Discussion:
Cover-up of Ebay Scandal?
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John Fowler
2020-06-21 14:20:37 UTC
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A bit off-topic, but I'm sure we have all used Ebay at one time or another.
This scandal was reported on Boston's local TV news on June 15, but has been ignored by the national media.
Four executives were fired and are facing Federal prosecution:
Ebay’s senior director of safety and security.
eBay’s director of global resiliency (?)
eBay’s senior manager of global intelligence.
Ebay’s senior manager of special operations for eBay’s global security team.


Frank Berger
2020-06-21 15:53:19 UTC
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Post by John Fowler
A bit off-topic, but I'm sure we have all used Ebay at one time or another.
This scandal was reported on Boston's local TV news on June 15, but has been ignored by the national media.
Ebay’s senior director of safety and security.
eBay’s director of global resiliency (?)
eBay’s senior manager of global intelligence.
Ebay’s senior manager of special operations for eBay’s global security team.
http://youtu.be/NacqQW-SC7I
The story was reported by various media, some of it
mainstream, like the WSJ, BBC, Reuters, though the last two
are not American. It seems not to have been reported by
CNN, MSNBC and FOX News, but was reported by Breitbart.

I have no idea if there some political bias in reporting
going on here. The accused perps had in for the WSJ for
their criticism of Ebay. Breibart hates leftist tech media,
but I might have expected Fox to cover it in that case.

Unless the whole thing is a hoax. It sounds preposterous.
Lawrence Kart
2020-06-21 15:59:17 UTC
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Post by Frank Berger
Post by John Fowler
A bit off-topic, but I'm sure we have all used Ebay at one time or another.
This scandal was reported on Boston's local TV news on June 15, but has been ignored by the national media.
Ebay’s senior director of safety and security.
eBay’s director of global resiliency (?)
eBay’s senior manager of global intelligence.
Ebay’s senior manager of special operations for eBay’s global security team.
http://youtu.be/NacqQW-SC7I
The story was reported by various media, some of it
mainstream, like the WSJ, BBC, Reuters, though the last two
are not American. It seems not to have been reported by
CNN, MSNBC and FOX News, but was reported by Breitbart.
I have no idea if there some political bias in reporting
going on here. The accused perps had in for the WSJ for
their criticism of Ebay. Breibart hates leftist tech media,
but I might have expected Fox to cover it in that case.
Unless the whole thing is a hoax. It sounds preposterous.
I read a fairly long story about thus in the New York Times a few days ago. Fascinating episode of rogue entitlement.
Lawrence Kart
2020-06-21 16:00:34 UTC
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Post by Frank Berger
Post by John Fowler
A bit off-topic, but I'm sure we have all used Ebay at one time or another.
This scandal was reported on Boston's local TV news on June 15, but has been ignored by the national media.
Ebay’s senior director of safety and security.
eBay’s director of global resiliency (?)
eBay’s senior manager of global intelligence.
Ebay’s senior manager of special operations for eBay’s global security team.
http://youtu.be/NacqQW-SC7I
The story was reported by various media, some of it
mainstream, like the WSJ, BBC, Reuters, though the last two
are not American. It seems not to have been reported by
CNN, MSNBC and FOX News, but was reported by Breitbart.
I have no idea if there some political bias in reporting
going on here. The accused perps had in for the WSJ for
their criticism of Ebay. Breibart hates leftist tech media,
but I might have expected Fox to cover it in that case.
Unless the whole thing is a hoax. It sounds preposterous.
I read a fairly long story about this in the New York Times a few days ago. Fascinating episode of rogue entitlement.
Oscar
2020-06-21 18:57:13 UTC
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Incredible story, Mr. Fowler. I too read about this in Wall Street Journal a couple days ago. I look forward to following this caper in the days and weeks ahead. Between this eBay intrigue and what happened to Carlos Ghosn, former Chairman and CEO of Nissan, in late December/early January I'm not sure which is stranger. Although if forced to choose the Ghosn story must be the most peculiar. Sorry in advance, this article may be behind paywall.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/inside-carlos-ghosns-great-escape-a-train-planes-and-a-big-black-box-11578445084
Bozo
2020-06-21 19:05:35 UTC
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What's "AG" Barr been trying to cover up ? In any event, wonder what's it's like under the bus where Trump threw him.
weary flake
2020-06-21 20:16:38 UTC
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Post by John Fowler
A bit off-topic, but I'm sure we have all used Ebay at one time or another.
This scandal was reported on Boston's local TV news on June 15, but has
been ignored by the national media.
Ebay’s senior director of safety and security.eBay’s director of global
resiliency (?)
eBay’s senior manager of global intelligence.
Ebay’s senior manager of special operations for eBay’s global security team.
http://youtu.be/NacqQW-SC7I
Videos suck! Here's something to read:

https://www.universalhub.com/2020/feds-allege-ebay-terror-campaign-against-natick
Oscar
2020-06-21 20:19:08 UTC
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Post by weary flake
https://www.universalhub.com/2020/feds-allege-ebay-terror-campaign-against-natick
Thank you. I concur. And as much as I am morbidly interested in what Hurwitz has to say I don't wanna look at his mug for 20 minutes, either. I'll have another bowl of Cheerios instead!
weary flake
2020-06-21 23:00:57 UTC
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Post by John Fowler
A bit off-topic, but I'm sure we have all used Ebay at one time or another.
This scandal was reported on Boston's local TV news on June 15, but has
been ignored by the national media.
Ebay’s senior director of safety and security.eBay’s director of global
resiliency (?)
eBay’s senior manager of global intelligence.
Ebay’s senior manager of special operations for eBay’s global security team.
http://youtu.be/NacqQW-SC7I
https://www.justice.gov/usao-ma/pr/six-former-ebay-employees-charged-aggressive-cyberstalking-campaign-targeting-natick


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, June 15, 2020

Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking
Campaign Targeting Natick Couple

BOSTON – Six former employees of eBay, Inc. have been charged
with leading a cyberstalking campaign targeting the editor and
publisher of a newsletter that eBay executives viewed as critical
of the company. The alleged harassment included sending the
couple anonymous, threatening messages, disturbing deliveries –
including a box of live cockroaches, a funeral wreath and a
bloody pig mask – and conducting covert surveillance of the
victims.

James Baugh, 45, of San Jose, Calif., eBay’s former Senior
Director of Safety & Security, was arrested today and charged by
criminal complaint with conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and
conspiracy to tamper with witnesses.

David Harville, 48, of New York City, eBay’s former Director of
Global Resiliency, was arrested this morning in New York City on
the same charges and will make an initial appearance via
videoconference in U.S. District Court in the Southern District
of New York.

In addition the following defendants were charged in an
Information unsealed today: Stephanie Popp, 32, of San Jose,
eBay’s former Senior Manager of Global Intelligence; Stephanie
Stockwell, 26, of Redwood City, Calif., the former manager of
eBay’s Global Intelligence Center (GIC); Veronica Zea, 26, of San
Jose, a former eBay contractor who worked as an intelligence
analyst in the GIC; and Brian Gilbert, 51, of San Jose, a former
Senior Manager of Special Operations for eBay’s Global Security
Team. They are each charged with conspiracy to commit
cyberstalking and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses and will
make appearances in federal court in Boston at a later date.

According to the charging documents, the victims of the
cyberstalking campaign were a Natick couple who are the editor
and publisher of an online newsletter that covers ecommerce
companies, including eBay, a multinational ecommerce business
that offers platforms for consumer-to-consumer and
business-to-consumer transactions. Members of the executive
leadership team at eBay followed the newsletter’s posts, often
taking issue with its content and the anonymous comments
underneath the editor’s stories.

It is alleged that in August 2019, after the newsletter published
an article about litigation involving eBay, two members of eBay’s
executive leadership team sent or forwarded text messages
suggesting that it was time to “take down” the newsletter’s
editor.

In response, Baugh, Harville, Popp, Gilbert, Zea, Stockwell, and
others allegedly executed a three-part harassment campaign. Among
other things, several of the defendants ordered anonymous and
disturbing deliveries to the victims’ home, including a preserved
fetal pig, a bloody pig Halloween mask, a funeral wreath, a book
on surviving the loss of a spouse, and pornography – the last of
these addressed to the newsletter’s publisher but sent to his
neighbors’ homes.

As part of the second phase of the campaign, some of the
defendants allegedly sent private Twitter messages and public
tweets criticizing the newsletter’s content and threatening to
visit the victims in Natick. The documents allege that Baugh,
Gilbert, Popp and another eBay security employee planned these
messages to become increasingly disturbing, culminating with
“doxing” the victims (i.e., publishing their home address). It is
alleged that the very same group intended then to have Gilbert, a
former Santa Clara police captain, approach the victims with an
offer to help stop the harassment that the defendants were
secretly causing, in an effort to promote good will towards eBay,
generate more favorable coverage in the newsletter, and identify
the individuals behind the anonymous comments.

The third phase of the campaign allegedly involved covertly
surveilling the victims in their home and community. According to
the complaint, Harville and Zea registered for a software
development conference to explain their trip to Boston on Aug.
15, 2019. Baugh, Harville, and Zea (and later Popp) allegedly
drove to the victims’ home in Natick several times, with Harville
and Baugh intending at one point to break into the victims’
garage and install a GPS tracking device on their car. As
protection in the event they were stopped by local police, Baugh
and Harville allegedly carried false documents purporting to show
that they were investigating the victims as “Persons of Interest”
who had threatened eBay executives. The victims spotted the
surveillance, however, and notified the Natick police, who began
to investigate. The police learned that Zea had rented one of the
cars used by the defendants and reached out to eBay for
assistance.

Aware that the police were investigating, the defendants
allegedly sought to interfere with the investigation by lying to
the police about eBay’s involvement while pretending to offer the
company’s assistance with the harassment, as well as by lying to
eBay’s lawyers about their involvement. At one point, for
example, Baugh, Gilbert, Popp, and Stockwell allegedly plotted to
fabricate another eBay “Person of Interest” document that could
be offered to the police as a lead on some of the harassing
deliveries. As the police and eBay’s lawyers continued to
investigate, the defendants allegedly deleted digital evidence
that showed their involvement, further obstructing what had by
then become a federal investigation.

The charges of conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and conspiracy
to tamper with witnesses each carry a sentence of up to five
years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of up
to $250,000 and restitution. Sentences are imposed by a federal
district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines
and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special
Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston
Field Division; and Natick Chief of Police James G. Hicks made
the announcement today. eBay provided valuable assistance and
cooperation with the federal investigation. Assistant U.S.
Attorneys Seth B. Kosto and David J. D’Addio of Lelling’s
Securities, Financial and Cyber Fraud Unit are prosecuting the
case.

The details contained in charging documents are allegations. The
defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty
beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Oscar
2020-06-21 23:21:04 UTC
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Thank our lucky stars the competent leadership of our Justice Department, with Attorney General Barr in charge, will bring justice to these simple-minded thuggish fools. 'Lew Alcindor' Holder couldn't bring a single case against the Banksters of Wall Street in 8 years!
Lawrence Kart
2020-06-22 00:46:13 UTC
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Post by Oscar
Thank our lucky stars the competent leadership of our Justice Department, with Attorney General Barr in charge, will bring justice to these simple-minded thuggish fools. 'Lew Alcindor' Holder couldn't bring a single case against the Banksters of Wall Street in 8 years!
Not exactly parallel matters. Holder didn't do squat to the banksters because of policy decisions that made sense to those who made them in the name of preserving the overall integrity (I know, it is to laugh) and survival of the financial system -- decisions that were taken well above Holder's pay grade, though he may have had a seat at the foot of the table. As for Barr's "competent leadership" -- you're kidding right?
msw design
2020-06-22 11:22:59 UTC
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Post by Lawrence Kart
As for Barr's "competent leadership" -- you're kidding right?
No- the glasses Oscar sees the world through a doing quite a number on his nose, but they are permanently stuck there.
Oscar
2020-06-23 00:46:19 UTC
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... As for Barr's "competent leadership" -- you're kidding right?
From first line of article in Wall Street Journal, Monday, June 22, 2020:

'Attorney General William Barr has earned a reputation for being so hard-charging within the Justice Department that even his close aides call him “the Buffalo.”'

I like that. I like that a lot. What was holder's nickname? Lew Alcindor? A buffalo will trounce a Lew Alcindor 8 days a week.
msw design
2020-06-23 02:15:51 UTC
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Post by Oscar
... As for Barr's "competent leadership" -- you're kidding right?
'Attorney General William Barr has earned a reputation for being so hard-charging within the Justice Department that even his close aides call him “the Buffalo.”'
I like that. I like that a lot. What was holder's nickname? Lew Alcindor? A buffalo will trounce a Lew Alcindor 8 days a week.
The mention of the Lew Alcindor alias fits perfectly with Republican derangement syndrome where hints of variance from any taken-for-granted norm are treated as nefarious when done by a Democrat ("but her email server!!!!" and Trump uses unsecured cell phones all the time!), but their own leaders can basically do whatever they want. Self-enrichment, abuse of power, corruption of the Justice Department and so forth. Anyone who is a Trumpian at this point is likely a walking cartoon, and this bit about Barr the "Buffalo" fits perfectly with that.
Lawrence Kart
2020-06-23 13:16:21 UTC
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Post by Oscar
... As for Barr's "competent leadership" -- you're kidding right?
'Attorney General William Barr has earned a reputation for being so hard-charging within the Justice Department that even his close aides call him “the Buffalo.”'
I like that. I like that a lot. What was holder's nickname? Lew Alcindor? A buffalo will trounce a Lew Alcindor 8 days a week.
Leaving aside whether Barr Is temperamentally more of a hard-charger than Holder was, do you have any doubt, given Barr's track record as an high-level employee in/advocate of the financial industry and his deep-seated oligarchic loyalties/preferences, that if he had been making policy as AG in the wake of the 2008 crash, the big banks and other major financial institutions would have been given every break in the book, plus some new ones that hadn't even been invented yet, while the folks on Main Street and those who lost their homes, etc. would have been left with their thumbs even further up their asses than was the case?
Frank Berger
2020-06-23 13:45:38 UTC
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Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Oscar
... As for Barr's "competent leadership" -- you're kidding right?
'Attorney General William Barr has earned a reputation for being so hard-charging within the Justice Department that even his close aides call him “the Buffalo.”'
I like that. I like that a lot. What was holder's nickname? Lew Alcindor? A buffalo will trounce a Lew Alcindor 8 days a week.
Leaving aside whether Barr Is temperamentally more of a hard-charger than Holder was, do you have any doubt, given Barr's track record as an high-level employee in/advocate of the financial industry and his deep-seated oligarchic loyalties/preferences, that if he had been making policy as AG in the wake of the 2008 crash, the big banks and other major financial institutions would have been given every break in the book, plus some new ones that hadn't even been invented yet, while the folks on Main Street and those who lost their homes, etc. would have been left with their thumbs even further up their asses than was the case?
The Left is always whining about all those financiers who
should have gone to jail back then, without ever stopping to
consider what laws were broken.
Lawrence Kart
2020-06-23 14:57:49 UTC
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Post by Frank Berger
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Oscar
... As for Barr's "competent leadership" -- you're kidding right?
'Attorney General William Barr has earned a reputation for being so hard-charging within the Justice Department that even his close aides call him “the Buffalo.”'
I like that. I like that a lot. What was holder's nickname? Lew Alcindor? A buffalo will trounce a Lew Alcindor 8 days a week.
Leaving aside whether Barr Is temperamentally more of a hard-charger than Holder was, do you have any doubt, given Barr's track record as an high-level employee in/advocate of the financial industry and his deep-seated oligarchic loyalties/preferences, that if he had been making policy as AG in the wake of the 2008 crash, the big banks and other major financial institutions would have been given every break in the book, plus some new ones that hadn't even been invented yet, while the folks on Main Street and those who lost their homes, etc. would have been left with their thumbs even further up their asses than was the case?
The Left is always whining about all those financiers who
should have gone to jail back then, without ever stopping to
consider what laws were broken.
I'm sorry, Frank, but it was Owen -- who is as firmly on the Right as you are, if not more so -- who not only was blaming AG Holder for nov prosecuting any financiers after 2008 but also insisting that "hard-charger" Bill Barr surely would have locked those guys up if he had been AG at the time. You people need to get your stories straight. Which is it? Holder and his bosses were corrupt wimps who went belly up to protect Wall St. , or, no laws were broken -- just swallow your losses and go home?
Owen
2020-06-23 21:21:45 UTC
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Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Frank Berger
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Oscar
... As for Barr's "competent leadership" -- you're kidding right?
'Attorney General William Barr has earned a reputation for being so hard-charging within the Justice Department that even his close aides call him “the Buffalo.”'
I like that. I like that a lot. What was holder's nickname? Lew Alcindor? A buffalo will trounce a Lew Alcindor 8 days a week.
Leaving aside whether Barr Is temperamentally more of a hard-charger than Holder was, do you have any doubt, given Barr's track record as an high-level employee in/advocate of the financial industry and his deep-seated oligarchic loyalties/preferences, that if he had been making policy as AG in the wake of the 2008 crash, the big banks and other major financial institutions would have been given every break in the book, plus some new ones that hadn't even been invented yet, while the folks on Main Street and those who lost their homes, etc. would have been left with their thumbs even further up their asses than was the case?
The Left is always whining about all those financiers who
should have gone to jail back then, without ever stopping to
consider what laws were broken.
I'm sorry, Frank, but it was Owen -- who is as firmly on the Right as you are, if not more so -- who not only was blaming AG Holder for nov prosecuting any financiers after 2008 but also insisting that "hard-charger" Bill Barr surely would have locked those guys up if he had been AG at the time. You people need to get your stories straight. Which is it? Holder and his bosses were corrupt wimps who went belly up to protect Wall St. , or, no laws were broken -- just swallow your losses and go home?
Sorry Lawrence, but that's not what I said.

I asked who it was made policy decisions that stopped Holder from doing
his job (which you asserted) that was above his pay grade? And I didn't
insist anything about Barr, "hard-charger" or not.

Just want to set the record straight.

