EppsNet Archive: Wall Street

George Orwell: “I Told You So”

25 Jun 2016 /

WASHINGTON (AP) — An Associated Press review of the official calendar Hillary Clinton kept as secretary of state identified at least 75 meetings with longtime political donors, Clinton Foundation contributors and corporate and other outside interests that were not recorded or omitted the names of those she met.

Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill said that Clinton “has always made an effort to be transparent since entering public life.”

In addition to the unrecorded meetings with donors, this effort at transparency includes setting up a private email server to use as Secretary of State, and giving speeches at $200,000 per to Wall Street banks and investment firms, foreign governments and other special interest groups under a contract that prevents anyone from releasing a transcript of what she said.

Merrill went on to say, “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”


Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson Endorses Hillary Clinton

25 Jun 2016 /
Hillary Clinton

I’m seeing a lot of headlines today on Henry Paulson’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton, in all of which Paulson is identified as “President George W. Bush’s treasury chief Henry Paulson,” or “ex-GOP Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson,” or something to that effect.

There are certainly other ways of identifying Henry Paulson, e.g.,

  • Former Goldman Sachs chief executive Henry Paulson
  • Architect of TARP and “Too Big to Fail” Henry Paulson
  • Wealthy Wall Street goon Henry Paulson
  • Henry Paulson, who used his position as Treasury Secretary to bail out his Wall Street friends with taxpayer money

It’s hard to see how an endorsement from Henry Paulson is anything but a nail in the coffin of the Clinton campaign . . . I took millions of dollars for speeches to Wall Street banks and investment firms, including $675,000 from Goldman Sachs (see New York Times), and now they’re all endorsing me! (Shocking.) Also: I am the candidate best positioned to hold the financial industry accountable for its practices.

Clinton -— as the Times piece linked above helpfully notes —- has run through a series of bad answers about why she gave the speeches and why she is now unwilling to authorize the release of the transcripts of them.


The Most Transparent Liar in Modern Times?

8 Mar 2016 /

I’m the most transparent public official in modern times. — Hillary Clinton

“That’s why as Secretary of State I ran a shadow government from a private email server, sending and receiving communications regarding secret programs, anti-terrorist activities, drone strikes, etc., so that there would be no public record of my activities.

“I also give paid speeches to Wall Street firms under a contract that prohibits anyone from releasing a transcript of what I said.”

What a scream! Maybe she means she’s the most transparent liar in modern times . . .

Hillary Clinton


I’m Pretty Sure Those Are Nouns

22 Feb 2016 /

This is a real Bernie Sanders tweet, not a parody, although it has since been deleted . . .

I'm pretty sure those are nouns


Another Thing I Like About Donald Trump

15 Jan 2016 /

Democrats don’t like him and Republicans don’t like him either.

The overarching theme of American politics is Democrats vs. Republicans, Team Blue vs. Team Red. It’s a freakishly expensive clown show for which we pay trillions of dollars a year to watch the Red clowns and the Blue clowns throw pies in each other’s faces.

Nobody really cares about truth, substance or common sense, only whether their team is winning.

When Obama replaced Bush, Democrats didn’t care that Obama kept all the same wars going and started a few new ones, kept the torture programs going, kept Guantanamo open, ramped up drone warfare, cozied up to Wall Street, etc., etc., etc. All the things they hated when Bush was doing them were okay now because their team was winning.

Elect Hillary Clinton and we’ll get four to eight years of trench warfare against Republicans. Elect a Republican candidate (other than Trump) and we’ll get four to eight years of trench warfare against Democrats. At a cost of trillions of dollars per year.

This election offers a unique choice — Trump — the best chance we may ever have to blow up the system and start over, which is long overdue.


Get Rich Making Dumb Decisions

31 Mar 2014 /

The people on the short side of the subprime mortgage market had gambled with the odds in their favor. The people on the other side — the entire financial system, essentially — had gambled with the odds against them. Up to this point, the story of the big short could not be simpler. What’s strange and complicated about it, however, is that pretty much all the important people on both sides of the gamble left the table rich. . . . The CEOs of every major Wall Street firm were also on the wrong end of the gamble. All of them, without exception, either ran their public corporations into bankruptcy or were saved from bankruptcy by the United States government. They all got rich, too.

What are the odds that people will make smart decisions about money if they don’t need to make smart decisions — if they can get rich making dumb decisions?

— Michael Lewis, The Big Short

You Say Anarchy, Sir, Like It’s a Bad Thing

15 Jun 2013 /
Thomas Jefferson

Frankly, one of our political parties is insane, and we all know which one it is. They have descended from the realm of reasonableness that was the mark of conservatism. They dream of anarchy, of ending government.

My fellow Americans —

I’ll tell you who’s insane: anyone who’s not dreaming of anarchy at this moment in history is insane. People forget that this great nation was founded by anarchists, born out of an armed revolution against a corrupt government.

As I said at the time, “Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.”

I assure you, though, that regrettably neither current political party dreams of anarchy. They both dream of exactly the same things: self-aggrandizement and rewarding their most powerful supporters with political spoils.

The well-known liberal cartoonist Ted Rall wrote a book a couple of years ago advocating a new American revolution. Unfortunately, while popular uprisings do continue to occur around the world, I am not optimistic that it will ever happen again in America.

The great majority of our citizens now are far more informed about fantasy football and reality TV than they are about current events. They understand politics at only the most simple-minded level: Team Red vs. Team Blue.

I’m Team Blue! Let’s go, Blue! BOOOOO, Team Red! Or vice versa.

