Wall Street's Naked Swindle


Totally predictable and unbelievable at the same time. Extremes are

Incredible that the enforcers seem to be able to root out "insider trading" left and right but can't seem to quite get this one figured out.

Matt Taibbi is clearly one of the best jounalists from the Left out there.


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Wow! It sounds like a massive fraud is going unnoticed. Yet when I tried reading the article, I could not understand. The "Island Rubles" analogy does not seem to hold up. The "lost note" mortgages are not considered evidence of anything sinister; banks thought they could forget about the original documents, but lawyers for people in foreclosure realized they could legally demand to see them. Does anyone know what "Barzini-Tattaglia meeting of the Five Families" actually means?

The article suggests that the government knew that Bear Stearns was not really solvent. Some insiders bought options, essentially gambling that Bear Stearns would suddenly fail. Then, at a meeting excluding Bear Stearns, the government revealed their information to the trading partners of Bear Stearns. Next, Treasury secretary Hank Paulson withdraw the credit he had already promised. The predictable result was that Bear Stearns failed immediately, in time for the insiders to make 100's of millions.

The likely suspect is somebody inside the government! That would explain the failure to investigate. It might also explain my confusion with the article. Matt Taibbi, probably would like to blame "big business", in general, rather than the gang of thieves running Washington.

Harland Harrison

I haven't followed Taibbi's work closely, but it's interesting, and encouraging, that a failure of regulation on this scale appears to be causing him to question the system. (Or, if you wish, it's discouraging that it takes so massive a failure; the world has to come to an end before anybody is willing to say anything is wrong.) He lays out the evidence pretty clearly for government involvement, without attributing blame specifically. In a similar vein, I'm encouraged by Glenn Greenwald's analysis of the healthcare debate: He sees that the real problem is not whether business is totally dominated by government, or government is totally dominated by business, but simply the fact that they're in bed together:

Greenwald: The underlying divisions in the healthcare debate <http://www.opednews.com/populum/link.php?id=103371>
If progressives always announce that they're willing to accept whatever minuscule benefits are tossed at them (on the ground that it's better than nothing) and unfailingly support Democratic initiatives (on the ground that the GOP is worse), then they will (and should) always be ignored when it comes time to negotiate; nobody takes seriously the demands of those who announce they'll go along with whatever the final outcome is.

Incredible indeed!

  Perhaps the most amazing thing to me was the revelation that 341 out of 341 shareholder elections surveyed in 2005 showed evidence that over-voting had occurred in every single one -- i.e. more votes being cast than there should have been based on the number of outstanding shares. "In a process known as 'empty voting,' anyone can influence any corporate election simply by borrowing great masses of shares shortly before an important merger or board election, exercising their voting rights, then returning the shares right after the vote is over. Hilariously, because you're only borrowing the shares and not buying them, you can effectively 'buy' a corporate election for free." One would think -- admittedly as with many other revelations -- that this should have set off huge alarm bells.

  What does it say about the media that a magazine which started out as a countercultural music rag covering the hippie scene in San Francisco has delivered the best expose I've seen of what's been going on in the biggest financial markets of the United States for the past ten years or so? It almost make you want to demand a strict and simple law prohibiting people from selling assets of which they do not have actual possession or buying things for which they do not have the cash.

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))