Top Leaderboard, Site wide
September 23, 2014
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
Help us grow by sharing
and liking Truthdig:
Sign up for Truthdig's Email NewsletterLike Truthdig on FacebookFollow Truthdig on TwitterSubscribe to Truthdig's RSS Feed

Newsletter

sign up to get updates






A Chronicle of Echoes


Truthdig Bazaar
Tropic of Chaos

Tropic of Chaos

By Christian Parenti

Coal River

Coal River

By Michael Shnayerson
$16.50

more items

 
Report

For He’s a Jolly Good Scoundrel

Email this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share

Posted on Apr 18, 2012
AP/Dima Gavrysh

Sanford Weill in 2007.

By Robert Scheer

How evil is this? At a time when two-thirds of U.S. homeowners are drowning in mortgage debt and the American dream has crashed for tens of millions more, Sanford Weill, the banker most responsible for the nation’s economic collapse, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

So much for the academy’s proclaimed “230-plus year history of recognizing some of the world’s most accomplished scholars, scientists, writers, artists, and civic, corporate, and philanthropic leaders.” George Washington, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Albert Einstein must be rolling in their graves at the news that Weill, “philanthropist and retired Citigroup Chairman,” has joined their ranks.

Weill is the Wall Street hustler who led the successful lobbying to reverse the Glass-Steagall law, which long had been a barrier between investment and commercial banks. That 1999 reversal permitted the merger of Travelers and Citibank, thereby creating Citigroup as the largest of the “too big to fail” banks eventually bailed out by taxpayers. Weill was instrumental in getting then-President Bill Clinton to sign off on the Republican-sponsored legislation that upended the sensible restraints on finance capital that had worked splendidly since the Great Depression.

Those restrictions were initially flouted when Weill, then CEO of Travelers, which contained a major investment banking division, decided to merge the company with Citibank, a commercial bank headed by John S. Reed. The merger had actually been arranged before the enabling legislation became law, and it was granted a temporary waiver by Alan Greenspan’s Federal Reserve. The night before the announcement of the merger, as Wall Street Journal reporter Monica Langley writes in her book “Tearing Down the Walls: How Sandy Weill Fought His Way to the Top of the Financial World ... and Then Nearly Lost It All,” a buoyant Weill suggested to Reed, “We should call Clinton.” On a Sunday night Weill had no trouble getting through to the president and informed him of the merger, which violated existing law. After hanging up, Weill boasted to Reed, “We just made the president of the United States an insider.”

The fix was in to repeal Glass-Steagall, as The New York Times celebrated in a 1998 article: “... the announcement on Monday of a giant merger of Citicorp and Travelers Group not only altered the financial landscape of banking, it also changed the political landscape in Washington. ... Indeed, within 24 hours of the deal’s announcement, lobbyists for insurers, banks and Wall Street firms were huddling with Congressional banking committee staff members to fine-tune a measure that would update the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act separating commercial banking from Wall Street and insurance, to make it more politically acceptable to more members of Congress.”

Advertisement

Square, Site wide
At the signing ceremony Clinton presented Weill with one of the pens he used to “fine-tune” Glass-Steagall out of existence, proclaiming, “Today what we are doing is modernizing the financial services industry, tearing down those antiquated laws and granting banks significant new authority.” What a jerk.

Although Weill has shown not the slightest remorse, Reed has had the honesty to acknowledge that the elimination of Glass-Steagall was a disaster: “I would compartmentalize the industry for the same reason you compartmentalize ships,” he told Bloomberg News. “If you have a leak, the leak doesn’t spread and sink the whole vessel. So generally speaking, you’d have consumer banking separate from trading bonds and equity.”

Instead, all such compartmentalization was ended when Clinton signed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in late 1999. In his memoir Weill brags that he and Republican Sen. Phil Gramm joked that it should have been called the Weill-Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. Informally, some dubbed it “the Citigroup Authorization Act.” 

Gramm left the Senate to become a top executive at the Swiss-based UBS bank, which like Citigroup ran into deep trouble. Leach—former Republican Rep. James Leach—was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009 to head the National Endowment for the Humanities, where his banking skills could serve the needs of intellectuals. Robert Rubin, the Clinton administration treasury secretary who helped push through the Citigroup Authorization Act, was the most blatant double dealer of all: He accepted a $15-million-a-year offer from Weill to join Citigroup, where he eventually helped run the corporation into the ground.

Citigroup went on to be a major purveyor of toxic mortgage-based securities that required $45 billion in direct government investment and a $300 billion guarantee of its bad assets in order to avoid bankruptcy.

