A Covert Wet Kiss For Wall Street

The Administration’s much ballyhooed ‘financial overhaul plan’ is remarkably timid. And internally self-contradictory.

As noted, for all the posturing, Geithner ran from SEC reform, executive compensation and insurance regulation. Sure, the ‘systemic risk’ approach touches large ‘too big to fail’ entities and requires registration by venture capital firms, private equity and hedge funds — although none of the latter are involved in our crisis. The hedge fund inclusion is a memory spasm from Long Term Capital. VCs and LBO firms are just camouflage to cover the inclusion of hedge funds.

A new regulatory regime is a political necessity, of course, if nothing more. Truth be told, many of the existing regulations and regulators and congressional oversight mandarins failed or were bought off. A new system will rise or fall on the same human failings.

What makes the Stiftung wonder if Geithner isn’t just throwing a deliberate air ball is credit default instruments almost routinely include a change of control clause as boilerplate. The credit default swap market is about $86 trillion. Is Geithner suggesting that federal seizure is a viability with cascading automatic defaults? We’ve yet to study the whole document in depth but so far call us underwhelmed.

Starting out with luke warm oat meal before negotiations is a sign of things to come. No wonder Wall Street is happy.

Oh, Newt, Newt.

GINGRICH: We are seeing the biggest power grab by politicians in American history. The idea that they would propose that the treasury could intervene and take over non-bank, non-financial system assets gives them the potential to basically create the equivalent of a dictatorship. […] Look, it absolutely moves it towards a political dictatorship.


  1. Anon says

    We think Webb deserves kudos for critiquing out criminal justice system – which has become disgusting.

    We think it’s a disgrace that drug adddits and mentally ill people are jail –

    But we would start to change the drug laws by starting a two tier system -jail sentences should only be for user of drugs whose origins can be traced to conflict zones. So it would be clear that the punishment is for feeding conflict abroad – And treatment would be for the actual drug use.
    In other words – a tariff on imports. This would incrementally change attitudes in a variety of ways.
    This, by indirection, would help illustrate the issue –

  2. Anon says

    Modo will end up talking to her pictures of Jack, Boibby, Teddy, Eunice, and “Kick” on the walls of her townhouse a la Nixon. Gradually she will resemble Mrs Havasham

  3. Dr Leo Strauss says


    Whatever will MoDo do when the Times goes under and Imus off the air?

    As for Sachs, we were there in Europe, Eastern Europe and Russia on the ground when Sachs manipulated the situations for his fame, fees and kindergarten-level ‘advice’ leading to catastrophe (for which he refuses to admit any responsibility for). It’s a shame he’s right about Nocera’s blanishments because he discredits almost all he touches. A right good Beckham-esque shot to the plumbing on American Idol would start a healing process. But only start.

    re Hitch, it’s a good thing he is a Man of Action, after all. Although one can think of three dozen or so people off the bat who would have paid to have his incident arranged (and privately enjoyed on home HD video).

    The Stiftung likes to pretend to an evolved sensibility but we confess to lapsing into ‘Looksism’ now and then, and VF covers are not an infrequent reason. Pity about the contents, though.

  4. Anon says

    Poor Larry Wilkerson spent so much time learning marginally meaningful government org diagram boxes that he is truly dependent on seeing the world thru that limited prisim. We just heard an interview with him w/ Scott Horton and it’s sad because he sounds like someone in Plato’s proverbial cave, neocon ironies aside, trying to see reality but is still trapped – After making substantial charges of obvious war crimes he then seems to walk back and defend bits and pieces then he rushes into a bizarre – seemingly hypnotic – recitation about the need to shift this or that under-secretary to a full under-secretary so Africa or some othet place does not fall apart.

  5. Anon says

    Meanwhile MoDo makes Sean Hannity sound like an intellectual:

    DOWD (3/29/09): When I was little, growing up in a house that prominently displayed a blue-eyed Jesus and a blue-eyed J.F.K., I felt my brown eyes were far less attractive than my brothers’ blue ones.

    I obsessed on it so much, cutting out a picture of a beautiful brown-eyed model and keeping it in my scrapbook, that my mother finally reassured me:

    “You look at blue eyes. You look into brown eyes.”

    Later, of course, there would be the thrill of Van Morrison serenading a “Brown-Eyed Girl.”

    Before Barack Obama, when I interviewed the brown-eyed sons of immigrants who were thinking of running for president, Mario Cuomo and Colin Powell, they seemed torn about taking the big plunge, given how far they had come in relation to their dads.

    I asked Governor Cuomo if he was leaving the field to “the privileged- blue-eyed WASPs” like Bush senior and Dan Quayle who felt entitled and never worried about their worthiness.

