(bumped up by SusanUnPC)

Barack Obama has a major Wall Street and Washington problem that the media so far is refusing to acknowledge or explore. He is in the pocket of the Wall Street firms and mortgage security companies that are at the center of the collapse of the real estate bubble. He is closely tied to at least two of the Fannie Mae principals. As Ricky Ricardo would say, “Barack, you got some splaining to do.”

Let’s start with the numbers. Why is a first term Senator pulling down almost $300,000 a year from Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, Countrywide Financial, and Washington Mutual? He has not even completed his fourth year in the Senate and received a total of $1,093,329.00 from these eight companies and their employees. (all data from OpenSecrets.org). John McCain’s numbers, according to OpenSecrets.org for the period 1990-2008 (i.e., 18 years worth of data) only collected $549,584.00. In other words, Barack is receiving $273,582.25 (and 2008 is not over) per year while McCain raised a paltry $30,532.44.

Want another shocker? Barack Obama has received more from one source–Goldman Sachs $542,252.00–than McCain has from all of the companies combined. Who the hell is more beholden to lobbyists? And why does a junior Senator from Illinois rate this kind of dough?

Why are these firms and their employees showering Barack with their cash? Although the conventional wisdom wants to pin the Wall Street debacle on Republican greed, the reality is that the real estate market and the big players on Wall Street have been a Democratic game. McCain’s hands are clean when it comes to this mess. That is not spin, that is a fact. He proposed legislation back in 2006 to start addressing the abuses of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac but the Democrats would have none of it.

Why? Here’s the explanation.

To understand you must first appreciate that the largest debt market in the United States is the mortgage market. One of the major players in the market, at least until this month, is Fannie Mae. Fannie Mae was initially established in 1938 in order to provide a secondary mortgage market. What does this mean? It would buy mortgages from one lender and sell mortgages to another. It played the role of a broker who helped make the market work.

Fannie Mae because a private company in 1968 and continued to fund mortgages by issuing mortgage backed securities (i.e., MBS). When Fannie Mae issues the MBS she is guaranteeing the investors a return on their investment and, at the same time, providing a source of funds to supply additional mortgages.

Fannie Mae was not standing on a corner selling mortgages out of a hot dog stand on the corner. She needed help on Wall Street. So, who helped her market the securities and raise the case? The “good” folks at Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, and AIG, just to name the more prominent ones.

So who was in charge of Fannie Mae for 16 of the last 18 years? Let’s start with James A. Johnson (no relation). Remember him? Barack initially tabbed him to head up the Vice Presidential search team. He was Walter Mondale’s campaign manager in the 1984 fiasco and chaired the search committee for John Kerry. But he started as Vice Chairman of Fannie Mae in 1990, quickly moved up to be the CEO, and left Fannie in 1999 as Chairman of the Executive Committee.

And guess where he went? Fishing? Nope. He became one of the outside directors of the board of Goldman Sachs in 1999 and also served as the Managing Director of Corporate Finance for Lehman Brothers.

The roles of Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers are important to understand if you are to make sense of Fannie Mae’s collapse. When Johnson moved to Goldman Sachs, the main man at Fannie was Franklin D. Raines. Late in 2005 Raines resigned from Fannie Mae, accused of being in charge when the books were cooked. The scheme is fairly simple. Raines and other top executives made bonuses if they hit specific earnings targets for the securities sold by Fannie Mae. They regularly hit those targets until it was discovered by the (SEC) Securities & Exchange Commission’s top accountant Fannie misstated earnings for 3 1/2 years, leading to an estimated $9 billion restatement that will wipe out 40% of profits from 2001 to mid-2004.

The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) concluded:

During the period covered by this report—1998 to mid-2004—Fannie Mae reported extremely smooth profit growth and hit announced targets for earnings per share precisely each quarter. Those achievements were illusions deliberately and systematically created by the Enterprise’s senior management with the aid of inappropriate accounting and improper earnings management.

By deliberately and intentionally manipulating accounting to hit earnings targets, senior management maximized the bonuses and other executive compensation they received, at the expense of shareholders. Earnings management made a significant contribution to the compensation of Fannie Mae Chairman and CEO Franklin Raines, which totaled over $90 million from 1998 through 2003. Of that total, over $52 million was directly tied to achieving earnings per share targets.

Fannie Mae’s Board of Directors contributed to those problems by failing to be sufficiently informed and to act independently of its chairman, Franklin Raines, and other senior executives, failing to exercise the requisite oversight over the Enterprise’s operations, and failing to discover or ensure the correction of a wide variety of unsafe and unsound practices, even after the Freddie Mac problems became apparent.

Senior management did not make investments in accounting systems, computer systems, other infrastructure, and staffing needed to support a sound internal control system, proper accounting, and GAAP-consistent financial reporting. Those failures came at a time when Fannie Mae faced many operational challenges related to its rapid growth and changing accounting and legal requirements.

Fannie Mae senior management sought to interfere with OFHEO’s special examination by directing the Enterprise’s lobbyists to use their ties to Congressional staff to improperly generate a Congressional request for the Inspector General of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to investigate OFHEO’s conduct of that examination and to insert into an appropriations bill language that would punish the agency by reducing its appropriations until the Director of OFHEO was replaced.

Franklin Raines, along with Fannie’s former chief financial officer and Fannie’s former controller, settled out of court and agreed to pay fines totaling about $3 million. Raines also agreed to donate the proceeds from the sale of the $1.8 million of his Fannie stock and to give up stock options. Fannie Mae paid a fine of $400 million.

Goldman Sachs played a pivotal role in all of this. According to OFHEO, one of the major vehicles Fannie used to hide its loses (e.g., “shift earnings into future years”) was a Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit aka REMIC:

In fact, Goldman Sachs described the proposed transaction (i.e. use of REMIC) in a November 19, 2001 presentation to Fannie Mae. David Rosenblum, a Goldman Sachs managing director, attached PowerPoint slides for the presentation to a December 3, 2001, e-mail to Mr. Niculescu. Mr. Rosenblum referred to the project as “Project Libra.”

