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Politics

Submission + - the economic meltdown (fcic.gov)

astar writes: You might have noticed that, starting in 2007, we chose to spend double-digits of trillions USD on bailouts. This became big news in 2008. So Congress types eventually authorized the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. Its dead tree report is on some major best seller lists.. and it is also freely available on a gov web site:

http://www.fcic.gov/

As a result, some people are quite unhappy.

I like to call the commission the Angelidis Commission, thinking of the Pecora commission. For those who do not know the reference, in the last depression, Pecora led the charge that put enough Wall Street type in jail to break opposition to getting real constraints implemented on speculation. A key element therein was Glass-Steagall (two versions). We got rid of this law completely in 1999. Bad move, IMO.

Enjoy.

Politics

Submission + - IPCC lies again.

astar writes: "Funneled through the WWF yet again, the IPCC picked up a claim that just a little bit of climate change would take out 40% of the amazon rain forest. I recall seeing this claim picked up in what the bloggers call the MSM. So now the arguments leading to this look a little flakey. "totally wrong". I recall that the IPCC rejected what is called "grey literature", like government reports. But did they consider WWF stuff grey?"
Politics

Submission + - Volker vs Obama

astar writes: "October 23,
2009 (LPAC)—At least two US publications have given big play in recent
days, both to the efforts of Paul Volcker to reintroduce Glass-Steagall
criteria and to the rejection thus far of that policy by the Obama
administration, dominated by Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner. On Oct. 20,
the New York Times ran an article entitled "Volcker Fails to Sell a Bank
Strategy," in which it reports that "He wants the nation's banks to be
prohibited from owning and trading risky securities, the very practice that
got the biggest ones into deep trouble in 2008. And the administration is
saying no, it will not separate commercial banking from investment
operations."

The Times continues: "Mr. Obama has in Mr. Volcker an adviser perceived as
standing apart from Wall Street, and critical of its ways, ... while Timothy
F. Geithner, the Treasury secretary, and Lawrence H. Summers, chief of the
National Economic Council, are seen, rightly or wrongly, as more sympathetic
to the concerns of investment bankers."

Volcker is quoted: "The banks are there to serve the public and that is
what they should concentrate on. These other activities create conflicts of
interest. They create risks, and if you try to control the risks with
supervision, that just creates friction and difficulties" and ultimately
fails.

The article then reports that in Volcker's view the only viable solution
is to break up the giants. Goldman Sachs could no longer be a bank holding
company. To achieve this, Congress would have to enact a modern-day version
of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act.

Volcker says: "People say I'm old-fashioned and banks can no longer be
separated from non-bank activity. That argument brought us to where we are
today."

The other article, which appeared on October 21 in the Huffington Post,
is entitled: "Obama Administration Determined to Usher in New Great
Depression." In response to the NYT's piece, she makes the point that Obama
seems determined to continue the New Deal reversal. She also challenges the
NYT's statement that Geithner and Summers are seen "rightly or wrongly" as in
the pocket of Wall Street. As she puts it: "No need to step on any toes,
right, Larry? As if the man who accepted payments for speaking appearances
from financial institutions including JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Goldman
Sachs, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch (with fees ranging from $45,000 for
a Nov. 12 Merrill Lynch appearance to $135,000 for an April 16 visit to
Goldman Sachs) is going to lead the charge to regulate the banking industry."

She concludes: "Summers and Geithner's various connections to the banking
industry have been well documented, but what's outrageous is that they are
now shooting down Paul Volcker's correct assessment that only a new
Glass-Steagall will prevent future economic catastrophe.""

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