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One of the creators of #OccupyWall Street reflects on its success so far

Cross posted from Real Economics.

Without issuing a single concrete demand, the Occupy movement has already scored a significant victory: it has shifted the political discourse in USA back in a more progressive direction, examining real problems. Less than two months ago, most Americans watched morosely as USA elites “debated” the debt ceiling and vied to come up with the most “acceptable” program of austerity, including cuts in Social Security and Medicare at the federal level, and education and police and fire protection at the state and local levels.

Now, the focus of political discourse are the inequalities of wealth and income, and how they cripple our economy and democracy by allowing the rich a disproportionate role in setting national policies.

That is a monumental shift in political direction. Especially considering the billions of dollars the rich and wealthy have poured into trying to dominate the political process and public perceptions, such as by astro-turfing the so-called Tea Party.

Many people have wondered just who is behind the Occupy movement. If you don’t know, the idea of occupying Wall Street was first proposed by the Canadian culture-jammers, Adbusters. I have known about Adbusters for a few years now, because of their excellent work on revealing the darker sides of economic neo-liberalism, and our consumerist culture. (One of the best articles attacking neo-liberalism was Adbusters’ November 2007 take-down of leading economist Gregory Mankiw, Economic Indoctrination.)

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Michael Hudson explains the kabuki budget debate

Wall Street’s Euthanasia of Industry, by Michael Hudson: Obama is selling out his constituency to his campaign contributors: that's what politicians do. But even worse, the President is a fully committed acolyte of neo-liberal economics and "has bought into the idea that the only way to get recovery is to cut wages by about 30 percent."

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Michael Collins: Obama Embraces The Money Party

Michael Collins

It's time for Plan B. The White House is about to be sold to the same people who bought it in 2008. The front page of today's New York Times says it all. President Obama is on the hunt for campaign cash and the Wall Street crowd represents his main target. After all, he and his "good friend Tim" (Geithner) delivered in the biggest way possible. Obama must be thinking that it's payback time! Pony up fellas.

This much is clear. There will be no federal prosecutions of Wall Street crooks for the 2008 financial collapse, no day of judgment for massive mortgage fraud before, during and after the housing bubble, and no representation for the people the in the White House, no matter who wins in 2012. Populist rhetoric will guarantee a place on the no-fly list for any who stray from the new party line.

The Times article resorts to irony right out of the gate:

"Mr. Obama, who enraged many financial industry executives a year and a half ago by labeling them “fat cats” and criticizing their bonuses, followed up the meeting with phone calls to those who could not attend." New York Times, June 13

The German magazine Spiegel says Wall Street banksters committed a monumental insider bank robbery

Crossposted from DailyKos. Promoted. -- GH


(Written by an American expat living in the European Union)
This mainstream German magazine Der Spiegel in their December 30th issue, tell us that Wall Street banksters committed nothing short of a monumental insider bank robbery, which is responsible for victims like Pam Brown who has become the face of America's nouveau poor and hungry in the minds of the Spiegel's vast readership within the European Union.

The Spiegel's article also tells us that America's has a short memory. Barely 2 years after the market crashed, Wall Street is in the process of creating a second crash by speculating just as shamelessly as they did before. The Spiegel article suggests this maybe happening because there were no criminal prosecutions ever brought. Therefore it looks like the Wall Street banksters are going to do this again.

To which this diary asks, how many more times do you want to bail out Wall Street? How much longer do the bread lines have to get, how many more millions have to lose their homes? Is 59 million without medical insurance enough? When will America say no to Wall Street and yes to Main Street European style social safety net?

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Open Thread - Digging in the Dirt

Digging Into polling numbers - From ctblogger at MLN, a little bit on Connecticut's version of The Drudge Report and the biased polls they paid for:

New York Times FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver offers his take on Merriman River Group's congressional polling for that site that inflates it's stats.

Nate_Silver

...that's putting it mildly. Hopefully, in the future the statewide media will take future polling from CTCapitolReport with a grain of salt.

Dig in below the fold for more Open Thread dirt...

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Triumph of the Money Party!!! Warren's role downgraded, reports to Geithner

Michael Collins

The White House snatched back one of the few bones it's thrown to the people outraged at the looting of the United States Treasury by failed financial concerns - the big banks and Wall Street. The promised appointment Elizabeth Warren as head of the new agency to protect consumers from the financial services industry has been seriously downgraded. Instead of running the Consumer Finance Protection Agency, Warren's role has been diminished to that of special assistant to the president and adviser to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

"President Obama, sidestepping a possibly heated confirmation battle, will appoint Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren as a special advisor to the Treasury Department to launch the government's powerful new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, according to two Democratic officials familiar with the decision." LA Times, Sept 15

An interim appointment would have given the no-nonsense Warren the full authority to structure consumer bureau in the interests of the people. A special adviser role is defined in a New York Times article as follows:

"Ms. Warren will be named an assistant to the president, a designation that is held by senior White House staff members, including Rahm Emanuel, the chief of staff.

"She will also be a special adviser to the Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, and report jointly to both men." September 15

The title of the Times article says it all: Warren to Unofficially Lead Consumer Agency.

Of course, President Obama could have set it up for Warren to officially lead the agency through an interim appointment. Warren's outstanding efforts and her extraordinary record of being right on the issues are more than enough justification for that.

The Latest Financial Gambling Tool

“I make a living off the dumb money,” says Emil van Essen, “These index funds get eaten alive by people like me”

Just so you know, Joe and Suzy Sixpack with your 401ks and other investments... You are the tool with the dumb money. And, yes. The game is rigged in the favor of the house again.

