IT’S not all bad news. Sometimes, it’s like the country is on a downward spiral into permanent stagnation. But, occasionally there’s some really good news. For instance, have you heard that Goldman Sachs, the controversial cabal of international bankers, is pulling out of the International Financial Services Centre? Reliable sources say Goldman Sachs doesn’t want to do business in this country anymore. Whoopee!
Why are they leaving? Well, that’s something we should be shouting from the rooftops.
And they’re not the only bankers buggering off, I’m pleased to report. Several others are “handing back their licences”, according to Michael Somers, deputy chairman of AIB. And, he says, some of them have told him privately that it’s because of heavier regulation of their activities.
Not surprisingly, for a banker, Somers is dismayed. “I’m dismayed,” he told RTE’s business programme.
And this was reported sympathetically throughout the media, as though it’s a bad thing that various senior bankers, including the Goldman gobshites, are leaving. Sometimes, I wonder about this country.
The fighting Irish. The raging anger when the bankers crashed capitalism in 2008. The demands that bankers be fired, shamed, jailed – or worse. The anger at the light-touch regulation that allowed all sorts of cowboys to prosper, running their own banks into the ground. The insistence that there must be banking reform – this, we were told, Must Never Happen Again.
Well, folks, the notion that the banks should be kept on a tight rein is going out of fashion. Effective regulation is now dismissed as short-sighted. Support for regulation is caricatured as mere anti-banker rhetoric.
During the Celtic Bubble, bankers had a free hand. They acted with disregard for anything except their own interests. That’s not because they’re bad people – though some of them had the morals of jackals and the brains of peat briquettes. It’s because people who are paid massively, lauded as geniuses and given the run of the country will act accordingly.
Now, the pleas are mounting for lighter regulation and bigger salaries for bankers. And there’s no sign that this Government strongly disagrees.
An outsider was appointed Financial Regulator – Matthew Elderfield. Saviour of capitalism, a stickler for the rulebook, we were told. Best of all, he had no connection to the usual cronies.
And when Elderfield quit recently, after just three years on the job, to take a position with a UK bank, many were surprised.
Is his move just personal ambition or is there something more going on? Has Elderfield seen straws in the wind and did this make him decide to move to more solid ground?
Last week, Elderfield made a speech warning that the cost of lax supervision was many, many times the cost of proper regulation. Bizarrely, the media reported this as just another view – balanced against the view of the bankers, that regulation has gone too far.
I’ve had goldfish with better memories than some media folk.
Goldman Sachs, throughout this global crisis, epitomised the morals of the banking business. In Matt Taibbi’s memorable phrase, the bank is like “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money”.
According to The New York Times, Goldman helped that government manoeuvre and the deal was “hidden from public view because it was treated as a currency trade, rather than a loan”.
Why would Goldman do that? Because the Greek politicians “paid the bank about $300m (€230m) in fees for arranging the 2001 transaction, according to several bankers familiar with the deal”.
When Greece imploded, Goldman had moved on to other things, its executives fattened on their notorious bonuses.
The fact that Goldman Sachs and others are leaving the IFSC – well, an active, concerned government would have ministers fanning out across the globe, gleefully welcoming this news. Yell it from the pages of the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal.
Take a bunch of Reuters and AP reporters to dinner, send Michael Noonan into the Bloomberg TV studios with a big grin on his face.
“We’re glad to see the back of those bastards,” he would say.
And it would ask the question: what are Goldman Sachs hiding? What are they up to that can’t stand the light of effective regulation?
An active, concerned government would use the flight of such people to advertise a financial-services system that won’t be allowed do the kind of things that destroyed economies.
The departure of such types would be a platform from which to promise a financial-services set-up that you can trust.
The framework of regulation – including Elderfield’s position – remains in place. The bankers find this restrictive – so, the pressure is on.
Yesterday, John Bruton, a former Taoiseach, now a hired mouthpiece for the banking business, rebuked President Higgins’s call for an end to the policy of austerity (pushed by banker-friendly types, such as Mario Draghi, a Goldman Sachs old boy). Attack unemployment, Higgins suggested.
