No Politician Is Allowed to Oppose Banks For Long, Not Even the French President

Wolf Richter's picture

Wolf Richter

French President François Hollande should have been ecstatic when US Federal and New York State authorities slammed French megabank BNP Paribas with a slew of charges related to the bank’s dealings with Iran in violation of US sanctions. Under intense pressure, BNP agreed to pay a $8.9 billion penalty and plead guilty. It was the largest penalty for a European bank ever. Some heads rolled at the bank. But Hollande was not amused.

Yet it should have been the sweetest moment of his dreary Presidency. He should have relished that attack on the French monster bank, and he should have turned motorcade victory laps around rush-hour Paris.

Because on January 22, 2012, as Socialist presidential candidate, in a speech in Bourget that instantly went viral on a global scale, he’d pointed out, had dared to point out, the true nature of finance, not of the bank branch down the street, but that part of finance that had brought down the financial system and had triggered the great recession, a part of finance that is aided and abetted by central banks to this day:

“I’ll tell you who my opponent is, my true opponent,” he said at the time. “He has no name, no face, no party. He will never run for office. He will not be elected. And yet he governs. My opponent is the world of finance.”

He promised he’d rein in that world. He’d impose a tax on all its financial transactions, “a real tax,” and he’d eliminate stock options, and he’d curtail bonuses, and he’d do a million other things. And the huddled masses began to dream.

But soon after he was anointed President of France, nuances began to appear. In September 2013, his Industrial Renewal Minister, now re-baptized Economy Minister, Arnaud Montebourg explained it this way: “Finance is like cholesterol, there is the good and the bad.”

It was on the occasion when a factory was moved back from China to France. Not just any factory, but a Solex plant. The company has been making motorized bicycles since 1946. They have a small gasoline motor above the front wheel. The motor drives a roller that, when lowered on the tire, provides some additional oomph. When the auxiliary power is not needed, the motor can be turned off and the mechanism can be lifted to allow the wheel to turn freely. These contraptions are regularly passed by normal bicycles powered by normal people, but they allow older chain smokers to get up a hill if it’s not too steep. It’s a very French contraption, scorned and ridiculed and loved by many. So when production returned from China to France, well, politicians were making hay while they could. And for Montebourg, it was “good” finance that had brought the plant back.

Politicians to the left of Hollande regularly refer to the speech at Bourget in an effort to remind Hollande about his broken promises. But that daring speech that had sent bankers into panic mode, if only briefly, and that had resonated with so many people around the world, and that had instantly gone viral, has now, like so many things in Hollande’s presidency, officially been buried.

On Sunday, Finance Minister Michel Sapin, while speaking at a meeting of economists in Aix-en-Provence, declared that “finance, the good finance, is our friend.”

The about-face is now complete. No democratically elected entity can oppose the world of finance for long. There was some laughter in the audience. A bon mot that pleased. “We still need financial regulation,” Sapin went on. “As far as banks are concerned, we’ve made a lot of progress. But for everything outside banking, we still have some way to go.”

And he wasn’t worried about more investigations, costly penalties, and embarrassing guilty pleas for French banks. American authorities have been extracting their pound of flesh from banks while carefully tiptoeing around the idea of sending executives to jail. But they weren’t going after French banks any longer. Instead, “several other large European banks will face that risk,” he said….

Despite rumors that US authorities were targeting two additional French megabanks, Société Générale and Crédit Agricole, along with two German megabanks, Deutsche Bank – which is sinking deeper into just about every imaginable banking scandal – and Commerzbank.

The French government’s deal with megabanks has come full circle, from being a sacred relationship under President Nicholas Sarkozy to enmity during Hollande’s campaign and now back to sacred relationship. No democratically elected government in a major country – not in France, not in Germany, least of all in the US – is allowed to oppose the banks and the central banks that stand behind them, though extracting penalties to the tune of a few quarters worth of earnings – extracting them from stockholders – is now considered an easy price to pay, and part of the costs of doing business, to buy some protection from the restless populists.

