Cohen says he’ll pay the $1.2 billion from his own pocket â€” but it’s a pretty big pocket.Â His net worth just hit ($9.4 billion).Â It would have been an even $10 billion, but last year he coughed up over half a billion for his company’s illegal trades. …more
On September 18, hip-hop artist Pavlos Fyssas, a.k.a. Killah P, was stabbed outside a bar in Keratsini, Greece.
Larry Summers has an air-tight alibi.Â But I don’t believe it.
Larry didnâ€™t hold the knife:Â The confessed killer is some twisted member of Golden Dawn, a political party made up of skin-head freaks, anti-immigrant fear-mongers, anti-Muslim/ anti-Semitic/ anti-Albanian sociopaths and ultra-patriot fruitcakes.Â Think of it as the Tea Party goes Greek.
Following Fyssasâ€™ killing, other groups of dangerous psychopathic misfits, namely the European Union and Greeceâ€™s governing coalition, moved to ban Golden Dawn.
Over the weekend, Greeceâ€™s rulers arrested six members of Parliament who belong to Golden Dawn.Â Apparently, Greeceâ€™s political leaders prefer …more
Broke ethics law hiding millions, say good government groups
For Mitt Romney, it’s one scary Halloween. Â The Presidential candidate has just learned that tomorrow afternoon he will charged with violating the federal Ethics in Government law by improperly concealing his multi-million dollar windfall from the auto industry bail-out.
At a press conference in Toledo, Bob King, President of the United Automobile Workers, will announce that his union and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) Â have filed a formal complaint with the US Office of Government Ethics in Washington stating that Gov. Romney improperly hid a profit of $15.3 million to $115.0 million in Ann Romney’s so-called “blind” trust.
The union chief says, “The American people have a right to know about Gov. Romneyâ€™s potential conflicts of interest, such as the profits his family made from the auto rescue,â€ â€œItâ€™s time for Gov. Romney to disclose or divest.â€
â€œWhile Romney was opposing the rescue of one of the nationâ€™s most important manufacturing sectors, he was building his fortunes with his Delphi investor group, making his fortunes off the misfortunes of others,â€ King added.
The Romneys’ gigantic windfall was hidden inside an offshore corporation inside a Limited Partnership inside a trust which both concealed the gain and reduces taxes on it.
The Romneys’ windfall was originally exposed in Nation Magazine, Mitt Romney’s Bail-out Bonanza after a worldwide investigation by our crew at The Guardian, the Nation Institute and the Palast Investigative Fund. Â [Ed. – The full story of Romney and his “vulture fund” partners is in Palast’s New York Times bestseller, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits.]
According to ethics law expertÂ Dr. Craig Holman of Public Citizen, who advised on theÂ complaint, Ann Romney does not have a federally-approved blind trust. Â An approved “blind” trust may not be used to hide a major investment which could be affected by Romney if he were to be elected President. Â Other groups joining the UAW and CREW include Public Citizen, the Service Employees International Union, Public Campaign, People for the American Way and The Social Equity Group.
President Obama’s approved trust, for example, contains only highly-diversified mutual funds on which Presidential action can have little effect. Â By contrast, the auto bail-out provided a windfall of over 4,000% on one single Romney investment.
In 2009, Ann Romney partnered with her husband’s key donor, billionaire Paul Singer, who secretly bought a controlling interest in Delphi Auto, the former GM auto parts division. Â Singer’s hedge fund, Elliott Management, threatened to cut off GM’s supply of steering columns unless GM and the government’s TARP auto bail-out fund provided Delphi with huge payments. Â While the US treasury complained this was “extortion,” the hedge funds received, ultimately, $12.9 billion in taxpayer subsidies.
As a result, the shares Singer and Romney bought for just 67 cents are today worth over $30, a 4,000% gain. Â Singer’s hedge fund made a profit of $1.27 billion and the Romney’s tens of millions.
