“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Wallfare around the world! and my definition of democracy

The case of the Arab Banking Corp.

Among the banks that got TALF money from the Fed was a certain entity called Arab Banking Corp. Arab Banking Corp has a New York Branch and, when the ‘window’ of TALF was opened during the bad, bad financial blizzard of 2008, the Fed, in the best spirit of American hospitality, gave the bank emergency loans – on which interest ranged from 05 to 1 percent! to a bank that is partly owned and controlled by the Central Bank of Libya. Gadhafi’s bank.

According to Bloomberg, which broke the story -- -- the bank got five billion in loans. We, the people of the US, decided in our infinite wisdom, as routed of course through the ouija board that Ben Bernanke uses to decide these things, to loan the bank five billion dollars. And do you know that the bank paid it all back? That was so sweet. Of course, if I was given 72 rounds of money at one percent interest or below, I might be able to pay it back with interest and… even make a profit!

The Arab Banking Corp apparently made a wonderful impression on the Fed, on the Treasury, and on the Obama administration overall! Read the last paragraph of this passage from the Bloomberg story:

“The bank, then 29 percent-owned by the Libyan state, had aggregate borrowings in that period of $35 billion -- while the largest single loan amount outstanding was $1.2 billion in July 2009, according to Fed data released yesterday. In October 2008, when lending to financial institutions by the central bank’s so- called discount window peaked at $111 billion, Arab Banking took repeated loans totaling more than $2 billion.

Fed officials say all the discount window loans made during the worst financial crisis since the 1930s have been repaid with interest.

The U.S. government has frozen assets linked to the regime of Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi and engaged in air strikes against his military forces, which are battling a rebel uprising in the North African country. Arab Banking got an exemption that allows the firm to continue operating while barring it from engaging in any transactions with the Libyan government, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.”

Oh, those banks! The way the government treats them, it makes you dream… Dream the utopian dream of a government that treats its citizens the same way it treats international banks! I believe that dream is called democracy, and one day we will certainly have it.

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