Under the nimbus of its infamously illustrious performance, the European Banking Authority has reduced the world of money to just two abbreviations: VC and FC. And it has taken sides. Read (on my new website WOLF STREET)….  EU Regulator Warns Banks: Don’t ‘Buy, Hold, or Sell’ Virtual Currencies, Stick to ‘Fiat Currencies’

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AdvancingTime's picture

The banks and governments are in bed together. It is important to remember these authorities are politicians and bureaucrats that want increased power and influence, and guess what, they may have hit the jackpot.

Those in power have joined with the banks to create the "Financial-Political Complex" that promotes the current financial policy and supports banks that are "to big to fail". These banks in turn buy government bonds. More on this unholy union in the article below.

grekko's picture

The problem with Democracy is that un & under-educated masses vote for politicians who promise them the riches of the treasury.  Most people in this country don't even know that we are not a democracy, we are a Republic!  This points to a failed education system where the Bill of Rights and the Constitution are no longer taught, nor discussed from an early age.  The masses soon lose the knowledge of why, and for what reason these documents were written.  They were written to protect us all from tyrants and thieves.  Now, there are very few of us left that understand this. 

At this website, and many others, whether Libertarian, Constitutionalists, Austrian School, or Anti-War, we have come together because we knew in our hearts and souls that something was wrong.  Some of us just stumbled upon these sites and learned what truth is about.  Others were led here through critical thinking.  Others were always rebels in their hearts.  What we found was the truth, and that truth has set us free.  No longer will we believe the words of pompous mouthpieces for the elite, fabricated and manipulated data, nor MIC propaganda spread through the "bought and paid for" MSM.

If only one person wakes up to join our ranks each day, it's a victory for freedom.  I'm betting that we add thousands every day.  Soon, the real awakening will occur, at the point of collapse.  There is hope, but not through Democracy, not until we have returned to our roots of a Constitutional Republic.  Mark my words well, that day will soon be upon us, where we will not go quietly into the night.

Otrader's picture

"Whoever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and
commerce." — James A. Garfield, President of the United States


"The few who understand the system, will either be so interested from it's profits or so dependant on it's favors, that there will be no opposition from that class." — Rothschild Brothers of London, 1863

GoldIsMoney's picture

It has nothing to do with daring. The states do make the laws  for banks and they do install the central banks. That's the base line. The other base line is that the debts are always sold to the people by banks and this debts are treated as equal to no debts. That's all the doing of elected people. They promise mor then they ever could hold and they are using the laws they write to help their partners, and the biggest player are the central banks and the banks. And then states to allow for fractional reserve, that's all they've done. They were not forced to do that, but it's way too convenient for them to break. That's the base line. Banks and States are the pair of thieves. One shields the other and the other one finances the always demanding other.

Kreditanstalt's picture

Iran can help de-dollarization by simply dealing only with banks without a US presence.

curmudgery's picture

what's the surprise? in every aspect of human existence, a psychopathic minority beats, cheats, steals and kills to win and hold control. the consciences of the majority prevent them from systematically eradicating the psychopaths. if we are not psychopaths perhaps we should learn something from them. what will you do about the next psychopath you encounter? wait to be hurt? suit yourself.

Herdee's picture

I see that the U.S. Government has just made a deal to supply Iran with spare parts for military and civilian aircraft along with other deals as well.That's right after the bums grabbed some loot they needed to stay afloat.Thank-you to the French from Obama.

ImGumbydmmt's picture

so tell me this, What would have happened if we could have elected Ron Paul?

Crawdaddy's picture

A three name assasin, a magic bullet, a state funeral and another blurry Zapruder film?

Otrader's picture

It's always a ' lone gunman. '

Notsobadwlad's picture

I tell ya, the military should have bombed Basel and the City of London when they had the chance.

TheSecondLaw's picture

Yes indeed.  Until we have a truly democratically elected entity, we'll never know.  I love the idea of a democracy- you know, one of those "by the people, for the people" systems.  Can't wait to see one in action somewhere in the world...hopefully during my lifetime.

SAT 800's picture

The constantly repeated mottoe of the Berkeley Mao worshippers in the sixties was "power to the people"; this was actually tried, in the French Revolution. The results were disastrous, horrifying, and completely predictable. The last thing you ever want to see is a government by the "people". Who are, after all, un-educated foolish and subject to professional opinion control to an almost surreal degree.

