The latest WTF?!? news to come out of the swamp that is Washington, D.C. is this tidbit of official government incompetence and opaqueness:

The SEC, working hand in glove with AIG, agreed to keep bailout terms sealed, including information on the pass thru to counter parties such as Goldman Sachs at 100 cents on the dollar. This SEC granted “confidential treatment” was agreed to last May, and a “secrecy order” (WTF is that?) will stay in place until November 2018.

“It could take until November 2018 to get the full story behind the U.S. bailout of insurance giant American International Group (AIG.N) because of an action taken last year by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In May, the SEC approved a request by AIG to keep secret an exhibit to a year-old regulatory filing that includes some of the details on the most controversial aspect of the AIG bailout: the funneling of tens of billions of dollars to big banks like Societe Generale, Goldman Sachs (GS.N), Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) and Merrill Lynch.

The SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, in granting AIG’s request for confidential treatment, said the “excluded information” will not be made public until Nov. 25, 2018, according to a copy of the agency’s May 22 order.

An SEC spokesman declined to comment when Reuters asked about the order.

Quite bluntly, it is astonishing that the SEC agreed to this. We are not discussing a typical SEC for confidential treatment — they receive ~1,500 if those to protect trade secrets, and grant 95% of these.

This is not one of those instances — no patents, no technological innovations or new drug molecules. Instead, this was a case of an insolvent insurer receiving 100s of billions of dollars in taxpayer monies, who then used the government’s regulatory agency to hide where the proceeds of the public went — from the same public who wrote the checks. This is the latest outrage in a series of outrages.

I’m no expert in constitutional law, but I would imagine that a President — especially one that campaigned on transparency in government –  could override this shameful exercise in douchebaggery.

I continue to wonder if anyone in DC has the slightest clue WTF the they are doing. I was sick to death of the sheer willful anti-science, anti-logic ignorance of the Bush administration. I hoped that the new guys will be less overt hostile to the public, less secretive, more respectful that this is — or at least used to be — a Democracy. The stupiditiy of the Bush administration has been replaced by a new flavor of ignorance — the cluelessness of the Obama team. We might as well have given W a 3rd term, given the outrageous and embarrassing decision making we have witnessed so far.

Change we can believe? More like “4 more years.” Color me nauseous.

>
Source:
SEC order helps maintain AIG bailout mystery
Matthew Goldstein
Reuters, Jan 11, 2010

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN1116982020100111

Category: Bailouts, Legal, Regulation

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

49 Responses to “SEC Helped AIG Hide PassThru Bailouts to GS, others”

  1. Barry Ritholtz says:

    That should come with a advisory:

    Warning: If you ate a big breakfast prior to coming here, you are advised not to read this. The management cannot be responsible for any subsequent if you blow chunks or suffer any other symptoms of disgust or distress.

  2. Chris W says:

    If this garbage gets worse, I am going to start pining for Dick Cheney’s return.

  3. rktbrkr says:

    It’s stuff like this thats crowding the grassy knoll.

  4. DeDude says:

    “We might as well have given W a 3rd term”

    Sorry Barry but you need to defog your glasses. Yes we have absolutely a lot to be disappointed about in the gap between the hope doled out before the campaign, and the reality seen after. But W and Cheney were in a class of their own and a lot (not nearly enough, but a lot) of the cr@p they did with hiding information has been reversed.

  5. Greg0658 says:

    those are some interesting takes boys … “Change we can believe? More like 4 more years. Color me nauseous.” … you know what I think .. the Obama man moves into POTUS retirement (had enough) so Hillary moves in and its girls turn and the position is returned to the corporatists
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cenk-uygur/corporatists-vs-capitalis_b_288718.html

  6. Robespierre says:

    Barry Ritholtz Says:

    “The stupiditiy of the Bush administration has been replaced by a new flavor of ignorance — the cluelessness of the Obama team.”

    Must be nice to assume that it is stupidity and not outright corruption built into the system. Do you really believe that $400M in lobbying money does not buy you those directives? This is why here in the USA nothing ever changes we refuse to admit that our government has been bought like any other banana republic

  7. [...] SEC Helped Hide AIG PassThru (TBP) [...]

  8. Lugnut says:

    Barry

    I think you ascribe to ignorance and incompetence that which should be attributed to negotiation and conspiracy.

  9. arthur.i says:

    I really enjoy seeing Mr. Ritholtz get on his high horse and rattle his saber.

    I agree with his point of view.

