Jamie Dimon And The Fall Of Nations

By Simon Johnson

Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty,” by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson, is a brilliant and sometimes breathtaking survey of country-level governance over history and around the world. Professors Acemoglu and Robinson discern a simple pattern – when elites are held in check, typically by effective legal mechanisms, everyone else in society does much better and sustained economic growth becomes possible. But powerful people – kings, barons, industrialists, bankers – work long and hard to relax the constraints on their actions. And when they succeed, the effects are not just redistribution toward themselves but also an undermining of economic growth and often a tearing at the fabric of society. (I’ve worked with the authors on related issues, but I was not involved in writing the book.)

The historical evidence is overwhelming. Many societies have done well for a while – until powerful people get out of hand. This is an easy pattern to see at a distance and in other cultures. It is typically much harder to recognize when your own society now has an elite less subject to effective constraints and more able to exert power in an abusive fashion. And given the long history of strong institutions in the United States, it appears particularly difficult for some people to acknowledge that we have serious governance issues that need to be addressed.

The governance issue of the season is Jamie Dimon’s seat on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Mr. Dimon is the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, currently the largest bank in the United States. This bank is “too big to fail” – meaning that if it were to get into difficulties, substantial financial support would be provided by the Federal Reserve System (and perhaps other parts of government) to prevent it from collapsing.

I am well aware of the moves afoot to carry out the intent of the Dodd-Frank reform legislation and to make it possible for such banks to fail, with consequent losses for their creditors. In my assessment, we are still a long way from putting in place the necessary resolution mechanisms and backing them up with sufficient political will.

If Greece were to default tomorrow – a hypothetical scenario, although I am worried about the current European trajectory – and this had devastating effects on the European and thus the United States financial system, would JPMorgan Chase be allowed to go bankrupt in same fashion as Lehman Brothers? It would not.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York would be a key player in the decision in how to provide support and on what basis to huge financial institutions in distress – although the final determination would presumably rest with the Board of Governors in Washington.

In the Acemoglu and Robinson tour de force, I find one of the greatest elite wealth-making (for themselves) strategies of all time to be underemphasized. Persuade the government to let you build a big bank; take a great deal of risk in that bank (particularly by increasing leverage, i.e., debt relative to equity); pay yourself based on the return on equity, unadjusted for risk; get cash payouts while times are good; and when events turn against you, the central bank can bail you out – and keep you in place because you are regarded as indispensable. This is the history of modern America.

We had strong institutions for a long time in this country – including effective checks on the power of bankers. Many people remember that history and still hold its image in their mind’s eye as they look at modern Wall Street. It’s time to wake up. In recent decades we abandoned the governance mechanisms that previously served us well. Global megabanks have obtained excessive and inappropriate power – the power to take a great deal of risk, with cash for their executives on the upside and huge damage for the rest of us on the downside.

Since I wrote about this issue here last week, a great deal of support has been expressed for the recommendation that Jamie Dimon should step down from the board of the New York Fed – including by over 32,000 people who signed the petition I drafted. (The petition is addressed to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, as only they have the power to remove a director of a Federal Reserve Bank. I have requested an appointment with a governor on Monday, in order to deliver this petition and discuss the substantive issues; a relevant Fed staff member is currently checking availability. I hope to write about that meeting here next week.)  (Update: no Fed governor is apparently available next week; we are looking for future dates.)

The pressure on Mr. Dimon is increasing with a steady flow of news articles concerning the care with which risk has been managed at his bank – including the suggestion that the board’s risk committee lacks sufficient experience to understand or monitor the complexity of JPMorgan’s operations. (See also the coverage from Forbes and CBS MoneyWatch.)

We need an independent inquiry into how exactly JPMorgan lost so much money so quickly on its London trading operations – which supposedly were just “hedging.” It would also be helpful to know how Jamie Dimon, widely regarded as a good risk manager, did not know what was happening in London until Bloomberg News brought it to his attention – and why even then he denied there was a serious issue. Is this is a systematic breakdown in management and risk control systems? What exactly went wrong with the relevant models? What can we learn that would help improve the safety of the financial system? Have the largest banks grown too big and too complex to be managed safely?

More broadly, how can we rely on the Federal Reserve to oversee and constrain the actions of Mr. Dimon while he continues to sit on the board of the New York Fed – with the job of overseeing and potentially constraining the actions of that organization?

Esther George, president of the Kansas City Fed, made a strong statement at the end of last week, emphasizing that all Federal Reserve Bank board members have a responsibility to uphold the integrity and perceived legitimacy of the Federal Reserve System. She ended with a powerful line that cuts to center of the current debate: “No individual is more important than the institution and the public’s trust.”

Those who would still prefer to keep Mr. Dimon in his current position rely on some combination of three counterarguments.

First, one line is that Mr. Dimon is elected to “represent the banks,” so he is just doing his job when he argues his corner – for example, against financial sector reform. Ernest Patrikis, former general counsel of the New York Federal Reserve, takes exactly this position; I quoted him in my column last week.

As a factual matter, any such statement defining Mr. Dimon’s responsibility as a board member at the New York Fed is inaccurate. Here are two passages from the first paragraph of the Guide to Conduct from the Board of Governors’ Web site:

“Directors of Federal Reserve Banks and branches have a special obligation for maintaining the integrity, dignity, and reputation of the Federal Reserve System.”

“To ensure the proper performance of System business and the maintenance of public confidence in the System, it is essential that directors, through adherence to high ethical standards of conduct, avoid actions that might impair the effectiveness of System operations or in any way tend to discredit the System.”

Ms. George made this point clearly and effectively in her press release last week. All board members have a responsibility – first and foremost – to the Federal Reserve System. If they have a problem with that, they should avoid serving or step down when appropriate.

For example, Jeffrey R. Immelt – chief executive of General Electric – stepped down from the New York Fed board in April 2011 when it became clear that GE Capital would be regulated by the Fed as a systemically important financial institution (and as a thrift). That was an entirely appropriate decision, removing any perception of a potential conflict of interest.

The second line – including from Mr. Dimon himself – is that at the New York Fed he plays “an advisory role.”

Again, this is not factually accurate. Here is some relevant text from the Guide to Conduct:

“In their capacity as directors, these individuals are charged by law with the responsibility of supervising and controlling the operations of the Reserve Banks, under the general supervision of the Board of Governors, and for ensuring that the affairs of the Banks are administered fairly and impartially.”

Plenty of governmental or quasi-governmental bodies have advisory groups. I’m on two – for the Congressional Budget Office (for economic forecasts) and for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (for the resolution or liquidation of systemically important financial institutions). Advisory groups do not oversee budgets and are not involved in personnel decisions.

I have no problem with the Federal Reserve – or anyone else in government – seeking and receiving input on local economic conditions. But that is no reason for a “too big to fail” banker or any other excessively powerful special interest to be on the board of the New York Fed.

The board of the New York Fed is not “advisory.” If Mr. Dimon really thinks that, he needs another orientation session with New York Fed officials. Or he could read the Federal Reserve Act.

The third position acknowledges that governance at the regional Feds is an anachronism, but argues that Mr. Dimon has done nothing wrong and that these boards can be fixed only by legislative action (see this editorial in The Financial Times on Wednesday, for example).

To be clear, I am not accusing Mr. Dimon or anyone else of any wrongdoing. I am calling for an independent inquiry into the JPMorgan losses – along the lines that my M.I.T. colleague Andrew Lo has suggested for all serious financial “accidents.”

I am also agreeing with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner who, when asked about Mr. Dimon’s role at the New York Fed, told the PBS NewsHour:

“It is very important, particularly given the damage caused by the crisis, that our system of oversight and safeguards and the enforcement authorities have not just the resources they need, but they are perceived to be above any political influence and have the independence and the ability to make sure these reforms are tough and effective so we protect the American people, again, from a crisis like this.”

Legislative action to further adjust the governance of the New York Fed will not happen this year and is not likely in the near future. Frankly, saying in this context “we’ll wait for Congress” is the functional equivalent of saying, “let’s not fix it.”

Undermining the “integrity, dignity, and reputation of the Federal Reserve System” in current fashion poses grave risks. A powerful elite has risen with control over global megabanks – and the ability to mismanage their way into disaster, with huge negative implications for the broader economy.

We should be strengthening the power of the New York Fed and other institutions to constrain reckless risk-taking. Instead, we are standing idly by while our “extractive elite” (to use a great term from Professors Acemoglu and Robinson) enrich themselves and endanger the rest of us.

If you want to see where we are heading, on our current course, read “Why Nations Fail.”

A version of this post appeared this morning on the NYT.com’s Economix blog; it is used here with permission.  If you would like to reproduce the entire blog post, please contact the New York Times.

128 responses to “Jamie Dimon And The Fall Of Nations

  1. markets.aurelius

    Excellent, Simon.

    There’s apparently a breakdown within JPM, as Bloomberg reported yesterday:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2012-05-30/jpmorgan-cio-swaps-pricing-said-to-differ-from-investment-bank.html

    The article states there was a difference in the marks used by the desk taking the risk and the bank’s big model.

