The Washington Post Makes A Major Factual Error

 By Simon Johnson, co-author of 13 Bankers

Of all the weak, ill-informed, and misleading pieces written on the “resolution authority” – a central tenet of the Dodd bill – by far the most disappointing is the Washington Post editorial in Sunday’s paper.

I fully appreciate that these are complex issues and I understand that journalists frequently write under great time pressure. 

But honestly, if you don’t know the answer to a question – you should really just call Treasury, the White House or Senator Dodd’s people.  What even they will tell you, in my experience – if you press them hard enough (i.e., don’t fall for the initial spin) is that it is incorrect, or at least significantly incomplete and misleading, to say that the Dodd bill will create:

“an executive-branch resolution process for systemically important firms that is separate from bankruptcy and therefore allows officials to move swiftly to resolve a troubled institution in a crisis.”

This statement is wrong for a simple reason: the Dodd resolution authority would not help resolve (i.e., shut down in an orderly manner) large cross-border financial firms, because the authority is U.S. and not international (or cross-border).  Do not misunderstand me: The resolution authority in the bill is a fine idea and worth supporting – it will help create a clear legal framework for the resolution of bank holding companies and nonbank financial companies (i.e., it would extent the FDIC-type resolution process, which is far from being a bailout). 

But the Dodd resolution authority simply will not work for the cross-border megabanks; this is not my opinion, this is an incontrovertible fact that is true by definition.  A domestic resolution authority does not give you the right to manage the failure process in other countries or across borders – for that you would need an international resolution authority and this is not in the cards now or in the foreseeable future (and the Dodd bill does not change that fact in the slightest).

The Dodd bill has some good pieces, including its domestic resolution authority, but it does not go far enough – and that is the point of the Brown-Kaufman amendment (mentioned but apparently not at all understood by the Post).

Given that the Washington Post still has a large staff of excellent journalists working around the world, they could try asking G20 deputies about this in detail – or even just consult with top regulators in the UK who can lay this all out for them.  And while they are at it, it would be worth writing a story on why there is no G20-level process to establish a cross-border resolution mechanism – and no likelihood of such a mechanism for the next 20 years.

Or the Post could even talk to the people at the top of the megabanks – just don’t take their general word at face value regarding claims that the resolution authority will help; ask them to spell out in detail how it would be applied to the cross-border issues at JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, or Goldman Sachs.

This is not a random topic that has sprung unexpected on editorial writers in the past week.  This issue has been hotly debated in public for at least a year.  How could the Washington Post, of all newspapers, put its name – at this stage in the game – behind such manifestly inaccurate and misleading statements?

The Post should immediately issue a correction not just on this specific point, but also on their entire editorial position relative to this issue – because once they accept this error (hard I know, but they will be hearing about this a lot), the logic of their existing position crumbles completely.

108 thoughts on “The Washington Post Makes A Major Factual Error

  1. Isn’t it obvious the media doesn’t pay attention. They didn’t pay attention like the 10x you went to Washington and testified on the Hill this past year (okay maybe it was like 4…).

    Off the top of my head I think TARP COP, Budget, Banking, and perhaps Budget and Banking were more than once…

  2. The bottom line here is being the granddaughter of Katharine Graham does not qualify a person to be the leader/editor of a major newspaper, and Weymouth is no better qualified than a man from the moon and has no idea what in the hell she is doing. PERIOD.

    Weymouth needs to get some large cases of wine or many kegs of beer and have multiple “salons” at her residence (which DON’T include journalists/workers from the Washington Post) and leave the job of running a newspaper to people who made it through journalism 101 class and know which elevator floor the editorial board is on.

  3. To paraphrase a favorite movie of mine:

    “Facts, we don’t need no stinking facts!”

    Another one of the huge benefits of the Brown-Kaufman amendment is that the mere breaking up of the TBTF banks will almost by default create the method used to handle any future TBTF bank failures. We need to learn how to break up TBTF banks such that the innocent are protected and the crooks are punished, and not when we have a freaking weekend to get it done or the “world” will collapse. That’s how we get these insane bailouts shoved down our throats. So passing the Safe Banking Act, and breaking up the TBTF banks is the best way to learn how to handle a multi-national bank failure (and honestly, we have had multinationals fail already so this is not a big obstacle.)

  4. Agreed with everyone above…. have you all called your Senators about the Safe Banking Act? And emailed discuss-lists, and your personal address book? (This is your mom speaking.)

  5. I have called my senators, and urged them on about the safe banking act. All of the rest also…and thanks mom.

  6. Do not misunderstand me: The resolution authority in the bill is a fine idea and worth supporting – it will help create a clear legal framework for the resolution of bank holding companies and nonbank financial companies (i.e., it would extent the FDIC-type resolution process, which is far from being a bailout).

    Unless the bank rackets are broken up and speculative derivatives banned, “resolution authority” is worse than nothing.

    Taken by itself it’s just a scam to pretend “reform” has been accomplished. In real life it would never accomplish anything. No matter what paper authority existed, in the heat of a crisis moment the banksters’ government flunkies would scream “Stampede!” and demand the bailout (remember “by Monday we won’t have an economy”?), and the rest would panic and stampede. Exactly what happened in 2008.

    This is precisely what happened in 2008 because this resolution authority already exists in the form of the PCA law. (I don’t know if the PCA was technically applicable to “shadow banks”, but if it was or wasn’t the result wouldn’t have been any different.)

    So if the authority already exists and it’s already been proven that the authority won’t be used in a crisis, then how can it be anything other than a scam to say “Let’s not break up the big banks or ban speculative derivatives, but we’ll inaugurate new resolution authority which will ensure there won’t be any more bailouts”?

    It can’t be. It’s obviously legislative fraud.

  7. Years ago I had a lot of respect for the Washington Post. Not anymore, this organization has become Faux News lite in their sloppy and at times lying reporting.

  8. Oh Simon: You are so cute!

    Fred Hiatt knows the truth–he just deliberately misleads the few remaining readers of the Post!

    A quick review since Hiatt’s tenure will show cheerleading for Cheney/Bush, Neo-Con warmongering with occasional forays into the reality based world.

    Sadly our most cogent analyses these days comes from Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher which is why it is so great that you appear on their shows.

    Thank you!

  9. Their is one little piece of information that explains the Washington Post’s behavior in this matter. Their stock price.

  10. While the speech was not at the time directly related to banking, it should have been. The speech I refer to was one given by President Eisenhower on the occasion of leaving office. Beware the military / industrial complex as they will become your shadow government. But even shadow governments require the lubrication needed to grease the skids and in this case that’s money. After all as the song goes, it does make the world go round.

