Feb 032012



By Bill Moyers, Moyers & Company

Margin Call Trailer:


HBO FILMS: Too Big To Fail Trailer:


Inside Job Trailer:


FRONTLINE: “The Warning” PBS


The Flaw Trailer:


Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

READ and VIDEOS @ http://www.alternet.org/economy/153990/bill_moyers%3A_6_movies_you_have_to_see_about_the_financial_crisis/?page=entire



By Andrew W. Lo


The recent financial crisis has generated many distinct perspectives from various quarters. In this article, I review a diverse set of 21 books on the crisis, 11 written by academics, and 10 written by journalists and one former Treasury Secretary. No single narrative emerges from this broad and often contradictory collection of interpretations, but the sheer variety of conclusions is informative, and underscores the desperate need for the economics profession to establish a single set of facts from which more accurate inferences and narratives can be constructed. […]

READ PDF @ http://www.argentumlux.org/documents/JEL_6.pdf



By Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism

Ed Wyatt of the New York Times has released an important story tonight on how the SEC goes easy on big banks by giving them exemptions to laws meant to stop securities fraud. This report stands in stark contrast to a Reuters story which repeats the favorite Administration mantra: it’s really hard to prosecute financial-related cases. It sure is when you don’t chose to use the powers you have.


It is hard to overstate the importance of this story. As we have said, one of basic rules of regulating is to make sure the regulated know you are not cowed by them. When I was a young person working on Wall Street, investment banks were afraid of the SEC. By contrast, this article reveals, as many have suspected, that regulators have plenty of tools to bring banks to heel. They choose not to use them.

The SEC does have a defense of sorts, which is (as we have recounted) that Congress has cut off funding when it merely tried to be tough in defending retail investors from abuses under Arthur Levitt in the 1990s. The passivity of the SEC is a symptom of elite corruption. A reform-minded President could choose to cross swords with Congress and defend the agency against harassment for tough minded enforcement. But that would be in a parallel universe where the banks were not in charge.

READ @ http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/02/quelle-surprise-sec-fails-to-sanction-big-banks-for-fraud.html



By Mark Decmabre, NewYorkPost

[…] Goldman confirmed in August that CEO Lloyd Blankfein and other executives had hired defense lawyers to advise them after the Senate referred the report to the Justice Department.

The probe has added to Goldman’s legal headaches and weighed on the shares, which have shed nearly a third of their value over the past year.

While the DOJ has yet to announce a resolution to the probe, sources close to Goldman said bank officials increasingly believe that the investigation won’t result in criminal charges against the firm or individual executives.

Sources within Goldman had expected the Justice Department to offer a statement of its findings in the more recent quarter after probing the banking giant for months. Goldman declined to comment and the DOJ didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Avoiding criminal charges, as insiders are hoping will be the case, would do much to bolster Blankfein’s determination to remain at the top. […]

READ @ http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/bulletproof_2hHuvQYhgIGmTzDqpG9fXM



By Joshua M. Brown, The Reformed Broker

[…] Take Bruce Berkowitz, manager of the Fairholme Fund – here’s a brilliant guy who unfortunately owned almost every single disastrous stock on the market in 2011 (he and John Paulson carved up the H-bomb list, if Bruce didn’t own it John did).  He torched his shareholders and lost billions of dollars juat as his fund had raised record levels of assets under management, a total shit-show.  And yet, you read his just-released letter to investors and it almost reads like he’s saying “I wasn’t wrong, the market was.”  It really is an astonishing piece of writing…

Improving book value levels and ratios show companies recovering from tough times, prepared for uncertainty, and capable of profits without excess leverage. The Fund’s performance last year makes little sense in light of such positive trends and we can only hypothesize from public comments that investors did not fathom our financials’ assets.

Translation: You are all idiots and it’s your fault I rode concentrated positions down 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 percent without any risk management whatsoever.  Rather than admit that the Sears, Bank of America and St Joe ideas were flawed positions with poorly timed entries, Berkowitz tells us no one else understands how to read a balance sheet or income statement except him.  Good luck, dude. (full text of letter here) […]

READ @ http://www.thereformedbroker.com/2012/02/02/no-one-is-ever-wrong-anymore/



Source: The Daily Bell

[…] Many modern, large-scale entities, especially those with government affiliations, are anything but competent. This is an entirely logical perspective. Large entities are usually advantaged ones. And the more artificial advantages an entity receives, the less apt it is to be exposed to market forces.

