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Goldman Sachs InvestigationWhat are the most stark differences between the administration of President Obama and the incoming president Donald Trump?

Wall Street’s Citigroup runs the white house under Obama, and would likely have done so under Hillary Clinton. Under Trump, Citigroup is out and Goldman Sachs is in. What a difference! Wall Street elites are still going to be determining US economic policy, which primarily consists of plots to redistribute income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent.

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In other words, under Trump hope and change sound a lot like the same old failed policies Wall Street has been using to weaken the US economy by killing the middle class.

Wall Street powerhouse Citigroup played a powerful role in shaping Obama’s economic agenda, which meant pushing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would’ve lead to the exporting of millions of US jobs.

Michael Froman, now Obama’s U.S. trade representative, was an executive at Citigroup. On October 6 2008, he wrote an email to John Podesta, then co-chair of Obama’s transition team. The subject was “Lists.” Froman used a Citigroup email address. He attached three documents: a list of women for top administration jobs, a list of non-white candidates, and a sample outline of 31 cabinet-level positions and who would fill them. “The lists will continue to grow,” Froman wrote to Podesta, “but these are the names to date that seem to be coming up as recommended by various sources for senior level jobs.”

The cabinet list ended up being almost entirely on the money. It correctly identified Eric Holder for the Justice Department, Janet Napolitano for Homeland Security, Robert Gates for Defense, Rahm Emanuel for chief of staff, Peter Orszag for the Office of Management and Budget, Arne Duncan for Education, Eric Shinseki for Veterans Affairs, Kathleen Sebelius for Health and Human Services, Melody Barnes for the Domestic Policy Council, and more. For the Treasury, three possibilities were on the list: Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, and Timothy Geithner.

In other words, Wall Street was calling all the shots in the Obama administration.

President-elect Trump so far has tapped former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive Steven Mnuchin (a co-investor with hedge fund billionaire George Soros) to be his Treasury secretary and billionaire investor Wilbur Ross to lead the Commerce Department. Trump even met with Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn inside Trump Tower this week.

In the days following these announcements, shares of all the big Wall Street firms climbed, with Goldman Sachs rising more than 3 percent by noon in New York.

So it appears Goldman Sachs and billionaire investors other than Citigroup are going to be running the show in the White House. Now that’s not a whole lot of change.

Below is a Trump presidential advertisement that blamed Wall Street for wrecking havoc with the US economy, and now he has embraced everything they have stood for.

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Last week, seven US marshals, in full combat gear, arrested Paul Acre at his home in Houston Texas over a 29-year-old unpaid $1500 student loan. Reports are coming in that other people have been arrested for the same thing, as well.

The Obama administration clearly has its priorities straight. Arrest student loan defaulters, who clearly cannot make significant campaign contributions, take them to the judge, and force them into a legally binding repayment contracts. That’s what happened to Acre.

On the other hand, the Obama justice department has been careful not to investigate or charge with any crime a single Wall Street banker, or any of their underlings. You know those people even if you don’t know their names. These are the folks at Citigroup, JP Morgan/Chase, Goldman Sachs, a variety of hedge funds, and others who can and do make significant campaign contributions. They get the cash to do so through illegal activities, such as laundering Mexican drug cartel drug money, committing fraud, ripping off billions from consumers and investors, tanking the economy with illegal actions, and corrupting the US government completely.

Wall Street investment corporations have been caught doing all of this illegal stuff, and more, and have been fined by the US government, but not a single person has been charged with a crime, or arrested.

We clearly have a duel system of justice; one for the rich and powerful, and one for the rest of us.

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You bet she did, according to US Senator Elizabeth Warren. In the debate with Senator Sanders, Hillary said,

“Senator Sanders has said he wants to run a positive campaign; I’ve tried to keep my disagreements over issues, as it should be. But time and time again, by innuendo, by insinuation, there is this attack that he is putting forth, which really comes down to: ‘Anybody who ever took donations or speaking fees from any interest group has to be bought.’ And I just absolutely reject that, senator. And I really don’t think these kinds of attacks by insinuation are worthy of you. Enough is enough. If you have something to say, say it directly,” Clinton continued, “but you will not find I ever changed a view or a vote because of any donation I ever received.”

Yes, she did change her mind on legislation when some of the biggest banks applied pressure on her as a US senator. They wanted her to vote for legislation making it more difficult for people to go bankrupt. As first lady, she had opposed the bill, and gotten her husband, President Bill Clinton, to veto it after he had supported it.

The big banks were behind this for a big reason. Like mortgage backed bonds, credit card debt is also securitized. Wall Street investment banks purchase credit card debt, bundle them in packages, and sell bonds backed by the debt. This is a sector of the banking industry that produces tens of billions upon billions of dollars of profits for banks like JP Morgan and Citigroup. When people go bankrupt, the bonds become valueless.

