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Frontline Takes Issue With Our Critique of Its “Money, Power & Wall Street” Shows

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I received this e-mail last week. I will issue my rebuttal Tuesday during the day. Check back in then!

Yves:

Attached please find our response to your critique of the first two hours of PBS FRONTLINE’s “Money, Power & Wall Street.” We hope you can post this, or if you prefer we can post this as a comment on your blog, though it may be too long for that.

Thank you,

Martin Smith
Producer / Correspondent

Frontline Response Letter

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182 comments

  1. Dueling Media

    “Accurate and informative”. Frontline paints by numbers. Objective with limited understanding, this does a disservice to so-called Public Television.

    1. bhikshuni

      My problem with the Frontline piece was not so much the particular details as the over-all failure of the journalists more generally:

      Where has this reporting over the past several years? Instead the tail is wagging the dog: only after Liberty Park filled with the public and Obama being asked by Wall St to take the knife in the back after years of bail-outs, do we see Frontline!

      (BBC World Service had a marvelous Aftermath program aired in 2009, with direct reports from inside PWC “it will take years just to estimate the losses on the books” offices, but none of this news was used to “inform” the voting public, and hence journalism failure has hastened the failure of our democracies more generally, IMO)

    2. Mitchn

      Frontline’s two-hour exposition of the crisis makes Fox News’ reporting of the crisis over four years look like a bubblegum comic strip.

  2. Max

    There weren’t only two choices, there was an obvious third way: wipeout the shareholders, haircut to the bondholders, remove top management. You know, the whole auto industry treatment.

    The bailout exposed where the true power in the country lies. That is its enduring lesson, the crisis itself is secondary.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Thanks for the link to Dr. Crotty’s article in the Cambridge Journal of Economics.

        This piece is a model of clarity, a goldmine of profound truth and accuracy, and a succinctly dense argument in 18 pages. Every college or university student should receive a copy. The Harvard and Yale Coops ought to have the pdf of the article installed on a flash-drive key ring, with the motto: “Lux et veritas” printed prominently on the drive.

        Dr. Crotty is an analytical genius with a rare gift for clarity and lucid writing.

      2. cirsium

        nonclassical – thank you for this link. A clear, concise exposition of the problem.

      3. chitown2020

        Bloomberg News did an investigation on where a lot of the bailout money went. They uncovered that billions went to foreign banks. Well, duh…..the REAL OWNERS of the FED/CORP are foreigners. They are stealing all of our wealth and National Sovereignty the same way they always steal, from behind the scenes by …..secrets, lies, deceptions and fraud.

    1. Susan the other

      But that would have been the legally established way to handle it. The honest way. But the entire industry had become extra-legal, creating credit in a shadow banking world that Obama described as immoral but not illegal. So why hasn’t someone looked at the difference between extra-legal and illegal and come to the conclusion that regardless of the parsing of the word legal, it was wrongful and harmful and action should be taken? One of the problems with PBS is that they always sound sufficiently lobotomized so as to bury the lead in a fog of calmness. The devastating truth is allowed to hide in plain sight. There is an agreement at some level to tone it down. Remember what mother told you, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.”

      1. steelhead23

        I watched both segments. The first, while factual, was inane. It is presented as if the bankers were merely incompetent, not criminal, dumb, not nefarious. I yelled at my TV several times. Timothy Geithner was not trying to generate investor confidence, he was using the president’s confidence in him as a smoke screen so he could help the banks. Had the banks failed, it likely would have ended his career as he had had a hand in helping the banks to lever up during the Ponzi faux growth of the first decade of this century. The second hour was far better as it showed ordinary folks doing extraordinary things – and perhaps the most extraordinary of all, good people from Wall Street helping the 99.

        PBS has become a sad, sad case of political correctness. No longer able to muster any moral outrage for immoral acts, it merely examines the immorality of Wall Street’s excesses through a value neutral lens and gets huffy when we merely point out that evil is evil.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          The trouble is that Geithner speaks Chinese and knows all secrets, no doubt with highest security clearance. He might be fired by now if he didn’t speak Chinese. He even serves as the Chinese go-between for our Secretary of State. How cool is that?

        2. Sierra7

          PBS lost credibility during run up to first Persian Gulf War 1991 . Followed th march to war behind retired generals spouting about all the “smart” (duh!) weapons that were going to be used. Today, with
          Title exception “public” tv is mostly dead.

    2. Doug Terpstra

      Obvious, indeed, Max — too obvious? How simple: first evacuate the troops and middle management, detach the squid tentacles and suction cups, then throw a tent over the tower and fumigate the penthouse, using neutron bombs if necessary for the most tenacious pests. This preserves essential infrastructure and staff, which can then be refurbished and repurposed as needed for productive public purposes.

    3. PQS

      Yeah, don’t forget lots of embarrassing hearings in front of Congress wherein our Electeds lambaste the industry for effing things up.

      And lots of punishment for the front line workers.

      Recently I was watching a documentary about the electric car industry, and they played some clips of the Auto Bailout hearings and I was painfully reminded of how hostile they were. As opposed to the “Here’s your check, now run along” went the TARP.

    4. JamesW

      Mark Brickell…..oh wow….it’s been quite awhile since I’ve heard the name of that ultra-derivaties super-lobbyist.

  3. skippy

    If informed / knowageable readers, here and else where, did not view the progame as the producers intended[?], whoms fault is it.

    Skippy… American MSM media has lost any shread of validity or ethics since the Bush years WMDs, et al. Not to worry thou, its a global problem.

    PS. This web site has been lightyears ahead of PBS or any other MSM outlet (ahh the retail smell) since its inception. Try uping your game PBS, it is easer to deflect critasiam, than self exsamine the underliying reasons for it…eh. How will you be remebered?

      1. Skippy

        I remember live TV, full of human mistakes and errors. After a bit everything became polished, then mind control started.

        Skippy… methinks your energy is better spent on the contents of this post and comments, not the spelling or grammatical perfection. Like the PBS whitewash of how things blew up, providing discrete cover for blatant criminal activitys, obfuscating – beclouding, hiding of intended meaning in communication, making communication confusing, wilfully ambiguous, and harder to interpret, et al.

        1. McKillop

          skippy:
          I read this post of yours just now, after having written my own two.
          I call bullshit here: ‘live’ television has always had its share of lies, obfuscation and polish. I don’t recall “The Cletus Show” competing for our attention.
          Poorly worded posts, even when _I_ write them aren’t worth the reading even though, when _I_ write them, they’re blindingly brilliant.
          People bedeviled by a poor knowledge of the language -English, French etc., or mathematical or medical or, or, or . . . are easily taken in. It’s been said that 600 words can be used to get by in daily life. Fine.
          Good old George Orwell, whose essays and novels -especially “Nineteen eighty-four”- had ideas worth re-reading.

          1. skippy

            The hole point was the ever incressing narrowness of it all, as all forms of communication become co opted by the reality makers, sooner or later. Some have, even if for only a moment, a chance to frolic, a place to explore unencumbered, before the fiends start their twisting of it. Still it did have its garage band like moments, TV, not everyone was a fiend, wanting to shape reality for their own advantage over others, in perpetuity.

            You point is taken, although I find it a wee bit pedantic as our feebal language – is – a darivitve of accountancy (bit of a post modernist in this regard) and Orwell sits above me as I type (one of the first authors I had my oldest son read upon an appropriate age).

            Skippy… What could have happend if Orwell and Peter Sellers had teamed up for a flick, Citizen Kane meets Dr. Strange Love thingy? I think I will dream that tonight, to stave off the unimaginable, that draws incredulously nearer.

          2. McKillop

            What started as light-hearted teasing -my “whose, who, whom post” was my first- certainly has taken up our time: your post actually started it all but I don’t know whether your words were earnest or clever. Or something else altogether.
            Nice of you to concede that I had a point to be taken but the concession is a we bit marred by the ‘wee bit pedantic’ qualifier which has a taint of “I’m sorry _but you _ . . . .”
            What else but ‘pedantic’ can a lesson regarding grammar and usage be when the ‘teacher’, who can neither sing nor dance, is trying to be courteous?

            I get a kick, myself, out of some of your comments _but you_ also write posts that distract, that demonstrate postmodern pedantry, that do not persuade people to demand (to use a high-falutin’ term) justice for these men and women who have helped to betray us and your country.
            But you and I should be pals, yeh?

          3. citizendave

            Successful communication does not depend on perfect command of spelling and grammar. The conversation is advanced by the ideas expressed, and if those ideas are successfully conveyed across the great and deep gulf between human minds, then communication is successful.

            It’s apparent that some here are often tempted to point out linguistic errors — many of us grew up teaching each other — but it is always a distraction from the point of the conversation. An appropriately-ordered sense of priorities would lead us to avoid bandwidth-consuming discussions of grammar and spelling (this post notwithstanding) in favor of teasing out and amplifying the best points made in the comments.

            Consider that we are in a war to save civilization. Battle language does not pause for etiquette. If my attempts to convey meaning only come across as elevation of the noise level, then either ignore me, or seek clarification or disambiguation.

            I try to read and listen with what I think of as my soul. I don’t mean “soul” as a religious concept: a coherent version of myself that would survive the demise of my physical body. I mean “soulful”, as an aspect of a human that has empathy for, and sympathy with, other human beings. It helps to convey meaning if we know that we share some experiential semantic context for the words we use. When we know that we share much the same kind of experience of life, then a few words, a line from a poem or song, can convey clear meaning. If an occasional non-standard construction adds charm or humor (or at least does not hide the intended meaning) it’s a bonus.

            Even our humble blogger could use a proof-reader — but I am confident that I speak for many when I say that the occasional typo “chaff” does not distract me at all from the pursuit of the delicious and nutritious grains of wheat.

      2. McKillop

        “Whose” is the possessive case, I think.
        “Who” is subject(ive): “whom” is object(ive).
        “Who’s” is a contraction of “Who is”.

        I ‘love’ the ‘net: it seems that anytime anyone corrects anyone else’s errors, other errors ironically pop up.
        I also ‘love’ the phenomena of correct English: after years and years of indoctrination we _all_ suffer guilt for our failings and even those of us who are learned in other fields can be knocked down a peg or two.
        I, myself, play the game often -usually when arguing with my spouse.
        All’s fair and all . . . .

        By the bye, my spell-check highlights “English”: even better that a proper noun gets mistakenly marked by the omnipotent! I’m cheered despite my ignorance of concepts economical.

          1. McKillop

            Yep: him and me sorta says the same thing!

            I find a few things amusing about language on the ‘net -and elsewhere, too.
            People who are illiterate must be forgiven for their lack of knowledge , their laziness. Comments here and there are to be accepted despite the poor use of our ‘mother’ tongue.
            In other, more esoteric fields, obvious and repeated basic errors don’t get a by. They’re pounced on. Even banalities are only politely ignored, at best. Usually not.
            Make a ‘minor’ error of any sort -even if the error is obviously an oversight- and expect howls of derision.
            Almost all of the insights and comments that are written _demand_ immediate publication and cannot be proofread before the Submit prompt is used. Especially passionate insults demand publication “right feckin’ now!’.
            Drawing attention to mistakes in English provokes some force to create errors in the posts that do the drawing. Those whose posts contain the errors either ‘minimize’ the errors by writing forced, exaggerated boobs or by attacking the ‘teacher’ as a poor partier who needs to lighten up. Some pretend that what they wrote is brilliant _but only_ fails because of nitpickers.