    If true, there’s a huge problem at JPM: Either there was negligence, and the bank itself allowed a situation to develop in which it truly was not aware of the difference in marks; or, there was deliberate mis-marking of the book on the desk taking the risk to either obscure losses or inflate bonuses.

    Either way, JPM cannot come out of this anything other than badly wounded. If the best-managed firm on the Street (in terms of its supposed risk-management capabilities) can so easily fall into this trap, and that it can endure for such a long time …, well … it boggles the mind to think what is going on in the other megabanks — here (C, BAC, MS, GS, in particular) and offshore (euroland — notorious for its poor risk-management practices — and Asia, not particularly well regarded in its risk-management prowess).

    Years back (like 2 years ago) the possibility that the derivatives books at these banks were spinning out of control and morphing into collections of fissile material that could go critical was an interesting theoretical possibility to consider. The mathematics of random behavior upon which modern physics and finance are built suggests such a possibility is non-trivial.

    Well, it is no longer a theoretical abstraction: We have arrived at the point of criticality. We have reached our Trinity moment. We do not, alas, have a Robert Oppenheimer among us to see clearly that we have arrived at our destination. To our great dispair:

    Oh, did I forget to mention MS wants to move a “large chunk” of its $52 TRILLION derivatives portfolio over to its FDIC-insured “bank” sub, you know, the part regulated by the Fed + FDIC. Apparently, the FDIC is holding things up while it reviews matters. That’s comforting. I guess the basic issue to be addressed is: Do we (Fed + FDIC) want to import all of this fissle material to the part of MS that taxpayers and the central bank unconditionally guarantee (you know … the sub that takes customer deposits and insures customer accounts)? Apparently, MS is trying to get out ahead of a credit downgrade that would force it to post more margin on its derivatives (because it is now officially recognized as a risk sink by Moody’s), and likely would lose business, given the credit rating of its current risk silo is so much lower than the credit ratings of the firms and individuals with which it would like to do business. Complicating matters some: GS already has the authority to move derivatives to its FDIC-insured “bank,” i.e., the higher-rated risk silo.

    Wonder how that’s going to turn out? Wonder if this will be the coup de grace vis-a-vis the complete neutering of U.S. financial regulation? Humm …

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/8b320cac-a998-11e1-9972-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1wHTGfE3c

  2. “when elites are held in check, typically by effective legal mechanisms, everyone else in society does much better and sustained economic growth becomes possible”

    Let me put an anthropological spin on that…

    Its a product of some inherent bio-social dilemmas we face when scaling human groups….

    The first is the Altruism dilemma… which has to do with not only its roots in defining the boundary between in-group and out-group…. but perhaps even more significant the unavoidable gap between biological and intellectual altruism…

    Its essence lies can be summed up in this obvious truth:

    “Its natural to feel more emotionally upset by the death of a spouse or even your family dog than the death of thousands of people (or dogs) far away… no matter how intellectually altruistic we try to be.”

    While that statement is obvious… the implications are not…

    Issues in Scaling Civilization: The Altruism Problem

    http://culturalengineer.blogspot.com/2012/02/issues-in-scaling-civilization-altruism.html

    The second is what I call “The-Monsters-from-the-Id” dilemma.

    Its a phenomena surrounding the truth that the rational mind evolved to serve the lizard-brain rather than the other way around.

    What it comes down to is that success breeds satisfaction and satisfaction promotes inertia and a desire to preserve the status-quo.

    In hunter-gatherer society there are no classes. So whether satisfied or not… they’re all subject to the same condition. If things are going well they have a big party and get lazy for a while… but if not they get humping since they’re all in the same boat.

    NOT SO with a scaled society… where one segment may be well-satisfied but another not… and that segment may be powerless to respond.

    The “will-to-power” has un-checked avenues available to it that are not there in a hunter-gatherer society.

    ( post on this is coming soon)

    And when all this pathology build up we get to the third dilemma:

    “ICT and the Ultimatum Game” which is about how technology and complexity make justice ever more imperative and dangerous to neglect.

    (also coming soon)

    More important than any particular form of representation used by governments… is the speech-related microtransaction and related P2P networking capabilities… such a transaction network has fundamental connection to the necessary scaling of influence, responsibility and the essential sense by both leaders and followers of a connection to consequences.

  3. i agree with you simon, is a simple lesson I learned at my first highschool job, when the cat is away the mice will play. I just dont understand how so many people can really believe that the cause of this financial crisis is because the institutions were too regulated, and so they argue to solve the problem we have to free the banks and corporations to do whatever they need to do to grow and create wealth. I will never understand this idea. There always needs to be some kind of check on there power. Just go back to the founding of this country, we created three powerful branches of government, each with a check on the other. No no said hey you know, the only way for the executive branch to run effervescently is to take away all the rules and checks on it. Because that would be dumb.
    ian

  4. Ian:
    I look forward to your “will to power” story. Didn’t Nietzsche coin that term or wrote a book with that title?
    Whether God is dead, or simply doesn’t exist, one thing is certain: Due to our passions, man needs a Regulator!
    Don Levit

  5. Pigs get fat, and hogs get slaughtered.. way too many fat hog bankers and corporate elite hanging around these days, time for a change.

  6. Funny, but when Acemoglu talked with Russ Roberts;

    http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2012/03/acemoglu_on_why.html

    Jamie Dimon’s name didn’t come up.

    ‘We had strong institutions for a long time in this country – including effective checks on the power of bankers. Many people remember that history and still hold its image in their mind’s eye as they look at modern Wall Street. It’s time to wake up. In recent decades we abandoned the governance mechanisms that previously served us well.’

    Which is an assertion backed up by what, exactly. The canard that it was ‘the repeal of Glass-Steagall’? In fact, the Banking Act of 1933 created two cartels; one for commercial banks and one for securities firms. Inevitably those two broke down, thanks to competitive pressures.

    The first amendment to ‘Glass-Steagall’ was in 1935, led by none other than Senator Carter Glass himself. More legislation followed in 1950, 56 and the 1980s. All because the 1933 Act’s deficiencies needed to be patched. That legislation of the 80s was led by guys named Markey and Proxmire, btw.

    As this GAO report from 1988 put it;

    http://archive.gao.gov/d30t5/135024.pdf

    ‘Coming to grips with the question of Glass-Steagall repeal represents an opportunity to systematically address changes in legal and regulatory structures that are needed to better reflect the realities of the financial marketplace.
    ‘….Over the past several years, some banks have acquired substantially expanded powers. The expansion of activities has been the result of these banks (1) undertaking activities that were not explicitly prohibited or were sustained as legal by the courts, (2) introducing new products closely resembling securities, and (3) being given new powers by the regulators. In addition some states have granted significant securities powers to state-chartered banks that are not Federal Reserve members.’

    Doesn’t sound like the GAO, back then, thought much of the, ‘effective checks on the power of bankers.’

  7. Did ya see what happen? Yea I did:……………..

  8. Moses Herzog

    Cynics/economists often say “there is no such thing as a free lunch”. What exactly does “free lunch” mean??? When we give food to a child, is it not an investment in human resources??? When a very close relative of yours was cared for in the hospital, what “return” did you get on it when they passed the scary part and lived some extra years to share together with you???

    “So what’s it to you” they replied???

    Ask MItt Romney. Romney’s still demonizing those who didn’t get the thrill of being fired recently. If you’re a Michigan idiot who was fired, you’ll get in line early to vote for Romney and be re-Fired.

  9. Moses Herzog

    This one’s for Teacher Fang in Dalian (of Liaoning Province) China, with the “Japanese pigtail”. A man with good genes, inner strength and the ability to fight Chinese bureaucrats , and dumb/confused Americans. Don’t lose that haircut and remember “bros before hoes”. If you’re out there Mr. Fang, this one is for you.

  10. Moses Herzog

    My Dad’s in the hospital now, Prayers are appreciated. Send to “that guy”. My Dad always got very angry when he talked about Dick Cheney, who when asked about his 20 deferments said “I had better things to do”. Really??? Wow, the fact that rednecks buy that shit year after year after year could pretty much explain America’s current condition, could it not???

  11. Moses Herzog

  12. Moses Herzog

    this is funny, a lot of people got it like 10 seconds after

  13. Moses Herzog

    I’m not sure, I think this is good stuff:

  14. Moses Herzog

  15. Well it’s not as good as this is gonna be.

  16. Moses Herzog

  17. The Bond Man

    Simon, way to go, man. Some may want to review this information:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/second-act-jpm-cio-fiasco-has-arrived-mismarking-hundreds-billions-default-swaps

    “Bottom line: Jamie Dimon’s “tempest in a teapot” just became a fully-formed, perfect storm which suddenly threatens his very position, and could potentially lead to billions more in losses for his firm”.

    Appears the London Whale took a giant dump ALL OVER JPM.

  18. THE POWERLESS POST.

    That is the conclusion that I have drawn, after reading many thousands of intelligent and other posts.

    All posts notwithstanding (including this one), those in power remain in power. Thoughtful words will change nothing. It is time for action. Everyone reading this website knows what important changes are required. And, most know the methods to effect change. Just start doing.

  19. Mr. Herzog….thanks for the righteous music and the laughs. I hope “that guy” is seeing the world through rose colored glasses of his own soon.

