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Know your BFEE: Phil Gramm, the Meyer Lansky of the War Party, Set-Up the Biggest Bank Heist Ever.

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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-21-08 09:50 PM
Original message
Know your BFEE: Phil Gramm, the Meyer Lansky of the War Party, Set-Up the Biggest Bank Heist Ever.
The Sting

In the best rip-off, the mark never knows that he or she was set up for fleecing.
In the case of the great financial meltdown of 2008, the victim is the U.S. taxpayer.
Going by the lack of analysis in Corporate McPravda, We the People are in for a royal fleecing.

Dont just take my word about the current situation between giant criminality and the politically connected.

You see, there is evidence of conspiracy. An honest FBI agent warned us in 2004 about the coming financial meltdown and the powers-that-be stiffed him, too.

The storys below. And its not fiction. It is true to life.

The Set-Up

You dont have to be a fan of Paul Newman or Robert Redford to smell a BFEE rat. The oily critters name is Gramm. Phil Gramm. He helped Ronald Reagan push through his trickle-down fiscal policy and later helped de-regulate the nation's once-healthy Saving & Loan industry. We all know how well that worked out: Know your BFEE: They Looted Your Nations S&Ls for Power and Profit..

In 1999, then-super conservative Texas U.S. Senator Gramm helped pass the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act. This law allowed banks to act like investment houses. Using federally-guaranteed savings accounts, banks now could make risky commercial and real-estate loans.

The law shouldve been called the Gramm-Lansky Act. To those who gave a damn, it was obviously a potential disaster. During the bills debate, the specter of a taxpayer bail-out was raised by Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, warning about what had happened to the deregulated S&Ls.

Gramm wasnt alone on the deregulation bandwagon. The law passed, IIRC, like 89-9. More than a few of my own Democratic faves went along with this deregulation, get-government-off-the-back-of-business law.

Today we have their love child, MOABfor the Mother Of All Bailouts.

The Mark

In a sting, someone has to supply the money to be ripped off. Crooks call that person the mark or target or mope. In the present case, thats the U.S. taxpayer.

Todays financial crisis seems like a re-run of what happened to the Savings & Loans industry in the late 1980s. Well it is a lot like what happened to the S&Ls. Then, as now, its the U.S. taxpayer who gets to pick up the tab for someone elses party.

Dont worry, U.S. taxpayer. Youre getting something (among several things) for your $700 billion. Youre getting all the bad mortgage-based paper on almost all of Wall Street. Id rather have penny stocks, because if there ever was something of negative value its the complicated notes and derivatives based on this mortgage debt.

When it comes to Bush economic policy, left holding the bag are We the People, er, Mopes. Dont worry, it cant get worse. As St. Ronnie would say, Well. Yes. You see, what the bag U.S. taxpayers hold is less than empty. Its filled with bad debt.

The Mastermind

Chief economist amongst these merry band of thieves and traitors was one Phil Gramm (once a conservative Democrat and then an ultraconservative Republican-Taxus). An economist by training and reputation, Gramm was one of the guiding lights of Reaganomics, the cut taxes, domestic spending, and regulations while raising defense-spending to new heights. In sum, it was a fiscal policy to enrich friends especially the kind connected to the BFEE.

Foreclosure Phil

Years before Phil Gramm was a McCain campaign adviser and a lobbyist for a Swiss bank at the center of the housing credit crisis, he pulled a sly maneuver in the Senate that helped create today's subprime meltdown.

David Corn
May 28, 2008

Who's to blame for the biggest financial catastrophe of our time? There are plenty of culprits, but one candidate for lead perp is former Sen. Phil Gramm. Eight years ago, as part of a decades-long anti-regulatory crusade, Gramm pulled a sly legislative maneuver that greased the way to the multibillion-dollar subprime meltdown. Yet has Gramm been banished from the corridors of power? Reviled as the villain who bankrupted Middle America? Hardly. Now a well-paid executive at a Swiss bank, Gramm cochairs Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign and advises the Republican candidate on economic matters. He's been mentioned as a possible Treasury secretary should McCain win. That's right: A guy who helped screw up the global financial system could end up in charge of US economic policy. Talk about a market failure.

Gramm's long been a handmaiden to Big Finance. In the 1990s, as chairman of the Senate banking committee, he routinely turned down Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Arthur Levitt's requests for more money to police Wall Street; during this period, the sec's workload shot up 80 percent, but its staff grew only 20 percent. Gramm also opposed an sec rule that would have prohibited accounting firms from getting too close to the companies they auditedat one point, according to Levitt's memoir, he warned the sec chairman that if the commission adopted the rule, its funding would be cut. And in 1999, Gramm pushed through a historic banking deregulation bill that decimated Depression-era firewalls between commercial banks, investment banks, insurance companies, and securities firmssetting off a wave of merger mania.

But Gramm's most cunning coup on behalf of his friends in the financial services industryfriends who gave him millions over his 24-year congressional careercame on December 15, 2000. It was an especially tense time in Washington. Only two days earlier, the Supreme Court had issued its decision on Bush v. Gore. President Bill Clinton and the Republican-controlled Congress were locked in a budget showdown. It was the perfect moment for a wily senator to game the system. As Congress and the White House were hurriedly hammering out a $384-billion omnibus spending bill, Gramm slipped in a 262-page measure called the Commodity Futures Modernization Act. Written with the help of financial industry lobbyists and cosponsored by Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), the chairman of the agriculture committee, the measure had been considered deadeven by Gramm. Few lawmakers had either the opportunity or inclination to read the version of the bill Gramm inserted. "Nobody in either chamber had any knowledge of what was going on or what was in it," says a congressional aide familiar with the bill's history.

It's not exactly like Gramm hid his handiworkfar from it. The balding and bespectacled Texan strode onto the Senate floor to hail the act's inclusion into the must-pass budget package. But only an expert, or a lobbyist, could have followed what Gramm was saying. The act, he declared, would ensure that neither the sec nor the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (cftc) got into the business of regulating newfangled financial products called swapsand would thus "protect financial institutions from overregulation" and "position our financial services industries to be world leaders into the new century."

Subprime 1-2-3

Don't understand credit default swaps? Don't worryneither does Congress. Herewith, a step-by-step outline of the subprime risk betting game. Casey Miner


A fine mind for modern Bushonomics. Kill the middle class. Then, rob from the poor to give to the rich.

The Mentor

Anyone whos ever heard him talk knows that Gramm mustve learned all this stuff from somebody. He could never think it all up on his own. He had to have help. Thats where Meyer Lansky, the man who brought modern finance to the Mafia, comes in.

Money Laundering



Modern development

The act of "money laundering" was not invented during the Prohibition era in the United States, but many techniques were developed and refined then. Many methods were devised to disguise the origins of money generated by the sale of then-illegal alcoholic beverages. Following Al Capone's 1931 conviction for tax evasion, mobster Meyer Lansky transferred funds from Florida "carpet joints" (small casinos) to accounts overseas. After the 1934 Swiss Banking Act, which created the principle of bank secrecy, Meyer Lansky bought a Swiss bank to which he would transfer his illegal funds through a complex system of shell companies, holding companies, and offshore accounts.(1)

The term "money laundering" does not derive, as is often said, from Al Capone having used laundromats to hide ill-gotten gains. It was Meyer Lansky who perfected money laundering's older brother, "capital flight," transferring his funds to Switzerland and other offshore places. The first reference to the term "money laundering" itself actually appears during the Watergate scandal. US President Richard Nixon's "Committee to Re-elect the President" moved illegal campaign contributions to Mexico, then brought the money back through a company in Miami. It was Britain's Guardian newspaper that coined the term, referring to the process as "laundering."(3)


Money laundering is often described as occurring in three stages: placement, layering, and integration.(3)
    Placement: refers to the initial point of entry for funds derived from criminal activities.

    Layering: refers to the creation of complex networks of transactions which attempt to obscure the link between the initial entry point, and the end of the laundering cycle.

    Integration: refers to the return of funds to the legitimate economy for later extraction.
However, The Anti Money Laundering Network recommends the terms
    Hide: to reflect the fact that cash is often introduced to the economy via commercial concerns which may knowingly or not knowingly be part of the laundering scheme, and it is these which ultimately prove to be the interface between the criminal and the financial sector

    Move: clearly explains that the money launderer uses transfers, sales and purchase of assets, and changes the shape and size of the lump of money so as to obfuscate the trail between money and crime or money and criminal.

    Invest: the criminal spends the money: he/she may invest it in assets, or in his/her lifestyle.

The great journalist Lucy Komisar has shone a big light on the subject:

Offshore Banking

The U.S.A.s Secret Threat

Lucy Komisar
The Blacklisted Journalist
June 1, 2003


In 1932, mobster Meyer Lansky took money from New Orleans slot machines and shifted it to accounts overseas. The Swiss secrecy law two years later assured him of G-man-proof banking. Later, he bought a Swiss bank and for years deposited his Havana casino take in Miami accounts, then wired the funds to Switzerland via a network of shell and holding companies and offshore accounts, some of them in banks whose officials knew very well they were working for criminals. By the 1950s, Lansky was using the system for cash from the heroin trade.

Today, offshore is where most of the world's drug money is laundered, estimated at up to $500 billion a year, more than the total income of the world's poorest 20 percent. Add the proceeds of tax evasion and the figure skyrockets to $1 trillion. Another few hundred billion come from fraud and corruption.

Lansky laundered money so he could pay taxes and legitimate his spoils. About half the users of offshore have opposite goals. As hotel owner and tax cheat Leona Helmsley said---according to her former housekeeper during Helmsley's trial for tax evasion---"Only the little people pay taxes." Rich individuals and corporations avoid taxes through complex, accountant-aided schemes that routinely use offshore accounts and companies to hide income and manufacture deductions.

The impact is massive. The IRS estimates that taxpayers fail to pay in excess of $100 billion in taxes annually due on income from legal sources. The General Accounting Office says that American wage-earners report 97 percent of their wages, while self-employed persons report just 11 percent of theirs. Each year between 1989 and 1995, a majority of corporations, both foreign- and U.S.-controlled, paid no U.S. income tax. European governments are fighting the same problem. The situation is even worse in developing countries.