So we are asked to believe that the former CEO of Fannie Mae who is now sitting on the board of Goldman Sachs is completely unaware of using REMIC to hide Fannie Mae losses? Wouldn’t you expect someone with so much knowledge about Fannie Mae to have the least bit of concern about the possibility of accounting mischief? These are questions that have not yet been fully explored or vetted.

Oh yes, if you are going to sell Fannie Mae market securities what bond index do you use? How about the Lehman Brothers U.S. Aggregate Index. Sure helps to have a tie with Lehman Brothers through James Johnson as well.

One more note about Franklin Raines. The Obama campaign can insist he is not an “official” advisor, but before the market blew up Raines was described in the Washington Post on 16 July 2008 as “taking calls from Barack Obama’s presidential campaign seeking his advice on mortgage and housing policy matters.”

But Fannie Mae was not just “selling” mortgage securities. It was also using its financial power to advance the agenda of the Democratic Party. We have the video evidence here:

And you can read the details of how Fannie Mae also steered money to ACORN, one of the vehicles Barack has used to boost his career. Carl Horowitz did an excellent piece for the American Spectator (I know, but truth is truth).

Finally, I leave you with this. If you think West Virginia should be ridiculed as a place where incest thrives, think again. You obviously know nothing about Washington and New York. This piece from 2007 in investor village helps you understand the inbreeding that is the festering stew of Washington. This is not friendly territory for John McCain. It is a place that loves Barack Obama. And after you read the following you will understand better why the boy from Chicago is getting a heap of cash.

The analysis of Joe Stocks:

Goldman gave us Robert Rubin, former Chairman of Goldman. He is the gentleman President Clinton called on to be Secretary Treasurer of the United States in 1995. During his tenure he orchestrated the bailout of Mexico, Asia, Long Term Capital Management, and Y2K. He is no stranger to moral hazard. His actions show that he actually embraced it. I think he was also responsible for Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan to change his ways. After Greenspan uttered those famous words – “irrational exuberance” and knocked the equity markets for a loop in 1996, Greenspan became much more respectful of those that kept him in power. I thought that Greenspan meant what he said at the time with strong foundation, but his actions afterwards where of a different tune. Enough so that he bowed to the whims of both the Clinton and Bush administrations, taking irrational exuberance to bubble proportions.

Goldman also gave us John Thain. John is now CEO of the New York Stock Exchange. Mr. Thain helped to complete the reverse takeover of the NYSE by Archipelago in 2005. As you may have guessed – Archipelago’s largest owner – Goldman Sachs.

Well, who is the current Secretary Treasurer of the United States? It is Henry Paulson, former CEO and Chairman of Goldman Sachs. Mr. Paulson took the reins in early 2006. Yet another Goldman guy.

Everyday the Federal Reserve operates an open market operation to add and subtract liquidity from our financial system. This is where the big NYSE member banks go to get additional funds. I can’t think of another person that may be more important to a financial firm like Goldman Sachs on a daily basis. I am sure the Federal Reserve looked far and wide for someone to run this very important unit as it oversees domestic open market and foreign exchange trading operations as well as the provisions of account services to foreign central banks.

They picked Goldman Sachs former Chief Economist, William Dudley. An ‘economist’ for a trading operation? I know, it doesn’t sound right to me but maybe he takes direction well. William took this post in late 2006.

World Bank, you ask? Who runs the World Bank? The President of the World Bank is Robert Zoellick. Mr. Zoellick spent most of his career working for various governmental agencies. No Goldman connection here? Almost. He resigned in June 2006 to join Goldman. After a one year stint of indoctrination of how things work at Goldman, and who truly butters his bread, he was appointed World Bank President in June of 07’.

So, former Goldman people are in place as the United States Secretary Treasurer, the head of the NYSE, the head of the trading operations at the Federal Reserve (an economist at that), and President of the World Bank. Big deal? It gets better.

Just after the 1987 stock market crash the President of the US signed an executive order forming a committee of government and private individuals to monitor the financial markets. This group was named the ‘Working Group’. We traders have nicknamed this group the Plunge Protection Team – the PPT. Their mandate was to make sure all steps were taken to make sure nothing like that crash would happen again.

In 1998 the financial world was shaken by the financial shenanigans of a hedge fund named Long Term Capital Management. ( ‘Long Term’ lol!) After which time the US President’s Working Group approached the major NYSE member banks and said, “hey guys, listen, we ain’t suppose to let things like this happen. You guys need to get your act together.”

These banks formed the Counterparty Risk Management Policy Group (CRMPG) The members are the top NYSE member banks, General Motors, a couple of hedge funds, and some well connected law firms and accounting firms. The group met and produced a document but was asked again in 2004 by the Working Group to come with more defined policy procedure. This effort resulted in the publication titled ‘Toward Greater Financial Stability: A Private Sector Perspective’.

Who was the leader of this group? Gerald Corrigan, Chairman of Goldman Sachs. Who was the transmittal letter addressed to at the opening of the report? Henry Paulson, then CEO and Chairman of Goldman Sachs, now US Secretary Treasurer. Who developed the policy? Well here is an excerpt from the transmittal letter; “I want to express to you my sincere gratitude for the time and effort devoted to this project by Craig Broderick who served as a Member of the Policy Group and the others from Goldman Sachs who participated in the project and are named in the Report.”

Link to the report; www.crmpolicygroup.org/docs/CRMPG-II.pdf

Here is what the CRMPG stated as their primary purpose; “The primary purpose of CRMPG II — building on the 1999 report of CRMPG I — is to examine what additional steps should be taken by the private sector to promote the efficiency, effectiveness and stability of the global financial system. As practitioners, the members of CRMPG II recognize that periodic financial disruptions and shocks are inevitable. However, the Policy Group also believes that it is possible to take steps that would be capable of reducing the frequency of such shocks and, especially, to reduce the risk that such shocks would take on the contagion features that can produce systemic damage to the financial system and the real economy.”

Again it appears the CRMPG mandate is to control the markets. How else are they to reduce the frequency of periodic financial disruptions.