  20. Moses Herzog

    20 years unbelievable

  21. TonyForesta

    Blistering post Mr. Simmon. The “extractive elite” is a kind term for what I label the predatorclass. From my pedestrian perspective this brood of lawless, compassionless, psychopaths are direct threats to my child’s and my future. They are my mortal enemies. I hold the same contempt for these fiends as jihadi freaks. The predatorclass monsters are far more grievous threats to the future of my child. These monsters must be put back in the keep. They MUST be constrained – or there is no future for those of us unfortunate to be imprisoned in the 99%. We have no future under the toxic and nefarious governance of these shaitans. They care nothing for my child or me or any of my friends – but twist and twirl and shade the system so that only the predatorclass is advantaged, and every other human being on earth is reduced to digits, an x or an o.

    There is no repairing this toxic system. There is no remedy for this malignant predatorclass system. There is no balm in Gilead.

    Burn it all down!!! Reset. Hope for the best in whatever emerges from the ashes. It could NOT be worse for the 99%,

    It’s way past time for realdeal action, real horrorshow style.

    We are fast approaching criticality!

    There will be a reckoning and a balancing, and there will be blood!!!

    In a world where there are no laws – there are no laws for anyone predatorclass biiiiaaatches!!!
    In a world where there are no laws

  22. TonyForesta

    Andrew Jackson quotes:  
    “Gentlemen, I have had men watching you for a long time and I am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the bank. You tell me that if I take the deposits from the bank and annul its charter, I shall ruin ten thousand families. That may be true, gentlemen, but that is your sin! Should I let you go on, you will ruin fifty thousand families, and that would be my sin! You are a den of vipers and thieves.”

  23. TonyForesta

    From the Declaration of Independence: -
    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

  24. A great transition between songs, generally only found on the album, this is some of my best stuff i’m throwin down on him. And I can tell it’s workin.

  25. What’s funny is that, as one of the largest stockholders of the NY Fed, Dimon has a traditionally strong claim on a Board seat. The conflict of interest was intentionally introduced in the 1913 Federal Reserve act for reasons that are not discussed in polite company by serious people … ;)

  26. ‘The predatorclass monsters are far more grievous threats to the future of my child.’

    Only if you live in a place like Zimbabwe, Syria or Uzbekistan. You’d know that if you actually read the Acemoglu book.

    Simon Johnson is making it up out of whole cloth that the book has anything at all to do with Jamie Dimon…or banking at all. There’s no mention of anything like that in descriptions of ‘the extractive’ classes, except to the point of tyrants using banks for their own nefarious purposes (not the other way around).

    So, to conclude as Johnson does that the title of his post makes senses, you’d have to believe Jamie Dimon is a completely owned and controlled creature of Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid.

    Anybody here believe that?

  27. The Bond Man

    The art of the *disinformationalist*: is not to convince of a particular position, but to but to present information where everything is believable, but nothing is knowable.

  28. Time to make banking boring again.

  29. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/ns/msnbc_tv-rachel_maddow_show/#47623790

    Around 2:40 minutes into the clip – “Center to Protect Patient Rights, Inc.” – a PO Box shelled out 55 million in 2010 to DESTROY individuals.

    Instead of Philanthropic Funds, we have Misanthropic Funds.

    “We don’t even know whose pockets they are…”

    Every Human Being has the inalienable right to make their lives less miserable through honest work. I don’t think it is extreme to view this as genocide – not when 55 million of dark money is spent to go after SPECIFIC individuals – that’s the very definition of genocide. The specific targeting of a group of people.

    So, yeah, all options are on the table. It’s survival.

    Occupy Town Hall. For real….at least have a stake-out at those PO Boxes…they’re going down, not the *nation*.

  30. TonyForesta

    Have not read the book yet Patrick R Sullivan, it’s on the list, but you have it backwards.

    I believe Barak Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Boehner, Romney and all the pathological liars in Amerikan politics are a completely owned and controlled creatures of Jamie Dimon and the other den of vipers and thieves running predatorclass oligarchs.

  31. You haven’t read it, but you know I’m wrong about it…. How odd.

    Say, when Simon writes;

    ‘The historical evidence is overwhelming. Many societies have done well for a while – until powerful people get out of hand. This is an easy pattern to see at a distance and in other cultures. It is typically much harder to recognize when your own society now has an elite less subject to effective constraints and more able to exert power in an abusive fashion. And given the long history of strong institutions in the United States, it appears particularly difficult for some people to acknowledge that we have serious governance issues that need to be addressed. ‘

    Doesn’t that kinda sound like what is happening in Wisconsin right now? Powerful labor unions are trying to undermine what the elected representatives of the people have done to get public employee compensation back in line with what the average taxpayer earns.

  32. The Bond Man

    Public employees ARE average taxpayers, silly goose.

  33. Simon, thanks for your sane, sober and spot-on article which appropriately describes (in so many words) the position of Jamie Dimon as being emblematic of the very cultural illness which is moving toward wrecking the US. He would be the tip of the proverbial iceberg were it not that there are so many “tips” from which to choose. The fact is that in a plutocratic system of government, societies always suffer. In our case, as in innumerable others throughout world history, the majority of our citizens are either sufferinig, rightly paranoid and troubled by a seemingly bleak future, or simply terrified by the prospects of simply surviving their present lives, let alone distraught at the future which their children seemingly face. Jamie needs to go. All of the TBTF institutions need to be broken up, election laws must be changed, etc., etc., so that it is safe for us to pursue the incredible potential a balanced country, a formerly great nation, now on its knees, should become. Actions must be taken. Our citizens need to wake up and stop tuning into mainstream media, which is literally, at this point, promoting nothing but lies and distortions. Who will stand up with me? I don’t see a lot of hands going up!!! Thank you so much for your efforts to insist on necessary sanity, before the entire world collapses under the weight of such profound greed.

  34. The Bond Man

    @ Bayard, great.

  35. ‘Public employees ARE average taxpayers, silly goose.’

    Not according to Andrew Biggs, they aren’t. They’re significantly better compensated;

    http://www.aei.org/papers/economics/the-impact-of-act-10-on-public-sector-compensation-in-wisconsin/

    ‘…pension benefits for Wisconsin public employees are roughly 4.5 times more valuable than private sector levels while health benefits are about twice as generous as those paid by larger private sector Wisconsin employers. This difference results in a combined salary-benefits compensation premium of around 22 percent for state workers over private sector workers, with varying but often larger pay advantages for local government employees. ‘

  36. ‘In our case, as in innumerable others throughout world history, the majority of our citizens are either sufferinig, rightly paranoid and troubled by a seemingly bleak future, or simply terrified by the prospects of simply surviving their present lives, let alone distraught at the future which their children seemingly face.’

    In what country do you live? One of those listed by Acemoglu as being of ‘extractive’?

    ‘Jamie needs to go.’
    Why? Wouldn’t it make more sense to send some of our politicians packing. It isn’t JPMC that’s technically bankrupt, it’s our government.

  37. I’m a little leery of studies of public employees compensation studies if they do aggregate comparisons instead of comparing like job functions. Professional and middle-management jobs are more common in the gov’t sector, skewing the comparison. If, as the report states, the benefit and pension packages are at question here, the solution is to return to the negotiating table with the unions in question and bargain in good faith for the good of Wisconsin. This, I believe, the Wisconsin unions recognized was necessary and the members were willing to do. However, the approach of the current Wisconsin legislature was to do away with Union bargaining rights. The situation in Wisconsin was not so dire as to require such draconian action.
    Can you quote more than an American Enterprise Institute study regarding this problem?
    Whatever the results of Tuesday’s recall election are to be, the desired effect has been obtained: public sector union membership is down 2/3 owing to early retirement or resignation. The public sector unions are the last major source of opposition to the GOP that can marshall any significant amount of money, and they have been a prime target of the GOP for many years.

  38. The Bond Man

    Scott Walker raised and spent $29 million on the recall, while the challenge raised and spent $2.9 million. It’s clear to me that the EXTRACTIVE ELITE are more than determined to CRUSH collective bargaining rights, union representation, worker’s being treated fairly and decently, which is to say….a total RETROGRADE and RETROGRESSIVE approach to labor relations.

    The republicans just suck, and if you vote for any of them, you’re crazy, if you aren’t WEALTHY yourself.

  39. http://rt.com/usa/news/bilderberg-conference-us-members-788/

    The creation of USA President Eliza Doolittle began yesterday…bend your knee to Lord Sauran and repeat with perfect diction: “The rain in Spain falls mainly on the Plane.”

    It’s pure eugenics, Bond Man. With some dogs, you have to stick their nose in it for them to get the message.

  40. Ralph Kennedy

    We may be approaching a fork in the road beyond the realization that the current presidential candidates are both working against us & for the elites. We believe that there must be a reboot of our system. The people voices must be heard & acted upon. I am hopeful that one peaceful fork leads to the election of a third party candidate from the new Justice Party http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justice_Party_(United_States) They are actively working to get their candidate on the ballot in all states. They need volunteers.