Stay the course, Bruton says. He’s on a Dail and ministerial pension of €140,000, on top of his reported six-figure salary for bigging-up the bankers. And he says: “Austerity is always painful.”
The lesson of the banking crisis seemed for a while to be obvious to all. We need banks that serve the economy – not the bankers.
We need boring banks, banks that assess risk, support customers and serve the wider economy – not banks that are fixated on spectacular deals that feed the egos and the wallets of elite layers of hustlers.
Two distinct models of banking. An old one, that kept capitalism relatively stable for decades. And a casino model that emerged from Thatcherism, tied to bloated rewards for the few.
That cut-throat model, which placed the welfare of banks above that of the people, led to the crash. And to the ruinous bank guarantee.
And to the subsequent policies of forcing the debts of bankers and bondholders on to the people. And the costly, disastrous attempts to balance the books through austerity.
Remarkably, the cut-throat model has survived. We needed a clear-out of senior bankers, not as a punishment or as revenge, but to evict a type of specialist we don’t need, who subscribes to a model of banking, and a model of society, that has massively damaged us.
Many of the those who ran the banks into the ground have gone, but their values remain – and are lauded in the highest circles of government, business and the media.
Who replaces Elderfield, and the ground rules under which he or she works, will matter. There will be no sweeping disposal of regulation – we on the outside won’t even see the screws loosened.
Should those bankers now leaving in a huff return in a year or two, we’ll know then that we’re in even bigger trouble.
Three things all serious people know are true
This post was written by Kevin O’Rourke
A holy trinity — or perhaps a troika? — of beliefs has guided policy since 2010. These are that austerity is expansionary; that the sky will fall in if ever the debt to GDP ratio exceeds 90%; and that the way to do austerity is to cut expenditure rather than raise taxes.
All of which is very convenient if what you really want to do is shrink the state.
We know how well the first two nostrums have performed when confronted with empirical evidence, so you might think that people would be just a wee bit cautious about stating the third as gospel truth. But no, here is Mario Draghi:
First, fiscal consolidation should be based on reductions in current expenditure rather than increases in taxes. Unfortunately, many of the fiscal consolidation measures were implemented in an emergency situation, with most governments choosing the simplest route, which was to raise taxes. And here we are talking about raising taxes in an area of the world where taxes are already very high, so it is no wonder that this had a contractionary effect.
Paul Krugman helpfully reminds us where this belief came from, and what happened next. The ECB is constantly telling us that it has a narrowly restricted mandate, with its primary concern being inflation. In that case, then surely the least that we are entitled to expect is that it keeps its views about the composition of fiscal adjustments to itself?
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), the investment bank nicknamed “Government Sachs” because of senior executives who have moved into public posts, won’t be entering politics itself.
A shareholder proposal that the New York-based company run for office instead of funding political campaigns was discarded, according to a letter last month from the Securities and Exchange Commission, which agreed the firm can exclude the measure from its annual meeting.
Harrington Investments Inc. President John Harrington submitted the proposal last year, saying the $6.39 million in 2012 political contributions from the firm’s employees risks doing more harm to its reputation. He said the bank should explore running for office, using a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that corporations have similar political rights to individuals.
“It would be less damaging to the integrity of our political system and our company, for our corporation to directly run for office as a person under federal or state law, than to continue in the current form of political participation,” Harrington wrote in the proposal.
Goldman Sachs said in a letter to the SEC that it “currently has no involvement, never has had any involvement, and has no plans to become involved in the business of running for political office.”
The bank also said that its political action committee is funded by voluntary employee contributions, not shareholder money. The Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling gave corporations the same rights as individuals to spend money independently to support candidates.
Harrington Investments provides advisory services for investors “who want their investment portfolios to serve progressive environmental and social objectives while yielding positive long-term returns,” according to its website. The firm expressed its support for Occupy Wall Street protesters.
Two former Goldman Sachs chiefs, Henry Paulson and Robert Rubin, served as U.S. Treasury secretaries after leaving the firm, and another, Jon Corzine, represented New Jersey in the U.S. Senate and as governor. Mark Carney, the incoming Bank of England head, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley are among company alumni now setting monetary policy.