    1. K Ackermann

      The knowledge I’ve gained from NK is great, but what sets it apart from so many others is the quality of the knowledge. Minimal hyperbole, broad, interesting subjects, and though it leans politically, rather than bashing the other side for sport, it focuses critical attention on the disgraceful state of the side that should do better.

      There are some bloggers from here that I do miss, though. I’m glad you are back here, Skippy. It seems you were gone for a while, but maybe it was my own poor observation. Among many, you, Mr. Kline, and Goin’ South (where are you?!) constantly amaze me with your breadth and depth of knowledge.

      1. skippy

        I took something to its final conclusion (as far as such a thing is possaible, methinks). So enough of that endless distraction, amends.

        Skippy… there were architects to this disaster, they need to be illuminated, have the law inforced upon them and the people told the facts. Nothing less will serve humanity. Anything other, is a defacto cessation of the social contract by the elites and the commonwealth, that has only one out come. As it does not matter whom throws the match, but, whomever poured the oil upon the commons to start with.

  4. Pitchfork

    Mike Wiser misses the point about the false choice between bailouts or doing nothing. It wasn’t just a false choice before the crisis hit and more options were available — it was always a false choice. Moreover, it remains a false choice.

    Wiser quotes Angilides saying that the government was forced into a corner by 2008. But Angilides gets it wrong, too — exactly in the way that Yves had preiously pointed out. It was never a choice between letting the world burn or else bailing out every bank creditor, bondholder and counterparty AND saving executive bonuses. We could have saved the system from total collapse AND inflicted some serious pain on those who earned it and deserved it.

    1. Dan B

      The more-or-less steady rise in the price of oil, from $13 a barrel in 1999 to $147 in July 2008, exposed and intensified the corruption and contradictions in modern finance, politics, and economics. It also exposed the sham of utilitarian/democratic public policy making. Frontline cannot recognize the limits to growth, nor can it imagine that public policy is anything other than of, by, and for the people.

    2. Francois T

      “Angilides saying that the government was forced into a corner by 2008.”

      Angelides only prove that government officials and politicians are paid not to understand finance. The logical (read: What the so-called “Socialist” Sweden did) choice, as per Harry Markopolos and others who know, was to:

      1) wipe out shareholders
      2) tell the bondholders that their paper is worth shit, but they now own banks
      3) the Fed can help bondholders (the new owners) to recapitalize…at certain conditions, such as fire CEO, CFO and compadres for cause, hence, no golden parachute and BS of the same kind.
      4) Regarding item 3) please do not bother us with the canard of “sanctity of contracts” which, Oh! Supreme Mystery, was not even brought up in the discussion when it was time to force auto industry workers to make deep concessions. They ALSO had “sacrosanct” contracts now, didn’t they??

      1. banger

        Well, of course, the problem with the general tenor of your remarks is that they make sense from a systems point of view but not from a political point of view. You cannot expect a six year old child to dunk a basketball nor can you expect the American political system as currently constituted to institute rational policies on any significant matter. Politics and money (the economy) are one and the same and those who have the most power will continue to reap financial benefits from that power and there is absolutely no way out of that at present.

        Rational solutions to collective problems will only be possible when there is a radical cultural change and people tune out the MSM and find ways to both disrupt the system and create islands of sanity where rational living is made possible.

      2. liberal

        “2) tell the bondholders that their paper is worth shit, but they now own banks”

        I thought the history was that the Swedish solution _doesn’t_ involve haircuts for bondholders. And I never heard anything about a debt for equity swap.

      3. Doug Terpstra

        Amen, Francois! The rank hypocrisy vis-a-vis hallowed, holy contracts for the elite alone was simply too much, especially the lying and weaseling by beet-red Senator-Lobbyist Chris Dodd and Banskter Geithner, when called out on bailout bonus protection. Such dishonesty is intolerable.

    3. Mitchn

      Pitchfork, I think you hit the nail on the head. Ritholtz, for one, was a strong voice in favor of the “Swedish” soluotion. But in our crony caitalistic system, no bonuses for obscenely overpaid bankers is a non-starter.

  5. F. Beard

    There was another option – bailout the victims of the banks, the general population, instead of the banks! That would have fixed everyone, including the banks

  6. F. Beard

    There was another option – bailout the victims of the banks, the general population, instead of the banks. That would have fixed everyone, including the banks, from the bottom up. It is STILL the best option.

  7. Christophe

    Yves,
    They probably did not expect you to so openly present their letter in a post, else they might have worked a little harder on their innocent victim tone.

    As it stands, their all-viewpoints-had-to-be-presented-to-help-the-confused-and-uninformed-public-draw-the-prescribed-conclusion defense reads blatantly patronizing of their audience and you. Move along, folks, no bias here. How, when your shredding was too accurate for them to ignore, they hope to hoodwink or intimidate you with that kind of faulty reasoning is a mystery.

    Their letter appears to be the same sort of “accurate and informative telling” (i.e. narrative, storyline, myth, fabrication, fantasy) as their film. Perhaps they honestly cannot see their own bias, which might explain Mr. Wiser being so “baffled.”

    1. Romeo Fayette

      Making a hyperbolic scene does little to facilitate discussion or debate. I can’t speak for Yves or her viewership, but I expect a better caliber of commentary than kicking and screaming.

        1. jsmith

          Let’s see, concern anger reasonable troll # 3.

          Gee, it sure seems that there are many here who just really, really need to keep the “conversation” on track, huh?

          Tell us, what is there still to discuss?

          After Yves and others have helped detail the very real criminality and fraud over the last number of years, you suggest we still need to really talk it over.

          Ok, talk what over?

          The NEW crimes that the elite are continuing to engage in?

          The NEW ways in which the media will cover for and promote such blatant fraud and criminality?

          Let’s never get angry but just continue to calmly discuss and analyze each new malfeasance just like the elite would like us to as they – hello!- keep looting and stealing!!

          I’d really love to hear when it’s ok for people to be pissed off about being stolen from.

          1. seabos84

            IF you can afford to only talk about your garden and your yachts and your limos and your ponies – cuz you got a bandit making sure you got your toys – well, go ahead and pretend that the bandit isn’t the reason you’re frivolous and vapid.
            IF you are aspiring to that $ocial cla$$, well, to fit in you gotta talk like chas salstonstall buffington winthrop MLXXIII.
            IF you don’t know what I’m talking about, and you don’t know that your concern for bad talk just makes you a dupe of the first 2 groups I mention – you’re pathetic.
            rmm.

    2. EH

      I don’t think so. They posted the letter to the PBS Frontline site for the episode the other day.

      1. Christophe

        EH,
        Remember that PBS Frontline’s site has a different audience than this one. How could they expect to hoodwink Yves, who shredded them? And how could they not expect to hoodwink their loyal readers who have already self-selected?

        Always speak to your audience.

        1. Mitchn

          Christophe, do you really think Frontline’s Upper West Side-Berkeley lefty audience is so different from NK’s audience? You say you want a revolution? You better stockpile some food and water and cash out your 401(k) first.

          1. Christophe

            Mitchn,
            So you really think the Upper West Side-Berkeley lefty audience is large enough to keep an MSM television program on the air? Somehow I seriously doubt that Frontline’s average viewer is anywhere near as well-read, progressive, educated, or non-conformist as you are suggesting by your comparison to “NK’s” audience.

    3. C

      Well they did ask to have it posted according to the e-mail.

      With respect to the “all sides had to be presented” claim keep in mind that this is journalism. The need to “present all views” is hammered into journalism students as a basic piece of their organizational epistemology much as scientists are trained not to ignore conflicting data.

      In the right cases this compels good journalists to seek out conflicting opinions and avoid becoming mere publicists. In the wrong or lazy hands this devolves to ask the Democrats and Republicans what they think then stop there or, as may be in this case, to simply ask “the right people” what they thought and assume you have the story.

      1. Dan B

        I suggest that journalists have a mental model of classifying arguments as “absurd, obvious, or interesting.” The actual on the ground rules rules of journalism are not to present all sides but to self-censor on this basis. “Absurd” arguments are ignored because “everyone knows” they are not to be taken seriously -as they often critique the status quo and can get the journalist labeled as troublemaker, not a team player, etc.

  8. jsmith

    Agree to disagree?

    Sure.

    You at Frontline our neo-fascist propagandists while we are commons citizens who no longer slurp up the shite you are propagating.

    You at Frontline are attempting to rewrite history while we are common citizens trying to study it.

    You at Frontline are in the service of the criminal elite while we are common citizens victims of said criminal elite.

    Yes, wholeheartedly let’s agrees to disagree.

    I wonder how deep the sinking feeling is when you realize people are no longer buying the shite you’re peddling?

    Finally, take your “reasonableness”and your attempted framing of debates and shove them up your effin’ fascist asses!!!

  9. mwhi859716

    It seems like the only way to get a detailed perspective on what actually happened before, during, and after the financial meltdown and crisis is to seek the information out independently from our typical national media sources(television, radio, and newspapers). Consider who pays for national media advertising. Money corrupts the truth. Even public television has corporate sponsors and wealthy benafactors. Everyone has a bias. My advice is to get your information from a wide variety of sources,left wing liberal to right wing conservative. Have an open mind. Listen to reason. Question all facts. Use your best judgement. Educate yourself. Form your own opinions.

  10. bob

    “It’s an attempt to provide anaccurate and informative telling of the crisis. Of course, we provide anopportunity for the viewpoint of decision makers to be reflected in the film as well as a chance for critics to raise their objections about how the crisis was handled.”

    There are two sides to the story, and we covered both, pulitzer please?

    It’s too bad really, Frontline used to be a good program. The response reads like a press release in the same style as the apoligists, who never apologized for the “crisis” in the first place.

    1. Carla

      It was clear that Frontline was done as a serious program a couple of years ago when the executive producers changed the content of a documentary on the American Health Care NonSystem to the degree that its writer and director, T.R. Reid, removed his name from the work and refused to be associated with it.

      PBS is just another commercial network, but more insidious than the rest of MSM because of its sanctimoniousness and the unfortunate inclusion of the word “Public” in its name.
      Disgusting, really.

      1. Phichibe

        Thanks for this information. I followed T.R. Reid in the WaPo and on NPR for years, and my respect only increased when his book on the healthcare folly in this country came out. I hadn’t known of his displeasure at the Frontline treatment.

