1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  |  9  |  10  |  11  |  12  |  13  |  14  |  15  |  16  |  17  |  18  |  19  |  20  |  21  |  22  |  23  |  24  |  25  |  26  |  27  |  28  |  29  |  30  |  31  |  32  |  33  |  34  |  35  |  36  |  37  |  38  |  39  |  40  |  41  |  42  |  43  |  44  |  45  |  46  |  47  |  48  |  49  |  50  |  51  |  52  |  53  |  54  |  55  |  56  |  57  |  58  |  59  |  60  |  61  |  62  |  63  |  64  |  65  |  66  |  67  |  68  |  69  |  70  |  71  |  72  |  73  |  74  |  75  |  76  |  77  |  78  |  79  |  80  |  81  |  82  |  83  |  84  |  85  |  86  |  87  |  88  |  89  |  90  |  91  |  92  |  93  |  94  |  95  |  96  |  97  |  98  |  99  |  100  |  101  |  102  |  103  |  104  |  105  |  106  |  107  |  108  |  109  |  110  |  111  |  112  |  113  |  114  |  115  |  116  |  117  |  118  |  119  |  120  |  121  |  122  |  123  |  124  |  125  |  126  |  127  |  128  |  129  |  130  |  131  |  132  |  133  |  134  |  135  |  136  |  137  |  138  |  139  |  140  |  141  |  142  |  143  |  144  |  145  |  146  |  147  |  148  |  149  |  150  |  151  |  152  |  153  |  154  |  155  |  156  |  157  |  158  |  159  |  160  |  161  |  162  |  163  |  164  |  165  |  166  |  167  |  168  |  169  |  170  |  171  |  172  |  173  |  174  |  175  |  176  |  177  |  178  |  179  |  180  |  181  |  182  |  183  |  184  |  185  |  186  |  187  |  188  |  189  |  190  |  191  |  192  |  193  |  194  |  195  |  196  |  197  |  198  |  199  |  200  |  201  |  202  |  203  |  204  |  205  |  206  |  207  |  208  |  209  |  210  |  211  |  212  |  213  |  214  |  215  |  216  |  217  |  218  |  219  |  220  |  221  |  222  |  223  |  224  |  225  |  226  |  227  |  228  |  229  |  230  |  231  |  232  |  233  |  234  |  235  |  236  |  237  |  238  |  239  |  240  |  241  |  242  |  243  |  244  |  245  |  246  |  247  |  248  |  249  |  250  |  251  |  252  |  253  |  254  |  255  |  256  |  257  |  258  |  259  |  260  |  261  |  262  |  263  |  264  |  265  |  266  |  267  |  268  |  269  |  270  |  271  |  272  |  273  |  274  |  275  |  276  |  277  |  278  |  279  |  280  |  281  |  282  |  283  |  284  |  285  |  286  |  287  |  288  |  289  |  290  |  291  |  292  |  293  |  294  |  295  |  296  |  297  |  298  |  299  |  300  |  301  |  302  |  303  |  304  |  305  |  306  |  307  |  308  |  309  |  310  |  311  |  312  |  313  |  314  |  315  |  316  |  317  |  318  |  319  |  320  |  321  |  322  |  323  |  324  |  325  |  326  |  327  |  328  |  329  |  330  |  331  |  332  |  333  |  334  |  335  |  336  |  337  |  338  |  339  |  340  |  341  |  342  |  343  |  344  |  345  |  346  |  347  |  348  |  349  |  350  |  351  |  352  |  353  |  354  |  355  |  356  |  357  |  358  |  359  |  360  |  361  |  362  |  363  |  364  |  365  |  366  |  367  |  368  |  369  |  370  |  371  |  372  |  373  |  374  |  375  |  376  |  377  |  378  |  379  |  380  |  381  |  382  |  383  |  384  |  385  |  386  |  387  |  388  |  389  |  390  |  391  |  392  |  393  |  394  |  395  |  396  |  397  |  398  |  399  |  400  |  401  |  402  |  403  |  404  |  405  |  406  |  407  |  408  |  409  |  410  |  411  |  412  |  413  |  414  |  415  |  416  |  417  |  418  |  419  |  420  |  421  |  422  |  423  |  424  |  425  |  426  |  427  |  428  |  429  |  430  |  431  |  432  |  433  |  434  |  435  |  436  |  437  |  438  |  439  |  440  |  441  |  442  |  443  |  444  |  445  |  446  |  447  |  448  |  449  |  450  |  451  |  452  |  453  |  454  |  455  |  456  |  457  |  458  |  459  |  460  |  461  |  462  |  463  |  464  |  465  |  466  |  467  |  468  |  469  |  470  |  471  |  472  |  473  |  474  |  475  |  476  |  477  |  478  |  479  |  480  |  481  |  482  |  483  |  484  |  485  |  486  |  487  |  488  |  489  |  490  |  491  |  492  |  493  |  494  |  495  |  496  |  497  |  498  |  499  |  500  |  501  |  502  |  503  |  504  |  505  |  506  |  507  |  508  |  509  |  510  |  511  |  512  |  513  |  514  |  515  |  516  |  517  |  518  |  519  |  520  |  521  |  522  |  523  |  524  |  525  |  526  |  527  |  528  |  529  |  530  |  531  |  532  |  533  |  534  |  535  |  536  |  537  |  538  |  539  |  540  |  541  |  542  |  543  |  544  |  545  |  546  |  547  |  548  |  549  |  550  |  551  |  552  |  553  |  554  |  555  |  556  |  557  |  558  |  559  |  560  |  561  |  562  |  563  |  564  |  565  |  566  |  567  |  568  |  569  |  570  |  571  |  572  |  573  |  574  |  575  |  576  |  577  |  578  |  579  |  580  |  581  |  582  |  583  |  584  |  585  |  586  |  587  |  588  |  589  |  590  |  591  |  592  |  593  |  594  |  595  |  596  |  597  |  598  |  599  |  600  |  601  |  602  |  603  |  604  |  605  |  606  |  607  |  608  |  609  |  610  |  611  |  612  |  613  |  614  |  615  |  616  |  617  |  618  |  619  |  620  |  621  |  622  |  623  |  624  |  625  |  626  |  627  |  628  |  629  |  630  |  631  |  632  |  633  |  634  |  635  |  636  |  637  |  638  |  639  |  640  |  641  |  642  |  643  |  644  |  645  |  646  |  647  |  648  |  649  |  650  |  651  |  652  |  653  |  654  |  655  |  656  |  657  |  658  |  659  |  660  |  661  |  662  |  663  |  664  |  665  |  666  |  667  |  668  |  669  |  670  |  671  |  672  |  673  |  674  |  675  |  676  |  677 

