Sanders, Nader, and the Politics of the Federal Reserve

Bernie Sanders slammed the Federal Reserve for raising interest rates a little over a week ago. 

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The Fed's Financial Fictions

I've learned to go straight to the point when talking about raising interest rates (or lowering them, but you'd have had to go negative to go any lower than they were). My first question will always be how this will affect the day-to-day lives of the half of Americans in the throes of financial insecurity. This is an especially salient question when the rate adjustments are as small as the one announced last week.

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Bankstering in 2015: An End-of-Year Review

Those wacky banksters. Private banking is a tangled web of opacity. Let's review some of their recent and long-running shenanigans, remembering this list is far from exhaustive:

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Detroit: From Toxic Bank Deals to (more) Toxic Air, Land & Water

It was shady Wall Street deals that most recently destroyed the finances of Detroit. Now, as the city continues to struggle with water shutoffs and widespread financial indignities, Michigan wants to punish the victims again, by relaxing pollution regulations in a way that will disproportionately sicken the people of Detroit. 

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Class Action Goes After 10 Banks on Interest Rate Swap Fixing

Bank collusion has been a theme in the world of banking malfeasance news for some time. We know they've been caught colluding on currency exchange rates. We know that twelve banks settled a lawsuit in September admitting to credit default swap fixing. But a class action lawsuit filed Wednesday by The Public School Teachers' Pension and Retirement Fund of Chicago contends that ten of Wall Street's largest banks have "extract[ed] billions of dollars in monopoly rents, year after year . . ." and in doing so, wrecked Chicago teachers' retirement accounts.

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The People Still Resist Austerity in Greece

As I post this, Greece is finishing up a 24-hour general strike that drew tens of thousands of workers demonstrating in Athens. Much of the world, certainly the U.S., has stopped paying attention to day-to-day political events in Athens because it seemed, when it happened, that Alexis Tsipras's capitulation to austerity measures to guarantee further EU bailouts of Greece was a decisive nail in the coffin of Greek resistance to neoliberalism and the heavy-handedness of the European Central Bank.

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A Revolutionary Pope Calls for Rethinking the Outdated Criteria That Rule the World

Pope Francis’ revolutionary encyclical addresses not just climate change but the banking crisis. Interestingly, the solution to that crisis may have been modeled in the Middle Ages by Franciscan monks following the Saint from whom the Pope took his name.

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“Guerrilla Warfare Against a Hegemonic Power”: The Challenge and Promise of Greece

Banks create money when they make loans. Greece could restore the liquidity desperately needed by its banks and its economy by nationalizing the banks and issuing digital loans backed by government guarantees to its ailing businesses. Greece could provide an inspiring model of sustainable prosperity for the world. But it is being strangled by a hegemonic power in a financial war that is being waged against us all.  

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Grexit or Jubilee? How Greek Debt Can Be Annulled

The crushing Greek debt could be canceled the way it was made – by sleight of hand. But saving the Greek people and their economy is evidently not in the game plan of the Eurocrats.

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The Greek Coup: Liquidity as a Weapon of Coercion

“My father made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Luca Brasi held a gun to his head and my father assured him that either his brains, or his signature, would be on the contract.”                                                                                                                                                 — The Godfather (1972)

In the modern global banking system, all banks need a credit line with the central bank in order to be part of the payments system. Choking off that credit line was a form of blackmail the Greek government couldn’t refuse. 

 

 

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