Weill himself bailed out shortly before the crash. His retirement from what was then the world’s largest financial conglomerate was chronicled in The New York Times under the headline “Laughing All the Way From the Bank.” The article told of “an enormous wooden plaque” in the bank’s headquarters that featured a likeness of Weill with the inscription “The Man Who Shattered Glass-Steagall.”

That’s the man the American Academy of Arts & Sciences now honors, among others, for “extraordinary accomplishment and a call to serve.” Disgusting.


New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, April 26, 2012 at 9:13 am Link to this comment

TD: If there is som esoteric connection between the repeal of Glass-Steagall and the Obama healthcare bill please enlighten me.

There is none. My mistake and my apologies for the confusion.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, April 22, 2012 at 7:33 pm Link to this comment

Troy Davis, April 22 at 9:00 am:

@Lafayette:

Maybe I missed something. I was referring to Clinton’s signing of the law that repealed Glass-Steagall.

If there is som esoteric connection between the repeal of Glass-Steagall and the Obama healthcare bill please enlighten me.

Well, they’re both schemes to make the rich richer faster promulgated by the Democratic wing of the capitalist party.  They might have been written in offices a few doors apart, I suppose.

Report this

By Troy Davis, April 22, 2012 at 10:00 am Link to this comment

@Lafayette:

Maybe I missed something. I was referring to Clinton’s signing of the law that repealed Glass-Steagall.

If there is som esoteric connection between the repeal of Glass-Steagall and the Obama healthcare bill please enlighten me.

BTW, “free markets” a myth generated by those who supported Reaganomics and the Reagan Revolution. There is no such thing as “free markets”.

Report this
Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, April 22, 2012 at 7:14 am Link to this comment

TD: Clinton should have vetoed the bill and used the bully pulpit to overcome any attempt to override his vetoe or force the Senate to enact the law over his veto and accept full responsibility for its repeal.

Which would have ended, yet again, any effort whatsoever at Health Care universality.

ObamaCare is merely a palliative for a National Health Care system. But it is a first step in a country that is recalcitrant as regards an NHS. And it does achieve (or at least intends to) universality for the American HC-patient.

That the US Health Care costs have gone ballistic (and will remain so) is not solved by ObamaCare. Only the Public Option would have attempted to accomplish that key objective. The Replicants were adamant that no such option come to be. Thus, only a European-style system will achieve that objective by mandating HC-services pricing as Europe does.

But we can’t have that, can we, in Free-Market America - even if it succeeds in providing high-quality Health Care at much lower costs.

Obama did what he was compelled to do in order to have a tangible result to show the American people. The way suggest above would have resulted in much after-the-fact bitching-and-moaning - and still no change whatsoever in American Health Care.

Which impresses no one.

Report this

By jaysea, April 21, 2012 at 7:20 pm Link to this comment

Troy Davis, April 21 at 5:38 am:

Thanks for a sagacious response to my question. It’s exactly what was intended to elicit from someone. My hope now is that all of the other posters will “read and heed!”

Report this

By felicity, April 21, 2012 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

ohiolibgal - how about that 40%, the group that
continues to be snowed by the big, Republican, 30-year
lie that the rich don’t have enough money and the
middle-classes and poor have too much money. 

Obviously, Clinton put himself in the former category
when he signed away Glass.

Report this

By bramdruckman, April 21, 2012 at 9:22 am Link to this comment

Than you once again Mr. Sheer for another look at corporate dominance of just
about everything. I do wish though that beginning now and from now on when
Truthdig publishes a piece about the ‘good ol’ boys’ rewarding one of their own
for some dubious achievement that additional names and photos accompany
the article or appear in an adjacent space. In this particular instance I, (I speak
for myself but their may be other citizens) who would like to acquaint
themselves with the powers behind the Arts and Science awards. Who are these
men and women; where do they work; what companies do they run; what
products do they make or promote?  And if we personally find their actions to
run contrary to our political consciences and basic moral beliefs we can than
commense actions (even if just on the individual level) to boycott their
businesses, not buy their products, write them letters of distaste, write letters
to our local newspapers and in general get the word out to others that the such
‘esteemed’ members of the A&S Academy are not as esteemed in our opinion as
they’re made out to be in the media.

Report this

By heterochromatic, April 21, 2012 at 7:56 am Link to this comment

Ana—there is a significant tendency for the positions of greatest control and
influence to be attractive to and occupied by the most aggressive sociopaths——-


very interesting comparison . it never occurred to me that capitalism was an
occupy movement.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, April 21, 2012 at 7:46 am Link to this comment

The ‘inherent wrong’ in capitalism is that it depends on domination and subjugation, although in mitigated form.  Since its practice results in great differences of power and wealth, there is a significant tendency for the positions of greatest control and influence to be attractive to and occupied by the most aggressive sociopaths—at least those who can control their darker impulses sufficiently not to run afoul of the law.  We observe the results today in a series of useless wars, an economy which is decline for most people, and in the destruction of the social and physical environment.