    Look at this site, particularly the video link on the right side under Uncle Sam.
    http://www.justicepartyusa.org/ We were badly snookered in 2008. I believe this gives us a non-violent choice to work for what we want our country to return to.

  41. I don’t think Simon’s positions are in his best interest, but he pursues them anyway. Keep it up.

    The best comment I have seen is that banking needs to be boring again. I agree. That’s when we can relax (a little).

  42. The US has completely devolved into a fascist totalitarian police state–an Orwellian nightmare that is surreal in its terrifying implications:

  43. ‘Can you quote more than an American Enterprise Institute study regarding this problem?’

    Virtually every competent study finds the same thing as this BLS one;

    http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/ecec.pdf

    ‘Private industry employers spent an average of $28.57 per hour worked for total employee compensation in December 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Wages and salaries averaged $20.14 per hour worked and accounted for 70.5 percent of these costs, while benefits averaged $8.43 and accounted for the remaining 29.5 percent. Total compensation costs for state and local government workers averaged $40.90 per hour worked in December 2011. Total employer
    compensation costs for civilian workers, which include private industry and state and local government workers, averaged $30.45 per hour worked in December 2011.

    ‘Employer Costs for Employee Compensation (ECEC), a product of the National Compensation Survey, measures employer costs for wages, salaries, and employee benefits for nonfarm private and state and
    local government workers.’

  44. Thank you, Patrick. Delving into these numbers a bit more, we find that government workers enjoy a bit better benefits and particularly pension packages, but that as a fraction of total compensation their benefits are not that far out of line with private industry. The major difference in hourly compensation is not clearly stated – at least on first reading – but part of that has been observed to be due to the fact that many government positions are managerial in nature and more highly compensated than the typical private position. The increase in benefits and pensions were negotiated in most cases as an alternative to direct pay increases, partially because it allowed governments to defer such costs to a supposedly rosier future. That future is here, and it is not rosy. Thus, any defined benefit pension program in particular is struggling.
    It was certainly a mistake for negotiators to agree to such lucrative defined benefit programs, but then again, many made such errors. The question is, how do we deal with this? Wisconsin’s approach is not the way to promote a sense of shared sacrifice. But it is the way to ensure GOP-flavored corporatist dominance in future elections.

  45. “Max Keiser explains succinctly in his traditional no-holds-barred manner the slithering criminality of the inbred JP Morgan elite, exposing the inherent hypocrisy of their excuses for $2 Billion of admitted losses (probably more waiting to be discovered). JP Morgan is merely the visible edge of the iceberg, however. I guarantee, before this year is through, numerous banks will unveil long hidden losses and finally make clear to the American people that the last four years have just been a pleasant dress rehearsal for the ultimate economic implosion. This is no joke. For those without a background in independent financial analysis, let me convey how important the JP Morgan pitfall is; this is a signal that QE3 is near. Once QE3 begins, the dollar is finished. Period. No foreign country will want to hold onto a currency that is on the fast track to debasement. When historians look back on the death of the dollar, they will say it caught fire here, at the mouth of 2012…”

    http://www.alt-market.com/articles/782-max-keiser-countdown-to-armageddon

  46. @ Oregano 6:31 : > )

  47. @filbt: Never give a Buddhist sympathizer a Biblical reference unless he happened to have grown up Methodist. But yes, I get your point. Wisconsin is the exemplar of the post-Citizens United Golden Rule.

  48. QE3 & collapse of the USD as foreseen 2 years ago:

  49. Bruce E. Woych

    URL of this article: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=31018
    The Politics of Language and the Language of Political Regression
    By Prof. James Petra
    Global Research, May 24, 2012
    ================================================

    There is, of course, the old adage that behind every great wealth lies a great crime. Power, of course, is virtually above the law for most of history…might has made right. And the Right” knows this all too well.

    The presumption of “powerful people” is one of categorical fallacy. The extreme variations of individuals here are not “independent class variables” until they merger under corrupt regimes. There is also some question about historical subtext and context to the presumption that powerful people get out of hand… [I get the sense that we are talking about "POST" reform degeneration and historical obfuscation by power interests that are essentially "viral" to homeostasis, ...let alone equilibrium or the current focus of sustainability in political economy and socioeconomic systemic stability].

    The ramifications of inter-generational population pressure through one generation of Saudi Royal Family business is enough to show that wealth breeds contempt, greed and progressive vested interests in hostile environments of competitive exclusion and intensely programed and selected inclusion. Wall Street breeds the same ramifications between generations and competitors: ditto for political domination of power, for power and by power.

    So when you say “powerful people” it implies some homogeneous group of elites (contemporary economic counter-reduction) and this is simply not true in real measure. The pressure for POWER itself is intensely bought and sought while the grappling for position creates amoral compromises of every dimension. The title prison planet is aptly named, and the analogy to power relations in a prison system can be applied to the open system of real politik.

    The fact is that the “iron law of oligarchy” { http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_law_of_oligarchy } holds all too true: coercive forces eventually rise to the position of advantage. Conforming to that advantage is the privileged of power itself …to use, exploit and abuse other people at will is a disproportionate measure in itself. One might say that Sadists and sociopaths have a natural advantage in this area,…as does “Borderline Personalities”. The Power we are actually addressing is corrupt power; the people that will to do ANYTHING to get and stay at the top…
    …it is funny that we need a University publication to document that and now suddenly discover it as historic fact. I actually thought it was always well known…the only distinctions are legalized or illegal forms of power and the duplicity and collusion between them.

    Here’s some rhetorical insights into the insidious nature of power grabbing and social subversion in the process… check it out:
    URL of this article: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=31018
    The Politics of Language and the Language of Political Regression
    By Prof. James Petra
    Global Research, May 24, 2012

  50. Bruce E. Woych

    One Model:

    http://richardbrenneman.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/wikicable-on-rampant-saudi-royal-corruption/

    ==========================================

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Saud

    The family is estimated to be composed of 15,000 members. Most power and wealth resides amongst the 2000 or so descendants of King Abdul-Aziz
    ==========================================

  51. The Bond Man

    I can feel it coming……ZOMBIE banks in need of recapitalization, the endless pit, the derivatives blackhole, the house of cards that is the world system of finance.

    Stop wasting limited resources. These banks MUST be allowed to be shuttered, dissolved, re-organized, whatever. More QE is just more tilting at windmills, and is pre-ordained to fail, as it has thus far.

    If the fed wants to help, then ZERO percent 100 year loans here to STATES, for projects aimed at restoring, maintaining, re-developing the sorry condition of infrastructure. Rising employment creates added demand for goods and services, and lifts all boats. By contrast, feeding a ZOMBIE bank, only perpetuates the malaise.

    When does the Fed wake up, finally?

    Simon has a big set of balls doing what he’s doing, incidentally, because as a prior commentator suggested, his agitations certainly are not in his best interests, but are in the best interests of humanity, and the nation.

  52. Bruce E. Woych

    Murdoch, power & corruption How do we get justice?
    Tuesday, July 26 2011
    Called by National Union of Journalists members
    Supported by Defend the Right to Protest

    The speakers will represent the many people who have been attacked and traduced by
    Murdoch’s media, and by the same police force with which News International
    established such a close and corrupt relationship.
    [AND]
    “Absent from the current debate over the phone hacking scandal is a recognition
    of how Murdoch colluded with successive governments to undermine workplace
    democracy, roll back the welfare state, champion military intervention
    overseas, crush protest on the streets, and foment racial prejudice.”

  53. Bruce E. Woych

    Inside Story – Corruption in Egypt Feb 8, 2011
    Many Egyptians feel the only ones benefitting from the country’s wealth are businessmen with ties to the ruling National Democratic Party. How did Egypt become so corrupt? And what can a new government really do about it?

  54. @Woych – I don’t think you can blame the Saudi cult for yet another story like this from the Wild West poster child state of Arizona:

    statehttp://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-17/dental-abuse-seen-driven-by-private-equity-investments

    USA has its own unique gene pool to contend with that are unattached to the shackles of any historical evolution that would force them to become fascist and sadists. They had total freedom to love and be loved, to do good, they had untrammeled creation to experience anew while wandering the wide open spaces that cried out for the hand of man to distribute the wealth of the land God designed for man with equity and equanimity (HONEST WORK). Guess what – Paradise is sustainable. Go figure…

    Don’t look to psychology to explain what literature (the stories of who we are inside our hearts) explained with far more superior insight.

    By what *right* do wonks like Patrick have to put his predatory, butt kissing impacted nose in everyone else’s business and start shouting with a bat in his hand that labor does NOT deserve to hang on to the lives that they made less miserable for themselves through honest work? He has NO RIGHT. Not even in the SAVAGE laws of the jungle – even especially not in the laws of the jungle.

    JUST WAR. This went too far….it is SAVAGE – congolese savage – waiting in the bush until the harvest is finished and then attacking the village, murdering every PRODUCER OF WEALTH (the REAL smart kids in the room who know about the sustainable DISTRIBUTION of the land’s wealth – the man to land ratio) and living their hedonist ignorant lives for a year, or two if the harvest was great, on the fruits of someone else’s labor and then moving on to find the next village of “suckers”…seriously, I don’t expect a savage to understand, but a *woych* making excuses for mindless iniquity of a savage heart…?

