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Fit to Serve

By James C. Hormel and Erin Martin

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Tag: Wall Street

Close These Refuges for Scoundrels

The story of former AIG executive Joseph Cassano points up once more how tax and regulatory havens across the world encourage nefarious conduct, lack of transparency, evasion of taxes and corporate criminality.

Posted on Apr 2, 2009 READ MORE


toxic schmoxic
AP photo / Mary Altaffer

In for a Penny, In for $2.98 Trillion

The good news on the government’s “No Banker Left Behind” program is that, according to the special inspector general’s report on Tuesday, the total handout to date is still less than 3 trillion dollars. It’s only $2.98 trillion, to be precise, an amount six times greater than will be spent by federal, state and local governments this year on educating the 50 million American children in elementary and secondary schools. 

Posted on Mar 31, 2009 READ MORE


Cars, Banks and Confusion

The president is telling Detroit to shape up or die while at the same time politely asking Wall Street, whose recklessness and greed caused this economic crisis, if it would be so kind as to accept another heaping helping of taxpayer funds.

Posted on Mar 30, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / epicharmus

Taxpayers to Buy Bad Bank Assets

What a deal! Timothy Geithner’s new plan to save the banks from themselves commits American taxpayers to a massive purchase of the toxic assets that the banks had originally insisted were risk-free investments. Of course, Wall Street loved the news. Update

Posted on Mar 23, 2009 READ MORE


White House
Flickr/dcJohn

White House Looking to Curb Wall Street’s Excesses

Faced with the glaring problem of indulgence and intractability on the highest tiers of Wall Street’s corporate behemoths, the Obama administration is putting together a plan to make financial institutions more accountable and more transparent to the government and to the taxpayers who granted them buoyancy.

Posted on Mar 21, 2009 READ MORE


Obama and Geithner
White House / Pete Souza

Wouldn’t Let Geithner Quit Even if He Tried, Obama Says

Although Timothy Geithner is under fire from several directions, especially because he failed to stop the AIG executive bonus train from arriving at its destination, President Obama continues to actively support him. In fact, Obama says he wouldn’t let Geithner quit even if the treasury secretary tried to do so at this point.

Posted on Mar 21, 2009 READ MORE


Push Back Against AIG’s ‘Best and Brightest’

Having long flattered themselves as “masters of the universe,” the creative financiers of Wall Street and London are today exposed as grifters rather than geniuses, yet their arrogance remains intact.

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 READ MORE


America’s Most Wanted

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Posted on Mar 18, 2009 READ MORE


Money Bags
U.S. Department of Justice

Madoff Accountant Arrested

David Friehling, the accountant of Bernard Madoff (pictured above), was arrested Wednesday on charges of securities fraud. Friehling is the first alleged accomplice to be named by authorities in connection with Madoff’s $65 billion Ponzi scam, though the accountant was charged with auditing failures, not direct participation in the scheme itself.

Posted on Mar 18, 2009 READ MORE


Maddow and Letterman

Maddow on the Economy, Olbermann’s Giant Head

MSNBC’s resident smartypants, Rachel Maddow, paid a visit to “Late Night With David Letterman” on Monday to guesstimate the size of Keith Olbermann’s coconut, describe her rise to the heights of punditry and opine about how Wall Street is like a bumper-car ring.

Posted on Mar 17, 2009 READ MORE


Tarred and Feathered

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Posted on Mar 16, 2009 READ MORE    


Obama
AP photo / Ron Edmonds

Obama Aiming to Block AIG Bonuses

AIG’s dishing out $165 million in bonuses to executives who played a part in bringing their company to near ruin is an “outrage,” according to President Barack Obama, who pledged to do whatever he can to stop the payouts at the bailed-out insurance giant. Updated

Posted on Mar 16, 2009 READ MORE


One Bad Apple

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Posted on Mar 16, 2009 READ MORE


AIG logo
listphile.com

AIG to Dish Out $165 Million in Post-Bailout Bonuses

The tug of war continues between corporate financial giants and the federal government, and certain members of the former seem to have some trouble adjusting to their post-bailout status. AIG, for example, is still planning to reward its top 400 executives with a whopping $165 million in bonuses this weekend, even after the company was given more than $170 billion from taxpayers to stay afloat. Updated

Posted on Mar 14, 2009 READ MORE


book cover

Tony Platt on Wall Street Terror Attack

Beverly Gage’s new book exhumes a nearly forgotten tale of class warfare—call it 9/16.