CRMPG: “since we know that financial disturbances and even financial shocks will occur in the future, and we know that no approaches to risk management or official supervision are fail-safe, we also know that we must preserve and strengthen the institutional arrangements whereby, at the point of crisis, industry groups and industry leaders, as well as supervisors, are prepared to work together in order to serve the larger and shared goal of financial stability.”

We need to work together for financial stability? What does that mean for the public or retail investor? Obviously every trade has a counterparty. If these firms get in trouble with sub-prime loans, is it their idea to transfer that risk to the public to insure their financial stability and therefore the stability of the US economy as what they represent, as we can not have failing banks and a strong economy. But it would be acceptable to have a block of retail investors (small counterparties) suffering financial disruptions as long as it did not affect the general public or the greater good of the large NYSE money center banks?

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan acknowledges the CRMPG and their collective “eye” on the market in a speech he gave in 2002; “In today’s markets there is an increased reliance on private counterparty surveillance as the primary means of financial control. Governments supplement private surveillance when they judge that market imperfections could lead to sub-optimal economic performance.” Link to speech; http://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/speeches/2002/200209252/default.htm
That leads me to Program Trading. Program trading ran about 16 to 19% of all shares traded on the NYSE from 1987 to 1998 when the Long Term Capital diabolical hit. Since that it has climbed to 65-75% of all shares traded on the NYSE.
The NYSE stock exchange issues a weekly report on Program Trading. For the week ending August 31st, program trading accounted for 73% of all shares traded on the NYSE. Now you will look at this report and see that it says 36.5%. What gives? Well, the NYSE formerly reported program trading as both sides of the trade. They did this for a couple of decades, or the inception of program trading. (Program trading is defined as a trade of 15 or more issues with a value over one million dollars.) Then in June of 2006, shortly after the Goldman guy took over, they changed the reporting to just one side of the trade. In addition, they deleted all past reports from their news archives. One day they were there, the next they were all gone. The old way of reporting worked for many years giving a more accurate summation of total program trading. I continue to use that number as it is more truthful. Link to recent report; http://www.nyse.com/pdfs/PT082707.pdf

Now you may suspect who the top program trader is. Well, sometimes it is Goldman but lately it has been Lehman Brothers. However, if you look at program trades made as the broker being the principal and not acting as an agent for others, Goldman does indeed take the top spot. For the referenced report they accounted for 25% of all program trades made as principal. Looking farther we see that the top six firms accounted for 69% of all program trades, or 50% of ALL shares traded on the NYSE. 50% of all shares traded in the hands of program traders of just six firms that are all members of the CRMPG, with the goal working together for the greater good? How would you like to be on the other side of those trades?

Again Greenspan in his speech of 2002 says it best.” To require disclosure of the structure of the innovative product either before or after its introduction would immediately eliminate the quasi-monopoly return and discourage future endeavors to innovate in that area.”

Quasi-monopoly returns! That, my friends, leads me to Goldman’s third quarter earnings release today. Earnings were up an eye-popping 88% from last year. It was as though Goldman was on the right side of every trade.

But how could this be? We saw the headlines;
‘Goldman’s Exclusive Hedge Fund Drops By 10%’
‘Goldman hedge fund falls 22.5 pct in Aug’

Well, you see, Goldman doesn’t manage OTHER peoples money quite like it manages it’s own.

From the report – Asset Management (money they manage for others), Goldman: “Asset Management net revenues were $1.20 billion, 31% higher than the third quarter of 2006, reflecting a 40% increase in management and other fees, partially offset by lower incentive fees.”

Lower incentive fees? Fees were down 52% from last year. Incentive fees reflect doing a good job. Looks like their performance was lacking from last year.

Goldman: “During the quarter, assets under management increased $38 billion to $796 billion, reflecting money market net inflows of $31 billion, non-money market net inflows of $19 billion spread across all asset classes, and net market depreciation of $12 billion, reflecting depreciation in equity and alternative investment assets, partially offset by appreciation in fixed income assets.”

Increase of $38 billion. That’s a lot of money but still just 5% increase. But with $38 billion in net inflows after depreciation it appears that they had negative organic return on the assets that manage.

All on all, the money they manage for OTHERS had a bad quarter.

Now look at their proprietary trading unit – THEIR money. Trading and Principal Investments were $8.23 billion, 70% higher than the third quarter of 2006. Equity trading revenues were up a mind boggling 154%. This is in quarter were we saw a rough drop of about 3% in the S&P500.

Goldman: “Significant losses on non-prime loans and securities were more than offset by gains on short mortgage positions.”

They shorted mortgage positions with THEIR money! Shorting mortgages – a bet that citizens will default on their loans and possibly lose their homes. Goldman made money when things were good by pushing these sub-prime loans, now they win again when they go sour.

OTHER peoples money (OTM); NEW YORK, Sept 13 (Reuters) – “Goldman Sachs Group’s Global Alpha hedge fund fell 22.5 percent in August on losses from currency and stock trades, Bloomberg News reported, citing an update sent to investors.”
Goldman has the largest collection of hedge funds in the world. How is it that they receive 75% of their revenues from trading, but the hedge funds they manage for other people’s money under-perform the returns Goldman receives on its OWN money? When Goldman’s hedge funds are long sub-prime, why did not the shorting of mortgages strategy that they used for THEIR money save some of the OTHER people’s money? Trading is a zero sum gain. Did Goldman need someone to take the other side of the trade?

Greenspan said this in the same speech above; “Most financial innovations in over-the-counter derivatives involve new ways to disperse risk. Moreover, our constantly changing financial environment supplies a steady stream of new opportunities for innovation to address market imperfections. Innovative products temporarily earn a quasi-monopoly rent.”

I think everyone would have to agree that Goldman has been very innovative in benefiting from market imperfections. They place their former executives in high positions of public power. They manage the CRMPG that allows them insight into the inside workings of their competitors. They have been aggressive in their managed hedge funds by establishing a counter-party to their trades. They certainly are getting their share on THEIR money with “quasi-monopoly rent”.

And they are getting paid well to do it.

