Who Hijacked Our Country

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Detroit Donates Millions of Dollars to Wall Street

As well they should. So what if Detroit’s unemployment rate is 28% and climbing, and a house in Detroit probably costs less than a new car. Quit whining! If Detroit residents weren’t so wrapped up in their own petty problems, they’d be more mindful of those needy Wall Street executives.

It’s bad enough when an individual doesn’t notice something in the fine print and ends up paying surcharges and penalties. Now it’s happening to one of America’s largest and poorest cities.

Several years ago Detroit entered into a deal with UBS and several other banks, enabling the city to save $2 million a year in interest on $800 million worth of bonds. Unfortunately, on page 73 of the contract, written in a size .001 font, was a “gotcha” clause. If Detroit’s credit rating was reduced, the banks could sleaze out of the deal and demand a huge payment.

Last January, it happened. Detroit’s credit rating dropped, and now the city owes $400 million to those banks. Gotcha! If you’re a giant scumsucking parasite with no morals or ethics, times are great right now.

Detroit is now making a monthly payment of $4.2 million to the banks. The city isn’t allowed to spend one cent on schools, transportation or any other vital services until this payment has been made.

Detroit is probably the most blatant example, but this is happening all over the country. UBS and Goldman Sachs — among others — are extorting billions of dollars from local governments and public entities. As this article says:

“Many of the transactions shared a striking similarity: provisions that protected the banks from big losses and left the customers on the hook for huge payouts. Now, as many of those deals sour, Wall Street is ramping up its efforts to collect from Main Street.”

The New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund Authority and the Chicago Transit Authority are two other entities that have been suckerpunched by Wall Street.

Legislation has been introduced in Congress — by Representative John Lewis (D-GA) and Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) — which would impose a 100% tax on these penalty payments that the banks collect. That’s not enough, but it’s a start.

It’s not drawing and quartering, but it’ll do for now.

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Anonymous Jess said...

Doing some catch up on news this evening. Found this on Kos, check out all the links used here in this diary.

I am just so tired of these people and their greed and I don't know what the answer is. Paul and Grayson are trying to audit the Fed, don't know how that will go over with the lobbyists.

November 22, 2009 at 5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awww, Com'on, Tom.. Have a heart. Those Wall Streeters have bills to pay, too.

Slightly off topic, but related. The ways that Corporate America has figured out new ways to get "public" money into their pockets. "Transfer of wealth", as they call it. You've identified yet another here, and perhaps you've already pointed out the campaign to get public entities to stockpile Tamiflu, flu vaccines, and other "preparations" for the deliberately hyped Pig Flu.

Remember the dreaded Bird Flu? Yeah, takes a bit of effort, but.. GEE after all that hype and talk of a pandemic a few years back, it just passed from the headlines. But, not before governments around the world bought huge stockpiles of that certain drug, Tamiflu. Did I hear correctly that former vice prez Cheney was a prime beneficiary?

The list is long of such efforts by Corporate America. Why put all that money into convincing individual consumers to buy your product, when you can stampede governments to buy huge volumes, and have the "news" media do your advertising for you?!

Remember what Eisenhower said, years ago, about what threats the "military industrial complex" posed to America and the rest of the world? It looks like the pharmo, financial and other industries took note of THAT playbook!

November 22, 2009 at 5:28 PM  
Blogger Lew Scannon said...

Come on now, be fair. Those Louis XIV gold plated commodes don't come cheap, and once one executive has one, they all do.
We have entered a new age in America, where greed is not only acceptable, it's preferred. And if it takes destroying the middle class for these people to live like the kings of old, that capitalism, or some twisted perversion of it anyway.

November 22, 2009 at 6:28 PM  
Anonymous Jess said...

Tom your readers may enjoy this new report from the institute of tax and economic policy. Just to warn you all, it's a pdf and quite lengthy but it gives a good picture of how the states are getting screwed by the distaste of higher taxes. For those of you that think the wealthy pay more in taxes, sadly they don't pay enough. Part of what has the country in the financial swamp we are in. I know it isn't many here think the wealthy are taxed enough but there might be one or two.