        I’m not ready to impugn PBS as a whole for kowtowing to its sponsors, but if the insurance companies ever pulled their underwriting we’d lose half the shows on PBS (Chubb’s Antique Roadshow connection comes to mind). THat has to give them an overweighted influence, and probably the worst of it is simply unstated – the PBS producers curb themselves simply because they know what will get them in trouble, and the sponsors never have to lift a menacing finger. What a sad situation.

        P

  11. Ray Duray

    Yves,

    Congratulations! You got their attention. And they deem you important enough to thoughtfully reply to your criticisms.

    I’d dearly love to get Lowell Bergman’s and Bill Moyer’s input into this brouhaha. Perhaps we could have you and Lowell on Bill’s show and you can have a round-robin on the decline and not-quite-fall of PBS’s News division as a reality based operation. Failing that, how about recruiting Harry Shearer to host you (and Bergman) again on “Le Show”?

    Mr. Smith and Mr. Wiser are to be commended for addressing your concerns. They are certainly gentlemen and thoughtful ones at that.

    However, I’ve come to the conclusion that any program regarding Wall Street that does not end on a final “Prosecute The Bastards” crescendo is simply pulling its punches and is of no significance, merit or value to America as a going concern. Everything else, as in the Frontline series we’re discussing, is simply whitewash at the wake.

  12. YankeeFrank

    One problem with allowing the “decision makers” so much airtime is that they were completely compromised: they are responsible for the setup to the crisis, as well as for the bank-friendly response. In other words, they have absolutely no credibility, and for Frontline to pretend otherwise is to reframe the debate in service to the corrupt powers that be.

    Additionally, its not just the disaster versus bailout meme, its the bankers as hapless versus bankers as criminals meme. Throughout the series so far, bankers are portrayed as “just trying to do their jobs” instead of pulling the oldest banking scam in history — selling junk as AAA and looting their institutions. With no mention of fraud or looting, that the Frontline producers can take the confused tone they do, belies their class prejudices or perhaps simple dishonesty. Even in the defense above, they stress how Goldman deserved more attention because they “profited” from the CDOs whereas Bear and others “lost” money — once again missing the entire mode of action of the crime — the institution, the “bank” may have lost money, but how did the traders and upper management make out in the years and months prior to the losses by the bank? They miss the entire story by missing the looting aspect, which at this point, given their assertion that they read NC regularly, can only be a willful omission.

    1. Ray Duray

      Dear Frank,

      Re: “They miss the entire story by missing the looting aspect, which at this point, given their assertion that they read NC regularly, can only be a willful omission.”

      Thanks for hitting the nail on the head. You have precisely stated why “Prosecute the Bastards” is my #OWS motto.

      Lest we have further Wall Street feudal obscenities like this erupt all around us: http://www.occupybend.org/news.php?851

      I’d love to see Martin Smith and Mike Wiser take on this 3 AM foreclosure topic and really rile up the PBS faithful. I’m holding my breath Martin & Mike. I don’t know how much longer I can remain hypoxic while you decide whether or not you deign to deal with reality…

    2. Jill

      YankeeFrank,

      Your excellent post reminds me of Bill Bennet, our once national moralizer laureate. When outed as a full blown gambling addict his response was, I don’t have a problem, “I’m up”! No kidding!

      Many here are rightly pointing out the obvious. This behavior by the banks was/is criminal, it was designed that way and their is a solution– criminal investigation with arrests and convictions.

  13. emptyfull

    Yeah, I gotta say this letter is a good sign. While defensive, they seem to actually value Yves’ approval and are openly engaging her and inviting a response. Looking forwad to Yves’ reply.

    1. EH

      Well sure. I imagine they would do that for anybody as popular as Yves who took the data and gave Frontline the Abner Louima treatment with it. I know I reposted the URL in some extremely visible places.

  14. Hugh

    Martin Smith and Mike Wiser don’t get it. Sure, they deign to notice the meltdown and purport to be fair and objective in their analysis. But are they really? I will confine my comments to their letters. There is a significant lack of agency in what these contain. Take CDS, please. [Add rimshot] There is an implicit assumption that CDS responded to a legitimate financial need. But this was never the case. I believe they were deregulated in the 2000 CFMA. But it wasn’t just they were not to be regulated as insurance, but also as gambling. It was known from the start what CDS were: unregulated insurance is unregulated gambling, period. Laying off, or as it was sold at the time “diluting”, risk was just some razzle dazzle for the rubes. CDS were just instruments that gave a patina of fiduciary responsibility to deals that would not otherwise pass the smell test. And of course, it was these very financial interests which lobbied and got written into law this legal patina so that they could engage more freely in what was essentially fraud and looting.

    Smith quotes Brickell talking about the “innovative element” of CDS. Apparently, Smith is unaware that financial innovation was the primary driver behind the frauds that led to the meltdown, and that financial innovation has become synonymous with financial fraud.

    As for AIGFP, Joseph Cassano was selling CDS like candy drops, and AIG CEO Robert Sullivan let him because it was easy money and they never expected to have to pay off on any of the CDS they were selling. As for not knowing what AIG was up to, wouldn’t some general info about AIGFP’s derivative and CDS activities been contained in AIG’s 10-K? I haven’t looked at the ones for years prior to 2008, but I did see the one for 2008 (that came out I believe in early 2009) that general as it was, still gave a pretty good idea of AIGFP’s exposures.

    But to repeat, CDS never fulfilled any legitimate purpose. They were from day one all about the con. Those who used them then were crooks. Smith seems to buy into the Obama line that while there was much misbehavior, little to nothing was criminal.

    Wiser’s letter is shorter, but even more revealing. He didn’t have time to address the Fed special programs. The GAO audit of the Fed showed some $28 trillion in activity in those programs (go to the appendices and add them up the way I did). These programs dwarfed anything else going on in government in response to the crisis, and those were just the special programs. I don’t think we will ever know how much the Fed’s regular programs were used to shore up the banks.

    Then Wiser says he wasn’t saying that it was either bailout or disaster, and then he quotes Phil Angelides saying that that was what it came down to. But that simply isn’t true. Many of us at the time advocated a Swedish model resolution of the banks. And in December 2008 I wrote the first of my yearly lists of the reforms needed to reset the financial system. So no, it never came down ever to just a choice between bailout and disaster. There were always other options. None of them were ever in the cards though because the bankers owned the politicians and one of their own was Treasury Secretary. It was these two facts that made the choice of bailout or disaster inevitable.

    And what’s up with quoting Phil Angelides anyway? It just goes to show how much Wiser doesn’t get it that he would quote repeatedly Angelides. The Angelides Commission filled in some details but its members had no real expertise or enthusiasm to dig into what were the greatest cons, frauds, and looting in history. And they didn’t. Worse they regurgitated what the line that the meltdown was essentially due to the failure of regulators. That is just dishonest from any number of points of view. The bankers owned the politicians who controlled the regulators. They filled their ranks with bankers or simply deregulated various areas of finance. And even if every regulator had fallen over dead, how in any way does that explain away the duty of banks to follow the law (such as it was after they had gotten through rewriting it) or otherwise fail in their fiduciary responsibilities?

    Smith and Wiser’s failure to focus on the criminality of what happened is important because it allows the gutting of our public institutions and the economy and the mammoth transfers of wealth to the richest Americans which have resulted from it to be passed over rather than given the central place they deserve.

    1. SubjectivObject

      There’s the script for a proper documentary right there.

      Frontline: Ewe’r ignorant, just admit it; as good for ewe and all that.

    2. ohmyheck

      Yup.

      If the intention was to make it simple for laypeople, then this video would have done the job:

      http://vimeo.com/3261363

      If making the Third Option, Nationalization/Receivership, simple for the layperson, then this article does a pretty good job: (Title-”Nationalization for Beginners” by James Kwak)

      http://baselinescenario.com/2009/03/09/nationalization-for-beginners/#comment-5989

      And if it’s proof of out-and-out looting, then this article, by Micheal Lewis, about what Steve Eisman ‘fessed up, back in 2008, then this is a great article to read. Plenty on Wall Street knew exactly what was going on. Busted…

      http://www.portfolio.com/news-markets/national-news/portfolio/2008/11/11/The-End-of-Wall-Streets-Boom

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Thanks for the vimeo link. It’s really great. Hire Jonathan Jarvis to do animations for Treasury. Yeah. Maybe they’d find his skills useful a UMKC, working at another level of illustration for such as Michael Hudson and William K. Black. This “video project,” part of Jarvis’ “thesis work” in Pasadena, really should have the voiceover translated for shipment to the MMT followers in Italy, to the new government in France, etc. It’s extremely succinct and clear, and highly enjoyable. It’s probably too intelligent for American couch potatoes, though.

    3. Doug Terpstra

      Frontline never mentions ‘crime’ or ‘fraud’ once in any of the four parts of its propaganda piece. How is that remotely possible without studious effort, including filtering “experts’” comments? It is not even slightly credible as investigative journalism. What the hell happened to [p]BS?

      Martin says, “It is not our job to prosecute, but rather to investigate and explain so as to promote better understanding.” Of course we must painstakingly avoid any mention of prosecution, but not too much investigation either; better to try to explain (away) what happened: “mistakes were made; can’t we all just get along?”. As stenographers for the elite, I hoped Frontline would include an infamous quote by GS’ Lord Bankfiend — perfect for its conclusion:

      Trust us! “Everybody should be, frankly, happy…the financial system led us into the crisis and it will lead us out.” Who’s “us” milord?

    4. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Hugh, even George Soros recommended a bank nationalization program in a timely manner, which fell on totally deaf ears, as if he were a piker in finance.

      1. chitown2020

        Isn’t the ongoing bailout a Nationalization of the FED..? Their dirty little secret the FED calls monetary policy.?!.Bloomberg reported that the FED collects trillions of dollars per month in mortgage money..Bernanke said they use that money to but treasuries with. The Ponzi Scheme with the peoples money rolls on. Fannie and Freddie have sucked billions out of the Treasury and the robbery rolls on and nobody seems to care or maybe they don’t get it. Ron Paul said Friday the FED is collapsing the dollar. Well…Obama and CONgress are allowing it..If the dollar collapses….and the GLOBALISTS at the top of the pyramid are manufacturing it….they are transferring TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN OUR
        WEALTH OVERSEAS MONTHLY…then prepare yourself for the VATICAN
        GOLD BACKED DOLLAR, THE WORLD TAX and The fascist healthcare
        plan……and the microchip. Remember…America IS NOT BROKE…THE FED NEVER LENT US ANY MONEY and this is simply the biggest robbery of our wealth in history….

        1. chitown2020

          I meant to say the OWNERS OF THE FED ARE manufacturing the collapse of the dollar and the rotten economy…..It is all a BIG LIE to rob us of our freedom and Independence.

  15. redleg

    I don’t think the series is that bad. It is vastly oversimplified, but that is what happens when you have 4 hours or less dedicated to it. But I think it is critical of the banks and politicians.
    What I didn’t see is discussion of how those who pass for economists view the default settings as efficient and stable when the reality is the opposite. Also, where’s the discussion of VaR and mark to model FASB pronouncements?
    But most people would not understand these points even if given a week to study them.
    What we – as a community of bloggers and readers – need to remember is that influencing everyone is both impossible and unnecessary. It only takes a critical mass of people who “get it” to force change to happen (for better or worse).