-Owen
Lawrence Kart
2020-06-23 22:47:10 UTC
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Post by Owen
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Frank Berger
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Oscar
... As for Barr's "competent leadership" -- you're kidding right?
'Attorney General William Barr has earned a reputation for being so hard-charging within the Justice Department that even his close aides call him “the Buffalo.”'
I like that. I like that a lot. What was holder's nickname? Lew Alcindor? A buffalo will trounce a Lew Alcindor 8 days a week.
Leaving aside whether Barr Is temperamentally more of a hard-charger than Holder was, do you have any doubt, given Barr's track record as an high-level employee in/advocate of the financial industry and his deep-seated oligarchic loyalties/preferences, that if he had been making policy as AG in the wake of the 2008 crash, the big banks and other major financial institutions would have been given every break in the book, plus some new ones that hadn't even been invented yet, while the folks on Main Street and those who lost their homes, etc. would have been left with their thumbs even further up their asses than was the case?
The Left is always whining about all those financiers who
should have gone to jail back then, without ever stopping to
consider what laws were broken.
I'm sorry, Frank, but it was Owen -- who is as firmly on the Right as you are, if not more so -- who not only was blaming AG Holder for nov prosecuting any financiers after 2008 but also insisting that "hard-charger" Bill Barr surely would have locked those guys up if he had been AG at the time. You people need to get your stories straight. Which is it? Holder and his bosses were corrupt wimps who went belly up to protect Wall St. , or, no laws were broken -- just swallow your losses and go home?
Sorry Lawrence, but that's not what I said.
I asked who it was made policy decisions that stopped Holder from doing
his job (which you asserted) that was above his pay grade? And I didn't
insist anything about Barr, "hard-charger" or not.
Just want to set the record straight.
-Owen
Sorry, Owen, I confused you with Oscar, who had disparaged Holder and extolled Barr as a "hard charger" who would have banged heads together. Can't say for sure who was making those policy decisions above Holder but I would guess it was a trio of Tim Geitner, Robert Rubin, and Obama, perhaps with input from Bush's departing Treasury Secretary, whose name I don't recall. Can't say I like the decisions that were made, but a case can be made that they were not corrupt decisions but an attempt to make the best of a very bad situation that they thought was about to get much worse.
Owen
2020-06-25 01:25:05 UTC
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Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Owen
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Frank Berger
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Oscar
... As for Barr's "competent leadership" -- you're kidding right?
'Attorney General William Barr has earned a reputation for being so hard-charging within the Justice Department that even his close aides call him “the Buffalo.”'
I like that. I like that a lot. What was holder's nickname? Lew Alcindor? A buffalo will trounce a Lew Alcindor 8 days a week.
Leaving aside whether Barr Is temperamentally more of a hard-charger than Holder was, do you have any doubt, given Barr's track record as an high-level employee in/advocate of the financial industry and his deep-seated oligarchic loyalties/preferences, that if he had been making policy as AG in the wake of the 2008 crash, the big banks and other major financial institutions would have been given every break in the book, plus some new ones that hadn't even been invented yet, while the folks on Main Street and those who lost their homes, etc. would have been left with their thumbs even further up their asses than was the case?
The Left is always whining about all those financiers who
should have gone to jail back then, without ever stopping to
consider what laws were broken.
I'm sorry, Frank, but it was Owen -- who is as firmly on the Right as you are, if not more so -- who not only was blaming AG Holder for nov prosecuting any financiers after 2008 but also insisting that "hard-charger" Bill Barr surely would have locked those guys up if he had been AG at the time. You people need to get your stories straight. Which is it? Holder and his bosses were corrupt wimps who went belly up to protect Wall St. , or, no laws were broken -- just swallow your losses and go home?
Sorry Lawrence, but that's not what I said.
I asked who it was made policy decisions that stopped Holder from doing
his job (which you asserted) that was above his pay grade? And I didn't
insist anything about Barr, "hard-charger" or not.
Just want to set the record straight.
-Owen
Sorry, Owen, I confused you with Oscar, who had disparaged Holder and extolled Barr as a "hard charger" who would have banged heads together. Can't say for sure who was making those policy decisions above Holder but I would guess it was a trio of Tim Geitner, Robert Rubin, and Obama, perhaps with input from Bush's departing Treasury Secretary, whose name I don't recall. Can't say I like the decisions that were made, but a case can be made that they were not corrupt decisions but an attempt to make the best of a very bad situation that they thought was about to get much worse.
I'm trying to think of someone who could wield enough clout that the
sitting AG would defer to, and that, to my mind, could only be POTUS.

Your last sentence could easily be ascribed to any AG who did something
that at least appeared to be corrupt, including AG Barr.

-Owen
Lawrence Kart
2020-06-25 16:37:22 UTC
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Permalink
Post by Owen
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Owen
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Frank Berger
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Oscar
... As for Barr's "competent leadership" -- you're kidding right?
'Attorney General William Barr has earned a reputation for being so hard-charging within the Justice Department that even his close aides call him “the Buffalo.”'
I like that. I like that a lot. What was holder's nickname? Lew Alcindor? A buffalo will trounce a Lew Alcindor 8 days a week.
Leaving aside whether Barr Is temperamentally more of a hard-charger than Holder was, do you have any doubt, given Barr's track record as an high-level employee in/advocate of the financial industry and his deep-seated oligarchic loyalties/preferences, that if he had been making policy as AG in the wake of the 2008 crash, the big banks and other major financial institutions would have been given every break in the book, plus some new ones that hadn't even been invented yet, while the folks on Main Street and those who lost their homes, etc. would have been left with their thumbs even further up their asses than was the case?
The Left is always whining about all those financiers who
should have gone to jail back then, without ever stopping to
consider what laws were broken.
I'm sorry, Frank, but it was Owen -- who is as firmly on the Right as you are, if not more so -- who not only was blaming AG Holder for nov prosecuting any financiers after 2008 but also insisting that "hard-charger" Bill Barr surely would have locked those guys up if he had been AG at the time. You people need to get your stories straight. Which is it? Holder and his bosses were corrupt wimps who went belly up to protect Wall St. , or, no laws were broken -- just swallow your losses and go home?
Sorry Lawrence, but that's not what I said.
I asked who it was made policy decisions that stopped Holder from doing
his job (which you asserted) that was above his pay grade? And I didn't
insist anything about Barr, "hard-charger" or not.
Just want to set the record straight.
-Owen
Sorry, Owen, I confused you with Oscar, who had disparaged Holder and extolled Barr as a "hard charger" who would have banged heads together. Can't say for sure who was making those policy decisions above Holder but I would guess it was a trio of Tim Geitner, Robert Rubin, and Obama, perhaps with input from Bush's departing Treasury Secretary, whose name I don't recall. Can't say I like the decisions that were made, but a case can be made that they were not corrupt decisions but an attempt to make the best of a very bad situation that they thought was about to get much worse.
I'm trying to think of someone who could wield enough clout that the
sitting AG would defer to, and that, to my mind, could only be POTUS.
Your last sentence could easily be ascribed to any AG who did something
that at least appeared to be corrupt, including AG Barr.
-Owen
My memory from several post-2008 accounts is that Geitner and to some degree Rubin were the heavy hitters in those decisions and that Obama deferred to their alleged expertise re: the perilous financial situation.
Owen
2020-06-25 19:42:36 UTC
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Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Owen
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Owen
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Frank Berger
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Oscar
... As for Barr's "competent leadership" -- you're kidding right?
'Attorney General William Barr has earned a reputation for being so hard-charging within the Justice Department that even his close aides call him “the Buffalo.”'
I like that. I like that a lot. What was holder's nickname? Lew Alcindor? A buffalo will trounce a Lew Alcindor 8 days a week.
Leaving aside whether Barr Is temperamentally more of a hard-charger than Holder was, do you have any doubt, given Barr's track record as an high-level employee in/advocate of the financial industry and his deep-seated oligarchic loyalties/preferences, that if he had been making policy as AG in the wake of the 2008 crash, the big banks and other major financial institutions would have been given every break in the book, plus some new ones that hadn't even been invented yet, while the folks on Main Street and those who lost their homes, etc. would have been left with their thumbs even further up their asses than was the case?
The Left is always whining about all those financiers who
should have gone to jail back then, without ever stopping to
consider what laws were broken.
I'm sorry, Frank, but it was Owen -- who is as firmly on the Right as you are, if not more so -- who not only was blaming AG Holder for nov prosecuting any financiers after 2008 but also insisting that "hard-charger" Bill Barr surely would have locked those guys up if he had been AG at the time. You people need to get your stories straight. Which is it? Holder and his bosses were corrupt wimps who went belly up to protect Wall St. , or, no laws were broken -- just swallow your losses and go home?
Sorry Lawrence, but that's not what I said.
I asked who it was made policy decisions that stopped Holder from doing
his job (which you asserted) that was above his pay grade? And I didn't
insist anything about Barr, "hard-charger" or not.
Just want to set the record straight.
-Owen
Sorry, Owen, I confused you with Oscar, who had disparaged Holder and extolled Barr as a "hard charger" who would have banged heads together. Can't say for sure who was making those policy decisions above Holder but I would guess it was a trio of Tim Geitner, Robert Rubin, and Obama, perhaps with input from Bush's departing Treasury Secretary, whose name I don't recall. Can't say I like the decisions that were made, but a case can be made that they were not corrupt decisions but an attempt to make the best of a very bad situation that they thought was about to get much worse.
I'm trying to think of someone who could wield enough clout that the
sitting AG would defer to, and that, to my mind, could only be POTUS.
Your last sentence could easily be ascribed to any AG who did something
that at least appeared to be corrupt, including AG Barr.
-Owen
My memory from several post-2008 accounts is that Geitner and to some degree Rubin were the heavy hitters in those decisions and that Obama deferred to their alleged expertise re: the perilous financial situation.
I don't know that, in this particular case, that any criminality was
alleged, much less proven. The financial situation seemed to be caused
by incredibly stupid legislation, written to give desperate people a
chance to get a home, but without the resources to afford it, and also
to make it very profitable to some lending institutions to grant these
loans.

-Owen

-Owen
Lawrence Kart
2020-06-26 01:11:31 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Owen
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Owen
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Owen
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Frank Berger
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Oscar
... As for Barr's "competent leadership" -- you're kidding right?
'Attorney General William Barr has earned a reputation for being so hard-charging within the Justice Department that even his close aides call him “the Buffalo.”'
I like that. I like that a lot. What was holder's nickname? Lew Alcindor? A buffalo will trounce a Lew Alcindor 8 days a week.
Leaving aside whether Barr Is temperamentally more of a hard-charger than Holder was, do you have any doubt, given Barr's track record as an high-level employee in/advocate of the financial industry and his deep-seated oligarchic loyalties/preferences, that if he had been making policy as AG in the wake of the 2008 crash, the big banks and other major financial institutions would have been given every break in the book, plus some new ones that hadn't even been invented yet, while the folks on Main Street and those who lost their homes, etc. would have been left with their thumbs even further up their asses than was the case?
The Left is always whining about all those financiers who
should have gone to jail back then, without ever stopping to
consider what laws were broken.
I'm sorry, Frank, but it was Owen -- who is as firmly on the Right as you are, if not more so -- who not only was blaming AG Holder for nov prosecuting any financiers after 2008 but also insisting that "hard-charger" Bill Barr surely would have locked those guys up if he had been AG at the time. You people need to get your stories straight. Which is it? Holder and his bosses were corrupt wimps who went belly up to protect Wall St. , or, no laws were broken -- just swallow your losses and go home?
Sorry Lawrence, but that's not what I said.
I asked who it was made policy decisions that stopped Holder from doing
his job (which you asserted) that was above his pay grade? And I didn't
insist anything about Barr, "hard-charger" or not.
Just want to set the record straight.
-Owen
Sorry, Owen, I confused you with Oscar, who had disparaged Holder and extolled Barr as a "hard charger" who would have banged heads together. Can't say for sure who was making those policy decisions above Holder but I would guess it was a trio of Tim Geitner, Robert Rubin, and Obama, perhaps with input from Bush's departing Treasury Secretary, whose name I don't recall. Can't say I like the decisions that were made, but a case can be made that they were not corrupt decisions but an attempt to make the best of a very bad situation that they thought was about to get much worse.
I'm trying to think of someone who could wield enough clout that the
sitting AG would defer to, and that, to my mind, could only be POTUS.
Your last sentence could easily be ascribed to any AG who did something
that at least appeared to be corrupt, including AG Barr.
-Owen
My memory from several post-2008 accounts is that Geitner and to some degree Rubin were the heavy hitters in those decisions and that Obama deferred to their alleged expertise re: the perilous financial situation.
I don't know that, in this particular case, that any criminality was
alleged, much less proven. The financial situation seemed to be caused
by incredibly stupid legislation, written to give desperate people a
chance to get a home, but without the resources to afford it, and also
to make it very profitable to some lending institutions to grant these
loans.
-Owen
-Owen
Did you never see the movie "The Big Short"?

This might help you to learn where the cheating/corruption lay in the housing/mortgage crisis:


The big financial meltdown is finally getting its star turn on the big screen with the release of The Big Short.

Based on Michael Lewis’s New York Times bestseller by the same title, the film tells the story of six contrarian traders who sniffed out the housing crash before virtually anyone else. Their foresight helped them make gobs of money while Wall Street institutions crumbled. Michael Burry, who is portrayed by Christian Bale in the movie, made $750 million in 2007 alone because of the bets he made.1

The film is earning rave reviews and mentions of Oscar nominations, but it’s even better if you understand the wonky details behind the plot. Well, at least it’s better when you discuss the movie with your friends afterwards. So here is your cheat sheet for The Big Short, in three simple questions. And don’t forget to save us the aisle seat.

1. Why is Wall Street Involved with Home Mortgages In the First Place?

The linkage between Wall Street and Main Street was, for the most part, established when the finance industry created securitization in the 1970s and was mass-commercialized in the 1980s by the now defunct Salomon Brothers.2 Today, almost 75% of mortgages issued are securitized.3

Securitization works like this. Large financial institutions like investment banks or quasi-government agencies like Fannie Mae first pool together several hundred mortgages. Once these mortgages are pooled, they then issue bonds to investors using those assets as backing. Each month when families pay down their mortgages, that incoming cash is sent to investors who purchased bonds. As homeowners pay down mortgage principal early, refinance their mortgages, or default on their loans, the payments to bondholders fluctuate. The name given to these bonds that investors buy is mortgage-backed securities, or MBS for short.

Finally, these MBS (each containing several hundred home mortgages) are further pooled together to form a “trust” that investors can buy into. The trust can sometimes be specialized so that certain tiers include just the highest quality MBS (those with the safest mortgages issued to the least risky borrowers) and others the lowest (subprime mortgages issued to those with less than stellar credit scores). Investors can then choose which tier to invest their money. Pension funds are required, for example, to be in only Aaa rated bonds and choose only the top tiers. Those with a higher appetite for risk may pick a Bbb rated tranche hoping for higher returns.

Securitization does two things really well: 1) It spreads out the risk of what is an otherwise very risky asset (a mortgage). This, in turn, 2) brings more capital to the housing markets which means mortgages are more affordable for homebuyers.4 That is why even after the financial crisis few advocate for radical change in the mortgage-backed securities market.

2. Short selling, collateralized debt obligations, and credit default swaps: what are they?

Two concepts central to The Big Short are short selling and collateralized debt obligations.

Money is generally made in the market when the value of an asset goes up. But there are ways for sophisticated investors to make money when the value of assets declines, and that’s where short selling comes in.

Let’s begin with what it means when someone “shorts” something on Wall Street. Investors will short a security (a stock or a bond) when they think the price of that product will go down in the future. It works like this:

Step one: the short seller borrows the stock from someone else (the counterparty). At the onset, the short seller will agree to return the borrowed stock, in full, to the counterparty on a specified date in the future—it could be a couple of days, months, even years. Step two: now that the stock has been exchanged, the short seller immediately sells the borrowed stock in the open market. Assume the short seller sells one share at $100. Step three: fast forward to the specified date in the future when the short seller is obligated to return the stock to the counterparty. The short seller uses the $100 in his back pocket from the original stock sale and buys that identical stock on the market at its new price, say $75. If the price has indeed dropped, the short seller wins by returning the borrowed stock to the counterparty and walking away with a $25 profit. But if the price of the stock has risen, the counterparty wins.

This conventional method of “shorting” plays out every day in finance, but it is a simpler version than the method used by the main characters of The Big Short. They used products more complex than stocks, which, in turn, created a more complex short. Moreover, they replicated this complex short many times over resulting in one really “big short.”

A key instrument of this complex short was a collateralized debt obligation, or CDO. A CDO is a sort of mortgage-backed security on steroids. Whereas, MBS are only made up of mortgages, CDOs can be made up of a diverse set of assets—from corporate bonds to mortgage bonds to bank loans to car loans to credit card loans. These loans, from different sources, are then bundled together and then sent back out into the marketplace as new bonds.5 And like some MBS, investors in CDOs can buy into different tiers, ranging from low-risk to high-risk.

Leading up to the crisis, certain investment banks started creating CDOs that included just the lowest rated tiers of mortgage-backed securities. Ratings agencies, nonetheless, rated those CDOs Triple-A. The thought was that while one high risk mortgage may be a bad gamble, thousands of high risk mortgages are a good bet because there’s safety in numbers. They can’t all go south at once, right?

The main characters of The Big Short rejected this herd mentality and began shorting these products. They used derivative contracts called credit default swaps (CDS) issued by companies like AIG to bet against these CDOs. CDS is a fancy term for insurance contracts that allow banks and hedge funds to protect against the risk of a CDO default. For a small fee paid to AIG, hedge fund managers would receive a guarantee that in the “unlikely” event of a CDO collapse, they would still receive a certain return. And in the case of The Big Short, these savvy investors bought just the insurance contract (the CDS) without owning the flawed CDOs they were meant to insure against. In other words, they bought only the insurance that the mortgages would fail without ever owning the mortgage securities or the CDOs themselves. Some have compared this to owning theft insurance on someone else’s home in which you only get paid if they get robbed.

The dominoes eventually fell: homeowners with adjustable-rate mortgages saw their rates skyrocket, they then defaulted on their loans, cash flows to CDOs dried up, CDO managers couldn’t pay their bondholders, and the owners of the insurance contracts (the credit default swaps) got their big payouts.

3. The MacGuffin: The mortgage prospectus.

When a mortgage-backed security is created, investors want details about the underlying assets that make up that security. For MBS, this means the investor will want to assess what mortgages are being packaged together and included in the trust.

An important theme in Lewis’s book is his argument that no one on Wall Street—ratings agencies, investment banks, hedge funds, etc.—was doing their homework and asking the question: what’s behind these securities? Lewis argues that Wall Street was irresponsibly cranking out these products. In the movie, a big moment occurs when Michael Burry (played by Christian Bale), reveals that these assets are a house of cards (actually Jenga blocks).