    There are those people, perhaps heads of large multinational corporations just like banks who have a vested interest in how this issue is finally dealt with. After all making billions of dollars in profit can provide one with the political clout required to turn more than one head in Washington.

    Most of what we know as the main stream media today, the fifth estate, sold their souls to mega corporations years ago and today offer little in what one might call investigative reporting. The handwriting was on the wall when the NY Times had apologized to its readers for simply going along with the crowd mentality regarding the reason for going to war with Iraq. To expect anything less out of the Washington Post on an even more complex issue is an obvious mistake.

    No, the real hero’s are the Taibbi’s, Talebs, Simons, Roubini’s and others who saw this train wreck coming, yet one could not miss the printed words flying out from the MSM. It was time to deflect blame until the dam burst and I’m happy to say we’re there.

    Nothing in our world is too big to fail and in the case of the banks, either let them fail or take immediate action to break them down into smaller more manageable components. No doubt in this day and age of rampant globalization, there will be others who would be more than happy to pick at the carcass and send the rest of what is left to the dust bin of history.

    This is the Rothchild syndrome at its best. Control the money supply and you rest control of a country from its people. The time has come to turn the page and let a free people decide what form of banking they would prefer. At the least the process must be transparent and we should demand no less from our current crop of politicians.

  11. @Barbara, excellent observations. Give me a few weeks to explain the role of the media (including print) and how they have fallen short in failing to ask the right questions to top administrative officials and other revolving-door participants from Wall Street to Washington and back. If the right questions aren’t even being asked, the hubris and wrong headed policy positions continue unchallenged; or at least, not being debated in a civil manner.

    Nothing attractive about robbing the taxpayer blind – though to the contrary – nothing like a good cat fight to flesh out those issues in public!

  12. Yeah, I stopped reading the Post a long time ago, maybe two years ago. Its a shame b/c I really like Chris Cilliza’s work. But the Post became so absurdly republican so fast that I would rather chew on broken glass than read that propaganda

  13. I’m not sure that ANY institution can move fast enough to deal with a failing megabank.

    Recall that in 2008, with Bear, Lehman, AIG, and others, the sequence was literally:

    Monday – Everything is fine, nothing to see here.
    Thursday – We do have some minor problems, but the situation is under control.
    Friday (after the close) – OMFG, it’s a complete disaster. If we don’t get this fixed by the opening of Asian markets Monday morning, it will be global economic Armageddon. Followed by 24 hour ad hoc meetings all weekend with key global leaders in a scramble.

    Bankruptcy cannot move at this pace. I doubt a formal resolution authority can either. Even two men (Bernanke and Paulson) with carte blanche power were having trouble keeping up and were just pushing the crisis from one firm to another.

    Prevention may be the only viable option.

  14. your last paragraph is key to our future

    in any civilization, money belongs to the people (the constitution assigns the authority for issuing money to congress as the people’s representatives, in article I, section 8, “To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures”)

    and not to a clique of private interests (the fed and its minion banks)

    hence, abolishing the fed (and fractional banking) would go a long way towards reestablishing sanity in our nation–what, no more unnecessary wars in the middle east, or elsewhere, or on drugs, or on terror, or on poverty, all scams to enrich the clique at the expense of the citizenry!

  15. I can not believe the ignorance of both parties, well actually I can. Too Big To Fail is too big to exist. That simple sentence would resonate with 60-70-80% of Americans and whichever party was in front of it and applied it would cream their opponets for many elections to come.

  16. You may not have read about a recent poll by the Argyle Executive Forum. They conducted a survey (electronically) of its C-level execs and “senior corporate leadership community.”

    It did not seem to make many media outlets. For whatever reason, the MSM seems to have its lips puckered firmly up against Goldman’s assets.
    I only happened across it in Robin Goldwyn Blumenthal’s Review column in this week’s Barron’s.

    The poll is quite informative, and does not bode well for Goldie if they have to go the distance in front of a jury.

    The exact survey question was:

    As Goldman Sachs Group is currently at the center of a legal maelstrom triggered by the SEC’s fraud charge last week, we want to ask you how you currently feel about the charges. Please select one of the below:

    • I feel the firm is innocent
    • I feel the firm is guilty
    • I am currently unsure

    The electronic poll produced the following results:

    • 55.2% of business leaders feel Goldman Sachs is guilty
    • 20.7% of business leaders feel Goldman Sachs is innocent, and
    • 24.1% of business leaders are currently unsure

    If corporate execs overwhelmingly think Goldie is guilty, what does that say the man in the street will think?

    One other note: The size of the polling sample is unknown. I’d prefer to see what that datapoint was. We always prefer polling data to be a substantial number — not a small sample.

  17. Odd coincidence, but it was just about two years ago that I bought my last copy of the Post for all the reasons all above have noted. I wonder why both Cilliza and Eugene Robinson stay around in what has become an outlet for Frank Luntz’s latest talking points.

  18. it would be wonderful if we could get to first base with a ground swell of support for the Ron Paul, Alan Grayson bill to audit the Fed. Not just their TALF or TARP programs, but everything. An yes, give the control of the creation of money to the people where it belongs as per the Constitution, not a private banking cartel. Repeal the 14th amendment. We could also get rid of the IRS and replace it with a flat tax as this is the direction we’re moving in anyway.

  19. we have now reached a point in this financial reform debate where the traditional media is woefully incapable of digesting, understanding and explaining to the public how this whole process is proceeding…and point out the good, the bad and the toxic elements of this bill…this is happening either the media is too lazy, or because of time constraints or this is just too complex a subject…this “black hole” of critical info can only help the Big Banks and their lobbyists…this is not helping Americans who are trying to wrap their collective heads on this most critical issue of our generation…

  20. My 3cents? It’s a miracle that minds such as these in this posting are so lucid on this incedibly important subject.

    And a curse that the mass media can’t simply give your concerns a fair airing on their corporate money machines.

    Your comments resonate with the vast majority of Americans and if there is one thing we all want to see it’s the breakup of the mega banks. It’s also the first thing that has really disaponted with our president. He needs to get behind a breakup to no larger than $100 billion dollar banks. The dems would sweep the coming elections if they did!!

    We are heading straight down the road of class wars in our lifetime if we don’t do the hard work now!

  21. The Post like the rest on the news outlets are run by corporations and the truth is not their goal. The goal is to spread their political agenda or to entertain. No longer are journalist asked to inform they are merely entertainers. The level of acceptable ignorance is frightening to me.

