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Pirates

September 19, 2009

Arrrrrrrrrrrr

For The Lord Vampire of the Goldmen

The Bankers’ Coup

Financial industry rep. Paulson is the ringleader in a bankers’ coup the results of which will decide America’s economic and political future for years to come. The coup leaders have drained tens of billions of dollars of liquidity from the already-strained banking system to trigger a freeze in interbank lending and hasten a stock market crash. This, they believe, will force Congress to pass Paulson’s $770 billion bailout package without further congressional resistance. It’s blackmail.

As yet, no one knows whether the coup-backers will succeed and further consolidate their political power via a massive economic shock to the system, but their plan continues to move jauntily forward while the economy follows its slide to disaster.

The People vs. the Banksters, Sept 27, 2008

But a year later, despite propaganda, market manipulation and cheerleader cries to the contrary, this country’s economy is still in the zombie zone.

The Post-Bubble Malaise

No matter how you look at it, the economy is on the ropes. Yes, there should be a rebound in the next few quarters, but once the stimulus wears off, it’s back to the doldrums. According to David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff, “All the growth we are seeing globally this year is due to fiscal stimulus…. For 2010, the government’s share of global growth, by our estimates, will be 80 per cent. In other words, there are still very few signs that organic private sector activity is stirring.”

The question is, how long can the Obama administration write checks on an account that’s overdrawn by $11 trillion (the national debt) before the foreign appetite for US Treasurys wanes and we have a sovereign debt crisis? If the Fed is faking sales of Treasurys to conceal the damage–as I expect it is–we could see the dollar plunge to $2 per euro by the middle of 2010. Imagine pulling up to the gas pump and paying $6.50 per gallon. Ouch! That should be revive the economy.

For the next year or so, the demon we face is deflation; a severe contraction exacerbated by household deleveraging and big financial sector defaults. The Fed’s money-printing operations just can’t keep pace with a capital hole that continues to expand from delinquencies, foreclosures, and failed loans. Workers have seen their credit lines cut and their hours reduced, households are $3 trillion above trend in their debt-to-equity ratio, and unemployment is soaring. Industry analysts expect a $1.5 trillion cut-back in credit card spending. That’s why Bernanke is firehosing the whole financial system with low interest liquidity, to stimulate speculation and reverse the effects of a slumping economy.

Slumping into a malaise. That sounds like positively zombie-ish behavior. Well, fuck that. Instead why don’t we rise up against these banksters and other outageously paid corporatists? Yeah, yeah, there is that prison thing.

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41 Comments leave one →
  1. Stemella permalink*
    September 20, 2009 5:47 am

    Here is the booty admittedly taken last year:
    source

    Select Bailed out CEOS Pay, 2008

    Lloyd C. Blankfein
    Goldman Sachs Group
    Salary and bonus: $0.6 mil
    One-year change: -98%
    One-year total compensation: $25.8 mil

    Richard D. Fairbank
    Capital One Financial
    Salary and bonus: $0.0
    One-year change: NA
    One-year total compensation: $19.3 mil

    Kenneth I. Chenault
    American Express
    Salary and bonus: $1.3 mil
    One-year change: -83%
    One-year total compensation: $15.9 mil

    Kenneth D. Lewis
    Bank of America
    Salary and bonus: $1.5 mil
    One-year change: -74%
    One-year total compensation: $12.5 mil

    James Dimon
    JPMorgan Chase
    Salary and bonus: $1.0 mil
    One-year change: -94%
    One-year total compensation: $8.5 mil

    Ronald E. Logue
    State Street
    Salary and bonus: $1.0 mil
    One-year change: -79%
    One-year total compensation: $5.4 mil

    Robert P. Kelly
    Bank of New York
    Salary and bonus: $1.0 mil
    One-year change: -88%
    One-year total compensation: $5.1 mil

    David W. Nelms
    Discover Financial Services
    Salary and bonus: $2.4 mil
    One-year change: -34%
    One-year total compensation: $5.0 mil

