Posts tagged banking
Today’s crony economy is killing the middle class
The only people who have seen their real incomes increase under this president have been the top 5% of earners. Those with large investment portfolios have seen their assets grow – or perhaps more accurately, have watched them inflate – while most of America has seen its income reduced over the last 5 years. Adjusted for inflation the average household in America makes less than 2008. Quite a bit less.
Crony capitalism has much to do with this. Those who have connections in government game the system for their benefit reaping rewards from the unwashed and often unknowing cubical serfs who populate the American landscape. (Or at least used to.)
(From Real Clear Markets)
Never has it been so good to be invested in a vastly expanding federal government — either to distribute or receive federal subsidies. Never has it been so lucrative to work in banking or on Wall Street. And never has it been so bad to try to find a decent job making something real.
Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org
About Nick Sorrentino
Nick Sorrentino is the co-founder and editor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. A political and communications consultant with clients across the political spectrum, he lives just outside of Washington DC where he can keep an eye on Leviathan.
“Bank of America stealing thousands of homes, and lying to the government about it.” (?)
B of A allegedly abused the HAMP program which was created to help homeowners approaching foreclosure. The bank allegedly threw out the paperwork of applicants who had fulfilled their end of the loan modification bargain, making the homeowner restart the modification process. Many people it is alleged fell into foreclosure who didn’t need to be there simply because the bank couldn’t get it’s act together. In many cases, as the attached article reports, it was worse than just incompetence.
Remember, Bank of America got bailed out by the taxpayers. The bank managed its books far worse than many of the homeowners facing foreclosure. Still mercy was in short supply at the bank.
Putting aside whether programs such as HAMP should have ever happened, and the fact that the housing crash was basically created by a too loose Fed, this is yet another example of a connected bank with all the right friends doing whatever it wanted while the average person with no political clout was left to swing in the breeze.
Bank of America’s mortgage servicing unit systematically lied to homeowners, fraudulently denied loan modifications, and paid their staff bonuses for deliberately pushing people into foreclosure: Yes, these allegations were suspected by any homeowner who ever had to deal with the bank to try to get a loan modification – but now they come from six former employees and one contractor, whose sworn statements were added last week to a civil lawsuit filed in federal court in Massachusetts.
By CBC News Posted: Jun 14, 2013 10:10 PM ET | Last Updated: Jun 14, 2013 11:44 PM ET
Secret tax-haven names released to public
Journalism group anticipates crowd-sourcing of leaked offshore list will yield revelations
A glimpse at an enormous trove of leaked records about secret companies and accounts is being opened to the public in hope it will shed light on the murky world of offshore finance.
The information, contained in a new online database released Friday night, has the names of more than 100,000 offshore entities — mainly companies and trusts set up in locales such as the British Virgin Islands and Cook Islands — and the people associated with them.
CBC News has had exclusive Canadian access to the data for months and has determined that it names at least 550 Canadians. Media outlets worldwide have been reporting on the information leak since it came to light in early April, with far-reaching global repercussions.
- Browse the new database of secret companies
- Read how countries have been rattled by tax-haven data leak
- See how massive leak of offshore records came to light
- Find out how the rich hide money offshore
The online names database was released late Friday night by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, and contains a basic subset of the 260 gigabytes of leaked tax-haven files that the Washington-based group obtained and shared with global news organizations, including the CBC.
“What we’re doing for the British Virgin Islands, the Cook Islands, and other offshore havens is what’s routinely done in many countries around the world — making the control and ownership of companies a matter of public record,” said Michael Hudson, a senior editor at the journalism consortium.
“This is about transparency and accountability. There is a growing consensus that no one should be able to own a company secretly. No one should be able to hide in the shadows behind a company or trusts.”
The newly released database shows the names and, where available, the shareholders and directors of offshore companies, and visually maps out links between them.