  22. The “Washington Post” is a “HoneyPot” media-outlet that is an agent to the “Rothschild’s Family. The Rothschild’s Family controls pretty much all of the UK’s & US’s media. How dare I make this statement :check out Bildenburg via,and start punching!

  23. Post lost my love. What happened to the Watergate people? Another question, Wall Street is making a mockery of our financial ststem and the value of a dollar, what happens when it’s no good for oil?

  24. We have never needed an informed, non-biased, curious press more than we do today. Where are they?

    Thank you Simon for informing us when we need it most.

  25. Re: @ Barbara_____Don’t you find it curious that every “Fed.Chairman”,since it’s inception (including two-charters) and 75% +/+ of the Twelve-Federal Reserve Banks are of a certain “One” religion?

  26. Russ, I just spent a nice chunk of time attempting to go through the bill itself – because I found that when I go to the senate banking committee website, the wording in their bill summary keeps changing (I kid you not).

    I thought it would be relatively easy to find the section specifically related to exceptions to the “no bailout” clause referred to last week in their summary – a reference that was reworded a few days ago and has now disappeared entirely. So I thought, go right to the source and find out if the bill itself has changed. (Logical reason why the summary wording would change, right?)

    Honestly: Sickening reading through that thing. I didn’t even make it through the first two hundred pages, and found sooooooo much sleight-of-hand stuff. Mind boggling. Absolutely mind boggling.

    Never did find the paragraph about exceptions to the no bailout claim. I’m sure it’s in there somewhere, but frankly, after nearly two hours…can’t look at that thing anymore.

    Fraud. You couldn’t have said it more accurately.

    This bill, with its manueverings, dealings…with the people and agencies it puts in charge…

    Fraud. No question.

    P.S. I’d like to see Simon or some other economist actually go through the bill, page by page, and speak truth to power. So much hidden away that’s not being mentioned. By anyone.

    Kudos for your post.

  27. Please excuse my language Miss Cohen, but the day Hiatt fired Dan Froomkin from the Washington Post for zero cause we all knew Katharine Weymouth couldn’t tell the difference between the newspaper on her driveway in the morning and a tampon.

  28. Re: @ BluCollarSavant_____ Sorry,but a hundred billion will be a drop in the bucket ten years out,and these banks held at these “Limit-Up” parameters will wither, and die! There must be provisions integrated into the growth model that coincides with inflation,and “Comp’s”. One size does not fit all,period! What we need is pragmatic,empirical facts weighted by factual statistics of open transparency. The silver bullet is bring back the Glass-Steagall Law in its original format,…and please don’t let the pundits say were desolving rather than evolving when it comes to adapting. Just look at what’s happened too our financial system since the Glass-Seagall Act has been deboned.

  29. Correction: Please realize the misspelling of Bilderberg ,and Bilderberg Group. Thanks Simon,and please “Keep Up the Good Digging for America’s Sake”

  30. Have you seen any Squid ink???
    In the last few days I have noticed a number of postings on several blogs (baseline scenario, huffington post, new york times, and naked capital) that have made statements to the effect that the financial crisis was caused by the government, and a few that have denigrated the blogger or other commenters.

    Readers should be aware that blogs are an open forum. Anyone and everyone is entitled to their opinion but blogs are subject to disinformation and attempts at influencing the readership.

    I can not know for sure if these are genuine attempts at such influencing or if some articulate people suddenly came to the conclusion that attention should be focused on government failings. However, focusing blame on government seems to run against the grain of most participants on these blogs. Most have concluded, I think, that government failures have been driven by regulatory and political capture and not by a simple lapse of judgment or irresponsibility. I offer you this exchange as a possible example:

    Yesterday, at 7:38pm I posted a rather long post on Baseline Scenario in the Simon Johnson’s post on “The Sickening Abuse Of Power At The Heart of Wall Street”:

    Implications of Toothless Regulation and Weak Reform
    If it becomes clear that US banks have captured not only the regulatory system but the political system, the world will be forced to make a judgment about the wisdom of allowing powerful financial interests to control the political establishment of the world’s reserve currency. There has already been talk about replacing the dollar as reserve, it is logical to expect that those talks will take on more urgency.

    And I concluded:
    It seems to me that politicians that coddle the financial industry take the dollar’s reserve status for granted and inadvertently put the American economy at greater risk.

    A response from “Barbara” shortly thereafter (8:12pm) was:
    While Goldman benefited from the subprime meltdown, it didn’t cause it. It was Congress that actively encouraged the extension of mortgages to insolvent borrowers… Congress was so diverted by its desire to reward financially supportive interest groups that the primary interests of the people became an afterthought and tragedy resulted. It’s time that attention be re-focused on the deficiencies of government and not the public scapegoats being offered up in their stead.

    When I first saw this post I didn’t think much of it, but overnight I began thinking about posts with a similar tack on other blogs I had read – attempting to redirect public wrath to government instead of the banks.

    Thankfully, “Sara” at 2:55am this morning wrote a post to set the record straight, saying (in its entirety):
    Barbara- you have sipped the Kool Aid. For years Fannie & Freddie loaned to the working ‘poor’ without any significant increase in mortgage failure or foreclosures. Only after Greenspan designed low Treasury rates to push capital elsewhere did the investment banks start bundling mortgage-backed securities to sell to conservative investors. It worked out ok until they ran out of ‘product’ and decided their risks could be ‘minimized’ loaning to folks with no income and no assets. At some point, Freddie & Fannie had to try and compete as this predatory lending soared.
    But it is total drivel to claim Congress promoted lending to inso,vent borrowers. Can you show one iota of evidence ?
    That regulators failed and Glass-Steagal should never have been cancelled–that is true. That some folks still rationalize the benefits of the derivative market and remain addicted to the notion that more leverage means more capital sizzle–and that is good for growth, etc.- that is more Kool Aid.

    This exchange also reminded me of a guest post on Naked Capitalism that, after a lengthy and winding argument, concluded that the many failings of the Fed as an institution should be our primary concern and NOT the failings of those who arranged the AIG backdoor bailout – because this was an extraordinary situation that the Fed (i.e. the individuals responsible) was not prepared to deal with. The guest poster was a former NY Fed economist who is now working as a “strategist” in the financial industry, and the post came two or three weeks after Yves had noted that there seemed to be an organized attempt to rehabilitate Geithner’s reputation.

    Again, I can not know if any particular post is an effort to surreptitiously influence the debate. But when a certain argument is repeated and/or appears at a certain time, it warrants some suspicion. The financial industry is spending many millions of dollars to defeat reform. With the huge resources at their disposal, it is logical that they make some effort to counter critics in the blogosphere.