    James E. Rohr
    PNC Financial Services
    Salary and bonus: $1.0 mil
    One-year change: -72%
    One-year total compensation: $4.5 mil

    Richard K. Davis
    US Bancorp
    Salary and bonus: $0.9 mil
    One-year change: 6%
    One-year total compensation: $4.0 mil

    Robert G. Wilmers
    M&T Bank
    Salary and bonus: $0.7 mil
    One-year change: -29%
    One-year total compensation: $3.7 mil

    Vikram S. Pandit
    Citigroup
    Salary and bonus: $1.0 mil
    One-year change: NA
    One-year total compensation: $2.9 mil

    Highest paid CEO’s in general, top ten 2009
    No. 1: Lawrence J. Ellison
    Oracle
    Salary and bonus: $11.8 mil
    Stock Gains: $543.8 mil
    One-year total compensation: $557 mil

    No. 2: Ray R. Irani
    Occidental Petroleum
    Salary and bonus: $4.9 mil
    Stock Gains: $184.4 mil
    One-year total compensation: $222.6 mil

    No. 3: John B. Hess
    Hess
    Salary and bonus: $5 mil
    Stock Gains: $112.9 mil
    One-year total compensation: $154.6 mil

    No. 4: Michael D. Watford
    Ultra Petroleum
    Salary and bonus: $2.4 mil
    Stock Gains: $113.5 mil
    One-year total compensation: $116.9 mil

    No. 5: Mark G. Papa
    EOG Resources
    Salary and bonus: $1.9 mil
    Stock Gains: $69.7 mil
    One-year total compensation: $90.5 mil

    No. 6: William R. Berkley
    WR Berkley
    Salary and bonus: $9.5 mil
    Stock Gains: $72.6 mil
    One-year total compensation: $87.5 mil

    No. 7: Matthew K. Rose
    Burlington Santa Fe
    Salary and bonus: $2.9 mil
    Stock Gains: $45.1 mil
    One-year total compensation: $68.6 mil

    No. 8: Paul J. Evanson
    Allegheny Energy
    Salary and bonus: $2.4 mil
    Stock Gains: $42.6 mil
    One-year total compensation: $67.3 mil

    No. 9: Hugh Grant
    Monsanto
    Salary and bonus: $4.6 mil
    Stock Gains: $50.7 mil
    One-year total compensation: $64.6 mil

    No. 10: Robert W. Lane
    Deere & Co.
    Salary and bonus: $5 mil
    Stock Gains: $41 mil
    One-year total compensation: $61.3 mil

    source>/a>

    $557 million in one year’s take. No one’s labor should ever be worth that much. It is obscene. The government, ours and others, will discuss executive pay again at the upcoming G-20. They want new rules. I doubt the CEO’s will abide by them.

    Though Pandit recently admitted that $100 million was a bit much for a bankers salary.

    What do you bet they set the limit at $99.99 million.

    • cometman permalink*
      September 21, 2009 6:30 am

      I bet your right on the salary limits. These assholes haven’t changed their ways one bit. David Horsey sums up what the banksters have learned over the last year .

  2. cometman permalink*
    September 21, 2009 7:20 am

    More wilted, dessicated, stomped all over and set on fire” shoots” – $30 billion worth of Bay area ARM mortgages are ready to blow. Most haven’t even reset to the higher rates yet and there are already big problems.

    Though most option ARMs have not yet recast and hit borrowers with higher payments, they are going into default at extremely high rates. One quarter or more of all option ARMs in the regional areas are more than 60 days delinquent or already in foreclosure. Analysts say option ARM borrowers are so underwater that they may be choosing to walk away.

  3. cometman permalink*
    September 21, 2009 8:02 am

    One of the wall Street buccaneers may be walking the plank – Ken Lewis. Zerohedge seems to think that the only question is whether he’ll play nice and take one for the team or whether he’ll start squawking and implicate Paulson and other higher ups. The title of the post alone makes it worth the read – Edolphus Towns Is Latest Shark In Ken Lewis Chum-Filled Pool.

