Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for October 26th, 2016

Bill Clinton Era SEC Chair Tells Elizabeth Warren to Muzzle Herself

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Pam Martens and Russ Martens report in Wall Street on Parade:

Yesterday, former SEC Chair Arthur Levitt penned an OpEd for the Wall Street Journal, effectively telling Senator Elizabeth Warren to stop criticizing Mary Jo White in public. White is the current Chair of the SEC that Senator Warren publicly asked President Obama to fire this month for her bad leadership.

Obviously Levitt thought it was appropriate to criticize Senator Warren in public. So what is wrong with Senator Warren, doing the same thing to the Chair of the SEC, particularly since it is the responsibility of Congress to ride herd on Federal agencies, and the SEC has been a spectacular failure in protecting the public, but highly successful at protecting Wall Street firms. I would say that Sen. Warren’s criticism of Mary Jo White is totally appropriate, particularly since Levitt by his example validates this sort of public criticism. Continuing the column:

Senator Warren is a genuine champion of the investing public and understands how the SEC has become a lapdog to Wall Street under White’s inept leadership. Levitt is part of the Bill Clinton machine that de-regulated Wall Street and turned it into a massive looting racket in the 1990s through today. It’s important to take note of Levitt’s effort to muzzle Warren in the pages of the Wall Street Journal. Expect to see more of this coming from a lot more of Wall Street’s cronies.

Arthur Levitt was appointed as SEC Chair by President Bill Clinton in 1993. Levitt served until 2001, making him the longest serving SEC Chair. Levitt had previously been Sandy Weill’s business partner in a Wall Street brokerage firm. In 1998, when Weill wanted to create Citigroup by merging his Travelers Group, which owned an insurance company, brokerage firm and investment bank, with Citibank, an insured depository bank – an illegal merger at the time under the Glass-Steagall Act — Levitt and his other cronies in the Bill Clinton administration eagerly got the ball rolling.

During his long tenure, Levitt presided over the serial looting of the public by Wall Street. Levitt was in charge when two university professors discovered that the Nasdaq stock market had been fleecing investors for more than a decade in an illegal price-fixing scheme. Levitt was in charge when Wall Street’s fraudulent research and IPO pump and dump schemes led to the great tech bubble crash, wiping away $4 trillion in market value. Levitt was there when JPMorgan and Citigroup helped Enron cook its books.

So when Levitt tells readers of the Wall Street Journal that “Mary Jo White has been a firm, thoughtful SEC chairman who, through speeches and a carefully chosen agenda, has made herself a capable steward of an essential agency,” one should take it with a grain of salt.

In 1994, a year after taking the reins at the SEC, Levitt . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

26 October 2016 at 5:09 pm

The government against the vets: It goes way beyond tryng to renege on enlistment bonuss

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Charles Ornstein and Mike Hixenbaugh have a scathing report that shows the government once more determined to screw over American vets. The blurb: “For decades, the military and the VA have repeatedly turned to one man to guide decisions on whether Agent Orange harmed vets in Vietnam and elsewhere. His reliable answer: No.”

And do read this illustrative report: “Eight Times Agent Orange’s Biggest Defender Has Been Wrong or Misleading.”

Just like corporations choosing arbitrators that have a history of deciding always in favor of the corporation, the government chooses experts who have a history of supporting the government position.


Written by LeisureGuy

26 October 2016 at 1:28 pm

Banning things to cast shade on a group

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Communities of any size, from village to nation, have groups considered “acceptable” by the dominant power group and groups considered “questionable at best” and groups considered “not acceptable.” The group definitions and categories vary with time, but Radley Balko points out in a column today that banning breeds of dogs is a way of showing displeasure toward, and a measure of rejection of, the groups who enjoy those breeds.

The banning of marijuana was due in part as a way to express disapproval Hispanic Americans, just as the bannot of alcohol was rural Protestants showing they diapproved of urban Catholics, what with their drinking and all. (One reason for Prohibition’s failure, I’ve read, was that the amendment was passed as a statement with no real interest in enforcement.)

The zoot-suit ban was aimed at Mexican-Americans in LA and urban African Americans in the Northeast.

Banning: a way to take a stand.  It’s just a boycott in reverse.

Written by LeisureGuy

26 October 2016 at 1:05 pm

Posted in Daily life, Government, Law

Fascinating: Why snakes now have no legs. (They once did.)

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First, watch this brief (less then 3 minutes) video; then read this article by Madison Margolin in Motherboard.

Written by LeisureGuy

26 October 2016 at 12:24 pm

Posted in Evolution, Science, Video

The GOP has learned nothing

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Just read this Kevin Drum column. From the column:

. . . I suppose this means that Republicans are resigned to losing and are probably putting their heads together to figure out how they can work with Hillary Clinton over the next four years in order to accomplish at least—

Eh? What’s that, Ilya Shapiro?

The Senate Should Refuse To Confirm All Of Hillary Clinton’s Judicial Nominees

Um, OK. That’s clear enough. Gonna be tough on the federal judiciary, though. Don’t big businesses need the courts to stay fully staffed so they can continue suing each other over dumb patent infractions? Maybe not. But anyway, Shapiro is just one guy. This is probably not a common opinion, right?

OK, fine: two guys. But surely wiser heads in Congress will prevail?

Jason Chaffetz, the Utah congressman wrapping up his first term atop the powerful House Oversight Committee, unendorsed Donald Trump weeks ago. That freed him up to prepare for something else: spending years, come January, probing the record of a President Hillary Clinton.

“It’s a target-rich environment,” the Republican said in an interview in Salt Lake City’s suburbs. “Even before we get to Day One, we’ve got two years’ worth of material already lined up. She has four years of history at the State Department, and it ain’t good.”

Welp, it’s sure sounding like the Republican Party has learned nothing and forgotten nothing over the past eight years. If this is how things go, . . .

Written by LeisureGuy

26 October 2016 at 12:11 pm

Posted in Congress, Election, GOP

The U.S. is no longer a white, Christian country. How do we handle that?

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Very interesting video from the Atlantic:


Written by LeisureGuy

26 October 2016 at 11:59 am

Manufacturing is one of many areas in which my ignorance is vast: Video of spring-making machine in action

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Do you have to build the machines yourself? I cannot imagine there’s a big enough market that you could buy such a machine from a catalog. Watch it at work:

Written by LeisureGuy

26 October 2016 at 11:51 am

Posted in Technology, Video

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