    Cross-posted on Baseline Scenario, Naked Capitalism, and Calculated Risk.

  31. Professor Johnson,
    Don’t worry about cross-border resolution authority over megabanks. Republican Senator Mitch McConnell has been meeting privately (and he thought secretly) with hedge funds. The lobbyists of the hedge funds told him if the hedge funds give Republican Mitch McConnell enough money and favors that the issue of cross-border resolution authority isn’t important. Mitch agreed and everyone walked away very happy.

  32. My senators are Kaufman and Carper. Senator Kaufman has astounded us all, and needs no prompting. Senator Carper is just another tool.

  33. THE GOLDMAN DEFENSE: All the counterparties in our CDO/CDS deals knew the risks involved.

    WRONG!: The American taxpayer who had to bail you out along with the entire banking system is the biggest counterparty to all these deals and the taxpayer had no idea of what was going on, much less the risks involved.

    FURTHERMORE: If all the counterparties, as you claim, knew the risks involved, that means you, Goldman Sachs, knew the risks involved and therefore should have known that AIG may not be able to make good on their CDS obligations. Which means the one counterparty that wasn’t informed of the risks—the taxpayer—should not have paid you the $13 billion in AIG counterparty bailout money which you promptly distributed among yourselves as “profits”.

    FURTHER STILL: If, as you, Goldman Sachs, claim, that all counterparties were aware of the risks involved, then you, Goldman Sachs, should have been allowed to fail.

    THE GOLDMAN COUNTER DEFENSE: We were never at risk of going under.

    WRONG!: If that’s true, then you should repay the taxpayer—the only counterparty who wasn’t privy to the risks—the $13 billion in AIG counterparty money you distributed among yourselves as “profits”.

    CONCLUSION: Return the $13 billion you STOLE from the American taxpayer. Then kindly kill yourselves. And take your former CEO Hank Paulson with you!

  34. I always agree with your books, and with everything you said. I look at life thru Jesus’ Parables and nothing that you said contradicts them; quite the contrary, they match perfectly. Thank you for all you work and for all your books! May God always bless you!

  35. “How could the Washington Post, of all newspapers, put its name – at this stage in the game – behind such manifestly inaccurate and misleading statements?”

    Of far greater relevance is the question, how could Simon Johnson – at this stage in the game – not grasp the fact that the Washington Post, like the New York Times, is simply a shill for the ruling class and has been for time immemorial. “Manifestly innacurate and misleading statements” are the stock and trade of these bacteria. When Johnson becomes fully capable of understanding this very simple notion perhaps he’ll then turn from his naive inveigling of these scum and help organize a general strike or mass demonstration aimed at making right their theft of the our democracy. Such mind-numbing naivete might sell books, Simon, but it won’t right this fundamental injustice.

  36. Thanks Simon for pointing out the cross border problem. I view the problem as endemic to the political culture and constitution of the US. The state is precluded from delegation of any bankruptcy adjudication to another sovereign. That is especially so from a political perspective. What better demonstration of the US signing it’s life away to a NWO superstate in the eyes of the populace?

    Fortunately, the problem can be sufficiently dealt with given the way cross border big banks are organized. Most, if not all, cross border banks operate in the United States through ownership of a US branch bank chartered as a NA. I do not know if any foreign banks chartered in their home sovereignty operate as simple branches with the branch simply chartered as NA. For example, A United Kingdom chartered bank may operate a simple branch in the US with the branch itself receiving a US National Association designation. My point though is that the branch or US chartered subsidiary would come under the jurisdiction of the United States. Either way, there is a legal United States unit that may be taken over on the same basis as a wholly US chartered entity.

    If the United States closed a cross border bank operation in the US, the chartering sovereignty would be forced to cooperate. This same situation would apply to the foreign branch operations of US banks and their subsidiaries. Citibank, for example, has huge extra territorial operations on a branch or foreign subsidiary basis. The United States could not seize these operations but certainly would seize ownership of these operations as assets of the bankrupt estate of the seized bank. Minimimally, they could be passed intact to the successor NA . Similarly, for US chartered banks elsewhere.

    This problem seems to be addressable and would force cooperation between states. No law can possibly address all contingincies but the law must delegate settlement of such issues to diplomacy. If not, the foreign elements are simply severed and let the chips fall where they may out of necessity.

    I should think that cross border problems of the top 50 banks are so intertwined that only a severing solution would work absent very quick co-operation between the most concerned states involved. The small fry states that make waves get severed. They keep what is in their sovereignty and we do the same.

    Any solution must be very rapid. Over a weekend kind of rapidity.

    This takes bold law and an even bolder state apparatus which I think we totally lack. Given the time factor, it is our way or the highway and the other states would feel the same about the US. The state must be up to acting.

  37. Things I just know must make some sense but really piss me off leaving me in a state of HUH.

    >>Here’s an example of this special treatment: Both bills would establish a specific process to resolve big-bank failures. Smaller institutions, by contrast, would be allowed to go bankrupt without a new resolution scheme. <<

  38. Really, William, a spiritualized Simon Johnson? I don’t think I could bear it. You’ll excuse my diffidence if I’m unable to see the image of Christ in Simon’s rather constant pleading with the ruling class. I’d be willing to reconsider, of course, if he we’re actually to drive these scum from our midst. :-)

  39. “The United States is unusual among the industrial democracies in the rigidity of the system of ideological control – indoctrination, we might say -exercised through the mass media”…by Noam Chomsky

    All U.S. media conglomerates today are now just another instrument of the American ruling elite (oligarchy, ruling class, or whatever name you give it) which includes the TBTF banks of course…just give them their football, basketball, hockey, golf, American Idol, WWF and all other diversions and you can pretty well lead the majority of Americans to any hell hole worthy of Dante’s Inferno…that’s how comtemptous the ruling elite has been of the average American Joe six-pack and their well being…since the early days of the Republic and nothing much has changed except maybe the technology used by the elite in the pursuit of their narrow self-serving goals…WaPo is just another example of this dance we call U.S. style “democracy”…

  40. Frankly I look to blogs for news. There are a variety of perspectives, and we know that.
    “From time immemorial,” the “discussion” they moderate seems to be among certain “interests” within the particular purview, and then they throw in “the funny papers” to keep up the readership. Is there a vital discussion at any newspaper, a blog where people can challenge reporters as Simon here does?
    I wait to hear exactly how the rating agencies are dealt with in the Senate bill as finally amended. It seems a conflict of interest, the core of all ills, that complex financial instruments are rated by, say, Moody’s, and the rating is paid for by whoever is putting together that instrument.
    On the surface, an “exchange” or “clearinghouse” would do the work of the rating agencies, putting them out of business altogether, yet I read somewhere that the Senate bill “does not address this at all.”
    Erin Burnett on NBC TV Meet the Press (my best recall) earlier toay said that Goldman’s defense would be that they saw the housing debacle coming along (in 2007) and what were they supposed to do on behalf of their clients and America at large? Mis-appraise, mis-forecast, pretend ignorance? No, they bet on the failure. Seized profit out of the teeth of disaster.
    I am so happy to have a Republican Senator whom I can e-harangue right about now

