Bear with me while I tell you a story from the 1980s. The early years of of our New Gilded Age at least offered good theater for the minions. Institutional Investor was then an entertaining read, chronicling the outsized, colorful, and often off beam personalities of the takeover boom. Do we have any analogue today to Mad Dog Beck, who ate dog biscuits in front of a client to prove how hungry he was to do get deals done? How about short statured Ron Perlman buying Revlon so he could date models?
One scandal from that era was that of billionaire Sid Bass’ affair with the woman that became his second wife, the then Mercedes Kellogg. Bass’ first wife Ann was a fixture in New York society, perfectly groomed, a thin and very attractive blonde with impeccable manners, a former ballet dancer who patronized the American Ballet Theater, the archetype of a trophy wife. But she was also a bit cool and sometimes seen as overly fastidious. Mercedes set her sights on Sid even though she was married as well (to Ambassador Francis Kellogg). She was fun, lively, the sort who could captivate a dinner table with sparkling conversation, and get away with initiating a bun fight with Sid at a society party. But after Mercedes and Sid married, Mercedes became increasingly cool and distant. The wags began to wonder if what they had seen as Anne’s shortcomings were really the result of being in proximity with Sid.
We see a similar metamorphosis in progress with Eric Schneiderman. Established readers may recall that Tom Miller, an unknown when he became the lead negotiator in the mortgage settlement on behalf of his fellow state attorney generals, quickly distinguished himself with how often he lied and how badly he did it. He started inauspiciously with promising criminal prosecutions and almost immediately walked that back. He wasn’t terribly convincing in dealing with the revelation that his donations from the FIRE sector increased 88 times in the previous year compared to what they’d given him in the preceding decade. He kept running the administration canard that the group negotiating with the banks had done serious investigations. And from January 2011, he’d regularly maintain a deal was “weeks” away, and gave several drop dead dates that were missed. He also kept insisting that the release for the banks would be narrow, when as we know, that was never in the cards.
The point is that Miller was a convenient stooge for the Administration. His job was to maintain the pretense that the effort he was leading was in the public’s interest and moving ahead at a good clip. These weren’t very easy lies to sell and Miller wasn’t very good at pedaling them, but that didn’t matter much. His job was to keep up a certain level of background noise.
But nothing was going to happen unless the Administration wanted it to happen, and for some reason, the powers that be decided in late 2011 that a mortgage settlement would be a useful election talking point. So they saddled up and pushed the foundering deal over the line.
Now that the Administration has traded up from the unknown Miller to the soi disant “Man the Banks Fear Most” Eric Schneiderman, we have the instructive spectacle of watching Schneiderman look more and more Miller-like with every passing day. Admittedly, Schneiderman is far more skilled at passing off Administration canards than Miller, and is also trusted by many progressives, so he can probably run on brand fumes for quite a while.
It’s also worth noting that Schneiderman seems to be limiting himself to safe media settings. For instance, Chris Hayes tossed him only softballs (the supposedly tough questions had been raised so many times before that Schneiderman had answers ready). Alexis Goldstein of Occupy the SEC was temperamentally the most likely to try to pin him, but this isn’t her beat, and fellow panel members can only get at most a pointed question or two in. You’ll notice how Schneiderman pleasantly runs out the clock:
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However, if you watch closely, you’ll see that the pleasant patter is a thin veneer over some less than pretty developments. First, at the end, Hayes asks Schneiderman if he’d quit if the task force seemed to be going nowhere. The answer was a dodge. This is a walk back from the position the AG took earlier, that he’d quit if there was insufficient progress.
Second, Schneiderman says that two weeks ago, there were 50 people working with the task force and he’s getting “a couple of more people” in the next few weeks. As we’ve said, this looks completely consistent with existing (and not very aggressive) efforts being pulled under this new umbrella.
Third, Schneiderman justifies the slow to probable no ramp-up to the procedures that need to be put in place to recruit people. By contrast, Elizabeth Warren was appointed by Obama as special advisor to “stand up” an entire new agency, the CFPB, in September 2010 and was largely done by spring 2011. This entailed hiring hundreds of people, as well as (looking at her calendar) frequent meetings with bankers, consumer advocates, regulators, Congresscritters, and media. The difference? The Administration was committed to putting an agency in place (and I suspect they had no idea how effective Warren would be; my pet theory is they assumed she was an academic and would prove not to be up to the challenge. Whoops).