Goldman: “Compensation and benefits expenses were $5.92 billion, 68% higher than the third quarter of 2006” The number employees increased only 7%. Nice raise guys!

So how does Goldman get away with this? Obviously the influence peddling is there. Why is the financial community of the slightly less connected not out there screaming about the potential for collusion and manipulation by these large member banks with their CRMPG association? Trading is a zero sum game. Why are so many willing to take a bullet for Goldman on an un-level playing field?

I just read a commentary from Bill Bonner expressing some of what I mention here. He wrote this after a similar stunning Goldman report in June of 06’;
“Well, how is it possible that a company like Goldman – with thousands of traders – can make 75% of its revenues from trading? You’d think their lucky trades would be balanced out by their unlucky trades. They can’t all be lucky. And they can’t all be geniuses. As Buffett says, there aren’t that many geniuses around.”
“Or to put it another way, here’s a company making billions, mostly by trading. Who’s on the other side of these trades? Who’s losing? Where does the money come from? How is it possible for so many traders to have a result that is so far beyond equilibrium…it seems to defy gravity.” Bill Bonner

So why do I care about all of this?

Greenspan (same speech) said this; “No one can deny that fully informed market participants will generate the most efficient pricing of resources and the most efficient allocation of capital. Moreover, it could be argued that, if all information held by individual buyers or sellers became available to all participants, the pricing structure would more closely reflect the underlying balance of supply and demand. Thus full information would appear to be the unambiguous objective. But should it be?”

“But should it be?” Hell yes it should be. Fully informed market participates is central to a free market. Allowing Goldman and the CRMPG, with the blessings of the Federal Reserve to sway the markets in the direction that benefits them most, in the name of financial stability is a bullet to the chest of capitalism. Who was Chairman Greenspan helping when he suggested adjustable rate mortgages at interest rate bottoms? Some kind of innovative sub-prime scheme perhaps? The time to save our free markets is now. The complacency bullshit needs to stop!

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Larry C. Johnson is a former analyst at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, who moved subsequently in 1989 to the U.S. Department of State, where he served four years as the deputy director for transportation security, antiterrorism assistance training, and special operations in the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism. He left government service in October 1993 and set up a consulting business. He currently is the co-owner and CEO of BERG Associates, LLC (Business Exposure Reduction Group) and is an expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, and crisis and risk management, and money laundering investigations. Johnson is the founder and main author of No Quarter, a weblog that addresses issues of terrorism and intelligence and politics. NoQuarterUSA was nominated as Best Political Blog of 2008.
  • TaterSalad

    Capitalism: Private ownership of wealth . –Communism:Common ownership and control of property. –Socialism: Government ownership of industry and capital. –
    “Tax the rich, feed the poor
    Till there are no rich no more” –
    Marxism:Law is considered an instrument of oppression and control.

  • TaterSalad

    Capitalism: Private ownership of wealth . Communism:Common ownership and control of property.Socialism: Government ownership of industry and capital. –
    “Tax the rich, feed the poor
    Till there are no rich no more”
    Marxism:Law is considered an instrument of oppression and control.

  • daniel

    im not optimestic about america’s people economic problem and hope that obama can not make it right .
    im from iran and like america but i can not see people’s problems cause we are human and should be help to each other .

  • nick

    hey people u r stupid u dont even know whats happening in the world you retards
    if you knew you would actually know how to sovle this problem
    whats red and white and taps on glass every 5 seconds

    when you get this right
    remember that this crap actullay happens in real life
    not on some stupid paper!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 12Speakout

    This is why Obama was so “helpful” selling the bailout deal to the Democrats and Congressional Black Caucus.

    Talk about ‘sheep in donky clothing’… Obama is Wall Street’s Trojan Horse!

  • JAFO

    Is this another “Whitey Tape”?

  • Stanley

    The Obama Bubble: Why Wall Street Needs a Presidential Brand
    Wednesday, 05 March 2008

    “Who better to sell this agenda to the millions of duped mortgage holders and foreclosed homeowners in minority communities across America than our first, beloved, black president of hope and change?”


  • anon

    They don’t win if the bailout gets nixed. This is a sweeping attempt at socialism. We’ve already nationalized the home mortgage market. No Bailout!

  • SportPolitics

    It’s fairly obvious the home loans for the non-qualified is a distorted extension of the New Deal, and for this sentient being it’s obvious which party pushed it to it’s sick and expensive current crisis.
    I’m sure it’s all the evil, greedy, republicans fault, though. I can hear it ten thousand times in the media braindead lying machine. Paulson is the new catch word, and Bernacke, and of course soon it will morph into tricky dick and Halliborton, no doubt, somehow. I can’t imagine it won’t be linked to the Carlyle Group, and then to bin ladens as long as Bush 41 is at the head of that, too.
    I say one thing.

  • anon

    I also think this bailout is a terrible, fear-mongered attempt to hide away the fraud perpetrated through the sub-prime loan manipulation. As it stands now, we’ve nationalized the mortgage industry. Let the investment firms and insurance companies that profited out of this fail. So long as you hold on to your investments and don’t panic, all stock values of the companies found in your mutual funds will be fine, they’re not part of this mess. Your home value will correct as well. I say let them fall, just hunker down and ride it out.

  • mee

    MR.JOHNSON is ther a way you can simply break it down with a chart that shows which congress members voted against Bush’s attempt at new regulations from 2001 or Mccains from 2005 and show the $$$ each one who voted against it received…I thought I had read that Bush presented a new bill in 2002 and definatly Mccain one in 2005..If a simple chart who voted against a reform and in turn what they received would be very interesting to those who want REAL CHANGE….

  • IronMan

    Dear Mr. Obama II : Economics 101


  • I know you guys don’t believe astrology, but this is a weird coincidence.
    When Pluto (planet of transformation was in capricorn last was 244 yrs ago during the Revolutionary War.
    Ok.Pluto was in Capricorn from Jan 208 to June 2008 and then went retrograde into sagittarius for a few months. It will again be there from Nov 2008 until 2024.
    Ok. next coincidence. If you examine the astrological chart of George Washington and John McCain, you will find some striking similarities. Same Moon “pada”: Moon in Capricorn within a few degrees of each other.
    Re-incarnation of George Washington?