Report this

By ger, April 21, 2012 at 7:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I wonder if President Clinton regrets that he did not veto the Gramm-
Leach-B Act which got rid of Glass-Steagall?

Report this

By Troy Davis, April 21, 2012 at 6:38 am Link to this comment

@jaysea:

The general theory seems to be by debasing, degrading and disrespecting the opinions of others it increases the validity of ones arguments.

This is of course specious. It is far more effective to address the specific fallacies in any post and correct them with data that supports your argument.

However, that takes much more time and effort to achieve rather than engaging in ad hominem attacks upon other posters.

Of course, there are those who cannot refute the arguments in some posts and who have no desire to engage in reasoned dialogue. For those posters, the only choice open to them is attack, attack, and attack.

It not only prevents reasoned discourse it usually ends any interaction and stiffles dialogue thus achieving for some, their ultimate goal.

Report this

By jaysea, April 21, 2012 at 1:53 am Link to this comment

When tired of crticizing the essence of the articles, just opt to debase the posters. That seems to be the M.O. unceasingly. Why is that??

Report this

By heterochromatic, April 20, 2012 at 6:59 pm Link to this comment

John—- there’s nothing inherently wrong with the use of money…..I do believe
that we are not presented by little green rectangles.
with a hindrance to a decent society that affords, at least an adequate and secure
existence to everyone, and opportunities for much more for all

Report this

By John Steinsvold, April 20, 2012 at 6:23 pm Link to this comment

Heterochromatic,

Don’t compare the USA with communist Russia. In my
opinion, the Russian economy failed because communism
failed. It failed because the members of the party
enriched themselves at the expense of the common
people. The common people despised the members of the
party. Therefore, there was no cooperation between
them and failure was inevitable.

Perhaps for the first time in history, we, as a
nation and as a people, have the ability to conduct
our internal economic affairs without the need to use
money. We have the necessary democratic government,
we have the abundant resources, we have the
educational facilities and also the technical
knowledge to do so. In light of what is happening in
our economy today, should we not, at least, explore
this possibility?

John Steinsvold

If you want people to fight, throw them a bone; if
you want them to cooperate, have them build a tower.
—Saint-Exupéry

Report this

By Troy Davis, April 20, 2012 at 4:51 pm Link to this comment

@Ron Hansing:

The vote in the US Senate was 90 to 8 with one abstention [McCain].

Clinton should have vetoed the bill and used the bully pulpit to overcome any attempt to override his vetoe or force the Senate to enact the law over his veto and accept full responsibility for its repeal.

The corruption in congress is complete. The US Constitution has effectively been shredded and our democracy exists in name only, a mere shell in which the reality of constitutional government no longer exists.

Report this

By frecklefever, April 20, 2012 at 4:22 pm Link to this comment

COME ON BOYS…DISMISSIVE SASS IS CUTE…BUT ITS LACKING HEFT…REACH
INSIDE AND UNLOAD WITH SOME WEIGHT ...THE SMIRK IS A POOR
ALLY..FOR THOSE SEEKING DOMINANCE..

Report this

By LordByng, April 20, 2012 at 2:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The problem exemplified by Weill is not that
capitalism is wrong, or that there is an alternative; 
the problem is that capitalism is and always will be
under constant attack from the right. 

Managed, regulated capitalism works.  And the largest
capitalists- hate it, because there is so much more
money to be made through fraud and monopoly.

When you have an elite that believes, as Greenspan
did, in the fundamental honesty of bankers- well, you
get disaster. 

The problem is this orchestrated, massively funded,
and extremely well organized attack on capitalism
that is currently in progress.

The people will have to find a way to fight back if
they want to save it.

Report this

By heterochromatic, April 20, 2012 at 2:03 pm Link to this comment

FRACKINGFUNNY   interesting use of the language masketh not derivative drivel

Report this
Project Mayhem's avatar

By Project Mayhem, April 20, 2012 at 1:44 pm Link to this comment

Thanks for the laugh, Frecklepunch.

“GERARD…YOUR LONG WINDED PABULUMS ARE ABOUT AS NOURISHING AS
A SALTINE…“

I see you’re also a hypocrite, you cretinous simp.
Feel free to try again, though.
Maroon.