Fourth, Scheiderman keeps stressing it takes time to develop cases. Exactly what has he been doing as attorney general? Three states which appear to have started later than he did (as in they became disaffected with the AG negotiations later) and have smaller offices launched meaty cases in 2011. All Schneiderman has done is file a MERS case that he settled for a mere $25 million.
Fifth, he also mentioned the $55 million of supposed future funding that he has touted previously as proof that the effort was serious.This has since proven to be vaporware. Dave Dayen writes:
One of the items Eric Schneiderman has been using to push back on claims that the Residential Mortage Backed Securities (RMBS) working group is being slow-walked and made ineffectual is that they have a funding stream earmarked for it that testifies to the seriousness of effort with respect to resources. In an op-ed two weeks ago, Schneiderman wrote that “The President has requested a congressional appropriation of an additional $55 million to ensure that we have the resources to do a thorough job.”
My point on this was always that the President’s appropriation request and $6 will get you a very expensive cup of coffee at my local Intelligentsia café…The request didn’t mean anything, and the House Republicans currently putting together the budget were highly unlikely to honor it.
Sure enough, yesterday, the Justice, Science and Commerce appropriations bill, the proper venue for this additional $55 million request, came up for a vote. Maxine Waters tried to include the appropriation for the RMBS working group. And it failed pretty badly….
Why was this unrealistic budget request ever allowed to be offered as evidence of the seriousness of effort?..It’s just another example of how the protestations about the legitimacy of the working group fall apart when subjected to the slightest scrutiny.
Schneiderman may be able to get away with this longer than he should, particularly since the plan is likely to be to file a couple of headline-getting but not-seriously-threatening-to-the-banking-oligarchs cases in the weeks before the election. He seems not to have noticed how the Administration has been quick to cast aside its operatives when they are no longer of use to them. In case he has managed not to notice how he is being played, expect him to have a rude awakening by the election.
Welcome to the United States of Bankistan!
The bankers are owned by the global inherited Plutocrats so I would suggest instead calling our once great country……..
The United States of Plutocracy
Schneiderman’s capitulation into water boy makes me wonder what sort of threats are being made to keep this charade alive. Maybe all the shills for the existing mess can unionize and strike for bigger kickbacks or more hush money.
Could the final bubble of the American empire be the spiraling costs of corruption and social control?
My 10-year old is always asking me about politics. Last night we had a pretty honest conversation about why so many of our friends still like Obama and will probably vote for him again. I didn’t explain the details, but I used the mortgage servicing task force as an example of team Obama’s SOP, pointing out that the task force didn’t even have a phone number and only planned to hire about 50 people — when they really need hundreds to do the job right.
Anyhow, it was like a lightbulb suddenly went on. Kid says to me, “Oh, I see, daddy — it’s like if I put a bunch of scribbles on my papers and hold them up for the teacher to see from across the room and say ‘See, I’m done with all my homework,’ that’s like what Obama is doing, right?”
From the mouths of babes.
Sounds like a smart kid. You might also have told him that, just as many people his age decide to like someone because they like the same music, watch the same shows, and eat the same food, so too do many people decide whether to like a politician based upon those same factors.
Perhaps it is necessary to discuss individual politicians like Schneiderman when attempting to analyze serious issues, but I think it is always a mistake to put any faith in any of them on the basis of what he says. Those who jump on the Kabuki bandwagons are forever wringing their hands about how this or that cartoon politician has disappointed them, but anyone who insists from the beginning that the whole thing is just an act is promptly dismissed as ‘negative’.
Apparently, in politics (as in religion) you just gotta believe. Can somebody please identify the last National politician in whom belief proved justified?
Not dimissed as negative, but just outright ignored or suppressed as taboo. The role of the 4th estate is to keep the players at the table, if they were to genuinely reflect on the fact that the house always wins, perhaps they would rebel. Look at this blog as a celebration of how Wall Street power has captured law enforcement, regulation and basically the hearts of minds of most of the country.
This robbery of our country by coverups, deceit, brainwashing, and lies to allow criminal fraud is nothing to celebrate. That statement is idiotic.
Place not your trust in Princes … or politicians.