  • Dan

    Floks, I would strongly suggest that readers of this blog that the initiative and forward this article to the editorial desks and political desks of every local newspaper, radio station and TV station in your local area.

    While it’s certain that the likes of CNN and the NY Times will not take the lead in resporting these facts, there are still many, many fair-minded journalists throughout the land who will indeed be willing to do so. And as was the case with the success of the troop surge in Iraq, which the major media tried their very best to ignore and then deny until it became impossible to do so any longer, if enough of a stink starts being raised at the grassroots level about Obama’s ties to the culprits in the mortgage meltdown, at some point the mainstream media will have to hop on board.

  • IronMan

    This is getting worse and worse! Now the bailout is going to include foreign banks?

    This legislation is the BIGGEST FRAUD IN HISTORY!!

    $700 billion – $1 TRILLION is being bilked from the American people to be shared by the WORLD’S BIGGEST BANKS!!!

    They switched the wording in the agreement to now include a bailout of foreign banks. This is WRONG!!

    Why does this deal have to done immediately? Because the plan will not hold up to scrutiny, that’s why! They are trying to pull the woll over the American taxpayer, again!

    Paulson (former CEO of Goldman Sachs) is using SCARE TACTICS to frighten congress, the media, and the people into ACTING WITHOUT THINKING. Obama punted to Paulson and says he backs anything that Paulson does. While Obama sits on the sidelines and does nothing, at least McCain is questioning the agreement and showing leadership.

    McCain has the best policy to get our economy back on track. I’m glad to see McCain questioning the Administration on this. McCain is looking out for the American people.

    Obama and his buddies from Freddie and Fannie are part of the problem!!

    America, don’t be afraid to ask questions and demand answers from Pauslon and the Congress on this!!

  • Tequila

    Why didn’t they just shut down the Stock Exchange like they’ve done before when the down plunges?

    Russia saved every dollar they could by shutting down for 2 days until the hemorrhaging stopped!

  • i don’t know what no quarter was before, but i came here through uppity’s site which i got to by way of chicagoan against obama. i cannot tell you what it was like to discover democrats that care about this nation and can discuss her challenges with reason and civility. as a conservative i also move within an echo chamber -but it is incredible how similar our conversations are with the puma’s. its the most radical negative people who get all the air time. i cannot believe a keith olberman or a daily KOS can have so much influence.

    are there any stories about people who will do jail time for this meltdown?

    • susan k. (NYC)

      Hi sparringK9,

      To me the most shocking source of info that has become influential is Huffington Post. Do people realize that she floats between New Age gurus? That she flips opinions like burgers depending on where the money is? (And trust me, I do respect people who change there minds through reasoning, but she’s not one of them.) And that she has said publicly that she thinks MSM news journalists should write with bias because the audience is too stupid to make up their minds with the facts? (I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the upshot.)

      And have they noticed that they are reading the “news items” of such luminaries as Steven Weber (or the TV show Wings), Paul Reiser (of the TV show Mad About You), and college kids? And that the web site often covers stuff in a cheap tabloid manner?

      It is stunning that “journalism” has devolved into this. And I am a journalist.
      Ugggh. Welcome to No Quarter. It is great here…People can get a bit carried away, but mostly this stuff if very thoughtful and well-sourced.

  • txchick57

    Really maybe the best candidate for this crisis was Mitt Romney. A man who actually understands these issues.

    According to the NY Post, the Dow would have declined to 8300 on Friday absent the intervention that was done. It’s saved for now and maybe the rest of the year but will ultimately go lower than it did in 2002-2003. A real opportunity for some to make money.


  • Eden


    Joe Biden overcompensated by making a fool of himself and also managing to mock the top of his ticket as a confiscator of hunting rifles and handguns.

    “I guarantee you, Barack Obama ain’t taking my shotguns, so don’t buy that malarkey,” Biden said angrily. “They’re going to start peddling that to you.”

    “I got two, if he tries to fool with my Beretta, he’s got a problem.”

    Biden says he doesn’t hunt, rather shoots skeet with the two shotguns. “I like that little over and under, you know? I’m not bad with it,” he said today.



  • Tequila

    It isn’t in the Global Banking community’s best interest to point out Obama’s flaws. Why would they do that to their own puppet government, if he gets elected?

    Any wonder they fought tooth and nail against Hillary’s winning the Nomination, stooping to having to “STEAL” it from her.. They wouldn’t have been able to Control Hillary because she would have been acting in the best interests of the People! Setting the Global Bankers plans on breaking the Middle Class.. back 20 years.

  • I get such a kick out of you Hillary supporters whining about how the media is not covering Barack Obama’s (many) flaws. This is news to you? You just discovered that the MSM pushes whatever line is necessary to elect the Democratic nominee?

    I hope it comforts you to know that they would be pushing Hillary hard if she had won the nomination. And then you’d be just as upset, right? Fat chance.

    Now you know what every Republican candidate has to fight against to get elected — how hard it is to get a message out in the face of the MSM hurricane.

    • benny

      oooops, troll alert. they’re sending the simpletons (Bob White) along with the sophisticatd trolls (soph trolls). we feel bad for you, Bob White. $7/hour. lol

      • Does my wage rate matter? Matters to snobs, I suppose. In my life I’ve worked for $1.80/hr and $107/hr.

        Now, can you address the notion that the MSM is in the tank for whichever candidate the Dem Party nominates, or are you going to try to convince me that they just got their knickers in a twist over Hillary (cuz she’s female)?

        Obama is more liberal than Hillary, hence the liberal bias in his favor.

        • benny

          would you like to define ‘liberal’, Bob White? FISA is what we liberals want? how about more faith-based initiatives? Grow up, bob white, study your candidate. He ain’t a liberal. He stands exactly opposite to a liberal.

        • the only thing obama stands for is obama’s interests … check where he votes, present on things which require votes of consciousness, yes on votes where special interest groups support him to vote that way

    • Kal

      I don’t think the msm is emotionally or intellectually capable of promoting a woman candidate. Fox has accomplished a bit of fairness with Ferraro and Palin, but even then, it is tinged with condescension and a real lack of understanding of what counts as fair and equal treatment by women.

