Bankers might be unethical Open Thread.

mmghosh's picture


The oldest Swiss bank has just closed.  Curiously, Swiss banks break no Swiss law by allowing private tax shelters for citizens of other nations.  It was American law and American lawyers that forced the bank's closure.  


One can usefully speculate what our country's well-off are up to.


Or speculate about other things.




The FT reports on banking scandals of 2012.


Libor might have been the loudest scandal, but it was not the most costly – as HSBC and Standard Chartered, UK banks that transgressed US rules, discovered. HSBC paid US regulators $1.9bn over its involvement in several illicit activities, most strikingly the facilitation of money laundering for Mexican drug runners. Standard Chartered paid a two-stage $667m fine over breaches of US sanctions on Iran.

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swiss banker scum


the whole country of switzerland should be given to mexico, I grew up in a family of swiss homosexual wanna be bankers that would sell thier mother for a dollar. the whole country is a aboniation of scum.

Barry could use Mitt's binders full of women

Bird Dog's picture

Even the lapdogs at NBC News couldn't ignore it. And the incompetence.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

I Thought You'd be Happy With These Cabinet Choices, All White

(#299001), all competent white men.


I'm good with every choice, (except for maybe Lew's signature...ahem)



Talking Head on the "Fox News" channel that spoketh from a Huey

brutusettu's picture

(or he might as well be on a Huey), was basically saying that Obama is a die hard Marxist, and if there are cases where he's not acting like one, it's because he's a die hard Marxist that's trying to stoke a fire.  

Trav, it's out of line


You have a solid history of keeping it above the belt but you know what you wrote.  Plenty to disagree on cordially without dragging race into it.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Well, Give Me a Yellow or a Red as You See Fit...

(#299026) is necessary to write what one wishes and maybe even be a little edgy. I find it incredible that anyone would find the post as offensive...don't bring race into it? The provided link was entirely a whiny complaint about race.

But as with anything, I've always maintained that we have to take the hit for our positions rightfully or wrongfully taken.


I thought it a good post. I'm here.


Your turn.


Best Wishes, Traveller



It's not edgy in the slightest

HankP's picture

it's just part of the normal give and take and about one millionth of the kind of stuff that's been said around here.


I guess some people go looking for a reason to be offended.


I blame it all on the Internet

Suggesting someone is happy with circumstances


based solely on race and gender isn't something mods should discourage? 

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

I thought you guys were hands off

HankP's picture

like I said, what Traveller wrote doesn't even register. I used to get called a bigot on a regular basis with a lot less hand wringing. Which is fine, I consider the source when someone attempts to insult me. But thin skins seem to predominate in certain areas.


I blame it all on the Internet

Apparently. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .the ability to go well over the line in one of V's diaries without disciplinary consequences is still cherished in certain quarters here.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Discouragement Acknowledged, But You Can't Have it Both Ways



...if you're going to give me a card do it...but you can't continue to complain about it when I am willing (and able) to accept the punishment.


I suggest that you make your decision or this matter will remain frothy, for no particularly good reason, but this tends to happen in the PRV threads.


I'm willing to let this drop, you have written that you are not inclined to issue me a card, BD is not complaining.


So let us walk away from this, (or not, as you decide), it would just be better.


However, if you want to issue me a card, then do it rather than allowing this to be chum in the water.


Best Wishes, Traveller

I Think You Meant To Reply To Darth With This

M Scott Eiland's picture

But given that new moderators will be in place 24 hours from now, I might as well mention that I agree that this particular episode is closed based on your reasoning, but I will renew my objections should similar comments pop up from any source here--since I am not and will not be a moderator at least for the next six months and that is therefore the only recourse I personally have regarding such things.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Neither of Us Will Be Mods, So We Do What We Can...nt



Tim Geitner, Jack Lew, Chuck Hegel, Leon Penetta, J. Brennan


...for various obscure and unimportant reasons I was home to see the Press Conferences for all of these Gentlemen, either coming or going from their new or old positions of power and they were all so...naturally well spoken, so obviously smart, each and every one of them and I was prepared to hate Tim Geitner...but you couldn't do it, he was too, self effacing to the applause, too moved by this spontaneous show of respect or affection, too smooth in his response and obvious dedication and deference to President Obama to dislike at all.


