Of banksters and debtors' prison - Opinion Last week, American public television's Frontline aired its new documentary, The Untouchables, which revisits the question of why the Department of Justice failed to indict a single senior Wall Street executive responsible for engineering the mortgage securitisation industry that was "rotten to the core", and at the heart of the 2008 financial meltdown from which ninety percent of Americans have yet to recover. In the film, reporter Martin Smith presses Lanny Breuer, the head of the criminal division within the Department of Justice, on why he did not pursue criminal charges of the senior officials in Wall Street, in spite of ample evidence of fraud that the episode's researchers - along with other journalists, documentarians and lawyers - had been able to find with just a bit of digging. Breuer responded: "I am personally offended by much of what I've seen. I think there was a level of greed, a level of excessive risk taking, that I find abominable and I find very upsetting.
Ménage à Trois The Strange Non-Death of Neoliberalism. Colin Crouch urges us to rethink the role of giant corporations in the state vs market analysis of neoliberalism Neoliberalism has ruled the Western world and most of the globe since the 1970’s. It is based on a market-driven approach to monetary policy and it promotes control of the economy by the private sector, which is supposedly more efficient than the public sector. For many, the recent financial collapse provided a strong blow to neoliberal economic theories. Indeed, the collapse was seen as a failure of banks, champions of neoliberalism and driven by profit maximization.
Aurora Shooting - We’ve Seen This Before James Holmes must also have been insane, and his inner terror expressed itself, as it often does these days, in a link between pop culture and firearms. There was nothing bigger happening in his world right now than the new Batman movie, and in preparation for this day, or another like it, he was purchasing firearms and booby-trapping his apartment. When he was arrested after the shootings, he made no attempt at resistance. His mission was accomplished. I’m not sure there is an easy link between movies and gun violence.
Bankers constantly lying, defrauding; most still not in jail Has there ever been a better time to be a disastrously inept banker? Well, probably — over the course of human civilization it’s almost always been a pretty good time to be a banker — but today’s finance titans seem uniquely immune to punishment of any sort. Remember how JPMorgan Chase accidentally lost $2 billion in a “hedge”-slash-huge stupid bet placed by a guy in the Chief Investment Office? Funny story, it will actually end up being closer to $6 billion, or maybe like $9 billion — who can be sure, math is pretty complicated, it’s all imaginary money anyway — as the bank attempts to extricate itself from the insanely complex losing trade made by the office that is supposed to manage the bank’s risk. Funnier story: Remember when Mr.
Top CEOs plan to loot US social programmes - Opinion The new recommendations for Social Security and Medicare released by the Business Round Table are beyond belief. It's as if the people who wrote them never gaze outside of the tinted windows in their limousines. As I wrote earlier in "Stop Obama's Grand Charade", the newest tactic to impose more austerity measures in the US comes from a group of over 80 CEOs who are starting with $60 million to spend on a campaign called "Fix the Debt". They plan to convince people in the US that not only are cuts to vital programmes necessary, but that such cuts will strengthen them when exactly the opposite is true. Timeline: Barclays' widening Libor-fixing scandal 6 February 2013Last updated at 11:51 Libor, the London inter-bank lending rate, is considered to be one of the most crucial interest rates in finance. It underpins trillions of pounds worth of loans and financial contracts. So, when Barclays was fined £290m in June last year after some of its derivatives traders were found to have attempted to rig this key rate, already weak public confidence in banks was harmed further.
10 Signs We Live in a False Economy It’s time to admit that we live in a false economy. Smoke and mirrors are used to make us believe the economy is real, but it’s all an elaborate illusion. Out of one side of the establishment’s mouth we hear excitement about “green shoots”, and out of the other side comes breathless warnings of fiscal cliffs and the urgent need for unlimited bailouts by the Fed. We hear the people begging for jobs and the politicians promising them, but politicians can’t create jobs. We see people camped out to buy stuff on Black Friday indicating the consumer economy is seemingly thriving, only to find out everything was bought on credit. The corporate media does their best to distract us from seeing anything real.
Robin Williams and the Game of Golf - The New Yorker Of all the tributes to the late Robin Williams that have poured in during the past twenty-four hours, a couple of tweets in particular caught my eye, both of them by prominent golfers. The first was by Rory McIlroy, the Northern Irish boy wonder who just won his fourth major championship, and the tweet read like it may have been composed by a P.R. person: “RIP Robin Williams…. He brought joy to so many people all over the world, will be fondly remembered and sadly missed.” The second, from Gary Player, the legendary South African who won nine majors, was a bit more personal, and it included a couple of famous lines from “Dead Poets Society”: “RIP.
How Political Clout Made Banks Too Big to Fail The U.S. has historically kept the financial sector in check through a combination of sound principles and serendipitous decisions. But as the financial system gained strength in recent years, it also gained political influence. In the last decade, it has become too concentrated and too powerful, which has damaged not only the economy but the financial sector itself. The Cracks Begin To Show in The UK Economy (1/2) Bio John Weeks is a professor emeritus of the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies and author of Economics of the 1%: How Mainstream Economics Serves the Rich, Obscures Reality and Distorts Policy. His recent policy work includes a supplemental unemployment program for the European Union and advising the central banks of Argentina and Zambia. Ozlem Onaran is Professor of Economics at the University of Greenwich in the U.K. She regularly publishes research studies on globalization, income distribution, and business investment in publications such as the Cambridge Journal of Economics and Labour. She recently co-authored a major study for the International Labour Organization on the relative importance of decent wages versus high profits as an engine of economic growth in several countries throughout the world.