    — Bonus lie – she obviously never asked Cuomo such a stupid and disrespectful question

  6. Anon says

    D Morris: This whole Spaniard judge thing is just a nightmare for Obama — not just because it links him to a European socialists at a time when he trying to shake that label, albeit unconvincingly ..

    BillO: Will he do the right thing? Man up and be a patriot?

    D Morris: If his left flank lets him (laughs).. Speaking of flanks, Hillary is …

  7. Anon says

    Sample FNC : Euro-Spaniard socialist worker party activists seeks to jail American terror fighters.

  8. DrLeoStrauss says

    The Spaniards aren’t so hot with the whole extradition thing. One wonders how the ‘Fox Nation’ will handle this — they haven’t been meme prepped like the ‘Freedom Fries’ gig. Maybe they will mistakenly just fire their house help as a gesture . . .

  9. Anon says

    Kissinger has been worried/warning re Garzon for quite some time – Party’s over, the international war crimes nannies are coming,

  10. Anon says

    “All of our trading is human directed … Since our profits come from our own trading, we don’t need to charge our customers for our services. But we need their orders … Specialists on the floor of the Big Board charge brokers nearly two cents a share to hold limit orders, whereas we charge nothing to hold limit orders. Wall Street’s biggest firms pay floor brokerage fees to trade on the NYSE. We don’t charge customers a penny, in fact, we actually pay brokers to trade with us. We can do that because our profits come from trading the order. The more order flow we get the more potential trading profits we have. Business really went up after the 1987 stock crash when brokers needed the extra penny a share we were offering them and appreciated the efficiencies of our system.”
    -Bernard Madoff (Electronic Trading)
    Rebuilding Wall St (ed Mark Fadiman)1992

  11. Anon says

    “My mainframe-based computer sytem is what makes our business possible, and it cost millions to build – and millions to maintain. My brother Peter oversaw the complete programming of the software and network integration … Ninety percent of our business is done with firms trading on the client’s behalf. And 90 percent of our business is handled internally … We’ll always have competition, but we keep evolving. Right now, we’re doing very well …”
    -Bernard Madoff (Electronic Trading)
    Rebuilding Wall St. (ed Mark Fadiman) 1992

  12. Dr Leo Strauss says

    That Bill Hadar (sp?) wasn’t shabby in Superbad and Tropic Thunder. He’d be wise to move on. SNL is a show for Cokie Roberts, Wolf et al. and should be put down. Even Anderson Cooper looks embarrassed when CNN runs clips of SNL’s ‘rapier’ wit.

  13. Anon says

    On second thought – SNL should just shy away from politics for a while – They need a new set of actors who are more up on politics and less just facile entertainment-liberals.

  14. Anon says

    Aldershot – SNL is sort of hobbled without Palin around on the national scene – They have not been able to figure out how to attack Obama, but you hit on the best way – Mock Obama for trying to avoid the whole Bush mess, legally speaking. Too much of the Dem establishment and the Fred Hiatt media liberals are compromised and they all just want the whole thing to go away. But SNL is
    limited too – they receive Tarp money indirectly as part of the GE family. They dare not speak too much truth.

  15. Anon says

    “Let’s start with a premise that I don’t think a lot of Americans are aware of. We have 5% of the world’s population; we have 25% of the world’s known prison population. We have an incarceration rate in the United States, the world’s greatest democracy, that is five times as high as the average incarceration rate of the rest of the world. There are only two possibilities here: either we have the most evil people on earth living in the United States; or we are doing something dramatically wrong in terms of how we approach the issue of criminal justice. . . .”
    Sen. Jim Webb

  16. Aldershot says

    “Obama: We must keep hope alive for international law. Give the Europeans Ari Fleisher. And pardon the rest. Announce it over Twitter Friday afternoon. Get Axlerod to start a Free Ari web thing to attack me from the Right. And make sure I’m booked on Ellen.

    Now, if you don’t mind, my 4:00 PM with Beyonce is about to start. Gibbs, Politico gets the whole Administration in turmoil and I fought for Fleisher’s indictment almost alone line before the Sunday shows.”

    Excellent, I can just see it…that would be a hilarious way for SNL to take his character.

  17. Dr Leo Strauss says

    Biden: Ya gotta do it, ya gotta give ’em the pardons . . . it stinks but there’s no two ways around it.

    HRC: Pardon my ass! All those f***ers should go down!

    Obama: We must keep hope alive for international law. Give the Europeans Ari Fleisher. And pardon the rest. Announce it over Twitter Friday afternoon. Get Axlerod to start a Free Ari web thing to attack me from the Right. And make sure I’m booked on Ellen.

