Voters should #NeverForget915, and they should never believe people like Scott J. Freidheim

Republican politicians have been selling the lies of trickle down economics and deregulation on behalf of their Big Money and Wall Street masters for decades.

Now the very people at the heart of the financial market collapse of 10 years ago – people like Scott J. Freidheim – are trying to explain how it could have been avoided by making their lives easier.

Anyone paying even the slightest attention to economic reality since Reagan and certainly in the years leading up to the collapse of 2007/8 will know better.

NeverForget915

Everything old is new again

As someone who just made it under the wire of Baby Boomer, I’ve watched for decades as low information conservative voters have been able to be counted on by generations of Republican politicians as people who are very easily duped into buying Republican lies.

These days I find myself asking whether Americans who think of themselves as Republicans and who vote for Republican politicians have either the will or the desire to ever actually understand how voting for a Republican at any level of government – from school board to town mayor to president – is truly a vote for a Party with an ideology designed explicitly to hurt them, their progeny, and everyone else outside the One Percent?

Republican orthodoxy on full display

The answer seems to be that some Americans continue to be willingly duped by people like Scott J. Freidheim.

Lehman insider Scott Freidheim

In “The Lehman Brothers Collapse, 10 Years Later,” full-blown One Percenter and former senior Lehman executive, Scott Freidheim, is peddling the right-wing lie that says everything is the government’s fault if the government doesn’t do what Big Money wants.

In other words, pure Republican orthodoxy.

Mr. Freidheim has the temerity to claim that Lehman’s collapse was the government’s fault for not allowing Lehman to reorganize in ways that would have given them better federal protections.

Think about that as you then consider this.

In what I suspect was an unintended and fleeting moment of honesty, he admits in the interview that his industry didn’t “take it far enough” in evaluating the risks they had created for themselves and for the world economy.

So, which is it?

Too much regulation or too little?

By his own admission, Wall Street paid too little attention to risk. Why? Was it because they expected to be bailed out, thereby continuing to socialize all the risk while privatizing all the gains?

And, when the help didn’t come to him and Lehman Brothers?

Freidheim wants us to agree with him and blame Lehman’s collapse on the federal government.

Seriously, and on behalf of all Americans outside the 1/10th of 1% where you live, Mr. Freidheim, fuck you and all of your fellow Wall Streeters.

You all belong in jail.

Republican voters; stop ignoring reality

Voters across the spectrum who are outside the One Percent – but especially Republican voters – need to stop and understand what Freidheim and people like him are saying.

You Republican voters more than anyone need to understand what Republicans, bankers, ALEC, and all the Big Money power brokers are doing to this country because YOU’RE THE ONES VOTING FOR politicians who want LESS regulation of greedy, power-hungry, and soulless people like Dick Fuld, James “Jimmy” Cayne, Jamie Dimon, and now lesser-known cretins like Scott Freidheim.

You Republican voters more than anyone need to understand why Freidheim and his ilk want LESS REGULATION. Less regulation means they have more opportunities to take unwarranted risks knowing that they will keep all of their gains and that we’ll have to bail them out on their losses as the only way to “save the financial services industry” when next their greed and stupidity causes the next collapse thanks to people like Freidheim and his kind.

And most of all, you Republican voters more than anyone need to understand that you are not at all even a part of the concern of Republican politicians.

And, that absolutely includes the current leader of what is now the cult that is the Trumpublican Party.

Trump is not a Republican, neither are you, and none of them give a shit about you

Here’s a prime example of how Republicans hurt everyone.

Thanks to you Republican voters, The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (S.2155) was signed into law by Trump. It de-fangs what was already not a strong enough post-collapse attempt to rein in the banks, Dodd-Frank.

As someone duped into believing you’re a Republican, you apparently bought the lie that undoing Dodd-Frank was a good move.

You were wrong. Again.

You Americans who think you’re a Republican were wrong in the 2016 election for believing you were voting for someone in Trump who was going to work for you and not the bankers. Honestly, you Republican voters should be ashamed of yourselves for being so gullible.

