Growing up, many of us learned our country has three branches of government, with checks and balances to make sure nothing ever goes wrong. We also believed that by removing his glasses no one would realize Clark Kent was actually Superman. As we aged, we discovered that checks and balances have less to do with keeping everyone on the up-and-up and more to do with cashiers checks and account balances. Three choice examples:
Robert Rubin, who spent 26 years at Goldman Sachs, became US Treasury Secretary under President Clinton. Towards the end of his term, at the behest of Sandy Weill, the head of Citicorp and the Travelers Insurance Group, Mr. Rubin engineered — along with former President Gerald Ford! — the overturning of the Glass-Steagall Act, which allowed Citicorp and Travelers to become Citigroup, and in turn led to the economic collapse of 2008. For his efforts, Mr. Rubin, after resigning as treasury secretary, took a job at Citigroup paying him $126 million.
Eugene Ludwig, a former Comptroller of the Currency, is now the head of the Promontory Financial Group, a consulting firm that hires, among others, government regulators whose jobs were to oversee financial institutions. What do these more than 100 ex-government banking regulators do at Promontory? They now work on behalf of Wall Street — Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Citigroup, HSBC, and on and on — fighting to overturn unfriendly bank regulations and helping their clients bundle mortgage backed securities. Working at Promontory are Mary Schapiro, former head of the Security and Exchange Commission; Susan Bell, a former senior official with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency; and Patrick Parkinson, who spent 30 years at the Federal Reserve. While the government was investigating Standard Chartered (SC) for money laundering, the bank hired Promontory, which concluded that SC only laundered $14 million. Later, the government and SC agreed that SC actually laundered $250 billion. Asked to explain this discrepancy, Promontory said they stand by their original report. When Mr. Ludwig entertains bank regulators at his 13,000 sq. ft., $11.5 million home, he assures us they never discuss “current matters.”
Lanny Breuer, who helped defend President Clinton during his impeachment proceeding, had previously worked with the law firm Covington & Burling, whose clients include JP Morgan Chase and the New York Stock Exchange. In 2009, President Obama appointed Mr. Breuer to head the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice. As Assistant Attorney General, part of Mr. Breuer’s job was to prosecute Wall Street banks for wrongdoing leading up to the Great Recession. As we all know, he never indicted one top Wall Street banker. Where is he now? Back at Covington Burling as vice chairman. Defending this apparent conflict of interest, Mr. Breuer said, “What people dismissively talk about as the revolving door allows people to be better public servants and private litigants. I believe I was a better assistant attorney general because of my deep experience in the private sector.” I’m sure Chase agrees. If you’re going to allow the fox to guard the henhouse, you want to make sure the fox knows all about the hens.
On television years ago, when Clark Kent changed into his Superman outfit, he at least took off his glasses. Now, no one bothers.
— Stephen, SAFE Volunteer
Housing is a Human Right!
Saturday & Sunday, April 13 & 14: Teams of canvassers will meet at various times during the weekend to deliver neighborhood meeting invitations to every home in South Park. If you would like to be on a canvassing team, please contact Bryce at 253-740-9804. The first team will gather at the SAFE House at 1:30 PM, Sat., April 13.
Thursday, April 18, 6:30 PM: South Park Neighborhood Meeting, at the Old Firehouse (corner of Southern St. and 10th Ave.): We will give a brief presentation about SAFE and the foreclosure crisis and discuss with South Park residents their concerns and how best to fight the banks.
Wednesday, April 17, 4:00 PM: Say No To Drones: Rally and March: Starts at Westlake Plaza (4th Ave. & Pine): Speakers & Music followed by a march to the WAMU building where Boeing, a leading drone manufacturer, has offices.
This Past Week
Several SAFE members are moving closer towards eviction. We are preparing a Rapid Response Network.
Other Upcoming & Ongoing Events
Tuesdays, 7:00 – 8:30 PM: Weekly SAFE Meeting: Bethany UCC, 6230 Beacon Ave S (NE corner of Graham St). All are welcome!
You can reach us at info@SAFEinSeattle.org or 206-203-2125. Please visit our web site: www.SAFEinSeattle.org.
Thoughts & Opinions (SAFE welcomes written opinions from all of its supporters. If you have a letter or comment you’d like to include in the Thoughts & Opinions section of this Newsletter, please e-mail info@SAFEinSeattle.org. Opinions must be informative, relevant to the foreclosure/eviction crisis, and consistent with SAFE’s mission and principles. The opinions, like the one above, do not necessarily represent those of SAFE.):