    The joy comes from seeing someone more articulate, informed and educated become ALMOST as pissed off as I am about these nincompoops who are missing the entire reason they are in Washington. If Obama (I actually donated money to his campaign!!!, – the first political donation I have ever made) does not grow a pair and do something that redeems himself I guarantee he will make Jimmy Carter (not Carter post presidency) look like Winston Churchill, John Adams and Harry Truman rolled up in one.

    It will come down to us…the common people to stand up and fight for our rights. If Obama and his team don’t do what they should to protect us from tyranny…then we will have to do it ourselves. Really that can happen and that would be change Obama and his people will believe in.

    I still have hope because (I may be an idiot) Obama has a real chance to make a historical game changing move. Unlike Bush2, he is not stupid. The lights of the big city may have dazzled him during this first year…let’s hope he will get back to his ‘roots’ and stand up to the fat cat overlords…

  10. sainttjames says:

    ” I *hoped* that the new guys will be less overt hostile to the public, less secretive, more respectful that this is — or at least used to be — a Democracy.”

    Barry…I have always had a great deal of respect for you…until I read this…please tell me your not a sheople?

    Unfortunately, the time has passed…

  11. dougc says:

    If you want to be a successful politican today you need to have the correct looks, likeable personality and sufficient money to swamp the airwaves with devious ads. Both W and O are excellent examples. In order to raise funds they lose any independence and ethics they started with. The last statesman president we had was a short, white,ugly , outspoken man. Do you think he could be elected now. Americans love to blame politicans for all of the problems but they are elected by the easily manipuplated masses.

  12. Mannwich says:

    I agree, dougc. That’s why I’ve asserted for a long time now that all of us share small parts of the blame in this mess. It’s been years in the making with each of us playing our own small role.

  13. jonpublic says:

    The clock is ticking on Obama. Hopefully he learns about this soon and deals with it ASAP.

  14. km4 says:

    Obama is expected to announce plans for a $90bn fee to be levied on bailed-out US banks later on Thursday.

    Let’s see the 19 too greedy to fail banks got $12 Trillion on TARP and borrowed at Fed discount window at zero %

    So American taxpayers got a good deal right ;)

    Obama disconnected
    http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2010/01/13/sifry_on_obama/index.html

    The truth is that Obama was never nearly as free of dependence on big-money donors as the reporting suggested, nor was his movement as bottom-up or people-centric as his marketing implied. This is the big political story of 2009, the meta-story of what did, and didn’t happen, in the first year of Obama’s administration.

    Rahm Emanuel in the 2008 election cycle, was the House’s No. 1 recipient of contributions from hedge funds, private equity firms and the broader securities and investment industry.

  15. Transor Z says:

    Title 17: Commodity and Securities Exchanges
    PART 200—ORGANIZATION; CONDUCT AND ETHICS; AND INFORMATION AND REQUESTS
    Subpart D—Information and Requests

    Browse Previous
    § 200.83 Confidential treatment procedures under the Freedom of Information Act.

    (a) Purpose. This section provides a procedure by which persons submitting information in any form to the Commission can request that the information not be disclosed pursuant to a request under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552. This section does not affect the Commission’s right, authority, or obligation to disclose information in any other context. This section is procedural only and does not provide rights to any person or alter the rights of any person under the Freedom of Information Act or any other applicable statute or regulation.

    (b) Scope. The provisions of this section shall apply only where no other statute or Commission rule provides procedures for requesting confidential treatment respecting particular categories of information ( see, e.g., 17 CFR 240.24b–2) or where the Commission has not specified that an alternative procedure be utilized in connection with a particular study, report, investigation, or other matter. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any record which is contained in or is part of a personnel, medical or similar file relating to a Commission member or employee which would normally be exempt from disclosure pursuant to section 552(b)(6) of title 5, U.S. Code.

    (c) Written request for confidential treatment to be submitted with information. (1) Any person who, either voluntarily or pursuant to any requirement of law, submits any information or causes or permits any information to be submitted to the Commission, which information is entitled to confidential treatment and for which no other specific procedure exists for according confidential treatment, may request that the Commission afford confidential treatment under the Freedom of Information Act to such information for reasons of personal privacy or business confidentiality, or for any other reason permitted by Federal law, and should take all steps reasonably necessary to ensure, as nearly as practicable, that at the time the information is first received by the Commission (i) it is supplied segregated from information for which confidential treatment is not being requested, (ii) it is appropriately marked as confidential, and (iii) it is accompanied by a written request for confidential treatment which specifies the information as to which confidential treatment is requested.

