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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Weekend at Bernie's

Our favorite senator has a good idea, as usual. Should have been done three years ago.

Comments (23)

I also think we should end the Federal Reserve. A privately owned bank that controls America's currency and makes moves our own government isn't privy to? What could go wrong?
The ongoing economic meltdown is a transferal of wealth from the American People of both the present and the future, to a relatively small group here and abroad. And the Federal Reserve is all up in it.

As long as Jack, Bernie, and Bill are dreaming of political impossibilities. I have one of my own to wish for:

Re enact the Glass - Stegell Act, which was repealed by a Congress in 1999 with the energetic support of Kennedy, Dodd, Biden, and Reid, Democrats and signed by President Clinton.

Sandy Weil, then head of Citibank, passed around a lot of bribe money. A whole lot of bribe money.

Nine years later, melt down with banks gambling on insruments which nobody yet understands.

And it happened again last week with Jamie Dimon's BoA

Howard Dean had a point in 2000; he was the only candidate from the Democratic wing of the Democratic party.

Must be something about the water in Vermont.

Are there more Libertarian solutions?

Like no deposit insurance for banks that engage in trading activities?

No deposit insurance for banks that require less than 10-20% down on mortgages?

As mentioned aboven Glass - Stegell.


Jamie Dimon's BoA

Something that hasn't hit the headlines yet?

Repealing the Glass Stegell Act was a disaster. The Senate vote was 90 to 8. I just read the Congress had tried repealing it 11 times and the 12th time it went through.

Think of this as a generational thing. The Boomers got the station wagon and drove it right over a cliff. It couldn't be more obvious. The last "World War 2" president from the Greatest Generation hands the keys off to Bill Clinton, the first rock and roll president, and later to another reckless partier named W.

With those 2 presidents - one Democrat and one Republican - the financial seeds of our destruction were planted.

And what came forth were new financial instruments, that in short order, had destroyed the economy of the world.

Wow, I'm just really starting to get this. The magnitude of it and the implications. The Boomer Generation - now currently making snippy little comments about the Occupy movement - were the ones who crashed the station wagon.

Now we smugly accuse one side or the other, depending on what club we're in, and even manage to look down in arrogance when we should just be ashamed. The fun generation of partiers, tried to get serious and run things, and we destroyed the economic security of the entire world. If it wasn't so sad, it would be almost epic.

Oh well. At least the music was great.

Bill -
You have expressed something that my sweetie and I have remarked upon since about 2008. Our generation - we are both 66 - really screwed things up. Though we are early boomers, we are boomers none the less - have this amazing inability and unwillingness to think long term.

Compared to our parents, who survived the Great Depression, WWII and in major part paid off the amazing debt incurred to fight WWII we are amazingly unwilling to shoulder any burden which might interfere with our luxuries.

In part that may be a result of our parents desire to give us the things they missed out on. And that generation's desire to have us live better than they did. Maybe they raised us to expect too much.

AS bad as Sally and I think we are, most of our kids generation is even worse. May the grandchildren, the "Generation Z" folks if you will make less of a hash of things. It would be hard for them to screw up worse than we did.

Alan L -

BoA blew $ 2 billion last week in some real odd "hedge" transactions in really exotic pools of credit default swaps. Again.

Shades of AIG.

Jack covered part of it.


Its a lot worse than fgirst reported. And the instruments used were not even allowed under the Dodd-Franks sweetheart regulations from 2010 - 2011 which the banks are trying so hard to gut.

Pleased to stand with Bernie Sanders on this one.

Nomny, it probably could have been BofA, but it wasn't.

Alan L. --

Uhh, duuuuh.

You are of course correct.

JP Morgan Chase. Run by Jamie Diamon.


Wrong bank title, still the same utter stupidity of major bank doing sheer gambling in the guise of "investment".

Again, my error.

I saw the first mention of the term quadrillion in a report on the upper end of the derivatives bubble. That's 10 to the 15th power.
Nobody know how big the bubble really is. This particular estimate started with 600 trillion and went up to over 1 quadrillion. I'm going to be funny now and say that 600 trillion sounds a little low.