The UAW complaint calls for Romney to reveal exactly how much he made off Delphi — and continues to make. Â The Singer syndicate, once in control of Delphi, eliminated every single UAW job –25,000– and moved almost all auto parts production to Mexico and China where Delphi now employs 25,000 auto parts workers.
Forensic EconomistGreg Palast’s investigative reports can be seen on BBC Television. Â His latest bestseller, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps contains a comic book by Ted Rall and chapters by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Â www.BallotBandits.orgÂ
He’s kidding, right? Did I just hear Mitt Romney say,Â “I would do nothing to hurt the US auto industry”
Here’s the facts, ma’am:
As I reported in this week’s Nation magazine cover story “Mitt Romney’s Bail-out Bonanza“, the Romneys are in a special partnership with the vulture fund that bought Delphi,Â the former GM auto parts division.
[Watch our Democracy Now! report on the Romney group’s auto plant closures.]
The Romney vulture fund investment syndicate shipped every single UAW production jobÂ â€“Â EVERY jobÂ â€“Â to China.
Just after Nation broke the story, Washington newsletterÂ The HillÂ received the Romneys admission of profiteering:
“Romney’s campaign did not deny that he profited from the auto bailout in an email to The Hill, but it said the the report showed the Detroit intervention was ‘misguided.'”
The truth? On June 1, 2009, the Obama Administration announced …more
Mitt Romneyâ€™s opposition to the auto bailout has haunted him on the campaign trail, especially in Rust Belt states like Ohio. There, in September, the Obama campaign launched television ads blasting Romneyâ€™s November 2008 New York Times op-ed,â€œLet Detroit Go Bankrupt.â€
But Romney has done a good job of concealing, until now, the fact that he and his wife, Ann, personally gained at least $15.3 million from the bailoutâ€”and a few of Romneyâ€™s most important Wall Street donors made more than $4 billion. Their gains, and the Romneysâ€™, were astronomicalâ€”more than 3,000 percent on their investment. …more
On Friday, Governor Mitt Romney had breakfast with billionaires.
JOHN PAULSON, Paul Singer and Ken Langone have dropped more than a million dollars each into the Romney â€œSuper-PACâ€ Restore Our Future. As Butch said to Sundance, â€œWho ARE these guys?â€
Singer’s known as “The Vulture” on Wall Street. Langone’s database company came up with the list of innocent Black voters that Katherine Harris wiped off the voter rolls of Florida in 2000. But who is Paulson, a guy so dark and devious he doesn’t even have a nick-name?
I tried to join them (“Sorry, sir”) just to ask why Romney was chowing down with the nation’s most notorious billionaires and ballot bandits.
Here is just a bit about Breakfast Billionaire #3: John Paulson from my new book,Â Billionaires & Ballot BanditsÂ Â now renamedÂ The Best Democracy Money Can Buy): How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Stepsâ€”An investigation of Karl Rove, the Koch Gang and their Buck-Buddies. There’s a comic book inside by Ted Rall with an introduction by Bobby Kennedy Jr. Get it here now.
It was just released today and already hit NUMBER ONE NON-FICTION PAPERBACK in the USA. (Barnes & Noble)
In August 2007, billionaire John Paulson walked into Goldman Sachs, the investment bank, with a billion-dollar idea. Paulsonâ€™s brainstorm had all the elements that Goldman found enchanting: a bit of fraud, a bit of flimflam, and lots and lots of the ultimate drug: OPMâ€”Other Peoplesâ€™ Money.
Paulsonâ€™s scheme was simple. Paulson, a much followed hotshot hedge-fund manager, would announce that he was betting big on the recovery of the U.S. housing market. He was willing to personally insure that …more
[Thursday February 23] Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney called the federal governmentâ€™s 2009 bail-out of the auto industry, â€œnothing more than crony capitalism, Obama style… a reward for his big donors to his campaign.” In fact, the biggest rewards ÂÂâ€“ a windfall of more than two billion dollars care of US taxpayers ÂÂÂâ€“â€“ went to Romney’s two top contributors.