The issue surfaces in the press when an accounting scam is so outrageous that it strains credulity. Take the case of Stanley Works, which announced a "move" of its headquarters-on paper-from New Britain, Connecticut, to Bermuda and of its imaginary management to Barbados. Though its building and staff would actually stay put, manufacturing hammers and wrenches, Stanley Works would no longer pay taxes on profits from international trade. The Securities and Exchange Commission, run by Harvey Pitt---an attorney who for more than twenty years represented the top accounting and Wall Street firms he was regulating---accepted the pretense as legal.

"The whole business is a sham," fumed New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, who more than any other U.S. law enforcer has attacked the offshore system. "The headquarters will be in a country where that company is not permitted to do business. They're saying a company is managed in Barbados when there's one meeting there a year. In the prospectus, they say legally controlled and managed in Barbados. If they took out the word legally, it would be a fraud. But Barbadian law says it's legal, so it's legal." The conceit apparently also persuaded the Securities and Exchange Commission.


Socialize the risk for Wall Street. Privatize the loss to Uncle Sams nieces and nephews. Congratulations, Dear Reader! Now you know as much as Phil Gramm.

The Diversion

Still, a global financial meltdown sounds like something bad. Making things worse, were hearing that Uncle Sam is broke! Flat busted. Tapped out.

Thats odd, though. We the People see the Treasury being emptied with tax breaks for the wealthy and checks to the companies they own that make money off of war. Want to know how to make a buck these days? Invest in the likes of Halliburton and Northrup Grumman. Anything in the warmongering business connected to Bush and his cronies will weather the downturn or depression.

The Wall Street Journal -- a paper owned and operated by Fox News head, Rupert Murdoch was very quick to promote the crisis, as DUer JustPlainKathy observed. The paper was even faster to pounce on a solution: Whats needed is a safety net for banks. And quick as a wink, they found the answer!

Only the U.S. taxpayer has the wherewithal to prevent the collapse of the global financial system -- a global economic meltdown that would freeze up credit and investment and expansion and prosperity and a return to the Great Depression. Who can be against that?

Oh. Kay. Sounds about right Rupert the Alien agreeing with what Leona Helmsley said: Only the little people pay taxes.

Gramm and McCain also are in favor of privatization. How nice is that?

The Getaway

George Walker Bush and his right-wing pals feel they can get away with this, their latest rip-off the American taxpayers. Who can blame them? When compared to their clear record of incompetence, lies, fraud, theft, mass-murder, warmongering and treason, whats a few trillion dollar rip-off?

Still, it's weird how they act.
They must really think theyll be welcomed with open arms in Paraguay and Dubai and Switzerland.
Going by the welcome the world gave the Shah of Iran, theyre in for a big surprise.

The FBI Guy

Dont say we werent warned. An intrepid FBI agent with something sorely lacking in the rest of the Bush administration, integrity, blew the whistle on the bank thing

FBI saw threat of mortgage crisis

A top official warned of widening loan fraud in 2004, but the agency focused its resources elsewhere.

By Richard B. Schmitt
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

August 25, 2008

WASHINGTON Long before the mortgage crisis began rocking Main Street and Wall Street, a top FBI official made a chilling, if little-noticed, prediction: The booming mortgage business, fueled by low interest rates and soaring home values, was starting to attract shady operators and billions in losses were possible.

"It has the potential to be an epidemic," Chris Swecker, the FBI official in charge of criminal investigations, told reporters in September 2004. But, he added reassuringly, the FBI was on the case. "We think we can prevent a problem that could have as much impact as the S&L crisis," he said.

Today, the damage from the global mortgage meltdown has more than matched that of the savings-and-loan bailouts of the 1980s and early 1990s. By some estimates, it has made that costly debacle look like chump change. But it's also clear that the FBI failed to avert a problem it had accurately forecast.

Banks and brokerages have written down more than $300 billion of mortgage-backed securities and other risky investments in the last year or so as homeowner defaults leaped and weakness in the real estate market spread.


Most observers have declared the mess a gross failure of regulation. To be sure, in the run-up to the crisis, market-oriented federal regulators bragged about their hands-off treatment of banks and other savings institutions and their executives. But it wasn't just regulators who were looking the other way. The FBI and its parent agency, the Justice Department, are supposed to act as the cops on the beat for potentially illegal activities by bankers and others. But they were focused on national security and other priorities, and paid scant attention to white-collar crimes that may have contributed to the lending and securities debacle.

Now that the problems are out in the open, the government's response strikes some veteran regulators as too little, too late.

Swecker, who retired from the FBI in 2006, declined to comment for this article.

But sources familiar with the FBI budget process, who were not authorized to speak publicly about the growing fraud problem, say that he and other FBI criminal investigators sought additional assistance to take on the mortgage scoundrels.

They ended up with fewer resources, rather than more.


We were warned and nothing happened.
And nothing happened.

They must think We the People are really stupid. Are we supposed to believe that all that $700 billion in bad debt just happened? Where did all that money go? Who got all the money?

Meyer Lansky moved the Mafias money from the Cuban casinos to Switzerland. He did so by buying a bank in Miami. Phil Gramm seems to have done the same thing as vice-chairman of UBS, except the amounts are in the billions.

Who cares? Hes almost gone? Nope. That money still exists somewhere. I have a pretty good idea of where it might be. And George Bush and his cronies are poised to get away with a whole lot of loot.

Who Should Pay for the Bailout

If you are fortunate enough to be one, good luck American taxpayer! Youre in for a royal fleecing. Once the interest is figured into the bailout, were looking at a couple of trill.

The people who should pay for the bailout arent the American people. That distinction should go to the crooks who stole it -- friends of Gramm like John McCain and George Bush and the rest of the Raygunomix crowd of snake-oil salesmen. For them, the Bush administration -- and a good chunk of time since Ronald Reagan -- has not been a disaster. Its been a cash cow.

Cmon! Lets get these Bush bastards!

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ladjf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-21-08 09:55 PM
Response to Original message
1. Republicanism is a cult of ruthless, cruel, and greedy lawlessness.
They only use the law to facilitate their robbery. They are "pirates" that operate on the high seas
of commerce using their political control to fleece their victims. Someday maybe Republicanism will be outlawed as an illegal, subversive activity.
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Triana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-21-08 10:22 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. They used to call them and they still ARE: Robber Barons. n/t
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ladjf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-21-08 10:24 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. They are "Robber Barons" and beyond that.
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 09:03 AM
Response to Reply #1
23. GOP -- Greedy Oil Perverts
They weren't always that way. Time was when they actually put into action good programs. For instance: Abe Lincoln ended slavery, Teddy Roosevelt stood up to Big Money. Since then, though it's been a pretty steady rise of SOBs with authority to do great damage to our nation. Prescott Bush, for instance:

Sen. Prescott Bush helped sell President Dwight D. Eisenhower on the idea of creating the Interstate Highway System.

Brown Brothers and Company

From SourceWatch
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Brown Brothers Harriman, Union Banking Corporation, and Prescott Bush
Early in 1924, Hendrick J. Kouwenhoven, the managing director of Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart, traveled to New York to meet with George Herbert Walker and the Harriman brothers. Together, they established The Union Banking Corporation. The UBC's headquarters was located at the same 39 Broadway address as Harriman & Co.

As the German economy recovered through the mid to late '20s, Walker and Harriman's firm sold over $50,000,000 worth of German bonds to American investors, who profited enormously from the economic boom in Germany. In 1926, August Thyssen died at the age of 84. Fritz Thyssen was now in control of one of the largest industrial families in Europe. He quickly created the United Steel Works (USW), the biggest industrial conglomerate in German history. Thyssen hired Albert Volger, one of the Ruhr's most influential industrial directors, as director General of USW.

Thyssen also brought Fredich Flick, another German family juggernaut, on board. Flick owned coal and steel industries throughout Germany and Poland and desperately wanted to invest into the Thyssen empire. One of the primary motivations for the Thyssen/Flick massive steel and coal merger was suppressing the new labor and socialist movements.

Also in 1924 in New York, George Walker decided to give his new son in law, Prescott Sheldon Bush, a big break. Walker made Bush a vice president of Harriman & Co. Prescott's new office employed many of his classmates from his Yale class of 1917, including Roland Harriman and Knight Woolley. The three had been close friends at Yale and were all members of Skull & Bones, the mysterious on-campus secret society. Despite the upbeat fraternity atmosphere at Harriman & Co., it was also a place of hard work, and no one worked harder than Prescott Bush.

In fact, Walker hired Bush to help him supervise the new Thyssen/Flick United Steel Works. One section of the USW empire was the Consolidated Silesian Steel Corporation and the Upper Silesian Coal and Steel Company located in the Silesian section of Poland. Thyssen and Flick paid Bush and Walker generously, but it was worth every dime. Their new business arrangement pleased them all financially, and the collective talents of all four men and their rapid success astonished the business world.

The great depression also rocked Harriman & Co. The following year, Harriman & Co. merged with the London firm Brown/Shipley. Brown/Shipley kept its name, but Harriman & Co. changed its name to Brown Brothers Harriman. The new firm moved to 59 Wall St. while UBC stayed at 39 Broadway. Averell Harriman and Prescott Bush reestablished a holding company called The Harriman 15 Corporation. One of the companies Harriman had held stock in was the Consolidated Silesian Steel Company. Two thirds of the company was owned by Friedrich Flick. The rest was owned by Harriman.

According to New York Times reporter Charles Higham, Hitler and the Fraternity of American businessmen "not only sought a continuing alliance of interests for the duration of World War II, but supported the idea of a negotiated peace with Germany that would bar any reorganization of Europe along liberal lines. It would leave as its residue a police state that would place the Fraternity in postwar possession of financial, industrial, and political autonomy."


I remember a good Republican here in Michigan: William H. Milliken. The guy used his power to do good, making Michigan a leader in public education, jobs, etc. Thanks to Prescott's progeny, we may never see his type again.

