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Wall Street

Why Didn't They Think of That?

by: KathyinBlacksburg

Sat Apr 03, 2010 at 14:25:37 PM EDT

Cross-posted at Blue Virginia.

It has been nearly three years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, and the related malfeasance of Lehman and other Wall Street firms.   Hank Paulson has admitted Lehman's balance sheet was bogus.  According to Robert Reich, Goldman Sacks helped Greece hide its public debt and then bet against it with credit default swaps, those risky derivatives, in the news so much in 2007-2009, to avoid risking its own capital.  If you think the scenario is familiar, think AIG.  By any stretch of the imagination, these overpaid and overfed hacks and flacks should have been left to suffer the consequences, stripped of their wealth and in prison.  Why hasn't this happened?  We have waited and waited for economic reform we can believe in, which Wall Streeters are fighting tooth and nail.  We've been told that we can't have the meaningful reform we crave, that we must accept "bipartisan" compromise.  The GOP slings its empty "free market" bull (bull, because they never actually mean a free market, but rather a rigged market, in practice). Then they blame an administration inheriting the effects of their party's utter lack of fiscal stewardship.  Now they fight reform to fix it and assure proposed re-regulation is toothless.  And of course, it's everyone's fault but their own.  The faux-helpless foxes at the SEC guarded the hen house then.  Even our own side has acted fairly helpless in the face of so many misdeeds. Should the administration not use the tools and methods available to it, it will deserve later scrutiny and judgment.  I reserve judgment for the time being. However, as Reich observes, it turns out that we do not need "reform" to do something about it.

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Winners and Losers in The Game

by: Teddy Goodson

Fri Mar 12, 2010 at 18:25:09 PM EST

In any situation, and I do mean any, there are always some people who make money, or find a way to profit, even in desperate times when the mass misery index has to be high. Nowhere is that more evident than right here in the United States. This is where the Bush bailouts, which the incoming President Obama followed through on, in a desperate move to save the system from its own excesses and prevent a killing collapse of the economy (or so every commentator assures us, whether from the right or left), has actually helped the already wealthy become more so. The galling thing is, Wall Street insiders are openly crowing. Read what a highly rated investment newsletter, Taipan Insider for Thursday, 11 March, says (my emphasis is added--- the quote is extensive because it is so very revealing):
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Lemmings and Sheep

by: Teddy Goodson

Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 23:42:31 PM EST

( - promoted by Teddy Goodson)

Are we, the American people, sheep, stupidly deluded repeaters of talking points we do not really understand, baaing trustingly after cruel masters who clip us over and over of all our pelf?  Or, are we Americans more like lemmings, blindly and frantically swarming over the cliffs of a broken system, unable or unwilling to see where we are headed, convinced we can continue doing as we've always done, following nose-to-tail in what we believe has been a heretofore successful script? Fair and balanced, consider the following, and you decide:
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"Too Big to Fight"

by: Teddy Goodson

Wed Dec 30, 2009 at 20:29:00 PM EST

In the January/February 2010 edition of the magazine Mother Jones there are several important articles concerning the global financial meltdown which triggered the still potent Great Recession, that attempt to answer the 64 trillion dollar question: How is it that the banksters are already back at doing the same things that caused the mess, and why is it that they still haven't been punished and the system reformed?  It is Kevin Drum's fact-filled article "Capital City" which explains it all, and which I will discuss here, but the entire edition of MoJo is worth a close read.

We already know the purely financial and economic story of the 2008 meltdown; Drum explains the politics of how Congress and the Federal Reserve were "persuaded to let all this happen.... In other words, it's about the finance lobby."  Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said last April that "they frankly own the place." But there is another reason that is even bigger: over the past 30 years the finance lobby, supported by the conservative movement and some powerful backers, convinced the American people that the financial sector's success should be measured "not by how well it provides financial services to actual consumers and corporations, but by how effectively financial firms make money for themselves." This is the (crazy) Big Idea which has smothered every opponent and conquered every perceived threat to Wall Street and its profits.    

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Michael Moore's Brinks Job with Bankers in Tow

by: Rusty5329

Wed Sep 30, 2009 at 17:22:33 PM EDT

originally posted at Sum of Change

Sum of Change and Zej Media are proud to present to you, Michael Moore's Brinks Job with bankers in tow...

