Economic and political analysis-Window on culture-Media criticism

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Reforms hide private agenda

Today I listened to more Geithner testimony about regulatory reform. I won't get into the specifics of Geithner's proposals at this point. Like Geithner's ill-fated TALF plan, a proposal where private funds would be backed by government resources to buy up toxic debt, the proposed regulatory changes might be jettisoned and save me the work of analyzing the plan in detail and explaining why it won't work. Easier it is to simply wait and hope that Congress will do the right thing, and protect the regulatory environment from private sector--the Fed is a private corporation!--control.

It wasn't an absence of laws and regulatory bodies that contributed to the crisis--although changes in the law had favored greater abuses of credit in private money transactions. Instead an absence of enforcement of existing laws--"on the books"--led to systemic--and still unfolding--damage. De-regulatory steps like eviscerating the SEC enforcement and repealing Glass Steagal weren't the sole source of the crisis, but many hardcore partisans like Larry Kudlow refuse to blame de-regulation.

As I write, criticism of Obama's proposed regulatory reforms expands. To leave the Federal Reserve with new regulatory powers is completely insane in my view. I can't honestly see how Geithner and other financial industry insiders can craft a solution to a problem to which their ineptitude contributed--a fact that I dispensed here six months ago that only now seems to be making its way into the mass media.

The Chairman of the Federal Reserve is a Presidential appointee and serves as his agent. So in this sense Team Obama/Geithner could expect more authority and control over who the Fed chooses to regulate with its new powers. Theoretically this would be a coup for greater Executive branch authority.

I'm pleased to see the mass media openly criticizing the President's plan. At least the media seems to be covering opinions that opposed to any enhancement of Fed power, based on a broader trend which is anti-Wall Street greed. Even Larry Kudlow has turned quite cynical towards authorizing more power to the Fed.

As President Obama has said, transparency is vital to any structural reform of the financial system, so the more analysis of proposed solutions that's disseminated to the public, the better.

Recently Obama did seek to make secret logs of White House visitors (source), in what's becoming a disturbing new trend towards secrecy continued from the Bush years. As is becoming his mark, Obama promises the world and so we don't know if he's just saying he wants transparency when in fact he does the opposite.

Of course it sounds good when the President appears to be on your side, the little guy's...your side. But is he? Or are all the smooth promises just meant to cover up deeper and darker motives, like establishing more power for the Executive branch, or rewarding the financial interests who received so much help from government?

The Federal Reserve has extended a $12 trillion backdoor bailout to financial industry players through Fed programs initiated since last Fall, in what could be a huge ripoff many times larger than TARP. American taxpayers are on the hook for the Fed's debts, as well as the interest on the bonds sold by the Fed.

These bailouts could well be the best example of disaster capitalism, a theory I've explained many times here. The idea is that public services are led to fail, then the solution privatized. Rather than address the underlying causes of the crisis, government outsources functions seen as its traditional responsibility--often by granting huge no-bid contracts to companies with close ties to the overseeing political administration.

Giving the privately-owned Fed more powers amounts to a massive privatization of our financial system, which could lead to profit opportunities in overseeing the sale of more public debt. The interest on the debt ultimately comes from you, the taxpayer, in the form of income tax payments. The more debt that's issued, the more taxes will have to be paid not only eventually to pay it back, but on the interest as well.

Media Agenda

Media criticism is central to this blog as all too often the mass media establishment fails at its purpose to inform. Uninformed, the American people can't possibly know wrong from right. Nor can they be expected to understand any of the details, when the main media choices are Nancy Grace and celebrity gossip. both of which have received a broadening portion of the cable broadcast spectrum.

True, providing real news is more expensive. And yes, news divisions don't turn a profit in the conglomerates into which they've been merged, so naturally they're inclined to soften coverage and weaken investigative journalism, lest it threaten any sponsorship deals. Cross-marketing became the standard bearer--if it could not make money, then at least traditional news could help media divisions sell books or DVDs. In the age of bigger media, content not enhancing the conglomerates' bottom line appeared superfluous.

Perhaps more threatening than dumbing down coverage is the consolidation of media control by corporations under Right-wing leadership.
Oddly, the Right-wing moguls who control the majority of channels posing as news today aren't as concerned with profits as they should be. Perhaps the ultimate goal is to totally destroy whatever credibility the news has, and in so doing complete the self-destructive task of dumbing down America, so the average person knows little more than a serf might in medieval times.