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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-21-08 10:00 PM
Response to Original message
2. Who Should Pay for the Bailout
Edited on Sun Sep-21-08 10:31 PM by seemslikeadream
The real terrorists

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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 09:18 AM
Response to Reply #2
24. Sen. Bernie Sanders said the top 1-percent made $680 billion over the past 7 years.
Gee. And this bailout is to cost $700 billion. That "overhead" must really be something.

More from Bernie:

Vermont Delegation: Make The Rich Pay

Andy Potter - WCAX News
Burlington, Vermont - September 21, 2008

The financial crisis on Wall Street moves to the nation's capital this week, as Congress considers a record-setting bailout package for the financial industry. All of this has Vermont's congressional delegation pledging to make rich investors, not working Vermonters, pay for it.

The Bush administration this weekend asked Congress for the authority for the government to purchase $700 billion worth of bad debt to alleviate the threat of a financial meltdown. But Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) says he'll oppose the deal unless the burden of paying for it is placed on wealthy investors who profited from the system.

"When the wealthiest people have made huge sums of money in the last eight years, they have got to contribute their fair share to the bailout," he told Channel 3. "I don't want it being on the middle class, when they already have seen a decline in their standard of living."

Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt) also worries about an additional impact on the middle class.

He said, "The question for me, the fundamental question, is what do we have to do to protect the 401Ks, the IRAs, the college accounts and the money market deposits of average Vermonters and average Americans. That's the first and foremost question for me. What do we have to do to protect middle class investors, folks who had no culpability in creating this mess."

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt), who stayed in Washington over the weekend, issued a statement that read, "I would like to see progress toward a balanced bill that also helps overburdened middle class families. It should not include get-out-of-jail-free cards for those whose greed caused this mess."


I'm going from memory, but Bernie wants those who made money off the scams to pay -- those people in your post, 'Dreamy, especially them.
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Just-plain-Kathy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-21-08 10:17 PM
Response to Original message
3. Octafish, thank you for putting this together.
We were taken. Bush Sr talked about a "New World Order", who knew he wasn't intending for us to lead it. ...We were sold-out.
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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-21-08 10:19 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. listen to this
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Just-plain-Kathy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-21-08 10:50 PM
Response to Reply #4
10. I'm listening to it as I write. Amazing. Thank you. n/t
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 09:45 AM
Response to Reply #3
25. Thank you for the inspiration, Just-plain-Kathy!
Your post in which you postulated a phony crisis pushed by Rupert Murdoch got me thinking about the real reasons behind the crisis.

This could be why AIG got a FED bailout when Lehman Brothers didnt.

More on Rupert's WSJ's, eh, coverage:

Wall Street In Crisis

PS: I am very sorry I misspelled your DU moniker in this thread's OP, my Friend! Thank you very much for seeing the Big Picture.
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Just-plain-Kathy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 11:52 AM
Response to Reply #25
32. I know Bush, with the help of our corporate owned and controlled media...
...are taking us for everything we got, and then some.

I tell everyone I know that Bush's wars being about oil, is just the half of it, or should I say one-third.

I explain how the Bush White House makes their money through INVESTMENT BANKING (pharmaceuticals being a part of that), defense contracts, and then oil.

People are shocked when they hear Prescott Bush financed Hitler, and how he wanted to help over-throw FDR.

Seeing Bill Clinton on the View this morning, and seeing how he supported McCain equally as much as he supported Obama, cemented my feelings that he, along with some of our democrat leaders are all in it together.

They're all greedy SOBs. I can't wait until the View's interview with Clinton goes up on Youtube. I hope I'm wrong, but I could swear I heard him say, he was going around the world 'selling medicine'.

This fits in with Bush helping Africa, I started a thread talking about how Bush helped Africa...."Bush helped Africa", yeah right.

Keep up the good fight.
Peace. :)
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Richard Steele Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-21-08 10:24 PM
Response to Original message
6. Octafish, yer a frickin National Treasure, y'know? K&R
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 09:57 AM
Response to Reply #6
26. Financial terrorism: US taxpayers bail out Wall Street criminals
From Jerry Mazza at Online Journal:

Financial terrorism: US taxpayers bail out Wall Street criminals

By Jerry Mazza
Online Journal Associate Editor
Sep 22, 2008, 00:21

In the weeks surrounding the anniversary of 9/11, the most terrifying attack on Americas soil, another attack on Americas citizenry is taking place: the systematic looting of the US Treasury to bail out American financial institutions.

After degrading the stock and stealing the floundering Bear Sterns, then handing the institution and its physical building to JP Morgan, the FED and US Treasury, the financial fronts of the US government, decided to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. While allowing Lehman Brothers to drown on its own, and Merrill Lynch to scuttle under the wing of the Bank of America, curiously the F & T (Fed and Treasury) saw fit to answer AIGs call for a $30 billion bridge loan with an $85 billion bailout. This all happened while Morgan Stanley is pow-wowing with Wachovia to merge.

At the root of all this financial disaster, we are told, is bad debt paper, unsecured loans, bad mortgages, irresponsible handing out of monies to unfit borrowers by mortgage companies, banks, and others who should have known better but for their greed, their criminality, and the lack of effective overriding controls. But then lenders made their commissions, their profits, had a heyday with the housing bubble until it burst around them and nobody handed back a buck as the crappy debt paper hit the fan and began to infect the world.

It turns out the banks had no problem passing the debt paper upwards to be collateralized by investment banks into securities, preferred stocks and bonds. And the central banks had no problem sucking it up. The entire financial system took part in this orgy, knowing full well that without protection it could catch the financial AIDS virus that could spell death to our financial system. But they succumbed to their cash-lust against all their well-credentialed wisdom.

Now the Fed is throwing still more money into securing money market funds, whose buck was busted yesterday, yielding 97 cents on the dollar. So your money is safe nowhere, that is without some pig somewhere getting a piece of it; that is whoever is behind this incredible manipulation. Of course, in an election year it behooves the masters of debt, the Bush administration to rush in and now borrow from the US taxpayers, from our Treasury, to bail out these sorry corporate flops. But then borrowing comes natural to Bush & Company.

As Paul Craig Roberts pointed out in his Online Journal article, US economy: rudderless and reeling from direct hits, Most Americans, including the presidential candidates and the media, are unaware that the US government today, now at this minute, is unable to finance its day-to-day operations and must rely on foreigners to purchase its bonds. The government pays interest to foreigners by selling more bonds, and when the bonds come due, the government redeems the bonds by selling new bonds. The day the foreigners do not buy is the day the American people and their government are brought to reality. This is not the position of a superpower.

Roberts is the former assistant secretary of the Treasury during President Reagans first term; the former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal; and author of numerous books on economics, American government and Washingtons perverse insider mentality.


Hey, dicksteele! The same goes back at ya'! Thanks also for giving a damn, my Friend!
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DemReadingDU Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-21-08 10:24 PM
Response to Original message
8. Thank you, bookmarking
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 11:05 AM
Response to Reply #8
28. What's Really Bankrupt -- The Wall Street Model: Unintelligent Design
Here's a bit of reality from Pam Martens:

What's Really Bankrupt

The Wall Street Model: Unintelligent Design

Weekend Edition
September 20 / 21, 2008

Wall Street is collapsing not because of bad mortgage debt or lack of capital or over-leverage. Those are merely symptoms. Wall Street is collapsing because it deserves to collapse; it needs to collapse in order for America to survive. The economist Joseph Schumpeter called it creative destruction, a system where outdated models collapse to make room for new innovation.

Wall Street of the past decade never really had a business model as much as it had a business creed: greed is good; leveraged greed is even better.

The fact that Wall Street is collapsing is a given. How it survived as long as it did under its corrupted model is the question that will be debated in history books for the next generation.

For example, imagine a business model that bases remuneration to brokers on how much money they make for their Wall Street employer and not one dime for how well their customers portfolios perform. A Wall Street broker receives remuneration that rises from approximately 30 to 50 per cent of the gross commission based on their cumulative trading commissions with zero regard to how well the clients accounts have done. There is no acknowledged internal mechanism in any of the major Wall Street firms to gauge the overall success of the accounts the broker is managing.

The industry has been irreconcilably incentivized to corruption just as brokers have been socialized to silence. The reason we are seeing a stampede this week into U.S. Treasury securities is that much of this money belonged there in the first place, not in esoteric mortgage backed securities, junk bonds, commodity funds or annuities backed by AIG. Brokers put their clients safe money in these unsuitable investments because their Wall Street employer dangled a seductive financial inducement. A broker receives less than $1,000 in gross commissions (gross meaning before their firm takes their 50 to 70 per cent cut) on $100,000 of longer dated Treasuries. Putting that same $100,000 in a junk bond or mortgage-backed security or annuity could generate $3,000 or more. In other words, the financial incentive has created an artificial demand. And, as must inevitably happen, the true state of that demand is just now catching up with the true glut of supply.


There is no sincere plan by this administration to help America or Americans. There is only a plan to slow the financial collapse until after the November elections by throwing a politically palatable amount of money at it and a plan to continue to blame it on a housing bust.


Most importantly: You're welcome, DemReadingDU! I very much appreciate what you do, my Friend!

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DemReadingDU Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 11:29 AM
Response to Reply #28
31. I like Pam Martens, thanks for the link

I just like to read, and I thank you for putting together all this info to share with us! I have been so enlightened about the BFEE from all your threads!
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bluesmail Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-21-08 10:36 PM
Response to Original message
9. K&R for the important information and the time it took to post
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 11:19 AM
Response to Reply #9
30. Bush Urges Quick Passage of Bailout Package
The grifter wants the mark to act fast.

Bush Urges Quick Passage of Bailout Package

By Lori Montgomery, David Cho and Howard Schneider
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, September 22, 2008; 10:38 AM

President Bush this morning warned lawmakers against trying to make too many changes to the proposed financial bailout legislation, saying the plan needs to be passed quickly and relatively intact to stem damage to global financial markets.

Weekend negotiations "made good headway" in crafting a bill to bolster a system weighed down by problem home mortgages, Bush said. But with proposals circulating to include provisions for homeowners in the bill or to use it to limit executive compensation, Bush cautioned that too many added provisions could impede approval of critically needed legislation.

