Whether it is rigging markets, rigging Libor, imposing draconian austerity programs, or boldly bribing public officials, we all know the “too big to fail banks” are at the center of felonious acts. When it comes to fomenting world-wide armed conflicts, there they are again. When it comes to money laundering of drug traffickers, guess who? They are involved in influencing government and elected officials to act against the will of the majority, such as in Greece, or the US, or any number of other countries. There seems to be no limit to their greed and accumulation of power. Volumes have been written about this, so we don’t need to elaborate on that. Billions in punitive fines have been paid for acts of felonies, so this is not news either.
These greedy banksters make the old mafia look like pikers. More importantly, we all know this and seem to be helpless in countering their greed and power mongering. After all, what could we possibly do against such money and power, right?
This sense of helplessness is only an engineered psyche job on us. If we don’t buy it as a people, they are powerless to continuing to intimidate us. Ask Iceland about it. However, more importantly we can stand up and take back the power to govern ourselves in a democratic fashion and begin to act to limit and then to end the actions of these out of control greedy parasites who are destroying our world for another buck and bonus.
One small US government unit has done just that. The Board of Supervisors in Santa Cruz County, California, have taken a bold step. The County has decided that they will not do business, including investment services or bond issuances, with five major banks that the Justice Department found to be associated with felonious acts in May of this year.
Ryan Coonerty, Supervisor of the Third District of the County, proposed to Mary Jo Walker, (Auditor-Controller-Treasurer) and the rest of the Board of Supervisors that they immediately, and for the term of at least 5 years, cease relations in business with Citigroup, J.P. Morgan & Chase, Barclays, The Royal Bank of Scotland, and U.B.S.
“[These banks] have agreed to plead guilty to felony charges of conspiring to manipulate the price of U.S. dollars and euros exchanged in the foreign currency exchange spot market… The behavior of these banks is offensive and signals a Wall Street culture in which several big banks broke the law even after years of strong criticism and increased regulation following the economic crisis.”
The probe of the five banks mentioned above also included Bank Of America. The banks agreed to pay a total amount of $5.8 Billion earlier this year in settlement of the LIBOR scandal. Citigroup was fined the largest amount of $925 million by the DOJ, and $325 million by the Fed. JP Morgan & Chase was fined a total of $892 million. The DOJ cites these banks for their employee’s having violated the Sherman Antitrust Act, which expressly forbids coercive monopolizing any part of trade or commerce within several states or foreign nations.
Coonerty’s letter rounded off:
“There seems to be no limit to the greed in some our nation’s largest banks. I believe it is critical that the County only work with the most trustworthy institutions as we invest and protect the public’s tax dollars. Santa Cruz County should not be involved with those who rigged the world’s biggest financial markets.
It is important that we send a message that if you want to do business with the County, you need to play by the rules. Therefore I recommend that the Board direct that the County’s investment policy be modified to reflect that the County of Santa Cruz will not do new business with these felonious financial institutions for a period of five years and further that the County unwind existing relationships with these five banks to the greatest extent feasible.”
The words are sharp, and the idea behind it is razor edged. If every county in just CA followed suit with Coonerty’s idea, that could mean significant losses in revenue for these corporations. The $650 million municipal portfolio reported to be in these banks for Santa Cruz County is just chump change for banks like JP Morgan & Chase, but if all the counties and states in the US followed suit, these banksters would be in real trouble.
What can we do? Simple, show up at your next county board of supervisors meeting and demand they follow suit with Santa Cruz County. Write your state senators and district representatives and demand they immediately float a bill in the legislature to follow suit with the actions of Santa Cruz. After all, what Coonerty is really saying is that our governments have a fiduciary responsibility not to deal with convicted felons and they have a responsibility to insure the safety of taxpayer’s investments. WE DO HAVE POWER. Let’s begin to exercise it before it is too late. Ask the Greeks what is next for them. If you believe what happened in Greece can’t happen here, well, you are delusional. Believe the reality that it is us with the power, not the banksters, for that is the truth.