Posted on Mar 13, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Chuck Kennedy

Obama on the Defensive as Stock Rebound Continues

The Dow is up another 240 points, gaining 9.5 percent over the last three days, but the president doesn’t want you getting too excited about it—or too distraught when things inevitably swing the other way.

Posted on Mar 12, 2009 READ MORE


Rally

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Posted on Mar 11, 2009 READ MORE


Wall St. bull
AP photo / Mary Altaffer

Socialism Without a Soul

Newt Gingrich is right: “It is European socialism transplanted to Washington.” How else to describe an economy in which the government controls the entire financial center and is now supplying life support for the auto industry?

Posted on Mar 10, 2009 READ MORE


Wall Street signs
Rob Young

Geek Love Endures on Wall Street

Despite the apparent reality that it’s not possible to precisely quantify everything under the sun, particularly when it comes to human behavior, the worrisome trend of “quants”—experts from physics and other scientific fields—infiltrating Wall Street firms to apply their skills to the stock market is still in effect.

Posted on Mar 9, 2009 READ MORE


Stone interview
truthdig.com

Oliver Stone: The Director’s Cut

The renowned filmmaker visited USC’s Annenberg School for Communication on March 3 to talk with Truthdig editors Robert Scheer and Kasia Anderson and their students about “Wall Street,” his 1987 classic—suddenly all too relevant again—and to give a panoramic take on his body of work and what the future holds for the movie industry.

Posted on Mar 9, 2009 READ MORE



Wikimedia Commons / Paul Sparkes

Dow Slides Below 7000, No End in Sight

The Dow Jones industrial average fell to 6763.29 Monday. In less than a year and a half, the market has lost more than half of its value. More bad news from the financial sector has some analysts worried that rock bottom is still a long way away.

Posted on Mar 2, 2009 READ MORE


Thiermann

90-Year-Old Madoff Client Goes Back to Work

Even though this CBS report seems to want to make a feel-good story out of this one, it’s more the stuff of nightmares, despite 90-year-old Ian Thiermann’s good-natured take on his fate. After being retired for 30 years, Thiermann discovered that he’d lost his entire retirement fund due to Bernie Madoff’s shenanigans, and now Thiermann is working for $10 an hour in a California supermarket.

Posted on Feb 27, 2009 READ MORE


Stanford
AP photo / Lefteris Pitarakis

Stanford’s Billions Are MIA

The troubles of alleged rip-off artist Sir R. Allen Stanford are piling up in a big way: Not only does he stand accused of defrauding some 50,000 customers via his Stanford Financial enterprise, but now it seems that authorities are able to account for only $250 million of the $8.2 billion in assets that Stanford’s bank said it had.

Posted on Feb 27, 2009 READ MORE


Monopoly Man
amnesta.net

Wall St. Scams a Go-Go

This information should shock no one by this point, but it seems that there are more tales of alleged fraud emerging from the general direction of Wall Street. Move over, Bernie Madoff.

Posted on Feb 26, 2009 READ MORE


trading floor
AP photo / Richard Drew

And Now for Some Financial News That’s Not Utterly Disastrous

This just in: Not everything is completely awful in the financial arena. Rejoice—stocks went up a little bit! Even if it’s just because Fed Chair Ben Bernanke assured Wall Street that our nation’s banks won’t be nationalized soon, and even if the 2 percent rise happened a day after the Dow dipped to 12-year lows.