  16. K Ackermann

    This guy is seriously sensitive. Enough that he might be captured.

    Second, you write that we cribbed from Gillian Tett’s “Fool’s Gold.” That’s aserious accusation

    No, it was a throw-away comment on a blog. A serious accusation doesn’t require antennae to pick up.

    1. Jeff B

      Also, I should know better than to check a comment that mentions typos very carefully, as making a typo is inevitable.

      1. Chris Rogers

        Jeff,

        It’s a live blog and we all make grammatical errors, if we did not, we’d not be human.

        If this were physical printed media, why yes, its important to be correct and right mistakes, but on blogs we should not let the grammar fascists put us down.

          1. JTFaraday

            Yeah, this place turned into a regular Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood today. And then he came out with this one:

            “this time I’ll not hold back my punches – “SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU FOOL.””

            1. Chris Rogers

              Regrettably, some seem not to like reasoned dialogue and politeness – so, as demonstrated, one can swing both ways.

              However, I do find it strange that now I’m a member of the apologists for the excesses of the kleptocracy – regrettably, my bank balance sheet suggests otherwise, and I certainly won’t live in hope of filling them with ill-gotten gains.

              I suggest a Bible quote from Mr. Beard will come in handy here.

              1. F. Beard

                I suggest a Bible quote from Mr. Beard will come in handy here. Chris Rogers

                This occurs to me:

                But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. James 3:17

                The above is not exactly my debating style yet, I’ll be the first to admit!

                1. Chris Rogers

                  F. Beard,

                  Many thanks for that considerate quote it’s quite surprising that the Bible can offer words of wisdom in instances of displeasure – obviously I shall atone for ones sins – tis a pity our ruling elite do not understand this fact of life.

                  1. McKillop

                    Anger is merely an emotion that can be ‘expressed’ in many ways. It passes.
                    Comments and arguments _must_ be reasonable (sorry gsmith: don’t get mad, o.k. bro’?): even songs and poetry and, oh, jazz, require some control and artifice. Hammering hands and heads against walls and innocent bystanders is for the naturals among us.

              2. SubjectivObject

                I like reasoned dialog and truth in sentiment; when i’m pissd, yer gonna kno bout it.

    2. Doug Terpstra

      Martin Smith seems to equate Yves “cribbing” charge to plagiarism, but it’s not the same at all. Frontline’s credit to Tett avoids plagiarism, but its significant ‘borrowing’ is nevertheless an investigative “shortcut” that still amounts to cribbing, a lesser form of cheating. I can use crib notes on a test without plagiarism.

  17. S Brennan

    Martin, I watched the report before hearing it critiqued here. When I saw all the administration supporters lined up and giving the old straw man “we only had two choices, our plan..or disaster…thank god we were there” I knew I was in for a Pravda special. When I saw you brought on Obama’s press apparatchik [and my old high school classmate] Jon Alter whose beat lies outside of the field of finance…I asked my self does this producer really what to be PBS answer to the “Simpson’s Smithers? As the show progressed it became apparent, you had no fear of being labeled Smithers for life.

    One telling scene is where you try to make Obama look well informed and McCain a fool by relating that Obama had inside people participating in the Bailout talks. You show that they were relating to him the giveaways while McCain had no such insider and so was caught flat footed when questioned about the larceny. Uhmm…did it ever cross your mind to think…that might cut the other way? Maybe people may actually prefer a president who is not be fully involved in the greatest theft of public funds in world history…hmmm?

  18. bulfinch

    Martin seems earnest enough in his response here; the enusing back ‘n’ forth should prove very interesting. I believe he really must be a fan of your writing, Yves, (though, apparently, not of your reading), as I detect something of a wincing quality throughout his letter, caused whenever someone we genuinely respect calls us or our work to task.

  19. Anonymous Jones

    I love that all the commenters here think the letter is defensive but the posts and hysterical rebuttals in comments are not. It couldn’t be that you already made up your minds and are stridents (and worse sometimes, dilettantes) who can’t take anything that isn’t 100% toeing the line along with your hyper specific views.

    There’s a word for people who cannot agree to disagree on issues of complexity and preference upon which reasonable minds can disagree…that word is miserable.

    I don’t think the letter is nearly as ‘defensive’ in the pejorative sense as most of the rebuttals I normally see here in comments to this site, but I’m sure that’s because I’m evil and part of the elites or somehow hoodwinked or delusional.

    It amazes me that no one here ever changes their opinion on anything when something is proposed as a rebuttal. I get that even maybe 90% of my rebuttals might be wrong. But that not a single person to whom I have ever proposed an alternate point of view on this site has ever thought that I might have a point. I have a point 0% of the time? That seems implausible to me. Maybe it’s true but still, it seems implausible.

    There are things on this site that are incredibly compelling. I have learned so much. I have been reading it daily for over four years. The 12 things to hate about the mortgage settlement, for instance, was so great and so valuable that I can hardly find the words to express my admiration and awe at the intelligence, wisdom and power of the argument presented. It is truly humbling to watch someone of Yves’ ability reach what I find as the apex of compelling analysis and prose. I wish that I had her abilities or even a fraction thereof.

    At the same time, I do not always agree. With her or her acolytes. When she begins a post by comparing someone’s actions to fellating, I long for the serious and careful words that are found in what I consider the better posts. Not everyone has to agree. All sorts of arguments are more or less compelling depending on the eye of the beholder. I get that.

    I guess my point is this…

    I have a difficult time believing, given the supposedly objective tests that I’ve dominated on a relative basis my entire life, that I’m stupid on a relative basis. I have a difficult time believing, given my relatively large amount of experience, that I have tremendously more ignorance than the others who comment here. I have a difficult time believing that I’m closed minded given that I constantly seek out the mostly compelling information on this site. I have a difficult time believing that I’m delusional when I constantly say I’m skeptical and that I know absolutely nothing about almost everything. I only try to school people when it’s clear that they claim to know something that it’s reasonably clear they cannot know such a thing with the confidence that they purport to.

    Sorry, I know it is self serving but I do trust in Bertrand…the trouble with the world is that the intelligent are full of doubt and the ignorant cocksure.

    At the very least, those who express their doubt or acknowledge that they may not know everything (by trying, for example, to present alternate views in a short documentary) are not necessarily doing so out of nefarious intent or because they are stupid. At least I doubt that.

    I will also continue to doubt those who comment here and rage with their 100% certainty that they know everything and anyone who disagrees one iota must be wrong.

    1. William Wallace

      “I have a difficult time believing, given my relatively large amount of experience, that I have tremendously more ignorance than the others who comment here.”

      Anonymous, many of the engineers at the top are confirmed sociopaths, you just don’t have the experience to comprehend thier complicated darkness.

      Or do you want me to believe you have been a confirmed sociopath engineering things from the top? As citigroup chairman reed said about his old friend sandy weil, the man was a greedy pig and always talking about getting more moeny, not becoming of the professional class john reed thought they were part of.

      In defense of frontline, I think thier previous special on brooksely borne was very well done and illuminating to the failures of greenspan, rubin, summers and others.

    2. Chris Rogers

      It would seem fair to say that any effort to highlight the causes of the 2008 meltdown must be welcome and making documentaries about the subject area is not as simple as many believe.

      Further, and in defence of the producers of the show, many posters do not seem to comprehend that PBS is publicly funded and its funding is no where near close to that of other mainstream broadcasters – further, given the neoliberals hatred of anything publicly funded – or something that does not benefit them directly – PBS has to walk a tightrope if it is to avoid litigation, and you chaps in the US are famed for your litigation on anything and everything.

      So, lets be fair, the producers are aware that the 2008 crisis was caused by multiple events dating back many years and have tried to encapsulate this in a show that runs for a few hours, a show that will be watched by 1000′s of laypersons – many of whom would not know what a CDS was it if bit them on the arse.

      Yes, and without watching the programme, no doubt mistakes were made – always an issue on tight budgets – and their conclusions may not be as explicit as those of many posters on this site.

      But, lets be clear, they did a good show on Brooksley Born and her efforts to control derivatives – this show may not reach those levels, but at least their heart is in the right place.

      Indeed, the only true error I can see is a reliance on Gillian Tett – who’s not exactly banking and financial services unfriendly.

      In summation, I’ll utilise one name they should have utilised from day-one – WILLIAM BLACK.

    3. bulfinch

      “When she begins a post by comparing someone’s actions to fellating, I long for the serious and careful words that are found in what I consider the better posts.”

      The path to forming ideas is littered with the sparks that go flying in the forging process; I like that Yves leaves some of them in the mix now and then.

      IMO, fellatio as a metaphor for fealty is pretty tame stuff, and in the given context, provided just enough bluntness without being explicit or crass to anyone over the age of 14. I suppose you could accuse the author of a little bathos, but it’s not like some descent into low brow. Seriousness and carefulness are fine and well — but they go great with a little vinegar now and then.

      Lighten up, AJ.

      1. McKillop

        My own discontent with the use of ‘fellatio’, and its variations -especially the forceful c***sucker, full of anger and disdain and gloriously vulgar- is that such use perverts a pleasurable, sensual, action into something reprehensible.
        The sexual guilt plays out.
        Considering that the politicians and other ‘leaders’ in the past years have enabled or committed theft, ‘misconduct’ against the laws of the Constitution, torture and possible (sic) war crimes, and so on and so on, I have become more judicious in my opinion. Still, either asterisks or Latin terms are needed, but not for torturer, thief, murderer, or rapist.
        Even if done through necessity or for reward, the act is more a blessing than any of the behaviours mentioned: the agents of those behaviours are usually evil.
        Some of the people most beloved by me . . . .

    4. Philip Pilkington

      “At the very least, those who express their doubt or acknowledge that they may not know everything (by trying, for example, to present alternate views in a short documentary) are not necessarily doing so out of nefarious intent or because they are stupid.”

      No, it’s quite simple. They are trying to be ‘reporters’. Balanced reporters. But balance requires a functioning system of governance, regulation and law and order. Thus, reporters can trust a judge to pass sentence on a burglar and then report the outcome without giving the offender a channel to air his grievances.

      The 2008 crisis was completely different. It was a hornets nest of regulatory capture, dark alliances, campaign financing and insider meddling. There was no judge to pass sentence and so the MSM finds itself in a hopeless position — trying to promote balance, but merely coming off as shills.

      The simple fact — and it was a hard fact for me, as a jouranalist, to learn: but a functioning establishment media requires a functioning establishment. Once the latter succumbs to rot, the former — in its quest for an imagined ‘neutrality’ — becomes Pravda.

    5. jsmith

      Thank heavens we have such “reasonable” people as yourself in the world.

      Why, without your calmness and sagacity none of us would be able to move forward as a society.

      You are to be constantly commended for keeping the faux debates the elite have set up for us chugging along.