    • Stemella permalink*
      September 21, 2009 9:38 am

      He had until noon EST to turn over the documents. No word yet on whether he did.

      Just in case BofA has set up contingency plans

      “The bank has said the board stands behind Lewis. The board, however, has approved a new succession plan in case it needs to make a quick change, the Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.

      Silvestri, the bank spokesman, said the board has a regularly scheduled meeting today and the items on the agenda are private.” source

      • cometman permalink*
        September 21, 2009 11:19 am

        Ha! That sounds like the board will stand behind Lewis until the board gets in hot water themselves for some of their own decisions, and then he’s getting tossed in front of a Greyhound.

  4. Stemella permalink*
    September 21, 2009 9:44 am

    More on mortgages: U.S. mortgage delinquencies set record: Equifax

    High U.S. unemployment keeps pushing up the rate of mortgage delinquencies, which could in turn drive personal bankruptcies and home foreclosures, monthly data from the Equifax Inc credit bureau showed on Monday.

    Among U.S. homeowners with mortgages, a record 7.58 percent were at least 30 days late on payments in August, up from 7.32 percent in July, according to the data obtained exclusively by Reuters.

    In better news, it appears people are starting to get a grip on managing their credit card debt. On the other hand, banks are issuing fewer cards and less credit. Either way, people are getting away from the debt spending addiction and saving more when they can.

    The proportion of credit card accounts at least 60 days past due was down in August for the third straight month, while subprime card delinquencies also fell.

    That improvement in delinquency rates partly reflects risk-aversion among issuers, which have cut the number of cards by 82 million, or 19 percent, over the past year, while slashing credit limits by $721 billion, to about $3.6 trillion.

    The number of new cards being issued is down even more dramatically. In June, 2.6 million new cards were issued, compared with 4.7 million a year earlier.

    Lenders are increasingly targeting consumers with high credit scores, Equifax found. While in 2007, about one in five new cards went to people with a credit score above 760, such consumers account for two in five new cards in 2009. Equifax found similar trends in auto loans.

    • cometman permalink*
      September 21, 2009 11:23 am

      Sounds like some sanity may be returning to the system, at least temporarily. I doubt too many people under the age of 35-40 remember the days when credit card companies weren’t handing out cards like a Shriner handing out lollipops at a 4th of July parade. Used to be you had to have decent credit and an income to get one. And I doubt too many people under the age of 50 or so remember the days when *gasp* there weren’t any credit cards but people actually had real money to pay for things.

  5. Stemella permalink*
    September 21, 2009 9:57 am

    You gotta know you’re fucked when you are SEC and even Bloomberg’s calls you out as a tool:

    Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro, overhauling an agency faulted for botching investigations of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, is facing the first major setback of her own making.

    The agency’s proposed $33 million settlement with Bank of America Corp. could have demonstrated a speedier approach to holding Wall Street accountable. The deal was reached nine months after the SEC said the bank misled shareholders while buying Merrill Lynch & Co. Instead, the effort backfired.

    ~snip~

    “It’s a terrible blow,” leaving the agency “with a variety of bad choices,” said former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt said, now a director of Bloomberg LP, parent of Bloomberg News. If the SEC pursues executives or lawyers, it may face challenges after conceding in filings that it lacks evidence to do so, Levitt said. If the agency drops the case, investigators will “look weak at a time they’re trying to look strong.”

    Perhaps Lewis will not be alone in walking the plank. Pull up a barrel of rum and watch the cannonball show. :)

  6. cometman permalink*
    September 21, 2009 10:30 am

    Ha! About a year after they handed out thousands of fake NYT newspapers, the Yes Men have done it again with the NY Post to bring attention to the upcoming UN summit that purports to address global warming. The Post stunt may also be to bring attention to their new movie The Yes Men Fix the World.

    Pam Martens has a nice article discussing this movie, Michael Moore’s new one and The Corporation in this article – The Filmmakers vs. the Capitalists.

