Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Proof of the Unholy Alliance

Need proof that "the modern Republi-con Party is nothing more than an unholy alliance between corporate interest and social conservatives, the former using the latter to gain power to promote corporate interest."

How about "a secret agreement with a former Republican chairwoman of the agency to stand in the way of investors filing complaints with the agency. . . [The judge] was the subject of a story 10 years ago in the Wall Street Journal, which said that except in a handful of cases in which defunct firms failed to defend themselves, [the Judge] had never ruled in favor of an investor." Read the Washington Post, Commodity Futures Trading Commission judge says colleague biased against complainants.

BTW, that former Republican chairwoman of the agency is/was Wendy Gramm, wife of former senator Phil Gramm (R-Tex.).

As noted before, in the Republi-con-controlled Senate and House, Republi-con Senator Phil Gramm was only too happy to help to pass the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which deregulated credit default swaps, the real cause of this economic collapse.

And a historical not-so footnote, the Commodity Futures Modernization Act included the so-called "Enron loophole," which exempts most over-the-counter energy trades and trading on electronic energy commodity markets. The "loophole" was drafted by lobbyists for Enron working with Gramm to create a deregulated atmosphere for their new experiment, "Enron On-line."

Gramm was always Wall Street's man in the Senate. As chairman of the Senate Banking Committee during the Clinton administration, he consistently underfunded the Securities and Exchange Commission and kept it from stopping accounting firms from auditing corporations with which they had conflicts of interest. Gramm's piece de resistance came on Dec. 15, 2000, when he slipped into an omnibus spending bill a provision called the Commodity Futures Modernization Act (CFMA), which prohibited any governmental regulation of credit default swaps, those insurance policies covering losses on securities in the event they went belly up. As the housing bubble ballooned, the face value of those swaps rose to a tidy $62 trillion. And as the housing bubble burst, those swaps became a massive pile of worthless paper, because no government agency had required the banks to set aside money to back them up.

The CFMA also prohibited government regulation of the energy-trading market, which enabled Enron to nearly bankrupt the state of California before bankrupting itself.

And guess what else, Wendy Gramm, was on the board of directors of Enron when it collapsed.

Was the Mission Accomplished?

UPDATE II: "Iraqis still don’t have a government. Resentments and mistrust are growing. That’s dangerous." Read The New York Times, Iraq’s Stalemate.

UPDATE: "[T]he war against Saddam (1990–2003) [gave] way to the American Occupation (2003–2010)." Now is "the conflict is simply entering a new phase," that may soon be called "the War of Iraqi Self-Determination (2010–?)?" Read The New Republic, Obama Wants Us To Forget the Lessons of Iraq.

And what would you call our effort in Iraq? Read the Washington Post, My Iraq mistake.

This will be a topic for discussion on Thursday.