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"If Everybody Doesn't Want It, Nobody Gets It"

by: Teddy Goodson

Sun Jul 12, 2009 at 19:22:52 PM EDT

"If everybody doesn't want it, nobody gets it" ---- Behold the true guidance for producing products and services under the American system of market capitalism, where the bean-counters keep a flinty eye on the quarterly bottom line, influencing most crucial corporate decisions, and where accountants are outranked only occasionally by the lawyers.  Don't believe me?  You think those overpaid CEO's with the golden parachutes make the big bucks because they are the risk-taking Deciders? Think again.

I know, I know, this does not exactly fit the picture of harmony and plenty presented to us, the wonderful world of consumer goods galore, a rising middle class everywhere, living in a heaven of endless growth.  The economic system that has lifted everyone's standard of living, producing a true Golden Age with ever-increasing gross world product is presumed to be scientifically based on the profit motive (greed), endless quarterly growth (regular short-term profits), free movement of goods around the world (free trade, globalization), and free decisions made by individuals in the open market on what they will purchase (market competition, the economic man), all of which results in the best allocation of resources through the mysterious hidden hand of the market. That is what free market capitalism is, the garden of entrepreneurs.  

Here's a fun description of a generic business operation (hypothetical, you understand) and how it grows in the garden of the entrepreneurial free market:

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This is Goodbye, Bernie---- Or Is It?

by: Teddy Goodson

Wed Jul 01, 2009 at 20:34:28 PM EDT

The 70-year old Mr. Madoff is being put away for two lifetimes as punishment for illegally looting his fellow-travelers on life's journey. Now begins the fruitless analyses, the breathless gossip, even the spiteful but all-too-typical blame-the-victims-not-the-perpetrator orgy.  When you think about it, how could anyone fall for hot tips from a guy named made-off (like a thief in the night)? Wouldn't the very name give one a subliminal message to be wary? As for me, I'm not into that.  I wonder, did Mr. Madoff get nervous once he'd embarked on his accumulating scam? Did his doctor worry about Bernie's blood pressure? Did he get an addictive adrenaline jolt as he inched out further and further along the high wire of deception? Did he, say, enjoy what he was doing (just didn't enjoy getting caught, so now he blubbers contrition)?

What I am is, well, curious, like going to an aquarium and descending to the far bottom level to stare at the exotic deep sea creatures with their fantastical shapes, weird color patterns, under-shot jaws with jutting sabre-teeth, a tiny light dangling from their foreheads, alien, frightening, uglier than sin.  Then I realize that these strange creatures and I share some of the same DNA because we both spring from the same long-ago speck of replicating life here on Earth.  We are cousins.  So, too, are Bernie and I, you and I and Bernie, even closer cousins.

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Doing the Economic Rain Dance

by: Teddy Goodson

Wed May 13, 2009 at 17:24:00 PM EDT

( - promoted by kindler)

In the days of warlocks and witch doctors if one of their spells failed, or the patient died, it was believed that the patient-consumer did not believe hard enough.  Failure was the fault of the patient, not the witch doctor;  the subject must have made a mistake in his part of the performance perhaps, but not the witch doctor, who was often urged to intensify his efforts, not to change them. The rain dance produced no rain? Do the dance again, and execute a few members of the tribe (preferably young virgins) because that would prove how truly the tribe believed.
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Saving the (Financial) World for You and Me

by: Teddy Goodson

Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 12:37:07 PM EDT

So you think accounting is boring, and those green eye shades have no sex appeal? As it happens, these are the very folks who created the computer models for risk that enabled American financial geniuses to bestride the world as "masters of the universe."  They brought us fancy derivatives, Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy, Wall Street meltdown, AIG bonuses, and a global recession, not bad for a bunch of green eye shades. What's even more remarkable, these same folks are now "fixing" the mess they created, supposedly because only they can understand it in the first place. It all comes down to accounting, you see... fairytale accounting, a fantasy which we have not yet outgrown, and which is now plunging us ever deeper into a bottomless hole, supposedly in order to "save" us. (Where have I heard that before?... maybe Iraq?)
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