      Thanks, pal!!!

      I was going to give you a longer rebuttal but let me coin a new phrase just for people like you.

      Reasonable troll is reasonable.

      1. jsmith

        Adding:

        I mean just when is it ok to finally say, “Enough!”, Mr. Reasonable?

        Do you need the elite to siphon off trillions of MORE dollars before your reasonableness starts to fade?

        What, do we need to bring back breadlines and debtor’s prisons before your stolid wall of reasonability starts to crumble?

        Come on, man, it’s been 4 years and yet you would like to debate some more?!!

        I’m sure the WOT is another issue up for debate too, right?

        Maybe we should wage decades more of war, throw away the lives of thousands and thousands of more innocent people and toss trillions of more dollars in the shitter because well maybe we just haven’t argued all angles of the issue yet, right?

        Sometimes in life you have to stop being “reasonable” and just say, enough!

        1. jsmith

          “The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him… The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself… All progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

          George Bernard Shaw

      2. McKillop

        You might be writing with a justifiable anger: the terms that you use will lead to a quick dismissal of what you say by anyone who is not already convinced. It will not do your cause any good.
        Our terms of abuse, near and dear to us in our need to express our conviction of great harm done, are used by everyone for any reason.
        It’s easy to dismiss the person who stands across the road from my home, cursing either at the tree or invisible inhabitants.
        It’s why, I think, lawyers are hired -those cussin cusses of cusses!

          1. McKillop

            Huh?
            Get a life?
            I ‘ve got one, thanks. With a kid in grade two that mimics his two older brothers who have mimicked their dad’s vulgarities and blasphemies and curses and whatnots for years.
            But we’re working on change.
            Where I live (no nambie-pambie “middle-class” neighbourhood) the words used daily are the same as those used to express anger: in anger, just shouted.
            I guess it’s context(?). Witty metaphor? Get a life? C’mon.

    6. CaitlinO

      “the trouble with the world is that the intelligent are full of doubt and the ignorant cocksure. ”

      Thank you for that quote. It does seem to capture an awful lot that’s wrong in society.

      Is there anyone more adamant than the wrong-headed?

    7. SubjectivObject

      Their trillions of malfeasance against our words to describe their quality of being.

      What words when the rage finds no outlet? Hint: There will be no more place for words.

    8. jake chase

      Don’t confuse being intelligent with being even handed. When you have enough information conclusions about the financial crisis are easy, but without enough information any charlatan can sound reasonable to a world of idiots who know nothing except that the price of houses cratered and the unemployment lines have gotten longer.

    9. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Oh, get a grip. Gain a new perspective. Life can be fun. And surely witty, when Yves gets into her vivid metaphors.

  20. backwardsevolution

    I started watching the second hour, and within a few seconds I was yelling at the screen.

    I flipped to another channel, came right back to give them another try, and within a few seconds was again yelling at the TV screen.

    Investigative journalism?

    I could have done a better job! Disappointing.

    1. evodevo

      Yes, I agree wholeheartedly. I, too, have been doing a lot of yelling at “economists” on teevee lately. It annoys my husband no end. Is there an app for that?
      Love all the commentary on this article. Can’t wait for Yves’ reply.

  21. Brooklin Bridge

    These are the “gatekeepers”, those who specialize in keeping public information private.

  22. Andre

    I saw the head of Frontline on Boton public TV a while ago and she made the statemeent that she could not use things because the government didn’t want them to (it was not about this series but another show they did – which is really irrelevent)and my only question about that is, who do they work for, the government, or us the citizens of this country??????????

    1. LeeAnne

      Here’s an example of who they are and who they work for. Its hard to keep telling lies, particularly when it involves your very identity.

      about Alan Greenspan’s wife:

      NBC’s Andrea Mitchell made what some may call a not-so-Freudian slip on her daily cable news show that broadcasts on MSNBC.

      Mitchell asks former Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD) what he thinks of Republican criticism that “we” are politicizing the bin Laden killing. Mitchell quickly corrected herself and said it is the White House that is being accused of politicizing the event.

      Actual quote from Andrea Mitchell: “What do you think of the Republican criticism that we are politicizing it — that the White House, I should say, is politicizing it?”

      http://www.sodahead.com/united-states/andrea-mitchell-slips-up-says-we-instead-of-white-house-politicizing-obl/question-2628025/

  23. chunga

    Glossy cinematography aside, this carpenter from Massachusetts did a better job than the PBS puff piece.

    Who Is Bob Marley?

    This Amicus Curiae is only 18 pages long. Frontline should have just shown this for two hours.

    His latest brief (that I’m reading now) is so on the mark he has been invited to make oral arguments before the high court.

    Yes, a carpenter with a word processor.

    Well done Yves. You struck a nerve.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      chunga, thanks for the link. Bob Marley is a shining example of the value of participatory open democracy.

      You notice he likens the good ship “Securitization” to the “Titanic”. Isn’t it intriguing that JPMorgue’s name always seems to be involved? And how about the good ship “MFGlobal” as well?

      Bob Marley is a real hero, and he doesn’t need the M-I Complex to prove it.

      A lot of NC Blogs, LINKS, comments and comment links have helped to raise awareness and empower the People. This surely was the vision of our Founders when they empowered us with rights to free speech and freedom of the press.

      1. chunga

        Glad you read it.

        He’s obviously very intelligent, passionate, and works very hard.

        He wrote those briefs and they aren’t his cases.

        I’ve been linking it around because sometimes all it takes is a little spark.

  24. Philip Pilkington

    Looks like a case of the ‘tyranny of balance’ to me. Left-leaning media needs to get a clue when it comes to certain issues. From time to time ‘balance’ — a dubious construct — need not be respected. When a court convicts a child rapist you don’t have to give his viewpoint. Let’s just say that the jury isn’t altogether ‘out’ on the events of 2008.

  25. LeeAnne

    The entire premise of the series and its purpose is to reinforce this story and imbed it as history:

    “The real question is,how did it come to be that this nation found itself with two stark, painfulchoices, one of which was to wade in and commit trillions of dollars tosave the financial system, where we still end up losing millions of jobs,millions of people lose their homes, trillions of dollars of wealth is wipedaway, and the other choice is to face the risk of total collapse. That’s the real story.”

    An extremely well crafted line. Its possible the producers are captive to that story -very possible, given the depth and length of the US propaganda machine -an entire generation from cradle to grave -state/corporatocracy sponsorship guaranteed. The one guarantee you can depend upon in America.

    The PTB are determined to write history their way. Its the absence of a free press that’s the rub -only Internet bloggers are free to criticize the company line -for now.
    So, although I welcome the producers’ response to Yves criticism, taking Yves seriously as they should; at the same time, its the absence of a Free Press that allows them to get away with this in the first place. The producers have very few critics to deal with because those voices that would have prevented or at least added some balance to the story, most of whom depend upon the employment power matrix for their economic survival have long ago been eliminated from MSM.

    We forget that a Free Press, with its job to follow, confront and put fear into power -if it had existed rather than being swallowed up by Wall Street M&A incorporation- would have added a big dose of prevention to the crimes perpetrated and lead by finance these last 30 years.

  26. chitown2020

    The traitor politicians in both parties, the crooks at the Treasury Dept. and the FED and their banks have made life a living hell for millions of Americans. It is way past time they are all held accountable.

  27. Chris Rogers

    i don’t get the anger on this thread currently, and given I’ve yet to see the documentary in question its difficult to be critical of that particular programme.

    But, and in the interests of fairness, those responsible for the programme were criticised heavily on NC, they had the goodness to respond and try and correct some misconceptions.

    The topic area is not as simple as some would like it to be, indeed, the buildup to this crisis goes all the way back to Nixon and his decision to float the US$ – the Petrodollar strategy – its been downhill since and neoliberals the world over have amassed great influence and great wealth as a result – none of which is in the interests of Joe Blogs.

    I understand where many are coming from, and if it were up to me, a few of the perpetrators of the greatest fraud/theft in history would be swinging from lamp posts – obviously, PBS cannot call for this.

    If we wish for someone to blame, lets look at our politicians first and the failure of the global community to tame the beast, then look at the judiciary in the US, lobbyists and all those that profit from the mess.

    The reporters in question are decent chaps, they may even post here and under a false name call for the bastards to be hung – they are not kleptocracy shrills. And, anyway, I’d never deny anyone a job in the current economic crisis unless they were actually part of the problem, rather than those who suffer.

    However much the elite may be detested, its important to remain sober and thoughtful – lets not behave like those that caused the mess – we really are much better than that and much better than them!!!!!

    1. jsmith

      Sheesh, I wish I could securitize the nickels I would get for every “concern”, “anger” or “reasonable” troll on a NC thread.

      “Let’s not be too hasty…”

      “The story’s really complex…”

      “The media aren’t the villains…”

      So, when are we supposed to get angry at the media?

      After they aid and abet millions of people losing their jobs?

      Already happened.

      After they aid and abet millions of people losing their retirement savings?

      Already happened.

      After after they aid and abet millions of people losing their homes?

      Already happened.

      Tell me, anger troll, should I be angry at the media for lying us into the slaughter of thousands of thousands of innocent people over the the last 10 years of the WOT?

      Or should I just chalk another one up to those well-meaning media boobs who just – shucks – always seem to get the story wrong in a way which benefits the elite?

      Go away concerned reasonable anger troll.

      And here’s a tip: don’t get between people and their rightfully-placed rage.

      There’s nothing worse than having someone try and tell you that you don’t have reason to feel the way you do.

      1. Chris Rogers

        I understand your anger, but I think you are focusing on the wrong individuals/ TV Channel in the USA.

        PBS is a publicly funded broadcaster in the USA, the only one in fact and exists on very limited public funding – your enemies, that is those that caused all the abuses you mention, those who wrote about them in the media and those that trumpeted the financialisation of the US economy, and in tandem, the UK economy, these are the guilty parties – it is an abuse to accuse PBS of this or lump them in the same boat.

        you, as I, have been sold out by crooked and greedy politicians, media hacks, lobbyists et.al. all in the pay of the kleptocracy – that the public via its taxes has bailed these vermin out for their own excess, personal greed and lust for power, that, that is the real tragedy and the real story.

        I suppose you’d be more happy if PBS gave its enemies, that is your enemies, an excuse to close down PBS by removing its funding for being too political, biased and a drain on scarce public resources – trust me this is what awaits PBS – it certainly does not await FOX.

        The reality is this, given the elites aversion to the truth, or anything that comes near the truth, it is a sad day when freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and the right to a fair trial is curtailed – but that’s the USA and UK today – if PBS called it for actually what it is, it would be closed down in an instant by the Neoliberals – under such circumstances I understand well how carefully the reporters had to tread.

        So, in my humble opinion, your anger on this occasion is directed at the wrong individuals, begin with Obama first and work your way down via Hollywood, Wall Street and the real crooks.