With the Internet, the control of information appears elusive. Hard to drop information into the Memory Hole, Orwell's repository for all which the government doesn't wish its citizens to learn. Orwell's fantastically premonitory Memory Hole concept fits perfectly with the suppression of digitally stored information in the present day, beyond 1984 but well into the Age of Computers.

Look no farther than Iran, which has been having a mini-revolution bolstered by constant twitters, cell phone camera postings to youtube, and a broad host of realtime reporting technical innovations. This began actually during the '99 protest against the IMF in Seattle, where police claims no rubber bullets were used were instantly discredited with realtime video of spent rubber bullets on Seattle streets.

In Iran's case, Islamic traditionalists appear to be trying to deny coverage of massive protests as they happen. To drop things in the Memory Hole they can't be occurring realtime, and as widely distributed as they are, contradicting the State's version of reality.

In time we can see how history is reconstructed, judging on how much truth disappears, and how beneficial redefining history is to those in control. Americans do seem particularly vulnerable to forgetting their recent past, with the most recent example being Vietnam (a war whose outcome has been radically revised by those on the Right) where rationale people conclude the US would never again be locked in a land-war in Asia.

Odd how Vietnam-era terms like police action were locked in the past and never reappeared in the corporate media's lexicon. It's as if all the counter-culture associated with resistance to war within the media degenerated into pro-war Right-wing banter. Also interesting is how many radically pro-war voices have elected to forget their strong support for the war. And even more tellingly, the talking heads like Krauthammer who spouted off about the dire threat from Iraq still reign supreme on Fox, America's #1 source of news. Rather than play any clips of how wrong these Right-wingers were, most networks drop those past mistakes into the Memory Hole.

Far worse than these examples of bad press are the dark motives behind dumbing down coverage. In the past years, I've documented plenty of examples of propaganda, related mostly to the war, and what I've labelled propaganda-by-omission.

Who benefits from dumbed down news? Well, the public at large suffers, as what most people see on TV provides perhaps their greatest source of information about issues like the economy and foreign policy. It probably doesn't come as a surprise that economic and foreign policy are the two areas where the US is weakest today.

Of course these pundits were all wrong about the threat Iraq posed, or the unsubstantiated connection between Iraq and al Qaeda (now that the soul source of intelligence for Bush's 'smoking gun' comments was killed in prison.) Yet they're trumped out before our screens day after day as if they know more, and can give us vital insights into policy decisions that shape our world.

So why exactly are these talking heads so valuable to the networks? They seemed to have gotten it badly worn on Iraq, yet continue to appeal the editors and news directors. I've contributed most of the reason for this bias to Zionism, which is believes that Israel should expand geographically into the West Bank using whatever level of military force it wants.

The pundits re-appearances can be traced not to their remarkable powers of observation and analysis, but rather their selective memory. In a word, they cannot nor will they ever criticize Israel or American foreign policy in the Middle East, although David Gergen does come close every now and then.

With Tel Aviv and the Lobby shaping so much of American mass media coverage, and leaving bias wholly against the Arab side, it's no wonder Americans are fearful of Israel's enemies. 9/11 served as the fait accompli for molding public perception--it launched the anti-Arab crusade we see playing out in two wars today. Had the purposes for the Iraq war been analyzed truthfully, Americans may have gotten a far more accurate picture of the risks of intervention.

Missing link provided by torture

With close to 200,000 troops in battle zones, and the threat of an impending terror strike so looming in the fears of so many, perhaps at no time since World War Two has the coverage of international events been so germane to the functioning of everyday life. And supporters of the war on terror would argue what happened in a cave in Afghanistan threatens our safety and security.

In the perception of the mass media, the cause and effect link between 9/11 and al Qaeda is firmly established. If for instance, OBL couldn't be held directly responsible for 9/11, the entire rationale for war in Afghanistan could be undermined. Likewise, if we questioned why the bin Laden's FBI most wanted poster makes no mention of 9/11, or that the Taliban had actually offered him up shortly after 9/11, we might have the preconception that we knew who did it rudely contradicted.

Under Bush, patriotism devolved into simply following orders, obediently, as the wars created by 9/11 were deemed to be different, more vital to the national security interest than past interventions. We, the American people, weren't supposed to question the rationale for war, even if the Downing Street memos indicated that intelligence was being fit to policy--i.e., Iraq was guilty and we could prove it, with or without the evidence.