Not to worry, though.

November 2018 is your next chance to prove you aren’t the useful idiots of Republican politicians and Wall Streeters you act like by voting for them. All you have to do is to stop being your own worst enemy, and stop voting for the Party who has fucked you over your whole life.

Lefties, you’re responsible, too.

As for you self-proclaimed liberals and progressives who can’t seem to hate enough on the so-called “corporate” and “Wall Street” Democratic Party; here’s my advice to you.

Grow the fuck up.

You need to stop acting like some perverse combination of spoiled brat, self-righteous egomaniac, and puritanical zealot, and understand the difference between imperfect allies and actual enemies.

Yes, Democrats are imperfect. So are you.

Yes, some purple state Democrats in the House and Senate “disappointed” you again by voting for S.2155.

But understand this:

One, just ONE House Republican, voted against the bill.

Not a single Republican Senator cast a No vote. Not. One.

So, to my fellow social democrats, liberals, progressives, and everyone else on the left who is self-righteously banging your fists or holding your breath or acting like whatever spoiled and privileged lefty that you want to be, stop that shit right now.

Pull your heads out of your asses, and support any and every Democrat on every ballot.

Most of all, act like an informed and intelligent citizen, and vote in November for whomever has the ‘D’ next to their name…….unless, of course, you’re happy helping Republicans to keep control of local, state, and federal government.

No, Democrats aren’t perfect, but this is where you need to grow up. What they aren’t are Republicans.

If that’s not enough for you……I’m tempted to suggest an impossible solo sex act, but instead, know this.

You are looked at now and you will be considered by history when it’s written as just as much the source of our social, political, and economic problems as the duped 99-percenters who are voting for Republicans because you refuse to do what is required to end Republican rule.

 

Whale-Sized Gambles, Lies, and Empty Apologies

Wall Street is the apex of legal gambling. It always has been.

It’s not called gambling, of course, but we should understand that that’s precisely what it is.

Perhaps the question for those of us living in a free market economy ruled by this astronomically lucrative gambling is, “Should we trust the gamblers to do anything except what benefits them the most?”

The answer seems clear to me. We cannot.

Gretchen Morgenson of the New York Times has hit the nail squarely yet again in The Problem With Wiggle Room in Securities.

“…the case against Javier Martin-Artajo and Julien Grout, two of the bank’s traders, has larger lessons for investors and regulators. One has to do with the risks inherent in opaque, over-the-counter markets, where securities’ prices can’t be seen and so can be easily manipulated. Another involves the fairly significant leeway that financial firms have in valuing the securities they trade and hold.”

Personally, I have a hard time feeling any empathy with or sympathy for either the speculative bankers or their large clients. If two parties agree to place bets on something, I’m ok with that. And while I have only contempt for people who obfuscate the truth in “the real world”, I’ve played enough poker to know before the cards are dealt that that’s part of the game.

But, we’re not playing poker here. The gambling on Wall Street affects all of us, especially when loses mount. It just seems that Wall Street continues to prove that they cannot be trusted, and our elected leaders seem to refuse to fight them on our behalf. 

It’s stunning to realize the bankers’ defense in the London Whale case actually seems to be that they lied within the law. Officials at JP Morgan Chase – including Jamie Dimon – are apologetic and say, “…the bank has significantly ratcheted up its risk management.”

Does anyone else feel like the only reason this case is even being brought against these traders is because of who got hurt? Does it seem like it’s only when the rich and powerful get taken advantage of that it’s a sufficient enough crisis and scandal that people like Bernie Madoff get prosecuted and go to jail? Can anyone name another tycoon of Wall Street behind bars? (Hint: His name is among the tags on this post.)

For their part, JP Morgan “…and its executives have been deeply embarrassed by the trading fiasco and the internal failures of judgment it exposed. They have learned their lesson, they say.”

So, we’re to accept their apology and their proposed solution to basically go on trusting them to police themselves?