The house always wins. If you don’t know what they did. Most Americans don’t even show up to court or just do a short sale and just let the fraudsters have their property because they are brainwashed. They are stealing our property by concealing criminal acts to commit Insurance Fraud and other criminal acts….THEY ARE CRIMINAL IMPOSTERS TO THE MORTGAGE. Last I checked, Securities Fraud, mail fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud, false reps to a federally insured institution, Common Law Fraud, Failure to Comply with the Duty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing, Fraud and Deceptive Practices, Breach of Contract, Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Forgery, Failure to Comply with Reg Z, Racketeering in the Sale of Fraudulent Securities, Fraudulent Conveyance, Fraudulent Transfer, insurance Fraud, Fraudulent Reconveyance, Failure to Transfer Title to a trust, concealing fraud by committing criminal acts, uttering forged instruments, Failure to record instruments affecting title to real property, Violating IRS CODES to commit Tax fraud, Fraud in the Sale of Securities, Sale of Fraudulent Securities, are predatory practices to commit criminal acts, criminal acts or felony criminal
chitown- but how do you REALLY feel about it?
Sick of the coverups. CNBC just reported the crooks owe the ICBC, the Communist Bank of China money too. Diana Olick was just trying to talk people into giving up their homes via short sales for the debt of these criminal felons. Traitor biyatches.
Allow me to add a few more State and Federal Violations …. Employment of Manipulation and Deceptive practices (SEC rule 10b-5), Dishonoring the Note ……Presenting fraud upon the court by officers of the court renders the orders and judgements void and of no force or legal effect.
CNBC – that’s the Communist Broadcast Corporation, owned by GE WHICH IS PART OF TRILATERAL. THE NWO,FREEMASONS HAVE FRAUDULENTLY ASSUMED TITLE OF THE LAND BESTOWED UPON OUR FOUNDING FORE-FATHERS WHO WERE CHRISTIAN. BARRINGTON IS A BRAND FROM SEARS, A CAUTIONARY TALE OF ROBO ADVERTISING.
From what I have researched, it was Nixon who exchanged most of our land in exchange for credit from the U.N…….Nixon handed the WORLD BANK IMPERIALISTS our Gold Standard as well. Nixon made some dirty deals with the great Satan for CREDIT….IT WAS A HIJACKING ALLOWED BY TRAITORS BY….THE UN/IMF/FED/VATICAN WORLD BANK…
The World Bank is one giant corporate global megaopoly that is owned and controlled by a few self appointed rulers who have hijacked or stolen everything that they claim to own. The trilateral commission, the CFR, the freemasons, the FED, the traitor politicians, law enforcement, the media etc…are all tentacles of the Vatican/Jesuit tyranny.
Just want to add..dont be fooled…GE is owned and controlled by the Vatican…they are hiding behind the scenes of everything and they hijack and steal everything via proxies. Like Goldman Sachs is the largest Vatican/Jesuit owned banking proxy in the world. Their banks are the majority board of directors for the FED. Most, if not all of the owners of the major sports teams are Knights of Malta, proxies for the Vatican.
jake chase says:
May 10, 2012 at 2:27 am
“Apparently, in politics (as in religion) you just gotta believe. Can somebody please identify the last National politician in whom belief proved justified?”
yep, i can. tug mcgraw.
I’m really late to politics (as in I’ve wandered into the last act of Gotterdammerung and am looking for the liberetto). But some names:
Yeah, yeah, I know: three out of four down the
drain. As Yves would say, quelle surprise.
What is Tom Miller doing these days?
At 19:05, Schneiderman did mention the $55 million appropriation. He said that Obama had put in the request for the October budget, and he was sure it would be a fight. Meanwhile, per Schneiderman, “DOJ has the resources for the group to hire a lot more people and we’re doing that now.” I’m assuming this is the same appropriations request that Yves wrote was killed in the House yesterday.
The tell for me that nothing would come of this new task force was when the RMBS passed up Rep. Brad Miller to be its executive director. Due to gerrymandering, he won’t be in Congress next session either. It’s a shame. He’s one of the lone souls who was willing to go after the thieves.