Harrington said he will continue to search for ways to bring up the issue of corporate political involvement, as well as the balance of power between shareholders and companies’ management teams and boards of directors.
“It’s too bad we didn’t get it on the ballot, it would have been a good discussion piece,” Harrington said today in a phone interview. “You begin to see a pattern of how much influence corporations have on our political balance, and now it’s so skewed that you figure, ‘Why don’t we have Goldman run for president and JPMorgan Chase run for vice president.’ And that way, they can run the system for real.”
Two senior executives from the Ombudsman travelled to the ECB’s headquarters in Frankfurt in December to view the letter which the bank is refusing to allow the citizens of Ireland to see.
The decision to carry out an investigation follows a complaint against the ECB of “maladministration” by journalist Gavin Sheridan. The ECB has refused to release the letter dated November 19, 2010, for over a year on the basis that it claims it is not in the “public interest” for Irish citizens to see “candid communications” between the ECB and national authorities.
“Not in the Public Interest’ this is rich coming from an unelected EU official.In short it is a two fingers to democracy and your democratic rights
This letter is marked “secret”, and its publication has been blocked at the highest levels of the ECB.
The ECB’s justifications for not releasing the letter included the following paragraph:
The second letter, dated 19 November 2010, is a strictly confidential communication between the ECB President and the Irish Minister of Finance and concerns measures addressing the extraordinarily severe and difficult situation of the Irish financial sector and their repercussions on the integrity of the euro area monetary policy and the stability of the Irish financial sector.
The content of the letter was alluded to as follows:
The ECB must be in a position to convey pertinent and candid messages to European and national authorities in the manner judged to be the most effective to serve the public interest as regards the fulfilment of its mandate. If required and in the best interest of the public also effective informal and confidential communication must be possible and should not be undermined by the prospect of publicity. In this case, the confidential communication was aimed at discussing measures conducive to protecting the effectiveness and integrity of the ECB’s monetary policy and fostering an environment that ultimately contribute to restoring confidence among investors in the overall solvency and sustainability of the Irish financial sector and markets, which, in turn, is of overriding importance for the smooth conduct of monetary policy.
The Irish public deserve deserve better than this tardy treatment from both the EU and the Irish Government
Can you trust International Banking?
Judge for yourself
Just a quick look at recent developments
Standard Chartered accused of exposing the US to terrorists, drug dealers, and weapon dealers by hiding $250 billion of transactions with the Iranian government.
Deutsche Bank admits Libor involvement.
Germany’s biggest bank faces regulatory action after admitting complicity in rate-fixing scandal along with Barclays.
HSBC ‘allowed drug cartels to launder money’
Early July –details of Barclay’s bank/ *Libor’s scandal started to emerge (rate fixing)
The governing bank of England was also aware of this illegal manipulation.
In Canada – participants in the Libor scandel include the Canadian branches of the Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan Bank, and Citibank, as well as ICAP (Intercapital), an interdealer broker.
USA- In the USA regulators were focusing on Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and UBS AG in their probe of Libor’s rate manipulation.
Goldman Sachs has not yet faced the music for cooking the books of Greece.
This manipulation allowed the Greeks to falsely comply with the requirements for Euro zone admission.
Will they ever be sanctioned and if not why?
What you will understand from the above is all the major banks are involved in illegal rate fixing.
Rate fixing means, you Johnny Citizen gets cheated out of money and the bankers get fat bonus payments
* the London inter-bank offered rate
The Fraudulent Traveller
This rather silly senator appears to be hell-bent on setting a senate record for difficulties with the law. Let us have a look at her track- record. She took her plumber take her to court rather than pay him what he was owed. Had planning permission for a two-story garage refused? She went ahead and built it regardless of the law. Officials recommended demolition of the building due to blatant flaunting of the planning process. However, a “higher” up “official” granted her retention. I wonder if this could be maybe a close by senior say like in Mayo. In early July, this woman received a fine for not having road tax on her Merc c180. She stated that this was an oversight on her part. In Late July fined €100 for not having a train ticket. The very same senator receives €2,424 a month in travel and accommodation expenses. One might say a nice little earner when you do not pay your road tax or train fares. Jesus’ lads but you cannot beat the old gravy train. Some neck on this woman but then again, rules and regulations only apply to the serfs. It might be interesting to check out her overnight accommodation expenses to see how they stack up. Between oversights, lack of foresight and poor visual vision one wonders how this woman can even find her way to the senate let alone claim expenses.