Memedada's picture

You’ve lived so long in a psydo-democracy, that you no longer know what a democracy is. Democracy is not a ceremony of voting – especially not the kind of voting that passes as democracy in the West. Representative democracy is almost an oxymoron (unless the representatives can be voted away at any time during their period).

Real democracy demands an educated, free, unrestrained, continuous, critical and equal debate. That again demands a free (no censoring authorities – or spying authorities) and independent (unbought = free from market forces) press, an educated population (equal and free access to education for all) and time (the circus passed as democratic elections is designed to be so short, that no one has a chance to challenge the ideas/propaganda presented – unless they’re already in the know). More importantly – democracy is only a valid (ethical) system of power if there’s rights that can not be ‘voted away’ (rights for minorities and the basic human rights).

I do agree though – USA is not ready for a democracy (the population is too dumped down), but they’re ready for a full blown dictatorship/tyranny (it’s already a fascist dictatorship by most standards). That’s a danger for the worlds survival (economic, ecological and societal). The only hope is some kind of enlightenment in US = people waking up and starting to dissent (in itself a democratic force). The more likely scenario is a post-feudalistic state structure – most Americans are already living in serfdom and wouldn’t notice the change (especially since it will not be televised).

The point about people voting for candidates that hands out money to them is pure stupid – yes, some people are fooled. IF it was true, then the revolution would have started way back – the ‘democratic’ systems in the West have served a tiny minority for decades. Yes, many people ‘believe’ they are voting in self-interest, but that’s in itself an evidence of lack of real democracy – if they were educated and informed (se the prerequisites for democracy mentioned above) they would not vote for candidates that (pretends) to hand them money

Finally: Democracy is the only legitimate form of organized power…

grekko's picture

"democracy is only a valid (ethical) system of power if there’s rights that can not be ‘voted away’ (rights for minorities and the basic human rights)"

I don't know about anyone else here, but I believe this statement is pretty close to the definition of "REPUBLIC"!  Democracy is for suckers because there will always be fast talking con-men who can, and will fool the uneducated masses and gain office.  What we need is a government that applies the laws to everyone equally, mega-banksters as well as poor minorities.  We also need a judicial system of honest judges, not the kind appointed by politicians where we get "if you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours", by twisting the words written in the Constitution.  Nice pipe dream, huh?

Memedada's picture

One more thing: what alternative system than democracy do you propose for decision making for matters that concern all?

The unelected government you talk about – who do they represent? What interests?

Memedada's picture

Yes, a democratic Republic is not a bad idea. But the US Republic was never intentioned to be democratic – it was a republic for the owning class (the so called ‘WASP’s – white Anglo-Saxon protestants. And that narrow group of people should be narrowed down further: male and rich/owning land). Those were the ‘founding fathers’ – a group of rich WASP’s that coined a constitution that could ensure their rights and privileges for generations to come. And for that purpose the constitution have worked. Not so much anymore – that’s why it’s circumvented (concretely – by eliminating provisions in the law – and subvertly – by ignoring the provisions and just ‘do it’).

The problem with US ‘democracy’ is, that it has become a Mammoncracy (=money buys votes, electorates and candidates). You have to remove the money from the system in order to make ‘one man = one vote’ meaningful. Until then the US Republic will never be anything resembling a democracy. But just a tool for the people with money (i.e. the banks and their owners).

CH1's picture

I love the idea of a democracy

I don't. It didn't work in Athens and wouldn't work any better now. It ends up as just another form of rulership: one group of men robbing and punishing everyone else.

SAT 800's picture

Deomcracy is a failure. The mob elected Obama, and then re-elected him. Cicero explained that the mob would learn that they could vote for politicians who pay them out of the state treasury, and that therefore Democracies are impossible. That was 2,000 years ago, but like all logical truths it's equally applicable today.

ThroxxOfVron's picture

"No democratically elected entity can oppose the world of finance for long."


Perchance the problem might be that BOTH 'Finance' and 'Democracy' complexes are at best deeply corrupted and dysfunctional distortions of what each is purported to be or at worst nothing but vehicles for unscrupulous and unrestrained wealth expropriation masquerading in the guise of industry and the governance thereof respectively?