  7. Stemella permalink*
    September 21, 2009 10:36 am

    This seems incredibly unfair, but typical –

    IRS extends amnesty program for international tax cheats to accommodate rush of applicants

    The Internal Revenue Service said Monday it will extend the deadline, originally set for Wednesday, until Oct. 15.

    More than 3,000 Americans have applied for the program, which promises no jail time and reduced penalties for tax dodgers who come forward, said a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the agency has not publicly released the size of the program.

    The IRS is extending the deadline to give a rush of applicants more time to prepare their paperwork. The agency said there will be no additional extensions.

    Tax advisers said the program, combined with a high-profile case against Swiss banking giant UBS AG, has generated a lot of calls from nervous tax dodgers.

    These assholes should be tossed to the humboldts. Instead they get amnesty. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

    • cometman permalink*
      September 21, 2009 11:29 am

      And with the end of the tax year approaching, I’m sure that rather than discussing the stinking rich tax cheats costing the government big money, we’ll be treated to stories on FAUX news of ACORN workers who helped poor people get a couple hundred from the Earned Income Credit who for some reason didn’t deserve it. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr indeed.

  8. cometman permalink*
    September 22, 2009 8:24 am

    WTF is this all about?!?!?!?! With all the bank failures this year the FDIC is low on funds and with more failures on the horizon they need more to cover deposits. Now the FDIC may take a $100 billion loan from the banks.

    ….any new borrowing from the Treasury would be construed as a taxpayer bailout that could open the industry to a political reaction, resulting in a wave of restrictions like fresh limits on executive pay.

    Maybe I’m missing something here, but the FDIC is a government organization that is designed to protect the little guy in the event of bank failures. It is government insurance for the depositor. The taxpayers pay for this insurance, either through taxes or by banks paying into the fund and then passing the costs onto their customers, ie the taxpayers, or through a combination of both. The only way the FDIC getting new funds from the Treasury, another government organization, could be “construed” as a bailout would be if the government and the bankers along with the media went out of their way to make it appear that way to the public at large. The very public who would be the beneficiaries of additional FDIC funds.

    The article does mention the real reason the FDIC may not take money from the Fed:

    “Sheila Bair would take bamboo shoots under her nails before going to Tim Geithner and the Treasury for help,” said Camden R. Fine, president of the Independent Community Bankers. “She’d do just about anything before going there.”

    There is a very simple solution to this dilemma – hand the public Timmeh’s head on a platter. Problem solved.

    Am I missing something here or is this another instance of deliberate obfuscation by the banksters and their enablers?

    • Stemella permalink*
      September 22, 2009 9:32 am

      You aren’t missing anything. This latest development shows how much this whole govt/fed/bankster operation appears to be a big old ponzi scheme. Taking money from one place and funneling it in to feed another while skimming off a huge chunk to keep the banksters happy.

      I have read before how Bair distrusts Geithner. Smart woman.

  9. cometman permalink*
    September 22, 2009 8:34 am

    This is just rich. The Fed has rejected a Treasury request to see how the bank goes about its secretive business. Here’s one rationale:

    “It is not obvious at all why that is a Treasury responsibility or even appropriate why the Treasury would undertake that kind of study,” said Robert Eisenbeis, chief monetary economist at Cumberland Advisors Inc. in Vineland, New Jersey, and a former Atlanta Fed research director. “The Fed was created by Congress and it is not part of the executive branch.”

    So I guess that means Congress would be the appropriate body to conduct oversight of the Fed, right? Not according to the Fed:

    Legislation in both houses of Congress would allow for audits by the Government Accountability Office of the central bank’s monetary policy and other operations. Bernanke opposes the measure, which was introduced in the House by Representative Ron Paul of Texas, a Republican. Frank has scheduled a committee hearing on the issue for Sept. 25.

    If they won’t agree to an audit, then fuck ’em. Take down the whole bank and start over.

    • Stemella permalink*
      September 22, 2009 9:33 am

      Transparency and accountability are only for the peasants. The ruling classes cannot be held to the same standards, doncha know.

  10. cometman permalink*
    September 22, 2009 8:44 am

    Europe doesn’t think much of our flailing nation and its devolution into a banana republic. This Guardian article sums it up nicely – Obama the Impotent.

