Saturday, September 20, 2014

(The Loooooong Con Continues) Six Years After Wall Street Collapse, Banks Are Still Untamed (Dubya and Slick Lucratively Teach Genial Leadership To Stoopids) Change! (Right)  Functional Stupidity Rewarded (If We Give Up On Politics, We’re Done For:  Powerlessness Is Self-Fulfilling Prophesy)



"If you buy people," old Sambo used to say, "buy them thoroughly."

- John Le Carré
The Honorourable Schoolboy (p. 146)


It's good to know what the "big boys" say in private, isn't it?

The Big Boys.

They know to stay bought.

(You may want to refill your drink now.)




It's a private club.

And you are not a member.


Before I begin this essay proper I just wanted to point out that although nothing has changed (and we continue our downhill slide - but the stock market is, as usual, booming for the rich!) and the Recovery has continued to be (over and over again) officially exposed as false* for the 99%, we have some news about leadership skills training/insights being offered by two of our most successful "leaders." (But where could they successfully further lead us/US?)

To Hell (according to our next reporter).

Killing Joke:  The Presidential Leadership Scholars Program


Chris Floyd

Tuesday, 16 September 2014





“And I was like, I killed 500,000 Iraqi children with my sanctions! And George here, yuk yuk, he was like — “

“And I was like, 500,000? Hellfire boy, I can do better than that! We bagged us more than a million of them ‘Rackies, har har har!”

“Yeah — haw haw haw —  you bigged it up, Texas style! And now Obama’s gonna get him some of his own!”

“Well, there’s plenty to go around, hee hee hoo! Them folks breed like jackrabbits! Hey, Bill, you were a bit of a jackrabbit yourself in your day, weren’t you, ha ha ha?

“Now don’t start with that stuff, George, hee-haw, har-har! Hillary might be in the audience, yuckity yuk yuk!”

“Reckon how many ‘Rackies she’ll rack up when she’s Prez, Bill? — Did you see what I did there? ‘Rackies, rack up? Ho ho ho!”

“Yee hee hee! This old boy’s a card, ain’t he folks? Well, I imagine she’ll get a passel of ‘em, George, don’t you worry! Har har hee hee ho!”

“As long as she leaves a few for Chelsea in 20 years, ha ha ha ha ha! Say, Bill, I’m a bit thirsty. Could you pass me some of that water?”

“Sure, George! Just lean your head back and I’ll pour it right down your gullet, haw haw heee-haw!”

“You know, Bill, I sure am BOARD of that joke, snickety snicker guffaw guffaw!”

“You slay me, George, you really do, hur hur ha ha! But seriously folks …..

***

Certainly the one word that comes to mind when you think of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush is “leadership.” That’s why the world is so lucky that these two sages for the ages have joined together to teach the secrets of their success to a whole new generation of leaders, as the NY Times reports.

The “Presidential Leadership Scholars Program" is a combined effort of the two men’s Presidential Libraries (those marble mausoleums where history goes to die), plus the libraries of two other great, great leaders: one-term wash-outs George Herbie Walkies Bush and Lyndon Bellyflasher Johnson.

With all expenses paid by corporate donors, participants — restricted to “mid-career professionals who generally have at least 10 years of experience and a strong record of professional achievement”. (“Yeah, I used to run a Radio Shack store at the West End Mall, then I managed a couple of Chik-Fil-A's in the greater Tuscaloosa area, but lately I’ve sort of branched out into the development and export of cutting-edge crowd-management technologies to police forces here in the Homeland and to our counterterrorism allies abroad, particularly in the volatile Middle East. Reckon I could sign up?” “Say, we like the cut of your jib! Just hold on a second while I write you a check!”)

In addition to offering carefully selected mid-career professionals the unique “insights from how each president addressed pressing challenges” — including the thrilling “participation of President George W. Bush and President Bill Clinton” — the programme also places a “strong emphasis on cultivating a lifelong network of participants, faculty and staff.” In other words, yet another corporate-paid vehicle for wanna-be courtiers to schmooze their way into the blood-stained porticos of the Beltway elite.