    (2) A person who submits a record to the Commission for which he or she seeks confidential treatment must clearly mark each page or segregable portion of each page with the words “Confidential Treatment Requested by [name]” and an identifying number and code, such as a Bates-stamped number. In his or her written confidential treatment request, the person must refer to the record by identifying number and code.

    (3) In addition to giving a copy of any written request for confidential treatment to the Commission employee receiving the record in question, the person requesting confidential treatment must send a copy of the request (but not the record) by mail to the Office of Freedom of Information and Privacy Act Operations, SEC, 100 F Street, NE., Washington, DC 20549. The legend “FOIA Confidential Treatment Request” must clearly and prominently appear on the top of the first page of the written request, and the written request must contain the name, address, and telephone number of the person requesting confidential treatment. The person requesting confidential treatment is responsible for informing the Office of Freedom of Information and Privacy Act Operations promptly of any changes in address, telephone number, or representation.

    (4) In some circumstances, such as when a person is testifying in the course of a Commission investigation or providing a record requested in the course of a Commission examination or inspection, it may be impracticable to submit a written request for confidential treatment at the time the record is first given to the Commission. In no circumstances can the need to comply with the requirements of this section justify or excuse any delay in submitting any record to the Commission. The person testifying or otherwise submitting the record must inform the Commission employee receiving it, at the time the record is submitted or as soon thereafter as possible, that he or she is requesting confidential treatment. The person must then submit a written confidential treatment request within 30 days from the date of the testimony or the submission of the record. Any confidential treatment request submitted under this paragraph must also comply with paragraph (c)(3) of this section.

    (5) Where confidential treatment is requested by the submitter on behalf of another person, the request must identify that person and provide the telephone number and address of that person or the person’s responsible representative if the submitter would be unable to provide prompt substantiation of the request at the appropriate time.

    (6) No determination on a request for confidential treatment will be made until the Office of Freedom of Information and Privacy Act Operations receives a request for disclosure of the record.

    (7) A confidential treatment request will expire ten years from the date the Office of Freedom of Information and Privacy Act Operations receives it, unless that Office receives a renewal request before the confidential treatment request expires. The renewal request must be sent by mail to the Office of Freedom of Information and Privacy Act Operations, SEC, 100 F Street, NE., Washington, DC 20549, and must clearly identify the record for which confidential treatment is sought. A renewal request will likewise expire ten years from the date that Office receives it, unless that Office receives another timely renewal request which complies with the requirements of this paragraph.

    (8) A confidential treatment request shall be nonpublic. If an action is filed in a Federal court, however, by either the Freedom of Information requester (under 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(4) and §200.80(d)(6)) or by the confidential treatment requester (under paragraph (e)(5) of this section), the confidential treatment request may become part of the court record.

    (d) Substantiation of request for confidential treatment. (1) If it is determined that records which are the subject of a request for access under the Freedom of Information Act are also the subject of a request for confidential treatment under this rule and no other grounds appear to exist which would justify the withholding of the records [e.g., Freedom of Information Act Exemption 7(A), 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(7)(A)], the Commission’s Freedom of Information Act Officer promptly shall so inform the person requesting confidential treatment or, in the case of a request made on behalf of a person other than the submitter, the person identified as able to provide substantiation, by telephone, facsimile or certified mail and require that substantiation of the request for confidential treatment be submitted in ten calendar days. Failure to submit a written substantiation within ten calendar days from the time of notification, or any extension thereof, may be deemed a waiver of the confidential treatment request and the confidential treatment requester’s right to appeal an initial decision denying confidential treatment to the Commission’s General Counsel as permitted by paragraph (e) of this section.

    (2) Substantiation of a request for confidential treatment shall consist of a statement setting forth, to the extent appropriate or necessary for the determination of the request for confidential treatment, the following information regarding the request:

    (i) The reasons, concisely stated and referring to specific exemptive provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, why the information should be withheld from access under the Freedom of Information Act;

    (ii) The applicability of any specific statutory or regulatory provisions which govern or may govern the treatment of the information;

    (iii) The existence and applicability of any prior determinations by the Commission, other Federal agencies, or a court, concerning confidential treatment of the information;

    (iv) The adverse consequences to a business enterprise, financial or otherwise, that would result from disclosure of confidential commercial or financial information, including any adverse effect on the business’ competitive position;

    (v) The measures taken by the business to protect the confidentiality of the commercial or financial information in question and of similar information, prior to, and after, its submission to the Commission;

    (vi) The ease or difficulty of a competitor’s obtaining or compiling the commercial or financial information;

    (vii) Whether the commercial or financial information was voluntarily submitted to the Commission and, if so, whether and how disclosure of the information would tend to impede the availability of similar information to the Commission;

    (viii) The extent, if any, to which portions of the substantiation of the request for confidential treatment should be afforded confidential treatment; and

    (ix) Such additional facts and such legal and other authorities as the requesting person may consider appropriate.

