Category Archives: Legal

Joe Firestone: The New York Times Soft-Pedals the Dangers of the TPP

While the New York Times did a public service by joining Wikileaks in publishing a draft chapter of the TPP, the accompanying article is quite another matter. Joe Firestone has taken it upon himself toshred analyze it. The sad reality is that the Times is never going to oppose neoliberalism in a serious way.

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Bill Black: The DOJ and the SEC Spurn their Ace in the Hole – Richard Bowen

This is the second post in a devastating series on why major banks and their executives got away with large-scale, systematic fraud in the runup to the crisis. Bill Black uses Citigroup whistleblower Richard Bowen as a case example of how derelict the DOJ and SEC were in the performance of their duties.

Here, Black describes how historically frauds and criminal conduct were pursued primarily by regulators and the FBI. However, not only were regulations were weakened, but the Bush Administration ended criminal referrals: “References to the criminal referral coordinators disappeared or were removed from the bank examiners’ manuals.” FBI staffing for white collar crime was cut drastically as the war on terror was given precedence.

That meant, as Black describes, whistleblowers became more important than ever as not just a source of information for civil and criminal prosecutions, but as key witnesses. Yet in many cases they are problematic. They are often disaffected former employees who call out the bad conduct they saw after they were terminated, or were so badly roughed up by their former employer for becoming an internal dissident that they were traumatized and don’t hold up well on the stand. Hence, as Black explains, the failure to take advantage of a stellar whistleblower like Richard Bowen. As Bowen put it, “Not only did they bury my testimony, they locked it up.”

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Billl Black: The Lessons Richard Bowen’s FCIC Testimony Should Have Taught the Nation

Get a cup of coffee. This important post gives an in-depth analysis that helps explain how bad conduct was covered up or glossed over by the FCIC, and how much of the media fell in line with the official, sanitized story.

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Cecilia Nahon: Argentina vs the Vultures

This Institute of New Economic Thinking interview describes how Argentina’s completed sovereign debt restructuring was derailed by vulture fund NML Capital in a reading of the original bonds’ pari passu clause that was contrary to well-established practice. Even the US Treasury had weighed in on the side of Argentina in an amicus brief. The interview of Argentine ambassador Cecilia Nahon by Marshall Auerbach goes into the backstory of the restructuring, that Argentina’s woes in no small measure resulted from following the IMF’s neoliberal fads du jour.

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Nurses Unite to Stop TransPacific Partnership Fast Track

In case you haven’t noticed, nurses unions have emerged as a particularly powerful and credible labor/lobbying group. So it’s encouraging to see them use their bully pulpit to rally voters to contact their Congresscritters and voice opposition to the upcoming vote on so-called fast track authority for the TransPacific Partnership. I’m heartened to see, in the Real News Network video below, that the nurses’ representative puts forward compact, factually sound arguments as to why this misnamed “trade deal” is a sop to major corporations at the expense of citizens.

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Troika Not Happy with Initial Draft of Greek Reforms; Eurogroup Reported Still in the Mix (Updated)

As most readers may know, Greece and the Eurogroup ministers agreed to a memorandum last week that would replace the bailout that expires on February 28 with a four-month deal that the memo stresses is in the same framework.

But as much as the memo language was agreed by the ministers, it is not yet a done deal. And it is already looking like we might have a wild ride among the negotiators today.

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Where are the “Progressive” Democrats on Loretta Lynch’s HSBC Money Laundering Wrist Slap?

Some Republican Senators are having a field day, and rightly so, over the fact that Obama’s attorney general nominee, Loretta Lynch, looks to have allowed bank giant HSBC, and more important, its executives and officers, off vastly too easy in a massive money-laundering and tax evasion scheme. And where are the inquisitive Democratic senators to be found?

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