        The reporters/producers of this programme are not shrills for Wall Street so please give it a break and turn your attention to those in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Hearald Tribune, Economist and thousands of other outlets that allowed this crisis – not your country’s only publicly funded media outlet, one that has contributed much to the fabric of your nation and one that is under great financial duress presently – do not add your name to its list of mouth foaming neoliberal fanatics who wish to close it down in an instant.

        1. jsmith

          No, you don’t understand.

          Just like the Frontline program “Bush’s War” (2008) – which aired 5 years after the beginning of the Iraq War – this program similarly seeks to stamp the seal of officialdom approval on the events of 4-5 years ago.

          If you don’t remember, THAT program was also a whitewash of the actual events that lead to the Iraq war complete with bullshit stories about how the members of the Bush administration all were really wrestling with idea of going to war in Iraq.

          Oh, they were so concerned, huh?

          Puhleez.

          Sure, both programs look like they are actually taking a hard and critical look at history but in reality it’s a cleverly crafted propagandistic product that is delivered with near impeccable gravitas.

          Shall we review the piece of shit “Looking for Answers” that Frontline did less than ONE MONTH after the 9/11 attacks?

          Gee, they sure were able to whip out a definitive statement on the origins of Bin Laden, Al Qaeda and the rest of the Islamist terror network – with the help of the NYT, to boot – within a number of weeks yet it took them 4 f*cking years to cover the financial crisis, huh?

          Hmmmmm, that’s weird.

          When the elite need a story that bolsters their designs, Frontline is there when they need them.

          When the elite need a story shitcanned and packaged to make it look better, why Frontline is there to sit on the story for years and then give it a bias only a banker or member of the MIC could really be proud of.

          As it appears you’re not familiar with how vastly superior the propaganda system in the US is, let me help you out:

          EVERYTHING in the MSM is propaganda. NPR, Frontline, MSNBC, FOX.

          All of it.

          Sure, you can pick your flavor but the same discussion/thought parameters exist wherever you may choose to go.

          You gotta wake up, man.

          1. jsmith

            Adding:

            Once Frontline does THE supposedly definitive piece on a subject, that’s the elite’s – meaning professional talking heads and “journalists”, as well – cue that the story is dead and it’s time move on.

            No more needs to be discussed.

            No more needs to said.

            The “serious” Frontline man really took the elite to town and now it’s time for us to “look forward and not back”.

            Leftish viewers can pat themselves on the back that they stayed up late to learn something about the very serious world that Frontline talks about and now they can go back to caring about the Presidential horse-race!!

            Bliss.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      CR, yes, the petrodollar scam has been mentioned here in the past.

  28. chitown2020

    Just wanted to add. The Documentary entitled: Plunder the Crime of our Time by Danny Schecter that was aired on RT NEWS a few months ago was really good. It was still on you tube last I checked. it is well worth the watch. It really explains very well what THEY did and how it has effected the lives of the people. Then Inside Job blows the whistle on who some of the traitors are.

  29. Jill

    Mr Wiser writes: “In any case, it is not our job to prosecute,…”

    Duh! It is your job to tell the public our laws were clearly broken by members of the banking elite. These prosecutions are not optional under US law any more than failure to prosecute for war crimes is an “option”. Prosecutions are mandatory for war and financial crimes. Instead, in addition to the banking elites, Obama and the DOJ get a free pass.

    I believe Mr. Wiser thinks most people don’t understand the law, not the proper role of the DOJ and the president who takes an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States. Leaving all this out is clearly not reporting. It is propaganda.

  30. LeonovaBalletRusse

    “It seems you have misunderstood our documentary.”

    They tell you how to “get with the program,” Yves. Chop chop!

  31. Phichibe

    Yves,

    I hope you continue to nail them. I found the lionization of the JP Morgan team that devised CDSs to be utterly dishonest and lacking in framing the ‘big picture’. In a properly regulated FIRE sector, the JP Morgan bankers would have been fined or even indicted for insurance fraud: they created an insurance product that deliberately flouted the regulations that have governed the introduction of new insurance products, not to mention new insurance companies, for many decades. Martin Smith should have looked up the name “Samuel Insull” to understand what past insurance fraud did to its victims, and why insurance has been a regulated industry since then.

    If you or I created an insurance company that had little or no reserves or loss provisions we’d be shut down in a heartbeat by state regulators. JP Morgan’s team did this, and their oh-so-photogenic women get to pose on camera as more-in-sorrow-than-anger wise women who could only look on the folly of the rest of Wall Street in “misapplying” the great new thing they created. Nauseating, about sums it up.

    P

    1. F. Beard

      Reading of Samuel Insull in wiki, he doesn’t seem bad at all.

      What’s your source, may I ask?

      1. Phichibe

        F.

        Insull was one of the villains of the 1930s (20s?) because he started a finance/insurance company that lacked reserves/resources to back the policies issued. Here’s something I found in the Wikipedia piece:

        “Insull controlled an empire of $500 million with only $27 million in equity.[19] (Due to the highly-leveraged structure of Insull’s holdings, he is sometimes wrongly credited with the invention of the holding company.) His holding company collapsed during the Great Depression, wiping out the life savings of 600,000 shareholders. This led to the enactment of the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935.”

        It also says he was found not guilty by a jury, but then again so was OJ Simpson and the cops who beat Rodney King, so I take this with a large grain of salt.

        BTW, I will double check my sources on Insull and his role in setting up fraudulent/underfunded insurance companies that were unable to meet policy redemptions, it’s not impossible I made a mental slip of Insull and another of the 30s financial villains. That said, in the Chicago in which I grew up (1960s/1970s) Insull’s name was synonymous with financial peculation and fraud. THe Wiki article is a questionable gloss on his life and career.

        BTW2: I’m working a response to your response to my questions/comments on the earlier thread on the boguses of liquidity defenses for modern financial innovations. I hope we can continue that one as well as I would like to understand your position on debt and currency more clearly.

        P

        1. F. Beard

          I look forward to further correspondence with you. I am an engineer by trade but finance has bothered me for decades. Our current finance system is both brilliant and crooked. I hope we can enhance the former and eliminate the later.

  32. bobh

    I only watched a part of the first Frontline segment and found it annoying. Like others, I bridled at its acceptance of the idea that there were only two choices: the end of the world or capitulation to the bailouts.

    What I did find interesting was the depiction of the Obama/McCain showdown at the White House, after McCain called off his campaign to focus on the crisis and then showed up unprepared and flustered, unable to make sense of the notes he got from his handlers. That event, I realized, was the moment when it should have been clear that Obama was safely controlled by the shock doctrine criminals.

    All the alternatives to what eventually happened were still on the table: haircuts for bondholders, equity wipeouts, nationalization of insolvent banks, reinstatement of New Deal regulatory practices, imposition of new controls on derivatives, criminal prosecutions for fraud, caps on bonuses, etc.

    There was a serious, widely recognized national crisis happening. Fear and anger were palpable in the country, but, even so, large majorities of voters opposed the bailouts, including conservative Republicans who were balking at the abandonment of capitalism implicit in them. McCain, who was embarrassing himself in public and was tied to a an even more transparently mediorce running mate, was unelectable.

    This was a moment when Obama could have called for a mix of the measures that were needed to regain control of the toxic financial sector which, almost four years later, is still undermining our economy and society. It would have been a tough fight to pull this off in the Congress, but, had Obama argued for this agenda, he would have walked into the presidency and set the political agenda for the next two years at least.

    Instead he endorsed the bailout with no strings attached and never looked back. In the days and months after his election, he gave control to Summers, Geithner, Rubin and others of their ilk, and it became increasingly clear who we had elected.

    I do think, though, that there was a moment in time, in mid-Septemeber ’08, when a better, principled politician representing the Democratic party might have been able to make things turn out differently.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      bobh, Obama dropped the ball in order to “fix” the profiteering positions of BigMedPharma. Don’t forget that Michelle was in deep with the “Health Care Industry” for big bucks. Maybe the “Health Care” payola was first on the agenda because Michelle wears the pants in the family, and he had to pay off her “friends” first. Besides, turning his attention immediately to “health care” and away from the proper handling, if not the prosecution of crime, in the monopoly finance realm allowed him to “serve his constituents” at one time: “health care” cronies through action, “finance” cronies through inaction. Sweet. Chicago Style.

      1. chitown2020

        The politicians are all corrupt and dangerous. Being that John McCain helped draft some of the most fascist parts of the NDAA, he would have been no better or worse. The 2 parties are a criminal bunch of useless traitors.

  33. Carbonel

    This is what the May 2012 Monthly Review (the socialist magazine) has on its cover, quoting John Bellamy Foster and Robert W. McChesney from their piece “The Endless Crisis”: “The world is being subjected to a process of monopolistic capital accumulation so extreme and distorted that not only has it produced the Great Inequality and conditions of stagnation and financial instability, but also the entire planet as a place of human habitation is being put in peril in order to sustain this very system. Hence, the future of humanity–if there is to be one at all–now lies with the 99%.”

  34. Hugh

    Smith and Wiser are Upton Sinclair men:

    It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.

    Some would say let it go. They may be shills but at least they are very sincere shills and they are very well-mannered ones. They were just doing their best. They might even believe what they are saying, and even if they don’t, we should not condemn them because the system they operate in wouldn’t let them tell the truth anyway.

    Sure, they miscast the problem and keep their discussion within the parameters set by those who created it. And while it’s true that without a clear understanding of the problem, we don’t have a prayer of coming up with successful solutions to it, it just seems a little mean spirited to drag them over the coals about it. Personally, I think our time would be much better spent going after those insufferable know-it-all little pricks who were right about this stuff and didn’t have to wait 4 years for the good people at Frontline to give us the approved version of what happened. We all should be grateful for their efforts. While they do not explain anything and misinform, it is good to know they are on our side. With friends like these, how can we lose? Well quite easily in fact, but at least we can all feel warm and fuzzy going down.

  35. Unsympathetic

    Angelides is not a source of anything except disinformation.

    He is a career politician whose actual business experience is.. being the president of a land development corporation.

    Of course he concluded that the regulators “ignored” things — because that’s what he was paid/influenced to say. He didn’t [Frontline didn't] mention that the reason the SEC didn’t take action is because their ability to take those actions was removed via the lack of a budget.

  36. Lloyd C. Bankster

    Can we all just get along?

    Trillions in the form of bailouts is not a crime. Taking out “longevity swaps” and profiting from the early demise of people whose life insurance policies you’ve “bet” on is not a crime.

    As Roger Lowenstein reminded us in his excellent piece “Wall Street: Not Guilty”, in the American legal system people who act badly or unwisely do not do time.

    The proof that no crimes were committed is there have been no indictments.

    Crime is when a homeless man robs a Louisiana bank and takes a $100 bill.

    Instead of being upset by the trillions that went to bail out Wall Street, you should be upset by this low-life criminal stealing $100:

    http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/265402#ixzz1uDK9BcMX

  37. LeeAnne

    Mr. Rogers, your arguments are suspiciously devoid of seriousness let alone the kind of passion for truth daily practiced on this blog.