  • Tequila

    Thanks for posting this article, Larry. For those asleep at the wheel or so secure in their job status, this should be a WAKE-UP call..They may be next!

    Meanwhile, the oppressor stumbles and bumbles his way through the cult gathering at rallys, grabbing at straws when his teleprompter fails.


  • Franklin Raines, former CEO of Fannie Mae, is Obama’s Chief Financial Advisor. Raines raked in over 25 million annually from Fannie Mae while seeding it’s collapse. After being forced from Fannie Mae due to an accounting scandal not unlike ENRON, Raines now provides Obama with financial, mortgage, and housing advice, and raises money for the campaign.

    Raines agreed to a multimillion settlement with a federal regulator, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, over his responsibility for improper accounting at the mortgage finance giant Fannie Mae. In court papers, the agency said Mr Raines was unjustly enriched.

    Raines failures at Fannie Mae earned him the not so coveted “Worst Manager of the Year” award from Business Week on January 10th, 2005. http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_02/b3915646.htm


  • Patrick Henry

    Outstanding Report Larry..All of Your information needs to be Headlines in the MSM..and Presented in
    Hearings..but to WHO..

    Does this take a federal CLASS ACTION SUIT on behalf of the People of the United states to get Proper Attention..and results..??

    Tjhis is an outstanding Blog..

  • Thanks for this Larry. I’ve been jumping up and down about this for EVER! (Lone little economist and her voice in the Louisiana wilderness) It doesn’t seem to get any traction in the MSM. Also, don’t forget Pritzker… she’s a big part of this mess also. You cannot expect this man to change anything when it comes to the economy. He’s in bed with the wolves!

  • JC

    Read these two article about the Democrats role in the recent Financial Turmoil we are experiencing:

    The Democrat’s rhetoric on taxes and health care is frightening people in the investing classes over what critics call ‘wealth redistribution.’



    • richasis

      yes – it’s a global economy. raise taxes, and the capital will flee.

      seriously, do you think many of the wealthy are not diversified?

      google some of the big hollywood types – their money is overseas.

  • jangles

    What do you think of this wrinkle in the bailout business?

    Here is a paragraph from the Treasury Fact Sheet released last night: Asset and Institutional Eligibility for the Program. To qualify for the program, assets must have been originated or issued on or before September 17, 2008. Participating financial institutions must have significant operations in the U.S., unless the Secretary makes a determination, in consultation with the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, that broader eligibility is necessary to effectively stabilize financial markets. So this bailout covers any securities issued on or before last week! Why would we be bailing out activity from this year? Or even after Feb 2007 when the subprime crisis woke everyone up? I’d argue for an even earlier date …

    But the second sentence is even more surprising: eligibility has been changed from “financial institution having its headquarters in the United States” to “significant operations in the U.S.” – and even “broader eligibility” if Paulson so decides.

    According to this fact sheet, under the Paulson Plan, U.S. taxpayers may bailout foreign financial institutions and even foreign governments.

    NOW AMERICAN TAXPAYERS ARE ON THE HOOK TO BAIL OUT THE WORLD???? I say, let them fail if they are foreign entities. That should be illegal.

    • Divide & Conquer


      That’s one of the things I said in earlier post. In a global economy, the CDO’s are everywhere. Which is why I couldn’t see how this will help anyone but Wall Street. It will fly through the house/senate and we’ll get the bill next year(s).
      We need to watch and be ready to act as it develope’s. Pork and Ear marks have got to stop.

  • People need to try to learn more…I see the polls go in Obama’s favor because people don’t know the truth…Obama lies and people cheer, people are being duped again and don’t even care to check the facts.

  • Mr. Natural

    The Obama Bubble Agenda

    By PAM MARTENS, Counterpunch, February 16, 2008


    The Obama phenomenon has been likened to that of cults, celebrity groupies and Messiah worshipers. But what we’re actually witnessing is ObamaMania (as in tulip mania), the third and final bubble orchestrated and financed by the wonderful Wall Street folks who brought us the first two: the Nasdaq/tech bubble and a subprime-mortgage-in-every-pot bubble.

    To understand why Wall Street desperately needs this final bubble, we need to first review how the first two bubbles were orchestrated and why.

    In March of 2000, the Nasdaq stock market, hyped with spurious claims for startup tech and dot.com companies, reached a peak of over 5,000. Eight years later, it’s trading in the 2,300 range and most of those companies no longer exist. From peak to trough, Nasdaq transferred over $4 trillion from the pockets of small mania-gripped investors to the wealthy and elite market manipulators.

    The highest monetary authority during those bubble days, Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve, consistently told us that the market was efficient and stock prices were being set by the judgment of millions of “highly knowledgeable” investors.

    Mr. Greenspan was the wind beneath the wings of a carefully orchestrated wealth transfer system known as “pump and dump” on Wall Street. As hundreds of court cases, internal emails, and insider testimony now confirm, this bubble was no naturally occurring phenomenon any more than the Obama bubble is.

    • txchick57

      The next bubble is alternative energy.

      • actually, it will probably be in food because farmer are being paid to grow energy instead of food …

        • NomNomNom


    • Au contraire on Greenspan.

      No matter what you think of Greenspan, he referred to both the dotcom, and housing bubbles as “Irrational Exuberence”.

      Greenspan warned about the dangers inherent in the excess of both markets. The problem was, he did NOTHING about it.

      Regulations were needed to save us from greedy wall streeters, mortgage banks, developers and real estate companies.

      Regulations are needed to protect the ignorant masses from themselves.

      We would throw a luatic into the “Hotel Happy” and pump them with drugs and therapy until they were no longer a danger to others or themselves.

      But when the lunatic is “Mass Irrational Exuberence” and Greedy Corporations, we are happy to let it destroy us all.

      • only the dot com boom. he was part of the creation of the housing bubble …

  • Bigtime

    Obama is the best thing to happen to the Republican party in years. Obama will bring defeat to a lot of down ticket Democrats, unfortunate.


