Friday, April 17, 2009

This One's a 'Must Read'

April 17, 2009, 8:20 a.m.

What You've Always Wanted to Ask About the Financial Collapse
Except for Your Fear As to What the Answer Might Be

(brought to you by*)

Since June 23, 2006, I have written 639 entries for this blog.

Never before have I ever said something was a "must read."

Nor am I now saying that some creation of mine is a "must read."

But what I am prepared to say is that what I am going to tell you about, and encourage you to read for yourself -- or watch as an online video -- is a must read for all Americans.

No issues over the past year -- indeed, over the past 70-plus years -- come close to the significance of those surrounding the economic harm we're all now suffering, brought on by what turns out to be deliberate, knowing, criminal fraud perpetrated by the so-called leaders of our financial and political establishment.

This is something every American has an obligation to understand -- as best we can, given the efforts of those responsible to cover up the facts (notwithstanding their professed commitment to "transparency") and the seeming lack of motivation by the establishment media (as with the onset of the second Iraq War) to investigate and report what's going on. For our sake and that of the future generations who will be paying for these crimes, we need to know what happened -- historically and recently -- that brought us to where we are, who played what roles, why they're not even being replaced let alone prosecuted, and what's going on now in Washington and Wall Street.

For those facts turn out to be far more startling and worse than anything I've even imagined, let alone actually asserted in any of the 47 blog entries I've uploaded on this subject over the past eight months (and are linked from the bottom of this entry).

What I'm referring to is Bill Moyers' interview with William K. Black, broadcast by PBS on the April 3, 2009, "Bill Moyers Journal." Here is the video, and a transcript, of that interview.

Only a smattering of brief excerpts are going to be reproduced here, but they should be enough to prompt you to want to watch, or read, the entire exchange.

First off, just who is this William K. Black? Here are some excerpts from his Web page at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law (where you will find more, if you're interested):
Associate Professor of Economics and Law; A.B. (University of Michigan); J.D. (University of Michigan Law School); Ph.D. (University of California at Irvine) . . .

Bill Black is an Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC). He was the Executive Director of the Institute for Fraud Prevention from 2005-2007. He has taught previously at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and at Santa Clara University, where he was also the distinguished scholar in residence for insurance law and a visiting scholar at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

He was litigation director of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, deputy director of the FSLIC, SVP and General Counsel of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, and Senior Deputy Chief Counsel, Office of Thrift Supervision. He was deputy director of the National Commission on Financial Institution Reform, Recovery and Enforcement. His regulatory career is profiled in Chapter 2 of Professor Riccucci's book Unsung Heroes (Georgetown U. Press: 1995), Chapter 4 (“The Consummate Professional: Creating Leadership”) of Professor Bowman, et al’s book The Professional Edge (M.E. Sharpe 2004), and Joseph M. Tonon’s article: “The Costs of Speaking Truth to Power: How Professionalism Facilitates Credible Communication” Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 2008 18(2):275-295.
In short, Black is not just a member of cable television's shouting, "chattering class." In terms of education and experience, he knows what he's talking about.

Here's how Bill Moyers introduced him:
For months now, revelations of the wholesale greed and blatant transgressions of Wall Street have reminded us that "The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One." In fact, the man you're about to meet wrote a book with just that title. It was based upon his experience as a tough regulator during one of the darkest chapters in our financial history: the savings and loan scandal in the late 1980s. . . .

Bill Black was in New York this week for a conference at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice where scholars and journalists gathered to ask the question, "How do they get away with it?" Well, no one has asked that question more often than Bill Black. . . .

During the savings and loan crisis, it was Black who accused then-house speaker Jim Wright and five US Senators, including John Glenn and John McCain, of doing favors for the S&L's in exchange for contributions and other perks. The senators got off with a slap on the wrist, but so enraged was one of those bankers, Charles Keating — after whom the senate's so-called "Keating Five" were named — he sent a memo that read, in part, "get Black — kill him dead." . . .

Now Black is focused on an even greater scandal, and he spares no one — not even the President he worked hard to elect, Barack Obama. But his main targets are the Wall Street barons, heirs of an earlier generation whose scandalous rip-offs of wealth back in the 1930s earned them comparison to Al Capone and the mob, and the nickname "banksters."
Here are some excerpts from the interview. To give the text a little more appearance of organization, and to find what you may be looking for, I have put in bold "headings" of sorts, either emphasizing their words or [bracketed inserts] of my own.