Good catch, I had watched the segment earlier in the week and skimmed it tonight as well as searched the transcript for “millions.” I see it’s there now that you told me where to look, so this is a lesson that the search function doesn’t work on this MSNBC text. I had a dim recollection he had mentioned it but figured I must have been wrong if I couldn’t find it. Have amended the post.
DoJ having resources is not the same as getting them!
You know, it does take a while to hire the RIGHT people. The applicants need to show just how they can carry the bucket, and that all their past statements were really attempts at misdirection, and that they more than understand plausible denialability, but have actually put it to use.
Of course, none of these questions are asked outright, the interview process itself is a test to determine who picks up on how SERIOUS the position is and demonstrates immediately how to toe the line without looking obvious.
It’s an exhausting process.
Schneiderman was never more than a revolving hero, someone whose role it was to strut and fret his hour upon the public stage and distract us rubes for a time. He was an Establishment player throughout, a faithful member of the elites. Nothing he said meant anything. It was all kabuki signifying nothing.
This seems to be a hard lesson to get across, but one can not be a member of the Establishment and for the 99%. The contradictions between the two are simply too great. A person can not stand with and enjoy the privileges conferred on them by those who are looting us and at the same time maintain they also stand with us.
Almost all our public discourse is lies and noise. If you want to cut through all that, look to whether they are part of our Establishment/elites. If they are, they are with the looters.
I think that why this is hard to do is that there is a lot of resistance to the idea of how far things have gone. It seems too class oriented for many to be comfortable with. I can’t really help that. All I can say is that it works. It has much greater predictive power than any competing framework. Use it and it comes as no surprise why Mr. Hopey-Changey is governing to the right of George Bush, why an Establishment liberal like Krugman goes off the rails, why Euro-elites have been diddling with the eurozone crisis for more than 2 years, or why a Schneiderman could so effortlessly and quickly transition from progressive hero to bank-enabling shill.
Bread and circuses.
It is far worse. What they are doing by covering up these crimes is just as criminal if not more criminal than what the criminals did. Schneiderman is an attorney and he should have known better. What did they pay him to whitewash these crimes…? He allowed them to entrap him. Any Judge, law enforcement official, politician or attorney standing down and turning a blind eye to criminal fraud is a criminal.
It really is that simple.
Posting obfuscated URLs? Nice try.
It may also be that either schneiderman has egg on his face, so trying to play up what he’s joined, or the normal aspect of being brought on a team and having to now adopt party line. Most everyone already knows if an effort that should’ve started years ago has still not “ramped up” then it’s never going to do anything. After the election you’ll probably hear nothing. Interestingly enough today we learned what everyone already knew that RESCAP is going bankrupt and that Countrywide is next(with gov’t blessing of course). That the parents of these companies can shield themsleves from the costs but not the benefits and cut off the monies that might be extracted during litigation speaks volumes.
This piece starts off talking about the 80s as that period of wine and roses where the financiers started to obliterate industry, off shore jobs, and hoard more wealth than ever before. Good times for some people. This same mind set of ‘steal everything in sight’ brings us to 2008, after years of deregulation, legality of predation and other sordid symptoms of decline. We have an alleged mench, but was so far to the right in the late 90s, he defeated a civil rights activist.
He does deserve credit for modifying the appalling Rockfeller drug laws. But icon of the left? He’s friends with some of the Banksters who are stealing homes left and right.
Lawyers in the US are taught to be paid advocates, nothing more. An obvious change like this normally means more money has come through from the other side.
They have the lawyers in a trick bag as well. They don’t want to bite the hand that feeds them. They have intentionally created conflict of interest issues. That is why the courts have ruled that when fraud enters a contract it vitiates everything and that is why any act of fraud in a legal contract renders the contract a nullity.
Great analogy up at the top of the piece. A brutal and fun read.
“Man the Banks Fear Most” Eric Schneiderman: Has he been castrated, or did he never have them to begin with?
brand fumes — new expression?
Take a look at Bill Gross and PIMCO’s Total Return Fund MBS Holdings. The fact it’s at an all-time high suggests that securities fraud is about to be declared perfectly LEGAL.
This is insane…and this committment schedule is enough to make one throw up.
THE MONEY AND WHERE IT CAME FROM
B.S. It is a coverup by trying to appear ignorant. Hear no evil, See no evil, Speak no evil does not legalize fraud and is a crime of concealment. It is another deceptive practice.