John Paulson of Paulson & Co and Paul Singer of Elliott International, known on Wall Street as â€œvultureâ€ investors, have each written checks for one million dollars to Restore Our Future, the Super PAC supporting Romneyâ€™s candidacy.
Gov. Romney last week asserted that the Obama Administrationâ€™s support for General Motors was a, â€œpayoff for the auto workers union.â€ However, union workers in GMâ€™s former auto parts division, Delphi, the unit taken over by Romneyâ€™s funders, did not fare so well. The speculators eliminated every single union job from the parts factories once manned by 25,200 UAW members.
The two hedge fund operators turned a breathtaking three-thousand percent profit on a relatively negligible investment by using hardball tactics against the US Treasury and their own employees.
Under the control of the speculators, Delphi, which had 45 plants in the US and Canada, is now reduced to just four factories with only 1,500 hourly workers, none of them UAW members, despite the union agreeing to cut contract wages by two thirds.
It wasnâ€™t supposed to be quite so bad. The Obama Administration and GM had arranged for a private equity investor to provide half a billion dollars in new capital for Delphi, but that would have cut the pay-out to Singer and Paulson. The speculators blocked the Obama-GM plan, taking the entire government bail-out hostage. Even the Wall Street Journalâ€™s Dealmaker column was outraged, accusing Paul Singer of treating the auto company, â€œlike a third world country.â€
But it worked. Singer and Paulson got what they demanded. Using US Treasury funds:
GM agreed to pay off $1.1 billion of Delphiâ€™s debts,
forgave $2.15 billion owed GM by Delphi (which had been spun off as an independent company)
pumped $1.75 billion into Delphi operations, and
took over four money-losing plants that the speculators didnâ€™t want.
If those plants had been closed, GM factories would have shut down cold for lack of parts.
Then there was the big one: The US government agreed to take over $6.2 billion in pension benefits due Delphi workers under US labor law.
Governor Romney, while opposing the bail-out of GM, accused Obama of eliminating the pensions of 21,000 non-union employees at Delphi. In fact, it was Romneyâ€™s funders who wiped out 100% of the pensions and health care accounts of Delphi salaried retireesÂÂ.
Paulson and Singer paid an average of about 67 cents a share for Delphi. In November, 2011, Paulson sold a chunk of his holdings for $22 a share. Paulsonâ€™s gain totals a billion and a half dollars ($1,499,499,000), and Singer gained nearly a billion ($899,751,000) â€“â€“ thirty-two times their investment.
One-hundred percent of this gain for the Paulson and Singer hedge funds is accounted for by taxpayer bail-out support.
But, unlike the government loans and worker concessions given to GM, the US Treasury and workers get nothing in return from Delphi.
From GM, the US Treasury got warrants for common stock (similar to options) that have already produced billions in profit.
And Delphi? Itâ€™s doing well for Paulson and Singer. GM and Chrysler, still in business by the grace of the US Treasury, remain Delphiâ€™s main customers, buying parts now made almost entirely in China and other cheap-labor nations.
And exactly who are Paulson and Singer?
Billionaire John Paulson became the first man in history to earn over $3 billion in a single year â€“â€“ not for his hedge fund, but for himself, personally. At the core of this huge payday was a 2007 scheme by which, via Goldman Sachs, he sold â€œinsuranceâ€ on subprime mortgage loans. According to a lawsuit filed by the Securities Exchange Commission, Goldman defrauded European banks by pretending that Paulson was investing in the insurance. In fact, Paulson was, secretly, the beneficiary of the insurance, reaping billions when the mortgage market collapsed.
Goldman paid half a billion dollars in civil fines for the fraud. While the SEC states that Paulson knowingly participated in the scheme, he was not fined and denies he defrauded the banks.
Multi-billionaire Singer is known as Wall Streetâ€™s toughest â€œvultureâ€ speculator. Vulture fund financial attacks on the worldâ€™s poorest nations have been effectively outlawed in much of Europe and excoriated by human rights groups, conduct Britainâ€™s former Prime Minister Gordon Brown described as, â€œmorally outrageous.â€
Mitt Romney’s biggest backer didn’t want him to win.