  41. Re: @ Andrei Vyshinsky____Nice read. But,…please don’t be so hard on Johnson,and Kwak. Their current book,parlayed with “The Big Short”and various other Books coming into print will awaken America. They’re gaining some public attention. Granted the big media outlets haven’t gotten on board,but the thread is developing into a wonderful yarn soon to be woven into a tight knit scarf that the neo-lexiconic pundits can use to wear with purpose,dignity via integrity,or eventually used as a noose to hang themselves politically with. Time – just give them alittle time. PS. They are risking alot on educating America’s proletariat,whom in all good conscious will probably never purchase the book. Give logic a probable chance?

  42. Earle, dieting, gardening, exercising, parades, beauty contests, ribbon cuttings. That’s the local newspaper approach. The only ones who subscribe seem to be homeowners (“has anyone renting a car ever washed it,” someone quoted Larry Summers to say), and though he forgot about leasing cars and mortgaging homes, the readers have property values in mind when reading local news. Any other agenda, you are made to feel stupid and irrelevant. I know I vastly oversimplify, but we are developing alternative media. Bill Moyers’ Journal this week, as I recall, was about how we need Congress to allocate $100 a person for public radio and TV (like Great Britain, Denmark, and a couple others), not a dollar apiece or whatever we do now. An FCC commissioner was expounding. Media, even the internet, is owned by Big Money. What do we expect? Let them eat cake.

  43. Mr. Obama’s speech at the Cooper Union was remarkably unsatisfying. It seemed to be given from weakness, and almost obsequious as the American President politely asked his largest campaign contributors to please stop flouting the law, defrauding the people and their customers, and spending millions per day lobbying the Congress to buy changes in the reform legislation to provide them with the ‘right regulators’ of their choice and convenient loopholes to render it ineffective.

    The reform making its way through the Congress is unlikely to be effective given the process in place, despite the political kabuki dance being conducted by the Congress and the Banks.

    The solution is to put simple and effective regulations in the hand of stronger, independent, ad highly capable regulators to bear on the financial services industry, and to understand that the regulations must evolve with a dynamicly evolving business. The idea that you can erect some impregnable and unchanging Maginot line against bank fraud is laughable, a farce.

    As William K. Black disclosed in his testimony the other day, the regulators always had the power to shut down the frauds, and to resolve the financial crisis without having to give away billions. They lacked the will, and the motivation.

    You want to wipe that smirk off Lloyd Blankfein’s face? Nominate Eliot Spitzer or Elizabeth Warren to be the head of the SEC, or the CFTC, and provide them with a adequate budget and a staff of financial experts and a few experienced prosecutors.

    This is not that difficult, and these jokers are not that smart, although part of their con is to paint themselves as the smartest, the best, and practically unstoppable. The root of the US financial crisis is always and everywhere regulatory capture, political cronyism, and fraud. It really is that simple.

    Barack Obama should to listen to a speech by Nick Clegg of the UK Liberal Democratic Party to hear what a genuine reformer sounds like. Today he sounded like a servant, but not for the public.

  44. Make that “Lord” Blankfein. Barbara you can hear William Black on Bill Moyers’ Journal as well, from Friday this week.
    Why Obama at Cooper Union — how he managed to keep getting applause from SUCH an audience…
    Maybe he has no advisor who has proposed a way ahead (dragging the Congress along). Exactly how to unwind complex derivatives. Exactly how to split the mega without having what I heard Sunday morning referred to as “twelve snakes where before you had one,” that is, multiplying the evil. Maybe they said serpents, not snakes.
    I don’t hear that Congress/Senate is proposing enlarging the SEC (3700 employees? 57,000 banks to regulate or some such?) — and no wonder; do they take the bull by the horns? What other agency has been like this? I’d suggest the EPA. If the Republicans cannot shrink government, they have instead castrated it somehow. No wonder they watch porn. (Oh, I am bad.) But American citizens need individuals who can and will stand up to the richest people in the world, lawyers, statisticians, CEO’s, banksters. Can we pay them all $20 million a year? No, the Big Money will somehow use their millions to keep them “quiet.” Obama looks worried or tired to me (Weekly Podcast), and I think I know why.

  45. When’s the last time the Post was actually interested enough in public policy to cover it with care? They’re interested in horse races only, who’s up, who’s down, who are the winners (they’re very interested in the winners.) Anyway, good to see this explained here.

  46. Bill Moyers did his last show on Friday with Bill Black. Anyone who is a fan should go to the site and tell Moyers how much you appreciate him and will miss him. I can’t imagine who could fill his shoes or even be a satisfying substitute. Louis Rukeyser went and now Bill Moyers. I’d rack my brain to think of some good ones to take over the PBS Friday time slot, but no one would listen anyway (haha).

  47. It would seem to me that your point is the entire reason for demanding greater transparency in all aspects of modern banking. Problems as big as the ones we had to bail out don’t happen in a week. They happen over years under the cover of lies and secrecy.

  48. Bill Moyers interviews with Professor of Humanities and mythology expert Joseph Campbell should be preserved as American treasures in the Smithsonian Institute.

  49. Moyers told all listeners to please go to his web site (a part of PBS at this point?) and sign up so that “we can continue to keep in touch” (something like that). The week before, he had phrased it that he would continue to have a “web presence,” which if this website is any indication can signify quite a bit. If he wanted to, he could conglomerate links and pointers, and be as much of a force as ever, but without the whole panoply of a production studio.
    I would get more from Moyers on the web. I could choose my time; I could link in my choice of directions, and read, watch, or listen. And people are always more “engaged” when you can pitch right in, and be pitched right back at — something TV does not offer.