    But hey, if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the corporations in the case they are currently debating we can just have the next president sponsored by Viagra.

  11. cometman permalink*
    September 22, 2009 8:48 am

    Good news. Zelaya made it back safely to Honduras and he’s currently staying at the Brazilian embassy. Hopefully this means the coup leaders are on their way out.

    • Stemella permalink*
      September 22, 2009 9:35 am

      I hope Zelaya will survive.

  12. cometman permalink*
    September 22, 2009 9:34 am

    Well looky here! One of the Blue Dogs in Congress who is fighting to make sure we don’t get anything resembling decent health care got a really sweet real estate deal from a pharmacy company:

    Arkansas Rep. Mike Ross — a Blue Dog Democrat playing a key role in the health care debate — sold a piece of commercial property in 2007 for substantially more than a county assessment [2] (PDF) and an independent appraisal [3] (PDF) say it was worth.

    The buyer: an Arkansas-based pharmacy chain with a keen interest in how the debate plays out.

    Ross sold the real estate in Prescott, Ark., to USA Drug for $420,000 — an eye-popping number for real estate in the tiny train and lumber town about 100 miles southwest of Little Rock.

    “You can buy half the town for $420,000,” said Adam Guthrie, chairman of the county Board of Equalization and the only licensed real estate appraiser in Prescott.

    But the $420,000 was just the beginning of what Ross and his pharmacist wife, Holly, made from the sale of Holly’s Health Mart. The owner of USA Drug, Stephen L. LaFrance Sr., also paid the Rosses $500,000 to $1 million for the pharmacy’s assets and paid Holly Ross another $100,001 to $250,000 for signing a non-compete agreement. Those numbers, which Ross listed on the financial disclosure reports he files as a member of Congress, bring the total value of the transaction to between $1 million and $1.67 million.

    And that’s not counting the $2,300 campaign contribution Ross received from LaFrance two weeks after the sale closed.

    • Stemella permalink*
      September 22, 2009 9:44 am

      Another scum sucking scurvy pig.

      A lot of these public servants in name only are scum sucking scurvy pigs.

      • cometman permalink*
        September 22, 2009 10:13 am

        That graph is not encouraging at all. Even liberal Dems’ support for public health care drops precipitously once they starting getting industry cash, and there aren’t that many of them to begin with. We are going to get nothing and like it.

  13. cometman permalink*
    September 22, 2009 10:09 am

    Very entertaining read on the octopus from the Stranger, one of my favorite publications when I lived in Seattle. It has a little bit of everything in it – starts out with a teaser on their sex habits, discusses octopus consciousness, gives some cooking advice and even has a brief mention of the correct way to form the plural of ‘octopus’.

    The article also explains the origin of the weird Japanese octopus porn I keep running across while searching for pictures to include in posts here. A must read!

    • Stemella permalink*
      September 23, 2009 8:19 am

      That really is a great article. How sad the sex life of the octopus and how truly kinky the Japanese are about slime, suckers and sex. I loved the part about the “Let’s See What the Foreigner Will Eat” I am proud to say I was able to eat raw sea urchin right out of the Mediterranean while in Greece, but that strong fermented stuff would send me hurling just like George HW.

      A Swede once tried to get me to eat canned fish so fermented the can was imploded. Botulism I told him! He said that’s what the aquavit was for. I ran outside gagging when he opened the can from the smell. Nasty shit that fermented fish food.

      Thanks for that article. I think I’ll add it to our links here. It’s a keeper.

      • cometman permalink*
        September 23, 2009 9:05 am

        I had friends who’d eat the raw urchin roe but I never got drunk enough to try it :) Friend of mine named Vangelis who ran a taverna would eat anything. Once I brought some dungeness crabs for him to try and he cleaned out every last bit of organic matter from the shell, even the nasty greenish gray stuff. Blech. Another time he cooked a fish augolemono soup by taking a pretty good sized whole grouper, hacking it into 4 or 5 pieces with a cleaver and throwing it into the pot with the broth. Then he tried to get me to eat the large marble sized eyeballs out of the head when it was done. I declined but he sucked them right out of the sockets. I’ve seen a few Greeks who’d argue over who would get the eyeballs from various beasts, but not too many would eat the other stuff that Vangelis did.