And thus do our mediocre murderous masters replicate themselves, generation after generation ….

Comment:


rjs 

[really though Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, Clinton, with all the money in politics you'd think they'd find more people going for the pocketful of silver at the expense of their soul than just a few families. Maybe the number of deep state plants is far smaller than we ever imagined, endangered species list small]

Foolish?

Brain damaged seems more like it.

But some are still winning at this game.

(Or think they're winning.)

Ask the North Carolina Thom Tillis/Pat McCrory touters!

(Pay no attention to the lies flying around the ether emanating from the Koch-funded TV/radio ads.)


The "Long Con"


By Philip A Farruggio

September 16, 2014

How foolish Americans are, or rather, until a few years ago, we Americans. This writer himself got caught up in the greatest of all confidence games:  The Two Party Monte!

Using an embedded media, the ‘Two Party, One Party' political system (created by our Military Industrial Empire) keeps chugging along.

Whether it is a Reagan or Clinton, a Bush or a Kerry, a Romney or an Obama, it matters not to the puppeteers who run things. They choose who the so-called ‘field of candidates' will be, and then most of the time let the suckers (we voters) make the final decision from Column A or Column B. Of course, sometimes, when the empire’s agenda is too urgent, they go ahead and fix the game a bit. Case in point the elections of 2000 and 2004. The movers and shakers decided that they needed a malleable dope in the White House sign off on what then followed:  The illegal and immoral invasions and occupations of Iraq & Afghanistan.

As if right out of a scene from Scorsese’s Casino, when the five Mafia leaders were discussing their puppet union leader Andy Stone’s future. Four of the dons stated how Andy was a good guy and could be trusted to not ‘flip ‘and turn against them with the Feds. They then all looked to the head of the commission, the fifth don, and he quietly offered: “Why take a chance? “  Soon after Andy Stone was murdered.

The Tuesday, September 9th, New York Times ran a brief story buried on page A 16, entitled ‘Laughs and Accolades as Clinton and Bush Introduce a Leadership Program’.

There was the usual fluff about the two former presidents collaborating with their respective presidential libraries etc. The picture that accompanied the article showed the two of them sitting side by side laughing hysterically.

What really got to this writer were the quotes from Clinton about Bush Jr.:  “I actually learned a lot watching him over the years…. the way he thought through things and tried to approach them with clarity and decisiveness.”

Clinton went on to say that he watched Bush with “great admiration.”

Bush would call him throughout his second term and they would talk for 30 to 40 minutes. The phone calls, Mr. Clinton said, “Made me feel good.”

He then said that “Both presidents benefitted from being underestimated”, as he placed his hand on Bush’s knee. The article reported that Bush has been living a comparatively quiet life in Texas, with a focus on his paintings. “I’m trying to leave something behind”, he said of his art.

If anyone reading this has not stopped to go and vomit in the toilet, what can I say?

Mad Magazine would have had a field day with that New York Times piece if it occurred back in the 60's or 70's. For all those out there who still hold to the theory that the Two Major political parties are at each other’s throats etc… Wake up!

Clinton and Bush together like Mutt and Jeff from the comics? Well, they should be, because the two of them did so well serving the empire and its masters.

Clinton made sure NAFTA and GATT and the WTO trade alliances were set and ready to help destroy our labor force. He signed the repeal of Glass Steagall, which opened the door to the Wall Street banksters and their sacking of any financial regulations worth their salt.

His Telecommunications Act (or the signing of such) gave us all the obscene cable bills we now have… along with other disgraces the phone and cable industries get away with.

His cutting of the safety nets for the underprivileged helped further destroy the family values both parties rail about.

As far as his successor, the guy he sat and laughed with, hand on knee, well, it would take a book to capture all of his crimes. It is a war crime to attack another country with no just cause, as Bush did concerning Iraq.

His actions, as we all should know, caused the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians and over 4000 of our own soldiers.

The occupation of another nation, against its will, must also be a war crime, yes? Bush, as Commander in Chief, did all that… and more!

The Patriot Act, which he signed, is thought to be, by many astute constitutional experts, unconstitutional! His illegal use of the NSA to spy on American citizens is another obvious crime.