    Wouldn’t it be better to get out the man to land formulas and present the PEACEFUL alternative in this post age of reason and science epoch we are in NOW? The tribes that LEFT messupotamia thrived and evolved – look at the CONTRAST. There’s NOTHING there except a FINITE energy resource that CAN BE REPLACED….you need a lightening bolt to hit you as proof?

  55. The Bond Man

    @ Bruce, hi there: How did Egypt become so corrupt? How did the USA become so corrupt?

    Common denominator = GREED UNBRIDLED.

  56. Bruce E. Woych

    In Contradiction of the idea that “Powerful People get out of hand…” as a categorical realism…we share:

    In a 50 minute interview to TIMES NOW, Assange also said that there are Indian names in the Swiss bank data list. “I have read Indian names he said, in the data we have already published or are about to publish, a comment that will generate even greater interest amidst speculation that it includes the names of politicians and hawala operators from India,” he said

    FULL TRANSCRIPT: http://www.timesnow.tv/The-Julian-Assange-Interview/articleshow/4371553.cms

    http://LeakSource.wordpress.com

  57. Bruce E. Woych

    POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

  58. Bruce E. Woych

    Jul 26, 2010 Julian Assange: Why the world needs WikiLeaks
    “The controversial website WikiLeaks collects and posts highly classified documents and videos. Founder Julian Assange, who is reportedly being sought for questioning by US authorities, talks to TED’s Chris Anderson about how the site operates, what it has accomplished and what drives him.”

  59. ‘… we find that government workers enjoy a bit better benefits and particularly pension packages, but that as a fraction of total compensation their benefits are not that far out of line with private industry.’

    20-40% larger qualifies as ‘a bit better’?

    ‘…to be due to the fact that many government positions are managerial in nature and more highly compensated than the typical private position.’

    Interesting admission, that; public employees require more supervision than private sector ones. If true, that makes the claims that public sector pay (ignoring benefits) is about the same problematic. If we added the extra costs of managing the unionized public sector to their pay we’d have a much larger costs to the taxpayers.

    Are you campaigning for Scott Walker this week-end?

  60. Bruce E. Woych

    Mussolini Italy’s Nightmare

  61. ‘By what *right* do wonks like Patrick have to put his predatory, butt kissing impacted nose in everyone else’s business and start shouting with a bat in his hand that labor does NOT deserve to hang on to the lives that they made less miserable for themselves through honest work? He has NO RIGHT. Not even in the SAVAGE laws of the jungle – even especially not in the laws of the jungle.’

    No First Amendment absolutist, she. That’s for sure.

    But, are the ordinary taxpayers not subject to ‘laws of the jungle’?

  62. ‘It was certainly a mistake for negotiators to agree to such lucrative defined benefit programs, but then again, many made such errors. ‘

    Safety in numbers, eh?

    It’s very easy to trace the origin of the explosion in employee compensation for the public sector, in many states, to laws replacing the discipline of elected legislators and governors who were subject to voter wrath, to public sector management who are pretty much insulated from any feedback.

    It’s ‘crony socialism’; when ‘tenured’ management negotiates with unions and ends up increasing compensation. Management then has the perfect club with which to hammer legislators; ‘We’re underpaid relative to the private sector management teams who make X% more than their underlings.’ The old story of the boy who murdered his parents and then plead for mercy on the grounds he was an orphan.

    Very amusingly depicted in an episode of the BBC series, ‘Yes, Prime Minister’, btw.

  63. The Bond Man

    Always and forever dumping on the American worker, yes, people such as Patty here just sicken me.

  64. Bruce E. Woych

    http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/2012/January/corruption_-businesses-have-the-power-to-effect-positive-change.html

    Corruption: businesses have the power to effect positive change

    27 January 2012 – Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of UNODC, has invited business leaders to intensify public-private partnerships to curb corruption….
    “…Countering corruption is now firmly established as one of the principles of the United Nations Global Compact, the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world and one of the Organization’s main interfaces with the business community.”

    http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/2012/January/corruption_-businesses-have-the-power-to-effect-positive-change.html

    Corruption: businesses have the power to effect positive change

  65. Bruce E. Woych

    UNODC’s Action against Corruption and Economic Crime

    http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/corruption/index.html?ref=menuside

    “Corruption is a complex social, political and economic phenomenon that affects all countries. Corruption undermines democratic institutions, slows economic development and contributes to governmental instability. Corruption attacks the foundation of democratic institutions by distorting electoral processes, perverting the rule of law and creating bureaucratic quagmires whose only reason for existing is the soliciting of bribes. Economic development is stunted because foreign direct investment is discouraged and small businesses within the country often find it impossible to overcome the “start-up costs” required because of corruption.”

  66. Bruce E. Woych

    Confessions of a Union Buster

  67. Bruce E. Woych

    Walker Admits Union Busting Provision ‘Doesn’t Save Any’ Money

  68. @psullivan, “….No First Amendment absolutist, she. That’s for sure.

    But, are the ordinary taxpayers not subject to ‘laws of the jungle’?…”

    What a riot! YOU were lobbying to censor me! YOU are a PREDATOR. And you are not fooling anyone – the only reason all those CONTRACTS are targeted by a congolese savage like you is because without stealing from EVERYONE IN USA at this point, YOU have no war booty to pocket after TRILLIONS in pre-emptive war making *inwestment*. The man to land ratio AT THIS POINT IN TIME makes WAR the least profitable investment OF TAX MONEY for a land-rich, resource rich, INTELLIGENT LABOR rich country like USA.

    “Taxpayers” means that the Laws of the Jungle have EVOLVED beyond master/slave. You need to catch up – you’re a couple of millenia BEHIND.

    I rarely engage in direct confrontation, but I consider it a duty to challenge a bold thieving lying murdering hooligan, wherever you find them, in a democracy – which is what we still have going, nimrod.

  69. Bruce E. Woych

    The Corruption in Academic Economics: Part 1 of INET’s Interview with Charles Ferguson

  70. Bruce E. Woych

    Super Rich The Greed Game

    Super Rich The Greed Game

  71. @woych – the PROBLEM is what fills the void left behind by unions/workers guilds/etc. – but of course, the TRUE welfare class of *industrialists* in USA will never be content with anything less than all out slavery. Period. They are conducting all-out economic EUGENICS against intelligent labor using FIAT $$$$ issued by the Federal Reserve Board who needs its right to exist taken away based on the FACT that they are NOT worrying one iota about *jobs* – they have DEFAULTED on providing ANY employment because they are NEVER, and this is important to understand, they are NEVER going to stop the periodic theft of everything that people earned when they were employed – this current heist is EXTREME because the entire USA economy has been re-tooled to support perpetual war in the Middle East.

    Based on what is on their own website, they have DEFAULTED on all points:

    “…The Federal Reserve System is the central bank of the United States. It was founded by Congress in 1913 to provide the nation with a safer, more flexible, and more stable monetary and financial system. Over the years, its role in banking and the economy has expanded.
    Today, the Federal Reserve’s duties fall into four general areas:

    - conducting the nation’s monetary policy by influencing the monetary and credit conditions in the economy in pursuit of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates
    - supervising and regulating banking institutions to ensure the safety and soundness of the nation’s banking and financial system and to protect the credit rights of consumers
    - maintaining the stability of the financial system and containing systemic risk that may arise in financial markets
    - providing financial services to depository institutions, the U.S. government, and foreign official institutions, including playing a major role in operating the nation’s payments system…”

  72. Bruce E. Woych

    Anyone Know if Jamie Dimon was invited this week?
    May 30, 2012 by RTAmerica
    “For a little over 50 years, an elite organization has met all around the world in total secrecy with nearly zero press coverage. On Thursday, the annual Bilderberg Conference will take place in Chantilly, Virginia where the world’s leaders are believed to make decisions that could possibly have an effect on the world.”

    Anyone Know if Jamie Dimon was invited this week?

  73. Sick and tired of all the news clips about *them*, quite frankly. Vainglorious *stuff* is never classic, it’s hedonistic and obscene. I’ve been in more elegant humble homes adorned with wit, love and competent, talented hands and minds surrounded by beauty – one of a kind beauty as it was made by them.

    In a way, starting with the whole private jet industry, labor can go on strike making *private* jets and decide to re-tool into a new product line :-)) that won’t be *affordable* by any one dot.com raccoon – think about it…ala Star Trek :-))

  74. Bruce E. Woych

    @ Simon Johnson From the article:
    “Professors Acemoglu and Robinson discern a simple pattern – when elites are held in check, typically by effective legal mechanisms, everyone else in society does much better and sustained economic growth becomes possible. But powerful people – kings, barons, industrialists, bankers – work long and hard to relax the constraints on their actions.”
    ================================================
    What I have briefly tried to show with these entries is that power is corrupted in political economy as systems upon systems compete for exclusive reign and regime controls and become normalized and systemic to the TBTF superstructure at financial and political levels.