        • Stemella permalink*
          September 23, 2009 10:01 am

          Yeah, the Greeks and Turks are hot for the eyeballs. Weirdos! ;) The French, however, lick their chops over the brains. When I was a kid visiting France with my parents, my Dad was offered the Rabbit head as a guest of honor where we were staying. I literally sank to the floor out of my chair when he proceeded to suck the brains right out of the skull next to me. Fuckin gross!

          Still, I think the Koreans who eat live cephalopods take the proverbial sushi!

          and here’s a complimentary cool vid about the vampire squid – many tricks those vamps have up their cloaks

          • cometman permalink*
            September 23, 2009 11:39 am

            Thanks for posting that just in time for me to eat lunch :P Luckily I made lunch myself so I can be sure there are no live cephalopods in it. That was just nasty!

            That other one was really cool. I’ve only seen one short video of the vampires before and that was just from the front when it was flashing it spikes to look ferocious. I’m sure it’s true what the video mentioned at the end – there are all kinds of weird animals way down deep that we have no knowledge of. IIRC, scientists have only explored about 10% of the deep oceans.

  14. cometman permalink*
    September 22, 2009 10:50 am

    Not sure I really get the point this guy is trying to make other than that he thinks bad people should be put on some sort of list, but here’s an article on modern pirates and what to do about them. If you read through the whole article, the author starts to concentrate on non-state bad actors like terrorists and drug dealers. He does mention British pirates who were allowed to plunder Spanish ships but he seems awfully naive about the fact that even today, often the people who enable these drug dealers who launder money, etc are state sponsored. Just take a look at the heroin trade in Afghanistan which has increased astronomically since the US began occupying the country. I don’t think that is just a coincidence.

    • cometman permalink*
      September 22, 2009 11:16 am

      And I should add that while he does mention the financial pirates he doesn’t seem to grasp that in the US at least these people have buy the politicians who are supposed to regulate them and are pretty much calling the shots for their own benefit, all under a legal veneer. He mentions this –

      Financiers no longer take the trouble to look for loopholes: they organize such unregulated areas themselves, in the form of offshore havens or financial products that defy any attempt at regulation.

      – but fails to mention that they construct these havens with the assistance of the state.

      I don’t think merely putting them on some list is going to cut it.

    • Stemella permalink*
      September 23, 2009 8:33 am

      State sponsored pirates are mercenaries.

      Blackwater/Xe are militant pirates of the landlubber variety. Goldman’s suckers are fiscal pirates of the Bankster variety. They are mercenaries afforded free passage by the state to transfer power, resources and wealth from one class of people to another. They are loyal only to their own profit from the transaction. The flag they fly is their corporate logo, cleverly hiding the skull and bones.

  15. cometman permalink*
    September 22, 2009 11:46 am

    More details out on Sibel Edmonds’ case from Bradblog. He details her interview appearing in American Conservative and gives the identity of the female Congresswoman who was involved in a lesbian tryst with a Turkish agent – IL Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. This part gives some food for thought:

    “The epicenter of a lot of the foreign espionage activity was Chicago.” Hence the involvement of Hastert and Schakowsky, all of which leaves Edmonds with many concerns about Illinois’ former U.S. Senator Barack Obama and his current Chief of Staff, the former U.S. Congressman from Chicago, Rahm Emmanuel.

    The entire American Conservative interview with Edmonds is now available online here.

    • cometman permalink*
      September 22, 2009 1:10 pm

      Just checked around the tubes to see if this story is getting any play and it isn’t, except on a few blogs. Tried clicking on a few links from a google search and wound up getting 404 errors on some which seemed odd, especially for posts that were just made within the last day.