Report this

By frecklefever, April 20, 2012 at 1:25 pm Link to this comment

PROJECT MAYHEM…INSULTS ARE THE LAST RESORT FOR THOSE WITH NO
ARSENAL…YOUR USE OF THE WE WORD SAYS YOU NEED THE COMFORT OF
CONFORMITY TO LAUNCH AN ATTACK…AND TAKING OFFENCE OVER CAPS
AGAIN SAYS CONFORMITY IS YOUR BINKY…STEP OUT AND
ORIGINATE…CLINGING IS QUITE DAINTY…

Report this
ohiolibgal's avatar

By ohiolibgal, April 20, 2012 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment

The increasingly crazy, loony, crazy train that is today’s republican party is the best thing going for Obama. Sadly he’s altruism squared compared to the now insane right wing. He shouldn’t be but he is.

There is so much going on now that is ghastly. The insidious false equivalencies of most of the media is one. The right says the world is flat, the left says it’s not, and the Wolf Blitzer’s of the world say they have to leave it there.

Then there is 40 % of the public who are allowing themselves to be manipulated to carry water for zillionaires but are too brain dead to know it.

The GSA boondoggle is mind boggling, it cost us all 800 thousand plus. It’s the buzz of the media and the talk shows. Where is the buzz to the billions the military lost and shuttled to Cheney’s Halliburton?

Google Rumsfeld 9/10/11 and get some perspective. Oh and how about the timing of this news from Rummy? Coincidence?

Report this

By heterochromatic, April 20, 2012 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment

——-Yes, our capitalistic system can work wonderfully
well if we were all moral; but this simply is not the
case!——

and, because of this, Mrxism will never work.

Report this

By John Steinsvold, April 20, 2012 at 11:54 am Link to this comment

Lafayette,

Yes, our capitalistic system can work wonderfully
well if we were all moral; but this simply is not the
case! If people have a choice between being honest
and economic gain, which do they choose? The answer
is obvious. Perhaps if you are middle class or
wealthy, you can afford to be honest? How sad!

Note: If everything is free, there is no need to
barter!

John Steinsvold

Money is like an iron ring we’ve put through our
noses. We’ve forgotten that we designed it, and it’s
now leading us around.~Bernard Lietaer

Report this

By ron hansing, April 20, 2012 at 11:40 am Link to this comment

Troy Davis

Well since a 100% voted for it without reading or debating the bill, they must be all republicans too.

It really doesn’t matter what you call them… democrat or repubican… We elected them. So we are at fault. Maybe we just need a dictator to make all the right decisions. why not?

Report this

By ron hansing, April 20, 2012 at 11:33 am Link to this comment

Are you under 30?

I have no problem with Marxism. if the people want it, that’s fine with me. And then we will answer the question once for for all…. Does marxism work?

Let’s go for it… and put it to the test.

Report this
Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, April 20, 2012 at 11:19 am Link to this comment

For JS: « N’espère rien de l’homme s’il travaille pour sa propre vie et non pour son éternité. »

Expect nothing of a man if he works for his own life and not for his eternity. (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)

Report this
Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, April 20, 2012 at 11:06 am Link to this comment

JS: An Alternative to Capitalism (if the people knew about it, they would demand it)

It is called “barter”. Been there, done that, doesn’t work all that well.

We don’t throw out the car because the tires are used and the head gasket leaks.

Capitalism, per se, is NOT the problem. The challenge lies in managing it in a manner that is more fair such that all - and not just a select minority - benefit from its munificence.

Anyone who thinks that is Mission Impossible should come to Europe to see how it is done.

Report this

By Troy Davis, April 20, 2012 at 10:37 am Link to this comment

@Ron HansingL

Nonsense! All Clinton had to do was veto the bill to force congress to override his veto. Instead, he signed it into law.

Clinton was no democrat. He was a republican pure and simple. His policies promoted the Reagan Revolution and led us to George W. Bush [Bush II, the war criminal].

Report this

By nikto, April 20, 2012 at 10:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sanford Weill should be locked away in solitary confinement, along with a 1200 lbs, un-fed, Grizzly Bear.


Don’t check back for a few weeks, at least.

Hopefully, the Grizzly will be too big to fail.

Report this
Project Mayhem's avatar

By Project Mayhem, April 20, 2012 at 5:34 am Link to this comment

Speaking of pablum…
I’m impressed cretinous simps like FF even possess the wherewithal to register for the site.
By the by, might want to press that ‘caps lock’ key before you next regale us.
Maroon.

