Daily Archives: February 19, 2016

Sanders Accepts Clinton’s Challenge on Wall Street Speeches

Game on!

From BernieSanders.com:

ELKO, Nev. – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign on Friday urged Hillary Clinton to keep her word and release the transcripts of speeches she gave to Wall Street firms “when everybody else does.”

“Sen. Sanders accepts Clinton’s challenge. He will release all of the transcripts of all of his Wall Street speeches. That’s easy. The fact is, there weren’t any. Bernie gave no speeches to Wall Street firms. He wasn’t paid anything while Secretary Clinton made millions, including $675,000 for three paid speeches to Goldman Sachs,” said Sanders’ spokesman Michael Briggs.

“So now we hope Secretary Clinton keeps her word and releases the transcripts of her speeches. We hope she agrees that the American people deserve to know what she told Wall Street behind closed doors,” Briggs added.

Hillary Clinton Again Declines to Disclose What She Told Big Banks in Her Paid Speeches

The guy in the audience said it was a matter of trust. “Please just release those transcripts so we know exactly where you stand,” he said.

But Hillary Clinton wasn’t going there. At the MSNBC town hall with the Democratic presidential candidates on Thursday evening in Las Vegas, Clinton once again refused to release transcripts or recordings of the secret speeches she was paid millions of dollars to make to Wall Street banks.

Clinton literally laughed off the question when we first asked her in January. Several days later, when Chuck Todd asked her during an MSNBC debate in New Hampshire, she said she would “look into it.”

Shortly thereafter, however, Clinton had a new talking point, which is the one she used again on Thursday night, in response to a question from a self-identified Bernie Sanders supporter in the audience — a realtor named Joe Sacco.

“Why are you hesitant to release transcripts or audio-video recordings of those meetings — in order to be transparent with the American people regarding the promises and assurances that you have made to the big banks?” Sacco asked.

Clinton replied, “I’m happy to release anything I have when everybody else does the same, because every other candidate in this race has given speeches to private groups, including Senator Sanders.”

Sacco followed up by noting that Clinton had changed her position on marriage equality, and that she faces trust issues. He repeated his request to release the transcripts. But again, Clinton declined to answer and pivoted to explaining her positions on LGBT rights. Watch:

Read on and watch the video clip.

Siding With Foreclosure Victim, California Court Exposes Law Enforcement Failure

The California Supreme Court on Thursday ruled unanimously in favor of a fraudulently foreclosed-upon homeowner in a case that should serve as a wake-up call to state and federal prosecutors that mortgage companies continue to use false documents to evict homeowners on a daily basis.

“A homeowner who has been foreclosed on by one with no right to do so has suffered an injurious invasion of his or her legal rights at the foreclosing entity’s hands,” the justices wrote.

But maddeningly, practically nobody in a position of authority has stepped up to prevent those injurious invasions.

The case, Yvanova v. New Century Mortgage Corporation, sends a powerful signal from the nation’s biggest state that the massive false document scandal, first discovered nearly a decade ago, is not over, despite mortgage company promises to the contrary.

Read on.

Citigroup Forced To Put Breakup Study Proposal To Vote

Talk of big bank breakups is back. Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders has made splitting up banks a campaign rallying cry. Newly appointed Minnesota Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari made waves Tuesday by calling the largest financial institutions “still too big to fail” and suggesting “bolder, transformational options” to address them.

Next up in the conversation: shareholders at Citigroup.

The Securities and Exchange Commission ruled this week management at the nation’s third-largest bank by assets must float a shareholder proposal that, if approved, would require Citigroup to study options for breaking up and to report the findings within 10 months.

According to the language of the proposal, the company would have to appoint a committee “to address whether the divestiture of all noncore banking business segments would enhance shareholder value.” Noncore divisions include any part of the company outside of its federally insured retail banking center, Citibank N.A.

In other words, Citigroup would have to tell investors whether its parts are more valuable than the company as a whole.

Read on.

Secret Memo Details U.S.’s Broader Strategy to Crack Phones

Silicon Valley celebrated last fall when the White House revealed it would not seek legislation forcing technology makers to install “backdoors” in their software — secret listening posts where investigators could pierce the veil of secrecy on users’ encrypted data, from text messages to video chats. But while the companies may have thought that was the final word, in fact the government was working on a Plan B.

In a secret meeting convened by the White House around Thanksgiving, senior national security officials ordered agencies across the U.S. government to find ways to counter encryption software and gain access to the most heavily protected user data on the most secure consumer devices, including Apple Inc.’s iPhone, the marquee product of one of America’s most valuable companies, according to two people familiar with the decision.

The approach was formalized in a confidential National Security Council “decision memo,” tasking government agencies with developing encryption workarounds, estimating additional budgets and identifying laws that may need to be changed to counter what FBI Director James Comey calls the “going dark” problem: investigators being unable to access the contents of encrypted data stored on mobile devices or traveling across the Internet. Details of the memo reveal that, in private, the government was honing a sharper edge to its relationship with Silicon Valley alongside more public signs of rapprochement.

On Tuesday, the public got its first glimpse of what those efforts may look like when a federal judge ordered Apple to create a special tool for the FBI to bypass security protections on an iPhone 5c belonging to one of the shooters in the Dec. 2 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California that killed 14 people. Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has vowed to fight the order, calling it a “chilling” demand that Apple “hack our own users and undermine decades of security advancements that protect our customers.” The order was not a direct outcome of the memo but is in line with the broader government strategy.

Read on.

 

Citigroup to exit retail banking in Brazil, Argentina

(Reuters) – Citigroup Inc said it plans to exit its retail banking and credit card operations in Brazil, Argentina and Colombia as part of its efforts to cut costs and boost profitability.

Shares of the bank, which has operated in Argentina and Brazil for more than a century, were down 1.3 percent at $38.40 in early trading on Friday.

The U.S. bank, built with a series of acquisitions dating back to the 1980s, has been trying to slim down since the financial crisis to be as profitable as its rivals.

Read on.

Citi raises CEO Corbat’s pay by 27 percent in 2015

Citigroup raised Chief Executive Michael Corbat’s pay by an estimated 27 percent in 2015, a year in which the bank’s profit more than doubled.

Corbat earned an estimated $16.5 million in 2015, including deferred shares worth about $4.5 million. He earned $13 million in 2014.

Deferred stock makes up about 30 percent of Corbat’s bonus pay under Citi’s executive compensation plan, which was overhauled three years ago amid shareholder pressure.

Read on.