"Obviously, there will be differences over some details, and we will have to work through them," Bush said, but "the whole world is watching to see if we can act quickly to shore up our markets and prevent damage to our capital markets, businesses, our housing sector, and retirement accounts.

"Failure to act would have broad consequences far beyond Wall Street. It would threaten small business owners and homeowners on Main Street."


Sources familiar with Treasury's thinking said that the department is also continuing to monitor troubled financial firms and may have to intervene in the markets again this week, before Congress acts on the bailout, to address specific flash points.


As Samuel Johnson said, and many people have noted in regards to me: "No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money." Thank you, bluesmail. I do this for free and for our freedom.
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hootinholler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-21-08 11:22 PM
Response to Original message
11. Another lovely line of lilly pads to leap from and to.
You line them up so nicely.

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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 09:25 PM
Response to Reply #11
44. Fleecing Whats Left of the Treasury
It is way past time for the Army to arrest these traitors.

Fleecing Whats Left of the Treasury

by Chris Hedges
Published on Monday, September 22, 2008 by

The lobbyists and corporate lawyers, the heads of financial firms and the crooks who control Wall Street, all those who spent the last three decades assuring us that government was part of the problem and should get out of the way, are now busy looting the U.S. treasury. They are also working feverishly inside the Democratic and Republican parties to blunt any effective regulatory reform as they pass on their distressed assets to us. The process is stunning in its hubris and mendacity, and two of the most potent enablers of this unprecedented act of corporate welfare are John McCain and Barack Obama.

The federal government, reeling backward from the meltdown of financial markets, is now considering taking responsibility for the bad assets of numerous financial companies. But if that intervention does not include robust new mechanisms of regulation, accountability and control we will see nothing more than a massive taxpayer-funded bailout of stockholders and the financial industry.

The rhetoric of the two presidential candidates about the crisis has been filled with pious outrage about the abuses of Wall Street and short on actual solutions. John McCain and Barack Obama know, after all, who funds their campaigns. The financial industry has given $22.5 million in the current election cycle to Obama and $19.6 million to McCain, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. And the financial industry has come around to collect. Two of the biggest financial groups in Washington, the Financial Services Roundtable and the Mortgage Bankers Association, have been holding meetings with McCain and Obama's economic advisers. They are working with the campaigns to protect the unregulated power of financial industries and at the same time to shift bad debt to taxpayers. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Financial Services Roundtable, made up of the very banks and firms that got us into this mess, has developed draft legislation. The Roundtable has called a meeting this week with the chief executives of more than 50 banks, brokerages and insurers. The three-day meeting includes private, closed-door sessions on Thursday with Obama economic adviser Ian Soloman and McCain adviser Ike Brannon. Those hovering around Obama-economists like Paul Volcker, Robert Rubin, Lawrence Summers and Laura Tyson-bear as much responsibility for the dismantling of government regulation as those advising McCain.

If the financial-services industry is able to suck us dry, our assets, from our homes to our retirement investments, will continue to tumble. Taxes will go up. Jobs will be lost. The grim economic indicators will get worse. The dollar, which has already lost about a third of its value against the euro, will continue to plummet. The rate of foreclosures, one in every 416 U.S. households in August, will skyrocket. Consumer spending, the engine of the U.S. economy, will continue to decline. Industrial production, which has fallen for three consecutive quarters, will fall further. Unemployment, which shot up to 6.1 percent in August from 5.7 percent in July, will get worse. These tremors presage an earthquake.

Ralph Nader, who has spent his adult life battling corporations, understands more about the rise of the corporate state and the steady fleecing of American citizens by corporations than anyone else in the country. The core of his message is that Republicans and Democrats are hostage to corporate power.

Nader warned in a letter to Congress on July 23 that the federal government's bank insurance fund may be insufficient to handle the developing crisis in the banking industry. The letter was, at the time, greeted with indifference and ridicule. Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., at a congressional hearing, mentioned the letter and assured those present that "Our banks are well capitalized, our deposit insurance fund is sound. There's absolutely no factual basis for saying that there's not money there to pay."


It is my hope that one day we will share many a toast and story. I pray that day is soon, Hoot.
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hootinholler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 10:31 PM
Response to Reply #44
47. This will be a step in the right direction!

A powerful speech, gave me pause.

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bobthedrummer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-21-08 11:33 PM
Response to Original message
12. K&R + "What is Jeb Bush's role in the Lehman Brothers meltdown?" by Larissa Alexandrovna (9-16-2008)
Edited on Mon Sep-22-08 12:17 AM by bobthedrummer
from at-Largely

on edit:

"Heir to the Holocaust: How the Bush Family Fortune Is Linked to the NAZIS" (another keeper you started 5-16-2008)

"It's time for an updated BFEE/NAZI thread" (one of mine started 2-9-2008)

Sir, I think these TRAITORS are ready to cash in some of those NAZI gold bars that EDWIN PAULEY stashed away for a rainy day when he was leader of the American Delegation to the Allied Reparations Commission. Maybe it's buried under the rollercoaster on Coconut Island.

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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 09:42 PM
Response to Reply #12
45. Jeb Bush: Lehman's Secret Weapon
My Brother, I feel sorry for this family, in a way. Still, the kids have the ability to make choices.
Where their loyalty lies is obvious. Where their conscience resides is unknown.

Jeb Bush: Lehman's Secret Weapon

August 27, 2007, 5:14 pm
Posted by Dana Cimilluca

In the arms race by private-equity firms to line up ever-higher profile advisers, Lehman Brothers may have just taken the lead.

Jeb Bush According to a small handful of reports Friday, including this one in Investment Dealers Digest and another in Private Equity Hub, the investment bank has hired former Florida Governor and presidential son and brother Jeb Bush for its in-house investing arm.

No sign of an announcement from Lehman on the hire.

Private-equity firms hire politicos and former corporate honchos all the time to help them open doors to deals, as well as to manage government relations and the companies in their portfolios. Carlye Group chief David Rubenstein, in fact, discussed the increasing value of such moves in this Q&A published in The Wall Street Journal today.

No family these days has better door-opening skills in Washington or corporate America than the Bushes. The family of the 41st and 43rd presidents is no stranger to Wall Street either. Jebs father, George H.W., used to serve as an adviser to Carlyle, and his grandfather was a partner at Wall Street firm Brown Brothers Harriman.

It is the second corporate gig for the former Florida governor, who stepped down after two terms in January. He already has joined the board of Tenet Healthcare.

SOURCE with lots o' links:

What these Bushes have done to the United States of American constitutes treason. And Jebthro was global when in his 20s.
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Ghost in the Machine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 12:18 AM
Response to Original message
13. Well done, Octafish! Always a pleasure learning my BFEE from your threads
I feel like I should be *paying* for some of the education I get here. Proud to kick & recommend this post...


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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 11:01 PM
Response to Reply #13
48. CARLYLE GROUP Founder on Cheap Debt, Credit Crunch and the New Buyout Landscape
Thank you for the kind words, Ghost in the Machine! Really like the image of Bush.

The Masters of the Universe types on Wall Street, I am told, enjoyed playing "Liar's Poker" where they bet on hands based on the serial numbers of dollar bills.
The turds started out playing for $1,000, then $10,000, from which it headed to $500,000 per hand.

Bartcop is where I learned the phrase, Bush Family Evil Empire.

Chester Gould is where I learned the Know your Crimestoppers system:

A public education is everyone's right in a democracy.

'How Could Buyers Resist Taking Those Terms?'

Carlyle Founder on Cheap Debt, Credit Crunch and the New Buyout Landscape

Wall Street Journal
Aug. 25, 2007

The buyout boom that saw a handful of investment firms snap up ever larger public companies seems to be fizzling as the debt market used to fuel these takeovers seizes up.

Carlyle Group's David Rubenstein says private equity is no longer too 'private.'

David Rubenstein, who co-founded Carlyle Group in 1987, has seen his share of deal cycles. With deals harder to finance, private-equity firms will have to live with their companies for longer now. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Rubenstein struck an optimistic tone despite the challenges facing the industry.

WSJ: How serious a setback for private equity is the turmoil in the debt markets?

Mr. Rubenstein: Cheap debt fooled people. Because financing was so cheap relatively in the past few years, many people think all we do is buy companies with cheap debt, wait a short while and then sell them. But most private-equity firms are about hard work, not just financial engineering.

In the near future, we won't see buyout deals of the size we saw 60 days ago due to the debt-market uncertainty. And available debt will be more expensive. The sellers will have to adjust to lower prices. This is not a calamity. What we have now is just a temporary imbalance of credit. When the debt market returns to equilibrium, a lot of companies will be available and there will be clear bargains. Private-equity firms will continue to buy companies with a bit more expensive debt but also a bit more pricing discipline.

WSJ: But isn't it true that in recent years, financial engineering was a big part of what drove deals? Your partner Bill Conway himself described cheap debt as the "rocket fuel" of this cycle.

Mr. Rubenstein: We got labeled with the financial engineering label because in the early days, the deals were done with only 5% to 7% equity and the companies were highly levered. Today, the average equity is between 32% and 35%. Deals aren't as heavily engineered or have as levered structures.

WSJ: How dramatic is the change in the debt market today?

Mr. Rubenstein: The banks found that providing financing to private-equity firms was very attractive and profitable, so the banks made it easier and easier to accept their financing. They offered us relatively low interest loans. They later said they didn't need "mac" clauses (which give the banks an out if circumstances change). Then they offered us covenant-lite loans and pik toggles (which give borrowers much more flexibility). And then they offered to bridge some of our equity. How could buyers resist taking those terms, knowing the result would be better returns for their investors.

And because of this favorable financing, we could pay a bit more for companies. For the last five years, there was almost no penalty for overpaying by 5-10%, for we were emboldened by these attractive loan features. Now these things are probably a relic of the past, or at least for the next few years. We won't see many covenant-lite or pik toggles. That will no doubt mean more discipline in assessing deals. But private equity can do quite well in this changed environment, as it has in previous times of retrenchment. Prices will return to more normal levels. And that will be quite helpful to the industry.


As you know, my Friend Ghost in the Machine, the Carlyle Group specialized in defense industry type companies. Its principals include John Major, Frank Carlucci, James Baker III, George Herbert Walker Bush, and the bin Laden family.

