Monday, August 22, 2011


May 2011

It's rare to be able to write in praise of a high elected official, but Eric Schneiderman -- New York's recently elected state Attorney General -- thus far deserves it.


[M]ost noteworthy and impressive is his seemingly solitary fight to hold Wall Street accountable for the vast corruption and criminality that spawned the 2008 financial crisis, which continues to impose serious financial hardship and anxiety on hundreds of millions of people around the world. As the U.S. DOJ steadfastly looks the other way and other state Attorneys General prepare to settle all potential charges in exchange for payment of woefully inadequate "cost-of-doing-business" fines, Schneiderman is doing the opposite, aggressively expanding his investigation in a way that could single-handedly sabotage the efforts to permanently protect this industry from accountability.

Glenn Greenwald

August 2011

Eric T. Schneiderman, the attorney general of New York, has come under increasing pressure from the Obama administration to drop his opposition to a wide-ranging state settlement with banks over dubious foreclosure practices, according to people briefed on discussions about the deal.

In recent weeks, Shaun Donovan, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and high-level Justice Department officials have been waging an intensifying campaign to try to persuade the attorney general to support the settlement.

Mr. Schneiderman and top prosecutors in some other states have objected to the proposed settlement with major banks, saying it would restrict their ability to investigate and prosecute wrongdoing in a variety of areas, including the bundling of loans in mortgage securities.


Yes, I believe that restriction is the point.

But Mr. Donovan and others in the administration have been contacting not only Mr. Schneiderman but his allies, including consumer groups and advocates for borrowers, seeking help to secure the attorney general’s participation in the deal, these people said. One recipient described the calls from Mr. Donovan, but asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation.

Retaliation by the federal government. True, it’s not good weather for whistleblowers these days.

In an interview on Friday, Mr. Donovan defended his discussions with the attorney general, saying they were motivated by a desire to speed up help for troubled homeowners. But he said he had not spoken to bank officials or their representatives about trying to persuade Mr. Schneiderman to get on board with the deal.

That’s the next ratchet.

This doesn’t even qualify as competent three card monte. “No, don’t look at what we are trying to do for the banks. Really, all we care about is homeowners!”


It is high time to describe the Obama Administration by its proper name: corrupt.

Admittedly, corruption among our elites generally and in Washington in particular has become so widespread and blatant as to fall into the “dog bites man” category. But the nauseating gap between the Administration’s propaganda and the many and varied ways it sells out average Americans on behalf of its favored backers, in this case the too big to fail banks, has become so noisome that it has become impossible to ignore the fetid smell.


Even though Gretchen Morgenson of the New York Times focuses tonight on the Administration’s efforts to leash and collar Schneiderman, he isn’t alone in having significant reservations. Beau Biden of Delaware is also making a broad-ranging investigation, which is inconsistent with entering into a settlement. Martha Coakley of Massachusetts and Catherine Masto of Nevada also have initiatives underway that are at odds with a settlement, and neither one looks interested in reversing course. We’ve also been told the Colorado AG may opt out of the deal.

Naked Capitalism

Beau Biden? Shouldn’t he be careful? I don’t know Bo. Sometimes, skeptic that I am, I think politcians put up a pretend resistance. Certainly that is President #Compromise’s stock-in-trade.

The President -- who kicked off his campaign vowing to put an end to "the era of Scooter Libby justice" -- will stand before the electorate in 2012 having done everything in his power to shield top Bush officials from all accountability for their crimes and will have done the same for Wall Street banks, all while continuing to preside over the planet's largest Prison State . . . for ordinary Americans convicted even of trivial offenses, particularly (though not only) from the War on Drugs he continues steadfastly to defend. And as Sam Seder noted this morning, none of this has anything to do with Congress and cannot be blamed on the Weak Presidency, the need to compromise, or the "crazy" GOP.


Glenn Greenwald

Speaking of banksters...

The Creature from Jekyll Island:
A Second Look at the Federal Reserve
(2002 – G. Edward Griffin)

Regular type indicates text directly quoted from the book. Where the words are my own, type will be italicized.

Installment 9
Chapters 9 & 10

The reality of central banks … is that, under the guise of purchasing government bonds, they act as hidden money machines which can be activated any time the politicians want. … It is even easier than printing and, because the process is not understood by the public, it is politically safe.

To preserve the pretense of banking, it is said [the central banks] collect interest, but this is a misnomer. They didn’t lend money, they created it. Their compensation, therefore, should be called what it is: a professional fee, or commission, or royalty, or kickback, depending on your perspective, but not interest.

With the knowledge that money in America is based on debt, it should not come as a surprise to learn that the Federal Reserve System is not the least interested in seeing a reduction in debt in this country, regardless of public utterances to the contrary.

Thomas Edison summed up the immorality of the system when he said: “People who will not turn a shovel full of dirt on [a] project nor contribute a pound of materials will collect more money…than will the people who will supply all the materials and do all the work.”

The entire function of this machine is to convert debt into money. …First, the Fed takes all the government bonds which the public does not buy and writes a check to Congress in exchange for them….There is no money to back up this check. These fiat dollars are created on the spot for that purpose. By calling those bonds “reserves,” the Fed then uses them as the basis for creating 9 additional dollars for every dollar created for the bonds themselves. [ed: banks are allowed to "loan" 90% more than they actually hold in reserve, and in this case, the "reserve" is not money at all, but US bonds.] The money created for the bonds is spent by the government, whereas the money created on top of those bonds is the source of all the bank loans made to the nation’s businesses and individuals. The result of this process is the same as creating money on a printing press, but the illusion is based on an accounting trick rather than a printing trick. The bottom line is that Congress and the banking cartel have entered into a partnership in which the cartel has the privilege of collecting interest on money which it creates out of nothing….Congress, on the other hand, has access to unlimited funding without having to tell the voters their taxes are being raised through the process of inflation. If you understand this paragraph, you understand the Federal Reserve System.

Speaking of the Fed as boogey-man, it always amazes me – I don’t know why – when, as often happens, I see the support Ron Paul has from young people.

Paul Punkers:

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

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