We know that Paul “The Vulture” Singer, Romney’s Daddy Warbucks, organized the “grassroots” campaign to replace Romney with Gov. ChrisÂ Christie back in September.
That flopped, so Singer and the billionaire boys’ club that courted Christie moved over to Romney. Not that they had a choice. They knew MoonrocksÂ Gingrich, who thinks he’s running for Master Jedi, and Saint Santorum who thinks he’s running for pope, would end up road kill in November.
But despite their million-dollar checks for Romney’s campaign, the billionaires are handling the ex-governor with very long and slippery tweezers. TheÂ fact that Singer and the Koch brothers went on bended knee to Christie means they are just nauseated over Romney, a man losing a war with theÂ English language and his own tax returns, carrying their standard against President Obama. …more
It’s out of the closetÂ â€“â€“ or, more accurately, out of the coven. Â The list of the billionaires who have given at least $1 million to Restore Our Future, the pro-Romney Super PAC, isÂ headed by Paul Singer. Â Singer and his hedge fund crew at Elliott Associates, with their donations to the Republican National Committee and other “independent”Â groups like the Swift Boat campaign, makes it likely that Singer is now the top funder for the GOP.
For BBC-TV, I’ve been tracking Singer for five years. Â And this is the key fact you need toÂ know about the man whose cash would pick our President: Â Paul Singer likes to breakfast on decayed carcasses.
The carrion king is known as Singer The Vulture. I didn’t give him the moniker. The name Vulture was tagged on him and his speculator colleagues by the Prime Minister of Britain and the World Bank. Recently, former Deputy Secretary-General of the UN Winston Tubman suggested I ask Singer or his business associates, “Do you know you’re causing babies to die?”
What does this guy doâ€”put poison in kiddies’ milk? Worse: he takes away the milk. …more
[October 5, 2011] Paul Singer likes to breakfast on decayed carcasses. What he chews down is sickening, but just as nausea-inducing are his new table mates: Ken Langone and the Koch Brothers, Charles and David.
For the two weeks before tickle-and-grope charges busted open on him, and before his resignation from Congress, our BBC Television investigations team was hunting for Representative Eric Massa.
We wanted to know what he had hidden in his drawers. Not his knickers, which have captivated America’s peep-show media, but Massa’s file drawers where he keeps his dirtier secrets.
Frankly, I don’t give a rat’s ass about Massa’s creepy little peccadilloes. But I care an awful lot about creeps that quietly backed him.
Massa plays himself as a two-fisted Progressive Democrat, telling the President to jam his fake health care bill where the Rahm don’t shine, and he gave the Iraq war his middle finger. I mean, the guy was on Rachel Maddow.
That’s the television Massa. But what about the Congressman Massa? And why was he ducking us?
I specifically wanted to ask the New York Congressman about Paul Singer: “Swift Boat” Singer, the guy who funded the vile attacks on Presidential Candidate John Kerry. “Swift Boat” Singer â€” reportedly the biggest funder of the Republican Party in New York. Our information was that the demi-billionaire Singer was backing Massa.
Singer’s nickname isn’t really Swift Boat. It’s “The Vulture.”
Singer is a speculator, the predator-in-chief of the flock of financiers, collectively known as “vultures,” who buy up the right to collect on old loans made to the world’s poorest nations. Vultures use law suits, political muscle, and in some cases, bribery …more
February 14, 2007 — On Thursday 15 February a high court judge in London will rule whether a vulture fund can extract more than $40m from Zambia for a debt which it bought for less than $4m. There are concerns that such funds are wiping out the benefits which international debt relief was supposed to bring to poor countries. Martin Kalunga-Banda, Zambian presidential adviser and a consultant to Oxfam told Newsnight, “That $40m is equal to the value of all the debt relief we received last year.” …more