How did people like Burry find out? One way was by looking through prospectuses. The official name of these reports is SEC Form 424-B5—named after the section of securities law that requires them. Linked here is an example from an offering by Long Beach Mortgage, the now defunct subprime lender mentioned in The Big Short.6 In these 200-plus pages, investors can fish out any necessary information they need about the security offering. For example: types of mortgages included in the trust (page S-21), what years the mortgages were issued to the homebuyers (top of page S-46), and even the state in which the mortgages were sold (right-hand side of page S-3).

One other noteworthy item from our example Form 424-B5 can be found on page S-8. Listed at the top of this page are the credit ratings the credit rating agency provided this offering when it was created in September 2005. As noted in the prospectus, Moody’s (and every other rating agency) stated that the best securities coming from this offering (i.e. I-A) deserved their highest, “immune-from-default” rating, Aaa. Today, in 2015, these securities are still alive, except for one difference: Moody’s has since adjusted that rating to junk, Ca, which means default is imminent and there is little prospect for recovery.

Denouement

There is no doubt that The Big Short sets the table for reinvigorating the debate over who’s to blame for the financial crisis. So much so that it might even find its way into your family’s dinner table conversation over this holiday break.

Now that you have a few of the fundamentals of the crisis in your back pocket, you’ll be better prepared to join that discussion. Have a great holiday and enjoy the film!
Frank Berger
2020-06-26 04:03:02 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Owen
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Owen
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Owen
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Frank Berger
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Oscar
... As for Barr's "competent leadership" -- you're kidding right?
'Attorney General William Barr has earned a reputation for being so hard-charging within the Justice Department that even his close aides call him “the Buffalo.”'
I like that. I like that a lot. What was holder's nickname? Lew Alcindor? A buffalo will trounce a Lew Alcindor 8 days a week.
Leaving aside whether Barr Is temperamentally more of a hard-charger than Holder was, do you have any doubt, given Barr's track record as an high-level employee in/advocate of the financial industry and his deep-seated oligarchic loyalties/preferences, that if he had been making policy as AG in the wake of the 2008 crash, the big banks and other major financial institutions would have been given every break in the book, plus some new ones that hadn't even been invented yet, while the folks on Main Street and those who lost their homes, etc. would have been left with their thumbs even further up their asses than was the case?
The Left is always whining about all those financiers who
should have gone to jail back then, without ever stopping to
consider what laws were broken.
I'm sorry, Frank, but it was Owen -- who is as firmly on the Right as you are, if not more so -- who not only was blaming AG Holder for nov prosecuting any financiers after 2008 but also insisting that "hard-charger" Bill Barr surely would have locked those guys up if he had been AG at the time. You people need to get your stories straight. Which is it? Holder and his bosses were corrupt wimps who went belly up to protect Wall St. , or, no laws were broken -- just swallow your losses and go home?
Sorry Lawrence, but that's not what I said.
I asked who it was made policy decisions that stopped Holder from doing
his job (which you asserted) that was above his pay grade? And I didn't
insist anything about Barr, "hard-charger" or not.
Just want to set the record straight.
-Owen
Sorry, Owen, I confused you with Oscar, who had disparaged Holder and extolled Barr as a "hard charger" who would have banged heads together. Can't say for sure who was making those policy decisions above Holder but I would guess it was a trio of Tim Geitner, Robert Rubin, and Obama, perhaps with input from Bush's departing Treasury Secretary, whose name I don't recall. Can't say I like the decisions that were made, but a case can be made that they were not corrupt decisions but an attempt to make the best of a very bad situation that they thought was about to get much worse.
I'm trying to think of someone who could wield enough clout that the
sitting AG would defer to, and that, to my mind, could only be POTUS.
Your last sentence could easily be ascribed to any AG who did something
that at least appeared to be corrupt, including AG Barr.
-Owen
My memory from several post-2008 accounts is that Geitner and to some degree Rubin were the heavy hitters in those decisions and that Obama deferred to their alleged expertise re: the perilous financial situation.
I don't know that, in this particular case, that any criminality was
alleged, much less proven. The financial situation seemed to be caused
by incredibly stupid legislation, written to give desperate people a
chance to get a home, but without the resources to afford it, and also
to make it very profitable to some lending institutions to grant these
loans.
-Owen
-Owen
Did you never see the movie "The Big Short"?
The big financial meltdown is finally getting its star turn on the big screen with the release of The Big Short.
Based on Michael Lewis’s New York Times bestseller by the same title, the film tells the story of six contrarian traders who sniffed out the housing crash before virtually anyone else. Their foresight helped them make gobs of money while Wall Street institutions crumbled. Michael Burry, who is portrayed by Christian Bale in the movie, made $750 million in 2007 alone because of the bets he made.1
The film is earning rave reviews and mentions of Oscar nominations, but it’s even better if you understand the wonky details behind the plot. Well, at least it’s better when you discuss the movie with your friends afterwards. So here is your cheat sheet for The Big Short, in three simple questions. And don’t forget to save us the aisle seat.
1. Why is Wall Street Involved with Home Mortgages In the First Place?
The linkage between Wall Street and Main Street was, for the most part, established when the finance industry created securitization in the 1970s and was mass-commercialized in the 1980s by the now defunct Salomon Brothers.2 Today, almost 75% of mortgages issued are securitized.3
Securitization works like this. Large financial institutions like investment banks or quasi-government agencies like Fannie Mae first pool together several hundred mortgages. Once these mortgages are pooled, they then issue bonds to investors using those assets as backing. Each month when families pay down their mortgages, that incoming cash is sent to investors who purchased bonds. As homeowners pay down mortgage principal early, refinance their mortgages, or default on their loans, the payments to bondholders fluctuate. The name given to these bonds that investors buy is mortgage-backed securities, or MBS for short.
Finally, these MBS (each containing several hundred home mortgages) are further pooled together to form a “trust” that investors can buy into. The trust can sometimes be specialized so that certain tiers include just the highest quality MBS (those with the safest mortgages issued to the least risky borrowers) and others the lowest (subprime mortgages issued to those with less than stellar credit scores). Investors can then choose which tier to invest their money. Pension funds are required, for example, to be in only Aaa rated bonds and choose only the top tiers. Those with a higher appetite for risk may pick a Bbb rated tranche hoping for higher returns.
Securitization does two things really well: 1) It spreads out the risk of what is an otherwise very risky asset (a mortgage). This, in turn, 2) brings more capital to the housing markets which means mortgages are more affordable for homebuyers.4 That is why even after the financial crisis few advocate for radical change in the mortgage-backed securities market.
2. Short selling, collateralized debt obligations, and credit default swaps: what are they?
Two concepts central to The Big Short are short selling and collateralized debt obligations.
Money is generally made in the market when the value of an asset goes up. But there are ways for sophisticated investors to make money when the value of assets declines, and that’s where short selling comes in.
Step one: the short seller borrows the stock from someone else (the counterparty). At the onset, the short seller will agree to return the borrowed stock, in full, to the counterparty on a specified date in the future—it could be a couple of days, months, even years. Step two: now that the stock has been exchanged, the short seller immediately sells the borrowed stock in the open market. Assume the short seller sells one share at $100. Step three: fast forward to the specified date in the future when the short seller is obligated to return the stock to the counterparty. The short seller uses the $100 in his back pocket from the original stock sale and buys that identical stock on the market at its new price, say $75. If the price has indeed dropped, the short seller wins by returning the borrowed stock to the counterparty and walking away with a $25 profit. But if the price of the stock has risen, the counterparty wins.
This conventional method of “shorting” plays out every day in finance, but it is a simpler version than the method used by the main characters of The Big Short. They used products more complex than stocks, which, in turn, created a more complex short. Moreover, they replicated this complex short many times over resulting in one really “big short.”
A key instrument of this complex short was a collateralized debt obligation, or CDO. A CDO is a sort of mortgage-backed security on steroids. Whereas, MBS are only made up of mortgages, CDOs can be made up of a diverse set of assets—from corporate bonds to mortgage bonds to bank loans to car loans to credit card loans. These loans, from different sources, are then bundled together and then sent back out into the marketplace as new bonds.5 And like some MBS, investors in CDOs can buy into different tiers, ranging from low-risk to high-risk.
Leading up to the crisis, certain investment banks started creating CDOs that included just the lowest rated tiers of mortgage-backed securities. Ratings agencies, nonetheless, rated those CDOs Triple-A. The thought was that while one high risk mortgage may be a bad gamble, thousands of high risk mortgages are a good bet because there’s safety in numbers. They can’t all go south at once, right?
The main characters of The Big Short rejected this herd mentality and began shorting these products. They used derivative contracts called credit default swaps (CDS) issued by companies like AIG to bet against these CDOs. CDS is a fancy term for insurance contracts that allow banks and hedge funds to protect against the risk of a CDO default. For a small fee paid to AIG, hedge fund managers would receive a guarantee that in the “unlikely” event of a CDO collapse, they would still receive a certain return. And in the case of The Big Short, these savvy investors bought just the insurance contract (the CDS) without owning the flawed CDOs they were meant to insure against. In other words, they bought only the insurance that the mortgages would fail without ever owning the mortgage securities or the CDOs themselves. Some have compared this to owning theft insurance on someone else’s home in which you only get paid if they get robbed.
The dominoes eventually fell: homeowners with adjustable-rate mortgages saw their rates skyrocket, they then defaulted on their loans, cash flows to CDOs dried up, CDO managers couldn’t pay their bondholders, and the owners of the insurance contracts (the credit default swaps) got their big payouts.
3. The MacGuffin: The mortgage prospectus.
When a mortgage-backed security is created, investors want details about the underlying assets that make up that security. For MBS, this means the investor will want to assess what mortgages are being packaged together and included in the trust.
An important theme in Lewis’s book is his argument that no one on Wall Street—ratings agencies, investment banks, hedge funds, etc.—was doing their homework and asking the question: what’s behind these securities? Lewis argues that Wall Street was irresponsibly cranking out these products. In the movie, a big moment occurs when Michael Burry (played by Christian Bale), reveals that these assets are a house of cards (actually Jenga blocks).
How did people like Burry find out? One way was by looking through prospectuses. The official name of these reports is SEC Form 424-B5—named after the section of securities law that requires them. Linked here is an example from an offering by Long Beach Mortgage, the now defunct subprime lender mentioned in The Big Short.6 In these 200-plus pages, investors can fish out any necessary information they need about the security offering. For example: types of mortgages included in the trust (page S-21), what years the mortgages were issued to the homebuyers (top of page S-46), and even the state in which the mortgages were sold (right-hand side of page S-3).
One other noteworthy item from our example Form 424-B5 can be found on page S-8. Listed at the top of this page are the credit ratings the credit rating agency provided this offering when it was created in September 2005. As noted in the prospectus, Moody’s (and every other rating agency) stated that the best securities coming from this offering (i.e. I-A) deserved their highest, “immune-from-default” rating, Aaa. Today, in 2015, these securities are still alive, except for one difference: Moody’s has since adjusted that rating to junk, Ca, which means default is imminent and there is little prospect for recovery.
Denouement
There is no doubt that The Big Short sets the table for reinvigorating the debate over who’s to blame for the financial crisis. So much so that it might even find its way into your family’s dinner table conversation over this holiday break.
Now that you have a few of the fundamentals of the crisis in your back pocket, you’ll be better prepared to join that discussion. Have a great holiday and enjoy the film!
Is there some kind of conflict of interest or something like
that embedded in this mumbo jumbo? I don't see where it
tells me who to throw in jail.
Lawrence Kart
2020-06-26 14:30:40 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Frank Berger
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Owen
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Owen
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Owen
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Frank Berger
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Oscar
... As for Barr's "competent leadership" -- you're kidding right?
'Attorney General William Barr has earned a reputation for being so hard-charging within the Justice Department that even his close aides call him “the Buffalo.”'
I like that. I like that a lot. What was holder's nickname? Lew Alcindor? A buffalo will trounce a Lew Alcindor 8 days a week.
Leaving aside whether Barr Is temperamentally more of a hard-charger than Holder was, do you have any doubt, given Barr's track record as an high-level employee in/advocate of the financial industry and his deep-seated oligarchic loyalties/preferences, that if he had been making policy as AG in the wake of the 2008 crash, the big banks and other major financial institutions would have been given every break in the book, plus some new ones that hadn't even been invented yet, while the folks on Main Street and those who lost their homes, etc. would have been left with their thumbs even further up their asses than was the case?
The Left is always whining about all those financiers who
should have gone to jail back then, without ever stopping to
consider what laws were broken.
I'm sorry, Frank, but it was Owen -- who is as firmly on the Right as you are, if not more so -- who not only was blaming AG Holder for nov prosecuting any financiers after 2008 but also insisting that "hard-charger" Bill Barr surely would have locked those guys up if he had been AG at the time. You people need to get your stories straight. Which is it? Holder and his bosses were corrupt wimps who went belly up to protect Wall St. , or, no laws were broken -- just swallow your losses and go home?
Sorry Lawrence, but that's not what I said.
I asked who it was made policy decisions that stopped Holder from doing
his job (which you asserted) that was above his pay grade? And I didn't
insist anything about Barr, "hard-charger" or not.
Just want to set the record straight.
-Owen
Sorry, Owen, I confused you with Oscar, who had disparaged Holder and extolled Barr as a "hard charger" who would have banged heads together. Can't say for sure who was making those policy decisions above Holder but I would guess it was a trio of Tim Geitner, Robert Rubin, and Obama, perhaps with input from Bush's departing Treasury Secretary, whose name I don't recall. Can't say I like the decisions that were made, but a case can be made that they were not corrupt decisions but an attempt to make the best of a very bad situation that they thought was about to get much worse.
I'm trying to think of someone who could wield enough clout that the
sitting AG would defer to, and that, to my mind, could only be POTUS.
Your last sentence could easily be ascribed to any AG who did something
that at least appeared to be corrupt, including AG Barr.
-Owen
My memory from several post-2008 accounts is that Geitner and to some degree Rubin were the heavy hitters in those decisions and that Obama deferred to their alleged expertise re: the perilous financial situation.
I don't know that, in this particular case, that any criminality was
alleged, much less proven. The financial situation seemed to be caused
by incredibly stupid legislation, written to give desperate people a
chance to get a home, but without the resources to afford it, and also
to make it very profitable to some lending institutions to grant these
loans.
-Owen
-Owen
Did you never see the movie "The Big Short"?
The big financial meltdown is finally getting its star turn on the big screen with the release of The Big Short.
Based on Michael Lewis’s New York Times bestseller by the same title, the film tells the story of six contrarian traders who sniffed out the housing crash before virtually anyone else. Their foresight helped them make gobs of money while Wall Street institutions crumbled. Michael Burry, who is portrayed by Christian Bale in the movie, made $750 million in 2007 alone because of the bets he made.1
The film is earning rave reviews and mentions of Oscar nominations, but it’s even better if you understand the wonky details behind the plot. Well, at least it’s better when you discuss the movie with your friends afterwards. So here is your cheat sheet for The Big Short, in three simple questions. And don’t forget to save us the aisle seat.
1. Why is Wall Street Involved with Home Mortgages In the First Place?
The linkage between Wall Street and Main Street was, for the most part, established when the finance industry created securitization in the 1970s and was mass-commercialized in the 1980s by the now defunct Salomon Brothers.2 Today, almost 75% of mortgages issued are securitized.3
Securitization works like this. Large financial institutions like investment banks or quasi-government agencies like Fannie Mae first pool together several hundred mortgages. Once these mortgages are pooled, they then issue bonds to investors using those assets as backing. Each month when families pay down their mortgages, that incoming cash is sent to investors who purchased bonds. As homeowners pay down mortgage principal early, refinance their mortgages, or default on their loans, the payments to bondholders fluctuate. The name given to these bonds that investors buy is mortgage-backed securities, or MBS for short.
Finally, these MBS (each containing several hundred home mortgages) are further pooled together to form a “trust” that investors can buy into. The trust can sometimes be specialized so that certain tiers include just the highest quality MBS (those with the safest mortgages issued to the least risky borrowers) and others the lowest (subprime mortgages issued to those with less than stellar credit scores). Investors can then choose which tier to invest their money. Pension funds are required, for example, to be in only Aaa rated bonds and choose only the top tiers. Those with a higher appetite for risk may pick a Bbb rated tranche hoping for higher returns.
Securitization does two things really well: 1) It spreads out the risk of what is an otherwise very risky asset (a mortgage). This, in turn, 2) brings more capital to the housing markets which means mortgages are more affordable for homebuyers.4 That is why even after the financial crisis few advocate for radical change in the mortgage-backed securities market.
2. Short selling, collateralized debt obligations, and credit default swaps: what are they?
Two concepts central to The Big Short are short selling and collateralized debt obligations.
Money is generally made in the market when the value of an asset goes up. But there are ways for sophisticated investors to make money when the value of assets declines, and that’s where short selling comes in.
Step one: the short seller borrows the stock from someone else (the counterparty). At the onset, the short seller will agree to return the borrowed stock, in full, to the counterparty on a specified date in the future—it could be a couple of days, months, even years. Step two: now that the stock has been exchanged, the short seller immediately sells the borrowed stock in the open market. Assume the short seller sells one share at $100. Step three: fast forward to the specified date in the future when the short seller is obligated to return the stock to the counterparty. The short seller uses the $100 in his back pocket from the original stock sale and buys that identical stock on the market at its new price, say $75. If the price has indeed dropped, the short seller wins by returning the borrowed stock to the counterparty and walking away with a $25 profit. But if the price of the stock has risen, the counterparty wins.
This conventional method of “shorting” plays out every day in finance, but it is a simpler version than the method used by the main characters of The Big Short. They used products more complex than stocks, which, in turn, created a more complex short. Moreover, they replicated this complex short many times over resulting in one really “big short.”
A key instrument of this complex short was a collateralized debt obligation, or CDO. A CDO is a sort of mortgage-backed security on steroids. Whereas, MBS are only made up of mortgages, CDOs can be made up of a diverse set of assets—from corporate bonds to mortgage bonds to bank loans to car loans to credit card loans. These loans, from different sources, are then bundled together and then sent back out into the marketplace as new bonds.5 And like some MBS, investors in CDOs can buy into different tiers, ranging from low-risk to high-risk.
Leading up to the crisis, certain investment banks started creating CDOs that included just the lowest rated tiers of mortgage-backed securities. Ratings agencies, nonetheless, rated those CDOs Triple-A. The thought was that while one high risk mortgage may be a bad gamble, thousands of high risk mortgages are a good bet because there’s safety in numbers. They can’t all go south at once, right?
The main characters of The Big Short rejected this herd mentality and began shorting these products. They used derivative contracts called credit default swaps (CDS) issued by companies like AIG to bet against these CDOs. CDS is a fancy term for insurance contracts that allow banks and hedge funds to protect against the risk of a CDO default. For a small fee paid to AIG, hedge fund managers would receive a guarantee that in the “unlikely” event of a CDO collapse, they would still receive a certain return. And in the case of The Big Short, these savvy investors bought just the insurance contract (the CDS) without owning the flawed CDOs they were meant to insure against. In other words, they bought only the insurance that the mortgages would fail without ever owning the mortgage securities or the CDOs themselves. Some have compared this to owning theft insurance on someone else’s home in which you only get paid if they get robbed.
The dominoes eventually fell: homeowners with adjustable-rate mortgages saw their rates skyrocket, they then defaulted on their loans, cash flows to CDOs dried up, CDO managers couldn’t pay their bondholders, and the owners of the insurance contracts (the credit default swaps) got their big payouts.
3. The MacGuffin: The mortgage prospectus.
When a mortgage-backed security is created, investors want details about the underlying assets that make up that security. For MBS, this means the investor will want to assess what mortgages are being packaged together and included in the trust.
An important theme in Lewis’s book is his argument that no one on Wall Street—ratings agencies, investment banks, hedge funds, etc.—was doing their homework and asking the question: what’s behind these securities? Lewis argues that Wall Street was irresponsibly cranking out these products. In the movie, a big moment occurs when Michael Burry (played by Christian Bale), reveals that these assets are a house of cards (actually Jenga blocks).
How did people like Burry find out? One way was by looking through prospectuses. The official name of these reports is SEC Form 424-B5—named after the section of securities law that requires them. Linked here is an example from an offering by Long Beach Mortgage, the now defunct subprime lender mentioned in The Big Short.6 In these 200-plus pages, investors can fish out any necessary information they need about the security offering. For example: types of mortgages included in the trust (page S-21), what years the mortgages were issued to the homebuyers (top of page S-46), and even the state in which the mortgages were sold (right-hand side of page S-3).
One other noteworthy item from our example Form 424-B5 can be found on page S-8. Listed at the top of this page are the credit ratings the credit rating agency provided this offering when it was created in September 2005. As noted in the prospectus, Moody’s (and every other rating agency) stated that the best securities coming from this offering (i.e. I-A) deserved their highest, “immune-from-default” rating, Aaa. Today, in 2015, these securities are still alive, except for one difference: Moody’s has since adjusted that rating to junk, Ca, which means default is imminent and there is little prospect for recovery.
Denouement
There is no doubt that The Big Short sets the table for reinvigorating the debate over who’s to blame for the financial crisis. So much so that it might even find its way into your family’s dinner table conversation over this holiday break.
Now that you have a few of the fundamentals of the crisis in your back pocket, you’ll be better prepared to join that discussion. Have a great holiday and enjoy the film!
Is there some kind of conflict of interest or something like
that embedded in this mumbo jumbo? I don't see where it
tells me who to throw in jail.
It's not mumbo jumbo if you did a bit of homework re: the crucial role credit default swaps played in the 2008 housing market/financial crisis. This might be a good place to start: http://mney.co/1KpMnzR

