At our meeting yesterday the party decided to focus for the next few weeks on fighting the TPPA. This is a secret agreement being negotiated by 11 Pacific rim nations. Our negotiators are in Foreign Affairs and Trade and our Minister of Trade Tim Groser has stated that the negotiations will remain secret and he has not seen the text of the agreement. Pharmac is under threat, genetic modification may come in, you won't be able to harm banks or they will sue our government for millions. There now appears to be just one main website informing us about this secret agreement, http://itsourfuture.org.nz. It has a wealth of materials on their sites. The reason we decided to focus on TPPA was that if this agreement was signed, almost all the measures we want to take to protect New Zealand from financial contagion would be illegal. Our government would be sued by multinationals for millions. We urge our members to inform themselves through this site. Our first action will be to attend the panel to be held in Wellington at Downstage Theatre 1-4.30pm. Seems it is booked out when I booked! Hope they get a bigger venue. Why not join the Facebook group fighting TPPA and help? I found this excellent little video there.
Today’s Keiser Show interviewed the wonderful Dr Michael Hudson of New York. He had been to the American Monetary Institute meeting in Chicago, to an economic conference in Kansas Sity and attended the banking group of Occupy Wall Street where Sheila Bair spoke two weeks ago. Sheila Bair has just written a book (and Michael Hudson has written another one). She is a conservative Republican appointed by Bush and was head of FDIC, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation during the Global Financial Crisis. After investigating Citibank she wanted to close it down, but Tim Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury, came to a meeting with her in the White House and refused. Tim Geithner, said Hudson, had resigned from his role with the NY Federal Reserve when Obama came to power. He wanted to succeed Robert Rubin as head of Citibank at $20 m a year. But the bankers came to him and said they needed him in the key role in Treasury. Hudson says "I am paraphrasing here" but Bair said it was like we want our man inside so that no one will prosecute us. We need a smooth sophisticated crook like you and when you step down we will look after you. Hudson says it is a Wall Street Mafia takeover. Banks don’t make loans to build factories or create jobs anymore. They only lend these days for real estate, gas or oil reserves or for corporate raiding. So you can get loans to buy companies but not to build them up. Credit is only available for looting. They downsize labour, cut costs and grab the pension fund and the economy shrinks. The deficit spending these days is not to build infrastructure, it is for lending to Wall Street. Ben Bernanke’s helicopter dropping money only flies over Wall Street. Sheila Bair says the system can’t be fixed without sending a lot of bankers to jail. The first part of the Keiser Show described a situation where JP Morgan is being sued for selling fraudulent financial products but of course it is a civil suit. No one will go to jail. In the UK the Financial Conduct Authority can’t send people to jail. They can rig LIBOR and someone MIGHT get fined. Where is the criminal justice system? Which leads me to what is happening in New Zealand. Before Parliament is a very overdue piece of legislation, the Financial Markets Conduct Bill, which has been through its first reading and committee stages. The Commerce Select Committee reported back on 12 Sept. I notice from reading submissions that it is a civil offence not a criminal offence here too. So if banks sell fraudulent products our Government Superannuation Fund and our ACC may lose millions or more but no banker will go to jail. The worrying thing is that the ECB can put in its technocrats, which is a euphemism for a bank lobbyist, to rule Greece, Portugal and Spain so that nobody can vote for letting banks fail. We must be so vigilant. Canterbury democracy has already failed and we rolled over like lambs when the government appointees continued with Canterbury Regional Council. Who is to say we won't do it again?
I have some new heroines and yes, they are mostly women. Janet Tavakoli, Brooksley Born, Ann Pettifor are among them. Janet Tavakoli I have recently discovered. She was interviewed by Chris Martenson and quite late in the interview she said "Sorry, you are not getting it Chris. I am opposed to the fraud and lies. I am not opposed to all derivatives". So I downloaded an e-bookof hers called The Robber Barons, and read more. It is the fact that banks and rating agencies misled investors by rating an investment as AAA when they knew it was junk that is the problem. And the banks knew it was junk yet they sold it and demanded they be bailed out. Innocent investors and home owners lost billions. Yet nobody is in jail. Not a single one. Nobody has been brought to trial. This is unlike the earlier but smaller Saving and Loans crisis where 1000 or so were indicted. Quotes from Tavakoli's book: "Fraud thrives and spreads in a regulatory free, highly paid, criminogenic environment. Cheaters prosper driving honest out of the market" "While there were instances of fraud by borrowers, the key drivers of our housing crisis were fraud perpetuated by mortgage lenders and securities fraud – by some of our most revered financial institutions – that provided money to fuel fraudulent mortgage lending." And I have finally found this one: "If a high-on-crack driver crashed his speeding rental car into your house and killed your spouse, you would be outraged if law enforcers took bribes and gave the driver a pass on a blood test. If the judge then merely fined the killer and order you to pay it, you would appeal, wondering what happened to justice. If the government then handed the crack-driver keys to a bigger rental car and presented you with the rental bill, you would certainly protest. How is it, then that you have remained largely silent in the face of the same sort of behavior by Wall Street and Washington? Bonus-seeking bankers careened off the right path and ran Ponzi schemes that nearly ruined our economy. Bureaucrats and elected officials bailed them out without demanding consequences. Bankers are revving their engines again." Yes that is Janet Tavakoli.