By supporting the legislation, Hillary Clinton voted to enslave the 99 percent to rich investors and Wall Street investment banks with a steel chain of credit card and other debt. Most bankruptcies, by the way, are caused by medical bills paid off with credit cards.

You want proof that Hillary pulled another whooper on the audience? Check out the Bill Moyers interview with Senator Elizabeth Warren below. Then check out a few other issues Hillary was not quite honest on by clicking on the link below that.

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Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen announced Wednesday, December 16 that the Fed will raise short term interest rates by .25 percent. That means interest rates are going to rise for the 99 percent; from 15 to 17 percent on credit cards, for example. Home mortgage rates, car loans, home equity credit lines, and student loans, among other loans, are going to rise. Home mortgage loans will rise from about 3 percent to roughly 5 percent.

Yet there are no signs of an inflationary spiral, which would in theory spur the Fed into raising rates, which is one of its falsely stated goals. Then there’s high (but not too high) employment, another cherished and false goal of the Fed. For the last six years the US economy has been creating less jobs every year (and with declining wages) than occurred under that alleged dreadful president, Jimmy Carter, whose four years as president also included rising real wages. Carter did this with an economy and population about half of today’s economy.

Preliminary indications are that the US is headed toward a recession deeper and longer than the last one, and we should arrive there somewhere between seven and seventeen months from now. The Fed’s actions exacerbate these indications by redistributing income from the 99 to the 1 percent, curtailing demand, and hurting the economy, such as a US durable goods sector that is clearly in recession. So what gives? What is the Fed up to?

Despite false statements to the contrary, the Fed actually has pretty much followed only two goals throughout its history, and its latest move is a classic example of this. One goal is to protect the profits and share prices of the big banks, and number two is to protect wealthy investors from their own bad investment decisions. Everybody else is expendable when the Fed undertakes its responsibilities. In other words, the 99 percent is expendable, and often the victims, of the Fed’s actions on behalf of its unstated goals, which is to financially protect the rich.

And so in this most recent Fed action, the Fed is doing its first duty; increasing the earnings and share prices of the big banks at the expense of the 99 percent, which makes it seem, quite accurately, that the relationship between the Fed/Big Banks and the 99 percent is akin to parasites unto their hosts.

Your higher credit payments are going toward greater bank profits, which will provide rising dividends to rich shareholders. Share prices might and should rise, at least in the short term. This is pure income redistribution, and the corporate propaganda network wants you to believe the Fed’s increase in interest rates is to stabilize the economy, or limit non-existent inflationary pressures, or who knows what. But the last thing the corporate press wants you to know is that more of your income is being redistributed by the US Federal Reserve Bank to the rich via higher bank profits, rising shares, and soaring dividends. The rich are going to get richer, and you are going to be more poor.

The ten biggest US banks have many things in common, and one of them is declining share prices since last summer. Clearly, the Fed’s action is intended to reverse the decline.

The ten biggest US banks are:

1 JP Morgan Chase
2. Bank of America
3. Citigroup
4. Wells Fargo
5. US Bancorp
6. Bank of New York Mellon Corporation
7. PNC Bank
8. Capital One
9. HSBC North America Holdings
10. TD Bank US Holding Company

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This story was written by Katie Rose Quandt and originally published on BillMoyers.com.

Front-line workers at our nation’s big banks — tellers, loan interviewers and customer service representatives — are required by their employers to exploit customers, according to a revealing report out today from the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD). Big banks have internal systems of penalties and rewards that entice employees to push subprime loans and credit cards on customers who would be better off without them.

CPD’s report outlines several illegal predatory practices big banks have been caught employing, usually via their front-line workers:

Blatantly discriminatory lending:
In 2011 and 2012, Bank of America and Wells Fargo paid out settlements for charging higher rates and fees to tens of thousands of African American and Hispanic borrowers than to similarly qualified white customers. Minority customers were also more likely to be steered into (more expensive, riskier) subprime mortgages.
Manipulating payment processing to maximize overdraft charges:
When a savings account balance drops too low, the bank charges a hefty overdraft fee on each subsequent purchase. Both Bank of America and US Bank paid settlements for intentionally processing customers’ largest debit card payments first, regardless of chronological order, in order to hit $0 faster and maximize overdraft fees. US Bank was also accused of allowing debit card purchases on zero-balance accounts to go through (and incur overdraft fees), instead of denying the charges upfront.
Forcing sale of unneeded products:
Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup were accused of forcing customers to purchase overpriced property insurance.
Manipulative sales quotas:
Lawsuits show Wells Fargo and Bank of America created incentive programs for employees with the interests of the company — not the customer — in mind. Wells Fargo’s sales quotas encouraged bank workers to steer prime-eligible customers to subprime loans, while falsifying other clients’ income information without their knowledge. Bank of America’s “Hustle” program rewarded quantity over quality, encouraging workers to skip processes and checks intended to protect the borrower.

