In July 2010 those poor billionaire chaps at the bloodsucking firm otherwise known as Goldman Sachs, admitted no fraud and got slapped with a $550 million fine by the SEC. Should have been ten times the money and jail time, but hey, these same guys stiffed us for a trillion in the “banker bailout” two years ago, so who’s counting.
The first $250 million went to Royal Bank of Scotland and the German bank IKB Deutsche Industriebank AG. The other $300 million will go to the US Treasury. Seems fair that some banksters should get half, don’t you think? Glass half full: Any time you deal with a banker and come out with more than half, well hell, you did alright.
The fine amounted to 14 days of profits at Goldman Sachs. As Adelphi University professor and former Bear Stearns managing director Michael Driscoll put it, “That is a steal (for Goldman)”. Goldman shares and options surged on the news.
On the bright side, it was the biggest fine ever levied against a corporation by a US government agency. And the Justice Department is now bringing criminal charges against Goldman’s Rajiv Gupta. Citigroup found itself recently explaining how it cooked its books. And German police raided every office of UBS (Union Bank of Switzerland) on German soil in a single day, demanding records of wealthy German tax evaders.
Not well rested the heads of Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Chase, Deutsche Bank and Bank or America, either. All spent the week waiting for the next SEC subpoena and word has it they are forthcoming.
The financial oversight bill that passed the Senate with three Republican votes isn’t perfect but its a start. And hey, at least we know where the other 37 Republicans stand – goose-stepping to the international bankster lobby as per usual. Something to be proud of and impart to the grandkids, I’m sure, for these “family values” folk.
The best provision of the bill allows the FDIC to seize, break apart and liquidate the assets of a future “too big too fail” banker bailout hard case. The bankers must also fund the liquidation.
In a real tear-jerker, heads of dozens of the largest US corporations have sent President Obama a letter; well more of a laundry list of things he could do to help them sleep better amidst the growing cacophony of Robber Baron talk. The overpaid shills are apparently alarmed at Mr. Obama’s sometimes populist anti-Wall Street tone. That didn’t stop the now-bankrupt Hostess was cutting large bonus checks to its stellar management team. Damn baker’s union!
The underreported story of the week comes from Kazakhstan, where Prime Minister Nursultan Nazarbayev’s government slapped an oil export levy on Tenghizchevroil- a joint venture between BP, Chevron and Exxon Mobil. Two days later Kazakh financial police launched a criminal probe of Tenghizchevroil.
These seemingly disparate moves against the global oligarchy reflect an awakening of people around the world. While corporate profits climb and wealth continues to concentrate into fewer hands, the rest of us are squeezed with higher prices, stagnant wages and a general reduction in living standards.
It is not President Obama’s populism that should be keeping elites awake at night. Obama is only responding, as FDR did, to the mood on the street. Populism is all the rage.
What should and increasingly is making the Money Power and its collaborators shudder is a global awakening of the people, an emerging collective consciousness that is coming to a consensus about privilege, wealth disparities and class. This long silent majority that constitutes Democracy is getting awful tired of their slice of the pie being eaten by some suit pushing buttons.
Uneasy indeed lie the financial parasite’s hydra.
Dean Henderson is the author of four books: Big Oil & Their Bankers in the Persian Gulf: Four Horsemen, Eight Families & Their Global Intelligence, Narcotics & Terror Network, The Grateful Unrich: Revolution in 50 Countries, Das Kartell der Federal Reserve & Stickin’ it to the Matrix.