    Government is not going to be a natural advocate or regulator for the people and never has been in history, since capturing government is one of the supreme prizes of The Great Game and the workings of power structure. This only occurs POST revolutionary/ reform changes. Media in America has not always lived up to its watchdog role for democracy and often gets captured along for the ride. Now more than ever it is simply amalgamated into the corporate mind set that incorporates market rationalization and legitimation to advance a blind agenda of excess. One of the great disappointments is that academia, as watchdog has also sold out.

    Unable to intensify revenue expansion beyond the uncontrolled derivatives markets which are a doomsday spiral beyond measure, the corporate model is burning its own infrastructure with scavenger acquisition tactics, and now has gone after the life savings and securities of the real people of the domestic economy who built this country. They will not stop…because they don’t know how…and because their leading people are the worst of them….the sickest people in the room.
    …and these “power conglomerates” own the process, and a good piece of the working government as well.
    And the results are that…”… powerful people – kings, barons, industrialists, bankers – work long and hard to relax the constraints on their actions.”

  75. Our Simon likes to talk about those poor souls who were ‘captured,’ and (sometimes implicitly) the system that seems to emit a ‘capturing’ effect, but when I tried that approach with my shrink he said I needed to take responsibility for my actions and that while mitigating circumstances were relevant, they were not exculpatory, something about responsibility and bad faith. Why do we need a term, such as ‘capture,’ that essentially apologises for the offender? Did TurboTax Timmy take a wrong turn because of the system? Let’s stay with the Nuremburg standards of criminal complicity, ok?

  76. Oregano, I was referring to the timer of your post, not any single religious entity.

  77. Why do we need a term, such as ‘capture,’ that essentially apologises for the offender? Did TurboTax Timmy take a wrong turn because of the system?

    One reason perhaps, is the way the law was set up to do just that, for its own purpose. One need look no further than the 1794 jay laws, which basicly said that in order to prove a law is wrong, you must break it first and then attempt to defend yourself by proving the law wrong. The abuse of this power has run rampant because anyone who tries to reverse a law, is subject to law termanology, and a whole host of resistance levels. One being the well known fact that anyone who represents themselves, has a fool for a lawyer. Try to council a judge and now you have the associated fees, and delays, until you finally give up on law, and politics, and most people for that matter. During war time I find it better to keep your friends close, and your enemy’s closer.

  78. Bruce E. Woych

    Feb 22, 2011
    The BEAST’s Ian Murphy calls Walker, posing as archconservative moneybags David Koch, and they casually discuss crushing all public unions.

    http://www.buffalobeast.com

    Koch Whore: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

  79. Bruce E. Woych

    http://pogoblog.typepad.com/pogo/2012/05/pogo-opposes-bill-to-shift-oversight-of-investment-advisors-to-industry.html

    By ANDREW WYNER

    “POGO sent a letter today to the House Committee on Financial Services stating opposition to the Investment Oversight Act of 2012 (H.R. 4624), which would, as we argued in the letter, “delegate governmental authority for the oversight of investment advisers to one or more industry-funded self-regulatory organizations (SROs).”

    The Committee is scheduled to examine the legislation at a hearing next Wednesday.

    POGO’s disapproval of H.R. 4624 stems largely from the high costs associated with shifting governmental authority to SROs—including the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the largest SRO—to regulate investment advisers. POGO is also concerned by FINRA’s conflicts of interest, lack of transparency and accountability, lobbying expenditures, and its executive compensation packages. Based on FINRA’s flaws, POGO believes Congress should reduce the authority of FINRA and other SROs instead of handing them more authority to oversee investment advisers.

    According to a December 2011 analysis conducted by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), authorizing an SRO to oversee investment advisers will cost taxpayers anywhere from $550 million to $670 million each year.”
    Read the Rest:

    http://pogoblog.typepad.com/pogo/2012/05/pogo-opposes-bill-to-shift-oversight-of-investment-advisors-to-industry.html

  80. @Woych “….and now has gone after the life savings and securities of the real people of the domestic economy who built this country. They will not stop…because they don’t know how…and because their leading people are the worst of them….the sickest people in the room….”

    There you go – they NEED to be stopped with a brute force that matches the amount of damage they have inflicted and will continue to inflict if not stopped cold in their tracks ASAP.

    They want 6 million more foreclosures….

  81. PBS NewsHour – “DAVID BROOKS: And I think President Bush pulled Obama aside before the inauguration and said, we have got these two programs, the drones, the Stuxnet. They didn’t call it that. They called it Olympic Games. But here’s what you should do.

    And I think Obama has continued — continued extremely aggressively. He’s kind of a ruthless guy, both politically and in foreign affairs. And he has done it I think pretty well. Now, there are some clear doubts about drones and there are legitimate doubts. Should the White House have the power to essentially assassinate people?

    And we, as the government most vulnerable to cyber-terrorism, because of how much we rely on computers, we are now on record as saying, yes, we have cyber-terror. We are doing it to others. And so there’s double-edged swords here. Nonetheless, I think the bottom line is — especially vis-a-vis Iran — is that these are pretty effective programs. If you think government can’t do anything, they were — the Iranians were wondering, what is going on? Why are these things spinning weirdly out of control?

    They were firing people. They thought there was something wrong with the machinery. We have people in our intelligence agencies doing something pretty impressive, I think.”

    Yup, they learned these new impressive tricks by doing it to the people of USA as an experiment before they went in to Iran.

    It’s very revealing how people are starting to treat the victims of economic eugenics – basically ending up in the same POLITE social contract with each other as the “civilians” living outside the gates of concentration camps lived – pretending it was a perfectly normal thing and “….there go I but for the grace of God….”.

  82. I found Simon’s article powerful. But just as powerful were the many comments added. They left me with two feelings. One, the anger expressed by so many of you, and, two, the hope that maybe we are seeing the growth of this justifiable anger to levels that might, just might, start to make a political difference.

    You may find Patrice Ayme’s latest essay, that can be read here http://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/blood-appetite-comes-with-eating/ resonates with Simon’s words.

    Just the musings of this old Englishman living in Arizona reflecting on Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations this week-end.

  83. The Bond Man

    How long does the (political) charade continue, the failing to acknowledge the basic financial position of many of the designated TBTF’s, that of insolvency and the need, the requirement for resolution.

    Simon opined above:

    “In my assessment, we are still a long way from putting in place the necessary resolution mechanisms and backing them up with sufficient political will”.

    I see this acknowledge as evidence of complete capture of the Congress, apart from some cosmetic and diluted attempts at regulation, and all this translates into is more of the same: continued angst, further recapitalizations of banks that have long outlived any remote concept of social usefulness, and continued world wide depression.

    Both republicans and democrats are forever extolling the virtue of the “market” (as if this was not totally contrived, gamed, and controlled by the *extractive elite*), so, our recommendation is let the “market” do its’ thing, by weeding out these banks that have no business today as going concerns.

  84. Bruce E. Woych

    With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful

    Editorial review:
    From the nation’s beginnings, the law was to be the great equalizer in American life, the guarantor of a common set of rules for all. But over the past four decades, the principle of equality before the law has been effectively abolished. Instead, a two-tiered system of justice ensures that the country’s political and financial class is virtually immune from prosecution, licensed to act without restraint, while the politically powerless are imprisoned with greater ease and in greater numbers than in any other country in the world.

    Starting with Watergate, continuing on through the Iran-Contra scandal, and culminating with Obama’s shielding of Bush-era officials from prosecution, Glenn Greenwald lays bare the mechanisms that have come to shield the elite from accountability. He shows how the media, both political parties, and the courts have abetted a process that has produced torture, war crimes, domestic spying, and financial fraud.

    With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful [Hardcover]
    Glenn Greenwald (Author)

  85. Interesting admission, that; public employees require more supervision than private sector ones. If true, that makes the claims that public sector pay (ignoring benefits) is about the same problematic. If we added the extra costs of managing the unionized public sector to their pay we’d have a much larger costs to the taxpayers.”
    Sigh. Patrick, cheap shot. Many public sector positions are higher trained professional positions with special skill sets, just like the higher trained professionals in many parts of the private sector. And there’s ossification and cronyism of just the sort you describe throughout the private as well as public sectors. Pointless self-serving bureaucracy has no preferred address. Enjoy your weekend. My little dalliance into this subject is at an end.

  86. @Mr. Handover, “…Just the musings of this old Englishman living in Arizona reflecting on Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations this week-end….”

    Interesting stat – Her Majesty is the *consistency* of rule of law for one-third of the world’s population….a humble servant of the people and she never wavered from that promise. Something to celebrate – leadership…noblesse oblige…

    Meanwhile, USA has a Stalin in the White House – personally reviewing hit lists…gee, he’s *modern* because he doesn’t use a red pencil but a blackberry?

    We need a Colin Powell for President to put those rabid dogs of war either on a leash or put them down as too far gone to *cure*…

    Complete philosophical Nihilism in the Gen X crew that clawed its way into *politics* – Gen X received the entire history of the fruits of peace, law and enterprise dropped into their lap and they did nothing but STEAL it and re-tool it into crap like Blackwater – the least deserving generation ever to walk the lands of USA, imho. Savages. Hedonists. Hooligans.