BILL MOYERS: How did they do it? . . .

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Well, the way that you do it is to make really bad loans, because they pay better. Then you grow extremely rapidly, in other words, you're a Ponzi-like scheme. And the third thing you do is we call it leverage. That just means borrowing a lot of money, and the combination creates a situation where you have guaranteed record profits in the early years. That makes you rich, through the bonuses that modern executive compensation has produced. It also makes it inevitable that there's going to be a disaster down the road.

BILL MOYERS: So you're suggesting, saying that CEOs of some of these banks and mortgage firms in order to increase their own personal income, deliberately set out to make bad loans?


BILL MOYERS: How do they get away with it? I mean, what about their own checks and balances in the company? What about their accounting divisions?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: All of those checks and balances report to the CEO, so if the CEO goes bad, all of the checks and balances are easily overcome. And the art form is not simply to defeat those internal controls, but to suborn them, to turn them into your greatest allies. And the bonus programs are exactly how you do that. . . .

BILL MOYERS: Why did they call them liars' loans? . . .

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Liars' loans mean that we don't check. You tell us what your income is. You tell us what your job is. You tell us what your assets are, and we agree to believe you. We won't check on any of those things. And by the way, you get a better deal if you inflate your income and your job history and your assets. . . . [T]hey were also called, in the trade, ninja loans . . . no income verification, no job verification, no asset verification. . . . One company produced as many losses as the entire Savings and Loan debacle. . . . IndyMac specialized in making liars' loans. In 2006 alone, it sold $80 billion dollars of liars' loans to other companies. $80 billion. . . . Even Ronald Reagan, you know, said, "Trust, but verify." They just gutted the verification process. We know that will produce enormous fraud, under economic theory, criminology theory, and two thousand years of life experience.

BILL MOYERS: Is it possible that these complex instruments were deliberately created so swindlers could exploit them? [NJ: And the role of AAA ratings.]

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Oh, absolutely. This stuff, the exotic stuff that you're talking about was created out of things like liars' loans, that were known to be extraordinarily bad.

And now it was getting triple-A ratings. Now a triple-A rating is supposed to mean there is zero credit risk. So you take something that not only has significant, it has crushing risk. That's why it's toxic. And you create this fiction that it has zero risk. That itself, of course, is a fraudulent exercise. And again, there was nobody looking, during the Bush years. So finally, only a year ago, we started to have a Congressional investigation of some of these rating agencies, and it's scandalous what came out. What we know now is that the rating agencies never looked at a single loan file. When they finally did look, after the markets had completely collapsed, they found, and I'm quoting Fitch, the smallest of the rating agencies, "the results were disconcerting, in that there was the appearance of fraud in nearly every file we examined."

BILL MOYERS: So if your assumption is correct, your evidence is sound, the bank, the lending company, created a fraud. And the ratings agency that is supposed to test the value of these assets knowingly entered into the fraud. Both parties are committing fraud by intention.

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Right, and the investment banker that — we call it pooling — puts together these bad mortgages, these liars' loans, and creates the toxic waste of these derivatives. All of them do that. And then they sell it to the world and the world just thinks because it has a triple-A rating it must actually be safe. Well, instead, there are 60 and 80 percent losses on these things, because of course they, in reality, are toxic waste. . . .

BILL MOYERS: Is there a law against liars' loans?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Not directly, but there, of course, many laws against fraud, and liars' loans are fraudulent. . . . because they're not going to be repaid and because they had false representations. They involve deceit, which is the essence of fraud.

BILL MOYERS: Why is it so hard to prosecute? Why hasn't anyone been brought to justice over this? [NJ: And FBI warning 2004, but radical reduction in FBI investigators today.]

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Because they didn't even begin to investigate the major lenders until the market had actually collapsed, which is completely contrary to what we did successfully in the Savings and Loan crisis, right? Even while the institutions were reporting they were the most profitable savings and loan in America, we knew they were frauds. And we were moving to close them down. . . .

