More News of Banking as a Criminal Conspiracy with BofA and Chase

Bank of America Country BankNew Orleans    There are many small town papers that used to thrive by feeding their readers the daily police reports.  These days reading the financial pages is more than an adequate substitute, since every day we seem to get another perp walk in the criminal conspiracy now called modern banking.

I know it’s tedious to keep returning to our old nemesis, JP Morgan Chase, but let’s face it, under Jamie Dimon and their pursuit of being the biggest bank in the land; they seem to be unable to keep from also being the baddest bank in America.  This time they are trying to enter an agreement to prevent criminal charges for their role as the main Madoff bank enabling his massive Ponzi scheme for over 20 years.   Internal emails seem to abound about suspicious while the bank counted their millions and helped him along the way while doing so.  The arm so clearly understood what the hand was doing that Chase’s private bank refused to take Madoff as a client even as the main bank was his counting house.  Now, late in the game they seem willing to promise that they won’t let this happen again, but will report suspicious activity in the future, but most of us must realize that these big, bad boys will be breaking that agreement even while ink is drying on their signatures.

Meanwhile Bank of America went to a jury trial to try to prove that they didn’t defraud the government by selling packages of bad mortgages directed by the executive, Rebecca Mairone, who was running that part of the show for Countrywide, which is now part of their diminished empire.  Bad move, team!   Mairone ran something it turned out that they called the “hustle,” a nickname for HSSL or the “high-speed swim lane,” which seems to have been a steamed up boiler room operation that pitted bankers in a competition to see who could originate loans more quickly, credit be damned, so that they could bottle the slop up and sell it off on the government’s secondary market.

The jury was disgusted, so “guilty as charged.”   The government is asking for almost $900 million as a penalty to be paid by Bank of America, though the judge will decide of course.  There’s also every indication that there will be a line forming for stockholder and other class actions now given the guilty verdict.

The jury also found Rebecca Mairone guilty as the day is long.   Her lawyers say, it’s not over yet.   Luckily, she still has a job in banking.   You may wonder where she’s working now?   JP Morgan Chase of course where the biggest of the bad boys run wild and free.

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The Assault on Citizen Wealth Entitlements

Newcut-spending Orleans No matter how jaded we have all become about the cynicism of political experience and the hijacking of popular government, regardless of the party and people in power, by the interests of the rich and the corporations, it is still shocking to see the mean-spirited erosion of consensus that in the richest country in the world there should be at least some semblance of care and concern for the less well off in our society.  The emerging multi-party détente on the need to cripple the last of the entitlements around Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security goes is a concerted effort to flatly impoverish both communities and entire populations.

This wave of attack on citizen wealth or income security is not simply a matter of Texas governor Rick Perry being a flame throwing crazy man arguing that Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme.”  The fact that he could even hurl such a stink bomb calculating that it would move his base is undoubtedly a shrewd calculation that the last shred of “compassionate conservativism” is gone.  Exposing Perry as whack and a con artist, will not rebuild the consensus, given that the economic debate has now become stuck on the issue of debt period.

The debt attack is a scorched earth strategy by the right designed to obscure that is being burned in the name of saving some fancy houses in another block that are already getting all of the goods, services, and tax breaks.  The strategy is cynical because it focuses on the least organized constituencies politically and therefore the powerless.  Subsidies for the military, financial institutions, oil companies, and many others can still roar on, while poorer and older people will be impoverished and in some cases given the death sentence.

It is scary to think that millions will only be saved by the right’s overreaching and extremism.  Social Security may be cordoned off, while medical and feeding programs are eviscerated.  There may not be a bait-and-switch on emergency aid for communities as some of the Republicans were arguing, but that does not mean that there will not be pain and suffering for others.

The organizational and oppositional vacuum that exists at the street level rather than the internet assaults is devastating.  At what point do we come together with a new plan?   Before it’s too late!

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