    • maybe they need to be purged…if a dem is running against a dem maybe it is time for a changing of the guard.

  • jangles

    Please read post by Anglachel today on the Glass Steagall issue and the role of Bill Clinton. We need to interrupt and stop this rant about “it’s Bills fault”. It is not Bill’s fault and it was his hand at the helm that kept the Graham legislation from having a worse effect.

  • IronMan

    Obama is the head cheerleader for a bad economy. Scary.

  • Alice Paul WPB

    This is way OT- but I was watching the movie Bobby this morning (for the third time). Great cast.

    As the tears were running down my face I thought what happened to the Democratic Party?

    I am 48 and was only 8 when Bobby Kennedy was shot so I don’t remember a lot. Is it just that I am romanticizing what the Dems used to be? Have I kept my eyes shut so tightly the last 30 years I have been voting. Have things changed as much as I think they have these past few years?

    It is a bitter pill to swallow!

    • Kal

      Well, JFK only got in because of the Daley machine at the time. So the rot has always been there. But I think that digitization and the huge amount of communication that the internet is making possible is bringing things to light that otherwise would only be found in the occasional blockbuster book or something. Or by investigative journalists, as they once were.

  • Will Smith



    Last updated: 6:20 am
    September 21, 2008
    Posted: 4:16 am
    September 21, 2008

    The market was 500 trades away from Armageddon on Thursday, traders inside two large custodial banks tell The Post.

    Had the Treasury and Fed not quickly stepped into the fray that morning with a quick $105 billion injection of liquidity, the Dow could have collapsed to the 8,300-level – a 22 percent decline! – while the clang of the opening bell was still echoing around the cavernous exchange floor.

    According to traders, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, money market funds were inundated with $500 billion in sell orders prior to the opening. The total money-market capitalization was roughly $4 trillion that morning.

    The panicked selling was directly linked to the seizing up of the credit markets – including a $52 billion constriction in commercial paper – and the rumors of additional money market funds “breaking the buck,” or dropping below $1 net asset value.

    The Fed’s dramatic $105 billion liquidity injection on Thursday (pre-market) was just enough to keep key institutional accounts from following through on the sell orders and starting a stampede of cash that could have brought large tracts of the US economy to a halt.

    While many depositors treat money market accounts as fancy savings accounts, they are different. Banks buy a variety of short-term debt, including commercial paper, with the assets. It is an important distinction because banks use the $1.7 trillion commercial-paper market to fund their credit card operations and car finance companies use it to move autos.

    Without commercial paper, “factories would have to shut down, people would lose their jobs and there would be an effect on the real economy,” Paul Schott Stevens, of the Investment Company Institute, told the Wall Street Journal.

    Cracks started to show in money market accounts late Tuesday when shares in one fund, the Reserve Primary Fund – which touted itself as super safe – fell below the golden $1 a share level. It had purchased what it thought was safe Lehman bonds, never dreaming they could default – which they did 24 hours earlier when the 158-year-old investment bank filed Chapter 11.

    By Wednesday, banks sensed a run on their accounts. They started stockpiling cash in anticipation of withdrawals.

    Banks, which usually keep an average of $2 billion in excess reserves earmarked for withdrawals, pumped that up to an astounding $90 billion by Wednesday, Lou Crandall, chief economist at Wrighton ICAP, told The Journal.

    And for good reason. By the close of business on Wednesday, $144.5 billion – a record – had been withdrawn. How much money was taken out of money market funds the prior week? Roughly $7.1 billion, according to AMG Data Services.

    By Thursday, that level, fed by the incredible volume of sell orders pouring in from institutional investors like pension funds and sovereign funds, had grown to $100 billion. It was still not enough to stem the tidal wave.

    The banks knew something drastic had to be done. So did Paulson.

    The injection of capital into the market was followed up by calls from Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson to major money market players like Bank of New York Mellon and State Street in Boston informing them that federal money was in the market and they should tell their clients the Feds would be back with a plan to stem the constriction in the credit market.

    Paulson knew the $105 billion injection was not a real solution. A broader, more radical answer was needed.

    Hours after Paulson made his round of calls to calm the industry, word leaked out that an added $1 trillion bailout of banks was being readied. Investors cheered. At about 3 p.m., news of the plans was filtering up and down Wall Street, fueling a 700-point advance in the Dow Jones industrial average through 4 p.m. Friday.

    By that time, Paulson had announced the plan. It included insurance on money market accounts, a move that started in quiet Thursday morning, when the former Goldman Sachs executive saved the country from a paralyzing meltdown.

    • Alice Paul WPB

      Could all of this be linked to George Soros?

    • People were pulling money out of the banks, their 401ks, yes paying all the penalties.. so fast last week that they had to do something.

  • jangles

    McCain and his wife have a prenuptial agreement that keeps all of her assets in her hands. She did not even make a loan to him when he was in financial trouble. Her fortune is valued at about 100 million. While that is impressive, it is most certainly not huge. In America today you don’t count among the super-rich until you top the 1 billion mark. 100 million is a long way from a billion.

  • jangles

    Divide and Conquer: You are on the right track. I am not an uninformed person but I have to admit that when I saw the contributions to Dodd, who is chair of the committee with oversight on all of this, I was taken aback. I had no idea that committee members doing regulatory oversight of an industry for whom they also legislate were also in the business of taking campaign funds from those entities. I say this and I am really embarrassed—what a naive rube I am. I thought that we had gotten beyond this. I thought that was why Randy Cunningham went to jail. Maybe in his case it was not the money given by regulatees—it was that he used the funds for personal profit. What pray tell is the difference?

    • Question is…was he taking the money to turn his head, look the other way while they bundled all those bad loans and sold them to the banks…he won’t investigate himself…and look at what Charlie Rangel has been up to with his taxes and what does he oversee????

      When McCain tried to put a stop to it how did they vote? they let it continue..