Now into the next President's terms, we're supposed to "look to the future and not the past," a phrase which could have come from the mouth of Orwell's Great Leader's as Obama's. Coincidentally, we're supposed to forget the torture, all that jive about confessions, even as Uighurs find themselves planted homes in Bermuda or tropical prisons in Palau. I think we're down to 60-70 or so people--all victims of torture--from Guantanamo who will actually face prosecution.

Confessions obtained through torture are notoriously unreliable. Torture victims simply say what their interrogators want to hear. To argue that we need to torture, the so-called 24 excuse simply doesn't hold water (no pun intended.) Now if we knew that the torture victim held some indispensable foreknowledge of an impending terror event, perhaps torturing them would work. But the whole point about any police action--which if the 9/11 investigation were accurately classified, would be a joke--is that the police don't know who's guilty. And if suspects are tortured, they might falsely indict people just to get the torture to stop.

Now as I've documented extensively here, the FBI had to send clean teams to Guantanamo because previous interrogations and the so-called intelligence they provided were procured by torture, making them inadmissible in any Court, despite Bush administration attempts to redefine the prisoners as enemy combatants without rights.

Left over from the Cheney/Obama torture debate is this well-documented post from TVNewsLies. See also Joe Conason's "We Tortured to Justify War" from salon.com.

Torture is the ultimate method for redefining truth--it doesn't matter how guilty the innocent are if they admit their guilt and support the official explanation--and contribute to labeling of appropriate villains. Dated but excellent is George Monbiot's Torture is at the Heart of America's War on Terror.

Along these lines is John Hatch's great article, "Torture and 9/11 in ICH.

Very little of the truths exposed in those articles has made the mass media. If the true extent of the torture were known, and the questionable results, the American people would reevaluate the rationale for the Afghan war--Afghanistan as a haven for terrorists involved in 9/11. If the torture victims were determined not to have done what they'd confessed to, just who did do 9/11 then?

The failure to try anyone for 9/11--surely others were involved other than those who died--leads to the idea that the post-9/11 interventions are unnecessary and may in fact be pursuing the wrong suspects, if indeed finding the right suspects, arresting, and trying them for the 9/11 crime were the intent.

Big money politics

Troubling indeed is the the amount industry spends to lobby in Washington. These numbers have climbed quickly and now reach tens of millions. For firms who may have billions in contracts at stake, or can avoid competitive pressures by channeling regulatory standards in their favor, lobbying makes good sense. The public loses in a zero sum game where the biggest winners pay to play.

Obama's presidential campaign took in $750 million, a record. He was the top recipient of corporate giving from AIG, a company that became dependent on Obama-approved bailouts to rescue itself, or at least prolong its ugly deconstruction.

The financial services industry was Obama's leading source of corporate campaign donations. The process of deduction establishes the premise that a quid pro quo must exist wherein the politician works in the interest of the companies who donate to their campaigns. Otherwise corporation and other lobbyist groups would have little reason to lobby, much less on the scale they do.

The system hasn't changed since Bush's day. Look at Enron, Bush's #1 corporate donor to see just how much Bush would later do to forestall adequate regulatory oversight, enabling Kenneth Lay and other Enron insiders to avoid legal accountability.

Good or bad, we've befallen to this concept of the benevolent dictator, with the Bush ineptitude followed by Obama's tyranny of good intentions and the assertion of the nanny state.

On the systemic level, little differs between successive regimes. Both seek more authority. Big spending, and with it bigger government, continues. Obama doesn't seem able to blame Bush for the big spending, at least until he admits that military spending has gotten out of hand. (Obama did bring up cost savings from leaving Iraq when the how to pay for it question arose recently. As I wrote in "War Spending is the 800 lb. Gorilla," we can't continue to spend as we are without addressing the trillion or so we are spending on wars and "defense.")

The point isn't who's in charge; it's more about whether Obama will bring any change to the system or will try to bolster his own authority, a la Bush. Under the new paradigm, what the President decides becomes de facto law. This is ruling by fiat, the right of kings and emperors to dictate what is acceptable and what isn't, no matter how irrational. We saw this behavior in Nero and other insane Roman rulers, who could do as they pleased. The Emperor's will is the law, they might have said then.