November 22, 2009 at 7:21 PM  
Anonymous Carlos said...

Nice. And to think 'tards trust private enterprise to manage our healthcare!

November 23, 2009 at 2:27 AM  
Blogger Distributorcap said...

inevitably the country will go broke (we are already) and wall street will have all the toys - and what will they do - live high on the hog

nope go live in some european socialist entity since this place will be unliveable

UBS and Goldman Sachs — among others — are extorting billions of dollars from local governments and public entities.

they are also extorting from the US govt and from the people.

when do we start the revolution?

November 23, 2009 at 3:27 AM  
Blogger Holte Ender said...

When Wall Street was begging for a bailout, an opportunity was missed, to reform and regulate the cause of our economic woes. Now we are setting about inflating the same bubble. Sometimes I wonder if it would have been better to let them fail and start from scratch. It would have been hard, but tell Detroit about hard.

November 23, 2009 at 6:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a correction, it was Rumsfeld:

"However, should Mr Rumsfeld have held on to shares in the company, he would be a major beneficiary of the surge in the global demand for the drug. The NHS alone has already purchased enough Tamiflu to treat three-quarters of the population in the UK.

Under the terms of the deal Gilead, headed by Mr Rumsfeld between 1997 and 2001, still receives between 14 and 22 per cent of the income from the wholesale trade in the drug, depending on the volume of sales.

Four years ago the value of Mr Rumsfeld’s shares in Gilead Sciences saw a huge hike from an estimated £3million to an estimated £17million over the avian flu scare.

It was partially sparked by a warning from President Bush’s top health adviser Mike Leavitt that a pandemic could cause nearly two million deaths in the US alone."

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1176743/Donald-Rumsfelds-controversial-links-drug-company-Tamiflu.html#ixzz0XhbGANPj

.. from KOS

"The Secretary of Defense, the man who allegedly supported the use of contrived intelligence to justify the war on Iraq, who oversaw billions of dollars in Pentagon no-bid contracts to Bechtel and Halliburton corporations, is now poised to reap huge gains for a flu panic his Administration has done everything it could to promote.

The Gilead model also suggests a parallel to the Halliburton Corporation, whose former CEO is Vice President Dick Cheney. Cheney’s company has so far gotten billions worth of US construction contracts in Iraq and elsewhere. Is it just a coincidence that Cheney’s closest political friend is Defense Secretary and Avian Flu beneficiary, Donald Rumsfeld?"


November 23, 2009 at 9:09 AM  
Blogger Demeur said...

Holte you need to remember that the bailout was done under Bush and it sure didn't take months like healthcare. Why would the Freepers want any oversight?
The party will end when there's no more money to squeeze out of the sheeple. If we were smart we'd just start pulling all monies out of the bank and retirement funds and watch em squirm. No need for pitch forks and torches that way.

November 23, 2009 at 12:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shades of Robocop when Detroit went bankrupt because the big corporation wanted to collect, and had to have a telethon to raise money.

As I remember they were bailed out by the Drug Dealers in return to ignore dealing.


November 23, 2009 at 1:39 PM  
Anonymous Thomas said...

Public sentiment is turning so rapidly against major financial institutions that I kind of wonder how long it will be before CEO's and fund managers have to flee the country for fear of being strung up by angry mobs. This, of course, doesn't make the situation any better for them.

November 23, 2009 at 4:01 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Anonymous: Yes, I should have more sympathy for those poor Wall Streeters. Yacht and Learjet payments can be brutal.

I thought I remembered it was Rumsfeld who owned a huge interest in the avian flu vaccine (as you said in your later comment). And since everyone is terrified of new epidemics (with good reason), this Flu Industrial Complex is very lucrative.

Jess: That's a nice uplifting story. The economic news just gets more cheery all the time :)

Lew: True enough. A Louis XIV gold plated commode is something to behold. Fuck the riffraff.

Jess: I'll check out that link later. Thanks for the .pdf warning. I hate those things. They don't always take forever to download, just sometimes. But they're a necessary evil.

Holte: You're right, it's unbelievable that the government just handed Wall Street a trillion dollars with no strings attached. How'd that work out for us?