    • Divide & Conquer

      This is why I’m a registered unaffiliated, I believe both side have been taking us to the cleaners. I vote for whom I feel will do the least harm and or a better job if they give me information. I don’t fall for the fear of vote for me because of the Supreme Court slots, Roe v Wade, and guns. Do the peoples work for the right reason, not to give one group an edge over another. I won’t say the treasury was lying to us about the markets; I think they were putting lip stick on a pig; as part of there job to reassurre the public and investors. Knowing they were in a sink hole. The one thing I can’t figure out just yet; is how does this help the people? Home prices can’t just start going up? Will they stop forclosures, maybe. But, what if they were already in over there heads? Start restructing the loans..ie. my loan is for $300,000 – I can only afford to finance $200,000 so you forgive $100,000 grand? That still brings home values down. I guess it is in the details, that will be WISKED through the house/senate and signed by bush; before we see screws coming at us. Reform and Sunshine laws are what I want to see.

    • Mr. Natural

      Cunningham went to jail because he actually had a price list printed up. Like a menu.

    • hank48188

      Joe Biden helped push through the new bankruptcy Bill that the Credit Card companies wanted, MBNA is Biden’s largest contributors. The nice man at MBNA, an Exec, bought Bidens house for full asking price, $1,200,000, but if you look at comps in the area it was worth at least $100,000 less. That is not corruption though, I’m sure joe would tell you that.

  • IronMan

    Senator Chuck Scumer Debunks Obama’s Tax Plan

    WOW, anyone catch Chuck Schumer’s debunking of Obama’s tax plan on FOX News Sunday?

    Look for Obama to throw Senator Chuck Schumer under the bus next.

    On FOX News Sunday, Senator Schumer just debunked Obama’s plan to raise taxes on small business and investment.

    Schumer was asked if Obama’s plan to increase taxes on small business owners and increase taxes on invesment would be good for the economy now that we are facing a potential $1 Trillion bailout.

    Schumer’s response:

    “When the economy is in decline, you don’t raise taxes.”Thank You Chuck Schumer!!

    Even Chuck Schumer admits that Obama’s tax plan would hurt our economy.

    McCain-Palin ’08
    Hillary ’12

  • Mr.Murder

    This is just Barack’s problem?

    McCain married one of the richest women in America.

    Hillary donated her own money to keep her race going, she never stooped to any of the scandalous poisoned fruit of this tree.

    Voting for “only half as corrupt” doesn’t even win you the mayor’s race in Chicago.

    • Mr. Natural

      But it is Friday, September 19, that will go down as a turning point in American history. The White House committed at least half a trillion dollars more to re-inflate real estate prices in an attempt to support the market value of junk mortgages…

      Overnight, the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve have radically changed the character of American capitalism. It is nothing less than a coup d’êtat for the class that FDR called “banksters.”

      What has happened in the past two weeks threatens to change the coming century – irreversibly, if they can get away with it. This is the largest and most inequitable transfer of wealth since the land giveaways to the railroad barons during the Civil War era.

      …the Invisible Hand turned out to be accounting fraud, junk mortgage lending, insider dealing and a failure to relate the soaring debt overhead to the ability of debtors to pay – all of this mess seemingly legitimized by computerized trading models, and now blessed by the Treasury.

      – “America’s Own Kleptocracy,” by Michael Hudson, Counterpunch


      • Mr. Natural

        FYI, that wasn’t meant as a reply. Sometimes these posts just go where they want to.

        • Mr.Murder

          NP, former boss was old money. Part of the Halliburton’s neighborhood.

          This is a replay of the Robber Baron era.

  • earthoat

    I would love to see an article tying Wall Street to MSM like CNN, MSNBC, and yes, the NYT.

  • Mr. Natural

    A related article:

    In the latest Counterpunch, ( the free edition online)

    Is This the Stake Through Neoliberalism’s Heart? It Should Be, But …

    By ALEXANDER COCKBURN, http://www.counterpunch.org/

    Gramm is a prime exhibit in any list of the architects of the current economic mess. At the behest of the banking industry he wrote the laws that enabled the huge balloons of funny money debt that exploded this year. The deregulatory statutes bearing his name prompted Wall Street’s looting orgy in the subprime thievery.

    But is he Exhibit A? No. That honor should surely go to Robert Rubin and to the economic course he set for his boss, the eagerly complicit Bill Clinton. Gramm has been the hireling of the banking industry. Rubin is at the beating heart of Wall Street finance, and he and Lawrence Summers at Clinton’s Treasury, were the guiding forces for financial deregulation.

    If Obama becomes president what advisors will he recruit? Will he keep Rubin at his side along with his passel of Chicago School economists? His left supporters hope that he has a secret plan under wraps, that a populist T-shirt lies under the decorous mask of bipartisanship. I doubt it. Caution and respectability seem integral to Obama’s political persona. His core political task has been to assure the big-money funders of his campaign that as concerns maintenance of the present system his are a safe pair of hands. “Secret plan” theorists have some notion of “the real Obama” ripping off his mask on Inauguration Day. It doesn’t work like that. The political system is designed to ensure that the mask becomes the man.

    It’s one big happy orgy, folks. There’s no discernable difference between the parties. Nothing to see. Move along.

    • jangles

      Please see today’s post at Anglachel in which she debunks the Clinton complicity with Graham. She details what really happened and the work Clinton did to stave off a worse case scenario. I think it is important for everyone to read that post. The Graham legislation that wound up destroying Glass Seagull was passed by a Republican majority in the Senate with the help of Democrats. This is most certainly a bi-partisan mess but it was not instigated or pushed by Bill Clinton.

  • Divide & Conquer

    Should we bail out wall street? Isn’t this where the cream rises to the top and all!

  • Larry,

    I read back over this post again…I am wondering…were you surprised to find out that the democrats have played such a huge roll in this mess?

    I was…A few weeks back or maybe months I started seeing a pattern in the dems and was truly surprised that the dems seem to have fought very hard for the things that are now bringing our banks down in turn hurting Americans…and it is not just the banks, I see what they are saying about conservation but you can’t just stop oil from being used and they have to know what they are doing is hurting our economy…it seems they are going after every avenue they can to bring this country down and I would like to know why…