I was under the impression that these here United States weren't meant to be governed by fiat. Yes, Obama's decisions are better than Bush's. But that isn't the point. Our country wasn't meant to be run by the President. Nor were we ever to be the world's policeman or the sole judge, jury, and executioner of anyone who opposes our will, or happens to be considered acceptable collateral damage.

There've been many discussions of American empire, with several influential books like Ruppert's Crossing the Rubicon, or Chalmers Johnson's well-written Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Empire and more recent The Bases of Empire which details the 800 plus bases the US military has.

Ultimately the effectiveness of foreign policy and military intervention rests in how clearly goals are set. If our goal is to eliminate terrorists, we will be incapable of ending all terror and thus on a permanent and doomed mission. If our foreign policy intends to create client states for our military hardware, and perhaps bust the budget, starving the beast, we've certainly committed the US on that course.

Many conservatives believe that the choice between spending on so-called social programs and our "defense" needs to be forced. While bankrupting government might not seem to successful a philosophy, it would in fact shrink government down to the size of a bathtub and drown it, to borrow Grover Norquist's comment. The third rail of American politics--Social Security and Medicare--might collapse, denying the Democratic party the largest source of political popularity.

Some conservatives might be wishing for a collapse of government finances, but then again that might only bring more taxes. I've always supported lower government spending, and have detailed the problems inherent in trying to stimulate the economy considering the size of our debt. At some point, government spending loses its effectiveness as recipients become less competitive.

The more government props up industries with the most political pull--the auto, financial services--the weaker the private sector gets. While decreasing regulation is good for small business, in the Credit Bubble Burst we see the importance of being cautious in making changes to the legal and regulatory environments.

Americans need to stay cognizant of the relationship between lobbyists seeking to gut the law and change regulations in order to benefit select corporate interests at the expense of the public and market stability. If we're properly informed by our mass media, Americans can make collective determinations about how best to regulate financial entities and spend our public resources.

Odd how Reagan's great de-regulatory experiment might in the end result in bigger government, as the consequences of inadequate regulations like the Credit Bubble Burst of 2008 make their long-term impact on the American economy.

More Links

See this brief post about Torture at Guantanamo and the false confessions it generated.

For dealing with thought crimes like Phil Dick's Minority Report, see this March article about "preventative detention" by Ted Rall.

Another slightly dated but highly worthy piece is this Tomgram: Ira Chernus, GWOT, R.I.P. posting.

Chernus writes:
"Without a 'war' to wage, this administration cannot so easily claim, as its predecessor did, extraordinary powers for the president. It won't be able to use the argument 'we're at war' to justify poking holes in the Constitution, or to get a mindless rubber-stamp for its national security policies from Congress and the public..."
How much of our security needs are actually driven by the political calculations behind managing public perception? How much of the defining of the terrorist threat was designed to seed popular support for the long war, one neither justified nor in our best strategic interest?


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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Recovery a matter of perception

The US economy is in a state of continuing decline. The mass media, meanwhile, is constantly praising confidence and the rebound to come, the so-called "green shoots."

Now if the US should experience a rapid exit out of the recession, it will be because the giant credit bubble has been re-inflated. If the US intends to re-inflate, it might be because the debt load is too large to repay. Another reason might be the political price of raising taxes. I saw that US payroll tax receipts were 44% below last years, an indicator of higher unemployment and a drop in wages lost as our manufacturing base tanks.

Attempting to rebound by even more lending is an admission that our monetary system is in fact a house of cards, a Ponzi scheme where later investors are paid with older money.

Assuming that we're back on our way to record borrowing might not be that good of a destination. The America that will emerge from the recession will be a stronger one only if it's shaken some of the burden of debt, rather than re-inflated through more borrowing.

Expansion has not been sustainable because as consumer were paid more, they spent even more, to the point Americans' net saving rates were negative. It's not enough to print money and distribute it--things must be bought. In the modern period, perhaps not coincidentally from about the time the Fed was created, credit has been the way our consumption-oriented economy has grown. By lending, banks encouraged an expansion of economic activity and hiring, house-building and buying, while bolstering their profits, assuming their loans get repaid.

No healthy consumer would consider getting in debt a model for sustainable growth, although I'm sure the financial companies lending the money can made billions by lending. Now though, even for them, the price of too much lending has become quite high as foreclosures rise and job losses mount, increasing defaults on credit card debt.