[T]he FBI publicly warned, in September 2004 that there was an epidemic of mortgage fraud, that if it was allowed to continue it would produce a crisis at least as large as the Savings and Loan debacle. And that they were going to make sure that they didn't let that happen. . . [T]his crisis is . . . certainly 100 times worse than the Savings and Loan crisis [and yet there are only] one-fifth as many FBI agents [available to investigate the crimes involved in it] as worked the Savings and Loan crisis. . . .

[NJ: Role/responsibility of President Clinton, Summers, Rubin, Senator Graham]

WILLIAM K. BLACK: There were two really big things, under the Clinton administration. One, they got rid of the law that came out of the real-world disasters of the Great Depression. We learned a lot of things in the Great Depression. And one is we had to separate what's called commercial banking from investment banking. That's the Glass-Steagall law. But we thought we were much smarter, supposedly. So we got rid of that law, and that was bipartisan.

And the other thing is we passed a law, because there was a very good regulator, Brooksley Born, that everybody should know about and probably doesn't. She tried to do the right thing to regulate one of these exotic derivatives that you're talking about. We call them C.D.F.S. And Summers, Rubin, and Phil Graham came together to say not only will we block this particular regulation. We will pass a law that says you can't regulate. And it's this type of derivative that is most involved in the AIG scandal. AIG all by itself, cost the same as the entire Savings and Loan debacle. . . .

BILL MOYERS: Why are they firing the president of G.M. and not firing the head of all these banks that are involved?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: There are two reasons. One, they're much closer to the bankers. These are people from the banking industry. And they have a lot more sympathy. In fact, they're outright hostile to autoworkers, as you can see. They want to bash all of their contracts. But when they get to banking, they say, "contracts, sacred." But the other element of your question is we don't want to change the bankers, because if we do, if we put honest people in, who didn't cause the problem, their first job would be to find the scope of the problem. And that would destroy the cover up.

BILL MOYERS: The cover up? . . .

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Geithner is . . . covering up. Just like Paulson did before him. Geithner is publicly saying that it's going to take $2 trillion — a trillion is a thousand billion — $2 trillion taxpayer dollars to deal with this problem. But they're allowing all the banks to report that they're not only solvent, but fully capitalized. Both statements can't be true. It can't be that they need $2 trillion, because they have masses losses, and that they're fine. . . .

Geithner . . . was one of our nation's top regulators, during the entire subprime scandal, that I just described. He took absolutely no effective action. He gave no warning. He did nothing in response to the FBI warning that there was an epidemic of fraud. . . . as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which is responsible for regulating most of the largest bank holding companies in America. . . .

Until you get the facts, it's harder to blow all this up. And, of course, the entire strategy is to keep people from getting the facts . . . about how bad the condition of the banks is. So, as long as I keep the old CEO who caused the problems, is he going to go vigorously around finding the problems? Finding the frauds? . . . Taking away people's bonuses? . . .

[NJ: What's wrong with the Obama Administration approach? Refusing to obey the law.]

WILLIAM K. BLACK: . . . [1] [F]irst, the policies are substantively bad.

[2] Second, I think they completely lack integrity.

[3] Third, they violate the rule of law. This is being done just like Secretary Paulson did it. In violation of the law. We adopted a law after the Savings and Loan crisis, called the Prompt Corrective Action Law. And it requires them to close these institutions. And they're refusing to obey the law. . . .

BILL MOYERS: So, Paulson could have done this? Geithner could do this?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Not could. Was mandated--

BILL MOYERS: By the law.

WILLIAM K. BLACK: By the law. . . .

BILL MOYERS: What the reason they give for not doing it?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: They ignore it. And nobody calls them on it. . . .

[At a minimum] where's the Pecora investigation? . . . The Great Depression, we said, "Hey, we have to learn the facts. What caused this disaster, so that we can take steps, like pass the Glass-Steagall law, that will prevent future disasters?" Where's our investigation?

What would happen if after a plane crashes, we said, "Oh, we don't want to look in the past. We want to be forward looking. Many people might have been, you know, we don't want to pass blame. No. We have a nonpartisan, skilled inquiry. We spend lots of money on, get really bright people. And we find out, to the best of our ability, what caused every single major plane crash in America. And because of that, aviation has an extraordinarily good safety record. We ought to follow the same policies in the financial sphere. We have to find out what caused the disasters, or we will keep reliving them. And here, we've got a double tragedy. It isn't just that we are failing to learn from the mistakes of the past. We're failing to learn from the successes of the past.