Posted on Feb 24, 2009 READ MORE


Turn a Harsh Light Onto the Banks

It’s reaching the point where desperate measures—brutal honesty and complete transparency—may be the only way to bring the economy out of its kamikaze dive. If so, this won’t be pretty.

Posted on Feb 23, 2009 READ MORE



collage: Flickr (epicharmus) / Google

Dow and Out on Wall Street

The Dow hasn’t been this low since “Titanic” won Best Picture, appropriately enough. Investors, apparently convinced the worst is yet to come, sent stocks tumbling to a 12-year low on Monday. The Dow sank to a depth of 7114.78.

Posted on Feb 23, 2009 READ MORE


High Ideals in Low Times

  If freedom is just another word for no high-flying jobs left for new college graduates to lose, it opens room for risk-taking. And—dare I say it?—idealism.

Posted on Feb 18, 2009 READ MORE


Geithner
AP photo / Lawrence Jackson

No Tough Love for Wall Street

What an insipid anticlimax! Rising to “a challenge more complex than our financial system has ever faced,” Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner promised on Tuesday to give trillions more to the very folks who profited from that malignant complexity.

Posted on Feb 10, 2009 READ MORE


mortgage crisis

CEOs Were Bailed Out, Homeowners ... Not So Much

Robert Greenwald’s filmmaking team has zeroed in on the ongoing mortgage crisis in this clip illustrating the stark contrast between the fate of Wall Street bankers and that of struggling homeowners after the initial bailout money was doled out—without any requirements that those who benefited the most account for the funds or be accountable to people trying to save their homes.

Posted on Feb 10, 2009 READ MORE


Feed Wall Street

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Posted on Feb 10, 2009 READ MORE    


Dear Wall Street

The reason you are such a big story is that you’ve stolen our money. Or at least that’s how most of the country sees it. You think those auto executives looked bad when they flew into Washington on their private jets? Just you wait.

Posted on Feb 4, 2009 READ MORE


Bonus

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Posted on Feb 4, 2009 READ MORE


geithner
AP photo / Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Runaway Wall Street

It is instructional that only one of the three tax-challenged Obama appointees has survived public scorn to claim a high position in the new administration. Oddly enough, it is Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the man who will collect our taxes, whose career has not been stunted by his failure to pay them.

Posted on Feb 4, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / respres

Produce the Note

Rep. Marcy Kaptur has a solution for beleaguered homeowners facing foreclosure: Dare Wall Street to produce the loan note that was bundled, securitized, sold and resold.

Posted on Feb 3, 2009 READ MORE


Marie Antoinette
Lie Louis Périn-Salbreux

Who Knew Bankers Were This Stupid?

Earth to Wall Street: It’s over, people. You had a terrific run, better than you deserved, but now you’d be wise to pay attention to those citizens outside, the ones with the pitchforks and the torches.

Posted on Feb 2, 2009 READ MORE


Barack Obama

Obama Blasts ‘Shameful’ Bonuses

The president is famous for his even disposition, but he appears to be flat-out pissed at the news that Wall Street bankers showered themselves with bonuses while helping drive the economy into a ditch.

Posted on Jan 29, 2009 READ MORE


pigs
Flickr / treehouse1977

Bankers Took Home Billions While Wall Street Burned

If you’re in a good mood, you may just want to skip this bit of news from The New York Times: “Despite crippling losses, multibillion-dollar bailouts and the passing of some of the most prominent names in the business, employees at financial companies in New York ... collected an estimated $18.4 billion in bonuses for the year.” Update

Posted on Jan 29, 2009 READ MORE


Left, Right & Center

‘Left, Right & Center’: Obamarama; Bad Bankers; a Kennedy Is KO’d

Well, here he is, our new Mr. President. How did Barack Obama fare in his first few days in office? Meanwhile, Wall Street flounders, and Caroline Kennedy’s Senate bid falls short at the 11th hour. The “Left, Right & Center” team takes a crack at this week’s news. Audio fixed

Posted on Jan 23, 2009 READ MORE


Geithner and Summers
AP photo / Lawrence Jackson

Wall Street Robber Barons Ride Again

Why rush to throw another $350 billion of taxpayer money at the Wall Street bandits and their political cronies who created the biggest financial mess since the Great Depression? And why should we taxpayers be expected to double our debt exposure when the 10 still-secret bailout contracts made in the first round are being kept from the public?