  50. i just want to know what happens after the chickens come home to roost. how long before the whole house of cards collapses.
    a generic timetable that shows how the fall of Greece, Spain England and the US will occur.

    i certainly don’t expect anyone with power or money to do anything about the crooks who run American Government/Republicans/Wall St./Democrats. They own America and will escape scott free. lol

    sad for American who love our country. BUT

    this scenario has been playing out since the first domino fell before Obama got elected. As Obama is one of the “banksters” scamming America, i have seen his “value” as a leader of the “elite” that run and own America.

    in other words how long does the whole collapse take, are there different scenarios if this or that occurs. like Germany refusing to support Greece/the Euro, then Spain.

    it’s obvious the game is rigged by teh Banksters. i just wonder if anyone has a clue to how long, in a generic timeframe, and what the general flow chart looks like.

    i frankly would have to thank Gerald Ford for pardoning Nixon for teh problems with American government. the lack of accountability seems to have evolved from this lack of perceived ability to deal with “unpleasant” people. oh we don’t want to throw stones at “bad” people.

    America is owned lock, stock and barrel by the corporations. so what else is new.

    when the bills come due is something the average American has always had to deal with month by month, if they are that lucky. lol

    watching “businessmen” screw us over for something like 40 years., thanks to St. Ronnie, is not for the faint hearted. that is why the PR campaign of the Republican corporations, ( are there Democratic ones) lol, worked so well until the greedy ran out of suckers.

    American business are earning a reputation they earnestly deserve. there aren’t enough words to describe the lack of morals or whatever these white men, mostly have perpetrated upon the once existent middle class.

    one world order after all. just they speak English instead of Russian, Mandarin or German

  51. Gadzooks, has anyone else noticed that Lavrentiy Beria, who used to comment on this blog, has disappeared and been replaced by Andrei Vyshinsky??? Could these people be one and the same?

    A special thank you goes out to Professor Kurt Rosenbaum, a scholar and a spellbinding lecturer in history.

  52. Thanks, Barbyrah. It sounds like you took one for the team trying to read through that garbage.

    I don’t know if the language would allow for exceptions or not. Probably it would.

    But even if it didn’t wouldn’t make any difference. In the heat of the moment they always find creative ways to break the law.

    Or just directly, uncreatively break it. Like with Bush/Obama’s torture and war crimes.

  53. earle, florida,

    The weakness of most economists writing today, and that includes Johnson and Quack, is that they pre-suppose that our system is somehow capable of reform. Yet their own analyses lead inexorably to the conclusion that it isn’t. It makes little sense to importune whores that are in bed with their johns, earle. If nothing is clear from recent experience its that the political mechanisms on which most rely for redress – the franchise, primarily – have been so corrupted over time that they have become meaningless. One is almost reminded of Josef Stalin’s aphorism respecting elections so compromised have ours become:

    “It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.”

    And what do you suppose time and books are going to do concretely to change the situation? Given time, the pathology enthroned at the heart of our public life only will become more and more entrenched. And as to Johnson and Quack “risking alot on educating America’s proletariat”, what precisely are they risking? The book is a business venture like any other. They aren’t planning to set up soup kitchens with either their six-figure salaries or their book proceeds, are they? And don’t you think its a bit arrogant, actually, that they’d presume to speak for working people in the first place? Unemployed working people and those on whom houses have been foreclosed need no education about this crisis. They’re starving into it day after day.

  54. It may be sooner than many realize. One clue may come this week as the government is going to try and unload a massive amount of debt. The question is who in the world is going to buy it? Perhaps like so many times in the past, he Fed will come in through the back door using third parties.

    But sooner rather than later, this house of cards will collapse. The world will demand a real money system in which cheaters can no longer cheat. No more shorting the metals markets. The great thing about a dollar backed by gold and silver is that once you own it, it is no one else’s liability.

    Many civilizations found out the hard way and Rome was a perfect example. Spread your armies to thin and debase your currency. In fact, no fiat paper currency in history has ever survived more than two hundred years. Only through manipulation and other slight of hand has the dollar held on as the worlds reserve currency. Many thought the sun would never set on the British empire. I guess they were wrong. As Twain once remarked. History never repeats, but it sure does rhyme.

  55. PS….Your right Bernard. Without accountability, there is no moving forward. I sincerely hope Obama or any other politician doesn’t come out in the near term and tell us all we have to look to the future to move forward. Hell no. Clean up the mess first, then we’ll talk.

  56. I think the funniest part of that clip is how you can almost hear the sound of him crapping his Depends.

  57. Yes but it’s not just the traditional media, it’s the legislators as well. I seriously doubt that Senators Dodd and Shelby fully understand our complex financial system. Which is why it’s so important to consult independent people who do understand and are neither elected, appointed, or beholden to “think tanks” and other institutions.

    Those folk must be few and far between and I seem to be arguing for smaller financial institutions with limited services.

  58. Jessica,

    Have you gone daft? Both of these men are long dead. You haven’t taken to believing in ghosts, now have you?

  59. Russ, great post.

    The banksters and Congress can’t give up the casino because they understand that the debt ponzi scheme is at its terminus. They need the zero interest rates, to lend to those who then finance the bets and collect fees to pay the interest charges and the ponzi continues.

    These banksters would go under were it not for their collusion with the each other the Fed and Treasury to arrange their regular stealth bailouts.

    Derivates are the new glue. Fraud is the acceptable rationale to sustain TBTF. And IBG and YBG are the guiding acronyms of Wall St., Congress, the Fed, and Treasury. I’ll Be Gone—You’ll Be Gone so let the good times roll.

  60. Do You Have Any Reforms in Size XL?

    April 23, 2010 – N.Y. Times – excerpts

    “EVERY once in a while, Congress awakens from its lobbyist-induced torpor, realizes that the masses are cranky and sets out to appease them. Such a moment occurred last week when lawmakers finally got the message that Main Street is disgusted with Wall Street and wants them to do something about it.

    Financial reform, which had been stumbling along, suddenly got traction. Bills and proposals began flying around Capitol Hill, and President Obama chided the bankers in an appearance in New York. Unfortunately, the leading proposals would do little to cure the epidemic unleashed on American taxpayers by the lords of finance and their bailout partners. The central problem is that neither the Senate nor House bills would chop down big banks to a more manageable and less threatening size. The bills also don’t eliminate the prospect of future bailouts of interconnected and powerful companies.

    Too big to fail is alive and well, alas.

    Indeed, several aspects of the legislative proposals sanction and codify the special status conferred on institutions that are seen as systemically important. Instead of reducing the number of behemoth firms assigned this special status, the bills would encourage smaller companies to grow large and dangerous so that they, too, could have a seat at the bailout buffet.

    Here’s an example of this special treatment: Both bills would establish a specific process to resolve big-bank failures. Smaller institutions, by contrast, would be allowed to go bankrupt without a new resolution scheme.

    This special resolution system is not only unfair; it also sends a pernicious signal to the market about large and intertwined institutions.

    The message is this: Subject as they will be to a newly codified “resolution authority,” these institutions and their investors and lenders can expect to be rescued if they get into trouble.”