We don't simply lend for lending sake, not the bankers' alone. It's the underlying economic activity that borrowing encourages, and is sought after by macroeconomists. Still, looking at debt in isolation distorts the broader policy framework needed for macroeconomic change. In plain English, debt is a bad thing-- a way not out but to be trapped in. Savings will reduce that debt to the point it's manageable. Then of course will come the natural predilection to overspend once again, but we can worry about that later.

The slowdown is actually be a wholly natural response to an overheated economy, and a healthy reaction. Rather than try to re-heat the economy by lending out billions to people and corporations struggling under too much debt, perhaps we need to focus on paying down debt. Instead our federal government has decided to intervene spending trillions on top of trillions. If anything this over-borrowing will accelerate the decline of the value of the dollar, whether by causing a lenders to forestall their purchases of US government-issued debt, or by inflation caused by monetizing the debt--basically printing money to pay for bonds we issue.

One major factor that could curtail the recovery is also the availability of credit for lending banks from foreign sources. We've grown dependent on foreigners to finance our government's borrowings. This cannot change, unless of course we simply print and distribute dollars ad nauseum, to the point the grow utterly worthless over time. We need to anchor our dollar and Government debt in sound monetary policy. Inflating the debt may be preferable to facing the consequences of higher taxation, an almost certain inevitability under the budget deficits of the present. Still, if Americans save, and spend less on imports--the natural consequence of economic contraction--we can have more money available to invest herein home, for our long-term benefit.

So quickly the size of these inter-bank and hedge fund derivatives grew. The companies involved made record profits, even if they weren't entirely sure what they were seling, or how risky it was.

Their size and importance to the US economy--at least on paper--grew massively. The US economy has become increasingly a product of financial services corporation output, which now accounts for some 40% of GDP.

I keep raising this point because that portion of the economy doesn't make anything real. Profits are generated by washing piles of electronic dollars, or selling securitized debt through a shadow banking, or private credit money system. By creating money in debt-backed securities, these financial companies were then able to speculate, with electronic dollars created out of thin air by churning huge sums of credit derivatives among each other, in private money transactions.

How much more capital will the banks need? This question can only be determined by a rigorous and objective audit of the banks. Such a review should be transparent, in order to inspire public confidence.

In order to assess the financial strength of the financial companies, the extent of their liabilities needs to be uncovered. That task may be impossible, judging by the sheer number of derivatives bought, sold, or owed by one financial entity to another. And there are the CDSs. I've talked about complex insurance policies called Credit Default Swaps which kick in if the value of the underlying debt security declines beyond a certain point.

The assessment of CDS-insured prices becomes a futile exercise, kind of like the question "which came first the chicken or the egg?" Should the debt securities all decline in value to the point that the CDSs kick in, it's likely that the companies underwriting the risk will go bankrupt, in what is called systemic risk--the ripple effect of one insolvency leading to others. The possibility of a meltdown which was the chief reason for TARP and the federal interventions with AIG last fall.

Containing a potential system wide collapse may have averted a crisis but that's hardly the same as helping the economy, and dodging a crisis does not a recovery make.

We are now being told to turn the other cheek, at least on torture. After so much fear-mongering, how can Americans really believe that what they're told is true?

Even the recovery is perception managed as if building public confidence were an end in itself. The reaction to the crisis so far--all in the past we are told as if the current reality could be transposed on the past, washing it out--appears to be nothing more than a methodology to put more money in the hands of the bankers.

Basically the whole crisis we face today, while real, is stage-managed to engender maximum popular support for financial assistance for government, in this case directed towards the financial entities who have the most influence in government, thereby shaping policy around their interests.

Every wisp of potentially good news about home sales is blown into unrealistic expectation as part of the media happy train on the economy the truth is home sales are going up because their prices have come down. Lower prices, more sales. Nothing more or less need be read into the data.

Under these circumstances, it's hard not to get conspiratorial about why the US economy seems so prone to cyclical upheaval, as much as we are told that we'd advance into a "service economy" which transcends peaks and valleys in the economy. In the past I've brought up the reality that the conclusion of each economic cycle in this country results in greater wealth being concentrated in fewer hands. Essentially the wealthy can use their capital more effectively, and capture better rates of return on investments long before wages recover. We can't blame the rich for causing the crisis or can we? After all, it was persistent efforts to change longstanding regulations, and operate a extremely loose money policy that triggered the crisis.