The first bubble I ever read about, was the Dutch tulip prices way back in the day. It was probably a new phenomenon for the world. In recent years, we've had the dot.com bubble and the housing bubble.

The derivatives bubble is on a scale that is very hard to comprehend. When it bursts, it's going to make a popping sound that will be audible on Mars.

Hang on everyone. It's going to be historic. Derivatives have the quality that Portlanders hate the most: They are unsustainable.

This is why FDR (I think) coined the term "Banksters"!
Chase, BofA, USB, etc, pick one, are all the same. Crooked! and taking advantage of all of us.
Jamie Diamon totally gives me the creeps.

Speaking of FDR, the great Matt Taibbi has a new article in Rolling Stone about how financial reform was handled after the Great Depression as opposed to now.
It's not exactly easy to read, but plow through it if you want to know how reform laws are attacked, stalled, negated and destroyed. You'll feel like weeping when you read about Justice Scalia's son. You'll feel like exploding when you read about the sheer blatant arrogance of the bankers. You'll feel enraged at how both Houses of Congress and the President have sold us out.

The article is called, "How Wall Street Killed Financial Reform." I dare you to plod through it and stay focused. It becomes more and more surreal as you go along, until the inescapable conclusion hits: we are screwed beyond all belief. Our predicament is so bad that it becomes almost amusing. Almost.

Here's one of the money lines: "An unregulated derivatives market essentially gives Wall Street a way to place hidden taxes on everything in the world."


I don't think people realize what we have lost and are losing as the "greatest generation" dies off. As baby-boomers, we should have learned a great deal from our parents' experience living through the Great Depression and WWII. Frugality and financial security - always spend less than your take-home pay - have taken us personally through some pretty lean years while our friends were whooping it up with home equity loans and credit.

I worry the country is going back to the same mind set that got us into this mess. One can get a FHA/HUD loan today with only 3.5% down - a far cry from the 10%-20% that was typical of more stable economies. RE agents encourage sellers to tailor their properties to fit FHA qualifications in order to sell because this is easy money for buyers.

Other than financial, the baby boomers challenged many social and cultural beliefs with sometimes bad results. With no thought about how these ideas might play themselves out long-term, we've been experimenting with the very structure and stability of our society.

Boomer kids believed they could and should have it all in an evolving culture that told them, "if it feels good, do it!". To that I reply, if it feels too good, stop and give it some thought. The Glass-Stigel Act established ground rules so that the little guy could be secure in a predictable financial market. We need it back. Delayed gratification won't kill anyone - it builds character.

More info in an excellent book titled "13 Bankers"...

Re: "the great Matt Taibbi has a new article in Rolling Stone"

Bill McD,

As fine a business writer as Matt Taibbi has taught himself to be since 2008, he has maintained a silence regarding the theft of the solvent WaMu by Mr Dimon in league with the FDIC's Sheila Bair, apparently at the behest of Henry Merritt "Hank" Paulson, Jr. He has not explored, for example, the critical need Dimon's derivative-sodden JPM had for WaMu's $181 billion in cash deposits as well as its 2200 branches, especially in the West. Perhaps he has left that work to the Puget Sound Business Journal, which garnered a Pulitzer finalist in 2010; but Kirsten Grind has moved on and currently receives her checks from Mr Murdoch's Wall St organ. She has gone quiet on the demise of WaMu, her book still unpublished although a date has finally been set:

Until Mr Taibbi integrates the machinations that gave the nation's largest thrift to Dimon for $1.9 billion into his understanding of the union of financial and political power, his descriptions will remain incomplete and flawed. He is not alone in this; Charles Ferguson's effort, "Inside Job," also ignored the demise of WaMu. Both of these explicators have done extraordinary work. There remain many mythologies to expose.

Meanwhile, last Thursday,

"Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts candidate for U.S. Senate, called for JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon to resign his position as a director at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York."