    Now, if you don’t mind, my 4:00 PM with Beyonce is about to start. Gibbs, Politico gets the whole Administration in turmoil and I fought for Fleisher’s indictment almost alone line before the Sunday shows.


    Biden: By God, he did it! Wow, real guts!

    HRC: (under breath) Pussy . . .

  18. Anon says

    “This is the first case in the United States to charge an individual with criminal torture. I hope this case will serve as a model to future prosecutions of this type.”
    ~AG Michael B. Mukasey
    (Speaking about charging
    a Liberian leader for crimes
    committed against Liberians
    in Liberia. European prosecutors
    take note, Mr. Cheney et al)

  19. Anon says

    Deborah Soloman: What’s your I.Q.?

    Donald Trump: Very high.
    They don’t get any higher.

    Deborah Soloman: Anything else you want to add?

    Donald Trump: You should make this interview a five-page deal. Because of me, everybody will read it.

    NY Times
    March 25 2009

  20. Anon says

    Leo, in Anon’s archives we just came accross “The Super Spies: The inside story of NSA, America’s biggest, most secret, most powerful spay agency” by Andrew Tully.

    It’s a 1970 paperback – we have to give Bamford credit for managing to brand himself as the first person to write about No Such Agency. But apparently he was not.

    We have not yet read this Tully book – are you familiar with it?

    • Dr Leo Strauss says

      Not familiar with Tully’s work – must be dated but sounds interesting as a snap shot in time.

  21. Anon says

    We worry about Obama and Afganistan – Hearing Holbrooke and Reidel on TV talking about sending agronomists and (astrologers?) and other ‘experts’ sounded a bit early 60s — We’re waiting for Holbrooke (while wearing a thin tie) to slip and refer to Karzai as Diem and discussing the latest dispatch from Alden Pyle in Kabool.

  22. Dr Leo Strauss says

    Hayes like everyone else is white washed of the past. All that matters is he give ‘good tv’ and have some hat to hang on to, like ‘Washington Editor, http://www.uselesshacks.com. In a way one could well ask why should he pay any consequences as no one else really has. Even Judy Miller is cited and accepted in polite company.

    Rachel Maddow is such a grating, naive twit. She claims Obama’s Afghanistan is different because Obama is sending ‘trainers’ not combat troops.

    We get what we deserve.

  23. Anon says

    Independent of the merits – pro or con – It seems we were basically on point that the CW on Geithner shifted – NewsHour’s Mark Sheilds and WW in Review seemed to be validating a getting of a grove back.

    This interests only in that it shows how pack mentality is the ruling ethos of the so-called sophesticated policy types. The thoughtful rabblement that consitutes the opinion class is , ironically, more fickle than than the heaving sweaty masses.

    Btw, Stephen Hayes is now calling for a more transparent Executive branch.

  24. says

    Meanwhile, Bill O’Reilly is calling people “insects” on his TV show. Surely there’s a black reporter who can do a French accent and ask him for an interview for Radio Mille Collines? I’d pay cash money to see that.

  25. Anon says

    Newt says they are taking over “non-bank, non financial system assets.”

    But is it the opposite? Isn’t the idea that they can take over non-bank financial assets – ie bank equivalents that have escaped ordinary oversight so far?

    Maybe we are wrong, but Newt seems to be intentionally confusing/conflating so as to kick start a “then they will seize our guns” kinda meme on the right.

    This seems to be a tactic with diminishing returns, politically – Newt will just have to walk back some time down the road like when he recently kissed Al Gore’s ass after mocking the very concept of global warming a few months earlier.

    Leo, are we right? Is Newt “frankly” mistating a key element?

    If so – we think this will also alienate Newt from the soon to be bought off elements of the business/financial community.

    Newt’s little game of doing stuff like praising FDR on some macro scale, while trying to gut FDR on a micro scale, has lost its cleverness.

  26. Aldershot says

    Matt Taibbi is royally pissed. In an article of amazing information, this takes the cake:

    “None other than disgraced senator Ted Stevens was the poor sap who made the unpleasant discovery that if Congress didn’t like the Fed handing trillions of dollars to banks without any oversight, Congress could apparently go fuck itself — or so said the law. When Stevens asked the GAO about what authority Congress has to monitor the Fed, he got back a letter citing an obscure statute that nobody had ever heard of before: the Accounting and Auditing Act of 1950. The relevant section, 31 USC 714(b), dictated that congressional audits of the Federal Reserve may not include “deliberations, decisions and actions on monetary policy matters.” The exemption, as Foss notes, “basically includes everything.” According to the law, in other words, the Fed simply cannot be audited by Congress. Or by anyone else, for that matter.”


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