There is a scene in Zero Dark Thirty where Leon Panetta, (played by James Gandolfini) turns to an aide who had just said as the step into an elevator, "She's really smart..." and as the doors close, he says in weary response, "We're all smart." And the elevator doors close.

But this is the real truth of this level, everyone is pretty smart.


Best Wishes, Traveller


Had I thought you needed a card I'd have given you one


It's not that the post was offensive, it was goading.  You and I both know that.  If you're bothered about reminders from the mods to keep things civil then all I can say is tough sh*t, take it up with the next crew.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

I'm only against one of them, and he's a white guy

Bird Dog's picture

As for the others, his business. A president should pick the best person regardless of gender or skin color. I made the comment because this is another Obama pledge with an expiration date, and it's not going unnoticed.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

That's A Bit Out Of Line, Trav

M Scott Eiland's picture

Particularly since Republicans clearly have no problem with appointing women and/or minority groups to the cabinet who are actually, well, Republicans.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Not Out of Line at All, I Prefer Competence, If Dems Nominate


...and put competent people in charge, proving to the American Electorate that Governance is...and can be a positive good, countering the poison that I see the Republican Part as...then all white men can be fine, even a Republican man if he is willing to do good.


The complaint from Republicans that this is not Democratic Diversity is just bitter tears for them...yes, Republicans did go for diversity, but they forgot competence.


Take your picks...I've already indicated my preference.


Best Wishes, Traveller

Suggesting That BD. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .would actively prefer white male candidates all other things being equal was the out of line part, as I suspect you knew I meant.

As for appointing incompetent individuals who happen to be a member of a minority group to cabinet posts goes, parties with glass Holders shouldn't throw stones.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

No, BD Linked to a CNBC Piece, Complaining, Complaining...



...that we Dems where failing badly in the Diversity Carousel...I am suggesting that maybe Dems finally have the courage to move beyond these kind of questions. 


But you may be right in reigning in BD into this, though he posted the link...well, I apologize for championing competence, even if it is to be found in white men.


Best Wishes, Traveller

Shorter Ezra Klein


It's more important to highlight GOP extremism than to protect America's workers and economy.

Reading The Piece. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .suggests that young Mr. Klein is suggesting that ultimately resorting to coins that might as well have Robert Mugabe's face on them as far as the message it transmits about the US economy might not be so hot for American workers and the US economy, either.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

yeah, the piece rambled


but Klein was somewhat clear that he wasn't resting his main argument on those considerations:  


"none of that is actually a reasonable argument against the platinum coin... The argument against minting the platinum coin is simply this: It makes it harder to solve the actual problem facing our country...a Republican Party that has grown extreme enough to persuade itself that stratagems like threatening default are reasonable. ... Minting the coin doesn’t so much solve that problem as surrender to it."


The idea seems to be that we might, with the debt ceiling, solve Republican extremism once and for all. That's the same kind of thinking that leads one toward forging a Grand Bargain, one that will contain Republican extremism with a binding pact once and for all ...


I advocate a governing strategy of just beating the Republicans where you can using whatever means available. The minting coin thing is one tool, and for the good of the country should be considered, as a last resort, over some fantasy of turning a default and possibly recession into a lasting solution re Republican extremism.    


Paul Krugman v. Ezra Klein


Krugman's 3 reasons on why Klein is wrong to support confronting Republicans vs. minting a coin:


First, this is seriously risky business. The fiscal cliff would have been a known quantity: basically, a negative Keynesian shock to the economy, which is something we understand quite well, and furthermore something that would have built only gradually over time. The risks, in short, were somewhat contained.


By contrast, nobody really knows what happens if America defaults, even briefly. The whole structure of world financial markets is built around the use of Treasury bills as the ultimate safe asset; what happens if they lose that status? It would certainly be an interesting experiment, but one best carried out if you have plenty of bottled water and spare ammunition in your basement.


Second, if you’re going to have an epic political confrontation of this particular kind — that is, one that can inflict vast damage until somebody blinks — having it just a few weeks into a new Congress doesn’t seem optimal. Even if the confrontation causes voters to recognize GOP extremists for what they are, and a tidal wave of revulsion builds, it will be almost 2 years before we can change the cast of characters — and also 2 years for the crazies to try to spin the story differently.