And if the U.S. taxpayers are supposed to come up with 700 billion for Wall Street, you'd think something would be available for it and us.
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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 12:22 AM
Response to Original message
14. You Rock,...... Great Post!
thank you, you are awesome!
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 03:26 PM
Response to Reply #14
54. Americas Own Kleptocracy
Here's a bit of analysis for the pyre:

The Market and the Terminator Machines

Americas Own Kleptocracy

Weekend Edition
September 20 / 21, 2008

Nobody expected industrial capitalism to end up like this. Nobody even saw it evolving in this direction. Im afraid this failing is not unusual among futurists: The natural tendency is to think about how economies can best grow and evolve, not how it can be untracked. But an unforeseen road always seems to appear, and there goes society goes off on a tangent.

What a two weeks! On Sunday, September 7, the Treasury took on the $5.3 trillion mortgage exposure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, whose heads already had been removed for accounting fraud. On Monday, September 15, Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, when prospective Wall Street buyers couldnt gain any sense of reality from its financial books. On Wednesday the Federal Reserve agreed to make good for at least $85 billion in the just-pretend insured winnings owed to financial gamblers who bet on computer-driven trades in junk mortgages and bought counter-party coverage from the A.I.G. (the American International Group, whose head Maurice Greenberg already had been removed a few years back for accounting fraud). But it is Friday, September 19, that will go down as a turning point in American history. The White House committed at least half a trillion dollars more to re-inflate real estate prices in an attempt to support the market value junk mortgages mortgages issued far beyond the ability of debtors to pay and far above the going market price of the collateral being pledged.

These billions of dollars were devoted to keeping a dream alive the accounting fictions written down by companies that had entered an unreal world based on false accounting that nearly everyone in the financial sector knew to be fake. But they played along with buying and selling packaged mortgage junk because that was where the money was. Even after markets collapse, fund managers who steered clear were blamed for not playing the game while it was going. I have friends on Wall Street who were fired for not matching the returns that their compatriots were making. And the biggest returns were to be made in trading in the economys largest financial asset mortgage debt. The mortgages packaged, owned or guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie alone exceeded the entire U.S. national debt the cumulative deficits run up by the American Government since the nation won the Revolutionary War!

This gives an idea of just how large the bailout has been and where the governments (or at least the Republicans) priorities lie! Instead of waking up the economy to reality, the government has thrown all its resources to promote the unreal dream that debts can be paid if not by the debtors themselves, then by the government taxpayers, as the euphemism goes.

Overnight, the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve have radically changed the character of American capitalism. It is nothing less than a coup dtat for the class that FDR called banksters. What has happened in the past two weeks threatens to change the coming century irreversibly, if they can get away with it. This is the largest and most inequitable transfer of wealth since the land giveaways to the railroad barons during the Civil War era.

Even so, there seems little sign that it even may end the free-market patter talk by financial insiders who have managed to avert public oversight by appointing non-regulators to the major regulatory agencies and thus created the mess that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson now says threatens the bank deposits and jobs of all Americans. What he really means, of course, are simply the largest Republican campaign contributors (and to be fair, also the largest contributors to Democratic candidates on key financial committees).

A kleptocratic class has taken over the economy to replace industrial capitalism. Franklin Roosevelts term banksters says it all in a nutshell. The economy has been captured by an alien power, but not the usual suspects. Not socialism, workers or big government, nor by industrial monopolists or even by the great banking families. Certainly not by Freemasons and Illuminati. (It would be wonderful if there were indeed some group operating with centuries of wisdom behind them, so at least someone had a plan.) Rather, the banksters have made a compact with an alien power not Communists, Russians, Asians or Arabs. Not humans at all. The groups cadre is a new breed of machine. It may sound like the Terminator movies, but computerized Machines have indeed taken over the world at least, the White Houses world.

Here is how they did it. A.I.G. wrote insurance policies of all sorts of that people and businesses need: home and property insurance, livestock insurance, even aircraft leasing. These highly profitable businesses were not the problem. (They therefore will probably be sold off to pay the companys bad gambles.) A.I.G.s downfall came from the $450 billion almost half a trillion dollars it was on the hook for as a result of guaranteeing hedge-fund counterparty insurance. In other words, if two parties played the zero-sum game of betting against each other as to whether the dollar would rise or fall against sterling or the euro, or if they insured a mortgage portfolio of junk mortgages to make sure that they would get paid, they would pay a teeny tiny commission to A.I.G. for a policy promising to pay if, say, the $11 trillion U.S. mortgage market should stumble or if losers placing trillions of dollars in bets on foreign exchange derivatives, stock or bond derivatives should somehow find themselves in a position that so many Las Vegas patrons are in, and be unable to come up with the cash to cover their losses.

A.I.G. collected billions of dollars on such policies. And thanks to the fact that insurance companies are a Milton Friedman paradise not regulated by the Federal Reserve or any other nation-wide agency, and hence able to get the proverbial free lunch without government oversight writing such policies was done by computer printouts, and the company collected massive fees and commissions without putting in much capital of its own. This is what is called self-regulation. It is how the Invisible Hand is supposed to work.

You are welcome, my Friend! And thank you! Same goes for you, G_j!
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Mr_Jefferson_24 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 12:29 AM
Response to Original message
15. K&R. Thanks, Octafish.
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 03:29 PM
Response to Reply #15
55. Putting lipstick on an AIG
Here's an interesting part of the puzzle, the role of Capitalism's Invisible Army in the world of, er, finance:

Putting lipstick on an AIG

By Lila Rajiva
Online Journal Guest Writer
Sep 22, 2008, 00:19

Hockey moms arent the only ones wearing Maybelline. Pigs come in cherry gloss too.

Like the porkers at Wall Street lining up with their lips in a pucker behind Washingtons plush behind. Having pigged out at the public trough for years, they now want their sticky little trotters washed down in the righteous waters of the Potomac.


In other words Fannie was a pig, even with the lipstick.

Of course, Goldmans not the only one on Wall Street with a wicked hand for make-up artistry. The ratings agencies havent been too bad themselves, with all that triple A gloss they plastered on gangrenous sub-prime debt. What was that about? A little make- over for the corpse before the public viewing?

Truth be told. Goldman got good at putting lipstick on porkers long before they dabbed it on Fannie and Freddie. They were doing it in 1999 in ole Hanks CEO days. Goldman helped Enrons smart guys conduct massive energy futures trading and its leverage, like Enrons, ballooned. .

Then, in 1993 Goldman invented a special accounting scheme to perk up Enrons books - Monthly income preferred shares (or MIPS) they called it. MIPS let Enron sell fifty-year securities through specially created off-shore companies. To the IRS, Enron described the preferred stock as debt and claimed tax deductions on the interest payments. To shareholders, Enron called the same stock equity and counted it in the companys capital value. Goldman took home massive underwriting fees from the scheme

In one year, Goldman had helped 17 companies besides Enron sell 2.7 billion MIPS. There was an offering every week, each dodging IRS rules with more and more finesse. Average commission and interest rates on MIPS ran much higher than on normal debt - between 1 and 1.2%. Goldman made tens of millions.

When the IRS, Treasury and the SEC decided to plug the loophole that was costing them hundreds of millions of dollars a year, Goldman and Merrill Lynch, along with the industry trade group, the Bond Market Association, began big time lobbying. Then

Goldman CEO Jon Corzine (later a US senator and NY Jersey governor) made sure the legislation got nipped in the bud and Goldmans little accounting number actually ended up a chart-busting hit on the financial circuit.

So when Hank Paulson rushes to put together a bail-out for Merrill Lynch but brushes Lehman aside, hes just remembering who he used to jam with in the old days. (Of course, buying up Merrill shares trading at $17 for $29 might not be most peoples idea of a bail-out. But thats another story).


You are welcome, Mr_Jefferson_24! Thank you for giving a damn!
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Swamp Rat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 12:44 AM
Response to Original message
16. k&r


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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 07:49 PM
Response to Reply #16
58. Guerrilla Warfare and the Budget: Senator Phil Gramm
Here's a real golden oldie, Gramm-Rudman -- the built-in excuse for denying social spending:

Guerrilla Warfare and the Budget: Senator Phil Gramm

The New York Times
February 27, 1987

Senator Phil Gramm is a legislator with a stomach for one-man battles.


Less Inclined to Do Battle

The other principal sponsors of the budget-balincing law, Senator Warren B. Rudman, Republican of New Hampshire, and Senator Ernest F. Hollings, Democrat of South Carolina, are less inclined to do battle than is Mr. Gramm.

''Phil is going to stonewall it up to the end,'' Senator Rudman said. ''He thinks that works. I don't play it that way because I'm not sure it will work.''

Mr. Rudman said he was willing to discuss changing the law's deficit target but not until Congress had done all it could to reach the $108 billion target.

Senator Hollings wants to keep the target at $108 billion. But he acknowledges he is worried, especially about the potentially adverse impact of Mr. Gramm's tactics. ''He loves guerrilla warfare and he loves to lose,'' Mr. Hollings said. ''He's my heaviest burden.'' In 1981, when Mr. Gramm was a Democrat serving in the House of Representatives, he was ostracized by his party after he joined the White House and Republicans to push through President Reagan's major budget cuts of that year.

In 1985, after switching to the Republican Party and the Senate, he promoted the idea of the budget-balancing law but initially was paid little attention. Then he caught the leadership of both the Republican-controlled Senate and the Democratic-controlled House off guard when the idea suddenly caught fire politically.


Compay! Bueno verte! Como 'andan Todos?
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democracy1st Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 12:53 AM
Response to Original message
17. K & R great presentation Octafish
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 08:03 PM
Response to Reply #17
59. Two great crashes, one surviving United Slaves of America
A bit more on what we're up against:

Two great crashes, one surviving United Slaves of America

By Ben Tanosborn
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Sep 23, 2008, 00:12

First, it was the foreign policy crash of 2001. Yes, that much-milked by Bush 9/11 which instead of serving as wake up call to review and remedy Americas deplorable policies towards the peoples of the Middle East, only provided the Bush administration with a presumed casus belli as well as a raison-dtre for both the neocon empire-building and the economic sacking of the nation by an unscrupulous elite. Now, we all know the cost and results of replacing a call to reason with a call to arms.