In hindsight, I think we should have just told them all to fuck off and let them fail. We sure haven't yielded anything from that trillion dollar handout.

Distributorcap: You're right, things are pretty dire. I hope it doesn't come to a revolution, but other times I'm thinking where's the Baader-Meinhof Gang when we need them?

Carlos: Yup, private enterprise will always be the answer for neocons.

Erik: I never saw that movie. We might have to do something drastic like that in real life. But drug dealers are already everywhere. Not sure who else we can turn to.

Demeur: That might be what it comes to -- everyone just pulling their money out of the bank (while they still have some).

Thomas: I agree, they should be afraid for their safety because of public fury. But I started thinking that during Enron's fake energy crisis in 2001, and it hasn't happened yet. But hope springs eternal.

November 23, 2009 at 5:05 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Those greedy bastards know no bounds. Yes, the federal government should tax away every cent of those gotcha fees. And the first thing Uncle Sam should do with the money from the Detroit ripoff deal is shore up Detroit's finances.

Of course, you can bet the same sorry excuses for Democrats who are standing in the way of health care reform with even a weak, watered-down public option will also side with the banks and support a Republican filibuster.

You know, the (conservative Republican) South lost the Civil War in 1864 and the rest of us have been paying a price for having won it ever since. What's wrong with this picture?

November 24, 2009 at 1:01 AM  
Anonymous Evan said...

Ah!!! I found what I was looking for. Somtimes it takes so much effort to find even tiny useful piece of information. http://bit.ly/2Lsw39

November 24, 2009 at 5:38 AM  
Blogger lisa said...

"You're doing a heck of a job Timmy."

November 24, 2009 at 6:29 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

Smithers: One of your executives has bilked the company insurance plan out of $1000.

Mr. Burns: What? Blast his hide to Hades! And I was going to buy that ivory back-scratcher.

November 24, 2009 at 8:22 AM  
Anonymous Jolly Roger said...

Damn. lisa can't muster up ANY kind of a defense for her Deities?

We're just about done. This country is going to end just like the USSR did, and it will be for the same reasons. Obama needed to be our Roosevelt, but he's our Gorbachev.

November 24, 2009 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Randal: Aww, Mr. Burns, you can still have your ivory backscratcher. We'll just have to bankrupt a few more cities to get the money for you. No problem.

Lisa: No argument there. So who would you rather have in that position? And why?

SW: Good point. Kinda makes you wonder who really won the Civil War.

JR: "Obama needed to be our Roosevelt, but he's our Gorbachev." Scary thought, but probably true.

November 24, 2009 at 2:56 PM  
Anonymous Bee said...

Does anyone remember the final scenes of Fight Club? Maybe we all need to pull a Tyler Durden on the corps that got themselves bailed out and are continuing the same shit. Heck, while we're at it, we could Durden the credit card companies, and the health insurance companies...of course, after hours, and no one in the buildings, with a little careful planning...

November 24, 2009 at 4:33 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Bee: I guess there's a bit of Tyler Durden in all of us. And these corporate robber barons keep asking for whatever might happen to them.

November 24, 2009 at 4:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahhh.. Grasshoppha.. As the past reveals for those who wish to see, actions taken to free oneself are often used to justify the repressive response from the powers that be.

One must learn to use the power of the machine, and to direct it's power towards it's own distruction.

Or, as Stevie Wonder said:

" Your name is big brother
You say that you're watching me on the tele,
Seeing me go nowhere,
Your name is big brother,
You say that you're tired of me protesting,
Children dying everyday,
My name is nobody
But I can't wait to see your face inside my door

Your name is big brother
You say that you got me all in your notebook,
Writing it down everyday,
Your name is I'll see ya,
I'll change if you vote me in as the pres,
The President of your soul
I live in the ghetto,
You just come to visit me 'round election time

I live in the ghetto,
Someday I will move on my feet to the other side,
My name is secluded,
we live in a house the size of a matchbox,
Roaches live with us wall to wall,

You've killed all our leaders,
I don't even have to do nothin' to you
You'll cause your own country to fall

November 24, 2009 at 9:56 PM  

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