If fraud and robbery is legal then they will have to release Madoff, Skilling, and the like and release all of the bank robbers. If there are no laws then the bank tellers can just start passing out free money as well.
You’ll get no argument from me.
Thats right chunga….They can fool some of the people, but not all of the people. Cheers to those who get it.
Alexis Goldstein better not have any skeletons in her closet. They are going to spare no expense in the effort to bring her down.
We need to take a sledge hammer to the Private Sector. Not just the Banks but just about every corporation in sight needs to be broken into very small pieces. This will very quickly focus their minds into fighting for survival instead of spending K-Street lobby dollars they have been dumping now to subvert democracy. Once we complete that in the first phase we can then start to write new legislation that will take us back to the platform of the 1950s from which two decades of prosperity was built. Hacking the Private sector into smaller parts will create a true free market, it will also drain the life blood out of all those faux foundations that bray reliably for the Fat Cats. We should also increase the marginal tax on the top 0.1% to 90%, tax the bejesus out of foreign earned income for the Corporations, competely ban all kinds of H-1B visas, put a moratorium on all employment based Green Cards. You must excuse me now, I gotta take my apoplexy medication.
Start today – don’t pay. The meme of the General Strike – anyone still paying on their mortgages or considering buying a home is sadly confused or rattled with ‘the fear’. Resistance is highly effective.
If people are purchasing fraudclosures, refinancing the fraud, doing short sales, deed in lieus, paying an underwater mortgage, negotiating with IMPOSTERS for unsustainable loan mods, not showing up to court, walking away from their homes, or being foreclosed on by a Judge with no legal docs they are uneducated and are being set up to fail or robbed.
“Deception is evaluated from the perspective of an unsophisticated consumer” (FTC -V- STANDARD EDUCATION SOCIETY, 302 U.S. 112, 115, 1937), (CLOMON -V- JACKSON 988 F. 2d. 1314,1318,1319 2d. Cir 1994).
Not following this analogy: does it mean that Schnauzerman is more sassy and vivacious than Miller but he too will lose his joie de vivre when he has to spend hours on end trying to bring President Obama to climax? Also it is not clear how Ron Perlman’s diminutive member figures into this although it seems important.
the next few weeks……the next week few weeks……the next few weeks.;…..in another 3 months, rinse and repeat
A Schneiderman Unit, like the Friedman Unit?
The Schneiderman Unit: A single revolution of a Revolving Hero, typically with a period of _____ months. Useful as an indicator of elite corruption and/or betrayal.
* * *
There. Defined it for ya. Alterations?
And what’s the period? Six months? Ten years? Probably longer, depending on the scale of the betrayal.
Time will tell what interval he settles into, which in turn will be a function of the tenacity of the Nosy Parkers of the nation.
Pretending to ignore criminal acts in order to cover them up is concealment and allowing them to continue is a criminal act. They are aiding and abetting the criminal racketeering. Therefore, they are criminals.
They are using the Euro BANKING crisis right now to rob us. Geithner already said the U.S. does not enough have enough invested in Europe to cause a serious risk to our economy. So therefore, Wall Street is using that as an excuse to commit fraud and steal. Besides, they are all insured up the wazoo against the risk of default. Its another deceptive scam to steal from us. Faking crises and fake fear is what they do to steal…. http://maxkeiser.com/
In the second half of the show, Max and Chris Whalen discuss FED fraud and deception as well as accounting fraud by the banks etc……
……and corporate fascism..
A 88 times increase in donations? And they are not even trying to hide where it came from? When they can be that open about it, something is very very wrong…
The issue is not so much Schneiderman anymore as the people calling themselves “progressives” that still listen to a clown like Schneiderman. At this stage of the foreclosure fraud, what kind of person can read an article such as American Prospect’s “The Man the Banks Fear Most”, and take it seriously?
Who are these people, and couldn’t their families do something to help them? Maybe a 14 step intervention, start by taking away their radios so they can’t listen to NPR, then confiscate all copies of “The American Prospect”, etc
Some form of medication might be required as well….
You’ve got to give everybody at least one chance, the benefit of the doubt they’re authentic and mean pretty much what they say. While it seems the whole of officialdom is corrupt past imagining, it’s not out of the question decent sorts get past the screening process.