Maybe BOTH finance and democracy need to be rigorously reformed or dismantled entirely as presently configured?

mvsjcl's picture

If TPTB are clamoring for MOAR DEMOCRACY, then it's a safe bet that it's a system that they've thoroughly corrupted.

Memedada's picture

Well, they're also doing Gods work, bringing peace, freedom and prosperty - we got to reclaim our language.....

teslaberry's picture

No democratically elected entity can oppose the world of finance for long.,

Not 'for long' , but 'at all'.

democracy is corruption by its nature. finance fully takes advantage of the game theory of democracy without recourse.

in non-democratic systems, the recourse is to kill the people in charge of the banks and close the banks down.

there is no jail that can hold a banker, no shaming that can close his bank. no legal proceeding his lawyers cannot fight and nothing that can stop a banker by mild coercion of any sort that requires a system of cooperation.

a jail requires cooperation of the jailer
a court by the court officers judge and lawyers
a media requires owners and managers of the media

all cooperation can be co-opted by money. violence and a killing puts a decisive end on cooperation. game over. after the banker is dead, his bank can be seized with the same violence that was used to end his life. if there are any real assets in the bank , they can be plundered, but more likely than not, the bankers' bank holds nothing more than nonsense paper IOU's that are worthless traps used to perpetuate a deposit ponzi scheme .

now, i am not advocating killing bankers. i myself am NOT a revolutionary. i'm actually more personally alligned with evil than good. i am just trying to communicate what many on zh already know about the truth of game theory of societal power bases and how they work .

bunnyswanson's picture

Living a life of despair caused early man to create gods in the sky, to blame and to save them.  Man is logical.  Cause and Effect.  The finger pointing will be at the bankers.  There will be consequences.  We did not survive this long because of fear of retribution.  Right now, there are probably several hundred thousand people who are devising ways to kill bankers and the worst it gets, the more often the attempts will be.  The new heros will be those who kill bankers and politicians.  It's a sliver of hope to hold onto during a day when drudgery and need fill the air.  Yes, I am sure that by the time this century is over, the bankers of this cloth (interest being charged on nothing, predatory lending practices) will be a mere memory and the stories of their murderers will be told at dinner tables.  The bankers are not only greedy, self righteous with false confidence and oppressive, they are extremely unlikeable.  Killing the bankers will become a hobby.

Crawdaddy's picture

Food for thought:

"...The CIA could never figure out how the vietcong knew where these victims lived...everyone sympathetic to the US was executed in one night.."

assistedliving's picture

what has the CIA ever figured out? 

what's the fuss?  now that corporations are people, Banks are the biggest people.  wud luv to say 'move on' but like Strelnikov says, 'theres no place left to defect'


JRobby's picture

History is clear as to what happens to elected officials that oppose the banking cartel.

0b1knob's picture

At least the French are civilized enough to spare him the nail gun, or a "fall" from a high building.

Perhaps they will send him to prison like the US did with Jon Corzine.

Oh wait....

Crawdaddy's picture


A man befriends a fellow criminal as the two of them begin serving their sentence on a dreadful prison island, which inspires the man to plot his escape.

Ghordius's picture

Good article, 95% of it. Unusual, for Testosteronepit, in my exp.

q99x2's picture

Boycott their power. Don't use money.

ZeroPoint's picture

Correction: Use money. Don't use fiat currency.

rwe2late's picture

The pro-NATO neoLiberal Hollande never meant to do anything about what he said.

Hollande was and is an Obamaphile, and borrowed (copied) the

Obama playbook.

Yet, it was also Napoleon who is quoted having said of political power,

"Promise everything, give nothing".

Joebloinvestor's picture

Mon Uncle.

A great movie (for being French).

Jacques Tati on a Solex.

Joebloinvestor's picture

Mon Uncle.

sorry for the DP.

Jumbotron's picture

Nobody can touch the Alchemists.  For they and they alone have the secret of making money from nothing.  They create the world we live in.  Destroy them and the world they have conjured will be destroyed.


Bangin7GramRocks's picture

Mutually Assured Destruction. "Fuck with us and you die too!"

Cap Matifou's picture

Called 'Hochfinanz' in an other country.