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Current location: Potlandia
Member since: Fri Sep 28, 2007, 04:39 PM
Number of posts: 19,172
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Robert Scheer Speaks With Nomi Prins About the Connection Between Washington and Wall Street
by Robert Sheer * Feb. 11, 2016 * TruthDig.com
In this week’s “Scheer Intelligence”—the Truthdig editor-in-chief’s podcast on KCRW—author, journalist and former investment banker Nomi Prins explains the culture of Wall Street and its influence on government.
Prins worked as a managing director at Bear Stearns and Goldman Sachs for several years before leaving the financial sector around the time of the Enron crisis to become one of its sharpest critics. She has written several books about the relationship between Washington and Wall Street, including “All the Presidents’ Bankers: The Hidden Alliances that Drive American Power” and “Other Peoples’ Money: The Corporate Mugging of America.”
Scheer and Prins discuss that relationship and the players who have kept it going in spite of devastating effects on many Americans. In addition, Prins talks about the lack of an “accountability gene” within many in the finance industry. Lastly, we hear about how Wall Street has influenced and may continue to influence the presidential candidates and outcome of this year’s election.
RS: Hello. I’m Robert Scheer, and welcome to Scheer Intelligence, my podcast in collaboration with KCRW in which I talk to people I consider to be American originals. My guest today is Nomi Prins, definitely an American original. She started out working on Wall Street, worked for Goldman Sachs at one point, and then has emerged as one of the major critics of the big banks and what they did to bring about the Great Recession. She is currently a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Public Policy Think Tank DEMOS; she is also the author of several books, including “It Takes a Pillage” and, most recently, “All the President’s Bankers.” And, full disclosure, she served on Senator Bernie Sanders’ Federal Reserve Advisory Council. I’m going to ask you what that’s all about. But I want to get an objective appraisal of this democratic election, because we’re being frightened with some image of the greater evil of the Republican Party, and there’s a lot of evil there to talk about. But once again, we’re being urged to think uncritically about the Democrats. And I want—you know, your, “It Takes a Pillage” is, after all, a play on Hillary Clinton’s “It Takes a Village”; it’s a terrific book, I use it in teaching in my job at USC, and I’ve had you in my class, and I have great respect for your analysis. So why don’t we begin there? You were working at Goldman Sachs, and what has brought you to this place, and what is your evaluation of the choices we face?
NP: First of all, thanks a lot for having me, Bob. I did work in Goldman Sachs, and did leave to become a journalist and an author. And mostly that was because of what was my own moral obligation percolating within me to leave a very corrupt environment and seek the reasons for it, and also to share the analysis of what I could bring from my experience to the rest of the world. And at the time I left, it was in the wake of the Enron crisis, which at this point’s an old crisis; but a lot of the reasons for that crisis had to do with banks, had to do with how financing works in this country, and it has only gotten much worse and, as we know, more—because of the banking system and the political system that allows it to have become what it is—than ever before, with the financial crisis of 2008 and now what we see as what will be a prolonged global crisis.
RS: Let me jump in there, since you brought up Enron, which a lot of people forget about. But the collapse of Enron destroyed the life savings of all sorts of people, quite a few who worked for Enron and one of its subsidiaries, but also, and their investors who thought, my goodness, this big company—which was extremely well-connected in Washington, and not only to the Bush administration, but before that to the Clinton administration. And in fact, it should have come up recently in the news, because in the debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and—it came up when Hillary accused Bernie Sanders of having voted for this terrible piece of financial deregulation, which is known as the Commodity Futures Modernization Act. And it’s true Sanders voted for it, as did everybody else except four members of the House, libertarian Ron Paul; but they did so because it was tucked into an omnibus bill, and it was written by Bill Clinton’s administration, it was signed by Bill Clinton; it was Bill Clinton’s legislation. The reason I’m bringing it up now is there is something called the “Enron loophole” in the Commodity Futures Modernization Act that Clinton signed as a lame duck president. And that loophole allowed Enron to go absolutely berserk in marketing energy derivatives and so forth. And so maybe you could begin there, because it’s all part of a whole; it’s manipulating the financial system to benefit Wall Street and screw Main Street, is of course, not only the slogan, but it’s an accurate description, and it’s been done by Republicans and Democrats. And so why don’t we begin with the Democrats and the financial deregulation that happened under Bill Clinton?
