Saturday, July 31, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
The ideology was cooked up in think tanks and boardrooms, then packaged and sold under a variety of conservative and libertarian guises. While the theories and rationalizations varied wildly, the conclusions were always the same: Deregulation was always the right approach, even (especially) for the most concentrated and rapacious businesses. Consumer regulations should be avoided because they hurt everybody, especially (somehow) consumers. And cutting taxes for the rich magically made things better for everybody else.
The arguments changed but the results were consistent: greater upward distribution of wealth, and more concentration of power, delivered by those the special interests funded and placed into positions of influence.
Today’s Senate hearings, carried on CNBC, Bloomberg, and C-SPAN, represent the first major exposure of the American people to the scandalous frauds of the derivatives casino, including synthetic collateralized debt obligations (synthetic CDOs or CDO²). These are things most people have heard very little about. They begin to open up the shocking reality behind such shopworn euphemisms like “toxic assets,” “exotic instruments,” and “troubled assets.”
Reactionaries in general and Republicans in particular have done everything possible to hide the role of derivatives, which must be considered the main cause of the financial panic of September 2008 which brought down Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, and AIG, after felling Bear Stearns in March of the same year. The reactionary legend, repeated yesterday on the Senate floor by financier minion GOP Sen. Gregg of New Hampshire, is that the crisis was caused by poor people taking out subprime mortgages and then defaulting, bringing down the entire Anglo-American banking system and triggering the bailouts. Either that, or too much government spending was too blame.
A mass of kited derivatives blew up in September 2008
This Big Lie has come from such propaganda sources as the Limbaugh Institute of Retarded Reactionary Ranting. But the $1.5 trillion in subprime mortgages were dwarfed by the $15 trillion US residential real estate market, to say nothing of the $1.5 thousand trillion world derivatives bubble. But, starting with Bush-Goldman Sachs Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, the talk has been of a “housing correction,” not a derivatives panic. It must be pointed out that derivatives are nothing but wagers, bets placed from a distance on securities which themselves are often not mortgages, but rather other derivatives.
The bettor buying a synthetic CDO or CDO² does not own the underlying mortgages or mortgage-backed securities, any more than someone who bets on a racehorse owns part of the horse. Blankfein and others tried to portray derivatives as a service to hedgers and end-users, but it’s clear that the vast majority of derivatives involve neither hedgers nor users, but only bettors on both side of the transaction. It is in any case this mass of kited derivatives which blew up in 2008, bringing on the present world economic depression.Read more here
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
The urgent problem raised by all this is the $1.5 quadrillion derivatives bubble. The financial crisis which struck the United States and the world in September and October 2008 was in fact a world a derivatives panic. This panic marked the first phase of a world economic depression caused by derivatives speculation. The second phase of this depression, which is now beginning, can also be attributed in large part to derivatives, since derivatives are the main tool being used in the speculative attacks on Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, and other nations, building up towards a chaotic collapse of the euro.
Read more here
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
Going After Goldman: A Crackdown on Financial Crime or a Kabuki Play Maneuvre to Avoid Bringing Criminal Charges
Friday, April 16, 2010
"The continued presence of all options on the table"; this is the disappointing message which a Nobel Peace Prize laureate dispatches internationally. In his latest interview with CBS news, American President Barack Obama refused to rule out the possibility of a military strike against Iran by harking back to the famous catchphrase of former U.S. President George W. Bush who once devised, regarding Iran's nuclear program, the popular sentence of "all options are on the table".
Putting the quality and quantity of these options aside, the very "table" on which the options should be placed is as well a matter of controversy. Who is in the position to decide the destiny of Iran's nuclear program? Which table is the U.S. President referring to? What's wrong with Iran's nuclear program in lieu of which a 70-million nation should go on with crippling sanctions, continued threats of military strike, isolation and economic embargo? What's the definite answer to the simple question that "why should the U.S., France and Israel possess nuclear weapons"? Which one is more offensive and violent? Iran's nuclear program which has been demonstrated again and again that does not have anything to do with military purposes, or the adventurous, aggressive trajectory Washington and its European allies have begun to go across?
Robert Parry, an award-winning American investigative journalist austerely answers the questions we have in mind. In an April 2 article in Consortium News, he notes: "if two countries with powerful nuclear arsenals were openly musing about attacking a third country over mere suspicions that it might want to join the nuclear club, we'd tend to sympathize with the non-nuclear underdog as the victim of bullying and possible aggression."