What about allowing his minions, Rumsfeld, Gonazales and Bibey, to circumvent the Geneva Accords and allow torture? All in all, under the leadership Clinton said he enjoyed watching, our nation went further into the abyss economically… except of course for the less than 1% that Bush himself once joked as “My Base“.

One wonders when ‘enough is enough’? When will the great majority of us, the working stiffs who get up each morning and punch out the hours to keep this country operating, see through the ‘Long Con’? Hope springs eternal.

(Philip A Farruggio is son and grandson of Brooklyn, NYC longshoremen. He is a free lance columnist (found on TheSleuthJournal.com, Worldnewstrust.com, Democratic Underground, The Intrepid Report, Nation of Change, The Peoples Voice, Information Clearing House, Dandelion Salad, Activist Post, Dissident Voice and many other sites worldwide). Philip works as an environmental products sales rep and has been an activist leader since 2000. In 2010 he became a local spokesperson for the 25% Solution Movement to Save Our Cities by cutting military spending 25%. Philip can be reached at paf1222@bellsouth.net)

But how can making millions on war be considered anything other than pure genius?

Oh, I see.

*  
What’s more, the political power of big corporations and Wall Street was offset by the power of labor unions, farm cooperatives, retailers, and smaller banks.

Economist John Kenneth Galbraith approvingly dubbed it “countervailing power.” These alternative power centers ensured that America’s vast middle and working classes received a significant share of the gains from economic growth.

Starting in 1980, something profoundly changed. It wasn’t just that big corporations and wealthy individuals became more politically potent, as Gilens and Page document. It was also that other interest groups began to wither.

Grass-roots membership organizations shrank because Americans had less time for them. As wages stagnated, most people had to devote more time to work in order to makes ends meet. That included the time of wives and mothers who began streaming into the paid workforce to prop up family incomes.

At the same time, union membership plunged because corporations began sending jobs abroad and fighting attempts to unionize. (Ronald Reagan helped legitimized these moves when he fired striking air traffic controllers.)

Other centers of countervailing power – retailers, farm cooperatives, and local and regional banks – also lost ground to national discount chains, big agribusiness, and Wall Street. Deregulation sealed their fates.

Meanwhile, political parties stopped representing the views of most constituents. As the costs of campaigns escalated, parties morphing from state and local membership organizations into national fund-raising machines.

I knew there was a good explanation for why there seemed to be some type of reasonable organization going on with this stupidity.

If only it had a cure.

Understanding Organizational Stupidity


By Dmitry Orlov

September 15, 2014

Is it morning in America again, or is the bubble that is the American economy about to pop (again), this time perhaps tipping it into full-blown collapse in five stages with symphonic accompaniment and fireworks? A country blowing itself up is quite a sight to behold, and it makes us wonder about lots of things.

For instance, it makes us wonder whether the people who are doing the blowing up happen to be criminals. (Sure, they may be in a manner of speaking — as a moral judgment passed on the powerful by the powerless — but since none of them are likely to see the inside of a jail cell or even a courtroom any time soon, the point is moot. Let's be sure to hunt them down once they try to run and hide, though.) But at a much more basic and fundamental level, a better question to ask is this one:

Why are we being so fucking stupid?

What do I mean when I use the term “fucking stupid”? I do not mean it as a term of abuse but as a precise, if unflattering, diagnosis. Here is as good a definition as any, excerpted from American Eulogy by Jim Quinn:

If you had told someone on September 10, 2001 that ten years later America would be running $1.5 trillion annual deficits, fighting two wars of choice in countries that despise our presence, and had not only not addressed the $100 [trillion] of unfunded welfare liabilities but added billions more with Medicare D and Obamacare, they would have thought you were a crazy doomster predicting the end of the world.