Report this

By frecklefever, April 20, 2012 at 4:48 am Link to this comment

IN ANCIENT INDIAN CULTURES THOSE WITH THE MOST..
GAVE TO THE NEEDY GENEROUSLY…ESPECIALLY THE CHIEFS ..IT WAS CALLED
A POTLATCH…ITS GOOD POLITICS…BECAUSE OUT OF THE LOWER RANKS
GREAT LEADERS HAVE EMERGED…WORLDWIDE..

Report this

By frecklefever, April 20, 2012 at 3:39 am Link to this comment

GERARD…YOUR LONG WINDED PABULUMS ARE ABOUT AS NOURISHING AS
A SALTINE…“THE SCRIBES BEHAVIORAL ANCHOR IS BURIED ALIVE…AND
WAITING “...TWOSUNS

Report this

By stand to reason, April 19, 2012 at 10:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Stands to reason that he would be elected as the academy is just
another organization taken over by the psychopaths that create
and maintain this disaster capitalism. Don’t forget o was given
the peace prize based on no foundation that was not complete
lies and bunkum. But both sully the institutions that awarded
them. I can tell because I smell the stench from here even when I
stand upwind from it.

Report this

By heterochromatic, April 19, 2012 at 8:47 pm Link to this comment

imposed economic equality might just as easily enforce
poverty for all, JS….

Report this

By John Steinsvold, April 19, 2012 at 6:52 pm Link to this comment

Ron Hansing,

The ONLY common denominator between a way of life without money and socialism/communism/Marxism is economic equality which, in my opinion, we desperately need here in the USA. Economic equality will eliminate poverty. It will also eliminate materialism which warps our sense of value and corrupts our system. It will also reduce crime dramatically. Otherwise, our government will remain the same. The Democrats will still do battle with the Republicans. Our free enterprise system will still exist as it does today.

John Steinsvold

If you want people to fight, throw them a bone; if
you want them to cooperate, have them build a tower.
—Saint-Exupéry

Report this

By heterochromatic, April 19, 2012 at 6:19 pm Link to this comment

and your departure, neither noted nor regretted, was addition by subtraction…
one less dead soul dragging

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, April 19, 2012 at 6:02 pm Link to this comment

John Steinsvold, April 19 at 10:57 am:

‘An Alternative to Capitalism (if the people knew about it, they would demand it)....’

As long as you’re demanding, presumably from some ruling class or other, you’re going to get more of the same or worse.

If you want an alternative to capitalism you have to do it, not demand it.

Report this
moonraven's avatar

By moonraven, April 19, 2012 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment

ron hansing:

I left twenty years ago, because I couldn’t stand living around folks like you.

Don’t come my way.

Go back to Europe where your genocidal ancestors came from.  They love immigrants there.  Especially capitalist slaves.

Report this
Blueokie's avatar

By Blueokie, April 19, 2012 at 2:58 pm Link to this comment

Weill is the ideal poster boy for Amerikan YOYO culture.

Report this
moonraven's avatar

By moonraven, April 19, 2012 at 2:58 pm Link to this comment

It’s waaay past time for you spuds to hit the streets and string up folks like this rancid old pisspot.

Report this

By John Poole, April 19, 2012 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama’s plan: Stall and find ways to discreetly shovel money to the banks until the
time it won’t hurt them to actually “write off ” their 7 trillion dollar toxic assets.  He
likes guys like Weill and approves of their ambition and craftiness because he
considers himself their intellectual superior.

Report this

By gerard, April 19, 2012 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment

feckless fever, or freckled fervor—whatever:

It would appear that you and I ought to get together and start selling stock in a Creative Vocabulary Factory. “lol” as they are careful to say in the more learned and sophisticated societies of WikiWorld.

Report this

By frecklefever, April 19, 2012 at 1:07 pm Link to this comment

“UNDERCOVER KRISHNA WITH A SILK LILAC
WAND EXILES EXPLOITATION ...WITH A CLEAN
MANDARIN HAND”...TWOSUNS

Report this

By ron hansing, April 19, 2012 at 12:59 pm Link to this comment

read ““Home of the Brave?” which was published by the Athenaeum Library of Philosophy:”

It’s a rehansh of Das Capital…

Savimbi, the anticommunist reble in angola ones said,“You have to be crazy not to e a communist when your are 20, and to still be a communist when your are 30”

There is no alternative to Capitalism… But if this country wants to try marxism. that’s fine iwth me. But I’m leaving the country.

Report this

By Jack Stevenson, April 19, 2012 at 12:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Congressional vote to repeal Glass-Steagall looks like this:

Senate:  90 to 8

House:  362-57

Seems to have been a bi-partisan vote to repeal and, perhaps, one of the poorest Congressional decisions in U.S. history.