For example, a search of “Ghermezian” finds the name of Alberta businessman David Ghermezian, president of the West Edmonton Mall, and links him to a British Virgin Islands-registered company called Regal Mega Malls Development Corp . and a group of Chinese, Taiwanese and Canadian entrepreneurs.
Ghermezian has told CBC News his offshore company was a legal joint venture to develop a mega-shopping centre in China, but the project fizzled.
The names database does not contain the much vaster cache of potentially confidential information from the offshore data leak, such as bank account numbers, passport data, telephone numbers, financial transactions and emails.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists said it hopes people will browse the names and tip off reporters to new revelations about people and companies doing business offshore.
“ICIJ believes many of the best stories may come from crowd-sourcing, when readers explore the database,” the organization said in a press release.
Offshore companies not necessarily illegal
Under Canadian law, it is not illegal to create an offshore company or trust as long as it is properly declared for tax purposes. There are a variety of reasons for setting one up, though all offshore entities typically enjoy strict secrecy under the laws of the jurisdictions in which they’re based.
“We’re not saying that everyone in the database has done something wrong,” Hudson said. “If you haven’t done anything wrong, however, you shouldn’t have anything to fear from this disclosure.”
CBC News has reported that the leaked files show that a Canadian senator and her husband, one of the country’s most prominent class-action lawyers, were beneficiaries of a confidential offshore trust in the Cook Islands that was used to make investments via Bermuda.
High-profile figures, from Crocodile Dundee star Paul Hogan to an officially bankrupt Swedish real-estate mogul to European banking dynast Élie de Rothschild, have used offshore accounts to hide wealth.
However, the leaked data also discloses dozens of cases of crooks, money-launderers and even democratically elected officials using the secrecy afforded by tax havens.
As CBC News reported recently, for example, the data shows how Russian criminals used offshore companies set up and administered by a Canadian firm in the Caribbean to launder part of a $230-million heist of the Russian treasury.
Other media outlets have found that the current or past leaders of countries such as Azerbaijan, Thailand, South Korea, the Philippines, Paraguay, Indonesia, Malaysia and Colombia have ties to offshore companies, sometimes in cases that would present serious conflicts of interest.
“A lot of people will be panicked to wonder if their names are on that sort of list and what it’s going to mean for them,” said Raymond Baker, president of Global Financial Integrity, a U.S. non-profit that campaigns to stop illicit movements of money.
“Right now there are millions and millions of entities around the world, shell companies where we don’t know who owns those entities. This is ridiculous. If we want to curtail the flow of illicit money, step one is knowing who owns the businesses that we are dealing with,” he said.
Tax probes underway
While journalists have their hands on the full set of leaked offshore records, so do national tax agencies. Britain, Australia and the United States announced last month that they’ve launched what could be the biggest ever international investigation into tax cheats using the data. Britain said it obtained the leaked files in late 2010.
Canada was offered the data by confidential sources for a price sometime before last December, but rejected it due to the Canada Revenue Agency’s policy at the time of not paying for such information. The federal government overturned that policy in its recent budget, which ushered in a plan to pay tipsters up to 15 per cent where the CRA recovers more than $100,000 from someone using offshore accounts to dodge their tax obligations.
Hudson said the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is hoping people will use its new database to find leads on other potential abuse of tax havens.
“It’s not a panacea. It’s not going to tell you everything. But it’s a tool,” he said.
“It’s a starting place for research for average citizens, for journalists, for government officials to start seeing connections and start documenting who’s out there and who’s using offshore.”
If you have more information on this story, or other investigative tips to pass on, please email email@example.com.
Republished with permission
As stated on Mountain National Banks’ website, “On Friday, June 7, 2013, Mountain National Bank, Sevierville, TN was closed by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Subsequently, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was named Receiver.”
The Mountain National Bank site goes on to say “All deposit accounts, excluding certain brokered deposits, have been transferred to First Tennessee Bank, National Association (N.A.), Memphis, TN. For more information on First Tennessee Bank, N.A., visit us at www.firsttennessee.com.”
