.S., sorted by how positively the general public viewed them, and Goldman landed at the bottom.

– From the Bloomberg article: America’s Most Loved and Most Hated Companies

Citigroup is one of three Wall Street banks attempting to keep hidden their practice of paying executives multimillion-dollar awards for entering government service. In letters delivered to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over the last month, Citi,Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley seek exemption from a shareholder proposal, filed by the AFL-CIO labor coalition, which would force them to identify all executives eligible for these financial rewards, and the specific dollar amounts at stake. Critics argue these “golden parachutes” ensure more financial insiders in policy positions and favorable treatment toward Wall Street.

– From the New Republic article: Wall Street Pays Bankers to Work in Government and It Doesn’t Want Anyone to Know

The following post covers three important and related articles demonstrating and highlighting the criminality and corruption that has come to define the U.S. economy in the post bailout years. It’s a big part of the reason why the so-called “recovery” has been so uneven, and why there is record inequality.

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