From Bloomberg News we get the tale of contango, commodities futures trading and the savvy using your gullibility to fleece you with their latest "financial innovation":

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The Dow at 1000? Regime Change for the Stock Market

By Numerian

Wall Street cannot see that a regime change has come to the markets, one in which corporations will be increasingly on the defensive, hounded by governments everywhere looking to raise tax revenue, and assaulted by a permanent buyers strike from consumers adjusting to their own drop in living standards. Image

The financial press likes to talk up those occasions when the Dow presses on above 10,000. Such talk lately has become desultory, since it seems every other week the Dow lurches below 10,000 and then manages to climb its way back up. The market has been in this funk since February of this year, when the Dow began its most recent push from below 10,000, all the way to a peak around 11,200, only to fall three times below the 10,000 level since and recover with less and less conviction.

A Snapshot Of America

Financial Crisis Tracker
Sourcewatch has developed a great widget to keep a running tally on what some call "The Great Recession".

Below is their explanation of where the numbers come from and just in case you are shocked by that 4.71 TRILLION DOLLARS number in the Wall Street bailout section in there. (4.71 trillion dollars number is taken from at the time I wrote this post)

From Sourcewatch:

The Financial Crisis Tracker gives a monthly snapshot of housing foreclosures, unemployment rates and the total cost of the Wall Street bailout. The Tracker is presented in the form of a widget that can be downloaded to your webpage.

The Foreclosure number is generated monthly by RealtyTrac, a private data source used by newspapers across America. The RealtyTrac data is released in the second week of the month for the previous month.

The Unemployment number is generated by the U.S. Department of Labor and released on the first Friday of the month for the previous month. The larger DOL data set is rich with information about unemployment and underemployment in the U.S. economy.

The Wall Street Bailout number is our original calculation of the total bailout expenditures to date. Our calculation was peer-reviewed by economists at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington D.C. Our table tallying all government bailout programs can be accessed here.

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Open Thread: Wall Street Reform Vote Coming?

A cloture vote to end debate is on the schedule for Wednesday so barring any obstructionist tactics from any of the typical filiblusterers (not likely given the financial environment of chaos that still exists and Americans of all political stripes wanting this fixed) the law MIGHT be signed by President Obama as early as July 4th:

Itchin' for a fight, cruisin' for a bruisin', or sour grapes of a current owner caught in the act?

Originally posted 2010-05-01 00:10:33 -0400. Bumped and promoted. -- GH

I don't have any independent assessment of the conditions from which this email was supposed to have been taken.

But it's a repost of the complete email reportedly picked up by The Reformed Broker, Joshua Brown. It does sound like a "hideous little piece of class warfare," or what many pissed-off Americans would like to think they'd hear coming from a 'vulture capitalist'.

Did it really, I don't know?!

A Disgusting Little Email Making the Rounds on Wall Street

What The Big Banks Have Done To Your Community

From Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman and her crew takes a look the latest Matt Taibbi piece in Rolling Stone Magazine:

“Looting Main Street”–Matt Taibbi on How the Nation’s Biggest Banks Are Ripping Off American Cities with Predatory Deals

In a new article in Rolling Stone magazine, journalist Matt Taibbi takes an in-depth look at the experience of one small Alabama town and its disastrous dealings with Wall Street. Taibbi writes, “The destruction of Jefferson County reveals the basic battle plan of these modern barbarians, the way that banks like JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs have systematically set out to pillage towns and cities from Pittsburgh to Athens.”

The Democracy Now! video is below the fold while the Rolling Stone piece is at the other end of this link and deals with how it all is hurting your school and your local government. To make matters worse for many of these communities they also have to deal with how their local government has been corrupted by bribes from the bankers.

Michael Lewis Discusses Wall Street's Continued Failures

Of note is the fact that they still have yet to fix any of the underlying problems that resulted in what is nothing more than trillion dollar welfare checks for the bankers:


Watch CBS News Videos Online

"The leaders on Wall Street completely lost any sense of their responsibility to the society," Lewis said. "And if you know you're gonna blow up AIG by putting $20 billion of bad subprime mortgage risk into it even though it's gonna be very profitable for you, you should stop and say this shouldn't be done."

You would think that Wall Street and the bankers would feel some sense of shame because they are living on welfare. But the absurd size of their welfare checks eases their pain and I am sure they would like to thank you for keeping them in the money as you go without. (H/T to Susie Madrak at Crooks and Liars)

Economic Warfare? Europe versus Wall Street


Michael Collins

(March 10) Wall Streets is headed toward international pariah status thanks to two recent actions by the European Union (EU).

On Tuesday, the EU announced that it was banning Wall Street banks from the lucrative government bond business in Europe. They didn't express official concern or fire off a warning shot. They simply banned Wall Street from financing government bond deals like the one Goldman Sachs sold to Greece. The Guardian pointed out that Wall Street bond business from European governments has gone down over the last two years. Now the business is gone period. In effect, the EU has labeled Wall Streets business tactics as too dangerous for their governments to handle.

Then on Wednesday, the President of the European Commission said that the EU was considering a ban on government debt speculation through Credit Default Swaps (CDS) President José Manuel Barroso announced that, "the Commission will examine closely the relevance of banning purely speculative naked sales on Credit Default Swaps of sovereign debt." While not an outright ban, the threat of banning CDS on national debt would be a major loss for the world's financial speculators, particularly those in the United States and Great Britain.

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