[NJ: Best practices; worst practices]

WILLIAM K. BLACK: In the Savings and Loan debacle, we developed excellent ways for dealing with the frauds, and for dealing with the failed institutions. And for 15 years after the Savings and Loan crisis, didn't matter which party was in power, the U.S. Treasury Secretary would fly over to Tokyo and tell the Japanese, "You ought to do things the way we did in the Savings and Loan crisis, because it worked really well. Instead you're covering up the bank losses, because you know, you say you need confidence. And so, we have to lie to the people to create confidence. And it doesn't work. You will cause your recession to continue and continue." And the Japanese call it the lost decade. That was the result.

So, now we get in trouble, and what do we do? We adopt the Japanese approach of lying about the assets. And you know what? It's working just as well as it did in Japan.

BILL MOYERS: Yeah. Are you saying that Timothy Geithner, the Secretary of the Treasury, and others in the administration, with the banks, are engaged in a cover up to keep us from knowing what went wrong?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Absolutely. . . .

BILL MOYERS: But what might happen, at this point, if in fact they keep from us the true health of the banks?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Well, then the banks will, as they did in Japan, either stay enormously weak, or Treasury will be forced to increasingly absurd giveaways of taxpayer money. We've seen how horrific AIG -- and remember, they kept secrets from everyone . . . Treasury and both administrations. The Bush administration and now the Obama administration kept secret from us what was being done with AIG. AIG was being used secretly to bail out favored banks like UBS and like Goldman Sachs. Secretary Paulson's firm, that he had come from being CEO. It got the largest amount of money. $12.9 billion. And they didn't want us to know that. And it was only Congressional pressure, and not Congressional pressure, by the way, on Geithner, but Congressional pressure on AIG. . . .

[NJ: What can we do? Why not keep CEOs in place?]

WILLIAM K. BLACK: We need some chairmen or chairwomen . . . in Congress, to hold the necessary hearings. And we can blast this out.

But if you leave the failed CEOs in place, it isn't just that they're terrible business people, though they are. It isn't just that they lack integrity, though they do. Because they were engaged in these frauds. But they're not going to disclose the truth about the assets.

BILL MOYERS: And we have to know that [the truth about the assets], in order to know what?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: To know everything. To know who committed the frauds. Whose bonuses we should recover. How much the assets are worth. How much they should be sold for. Is the bank insolvent, such that we should resolve it in this way? It's the predicate, right? You need to know the facts to make intelligent decisions. And they're deliberately leaving in place the people that caused the problem, because they don't want the facts. And this is not new. The Reagan Administration's central priority, at all times, during the Savings and Loan crisis, was covering up the losses. . . .

BILL MOYERS: Yeah, and this week in New York, at this conference, you described this as more than a financial crisis. You called it a moral crisis.



WILLIAM K. BLACK: Because it is a fundamental lack of integrity. But also because, if you look back at crises, an economist who is also a presidential appointee, as a regulator in the Savings and Loan industry, right here in New York, Larry White, wrote a book about the Savings and Loan crisis. And he said, you know, one of the most interesting questions is why so few people engaged in fraud? Because objectively, you could have gotten away with it. But only about ten percent of the CEOs, engaged in fraud. So, 90 percent of them were restrained by ethics and integrity. So, far more than law or by F.B.I. agents, it's our integrity that often prevents the greatest abuses. And what we had in this crisis, instead of the Savings and Loan, is the most elite institutions in America engaging or facilitating fraud. . . .

BILL MOYERS: It was relatively a handful of people.

WILLIAM K. BLACK: And their ideologies, which swept away regulation. So, in the example, regulation means that cheaters don't prosper. So, instead of being bad for capitalism, it's what saves capitalism. "Honest purveyors prosper" is what we want. And you need regulation and law enforcement to be able to do this. The tragedy of this crisis is it didn't need to happen at all. . . .

[NJ: Black's four-point plan.]

Now, going forward,

[1] get rid of the people that have caused the problems. That's a pretty straightforward thing, as well. Why would we keep CEOs and CFOs and other senior officers, that caused the problems? That's facially nuts. That's our current system. So stop that current system.