      The first thing that came up from a search of the Congresswoman’s name and “affair with turkish agent” was a Klub Kumquat diary. The Kumquateers did not like it at all, even though the diarist seems to be reluctant to believe the claims are credible themself. Noticed in the comments that people were calling for its deletion so their precious website wouldn’t be associated with the story, but too late! They’re #1. And #2 and a couple others in the top 10. Ha!

      Not sure why so many are so quick to pooh pooh Edmonds’ claims. This Gawker post pokes fun at this latest claim and some of her others like Hastert being on the take with Turkish operatives, even as they note that Hastert currently works as a lobbyist on behalf of Turkey. I don’t know if everything she’s said is true myself, but I believe the fact that she was placed under a gag order is beyond dispute, and that would seem to mean she’s aware of some very sensitive issues.

      Curiouser and curiouser.

    • Stemella permalink*
      September 23, 2009 8:39 am

      Hmmm. The potential Rahm connection, not to mention Squobarry, is very curious indeed. I too saw this over at KKumquat and saw the instant negative reaction. This topic has been effectively designated conspiracy theory over there. I don’t think lurkery will even bother posting on it again there.

      Someone else, another whistleblower, needs to come forward to corroborate Sibel’s story, to strengthen it, it seems. At least Bradblog is keeping on top of it for now.

      • cometman permalink*
        September 23, 2009 9:39 am

        Just did another quick search to see if anyone else had picked up on the lesbian affair aspect of this story and came up pretty much empty. You’d think the right wingers would be all over it whether it’s true or not. They haven’t had problems in the past insinuating things about Hillary Clinton and others. Makes me wonder if the reason they haven’t picked up on it is because there is valididty to it and looking into it too much would also expose Hastert, Livingston and neocons like Feith, Grossman and Perle too.

        I did find this link discussing the story and mentioning Schakowsky by name, but it’s from over a month ago. Caveat – the article refers back to reporting done by Wayne Madsen. As far as I know the first mention of Schakowsky’s actual name on Bradblog came just this week, and that’s the article the most of the posts on the subject I did find refer back too.

        Just checked the comments of the Bradblog post linked to above and one commenter mentions that they linked to the Madsen story right after it came out on Bradblog and Brad Friedman didn’t run with it at the time because he didn’t consider Madsen to be credible enough and wanted to wait to hear it from Edmonds. Guess that explains the lag of over a month between the stories.

  16. cometman permalink*
    September 22, 2009 12:09 pm

    Good article from Bloomberg – What the SEC Might Look Like If It Did Its Job. Unfortunately the author doesn’t see much hope for a better regulatory system as long as the financial industry has so much clout in DC and the revolving door between government and private industry continues. but this little tidbit at the end is worth noting:

    SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro was in charge of the self-regulators at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority when the organization was staunchly defending the greatest gift ever to the brokerage industry: mandatory arbitration of investor disputes.

    It’s worth noting that Finra is a defendant in three lawsuits dating from Schapiro’s tenure. One of them, by Standard Investment Chartered Inc., names Schapiro as a defendant and seeks to make unredacted versions of certain documents public. Those might wind up embarrassing the woman in charge of the SEC if they show that she misled brokerage firm members about the “special member payments” they got when Finra was formed in 2007.

    You probably haven’t heard the last on this one: On Sept. 11, Standard and Finra heard from the court that the case had been assigned to Jed Rakoff. We may not get good regulation from our pathetic securities agency. But you can’t say they don’t put on a good show.

    Who knows if anything will come of it, but that judge is definitely sick of the banksters’ bullshit.

  17. cometman permalink*
    September 23, 2009 6:58 am

    Sarah Palin gave a speech to international investors in Hong Kong. Makes me wonder what the point of inviting a dummy like Caribou Barbie was – did they really expect to learn anything from her or did they just want to see for themselves just how far the US has fallen. The speech was closed to reporters at Palin’s request – must be she’s had enough of looking stupid on the TV. Some delegates walked out in disgust, others were disappointed and one said she was “brilliant”. That must have been the delegate for the eastern European state of Simpletonia. Not surprisingly, no one seemed to be willing to give their names and admit they actually attended the damn thing.