The less operative market forces are, the more inefficient and hapless the enterprise becomes – entailing yet more bailouts and special advantages. It is soon a vicious circle, a feedback loop of incompetence and even futility.

Has it been planned that way? The Anglosphere power elite that wants to run the world via global government is not apparently interested in stability or efficiency. Its handful of immensely powerful and wealthy leaders are interested mainly in DESTABILIZATION, from what we can tell. Bigness is yet another resource within their tool kit.

The more the West – and the world – is destabilized, the easier it will be, seemingly from their point of view, to impose world government. Starving, homeless, sick, war-weary populations are apt to put up less resistance to a New World Order than healthy, engaged citizens.


In fact, the idea that certain businesses are “too big to fail” is merely an extension of the propagandistic effort that gave us our current catastrophic central banking economy, worldwide. State-monopoly central banking is supposed to be an antidote to economic collapse. But always, the power elite will make arguments that are entirely opposed to the reality it wants to inculcate.

If the elites are arguing that government regulations and government funding will somehow make private enterprise more stable, you can be sure the reverse is true. The modern world is based on this sort of sick propaganda, which constantly informs people of solutions that generate exactly the opposite results from those that are putatively intended.

This kind of propaganda-as-program was unleashed on the West at least a hundred years ago, from what we can tell. In hindsight, it seems increasingly evident that those who campaigned for monopoly central banking (like JP Morgan himself) probably had a hand in the Panic of ’07 that ultimately led to the passage of the Federal Reserve Act 1913. […]




By David Swanson, OpEdNews

When Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced 35 articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush on June 9, 2008, the 35 had been selected from drafts of nearly twice that many articles.


When Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced 35 articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush on June 9, 2008, the 35 had been selected from drafts of nearly twice that many articles.

President Obama has accumulated his own massive list of high crimes and misdemeanors that were unavailable for Bush’s list (thing’s like openly murdering U.S. citizens, launching massive drone wars, selectively and abusively prosecuting numerous whistleblowers as spies, holding Bradley Manning naked in isolation, attacking Libya without so much as bothering to lie to Congress, etc.).

Nonetheless, it is instructive to review the 35 Bush articles in the Obama age.  It quickly becomes apparent that Obama has either exactly duplicated or closely paralleled most of the 35.  […]

READ @ http://www.opednews.com/populum/printer_friendly.php?content=a&id=144958



By Glenn Greenwald, Salon

The ACLU yesterday filed a lawsuit against various agencies of the Obama administration — the Justice and Defense Departments and the CIA — over their refusal to disclose any information about the assassination of American citizens. In October, the ACLU filed a FOIA request demanding disclosure of the most basic information about the CIA’s killing of 3 American citizens in Yemen: Anwar Awlaki and Samir Khan, killed by missiles fired by a U.S. drone in September, and Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman, killed by another drone attack two weeks later.

The ACLU’s FOIA request sought merely to learn the legal and factual basis for these killings — meaning: tell us what legal theories you’ve adopted to secretly target U.S. citizens for execution, and what factual basis did you have to launch these specific strikes? The DOJ and CIA responded not only by refusing to provide any of this information, but refused even to confirm if any of the requested documents exist; in other words, as the ACLU put it yesterday, “these agencies are saying the targeted killing program is so secret that they can’t even acknowledge that it exists.” That refusal is what prompted yesterday’s lawsuit (in December, the New York Times also sued the Obama administration after it failed to produce DOJ legal memoranda “justifying” the assassination program in response to a FOIA request from reporters Charlie Savage and Scott Shane, but the ACLU’s lawsuit seeks disclosure of both the legal and factual bases for these executions).