Notice, for example, that all of the things that Team Blue hated so much about the George W. Bush administration are okay now that they’re being carried out by President Obama.

Obama didn’t stop the wars or the torture or the spying. He’s just as cozy with Wall Street. Gitmo is still open for “prolonged detention.” Moreover, he’s killing foreign civilians, and sometimes American citizens, with drone strikes, and he’s eliminating whatever civil liberties you think you have left.

Torture and war and economic collapse don’t matter as long as they’re being supervised by my team! Go Blue! We’ll all be in a gulag in 10 years. Go Blue!

Some despotic regimes around the world rely on starvation and threats of violence to keep the people in a state of submissive compliance. Here in America, the same collective stupor is effected via mindless entertainments and gadgetry.

I should raise myself out of depression, paralysis and failure and resist this massive government/corporate dystopia — but I might miss my TV programs.

In 1776, we decided that being Americans meant being free men and women, not serfs and lackeys. We mutually pledged to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor to throw off the abuses and usurpations of the Government, and to secure the blessings of Liberty.

How soon they forget.

I bid you God speed,

Thomas Jefferson, anarchist

Thomas Jefferson


The Lives of Julia and Paul

21 Sep 2012 /

David Henderson says — accurately, I think — that Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” remarks can be paraphrased as “People who are dependent on government will vote for the candidate who credibly (to them, at least) promises to keep the programs that have created that dependence.”

Do you think President Obama disagrees with that? He doesn’t.

If you think he does, please see The Life of Julia on the president’s web site. It lays out a “typical” woman’s cradle-to-grave dependence on government assistance and describes how Obama will keep those programs going while Mitt Romney won’t.

The most insulting thing about it is that as you read about Obama funding this and Obama funding that, it sounds like he’s doing it all out of his own goddamn pocket. What a prince!

There’s no acknowledgement that Obama is taking from some and giving to others, and that all of Julia’s “free” stuff is paid for by me and people like me out of money earned by our own labor.

And we are struggling. We’re putting a kid through college, my wife has had an expensive medical condition, our home equity has plummeted, the roof leaks, my car is long overdue for new tires . . . there are unplanned expenses . . . next month, something else will break. That’s life.

As part of our middle-class existence, we pay a five-figure annual federal income tax bill. We pay for Julia’s babysitters, education, health care, etc., and Obama takes the credit. Not even a “thank you.” If we could keep even a fraction of that money, maybe we could afford to pay our own education and health care costs.

How about acknowledging that for every Life of Julia there’s a Life of Paul and presenting their stories in juxtaposition to show how, as with any policy, some people are better off and some people worse.

Life of Julia Life of Paul
As she prepares for her first semester of college, Julia and her family qualify for President Obama’s American Opportunity Tax Credit—worth up to $10,000 over four years. Julia is also one of millions of students who receive a Pell Grant to help put a college education within reach. As they go into debt to pay for their own child’s college education, Paul and his wife are required to pay for Julia’s college tuition as well.

You see the idea? Let’s try another one . . .

Life of Julia Life of Paul
Julia decides to have a child. Throughout her pregnancy, she benefits from maternal checkups, prenatal care, and free screenings under health care reform. Paul’s wife is diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition. Although they have health insurance, which they pay for themselves, there are deductibles, co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses, as well as the financial implications of his wife’s inability to work. They receive no government assistance, which is fine, but their financial woes are compounded by the fact that they are also required to pay for Julia’s “free” medical care.

The money being used to buy the votes of millions of Julias out there is not coming exclusively or even primarily from unnamed “millionaires” on “Wall Street” . . . it’s coming from “middle class” “hard-working Americans” on “Main Street” who are struggling.


I Am the 99 Percent

23 Oct 2011 /
I am the 99 percent

But I’m not clear on what constitutes a win with regard to the Top 1 Percent?

What if we take away everything they have and leave them with nothing? Then the Top 2 Percent roll up to become the Top 1 Percent and we’d have to stage another round of protests against them, right?

Why can’t we just count our blessings and enjoy what we have?

You think you’d be happier with a lot of money? You wouldn’t. Where’s the evidence?

The guy making a million a year wants to make 2 million a year. The guy making 2 million wants to make 10 million. The guy making 10 million is in jail for trying to steal an extra 10 million.

As Epictetus used to say, “None of these objects that men admire and set their hearts on is of any use to those who get them, though those who have never chanced to have them get the impression, that if only these things were theirs their cup of blessings would be full, and then, when they get them, the sun scorches them and the sea tosses them no less, and they feel the same boredom and the same desire for what they have not got.”


We Don’t Keep Our Money in Banks

23 Jan 2010 /
Lightning Epps

Security fears dog online banking

Now that’s what I call lazy reporting. If they’d bothered to interview an actual dog, they would have found out that we don’t keep our money in banks because banks are run by Wall Street fat cats and we don’t trust Wall Street fat cats. Actually, we don’t trust any kind of cats.

There may be dogs online barking but there are no dogs online banking.

— Lightning paw


Depression 2.0

19 Jul 2008 /

Mr. Obama is proposing to raise taxes on capital gains and dividends by a staggering two-thirds, moving the rate up 10 percentage points to 25%, which could curtail investment and business on Wall Street, a backbone of the city’s and state’s economy.

OK, let me get this straight . . . the stock market’s dropping, banks are failing from lack of liquidity, no one wants to invest in American companies, and Obama’s solution is to raise the capital gains tax?!

In the event of an Obama presidency, I will taking a long position in blankets, canned goods and shotgun shells . . .