    (e) Appeal from initial determination that confidential treatment is not warranted. (1) In a preliminary decision, which shall be sent by mail or facsimile, or both, the Office of Freedom of Information and Privacy Act Operations will inform the confidential treatment requester whether it intends to grant confidentiality in whole or in part and give the requester ten calendar days from the date of the preliminary decision to submit supplemental arguments if the requester disagrees with the preliminary decision. A final decision, which shall also be sent by mail or facsimile, or both, no sooner than ten calendar days from the date of the preliminary decision, shall inform the Freedom of Information Act requester and the confidential treatment requester of his or her right to appeal an adverse decision to the Commission’s General Counsel within ten calendar days from the date of the final decision. Records, which the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act Officer determines to be releasable, may be released to the Freedom of Information Act requester ten calendar days after the date of the final decision. However, if within those ten calendar days, the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act Officer receives an appeal from the confidential treatment requester, he or she shall inform the Freedom of Information Act requester that an appeal is pending and that the records will not be released until the appeal is resolved.

    (2) Any appeal of a denial of a request for confidential treatment shall be in writing, and shall be clearly and prominently identified on the envelope or other cover and at the top of the first page by the legend “FOIA Confidential Treatment Appeal.” The appeal must be sent by mail to the Office of Freedom of Information and Privacy Act Operations, SEC, 100 F Street, NE., Washington, DC 20549, or by facsimile (202–772–9337). A copy of the appeal must be mailed to the General Counsel, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street, NE., Washington, DC 20549. The person requesting confidential treatment may supply additional substantiation of the request for confidential treatment in connection with the appeal to the General Counsel.

    (3) The General Counsel shall have the authority to consider all appeals from decisions of the Freedom of Information Act Officer with respect to confidential treatment. All appeals taken under this section will be considered by the General Counsel as expeditiously as circumstances permit. Although other procedures may be employed, to the extent possible, the General Counsel will decide the matter on the basis of the affidavits and other documentary evidence submitted by the interested persons and such other information as is brought to the attention of the General Counsel. The General Counsel shall also have the authority to enter and vacate stays under the circumstances set forth in paragraph (e)(5) of this section. In appropriate cases the General Counsel may, in his or her sole and unfettered discretion, refer appeals and questions concerning stays under paragraph (e)(5) of this section to the Commission for decision.

    (4) If it is determined that confidential treatment is not warranted with respect to all or any part of the information in question, the person requesting confidential treatment will be so informed by telephone, if possible, with a facsimile or certified mail letter directed to the person’s last known address. Disclosure of the information under the Freedom of Information Act will occur ten calendar days after notice to the person requesting confidential treatment, subject to any stay entered pursuant to paragraph (e) (5) of this section.

    (5) If within that ten calendar day period the General Counsel has been notified that the person requesting confidential treatment has commenced an action in a Federal court concerning the determination to make such information publicly available, the General Counsel will stay making the public disclosure of the information pending final judicial resolution of the matter. The General Counsel may vacate a stay under this section either on his or her own motion or at the request of a person seeking access to the information under the Freedom of Information Act. If the stay is vacated, the information will be released under the Freedom of Information Act ten calendar days after the person requesting confidential treatment is notified of this action by telephone, if possible, with a facsimile or certified mail letter sent to the person’s last known address, unless the court orders otherwise.

    (f) Initial determination that confidential treatment is warranted. If it is determined by the Commission’s Freedom of Information Act Officer that confidential treatment is warranted, the person submitting the information and the person requesting access to the information under the Freedom of Information Act will be so informed by mail. The person requesting access, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, will also be informed of the right to appeal the determination to the General Counsel. Any such appeal must be taken in accordance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act and Commission rules thereunder. See 17 CFR 200.80(d)(6).