    • Stemella permalink*
      September 23, 2009 8:41 am

      Haha. I guess she can add that to her resume now as part of her vast foreign policy experience when she runs for President.

      What a dweeb.

  18. cometman permalink*
    September 23, 2009 7:15 am

    So much for reform of the financial industry. This report says the House is set to water down reform legislation to make it practicllay meaningless. Caveat – the original source is the Moonie Washington Times.

    Congress appears set to ignore President Obama’s proposal that banks be required to offer “plain vanilla” financial products such as 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, giving the banking industry an early victory in its fight with the administration over how to reform the financial-services sector.

    Instead, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank will forge ahead with plans for a watered-down Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) — a blow to the administration’s push for tighter regulations and more control over the banking and financial-service industries.

    In a Tuesday memorandum from Mr. Frank to Democratic members of his committee that was obtained by The Washington Times, the Massachusetts Democrat said he was making several changes to the president’s plan “to make clear that CFPA will not disrupt merchants, retailers and other nonfinancial businesses or subject banks and other depository institutions to needless additional regulatory burdens and costs.”

    Key among those changes is Mr. Frank’s decision to omit the “plain vanilla” mandate from his pending CFPA bill.

    Seems to me that if you aren’t willing to offer a straight 30 year fixed rate mortgage as an option to your customers, then you’re admitting you’re out to pull the wool over people’s eyes. And Barney Frank is a big of a rat fucker as all the rest of them. He gets on TV and talks tough about the damage these banks have done and then when it comes time to get his hands dirty with some legislation he does exactly what the banks want, then goes back on TV and bemoans the fact that the public got screwed again.

    I feel like we’re all living in bizarro world. I look forward to Frank’s next speech where he tells us that up is down, black is white, and broke is the new rich.

    • Stemella permalink*
      September 23, 2009 8:44 am

      Yep, Frank, Dodd, Schumer, all of them. Owned by the very corporate masters who enslave all of us. Nothing genuine about any of them. Kabuki, my friend, kabuki.

  19. cometman permalink*
    September 23, 2009 7:24 am

    Check out the video at this zerohedge post. Time to cut the crap and just dress these CNBC clowns up in skirts and pompoms.

    • cometman permalink*
      September 23, 2009 8:52 am

      Here’s Paul Craig Roberts with the straight dope – The Economy is a Lie Too.

      The consumer has been chastened, but not the banks. Refreshed with the TARP $700 billion and the Federal Reserve’s expanded balance sheet, banks are again behaving like hedge funds. Leveraged speculation is producing another bubble with the current stock market rally, which is not a sign of economic recovery but is the final savaging of Americans’ wealth by a few investment banks and their Washington friends. Goldman Sachs, rolling in profits, announced six figure bonuses to employees.

      The rest of America is suffering terribly.

      The unemployment rate, as reported, is a fiction and has been since the Clinton administration. The unemployment rate does not include jobless Americans who have been unemployed for more than a year and have given up on finding work. The reported 10% unemployment rate is understated by the millions of Americans who are suffering long-term unemployment and are no longer counted as unemployed. As each month passes, unemployed Americans drop off the unemployment role due to nothing except the passing of time.

      The inflation rate, especially “core inflation,” is another fiction. “Core inflation” does not include food and energy, two of Americans’ biggest budget items. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) assumes, ever since the Boskin Commission during the Clinton administration, that if prices of items go up consumers substitute cheaper items. This is certainly the case, but this way of measuring inflation means that the CPI is no longer comparable to past years, because the basket of goods in the index is variable.

      The Boskin Commission’s CPI, by lowering the measured rate of inflation, raises the real GDP growth rate. The result of the statistical manipulation is an understated inflation rate, thus eroding the real value of Social Security income, and an overstated growth rate. Statistical manipulation cloaks a declining standard of living.

      We’ve discussed all this before here, but the way the government manipulates these statistics and then uses them to help the oligarchs and screw the rest of us cannot be mentioned enough if you ask me.

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