    Masguerading as servants of the public while creating news out of whole cloth is worse than Pravda, known to everyone as nothing more than propaganda. Revealing disinformation for what it is is a noble occupation. The kind of propaganda being discussed here that’s practiced in the US is incidious; not even possible before TV. This kind of propaganda, thrown into the stew of the day’s entertainment, has the double whammy of combining disinformation with the fostering of intentional internecine friction between those who, forced to rely on popular outlets for news, know nothing but feel like they’re informed [like you], and those who know when somethings up and have the tools, time and mentality to do the research necessary to cut through the muck -the muck that is financed illegally with $Billions annually of taxpayer funds.

  38. LeeAnne

    Somehow this went to the wrong place.

    Mr. Rogers, your arguments are suspiciously devoid of seriousness let alone the kind of passion for truth daily practiced on this blog.

    Masguerading as servants of the public while creating news out of whole cloth is worse than Pravda, known to everyone as nothing more than propaganda. Revealing disinformation for what it is is a noble occupation. The kind of propaganda being discussed here that’s practiced in the US is incidious; not even possible before TV. This kind of propaganda, thrown into the stew of the day’s entertainment, has the double whammy of combining disinformation with the fostering of intentional internecine friction between those who, forced to rely on popular outlets for news, know nothing but feel like they’re informed [like you], and those who know when somethings up and have the tools, time and mentality to do the research necessary to cut through the muck -the muck that is financed illegally with $Billions annually of taxpayer funds.

    1. Chris Rogers

      In reference to your post – which is wildly OTT – if you read what I’ve stated in type, you will note that I’ve clearly detailed I’ve yet to see the offending programme/documentary and, in my own defence, the last PBS broadcast I watched was the documentary concerning how Brooksley Born was thwarted by Greenspan, Rubin and Levitt in trying to regulate derivatives – this in my humble opinion was a good documentary.

      As someone who’s far further to the Left than you are allowed to be in the USA – I am after all British – and, who resides in China, I believe I have a firm grasp of propaganda, censorship and oligarchic power structures.

      Also having had the pleasure of reading a large volume of work by Chomsky and many related peers, one’s quite aware about the influence of the Fourth Estate, particularly given the fact that a huge amount of your media channels are owned by six corporations – none of whom are known for their fondness of those who do not adhere to the party line, in the USA this means 100% support for unfettered capitalism regardless of the humane cost – the 2008 financial crisis is but a by product of this, given the media owners are the same members of the kleptocracy who steal from you and many others on a daily basis.

      Given that the 2008 crisis has actually cost the US economy approx. US$10 trillion – bailout costs, hidden continued support to finance and the value of lost production as a result of 5 years of recession/depression – you have a right to be angry – however, your venom would be better directed at more formidable foes, rather than two lowly hacks working for PBS.

      I appreciate your concern that we expect better from PBS and that the reporters/producers could have done perhaps a better job, i.e., CDS script is but a worthless piece of paper that has no contractual obligation whatsoever on behalf of the party selling it – please refer to AIG who’s bailout was paid for by you not to honour the actual CDS’s it sold, but rather to stop Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and numerous other systemically important financial institutions from failing as the house of cards ponzi scheme imploded.

      Unlike you, I do not deny people employment, am of the opinion the reporters in question are not choirboys for Wall Street indeed, and if you have knowledge of UK media, much as I detested the Murdock owned Sunday News of the World, I certainly did not rejoice when he closed it down and threw more than 250 persons onto the dole – all for the mistakes of a few senior executives.

      This is where I come from – I’m proud to call myself a Socialist and desire no harm to anyone – obviously I’d like the perpetrators of the 2008 crisis prosecuted, but as in the UK, our laws have been so corrupted and abused by the ruling elite that they are useless unless directed in their personal favour.

      Now, you can criticise me as much as you like, but those who know me personally know I’ve done my bit to highlight the causes of the 2008 crisis, how this can be mitigated against in future, and how those who perpetrated the crisis should be held to account – and for doing all this, I’m now unemployed as the hand that fed me, really does not wish to hear all this.

      However, as someone who cares so passionately, I take it you will be out supporting those in the OWS as they campaign to redress the imbalance in society – just a great shame that your democracy does not allow you to vote for someone who’d actually clean up the mess and do what’s right – much like living in a dictatorship really and very similar to the place I reside!

      1. jsmith

        Now that we’ve heard your whole story, your point comes down to:

        They were just following orders.

        Nice.

        So tell us? Which other “lowly hacks” should we ease up on?

        The Abu Ghraib soldiers?

        CIA torturers?

        Rebakah Brooks?

        The guys at the BLS for cranking out bullshit numbers?

        Or maybe we should make it perfectly clear to all the “lowly hacks” that what they are engaged in – either wittingly or unwittingly – is unacceptable as they are helping out the criminals at the top of the system.

        Gee, one would think, that kind of strategy might lead people not to volunteer for illegal wars, not want to become bankers, not want to become mouthpieces for the elite and a host of other tawdry occupations, huh?

        In addition, a logical conclusion of your line of thinking is this: we should never protest or call bullshit on anyone because it might cost someone their job.

        Wow, since I live in a society – the U.S. – where business basically owns everything I guess my choices as to raising concerns about the truth and other such nonsense are rather limited, wouldn’t you say?

        I’d better say what the corporations want me to say or else they will fire someone in retaliation.

        Gee, you’re right, I’m in the wrong for pointing out the bullshit and not the person throwing someone out of work.

        Somehow I should save all my criticism up for the next time I meet Lloyd Blankfein at Masa and then give him an earful, right?

        Or should I wait until I’m granted a permit to stand in a Free Speech Zone and then shout at the luminaries as they pass by?

        You see, there’s a funny thing or two about the “big kahunas” you say really deserve the criticism:

        1) the are pretty insulated from the hoi polloi and

        2) they don’t f*cking care what we think as they are billionaire power whores

        So maybe making everyone who is not a billionaire power whore uncomfortable in doing the bidding of the the billionaire power whores might be a more reasonable plan of action, huh?

      2. LeonovaBalletRusse

        CR, You are “British” and reside in “China.” Your “forgiving” POV is built in. You carry on the dubious morality of those who went before you. It really would be too much to expect you to “get it.”

        1. Chris Rogers

          Sir,

          What exactly am I not getting may I be polite enough to enquire?

          As far as I’m concerned the two reporters in question have been hung, drawn and quartered on these boards by the majority of posters – I believe this in reality to be a travesty, one no doubt you enjoy, but the target on this occasion is mediocre to say the least.

          As for casting aspersion about my living in Asia – a rather below the belt shot if I do say so – you infer I’m either an imperialist or apologist for past mistakes undertaken supposedly for the Crown – which could not be further from the truth, but do infer as much as you like.

          It would help though if at least you had the courtesy to post under your real name – what have you to fear by hiding behind a pseudonym.

          As for withholding my punches, I’m not renowned for that on the UK’s Guardian website and actually call a spade a spade – I do try and behave in a polite manner here – obviously because I post under my real name – a form of self-imposed censorship if you like!

    2. Doug Terpstra

      Mr. Rogers response is thoughtful and impressive; it’s wise to be slow to anger and judgment, especially with once and would-be allies.

      But here I strongly agree with your harsh charge of calculated propaganda. PBS’ disinformation is not only achieved through misdirection, as Hugh addresses so clearly, but also through conspicuous omission. It is simply not plausible to produce a four-hour program on the greatest financial collapse and swindle in American history and never once mention the word crime or fraud. Really! The fraud is incontrovertible, not only subprime origination, but in Magnetar/GS securitization “shitty” deals, designed to implode for short profits, but also in documented rampant forgery and perjury in foreclosures.

      That and the Obama hagiography convinces me of the propaganda angle. It is clear the anointed one has done nothing to change any of the causes they allude to in the program, was the principal proponent and sustainer of bailouts, still, and has not launched a single serious investigation of anything have to do with Wall Street, including manifest mortgage fraud. I suspect this is not a serious investigative work at all, but rather a stealth Obama campaign program. We’ll see how the program concludes.

      1. Chris Rogers

        As I’ve clearly stated, I’ve yet to watch the documentary, I have no issue with anyone being critical of anything and have judged my own comments/remarks on past experience of watching PBS documentaries – some of which have been highly informative.

        What I will say, and JSmith, Jill et.al please take note, a Marshall who expedites all his firepower on a trivial target will have nothing much to marshall when it comes to actually storming the barracades.

        So, if you don’t mind, I’ll reserve judgement, and indeed my firepower, and actually directed at those with influence – and I do not mean this metaphysically, but rather in actuality.

        Unlike JSmith, I actually do get up close to those who’s hands are on the levers of power, and hopefully by being polite and reasoned am able to nudge the debate/dialogue in a direction that benefits most posters on these boards.

        What’s happened has happened, nothing we can do about it.

        However, by understanding what caused the GFC and what should be undertaken to mitigate against it in future – which effectively means stringent regulation and legislation that is adhered too – and I’m not talking about Dodd – Franks or the Vickers Report here – I’m talking stringent regulation, hopefully one will have done a little to turn the clock back in our favour.

        Obviously, financial services regulatory reform by itself will not redress the damage incurred since Reagan – and who on these boards supported Reagan when he was in power, none other than Yves herself!

        I’ll leave it there, suffice to say the OWS organisers and supporters have my sincerest support and are testament to the fact something can actually be done to overcome greed and corruption found in the highest of office, be it the President or CEO’s on Wall Street.

        1. jsmith

          “What’s happened has happened, nothing we can do about it.”

          Seriously, did you just really type that sentence?

          Really?

          Well, no wonder you’re buddy-buddy with those in power, you think EXACTLY like them!

          What are you gonna slip them a note over tea?

          Quit being so naughty, guys.

          I hope everyone here is enjoying the intervention of Mr. Chris Rogers as he in real-time finally understanding that he is part and parcel of the elite superstructure.

          We must look forward, we can’t look back!!

          But I’m a socialist.

          Must keep our powder dry!!

          But I support OWS!

          It’s just a few bad apples!!

          But I care about justice.

          Shall we save everyone from this sad pastiche?

          Let’s go to the real thing, shall we?

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlMegqgGORY

          1. Chris Rogers

            Well, you can bawl from the top of your head and carry a placard – does not get you very far, revolt – by which I’m mean open rebellion and which in my neck of the woods is ofter referred to as a revolution, or, post daft nonsense on these boards.

            The other more reasoned approach is at least to try and make those who created the mess see the error of their way and redress some of the damage they have contributed too – however, pouring hot oil over two hacks really does not redress anything – it may make you feel a little better, but, it does nothing to alter the facts.

            Still, evidently your fantasy construct is really going to influence those you detest I think not and a little common sense – do remember Thomas Paine – goes a long way.

          2. jsmith

            I guess you really, really don’t understand where the angry people are coming from, CR.

            We don’t want to influence the people in power so that MAYBE they will change their ways.

            We want them fucking gone. Buhbye. Sayonara. Hasta luego.

