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US Politics

Wall Street Robbers & Washington Friends

Financial disasters are usually triggered by greed, lack of regulation and dedicated, professional independent oversight.

First a Few Words about Bill

Why would anyone take account of any advice from George W Bush? A President so inept, ignorant and corrupt, that many Americans now feel he should have been impeached. There must be something in the water at the White House because its previous tenant by the name of William Jefferson Clinton also narrowly escaped impeachment. Only his blatant lying to the American people saved his neck. What an actor!

Yes there is no doubting his prodigious skills in that department. Cleverly seeking public sympathy,Willy went on national TV, put on his defiant look and issued his now infamous denial. “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky”. For that he will always be remembered. What a Presidential legacy?

Leopards and their Spots

Many excused him, choosing to ignore his Oval office and his anywhere at anytime record of picadillos even while agreeing he couldn’t lie straight in bed. His own bed that is. You could call it the charisma let off. According to a recent article in Vogue, he is still out there multi -tasking?. Bill, red faced, denies it of course. At least he’s consistent, but his nose is definitely longer since the Primaries. In that sense, he and Hillary have that in common. She misspeaking? by sharing her sniper fire stories with millions. Bill’s still in front. But she’s a quick study.

By the way, if you should happen to run into Monica promoting her next best seller”What I actually did to/for My President” she might actually whisper some naughty bits you didn’t know about – i.e. if you make a purchase. It might even inspire you to write your own thriller. Perhaps even outsell Joan Collins with dirty linen on how to get a grip on real power with the gripping title, “Musings by Monica for your Peepers Only”. Get Bill to sign it in political speak “I am Bill Clinton and I disapprove of this message”

Watch Out the Lady is a Tramp

While we are on the subject of Bill, I think Sarah Palin had better watch out. It sounds like someone’s temperature is rising and it’s not due to global warming either. Slick Willy keeps tellng us how impressed he is with Palin, Palin, Palin, not Obama, it’s all Sarah, his favourite Moosie of the moment, and then he adds in afterthought, how much he respects her running mate.”whatisname?” Oh yes it’s StraightTalk. Something Palin, McCain and Clinton can’t ever be accused of. My way of thanking Bill for his contribution to the campaign over the last week?

However I digress.

The American Financial Crisis

Now let’s take a brief look at what financial protections America enjoyed following the great depression of the 1930’s and the laws that were changed ( sabotaged) in 1999 to accelerate and bring about the present economic crisis. Legal facts relating to the Glass Steagall Act and some notations relating to it have been drawn from an authoritative source and cross referenced for accuracy.

Unlike Bill Clinton’s legacy, President Franklin Delanor Rooseveldt, affectionately known as FDR, is especially remembered for his remarks following the signing into law of the financial regulations contained in the Glass Steagall Act of 1933. Also known as the Banking Act of 1933 (48 Stat. 162). Rooseveldt saw the Depression as a matter of confidence, people had stopped spending, investing and employing labor because they were afraid. As he stated in his inaugural address “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

FDR acted to restore confidence through a series of dramatic gestures. He called a “bank holiday” to prevent a threatened run on the banks and he also called an emergency session of Congress to stabilize the financial system.


“The money-changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths.” he said.

The Glass-Steagall Act restored public confidence in banking practices during the Great Depression.

A group of congressmen look on as President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Glass-Steagall Act on June 16, 1933.

Important Facts

The Act essentially prohibited commercial banks from engaging in the investment business. It was enacted as an emergency response to the failure of nearly 5,000 banks during the Great Depression. The act was originally part of President Franklin D Rooseveldt’s New Deal program and became a permanent measure in 1945. It gave tighter regulation of national banks to the Federal Reserve System; prohibited bank sales of Securities; and created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which insured bank deposits with a pool of money appropriated from banks.

Republicans on the Rampage

The Gramm-Leach-Bilely Act of 1999, resulted in significant changes to the Glass-Steagall Act. The banking industry had been seeking the repeal of the Act since the 1980s. In 1987 the Congressional Research Service prepared a report which explored the case for preserving Glass-Steagall and the case against preserving the act.The change came when bills were introduced in the Senate by Phil Gramm (R-TX) and in the House of Representatives by James Leach (R-IA) and Thomas Bliley (R-VA). The bills passed by a 54-44 vote along party lines with Republican support in the Senate and by a 343-86 vote in the House of Representatives. Nov 4, 1999:

After passing both the Senate and House the matter of the bill was moved to a conference committee to work out the differences between the Senate and House versions.Democrats only agreed to support the bill after Republicans agreed to strengthen provisions of the Community Reinvestment Act and address certain privacy concerns. The Gramm-Leach-Bilely Act of 1999, involved significant changes to Glass Steagall through the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act’s restrictions on bank and securities-firm affiliations. It also amended the Bank Holding Company Act to permit affiliations among financial services companies, including banks, securities firms and insurance companies.The final bipartisan bill resolving the differences was passed in the Senate and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on November 12, 1999.

An Act of Political Insanity

The new law sought financial modernization by removing the very barriers that Glass-Steagall had erected. Is this what John McCain refers to when he speaks of his Senate experience? Helping all of his lobbyist friends. And why would Democrats at the time including Bill Clinton, have agreed to this insane Republican plan? FDR must have been turning over in his grave.

Change must come to Washington

To avoid repeating this travesty we need to consider how it could happen in first place. Quite simply, most financial disasters are triggered by greed, inadequate regulation and a lack of dedicated professional independent oversight. Often the public ends up having to foot the bill. When politicians allow themselves to primarily represent the interests of organisations at the expense of people and the common good, then corruption is likely to be afoot. The large organisations engage lobbyists to target elected officials for a particular legislative purpose and in such circumstances graft and corruption is never far away. Only a watchful electorate can minimise the impact of such behaviour. This is why good practical laws need to be enacted and protected from attack by those who seek to benefit at the expense of others. With the removal of the last of Glass Steagall’s regulatory protections in 1999, the Republican’s had achieved their goal of smashing the barrier to deregulation of the financial market.

The Importance of Rules and Regulations

As we now see, this was a calamitous economic decision.It was a decision based on an idealogical wrong premise promulgated by supporters of the free enterprise ethic which suggested increased benefits would flow from an unregulated free market.People had forgotten the warnings of the 1930’s. Nothing takes care of itself. We need rules. Rules and sensible laws to create the proper environment for the conduct of healthy societies. In the same way the market also needs rules with proper oversight. Where money, people’s safety and the public interest are involved, Business or indeed Government saying “trust us” – isn’t good enough. Good laws are essential and honest and alert politicans are what is needed to guard the nation’s interests. If this crisis has proved anything, it is the need for the American people to take a much greater interest in the political process and the performance of their elected representatives.

Less Haste equals More Speed

When adopted, the final formula will have worldwide impact. While everyone would like the matter settled as soon as possibe, the most important thing is to get the process right. And speed must not stand in the way of or cloud good judgement. The market players responsible for this situation need to pay for this problem, not the American taxpayer, and it can be done. All options must be considered, without party politics running interference. Do hear that John McCain? Don’t forget POW John you have a date with a debate Friday night. I don’t want to have to send you a white feather.

Just do it John / Apologies to Nike

Go Obama Yes we can




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