Report this

By heterochromatic, April 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment

John—- demanding an Alterrnative to Capitalism does what that demanding a
good 5cent cigar doesn’t do?


there are all sorts of things that may be posited as lovely, but wishes ain’t horses.

Report this
Palindromedary's avatar

By Palindromedary, April 19, 2012 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment

AKA: Academy of Old Farts and Alliances.
The good old “rich” boys patting each other on the backs for a “snow” job well done. Time to “Eat the Rich”!

Report this

By John Steinsvold, April 19, 2012 at 11:57 am Link to this comment

An Alternative to Capitalism (if the people knew about it, they would demand it)

Several decades ago, Margaret Thatcher claimed: “There is no alternative”. She was referring to capitalism. Today, this negative attitude still persists.

I would like to offer an alternative to capitalism   for the American people to consider. Please click on the following link. It will take you to an essay titled: “Home of the Brave?” which was published by the Athenaeum Library of Philosophy:

http://evans-
experientialism.freewebspace.com/steinsvold.htm

John Steinsvold

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”~Albert Einstein

Report this

By heterochromatic, April 19, 2012 at 11:14 am Link to this comment

Good esasy, Scheer.

the powerful economic engine of capitalism requires a governor and those who
work to remove it should never be honored, only opposed.

Report this

By ron hansing, April 19, 2012 at 10:53 am Link to this comment

Glass-steagal was passed by a 100% of all of congress by voice vote without even reading the bill.

this was Dec 23rd, 1999. They all failed in doing their jobs because they wanted to get home for Christmas.

It is disingenous to attempt to just blame Clinton and Gramn. The blame rests entirely and only with congress who think that the people work for them,k,... not that they work for the people.

Report this

By gerard, April 19, 2012 at 10:40 am Link to this comment

Honoring “Wiley” Weill with membership in the Academy of Arts and Sciences while at the same time holding Julian Assange penned up in isolation north of London with a monitor on his ankle, and Bradley Manning under questionable treatment in amilitary prisons—both for trying to stop a malicious and failing war—The outrageous ironies of the contrast epitomize all the grotesque, high-handed sins of elite America.
  Wrong people in charge. Wrong perceptions. Wrong decisions. Wrong actions. Wrong reactions. Blind, deaf and dumb. Empty-headed, careless, heartless, unfair, destructive, pernicious, evil.
  To laugh ... or cry ... that is the question:
“Whether it is wiser to .... or to .... slings and arrows of outrageous Fortune ... bear those ones we have, or fly to others that we know not of ...”

Report this

By jimmmmmy, April 19, 2012 at 10:39 am Link to this comment

Faith. Millikin And Boesky are small potatos . Milton Friedman and the Chicago school is where this starts and Mr Obama is an Alumnus. There seems to be an effort by Obamacrats to minimize his association with these guys. They go as far as trying to attach blame to Ayn Rand which was ridiculous but generated tons of posts.  Vote none of the above.

Report this

By Sharloch, April 19, 2012 at 10:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Bilderberg Group is in a process of takeover of the world governments. It is the old aristocracy that hated democracies and freedoms that came with the American and French revolutions. This is a concerted effort to make us all peasants again. From Wall Street swindlers to Bluffdale, UT spying centers, a system is being put in place by the richest to make us fearful objects of their exploitation.

Report this

By bigchin, April 19, 2012 at 10:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

a “savvy businessman.”

Report this
Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, April 19, 2012 at 10:04 am Link to this comment

Well done, RS.

Only one point remains - and it is important. The demise of Glass-Steagall, yes, allowed the merger of commercial and investment banks. The former are risk-averse, because their assets are constituted of deposits of people like you and me. The latter, investment banks, are risk prone because they employ the bank’s and asset-management account funds to invest and obtain good returns for the bank and for their clients.

This banking dichotomy essentially means that the Commercial Banks are (or should be) risk-averse whilst Investment Banks are risk-prone. In other words, never the twain should meet. Why?

Because by merging both banks, the assets of the Commercial Banks (mainly OUR DEPOSITS) collateralize the Investment Banking side’s high-risk high-return investments or ventures.  Meaning that if the risks taken failed badly, then we commercial and savings account holders would be paying the piper.

Did you know that? I didn’t. Nobody told you that the Glass-Steagall demise could endanger your money? Of course not. Such information, if bantered about too much publicly, could have threatened the annulation of Glass-Steagal.

If challenged to explain the possibility of the failure scenario, the banksters would cackle assuringly that “markets were too smart to let such failures compromise the entire banking structure”. And yet, that is precisely what happened.