Give me Capitalism, or give me Death! That seems to be the droning chant in America; one that long ago replaced what Patrick Henry is attributed to have said, as libertys great luster quickly dulled and became money-matte as greed and gluttony are allowed to roam free, without appropriate restraints. And sure enough, as our capitalism has become more expropriatory, greedy, cruel and predatory, we have been brainwashed to feel we have no choice but to learn to live with it. Its our country, our way of life . . . and Gods will being done here on earth. Americans have rationalized the suppression of two capital sins, insisting that the number ought to be five, not seven. After all, isnt greed really the basis for capitalism, and consumerism (gluttony) the way we measure well-being and success in todays society?

Quickly, very quickly, its becoming vividly clear that our much-touted American Dream is metamorphosing into an economic nightmare, one taking place right before our eyes. Another gilded epoch in America is quickly coming to an end; this time, however, its exit appears to be of the farewell-forever kind, as our nation no longer looms so vast and overpowering, economically, before the rest of the world.


If Japans economic crisis of 1989-1992, one with repercussions lingering to date, is a close model to the economic fiasco now in the US, we can expect the Dow 500 going down to the 6,500 level within a year or so, and remain there for the next decade. As for real estate folks, their flipping will not be of houses, but hamburgers.

God help us all! We have had two crashes within one decade: in foreign policy and in the economy. We, small-case demos, have become the United Slaves of America!

Thank you, democracy1st! I like your moniker, my Friend!
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AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 02:50 AM
Response to Original message
18. K&R, I don't really believe that aliens inhabit the Earth...

but if there ever was a reptillian-brained, scum-sucking, anal probing, 1,000 year-old, metamorphing enemy of humanity it would have to be Phil Gramm.
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 11:19 PM
Response to Reply #18
70. Lets Stop the Greatest Theft in the History of Humankind
They come from the Planet Enron. Their mission: Plunder the Earth. Their maggot: Phil Gramm

So, what do we do, fellow Earthlings? Well, get informed, for starters.

Lets Stop the Greatest Theft in the History of Humankind

By Otto Spengler, Asia Times
Posted on September 23, 2008, Printed on September 23, 2008


Why are the voices raised in protest so shrill and few? Why will Americans fall on their fountain-pens for their bankers? If America is to adopt socialism, why not have socialism for the poor, rather than for the rich? Why should American households that earn $50,000 a year subsidize Goldman Sachs partners who earn $5 million a year?


Americans are so deep in the hole that they might as well keep putting borrowed quarters into the one-armed bandit. They have hardly saved anything for the past 10 years. Instead, they counted on capital gains to replace the retirement savings they never put aside, first in tech stocks, then in houses. That hasn't worked out. The S&P 500 Index of American equities today is worth what it was in 1997, after adjusting for inflation (and a pensioner who sells stock purchased in 1997 will pay a 20% capital gains tax on an illusory inflationary gain of 40%). Home prices doubled between 1997 and 2007 before falling by more than 20%, with no floor in sight.

As it is, many of the baby boomers now on the verge of retirement will spend their declining years working at Wal-Mart or McDonalds rather than cruising the Caribbean. Some of them still have time to tighten their belts and save 10% of their income (by consuming 10% less), plus a good deal more to compensate for the missing savings of the 1990s.


Opposition to the Treasury plan is disturbingly thing. Bloomberg News on June 21 quoted the Democratic chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Christopher Dodd, saying, "I know of nobody who is arguing over the amount of money or even about that the secretary ought to have the authority to purchase these toxic instruments, these bad debts."

Why the taxpayers of America would allow their pockets to be picked in this fashion requires a different sort of explanation than one finds in economics textbooks. My analogy of gamblers taxing themselves to bail out the casino is inspired, in part, by a remarkable new book by the Canadian economists Reuven and Gabrielle Brenner (with Aaron Brown), A World of Chance. In effect, the Brenners re-interpret economic theory in terms of gambling, showing how profoundly gambling figures into human behavior, especially in such matters as so-called life-cycle investing. The 50-ish householder who has not made enough to retire may take outsized chances, considering that as matters stand, he will work until he drops dead in any case. The Brenners write:

If people reach the age of fifty or fifty-five and have not "made it," what are their financial options to still live the good life? Except for allocating a few bucks to buy lottery tickets, it is hard to think of any other option. If people find themselves down on their luck and see no immediate opportunities to get rich, what can they do to sustain their hopes and dreams? Allocating a fraction of their portfolios with a chance to win a large prize is among the options. And when people are leapfrogged - that is, when some "Joneses" who were "below" them jump ahead - how can they catch up? They will tend to challenge their luck for a while, taking risks that they might have contemplated before in business, financial markets, and other areas but did not follow up with action.

A World of Chance undermines our usual view of "economic man" and substitutes the angst-ridden, uncertain denizen of a world that offers no certainties and requires risk-taking as a matter of survival. I hope to offer a proper review of the work in the near future. As my marker, though, permit me to leave the thought that for providing a theoretical foundation for the counter-intuitive behavior of American taxpayers, the Brenners deserve the Nobel Prize in economics.

Alas for the gamblers of America: they will tax themselves to keep the casino in operation, but it will not profit them. Where, oh where, is America's Vladimir Putin, who will drive out the oligarchs who have stolen the country's treasure and debased its currency?


Next step is to get organized and then convene a citizen's grand jury on this whole bailout thing.

An honest investigation would put a stop to this, PDQ. Once these turds spend some time in jail, the middle class might even get some of its money back.
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Hubert Flottz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 04:37 AM
Response to Original message
19. K&R
Edited on Mon Sep-22-08 04:39 AM by Hubert Flottz
Send Phil to Baghdad to fight for "freedom."

EDIT...America needs Liberated
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-24-08 12:04 AM
Response to Reply #19
71. The Predators' Bailout - Swimming Lessons for Washington and Wall Street
Thank you, Hubert Flottz! Here's a bit on the irony, a taste of their own medicine:

Swimming Lessons for Washington and Wall Street

The Predators' Bailout

September 22, 2008

Let me get this straight. The Congress is meeting with the Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson this week. Mr. Paulson, who works for the White House, says he has a plan to save the US economy. That plan involves bailing out the same companies that got the economy into the mess it is in today. The money for the bailout plan is going to come from the people who are already paying for two pointless, brutal and expensive occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan.--the US taxpayers. More precisely, the US taxpayers who make between $25, 000 and $150,000 a year--the people the government likes to call the middle class. These people are already making less in real wages than they were ten years ago and many of them are facing foreclosures and other financial problems of their own.

If I recall correctly, the very same US Congress that is considering bailing out the big financial corporations that got the economy into its current mess because of their greed and the government's willingness to forgo any regulation of their doings (and the doings of their sister companies in the energy sector) made it almost impossible for individual working people in the US to declare bankruptcy. Yet, they are enabling these giants of the Wall Street economy to get out of their financial catastrophes by making us foot the bill. Furthermore, they have the nerve to tell us it is for the good of the country. Now, I don't know about you, but I don't think I can honestly recall the last time the White House, Congress or Wall Street did anything for the good of the country that I know.

Sure, they started a war against Afghanistan under the pretense that they were going to chase down and capture the guys who organized those planes flying into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. That's gone real well. I mean, look at Afghanistan now. The Pentagon is sending more troops and the White House and Congress are giving the okay. Dozens of civilians are dying in US air strikes as the occupiers fight a growing guerrilla army. They also started a war in Iraq that has done nothing but brought greater misery to that country and its people. It has also caused over 30,000 US casualties, with over 4000 of those casualties being dead men and women whose families are still not sure what they died for. Oh yeh, the price of fuel at the pump has increased by almost four dollars in some places across this land and the number of jobs has decreased steadily. That is, of course, unless you look at the military. Those job openings continue to grow.

But somebody must have benefited from this, right? And we all know who they are. The energy industry has raked in historically huge profits, all the while claiming that they deserve them while insisting that they get further tax breaks. Tax breaks which Congress willingly grants. The war industry has also made a bundle. Some companies, like General Dynamics, have doubled their net earnings just in the past four years. Others, like Haliburton, have used their insider connections to capture dozens, if not hundreds, of no-bid contracts that involve several documented cases of outright fraud and corruption. Yet, they continue to obtain the contracts and avoid prosecution. Then, there are those so-called security contractors, whose employees murder Iraqi citizens, media workers, and even Iraqi employees of the US-installed regime in Baghdad and face no penalties. Meanwhile, the contractor corporations themselves reap huge profits while also selling their services to agencies stateside that are involved with immigration and disaster management. So, uniformed thugs who answer to no one are now performing police duties here in the US. It's like the Pinkertons of old in the employ of the Rockefellers, Carnegies and the government they ran back then.


When Phil gets frog-marched to San Quentin is when my Victrola will cue up "Happy Days Are Here Again." Oh. Happy day, indeed!
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leveymg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 06:22 AM
Response to Original message
20. UBS Warburg took over Enron's energy trading - Enron, UBS, S&L ripoff, McCain linked to BCCI
Many of us have long wondered about the role of Capcom, a futures trading operation linked by the Kerry Commission to BCCI. Capcom was a prototype for Enron, the world's biggest money laundering and market manipulation operation.

If we had done something about BCCI then, there would have been no Bush43 and the great mortgage meltdown of 2008.

Ponder this from the Kerry Commission Final report, and consider it a template for the crimes of the Bush43 era. See,


Matters For Further Investigation

There have been a number of matters which the Subcommittee has received some information on, but has not been able to investigate adequately, due such factors as lack of resources, lack of time, documents being withheld by foreign governments, and limited evidentiary sources or witnesses. Some of the main areas which deserve further investigation include:

1. The extent of BCCI's involvement in Pakistan's nuclear program. As set forth in the chapter on BCCI in foreign countries, there is good reason to conclude that BCCI did finance Pakistan's nuclear program through the BCCI Foundation in Pakistan, as well as through BCCI-Canada in the Parvez case. However, details on BCCI's involvement remain unavailable. Further investigation is needed to understand the extent to which BCCI and Pakistan were able to evade U.S. and international nuclear non-proliferation regimes to acquire nuclear technologies.

