Archive for October 20th, 2011

Dylan Ratigan to Barack Obama: Fire Timothy Geithner

October 20, 2011 | By | 15 Replies More
Dylan Ratigan to Barack Obama: Fire Timothy Geithner

This is part of a mass emailing I received from Dylan Ratigan today:

In my last piece, I talked about how Tim Geithner’s job over the past five years has been to (a) print money, (b) give it to rich friends, and (c) deny everyone else legal and financial rights. This shows up everywhere, from the 0% you get on your savings account versus the insider information the rich get, to your lack of access to the Fed discount window. It’s a symptom of bought government, which I try to expose on our show every day. . . . I find it laughable to hear President Obama’s spokesperson talking about how his campaign represents the 99%. For starters He’d have to fire Geithner, to prove he’s not the leader of a bought government. After all, it is Geithner who took a system indirectly rigged to profit the 1% at the expense of everyone else, and institutionalized and formalized it during a crisis.

The article Ratigan wrote at Huffpo reads like a long detailed indictment of Wall Street, but the word “indictment,” when used in the context of Wall Street, is always and only metaphorical, as Ratigan points out:

It’s not the scandals that matter, or rather, it’s that the scandals are the new norm that matters. The larger context here, what the Occupiers are protesting, is that Tim Geithner formalized a financial elite and gave them special rights they had not previously had, notably a government guarantee for their investing, rights which ordinary people don’t get. You can see this in bank borrowing spreads; large banks get a subsidy of $34 billion of dollars a year, simply because investors think their bonds are backed by the US government. This is now written into law – Dodd-Frank requires regulators to draw up a list of systemically significant firms. These are pretty explicitly firms that are too big to fail. Behind these investing advantages are legal advantages. No elite bankers have been prosecuted for the financial crisis, or the foreclosure crisis. NONE.

For Barack Obama to regain some of my trust, yes, he should immediately fire Tim Geithner and replace him with someone who will make Wall Street scream. And then Obama should do everything in his power to see that the big banks Ratigan describes as being on the “systemically significant firms” list are thoroughly investigated by funding hundreds of financially sophisticated investigators.  To top it off, Obama should do everything in his power to effect thorough annual audits of the Federal Reserve. If he will do all of this, I’ll start listening to Obama once again, though it will still be with considerable apprehension.

And for all of you tried and true “Democrats” out there who still believe that Barack Obama is a President that is on your side, it’s time for all of you to closely consider the damage this President has done to our country (by judging him the way you would judge him had he been a Republican) and to start spending some time on the streets with the Occupy protesters.


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William Black: The U.S. is turning a blind eye to bank fraud

October 20, 2011 | By | Reply More
William Black: The U.S. is turning a blind eye to bank fraud

William Black is a white-collar criminologist, former financial regulator, and author of “The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One.” He teaches economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and recently took part in Occupy Kansas City.  Black was recently interviewed by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, and offer some shocking statistics indicating why we are not seeing bank executives carted down to prison:

It all starts with the regulators, which is why it’s all not started here, because we have, of course, the wrecking crew, Bush’s wrecking crew, what Tom Frank called them, in charge, and they stopped making criminal referrals. So our agency, in the savings and loan crisis, made over 10,000 criminal referrals to the FBI. That same agency, in this crisis, made zero criminal referrals. If you don’t get people pointing the way and pointing to the top of the organization, you don’t get effective prosecutions. So, in the peak of the savings and loan crisis, we had a thousand FBI agents. This crisis has losses 70 times larger than the savings and loan crisis. And the savings and loan crisis, when it happened, was considered the largest financial scandal in U.S. history. So we’re now 70 times worse. And as recently as 2007, we had 120 FBI agents—one-eighth as many FBIagents for a crisis 70 times larger. And they looked not at the big folks, but almost exclusively at the little folks.

Black also offered the following on the themes that are developing as a result of the Occupy protests:

[I]f you look, not just nationwide, but worldwide, you will see some pretty consistent themes developing. And those themes include: we have to deal with the systemically dangerous institutions, the 20 biggest banks that the administration is saying are ticking time bombs, that as soon as one of them fails, we go back into a global crisis. Well, we should fix that. Right? There’s no reason to have institutions that large. That’s a theme. That accountability is a theme, that we should keep—put these felons in prison, and there’s no action on that. That we should get jobs now, and that we should deal with the foreclosure crisis. So those are four very common themes that you can see in virtually any of these protest sites. And they have asked me, for example, to come to New York to talk about some of these things. So, I think, over time, you won’t necessarily have some grand written agenda, but you’ll have, as I say, increasing consensus. And it’s a very broad consensus. It’s not left, it’s not right; it’s not Republican, it’s not Democrat.

For additional observations by William Black, visit these other DI posts.


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Dealing with Microsoft PowersHell

October 20, 2011 | By | 3 Replies More

Why, one may wonder, would I be delving into something that ubiquitous Microsoft decides unabashedly to call PowersHell? To start with, and in full disclosure, they capitalize it as PowerShell, a new and improved version of the command line interface that we old timers sometimes still call the DOS prompt.

But why would I use this, when the Gooey does so much? It has to do with too many cameras and too many memory chips. You see, I just went on vacation, a two week, 3,550 mile drive to Yellowstone, the Tetons, and many places in between. I brought home over 4,000 snapshots and video clips taken with 4 cameras.

Why would anyone need 4 cameras? Well, I have a SuperZoom 12Mp, and a pocket camera (the SD1100 that we’ve raved about), and my new Droid. That’s three? Well, I also got a back-up SD1100, that I’ve also rigged up with my first to use as a stereo camera.

So with three of the four cameras all of the same brand, and so many pictures, eventually the 8 character file names (the first four of which are fixed in 3 cameras at “IMG_”) began to overlap. And when I filled up a memory chip, each camera decided to reset to IMG_0001, so I have many overlaps in the lower numbers. Very clumsy. Also it is hard to match up the images from the left and right cameras (each eye stored in its own folder) without looking at each enlarged, and the Windows Photo Viewer doesn’t let me look at two files from different folders side-by-side.

So I decided to rename all the images to use longer names, and decided to use the picture date and time to rename them. My former XP machine had use a nice re-namer that would do this. But now I have Win7, and the old Win95 app won’t run.
But I keep in mind that “Every O/S Sucks”

So I Googled for a new renamer that could handle the task, and stumbled on to this post: Rename multiple files as “Modified Date/Time” using cmd or Powershell. Yee, I thought, Haw! Why install another utility when the O/S does it for me.

But it can’t be done with the old command line. One has to figure out how to use the new, powerful, dangerous PowerShell. I could have just used the code snippet in the Super User post linked above. But I wanted to, a) Know how it works, and b) Do it a little differently.

So once I returned, I did some reading, and playing. But after a minimum of profanity, I got it working on a test folder, and then ran my new script on all my files. Now I can tell at a glance when each picture was taken, and therefore easily glean the where and why.

Just for a laff, here’s a bit about the code name Microsoft used while developing this new shell:


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