    (g) Confidential treatment request and substantiation as nonpublic. Any confidential treatment request and substantiation of it shall be nonpublic. If an action is filed in a Federal court, however, by either the Freedom of Information Act requester (under 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(4) and §200.80(d)(6)) or by the confidential treatment requester (under paragraph (e)(5) of this section), both request and substantiation may become part of the public court record.

    (h) Effect of no prior request for confidentiality. (1) If access is requested under the Freedom of Information Act to information which is submitted to the Commission on or after October 20, 1980 with respect to which no request for confidential treatment has been made pursuant to either paragraph (c)(1) or (c)(5) of this section, it will be presumed that the submitter of the information has waived any interest in asserting an exemption from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act for reasons of personal privacy or business confidentiality, or for other reasons.

    (2) Notwithstanding paragraph (h)(1) of this section, in appropriate circumstances, any person who would be affected by the public disclosure of information under the Freedom of Information Act may be contacted by Commission personnel to determine whether the person desires to make a request for confidential treatment. Any request for confidential treatment that is asserted in response to such inquiry shall be made in accordance with provisions of this section.

    (i) Extensions of time limits. Any time limit under this section may be extended in the discretion of the Commission, the Commission’s General Counsel, or the Commission’s Freedom of Information Act Officer for good cause shown.

    (j) Electronic filings. Confidential treatment requests shall be submitted in paper format only, whether or not the person making the request is an electronic filer.

    (k) In their discretion, the Commission, the Commission’s General Counsel, and the Freedom of Information Act Officer may use alternative procedures for considering requests for confidential treatment.

    [45 FR 62421, Sept. 19, 1980, as amended at 47 FR 20289, May 12, 1982; 58 FR 14659, Mar. 18, 1993; 65 FR 55184, 55185, Sept. 13, 2000; 73 FR 32225, June 5, 2008]

  16. The Curmudgeon says:

    Bush then, Obama now, are only reflections of what we’ve become. We’ve willingly traded freedom and responsibility for security and dependency, helped and cajoled by along by a government whose stock in trade is fear-mongering, even when, nay, especially when, there is nothing to fear, particularly the fear-mongering in the fall of 2008 over the doom that would befall a financial system collapse.

    What’s really incredible about this nefarious little stab at secrecy is that the SEC and all the counter-parties (Goldman, Societe Generale, etc.) considered it necessary. Why should they care if the people find out? They know the people are nothing but sheep to be sheared for their benefit for a few years until it’s off to the slaughterhouse. For Christ’s sake, we gave the fuckers $750 billion or so just two years ago to bail out their pompous overpaid asses and now claim they deserved that and today deserve their gargantuan bonuses, too. “God’s work”, eh? What a sweet gig. The bankers that run this country have utter contempt for the people upon whom their wealth depends.

    It seems they believed they needed a little extra insurance policy to cover their crimes, and so easily cajoled the SEC into their secrecy order. It is the essence of chutzpah to a) force such a play by the government, nakedly revealing who is in charge, and b) to think that such a thing would be effective. In their view, the only reason for having a government is so they don’t have to directly manipulate the masses. It’s much better to do so through an intermediary.

    The new boss is the same as the old boss. All you Obamaphiles that thought differently when you voted in the abstract for “Hope” and “Change We can Believe In” deserve every pang of despair and anger you are now suffering. Were you really that stupid? Did you really believe it matters who lives in the White House? Could you not see who really runs the show? Did any policy directed at the financial system change upon Obama’s election? Anything? For heaven’s sake, Timothy Geithner was promoted from money-running at the local level to the international stage, and where’s the anger?

    This country won’t be fit for habitation again until the next revolution.

  17. wally says:

    It is really a sad thing to see that entire government agencies in the US have now become corrupt. This certainly is no the America I grew up in. Everything from grand theft to torture to lying to confiscation of wealth is now considered OK.

  18. Mannwich says:

    @Transor: How about translating that lawyer-speak screed for ignoramuses like myself?

  19. I voted for hope. I was hopeful.

    I voted for change. I see no change

    I voted to end wars.

    I am so disappointed. This guy had the people behind him, he can rouse the crowds with speeches, but he has failed. Miserably.

    The health care bill is a sellout.

    Timmy G and Larry S have sold us down the river.

    How can we get a wake up call to the president?
    Barry – how do we get him to hear the pleas?

  20. The Curmudgeon says:

    “How can we get a wake up call to the president?
    Barry – how do we get him to hear the pleas?”