They would have put you away in a padded cell if you had further predicted that politicians would cut taxes three separate times, that the Wall Street banks that leveraged themselves 40 to 1 and destroyed the financial system [would be] handed $2 trillion of taxpayer funds so they could pay themselves multi-million dollar bonuses, and that the Federal Reserve would triple its balance sheet to $2.45 trillion by running its printing presses at hyper-speed and handing the money to those same Wall Street Mega-Banks.
Well, the evidence is in, and that crazy doomster in his padded cell has turned out to be amazingly prescient, so perhaps we should listen to him. And what would that crazy doomster have to say now? I would venture to guess that it would be something along these lines:

There is no reason to think that those who failed to take corrective action up until now, but remain in control, will ever do so. But it should be perfectly obvious that this situation cannot continue ad infinitum. And, as a matter of general principle, things that can't go on forever — don't.
Back to the question of stupidity:   Why are we (as a country) being so fucking stupid? This question has puzzled me for some time. It appears that the problem of stupidity is quite pervasive:   look at any large human organization, and you will find that it is ruled by stupidity. I was not the first to stumble across the conjecture that the intelligence of a hierarchically organized group of people is inversely proportional to its size, but so far the mechanism that makes it so has eluded me.

Clearly, there is something amiss with hierarchically organized groups, something that causes all of them to eventually collapse, but what exactly is it? To try to get at this question, last year I spent quite a while researching anarchy, and wrote a series of articles on it (Part I, Part II, Part III).

I discovered that vast hierarchies do not occur in nature, which is anarchic and self-organizing, with no chains of command and no entities in supreme command. I discovered that anarchic organizations can go on forever while hierarchical ones inevitably end in collapse. I examined some of the recent breakthroughs in complexity theory, which uncovered the laws governing the different scaling factors in natural (anarchically organized, efficient, stable) systems and unnatural (hierarchically organized, inefficient, collapse-prone) ones.

But nowhere did I find a principled, rigorous explanation for the fatal flaw embedded in the very nature of hierarchical systems. did have a very strong hunch, though, backed by much anecdotal evidence, that it comes down to stupidity. In anarchic societies whose members cooperate freely, intelligence is additive; in hierarchical organizations structured around a chain of command, intelligence is subtractive.

The lowest grunts or peons are expected to carry out orders unquestioningly. Their critical faculties are 100% impaired; if not, they are subjected to disciplinary action.

The supreme chief executive officer may be of moderately impaired intelligence, since it is indicative of a significant character flaw to want such a job in the first place. (Kurt Vonnegut put it best:   “Only nut cases want to be president.”) But beyond that, the supreme leader must act in such a way as to keep the grunts and peons in line, resulting in further intellectual impairment, which is compounded across all of the intervening ranks, with each link in the chain of command contributing a bit of its own stupidity to the organizational stupidity stack.

I never ascended the ranks of middle management, probably due to my tendency to speak out at meetings and throw around terms such as “nonsensical,” “idiotic,” “brainless,” “self-defeating” and “fucking stupid.” If shushed up by superiors, I would resort to cracking jokes, which were funny and even harder to ignore. Neither my critical faculties, nor my sense of humor, are easily repressed. I was thrown at a lot of special projects where the upside of being able to think independently was not negated by the downside of being unwilling to follow (stupid) orders. To me hierarchy = stupidity in an apparent, palpable way. But in explaining to others why this must be so, I had so far been unable to go beyond speaking in generalities and telling stories.

And so I was happy when I recently came across an article which goes beyond such “hand-waving analysis” and answers this question with some precision. Mats Alvesson and André Spicer, writing in Journal of Management Studies (49:7 November 2012) present “ A Stupidity-Based Theory of Organizations” in which they define a key term:   functional stupidity.

It is functional in that it is required in order for hierarchically structured organizations to avoid disintegration or, at the very least, to function without a great deal of internal friction. It is stupid in that it is a form (of) intellectual impairment:   “Functional stupidity refers to an absence of reflexivity, a refusal to use intellectual capacities in other than myopic ways, and avoidance of justifications.”

Alvesson and Spicer go on to define the various “...forms of stupidity management that repress or marginalize doubt and block communicative action” and to diagram the information flows which are instrumental to generating and maintaining sufficient levels stupidity within organizations.

What follows is my summary of their theory. Before I start, I would like to mention that although the authors' analysis is limited in scope to corporate entities, I believe that it extends quite naturally to other hierarchically organized bureaucratic systems, such as governments.