From a certain perspective, there’s really only one point worth making about all of this: if you think about it, it is warped beyond belief that the ACLU has to sue the U.S. Government in order to force it to disclose its claimed legal and factual bases for assassinating U.S. citizens without charges, trial or due process of any kind. It’s extraordinary enough that the Obama administration is secretly targeting citizens for execution-by-CIA; that they refuse even to account for what they are doing — even to the point of refusing to disclose their legal reasoning as to why they think the President possesses this power — is just mind-boggling. Truly: what more tyrannical power is there than for a government to target its own citizens for death — in total secrecy and with no checks — and then insist on the right to do so without even having to explain its legal and factual rationale for what it is doing? Could you even imagine what the U.S. Government and its media supporters would be saying about any other non-client-state country that asserted and exercised this power? […]

READ @ http://www.salon.com/2012/02/02/aclu_sues_obama_administration_over_assassination_secrecy/singleton/



By David Crary, AP

The renowned breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure faced an escalating backlash Thursday over its decision to cut breast screening grants to Planned Parenthood. Some of Komen’s local affiliates are openly upset, including all seven in California, and at least one top official has quit, reportedly in protest.


A source with direct knowledge of decision-making at Komen’s headquarters in Dallas gave a different account, saying the grant-making criteria were adopted with the deliberate intention of targeting Planned Parenthood. The criteria’s impact on Planned Parenthood and its status as the focus of government investigations were highlighted in a memo distributed to Komen affiliates in December.

According to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of repercussions, a driving force behind the move was Karen Handel, who was hired by Komen last year as vice president for public policy after losing a campaign for governor in Georgia in which she stressed her anti-abortion views and frequently denounced Planned Parenthood. […]

READ @ http://online.wsj.com/article/AP24274f90e0cb423497ed936ca89b2cf0.html



By Adam Serwer and Kate Sheppard, MotherJones

Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which recently announced that it is ending grants to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screening because of a controversial investigation launched by an anti-abortion Republican congressman, currently funds cancer research at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center to the tune of $7.5 million. Like Planned Parenthood, Penn State is currently the subject of a federal government investigation, and like the Planned Parenthood grant, the Penn State grant appears to violate a new internal rule at Komen that bans grants to organizations that are under investigation by federal, state, or local governments. But so far, only the Planned Parenthood grants appear to have been cancelled. […]

READ @ http://motherjones.com/mojo/2012/02/komen-foundation-gave-75-million-grant-penn-state?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Motherjones%2Fmojoblog+%28MotherJones.com+%7C+MoJoBlog%29



By Charles Foerster, Global Research

[…] Early testing was conducted in the fall of 1967 when Dr. Harold Waisman, a biochemist at the University of Wisconsin, led aspartame safety tests on infant monkeys on behalf of the Searle Company. Of the seven monkeys that were being fed aspartame mixed with milk, one died and five others had grand mal seizures. The entire file can be found online @ dorway.com/raoreport.pdf.

On January 21, 1981, the day after Ronald Reagan’s inauguration, Searle re-applied to the FDA for approval to use aspartame in food sweeteners, and Reagan’s new FDA commissioner, Arthur Hayes Hull, Jr., appointed a 5-person Scientific Commission to review the board of inquiry’s decision. It soon became clear that the panel would uphold the ban by a 3-2 decision, but Hull then installed a sixth member on the commission, and the vote became deadlocked. He then personally broke the tie in aspartame’s favor. Hull later left the FDA under allegations of impropriety, served briefly as Provost at New York Medical College, and then took a position with Burston-Marsteller, the chief public relations firm for both Monsanto and G.D. Searle. Since that time he has never spoken publicly about aspartame.

The preceding three paragraphs were reported by the National Institute of Science, Law, and Public Policy, Washington, D.C.

While the components of the additive are well known, the team that pushed the approval process were perhaps not quite as well known. Donald H. Rumsfeld was Chief Executive Officer at G.D. Searle from 1977 to 1985 which was during the aspartame approval process. As a hard-driving business executive at Searle he was awarded the “Outstanding Chief Executive Officer” in 1980 and 1981 for his efforts to reshape the company. He may have helped reshape America too with the help of the FDA and the diet food and drink industry. Cronyism scored a direct hit. […]

READ @ http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29029

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