    This is exactly the problem. The assumption here is that you still believe the system is salvageable. It’s not. It is irredeemably corrupted. It must be destroyed.

    This also illustrates the utter incapacity of mankind for reason. Why, after lamenting all the lies you’ve been told by the president, would you then wish to send him a wake-up call? Do you think he’d not lie some more? And Timmy and Larry didn’t sell you down the river. The president did, at the behest of his banking overseers.

  21. Mannwich says:

    I agree with The Curmudgeon 100%. The system is too corrupt everywhere for any one person or small group to change it, even if they wanted to.

  22. MayorQuimby says:

    People voted for charlatans, what do you expect? Collectively, Americans voted FOR all of this. The politicians follow the pollsters and know EXACTLY where they stand with the GENERAL public. They are only concerned with getting reelected and they will spend whatever amounts of YOUR money to get THEMSELVES back in office. They will goose the crap out of DJIA just to keep poll numbers up. The ENTIRE system needs to revamped – ALL of it. And THAT won’t happen until people are practically starving to death. So I suggest you all cozy up to .gov’s boob, suckle it and remember the following important phrase:

    “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

  23. DoctoRx says:

    To all former Obamacans: There is no “cluelessness” in Team Obama. Barack Obama ran with more Wall Street money behind him than John McCain. What’s going on was in the works from the start. That is why Mr. Geithner was needed, TurboTax problems notwithstanding. It is a “clue-ful” administration that is as much part of the looting as was the prior administration. After all, which Party controlled Congress when the S hit the Fan? Was a peep of protest heard from the Dems or BO?

  24. Transor Z says:

    Here’s the AIG Order:
    ORDER GRANTING CONFIDENTIAL TREATMENT
    http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/5272/999999999709019703/filename1.pdf

    Under 17 CFR 230.406 (“Rule 406″), the SEC can revoke confidential treatment:
    http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2002/aprqtr/17cfr230.406.htm

    (d) If it is determined by the Division, acting pursuant to
    delegated authority, that the application should be granted, an order to
    that effect will be entered, and a notation to that effect will be made
    at the appropriate place in the material filed. Such a determination
    will not preclude reconsideration whenever appropriate, such as upon
    receipt of any subsequent request under the Freedom of Information Act
    and, if appropriate, revocation of the confidential status of all or a
    portion of the information in question.

  25. call me ahab says:

    “The last statesman president we had was a short, white,ugly , outspoken man. ”

    yeah- Nixon was alright- and he liked to bowl too

  26. dougc says:

    nixon a statesman…not really. try truman, the last president before tv took over.

  27. Stuart says:

    It wasn’t SEC incompetence at work here. Incompetence implies they did not know what they were doing and it’s based on the analysis of who exactly does the SEC consider it’s constituency. The system and large system participants are their constituency. They knew exactly what they were doing. They were complicit in deliberate and willful in their actions to help hide the ‘AIG transactions’. Incompetence is not the term not when they were a co conspirator in perpetrating fraud upon the taxpayer. Perhaps they were incompetent in allowing their actions to be revealed to the extent they have been. To that point, we’ll have to see as they may know they can act with impunity so perhaps they properly realized they didn’t need to care if they were caught. Who’s going to do anything about it. Clearly no one else within the existing regulatory infrastructure is about to.

  28. flipspiceland says:

    It used to be that politicians spent a tiny bit of their time in ‘damage control’. Now is seems that “Damage Control” IS government. Everything is about politicians getting away with every thing they can and little actual time is spent on wise governance.

  29. DeDude says:

    Those that are disappointed in Obama need to go and read their constitution again. When we elect a president we do not elect a king or a dictator. We elect an administrator of the current set of laws. As the administrator there is not a lot of room to make fundamental change. Real fundamental change requires that you get the lawmakers to change the law. Currently the GOP has decided that they do not want to see any successes for any democrats, so they are ready to filibuster anything that represent change. So reality is that in order to make change you have to get all Democratic senators and independent senators to agree on it. So if anybody is surprised we have not seen any real change yet, they are either idiots or complainers who have not read their own constitution (I guess I repeat myself, idiots).

  30. Stuart says:

    The democrats are going to get massacred in the mid-terms.

  31. DL says:

    It is true that “change you can believe in” was one campaign slogan.

    But the other one was: “yes we can”.

    So, I would argue that Obama has fulfilled that one.

  32. DeDude says:

    Stuart@1:36;

    You are probably right – and the will be the final end of any hope for real change.