Alvesson and Spicer use as their jumping-off point the major leitmotif of contemporary management theory, which is that “smartness,” variously defined as “knowledge, information, competence, wisdom, resources, capabilities, talent, and learning” has emerged as the main business asset and the key to competitiveness — a shift seen as inevitable as industrial economies go from being resource-based to being knowledge-based. By the way, this is a questionable assumption; do you know how many millions of tons of hydrocarbons went into making the smartphone?

But this leitmotif is pervasive, and exemplified by management guru quips such as “creativity creates its own prerogative.” The authors point out that there is also a vast body of research on the irrationality of organizations and the limits to organizational intelligence stemming from “unconscious elements, group-think, and rigid adherence to wishful thinking.”

There is also no shortage of research into organizational ignorance which explores the mechanisms behind “bounded-rationality, skilled incompetence, garbage-can decision making, foolishness, mindlessness, and (denied) ignorance.” But what they are getting at is qualitatively different from such run-of-the-mill stupidity. Functional stupidity is neither delusional nor irrational nor ignorant:   organizations restrict smartness in rational and informed ways which serve explicit organizational interests. It is, if you will, a sort of “enlightened stupidity”:

Functional stupidity is organizationally-supported lack of reflexivity, substantive reasoning, and justification (my italics). It entails a refusal to use intellectual resources outside a narrow and “safe” terrain. It can provide a sense of certainty that allows organizations to function smoothly. This can save the organization and its members from the frictions provoked by doubt and reflection. Functional stupidity contributes to maintaining and strengthening organizational order. It can also motivate people, help them to cultivate their careers, and subordinate them to socially acceptable forms of management and leadership. Such positive outcomes can further reinforce functional stupidity.
The terms I italicized are important, so let's define each one:

Reflexivity refers to the ability and willingness to question rules, routines and norms rather than follow them unquestioningly. Is your corporation acting morally? Well it doesn't matter, because “what is right in the corporation is what the guy above you wants from you.” The effects of this attitude tend to get amplified as information travels (or, in this case, fails to travel) down the chain of command:   your immediate superior might be a corrupt bastard, but your supreme leader cannot possibly be a war criminal.

Justification refers to the ability and willingness to offer reasons and explanations for one's own actions, and to assess the sincerity, legitimacy, and truthfulness of reasons and explanations offered by others. In an open society that has freedom of expression, we justify our actions in order to gain the cooperation of others, while in organizational settings we can simply issue orders, and the only justification ever needed is “because the boss-man said so.”

Substantive reasoning refers to the ability and willingness to go beyond the “small set of concerns that are defined by a specific organizational, professional, or work logic.” For example, economists tend to compress a wide range of phenomena into a few numbers, not bothering to think what these numbers actually represent. Organizational and professional settings discourage people from straying from the confines of their specializations and job descriptions, in essence reducing their cognitive abilities to those of idiot-savants.

Functional stupidity can arise spontaneously, because there are many subjective factors which motivate people within organizations to narrow their thinking to the point of achieving it. A certain amount of closed-mindedness can be helpful in furthering your career. It helps you present yourself as a reliable organizational person — one who would never even question the validity of the organizational or occupational paradigm, never mind stray from it.

At the other extreme, your refusal to stray beyond a narrow focus may be prompted by feelings of anxiety, insecurity, and fear of jeopardizing your position. And while, just as you would expect, functional stupidity produces negative outcomes for the organization as a whole, it provides for smooth social functioning within the organization itself by suppressing dangerous or uncomfortable questions and by avoiding the awkwardness of calling into question the judgment of your superiors.

But such subjective factors are dwarfed by certain stupidity-generating features of organizations. At their highest level, organizations tend to focus on purely symbolic issues such as “strong corporate cultures and identities, corporate branding, and charismatic leadership.”

Corporate (and other) leaders try to project an identical internal and external image of the organization, which may have little to do with reality. This is only possible through stupidity management — the process by which “various actors (including managers and senior executives as well as external figures such as consultants, business gurus, and marketers) exercise power to block communication. The result is that adherence to managerial edicts is encouraged, and criticism or reflection on them is discouraged.”