Increasing home "ownership" ( a misnomer because this term is better described as "home borrowship") has long been a stated policy of the (command and control) political economy, a monster we've been feeding, one wrapped around unsustainable borrowing, not to mention the machinery of the State, the Tapeworm Economy, a system created for the benefit of insiders. Perhaps the fate of the economy rests in the hands of the militiary industrial complex and other feeders at the federal trough, a most ignoble procession now led by the banks. Perhaps our state of permanent war nurtures a war economy that can't stop. Kill the parasite and you kill the host.

Unlike past crisis, much of the fiscal resources devoted to a recovery have been directed to financial companies, under the shaky premise that the loosening credit would act as a giant stimulus. Now while lending could help, it may well be that things happen for a reason. The lower lending were now seeing is the direct result of higher savings rates. People are rightfully worried about their job security. Accordingly they act to reduce consumption, which slows the general economy.

Media environment

The media consolidation occurring under Bush has contaminated coverage of the markets. The idea is that by controlling the media, right wing causes get preferential coverage, while stories negative to the prevailing media myths of the moment get zero coverage. Case in point: Geithner's recent trip to China and speech to Peking University. In Tuesday's New York Times, no mention was made of the Chinese reaction to Geithner's statement that US Treasuries were basically sound. Chinese there laughed, a reaction that shows just how rhetoric-driven Geithner is, and how much more knowledgeable Chinese were about the true state of the US's finances. See the BBC article here.

For a more accurate picture of what really happened, look at fund manager Axl Merk's article and video at SafeHaven.com. Writing in advance of Geithner visit, Merk protests the idea that the Chinese "need to be sold US Treasuries. The Chinese are very well aware about all the issues surrounding Treasuries...the structural deficits, and the insatiable appetite of the US Congress..."

Merk runs a hard currency fund, which invests in currencies from countries with "sound monetary policies" which obviously doesn't include the US. In the past I've considered these types of funds, but can't say for sure when the dollar will depreciate, and against which currencies. So I guess I'd be hesitant to recommend any currency. Besides, the dollar may devalue, but interest rates might allow the investor to better stay up with inflation, although as always I mention I hold silver and no equity, not exactly a balanced portfolio, but then again I don't have much capital.

Every day a cheering squad on CNBC led by Larry Kudlow talks up the resurgent US economy. The over-optimism has led some to conclude that this more recent rally, with the market having a great May, might be for suckers. That idea is that the more the insiders talk about how much better things are, the more they are looking to sell, kind of like Enron's top management shortly before that company fell. Of course no one with a lot of money at risk wants to scare potential investors or raise doubts about the market. Kudlow does have a genuine affection for the marketplace, beyond just seeing his millions appreciate--he and the rest of the investor class need to see the promise of economic vitality preserved, if not in reality than at least in the perpetually rosy prognosis on a gateway for a conservative company, GE, parent of NBC.

Confidence-building can't replace sound bookkeeping. The truth has a way of getting out anyway.

Additional Sources

Banks are still trying to use shortcuts, just like the debt securitization and over-leverage which led to the crisis. See this article by Ryan Grim in HuffPo about the banks fluffing up their earnings through accounting chicanery. See also this postin moneymorning.com, too. Also, I thought this commentary by Howard Davidowitz on yahoo was quite striking.

I was pleased to see my earlier reference to Andy Kroll's "Six Ways to Scam the Bailout Scams" (kind of like a Letterman list) made a few months ago pop up at tomdispatch.com. Engelhardt refers to the bailout as an instrument of investor class insider like Geithner, who's tied to the same investor class bozos who got us into this mess.

For more on a tool of the investor class who's someone made his way into Obama's circle of toxic advisors is this March truthout.org column by Robert Scheer about Gary Gensler, nominated for the position of Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Last year, I'd blogged about testimony by a former chairman of that body, Michael Greenberger, concerning the regulations subverted, which in turn allowed massive speculation on oil and other commodities. The C-Span video was down, lost I guess to the digital memory hole. NPR's Terry Gross does interview Greenberger, available courtesy Tony Wikrent at epluribusmedia.net.

In the May Atlantic is Jeffrey Goldberg's entertaining article "Why I Fired My Broker."


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