Briefly, credit default swaps were an "innovative" financial instrument that allowed banks and brokerage houses to bundle mortgages they held into a single allegedly secure (or so they told their customers) security that insured the soundness of all the mortages within that security. In fact, the mortgages "on top" so to speak of all the mortgages bundled into the credit default swap security were quite or relatively secure, but the majority of them were the bottom and on on the edge of defaulting -- this unbeknownst and concealed from the often incurious or encouraged to be incurious purchaser of the CDS, though the need to disclose the makeup of all those mortgages in the CDS was not legally required at the time, I believe. In any case, when the lower down mortgages began to go belly up, the whole CDS (these were vastly traded financial commodities) did so as well, as did in several cases the major financial f\irms (AIG, Lehmen Bros.) that sold them and had many CDS on their own books. And from there chaos spread, through Wall St. and down to Main St.

Ware CDS illegal? No. Was the way CDS were marketed flamingly unethical? You bet. It was, to put it crudely, akin to selling statuettes to investors that looked like they were made from solid gold but were in fact only lightly gold-plated without revealing those facts, and also without revealing that the true nature and dubious value of those lightly plated statuettes was likely to be revealed should the housing market be subject to significant financial stress. And that's what happened -- in spades.
Lawrence Kart
2020-06-26 14:39:37 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Frank Berger
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Owen
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Owen
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Owen
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Frank Berger
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Oscar
... As for Barr's "competent leadership" -- you're kidding right?
'Attorney General William Barr has earned a reputation for being so hard-charging within the Justice Department that even his close aides call him “the Buffalo.”'
I like that. I like that a lot. What was holder's nickname? Lew Alcindor? A buffalo will trounce a Lew Alcindor 8 days a week.
Leaving aside whether Barr Is temperamentally more of a hard-charger than Holder was, do you have any doubt, given Barr's track record as an high-level employee in/advocate of the financial industry and his deep-seated oligarchic loyalties/preferences, that if he had been making policy as AG in the wake of the 2008 crash, the big banks and other major financial institutions would have been given every break in the book, plus some new ones that hadn't even been invented yet, while the folks on Main Street and those who lost their homes, etc. would have been left with their thumbs even further up their asses than was the case?
The Left is always whining about all those financiers who
should have gone to jail back then, without ever stopping to
consider what laws were broken.
I'm sorry, Frank, but it was Owen -- who is as firmly on the Right as you are, if not more so -- who not only was blaming AG Holder for nov prosecuting any financiers after 2008 but also insisting that "hard-charger" Bill Barr surely would have locked those guys up if he had been AG at the time. You people need to get your stories straight. Which is it? Holder and his bosses were corrupt wimps who went belly up to protect Wall St. , or, no laws were broken -- just swallow your losses and go home?
Sorry Lawrence, but that's not what I said.
I asked who it was made policy decisions that stopped Holder from doing
his job (which you asserted) that was above his pay grade? And I didn't
insist anything about Barr, "hard-charger" or not.
Just want to set the record straight.
-Owen
Sorry, Owen, I confused you with Oscar, who had disparaged Holder and extolled Barr as a "hard charger" who would have banged heads together. Can't say for sure who was making those policy decisions above Holder but I would guess it was a trio of Tim Geitner, Robert Rubin, and Obama, perhaps with input from Bush's departing Treasury Secretary, whose name I don't recall. Can't say I like the decisions that were made, but a case can be made that they were not corrupt decisions but an attempt to make the best of a very bad situation that they thought was about to get much worse.
I'm trying to think of someone who could wield enough clout that the
sitting AG would defer to, and that, to my mind, could only be POTUS.
Your last sentence could easily be ascribed to any AG who did something
that at least appeared to be corrupt, including AG Barr.
-Owen
My memory from several post-2008 accounts is that Geitner and to some degree Rubin were the heavy hitters in those decisions and that Obama deferred to their alleged expertise re: the perilous financial situation.
I don't know that, in this particular case, that any criminality was
alleged, much less proven. The financial situation seemed to be caused
by incredibly stupid legislation, written to give desperate people a
chance to get a home, but without the resources to afford it, and also
to make it very profitable to some lending institutions to grant these
loans.
-Owen
-Owen
Did you never see the movie "The Big Short"?
The big financial meltdown is finally getting its star turn on the big screen with the release of The Big Short.
Based on Michael Lewis’s New York Times bestseller by the same title, the film tells the story of six contrarian traders who sniffed out the housing crash before virtually anyone else. Their foresight helped them make gobs of money while Wall Street institutions crumbled. Michael Burry, who is portrayed by Christian Bale in the movie, made $750 million in 2007 alone because of the bets he made.1
The film is earning rave reviews and mentions of Oscar nominations, but it’s even better if you understand the wonky details behind the plot. Well, at least it’s better when you discuss the movie with your friends afterwards. So here is your cheat sheet for The Big Short, in three simple questions. And don’t forget to save us the aisle seat.
1. Why is Wall Street Involved with Home Mortgages In the First Place?
The linkage between Wall Street and Main Street was, for the most part, established when the finance industry created securitization in the 1970s and was mass-commercialized in the 1980s by the now defunct Salomon Brothers.2 Today, almost 75% of mortgages issued are securitized.3
Securitization works like this. Large financial institutions like investment banks or quasi-government agencies like Fannie Mae first pool together several hundred mortgages. Once these mortgages are pooled, they then issue bonds to investors using those assets as backing. Each month when families pay down their mortgages, that incoming cash is sent to investors who purchased bonds. As homeowners pay down mortgage principal early, refinance their mortgages, or default on their loans, the payments to bondholders fluctuate. The name given to these bonds that investors buy is mortgage-backed securities, or MBS for short.
Finally, these MBS (each containing several hundred home mortgages) are further pooled together to form a “trust” that investors can buy into. The trust can sometimes be specialized so that certain tiers include just the highest quality MBS (those with the safest mortgages issued to the least risky borrowers) and others the lowest (subprime mortgages issued to those with less than stellar credit scores). Investors can then choose which tier to invest their money. Pension funds are required, for example, to be in only Aaa rated bonds and choose only the top tiers. Those with a higher appetite for risk may pick a Bbb rated tranche hoping for higher returns.
Securitization does two things really well: 1) It spreads out the risk of what is an otherwise very risky asset (a mortgage). This, in turn, 2) brings more capital to the housing markets which means mortgages are more affordable for homebuyers.4 That is why even after the financial crisis few advocate for radical change in the mortgage-backed securities market.
2. Short selling, collateralized debt obligations, and credit default swaps: what are they?
Two concepts central to The Big Short are short selling and collateralized debt obligations.
Money is generally made in the market when the value of an asset goes up. But there are ways for sophisticated investors to make money when the value of assets declines, and that’s where short selling comes in.
Step one: the short seller borrows the stock from someone else (the counterparty). At the onset, the short seller will agree to return the borrowed stock, in full, to the counterparty on a specified date in the future—it could be a couple of days, months, even years. Step two: now that the stock has been exchanged, the short seller immediately sells the borrowed stock in the open market. Assume the short seller sells one share at $100. Step three: fast forward to the specified date in the future when the short seller is obligated to return the stock to the counterparty. The short seller uses the $100 in his back pocket from the original stock sale and buys that identical stock on the market at its new price, say $75. If the price has indeed dropped, the short seller wins by returning the borrowed stock to the counterparty and walking away with a $25 profit. But if the price of the stock has risen, the counterparty wins.
This conventional method of “shorting” plays out every day in finance, but it is a simpler version than the method used by the main characters of The Big Short. They used products more complex than stocks, which, in turn, created a more complex short. Moreover, they replicated this complex short many times over resulting in one really “big short.”
A key instrument of this complex short was a collateralized debt obligation, or CDO. A CDO is a sort of mortgage-backed security on steroids. Whereas, MBS are only made up of mortgages, CDOs can be made up of a diverse set of assets—from corporate bonds to mortgage bonds to bank loans to car loans to credit card loans. These loans, from different sources, are then bundled together and then sent back out into the marketplace as new bonds.5 And like some MBS, investors in CDOs can buy into different tiers, ranging from low-risk to high-risk.
Leading up to the crisis, certain investment banks started creating CDOs that included just the lowest rated tiers of mortgage-backed securities. Ratings agencies, nonetheless, rated those CDOs Triple-A. The thought was that while one high risk mortgage may be a bad gamble, thousands of high risk mortgages are a good bet because there’s safety in numbers. They can’t all go south at once, right?
The main characters of The Big Short rejected this herd mentality and began shorting these products. They used derivative contracts called credit default swaps (CDS) issued by companies like AIG to bet against these CDOs. CDS is a fancy term for insurance contracts that allow banks and hedge funds to protect against the risk of a CDO default. For a small fee paid to AIG, hedge fund managers would receive a guarantee that in the “unlikely” event of a CDO collapse, they would still receive a certain return. And in the case of The Big Short, these savvy investors bought just the insurance contract (the CDS) without owning the flawed CDOs they were meant to insure against. In other words, they bought only the insurance that the mortgages would fail without ever owning the mortgage securities or the CDOs themselves. Some have compared this to owning theft insurance on someone else’s home in which you only get paid if they get robbed.
The dominoes eventually fell: homeowners with adjustable-rate mortgages saw their rates skyrocket, they then defaulted on their loans, cash flows to CDOs dried up, CDO managers couldn’t pay their bondholders, and the owners of the insurance contracts (the credit default swaps) got their big payouts.
3. The MacGuffin: The mortgage prospectus.
When a mortgage-backed security is created, investors want details about the underlying assets that make up that security. For MBS, this means the investor will want to assess what mortgages are being packaged together and included in the trust.
An important theme in Lewis’s book is his argument that no one on Wall Street—ratings agencies, investment banks, hedge funds, etc.—was doing their homework and asking the question: what’s behind these securities? Lewis argues that Wall Street was irresponsibly cranking out these products. In the movie, a big moment occurs when Michael Burry (played by Christian Bale), reveals that these assets are a house of cards (actually Jenga blocks).
How did people like Burry find out? One way was by looking through prospectuses. The official name of these reports is SEC Form 424-B5—named after the section of securities law that requires them. Linked here is an example from an offering by Long Beach Mortgage, the now defunct subprime lender mentioned in The Big Short.6 In these 200-plus pages, investors can fish out any necessary information they need about the security offering. For example: types of mortgages included in the trust (page S-21), what years the mortgages were issued to the homebuyers (top of page S-46), and even the state in which the mortgages were sold (right-hand side of page S-3).
One other noteworthy item from our example Form 424-B5 can be found on page S-8. Listed at the top of this page are the credit ratings the credit rating agency provided this offering when it was created in September 2005. As noted in the prospectus, Moody’s (and every other rating agency) stated that the best securities coming from this offering (i.e. I-A) deserved their highest, “immune-from-default” rating, Aaa. Today, in 2015, these securities are still alive, except for one difference: Moody’s has since adjusted that rating to junk, Ca, which means default is imminent and there is little prospect for recovery.
Denouement
There is no doubt that The Big Short sets the table for reinvigorating the debate over who’s to blame for the financial crisis. So much so that it might even find its way into your family’s dinner table conversation over this holiday break.
Now that you have a few of the fundamentals of the crisis in your back pocket, you’ll be better prepared to join that discussion. Have a great holiday and enjoy the film!
Is there some kind of conflict of interest or something like
that embedded in this mumbo jumbo? I don't see where it
tells me who to throw in jail.
It's not mumbo jumbo if you did a bit of homework re: the crucial role credit default swaps played in the 2008 housing market/financial crisis. This might be a good place to start: http://mney.co/1KpMnzR
Briefly, credit default swaps were an "innovative" financial instrument that allowed banks and brokerage houses to bundle mortgages they held into a single allegedly secure (or so they told their customers) security that insured the soundness of all the mortages within that security. In fact, the mortgages "on top" so to speak of all the mortgages bundled into the credit default swap security were quite or relatively secure, but the majority of them were the bottom and on on the edge of defaulting -- this unbeknownst and concealed from the often incurious or encouraged to be incurious purchaser of the CDS, though the need to disclose the makeup of all those mortgages in the CDS was not legally required at the time, I believe. In any case, when the lower down mortgages began to go belly up, the whole CDS (these were vastly traded financial commodities) did so as well, as did in several cases the major financial f\irms (AIG, Lehmen Bros.) that sold them and had many CDS on their own books. And from there chaos spread, through Wall St. and down to Main St.
Ware CDS illegal? No. Was the way CDS were marketed flamingly unethical? You bet. It was, to put it crudely, akin to selling statuettes to investors that looked like they were made from solid gold but were in fact only lightly gold-plated without revealing those facts, and also without revealing that the true nature and dubious value of those lightly plated statuettes was likely to be revealed should the housing market be subject to significant financial stress. And that's what happened -- in spades.
Lawrence Kart
2020-06-26 15:56:34 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Frank Berger
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Owen
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Owen
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Owen
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Frank Berger
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Oscar
... As for Barr's "competent leadership" -- you're kidding right?
'Attorney General William Barr has earned a reputation for being so hard-charging within the Justice Department that even his close aides call him “the Buffalo.”'
I like that. I like that a lot. What was holder's nickname? Lew Alcindor? A buffalo will trounce a Lew Alcindor 8 days a week.
Leaving aside whether Barr Is temperamentally more of a hard-charger than Holder was, do you have any doubt, given Barr's track record as an high-level employee in/advocate of the financial industry and his deep-seated oligarchic loyalties/preferences, that if he had been making policy as AG in the wake of the 2008 crash, the big banks and other major financial institutions would have been given every break in the book, plus some new ones that hadn't even been invented yet, while the folks on Main Street and those who lost their homes, etc. would have been left with their thumbs even further up their asses than was the case?
The Left is always whining about all those financiers who
should have gone to jail back then, without ever stopping to
consider what laws were broken.
I'm sorry, Frank, but it was Owen -- who is as firmly on the Right as you are, if not more so -- who not only was blaming AG Holder for nov prosecuting any financiers after 2008 but also insisting that "hard-charger" Bill Barr surely would have locked those guys up if he had been AG at the time. You people need to get your stories straight. Which is it? Holder and his bosses were corrupt wimps who went belly up to protect Wall St. , or, no laws were broken -- just swallow your losses and go home?
Sorry Lawrence, but that's not what I said.
I asked who it was made policy decisions that stopped Holder from doing
his job (which you asserted) that was above his pay grade? And I didn't
insist anything about Barr, "hard-charger" or not.
Just want to set the record straight.
-Owen
Sorry, Owen, I confused you with Oscar, who had disparaged Holder and extolled Barr as a "hard charger" who would have banged heads together. Can't say for sure who was making those policy decisions above Holder but I would guess it was a trio of Tim Geitner, Robert Rubin, and Obama, perhaps with input from Bush's departing Treasury Secretary, whose name I don't recall. Can't say I like the decisions that were made, but a case can be made that they were not corrupt decisions but an attempt to make the best of a very bad situation that they thought was about to get much worse.
I'm trying to think of someone who could wield enough clout that the
sitting AG would defer to, and that, to my mind, could only be POTUS.
Your last sentence could easily be ascribed to any AG who did something
that at least appeared to be corrupt, including AG Barr.
-Owen
My memory from several post-2008 accounts is that Geitner and to some degree Rubin were the heavy hitters in those decisions and that Obama deferred to their alleged expertise re: the perilous financial situation.
I don't know that, in this particular case, that any criminality was
alleged, much less proven. The financial situation seemed to be caused
by incredibly stupid legislation, written to give desperate people a
chance to get a home, but without the resources to afford it, and also
to make it very profitable to some lending institutions to grant these
loans.
-Owen
-Owen
Did you never see the movie "The Big Short"?
The big financial meltdown is finally getting its star turn on the big screen with the release of The Big Short.
Based on Michael Lewis’s New York Times bestseller by the same title, the film tells the story of six contrarian traders who sniffed out the housing crash before virtually anyone else. Their foresight helped them make gobs of money while Wall Street institutions crumbled. Michael Burry, who is portrayed by Christian Bale in the movie, made $750 million in 2007 alone because of the bets he made.1
The film is earning rave reviews and mentions of Oscar nominations, but it’s even better if you understand the wonky details behind the plot. Well, at least it’s better when you discuss the movie with your friends afterwards. So here is your cheat sheet for The Big Short, in three simple questions. And don’t forget to save us the aisle seat.
1. Why is Wall Street Involved with Home Mortgages In the First Place?
The linkage between Wall Street and Main Street was, for the most part, established when the finance industry created securitization in the 1970s and was mass-commercialized in the 1980s by the now defunct Salomon Brothers.2 Today, almost 75% of mortgages issued are securitized.3
Securitization works like this. Large financial institutions like investment banks or quasi-government agencies like Fannie Mae first pool together several hundred mortgages. Once these mortgages are pooled, they then issue bonds to investors using those assets as backing. Each month when families pay down their mortgages, that incoming cash is sent to investors who purchased bonds. As homeowners pay down mortgage principal early, refinance their mortgages, or default on their loans, the payments to bondholders fluctuate. The name given to these bonds that investors buy is mortgage-backed securities, or MBS for short.
Finally, these MBS (each containing several hundred home mortgages) are further pooled together to form a “trust” that investors can buy into. The trust can sometimes be specialized so that certain tiers include just the highest quality MBS (those with the safest mortgages issued to the least risky borrowers) and others the lowest (subprime mortgages issued to those with less than stellar credit scores). Investors can then choose which tier to invest their money. Pension funds are required, for example, to be in only Aaa rated bonds and choose only the top tiers. Those with a higher appetite for risk may pick a Bbb rated tranche hoping for higher returns.
Securitization does two things really well: 1) It spreads out the risk of what is an otherwise very risky asset (a mortgage). This, in turn, 2) brings more capital to the housing markets which means mortgages are more affordable for homebuyers.4 That is why even after the financial crisis few advocate for radical change in the mortgage-backed securities market.
2. Short selling, collateralized debt obligations, and credit default swaps: what are they?
Two concepts central to The Big Short are short selling and collateralized debt obligations.
Money is generally made in the market when the value of an asset goes up. But there are ways for sophisticated investors to make money when the value of assets declines, and that’s where short selling comes in.
Step one: the short seller borrows the stock from someone else (the counterparty). At the onset, the short seller will agree to return the borrowed stock, in full, to the counterparty on a specified date in the future—it could be a couple of days, months, even years. Step two: now that the stock has been exchanged, the short seller immediately sells the borrowed stock in the open market. Assume the short seller sells one share at $100. Step three: fast forward to the specified date in the future when the short seller is obligated to return the stock to the counterparty. The short seller uses the $100 in his back pocket from the original stock sale and buys that identical stock on the market at its new price, say $75. If the price has indeed dropped, the short seller wins by returning the borrowed stock to the counterparty and walking away with a $25 profit. But if the price of the stock has risen, the counterparty wins.
This conventional method of “shorting” plays out every day in finance, but it is a simpler version than the method used by the main characters of The Big Short. They used products more complex than stocks, which, in turn, created a more complex short. Moreover, they replicated this complex short many times over resulting in one really “big short.”
A key instrument of this complex short was a collateralized debt obligation, or CDO. A CDO is a sort of mortgage-backed security on steroids. Whereas, MBS are only made up of mortgages, CDOs can be made up of a diverse set of assets—from corporate bonds to mortgage bonds to bank loans to car loans to credit card loans. These loans, from different sources, are then bundled together and then sent back out into the marketplace as new bonds.5 And like some MBS, investors in CDOs can buy into different tiers, ranging from low-risk to high-risk.
Leading up to the crisis, certain investment banks started creating CDOs that included just the lowest rated tiers of mortgage-backed securities. Ratings agencies, nonetheless, rated those CDOs Triple-A. The thought was that while one high risk mortgage may be a bad gamble, thousands of high risk mortgages are a good bet because there’s safety in numbers. They can’t all go south at once, right?
The main characters of The Big Short rejected this herd mentality and began shorting these products. They used derivative contracts called credit default swaps (CDS) issued by companies like AIG to bet against these CDOs. CDS is a fancy term for insurance contracts that allow banks and hedge funds to protect against the risk of a CDO default. For a small fee paid to AIG, hedge fund managers would receive a guarantee that in the “unlikely” event of a CDO collapse, they would still receive a certain return. And in the case of The Big Short, these savvy investors bought just the insurance contract (the CDS) without owning the flawed CDOs they were meant to insure against. In other words, they bought only the insurance that the mortgages would fail without ever owning the mortgage securities or the CDOs themselves. Some have compared this to owning theft insurance on someone else’s home in which you only get paid if they get robbed.
The dominoes eventually fell: homeowners with adjustable-rate mortgages saw their rates skyrocket, they then defaulted on their loans, cash flows to CDOs dried up, CDO managers couldn’t pay their bondholders, and the owners of the insurance contracts (the credit default swaps) got their big payouts.
3. The MacGuffin: The mortgage prospectus.
When a mortgage-backed security is created, investors want details about the underlying assets that make up that security. For MBS, this means the investor will want to assess what mortgages are being packaged together and included in the trust.
An important theme in Lewis’s book is his argument that no one on Wall Street—ratings agencies, investment banks, hedge funds, etc.—was doing their homework and asking the question: what’s behind these securities? Lewis argues that Wall Street was irresponsibly cranking out these products. In the movie, a big moment occurs when Michael Burry (played by Christian Bale), reveals that these assets are a house of cards (actually Jenga blocks).
How did people like Burry find out? One way was by looking through prospectuses. The official name of these reports is SEC Form 424-B5—named after the section of securities law that requires them. Linked here is an example from an offering by Long Beach Mortgage, the now defunct subprime lender mentioned in The Big Short.6 In these 200-plus pages, investors can fish out any necessary information they need about the security offering. For example: types of mortgages included in the trust (page S-21), what years the mortgages were issued to the homebuyers (top of page S-46), and even the state in which the mortgages were sold (right-hand side of page S-3).
One other noteworthy item from our example Form 424-B5 can be found on page S-8. Listed at the top of this page are the credit ratings the credit rating agency provided this offering when it was created in September 2005. As noted in the prospectus, Moody’s (and every other rating agency) stated that the best securities coming from this offering (i.e. I-A) deserved their highest, “immune-from-default” rating, Aaa. Today, in 2015, these securities are still alive, except for one difference: Moody’s has since adjusted that rating to junk, Ca, which means default is imminent and there is little prospect for recovery.
Denouement
There is no doubt that The Big Short sets the table for reinvigorating the debate over who’s to blame for the financial crisis. So much so that it might even find its way into your family’s dinner table conversation over this holiday break.
Now that you have a few of the fundamentals of the crisis in your back pocket, you’ll be better prepared to join that discussion. Have a great holiday and enjoy the film!
Is there some kind of conflict of interest or something like
that embedded in this mumbo jumbo? I don't see where it
tells me who to throw in jail.
It's not mumbo jumbo if you did a bit of homework re: the crucial role credit default swaps played in the 2008 housing market/financial crisis. This might be a good place to start: http://mney.co/1KpMnzR
Briefly, credit default swaps were an "innovative" financial instrument that allowed banks and brokerage houses to bundle mortgages they held into a single allegedly secure (or so they told their customers) security that insured the soundness of all the mortages within that security. In fact, the mortgages "on top" so to speak of all the mortgages bundled into the credit default swap security were quite or relatively secure, but the majority of them were the bottom and on on the edge of defaulting -- this unbeknownst and concealed from the often incurious or encouraged to be incurious purchaser of the CDS, though the need to disclose the makeup of all those mortgages in the CDS was not legally required at the time, I believe. In any case, when the lower down mortgages began to go belly up, the whole CDS (these were vastly traded financial commodities) did so as well, as did in several cases the major financial f\irms (AIG, Lehmen Bros.) that sold them and had many CDS on their own books. And from there chaos spread, through Wall St. and down to Main St.
Ware CDS illegal? No. Was the way CDS were marketed flamingly unethical? You bet. It was, to put it crudely, akin to selling statuettes to investors that looked like they were made from solid gold but were in fact only lightly gold-plated without revealing those facts, and also without revealing that the true nature and dubious value of those lightly plated statuettes was likely to be revealed should the housing market be subject to significant financial stress. And that's what happened -- in spades.
I shouldn't have called it mumbo-jumbo, implying I didn't
understand it. I do. But the bottom line is that you've
presented no evidence for criminality. In fact, you've
(finally) said as much. So much for the widespread whining
from the Left that people should have been, and weren't,
prosecuted. In this country we don't throw people in jail
for being (in the opinion of some) unethical.
I'm not versed in all the no doubt semi-arcane details of U.S. financial law, but I would say that being unethical to the point of almost bringing down the whole financial system might have/shouhd have led to some significant legal remedies. Or are you saying that this was all the way one should expect biusiness is normally done and we should simply stop pointing/complaining, etc.?
msw design
2020-06-26 21:43:50 UTC
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I'm saying we make laws (based on our experience) in order
to enhance civilization. If we think Wall Street actors
engaged in behavior that should be illegal we (our elected
legislators) should make it illegal. We can find their
actions despicable, but we shouldn't talk about jailing them
unless they broke the law.
I basically agree until the end. There is a political purpose to announcing that grossly unethical people should be in jail. I approve of a lot of that speech even as I know that there is no legal case to be made.
Frank Berger
2020-06-26 21:51:49 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by msw design
I'm saying we make laws (based on our experience) in order
to enhance civilization. If we think Wall Street actors
engaged in behavior that should be illegal we (our elected
legislators) should make it illegal. We can find their
actions despicable, but we shouldn't talk about jailing them
unless they broke the law.
I basically agree until the end. There is a political purpose to announcing that grossly unethical people should be in jail. I approve of a lot of that speech even as I know that there is no legal case to be made.
I find that scary.
msw design
2020-06-26 22:14:27 UTC
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Post by Frank Berger
I find that scary.
If you are really concerned with the misapplication of incarceration, I encourage you to attend a local Black Lives Matter rally. The people who are the victims selective policing, over-prosecution and over-incarceration are generally poor minorities. If you are powerful enough to be the target of political speech where people say you should be in prison, by definition you probably have enough power that that speech doesn't matter. And that is the honest truth about the way power works in this society.
Frank Berger
2020-06-26 22:46:56 UTC
Reply
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Post by msw design
Post by Frank Berger
I find that scary.
If you are really concerned with the misapplication of incarceration, I encourage you to attend a local Black Lives Matter rally. The people who are the victims selective policing, over-prosecution and over-incarceration are generally poor minorities. If you are powerful enough to be the target of political speech where people say you should be in prison, by definition you probably have enough power that that speech doesn't matter. And that is the honest truth about the way power works in this society.
Talk to Bernie Madoff, Rajat Gupta, Jerome Kerviel, Steven
Goldberg, Peter Grimm, Dominick Carollo, Raj Rajaratnam,
Nick Leeson, Allen Stanford, Garth Peterson, Bradley
Birkenfeld, Dennis Levine, Martin Siegel, Ivan Boesky,
Michael Milken.