NP: Sure, I will unpack that. And also, the “Enron loophole” and how it was created was not just by Enron; it was by bankers at the time. In fact, during the period of the Clinton administration in the late nineties, when energy deregulation had just occurred in 1996—which effectively allowed energy companies to become bigger than they were and take on little energy companies and control more of the energy environment than they had before, of which Enron was a major recipient—the financial element of that, where they got to also trade in energy futures and derivatives and all sorts of complex financial securities that had nothing to do with extracting and distributing oil or creating an energy flow for a population; it had everything to do with trading and simply making money off of speculative transactions. Goldman Sachs, which is the company I worked for, had been a part of fighting for that “Enron loophole” during the Clinton administration years, as well as had Enron. So here you had a company that was run by Republicans, who had a big bank that was, at the time, run by a Republican, Hank Paulson; but you also had people on both sides of the aisle, Democrats and Republicans, pushing for this idea of ensuring that derivatives that were associated with energy would not have to be transparent to anyone else who was examining the markets. So effectively they were deregulated; they were taken out of the purview and control of regulators. And what this meant was, not just Enron but its banking partners like Goldman Sachs, like Merrill Lynch at the time, which became later part of Bank of America during the last financial crisis, were able to basically be copartners in creating a very opaque trading environment around energy.
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Sun Feb 14, 2016, 04:44 PM (1 replies)
I'm posting these suspecting they've been posted already, but I'm posting just in case
anyone missed these, and to ask ... damn ... for the life of me, how does can anyone
who genuinely cares about the plight of PoC & the poor continue to support putting the
Clintons back in the WH? With friends like these ...
The New Jim Crow: How the war on drugs gave birth to a permanent American undercaste.
By Michelle Alexander * March 9, 2010 * The Nation
Why Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Deserve the Black Vote: From the crime bill to welfare reform, policies Bill Clinton enacted—and Hillary Clinton supported—decimated black America.
By Michelle Alexander * Feb. 10,2016 * The Nation
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Sun Feb 14, 2016, 02:53 PM (5 replies)
Federal Study Will Pay You $3,000 Per Week to Consume Cannabis
By admin * January 28, 2016 * The health disorder
The United States National Research Center (NRC) has been commissioned by the National Institute of Drug Abuse(NIDA) to conduct comprehensive research evaluating the effects of cannabis on the human body.
The research, which will take part in seven facilities across the nation, is intended to determine whether or not cannabis can be used to relieve stress and stress-related disorders, while allowing consumers of the plant to maintain normal function in their lives.
“This is one of the first, very promising studies, that will finally reveal the answer of the age old acquisition that stoners are ‘Just Lazy’,” says lead researcher Michael Gregory. “It’s an exciting new study that may push the legality of marijuana to all 50 states.”
For the research, participants will be required to stay at the facility for six months (making it immediately un-doable for many if not most people), while performing various everyday activities such as cleaning, watching TV and reading, while also regularly consuming cannabis. During all of this, participants will be evaluated by medical staff.
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Sun Feb 14, 2016, 03:52 AM (7 replies)
Hillary Is a High-Ranking Member of the DC Power Elite — and That's Why She Can't Comprehend Bernie’s Revolution
The American Dream is sliding off the cliff and Hillary is still talking about women’s empowerment — a cry that was fresh 40 years ago.
By Alan Saly * AlterNet * February 13, 2016
Let me figure this out. Last year, the Clintons couldn’t believe their good fortune. They were going to face a “democratic socialist” from the marginal state of Vermont and cruise to victory. It would be a romp, with Hillary winning the primaries and then going full mainstream against a reactionary, out of touch Republican opponent on the way to the White House.
As many commentators are saying now, a serious miscalculation was at the heart of Hillary’s plan. Clinton, Cruz, Bush, Rubio and others are all part of the wealthy elite. Although Trump is as well, he is channeling the anger of the working class American. Bernie Sanders also gets it. He knows what happened to the American dream. ~snip~
The American dream started coming off the rails with the election of Ronald Reagan who, as David Stockman noted in his book, The Triumph of Politics, was duped into giving away the store to the military industrial complex. Defense spending soared into the stratosphere, and the “deep state” — which is what writer Mike Lofgren calls the alliance between the defense industry, politicians and Wall Street — began playing a larger and larger role in government. 9/11 sealed the deal, as the national security establishment — what Stockman calls “the war party” — consolidated its power and influence, setting the stage for the global surveillance state.