[2] We're hiding the losses, instead of trying to find out the real losses. Stop that, because you need good information to make good decisions, right?

[3] Follow what works instead of what's failed.

[4] Start appointing people who have records of success, instead of records of failure. That would be another nice place to start. There are lots of things we can do. Even today, as late as it is. Even though they've had a terrible start to the administration. They could change, and they could change within weeks. And by the way, the folks who are the better regulators, they paid their taxes. So, you can get them through the vetting process a lot quicker.

[End of transcript excerpts.]

Following this interview there was at least one person, a woman Black refers to only as "a commentator," who questioned Black's charge that Paulson and Geithner have violated the requirements of The Prompt Corrective Action Law. He answers at length in a statement (which at least I find persuasive) on the "Bill Moyers Journal" site, William K. Black on The Prompt Corrective Action Law. Here is a very brief sampling excerpt:
Before the legal minutia, let’s not lose sight of the policy issue

To review the bidding to date: there is a consensus among economists and white-collar criminologists (and senior regulators that have successfully resolved prior crises such as William Seidman, Edwin Gray, and Paul Volcker) that failing banks should be placed promptly into receivership if they cannot recapitalize. So the fundamental question, even if the PCA law was never passed, is what can the nation do to end the disastrous Paulson/Geithner policy of covering up the largest banks’ losses and leaving the CEOs and senior officers that caused their failures, often through fraud, in power? How many of those of us that voted for Mr. Obama believed that they were voting for a continuation of Bush’s failed financial regulatory policies? Given the terrible cost to taxpayers during the early years of the S&L debacle of “forbearance” for failed S&Ls, the horrific failure of Japan’s embrace of the cover up of its bank losses, and the great success of the vigorous reregulation of the S&L industry why would we adopt the failed strategy instead of the proven success? The way we reregulated the S&L industry was not simply an economic success, it was vital to restoring at least some integrity. We insisted on honest accounting, used prompt receiverships, and rooted out the control frauds. This led to over 1000 felony convictions related to the debacle – the greatest criminal justice success in history against elite white-collar criminals.

On to the legal specifics

The commentator argues that the PCA law does not mandate receiverships, citing exceptions to the mandatory language. None of the exceptions apply in the circumstances we are discussing and neither the Bush nor the Obama administration purports to be following such exceptions. Instead, what is occurring is a coverup designed to evade the PCA that relies on abusive accounting to hide the banks’ losses that arose due to mortgage and accounting fraud. There is a certain awful symmetry to thinking that the cure for accounting fraud is greater accounting fraud countenanced, even arguably mandated, by the government. Governmental abuse of accounting makes it far harder to prosecute bank officials that enriched themselves through accounting fraud.
At that site is also a link to an earlier piece he wrote on the subject, William K. Black, "Why is Geithner Continuing Paulson's Policy of Violating the Law?" Huffington Post, February 23, 2009.

Nicholas Johnson's Related Blog Entries

Nicholas Johnson, "Who's The Reason?" September 5, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "How Much Do You Owe the Chinese?" September 6, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "Taxpayer Rescue," September 15, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "Global Finance: The Great Fountain Pen Robbery," September 21, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "Alternatives to 'The Plan,'" September 28, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "Better Alternatives to Congress' Bailout Plan," October 2, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "Can We Trust Our Bankers?" October 29, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "It's the Economy," November 7, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "Jobs, Not Unemployment, Key to Recovery," November 8, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "Trust Your Instincts, Auto Bailout's Terrible Idea," November 14, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "Auto Bailout: An Open Letter to Congress," November 19, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "A Trillion Here, a Trillion There," November 20, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "FromDC2Iowa's Weekend Edition," November 21, 2008 ("The Answer to Global Economic Collapse" and "Auto Bailout: 'Show Me the . . . Plan'")

Nicholas Johnson, "Citigroup Deal Stinks," November 25, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "Only Select Few Are Thankful for Trillions," November 27, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "Auto Loan Makes Too Few Dollars Even Less Sense," December 4, 2008

Nicholas Johnson,"Quick Fix for the Economy," December 12, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "You Know It's Serious When We Start Laughing," December 15, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "A Car in Every Garage," December 16, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "Forget Madoff, Focus on Bernanke," December 17, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "Of Theaters and Automobiles," December 20, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "There's Bad News and . . . and . . .," December 21, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "Et Tu, Toyota?" December 22, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "Revolting Developments," December 23, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "First Things First," January 8, 2009

Nicholas Johnson, "Why We Should 'Point Fingers' and 'Look Backwards,'" January 13, 2009

Nicholas Johnson, "Fool Me Twice," January 14, 2009

Nicholas Johnson, "Economic Sorrows and Solutions," January 27, 2009

Nicholas Johnson, "No More for Wall Street!" February 1, 2009

Nicholas Johnson, "Hang Onto Your Wallet," February 5, 2009

Nicholas Johnson, "Quick Fix: Support Jobless, Not Bankers," February 7, 2009

Nicholas Johnson, "Geithner's Same Old, Same Old," February 10, 2009

Nicholas Johnson, "Terrorist Bankers,"
February 13, 2009

Nicholas Johnson, "Financial Crises for Dummies," February 17, 2009

Nicholas Johnson, "They're Back!!" February 20, 2009

Nicholas Johnson, "The Burden We Ought to Bear," February 23, 2009

Nicholas Johnson, "Candid Conservatism," February 27, 2009

Nicholas Johnson, "Bankers as Arsonists," March 3, 2009

Nicholas Johnson, "Don't Buy Stuff," March 6, 2009

Nicholas Johnson, "The Story of Stuff," March 16, 2009

Nicholas Johnson, "What a Mess," March 19, 20, 2009

Nicholas Johnson, "Punishment to Fit Financial Crimes," March 23, 2009

Nicholas Johnson, "Don't Trust the 'Experts,'" April 9, 2009

Nicholas Johnson, "Obama's Potential Wall Street Downfall," April 12, 2009

Nicholas Johnson, "Can Economy Produce Americanized Hitler?" April 15, 2009

Nicholas Johnson, "Banks Declare Their Bailout a Success," April 16, 2009

* Why do I put this blog ID at the top of the entry, when you know full well what blog you're reading? Because there are a number of Internet sites that, for whatever reason, simply take the blog entries of others and reproduce them as their own without crediting the source. I don't mind the flattering attention, but would appreciate acknowledgment as the source -- even if I have to embed it myself. -- Nicholas Johnson

# # #


sajohnson said...

Great interview. It really lays out where we're at and why in easy to understand language. It should be seen by all Americans.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for calling Moyer's program to our attention. Mr. Black is a brave man. These are powerful and dangerous people being implicated and Mr. Black must know that he could meet with an "accident" at any time. The meltdown was nothing less than a financial coup d'etat. History will forever more divide America, if not the world, into pre- and post-meltdown, or whatever name is eventually chosen. No doubt the book is being written now... The Decline and Fall of America.

I doubt there will be any serious investigations though, at least by the Administration and Congress. Who would conduct them? All the obvious investigators' hands are bloody. At best, we'll get another Warren Commission, which will duly conclude that a lone assassin -- Poor Financial Judgment -- wielded the knife that killed Caesar. Funny how assassins and mass murders always have three names... and no accomplices.

William Black is clearly an expert with impeccable credentials. He can't be shrugged off as just another talking head with a conspiracy theory, although I'm sure there will be attempts to smear or discredit him -- I hope his closet is squeaky clean. As much as I hate chain email, I hope this program gets circulated around the Internet like wildfire. It needs to be seen by every adult American -- indeed, by every adult citizen of the world. If the resulting hue and cry is strong enough and loud enough, maybe, just maybe, President Obama will be forced to abandon the cover-up and, as Mr. Black recommends, appoint an independent commission of honest investigators and prosecutors to place blame and bring charges against those who broke the law, from malfeasance of duty to criminal fraud.

Sadly, the worst damage cannot be undone. It appears China is going to come out of this as an economic super-power, while a crippled U.S. struggles under a back-breaking national debt. China is stockpiling strategic metals -- the kind needed to make war. I fear the sleeping giant is awake... and hungry.

Anonymous said...

BTW, you blog is a "must read" too, IMHO. Thank you and keep it up, please.