  61. Bacygirl wrote 01:48 PM on 4/25/2010:

    “Fear keeps everybody, everybody, everybody from acknowledging the trillion dollar gorilla in the room. Not one newspaper, blog, TV commentator, government official or news pundit has dared breathe it. Not even on HP.

    Further Simon Johnson, “abuse” is not the correct word to apply to the Wall Street problem. These people are as crooked, criminal, greedy, evil and immoral as humans come. They almost murdered the world’s economy for personal gain and FUN. Their wealth blinded and compromised government, regulators and their middle class victims such that nobody has the legal authority or the moral authority to challenge and shut down their financial feeding frenzy.

    These people are like a gang in suits. They are the Mob and the middle class is wearing the concrete shoes. They are a class, a club, a clan who are a law unto themselves.

    They should be in jail rather than sitting in their Wall Street offices mounting their attacks to maintain the status quo.”

    (3rd of 1500+ comments)

  62. Re: @ hermanas_____Watergate was a ruse,…a set-up! Nixon had served his purpose – abolishing Bretton Wood’s,and was becoming a liability with his unfortunate gifted intanglement in the Viet-Nam War that was spinning out of control. Now,..what’s up with the Washington Post? It was originated by a former Federal Reserve Chairman,and a very well connected – fabulously wealthy aristocrat who serendipitously benefited on other peoples’ misfortune. Somewhat of a Pulitizer cross-type Hearst kind of a guy that polished “Yellow Journalism”.If he were alive today you would think of him as Rupert Murdock,or the Late Mr.Black? He loved dipping into the “Honey-Pot” as his grand scheme of sensationalism – sound {he could make or break a politician by digging through their closets,…which he was good at mind you, ie.) J.Edgar Hoover was a class act? that supported his campaign} familiar. Moving on,…Bernstein,and Woodward were gifted the “Deep-Throat” (yea,right – this ,”Watergate-Thing” was going on since politics became a game – what a joke)career story – it’s that simple. Now back to the something of imperical interest,…to shed some light on the forces that be – Melinda Gates,Warren Buffett,and Barry Dillard are all current “Board of Director Members. How quaint it be,…? PS. Do you remember the quick $5bn Buffett pick up from Goldman Sachs? We’ll I do,…?

  63. Re: @ Andrei Vyshinsky_____Nice Read,..again. I would punctuate your assumption that great authors can’t speak for the people because of the very fact they have “Two Dog’s” in the {( conflict of interest with a avarice maelstrom agenda?)/(just gotta take that leap of faith brother)/(do I hear an “Amen”?)} fight. Please let me remind you of the free press,and how a certain fellow (from Boston where I grew up) helped General Washington stir the pot when called upon with his great poignant writings of common sense,and liberty for all – bringing consensus too the american people that,” Were all in this Together!

  64. I have been meaning to ask why the big economic guru’s do not even suggest that adequate laws already exist to prosecute the daylights out of quite a few Wall Streeters. Robert Reich recently asked why there is not a blitz of Sarbanes- Oxley induced indictments.

    I bet there are quite a few hiding inside the Department of Justice. Prosecutions politically timed just as the SEC suit against Goldman was.

    There is an almost total silence about the use of Sarbox. It sure scared the financial types at the time. All of us took seminars on the new law. A full textbook put out by CCH was used initially.

    Just wondering. Will these indichtments hit like a storm this fall just before the elections?

    From now really extensive reading on the entire collapse there seems ample areas for Sarbox prosecutions that would stick.
    Just wondering.

  65. Re: @ EllenD_____Unfortunately I live in a trailor with my faithful dogs,and a broken down truck – and of course my trusted “Shot-Gun” by the screen door. Life is great if ya got ya health.;^)

  66. “It’s time that attention be re-focused on the deficiencies of government and not the public scapegoats being offered up in their stead.”

    Big brother did it, uh huh. Well, big brother isn’t blameless to be sure but I’m really sick of big corporation apologists. “Barbara” is more transparent than you might think.

  67. “Unemployed working people and those on whom houses have been foreclosed need no education about this crisis.”

    Yeah we do cause we still don’t have the license number of the truck that ran over us. Thanks Mr. Johnson for supplying that photo of the license plate.

  68. If you’re looking for the license number of the truck that ran over you look no furher than that on the vehicle of your Congressmen, senators and presidents over the last couple of decades. No one has needed Johnson to understand that.

  69. Well, you are just the sort of person to run for senator, if you haven’t noticed. Or chase a few tornado funnels. ;->

  70. “Facts are stupid things,” Ronald Reagan. I know, a word stumble but no need to paraphrase.

  71. Re: @ Andrei Vyshinsky_____My only source for knowledge is at the local library – personal books,and varied periodicals,…which are few, but sufficient. God gave us all common sense,and great brains (we must always believe in ourselves)far more adaptable,innately valuable,and intrinsically spontaneous,more so than any computers…”Search Engine” would have the time to comatose my mind making me a creature of invitro indoctrination! Freedom of thought is what you crave Andrei,and I quarrel with it not!

  72. Simon, you have often made comments along the line of “this is not my opinion, this is an incontrovertible fact that is true by definition” about resolution of international banks. But I still don’t see why it is true.

    We have bankruptcy processes that can apply to multi-national corporations, don’t we? I assume that their foreign holdings are treated as assets that get divided among the creditors.

    Why can’t we do the same for banks? It’s been my experience that each country’s version of a megabank is pretty independent, due to differences in local banking laws. Why is there a problem with letting the foreign affiliates stay operating while the US bank is taken over and sold off?

  73. @Andrei, to be honest, unless I am not understanding your e-mail, all that I have read from Simon is for him to be on the side of the poor and the middle-class. Shouldn’t we thank a man who is defending us? I have never seen him defending the ruling class. Like I said I may have not understood your e-mail, and if so I apologize. All the best and God bless you as well.

  74. “Freedom of thought is what you crave Andrei,and I quarrel with it not!”

    Wrong, earle, not that freedom of thought isn’t a worthy aim to have. Rather, my interest is in seeing that an injustice is righted, a moral injustice. We’ve had our democracy stolen from us and its not going to be restored by a reliance upon parliamentary devices. Short of massive public demonstrations and the general strike nothing is likely to change in this country. The rest is simply idle fantasy.

  75. Bingo. That’s what wiped me out trying to read through the thing…

    After I got into it I could tell parts were stuck in there just for “cover.” Cover to allow anyone to do practically anything. All under the guise of being “legal.” Even the torture/war thing…if you look at the wording of laws passed since 911, or executive orders, it’s the same kind of manipulative dance, because somewhere in there, that clause, or that phrase, or that word…can/will be interpreted in ways to support whatever power-play action they end up taking.

