Puerto Rico needs debt relief (New York Times): A bill allowing the territory's government to restructure its debt in bankruptcy court is currently before Congress, "but has not advanced due to the opposition of some hedge funds." (also see my previous post.)
Billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson claims that he has lost millions of dollars betting on the successful failure of both Greece and Puerto Rico. (Fortune) He bet big-time on hopes that thirsty jobless Athens residents would be forced to pay for privatized water, and it just didn't happen. One of his investment arms owns a whopping one-third of all bank deposits in Greece. You know -- the recycled bailout money from the Troika washing machine. The banks are closed and on the brink of insolvency. Last year, he bought over a billion dollars' worth of tax-exempt Puerto Rican bonds, which the government now says it can't pay back. Anybody want to bet on whether Congress sides with millions of struggling people over John Paulson? Actually, it is a safe bet that the big banks are already shorting their customers and hedging their bets on Grexit and regime change, and the downfall of Puerto Rico into a failed colonial state. Heads they win, tails you lose.
Chelsea Clinton's hedge fund manager husband also has lost "a ton of money" betting on a Greek "recovery" from more austerity via an abject submission by the Syriza government to the Troika finance capital vampires. ( Business Insider.) But Chelsea is doing her plucky best to stem the bleeding, having recently charged $65,000 for a ten-minute speech, a short Q&A and photo-ops at a publicly-funded university. What a trouper for the neoliberal cause. She didn't even personally pocket her fee, instead tossing the cash into the churning money laundry spin cycle of her family's "charity" -- for altruistic tax-avoidance purposes.
Not to be outdone by the global banking mafia's assaults on Greece and Puerto Rico, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced more than 1400 new teacher layoffs and $200 million in public education cuts to pay for tax breaks for the hyper-rich as well as for the Wall Street looting of their pension fund. Teachers, students and parents planned a mass rally in front of City Hall today to demand such alternatives as a luxury tax, financial transaction tax, and tax penalties for employers who pay workers so little that they must go on public assistance. Reaction by the teachers' union to Mayor One Percent's austerity announcement is here:
Not to be outdone by his pal Rahm, President Obama is going to bat for Big Phat Pharma in an even more rapacious way than we knew. According to another draft document from Wikileaks, drug companies stand to squeeze trillions more dollars from the citizens and taxpayers of the 12 nations affected by the Trans-Pacific Partnership. If the agreement is ratified as the draft now stands, manufacturers of cheaper generics would be squeezed out of existence in those countries (including the US, which already pays through the nose for medicines.) Out-of-pocket payments from Medicaid and Medicare subscribers would also be jacked up if the deal goes through. There is absolutely no distance between what the predatory drug manufacturers want, and what the Obama administration is willing to give them, according to a spokesman from Doctors Without Borders.
Obama does have a self-glorifying library shrine to build on public property in cash-strapped Chicago, after all.