  33. DL says:

    I can only imagine what the response from the public would have been in September of 2008 (when this whole TARP fiasco was being debated) if any of this AIG stuff had been made public. But, I suppose that the Congress would have voted for TARP anyway.

  34. DL says:

    I realize that most people here will disagree with me. But all of these shenanigans help make the case for smaller government. The smaller that government is, the less they can rip anyone off.

  35. DeDude says:

    DL; yes lets not have any regulators at all, I am sure the the shenanigans in a free and unregulated market is a lot less ;-)

  36. bsneath says:

    BR writes: “The stupiditiy of the Bush administration has been replaced by a new flavor of ignorance — the cluelessness of the Obama team.”

    Barry, I think the Obama Team has every clue. They recognize that money wins elections and the Investment Banks have the money. It is so unfortunate that our society has devolved to such a debased level of greed and corruption. Nobody even discusses campaign or lobby reforms anymore. Such a shame. Both parties are now equally bought off.

  37. Moss says:

    Looks like no stone was left unturned in efforts to hide the actions of a few to benefit a few.
    I guess we all should have known what would follow when Paulson got down on his knees.

  38. DL says:

    DeDude,

    Given a choice between a government that is small and corrupt, or big and corrupt, I’ll take small.

  39. DeDude says:

    DL, but that is a false choice unless the ONLY thing government does is being corrupt. Government provides security in the form of military, police and regulatory agencies. Those will fail a certain % of the time but if you cut them in half it is not just the failures that are cut in half (if there is such a thing) it is also the successes. Do you really think that if there had not been an agency to enforce disclosure requirements that these people would have decided to disclose the information all by themselves?

  40. falcon says:

    I work on the buy-side in Boston. I grew up with no money and busted my ass to get into this profession. I must agree that 95% of “people” in this business have utter contempt for the average person. The elitism and sense of entitlement that most “people” in high finance is astounding. These bankers think they are so intelligent, yet most of them are barely above average intelligence. However, the root problem is not banker pay, it’s the fact that the Fed has enabled all of this with easy money. Sure, the bankers share the blame too, but you cut out easy money and it makes it a lot harder for the Captains of the Universe to make money.

    DeDude:

    You do realize that the Dems have a super-majority, right? They aren’t pushing through most of their agenda because they are (rightfully) terrified they are going to get destroyed in the 2010 elections. Listening, to your constituents…how quaint.

  41. newulm55 says:

    The president is a chump! I agree w/ BR, that BO could release all documents by executive order… but all promises of “openness” always fall apart once elected… when will we learn to stop electing the same chumps. They are really the same party, owned by the big money folks… they just use guns and abortion to blind the masses.

  42. torrie-amos says:

    Jeeeze, Paulson and Bernacke wrote out the strategy in a weekend, Geitner is executing it, Obama gets to sit in on what they have done and what they believe needs to be done, etc. etc. etc………Like the guy had a choice to say no to it in May, yeah, let’s cause Armageddon II…………..I’d say on this one, he just got stimulus passed and they put a gun to his head, unfortunately he’s probably had 100′s of these decisions put to him in the last year, ie, overwhelmed is my guess. Where does he put his foot down, when the whole cries for jobs, jobs, jobs……………….

    It’s obvious all of the politicians have not a clue, so what is new………………I stand by this is all too save the price of homes, which if they go down again, states go kablewey, they have the power to change laws to do what they deem to be neccesary.

    What is now happening is the realization by some and soon to be many, what powers they really have, and how they execute them in a real crisis……….this has been going on forever, it is finally now, the realization of what they really do.

    Passion trumps many many things when it comes to emtoins. With the internet the political junkies finally have a voice and enough are listening, we will see what happens in due time.

  43. arthur.i says:

    Mea a culpa mea a culpa. I gave him$375.00. Mea a culpa mea a culpa.

    I pray (i am not really religious) for us.

  44. The Curmudgeon says:

    DeDude,

    You need to meet up w/ Franklin411. Neither of you are very good at math. You keep blaming the opposition party for the utter failings of government, when your guys own the government, lock, stock and barrel (which, I might add, is a nice metaphor for government).

    You believe in the efficacy of government to properly manage our lives. I do not. And I’ve got about 5,000 years of human history to back me up.

    I say, it all should be blown to smithereens and we start over. Very simply, the new can’t take root until the old is destroyed. The time for destruction is upon us.