According to FT.com 47 bankers were sentenced to jail for
their roles in the financial crisis.

If you assert these are exceptions that prove the rule I
will throw up.
weary flake
2020-06-27 18:55:42 UTC
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Post by msw design
I'm saying we make laws (based on our experience) in order
to enhance civilization. If we think Wall Street actors
engaged in behavior that should be illegal we (our elected
legislators) should make it illegal. We can find their
actions despicable, but we shouldn't talk about jailing them
unless they broke the law.
I basically agree until the end. There is a political purpose to
announcing that grossly unethical people should be in jail. I approve
of a lot of that speech even as I know that there is no legal case to
be made.
What seemed to have been described in the earlier lengthy
posts was defrauding investers in the derivative securities.
Fraud is a felony. So the legal question is should laws
against fraud be enforced? The Bi-Partisan political
solution was to bail out the culprits, thus subsidizing the
crime.
Bob Harper
2020-06-27 22:18:52 UTC
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On 6/26/20 9:56 AM, Frank Berger wrote:
(snip)
I'm saying we make laws (based on our experience) in order to enhance
civilization.  If we think Wall Street actors engaged in behavior that
should be illegal we (our elected legislators) should make it illegal.
We can find their actions despicable, but we shouldn't talk about
jailing them unless they broke the law.
Precisely. That'w what we call the rule of law, and right now it is in
danger. "Feeling" are not an adequate substitute.

Bob Harper
msw design
2020-06-27 23:47:47 UTC
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Permalink
Post by Bob Harper
(snip)
I'm saying we make laws (based on our experience) in order to enhance
civilization.  If we think Wall Street actors engaged in behavior that
should be illegal we (our elected legislators) should make it illegal.
We can find their actions despicable, but we shouldn't talk about
jailing them unless they broke the law.
Precisely. That'w what we call the rule of law, and right now it is in
danger. "Feeling" are not an adequate substitute.
Bob Harper
Are you talking about Barr? If not, how on earth is the rule of law under threat right now?
Frank Berger
2020-06-28 02:04:18 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by msw design
Post by Bob Harper
(snip)
I'm saying we make laws (based on our experience) in order to enhance
civilization.  If we think Wall Street actors engaged in behavior that
should be illegal we (our elected legislators) should make it illegal.
We can find their actions despicable, but we shouldn't talk about
jailing them unless they broke the law.
Precisely. That'w what we call the rule of law, and right now it is in
danger. "Feeling" are not an adequate substitute.
Bob Harper
Are you talking about Barr? If not, how on earth is the rule of law under threat right now?
You seem to want to distinguish between statements about
wanting to throw people in jail whose behavior you object to
buy who may not have broken and laws and actually doing it.
I agree the latter is worse than the former, but not by that
much.

Otherwise, I would consider excessive disrespect for law
enforcement and mob thinking and mob rule in the streets a
direct challenge to the rule of law.
msw design
2020-06-28 15:03:27 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Frank Berger
I would consider excessive disrespect for law
enforcement and mob thinking and mob rule in the streets a
direct challenge to the rule of law.
This is a classic conservative lollipop, where protests are characterized by their worst elements and judged as rotten to the core, even fictionalized into the gaudy colors of "a direct challenge to the rule of law", as if violence, anarchy and revolution are the goals of the events. There is no evidence of this, but it is often reached for ("screamed" is a more appropriate word) because it serves as justification for oppressive violence by authorities. That's what "the law works for me, my boss and my party" Barr is doing when authorizing study in the role ANTIFA has played int he protests even as there is zero evidence of their involvement until now.

The relevant and disgraceful fact is that in many municipalities, law enforcement has not been a good-faith partner in supporting citizens' rights of peaceful protest. They have stood in the way of established "permit" processes and engaged in responses built on escalation, domination, and in too many cases, violation of their own formal guidelines on how, when, and where to use force, including the deployment of weapons and chemicals.

Authorities and protestors are not two sides of a coin. The authorities have a job, and that job is to support the free exercise of rights even when those actions are distasteful because they enable the public protest against those very authorities. Time and time again, the police have taken steps that resemble the coordinated actions of a violent gang. Their intent is to deliver a message that the state has a monopoly on violence. Fortunately, now that everyone has a video camera in their pocket, thugs who wear badges are finding themselves in hot water after they lash out excessively, indiscriminately and in violation of their own training. That police have behaved this way for the long duration of their history is good reason to consider radical thinking about how they can be restructured to better serve all citizens.

No doubt some of the passions of protestors go farther than one might consider tasteful or considered. But taking one specific, it is not as if our conservative brethren showed an ounce of care to relocate and remove from public view statues commemorating racist traitors who fought in the name of slavery when such an act would have been politically disadvantageous. In fact, it's hard to see signs that they didn't love those statues and the "rebel" identity just as much as the proud, aggrieved white racists (self-aware or not) who saw those idols an expression of their identity. These "leaders" now must reap what they sewed, as the minorities they were free to dismiss now have the numbers and will to risk punishment to express their anger at state systems that embraced white supremacy.

That you principled lovers of the "rule of law" speak up when protests take a form you don't like is, most significantly, an expression of your self-absorption and privilege. And this is exactly as it has been at moments in the past when the unequal took steps to secure equal treatment or equal rights.

Those who fuss over the law and bitch about "woke" culture at moments like this and have little more to say about equality and justice are part of the problem.
Frank Berger
2020-06-28 15:45:48 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by msw design
Post by Frank Berger
I would consider excessive disrespect for law
enforcement and mob thinking and mob rule in the streets a
direct challenge to the rule of law.
This is a classic conservative lollipop, where protests are characterized by their worst elements and judged as rotten to the core, even fictionalized into the gaudy colors of "a direct challenge to the rule of law", as if violence, anarchy and revolution are the goals of the events. There is no evidence of this, but it is often reached for ("screamed" is a more appropriate word) because it serves as justification for oppressive violence by authorities. That's what "the law works for me, my boss and my party" Barr is doing when authorizing study in the role ANTIFA has played int he protests even as there is zero evidence of their involvement until now.
Turnabout is fair play: Classic leftist inability to
distinguish between peaceful protest and riots.
Post by msw design
The relevant and disgraceful fact is that in many municipalities, law enforcement has not been a good-faith partner in supporting citizens' rights of peaceful protest. They have stood in the way of established "permit" processes and engaged in responses built on escalation, domination, and in too many cases, violation of their own formal guidelines on how, when, and where to use force, including the deployment of weapons and chemicals.
Classic leftist inability to recognize that most cops are
good cops. The bad cops delegitimitizes the whole
institution. Why? To tear down society?
Post by msw design
Authorities and protestors are not two sides of a coin. The authorities have a job, and that job is to support the free exercise of rights even when those actions are distasteful because they enable the public protest against those very authorities. Time and time again, the police have taken steps that resemble the coordinated actions of a violent gang. Their intent is to deliver a message that the state has a monopoly on violence.
That is practically the definition of a state.