To compound all this nonsense Fine Gael issued this gobbledygook as a damage limitation exercise.
Senator Healy Eames boarded the 6.50am train to Dublin in a rush, at Athenry station yesterday morning (Thursday). She did so on the understanding that she would be able to purchase a ticket on board, as she had previously done on recent occasions. An officer approached her from the revenue protection unit on board who asked her for ID. She produced her Seanad ID card. She offered to buy a ticket as normal. He told her she could not buy a ticket from him and fined her €100.
It appears the true heirs to the Feeling small party are well and truly on board the gravy train.
Daddy says Skippy won’t be going back” to face the prospect of jail in the Republic. Daddy says he has no chance of getting “fair play or justice” because of the corrupt way the authorities have handled the Quinn case. Daddy says Young Skippy is under a lot of pressure, and he deserves our sympathy. If daddy Quinn has evidence of “the corrupt way the authorities handled the case,” then perhaps he might share the information with the Gardai. Let us all remind Daddy Quinn that the entire nation witnessed dear little Skippy on video lying through his teeth. Let’s jog the memory of the old Quinn a little further and say “Sir” you son was given every chance to comply with the law but failed to do so. He skipped court and did a runner. The sheer arrogance and smug self-righteousness by the Quinn family of their wrongdoing defies belief. Hopefully at the end of the day they will all end in Jail. —————————————————————————————————————————-
Are you Ready to be a Bonded Serf?
What the major political parties will not tell you is there is no way forward from the current economic crisis except a doomsday scenario. Are they preparing for it? Yes is the answer. The current system is to be replaced by the new political credo of “Economic serfdom” which means welcome to P.I.G.S. party feudalism. The middle classes and working classes will shortly cease to exist. What this means is that 95% of the population will become bonded serfs to the privileged. Future generations will be born into economic slavery to serve the Elites. They will be controlled by the enforcers of the vested interests until released by death from exhaustion having procreated to keep the supply system going. The Royalty of Banks, the Royalty of Global Business, and the Royalty of Unelected Leaders are now your governors such is your destiny.
The billion barrel oil find off the Cork coast
Hurray, hurrah we are rich once again. Twenty-five per cent of the corporate profit is our cut, however; there are two points to note. They can write off exploration costs against tax. The twenty-five per cent can increase to forty depending on the profitability of the field. This is a red herring, as the number crunchers will ensure this never happens. I guaranteed we will get **** yet once again. It looks like we are destined to remain Kings of the Sardine industry. Now that chap Chavez begins to look rather interesting. Just how did he do it, perhaps time for a government junket to Venezuela?
Mario Draghi the man who pulls the fiscal strings in Europe. Does he represent the people of Europe? Not on your life, he has one interest and that is to take care of his friends in Banking. Consider the following.
2. Worked for Goldman Sucks
3. Former Governor of the Bank of Italy
4. Worked for Italian Treasury
5. Worked for the Bank of International Settlements
6. Worked for the World Bank
Does this look like the CV of a trustworthy man? Be assured he will not work in your interest but he knows how to stir it up. Yes the very same man who insisted we pay penal interest rates for the bailout.
€6000.00 per head per month to the Quinn family
children while people on the Dole starve
The High Court has approved the payment of monthly living expenses €30,000 to the five adult children of bankrupt executive Sean Quinn and three spouses. Well now, you know if your low income nobody gives a toss about you. No social welfare means test for the boys as you can see the elite look after the elk.
WANTED Peter Darragh Quinn If you know the whereabouts of this man please inform the Gardai. Do not approach this man as he is carrying a large amount of lethal coinage
Sean Quinn: Well-known figures who rallied to support
bankrupt tycoon run for cover
PROMINENT figures from GAA and television yesterday ducked for cover when asked to comment on their involvement in a rally supporting fallen tycoon Sean Quinn.