Makes one wonder to which SuperPAC Weill made his donation to get this honorific ...

Report this

By jimmmmmy, April 19, 2012 at 9:38 am Link to this comment

Yet another depressing historical article. Hedges’s point about the death of the liberal class is underscored every time I read an article like this. Why wasn’t something done when this guy was doing his dirty work . We both know the answer, a democrat was potus. The same thing is happening today Mr. Obama is a far more effective republican than Mr. Bush.I read Mike Moores book Stupid White Men on the Clinton coruption of the 90s when it was published. It was to be found in the humour section of the bookstore.It got no traction at all on the left.

Report this

By spsi, April 19, 2012 at 9:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Some banks may be too big to fail but no banker is too big to jail.

Report this

By jimmmmmy, April 19, 2012 at 9:27 am Link to this comment

Elkojohn you have it wrong .Its “I got mine now I want yours.”

Report this

By jaysea, April 19, 2012 at 9:13 am Link to this comment

There’s a common thread among all these usurers and blackmailers, right down to Monica Lewinsky. What’s the best guess as to what that might be?

Report this

By ElkoJohn, April 19, 2012 at 9:04 am Link to this comment

per the rules of predatory capitalism:
“I got mine, now you get yours.”
(social Darwinism institutionalized)

Report this

By faith, April 19, 2012 at 9:02 am Link to this comment

Nice article and informative, Mr. Scheer.  However, I suggest that Weill’s behavior
has been manifest by many individuals for decades.  Consider Millikan and Boesky,
et al.  It seems that if raiders, math whizzes with their ivy league MBAs and skewed
senses of integrity, throw a few million at a philanthropy then their misdeeds, or
bad deeds are always forgiven by the general populace.  We lower beings seem to
have a very short memory span and an off-balance sense of forgiveness.  We forget
that such individuals, and I could name fifty more off the top of my head, that have
gone on to run for high political offices, or have become members of administration
at the highest levels are given utmost respect by all.  We the taxpayers support
these people by continuing to keep the elected Congress in place instead of
recalling them for continued bad voting decisions.

Report this
mrfreeze's avatar

By mrfreeze, April 19, 2012 at 7:46 am Link to this comment

But…...but….....Robert…......how many Americans out there actually “admire” guys like this?

To a lot of people, guys like this represent “the American Dream.” I have friends who, if I shared this essay with them would simply say, “Hey, he obviously deserves all his wealth and power…..he used his ‘talent and genius’ to reach his goals!!!!!

Report this
D.R. Zing's avatar

By D.R. Zing, April 19, 2012 at 7:16 am Link to this comment

Speaking from a purely literary point of view, I would
suggest the editors replace the last word of this fine
column, disgusting, with the term turd.

The denotative and connotative meanings are much more
apropos and, of course, it lends some pleasant
alliteration to the ending.

Report this

By Mike N., April 19, 2012 at 7:10 am Link to this comment

This reminds me of the Steely Dan lyric:

“Show business kids makin’ movies of themselves
you know they don’t give a fuck about anybody else”

Yeah, they give each other awards and honors and celebrate their “accomplishments,” but what else do they have do do?  Take some of that money and fix a near collapsing bridge, or start a company in the US and pay workers like they did 50 years ago?  Nah, better to applaud each other for being so much smarter than that.

Report this

By balkas, April 19, 2012 at 7:01 am Link to this comment

world and american depression or recession best thing that happened to bears world-
over.
people who engineered it, did so because US ideology, bill of rights, constitution
commanded it.
pursuit of happiness is an inalienable right in america and many other lands.
that’s what the pursuers of or chasers after ever greater freedom to do as they please
have done.
all legal and as per command of u.s ideology and all u.s laws, [de]regulations, reforms,
deforms, directives. 
so, from RS, the same stew; just stir a bit and serve!

Report this
M Henri Day's avatar

By M Henri Day, April 19, 2012 at 7:00 am Link to this comment

«Disgusting», Mr Scheer ? Rewarding this scoundrel may indeed be disgusting, but it is hardly unique - rather, I’d suggest, about par for the course. Perhaps it’s time to reach for the pitchforks ?...

Henri

Report this

By wwright31, April 19, 2012 at 6:25 am Link to this comment

So well said, and SO true !!

Report this

By JoeT, April 19, 2012 at 6:16 am Link to this comment

I guess they’re too big to bust?

Report this
prisnersdilema's avatar

By prisnersdilema, April 19, 2012 at 5:42 am Link to this comment

Mr. Weill is innoscent by dint of his wealth, while 2/3 of Americans whose houses are
underwater are guilty by dint of their poverty.