Fortunately, now that everyone has a video camera in their
pocket, thugs who wear badges are finding themselves in hot
water after they lash out excessively, indiscriminately and
in violation of their own training. That police have behaved
this way for the long duration of their history is good
reason to consider radical thinking about how they can be
restructured to better serve all citizens.
Post by msw design
No doubt some of the passions of protestors go farther than one might consider tasteful or considered. But taking one specific, it is not as if our conservative brethren showed an ounce of care to relocate and remove from public view statues commemorating racist traitors who fought in the name of slavery when such an act would have been politically disadvantageous. In fact, it's hard to see signs that they didn't love those statues and the "rebel" identity just as much as the proud, aggrieved white racists (self-aware or not) who saw those idols an expression of their identity. These "leaders" now must reap what they sewed, as the minorities they were free to dismiss now have the numbers and will to risk punishment to express their anger at state systems that embraced white supremacy.
That you principled lovers of the "rule of law" speak up when protests take a form you don't like is, most significantly, an expression of your self-absorption and privilege. And this is exactly as it has been at moments in the past when the unequal took steps to secure equal treatment or equal rights.
Those who fuss over the law and bitch about "woke" culture at moments like this and have little more to say about equality and justice are part of the problem.
Are you aware of the actual statistics showing the number of
unarmed blacks killed by cops? You can say one is too many,
but would be meaningless. Are unarmed blacks killed by cops
disproportionately to their proportion of the population?
Not when you take into account that cops operate intensively
(and have to) in high crime areas, which are
disproportionately black.

There is a conflict between cops and criminals. Sometimes
cops abuse people they think are criminals and aren't. This
will happen in high crime areas. Train cops better by all
means, weaken the police unions, by all means , move some
money into social services if you think that will help. But
be fair to the majority of cops who are good guys.
msw design
2020-06-28 16:53:30 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Frank Berger
Turnabout is fair play: Classic leftist inability to
distinguish between peaceful protest and riots.
Step up the the plate, Frank. Which particular "riot" do you want to talk about? I'm completely serious here. Name it and I will look into the conditions that led to violence and tell you whether it appears protesters had the goal of mayhem. What I've seen so far is that such a situation would be an anomaly. But there have been plenty of cases where police have taken steps to create situations of violence, where they alone could apply that violence. We've seen this in New York, Philly, Chicago, and elsewhere. That you have taken from these events a generalization that protesters are those most interested in violence seems to be factually baseless- a bunch of right-wing Fox News WSJ editorial page bullshit. But go ahead- pick your riot.
Post by Frank Berger
Classic leftist inability to recognize that most cops are
good cops. The bad cops delegitimitizes the whole
institution. Why? To tear down society?
Classic right-wing prejudice. How do you know that "most cops are good cops"? I'm not even arguing the point at all. The question is, in fact, irrelevant. Dare to judge them all based on their actions and not your belief system. Fact is, you don't know. You can't cite a study or anything that amount to a factual finding that "most cops are good cops." And I suspect you don't know shit about the culture of police forces. So why bring it up? To suggest that I think the opposite. But I am not arguing that at all. I don't know if some copse are racist bullies, or if most are. It's not relevant. Yo are the one showin gthe typical rightest inability to argue using facts.
Post by Frank Berger
Post by msw design
Authorities and protestors are not two sides of a coin. The authorities have a job, and that job is to support the free exercise of rights even when those actions are distasteful because they enable the public protest against those very authorities. Time and time again, the police have taken steps that resemble the coordinated actions of a violent gang. Their intent is to deliver a message that the state has a monopoly on violence.
That is practically the definition of a state.
I should have added "and that the police can exercise violence with impunity."
That is also a definition of our current state. But the protests are making strides in bring accountability to police forces, and to my mind that is progress.
Post by Frank Berger
Are you aware of the actual statistics showing the number of
unarmed blacks killed by cops? You can say one is too many,
but would be meaningless. Are unarmed blacks killed by cops
disproportionately to their proportion of the population?
Not when you take into account that cops operate intensively
(and have to) in high crime areas, which are
disproportionately black.
Do you REALLY think that this is just about a few dead black men and not patterns of harassment that police have brought against minorities for the past 100+ years? It doesn't matter that police behave this way in high-crime ares. That they behave this way at all, anywhere is wrong. Anyone who looks at this situation and sees it in as narrow terms as you name here is a damn fool. We are talking about real, sustained abuse of power. Either step up and acknowledge it or hop on the white supremacist bandwagon.

Have you read this?
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/20/opinion/police-racism-miconduct.html
Post by Frank Berger
There is a conflict between cops and criminals. Sometimes
cops abuse people they think are criminals and aren't. This
will happen in high crime areas. Train cops better by all
means, weaken the police unions, by all means , move some
money into social services if you think that will help. But
be fair to the majority of cops who are good guys.
This isn't a thread about cops, and I'm not here to offer them justice. This is a thread about protests and why old white men post to classical newsgroups whining about "disrespecting the law" and "the rule of law being under threat." Privileged bullshit.
Frank Berger
2020-06-28 17:49:13 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Frank Berger
Turnabout is fair play: Classic leftist inability to
distinguish between peaceful protest and riots.
Step up the the plate, Frank. Which particular "riot" do you want to talk about? I'm completely serious here. Name it and I will look into the conditions that led to violence and tell you whether it appears >protesters had the goal of mayhem.
Here, again, you are assuming I am trying to equate protest
and mayhem. I am not. I really have to document businesses
burned, looting, talking over part of downtown Seattle? You
can't be serious. You are not open to reason about this so
I am withdrawing.
msw design
2020-06-28 18:25:29 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Frank Berger
Post by Frank Berger
Turnabout is fair play: Classic leftist inability to
distinguish between peaceful protest and riots.
Step up the the plate, Frank. Which particular "riot" do you want to talk about? I'm completely serious here. Name it and I will look into the conditions that led to violence and tell you whether it appears >protesters had the goal of mayhem.
Here, again, you are assuming I am trying to equate protest
and mayhem. I am not. I really have to document businesses
burned, looting, talking over part of downtown Seattle? You
can't be serious. You are not open to reason about this so
I am withdrawing.
Here's another one of your favorites: "you are not open to reason." You just love this line- it's the ultimate last word of self-proclaimed superiority. I've said your generalizations are crap and you just can't deal with specifics. Typical right-wing aversion to facts, specifics and evidence.

By the way, do you find statements like this last one gratuitous, inflammatory and closed-minded? I'm talking like this only because you do. I have never treated any of your arguments as merely utterances of some group, and I have never called you a member of the right-wing, or "the right" except when I felt you needed a bit of your own cheap medicine. Comments like this are completely unnecessary, but you reach for them all the time.

AT any point you want to clarify the statement below, I'm all ears. But it seems you are much more interested in sweeping statements, and the axioms of your beliefs than you are in reality.

"I would consider excessive disrespect for law
enforcement and mob thinking and mob rule in the streets a
direct challenge to the rule of law."
Owen
2020-06-29 04:00:42 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by msw design
No doubt some of the passions of protestors go farther than one might consider tasteful or considered. But taking one specific, it is not as if our conservative brethren showed an ounce of care to relocate and remove from public view statues commemorating racist traitors who fought in the name of slavery when such an act would have been politically disadvantageous. In fact, it's hard to see signs that they didn't love those statues and the "rebel" identity just as much as the proud, aggrieved white racists (self-aware or not) who saw those idols an expression of their identity. These "leaders" now must reap what they sewed, as the minorities they were free to dismiss now have the numbers and will to risk punishment to express their anger at state systems that embraced white supremacy.
I think we should get rid of all monuments to people, completely. There
is no human being who is without flaw, and, as such, Frank, Bob, and msw
design have as much right to have their chiseled features chiseled into
stone as Columbus, Washington, and Babe Ruth.

Naturally, as people and mores change through the years, today's heroes
are tomorrow's shits. Or more likely, just forgotten. So toss them all.

The only exceptions I would make is when the monuments themselves have
value not as an honorarium but as art of itself. Who could deny that
the Lincoln monument is a moving and inspiring piece of art? Of course,
disagreements would be plentiful as to what is or isn't art, but to err
on the side of art would probably work.


-Owen
f***@gmail.com
2020-06-29 05:14:19 UTC
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Permalink
A monumental solution:
If there were no public property on which to place monuments, the problem goes away. Anyone can place any sort of monument on their own property. I can honor Moses and you can honor Jesus and someone else can honor Hitler. If I an offended by your monument - too bad.
msw design
2020-06-29 11:57:43 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Owen
I think we should get rid of all monuments to people, completely. There
is no human being who is without flaw, and, as such, Frank, Bob, and msw
design have as much right to have their chiseled features chiseled into
stone as Columbus, Washington, and Babe Ruth.
Cute idea, but that's just not how the world works. Role models matter. That's not to say the practice isn't hugely problematic, especially when the worship comes with dogma some people have a wisdom that persists in unceasing validity across the centuries. Things change and the limits of previous thought are naked to those who are willing to see. Dial down the worship and you can venerate slave-holders while also spelling out their failures. You don't need to be a saint to be valuable. But those that fought to preserve slavery through violent rebellion deserve no place in public spaces.
g***@gmail.com
2020-06-29 12:57:01 UTC
Reply
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Post by msw design
Post by Owen
I think we should get rid of all monuments to people, completely. There
is no human being who is without flaw, and, as such, Frank, Bob, and msw
design have as much right to have their chiseled features chiseled into
stone as Columbus, Washington, and Babe Ruth.
Cute idea, but that's just not how the world works. Role models matter. That's not to say the practice isn't hugely problematic, especially when the worship comes with dogma some people have a wisdom that persists in unceasing validity across the centuries. Things change and the limits of previous thought are naked to those who are willing to see. Dial down the worship and you can venerate slave-holders while also spelling out their failures. You don't need to be a saint to be valuable. But those that fought to preserve slavery through violent rebellion deserve no place in public spaces.
- Man is made to adore and to obey: but if you will not command him, if you give him nothing to worship, he will fashion his own divinities, and find a chieftain in his own passions.

Benjamin Disraeli
g***@gmail.com
2020-06-29 13:11:07 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by msw design
Post by Owen
I think we should get rid of all monuments to people, completely. There
is no human being who is without flaw, and, as such, Frank, Bob, and msw
design have as much right to have their chiseled features chiseled into
stone as Columbus, Washington, and Babe Ruth.
Cute idea, but that's just not how the world works. Role models matter. That's not to say the practice isn't hugely problematic, especially when the worship comes with dogma some people have a wisdom that persists in unceasing validity across the centuries. Things change and the limits of previous thought are naked to those who are willing to see. Dial down the worship and you can venerate slave-holders while also spelling out their failures. You don't need to be a saint to be valuable. But those that fought to preserve slavery through violent rebellion deserve no place in public spaces.
- Man, so long as he remains free, has no more constant and agonizing anxiety than find as quickly as possible someone to worship.

Fyodor Dostoevsky
Owen
2020-06-29 17:38:46 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by g***@gmail.com
Post by msw design
Post by Owen
I think we should get rid of all monuments to people, completely. There
is no human being who is without flaw, and, as such, Frank, Bob, and msw
design have as much right to have their chiseled features chiseled into
stone as Columbus, Washington, and Babe Ruth.
Cute idea, but that's just not how the world works. Role models matter. That's not to say the practice isn't hugely problematic, especially when the worship comes with dogma some people have a wisdom that persists in unceasing validity across the centuries. Things change and the limits of previous thought are naked to those who are willing to see. Dial down the worship and you can venerate slave-holders while also spelling out their failures. You don't need to be a saint to be valuable. But those that fought to preserve slavery through violent rebellion deserve no place in public spaces.
- Man, so long as he remains free, has no more constant and agonizing anxiety than find as quickly as possible someone to worship.
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Or enemy to hate.

-Owen
Owen
2020-06-29 17:37:11 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by msw design
Post by Owen
I think we should get rid of all monuments to people, completely. There
is no human being who is without flaw, and, as such, Frank, Bob, and msw
design have as much right to have their chiseled features chiseled into
stone as Columbus, Washington, and Babe Ruth.
Cute idea, but that's just not how the world works. Role models matter. That's not to say the practice isn't hugely problematic, especially when the worship comes with dogma some people have a wisdom that persists in unceasing validity across the centuries. Things change and the limits of previous thought are naked to those who are willing to see. Dial down the worship and you can venerate slave-holders while also spelling out their failures. You don't need to be a saint to be valuable. But those that fought to preserve slavery through violent rebellion deserve no place in public spaces.
Role models are overrated. Don't know anyone who's looked at a statue
and said "Damn! Wish I was just like that!"

Most memorials the reaction is more like "glad that isn't me!"

And since they only really serve to rankle people nowadays, I say it's
little trouble to toss them in the wastebin. Most of them people won't
even notice they're gone, unless the protest group makes a lot of news
about it.

-Owen
Bob Harper
2020-06-29 16:33:49 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by msw design
No doubt some of the passions of protestors go farther than one might
consider tasteful or considered. But taking one specific, it is not as
if our conservative brethren showed an ounce of care to relocate and
remove from public view statues commemorating racist traitors who
fought in the name of slavery when such an act would have been
politically disadvantageous. In fact, it's hard to see signs that they
didn't love those statues and the "rebel" identity just as much as the
proud, aggrieved white racists (self-aware or not) who saw those idols
an expression of their identity. These "leaders" now must reap what
they sewed, as the minorities they were free to dismiss now have the
numbers and will to risk punishment to express their anger at state
systems that embraced white supremacy.
I think we should get rid of all monuments to people, completely.  There
is no human being who is without flaw, and, as such, Frank, Bob, and msw
design have as much right to have their chiseled features chiseled into
stone as Columbus, Washington, and Babe Ruth.
Naturally, as people and mores change through the years, today's heroes
are tomorrow's shits.  Or more likely, just forgotten.  So toss them all.
The only exceptions I would make is when the monuments themselves have
value not as an honorarium but as art of itself.  Who could deny that
the Lincoln monument is a moving and inspiring piece of art?  Of course,
disagreements would be plentiful as to what is or isn't art, but to err
on the side of art would probably work.
-Owen
Well, my features are hardly 'chiseled' :) But seriously, I disagree.
Statues commemorate significant people and events, and we should be
careful to follow Chesterton's Rule of the Fence before removing them.
This applies a fortiori to their destruction by mobs.

Bob Harper
msw design
2020-06-28 15:11:30 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Bob Harper
(snip)
I'm saying we make laws (based on our experience) in order to enhance
civilization.  If we think Wall Street actors engaged in behavior that
should be illegal we (our elected legislators) should make it illegal.
We can find their actions despicable, but we shouldn't talk about
jailing them unless they broke the law.
Precisely. That'w what we call the rule of law, and right now it is in
danger. "Feeling" are not an adequate substitute.
Bob Harper
Bob, when you hugged that Stacy Abrams fat joke, you lost all credibility with me. You can't credibly complain about people hating you when you give them good reason to do so.
Frank Berger
2020-06-28 15:46:20 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by msw design
Post by Bob Harper
(snip)
I'm saying we make laws (based on our experience) in order to enhance
civilization.  If we think Wall Street actors engaged in behavior that
should be illegal we (our elected legislators) should make it illegal.
We can find their actions despicable, but we shouldn't talk about
jailing them unless they broke the law.
Precisely. That'w what we call the rule of law, and right now it is in
danger. "Feeling" are not an adequate substitute.
Bob Harper
Bob, when you hugged that Stacy Abrams fat joke, you lost all credibility with me. You can't credibly complain about people hating you when you give them good reason to do so.
You don't need much reason.
msw design
2020-06-28 16:58:59 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Frank Berger
Post by msw design
Post by Bob Harper
(snip)
I'm saying we make laws (based on our experience) in order to enhance
civilization.  If we think Wall Street actors engaged in behavior that
should be illegal we (our elected legislators) should make it illegal.
We can find their actions despicable, but we shouldn't talk about
jailing them unless they broke the law.
Precisely. That'w what we call the rule of law, and right now it is in
danger. "Feeling" are not an adequate substitute.
Bob Harper
Bob, when you hugged that Stacy Abrams fat joke, you lost all credibility with me. You can't credibly complain about people hating you when you give them good reason to do so.
You don't need much reason.
Looks like you don't see it as much of a reason at all. What's a fat joke here or there among friends? Honor before truth!
Frank Berger
2020-06-28 17:50:39 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by msw design
Post by Frank Berger
Post by msw design
Post by Bob Harper
(snip)
I'm saying we make laws (based on our experience) in order to enhance
civilization.  If we think Wall Street actors engaged in behavior that
should be illegal we (our elected legislators) should make it illegal.
We can find their actions despicable, but we shouldn't talk about
jailing them unless they broke the law.
Precisely. That'w what we call the rule of law, and right now it is in
danger. "Feeling" are not an adequate substitute.
Bob Harper
Bob, when you hugged that Stacy Abrams fat joke, you lost all credibility with me. You can't credibly complain about people hating you when you give them good reason to do so.
You don't need much reason.
Looks like you don't see it as much of a reason at all.
Your unwarranted assumptions are tedious.

What's a fat joke here or there among friends? Honor
before truth!
msw design
2020-06-28 18:30:11 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Not unwarranted. You eagerly leap to defend Bob while sidestepping the substance of these disagreements. Say it: Bob embraced the ugliness of a Stacy Abrams fat joke after I pointed out how inappropriate it was, and in the context of a conversation of a larger thread about civility in political rhetoric. That makes him an ass and you nothing more than his yes-man.
Bozo
2020-06-28 18:41:17 UTC
Reply
Permalink
To lighten the moment for a bit, 4 of my fav very brief clips (2-5 minutes) from the BBC comedy masterpiece of 30+ years ago, still sadly relevant today:


(British democracy)

(The papers )

(The need to know )

(The EU )
Bob Harper
2020-06-29 16:29:27 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Bozo
http://youtu.be/QurCB1lCHp0 (British democracy)
http://youtu.be/DGscoaUWW2M (The papers )
http://youtu.be/NX45hc0aZt0 (The need to know )
http://youtu.be/rvYuoWyk8iU (The EU )
Absolutely brilliant. Every one of them.

Thanks.

Bob Harper
Bob Harper
2020-06-29 16:15:07 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by msw design
Not unwarranted. You eagerly leap to defend Bob while sidestepping the substance of these disagreements. Say it: Bob embraced the ugliness of a Stacy Abrams fat joke after I pointed out how inappropriate it was, and in the context of a conversation of a larger thread about civility in political rhetoric. That makes him an ass and you nothing more than his yes-man.
So....my finding humorous a joke of which you disapprove is sufficient
reason to 1) hate me, and 2) dismiss me as an unperson. Well, I refuse
to return your hate, and I'm still here. Sorry if you find that
unsatisfactory, but it's not your decision.