  87. @Annie. Of course in many ways the British Royal Family represent wealth and privilege beyond the wildest dreams of most citizens. But, and this is an important ‘but’, the fact that the British Government is Her Government (you are probably aware that the Queen has an official State opening of Parliament every year) and that in extremis, almost unimaginable extremis, the Throne has the constitutional power to dissolve Parliament in the defence of the people, is a deep and unspoken benefit of the quaintness of it all! P.S. does this qualify for the longest sentence in the world award?? ;-)

    I read the passion in your words and am curious as to your background. Not critical, just curious. As I say here http://learningfromdogs.com/interaction/ “Together, let’s spread the word that integrity and trust are the best ways for us and the generations to follow.”

    Best wishes, Paul

  88. And not entirely irrelevant is this item in yesterday’s Naked Capitalism, http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/06/obamas-and-brennans-kill-list.html

  89. ‘My little dalliance into this subject is at an end.’

    You mean, before I ask you to provide evidence for your assertion that;

    ‘Many public sector positions are higher trained professional positions with special skill sets, just like the higher trained professionals in many parts of the private sector. And there’s ossification and cronyism of just the sort you describe throughout the private as well as public sectors. Pointless self-serving bureaucracy has no preferred address. ‘

    Ossified private sector organizations can go out of business and take their unproductive people with them. Does that happen to governments very often?

  90. The assertion is not mine, but it does not come from a printed source, so I can’t give you chapter and verse. By the way, thank you for the government source for the labor statistics. Those statistics were created by skilled analysts providing a service that we as taxpayers have chartered them to do. Now as far as my willingness to proceed with this discussion, you’re right; I don’t have all my guns loaded, at least to the extent that you apparently do. But there are others who have posted here in the past who do, and they’ve already engaged in this tired fight. I can add nothing more, so I won’t.

  91. Bruce E. Woych

    Obama Re-Defines “Militant” and the Media Eats It Up
    To avoid counting civilian deaths, Obama re-defined “militant” to mean “all military-age males in a strike zone”
    by Glenn Greenwald

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/05/29-7

    ===========================================
    @Paul Handover: Not just relevant…but at the very foundation and essential core of the multi-headed Beast…where discoveries are variables being strategically converted and transformed into independent necessities that are indoctrinating us into TBTF’s;
    …a process of insidious normaliztion and what we might call the “Iron Law of Depravity” justified and legitimated by a “Cold Law” mentality by people who are authoritative pyscopaths…..addicted…yes; …addicted to political economic gambling with our lives.

    The process has been happening at least since the killing of JFK and all the POWER $ucce$$ion planning that has been institutionalized control fraud and captured authority above the law. The violent nature of the New Great Game does not exclude the domestic economy as its victim, and the cognitive dissonance grows thick and deep in the Narrative Apocalypse being peddled to accompany the Empire building and violent regime changes (with only chaos to follow in its path) as these subsequently become easy victims of the new market ownership occupations and strip mining tactics of neo-con profiteering and predatorial bloodletting to any and all extremes as “human value” becomes a class distinction under mass reduction of dignity and monetary devaluation as “USELESS MOUTHS” (http://aolsearcht4.search.aol.com/aol/search?s_it=topsearchbox.search&v_t=webmail-hawaii1-standardaol&q=useless+mouths+wikipedia

    …AND ALL THE WHILE THE INSIDIOUS NARRATIVE IS marketed into the social and political consciousness of our children and children’s children as we grow weary with complaint and watch fear hide in the faces of worried complacency and fatigued truth. We are being made more and more media-militarized in a War dependent economy and an Ownership State that has lost its loyalty to its own mass citizens.

    And each week we grow deeper and thicker in the congealed blood of the past decade…and are fed more thickening agent as we ourselves bleed without surprises any more; once more appalled at what we learn, and once more appeased by the soft war wording of a false fron president with pathological kindness in his voice and eyes…and so we believe…, we believe,…Mea Culpa I can’t help but believe that AMERICA will come to the rescue in all of its promises of global freedom and democracy…despite the fact that my brain tells me otherwise and history confirms what my mind refuses to accept. Until again,…a traditional journalist comes forth again to tell us the truth that doesn’t sell on these comfort seeking markets…we are lost against the tide and left helpless and hopeless …if we buy into the NARRATIVE they concocted across our human worth.
    And yes indeed Paul, it is profoundly relevant!
    see more:
    .Published on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 by Salon.com
    Obama Re-Defines “Militant” and the Media Eats It Up
    To avoid counting civilian deaths, Obama re-defined “militant” to mean “all military-age males in a strike zone”
    by Glenn Greenwald

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/05/29-7

    (follow the links from the article as well).

    http://www.commondreams.org/popular/all

  92. The Bond Man

    There exists a fundamental flaw in understanding to compare the activities, functions, goals, and methods of business to government.

    Yet, even though the above statement is true, are the some who persist in conflating the two, with this false equivalency,

    BTW< false equivalency is another marker of the *disinformationalist* and the one on this board making a practice of it, isn't as good as he thinks, because we SEE THROUGH IT.

  93. Relax my friend, enjoy a couple shots of southern comfort with me, and ride the day out in style. Just do the math, place your bets, and watch, as the dice, rolls our future right in front of ones eyes.

  94. The bond man really sees through nothing. Its too easy to tilt the odds in your favor and back with your own law. Since the only thing threatening you is a halt to the debt ceiling, and even now that goes by the wayside since any president can now override the congress in raising that ceiling. You must want Romney to win so you can see your future in advance, have all the odds in your favor. But trouble awaits you Mr. Bond, its just a matter of time, so enjoy what time you have left, and live each day as if it were to be your last. It will be here sooner than you think and no airplane will arrive to rescue you.

  95. The Bond Man

    filbt, you’re a total jerk, and a complete waste of space.

  96. Bruce E. Woych

    @ The Bond Man: You are perfectly correct. There once was the “ideal” statement in theory that you can not run a government (…a country,…a nation,…a people) like a business. The corollary to that was you can not run a business, a corporation, an enterprise…like a government.
    These valid truisms are no longer even mentioned.
    =============================================
    “Powerful People”

  97. Bruce E. Woych

    The Truth will set you Free….

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2012-05/26/content_15392452.htm

    Human Rights Record of United States in 2011
    Updated: 2012-05-26 09:02
    (China Daily)
    Editor’s note: The State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China published a report titled “The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2011″ on Friday. Following is the full text:

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2012-05/26/content_15392452.htm

  98. Bruce E. Woych

    eats shoots ‘n leaves:

    http://richardbrenneman.wordpress.com/2012/06/03/killing-the-messenger-black-balled-in-congress/

    Killing the messenger: Black-balled in Congress
    Posted on 2012 June 3

    “If there’s anyone who should be testifying before Congress about the massive toxic dangers of the American financial system, it’s William K. Black, who teaches law and economics at the University of Missouri–Kansas City.

    Black was the nation’s chief regulator of the S&L industry and helped prosecute scores of corrupt banksters in the wake of the Reagan-era collapse of the Savings and loan industry.

    But after Black booked a flight and a hotel room to testify before a congressional gathering on the dangers of the derivatives trade — those noxious speculative bets that brought down the American financial system after the housing market collapsed — he received word that his presence wasn’t wanted.”

    http://richardbrenneman.wordpress.com/2012/06/03/killing-the-messenger-black-balled-in-congress/

    eats shoots ‘n leaves

  99. ‘By the way, thank you for the government source for the labor statistics. Those statistics were created by skilled analysts providing a service that we as taxpayers have chartered them to do. ‘

    Surely you don’t mean to leave the impression that the private sector doesn’t employ statisticians. Who do you think calculates MLB batting, on-base, slugging, earned run averages? Or, Las Vegas casino gaming odds. I wouldn’t even be surprised to find that Jamie Dimon’s firm employs some highly trained analysts.

  100. Who are the cretins in Congress that think it is their job to *blackball* fellow USA citizens with expertise in solving some of the most pressing problems of this country?!

    Opening salvo of the Declaration of Independence – just pop in a couple different *names*…whatever IT IS, it’s not a government anymore by any stretch of the imagination in D.elusional C.ity…

  101. Bruce E. Woych

    “POWERFUL PEOPLE GETTING OUT OF HAND”
    ***************************************************************
    Deliberate media propaganda
    By Glenn Greenwald
    The media now knows that “militant” is a term of official propaganda, yet still use it for America’s drone victims

    http://www.salon.com/2012/06/02/deliberate_media_propaganda/singleton/

    ===========================================
    Wednesday, May 30, 2012 08:05 AM CDT
    How extremism is normalized
    The Obama administration has converted once unthinkable government claims into permanent political fixtures
    By Glenn Greenwald

    http://www.salon.com/2012/05/30/how_extremism_is_normalized/singleton/

  102. TonyForesta

    Mucho great commentary on a gripping post. This nation and the world is replete with honest, intelligent, hardworking, companionate human beings. Tragically none of this kind are in positions of leadership anywhere on this ill planet, and particularly – here in the land of Oz. All our socalled leaders political and corporate are fascist compassionless, greedy, reprobates – a den of vipers and thieves devoid of any sense of humanity.