"'After the biggest financial crisis in generations, the American people are frustrated that Wall Street has still not been held accountable and does not appear to consider itself responsible,' she said. 'Dimon should resign from his post at the New York Fed to send a signal to the American people that Wall Street bankers get it and to show that they understand the need for responsibility and accountability.'”

Nobody has done a better job than Matt Taibbi in trying to get this financial story out there:

"The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it's everywhere. The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money."

Ironically, that line was almost killed by copy editors because the vampire squid - a real creature, it turns out - doesn't have a blood funnel. Sigh.

I've learned more from your comments about Washington Mutual than from all the MSM coverage combined. Maybe you should jump in more. Write a song, a play...At the very least you'll feel better after venting.

WaMu could be a case where even the Matt Taibbi's of the world can't get to everything. The bankers know this stuff is intensely complicated and boring. In fact, they count on that to keep the American Public from grabbing the pitchforks.

nonny mouse @ "boomers none the less - have this amazing inability and unwillingness to think long term."

Gotcher 'long term' righcher:

There is Only ONE thought 'to think'. Long-term.

Once we drive the gasguzzling American Dream & Faithbased Graffiti over the 'Peak' then the politics and/of social management (i.e., self-governance, where 'self' means earthling, Earth-whole) are mainly involved in matters of the 'falling' ('jumping'?) down the downslide slope ... of all oil life.

[VERY IMPORTANT, to young adult inheritors of boomer 'jumping off' ('falling'?): Get the Poster.
It shows the profile downslope, 'long term'. Your term. Try to stick the landing.

We (boomers?) been there, done that, you (newbies?) take it from here.

Sorry, should have said, Nonny Mouse.

Probably 'banking' is all about 'petrodollars' today. It's like the reserve currency or something.

Wealth comes from the land. You get some land with a gold mine on it; you put your gold in the bank's vault and get a Banker's Note 'receipt' to redeem 'your' gold back, on demand; you circulate the Note, being 'money'; someone chooses to redeem it, goes to the bank vault, gets the gold back.
You get some land with an oil well on it; you put your oil in the reserve's vault and get a Reserver's Note 'receipt' to redeem 'your' oil back, on demand; you circulate the Note, being 'petrodollars'; someone chooses to redeem some 'p-dollars', goes to the gas station to fill-up the car, gets told back, "we burned all the petro, you keep the paper Notes; have a good weird Portland day."

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World -- "Did you see the way he just 'shot right out there,' he just 'shot right out there'...."
OVER-shot the precipice 'Peak', we might say.

The swings in oil and food prices are more likely to be driven by wild speculation than real supplies.

The Khan Academy has some wonderful videos about derivatives, credit default swaps, CDOs, the housing bubble, the bailout etc., that do a great job of demystifying the mess we're in.

Bill, it's not just the Boomers' fault. The primary blame for today's fix goes to Ronald Reagan (born 1911), who really set the cultural tone with his insistence that there is indeed a free lunch, that we could have both massive tax cuts (at least for high earners) that would not only pay for themselves but also fund an unprecedented military buildup with no increase in the national debt. Boomers, unfortunately, followed his cue en masse.

Tenskwatawa : Once we drive the gasguzzling American Dream & Faithbased Graffiti over the 'Peak' then the politics and/of social management (i.e., self-governance, where 'self' means earthling, Earth-whole) are mainly involved in matters of the 'falling' ('jumping'?) down the downslide slope ... of all oil life.
JK; You really should broaden your reading beyond the greenie weekly reader!
USGS recently estimated that we have 3 Trillion (with a “T”) barrels of oil right here in the USA. They say that is enough for 200 years. http://junkscience.com/2012/05/13/mark-j-perry-200-year-supply-of-oil-in-one-single-shale-formation/

Peak oil is just another greenie delusion. Like global warming (aka climate disruption, aka climate change.) Like ocean “acidification”. And many other scams fabricated to scare people into giving them money and power.

Don’t you ever get embarrassed for consistently posting disinformation?


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