They included Tyrone manager Mickey Harte, left, and former Meath star Colm O’Rourke, right, in the middle is that insufferable clown father Brian D’arsey. These three were among those who marched in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan in support of the Quinn’s. One wonders if the these three attention seekers ever gave a thought to the poor tax payer
Former Bank Chairman arrested on Fraud Charges
Sean Fitzpatrick made “no comment” when he was charged with 16 counts contrary to Section 60 of the Companies Act. The charges allege that before it became nationalized, he permitted the bank to “give unlawful financial assistance” to 16 named individuals for the purpose of or in connection with a purchase by the same people of shares in the then Anglo Irish Bank Corporation Plc. It is claimed the alleged unlawful financial help to buy shares was given between July 10 and July 17, 2008 to 15 people. These include the so-called “Maple Ten” group of Irish Investors and several members of Sean Quinn’s family – and from July 17 until July 30, of the same year, to Patricia Quinn, the wife of now bankrupt quarry tycoon Sean. Among the names on the charges is Sean Quinn Junior, jailed last week by the High Court for contempt of court for hiding €500m of property assets from Anglo, now called the IBRC. Also included in the names of people who allegedly got financial assistance to buy shares in the bank are: Colette Marie Quinn, Aoife Quinn, Ciara Quinn, Brenda Quinn, property developer Patrick McKillen, Seamus Ross, Brian O’Farrell, John McCabe, Gerard Maguire, Patrick Kearney, Gerard Gannon, Gerard Conlon, Sean Reilly and Joseph O’Reilly.
Still At Large
The Bankers Story
The capital of Rotten Island Bud Nil was an ancient and revered city. However, in keeping with the wealth and affluence of the times the city councillors renamed the city “Wonderland.” Somewhere between Never Neverland (North side”) and the inner sanctum of Wonderland there is a sector called” Forever Wonderland’.” This neighbourhood is the financial heart of the nation. In this district, lived a wealthy young banker. His notable attributes were a craving for attention, a bad memory, and a chequered career. He treasured the radiance of other inducements and was a frequent visitor to Feckerland the area of dance, revelry, alcohol, and Chateaubriand. Parochially, friends and acquaintances, knew him as “Disney” Fitzfiddle. Men did travel across the length and breadth of the land to win the friendship of “Disney.” He loved a good story from waiting recipients of fiscal credits, borrowers, whose habitual wrongdoing he totally ignored. In his own words, he stated, I was big. Some came and said “Disney” can you lend me 10 million quid, and I’d say. Sure, no problem at all, we can do it without recourse to Peter and Paul for you know I am a man who can lend without rancour. Let us go for a ride in the Bentley and lunch at the “Incidentally” and later tarry awhile in Dick Gentlys (a well-known brothel). Alas, the good days, now I am but the evil pantomime villain, who only borrowed a handy hundred million. Look at who elevated me, aren’t we all cronies of the Dons of the Feeling Smallers. Why did you know? I even had the occasional game of golf, with the nation’s esteemed Boss, the great incompetent Mr. Buttocks, the pillar of lies and good-byes. Agreed, I may have moved a few loans around a bit, temporarily mislaid them, perhaps duped an auditor or two. Had an odd incriminating letter gone missing here and there? Aha, but my God, me self and “The Little Drummer Boy” good times we had. Now they say I am bankrupt with only three million quid to live on. Understand lads; for me, the attraction was the crack of the fiscal flimflam. Never mind we can bank on ‘Sinister House’ to direct the department of “Fiscal Make Believe” to clear up this Disney quicksand No, no regrets, sure was the problem not global, in all sincerity nothing to do with me.
In the next issue of “Misebogland” the truth behind the
– Finally some information concerning Misebogland is the leading newspaper on the Island of Rotten Island. For those of you who are unaware Rotten Island is a mirror image of the Island of Ireland that happens to exists in a parallel universe. However, as you become familiar with the Misebogland, you will note and observe that there are subtle differences due to mutations that have occurred over the course of time. For example, the Irish Language has disappeared. The current Prime Minister Dame Enda is an outrageous transsexual.