Third, and relatedly, the idea that we can have the decisive confrontation and get the message across depends in large part on good reporting. If news media report this in he-said-she-said fashion: “Some Democrats say that Republicans are holding the country hostage, but Republicans say that it’s the other way around” — we are not going to get the kind of clarity Ezra wants. And to paraphrase his own depiction of the state of affairs, does the picture of clear, courageous news media that reject the spinners and give voters the straight story sound like the news environment we actually live in?

Paths of Glory


All the talk of Kubrick in the sci-fi thread inspired me to see the 1957 film starring Kirk Douglas.


One of Kubrick's best. Just an amazing movie.

Kubrick's The Killing, Also B&W


From the same era is also worth renting/streaming.


Chose it as one of two Vudu signup freebies. Classic caper movie, co-written with pulp crime novelist Jim Thompson. 

The Killing came in 8th on my Top 10 film noir list


If you liked my sci-fi list (and you know you did), you'll love my film noir ranking.

I Have One Major Problem with That List


You should have included the X-Files on it as well.

Catch, That's a Great Link, and a Fine Thread, 01/29/2011



What Fun we had!


Best Wishes, Traveller

Yes, Paths of Glory, B&W even when Color was Available...


...simply a stupendous...story, and so a fine movie. However, B&W was a deliberate but correct choice.


You can watch Paths of Glory a dozen times over decades...and it will always be good.


Best Wishes, Traveller

Kirk Douglas agrees in this quote


When I interviewed Kirk Douglas in 1969, he recalled it as the summit of his acting career: "There's a picture that will always be good, years from now. I don't have to wait 50 years to know that; I know it now."


And for fans of The Wire, David Simon called it the "most important political movie of the 20th century," and considered its portrayal of individuals being ground down by institutions to be a central impetus for his series.

I just re-watched Paths of


I just re-watched Paths of Glory a few weeks ago and remembered how much I loved it.  It is a tight little movie with some great performances.  Hadn't seen The Killing in years but I think it is back on Netflix streaming.



Whatever your views about what should be done on fiscal matters, can we all agree that we're in a political period that lacks the vision thing. The $ we spend, the taxes we raise, and the debt we incur is a way of achieving outcomes.


We're not discussing any outcomes on anything. As a centerpiece to a 2nd presidential administration, this is uninspiring. If the country is going anywhere, I have no idea where or why.

I'm Sure I've Linked it Here Before


David Graeber's Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit speaks to this.


Plenty of Americans would argue that in a free society, maybe we shouldn't expect the government to set goals and aspirations, nor assume government is the vehicle for their expression and fulfillment.


So. Which nations are going places? Those just outside the first world club -- Brazil, India, China? The places with wide margins and a couple decades, at least, of upside.


Where the margins are thinner, it's retrenchment.



Interesting article


But there are many directions for America that are ripe for political leadership but that don't compromise a free society.


We could be more open and have immigration reform. By the time this budget crap is over, Obama will have spent most of his political capital on it. And all signs point to his admin prioritizing this, including desiring a 3rd round of deficit reduction.


The US could work on having fewer people imprisoned.


And anyway, the "free society" stuff is bunk. We live in a left-leaning country now, as demographics and the recent election shows, and voters would be fine with programs that government is uniquely suited to perform - investing in green infrastructure, expanding our paltry social security, and/or continuing to work on our inadequate health care laws.


Deficit reduction isn't just an economic loser, it lacks any vision.

The Free Society Bit Was Parenthetical


The takeaway I was going for was this:

Where's the aspiration? The places with wide margins and a couple decades, at least, of upside. Where the margins are thinner, it's retrenchment. 


That was the interesting bit to me too


I see how those considerations run counter to an inspiring move toward, e.g. massive infrastructure spending to develop a green economy.


But Immigration reform is an example of something more aspiring, and which doesn't require high growth or cutting into any interested parties' margins, yet is being pushed aside for a third round on the un-inspiring deficit nonsense.


Immigration reform is about justice, America-as-melting pot, families, and it's good for the D party. Obama could and should be spending more political capital on it. 

We Can Only Focus on One Thing at a Time


Maybe the folks who want retrenchment want that crossed off the list before moving on to immigration.


Priorities I guess. 

"We live in a left-leaning country now"

Bernard Guerrero's picture

Bwhahahaha!  Sez the guy who is perpetually pissed at the President for being such a tepid soul, as if he does what he does for no reason.  I don't think "left-leaning" means what you think it means.