Instead of cutting back on the risky, unethical practices that led to the Great Recession, the CPD report asserts that big banks have not learned from their mistakes. Bank workers report higher levels of sales pressure in 2013 than in 2008, and most do not have the job security or seniority to simply refuse to hawk credit cards or steer customers into risky financial situations. While the financial sector is turning near-record profits, the average bank teller made just $12.25 an hour in 2013 (a real-dollar decrease from 2007), causing 31 percent of tellers’ families to rely on public assistance. What’s more, 85 percent of these underpaid front-line bank employees are women, and one-third are people of color. Most are in no position to risk losing their job or having their pay docked for stepping out of line.

Several anonymous big bank employees went into detail about how their employers incentivize sales:

An HSBC employee reported that when workers fell short of sales goals, the difference was taken out of their paychecks.
A teller at a major bank said she is expected to sell three new checking, savings, or debit card accounts every day. If she falls short, she gets written up.
Customer service representatives at one major bank’s call-center said everyone is expected to make at least 40 percent of the sales of the top seller. Credit card sales count for extra, encouraging callers to push credit cards on customers who would be better served with checking or savings accounts.
A call-center worker said she offers a credit card to every customer, regardless of whether it would be beneficial. She explained: “If you aren’t offering, you can get marked down — the managers and Quality Analysts listen to your call, and can tell if you aren’t offering.”

“We’re not servicing their needs,” said one front-line worker. “What they want, what they need, isn’t important to us. Selling them a product is … Some of our customers just have their savings, many are just retirees.”

As the report concludes, “Our nation’s big banks are committed to a model that jeopardizes our communities and prevents bank employees from having a voice in their workplace.”

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) gave a blunt message to the big Wall Street banks that have threatened to withhold campaign donations to Senate Democrats as a means to get Democrats to convince Warren to shut up about the crimes of Wall Street.

“It will not work,” Warren said in a statement emailed to The Huffington Post.

Warren is not going to be bought off or frightened so easily. The CEO’s of the banks want to continue and extend their unpunished streak of criminal activities dating back more than two decades. Warren insists these banks should pay the price of their criminal activities which includes, fraud and money laundering, among many other crimes. And that’s how corrupt your government is. When you are rich, there is not a single criminal activity that will net you jail time nowadays.

According to the Huffington Post, “Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America have discussed ways to soften Warren’s strong tone, Reuters reports, and representatives of some have raised the idea of cutting campaign donations to Democrats. Only Citigroup — a frequent target of Warren’s criticism — so far is publicly withholding money from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.”

Cutting donations, Warren said, won’t work against her. She said, “They want a showy way to tell Democrats across the country to be scared of speaking out, to be timid about standing up, and to stay away from fighting for what’s right,” Warren wrote. “… I’m not going to stop talking about the unprecedented grasp that Citigroup has on our government’s economic policymaking apparatus … And I’m not going to pretend the work of financial reform is done, when the so-called ‘too big to fail’ banks are even bigger now than they were in 2008.”

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Referring to the Democratic Party meltdown in allowing a provision sneakily put in the latest budget bill (by corrupt Wall Street Republican Congressman Kevin Yoder of Kansas) that allows Wall Street investment banks to gamble with taxpayer money and expect to be bailed out if their gamble fails, Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone magazine wrote on December 13;

“If the Democrats actually stood for anything other than sounding as progressive as possible without offending their financial backers, then they would do what Republicans always do in these situations: force a shutdown to save their legislation. How many times did Republicans hold the budget hostage to rescue the Bush tax cuts? But the Democrats won’t do that here, because they’re not a real (political) party. They’re a marketing phenomenon, a big chunk of oligarchical”…”single furiously-money-collecting/favor-churning oligarchical Beltway party…cleverly sold to voters as the more reasonable and less nakedly corrupt wing of a two-headed political establishment.”

The budget battle of December 2014 proved a particularly gruesome point; both political parties have been totally corrupted by big money unleashed by the Reagan tax cuts, as well as other tax cuts, and the politicians of the US government are absolutely corrupt, with few exceptions, such as Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown, Jeff Merkley, Alan Grayson, and perhaps David Vitter. That’s why the political and economic game is totally rigged against the 99 percent.

For the rest of Matt Taibbi’s story, click the link below.

Dodd-Frank Budget Fight Proves Democrats Are a Bunch of Stuffed Suits Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/dodd-frank-budget-fight-proves-democrats-are-a-bunch-of-stuffed-suits–Rolling Stone Magazine

True story. The US government has caught major US banks laundering drug money time and time again and not a soul has gone to jail.

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