First Tennessee Bank has created a page for information and frequently asked questions for customers of Mountain National Bank.
For more information please follow the various links provided above.
Also, the FDIC has posted information here: FDIC Bank Closing Information for Mountain National Bank
This should not come as a complete surprise as The Daily Times ran this article on April 12th of last year, “Mountain National Bank seeks capital to maintain operations“.
For more information, the FDIC has issued a press release (PR-050-2013) about the institution’s closure.
Hoping for a smooth transition and happy to read that the former Mountain National Bank staff will still be performing their duties at the former Mountain National Bank locations which will reopen as branches of First Tennessee Bank.
United States Is Fighting 74 Wars
Posted by NextNewsNetwork
Researchers Linda J. Bilmes and Michael D. Intriligator have documented that the Pentagon is presently involved in 74 conflicts world-wide, either in an active combat role, or by supplying military “advisers” to friendly governments.
This report also includes…
Oil company offices in London, the Netherlands and Norway were raided by regulators from the European Commission on May 15 as part of an investigation into suspected price-fixing, pressuring companies such as BP, Shell, and Statoil of Norway to end the banking secrecy.
According to official estimates, more than 50,000 Pakistanis have died as a result of the so-called war on terror — which is why both contenders in the recent presidential election, in which incumbent Nawaz Sharif turned back a challenge by the immensely popular Imran Khan — openly campaign for an end to the country’s involvement in the US war on terror.
The U.S. Navy test-launched an unmanned drone the size of a fighter jet on May 15. The prototype X-47B drone, which has a range of 2,100 nautical miles and a ceiling of more than 40,000 feet, took off from the USS GEORGE HW BUSH in a test flight over the Atlantic Ocean.
The topic of inflation seems to be a difficult one for many to grasp. Many do not follow economic cycles, rising market booms and the predictable busts that follow, fiat currency and the constant devaluation of the US dollar by the privately owned Federal Reserve banking cartel. Understood, as we are too busy to deal with the financial world while busy working 10 hours a day for 7 hours of wage, taking care of a family, keeping the car running, walking the dog and finding the almighty TV remote hidden behind the jumbo sized box of Twinkies (now a collectors item!).
One simple to understand example should at least cover the basics of inflation. Remember, we buy the stuff we need with US printed dollars, which is physically worth nothing, but, okay, backing up. If a farmer grew apples and you fixed cars you could trade your services for the farmers goods, barter, but, backing up.
Bottom line, if you used cats as currency and wanted to purchase a loaf of bread yesterday and then wanted to purchase another loaf tomorrow this is how much cat you would need.
Disclaimer: Prices vary per market location. Cat tolerances are ± 0.5″ length, ± 0.25″ width, adjusted for camera angle and relative humidity per photo. Past drought conditions not factored in for potential wheat damage AFFECTING BREAD PRICES, etc.
Thanks to @Snarky_B
Published on Nov 11, 2012 by LibertyAus
Government intervention – not the rigours of the free market – is the cause of financial mayhem.
Chris Leithner speaking at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas (http://fodi.sydneyoperahouse.com/) on Letting Banks Fail, and in particular how Central Banks already have.
Whereby government intervention – not the rigours of the free market – is the cause of the financial mayhem on Wall Street that becomes economic crises on Main Street. The Global Financial Crisis shows that it is not ‘capitalism’ (Karl Marx’s insult of choice) or ‘extreme capitalism (Kevin Rudd’s) that has failed but the ‘mixed economy’. To stop these crises, we need to free the market and allow it to do its job. In a free society, no bank is so big or important that we shouldn’t let it fail.
A true statesman and humanitarian, Dr. Ron Paul, simply states the road we are on verses the road we should be on, explaining both consequences and rewards. I feel no individual in office can fill his mighty shoes, but that is not necessary, as the time is now to advance the cause of Freedom and Personal Liberty and the person to carry that cause is you and I, as individuals uniting to create a critical mass, so often mentioned by Bob Schultz and others. The revolution is now in our hands and we each will decide how best to promote the battle for Liberty!