    I saw that seeping through this bill…political ploys and exceptions and obfuscations sprinkled throughout.

    P.S. Have read some of your other posts, and… simpatico.

  76. I recognize your name too, Gregori. Premier Malenkov is also long dead. I took too many Russian and European Diplomatic History courses in college. All three men are well known (two are infamous) to students of Russian history. I find it hard to believe that 3 individuals, not know to one another, would choose such noms de plume. I suspect a single person with an unusual sense of humor.

  77. Simon, this is why we need factchecker regarding media that profess as true either falsehoods or half thruths. I am sure that some imbecile at the Post (hopefully not one who has actual knowledge of the economics of banking and finance) decided that, based on its language (and without any additional background), the Dodd Bill would, in fact, result in the dismantling of such a TBTF institution, if called upon, if it passes. In fact, the legislation probably needs to be commented upon by testimony from experts on international finance as to its efficacy (that is experts other than you and a few others who have likewise opined).

    In fact, its passage, if not supported by similar legislation internationally, when used, would surely have a major destructive result globally. And, to be sure, it will be necessary. But then, maybe it is the goal of those who profess reform, and knowing what you have said, to simply be quiet and pass it for the political purpose of convincing the millions of citizens who remain in ignorance regarding its potential inefficacy to be duped into believing that it would work. Because, if a large American/internationl institution fails and must be bailed out instead of resolved, they then can blame the global community of nations for having to do so, since they did nothing to make true resolution possible.

    There are lots of ways to spin this for politicians, and the devil, as they say, will be in the details. Needless to say, unless Kaufman-Brown is successful in instituting a serious size cap on financial institutions, whatever else happens to pass will be quite a bit less than fully successful.

  78. Yes, the rule of law has abdicated completely. Within the parameters of this system we no longer have “law”.

    Thanks for the nice words about my posts. If you want to read more along those lines you can click on my name and visit my blog. :)

  79. Jessica,

    Must you continue on with these delusions, Jessica. At this point one would have to regard Georgi Malenkov’s assesment as diagnostic. Perhaps a brief rest or some therapy?

  80. I think perhaps the first alternative should have been “not guilty” instead of “innocent”.

    Goldman is sure in hell not innocent (in the non-legal sense of the word). Put another way, they are wise in the ways of the world – and markets.

    But that doesn’t mean they’re guilty in a legal sense, but perhaps I’m just prevaricating.

    A nice follow-on question would be whether the responder would hire Goldman as their banker.

  81. Simon,

    While theoretically, legally, it is true that cross border resolution is not covered, this may in fact mean nothing practically.

    The assets and liabilities of large multinational banks will be within the power of the resolution authority to deal with, no matter where they are. The Lehman London assets, for instance, were sold (albeit at a perhaps too low price) to Barclays.

    Even if some of the non-balance sheet assets and liabilities (e.g. minority interests, offshore SIVs) in a firm to be wound up were technically untouchable, the United States has in the past demonstrated its ability to act extra-territorially in the economic sphere by sanctioning banks which are not American and saddling them with onerous reporting requirements and even fines: think UBS.

    In fact, as someone who lived a long time in Europe, it is my opinion that U.S. extra-territoriality is positively crushing U.S. trade balances by double taxation of overseas U.S. citizens. In addition, the U.S. is forcing banks and financial companies to avoid U.S. citizens as clients by increasing the legal filing burden on their accounts, and fining them if they resist. This has led some banks in Switzerland to refuse to serve U.S. citizens legally domiciled in that country, and further to advise even their non-U.S. clients to divest in the U.S. due to potential liability for U.S. taxes and expropriations.

    One issue which is perhaps not covered by the Dodd legislation is the case where a foreign bank has American liabilities in such an amount that the implosion of the foreign bank causes instability in the real economy of a significant portion of the U.S. This is what happened in the case of the Icelandic banks which were operating in the U.K. private banking arena. Their bad bets eventually caused U.K. residents numbering in the millions to lose their deposits… with no deposit insurance. The U.K. government had to make these depositors whole. Taking money from the taxpayers to pay the taxpayers for the Icelandic banks’ folly.

    In summation, I believe that the legal loophole you mention here can be covered practically if the U.S. continues in its projection of economic power extra-territorially as diligently against these banks as it has against its own citizens abroad. I just wish that Congress would see fit in the interest of greater trade with the rest of the world, to stop double taxation without representation of U.S. citizens abroad!

  82. Re: @ Barbyrah______Their called “Power Words” – short meaningful,ambiguous,and deceptive when placed strategically. PS: The “Thesaurus” actually has words with off-shoots in the “True – GROSS(144) – referenced palindrome waif?

  83. Correction:____W E Buffett put up $5Bn for GS’s warrants ,and got back $3.1bn in profits in less than a year. PS. For the “Curious George’s” out there – Buffett bought the largest railroad in america ie.) “Northern Burlington Rails” for a song. Whatever his plans be,…they will certainly hit home (literally,figuratively,and physically) – he will capitalize on the “Supreme Court’s” decision of “Eminent Domain” ,and raze every fore-closed home in america too make way for his resurrected “Robber Barron RailRoad”!(Something just refuse to go away?)

  84. The Washington Post is a very useful newspaper. Just don’t waste time reading it. Wrap the fish while the paper is still fresh. It holds in the stink.

  85. I think all WaPo’s writers went to Politico. If this statement is factually incorrect I will issue a timely retraction/correction.

  86. At the risk of upsetting uncle earle, I know you too General Voroshilov. I think the common thread here is something our government could use in a big way—a (not-so-bloody) Purge. I say we throw every last man, woman, and transgender person off the Washington gravy train on the next election, without respect to party affiliation. I missed you, Lavrentiy.

  87. I have my eye on the prize, laddie. Read the above comment and Google: Lavrentiy Beria, Andrei Vyshinsky, Gregori Malenkov and Gen. Kliment Voroshilov. These men are the reasons that some of us folks down here in FL don’t trust our government to find their fannies with two hands (see the latest Pew Poll), let alone control 17% of the economy. Ask a Ukrainian if one has anything to fear from government planning, and get back to me, laddie.

  88. “There is an almost total silence about the use of Sarbox”.

    D’oh! That would be because Wall Street owns Washington.

    There will continue to be silence on that front. There will be no storm of SEC actions against banksters. Maybe a hedge fund or two. A couple of sacrificial goats from AIG, perhaps, but nobody significant.

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