    Most people including me want peace and non-violent change. History sadly proved however that systemic and brutal tyranny and fascism is NEVER altered peacefully or non violently despite many wise individuals best intentions. These monsters will not change or alter their tyrannical despotic criminal ways peacefully. Shades and shaitans of this brood (predatorclass) must be forcefully confronted, ruthlessly defeated, and excoriated from positions of power. Peace and non-violence is an impossibility. Fight fire with fire. Sadly, there is no other way.

    Get stocked, locked, cocked, and ready to rock, because realdeal real horrorshow change – as we’ve witnessed throughout history and most recently in the socalled “Arab Spring” – is bloody. But change and justice can be won when the masses collate, joins hearts and minds, and DEMAND real change. History proved this point.

    There will be a reckoning and a balancing, and there will be blood.

  103. @Tony – there was the Velvet Revolution, Solidarity, the Singing Revolution and others – but the reason there is no hope for that in USA is because of all the splintering going on….and here’s the cluster f-ck that got together to hang Martha Stewart but won’t touch Jamie-boy – first and foremost was the Gay Boy Real Estate Mafia of Barney Rubble (the Gay Flintstone of Bwall Street) – then the sickest minds on the planet, seriously, in pharma (Nazi science on tilt in that industry- Vidiians r’ us), then the ever present Rovian blowhards with mono-syllabic dog whistle calls to get their Gen X drunken hooligans just slapping ALL women left and right just like the Bible says they should, and the FBI dude, and Murdoch Media, and the NEO CONS (she’s Polish)…and the 144,000 guys in search of their own planet as a god….whew – she figured jail was safer – remember, don’t lie to a FBI agent….

    But now, a couple of billion dollars in Homeland Insecurity Investment later

    and I wish I could post pictures of how determined these people are to INCREASE unemployment because it is SO EASY now to keep taking it ALL

    they WILL keep the Middle Class GENOCIDE going – it is too easy for them now to take it ALL – look how this blog switched to telling us over and over and over again that it’s an IRON LAW of Depravity – get it – it’s a LAW – still the psychobabble game, it’s a LAW for all you stupid sh-ts who WANT a rule of LAW….this is the LAW now….

    But why the hell should we care, right? Here we go – talk about the LAZIEST idea to hold about life! It’s the END of all goodness on 12-12-2012 – so guess what? Even GOD spent a couple of billion years in order to watch us SUFFER the end of all goodness. Resistance is FUTILE, Annie. LOL.

    However, I’m serious about needing to get certain genetics all in one place and declaring ourselves an israel-like right-to-exist state – looks like Wisconsin could be the starting point….we’re not going to get the south, west, large parts of midwest, but a lot of Canadians might want the same kind of “right to exist”…every HUMAN BEING has the right to make their lives less miserable through HONEST WORK…..all the rest of the yaddayadda is total bs. I can’t *experience* any *ism* the way I can experience the generosity of the land – beginning with watching the busy bee do it’s work without a loan from Jamie….

    Every war begins with taking the fruit of labor – property and land – so we’re OBVIOUSLY in defense mode – have to pick the spot and the battle…

  104. TonyForesta

    And we will Annie!

  105. Moses Herzog

    The Part of Christine Lagarde will be played by Louis Prima. The part of large banks of France & EU are played by Keely Smith. As you can see, Keely is desperate for monetary love, and Christine is desperate for any kind of love. This is the problem of being a narcissist American, or in this case, narcissistic French “banker wannabe”:

  106. Moses Herzog

    This news bulletin just in: Christine Lagarde quotes Britney Spears “Oh damn!! I think I did it again”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/may/29/christine-lagarde-pays-no-tax?newsfeed=true

    Lagarde adds “I hate the little people who don’t pay their taxes, unlike important people like me, which are very very very virtuous not paying any“. end quote

    http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2012-05/D9V3ONR81.htm

    News on FOX at 11……..oh wait. news on Rupert Murdoch’s FOX never.

  107. I have the worlds smallest violin playing for you right now, Mr Bond. Everyone call your congressmen and say NO to extending the Bush tax cuts, now that our debt ceiling can not stop from being raised.

  108. She’s not impressed, any good gigolo has a goatee or at least a van dyke.

  109. The Mississippi state crime lab is trying to figure out what to do with the body of Adam Mayes, the man who allegedly murdered a mother and daughter and kidnapped the woman’s two other daughters before shooting himself.

    The lab has had Mayes’ body since mid-May, and doesn’t know what to do with it. Mayes’ family won’t accept his body. If no one takes the body after six months, it has to be returned to Union County, where he died.

    According to Mississippi state law, if there are any living relatives, it is the family’s responsibility to take care of the body. But Mayes’ wife and mother are behind bars, accused of conspiracy in the two murders and kidnappings, according to WMC-TV. Mayes’ brother refuses to accept the body.

    “We’ve had some unusual cases but none like this where the family won’t even accept the remains,” said Mark Golding, the Union County M.E., according to WMC-TV.

  110. The Bond Man

    and filbt, put the small violin up your bucket, while you;re at it,

  111. Drinks are on me, Bondy. Enjoy the love and kindness.

  112. The Bond Man

    I don’t drink with swine.

  113. The Bond Man

    On a different note: contributing to the fall of nations…..withholding information from shareholders, BOA conceals ML losses, no one held accountable.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/04/business/bank-of-america-withheld-loss-figures-ahead-of-merrill-vote.html?_r=1&hp

  114. @Tony F – so are all men in the Human Species comfortable with the conclusion for why Sadism was removed from the list of scientifically recognized mental disorders?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sadistic_personality_disorder

    If not, then we need to gather the genetics together into their own country for whom sadism is not the norm…

  115. Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names can never hurt me.

    BOA had better hope they don’t have too much exposure to France’s banks, who are ones holding most of Spain’s bad mortgages, which have yet to be realized. They discarded advice to stop the overbuilding in 2007 and have been gung ho ever since, as have the banks been to finance it all.

  116. @ The Bond Man & filbt:

    Nobody cares. Post anonymously and your substantive
    message will be received w/full faith & credit spare personal acrimony. Personal attacks, while understandable, are gratuitous. Everybody here has a brain.

  117. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genocide

    “…deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;….”

    It was a WAR on USA Middle Class.

  118. The Bond Man

    OK Anonymous, you got it.

  119. So, Patrick, compare the average compensation and benefits of Jamie Dimon’s analysts and those employed on The Strip to that of the analysts in the Bureau of Labor Statistics and we have an appropriate basis for comparison, which was my original point. If you compare the aggregate private US workforce compensation and benefits to that of the aggregate government workforce, that does not take into account the type of work being performed.
    Now, if your point is that the government should not be providing certain products and services that require highly paid skilled labor, then please let’s say so, and the discussion can turn to that. If your point is that compensation for government workers is out of line with private sector employees providing similar products and services, then there are several ways to solve that. The German model of shared corporate governance is one example. It has introduced some problems, but has also created an international marketing powerhouse with worker’s unions that have chosen to moderate their positions precisely because they have a stake in the process. This is, to be sure, an example from the private sector, but if we want to improve matters in the public sector, the better way to do it would surely seem to be more worker involvement rather than less; time and time again the most effective private organizations are those that promote such participation,

  120. Buy the dip, because QE3 is assured and there’s room for more? Who needs a PPT? How many QEs of multiple trillions does China take on the chin? Three, four? We’re about to find out.

  121. Ditto here, almost turned werewolf for a moment there.

  122. “Financial Collapse At Hand: When is Sooner or Later? : Everyone wants a solution, so I will provide one. The US government should simply cancel the $230 trillion in derivative bets, declaring them null and void. As no real assets are involved, merely gambling on notional values, the only major effect of closing out or netting all the swaps (mostly over-the-counter contracts between counter-parties) would be to take $230 trillion of leveraged risk out of the financial system. The financial gangsters who want to continue enjoying betting gains while the public underwrites their losses would scream and yell about the sanctity of contracts. However, a government that can murder its own citizens or throw them into dungeons without due process can abolish all the contracts it wants in the name of national security. And most certainly, unlike the war on terror, purging the financial system of the gambling derivatives would vastly improve national security.”

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=31272

  123. Wouldn’t that solution also bite the hand that feeds it. I don’t see where the momentum is going to come from. The arrogance over an already proved system of contracts is deeply embedded in business culture. It has made for new terms like human capital when describing making money by, keeping wages low, creating overtime for over paid lawyers to stay busy, and bankruptcy for those that can’t produce at contract lightning speed. And this was all done in part, in the name of national security, the other part was greed for money, the silent killer.

  124. Let’s add a modern invention to the list of why nations fail – algorithms counting *votes*….

  125. The break up of the Euro has officially begun.

    First the Greeks, now the Spanish, gee, who could be next?

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/material-banknote-order-reinstated

  126. I rarely comment, however i did a few searching and wound up here Jamie Dimon And The Fall Of Nations | The Baseline Scenario.
    And I do have a few questions for you if you tend not to mind.
    Could it be simply me or does it look like some of these comments come across like left by brain dead visitors?

    :-P And, if you are writing on additional sites, I would like to keep up
    with anything new you have to post. Would you make a list of every one of your social sites like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

  127. Did you want to include yourself among those brain visitors, or did you just get left behind? Woop, looks like we already have an error.