Transcript Location: http://www.campaignforliberty.org/national-blog/transcript-of-farewell-address/
Much thanks to Gary Franchi and Matthew Hawes!
Congressman Paul’s final speech on the House floor before leaving Congress
Below is the transcript of Ron Paul’s farewell address to Congress:
Farewell to Congress
This may well be the last time I speak on the House Floor. At the end of the year I’ll leave Congress after 23 years in office over a 36 year period. My goals in 1976 were the same as they are today: promote peace and prosperity by a strict adherence to the principles of individual liberty.
It was my opinion, that the course the U.S. embarked on in the latter part of the 20th Century would bring us a major financial crisis and engulf us in a foreign policy that would overextend us and undermine our national security.
To achieve the goals I sought, government would have had to shrink in size and scope, reduce spending, change the monetary system, and reject the unsustainable costs of policing the world and expanding the American Empire.
The problems seemed to be overwhelming and impossible to solve, yet from my view point, just following the constraints placed on the federal government by the Constitution would have been a good place to start.
How Much Did I Accomplish?
In many ways, according to conventional wisdom, my off-and-on career in Congress, from 1976 to 2012, accomplished very little. No named legislation, no named federal buildings or highways—thank goodness. In spite of my efforts, the government has grown exponentially, taxes remain excessive, and the prolific increase of incomprehensible regulations continues. Wars are constant and pursued without Congressional declaration, deficits rise to the sky, poverty is rampant and dependency on the federal government is now worse than any time in our history.
All this with minimal concerns for the deficits and unfunded liabilities that common sense tells us cannot go on much longer. A grand, but never mentioned, bipartisan agreement allows for the well-kept secret that keeps the spending going. One side doesn’t give up one penny on military spending, the other side doesn’t give up one penny on welfare spending, while both sides support the bailouts and subsidies for the banking and corporate elite. And the spending continues as the economy weakens and the downward spiral continues. As the government continues fiddling around, our liberties and our wealth burn in the flames of a foreign policy that makes us less safe.
The major stumbling block to real change in Washington is the total resistance to admitting that the country is broke. This has made compromising, just to agree to increase spending, inevitable since neither side has any intention of cutting spending.
The country and the Congress will remain divisive since there’s no “loot left to divvy up.”
Without this recognition the spenders in Washington will continue the march toward a fiscal cliff much bigger than the one anticipated this coming January.
I have thought a lot about why those of us who believe in liberty, as a solution, have done so poorly in convincing others of its benefits. If liberty is what we claim it is- the principle that protects all personal, social and economic decisions necessary for maximum prosperity and the best chance for peace- it should be an easy sell. Yet, history has shown that the masses have been quite receptive to the promises of authoritarians which are rarely if ever fulfilled.
By Amber Lyon
If by “change” President Obama meant criminalizing journalism in the United States, then he’s succeeded.
Why should you care? The investigative journalism that Obama has silenced could have exposed more corruption in the U.S. government, military, banking industry; corruption that has caused anguish to numerous Americans. The reports that will never be heard, read, or seen on TV may have led to positive change.
The Obama administration is suffocating investigative journalism at an alarming rate through the abuse of the Espionage Act of 1917, an act more prone to be used to protect government secrecy than national security. Before Obama, the act had been used only three times total since 1917. The current administration has used it six times to go after whistleblowers and the journalists who protect and reveal their information.
President Obama was bold enough to use the Espionage Act to subpoena New York Times journalist James Risen in an attempt to force him to ‘give up’ information on a CIA whistleblower. Risen accused the administration of trying to silence journalists and refused to acquiesce stating,
“Can you have a democracy without aggressive investigative journalism? I don’t believe you can, and that’s why I’m fighting.”
Risen predicted Obama’s attack against him would have an unprecedented chilling effect on mainstream investigative journalism in the US. He was right.