The deep state has another aspect: It bleeds the American taxpayer, taking money to be “the world’s policeman” and enriching contractors, politicians, Wall Street and the arms industry, while the people get little in return (unless they happen to be working for those same companies.) All of the candidates for president are clients of the deep state and deeply beholden to it — except for Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.
Bernie has been an unsparing critic of the “deep state.” His angry exchange with Alan Greenspan on the floor of Congress left the former Fed Chairman with a bemused expression, as if he were considering an unsuitable visitor to a gated community.
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Sat Feb 13, 2016, 05:51 PM (1 replies)
The ‘Clinton Bubble’: How Clinton Democrats Fostered the 2008 Economic Crisis
Posted on Sep 16, 2010 * TruthDig.com
By Robert Scheer
Truthdig reposts an excerpt from Robert Scheer’s 2010 book “The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.” This is the story of the groundwork laid for the collapse of the U.S. economy—a catastrophe from which working blacks in particular still have not recovered.
~~~ * ~~~ * ~~~ * ~~~ * ~~~ * ~~~ * ~~~ * ~~~ * ~~~ * ~~~ *
The Great American Stickup
From Chapter 1
“It Was the Economy, Stupid”
Since the collapse happened on the watch of President George W. Bush at the end of two full terms in office, many in the Democratic Party were only too eager to blame his administration. Yet while Bush did nothing to remedy the problem, and his response was to simply reward the culprits, the roots of this disaster go back much further, to the free-market propaganda of the Reagan years and, most damagingly, to the bipartisan deregulation of the banking industry undertaken with the full support of “liberal” President Clinton. Yes, Clinton. And if this debacle needs a name, it should most properly be called “the Clinton bubble,” as difficult as it may be to accept for those of us who voted for him.
Clinton, being a smart person and an astute politician, did not use old ideological arguments to do away with New Deal restrictions on the banking system, which had been in place ever since the Great Depression threatened the survival of capitalism. His were the words of technocrats, arguing that modern technology, globalization, and the increased sophistication of traders meant the old concerns and restrictions were outdated. By “modernizing” the economy, so the promise went, we would free powerful creative energies and create new wealth for a broad spectrum of Americans—not to mention boosting the Democratic Party enormously, both politically and financially.
And it worked: Traditional banks freed by the dissolution of New Deal regulations became much more aggressive in investing deposits, snapping up financial services companies in a binge of acquisitions. These giant conglomerates then bet long on a broad and limitless expansion of the economy, making credit easy and driving up the stock and real estate markets to unseen heights. Increasingly complicated yet wildly profitable securities—especially so-called over-the-counter derivatives (OTC), which, as their name suggests, are financial instruments derived from other assets or products—proved irresistible to global investors, even though few really understood what they were buying. Those transactions in suspect derivatives were negotiated in markets that had been freed from the obligations of government regulation and would grow in the year 2009 to more than $600 trillion. ...
Beginning in the early ’90s, this innovative system for buying and selling debt grew from a boutique, almost experimental, Wall Street business model to something so large that, when it collapsed a little more than a decade later, it would cause a global recession. Along the way, only a few people possessed enough knowledge and integrity to point out that the growth and profits it was generating were, in fact, too good to be true.
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Sat Feb 13, 2016, 04:32 PM (12 replies)
You Can't Admire Both Henry Kissinger and Martin Luther King Jr
By nail bender * Saturday Feb 13, 2016 * Daily Kos
The crimes against humanity of Henry Kissinger are well known on this site and have been thoroughly cataloged in many places. He’s a despicable human being without a hint of a soul and his signature bit of inhumanity is his orchestrating of Nixon’s execution of the War in Vietnam. The fact that his crimes have never been prosecuted, despite the copious evidence that abounds (much of it from Kissinger’s own lips and pen) is one of the most serious indictments of American culture — and that’s saying something.
Hillary Clinton thinks Henry Kissinger is a great man. She has been explicit in her praise of his world view, and has amply and publicly admired of his skill as a statesman. In the Democratic Debate of two days ago, she basked in the warmth of his approval of her work at State.
It is perhaps a signature illustration of the cognitive disconnect required for “Third Way” politicians to straddle the divide they claim to bridge between the American Right and Left that Hillary Clinton claims to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr, even as she cherishes the friendship of Henry Kissinger.
This cannot be done with even a vague hint of integrity.