As the people within the organization internalize this message, they begin to engage in stupidity self-management:   they cut short their internal conversations, refusing to ask themselves troubling questions, and focusing instead on a positive, coherent view of their environment and their role within it. But stupidity self-management can also fail when the mismatch between the message and reality becomes too difficult to ignore, ruining morale. The suppressed reality (“The king is naked!”) can spread as a whisper, resulting in passive-aggressive behavior and deliberate foot-dragging all the way to sabotage, defections and resignations.

The functions of stupidity management are to project an image, to encourage stupidity self-management in defense of that image, and to block communication whenever anyone lapses into reflexivity or substantive reasoning, or demands justification. Communication is blocked through the exercise of managerial power.

The authors discuss four major ways in which managers routinely exercise their power in defense of functional stupidity:   direct suppression, setting the agenda, ideological manipulation, and fetishizing leadership. Of these, direct suppression is by far the simplest:   the manager signals to the subordinate that further discussion will not be appreciated, threatening or carrying out disciplinary action if the signaling doesn't work.

Setting the agenda is a more subtle technique; for instance, a typical ploy is to require that all criticisms be accompanied by “constructive suggestions,” placing beyond the pale all problems that do not have immediate solutions (which are the vast majority). Ideological manipulation is more subtle yet; one common technique is to emphasize action, at the expense of deliberation, as expressed by the corporate cliché “stop thinking about it and start doing it!”

Finally, fetishizing leadership involves splitting each group into leaders and followers, where the leaders seek to make their mark, whatever it takes, and to get promoted quickly. To do so successfully, they must suppress the critical faculties of those around them, compelling them to act as obedient followers.

Functional stupidity is self-reinforcing. Stupidity self-management, reinforced using the four managerial techniques listed above, produces a fragile, blinkered sort of certainty. By refusing to look in certain directions, people are able to pretend that what is there does not exist. But reality tends to intrude on their field of perception sooner or later, and then the reaction is to retreat into functional stupidity even further:   those who can ignore reality the longest are rewarded and promoted, setting an example for others.

But the spell can also be broken when the artificial reality bubble protected by the imaginary film of functional stupidity is punctured by a particularly contradictory outcome. For an individual, the prospect of unemployment or the end to one's career can produce such a sudden realization:   “How could I have been so stupid?” Similarly, entire organizations can be shaken out of their stupor by a painful fiasco that subjects them to a barrage of public criticism.

Public hearings in which industry leaders are forced to appear before government committees and answer uncomfortable questions can sometimes serve as stupidity-busting events. A particularly daunting challenge is to pop the functional stupidity bubble of an entire nation, since there is no public forum at which objective outsiders can force national leaders to take part in a substantive discussion. Bearing witness to the fast-approaching end of the nation as a going concern may be of help here. How could we have been so fucking stupid? Well, now you know.

(Dmitry Orlov is a Russian-American engineer and a writer on subjects related to "potential economic, ecological and political decline and collapse in the United States," something he has called “permanent crisis”. http://cluborlov.blogspot.com)

Don't you feel good that you avoided saying anything intelligent at your job and weren't laid off?

And the following just occurred.

Guess what will happen to the banksters as a result of this careful analysis?


Six Years After Wall Street Collapse, Banks Are Still Untamed


By Pam Martens and Russ Martens

New York Post Cover, September 20, 2008

New York Post Cover, September 20, 2008

This month marks the six-year anniversary of the financial collapse of some of Wall Street’s most iconic names. As this New York Post cover of September 20, 2008 memorializes, rapper Sean Combs (P. Diddy) was stepping in dog excrement while the taxpayer was being dragged into something just as smelly – a government bank bailout that would grow to hundreds of billions in on-the-record cash infusions and $16 trillion in secret below-market-rate loans from the Fed.

Now it’s September 2014. Six years of crisis studies, hearings, reform legislation, rule-writing, stress tests, living wills, new bank scandals and no jail time for top dogs have darkened the public mood further about both Wall Street and the ability of Congress to meaningfully reform it.