February 20, 2013

Gangster Bankers: Too Big to Jail

Matt Taibbi on HSBC's courting of gangsters, embracing of money laundering, and the slap on the wrist they received. Gangster Bankers: Too Big to Jail | Politics News | Rolling Stone
For at least half a decade, the storied British colonial banking power helped to wash hundreds of millions of dollars for drug mobs, including Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel, suspected in tens of thousands of murders just in the past 10 years – people so totally evil, jokes former New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, that "they make the guys on Wall Street look good." The bank also moved money for organizations linked to Al Qaeda and Hezbollah, and for Russian gangsters; helped countries like Iran, the Sudan and North Korea evade sanctions; and, in between helping murderers and terrorists and rogue states, aided countless common tax cheats in hiding their cash. "They violated every goddamn law in the book," says Jack Blum, an attorney and former Senate investigator who headed a major bribery investigation against Lockheed in the 1970s that led to the passage of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. "They took every imaginable form of illegal and illicit business." That nobody from the bank went to jail or paid a dollar in individual fines is nothing new in this era of financial crisis. What is different about this settlement is that the Justice Department, for the first time, admitted why it decided to go soft on this particular kind of criminal. It was worried that anything more than a wrist slap for HSBC might undermine the world economy. "Had the U.S. authorities decided to press criminal charges," said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer at a press conference to announce the settlement, "HSBC would almost certainly have lost its banking license in the U.S., the future of the institution would have been under threat and the entire banking system would have been destabilized." It was the dawn of a new era.

North Carolina stopped funding unemployment in the 90s, now wants to dick over workers

Tax cuts have consequences. Often terrible. The Rude Pundit
So it was that between 1992 and 2000, in a tax-cutting fervor, the loyal legislators and governors of North Carolina (motto: "No matter what, we're so much better than South Carolina"), people of both parties, saw that the unemployment insurance program was flush with cash. So they passed 11 different cuts to the amount that businesses would have to pay in taxes for the unemployment insurance trust fund. In 1994, during those heady days of the Clinton era, when the number of unemployed was low, the fund had enough money to pay out four years in benefits, the third largest cash reserve in the nation, so why wouldn't you pass another 23% tax cut, making the rate for businesses the lowest in the nation, with some businesses having their rate cut to zero. In fact, by the end of all the cutting, over 75% of North Carolina businesses effectively paid no UI tax, all done under the mantle of "reducing government" and other nonsense. This was assuming, of course, that nothing changed in the economy. North Carolina never thought a rainy day was coming, and if it was, it would be a drizzle. But then the Bush deluge happened, and shit changed, as we all know. Not only did the unemployment rate jump by six points between March 2007 and March 2009 in North Carolina, but the state had to borrow money from the federal government to cover the cost of unemployment benefits. Had the rate of contribution stayed at pre-1994 levels, the state would have had enough. Alas, man? Dick? Stranger? What are you gonna do? You're gonna punish the unemployed is what the fuck you're gonna do. What? You think that Republican Governor Pat McCrory, working nose in ass with the NC Chamber of Commerce, is going to raise taxes back to what they were in the Clinton era? Fuck you, socialist. McCrory just signed legislation that, while it does raise taxes a little, slashes benefits for the jobless. It's like businesses got a paper cut and your laid-off sister got a prison shiv in the gut. In order to repay the federal government, the maximum amount unemployed people get is reduced from $535 to $350 a week, with the maximum weeks cut from 26 to as little as 12. Because North Carolina changed its laws, it has forfeited $780 million in federal benefits. It's sort of like being kicked in the nuts from behind. By the way, without the change to benefits, it would take North Carolina three years longer to repay it. . . .