However… More practical to figure ways to scare weasels into toeing a few lines. Real life law enforcement (regulation) for example.
How about hard jail time…? 3 felonies = life in prison.
What is really going on with Schneiderman and what does the role he has chosen to play say about potential strategies for changing the U.S.
Is it still possible, as progressives apparently believe or at least still hope, to get enough decent people into positions of authority through the operative selection processes or election processes to supposedly change the system?
Psychohistorian: 3: 05 A.M states: “Schneiderman’s capitulation to looters makes me wander what sort of threats are being made to keep the charade alive.”
Scrapey_b : at 1:09P.M. States: “You’ve got to give everybody at least one chance, the benefit of the doubt, they’re authentic and mean pretty much what they say….while it seems the whole of officialdom is corrupt past imagining, its not out of the question decent folks get past the necessary screening process.”
SR6179 states: “The issue is not so much Schneiderman as the people calling themselves “progressives” that still listen to a clown like Schneiderman.”
Hugh states: “…there is a lot of resistance to the idea of how far things have gone….Why a Schneiderman could so effortlessly and quickly transition from progressive to bank-enabling shill.?”
If Scrapey_b is right about giving everybody at least one chance, then what does actually happen if decent folk get past the screening process? Is that where Psychohistorians theory of threats come into play?
But if Hugh is correct, then threats are not necessary for a quick transition from progressive to bank-enabling shill. There may indeed be something much more systemic involved, and as SR6179 states, the issue then becomes “..not so much Schneiderman as the people calling themselves “progressives” that still listen to a clown like Schneiderman.”
Maybe its time to subject “Progressive” assumptions about power to a genuine critical analysis if there is to be any hope for actually changing the structure of authority in the U.S?
I suspect that that some of these folks start out with good intentions, but in signing up with the duopoly they doom those intentions – they benefit from party support and connections, taste some success and get drunk with ambition – “yes, you too can be Gov! We can make it happen, but ya gotta ease off on x,y,z ….”
It should be obvious by now that “the pure of heart” cannot hook up with the duopoly and maintain their integrity – they will cave to it or be crushed by it. There are too many examples out there to not see the pattern …
Which is why, IMO, if you really do want someone who has a chance to stay, with their principles intact, you really can’t go with a D/R, no matter how well they start out …
If they sign up with D/Rs, they are playing with fire and are either too dumb to know it or are delusional in thinking THEY are smart enough to stay out of the fireplace – either way, they are not a good “bet” for the 99% who want an honest rep …
Go 3rd party – it’s a tougher row to hoe, but the crop is more likely to be, and stay, genuine …
The NY Ag’s office has traditionally been a stepping stone to the Governor’s mansion. Spitzer used it – WS was a little slow on the draw and didn’t take him down until he got to be Gov. Cuomo is playing footsy with them and so can “stay”. Schneiderman started out like Spitzer, but got the riot act read to him sooner “Wanna be Gov.? Here’s the deal ….” He said “OK” …
Look for “Cuomo for Pres” and “Schneiderman for Gov.” in ’16
The duopoly rewards its own, if you want the backing of the machine, ya gotta play by the rules – you can play “maverick” for the masses who vote, but we decide how far you can go …
That’s why anyone who runs as a D/R is suspect – they have made a Faustian bargain …..
There is talk of Jamie Dimon becoming the next head of the Treasury….! Everyone must stop paying. The U.S. TREASURY DEPT and FORT KNOXX, THE PEOPLES MONEY have been hijacked by criminals…!
Bloomberg News reporting Chase stock falls after CIO of CHASE reports there is a ton of $$$$$ missing.
CIO of Chase corporate branch will likely post $800 million in corporate losses in Q 2 …Significant mark to market losses…..$200 million in losses in one day……!
Except Schneiderman’s poll ratings suck:
Yves, it’s funny you used the Kellogg-Bass trade-off as an example. I worked for Ambassador Kellogg’s matrimonial attorney during the divorce – Mercedes came in twice in full regalia. The only time I ever saw such incredible rocks in close proximity.
I did think at the time that the crash of 1987, and the S&L collapse, would put an end to all that, but sadly, no.
Even Yves’ little missteps are profound. ‘Miller pedaling lies’ has a nice ring to it.