I will let Frank answer for himself.

Bob Harper
Bob Harper
2020-06-29 16:06:18 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by msw design
Post by Bob Harper
(snip)
I'm saying we make laws (based on our experience) in order to enhance
civilization.  If we think Wall Street actors engaged in behavior that
should be illegal we (our elected legislators) should make it illegal.
We can find their actions despicable, but we shouldn't talk about
jailing them unless they broke the law.
Precisely. That'w what we call the rule of law, and right now it is in
danger. "Feeling" are not an adequate substitute.
Bob Harper
Bob, when you hugged that Stacy Abrams fat joke, you lost all credibility with me. You can't credibly complain about people hating you when you give them good reason to do so.
Another case of emotional response substituting for reason. Unfortunate,
as you seem otherwise to be an intelligent person.

Bob Harper
msw design
2020-06-26 21:36:47 UTC
Reply
Permalink
I shouldn't have called it mumbo-jumbo, implying I didn't
understand it. I do. But the bottom line is that you've
presented no evidence for criminality. In fact, you've
(finally) said as much. So much for the widespread whining
from the Left that people should have been, and weren't,
prosecuted. In this country we don't throw people in jail
for being (in the opinion of some) unethical.
I agree with everything you are saying Frank, which is why I support a more comprehensive regulatory framework.

Spoken from the left. Does this qualify me as one of those naive fools? It seems clear to me that what distinguishes us from countries where the banking system is an extension of a leader's pocket is robust legal frameworks that guarantee normalcy and minimize opportunity for abuse. Is the free market you dream of one where we would not have these legal burdens?
Frank Berger
2020-06-26 21:50:47 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by msw design
I shouldn't have called it mumbo-jumbo, implying I didn't
understand it. I do. But the bottom line is that you've
presented no evidence for criminality. In fact, you've
(finally) said as much. So much for the widespread whining
from the Left that people should have been, and weren't,
prosecuted. In this country we don't throw people in jail
for being (in the opinion of some) unethical.
I agree with everything you are saying Frank, which is why I support a more comprehensive regulatory framework.
Spoken from the left. Does this qualify me as one of those naive fools? It seems clear to me that what distinguishes us from countries where the banking system is an extension of a leader's pocket is robust legal frameworks that guarantee normalcy and minimize opportunity for abuse. Is the free market you dream of one where we would not have these legal burdens?
Well there are two separate issues here. One is wanting to
throw people in jail for actions which are not crimes.
Another is what restrictions should be placed on the
financial system. Obviously there are going to be
ideological differences on the second. There shouldn't be
any on the first.
Frank Berger
2020-06-23 23:01:13 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Frank Berger
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Oscar
... As for Barr's "competent leadership" -- you're kidding right?
'Attorney General William Barr has earned a reputation for being so hard-charging within the Justice Department that even his close aides call him “the Buffalo.”'
I like that. I like that a lot. What was holder's nickname? Lew Alcindor? A buffalo will trounce a Lew Alcindor 8 days a week.
Leaving aside whether Barr Is temperamentally more of a hard-charger than Holder was, do you have any doubt, given Barr's track record as an high-level employee in/advocate of the financial industry and his deep-seated oligarchic loyalties/preferences, that if he had been making policy as AG in the wake of the 2008 crash, the big banks and other major financial institutions would have been given every break in the book, plus some new ones that hadn't even been invented yet, while the folks on Main Street and those who lost their homes, etc. would have been left with their thumbs even further up their asses than was the case?
The Left is always whining about all those financiers who
should have gone to jail back then, without ever stopping to
consider what laws were broken.
I'm sorry, Frank, but it was Owen -- who is as firmly on the Right as you are, if not more so -- who not only was blaming AG Holder for nov prosecuting any financiers after 2008 but also insisting that "hard-charger" Bill Barr surely would have locked those guys up if he had been AG at the time. You people need to get your stories straight. Which is it? Holder and his bosses were corrupt wimps who went belly up to protect Wall St. , or, no laws were broken -- just swallow your losses and go home?
Can you provide the names and circumstances of a few of the
financiers, CEOs, mortgage lenders who you think broke laws
and who therefore should have been prosecuted and weren't?

I'm not saying there aren't any, there are always crooks in
every business. It's just that always see these references
(OK, forget whether it's Left or Right) and I never see who
the supposed guilty parties are nor what actual crimes were
committed.

The following is a story told to me by a friend who is a
Mortgage broker. He said during the run up to the crisis,
people would come to him for new home mortgages, remodels,
whatever and he would advise them that they may biting off
more than they could chew. The problem was that according
to Congress, Fannie May, etc. they qualified and insisted.
So he reluctantly made loans which subsequently went into
default. He asked me, "Am I a crook?" Is he a crook?
e***@gmail.com
2020-06-23 23:21:25 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Frank, the story you mention is exactly correct.I have worked in the mortgage business for many years and that scenario played put many times.
Frank Berger
2020-06-24 03:20:56 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by e***@gmail.com
Frank, the story you mention is exactly correct.I have worked in the mortgage business for many years and that scenario played put many times.
You must be a crook. Somebody has to pay. Somebody always
has to pay.
e***@gmail.com
2020-06-24 14:11:45 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Entitlement, it is the American Way. Customers walk into your office expecting something and when you tell them no, they walk next door and get some other sorry fool to give it to them.
MiNe109
2020-06-24 14:57:00 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Frank Berger
Is he a crook?
The crooks were the agencies who overrated mortgage-backed securities.
Frank Berger
2020-06-24 18:19:34 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by MiNe109
Post by Frank Berger
Is he a crook?
The crooks were the agencies who overrated mortgage-backed
securities.
This may contain the germ of an answer, but you would have
to explain how anything other then error accounted for
overrated mortgage-backed securities. Why would rating
agencies deliberately overrate mortgage backed securities.
Are they bribed? Do they have a conflict of interest that
would cause upward bias?
MiNe109
2020-06-24 19:23:24 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by MiNe109
Post by Frank Berger
Is he a crook?
The crooks were the agencies who overrated mortgage-backed securities.
This may contain the germ of an answer, but you would have to explain
how anything other then error accounted for overrated mortgage-backed
securities.  Why would rating agencies deliberately overrate mortgage
backed securities. Are they bribed?  Do they have a conflict of interest
that would cause upward bias?
They were in competition with each other and would lose business if the
ratings were too low. They didn't spend money to properly evaluate the
securities and were biased in favor of frequent customers.
Frank Berger
2020-06-24 20:01:47 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by MiNe109
Post by Frank Berger
Post by MiNe109
Post by Frank Berger
Is he a crook?
The crooks were the agencies who overrated
mortgage-backed securities.
This may contain the germ of an answer, but you would have
to explain how anything other then error accounted for
overrated mortgage-backed securities.  Why would rating
agencies deliberately overrate mortgage backed securities.
Are they bribed?  Do they have a conflict of interest that
would cause upward bias?
They were in competition with each other and would lose
business if the ratings were too low.  They didn't spend
money to properly evaluate the securities and were biased in
favor of frequent customers.
I'm not disagreeing. I don't know how ratings work.
Oscar
2020-06-24 20:03:12 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Here ya go! Enjoy. 2,439 word article by the U.S. newspaper of record.


From The Wall Street Journal:

<< ‘Crush This Lady.’ Inside eBay’s Bizarre Campaign Against a Blog Critic.
Security employees allegedly orchestrated deliveries of live cockroaches, pornographic videos and a mask of a bloody pig’s head

By Kirsten Grind and Sebastian Herrera
June 24, 2020 10:34 a.m. EDT

The box of live cockroaches delivered to their door was the last straw for David and Ina Steiner.

For more than two decades, the professional collectors ran a niche e-commerce blog out of their home in the Boston suburbs, with a focus on Amazon.com Inc. AMZN -1.04% and eBay Inc. EBAY -2.00%

Then, last August, the couple started receiving threatening emails and tweets. Not long after, according to federal investigators, a package arrived with a mask of a bloody pig’s head. Next, they received a funeral wreath. Neighbors were sent pornographic videos addressed to one of the Steiners. Strange cars seemed to follow them around their small town of Natick, Mass.

They repeatedly called the local police, who say they initially thought the incidents might be pranks. The Steiners photographed one of the suspicious vehicles tailing them. With the photo, the local police tracked the license plate to a rental car checked out to a Veronica Zea, staying at Boston’s Ritz-Carlton hotel along with a man named David Harville, according to an affidavit from a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent working the case.

Then the police discovered something really curious: Both Ms. Zea and Mr. Harville worked for eBay, the $34 billion online marketplace based more than 3,000 miles away in San Jose, Calif. The once dominant site was a frequent target of the Steiners’ blog posts on their site, called ECommerceBytes.

That discovery kicked off a criminal investigation into an alleged corporate harassment campaign that reached into eBay’s executive ranks. The campaign was as bold as it was bizarre, beginning with pranks inspired by the 1988 movie “Johnny Be Good” and escalating to more sinister threats and stalking, according to the affidavit.

Last Monday, the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Massachusetts said it charged six former eBay executives and employees, all part of its security team, with taking part in a weekslong harassment campaign that included threatening emails and tweets, fake Craigslist posts and the mysterious deliveries.

Now the U.S. attorney’s office is investigating whether eBay targeted any other critics with harassment campaigns, according to a person familiar with the investigation.

This account of what happened is based on more than two dozen interviews with current and former eBay executives and people familiar with the company, government and police officials and documents released by the U.S. attorney’s office, including the affidavit from FBI agent Mark Wilson.

The alleged cyberstalking campaign was launched soon after Devin Wenig, eBay’s chief executive at the time, and his chief communications officer, Steve Wymer, embarked on a more aggressive public-relations strategy that included challenging critics such as ECommerceBytes, people familiar with the matter say.

As part of that strategy, eBay executives tried to prove their suspicion that its rival Amazon.com Inc. was helping to fund ECommerceBytes, two of these people said. They ultimately didn’t find any evidence of that. An Amazon spokesman said the company has never funded the site.

Mr. Wenig’s wife, Cindy Wenig, had complained to eBay’s security team about the tone of ECommerceBytes’ reader comments about her husband, particularly after an unknown man had shown up at their house.

Mr. Wenig, who left the company last fall, said in an interview he didn’t order any type of harassment of the Steiners, nor was he aware of the security team’s efforts. Mr. Wenig said he was in a monthlong sabbatical in Italy when the alleged activity took place last August and didn’t find out the details until they were made public on June 15.

“It’s totally embarrassing, and it’s just ridiculous,” he said. “It’s so not the culture of the company.”

Mr. Wymer, his former communications chief, said, “I would never condone or participate in any such activity.”

The woman said to have rented the car, Ms. Zea, an eBay contractor who worked as an intelligence analyst, declined to comment. Mr. Harville, eBay’s former director of global resiliency, didn’t respond to requests for comment. They were two of the six charged with conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses.

When Mr. Wenig took over eBay in 2015, the company had been struggling to compete with a surging Amazon in the marketplace business. He was intent on restoring it to its glory days as a tech darling. He sometimes wore a black T-shirt with a white pirate emblem, given to him by employees, to encourage disruptive thinking. He redesigned eBay’s logo and poured millions of dollars into renovating its San Jose headquarters.

Yet even as he sought to aggressively recast eBay as a Silicon Valley underdog, he often reacted forcefully to what he perceived as negative coverage of the company. Former employees say he could be set off by even the smallest of slights, including reader comments on blog posts, YouTube videos and media reports about his compensation. Some of his concerns about critical coverage or comments were voiced in text messages he exchanged with Mr. Wymer.

After a May 31, 2019, post on the Steiners’ site analyzed Mr. Wenig’s remarks at a shareholder meeting, according to the affidavit, the CEO texted Mr. Wymer. “I couldn’t care less what she says,” he said, referring to Ms. Steiner. “Take her down.” Mr. Wenig said he was referring to the aggressive media campaign.

EBay has at other times pressured detractors to remove negative content.

In late 2018, eBay executives pushed longtime seller Casey Parris to remove what the company perceived to be a negative YouTube video about the company, saying the company “didn’t like the tone” and threatened a lawsuit if it wasn’t removed, Mr. Parris said.

When he asked his contact at eBay how the company would have even seen his video, Mr. Parris said, he was told that its security team was watching all the time. He said he recently told eBay about the incident and the company said it would investigate. “I’m still scared by it,” he said.

Another seller, Danni Ackerman, said eBay stopped inviting her to events after she started a YouTube channel that criticized policy changes that affected sellers, as part of what she called the company’s “bully culture.”

A spokeswoman for eBay said the company “has always sought out candid and constructive feedback from all of our stakeholders, in particular our seller community. We deeply value this input.”

In a blog post addressed to sellers last week, Jordan Sweetnam, head of eBay’s marketplace business in the U.S., Canada and Latin America, said the alleged acts by eBay security officials “were isolated incidents and not a systemic issue.” EBay held a private Zoom call Thursday for its sellers, assuring them that all the bad apples at the company were gone, and that eBay was looking into individual claims, according to a person familiar with the call.

ECommerceBytes was founded in 1999 after Mr. Steiner, 61 years old, an auction enthusiast and video producer, had difficulty placing a listing of video equipment on eBay. Figuring other sellers might also be having similar trouble, the Steiners launched the site—then called AuctionBytes.com—to help others navigate the online commerce world.

Ms. Steiner, 58, a longtime writer and editor, writes most of the website’s content. Both of the Steiners are collectors, browsing garage sales in their free time.

“Here was a new market that no one was writing about, so they began to cover the market in an agnostic way,” said Gary Sohmers, an early eBay seller and longtime appraiser who knows the Steiners. The Steiners didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Though obscure, the site built a significant following among eBay sellers, with several thousand subscriptions by 2019. The reader comments on the posts were at times snarky and personal.

Some taunted eBay executives, including then-CEO Meg Whitman and John Donahoe, now CEO of Nike Inc. A comment from 2017 called Mr. Wenig the devil, according to the affidavit.

Mr. Wenig, a New York transplant who once ran the financial and media businesses at Thomson Reuters Markets LLC., became CEO after eBay spun off payments giant PayPal Holdings Inc. in 2015.

In January 2019, hedge fund Elliott Management Corp. disclosed a more than 4% stake in eBay and said the company should consider selling its StubHub ticketing business and classifieds-ads unit and focus on repairing its core marketplace.

By early that year, Mr. Wenig and his public-relations team had decided to alter the company’s public-relations strategy. Rather than responding to interview requests or sending out news releases, they planned to take a more aggressive approach with publications that wrote negative stories about eBay, according to people familiar with the decision.

In the recent interview, Mr. Wenig said he didn’t spend any more or less time than the average CEO thinking about media coverage. “I think all CEOs care about the coverage of their company,” he said.

In April 2019, Ms. Steiner wrote a short article about Mr. Wenig’s compensation, based on a public Securities and Exchange Commission filing, titled “eBay CEO Devin Wenig Earns 152 Times That of Employees.” A commenter posted: “What a foolish Board. What an overpaid empty suit. What a joke.”

According to the affidavit, Mr. Wymer, then eBay’s communications chief, texted Mr. Wenig that they would “crush this lady.”

The Wall Street Journal wrote a 164-word article about Mr. Wenig’s $18.2 million compensation around the same time, with the headline “Ebay Chief Executive Wenig Got Raise in 2018.”

“F— them,” Mr. Wenig texted Mr. Wymer, according to the affidavit. “The journal is next on the list” after Ms. Steiner. After brainstorming ways to go after the Journal, eBay employees ultimately abandoned the effort, according to people familiar with the plans.

EBay executives decided to examine Amazon’s relationship with ECommerceBytes, hoping to be able to point out to a reporter or publish a blog post on its website arguing that it was improper for a publication to accept money from an e-commerce giant it was writing about, according to people familiar with those plans. EBay also is suing three Amazon employees who it claims worked to illegally recruit its third-party sellers.

By the summer of 2019, James Baugh, then eBay’s director of safety and security, was laying the groundwork for an alleged campaign to silence the Steiners, according to the affidavit. Mr. Baugh, a native of Arkansas and longtime security executive, joined the company in 2016.

At one meeting, the affidavit said, Mr. Baugh showed his team a clip from the 1988 film comedy “Johnny Be Good,” in which two friends arrange for a series of odd, unwanted deliveries to their football coach. Mr. Baugh allegedly said he wanted something similar to happen to the Steiners.

Mr. Wenig’s wife had texted Mr. Baugh in July about a reader comment that called Mr. Wenig a “con artist and thief,” under an ECommerceBytes article. “The author gets people worked up with the way she skews her stories,” Ms. Wenig wrote, according to the affidavit.

A spokeswoman said Ms. Wenig was concerned about the safety of her family after one commenter threatened a “crash landing” for Mr. Wenig shortly before the family was planning to fly to Italy.

ECommerceBytes published several more negative stories about eBay around the time of its annual seller conference in Las Vegas in July 2019. A text exchange cited in the affidavit indicates that after being alerted to the stories by Mr. Wymer, Mr. Wenig texted him: “If you are ever going to take her down, now is the time.”

“On it,” Mr. Wymer responded.

He texted Mr. Baugh the message from Mr. Wenig, adding, “She is biased troll who needs to get BURNED DOWN.”

“Copy that,” Mr. Baugh said. “I have a plan B. I will put it in motion.”

In meetings with his analysts and other members of eBay’s security team, Mr. Baugh warned that the campaign had to be kept confidential, but told them he had support of executive management.

According to the affidavit, the planned campaign against the Steiners was supposed to have two parts. After the initial harassment, eBay would begin a “white-knight strategy” of offering to help the victims end the mysterious communications and deliveries, the affidavit said. Local police stepped in before that happened.

Mr. Baugh, who also was charged by the U.S. attorney’s office, didn’t respond to requests for comment, nor did his lawyer.

In Natick, Ms. Steiner began getting dozens of emails and newsletters she hadn’t signed up for with subjects like “Cat Faeries,” and “the Satanic Temple.” An anonymous Twitter user sent her private messages, demanding her response and then threatening “I guess im goin to have to get ur attention another way bitch…”

On Craigslist, a post popped up with the Steiners’ address, and a title “M/F couple seeking activity partner.” Another post announced “BLOCK PARTY in Natick - Let’s have some fun!”, again with the couple’s address, and inviting people to stop by “anytime of day or night.”

Once the police connected the activity to eBay, the executives involved allegedly tried to cover their tracks.