FILE-In this June 13, 2012, file photo,  JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, head of the largest bank in the United States, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, before the Senate Banking Committee about how his company recently lost more than $2 billion on risky trades. Morgan Stanley, the storied investment bank, reported Thursday, July 19, 2012, that its revenue was down sharply for April through June and its profit missed Wall Street expectations. The report capped a dismal season for the banking industry. This spring was marked by choppy financial markets, concern across the global economy, awkward adjustments to new regulations and one scandal after another.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File )
FILE-In this June 13, 2012, file photo, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, head of the largest bank in the United States, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, before the Senate Banking Committee about how his company recently lost more than $2 billion on risky trades. Morgan Stanley, the storied investment bank, reported Thursday, July 19, 2012, that its revenue was down sharply for April through June and its profit missed Wall Street expectations. The report capped a dismal season for the banking industry. This spring was marked by choppy financial markets, concern across the global economy, awkward adjustments to new regulations and one scandal after another. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File )

With all due respect, Mr. Dimon, I think you know what you can do with your apology. That goes for the rest of Wall Street, too.

People like Mr. Dimon and those operating in and controlling the financial services industry are out of control. They are maddeningly under-regulated, and we’re going to keep paying for their losses until radical and severe regulatory pressure is put on them and their industry. And, until more of them are investigated, prosecuted, stripped of their wealth, and sent to prison for a long, long, long time, nothing is likely to change all that much. (Let’s be real. It’s the wealth-stripping that will serve to really change their behavior.)

If all of this were only about bankers and their rich clients losing money, I dare say most of us wouldn’t take much notice. There’s a reason they’re referred to as the 1%.

The problem is that their bad bets get paid off with things like federal bailouts and tax policies that favor the wealthy and which serve to perpetrate the lie that is trickle-down economics. What’s needed is much stronger leadership in Washington; leadership who will actually stand up for us and against those on Wall Street who would privatize all the gains and socialize all the loses.

The way to do that starts with reforming how campaigns are financed. We need to stop the flood of big and dark money coming from the uber-wealthy and Wall Street. Our elected leaders are beholden to that money, and we have to change how they get elected if we want to change how they represent us.

How can we do this?

http://anticorruptionact.org/
http://anticorruptionact.org/

First, take 30 seconds to become a citizen co-sponsor of the American Anti-Corruption Act. You can get more details and sign on here.

 

 

 

 

Second, make your voice heard by your elected officials. Tell them you want to know what they’re going to do about Citizens United. Do that by joining and supporting Coffee Party USA and their 535 Campaign for fixing Citizens United here.

Coffee Party
http://www.coffeepartyusa.com/ask_your_representative_to_be_a_leader

“Bankers Are Balking at a Proposed Rule on Capital” Gretchen Morgenson – The New York Times

See on Scoop.itDidYouCheckFirst

“Over the next two months, the regulators proposing this rule will no doubt encounter a lobbying buzz saw. Mr. Hoenig (vice chairman of the F.D.I.C.) said he and his colleagues were bracing for that. Bankers, after all, prefer things just the way they are. They can load up on leverage to take risks and reap the rewards. But when losses abound? Well, they’re the taxpayers’ problem.” – Gretchen Morgenson, assistant business and financial editor and a columnist at the New York Times.

Greg Russak‘s insight:

Letting banks regulate themselves with what is called ‘risk-weighting’ didn’t work out so well in the past.

“This so-called risk-weighting approach was an abject failure. For example, the assumptions characterized the sovereign debt of Greece as risk-free, requiring that banks set aside no capital against those holdings for possible losses. The risk-weight system also determined, incorrectly, that highly rated mortgage securities fell low on the risk scale.”

Why shouldn’t banks be regulated up to their eye-balls? How can we think bankers can be trusted now?

Either they are horrible at analyzing risk and need lots and lots of oversight or, more likely, they know that in an under-regulated environment they can privatize any gains and socialize all their losses back to us through future federal bailouts.

See http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/14/business/bankers-are-balking-at-a-proposed-rule-on-capital.html?ref=gretchenmorgenson&_r=0