Bernard "Comfortably Under $450K Middle Class Ceiling" Guerrero

I meant the electorate


Certainly our ruling class is more conservative and we all realize for example that House Republicans have gerrymandered their place into positions of power. Btw, you might have not been dubbed middleclass if the GOP's 2010 midterm backlash hadn't coincided with redrawing districts.


The US also has a very cynical, stupid and money-grubbing wealthy right wing executive class to contend with. We've been experiencing the effects of their economic ideas for the past 13 yrs.


Naturally, the president very much responds to these pressures, but there is latitude within which he might maneuver, yet his initiatives consistently lean center-right, or at the least he allows himself to drift in that direction.


I don't believe many of these center-right elements of his leadership are necessary concessions to the country's power structure, and my judgment is that a centrist D leadership could be better reigned in by a left-leaning electorate that figures out that the US is no longer a center-right country.

I going with Bernard on this one...


The country is not left-leaning at all, any way you slice it. The general public is to the economic left of the top 1%, for sure, but it is also to the social right.


These are relative measures. Where is the center? In France or Brazil, most Americans are economic conservatives. This might even be true in the UK.


Another problem with this kind of thinking is that it assumes a kind of bell curve. But left-right distribution in the US looks bipolar to me, especially in social issues, but also to a fair extent in economic ones. The problem is then that few people actually think like the "average" American.


This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

I'm locating the center from where we are now


My point is that the electorate appears ready to move the country to the left, even if we're still drifting rightward b/c of our elites, who are institutionally ensconced and lagging indicators. 

Catch, my entire point here is that....

Bernard Guerrero's picture

...the elites, Prez included, are in fact not at all unresponsive.  On the contrary, they know their constituencies quite well.


(They often enough sound tone-deaf about how they might sound outside of those constituencies, but that may in some cases be a purposeful thing.)

India 55th?


But the list does not include "black" money in safe havens in Switzerland, whatever that means.


Also, Indians may hold vehicles incorporated in other nations to hold wealth there. Who knows?


Switzerland's banks exist because the world is corrupt, and the powers that be want to keep it that way.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

I imagine Gulf autocratic petrostates with little accountability

mmghosh's picture

to their public have large stakes in Swiss (and other) banks.


I really don't see why this loophole needs to remain.  All the Swiss banks need to do is disclose their holdees details to the various national taxation agencies.  If the Swiss can be made to do this the major haven in sorted out.  Lichtenstein and the Caymans are not in the same league.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Never Happen


Slush money is useful to everybody. How can Indian elites, Arab autocrats, drug lords, arms traders, CIA black ops funders, corrupt Latin American politicians, Russian Mafiosi, and so on, do their jobs?


The hardest job of the Swiss is keeping a straight face while the hypocrisy rages. See a need, fill a need. There is always a need to funnel money from point A to point B without it being visible. If the country didn't exist, all the others would get together and invent it.


I am only going to guess that, more or less covertly, they have agreed to do some tightening of money that could be destined for some terror groups. I'd guess that's the only red line for Switzerland now.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Are you basing any of that on something more reliable


than Bond movies and the usual innuendo and rumour.


Remember, we live in a world where HSBC just got done (or as done as any bank seems to get these days) for laundering money for years.


My guess, and it's just a guess though based on a close watch of the politics of Switzerland is that most of the dirty money is taking other routes - Camen Islands, Singapore, China, who knows. The Swiss are doing a better job than most of squaring the international banking ethical circle (as they are with the internation arms trade circle).

Don't get me wrong


I don't think the Swiss launder money, or launder a lot of it. I do think they are the ultimate storage location for money laundered elsewhere though, and I did not get that from Bond movies, but from news over the years.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

I was going to mention HSBC as well


Since it suggests criminal banking is all over the place vs. concentrated.


The case also shows that bankers will never, ever face a significant threat of going to jail, no matter what they do.

Confirmed: Musberger is old, not dead

Bird Dog's picture

And yes, McCarron's girlfriend is smoking hot.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

The Stampede You Hear. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .is countless models/actresses/professional hotties running to the nearest place where some dirty old man with a TV audience can make a million Tweeters/Yahoo users notice *them*.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

I'm officially endorsing mmghosh, Nyoos and BG......GOTV


I'm not saying my endorsement is worth squat, I'm just saying that I'm endorsing them.  Nothing against the other candidates, I'm sure they are all qualified but this is a landmark moment for the Forvm.  Not one but three foreign mods, mmghosh bringing us the whole southern asian twist with cooking to boot.  Nyoos with a gentle Swiss-Irish blend like a utility knife with a whiskey flask.  And BG, all the way from Patagonia with an endless supply of Gaucho pony tricks and clothing lines.  Vote for 'em; if not now, when?  If not them, who?