The Senate Banking Committee is hauling all six regulators of Wall Street before it today to take the pulse on where reform has failed and where it’s working. (The fact that Wall Street still needs six regulators is your quick answer that these mega banks remain too big, too complex, and still too dangerous.)

Daniel K. Tarullo, a Governor at the Federal Reserve, will attempt to reassure the Senate panel that they have things under control with testimony that the Fed will be imposing capital surcharges on the most Global Systemically Important Banks or GSIBs.

In his written testimony, Tarullo writes:

“An important remaining Federal Reserve initiative to improve GSIB resiliency is our forthcoming proposal to impose graduated common equity risk-based capital surcharges on U.S. GSIBs.  The proposal will be consistent with the standard in section 165 of the Dodd-Frank Act that capital requirements be progressively more stringent as the systemic importance of a firm increases…By further increasing the amount of the most loss-absorbing form of capital that is required to be held by firms that potentially pose the greatest risk to financial stability, we intend to improve the resiliency of these firms.  This measure might also create incentives for them to reduce their systemic footprint and risk profile.”

SEC Chair Mary Jo White will attempt to put the best possible light on all the Dodd-Frank reform legislation rules that have still not been finalized – more than four years after Congress passed the law. And she’ll accentuate just how much has been done considering the stingy budget with which Congress has given the SEC to work.

White notes in her written comments:

“In 2004, the SEC had 19 examiners per trillion dollars in investment adviser assets under management. Today, we have only 8.  Additional resources are vital to increase exam coverage over investment advisers and other key areas, and also to bolster our core investigative, litigation, and analytical enforcement functions.”

As is now routine, White salutes the markets she oversees, writing:  “Our nation’s markets are the safest and most dynamic in the world…” Unfortunately, White is getting her information second hand. Those who have worked on Wall Street, or have spent years reporting on it, consider it “one vast dark pool,” or “rigged,” or “broken.”

Richard Cordray, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an agency created under Dodd-Frank to protect consumers, will deliver a few rays of sunshine on the enforcement front, noting:

“To date, our enforcement actions amount to $4.7 billion in relief for roughly 15 million consumers who were harmed by illegal practices…Along with officials in 49 states, we took action against the nation’s largest nonbank mortgage loan servicer for misconduct at every stage of the mortgage servicing process [Ocwen Financial Corporation, and its subsidiary, Ocwen Loan Servicing]. A federal court consent order requires the company to provide $2 billion in principal reduction to underwater borrowers and to refund $125 million to nearly 185,000 borrowers who had already been foreclosed upon.

“We also partnered with 13 state attorneys general to obtain $92 million in debt relief for about 17,000 service members and others harmed by a company’s [Rome Finance] predatory lending scheme involving inflated prices for electronics where the actual annual percentage rate charged exceeded 100 percent more than six times the rate that was disclosed to service members and other consumers.”

The CFPB has also done outstanding work in getting students to write to it about their student loan experiences. Making those records public enabled Wall Street On Parade to report on the NYU student loan deal with Citigroup.

Read the full written testimony below:

Daniel K. Tarullo [view testimony]
Governor, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
Martin J. Gruenberg [view testimony]
Chairman, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Thomas J. Curry [view testimony]
Comptroller, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Richard Cordray [view testimony]
Director, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Mary Jo White [view testimony]
Chair, Securities and Exchange Commission
Timothy G. Massad [view testimony]
Chairman, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission


Contagion – What the Next Wall Street Crisis Will Look Like

Elizabeth Warren: Jamie Dimon Gets $8.5 Million Raise for Illegal Conduct at JPMorgan

(HACK) George Effing Will

Powerful NSA Official Potentially Self-Dealing With Defense Contractor

Bob Reich explains it all simply.

(This should be going viral sometime soon if we're lucky.)







2 comments:

TONY said...

Dubya and Clean Willie. Two heads of the same hydra-headed monster.

Cirze said...

And Obama is the third?

He deserves a hydra-head for himself I think if you compare the head that says all the progressive-goodnik propaganda with the one that then trumpets "I'm good at killing people!"

And even more heads for the rest of the casual safety-net destroying rhetoric.