2. BCCI's manipulation of commodities and securities markets in Europe and Canada. The Subcommittee has received information that remains not fully substantiated that BCCI defrauded investors, as well as some major U.S. and European financial firms, through manipulating commodities and securities markets, especially in Canada, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. This alleged fraud requires further investigation in those countries.

3. BCCI's activities in India, including its relationship with the business empire of the Hinduja family. The Subcommittee has not had access to BCCI records regarding India. The substantial lending by BCCI to the Indian industrialist family, the Hindujas, reported in press accounts, deserves further scrutiny, as do the press reports concerning alleged kick-backs and bribes to Indian officials.

4. BCCI's relationships with convicted Iraqi arms dealer Sarkis Soghanalian, Syrian drug trafficker, terrorist, and arms trafficker Monzer Al-Kassar, and other major arms dealers. Sarkenalian was a principal seller of arms to Iraq. Monzer Al-Kassar has been implicated in terrorist bombings in connection with terrorist organizations such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Other arms dealers, including some who provided machine guns and trained Medellin cartel death squads, also used BCCI. Tracing their assets through the bank would likely lead to important information concerning international terrorist and arms trafficker networks.

5. The use of BCCI by central figures in arms sales to Iran during the 1980's. The late Cyrus Hashemi, a key figure in allegations concerning an alleged deal involving the return of U.S. hostages from Iran in 1980, banked at BCCI London. His records have been withheld from disclosure to the Subcommittee by a British judge. Their release might aid in reaching judgments concerning Hashemi's activities in 1980, with the CIA under President Carter and allegedly with William Casey.

6. BCCI's activities with the Central Bank of Syria and with the Foreign Trade Mission of the Soviet Union in London. BCCI was used by both the Syrian and Soviet governments in the period in which each was involved in supporting activities hostile to the United States. Obtaining the records of those financial transactions would be critical to understanding what the Soviet Union under Brezhnev, Chernenko, and Andropov was doing in the West; and might document the nature and extent of Syria's support for international terrorism.

7. BCCI's involvement with foreign intelligence agencies. A British source has told the Bank of England and British investigators that BCCI was used by numerous foreign intelligence agencies in the United Kingdom. The British intelligence service, the MI-5, has sealed documents from BCCI's records in the UK which could shed light on this allegation.

8. The financial dealings of BCCI directors with Charles Keating and several Keating affiliates and front-companies, including the possibility that BCCI related entities may have laundered funds for Keating to move them outside the United States. The Subcommittee found numerous connections among Keating and BCCI-related persons and entities, such as BCCI director Alfred Hartman; CenTrust chief David Paul and CenTrust itself; Capcom front-man Lawrence Romrell; BCCI shipping affiliate, the Gokal group and the Gokal family; and possibly Ghaith Pharaon. The ties between BCCI and Keating's financial empire require further investigation.

9. BCCI's financing of commodities and other business dealings of international criminal financier Marc Rich. Marc Rich remains the most important figure in the international commodities markets, and remains a fugitive from the United States following his indictment on securities fraud. BCCI lending to Rich in the 1980's amounted to tens of millions of dollars. Moreover, Rich's commodities firms were used by BCCI in connection with BCCI's involving in U.S. guarantee programs through the Department of Agriculture. The nature and extent of Rich's relationship with BCCI requires further investigation.

10. The nature, extent and meaning of the ownership of shares of other U.S. financial institutions by Middle Eastern political figures. Political figures and members of the ruling family of various Middle Eastern countries have very substantial investments in the United States, in some cases, owning substantial shares of major U.S. banks. Given BCCI's routine use of nominees from the Middle East, and the pervasive practice of using nominees within the Middle East, further investigation may be warranted of Middle Eastern ownership of domestic U.S. financial institutions.

11. The nature, extent, and meaning of real estate and financial investments in the United States by major shareholders of BCCI. BCCI's shareholders and front-men have made substantial investments in real estate throughout the United States, owning major office buildings in such key cities as New York and Washington, D.C. Given BCCI's pervasiveness criminality, and the role of these shareholders and front-men in the BCCI affair, a complete review of their holdings in the United States is warranted.

12. BCCI's collusion in Savings & Loan fraud in the U.S. The Subcommittee found ties between BCCI and two failed Savings and Loan institutions, CenTrust, which BCCI came to have a controlling interest in, and Caprock Savings and Loan in Texas, and as noted above, the involvement of BCCI figures with Charles Keating and his business empire. In each case, BCCI's involvement cost the U. S. taxpayers money. A comprehensive review of BCCI's account holders in the U.S. and globally might well reveal additional such cases. In addition, the issue of whether David Paul and CenTrust's political relationships were used by Paul on behalf of BCCI merits further investigation.

13. The sale of BCCI affiliate Banque de Commerce et de Placements (BCP) in Geneva, to the Cukorova Group of Turkey, which owned an entity involved in the BNL Iraqi arms sales, among others. Given BNL's links to BCCI, and Cukorova Groups' involvement through its subsidiary, Entrade, with BNL in the sales to Iraq, the swift sale of BCP to Cukorova just weeks after BCCI's closure -- prior to due diligence being conducted -- raises questions as to whether a prior relationship existed between BCCI and Cukorova, and Cukorova's intentions in making the purchase. Within the past year, Cukorova also applied to purchase a New York bank. Cukorova's actions pertaining to BCP require further investigation in Switzerland by Swiss authorities, and by the Federal Reserve New York.

14. BCCI's role in China. As noted in the chapter on BCCI's activities in foreign countries, BCCI had extensive activity in China, and the Chinese government allegedly lost $500 million when BCCI closed, mostly from government accounts. While there have been allegations that bribes and pay-offs were involved, these allegations require further investigation and detail to determine what actually happened, and who was involved.

15. The relationship between Capcom and BCCI, between Capcom and the intelligence community, and between Capcom's shareholders and U.S. telecommunications industry figures. The Subcommittee was able to interview people and review documents concerning Capcom that no other investigators had to date interviewed or reviewed. Much more needs to be done to understand what Capcom was doing in the United States, the United Kingdom, Egypt, Oman, and the Middle East, including whether the firm was, as has been alleged but not proven, used by the intelligence community to move funds for intelligence operations; and whether any person involved with Capcom was seeking secretly to acquire interests in the U.S. telecommunications industry.

16. The relationship of important BCCI figures and important intelligence figures to the collapse of the Hong Kong Deposit and Guaranty Bank and Tetra Finance (HK) in 1983. The circumstances surrounding the collpase of these two Hong Kong banks; the Hong Kong banks' practices of using nominees, front-companies, and back-to-back financial transactions; the Hong Banks' directors having included several important BCCI figures, including Ghanim Al Mazrui, and a close associate of then CIA director William Casey; all raise the question of whether there was a relationship between these two institutions and BCCI-Hong Kong, and whether the two Hong Kong institutions were used for domestic or foreign intelligence operations.

17. BCCI's activities in Atlanta and its acquisition of the National Bank of Georgia through First American. Although the Justice Department indictments of Clark Clifford and Robert Altman cover portions of how BCCI acquired National Bank of Georgia, other important allegations regarding the possible involvement of political figures in Georgia in BCCI's activities there remain outside the indictment. These allegations, as well as the underlying facts regarding BCCI's activities in Georgia, require further investigation.

18. The relationship between BCCI and the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro. BCCI and the Atlanta Branch of BNL had an extensive relationship in the United States, with the Atlanta Branch of BNL having a substantial number of accounts in BCCI's Miami offices. BNL was, according to federal indictments, a significant financial conduit for weapons to Iraq. BCCI also made loans to Iraq, although of a substantially smaller nature. Given the criminality of both institutions, and their interlocking activities, further investigation of the relationship could produce further understanding of Saddam Hussein's international network for acquiring weapons, and how Iraq evaded governmental restrictions on such weapons acquisitions.

19. The alleged relationship between the late CIA director William Casey and BCCI. As set forth in the chapter on intelligence, numerous trails lead from BCCI to Casey, and from Casey to BCCI, and the investigation has been unable to follow any of them to the end to determine whether there was indeed a relationship, and if there was, its nature and extent. If any such relationship existed, it could have a significant impact on the findings and conclusions concerning the CIA and BCCI's role in U.S. foreign policy and intelligence operations during the Casey era. The investigation's work detailing the ties of BCCI to the intelligence community generally also remains far from complete, and much about these ties remains obscure and in need of further investigation.

20. Money laundering by other major international banks. Numerous BCCI officials told the Subcommittee that BCCI's money laundering was no different from activities they observed at other international banks, and provided the names of a number of prominent U.S. and European banks which they alleged engaged in money laundering. There is no question that BCCI's laundering of drug money, while pervading the institution, constituted a small component of the total money laundering taking place in international banking. Further investigation to determine which international banks are soliciting and handling drug money should be undertaken.

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blm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 10:03 AM
Response to Reply #20
27. Thank you - that BCCI report reads like the BLUEPRINT for the Fascist Agenda.
Democrats who insist on looking the other way pretending none of this is important are traitors to their fellow citizens.
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bobthedrummer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 03:56 PM
Response to Reply #20
35. I'm looking forward to Lucy Komisar's BCCI book-here's Stephanie's awesome DU thread from 2-22-06
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-24-08 08:26 AM
Response to Reply #20
74. UBS exec admits banks sham tax shelters broke U.S. law
Not to pile on, or anything:

UBS exec admits banks sham tax shelters broke U.S. law

Bank, U.S. authorities to examine 19,000 accounts for tax fraud, CFO of wealth management unit tells Senate panel

By Neil Roland
Financial Week
July 17, 2008

UBS admitted it broke U.S. law in setting up sham offshore tax shelters for wealthy Americans and agreed to work with U.S. authorities in reviewing 19,000 accounts to identify clients who may have committed tax fraud.

Our compliance system had failures, and misconduct appears to have occurred, Mark Branson, chief financial officer of UBSs global wealth management unit, told a Senate panel today. It is apparent now that our controls and supervision were inadequate.

Mr. Branson also said UBS will discontinue offering offshore banking and securities services to American clients through branches that arent licensed in the U.S. The firm allowed its Swiss bankers to market securities and banking services on U.S. soil without a proper license from 2000 to 2007, according to a report released today by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

Mr. Branson made the disclosures in testimony before the panel after the panel reported UBS hid about $18 billion for 19,000 Americans who didnt declare the assets. Switzerlands largest bank is under investigation by the Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service and the Securities and Exchange Commission.


The U.S. government, particularly in this economy, is not going to blow up an international financial institution with a criminal indictment, Jacob Frenkel, a former federal criminal and SEC prosecutor, said in an interview. That, however, provides no protection or insulation for civil and criminal actions against individuals whose conduct is squarely within the focus of this alleged fraud.


Thanks for the important reminder, my Friend. You've added a great deal to our understanding of these subjects, leveymg.


BTW: Where DID all that money go?
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HughBeaumont Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 07:35 AM
Response to Original message
21. President Palin. Treasury Secretary Phil Gramm. This doesn't scare ANYONE?
A nightmare of epic proportions, destined to become reality thanks to the extreme lobotomized stupidity of the UhMericun voter.

No one wants McCain. She's even saying "Palin and McCain" and calls him her "running mate". Funny, I always thought that's what the VICE-president was called.

There was a thread earlier about the seriousness of John McCain's illness and how it may be worse than they're letting on.

Is this the theocracy realizing their dream of having a young puppet to do their dominionist bidding?

K & R.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 07:38 AM
Response to Original message
22. I've been waiting for your OP
and as usual you do not disappoint.

K & R
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Major Hogwash Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 11:15 AM
Response to Original message
29. Incredible, just incredible. Bookmarked, kicked and recommended. Post of the year!
Seriously, this is very well written and easy to follow.

And of course, you're right, the media will not tell us any of the truth about it at all.
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glitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 01:06 PM
Response to Original message
33. K & R nt
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philly_bob Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 02:30 PM
Response to Original message
34. Don't forget his wife, Wendy, who regulated Commodity Trading (CTFC)
and, some say, wrote in the loophole that enabled the Enron disaster.
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barbtries Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 04:23 PM
Response to Original message
36. thank you
i've been getting a quick education for the past few days. this is really appreciated. it makes me want to weep, but i need to learn as much as possible so that i know that my "NO FUCKING WAY" reaction is not just misinformed or uninformed knee-jerking.

no fucking way to this bail-out. i'm on board octafish.
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dogindia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 04:30 PM
Response to Original message
37. kkkkkkrrrrrrrrrrrr
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reprehensor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 04:50 PM
Response to Original message

Description: Former reporter for the "Houston Chronicle," Pete Brewton tells of one of the most momentous stories of the past 50 years and how it has been suppressed by the establishment media and the Congress. Pete's book "The Mafia, CIA and George Bush," shows the incredible complexity of the relationships in the operation of the destruction of hundreds of Savings and Loans at the hands of the CIA and the Mafia, stealing many billions of dollars in the process, and leaving the taxpayers to bailout the banks. Big names at the state and national levels of power are involved, including Lloyd Bentsen, the Bush family, and power brokers in Houston. People such as Kenneth Keating and Don Dixon, who are mentioned prominently in the press in connection with the S & L debacle, were merely front men or "cutouts" for the main movers. Keating and his ilk only took millions; the CIA and the Mafia looted billions.
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robertpaulsen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 06:01 PM
Response to Original message
39. Great research, Octafish!
I want to see them pay too, not just with monetary fines, but with penal incarcerations.

What do you think of Kucinich's plan? I certainly agree with his assessment of the current bailout proposal: cash for trash!

Kucinich: No 'cash for trash,' give taxpayers a stake in bailout
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Kurovski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 06:04 PM
Response to Original message
40. K&R for the DUer with one of the best journals ever.
Thank you, Octafish.
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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 07:57 PM
Response to Original message
41. K & R
as always and bookmarking for reading links later! :hug: Thanks Octafish!
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cyberpj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 08:12 PM
Response to Original message
42. K&R to share info of the type that a real media used to share with us! Thank you for your work.
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Initech Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 08:47 PM
Response to Original message
43. The Great Depression 2: Electric Boogaloo
Holy shit! God forbid that these greedy shitwads get their hands on another US presidency. Obama must be elected at all costs! :scared:

Man George Carlin was right about the owners of this country. 100%.
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Canuckistanian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 09:51 PM
Response to Original message
46. Wasn't this the opposite of money laundering?
After all, the "placement" was done by ordinary law-abiding suckers (you and me).

The "Layering" was the usual semi-criminal process.

And the "Integration" was placing all that cash right into the hands of the cheap grifters.

Excellent essay as usual, Octafish.

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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 01:28 AM
Response to Original message
49. kick
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bobthedrummer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 01:51 AM
Response to Original message
50. A few other US black budget network bank/finanicial criminal histories that led to this one
Formation of the Bank For International Settlements/BIS 1930-founded through the efforts of Horace Greely Hljamar Schacht (Nazi Minister of Economics) and Gates W. McGarrah (Richard McGarrah Helms maternal grandfather). Gates McGarrah was BIS 1st President.


Summary of Prosecutions (Federation of American Scientists/FAS archived doc)

Texas Democrat Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez April 28, 1992 Congressional Record statement (FAS archived doc)
"Kissinger Associates, Scowcroft, Eagleburger, Stoga, Iraq, And BNL"

"Shredded Justice" by Stephan Pizzo with Mary Fricker & Kevin Hogan (Jan/Feb 1993 Mother Jones)

Mena black budget network

"Gray Money" (Ozark Gazette staff)

Robert Parry synopsis March 16, 2005 (Consortium News)
"Beating Bush at 'Information War'"

There's lots more-kick

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Giant Robot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 01:54 AM
Response to Original message
51. This is too much information for me at this time of night
So I will have to read it later.

But I just wanted to say kudos for the Meyer Lansky reference. Not one of your more commonly known gangsters, like say Al Capone, but certainly rivaled him in greed, ingenuity and ruthlessness.
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bobthedrummer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 01:36 PM
Response to Original message
52. AIG=American Intelligence Grifters
Edited on Tue Sep-23-08 01:37 PM by bobthedrummer
Lucy Komisar has been onto those sunny islands and tropical paradise offshore black budget platforms for years.

Here's her November 17, 2004 Corp Watch article on AIG
"Cooking the Insurance Books"
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JackDragna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 01:55 PM
Response to Original message
53. Utterly despicable.
Our government will buy the bad debt, but there's no damned way we'll ever make back the investment. An illegal war, torture, lying to the American this. I fear the time to fix things with elections has passed.
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hootinholler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 05:33 PM
Response to Original message
56. Kick n/t
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mod mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 05:57 PM
Response to Original message
57. If Octafish got a dollar for everytime he informed a DUer what has transpired w BFEE,
he'd be in the top 1%!

Thank you-very informative.
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crazylikafox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 08:04 PM
Response to Original message
60. Big k&r
Thanks. I'm bookmarking this one
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chill_wind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 08:24 PM
Response to Original message
61. This thread is jam-packed with incredible digging and dot-connecting and
a whole line-up of fact-finding DUers that I am/have always been in awe of.

Thanks Octafish. This kind of stuff takes time and diligent digging. The "Must Read" button was made for this one!
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Nikki Stone1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 08:39 PM
Response to Original message
62. So where do you think the money is, Octafish?
And, quite frankly, I think they are trying to completely destroy government.
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tomp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 08:52 PM
Response to Reply #62
63. how many dems voted for it? nt
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Nikki Stone1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 08:53 PM
Response to Reply #63
64. Man, I thought I was going to get a location
Thanks for nothing, tomp

And my guess: quite a fucking few.
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tomp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 09:12 PM
Response to Reply #64
65. that's why i put "nt" in the subject. it means "no text".
don't make this personal. like i'm gonna waste my time looking up that particular vote, when the evidence is beyond dispute that dems have been complicit in many of the political crimes committed against the people. the evidence goes back a century and is overwhelming. go school yourself before you start blaming me for your own ignorance.
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tomp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 10:15 PM
Response to Reply #64
67. sorry, i think i misread the whole thing. nt
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HCE SuiGeneris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 09:22 PM
Response to Original message
66. I love your intellect...
you are a treasure.

Must Read!
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bridgit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 10:24 PM
Response to Original message
68. Octafish!!
Always good stuff :bounce: :hi: :hi: :hi:
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Recursion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 10:35 PM
Response to Original message
69. I don't think I've ever seen Meyer Lanksy used... make an historical analogy more accessible before.
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OakCliffDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-24-08 05:14 AM
Response to Original message
72. K & R
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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-24-08 05:24 AM
Response to Original message
73. Octafish. You da man!
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bobthedrummer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-24-08 12:39 PM
Response to Original message
75. philly_bob's post #34 briefly mentioned Wendy Lee-Phil's @%$#*
She really works those streets hard and brings all OUR stolen money to her honey daddy.

She was on Enron's Board, she is quite a force at George Mason University's RW think tank Mercatus Center, and she merits another post Sir.

Wendy Lee Gramm Source Watch profile

Her charms are allied with Dick Cheney's Vulcans when it comes to deregulation of energy-that is what she proliferates from the Mercatus Center at uber conservative George Mason U.

George Mason University and the George Mason University Foundation, Inc. page from Media Transparency

Mercatus Center Source Watch Profile

Wendy was a past Director of the Independent Women's Forum too-interacting with all the STEPFORD-like females of the RW including Lynne Cheney, Barbara Ledeen, Elaine Chao

Independent Women's Forum Right Web profile

Independent Women's Forum Funding entry from Media Transparency

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Virginia Dare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-24-08 01:00 PM
Response to Original message
76. Phil Gramm is McBush's economic guru, 'nuff said..
another Octafish tour de force!
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bobthedrummer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-24-08 10:49 PM
Response to Original message
77. Suspend campigns but not this thread-kick
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bobthedrummer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-26-08 12:38 AM
Response to Original message
78. They're fighting over who gets what in DC, "bipartisanly", kick
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