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 


M Scott Eiland's picture

ESPN cuts ties with racist moron.

I can't imagine why--he seems so repentant.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

The Hagel Nomination Soundtrack

M Scott Eiland's picture

For the nominee himself:

And for NOW and all of the other "War Against Women" propagandists from the recent campaign who will be swallowing. . .their whistles regarding this little tidbit from the nominee's past:

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Amazing Story


You're being sarcastic, but some doubt whether Newton actually

mmghosh's picture

happened the way it was portrayed.

"As documents relating to the Sandy Hook shooting continue to be assessed and interpreted by independent researchers, there is a growing awareness that the media coverage of the massacre of 26 children and adults was intended primarily for public consumption to further larger political ends," writes Tracy, a tenured associate professor of media history at FAU and a former union leader.


On Monday, the website Global Research posted a timeline written by Tracy which purports to show how federal and local police agencies, abetted by "major media," conspired early in the Sandy Hook investigation to constuct a scenario pointing to Lanza as " the sole agent of the massacre" when others may have been involved.


In one of his blog posts, "The Sandy Hook School Massacre: Unanswered Questions and Missing Information," Tracy cites several sources for his skepticism, including lack of surveillance video or still images from the scene, the halting performance of the medical examiner at a news conference, timeline confusion, and how the accused shooter was able to fire so many shots in just minutes.

In an interview Monday, Tracy said "while it appears that people lost their lives" at Sandy Hook Elementary on Dec. 14, he is not ready to buy that a lone gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, entered the school and methodically shot 20 children and six adults before killing himself.


Tracy said he believes the deaths at Sandy Hook may have resulted from a training exercise. "Was this to a certain degree constructed?" he said. "Was this a drill?


And this is a Professor, with a PhD, talking.

James Tracy

Title: Florida Atlantic University associate professor, media history and analysis, political economy of communication.


Age: 47

Born: Hornell, N.Y.


Education: Undergraduate: San Jose State, communication, 1995

Master's degree: University of Arizona, media studies, 1998


PhD.: University of Iowa, 2002.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency



Skim the comments on that article for a look at a sampling of weirdness in America. Newtown shooting was orchestrated by the federal government? Who knew? I saw a reference to the Illuminati, and cannot tell if it's in jest, or a planted comment by the Rosicrucians to throw me off the trail to the TRUTH.



I believe the other PhDs that post here will back me up in saying that being a professor with a PhD has no special credibility value except possibly in the narrow area of specialty.  The average person might even count it as a negative, largely due to guys like Prof. Tracy.


I'm a wannabe

mmghosh's picture

couldn't give enough time to make it past the 2nd year and had to settle for an inferior degree.  


Since that bad decision, I always look up to those who stick with the rigour necessary to become a true academic.  I'm enough of a South Asian/Light in the Age of Darkness type to think that PhDs are where the true worth of a society lies.  We are dross, sir.  Are there bankers with PhDs?

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Bernard, these people are not bankers.

mmghosh's picture

I'm talking about people like these.  I notice a few PhDs there, though, may their tribe never increase.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

M., Derman ran mortgages at....

Bernard Guerrero's picture

...Salomon Brothers and was head of quantitative trading at Goldman for a decade.  That is banking, in the sense of one half of the act of financial intermediation, that is, deploying the capital you have gathered.  How are you defining the tem that this escapes the net?  No Snively Whiplash mustache? 

Your influence on higher ed


A long time ago you used the word "tergiversation" in a comment.  I was clueless and went to ask a guy down the hall what it meant.  It spread and now years later and 9000 miles away from India,  "You're tergiversating!" is a standard accusation around the office.  It probably gets used on me twice a week.


Just thought you'd like to know.

Heh. n/t

mmghosh's picture


freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Regarding the Libor scandal

mmghosh's picture

the liberal left has plenty to report.  But what about the rightwing take?  The WSJ - almost nothing in the way of indepth analysis that I could track down via Google.  Financial Times is a little better, but gives almost nothing away.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency