The Murdoch Effect and the Continuing Bankster Crime Wave

By William K. Black
Quito: May 30, 2015

One of common characteristics of the two epicenters of the elite banking fraud epidemics – the City of London and Wall Street – is Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers’ repeated efforts to create a criminogenic environment in both financial centers by cheerleading the regulatory race to the bottom. Murdoch’s papers also act as apologists for the resultant epidemic of elite banksters’ crimes.

One of the bit players that the Wall Street Journal has deployed as part of this apologia is particularly interesting for white-collar criminologists. The setting, as always on the WSJ’s editorial pages, is that the writers are overwhelmingly the most extreme right wing ideologues. The only criminological theory that the right wing loves is “broken windows.” The WSJ presented an op ed by Heather Mac Donald of the hard-right Manhattan Institute. The title gives a good feel of the extreme claim she is making: “The New Nationwide Crime Wave: The consequences of the ‘Ferguson effect’ are already appearing.”

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Sorkin on the Street’s Surge of Suicides: Ignoring the Obvious

By William K. Black
Quito: June 2, 2015

Andrew Ross Sorkin wrote two related columns only two weeks apart, but ignored his first column in writing his second. The May 15, 2015 report by the University of Notre Dame on the results of its survey of financial sector participants in the U.S. and the UK was the subject of Sorkin’s May 18, 2015 column entitled “Many on Wall Street Say It Remains Untamed.” “Untamed” is a word with a positive connotation that Sorkin chose as his euphemism in his self-appointed role as apologist-in-chief for the banksters. Here is the report’s summary.

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What Is Helicopter Money, Anyway?

By Scott Fullwiler

Clive Crook has an interesting article in Bloomberg that I wanted to quickly touch on as it relates to a number of things that have been central to MMT for years. Crook’s piece does a good job discussing the current realities of the macroeconomic policy mix in the next recession; it also provides a clear example for illustrating differences between MMT and most other economists with regard to how they view the macroeconomic policy mix.

Crook points out that so-called “unconventional” monetary policy operations aren’t unconventional anymore. We’ve had nearly 7 years of ZIRP and various forms of QE in the US alone, not to mention about 17 years in Japan. According to most, thanks to monetary policy, “The world avoided another Great Depression. Yet even in the U.S., this is a seriously sub-par recovery; growth in Europe and Japan has been worse still.” Worse still, Crook says, “Now imagine a big new financial shock. It’s quite possible that all three economies would fall back into recession. What then?”

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The Volcker Rule Doesn’t Violate NAFTA

This one is for the Finance Minister of Canada, Joe Oliver. He erroneously claims that the Volcker rule, implemented as part of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, violates The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), signed into law on December 8, 1993.

Oliver says that the Volcker Rule prohibits US banks from trading AAA rated Canadian Government debt thereby violating free trade under NAFTA. The US government has denied any such violation.

I think the US Government has the better of this one. And it’s interesting to consider why this is true. Continue reading

SEALs, CEOs, Milton Friedman, and Fraudulent Incentives

By William K. Black
Quito: May 31, 2015

I saw an intriguing squib in the Wall Street Journal about an article in the Harvard Business Review entitled “How the Navy SEALS Train for Leadership Excellence.”  The article offers an, unintentionally, useful insight into the pathologies of elite business schools, their “leadership” faculty, and our elite C-suites.

The most interesting comment in the article is by Brandon Webb, a former senior SEAL sniper trainer.

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Get Ready to Call ‘Em Out On the TPP!

So, on May 22, the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) (“Fast Track”) Bill passed the Senate 62 – 37, with 14 Democrats defecting to the pro-Fast TracK/Trade-Pacific Partnership (TPP) forces. However, all was not wine and roses for the Administration and Fast Track/TPP proponents in the Senate.

First, the pro-TPP forces sustained a temporary defeat on May 12, when the Senate would not approve debating Fast Track, introducing delay into the process. The problem was quickly fixed with agreements to consider and vote on related issues such as Trade Adjustment Assistance, forced child labor, and currency manipulation outside of Fast Track. But nevertheless the glitch was unanticipated, and looked bad for an Administration wanting clear sailing in the Senate for Fast Track. Continue reading

TPP: Call ‘Em Out In the House, Now!

In a previous post, I discussed the likelihood that the Fast-Track bill, if it passed the House, would need to return to the Senate again to align the different bills produced by the two Houses. I focused on the importance of Fast-Track/TPP opponents preparing for that return by building the opposition into a movement exerting continuous pressure on Senators to expand the size of the opposition to the bill in both parties.

I also pointed out that an emerging movement should be emphasizing the governance impact of Fast-Track/TPP on national, state, and local sovereignty, separation of powers, consent of the governed and democracy, more than the many other TPP issues that have emerged. In my view, the governance issues are the winning issues against the Fast-Track/TPP initiative for a number of reasons.

This is so because they cut against the beliefs that 1) the people, ought in the final analysis to rule; 2) the independence of the United States is, above all, to be treasured and ought not to be subordinated to corporations and big money; and 3) the United States is an exceptional nation, in part because its governance institutions, with all their warts are still superior to all others on earth. Continue reading

Is Progressivism in the Eye of the Beholder?

Thomas Palley recently blogged a post that was cross-posted at Naked Capitalism where I read it. In it, he discussed the question of whether Hillary Clinton’s apparent intention to run as a progressive in 2016 represents a sincere change in her views, or whether it is just a political communications strategy to please the progressive base of the Democratic Party.

In his analysis, Palley points to Clinton’s failure to answer questions of journalists and to be pinned down to specifics on policy questions. He also points to the fact that the economic advisers who are central to Clintonworld still include Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, and Peter Orszag, and, I think, he reasonably could have added Gene Sperling and Jack Lew, who are still serving President Obama, but who were two of Bill Clinton’s mainstays. These economists, and others associated with the Clintons had a hand in all the economic policy failures of the past 20 years, and continues with this money quote: Continue reading

Peggy Noonan Joins George Will in Being Enraged at Rape – Victims

By William K. Black
Quito: May 26, 2015

Peggy Noonan’s column in the Wall Street Journal attacks and mocks a victim of a sexual assault and four of her classmates at Columbia University who supported her in an op ed in the school paper. Here are the facts as Noonan presents them.

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The WSJ and Barron’s Apologists for the Banksters Peddle Wallison’s Fables

By William K. Black
Quito: May 23, 2015

Few people’s efforts at myth-making have been as devastatingly refuted as Peter Wallison. But fables that are designed to make the banksters look less criminal are always welcome by the banksters. Any honest discussion of Wallison’s claims would begin with three points. First, Wallison’s adult life has been devoted, on behalf of the banksters, to pushing the three “de’s” – deregulation, desupervision, and de facto decriminalization. He is therefore as culpable as anyone in the world for the epidemics of accounting control fraud that drove the financial crisis and the Great Recession.

Second, he was appointed by the Republican leadership to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) to assure that the banksters would have the benefit of their leading apologist. The chances that he would ascribe any problems to the three “de’s” was always non-existent because he does not have a scholarly instinct in his body. He is rabidly ideological and a willing tool of the banksters.

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