The wealthy like Mr. Weil, have been freed from the constraints of American law, and
are rewarded just like royalty, which of course is how they view themselves. The rule of
law doesn’t apply here.

The full weight of the law protects them, while at the same time condeming the poor to
multiple life times in prison, for the slightest wrong.

While those in our national government have become the vassals of the elite, and
impotent in regards to their oaths to the American people, they have instead pursued
extreme measures in implementing the agenda of paranoia and control for the elites,
along with the creation of Corporate Ameria’s 4th reich. In which Inurance companies
and pharmaceutical companies have taken the place of the S.S., in the disposal of the
hapless eaters. Who are creating a burden in taxes for their up keep.

The daily hum of their deceits and manipulations fill the air waves, just as surely as the
drugs they profit from are sold on the playgrounds of this country, or dispensed from
doctors offices as free samples.

Fear works both ways. Decades long efforts to instill fear into the American people in
order to justify the creation of anti social institutions of repression, have also made the
elite quite fearful as well. Not only do they fear Al Caeda, and muslim states whose
relgious beliefs have not been castrated by the worship of Gold, but the American
people as well. They have much too lose, and no guilt to battle.

No sleepless nights, but award dinners fulll of hollywood starlight, and endless ass
kissing. While their Orc’s do the dirty work, in prisons, and call centers from Burbank to
Manilla.

Report this

By Free Thinker, April 19, 2012 at 5:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Another great, good Jew!!!, just doing the good work of Zionist-controlled America!

Report this
thecrow's avatar

By thecrow, April 19, 2012 at 5:07 am Link to this comment

“We just made the president of the United States an insider.” (laughter)

http://michaelfury.wordpress.com/2011/11/11/pulverized-to-near-power/

Report this

By Big B, April 19, 2012 at 4:56 am Link to this comment

Ah, the biggest falacy of the belief in american exceptionalism, the belief that we have always been led by our best and brightest. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have always been led by our richest, our most aggressive, our most ruthless and well connected.

Most americans still believe that our government and largest corporations are run by the smartest people in the nation. Bullshit! We have always been led by a group of people who would kiss a baby while campaigning, and then drown it in a bathtub when they get the corner office.

It is why america is “dying of a theory”.

Report this

By omop, April 19, 2012 at 4:55 am Link to this comment

Two quotes say it all.

“He who holds the gold makes the rules [ knows when to break them too]”.

  By. Unknown.

  “If by the thrid hand of the poker game, you don’t know who the patsy
is…. YOU"RE IT”.

  By. Unknown II.

Report this

By GradyLeeHoward, April 19, 2012 at 4:55 am Link to this comment

Financial VooDoo has emerged as our most vital
science and lauded art. It’s where we put 99% of our
effort and resources. Forget food production and
medicine. They pale in comparison. Education is an
empty space on the bar graph.First rule of success:
Always go for the Jackpot, sacrifice all else.

Report this
rbe4free's avatar

By rbe4free, April 19, 2012 at 4:48 am Link to this comment

The Federal Reserve Cartel: The Eight Families; The 1913 creation of the Fed fused the power of the Eight Families to the military and diplomatic might of the US government. If their overseas loans went unpaid, the oligarchs could now deploy US Marines to collect the debts. Morgan, Chase and Citibank formed an international lending syndicate.

Until this is disolved, there will never be any change for the better, except for the financial elite.

Report this

By DHFabian, April 19, 2012 at 4:45 am Link to this comment

Why this won’t change: What outrages the average American today—seeing the rich steal billions out of the US Treasury, or the very thought of someone exchanging some food stamps for cash to buy a pack of cigarets?

Report this

By DHFabian, April 19, 2012 at 4:18 am Link to this comment

Well, yeah, it’s not perfect, but look how tough we got on poor people! Isn’t that what really matters?

Report this

By do over, April 19, 2012 at 3:03 am Link to this comment

One’s cup of disgust fills to the brim shortly after awakening each day.  The appearance of dignity can be purchased, dignity cannot.  The greater the corruption, the greater the need for the false trappings of honor.  Clothed in the brilliance of his trappings, the man stands naked before us.  It’s called the naked truth.

Report this

By shenebraskan, April 18, 2012 at 11:54 pm Link to this comment

I wish I were surprised by any of this stuff. I wish I had paid more attention in the 1990s. I was very much awake for the W Bush years, but Obama fooled me.

Never again. Occupy Wall Street.

Report this
 
Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
 
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 
 
 
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 

A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion   Publisher, Zuade Kaufman   Editor, Robert Scheer
© 2014 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.

Like Truthdig on Facebook