Posted on Jan 13, 2009 READ MORE


Left, Right & Center

‘Left, Right & Center’: Will Obama Take On Wall Street?

Is President-elect Barack Obama proposing a stimulus package that will actually deliver? What’s going to happen next in the Middle East? These are unanswerable questions, but the “Left, Right & Center” team offers prognostications about what may lie in store on the domestic and international fronts.

Posted on Jan 9, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
flickr.com / Presidential Inaugural Committee

Wizards of the Inauguration

While Barack Obama banned corporations and big donors from funding his inauguration so as to not trammel the public celebration, the big event’s multimillion-dollar bill is instead being footed by Wall Street executives and other financial employees acting as fundraisers. Abracadabra—no more special interests.

Posted on Jan 9, 2009 READ MORE


Madoff
AP photo / Jason DeCrow

An Insanity Plea for Madoff?

It might seem a stretch, but fallen financier Bernard Madoff’s legal team may be “exploring an insanity defense,” according to the New York Daily News.

Posted on Dec 28, 2008 READ MORE


Madoff Investor Found Dead in N.Y.

The co-founder of one of Bernard Madoff’s biggest corporate clients, Access International Advisers, was found dead of an apparent suicide on Tuesday morning in his New York office.

Posted on Dec 23, 2008 READ MORE


Obama appointees
AP photo / Gerald Herbert

Tough Road Ahead for New Economic Appointees

On Thursday, President-elect Barack Obama introduced three top financial appointees who will help him with the unenviable task of revamping the government’s economic regulatory system and “crack[ing] down on this culture of greed and scheming that has led us to this day of reckoning,” as Obama put it.

Posted on Dec 18, 2008 READ MORE


Horlick
epws-shanghai.org

Wealthy Investors Lose Fortunes in Wall Street Scam

Although the full extent of the damage from broker Bernard Madoff’s alleged super-swindle has yet to be determined, it’s clear by now that the collapse of his vast pyramid scheme may spell utter disaster for several of his top investors—some of whom might not know yet that they’re broke.

Posted on Dec 13, 2008 READ MORE


Madoff
streetinsider.com

Top Broker Busted for $50B ‘Ponzi Scheme’

Here’s yet another candidate for the expanding collection of Tales from the Dark Side of Wall Street (is there any other side?): The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Bernard L. Madoff, a top trader for nearly five decades who has served as chairman of the Nasdaq Stock Market, was arrested this week after his sons turned him in for engineering an elaborate “Ponzi scheme.”

Posted on Dec 12, 2008 READ MORE


Obama's defense team
AP photo / Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Will Obama Stay the Course?

I do so want to believe that Barack Obama is on the right track. His brain is big, his style fresh, his pronouncements both logical and compelling, and it does feel good to have a president-elect elicit universal respect rather than make the world cringe.

Posted on Dec 2, 2008 READ MORE


Summers and Obama
AP photo / Charles Dharapak

Obama Chooses Wall Street Over Main Street

Maybe Ralph Nader was right in predicting that the same Wall Street hustlers would have a lock on our government no matter which major party won the election. I hate to admit it, since it wasn’t that long ago that I heatedly challenged Nader in a debate on this very point.

Posted on Nov 25, 2008 READ MORE


Financial Meltdown Capzle

Financial Meltdown 101

Getting a grip on the economic catastrophe that rocked the country during the fall of 2008 is no easy feat, what with so many players, back-room deals, bills, upswings and meltdowns to consider. Updated

Posted on Nov 24, 2008 READ MORE


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