Mr. Baugh sent a message from his personal cellphone to Mr. Wymer, saying he and members of his team were cooperating, that they had done nothing illegal, and asking “if there is any way to get some top cover that would be great.” Mr. Baugh directed his team members to delete their WhatsApp and phone data, according to the affidavit.

The eBay board’s audit committee learned of the investigation in late August, and the broader board was briefed the following month during a five-hour call led by lawyers at Morgan Lewis & Bockius, according to people familiar with the matter. The board was told the investigation found no evidence that Mr. Wenig was aware of the actions, these people said.

The company placed Messrs. Baugh and Harville and another member of the security team on administrative leave on Aug. 30. The company later fired all six who were charged, and Mr. Wymer.

When Mr. Wenig was pushed out as CEO in late September, the directors said the main reasons were the company’s financial performance and his disagreement with a large investor about the best path forward for the company, according to people familiar with the matter. The investigation also played a role, and directors blamed him for setting a cutthroat tone at the top. Mr. Wenig received a $57 million exit package.

On the day the U.S. attorney’s office announced its charges, Ms. Steiner posted the press release to ECommerceBytes, with no further comment.

—Elisa Cho, Cara Lombardo and Jim Oberman contributed to this article. >>


There is also a Comments section appended to this piece on WSJ site, behind pay-wall: 161 comments as of 1:01 p.m. PDT.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/ebay-harassment-campaign-pig-cockroach-blog-11593009038?mod=hp_lead_pos4#comments_sector
Bob Harper
2020-06-24 18:52:54 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Frank Berger
Post by Lawrence Kart
... As for Barr's "competent leadership" -- you're kidding right?
  From first line of article in Wall Street Journal, Monday, June
'Attorney General William Barr has earned a reputation for being so
hard-charging within the Justice Department that even his close
aides call him “the Buffalo.”'
I like that. I like that a lot. What was holder's nickname? Lew
Alcindor? A buffalo will trounce a Lew Alcindor 8 days a week.
Leaving aside whether Barr Is temperamentally more of a hard-charger
than Holder was, do you have any doubt, given Barr's track record as
an high-level employee in/advocate of the financial industry and his
deep-seated oligarchic loyalties/preferences, that if he had been
making policy as AG in the wake of the  2008 crash, the big banks
and other major financial institutions would have been given every
break in the book, plus some new ones that hadn't even been invented
yet, while the folks on Main Street and those who lost their homes,
etc. would have been left with their thumbs even further up their
asses than was the case?
The Left is always whining about all those financiers who
should have gone to jail back then, without ever stopping to
consider what laws were broken.
I'm sorry, Frank, but it was Owen -- who is as firmly on the Right as
you are, if not more so -- who not only was blaming  AG Holder for nov
prosecuting any financiers after 2008 but also insisting  that
"hard-charger" Bill Barr surely would have locked those guys up if he
had been AG at the time. You people need to get your stories straight.
Which is it? Holder and his bosses were corrupt wimps who went belly
up to protect Wall St. , or, no laws were broken -- just swallow your
losses and go home?
Can you provide the names and circumstances of a few of the financiers,
CEOs, mortgage lenders who you think broke laws and who therefore should
have been prosecuted and weren't?
I'm  not saying there aren't any, there are always crooks in every
business.  It's just that always see these references (OK, forget
whether it's Left or Right) and I never see who the supposed guilty
parties are nor what actual crimes were committed.
The following is a story told to me by a friend who is a Mortgage
broker.  He said during the run up to the crisis, people would come to
him for new home mortgages, remodels, whatever and he would advise them
that they may biting off more than they could chew.  The problem was
that according to Congress, Fannie May, etc.  they qualified and
insisted. So he reluctantly made loans which subsequently went into
default.  He asked me, "Am I a crook?"  Is he a crook?
Of course not. The crooks were those in Congress who insisted on making
loans to people they knew--or should have known--wouldn't be able to
repay them.

Bob Harper
Frank Berger
2020-06-24 19:58:50 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Bob Harper
Post by Frank Berger
On Tuesday, June 23, 2020 at 8:45:46 AM UTC-5, Frank
Post by Frank Berger
Post by Lawrence Kart
On Sunday, June 21, 2020 at 5:46:16 PM, Lawrence Kart
... As for Barr's "competent leadership" -- you're
kidding right?
  From first line of article in Wall Street Journal,
'Attorney General William Barr has earned a reputation
for being so hard-charging within the Justice
Department that even his close aides call him “the
Buffalo.”'
I like that. I like that a lot. What was holder's
nickname? Lew Alcindor? A buffalo will trounce a Lew
Alcindor 8 days a week.
Leaving aside whether Barr Is temperamentally more of a
hard-charger than Holder was, do you have any doubt,
given Barr's track record as an high-level employee
in/advocate of the financial industry and his
deep-seated oligarchic loyalties/preferences, that if
he had been making policy as AG in the wake of the
2008 crash, the big banks and other major financial
institutions would have been given every break in the
book, plus some new ones that hadn't even been invented
yet, while the folks on Main Street and those who lost
their homes, etc. would have been left with their
thumbs even further up their asses than was the case?
The Left is always whining about all those financiers who
should have gone to jail back then, without ever
stopping to
consider what laws were broken.
I'm sorry, Frank, but it was Owen -- who is as firmly on
the Right as you are, if not more so -- who not only was
blaming  AG Holder for nov prosecuting any financiers
after 2008 but also insisting  that "hard-charger" Bill
Barr surely would have locked those guys up if he had
been AG at the time. You people need to get your stories
straight. Which is it? Holder and his bosses were corrupt
wimps who went belly up to protect Wall St. , or, no laws
were broken -- just swallow your losses and go home?
Can you provide the names and circumstances of a few of
the financiers, CEOs, mortgage lenders who you think broke
laws and who therefore should have been prosecuted and
weren't?
I'm  not saying there aren't any, there are always crooks
in every business.  It's just that always see these
references (OK, forget whether it's Left or Right) and I
never see who the supposed guilty parties are nor what
actual crimes were committed.
The following is a story told to me by a friend who is a
Mortgage broker.  He said during the run up to the crisis,
people would come to him for new home mortgages, remodels,
whatever and he would advise them that they may biting off
more than they could chew.  The problem was that according
to Congress, Fannie May, etc.  they qualified and
insisted. So he reluctantly made loans which subsequently
went into default.  He asked me, "Am I a crook?"  Is he a
crook?
Of course not. The crooks were those in Congress who
insisted on making loans to people they knew--or should have
known--wouldn't be able to repay them.
Bob Harper
Even they aren't necessarily crooks.
Bob Harper
2020-06-25 18:31:11 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Frank Berger
Post by Bob Harper
Post by Frank Berger
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Frank Berger
Post by Lawrence Kart
... As for Barr's "competent leadership" -- you're kidding right?
  From first line of article in Wall Street Journal, Monday, June
'Attorney General William Barr has earned a reputation for being
so hard-charging within the Justice Department that even his
close aides call him “the Buffalo.”'
I like that. I like that a lot. What was holder's nickname? Lew
Alcindor? A buffalo will trounce a Lew Alcindor 8 days a week.
Leaving aside whether Barr Is temperamentally more of a
hard-charger than Holder was, do you have any doubt, given Barr's
track record as an high-level employee in/advocate of the
financial industry and his deep-seated oligarchic
loyalties/preferences, that if he had been making policy as AG in
the wake of the 2008 crash, the big banks and other major
financial institutions would have been given every break in the
book, plus some new ones that hadn't even been invented yet, while
the folks on Main Street and those who lost their homes, etc.
would have been left with their thumbs even further up their asses
than was the case?
The Left is always whining about all those financiers who
should have gone to jail back then, without ever stopping to
consider what laws were broken.
I'm sorry, Frank, but it was Owen -- who is as firmly on the Right
as you are, if not more so -- who not only was blaming  AG Holder
for nov prosecuting any financiers after 2008 but also insisting
that "hard-charger" Bill Barr surely would have locked those guys up
if he had been AG at the time. You people need to get your stories
straight. Which is it? Holder and his bosses were corrupt wimps who
went belly up to protect Wall St. , or, no laws were broken -- just
swallow your losses and go home?
Can you provide the names and circumstances of a few of the
financiers, CEOs, mortgage lenders who you think broke laws and who
therefore should have been prosecuted and weren't?
I'm  not saying there aren't any, there are always crooks in every
business.  It's just that always see these references (OK, forget
whether it's Left or Right) and I never see who the supposed guilty
parties are nor what actual crimes were committed.
The following is a story told to me by a friend who is a Mortgage
broker.  He said during the run up to the crisis, people would come
to him for new home mortgages, remodels, whatever and he would advise
them that they may biting off more than they could chew.  The problem
was that according to Congress, Fannie May, etc.  they qualified and
insisted. So he reluctantly made loans which subsequently went into
default.  He asked me, "Am I a crook?"  Is he a crook?
Of course not. The crooks were those in Congress who insisted on
making loans to people they knew--or should have known--wouldn't be
able to repay them.
Bob Harper
Even they aren't necessarily crooks.
Ok, let's just say morally, intellectually, and ethically challenged.

Bob Harper
Frank Berger
2020-06-25 19:02:52 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Bob Harper
Post by Frank Berger
Post by Bob Harper
Post by Frank Berger
On Tuesday, June 23, 2020 at 8:45:46 AM UTC-5, Frank
Post by Frank Berger
On Monday, June 22, 2020 at 7:46:22 PM UTC-5, Oscar
On Sunday, June 21, 2020 at 5:46:16 PM, Lawrence
... As for Barr's "competent leadership" -- you're
kidding right?
  From first line of article in Wall Street Journal,
'Attorney General William Barr has earned a
reputation for being so hard-charging within the
Justice Department that even his close aides call
him “the Buffalo.”'
I like that. I like that a lot. What was holder's
nickname? Lew Alcindor? A buffalo will trounce a Lew
Alcindor 8 days a week.
Leaving aside whether Barr Is temperamentally more of
a hard-charger than Holder was, do you have any
doubt, given Barr's track record as an high-level
employee in/advocate of the financial industry and
his deep-seated oligarchic loyalties/preferences,
that if he had been making policy as AG in the wake
of the 2008 crash, the big banks and other major
financial institutions would have been given every
break in the book, plus some new ones that hadn't
even been invented yet, while the folks on Main
Street and those who lost their homes, etc. would
have been left with their thumbs even further up
their asses than was the case?
The Left is always whining about all those financiers who
should have gone to jail back then, without ever
stopping to
consider what laws were broken.
I'm sorry, Frank, but it was Owen -- who is as firmly
on the Right as you are, if not more so -- who not only
was blaming  AG Holder for nov prosecuting any
financiers after 2008 but also insisting that
"hard-charger" Bill Barr surely would have locked those
guys up if he had been AG at the time. You people need
to get your stories straight. Which is it? Holder and
his bosses were corrupt wimps who went belly up to
protect Wall St. , or, no laws were broken -- just
swallow your losses and go home?
Can you provide the names and circumstances of a few of
the financiers, CEOs, mortgage lenders who you think
broke laws and who therefore should have been prosecuted
and weren't?
I'm  not saying there aren't any, there are always
crooks in every business.  It's just that always see
these references (OK, forget whether it's Left or Right)
and I never see who the supposed guilty parties are nor
what actual crimes were committed.
The following is a story told to me by a friend who is a
Mortgage broker.  He said during the run up to the
crisis, people would come to him for new home mortgages,
remodels, whatever and he would advise them that they
may biting off more than they could chew.  The problem
was that according to Congress, Fannie May, etc.  they
qualified and insisted. So he reluctantly made loans
which subsequently went into default.  He asked me, "Am
I a crook?"  Is he a crook?
Of course not. The crooks were those in Congress who
insisted on making loans to people they knew--or should
have known--wouldn't be able to repay them.
Bob Harper
Even they aren't necessarily crooks.
Ok, let's just say morally, intellectually, and ethically
challenged.
Bob Harper
I don't even know that. I think most leftist policies are
well intended. Just wrong.
g***@gmail.com
2020-06-29 13:15:40 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Frank Berger
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Oscar
... As for Barr's "competent leadership" -- you're kidding right?
'Attorney General William Barr has earned a reputation for being so hard-charging within the Justice Department that even his close aides call him “the Buffalo.”'
I like that. I like that a lot. What was holder's nickname? Lew Alcindor? A buffalo will trounce a Lew Alcindor 8 days a week.
Leaving aside whether Barr Is temperamentally more of a hard-charger than Holder was, do you have any doubt, given Barr's track record as an high-level employee in/advocate of the financial industry and his deep-seated oligarchic loyalties/preferences, that if he had been making policy as AG in the wake of the 2008 crash, the big banks and other major financial institutions would have been given every break in the book, plus some new ones that hadn't even been invented yet, while the folks on Main Street and those who lost their homes, etc. would have been left with their thumbs even further up their asses than was the case?
The Left is always whining about all those financiers who
should have gone to jail back then, without ever stopping to
consider what laws were broken.
- The law condemns and punishes only actions within certain definite and narrow limits; it thereby justifies, in a way, all similar actions that lie outside those limits.

Leo Tolstoy
Owen
2020-06-23 03:18:57 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Oscar
Thank our lucky stars the competent leadership of our Justice Department, with Attorney General Barr in charge, will bring justice to these simple-minded thuggish fools. 'Lew Alcindor' Holder couldn't bring a single case against the Banksters of Wall Street in 8 years!
Not exactly parallel matters. Holder didn't do squat to the banksters because of policy decisions that made sense to those who made them in the name of preserving the overall integrity (I know, it is to laugh) and survival of the financial system -- decisions that were taken well above Holder's pay grade, though he may have had a seat at the foot of the table. As for Barr's "competent leadership" -- you're kidding right?
Just who makes policy decisions that would be above the pay grade of the
Attorney General of the United States? Maybe the President of the
United States? Just asking. When Trump allegedly tried to push around
the Justice Department, he got impeached.

So who does control who gets attention from the Justice Department, and
who gets a little wave off and is told they better watch themselves next
time? If it's not the AG or the POTUS, who could it be? The swamp that
Trump used to talk about? I would love to know just who controls the
government, if not the government.

-Owen

"In the Halls of Justice, the only justice is in the Halls"
-Lenny Bruce
Bozo
2020-06-25 00:09:44 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Owen
When Trump allegedly tried to push around
the Justice Department, he got impeached.
Trump was impeached over the Ukraine deal, not pushing around the DOJ.The DOJ and nothing to do with the House articles of impeachment or with the Senate trial. Except, of course,Barr whitewashing ,lying about, the earlier Mueller report to derail those separate grounds for impeachment.
Owen
2020-06-25 01:32:38 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Bozo
Post by Owen
When Trump allegedly tried to push around
the Justice Department, he got impeached.
Trump was impeached over the Ukraine deal, not pushing around the DOJ.The DOJ and nothing to do with the House articles of impeachment or with the Senate trial. Except, of course,Barr whitewashing ,lying about, the earlier Mueller report to derail those separate grounds for impeachment.
Wasn't Barr part of the Ukraine deal, where the President of Ukraine was
supposed to send information to Barr?

And wasn't the impeachment charge of Obstruction of Justice deliberately
made vague enough to cover any activities with regards to Comey,
Mueller, McCabe, etc. just in case the Senate saw fit to see things the
same way the Congressional Democrats did?

-Owen

P.S. Re: Barr's whitewashing. Mueller himself, in his toothless,
don't-remember-the-dossier testimony to Congress on his report did much
more damage to that cause than Barr ever did.

-O
Tassilo
2020-06-23 02:47:42 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Oscar
Thank our lucky stars the competent leadership of our Justice Department, with Attorney General Barr in charge, will bring justice to these simple-minded thuggish fools. 'Lew Alcindor' Holder couldn't bring a single case against the Banksters of Wall Street in 8 years!
Anyone who approves of any of Barr's action cannot be taken seriously as a rational human being. -david gable
weary flake
2020-06-23 03:42:11 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Tassilo
Post by Oscar
Thank our lucky stars the competent leadership of our Justice
Department, with Attorney General Barr in charge, will bring justice to
these simple-minded thuggish fools. 'Lew Alcindor' Holder couldn't
bring a single case against the Banksters of Wall Street in 8 years!
Anyone who approves of any of Barr's action cannot be taken seriously
as a rational human being. -david gable
So your defense of the Ebay gang is that Trump is the
president and therefore the defendants are innocent?
Are all crimes justified because Trump is the president,
and you dare to call that rational?
John Fowler
2020-06-23 14:55:02 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Tassilo
Post by Oscar
Thank our lucky stars the competent leadership of our Justice Department, with Attorney General Barr in charge, will bring justice to these simple-minded thuggish fools. 'Lew Alcindor' Holder couldn't bring a single case against the Banksters of Wall Street in 8 years!
Anyone who approves of any of Barr's action cannot be taken seriously as a rational human being. -david gable
Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn. - clark gable
Bob Harper
2020-06-24 18:49:57 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by John Fowler
Post by Tassilo
Post by Oscar
Thank our lucky stars the competent leadership of our Justice Department, with Attorney General Barr in charge, will bring justice to these simple-minded thuggish fools. 'Lew Alcindor' Holder couldn't bring a single case against the Banksters of Wall Street in 8 years!
Anyone who approves of any of Barr's action cannot be taken seriously as a rational human being. -david gable
Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn. - clark gable
Great riposte. Wish I had thought of it :).

Bob Harper
Bob Harper
2020-06-24 18:48:43 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Tassilo
Post by Oscar
Thank our lucky stars the competent leadership of our Justice Department, with Attorney General Barr in charge, will bring justice to these simple-minded thuggish fools. 'Lew Alcindor' Holder couldn't bring a single case against the Banksters of Wall Street in 8 years!
Anyone who approves of any of Barr's action cannot be taken seriously as a rational human being. -david gable
Wow. David, you know a great deal about music, and I respect your
opinions there (though I still don't care for most dodecaphony and
beyond). Here you are being, frankly, ridiculous.

Bob Harper
weary flake
2020-07-02 02:17:53 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by John Fowler
A bit off-topic, but I'm sure we have all used Ebay at one time or another.
This scandal was reported on Boston's local TV news on June 15, but has
been ignored by the national media.
Ebay’s senior director of safety and security.eBay’s director of global
resiliency (?)
eBay’s senior manager of global intelligence.
Ebay’s senior manager of special operations for eBay’s global security team.
http://youtu.be/NacqQW-SC7I
Here's the filed complaint, with redactions, with
plenty of the filthy threatening language that "tech"
executives talk:

https://www.universalhub.com/files/baugh-complaint.pdf

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