            They are criminals.

            They have stolen from millions.

            They have destroyed the lives of millions.

            What real chance is there of reforming people who have destroyed the lives of millions of people – be it financially or through the WOT?

            So, in your mind, all progress depends upon the sociopaths in power one day – hmmm, maybe over a fireside port tasting party or maybe at a bunga bunga bash? – deciding all of a sudden and contrary to every thing they’ve done up to this point in their greedy, murderous lives that they are going to help out the rest of humanity?

            That is what we should be hoping for?

            That the Chris Rodgers of the world can diplomatically massage/mindfuck the most ruthless criminals on the planet to just become good all of a sudden – no harm no foul?

            And I am the unrealistic one?

            Well, while you’re busy on that front, I’m thinking that the mobilizing of millions upon millions of pissed off people might be the better bet.

            Why?

            Because I don’t have to convince anyone to be angry, CR.

            Your squash partners have already done that quite well, thank you.

        2. LeonovaBalletRusse

          CR – “I’ve yet to watch the documentary.” Yet you speak with “authority?”

          1. Chris Rogers

            Okay, now its as clear as day and thank you for your thoughtful analysis – this is not said in a mocking term.

            It would be untruthful of me to say I too on occasion feel like you – so’ I’ll raise a glass to your good health.

            No doubt, we may actually enjoy a chat over a beer at a Pub – although beer does make my language quite flowery shall I say.

            Perhaps if our representatives actually bothered to read these boards they too could learn to understand the growing resentment – most of which is justified – that is out there.

            I just hope we live long enough to see some social justice in our lifetimes – its not too much to yearn for is it!

  39. Jill

    You guys and gals, along with Mr. Rogers have me openly weeping for PBS. Thank you for being the voice of reason and compassion towards the noble Smith and Wiser who toil so tirelessly in the trenches of today’s journalistic hardships!

    And Jesus Wept!

    1. Chris Rogers

      Jill,

      At least I post under my own real name and fervently believe in and aspire for a true democracy, in order to do this I do not hide.

      I also believe in fair trials by a jury of peers and that the accused must be defended – you see, to have rights, we must defend the rights of others even if we are fundamentally opposed to them, not to do so result in the rather dysfunctional society we have today obsessed with wealth and power – everything else is thrown out of the window in pursuit of this – something to do with a misguided interpretation of the ‘pursuit of happiness.’

      Now which preamble did I read that in!

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Is this a sophisticated robot, actually? Would he pass the Turing Test?

      2. Jill

        Chris,

        Don’t argue against the man, direct your argument at their arguments.

        You mischaracterized what I said above. I openly acknowledged that PBS does not have authority to prosecute anyone for war or financial crimes. Neither do I. Depending on your profession, you may or may not have that authority. That is irrelevant to the point I and others are making.

        In US law, prosecution for the war and financial crimes that were committed is mandatory. This is the job of the DOJ. If they do not do their job it is Obama’s job to fire them and hire people who will follow our clear law.

        Suppose Frontline discusses the vice presidency of Dick Cheney without once mentioning that he engaged in ordering waterboarding? Wouldn’t that be a strange omission for a documentary discussion? Mr. Cheney has admitted openly to the war crime of torture. Frontline cannot prosecute him for this admission but to go without even mentioning it is an act of propaganda, not journalism.

        Does this mean that even though Mr. Cheney admitted openly to the war crime of torture that he should go without a fair, open civilian trial? Of course not! That is what Obama does to people who were tortured in Gitmo. That is repulsive and unlawful, just as denying Mr. Cheney a fair, open civilian trial would be.

        Here you have open financial crimes. If a supposed “documentary” cannot bring up our clear law and how it is supposed to be enforced then it’s engaged in obfuscation.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          “I’ve yet to watch the documentary” admitted Chris. Did you miss this confession?

  40. psychoanalystus

    At this point PBS is just another worthless propaganda organ of corporate America. The disgrace of PBS started when they allowed corporate sponsors to advertise at the beginning of their programs. Guess who calls the shots now!

    Not to mention that PBS also carries lame-brained bankster ass-kissers such as Charlie Rose, a completely discredited Wall Street lapdog. Who can forget his interviews with Hank Paulson, Jamie Demon, or Lloyd Blankfein. Not to mention that he has his studio in the Bloomberg building!

    I hope some GOP visionary like Paul Ryan manages to put PBS out of its misery once and for all. The kids will do just fine without Sesame Street.

    1. Chris Rogers

      I’m sorry but I fervently disagree with you.

      What this forum should be asking is why PBS has become a shallow imitation of what it once was, why was its funding cut to the extent it had to accept sponsorship, and in doing so curtail its own freedom to tell the truth rather than spin/peddle half truths.

      These are fundamental issues, and to be honest PBS was and always has been minority viewing in the USA.

      However, to have a fully functional democracy one requires multiple viewpoints and opinion for what use is it having beliefs and principles if these are not challenged.

      Of course, in both the USA and UK our elites and politicians are so intoxicated by neoliberal economic orthodoxy that what is deemed debate, is actual just a dialogue between opposing factions of neoliberals, the rest being overlooked.

      If you are concerned about PBS, I have far greater concerns about FOX, CNN, CNBC and other US-based media outlets, not too mention the BBC itself in the UK.

      The root of all this is adherence to a bankrupt economic model run for and by the interests of 0.25% of the population – this figure applies in much of the West and Asia.

      By calling for the closure of PBS, you really are playing into the hands of the elite – would it not be better to capping instead for it to be funded adequately and have a Charter for telling the truth.

      As stated, the GFC of 2008 is but a symptom of a much larger malaise and PBS is the least of your worries – I’d actually start with the Presidency, Congress and Supreme Court first which in a mere 30 years have been corrupted and captured by those who detest you and care little for your nation – all they care about is there pocket and illusion of power.

      Shame we have to die is it not!

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        No, you couldn’t pass the Turing Test. Are you “Stewie” actually?

        1. Chris Rogers

          When you can utilise your own real name, I may take notice of your posts, until then, and this time I’ll not hold back my punches – “SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU FOOL.”

          1. chitown2020

            Chris Rogers…….in the world of Google, it is probably wise for people to remain anonymous. BTW…Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?

          2. Chris Rogers

            If that is the case, I’ll offer an unreserved apology – however, I do find it daft that you castigate your allies – our approaches may differ, but I can assure you our end goal is the same.

            Of course one want’s justice, but let’s exhaust dialogue and reason first before turning to alternative methods.

            My reason, which perhaps I’ve failed to convey, is that on the whole, those who contribute to these boards and other blogs are better individuals than those who created this God damn awful mess – to play it otherwise means we play into their hands and give reason for the elite to begin its final solution – I am in no doubt about this and fear greatly for the USA – my own country is not far behind you.

            However, I really cannot comment on a programme I’ve yet to see, although one read Yves original smack down, all comments associated with this, the reporters response and all comments on this.

            I do dislike lynch mobs though, or, is that me being reasonable once more?

          3. chitown2020

            Directing our anger at each other is just what they want. The monetary system is our enemy……it is the microchip mark of the beast… We need to issue our own currency ….U.S. BANK NOTES…backed by our own hijacked natural resource revenues…..Do we bother to try and find out where the money goes from our Natural Gas and Electric Bills…..? Can’t imagine the REVENUE STREAM FROM OUR GAS AND ELECTRIC BILLS……!!! NATURAL GAS REVENUES FUND MANY NATIONS……We have been HOODWINKED out of everything…Throw the traitors out….Restore the U.S. CONSTITUTION……ISSUE OUR OWN CURRENCY…VIA STATE BANKS….Abolish the FED…

          4. McKillop

            Yeh, Chris Rogers, now you get it!
            The people who have wilfully chosen to call you out as a reasonable troll or apologist for the great and grand British Empire et C., et C., take great offense that you use ‘profanity’ – what, profanity motivated by frustration and anger? How unreasonable! – against their sarcasm and insult.
            To rant and to rail against the media -created chiefly to sell soap and propaganda, even back in the good ol’ days of integrity- and to demand the purity of rage to be used against all the “thems” is so much more effective.
            Now you, and don’t allow ‘british’ humility to gainsay this as an accomplishment, are responsible for all of the events that have happened in the usa and the world, because you “just don’t get it”, do ya?
            How many divisions have been raised by gsmith is what I wonder: how many souls converted?

  41. simpleton

    Perhaps Yves had higher expectations than I did for the broadcast, but I read the rebuttal letter and had to agree with the producer’s points. They did indeed make it clear that JPM cultivated CDS,that it wasn’t just a market waiting to happen; they did point out B.Born had been very opposed to the unregulated CDS industry; they did show a lot about the bailout, in short, I didn’t get the impression at all that they were bank-friendly. That they refrained from calling for this or that figure to be prosecuted, does not, in and of itself, make them bank-friendly.

  42. chitown2020

    Bloomberg News reporting U.S. House panel reduces aid to the poor to prevent military spending cuts.

  43. 78

    “And one of the great tragedies of understanding, or misunderstanding, it through all of this is the notion that somehow banks and/or Wall Street were bailed out at the expense of the taxpayer. What has been lost in translation is that it is for the sake of the man on the street that the financial system needed to be stabilized, and it was unambiguously in the interests of the taxpayer that that system be stabilized.” (Blythe Masters, 2009)

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/oral-history/financial-crisis/blythe-masters/

    Speechless.

  44. hilarity ensues

    i didn’t even bother watching front line’s ‘informative’ special. it was obvious propoganda from the get go. that yves is waking up to calling out her so called liberal base is progress.

    thank you.

    front line , go to the back.

  45. stevefraser

    In the United States, all the financial madness started with the community reinvestment act, the Left’s death star at the heart of the Republic’s financial system. The rest was just banksters picking the pockets of the unwary and greedy (and then in the final act the US taxpayers).

  46. DP

    The Frontline producer takes offense to the word “cribbing” and I’m not sure it’s the word I would have chosen. But the relevant issue with regard to Gillian Tett’s “Fool’s Gold” book and the Frontline documentary is which of these scenarios happened:

    1. The Frontline producer researched the financial crisis and came to the conclusion that the JPM bankers were a central piece of the story and largely sympathetic characters who had pure motivations when they created credit default swaps. Somehow the producer then became aware that Gillian Tett had come to the same conclusion, so they used her in the Frontline piece to explain elements of it, for her knowledge of who the people at JPM were, etc.

    2. The Frontline producer was wondering what angle to take with regard to a story on the financial crisis, read Gillian Tett’s book and liked the story of good guy JPM bankers innocently creating credit default swaps.

    Scenario 2 seems much more likely, which is what I think Yves is getting at with the word “cribbing” and what the Frontline producer is dodging in his response that argues they gave Gilliant Tett credit. Using the book of one reporter, who emphasized a group of people that other books on the financial collapse barely mention if they mention them at all, reeks of a Cliffs Notes approach to journalism. Why not just hire Gillian Tett to produce the piece and call it “Fool’s Gold”?

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