Martin Luther King Jr was a man of peace, a man who changed the world by non-violent means, and who not only stood in the breach against the forces of racism and oppression in American society, but also stood bravely against US hegemony and military violence in Vietnam. This latter stance was doubly brave because he did so opposing LBJ, the President who signed the Voting Rights Act and who was therefore an ally in the cause of civil rights; additionally, in 1967 when MLK decided to oppose the war publicly and forcefully, it was a move, by virtue of its relative unpopularity, that threatened to undermine the gains that had been made in the Civil Rights Movement up till then. The moral courage of his stand against that war cannot be overemphasized.
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Sat Feb 13, 2016, 02:50 PM (58 replies)
AN OPEN LETTER TO REP. JOHN LEWIS.
by Douglas Williams * Feb 12, 2016 * The South Lawn
Yesterday, you stated the following about Bernie Sanders’s record on fighting for civil rights in the 1960s:
“I never saw him. I never met him. I was chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee for three years, from 1963 to 1966. I was involved with the sit-ins, the Freedom Rides, the March on Washington, the march from Selma to Montgomery and directed (the) voter education project for six years. But I met Hillary Clinton. I met President (Bill) Clinton.”
We are going to ignore the fact that Hillary Clinton was a Goldwater Girl, or that you once stated to a Clinton biographer that, “he first time I ever heard of Bill Clinton was the 1970s”, or that it has already been well-established that Sanders worked with the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE) at the University of Chicago in the 1960s. We are also going to leave aside the fact that every mention of Bill Clinton in your book Walking With The Wind described an instance that he opposed some policy that you cherished.
Instead, we are going to talk about another person that you never saw or met.
Dorothy Marie Boone-Anderson was born in Gates County, North Carolina in 1935 as one of seven children. She left formal schooling in the eighth grade to go into the fields and work to support her family. Times were always hard for the Boones, and the lack of educational prospects for the family meant that times would always be hard. That was a legacy of a segregation that always kept Black families at the edge of the American Dream; close enough to be eternally tortured by a success that was constantly visible yet always elusive. In early 1953, Dorothy became pregnant by a man named Douglas Washington Williams. Her son, Luther, would be born on September 21, 1953.
It was the birth of my father that spurred my grandmother into organizing within the Civil Rights Movement, determined that her children would never have to live in a world where economic and political opportunities were denied to them because of their race. She organized alongside Haywood Riddick at the Nansemond County SNCC and organizations like the Wilroy Civic League, which acted as a locus for social and political activity in the neighborhood that they lived in. As I am sure you know, it made sense for them to focus on integrating the public school system. My father went to Wilroy School, an elementary school that was built with $900 from the Rosenwald Fund. This fund, set up by Sears and Roebuck executive Julius Rosenwald, was necessary to ensure that Black children received education in areas where the state refused to provide them. It stood as a testament to the disregard that the Commonwealth of Virginia showed to its most vulnerable populations.
Continued at link, here: https://thesouthlawn.org/2016/02/12/an-open-letter-to-rep-john-lewis/
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Sat Feb 13, 2016, 02:16 AM (17 replies)
Former Obama intel official: Hillary Clinton should drop out
By Nicole Gaouette * Feb. 12, 2016 * CNN
Washington (CNN)President Barack Obama's former top military intelligence official said Hillary Clinton should pull out of the presidential race while the FBI investigate her use of a private email server for official government communication while secretary of state.
Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the retired chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency, made the call in an interview with Jake Tapper on "The Lead."
"If it were me, I would have been out the door and probably in jail," said Flynn, who decried what he said was a "lack of accountability, frankly, in a person who should have been much more responsible in her actions as the secretary of state of the United States of America."
Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon later told Tapper the general's suggestion was "just silly" and pointed to similar FBI probes of former Secretary of State Colin Powell and of aides to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
"In both of those two cases, you now have the same agency looking at their emails, personal emails, and saying that there is information that in retrospect they think should be treated as classified," Fallon said. "The exact same situation playing out in the two previous secretaries before Secretary Clinton. So I think that tells you everything about the relative seriousness of this."
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Fri Feb 12, 2016, 08:54 PM (89 replies)
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Fri Feb 12, 2016, 08:14 PM (4 replies)
in Minneapolis ... happening TODAY, I think at 3:30pm Central Time .. but not sure I heard
that part correctly.
Here's a link to some guy covering it live on Youtube.
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Fri Feb 12, 2016, 06:04 PM (3 replies)