  45. DeDude says:

    falcon; No actually the Democrats do not have a supermajority and therefore they do not have much power to force change. There are 58 registered democrats in the senate and one reliable supporter Bernie Sanders; that is 59 and they need 60. Lieberman is called an independent but he is a GOP’er in all but party registration. His policies on just about everything are more like the GOP than like the 58 Dems. He even managed to go against his old opinions in order to align himself with GOP’ers and screw up on piece of the health care reform. But I will agree that it is not great for one party to simply steamrole the other side even if they have the supermajority. Democracy works best on compromise – it’s not a sports game although most people look at it like that.

    Curmodgeon; I don’t believe in efficacy of government, I just believe that it is better than the alternative. And I’ve got about 5000 years of human history to back me up. But maybe the reason you don’t understand government and such simple concepts as the politics of 60 votes in the senate is that you don’t believe in it.

  46. The Curmudgeon says:

    ” I don’t believe in efficacy of government, I just believe that it is better than the alternative. And I’ve got about 5000 years of human history to back me up.”

    Yes, it was precisely why our forebears fled their homelands–because all those enlightened despots back home were really too good for them. The alternative to tyranny, either of anarchy or government, is perhaps, individual liberty and freedom, with all its attendant responsibilities? Why are people so afraid when they can’t impose their tyrannical ideas about property distribution upon their neighbors? Yes, a government is necessary for protecting and keeping the peace and enforcing laws directed at the same. Governments, to be legitimate, must always exercise a monopoly on the use of force. But beyond that, what if I don’t want to buy health insurance? What if I don’t want to subsidize corrupt bankers? What if I don’t wish to build empires in the Middle Eastern sand? We no longer live under a constitutional government–the constitution has lost all meaning. Intended as a limiting document against government’s innate tendency to despotism, it now allows practically anything, except, of course, the violation of individual liberties found in its imaginary penumbra. The government can do virtually anything it now wishes, besides limit the availability of abortions.

    It’s time for revolution.

  47. There’s a word for what the SEC did Barry. It’s called treason. They sold out their mandated interests of the American citizens to a group of people that are clearly aligned against the interests of America. They had no authority to do this without approval from their elected paymasters and it was clearly against their fiduciary duties. It was treasonous

  48. The democrats are going to get massacred in the mid-terms.

    I wish people wouldn’t keep saying that. The issue is no longer Democrat versus Republican. What you need to hope for in the upcoming elections is that the fiscal conservatives trounce the fiscal liberals (or even collectivists as G.E. Griffin would call them). People need to really start thinking smart here about voting for the right candidate and not just the right party because, as has been clearly demonstrated over the last fifteen or so years, there is no longer a right party.

    This is more about promoting those that would bring fiscal conservatism back to America and drive at least the fiscal end of the socialist conspiracy back to where it was birthed. I suppose the citizens of the once great U.S. of A. need to beat them at their own game. They need to start electing a shadow government of fiscal representatives that go outside of party boundaries in order to defeat the very shadow government that controls both of those said parties

  49. DeDude says:

    Curmodgeon; They left poor (non-democratic) government and economic situations to create better government (by the people for the people). They were not insane enough to think that no government is preferable to a poor government. They created a government and constitution that was great for the simple society of that time and made a balance of individual freedom, rights and protection from attack and exploitation as those things applied to that period of time. The could not have imagined all the ways that people can attack and plunder the wealth of other people in todays society so they some of what they created is not working so well today.

    In todays society we will not let you die in a car accident if you had decided not to get health insurance, we are beyond the point where we would leave you on the street if we could not find a health insurance card on you. If it turns out you cannot pay for the medical care given (no questions asked) the cost is covered by other insurred people and/or by government. In other words by not carrying insurance you have plundered insurred people and the government in ways not imagined by the founding fathers. Same goes with liability autoinsurrance. And you may not want to save the economy by having government prevent a collapse of the financial system, but a modern society needs a social system and with that in place the collapse of an economy is not just a humanistic but also a government expense problem. The defense of “we the people” is not just about the British and the French armies and navies it is as much about defending about attacks from economic and free market forces. One thing that is still valid is that you cannot allow individuals to unhook from paying for collective decided things if they happen to be in disagreement with the democratic decisions. Government would never work if individuals could just say this activity doesn’t help me so I will not pay for it. Another thing that is still very valid and pertinent is the principle that nobody can enforce their religious ideas (such as defining the beginning of life) on others and that individual activities that do no physical or economic damage to others (such as abortion) should be kept legal.